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Dec 16 2014

How My Hanukkah Card Helped Me Publicly Acknowledge My Divorce

By at 9:30 am

How My Hanukkah Card Helped Me Publicly Acknowledge My Divorce

This year marks my first Hanukkah post-divorce and I’ve been thinking about how to spiritually acknowledge it. My ex-husband is a non-practicing Catholic and therefore I cannot get a get (Jewish bill of divorce) since we did not have a Jewish wedding. Our two children are Jewish, have become bar and bat mitzvah and are engaged in Jewish life and practice through our synagogue, Jewish camp, and a large circle of Jewish friends and family.  Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 15 2014

Jewish Grandma Creates #GiveGeltForGood to Redefine Hanukkah for Her Grandchildren

By at 3:00 pm

Jewish Grandma Creates #GiveGeltForGood to Redefine Hanukkah Gifting

Awesome bubbe alert! One of Kveller’s readers, Joyce Kamen, has come up with a pretty sweet idea when it comes to Hanukkah gifting — and she wants to share it with everyone.

Kamen’s plan? To give her three grammar school-age grandchildren a check to be split equally among them, which they will then donate to charities or causes of their choice. Once they do that, they get a sweatshirt commemorating their good deed — and also a ton of bubbe love (which we all know is priceless.)  Read the rest of this entry →

Hanukkah Isn’t Christmas! 8 Ways to Celebrate the Authentic Way

By at 10:53 am

Hanukkah Isn't Christmas! 8 Ways To Celebrate The Authentic Way

Around this time of year, I start seeing Christmas lights go up on neighbors’ houses; they’re beautiful, and I appreciate their sparkling beauty. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t say that I also see things that make me see red, which we can file under the general heading of “Ways To Make Hanukkah More Like Christmas.” From pictures of “Hanukkah bushes” to gingerbread hanukkiyot to “Elf on a Shelf” knockoffs (ahem!), it seems like many people want Hanukkah to be more like Christmas.

Not me.

Why are people trying to turn a Jewish holiday about religious freedom…into Christmas? Christmas is a beautiful holiday, but you know something? It is not my holiday, and that’s OK. Moreover, I don’t want Hanukkah to become some weird knockoff Christmas–nor should it.  Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 12 2014

I Came Late to the Jewish Party–But I’m So Glad I’m Here

By at 1:00 pm

I Came Late to Judaism--But I'm So Glad I Did

The question of whether or not to raise our children Jewish wasn’t one that my husband and I ever clearly articulated–but it’s what’s happening.

I came late to the party, as far as Judaism is concerned. I didn’t convert formally until I was in my mid-30s, and by then I had already had my first child. It’s not that we didn’t talk before we had children–we did, endlessly. Neither one of us wanted to give up our traditions, and we both wanted to raise our kids to honor and celebrate both sides of their family tree. We understood that there would have to be a lot of on-going compromise, patience, and discussion.

We approached religion and spirituality from two very different places. For my husband, Judaism was about identity, Israel, and belonging to a People. For me, religion was the opposite of spirituality. I grew up Catholic, and had dabbled in Wicca and a free-flowing sort of Paganism. For me, spiritual identity was tied less to a specific religious path and more to traditions and heritage that weren’t necessarily religious. Organized religion made me uncomfortable; the idea of belonging to a religious community was foreign to me. Read the rest of this entry →

Sponsored: Win a Soy Vay Prize Package for Your Jewish Christmas Eve Dinner

By at 11:08 am

Sponsored: Win a Soy Vay Prize Package for Your #ShalomLomein Christmas Dinner

It’s no secret that Jews have a special Christmas tradition of our own–eating Chinese food, or course! Which is why Soy Vay, a delicious Asian sauce company started by a Jewish boy and a Chinese girl, is offering the ultimate gift package to help you cook your own Chinese cuisine this Christmas Eve. We’re teaming up with our foodie friends, The Nosher, to give away this epic gift package to 10 (that’s right, 10!) lucky winners.

