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.
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
20 minutes is very little time. It’s not enough to find out how an episode of “Scandal” ends. It’s not enough to catch up with your friend between meetings and really get a…sense of how things are going in her life. It’s not enough. 20 minutes is a lot of time. It can feel like hours if you are running in the cold before dawn and you can’t feel your fingers. It can feel like hours if you are waiting for news from your doctor that will make… >> Read More
Passover is a holiday on which we are supposed to revel in our freedom from tyranny. In the modern age, however, anxiety is the new, less-whip-happy (apologies to Christian Grey) Pharaoh. Once the…Purim megillah is wrapped and put away, I start feeling the stresses of Passover. And this year, I want to liberate myself. And that’s where you all come in. Although I have yet to discuss it with my husband (Jon, consider this a talk), I’m leaning heavily toward using nice plastic plates for the seder… >> Read More
To be sung to the tune of “You Only Live Twice” from James Bond: Sheeeeeee only wears piiiiiiiiink….
When I was a little girl, my favorite color was red. Fire-engine red. I wanted to paint…my room red; my mother refused, saying it would “make her crazy,” whatever that meant. And although I lived in a blue, yellow, and white room, my soul was red. Although I wore other colors, my favorite color was, without question, red. Red: uncompromising, loud, fiery, brazen. I thought red was the most wonderful color… >> Read More
I have six children, four of whom are age 4 and under. My days begin before dawn, and sometimes end before my oldest son has left his tablet on the charging station and made his way up to bed. I…sometimes find myself falling asleep in the shower, not remembering whether or not I’ve put shampoo in my hair. There’s a lot going on with the two older kids—academic competitions, schoolwork, Instagram (!)—but let’s focus on the more cacophonous child mass. For them, days are filled with sippy cups, chocolate milk, Berenstain Bears books, carseat… >> Read More
Weight Watchers, we meet again. As Rafiki said to Simba in The Lion King, “It is time.”
When I got divorced 10 years ago, I decided to re-assume responsibility for my postpartum state of…health, and I lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers. Even though I was uncertain about my future as a single mother of two small boys, I felt comfortable in my body again, and that was a great thing. Now, I’m happily remarried and I’ve had four more kids in five years. The latter does a… >> Read More
We celebrate Hanukkah because the oil in the Temple lasted eight days. Well, good for the oil, but kids under 5 behaving well for eight days would be quite another miracle. Seriously.
And I get…it: It’s very hard for them to handle eight consecutive nights of staying up later than usual. In addition, they’re often getting presents and consuming sugary deliciousness all of those nights in a row. When you think about it, it’s basically a recipe for disaster. If your kid hasn’t started saying, “Where’s my present?” before… >> Read More
We live in a very Jewish area in New Jersey. It’s a place full of all the institutions of Jewish life, from kosher butchers and bakeries to mikvehs and, of course, synagogues of all stripes. We…live in a strong Jewish community that supports many different streams and outlets for that Judaism, from Tot Shabbats with instruments and microphones to shomer Shabbat (observant) communities. The pre-Passover crush at the Livingston Shop-Rite puts Black Friday to shame. Sadly, a key component of our Jewish community died an untimely death this fall. Gesher… >> Read More
Moving is a pain in the ass. Anyone who has ever done it knows it. And when you have six kids, four of whom are under 4 and range from “unhelpful” to “destructive,” crazy is a best-case…scenario. Thanks to my parents, the kids didn’t have to be involved in the actual move-in into our new home. My parents should get some sort of medal, by the way, for taking my whole family in to live with them for almost five months. Did I mention we moved into their house four days… >> Read More
You are driving the carpool home from sports practice. Your Jewish child and two other non-Jewish classmates are in the car. You pass a big house; you offhandedly mention that your friend is moving…in. Non-Jewish kid: “Is your friend Jewish?” You: “Why do you ask?” Non-Jewish kid: “Because Jews are rich.” Growing up, I was pretty sure that if I ever came across something bad and wrong—anti-Semitism, for example—it would play out like an after-school special. First, the horribly uninformed, ignorant people would do something egregious, like spray… >> Read More
20 years ago today, I was driving through the dark streets of London. I had just started graduate school and was on a bus coming back from a trip out of town. As I was looking out the window at the…unfamiliar city, listening to my Walkman, I saw a shop selling televisions. And every one of them was on, showing footage of the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Yitzhak Rabin. I thought nothing of it. It was only the next morning, when I picked up the paper, that I found out why: He had been… >> Read More