Molly Tolsky is the editor of Kveller. She holds an MFA in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her fiction has appeared in various literary magazines including Hayden's Ferry Review, Lumina, and The Collagist, and her non-fiction has appeared in Modern Loss, xoJane, and the Jewish Daily Forward. She lives in Brooklyn and is not a parent, but a very proud aunt.
It's hard to find the words to talk about Allison Goldstein. By all appearances, the 32-year-old was a typical new mother: balancing taking care of her newborn with her job as an elementary school…teacher, calling her sister every day to ask typical new mom questions, and seeming generally happy to her husband and supportive family. But one day this past June, after dropping her daughter off at daycare, Allison took her own life. What her family didn't know--and what she never told anyone until an email she sent before her… >> Read More
Now that summer is coming to a close and campers are returning from their "home away from home," I've been thinking about the kinds of life-shaping experiences that kids tend to have at Jewish…overnight camp. I left suburban Chicago for Camp Chi in Lake Delton, Wisconsin every summer for five years, from ages 12 to 16, and besides learning how to waterski and make stained glass mirrors (two skills I use all the time, let me tell you) there were more than a few moments that felt like significant steps on… >> Read More
Anyone who's scrolled through their Facebook feed during election season knows that the social media platform can get a bit divisive, to say the least. But every once in a while, a story comes along…to prove just how amazing Facebook can be when it comes to connecting people from disparate parts of the world for a greater good--in this case, to save the life of a child. In a story that had me crying on the subway this morning, the New York Times tells of Yehia, now 14 months old, who was… >> Read More
Whether you were cool enough to live in the city proper or are from the suburbs (but still tell people you're from Chicago), if you grew up Jewish in the Windy City, you'll probably relate to some…of the things below. 1. You're still mourning the passing of Best's Kosher Hot Dogs. Best's Kosher were, well, the best. The cries of thousands of Jews could be heard all across Chicagoland when Sara Lee bought out the company in 2009 and discontinued the brand. Sure, the non-kosher keepers among us still have Vienna… >> Read More
It's easy to feel jealous of celebrities and their impossibly polished looks on the red carpet--so when someone comes along to shatter the illusion, I'm all about it. The insanely talented and…hilarious Jewish actress Rachel Bloom, creator, writer, and star of the CW's musical comedy series "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," has done just that in a new episode of the sketch comedy show "Adam Ruins Everything." Bloom shows us what she really looks like when she wakes up (hint: she looks a lot like you. And me. And… >> Read More
Four years ago, 18-year-old Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman burst onto the Olympics scene in London, and into our hearts, with a floor routine set to "Hava Nagila." She took home gold medals for that…routine as well as one for the whole US women's gymnastic team--and a bronze medal on the balance beam to boot. Now at 22, the Needham, Massachusetts native is considered somewhat of an elder in the gymnastics world (oy) but her latest performance at the 2016 P&G Gymnastics Championships this past weekend proves that this girl… >> Read More
Need a refresher on that whole Passover story in time for this year's seder? The kindergarten students at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, MA have you covered in this crazy cute video…released just in time for the holiday. In the video, well-informed cuties talk us through how the Israelites became slaves and what it was like under Pharaoh's rule--"Work and work and work" and "Don't sleep at all" (hmmm.... sounds oddly similar to parenting). They go on to talk about Moses' trip down the river in a basket,… >> Read More
Pregnant and looking for that special celebrity touch? There's a new doula on the block, none other than former talk show host turned natural birth advocate, Ricki Lake.
Lake, who made her mark on…the natural birthing scene with her 2008 documentary "The Business of Being Born," announced on Instagram that she just became a DONA certified doula through Bini Birth, a California-based childbirth education center. Lake shared that this was something she had "wanted to complete for years." Finally finished something I've wanted to complete for years. I… >> Read More
Entering a marathon is a worthy goal for anyone, whether you're a highly trained athlete or a more casual runner. But running a marathon is nothing short of a miracle if, like Peri Finklestein, you…were told you'd never walk. Born with a form of muscular dystrophy, Peri was told at an early age that she'd never walk, and no amount of physical therapy could help her. But Peri and her family were determined to prove her doctors wrong, which is how Peri wound up at the 2016 Miami Half Marathon with… >> Read More
When you think of the Purim story, Queen Esther probably comes to mind as the leading lady (on account of the whole saving-the-Jews-from-total-persecution thing) but there was another powerful woman…who played an important role in the story: Queen Vashti. And she's the subject of this beautiful song, and equally beautiful animated video, by Kveller contributor Alicia Jo Rabin's band Girls in Trouble. In case you need a reminder, Vashti was married to King Ahashverosh of Persia when he decided to have a fancy feast for all… >> Read More
On the music industry's biggest night of the year, the biggest star on the planet brought some Israeli high couture to the main stage. Beyoncé, who graced the stage to present Record of the Year,…wore a wedding gown (!) designed by Inbal Dror, an Israeli-born designer of bridal and evening gowns based out of Tel Aviv. This comes on the heels of an announcement that Queen Bey is scheduled to perform in Israel for the first time this August, at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park (which yes, activists are already urging… >> Read More
So, I did not watch the Grammys last night (because I don't have cable and also because it makes me feel too old when I don't recognize 95% of the musical acts nominated). But thanks to the internet,…I did happen to catch one of the most touching moments from the broadcast, featuring the one and only Stevie Wonder. After performing a beautiful tribute to Maurice White--the late founder of Earth, Wind & Fire--Wonder went on to announce the winner of Song of the Year, joined by the band Pentatonix. First he taunted his… >> Read More
Well here's some news that's bound to get a big "like": Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have welcomed their first child, a daughter, into the world. Mazel tov!
