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Oct 22 2014

The Surprising Benefit of Watching “The Goldbergs” with My Son

By at 11:01 am

How “The Goldbergs” is Helping Us Raise Our Son

Recently, my family’s been taken with the new sitcom “The Goldbergs.” It’s an adorable show about a boy (Adam Goldberg) growing up in a (I’m assuming Jewish) family in Philadelphia in the 1980s. It’s got an overbearing, loving mother, a father who just wants to be left alone to nap in his recliner after work, and two older siblings who take turns teasing and embarrassing Adam in the ways that only older siblings can. Throw in 80s pop culture (“Star Wars,”“The Goonies,”“Ghostbusters,” mixtapes, and laser light shows) and hilarity ensues.

The series is based on the creator, Adam Goldberg’s, life. As a child, the real Adam Goldberg had a video camera and recorded everything that went on in his household. At the end of every episode, viewers are treated to a snippet of that footage that relates to the story we just watched.

After watching the first season, my husband and I decided that our 10-year-old son might enjoy it too. Some of his favorite movies have been featured in episodes. I had fond memories of watching sitcoms with my parents at his age and hoped this would be a show we could watch together as a family. I didn’t realize it would end up being a favorite show of his, and a means of therapy at the same time. Read the rest of this entry →

My Daughter’s Very Wrong—But Very Right—Idea of What Makes Her Jewish

By at 9:38 am

My Daughter’s Very Wrong—But Very Right—Idea of What Makes Us Jewish

My daughter started Hebrew School last week. She’s in kindergarten and will be learning the Jewish fundamentals—holidays, traditions, lifecycle events—all the good stuff. For me this is a huge deal—HUGE!—because I’m a Jewish educator. And now my daughter is old enough to finally be in Hebrew School, in a grade that I used to teach! It’s very surreal.

Just before the first day of school, we got an email from her teacher with that week’s essential question which would comprise the core of the curriculum. The teacher asked us to talk about the question with our children to help prepare them for the conversation in the classroom. The question was: What do I do that makes me Jewish?

It’s a perfect point to start a Jewish education. The idea of identifying what we already do that makes us Jewish is spot-on for introducing 5-year-olds to Jewish concepts and ideas. As an educator, I loved it. I was curious to see where my daughter would define her Judaism—would she talk about Shabbat time, our Friday night ritual? Or maybe how we go to Tot Shabbat regularly? Or even how Mommy runs programs for children at a synagogue, or how her preschool was part of our synagogue? Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 21 2014

My Husband Left Orthodoxy, but I Didn’t Leave Him

By at 3:41 pm

My Husband Left Orthodoxy, But I Didn’t Leave Him

“It’s not going to work.”

In a quest to find himself, my husband of many years had left the path of Torah. I am an ultra-Orthodox woman, and when I married my husband, he was also ultra-Orthodox. My dream was to raise my family in the ways of Torah and mitzvot. So when my husband stopped practicing our religious customs, I was at a loss.

“How am I going to continue to raise my children in the ways of Torah while still staying married to my husband whom I love?” I asked a good friend, searching for support in navigating a world of a mixed marriage. Read the rest of this entry →

Too Superstitious for a Baby Shower? Try a Gender Reveal Party

By at 1:36 pm

gender reveal party

My husband, Jeff, and I were three years into our marriage when we got the exciting news of a baby on the way. As an expectant Jewish mother, I knew that I would not have a baby shower due to tradition. But as an expectant Jewish mother excited to celebrate my pregnancy, I was inspired to take part in a different type of tradition–a gender reveal party.

I enjoy a bit of mystery, but Jeff’s not big on surprises. It worked out well in this case, because it made it easy to hatch a plan for the party. Jeff got the news from our doctor while I happily stayed in the dark, ready to share in the surprise along with our family and friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Four Years After Adoption, My Son is a Bar Mitzvah

By at 11:54 am

adopted son's bar mitzvah

My son’s bar mitzvah was three years in the making–ever since he told me his “good news”: that he “wanted to be Jewish.” This was only about nine months after I adopted him and his older brother from Brazil, as they were turning 9 and 12 years old. Though he had barely mastered the English language, my son Davi was anxious to start learning yet another language… and Hebrew, no less.

