Oct 6 2014
For the past few weeks, at school drop off, I have tried to disengage from my red-faced, hysterically crying and clinging children. My kids have never been those happy-go-lucky kids who skip into school, but the intensity of our morning separations has hit a new extreme this year. There is a reasonable explanation for our tearful new reality–we recently moved across the world from familiar Cleveland, Ohio, to our new home in the ancient city of Jerusalem.
We are thrilled to be living in the city of our dreams, but my four kids’ transition from their cozy Jewish day school to a bustling Israeli public school system has been challenging. Moving to Israel with preschool and school-aged kids is not for the fainthearted. Since the start of the school year on September 1st, school-related crying, whining, complaining, and defiance have become as much a part of our daily routine as breakfast and brushing teeth.
I dread school drop off probably more than my kids do. It is torturous to leave them in an environment where, although they are safe and being cared for, they can hardly communicate in or comprehend the rapid-fire Hebrew being spoken around them. Read more →
Oct 6 2014
By now, everyone’s made a “Let it Go” parody and it’s gotten a little old. But just when we thought we heard it all, angel-faced Emily Mandelbaum composed a totally original, utterly disgusting, and brilliantly funny cover of the song-of-the-year—about pooping.
As sweet Emily belts out her graphic lyrics, we get view of her pink princess bedroom, complete with glittery decals and butterfly trim–the perfect backdrop.
Emily’s song tells of the struggles of a little girl trying to poop in the toilet. It’s a potty training anthem, really. Profound lyrics include: Read more →
Oct 6 2014
The Jewish New Year is all about the sweetness of apples and honey, so that the genesis of our upcoming year is saccharine, free of the travails of the year before. As the mother of a busy 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, what better way to ring in the year than with apple picking? Great idea, right? We get to drive out to the country, fill our urban lungs with fresh rural air, take in the autumnal sights of the changing colors of the leaves, and hopefully get our kids to take a nap en route.
This adventure began with nothing but hope and good intentions. We also hoped to avoid going to a very popular apple orchard, frequented by many people we know, because they charged each person over the age of 3 (of which I’m many, many years over) a cover charge. With my clubbing days long behind me, I had no intention of paying to get into the orchard only to then have to pay an overpriced amount per pound of apples, which made the price of buying organic ones at the most expensive grocery store in my city more appealing. So, we did our research (well at least my husband said he did) and off we went.
The kids cried the entire way there. No nap. Not even a hint of one during the almost hour-long drive. Two screaming children makes for a less than serene atmosphere in which anyone could appreciate the mélange of candied-apple, golden, and bronzed hues of the aging leaves mixed with the leftover bits of green vibrancy desperately trying to hang on to the dog days of summer. Read more →
Oct 6 2014
Last year I performed a magic trick. I made most of my “stuff” disappear. I never considered myself a hoarder, at least not the kind worthy of a feature on late night cable TV, but I held on to things, lots and lots of things, because I was sentimental. I thought getting rid of them meant giving up a memory. I was also convinced I would need all of these things later on. And lots of my stuff was around simply because I had spent so much money on it that I thought I hadn’t realized each item’s value yet. Surely I would need this stuff, use this stuff, wear this stuff, and amortize the cost of this stuff… one day.
My relationship to my stuff changed last year. In September, my husband, two young daughters and I celebrated Sukkot, the festive Jewish holiday commemorating the years the Jews were believed to be wandering in the desert and protected from the elements by God. For the first time, we erected a sukkah (a temporary dwelling) in our tiny backyard and invited friends over for customary meals inside the wood and bamboo structure. Many were familiar with Sukkot but I had to explain to others why I had invited them to eat off of paper plates in a crude tent decorated with my children’s art and fake fruit.
