Jordana Horn is a contributing editor to Kveller. She is a journalist, lawyer, writer, mother of five (pregnant with her sixth), 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.
Welcome to the Fourth Annual Jordana Horn Kveller Summer Reading Recommendation List (see the previous years' lists here, here, and here). As always, this list is not exclusive, and I actively seek…feedback/more recommendations in the comments. These are recommendations coming from a voracious reader who likes both highbrow and semi-lowbrow stuff, mostly fiction. Not all of these are new releases. Annoyingly, many books I still want to read this summer haven’t been released yet! Please follow me on Goodreads and let’s get mutually recommending! Happy summer!… >> Read More
1. The last month of pregnancy: It’s a glorious time. It’s when salespeople help you more quickly because they don’t want you to explode on the sales floor. It’s when none of your pregnancy…clothes fit and your shirts ride up on your belly as if to tempt people with a Lewis Carroll-like sign saying, “Lift me!” It’s when you are already sleeping as though you have a newborn baby because, whether it’s heartburn, gas, or sheer discomfort in your own skin, you are up every hour. 2. The… >> Read More
“Do you believe another Holocaust can happen?”
When I heard this question as a 7th grader, I remember reacting with shock: “Of course not! The world would never let it happen…again!” Here we are in 2015. And somewhere in the swirling sands of the Arabian desert, innocent people are beheaded on YouTube by masked ISIS fanatics to terrify the world into submission. Schoolgirls in Nigeria are kidnapped, taken away from their families for nefarious purposes. Children in Iraq are herded onto vans and taken to… >> Read More
I’ll admit it: When my husband picked up his suitcase to leave to go to the Philippines for a week on business, my first impulse was not to set a good example for the five kids. Instead, I wanted…to take a page out of my 1-year-old’s playbook and throw myself at my husband’s legs, yelling, “No! No! Don’t go! Take me! Don’t leave me here! I’ll do anything!” Somehow, I refrained. So my husband left for the other side of the planet, no doubt experiencing more tranquility in his approximately 24 hours of… >> Read More
It’s pretty annoying when someone writes something anti-Semitic. But imagine how much more annoying it is when it’s someone you like. Or liked. Or someone you kinda, sorta considered a kindred…spirit. Like, if you met, you always figured you’d be, if not friends, at least people who could make each other laugh over a drink or three. Lena Dunham was that person for me. I enjoy watching the solipsistic narcissism of “Girls.” The show allows me to be grateful that I am old and not… >> Read More
Elisa Albert's previous books, “The Book of Dahlia” and “How This Night Is Different,” are accurate reflections of her ability as a writer to delve into the uncomfortable and come up with…insights. Her most recent book, “After Birth,” turns Albert's critical and insightful eye on new motherhood. Ari is a new mother living in a rundown town in upstate New York, struggling with the changes that come from her new place in life, metaphorically and literally. She meets Mina, former rock band artiste, and from there… >> Read More
I used to watch the entire Oscars ceremony religiously. I now watch for a half hour, because they have inconveniently timed it to coincide with Downton Abbey, and then go to bed, because I have five…kids/am pregnant with my sixth/am exhausted by my life. So it wasn’t until yesterday that I saw the amazing performance of "Glory," the winner of Best Song. >> Read More
I’m pregnant with kid number six--a girl, due in June.
If you think that being pregnant made people say weird things to you, I promise you that telling them that the fetus gestating inside you…will be your sixth child is a whole new ball o’ wax. >> Read More
Personally, I am so excited for Sunday night. Because DOWNTON ABBEY, YO! Contrary to what feels like the vast majority of America’s television viewers, I will not be watching the Super Bowl on…Sunday. I have never liked football and am blessed enough to have married a man who doesn’t particularly care for it either. But more than that, I believe strongly that the NFL--in this past year especially--exemplifies an ‘American way’ that personally, I’d prefer to see change. >> Read More
Around this time of year, I start seeing Christmas lights go up on neighbors’ houses; they’re beautiful, and I appreciate their sparkling beauty. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t say that…I also see things that make me see red, which we can file under the general heading of “Ways To Make Hanukkah More Like Christmas.” From pictures of “Hanukkah bushes” to gingerbread hanukkiyot to “Elf on a Shelf” knockoffs (ahem!), it seems like many people want Hanukkah to be more like Christmas. Not me. Why… >> Read More
I’ll admit it: I’ve had it with this “no screen time under 2” thing. I have always suspected that this “no television” thing is bogus—and at last, someone is saying so.
A guide…released last month by the nonprofit group Zero to Three called “Screen Sense: Setting the Record Straight" notes that “children should have lots of time for play in the real, 3-D world,” and parents should, “make screen use a shared experience.” In other words, the new group posits that maybe, just maybe, the whole “no screen… >> Read More
I remember my summer in Israel when I was 16 years old as being one of near-orgasmic bliss. I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, but I did have a lover. My lover was sleep. And he was hot.
