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.
My two oldest boys are about to come home from overnight camp. Having done the whole camp thing for about four years now, I am fully aware of the extent to which their duffels will stink, the need to…immediately repack the bags for next year with the “camp stuff” (trust me), and not to freak out when a lot of stuff has mysteriously gone missing. For those of you new to the overnight camp experience, though, I thought I’d give you a few words of warning/guidance--sort of like a “What to Expect When… >> Read More
“It’s Too Expensive To Be Jewish” is the title of a Los Angeles Times personal essay written by a mother who, in the course of trying to figure out how to afford bar mitzvah tutoring for her…son, decided that being Jewish is, well, too expensive (exemplified by the high cost of synagogue membership and High Holiday tickets). Her conclusion is one with which I vehemently disagree–but that is in no small part because I vehemently disagree with her feelings about the underlying value of being Jewish. Admittedly, I’m coming at this… >> Read More
“Come on girl, shake that thing!”
“Shake, shake your booty!”
Typical lyrics to a typical pop song. Except these weren’t being sung on the radio. They were being chanted by my…4-year-old daughter with her group at her camp. As they sang, she wagged her just-recently-toddler tush semi-suggestively behind her, while her camp group clapped and cheered her on. As I watched this happen on our day camp’s visiting day, I was grossed out. I was annoyed. I was mad. These feelings came up in me… >> Read More
I’ve been married twice. Some might think if I failed at it once that means I’m not so good at marriage. Personally, I’d say, like Peppa Pig’s father, that “I’m a bit of an…expert.” I mean, two marriages means two weddings, right? I’m a pro. So let me give you some unsolicited advice as to how to have the best one--yes, ideally one--ever. Think about premarital counseling. As a prerequisite to marriage, the Catholic faith requires a course of premarital counseling set by the church called pre cana… >> Read More
I’ve read a lot of great books this past year. “When the hell do you have time to read?" you may ask, so please note that I am an abnormally fast reader. You know, like how some of you have…abnormally fast metabolisms, or the ability to run even when you are not in fear for your life. But books are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Sometimes, you’re in the mood to be challenged. And sometimes, you would rather let your brain melt in sticky sweetness, like a popsicle in July. Either way, I got you, with… >> Read More
“Hi, Mommy,” someone whispered. I felt breath on my face.
It was a Sunday morning, and I was still in bed. It was still earlier than I’d like to be awake, but not as early as it had been…when my husband took the 1-year-old and 3-year-old downstairs a half hour before. The voice saying hello was my 4-year-old daughter. I smiled, motioned to her and she climbed into my bed. Every parent loves each of their children for their own specialness. This particular kid is a ridiculously kind, beautiful, sweet, funny, loving and… >> Read More
I have Passover Anxiety. It is real. And it is spectacular.
It starts around the end of Purim, to be honest, but now, a week before the first seder, it kicks into overdrive.
Every year, I find…my anxiety evolves. Here are some of its usual focal points, and how I cope with them. 1. Food issues. As a younger, less-jaded mother, I used to get beyond stressed out about whether my toddlers would starve to death over Passover. I have had years upon years of toddlers at this point. Inevitably, in that age… >> Read More
You may be totally stressed out about Passover. And it’s understandable–it’s stressful! Hosting a dinner for 30 people would be enough–dayenu, if you will–but working with an extended…program, partially in Hebrew and/or Aramaic, that needs to be the right length, the perfect level of inspirational, plus engaging and interesting? It’s enough to send you over the edge of a pyramid. The Four Questions are a familiar cornerstone of the seder festival meal, in which the youngest present asks, "Why is this night… >> Read More
There was a picture of a sky I looked at last year, in the fall, when everything was just starting to turn delicious colors. I lay on the examination table on my back, my arm splayed out behind me…like a twisted Barbie doll. I looked at the fake sky on the ceiling, and then closed my eyes and turned my head away as the doctor put a needle into my breast. The fake sky is always blue. Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see. Blue birds, singing their… >> Read More
My mother swims at the JCC. These days, she packs a "go bag" with all of her stuff to bring to the pool in case she is evacuated in her bathing suit by a bomb threat. It doesn't seem…unlikely. This is not what America should be. "Well, what can I do?" people ask me. They feel powerless. Let me tell you this: You are not powerless. Here are five things you can do to stand up against hate today. 1) Join your local JCC. Today, I am joining my local JCC. I am… >> Read More
I looked in the rearview mirror at my youngest child, on route to our Monday morning toddler time class. “I’m sorry, sweetie,” I said. “Mommy is just burned out.”
