Mayim Bialik blogs about parenting and Judaism on Kveller. She is best known for her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory, as well as her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom. She is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is the founder of GrokNation.
This article is part of our essay series, “Why Be Jewish?,” based off of “Why Be Jewish?”—a new book by the late Edgar M. Bronfman.
Why be Jewish? I don't know, honestly. It's the only…way I know to be. I was born to Jewish parents. I'm Jewish. At some point in history, I suppose some intermarriage happened between someone historically Jewish and someone not—hence my blue eyes and fair skin and formerly blond hair. But I don't think about that a lot. I have more in common with most… >> Read More
When planning a Passover menu, there are many things to consider, including:
1. How long until the main course? Because the first several sections of the seder before you even get to the meal are…so long, everyone is pretty much ravenous by the time you actually start to feed them. When planning what comes before the main course, you need to take into consideration the fact that people will have had karpas, which in my family is parsley. We also serve small potatoes during the karpas portion of the… >> Read More
Passover is a-comin’. This holiday is a little bit like the gigantic trip you know you are going to take, no matter how much you deny that it’s coming, and involves a lot of preparation and a bit…of dread, but you also can’t wait for it. For many, Passover is the most beloved holiday of the year. For many (women), it’s the least beloved holiday of the year. The preparations involve spring cleaning of a religious and, in many cases, compulsive order, abiding by the prohibition from the Torah to rid our… >> Read More
I’ve been on a journey towards more learning and deeper understanding of Judaism since college. I received a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies as part of this journey, I learned Hebrew, and I did…a lot of extra curricular activities, through UCLA Hillel in particular, and in the Jewish community in general during the years I wanted to immerse myself more in Jewish learning. I learned a few important things in this journey I’ve been on: 1. Ask questions. Never act like you understand something if you don’t, whether… >> Read More
I'm going to be super honest right now--sometimes it's hard to be happy for people when they have success you want for yourself. As an actor, I run into this all of the time. But here's the…thing about a real deeply connected friendship: you are so happy for the other person's success, even if you crave it for yourself. This is how it is with Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory" with me. She co-wrote and is starring in her very own movie called "The Bronze," and… >> Read More
One of the best things (in my opinion) about being Jewish is we don’t have all the answers. Like, ever. My rabbi, who taught the class in Jewish Studies at UCLA, once said, “Other religions stand…on the street corner and claim to have all the answers. Judaism stands on the street corner and says, ‘We’ve got questions!’” So when I learned about HODS.org (Halachic Organ Donor Society), I was astounded. HODS is an organ donor society organized and supported by Orthodox rabbis and Orthodox people. You see, I always thought Orthodox… >> Read More
My boys are 7 and 10, and so many of the troubles of being a mom of two young kids are finally over now, thank goodness! No more needing to find a potty in the middle of every major department store,…or having a constant barrage of Cheerio-type products underneath every carseat all the time. No more irrational (or so it seemed at the time) tantrums and very few meltdowns, because I won’t provide another lollipop or another toy after we have just consumed lollipops and bought many toys. But as they say, small kids small… >> Read More
Sigh. We try to do things differently. Branch out. Be brave. Be bold. Be open to change.
So when I took the Kveller “Which Celebrity Jewish Mother Are You?” quiz, I made a concerted decision…to choose what I really thought would be my answers, not just what I think Kveller thinks Mayim Bialik would answer. I didn’t choose that I’d like to cook a vegan meal with my kids, for example, opting instead to read books and take a walk with them, which is what I think I would… >> Read More
Remember Thanksgivukkah two years ago? When Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving? That was so awesome. But this year, it’s just Thanksgiving. And then we will have to wait a week and a half for…Hanukkah. Growing up in a traditional Jewish house, Thanksgiving didn’t have the “star status” that holidays in the Jewish calendar had. Rosh Hashanah was a big deal and a big meal, as was breaking the fast on Yom Kippur. Plus, those holiday meals were planned around a lot of rituals and synagogue-going. Tons of ritual… >> Read More
Contrary to my mother’s belief that I am the best actress and the most gorgeous person ever and everyone should want to hire me to play leading roles that have been previously given to the likes of…Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Jessica Alba, my door is not being broken down by every producer in Hollywood. I audition for parts, I bug my manager and agents as to why I’m not getting enough scripts to read or auditions to go on, and when I do go on auditions, I often find myself… >> Read More
I know the jokes. I see them posted on Facebook and Instagram and I even chuckle at them myself:
How do you tell if someone’s a vegan? Don’t worry; they’ll f*%!#ing tell you.
Or the one…about what would a vegan do if someone’s choking and dying? They’d tell you they’re vegan. Ha ha ha. I understand the jokes, but being vegan is no joking matter. I’m vegan for a lot of reasons. It started as a child and teenager when I felt guilty eating animals, because I liked animals and… >> Read More
October is a month of so many good things. The changing leaves of the east coast which I try to visit yearly, fighting with my kids over Halloween (they like trick-or-treating, I don’t). My first…son was born in October so this month is particularly significant for me. That being said, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My paternal grandmother had breast cancer (involving a radical mastectomy in the 1950s) so I grew up with a conscious but vague understanding of breast cancer. “Cancer” was a word to be said… >> Read More
How did it happen? How did he do it? How did we do it?
