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Apr 18 2014

Check Out This Brilliant YouTube Video Scripted Entirely by Kids

By at 2:37 pm

If kids could write screenplays, what would they be like?

Here is a YouTube series which explores that very important existential question. In this brilliant short, “Salesman,” two kids script the scene and adults act it out. The results are hilarious.

Check it out the rest of the videos and then try it with your own kids!

 

Don’t Believe What You Read About Those Anti-Semitic Fliers In Ukraine

By at 12:18 pm

antisemitic-fliers

Because I work in the media, I never believe a word anyone says or writes. (I know full well there is no such thing as an unbiased journalist, or an editor without an agenda.) Because I was born in Ukraine (then a part of the Soviet Union), I most especially never believe a word anyone says or writes coming out of that particular region of the world.

That’s why, when friends began emailing me the USA Today article, soon backed up (or maybe merely copy and pasted) by other outlets, that claimed Jews in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk “emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” I refused to leap immediately into panic mode.

Within hours, another source, in The New Republicclaimed that while the leaflets may have been real, they were not issued by the local government, but by their opponents in order to deliberately smear the pro-Russian side of the Crimea conflict. Read the rest of this entry →

My Conversion Prayers Were Answered Through An Orthodox A Cappella Group

By at 10:16 am

concert-Kol-Shira

I love music. I’ve been singing all my life. I belted out an elaborate rendition of “Old Macdonald” in my yellow bathing suit for the cable guy when I was 3 and sang on stage throughout adolescence and college. So much of my life has been set to music; every year a different show, a different song. It is how I built an inner confidence and poise. I have always felt that my voice was one of the things that brought me closest to God. A gift I was blessed with and never took for granted.

But marriage and careers and babies and more babies made it very hard to fit singing into my life.

I remember the first time I set foot in a temple for services. While it was a Reform congregation, the service and songs were primarily in Hebrew. Everything felt foreign to me. I knew that Judaism was calling to me but in that moment I couldn’t hear it. I felt lost, confused and disconnected. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 17 2014

Breaking News: Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!

By at 5:08 pm

chelsea

We are thrilled to announce that Chelsea Clinton and her husband are expecting a child later this year. Kveller has been following the former first-daughter’s baby timeline every since she married Marc Mezvinsky in 2010, and declared her desire to create a little Jewish baby with him this past fall.

Chelsea was co-hosting a Clinton Foundation event about female leadership with mom Hillary when she made the announcement:

“I just want to thank all of you for being such an inspiration to us and to me in particular. Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year.”

“And I certainly feel all the better, whether it’s a girl or a boy, that she or he will grow up in a world with so many strong, young female leaders,” she said.

Mazel Tov, Chelsea and Marc!

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The Perfect Way My Daughter Described Her Friend Who Uses a Wheelchair

By at 3:26 pm

wheelchair

This year, at our first night’s seder, my 11-year-old daughter declared her desire to find the afikomen. You see, she informed me, this would be her only chance.

Puzzled, I asked why. After all, we were heading to a friend’s home for the second night, and there would most certainly be an afikomen hunt there, as well.

(Back story: The friends we celebrate Passover with have one son, Josh, who has Cerebral Palsy. I have written about him and my children’s relationship with him before. Our families have been celebrating second seder together for the past few years.) Read the rest of this entry →

“Number the Stars” Does More Harm Than Good When it Comes to Holocaust Education

By at 12:06 pm

number-the-stars

Shortly after our discussions on Kveller about the appropriateness of the Purim story for preschoolers, my 4th grader needed to read “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry (whom I will always adore due to the “Anastasia Krupnik” series).

I knew it was a book about the Holocaust, and I decided to read it first, so that I could be prepared for any questions he might have. (I’d initially confused it with another title, which follows the main character and her family all the way to Auschwitz.)

What I found in “Number the Stars,” however, was a book about the Holocaust… kind of. Read the rest of this entry →

Thanks to Passover, My Daughter is Terrified of Dying

By at 10:02 am

cat-and-girl

It all started on Purim in my daughter’s nursery school in Jerusalem. Her teacher went into a considerable amount of detail regarding the hanging of Haman and his ten sons and the murder of Queen Vashti when she refused to appear naked (“in just her crown”) in front of the Royal Court. I assumed that Raphaela had no real understanding of the finality of death, at the age of 4.5.

It continued with Passover, with the teacher’s in depth explanations of the 10 Plagues, with a liberal use of the words “death,” “died,” and “killed.” In this black and white view of the Universe, my daughter was taught that the plagues affected only the Egyptians and their property, because they had enslaved and abused the Jewish people.  Pharaoh and the Egyptians deserved their fate, because they were wicked and the Jews were good.

Raphaela came home with two drawings, and described the scenes set out in both: Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 14 2014

What’s Your Exodus: Breaking Free from Endless Doubting & Diapers

By at 1:37 pm

As Passover approaches, we asked our readers and writers: What do you need an exodus from? Here’s the next installment in our “What’s Your Exodus?” series. 

Adina Kay-Gross:

Adina Kay-Gross "WHat's Your Exodus?"

This Passover, I’d like to break free of diapers. My kids turn three in a week, and I think that’s a respectable time to make an exodus from the land of the poop sacks, and toward freedom and what will likely be months of accidents. Either way, let my children potty train! Next year in underwear! Amen.

Carla Naumburg:

Carla Naumburg "What's Your Exodus?"

Kindergarten. I can’t believe I used the word “kindergarten.” Ugh. Everyone else said “Gan Nitzan,” but I had to go and say “kindergarten.” They must think I’m an idiot. I’m never going to fit in here.

That’s what was going through my mind several minutes into introductions at the New Parent Orientation at the Jewish Day School my daughter will be attending next fall. There’s no question in my mind that no one else even noticed that I said kindergarten, or if they did, they didn’t think twice about it. (Or, if they did think twice about it, they’re probably just as crazy as I am, and we should hang out more.) Read the rest of this entry →

Exodus From Our Dream Home to Our Homeland

By at 12:52 pm

dream-home

My dream house just went on the market. It has chocolaty hardwood floors, quaint beaded board in the dining room, an oversized family room and even a custom kosher kitchen that looks like it just popped out of Pinterest. It’s located in a vibrant Jewish community in an idyllic seaside southern California town where it’s a short walk to sweeping ocean views. Perfection.

The thing is: My husband and I are the ones selling it. In July, we are undertaking our own personal exodus and realizing our dream of making aliyah (moving to Israel). And while we are lucky to have a lovely place waiting for us in Israel, I can tell you that it won’t have the pottery-barn-perfectness of my American one.

We have been blessed in this house. We have listened to and laughed with numerous friends and even strangers at our dining room Shabbat table. Our yard has been the backdrop for back-to-school brunches welcoming new families to our day school and it’s where we’ve fed hordes of kids butterfly cupcakes after they moon-bounced and piñata-ed at our daughters’ birthday parties. I can still hear the singing of the hundred-plus guests who helped welcome our youngest son home from the hospital for his shalom zachor. We have even had the privilege of hosting the wedding of dear friends, the chuppah gracing our grass as they began a new life together in our yard.  Read the rest of this entry →

“Frogs in the Bed” Passover Coloring Page

By at 12:07 pm

Need to keep little hands occupied while you cook and prepare for the seder? Print out this adorable Passover coloring page from Jewish children’s book author Ann Koffsky. This picture is excerpted from her book, Frogs in the Bed: My Passover Seder Activity Book. More free Passover pages are available on Ann’s blog.

Passover coloring page Ann Kofsky

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