She smiled and said,…“Hello.” She doesn’t understand. Why should she? Not only is she not even two years old, but also, the simple fact is that there are NO people in my circle who know what it is like to go through Mommy & Me for the sixth time/child. I am Burned Out. I will save you time:… >> Read More
About a year ago, I used to actively relish Ivanka Trump’s Instagram feed (yes, I also have a life and hobbies, thanks for asking). I enjoyed it aesthetically, but I also savored the fact that she…frequently posted pics of her Jewish family life. While she never explicitly said the words, “Here We Are, Being Jewish,” Ivanka shared photos of just that, including everything from shots of the mishloach manot she made for Purim to cuddling her second child before his bris. I’m not someone who delights in Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah… >> Read More
“I deplore and condemn anti-Semitism in all forms. Perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
That was all President Donald Trump had to say at…yesterday’s press conference when he was asked about the recent upswing in anti-Semitic acts in the United States. Two sentences. Simple. It even fits in a Tweet, if, hypothetically, one were inclined to take to Twitter about something that bothered them. Instead, our President offered up a statement on how many Electoral College votes he’d… >> Read More
Tu Bishvat always struck me as a Jewish nursery school-friendly holiday. “It’s the birthday of the trees,” my little kids have told me, showing me their dot paintings of trees, stenciled…leaves, et cetera et cetera. I mean, great—I have nothing against trees. I like trees. Happy birthday, trees. (I recycle all artwork.) (Just kidding!) (Am I?) The Mishnah actually says Tu Bishvat is more of the New Year for the trees. I live in the cold Northeastern United States, where the trees are still very… >> Read More
I’m stressed out beyond belief.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’m not alone—half or more of America feels the same way. The rapid-fire pace of the president’s Executive Orders and the…Bachelor-style Supreme Court Justice nomination, to play off “Dayenu,” would have been enough—but on top of all that, many of us believe our country and Constitution are suffering grievous blows every single day from which they may never recover. Facebook is a wonderful place to connect, and as such, is a wonderful place for political… >> Read More
As I’ve written about before, as recently as this week, I am sick and tired of political memes—those allegedly “funny” things that are little more than glamorized character assassinations.…Passing them on makes us complicit in the dumbing down of the national conversation. It’s a dumbing down that is so precipitous that surely it is incumbent upon those of us who know the word “precipitous” to put our proverbial heels in the mud to stop the slide. So you know where I stand. And… >> Read More
I marched in this weekend’s Women’s March. I marched with my husband, my two sons, and three of my daughters (one double stroller and one single stroller, thanks for asking). I marched with my…sister and her husband and their three children. I marched with a friend and her husband and their three boys. I marched with a guy who takes his young daughter to music class with my daughter. I marched in a small town in New Jersey where they were only expecting a few hundred people to… >> Read More
A lot happened this weekend, but among everything else, people were talking smack about President Donald Trump’s son, 10-year-old Barron Trump, online. And it’s not OK. It’s not OK no matter…what your party affiliation is. It’s not OK because we’re parents. And it’s not OK because we’re people. Various people made fun of Barron online this weekend on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I’m not going to repost any of their comments here, because I am a strong believer in avoiding lashon hara (slanderous speech). But… >> Read More
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