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Sep 5 2014

Why is Gwyneth Paltrow Converting to Judaism?

By at 3:52 pm

Gwyneth-Converting

Last we checked, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were consciously uncoupling, recoupling, and uncoupling again. Now Gwyneth has dropped a new bombshell: she’s converting–to Judaism!

Wait a minute–wasn’t she already Jewish? Isn’t that’s why we’ve been covering the Gwyneth beat since Kveller’s inception? Well, Wikipedia confirms that her filmmaker dad, Bruce Paltrow, was a Jew, while her mother, Blythe Danner, is a Christian. Gwyneth was raised both Jewish and Christian, which she’s said, “was such a nice way to grow up.”

Page Six explains that since Gwyneth has taken an interest in Kabbalah several years ago, she’s been rediscovering her Jewish roots: Read the rest of this entry →

ScarJo Welcomes Baby Girl, Rose Dorothy!

By at 12:59 pm

Scarjo-baby

A huge mazel tov is in order–or should we say felicitations?

Scarlett Johansson (with a little help from her French journalist Romain Dauriac) just birthed a French-Jewish baby girl in New York City–presumably with gorgeous voluptuous lips like her mom.

The baby has the most adorable old person’s name, Rose Dorothy (coincidently two Golden Girls), named for Scarlett’s grandmother, whom the actress has described as “the first Francophone in my family.” Read the rest of this entry →

Sam Horowitz, Viral Bar Mitzvah Boy, Launches Fashion Series

By at 11:49 am

sam-horowitz-update

If the name Sam Horowitz doesn’t ring a bell, this video from his bar mitzvah sure might. Just over a year ago, we shared Sam’s Texas-sized bar mitzvah celebration which instantly went viral, garnering the talented young performer appearances on “Good Morning America,” the “Ellen” show, and other local appearances in his hometown of Dallas.

So what is now-14-year-old Sam Horowitz up to these days? If you guessed staying out of the spotlight, you’d be sorely mistaken. Read the rest of this entry →

How to Navigate a Difficult World With a New Baby

By at 11:21 am
Elija-2

Photo by Stephanie Rabins

 

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Ki Tetze. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

It has been quite a summer over here. Elijah Wilder, aka Eliyahu Nachman, arrived a month ago, joining his big sister Sylvie.

I’m doing a few things differently this time around, partly in an attempt to avoid postpartum depression like I had with Sylvie. I’ve asked for more help. I’ve protected my maternity leave more carefully. And when I do go back to work, I’ll make sure I have adequate childcare for Elijah rather than trying to do some impossible juggling act. All this makes me appreciate every minute with him right now, and I am happy to say that so far, it’s working. I am loving these early days. Read the rest of this entry →

Free Stuff Alert: Dairy-Free Kosher Cookies from Nomoo Cookie Company

By at 10:24 am

Chocolate-nomoo

Foodies, this one is for you.

We are giving away this lovely assortment of cookies from gourmet, dairy-free, kosher cookie maker Nomoo Cookie Company.

Made from high-quality, natural ingredients, the flavors included are ALMOND OY!, CHOCO-LIFT,  OAT RAGEOUS ONE, and SUGAH SUGAH. We sampled all four flavors here at Kveller and the consensus was that they’re all delicious and you definitely don’t miss the dairy. Each cookie is individually wrapped for freshness and they even arrive in a pretty box. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 4 2014

The Unexpected Way My Son With Down Syndrome Blossomed at Jewish Camp

By at 4:35 pm

Ohr-L3

Jewish memories are made of this: sneaking out with my bunkmates for a thrilling nighttime swim. Israeli dancing on the lawn in the sunshine before lunch. Singing the birkat hamazon with gusto after dinner, concocting elaborately goofy skits for the talent show, playing friendly pickup games of GaGa, and sending a “Secret Shabbat-O-Gram” to my crush in Tent Gimel. Much more than the hours spent in synagogue or in religious school, I can directly trace my continued connection to Judaism to the unforgettable summers I spent at Camp Ramah in California. As it turns out, Ramah would play an even more crucial role for my son Nathan, who was born 14 years ago with Down syndrome.