He's almost 10 now. He still has so many echoes of his tiny self. Those big eyes. The rosy cheeks. The sweet cuddles and the smile that melts…my heart. But now the eyes have a better-proportioned head around them. The rosy cheeks once porcelain and smooth now have freckles and even a well-earned scar or two. The cuddles are only in private. The smile is older, and it's wiser. READ: How My Toddler’s Tedious Bedtime Ritual is Actually a Lot Like Prayer It… >> Read More
I attended UCLA in the late 1990s. In those days, one of the quintessential UCLA experiences was walking down the main drag of campus called Bruin walk. Bruin walk was full of tables lining both…sides of the broad walkway, advertising social and religious clubs and organizations, fraternity and sorority recruitment opportunities, and a variety of community events on and off campus. Once a year, the Jewish Students Union group would set up shop at a table on Bruin walk and advertise for genetic screening. Sexy, huh? Yeah, I know.… >> Read More
Once upon a time, I was a pregnant mom with a toddler and a graduate degree to finish. I had made the decision to not pursue a post-doctoral appointment once I completed my degree since it would take…me away from my children. After my second son was born, I taught in our homeschool community, designing a neuroscience curriculum for middle and high schoolers and teaching piano as well. I did the things we do to pay the bills and put food on the table, and I also started seeing more and more… >> Read More
Disclaimer: There are NO spoilers about season 9 in this post at all. It's safe to proceed as long as you saw Season 8's season finale!
And it began with a bang.
It's been a long summer. My father…passed away in April, so I spent the summer sort of picking myself up off of the ground in many ways. I am reciting Kaddish as much as my schedule allows, and now that the summer is over and I am on a more regular schedule, I will get to go with more regularity. I spent… >> Read More
I am a LEGO person. My children's fantasy of putting my head on Darth Vader's body and also putting me in prison and also putting me on the toilet with my LEGO head on a chicken suit body is finally…a reality. The long awaited, fan-suggested LEGO set for "The Big Bang Theory" just came out this past weekend on August 1. Now you and your kids can experience the show firsthand, right down to the miniature version of Leonard and Sheldon's super nerdy living room--Chinese takeout included! (But, you know, maybe don't actually try to eat the Chinese… >> Read More
Note: This article is in response to the stabbings that took place at the Jerusalem annual gay pride parade on July 30, 2015.
It shouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen anywhere. But especially not…now, not here, not in Jerusalem. It shouldn't happen in the only country in the Middle East that hosts a public gay rights parade of this acceptance and magnitude. It shouldn't happen in a country where the Prime Minister himself supports the rights of gay people to march and to live and to be free.… >> Read More
I spoke last week in Aachen, Germany at the Rhine-Westphalia Institute of Technology. It was an incredible trip and it was my first time to that part of Europe.
There are a lot of complicated and…personal reasons why I had never been to any of these places, and visiting Aachen, which is on the Belgian/Netherlands border, seemed like a good way to break myself in to a part of the world I have never seen. It was lovely. The people were lovely. There was delicious food to eat on every… >> Read More
I started working on my first proper movie yesterday. Granted, it's a small movie, but it is a movie. I can't say more about it yet, but I will say this: It's not a major blockbuster (sorry,…Russell Crowe and Shia LeBouef, I'm busy, you'll have to wait until I'm done with this one), but it is very sweet and it also stars Ryan McPartlin (from among other things, "Chuck.") Before I started the movie yesterday, I made sure to wake up very early to go recite Kaddish for my father in the morning minyan, a… >> Read More
I went to see “Inside Out” on Father’s Day with my boys and their father and my mom. I can usually tell if I am going to like a movie by how the preview makes me feel. When I saw the preview…for this movie, I got all emotional and started to cry. I knew we had to see it. “Inside Out” takes us on a journey inside the brain of an athletic and smart 11-year-old girl as her family moves from idyllic Minnesota to bustling San Francisco. The characters in her brain are responsible for managing… >> Read More
My father died three months ago, and I have been reciting the prayer of mourning (Mourner’s Kaddish) for him since then, as I wrote about here .
I travel a lot for speaking engagements and have…made it my business to find minyans everywhere I go; a minyan being a gathering of 10 people, which facilitates the recitation by a mourner of the Mourner’s Kaddish. I have recited Kaddish all over the country: in Manhattan and Queens; in Florida; in Savannah; and even in a hotel meeting room in South Carolina.… >> Read More
I couldn’t help it. I had to see “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Why? Well, a few reasons.
ACTION: I love action movies. I have no problem with adults watching movies with tons of car crashes, guns,…and testosterone-fueled grunting. I am OK with little plot, really. ANTI-FEMINISTS: I couldn’t stay away from the faux controversy, whereby I heard that “men’s groups” were protesting a female heroine, a plot about rescuing abused and raped women, and the film having a female editor (as if that means she has a “feminist” agenda just because she… >> Read More
My father (z"l) died six weeks ago or so.
As I wrote in my post about shloshim, the ritual of reciting Kaddish has been a learning experience for me, since I never went to synagogue daily and…didn't know a lot at all about what goes on in a synagogue except if it's Shabbat or a holiday. For me, learning new things during grief feels like something that is happening in my father's honor, despite the fact that he was not a religious man, and likely would not have thought I would… >> Read More
For months after my sons were born, I was told by doctors, nurses, well-meaning family members, and even close friends that I must not have been made to nurse. I spent the first months (not…weeks--months) of breastfeeding crying, despondent, and in pain. I had every problem known to breastfeeding women and the lactation community: nursing blisters, thrush, mastitis, overactive letdown; you name it, I had it. I sought the help and guidance of many lactation counselors and consultants with my firstborn and I tried to manage it all on… >> Read More