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Oct 31 2014

Sarah Wildman’s “Paper Love” is a Love Story That Will Haunt You

By at 9:58 am

"paper love" by sarah wildman

“What are you reading?”

My 3-year-old had suddenly materialized next to the chair in my room. I was so immersed in my book that I hadn’t even heard her come in.

“A book,” I said, smiling.

“I love books,” she said. “What’s your book about?”

“It’s about love,” I said, telling her the slimmest sliver of the truth.

The truth is the book was “Paper Love,” by my friend and fellow Kveller writer Sarah Wildman. I highly recommend it–but the book is far from a typical love story. It is the true, well-researched story of Sarah’s exploration into her deceased grandfather’s romantic history, and the correspondence from the lover he left behind in Holocaust-era Europe, while he went on to America. He lived through the war. And she did not. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 30 2014

Why I Didn’t Marry Gary Shteyngart

By at 4:45 pm
why i didn't marry gary shteyngart

The author and her not-husband.


Well, for one thing, I don’t know him.

But, from now on, whenever anyone asks me yet again why I married my African-American husband instead of a fellow Soviet-born Jew, I will hand them Shteyngart’s recently released memoir, “Little Failure.” For in it, he has done a pitch-perfect job of putting on display everything I absolutely, positively cannot stand in a man.

To whit, the following are things that, in the history of humanity, have only ever happened to Gary Shteyngart, and then solely for the purpose of vexing him:

1. Russia is cold

2. Asthma

3. Attending Jewish Day School on financial aid Read the rest of this entry →

Jewish Lifecycle Events–Now in Animation!

By at 2:33 pm

g-dcast videos

Looking for a way to learn more about Jewish customs, but tired of reading all those… words? Our friends at G-dcast have just released a new series of animated videos all about various Jewish lifecycle events, so you can sit back, press play, and learn something new.

Three of the videos may be particularly pertinent to Kveller readers, as they’re all about–you guessed it–babies. Below, check out videos about Jewish naming practices, a traditional bris, and baby naming ceremonies for newborn girls. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry →

Why I Love Being Part of a Jewish Burial Society

By at 12:55 pm

After Work, I Purify Women’s Bodies for Burial

I have a secret identity. It doesn’t involve superhero capes or special powers. There’s no quick change in a telephone booth, but nonetheless I walk a little taller every time I complete this act. It isn’t for the weak of heart or faith. My secret identity is being a part of the chevra kadisha (“burial society,” or a group of committed Jews who prepare a body for burial) as we perform tahara (purification). I became involved with the chevra kadisha before I had children, when a shul member, who knew that I was a nurse and therefore experienced with death, approached me about joining.

In the dark of night, or light of day, I go with friends from shul to a funeral home, where a body awaits us and where we are charged with cleaning, preparing, and dressing a newly deceased woman in the Jewish traditional methods. Read the rest of this entry →

The Jewish Case of Halloween Envy

By at 9:47 am

halloween envy

Christmas envy has been well documented. There are many Jews who are less than subtle about their yuletide longings: the lights are shimmery and sparkly, that tree smells fantastic, the music is just so very merry, and who doesn’t want an eggnog latte? Many of us have made our peace with the little bits of the all-encompassing Christmas barrage that we have come to love–I myself feel like I can have my Bing Crosby and eat it, too. But this time of year there’s another sort of envy happening in Jewish necks of the woods: Halloween envy, or as I like to call it, Halloweenvy.

Unlike Christmas, Halloween isn’t technically a Christian holiday, and therefore, it’s harder to avoid. Of course, many Jews, or probably most Jews, celebrate Halloween. There are, however, Jews who believe that Halloween is an idolatrous, pagan holiday, and that as such, celebrating it is not only not our custom, but it’s actually against Jewish law. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2014

Free Stuff Alert: Win a Copy of “Parenting in the Present Moment” by Carla Naumburg

By at 4:06 pm

Parenting in the Present Moment by Carla Naumburg

What can we say about our contributing editor Carla Naumburg? She can write about her Jewish identity just as eloquently as she can write about poop (and that is a seriously high compliment).

So when word came out that she was working on a parenting book, we knew this was going to be the real deal. Just released from Parallax Press, “Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters” is a must-read for anyone feeling overwhelmed with this whole parenting thing (yes, that would be you). Framed around the concept of mindful parenting, Carla uses anecdotes from her own chaotic life to show that it is possible to take a breath, slow down, and connect with your children in more meaningful ways.

We are very excited to give away a copy of Carla’s book to three lucky winners. To enter, fill out the form below by next Wednesday, November 5th. Good luck, and congratulations, Carla! Read the rest of this entry →

Five Tips to Help Kids with Allergies Celebrate Halloween

By at 3:34 pm

halloween with food allergies

Halloween can be a tough time for kids with allergies… and parents of kids with allergies. My son has a severe peanut allergy, an allergy to eggs, and one to sesame. The very idea of sending him out to collect candy that has peanut butter and peanuts is terrifying.

For years, we managed to put it off by having him give out non-allergen candy instead at my parents’ house. He still got to dress up, show off his costume to his grandparents, see a few friends who would come by, maybe go to a Halloween parade, and be none the wiser.

When he was 4, he figured it out. If his friends could go to all of these houses and get candy, he could probably do that, too. We made it clear to him that we would be going through his bag and his younger sister’s bag to take out any candy he couldn’t eat. He completely understood, and we just went around the block, which also tamped down the amount of candy we’d have to sort through. Read the rest of this entry →

Attention, Parents! RSVPs Are Not Optional

By at 2:00 pm

attention parents: rsvps are not optional

For my son’s 10th birthday we decided to go all out. We arranged a private showing at the planetarium. We rented a nearby community building for cake and festivities afterwards. The theater holds 60 people, so we decided to invite his entire class along with our family and friends.

The graphic designer in my office went to town designing a beautiful invitation based on the show “Cosmos,” since that’s what our son Joey enjoys watching. I had them printed and wrote each of the 24 kids’ names in his class on envelopes for Joey to pass out.

I expected that we wouldn’t get a full response. I’ve been a mom for 10 years and I’m used to the lack of RSVPing…but I wasn’t prepared for how bad it would actually be. I got four RSVPs. FOUR! Three of them were from the moms who I know personally in the class. Read the rest of this entry →

I Didn’t Want to Spoil My Kids, So I Gave Them All Credit Cards

By at 11:46 am


I refused to raise spoiled, entitled kids.

So for their 15th birthdays, I gave each of them a credit card.

They got to charge their expenses, and I paid for it.

I am a careful shopper and look for quality at an off price. I was a Loehmann’s shopper, Filene’s shopper (may they rest in peace) and now I primarily shop in department stores or online when there are sales, clutching my additional discount coupons in my sweaty little hands. Read the rest of this entry →

Hey Kids, You Have a Choice–Grumpy Mama or Fun Mama?

By at 10:14 am

photo (11)

“Mama, we’re booorrrrrrred,” the kids whined while I was under the covers, one eye open.

“You have a choice: Grumpy Mama can wake up now, or Fun Mama can wake up later.”

The two deliberated for a minute, and my daughter whispered something in her brother’s ear.

“Fine. Fun Mama, later.” Read the rest of this entry →


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