The gift package includes:

-$50 grocery delivery gift card

-$25 Netflix gift card

-Soy Vay products: Veri Veri Teriyaki, Island Teriyaki, and Hoisin Garlic

-Soy Vay recipe cards: Veri Veri Teriyaki Saucy Vegetable Chow Mein, Island Teriyaki Mango Chicken, and Hoisin Garlic Beef and Asparagus Stir-fry

-Decorations for the Christmas Eve parties including paper lanterns, chopsticks, and toys/games (Mahjong and Dreidel) Read the rest of this entry →

The Mensch on a Bench Will Be On “Shark Tank” Tonight

By at 7:07 am

The Mensch on a Bench Will Be On "Shark Tank" Tonight

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 Marc Cuban and QVC maven Lori Greiner–and the sharks can decide whether they’d like to invest in the company by way of offering thousands of dollars in exchange for a stake in the company. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 11 2014

Eight Hanukkah Gift Ideas for the Grandchild Who Has Everything

By at 4:03 pm

Eight Hanukkah Gift Ideas for Grandparents to Give The Grandchild Who Has Everything

When our kids were young, we busily searched for gifts to give them for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Now that we’re grandparents, we don’t send a gift for each night. These grandkids seem to have EVERYTHING in abundance. So what do grandparents do when they want to give something to their grandchild that’s both memorable and meaningful, and won’t be left out in pieces the next day on the living room floor?

I recently asked a number of adults which gifts they remember fondly from their grandparents and I’ve compiled the responses. Here are eight gift ideas that are memorable and stand the test of time in years, and even decades. Read the rest of this entry →

No More Hanukkah Downer

By at 11:47 am

No More Hanukkah Downer

This is the year I’m changing my attitude about Hanukkah. Why? Because for the past 10 years, which is as long as I’ve been a parent, I’ve been a Hanukkah downer.

“Hanukkah is my least favorite holiday,” I’ve said and written countless times. Considering some of the other Jewish holidays I’ve embraced with passion like Yom Kippur and Sukkot, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get on board with Hanukkah. What’s not to like about lighting the menorah with family and friends, playing dreidel, eating latkes and sufganiyot, and giving and receiving presents?

Speaking of presents, the first task I have to accomplish if I’m going to enjoy Hanukkah is to eliminate my need to protect Hanukkah from Christmas. Nobody hired me for that job, and I’m hereby retiring from the self-appointed position of reminding people that Hanukkah is a minor holiday. I’ve put so much energy into making sure my kids know Hanukkah is not Christmas that I’ve lost sight of what Hanukkah is or could be. Read the rest of this entry →

The 8 Weirdest Things People Say to Women Pregnant with Twins

By at 9:47 am

pregnant with twins

You’d think people would be used to the idea of twins by now, but pretty much every time I tell someone I’m carrying multiples, the news is met with something along the lines of “Holy crap!” In fact, I’ve had some pretty interesting reactions from friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers along the way–some helpful and encouraging, others not so much. And so I’ve decided to share some of the most memorable lines I’ve heard so far–along with my thoughts on the matter. (Warning: sarcasm imminent.)

1. “Huh? How’d that happen?”

Are you asking me to explain the biology behind multiple gestations? Or are you asking a prying, invasive question you have no right to be asking? If it’s the former, I can refer you to a number of internet sites that explain the phenomenon quite well. And if it’s the latter, please reexamine the concept of personal boundaries and consider withdrawing your inquiry.

2. “So did you plan for that to happen?”

Um, is it even possible to plan to have twins? Isn’t that kind of like asking someone whether she planned to have a boy versus a girl? Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 10 2014

Where to Celebrate Hanukkah in New York

By at 5:24 pm

where to celebrate hanukkah 2014 in new york

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 16 and ends the evening of Wednesday, December 24. In addition to spinning your dreidel and frying your latkes at home, here are some events throughout the New York metro area that will help you party like a Hanukkah rock star.

Manhattan:

When Mindy Saved Hanukkah Treasure Hunt

Who doesn’t love an adventure? Take the kids on a Hanukkah-themed treasure hunt in this century-old synagogue/museum and make holiday crafts and treats. $15 per family

Eldridge Street Synagogue, 12 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side

Sunday, Dec. 14, 11am-1pm Read the rest of this entry →

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