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Sep 17 2014

My Son’s First Kippah is Making Me Rethink My Identity

By at 11:22 am

Kippahs

I’m an Orthodox woman and pretty soon, I’ll be wearing my first kippah (skullcap). Well, sort of. My son turns 3 in November, and along with a new pair of Jordans, he’ll be boasting a navy knitted kippah that says his name–in Hebrew, no less–on his first day of school. For the first time, he, and I, will be publically identifying ourselves as religious Jews. I’ll be frank: I find it terrifically daunting.

Until now, I have enjoyed the anonymity that is concomitant with being a bareheaded woman. There is something both thrilling and peaceful about the ability to get lost among (most) peoples of the world without anyone knowing, or caring, about my religious identity. I have been free to behave as I wish, without bearing any theological, cultural or religious connotation.

But as I prepare to accompany my son while he sports his new symbol, I know we are entering the grounds of involuntary Torah ambassadorship.  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

Sep 17 2014

I Won’t Force My Kids to Attend High Holiday Services

By at 10:31 am

high-holidays-kids

That’s right. You heard me. I’m not doing it. I, a member of a Modern Orthodox shul, mother of four Jewish kids who keep kosher and observe Shabbat weekly, executive director of an Atlanta Jewish day camp, will not be forcing my kids to attend services on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about since this summer at camp, and something I decided firmly last weekend while attending a Jewish family retreat.

Here’s the thing. My kids love being Jewish. It’s the essence of their being. It’s the foundation of their friendships. It’s the laughter and joy that fills their Saturdays. 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

Sep 17 2014

How Do I Stop Feeling Guilty About My Sleepless Baby?

By at 9:56 am

sleep-baby

Sleep, baby, sleep.

Penrose is 4 months old. She babbles, laughs, grabs her feet, rolls over, bangs on her xylophone, and does not want to go to sleep.

I should have known that I was setting myself up to fail when, weeks one through 12, when people asked, “And does she sleep?” I would respond, “She sleeps!” She did, two, three, four, even six hours at a stretch. But suddenly, at 12 weeks, she stopped. When I put her in her crib after nursing her at night she would suddenly tense up and start hollering. Even if she slept on me, at 2 in the morning she would start scootching around, crying, and almost always spit up right into my nursing bra. Co-sleeping in the trundle bed in her room, the safest spot in the house, works. Driving her around works–she’s slept through the night, a whole 11 hours straight, twice now following “snooze cruises.” And once, mysteriously, we set her down in her crib at my parents’ house and she peacefully drifted off and stayed asleep for 11 hours. It’s worked a few times to sing her to sleep, massage her to sleep, play the piano or guitar until she goes to sleep. 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

Sep 16 2014

Thanks to His Leg Amputation, My 12-Year-Old Can Finally Run

By at 3:04 pm

Amit-on-tree

Earlier this year, Zimra Vigoda wrote on Kveller about making the excruciating decision to have her son’s leg amputated and it went viral. She’s been keeping us posted on his incredible journey and this is her latest update.

Summer came and summer went. It’s been more than four months since my son Amit’s amputation surgery at the incredible Shriners Hospital for Children in Northern California and he is still in the depth of rehabilitation.

Amit’s journey from the moment he was born until today has been extraordinary. Born with a rare orthopedic condition, we have had the fortune of connecting with many wonderful individuals and organizations all over the world in an attempt to ease his pain and live his life to the fullest. 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

Sep 16 2014

MIT Research Group Asks: Why Does the Breast Pump Suck So Much?

By at 2:12 pm

breast-pump

Hate pumping? You’re not alone. Most of those human milk machines are loud, clunky, uncomfortable, and prone to spillage. The double breast pump is especially creepy looking. (Kveller’s Director of Operations, Meredith Lewis, wrote about her love-hate relationship with the breast pump here.)

But pumping is important, not just for working moms who want to stay connected to their infants, but for premature and orphaned babies that rely on pumped milk for survival.

