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Jul 28 2014

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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Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 28 2014

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 more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 28 2014

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 more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 28 2014

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 more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 27 2014

Watch Joan Rivers Slam Media Coverage of Israel

By at 11:22 am

Joan-Rivers

Israel is in a tough spot right now. With the death toll from Operation Protective Edge rising, international opinion of the Jewish state is at an all-time low and lots of celebrities–from Rihanna to Selena–have taken to social media to voice support for the Palestinian people. Well, as it turns out, Israel supporters also have a few loud-mouthed Jewish celebs in their corner.

Enter Joan Rivers. She’d been waiting her entire life for TMZ to ask her to weigh in on the conflict. What started with a colorful analogy between Hamas and New Jersey somehow spiraled into a Selena diss (“Let’s see if she can spell Palestinian!”).

Video courtesy of TMZ: Read more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 25 2014

Not The Israel of My Fairy Tales

By at 1:27 pm

Dead-sea-israel

When I was a little girl, my mother would tell us stories about her home far away across the sea. It was a magical place where deserts burst into life and the sea was so blue it was like swimming in the sky. This magical place was called Israel.

The people were good in this land. Warm and loving and quivering with life. They were smarter and stronger and braver and funnier and more beautiful than anyone we could imagine in our small, rural town. They were kings and queens and knights and storybook heroes.

Of course, there can be no heroes without villains. And Israel had them in spades. They lurked on the outskirts, brandishing sharp rocks and explosive packages. But, the innocent people could rest easy knowing that God was always on their side. Read more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 25 2014

The Miracle of Life Begins with Housework

By at 12:06 pm

Mopping floor

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

Baby #2 is due any day now. Since I never went into labor with my daughter–long story short: “failed induction” ending in a c-section–in a way, I feel like this is my first birth. So, now I’m back where I was a couple years ago during the last weeks of my pregnancy with Sylvie: curious, nervous, excited, wondering what it will be like, and reading a lot of birth stories to try and prepare.

The first time around, reading these birth stories, I was just trying to get a handle on the process. Transition, timing contractions, pushing…it was all new information. This time, even though I haven’t experienced those things, I know about them, so I’m focusing a little less on those details and more on the overall stories. And I’m noticing a common thread, which surprises me: Read more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 25 2014

When I Converted, I Never Expected It Would Come to This

By at 10:13 am

Boycott-Israel-Protest

I’m scared.

I’m scared, and I have no idea how, or if, I should be sharing this fear with my children. With my daughter, specifically. She’s seven months away from her bat mitzvah. Luckily, it’s summer vacation and she’s not watching the news all that much. She’s not on Facebook like I am, with a newsfeed filled with reports of violence in Paris and endless updates about what’s happening in Israel.

See, I’m new to being Jewish. I wonder sometimes, five years after converting, if I’ll always feel somewhat new to being Jewish. I don’t have a protective, defensive shell built up. When I talk to my husband, to my friends who grew up Jewish, they aren’t shocked by the recent waves of anti-Semitism. They expect it, almost. One of the questions the beit din (rabbinical court) asked me before we went to the mikveh was why I would want to become Jewish. Why would I want to be a part of a group of people who were so often discriminated against and the object of so much hate? I replied that I felt like I already was Jewish: I was married to a Jewish man and raising Jewish children. Read more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 24 2014

How to Keep Up With the News in Israel

By at 5:12 pm

JTA daily briefing

Unless you’re living under a rock with no wifi, you know that there is a lot going on in Israel and Gaza right now. But we’re the first to admit it can be hard to keep up.

While Kveller will continue to bring you stories and perspectives from mothers and fathers in Israel and beyond, we leave the hard-hitting reporting to our friends at JTA.

If you’re looking for the latest breaking news from the Middle East, we highly recommend signing up for JTA’s newsletter. It’s free, easy, and you’ll be able to follow along right as things unfold.

Sign up for JTA by clicking here.



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jul 24 2014

Tweens Ditch B’nai Mitzvah Parties to Build Playground in Chicago’s South Side

By at 4:20 pm

tweens

The kids are alright.

Meet Marc Luban and Ariana Handelman, a pair of 12-year-old BFFs from Chicago who have decided to forgo the modern bar mitzvah party, often ostentatious affairs featuring celebrity performers like Christina Aguilera (rock on, Sam Horowitz), in favor of helping other kids their age. In a partnership with their temple, Anshe Emet Synagogue, and the nearby Bright Star Church, the 7th graders will design and physically build a playground to serve the Bronzeville community on the South Side of Chicago, which is plagued by high crime and has few safe places for children to play.

The kids of Anshe Emmet and Bright Star Church have teamed up in the past for several events and projects. In fact, it was when Marc and Ariana visited the church to watch Barack Obama’s second inauguration that they noticed the area lacked a decent play area. Read more →



Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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