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Jul 29 2014

Mazel Tov! Bachelorette Andi Dorfman Picks Jewish(?) Athlete

By at 3:05 pm

andi-dorfman

The first headline I wrote for this post was “Bachelorette Andi Dorfman Chooses Handsome Dumb Jock–Again!” Will we girls ever learn?

Throughout this season of “The Bachelorette,” which ended Monday night, we watched ABC’s first-ever Jewess fall for former Wisconsin Brewers ball player Josh Murray as he pleaded earnestly, “Don’t stereotype me; I’m really not like that.”

Murray was out to prove that he is not a player like the other athletes Andi is used to dating–and he succeeded. Andi chose Josh over nice midwestern boy Nick Viall. I just rolled my eyes; we’ve all heard that one before, right? Read the rest of this entry →

A Kind Stranger Helped My Kids During a Tel Aviv Air Raid

By at 2:20 pm

shelter

My Israeli husband and I, along with our kids, made aliyah two months ago. Our new neighborhood, a sleepy suburb of Tel Aviv, has been disrupted several times a day by the sound of a long piercing siren. Our 3-year-old twins, born and raised in New York, refer to the sirens as “a big fire truck,” but this time was different.

I was caught outside alone with the twins and our 6-month-old baby on our way to the playground after school. We had stopped to feed the baby and they sat next to me on a city bench chatting away and undoing their sandals to busy themselves. Suddenly, my worst nightmare came true and the sirens started piercing.

I started visualizing horrors as I ran to the nearest building holding my baby, leaving everything behind including my purse and stroller. I called for the twins to come with me and walk up the stairs to a nearby apartment building, but they wouldn’t. Read the rest of this entry →

I Want to Stay Young Forever Like My Holocaust Survivor Grandmother

By at 12:01 pm

Diet-Coca-cola

I was the Peter Pan who was never going to grow up.

I drank regular Coke well into my 20s, loved roller coasters when everyone else my age turned green thinking about them, went back to camp as a grown up for five years, and preferred surprise birthday parties well past adolescence.

Then, somewhere along the way, I changed. Read the rest of this entry →

How Becoming a Mom Forced Me to Face My Fear of Snakes (And So Much More)

By at 10:49 am

garter-snake

Like a lot of primates, I really don’t like snakes. In Maine, we only have non-venomous, ecologically beneficial, pest-eating garter snakes and rat snakes, but the unexpected sight of one gliding eerily past my feet in the garden gives me major willies.

This wasn’t always true. I remember happily holding a little red-bellied snake that a preschool classmate brought in for show and tell. I was 3 or 4 years old. Shortly thereafter, I was playing outside when my Birkenstock-clad mother nearly stepped on a snake on the way to the mailbox. She reacted like many people would–an operatic shriek and a leap backwards. And from that moment on, I reacted the same way.

As outlined in this article from Parenting Science, some fears have to be taught. And some are learned very quickly, whether by baby humans or baby monkeys.  Read the rest of this entry →

Our Guinea Pig’s Jewish Funeral

By at 10:01 am

Guinea-Pig-Pic

When a Kveller reader recently sought advice on finding a Jewish ritual for mourning the passing of her cat, I wrote off the request as being outside of the boundaries of normative Jewish practice. Judaism’s elaborate and meaningful mourning rituals and practices are for people, not pets. I felt that saying kaddish or observing the yahrzeit of a pet, no matter how beloved, would somehow take away from the meaning and power of these customs and laws.

And then our beloved guinea pig Caramel died.

Caramel was no ordinary guinea pig. In addition to her rather impressive size and multiple chins, she was a fairly accommodating rodent who often kept my eldest son company during homework time and who enjoyed a good (supervised) romp on the front lawn (The smells! The tasty grass!). Caramel occupied a special place in our hearts (no offense to her cage mate, Cinnamon), and I knew that mourning her was going to be difficult.

We chose a sturdy shoe box for her coffin and my husband went outside to dig the requisite hole in the yard while the kids mourned over her furry, lifeless body. Not wanting me to close the lid, I explained to them that the coffin is closed during most Jewish funerals so that we can remember the person as they were when they were alive. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 28 2014

Seven Amusing Things That Happened During My Daughter’s Scary Hospital Stay

By at 4:15 pm

Baby-hospital

My 8-month-old daughter Billie was recently hospitalized for a UTI. It was scary, exhausting, and emotional. She refused to nurse for four excruciating days (don’t worry, I pumped). She was lethargic and had a high fever. But after four long days and nights at an amazing children’s hospital, I’m happy to report my little girlie is back home and 100 percent herself.