Like many parents of children with disabilities, we have long struggled with keeping Nathan connected to our Jewish community. He enrolled in religious school a few times over the years, but it was never very successful. Following the Hebrew lessons was challenging, especially as he was still struggling to read and write English. When he tried to join groups of kids on the playground, they told him to stop following them around. Another year, his class spent months developing a Purim play to be performed for the whole congregation–finally an activity Nathan, an exuberant, natural-born entertainer, could excel in! I waited eagerly in the audience all evening only to discover that his sole role was to silently hold up an “applause” sign at the end–the only work-around his teacher could think of for his perceived inability to memorize lines from a script like the other kids. Reluctantly, we had to conclude that Nathan wasn’t getting much out of the experience, and we stopped sending him. Read the rest of this entry →

RIP, Joan Rivers

By at 3:29 pm

Joan-Rivers-death-2

We are so sad to learn that Joan Rivers has died at 81 today, from complications related to throat surgery.

RIP, Joan Rivers, and thank you for making us laugh for all these years. You will be missed.

Read more about Rivers’ impressive career here, and share your favorite Joan moments in the comments below.

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Good News For “Frozen” Fans: A Sequel!

By at 2:58 pm

Frozen

Just when you thought the “Frozen” frenzy was dying down, Disney has announced that it will release a “Frozen” sequel short film, bringing Elsa, Olaf, and Anna back to the big screen.

In the film, appropriately called “Frozen Fever,” Elsa and Olaf set out to throw Anna the best birthday ever, but Elsa’s icy powers threaten to derail their plans.

If you don’t want to wait until spring to get your “Frozen” fix, ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” also plans to do a “Frozen”-themed episode this season, bringing the characters of the beloved Disney movie to live action form. Read the rest of this entry →

The Only Jewish Boy at Jewish Day School

By at 12:39 pm

King-david-school-multicultural

On Tuesday, when he started school, my oldest son was the only Jewish boy in his class of 30 kids. There are many schools in which that statistic would not be unexpected; an Orthodox Jewish day school is not one of them. But that’s the way it goes here in Birmingham, UK–a place where, we learned upon moving here from the US, the Jewish population has been dwindling for years, but where the Jewish school continues as a thriving, competitive primary school, serving kosher lunch and celebrating Jewish holidays and Israel’s birthday.

As in a typical American Orthodox Jewish day school, my son will daily recite Jewish prayers and learn “limudei kodesh”–a Judaic studies curriculum. He and the other boys will keep their heads covered, per the Jewish tradition. On Friday afternoons, before school ends (early, to give students time to prepare for Shabbat), all the grades will convene for a Kabbalat Shabbat program. A Jewish boy will play “Shabbat Abba” and a Jewish girl will play “Shabbat Eema,” and the Abba and Eema will host a Shabbat table with grape juice, challah, and guests. Most of their guests will be Muslim.

In a climate of growing antipathy between Muslims and Jews everywhere, I could not be happier to be sending my son to a school that will allow him to declare, as he did after a week of camp in the UK, “I made a best friend here. His name is Abdul!” Maybe Abdul-from-camp came from a family and/or community that liked Jews. Maybe not. My son didn’t get to know Abdul long enough or well enough to find out. But at his Jewish day school, which has a growing Muslim population (this year it is estimated between 60 and 70%), there’s no doubt that the Muslims are learning with and about Jews by choice. Read the rest of this entry →

Dear New Parents: It Gets Better, I Promise

By at 11:53 am

Showering

“I shower. ALONE. While my girls are in the house. {Insert dramatic pause here.} And my husband is AT WORK. And they’re FINE.”

At this declaration, my friends’ eyes got wide as they watched their 18-month-old daughter smear a mushy banana all over her face. Their little girl was beyond adorable, but like most toddlers, she poops in her pants (OK, actually in a diaper, but you get the point) and sleeps in a cage crib and wanders aimlessly around the house flinging toys and pulling plugs and breaking things her parents didn’t even realize they owned.

Those days are long passed in my house. (OK, mostly passed. Mostly.) My daughters are 4 years old and 5 and ¾ (God help me if I forget the ¾) and they sleep in big-girl beds and they can pee in the potty (I’m not saying they always do. I’m saying they are capable of it). When they’re being annoying it’s mostly because they are choosing to be annoying, which is more than we can say for most toddlers. Read the rest of this entry →

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