Jordana Horn is a contributing editor to Kveller. She is a journalist, lawyer, writer, mother of six, travel aficionado, and self-declared karaoke superstar. Before her life got too crazy, she was the New York correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. She has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Forward and Tablet. She has appeared as a 'parenting expert' on NBC's TODAY Show and FOX and Friends. She enjoys writing about herself in the third person and, one far-off day when everyone is in school, hopes to get back to work on her novel.
Today is the last full day of Barack Obama’s presidency. And I am grateful to have lived in the United States at a time when the white male monopoly on the Presidency was broken, at last.
It’s…important to say that I do not agree with Obama on everything, and in fact, I vehemently disagree with the positions he has taken on certain subjects dear to me. However, there is one point on which I can unequivocally admire Obama: his integrity and dignity in his personal life. There are ample role models… >> Read More
My kindergarten daughter is a Daisy Girl Scout. My friends with older girls had sung the organization’s praises, telling me that it was a wonderful venue for girls to feel supported and empowered.…And all of our experiences thus far exemplified those values of community and caring. So I was not happy to learn that the Girl Scouts of America will be participating in the Inauguration Day Parade this year. I could write all the reasons why I feel that the Girl Scouts participating in this particular inauguration… >> Read More
I remember when people used to not want to read the news because it was boring.
A friend of mine recently posted a question on Facebook that I thought we should bring up for general discussion…here on Kveller. She wrote, "Serious question for fellow parents of tweens/young teens: are you doing anything to shield them from the "inappropriate" aspects of the latest news? My 13-year-old reads the Times on his phone and is understandably curious about what's in the dossier. He knows he can read it himself on Buzzfeed. I… >> Read More
My oldest son became a bar mitzvah in November. We had a congregational Kiddush luncheon in his honor, and a small party for him and his friends that evening. Instead of having the grand blowout…party that seems to be the general expectation in my New Jersey suburb, we opted to go to Israel instead. And it was the best decision I possibly could have made, for these reasons (among others): 1. Visiting Israel is not just any trip. Sure, we could have gone to Paris, or Punta Cana, or… >> Read More
Yesterday, bomb threats were called in to 16 Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) across the south and northeastern United States.
It seems we are living in the proverbial “interesting times.” We…have been living in the Golden Age of Judaism—over the thousands of years of Jewish history, it is extremely unusual for Jews to have the ability to live in a place where we are free to practice our Judaism and to be considered as equals with those around us of other faiths. We have that… >> Read More
“Did I understand your FB post that you have registered to run for office?” my friend texted me last night at 6 p.m. She had seen me share this story about the more than 4,500 women who have…registered to run for office with the comment, “I'm in there. Hope you are too!” Like Sarah in the Torah when she finds out she’s pregnant at age 100-and-whatever, I had to laugh. No, I am not running for office, I texted back. I cannot even get it together to run around the block. I… >> Read More
So your kid is becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. Here are a few hints I hope you will find helpful in successfully getting through this very special simcha, based on my own very recent…experience. THE WEEK BEFORE 1. Put out all the clothing for all of your children on some non-floor surface, ideally in your room. “All” includes belts, socks, tights, underwear, and shoes. Have children try on said items so that you don’t have a situation the day of, which you will be completely unprepared to handle… >> Read More
Finally, 2016 is coming to a close. Many of us are frightened of what 2017 may hold. What better intellectual life-raft to hold onto than a great book? Here are some of my recommendations for…year-end gift giving—for friends, or for yourself! 1. "The Mothers," Brit Bennett: Fiction. An extremely well-written and piercing look into a group of church “mothers” in California and their perspective on the intertwining and/or unraveling lives of young people in the community. 2. "Swing Time," Zadie Smith: Fiction. Smith brings her brilliant writing to bear… >> Read More
I don’t know about you, but I have found the last few weeks to be a little…stressful.
I’m obviously underplaying it for effect. There is no point at the moment in rehashing the presidential…election. Our country feels painfully divided, with bitter words of hate exchanged daily. There is an extra layer of worry that comes from being parents at this time—and, in a time with hate crimes proliferating across the country—an extra extra layer for those of us who are Jews or other religious, sexual, and ethnic minorities.… >> Read More
Up here in the Northeast, the leaves are beginning their colorful plummet to the ground, and coats are emerging from closets. It feels almost completely incongruous to be thinking about overnight…camps for summer 2017—and yet, that’s what many parents are just beginning to do. A friend, about to embark on this process, asked me whether I’d written a “questions to ask in choosing a camp for your kid” article. Well, I hadn’t. But that’s about to change. 1. To Jew Camp or Not Jew Camp?… >> Read More
On Rosh Hashanah, I learned Torah from a 5-year-old.
More specifically, my 5-year-old. I took my daughter to a full day of High Holiday services—9 a.m. to 1 p.m.!—for the first time on the…second day of Rosh Hashanah. She took it like a champ. Anything is possible with chocolate milk, picture books, and snacks. During the Torah reading, she got a little antsy (not unlike many adults, plus, sugar in the chocolate milk). I explained to her that they were reading a story. Understandably, she wanted to know… >> Read More
If you have a kid who is becoming a bar or bat mitzvah in the next year, take a few seconds and make a list: What do you need to do to get ready? Go ahead, I’ll wait.
OK, pencils down.