My dad (who was with us at the hospital frequently) always taught me to find the humor in life. After reflecting on our scary experience, I’d like to share the top seven things that amused me at the hospital:

1. In the playroom at the hospital there was an old-school Casio-type keyboard with very funny typos. “Fly Me to the Moom” and “Capton Races” were our faves. Read the rest of this entry →

SEE: Israeli Actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

By at 1:07 pm

Director Zack Snyder revealed the first photo of Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman via Twitter on Saturday. Gadot is most recognized for her role as “Giselle” in the last three “Fast & Furious” movies. Before becoming an actress and model, Gal was a sports trainer for the IDF.

In other words, she’s pretty badass.

But even more powerful than the image of Gadot as Wonder Woman is this Facebook post of the actress and her daughter lighting Shabbat candles accompanied by a prayer for the IDF and the people of Israel. Just breathtaking.

 

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Why Are There No Children’s Books About the Saddest Day of the Jewish Year?

By at 12:04 pm

book-store

It seemed like an easy enough question. What books could I use to teach my preschooler about Tisha B’Av? Since my son was born, children’s books had heralded every event of his life, big or small. We had Boynton for waking up and bedtime; “How Are You Peeling?” to discuss emotions, Berenstain Bears to assist with our move to a new city, and ­I had bought ­picture books for every Jewish holiday. But the first time I tried to explain why I wasn’t eating or drinking on a hot summer day, I didn’t have a book to help me.

The concept of fasting was relatively easy.

“Not eating is a way of remembering sad things that have happened,” I told my 3-year-­old. “When we don’t eat, our bodies feel bad, and that reminds us of feeling bad in our hearts. It’s also a way of talking to Go­d. It’s like we’re saying, ‘Go­d, help me. I feel so sad about what happened, I can’t even eat anything!’” I stopped and responded to simple questions about when I could eat again and whether I was allowed to drink water. But my son didn’t stop there. Read the rest of this entry →

How My Daughter’s Frustrating Nursing Habits Changed My Perspective

By at 11:01 am

breastfeeding-comfort

My 5-month-old daughter has recently decided that she’ll only nurse in bed. The big bed, the one that she shares with her father and me at night. If you’d asked me a few months ago whether it was possible for a 5-month-old to make such decisions, I would have laughed. A few weeks into motherhood, I was the type of mother who brashly vacuumed around my sleeping baby. I’d declare that a child with particular preferences probably had parents who overindulged her.

But then the 4-month-sleep regression hit; my pudgy girl, once a champion sleeper who could drift off to dreams anywhere, began to succumb to a peculiar, shallower sleep. She woke every 90 minutes at night. She stirred when the cat groomed himself across the room. Once we napped in the kitchen, on the sofa, in the bathroom in her Rock’n’Play. Now desperate for daytime sleep, I set her down in our darkened bedroom, pulling the black-out curtains shut.

She slept better during the day, and so slept better at night. And yet soon, despite improved sleep, she no longer wanted to nurse anywhere and everywhere, either. At 4.5 months old, she was now awake, aware of the wonders of the world around her. The pattern on the table cloth. The computer where mommy’s hands flew over the keyboard. The mug of coffee perched on the counter. The light outside our kitchen window. I’d started to put her in the cradle hold and she’d thrash around, hungering for the activity of the world around her instead. If I could get her to latch, she’d eat happily. But getting there was a struggle. Read the rest of this entry →

Making Aliyah in the Midst of a War

By at 10:02 am

EL-AL

I moved to Israel last week with four kids, ages 5 to 12, right before they stopped most flights to Israel.

Over the last month, while Israel had fallen on tumultuous times, I had been running my own Operation Protective Edge to keep my younger children in the dark about what was happening there.

Shielding them in the Cone of Silence had been easier because we had been driving cross-country from our former home in San Diego to New York over the last four weeks to get to our flight to Israel. We experienced glorious national parks in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, stood at the foothills of Mt. Rushmore, zoomed across the Badlands in South Dakota, and splashed on slides in the Wisconsin Dells, the water park capital of the world. Read the rest of this entry →

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