That’s why MIT Media Lab is hosting a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.” Organized by a group of students and researchers at MIT who are also parents, between 60 and 80 designers, engineers, lactation consultants, parents, and public health researchers have gathered together to brainstorm ways to make life easier for moms and their babies. Cash prizes range from $1,000 to $3,000, sponsored by breast pump manufacturers like Modela and Vecna Technologies. 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

Sep 16 2014

Why We Decided to Have Baby Number Three

By at 10:38 am

Now-there-are-three

My husband and I got married young and couldn’t wait to become parents. We both come from families with two children, a boy and a girl. We assumed that we would have two children, and of course, we’d get one of each.

We were elated when our first son was born. He was the first grandchild on both sides. He hung the moon.

I was pretty surprised when we got pregnant two years later with, what turned out to be, another boy. He was born just before my older son’s 3rd birthday. We were all nuts about him. 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

Sep 16 2014

My Husband’s Grandmother Cooked in Yiddish

By at 10:02 am

grandmas-cheesecake

A few years before my husband Adam’s grandma passed away, we started asking for some of her recipes so we could record them and continue to enjoy them on holidays. Grandma Jean was the quintessential old world Jewish grandmother. Tiny, with a thick Polish accent, her world centered around food and family. She cooked mostly old-world Ashkenazi dishes, and was very serious about them.

The first Rosh Hashanah Adam and I spent together was in Rio Grande City, in south Texas near the Mexico border. Since none of our friends had ever attended a Jewish holiday celebration, we decided to cook some traditional recipes for them. And since no Rosh Hashanah would be complete without apple cake, Adam called up his grandma to get her recipe. The conversation went like this:

Adam: “Hi grandma, can I get your apple cake recipe from you? We want to cook it for Rosh Hashanah.” 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

Sep 15 2014

That Time My Son Felt “Like a Goy”

By at 2:44 pm

baseball-vizel

My 8-year-old son Seth and I were out at a baseball game on Saturday when he suddenly turned to me and said, “Mom, I feel like a goy.”

I was horrified. It never, ever occurs to me not to feel like a Jew. I feel like a Jew the same way I feel like a woman–it’s who I am. When I left the Hasidic community three years ago, people called me a shiksa and said that wasn’t Jewish anymore, that I looked like a goy. It had no meaning to me. It was like telling me I’m not a mother. You can’t tell me that. You can’t tell me I’m not who I am. In fact, since I left Orthodoxy, the more I’ve learned and expanded my horizons, the more I identified with the Jewish feminist movement, the Jewish progressive movement, Jewish literature, Jewish humanism, Jewish values, Zionism, and the Jewish yentas at my Jewish gym.

So I nuzzled Seth’s hair and said, “Honey, why would you ever feel like a goy?”

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

Sep 15 2014

Bronze Statue of Amy Winehouse Unveiled Wearing Star of David

By at 1:51 pm

Amy-Winehouse

A bronze statue of British R&B and soul sensation Amy Winehouse, who died from alcohol poisoning three years ago, was unveiled in Camden Sunday, on what would have been the singer’s 31st birthday.

Designed by artist Scott Eaton, the statue of Amy has a star of David draped around her neck and a live rose perched in her signature beehive.

The unveiling took place in front of her parents, family, and fans who came out by the hundreds to pay tribute. As the statue was unveiled, Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse, who lobbied for its erection, planted a kiss on his daughter’s cheek, reports the Guardian: 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

Sep 15 2014

Kveller Exclusive: Q&A with Ione Skye on Her New Yiddish Kids’ Book (Plus a Giveaway!)

By at 11:18 am

Ione-Skye-Author-Photo

Ione Skye solidified her role as teen idol when she played Diane Court in “Say Anything…” alongside John Cusack in 1989. Since then, Ione’s kept herself busy with acting, including a guest stint on “Arrested Development,” as well as becoming a mother of two. She recently added “author” to her list of many titles with the release of her children’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation,” an adorable picture book that introduces kids to the wonderful world of Yiddish. We chatted with Ione about her own Yiddish-speaking grandparents, her family’s unique mix of tradition, and of course, boom boxes.

We’re also giving away three copies of Ione’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation,” to three lucky readers. To enter the giveaway, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

1. We immediately fell in love with the story, the characters, and the language in your children’s book, “My Yiddish Vacation.” What was your inspiration? 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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