I was…making this list myself the other day. I was stunned by how many items were on it—the invitations, the caterer, the addresses, the clothes. It all seemed overwhelming. Suddenly, I stopped and re-read… and then I was incredibly embarrassed by what wasn’t on the list. And I was determined to rectify it as soon as… >> Read More
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I see an American woman. I see someone who has been through one divorce, six pregnancies, two husbands, two surgeries, two careers. I see someone…Jewish who cares deeply about her heritage and her legacy. And while I still have the weight from a few babies, I am finally at a point in my life where I like what I see in the mirror. Like every American woman, I have gone through many, many times in my life when I… >> Read More
I am about to voice a highly controversial opinion. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with the upcoming election.
Here it is: Down With the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Sweatshirt/T-Shirt.
If you have a…middle schooler, or know a middle schooler, or have been near a middle school that has Jewish attendees, you know what I’m talking about. You are well aware of the phenomenon. The kids in our local middle school, like in many Jewish neighborhoods, go to almost-weekly bar or bat mitzvahs. As a party favor, they… >> Read More
My daughter said it to me, almost shyly, as we walked down the driveway to wait for the bus. It was her first day of kindergarten. Somehow, the weather knew to be that perfect…back-to-school 72 degrees, a hint of fall with the sweet warmth of summer. We’d been waiting for this day for a long, long time. She’d talked about kindergarten all summer long, counting down the days. Just yesterday, in fact, she had shot out of bed, jumping into the living room shouting, “It’s my first day… >> Read More
Everyone with a kid always talks about milestones. But what about the milestones you miss?
About a week or so ago, I went out to my husband’s friends’ house for a Sunday night dinner—a very…rare event, since usually Sunday nights are spent in the thick of the family chaos. It was a lovely evening with great food, adults, and no diaper changes. As we drove back to our house, I called my parents to ask how the kids had behaved. “Everyone was fine,” my mother told me. “Oh, and… >> Read More
“Enjoy this time…it goes so fast!!”
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ANYTHING SO RIDICULOUS IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?
Sorry for screaming. But as someone who has been in the baby/toddler trenches for a few…years now, I can tell you, no, that is just bullshit. Actually, Random Person, it doesn’t go so fast. The days are long. VERY LONG. They are tiring to the point where my bones actually ache in the night when I finally get to lie down. Actually, Random Person, you don’t ever get used to… >> Read More
Summer is coming to an end. If you’re in certain parts of the US, summer is already over. I am a Northeasterner and therefore my mind is only just beginning to turn to book socks, shoe shopping,…and gel pens. But hold on a second! Before you turn the page on the seasons, here are my personal patented hacks for next summer—especially if you have a kid who is going back to camp, whether overnight camp or day camp. 1. Start Packing Now I realize this makes me sound neurotic. It’s not… >> Read More
I am not a morning person. I know they exist—people who delight in watching the sun creep up over the dark edges of the world, people who savor those moments when starlight is replaced by sunlight,…people who run on treadmills while the rest of us sleep. In the morning especially, it turns out that I really like sleep. Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? Sadly, sleep is completely incompatible with motherhood. Babies give their little middle fingers to clocks. I… >> Read More
I have an almost-14-month-old baby, and she is my last baby. Because I’m 43, and I have six kids, four of whom are 5 and under, and I am one tired lady who would probably be turned away by the…tummy tuck people (“In all my 24 years of practicing, I’ve never seen anything like THAT.”). Also, I had a sort of medical situation after giving birth this last time that scared me (you NEVER want to hear the nurse ask you, “Would you like to see a clergy member of your faith?”), and I… >> Read More
Should we write about our kids? For me, the answer is yes. But in a piece entitled, “Why I Decided To Stop Writing About My Children” in the New York Times, Elizabeth Bastos writes about how she…came to the conclusion that she should no longer write about her children (let me throw it out there that the title was kind of a spoiler). “There is a hunger in our culture for true stories from the parenting trenches where life is lived mud-flecked and raw,” she wrote. “I’ve written extensively, intimately, damningly,… >> Read More
If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.
I definitely paid attention this past week, as a piece I wrote for Kveller about Ivanka Trump triggered remarks that went personal rather…than political. In language very different from the usual Kveller discussions, comments, emails, and Tweets, I was called a “stupid judgmental bitch,” an “embarrassing twat,” a “Jew loser,” and a “piece of shit,” everywhere from Kveller’s Facebook page to my inbox. Those statements are very, very different from, “I couldn’t disagree more with your opinion/piece,… >> Read More
I’ve turned a corner: I’m no longer such a big fan of the photos from overnight camp.
I didn’t formally sit down and decide that I would no longer be the “refresh refresh” mom of years…back. A few things happened to make me step away from the computer and into my life. First, I went on a romantic trip with my husband, which was pretty amazing. Everything we looked at was Instagram-worthy. Flowers draped every windowsill. Breakfast was the only meal not accompanied by alcohol, and they made up for… >> Read More
Last week, you stood up and spoke in front of the world. But what concerns me most is your silence.
Ivanka, you may be a beautiful, smart, and successful daughter of the man who…would be King—but you are also a Jew. And I am calling on you as a Jew—especially as a Jewish mother—to stand up for a better world for your children. I know you know the story of Purim, because I saw your pictures of your mishloach manot on your Instagram feed. For those who don’t,… >> Read More
Welcome to the 4th Annual Jordana Horn Summer Reading Recommendation List! Reading is one of my favorite things in the world…and yes, I do read constantly, even though I have six kids. Yes, it’s…actually possible! While I will admit to a definite fiction predilection, I’ve put some deviations from that genre on the list. And in this year–the year we might get the first-ever female president of the United States of America!–I’ve arbitrarily decided to make this list one of all female authors (though not necessarily the oft-disparaged… >> Read More