Kerry Newman is a Sr. Writer and Gift Officer at a Jewish nonprofit organization. She has worked in the Jewish Communal field for more than twelve years, previously as a Hillel professional. She is the mom of two very active young boys, who she is raising with her husband in Forest Hills, NY.
Up until last year, my family always celebrated Rosh Hashanah at home. We would attend a local synagogue and then enjoy large, festive meals with friends and family. Last year, we decided to try…something different and instead spent the holiday at Isabella Freedman, a Jewish retreat center located a couple of hours from our urban apartment in New York. Though we returned bug-bitten and allergy-ridden with a suitcase full of very dirty laundry, we can’t wait to get back there this Rosh Hashanah, because we also returned spiritually… >> Read More
This week marks the playoffs for my son’s Little League team, which means that win or lose, his baseball season will soon come to an end. While some might think I would be eagerly looking forward…to reclaiming hours of my weekend that are now spent on dirty, windy fields, and no longer having to plan my laundry schedule around the seemingly endless need for a clean uniform, I am actually sad that the season is coming to a close. Growing up, I never participated in team sports. My elementary school… >> Read More
This is part of a two post series. Read the first part, "When Your Sister Keeps Having Kids...And You Can't" here.
Last night I posted a status message on Facebook about which I have long…daydreamed--an announcement that my sister is pregnant and that God willing, within the next eight weeks, I will become an aunt. This announcement was nine years in the making. Nine years of watching my older sister and brother-in-law struggle with infertility, face unimaginable tragedies, and yet somehow inspiringly pick themselves up again and again to… >> Read More
Nearly two weeks ago, I received a phone call from my son’s kindergarten teacher that has stayed with me. My first thought upon seeing the school’s number on caller ID was “Uh-oh, who…did what now?” Though I am generally a positive person and I have been blessed with children who, for the most part, seem to thrive in school, for some reason, a call from that number always makes me think the worst. Even after the teacher reassured me that, “Everything is OK,” I still found myself… >> Read More
Today marks a milestone in my oldest son's life: his first "big" camp trip--a day at Sesame Place, followed by a sleepover at our local Y/JCC. My son could not be more excited. He has been talking…about this day since June. This morning, as he confidently swung his sleeping bag over his shoulder and headed for the door, he told me that he has been waiting for this day "forever." Time is a funny thing in a child's eyes. I am guessing that this same child does not remember that last… >> Read More
Last month I had one of those “I have no idea what to expect because I went to public school” moments. The occasion was my son’s “siddur play”--an apparent rite of passage for every first…grade child in Jewish day school. For the weeks leading up to the big event, my son had been practicing his line for the play and belting out songs in the bathtub. He excitedly talked about stage presence (“we have to say our line very loud”) and choreography (“this is the part when we all… >> Read More
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This past Shabbat we read Parashat Vayigash. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
As the mother of two boys, and someone…who grew up with only a sister, I have recently taken an interest in stories of brothers. I wonder about the special bond that some brothers share and what I might be able to do as a mother to nurture such a bond between my two boys. In looking to stories as role models, at… >> Read More
Over the past several weeks, my inbox and newsfeed have been filled with various reminders that we are approaching a once-in-70,000-years event: the overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah,…endearingly named Thanksgivukkah. While I am very much looking forward to cranberry-sauce-stuffed latkes and turkey menorahs, I am having misgivings about another far less public overlap that will be happening in my home this year; that of Hanukkah and my son’s birthday. I am excited to celebrate both of these happy occasions, but am a… >> Read More
I have always loved the idea that on Yom Kippur, we become like angels. Maybe because it appeals to the optimist in me--rather than thinking about how hard the day is because we can’t eat, I…prefer to think about how beautiful it is that on this day we ascend to the spiritual levels of angels who do not need to sustain themselves with food and drink. On this one day of the year, we dress in white and remove the trappings of physicality to focus on our inner essence. Yet… >> Read More
Later this week, both of my children will begin a new school year at a local Jewish Day School.
At the moment, we are in the whirlwind of the preschool year excitement--picking out new backpacks and…shoes, finding out class assignments, and registering for after-school clubs. These are all activities that I recall with fondness from my childhood (who else remembers how exciting it was to get that new Cabbage Patch Kids plastic lunchbox and matching thermos--do they even make those anymore?). >> Read More
The first time that my son told me he hated Shabbat, I wanted to cry. He was 4 years old. We were spending a lovely Shabbat afternoon at our neighborhood park when our peace was shattered by the…ringing bells of the ice-cream truck. My son reflexively joined the children around him on an eager dash to the park gate. I gently pulled him back and reminded him that it was Shabbat and that means that just like we rest, our money rests, so we would not be buying ice cream that day.… >> Read More
When I was in my mid-20s, a friend of my parents commented that I was "the kind of person who life just works out for." And he was right--I had a supportive family, many close friends, and a deeply…fulfilling job. I had recently married the man whom I had loved since high school, and received a full scholarship for graduate school. I was a very blessed young woman. And so, several years later, when my husband and I set out to start building our family, I--perhaps a bit brazenly--assumed that life would continue… >> Read More