Every…Friday afternoon, I would take the bus from the small town where I was living to my parents’ friends’ apartment in Tel Aviv. They were an American couple my grandparents’ age who were in Israel for the summer, long-standing family friends whom I loved as much as my grandparents. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual, because… >> Read More
Adam Mansbach is an author of contemporary literary fiction, including the books “Rage is Back” and “The End of the Jews.” However, he’s undoubtedly best known as the author of the…New York Times best-selling classic of subversive parenting, “Go the F**k to Sleep.” In that book, Mansbach articulated the deep, almost primal frustration of a parent whose kid just won’t go the…well, you get it. The book was an immediate sensation. His new book, “You Have to F*cking Eat,” taps into that same seemingly bottomless… >> Read More
“What are you reading?”
My 3-year-old had suddenly materialized next to the chair in my room. I was so immersed in my book that I hadn’t even heard her come in.
“A book,” I said,…smiling. “I love books,” she said. “What’s your book about?” “It’s about love,” I said, telling her the slimmest sliver of the truth. The truth is the book was “Paper Love,” by my friend and fellow Kveller writer Sarah Wildman. I highly recommend it--but the book is far from a typical love story. It is… >> Read More
I will never forget the first time my parents took me to Kol Nidrei services, and the congregation stood, as the night fell, to put on their tallitot (prayer shawls). After the blessing, those who…were standing like a forest of people all around me picked up their tallit and draped them over their shoulders. The movement of hundreds of people in silence all together was stunning. That silence was incredibly beautiful--and the wind that I felt from the lifting of the fabric felt to me, a small girl, like… >> Read More
About two weeks ago, I came back from a two-week family “vacation” in Europe. Our group was four adults (me, my husband, and my parents) and my five children--three of them aged 3 and under.…Nine suitcases, two of them duffel bags full of diapers, wipes, bottles, and baby food. And three strollers. It was wonderful. And I have only just now recovered from it. Have you ever fantasized about taking a big trip with your little ones? If so, read on for some unsolicited advice. >> Read More
I’m on my fifth kid, and I still don’t get it.
I have been the “Mommy” in “Mommy & Me” classes for years. Without exaggeration, years; I have gone through the Kubler-Ross cycle of…Mommy and Me classes. Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Give a little clap, clap, clap! Some classes are tedious from the adult side of things (please, God, not “Wheels on the Bus”), but once you get the hang of the mothering thing, you know how to pick classes at good places where the kids… >> Read More
Do we, as Jewish mothers, love our children “too much”?
Arguably, the fact that I react to that statement by saying, “There’s no such thing as too much!” says all you need to know. Of…course, I also feel that way about fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. The question is inherently posed by “The Jewish Daughter Diaries: True Stories of Being Loved Too Much By Our Moms,” edited by Rachel Ament. It’s a quick-read book of essays that vary widely in quality, but are all about the experience of being a… >> Read More
“Mom!” my son calls. He sees me coming over the hill. It’s clear he has been standing there since the last day of camp began, waiting to see me. It’s been a month: he’s taller. He…hugs me, tightly, and I feel his love in my ribcage. I feel my own love for him beating in my chest. We drive home in our comfortable, air-conditioned car. My son is exhausted, but talking a mile a minute in a voice made hoarse by weeks of nonstop chatter. He sprinkles Hebrew in his… >> Read More
Welcome to the Third Annual Jordana Horn Summer Reading List! This list is by no means conclusive, but it's a list of books I’ve read in the past six months that I thought were particularly…terrific. Please put your own ideas and suggestions for great reads in the comments, and friend me on GoodReads (I’m “Jordana Horn Gordon” there) so we can keep talking books, which I love passionately. Without further ado, here are some great reads that should sit on your shelf or device this summer, in no particular… >> Read More
People were murdered last week. And it was my fault.
Last Friday night, a mentally ill man stabbed his roommates and then, with a gun, proceeded to murder college women on the street.
And it was…my fault. >> Read More
Somewhere buried in my archive of VHS tapes is a video yearbook of my graduation class from college. I have never seen it, but have promised myself that I will watch it next year, at my (gulp) 20th…reunion. In it somewhere is a video interview with me at a black-tie formal, sitting on my then-boyfriend’s lap, holding a glass of champagne. “Where are you going to be in 20 years?” the videographer asked me. “Happy and editor of the New York Times,” I confidently replied. Well, at least I’m happy. And it… >> Read More
Five years ago on Mother’s Day, I didn’t know my husband yet. I knew my ex-husband, for sure. And I knew that I was living with my unbelievably kind parents--they took me in when I got divorced…when my boys were 3 and 2 years old, respectively. I knew I was one of the lucky ones: I had an emotional and economic safety net that kept me safe from the sharks of self-doubt, poverty and loneliness. And I knew I still felt lonely. I had so many people who loved me, yet,… >> Read More
He picked up my newborn daughter from her plastic hospital bassinet carefully, with nothing short of love.
“Did you know,” he told the nurse checking my vitals as he checked my baby, “that…I’m not only this little baby’s pediatrician, but was also her mother’s? And I was the obstetrician’s pediatrician too!” “That’s really something!” the nurse said, smiling. And it was. This anecdote sounds like I live in a one-horse town somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I don’t: I live in a pretty big suburb of… >> Read More