To change over from their previous beliefs in and practices of the Christian faith in favor of becoming Jewish was not an expectation I had for either of my sons. I wanted their religion to be their decision–more important to me was that my sons be spiritually connected, and live a just and moral life. Davi’s decision took me completely by surprise. There were no real clues about his thinking beforehand, yet once he started out, he never looked back. Read the rest of this entry →

The Strange but Effective Way I Conquer My Toddler’s Tantrums

By at 11:00 am

The Strange but Effective Way I Conquer My Toddler’s Tantrums

As the mother of a 2.5-year-old, I’m no stranger to tantrums. Like many children his age, my son has the ability to go from calm and content to unsettled and outraged within a matter of seconds. Sometimes all it takes is a simple “no” to set him off; other times, he’ll start throwing a fit in response to tripping, falling down, or dropping one of his toys accidentally.

For the past few months I’ve tried responding to his tantrums both by reprimanding him for acting out and soothingly trying to talk him down, but neither tactic has worked particularly well. So recently, I’ve been trying something new: responding to tantrums with silliness.

When my son starts getting out of hand, I’ll respond by dancing around like a lunatic, making funny faces, or taking his toys or books and trying to balance them on my head (yes, I know that last one is particularly weird, but it’s funnyto himand it helps snap him out of his screaming spirals). Combating those inevitable tantrums with silly behavior has been my most effective tactic to date. Acting nutty somehow disarms him in a way that talking soothingly does not. Or, maybe it just serves as a better distraction. No matter the logic behind it, I’m on board as long as it continues to work. Read the rest of this entry →

That Time I Promised My Husband We’d Get a Dog (But Didn’t Want One)

By at 9:38 am

That Time I Promised My Husband We’d Get a Dog

When my husband and I got married, there were a few items that we joked “were in the ketubah.” These were the non-negotiablesthe issues we had discussed before agreeing to spend our lives together. For me, it was keeping a kosher home and sending our (then non-existent) kids to a Jewish day school. For my husband, it was getting a dog.

Yes, I promised that one day we would get a dog. Even though I am scared of dogs. Terrified. Can’t stand when they lick me. Scream when they run towards me. Petrified when they jump on me. Yes, I replied to my beloved, for you, I will get a dog.

Though we wed more than 11 years ago, I have been able to successfully delay the puppy piece. First I argued, “Not while we’re in a city apartment.” So the minute we closed on our house seven years ago my husband asked, “Should we go straight to the rescue shelter?” Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 20 2014

Why I Talked to My Preschooler About Sexual Abuse

By at 3:59 pm

why i talked to my preschool son about abuse

My middle son told me something the other night that made my stomach twist into a painful knot. He told me that his preschool teacher wasn’t very nice to him, but he hadn’t told me about it before because he knew that I liked her.

This may seem like a little thing. But, it isn’t to me. Until that moment I had been sure that my kids trusted me enough to tell me about the things that are important to them, the things that they are worried about. The fact that he’d gone a whole year holding back his feelings really frightened me.

I asked him a million questions after that. What had she done to make him not like her? Did she mistreat him in any way? Make him feel uncomfortable? Unimportant?    Read the rest of this entry →

Does Amazon Have a Nazi Problem?

By at 2:19 pm

does amazon have a nazi problem?

Last week, Kveller broke the story that a “punk rock” swastika ring was for sale on both Amazon and Sears’ websites. People were, understandably, outraged, and the story soon went viral, prompting even Carson Daley to talk about it on the “Today” show.

After getting flooded with angry comments on social media, Sears clarified that the item was posted by a third party in their free marketplace, and quickly took the item down, releasing this apology on their website. Amazon also quietly removed the ring from their website.

But wait, there’s more.

A concerned reader pointed us to several other Nazi-affiliated products currently for sale on Amazon, including: Read the rest of this entry →

Kveller is Hiring an Editorial Assistant

By at 12:18 pm

kveller.com hiring an editorial assistant

Kveller.com is seeking a full-time editorial assistant to join our staff. We’re a Jewish parenting website for smart, savvy moms, but you don’t need to be a mom to work here. You also don’t need to be Jewish, though some familiarity with Jewish culture and traditions helps. What we’re really looking for is someone with excellent editing and writing skills, strong attention to detail, and the ability to stay on top of a variety of tasks. We are also looking for someone who is social media savvy and can keep a finger on the pulse of parenting trends and Jewish news, with a sense of humor and love of all things internet-y (and who can come up with a better word than internet-y). Read the rest of this entry →

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