Now,…every single new baby is a call for celebration and wonder, but there are a few key takeaways from this particular birth that are worth calling out: 1. They named their daughter Max. It's classic, easy to pronounce, yet totally unexpected. And I have a sneaking suspicion that classrooms will soon be filled with lots… >> Read More
One of the first live musicals I ever saw was "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in Chicago. In my memory, I am sitting very close to the stage, and I distinctly recall being mesmerized…by Donny Osmond's nipples while he crooned "Close Every Door to Me" behind bars. Soon after, the soundtrack became a well-worn, beloved CD in the Tolsky family household. My brother Max and I took it upon ourselves to learn every color of Joseph's coat in the order they were sung (sadly, I now only remember up to… >> Read More
The Jewish community has a lot to say about interfaith families--no doubt you've seen the surveys, statistics, and think pieces aplenty. But what often gets overlooked in these conversations are the…people themselves--you know, those living, breathing human beings trying to find the right balance for their family and where they fit within the larger Jewish community. These people exist, and too often, they are spurned. In a recent essay titled "Open Letter to Judaism" posted to Medium, Liz Polay-Wettengel chronicles the hardships she and her husband, "a kind mid-western man"… >> Read More
There's double the good news out of Silicon Valley today: Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, has announced she and her husband are expecting twins, due in December. Identical twin girls, no less!
The…40-year-old executive made big waves three years ago when she first took her position at Yahoo and revealed that she was pregnant with her first child (the company even knew about it before hiring her, which felt like a huge win for working women). But those waves soon turned a bit turbulent when she also announced… >> Read More
Rachel Bilson and husband Hayden Christensen had their first child last October, but we're only now getting the full scoop on how they chose their daughter's name, Briar Rose.
In a recent…interview to promote his new Lifetime movie, "90 Minutes in Heaven," Christensen explained that the name Briar Rose came from Disney's original "Sleeping Beauty" movie released in 1959 (which in turn got the name from The Brothers Grimm tale, "Little Briar Rose," but hey, who's counting?). READ: Check Out Kveller's Ultimate Jewish Baby Name Finder Christensen explained,… >> Read More
Etgar Keret’s fiction has long been celebrated for its winning combination of humor, magic, and downright strangeness. So it was a genuine surprise when the 47-year-old Israeli writer aimed his…quirky and cunning observations on real life for his latest book, a memoir titled, “The Seven Good Years.” Covering the—you guessed it—seven years between the birth of his son, now 9, and the death of his father, Keret touches on everything from terrorist attacks to playground showdowns to keeping a diverse family intact. He was… >> Read More
Hands down, my favorite part about being the editor of Kveller is working with our writers. There are those who have been writing for us ever since we were just a wee little newborn website, and new…names who come into my inbox every day with a fresh story to share and a voice that needs to be heard. My absolute favorite thing? When a regular reader of Kveller becomes a regular writer of Kveller (and it happens--a lot!). So it was my pleasure to speak with Susan Maccarelli of the podcast… >> Read More
What happens when you combine Independence Day with Shabbat? A red, white, and blue challah, of course! We stumbled upon this beauty from Instagram user jonnyumansky and couldn't help but…share. A photo posted by Jonny Umansky (@jonnyumansky) on Jul 4, 2014 at 1:28pm PDT We have no idea how he did it, but if any of you are savvy in the kitchen and ambitious enough to take it on, you better share your pictures with us! Happy 4th, and Shabbat shalom! >> Read More
I am most definitely what you might call an "indoor person." I'd take a book over a bike any day, and like I recently confessed right here on Kveller, I avoid exercise like the plague. But there is…one sport I absolutely love and that is basketball. As a kid who grew up in Chicago during the '90s when Michael Jordan and the Bulls reigned supreme, that shouldn't be a big surprise. I seriously watch the 1992 "Be Like Mike" commercial on a somewhat regular basis whenever I need just a little pick-me-up. But I've never… >> Read More
Five years ago today I started an internship at a yet-to-be-named Jewish parenting website. Mostly I took the gig because I was in grad school and it paid (and I did really like the vibe of the woman…who interviewed me). My first assignment was to write an article titled "How to Care for Your Newly Circumcised Baby" and I guess I thought it was going to be a very weird summer doing work I didn't care about for a website that couldn't possibly speak to me as a (mostly) non-religious (completely) non-parent.… >> Read More
I went to a Birkam yoga class once--you know, the kind of "hot yoga" that takes place in a 104 degree room with 40% humidity. It was part of the requirement for my college yoga course (yes, I went…to art school) and it was possibly the hardest physical experience of my life (because even though I'm the editor of Kveller, I've never given birth). I didn't drink nearly enough water beforehand or during the class, felt incredibly weak and light-headed pretty much immediately, and I spent the bulk of the hour quietly "sitting out" the… >> Read More
By now, you've probably heard of the Mensch on a Bench, the toy that was started as a Jewish response to the recent Christmas craze, Elf on a Shelf (earlier this month we gave one away). But…Mensch exposure is about to get even bigger--creator Neal Hoffman will be appearing with his product on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank" tonight as part of a special holiday episode. For those not in the know, Shark Tank is AMAZING. Entrepreneurs present their company/products to a panel of "Sharks"--millionaire and billionaire business mogels including Dallas Mavericks owner… >> Read More
What happens when you get together a 10-piece orchestra, over 50 talented dancers, and plop them into the heart of downtown Chicago to celebrate Hanukkah? You get the Hanukkah mash-up song…and dance extravaganza, of course. Elliot Dvorin and the Key Tov Orchestra cover all the bases in this one, from Adam Sandler's classic "Hanukkah Song" to the Spanish-language hip-shaker, "Ochos Kandelikas," and of course--much to Mayim Bialik's delight, we're sure--The Maccabeats. Check it out: >> Read More