I took to the internet in search of something more than the clunky Wikipedia definition, and found a rabbi’s simple yet beautiful interpretation of this harvest holiday that changed the way I viewed space in my home. She suggested the acts of eating, sleeping, and celebrating in such a simple dwelling should be a reminder to us of how little we need to be happy and how freeing it is to just be with so much less stuff. The metaphor stirred something within me. Read more →
Oct 3 2014
An 11-year-old boy from Jaffa has caught the attention of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
George Amire went viral in Israel, after he posted a video of himself on Facebook addressing the bullies who made fun of him in elementary school. In the powerful video, Amire holds up signs with the slurs he was called such as “homo,” “girl,” and “faggot,” ending with a sign reading, “Don’t judge me for who I am. Look at me, then… at yourselves… we are exactly the same.”
Inspired by Amire’s courage, Rivlin reached out to the boy and asked him to help with an anti-bullying/anti-racism campaign in time for Yom Kippur. The video is part of a larger campaign launched by Israeli leaders, an effort to combat growing intolerance and violence towards Arabs and African migrants. Read more →
Oct 3 2014
As a play on the Yom Kippur confessional prayer, the Vidui, we asked you, our readers, to confess one thing you felt sorry about this year (a Kvidui, if you will). And you delivered. This past week, Kveller’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter feeds were flooded with messages of self-reflection, honesty, and even some humor.
The idea of the Vidui is for the Jewish people to band together and collectively atone for each other’s sins. So now that the sins are in, here they are without names–because they belong to all of us. We hope that, by reading these, you can recognize some parts of yourself, and together we can purge ourselves of the impatience, self-doubt, guilt, and many other flaws we experience as parents.
Thank you so much for your honesty. We wish everyone a meaningful Yom Kippur and, if you plan to fast, have an easy one. Read more →
Oct 3 2014
Growing up as the only Jewish family in town meant that we missed out on a lot of things. We didn’t go to Hebrew School, we barely acknowledged Shabbat, and we had very little connection to the Jewish community. My Israeli mother did her best to give us a basis in Judaism, but since my dad did not have a Jewish background and there were no other Jews for miles around, being Jewish was more of an abstract concept than a way of life.
But, every year, when the air turned cooler and the leaves turned colors, something would change in our house. My mother would grow quieter, more solemn. Instead of laughing and scolding us in the kitchen, she’d be in her room, poring over prayer books and muttering to herself in Hebrew. Even the air would feel heavier.
On Rosh Hashanah, we’d pick a few apples from the old orchard behind our house. We’d dip them in honey, wish each other a Shana Tova, and go back to our lives. Read more →
Oct 2 2014
Mazel Tov! Mila Kunis and fiancee Ashton Kutcher had a baby girl!
The actress had a health baby girl at Cedars-Sinai, the hospital of choice for movie stars, at 6 a.m., Tuesday morning.
No word on the name yet, but we can recommend a great Jewish baby name bank if they are still on the fence. Read more →
Oct 2 2014
Come work for us! Or at least next to us. Our partners at JTA are hiring an editorial assistant to join the team. See below for the job description and how to apply.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), an international wire service focused on Jewish and Israel news, is looking to hire an editorial assistant to join our news team. Candidates should have a background in journalism, be entrepreneurial, web savvy, and have a proven ability to work on a tight deadline. Tasks for this entry-level job will include researching editorial and visual content, loading and updating content in the CMS, creating and writing email newsletters, responding to editorial inquiries, and supporting the general needs of the editorial team. Applicants should have some knowledge of Jewish life and traditions. Basic competency in Photoshop is required, and knowledge of audio- and video-editing software is a plus.
This is a full-time job based in New York City.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and links to three published clips to email@example.com
Oct 2 2014
I am not going to fast on Yom Kippur.
There, I’ve said it publicly and that means I have to do it.
I want to fast, however I haven’t been allowed to fast since 1998 when I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa. That year I remember eagerly awaiting Yom Kippur, because I knew I would be able to not eat anything for 24 hours and for once no one would give me a hard time about it. However, a few days before Yom Kippur, my friends helped me realize I had a problem with food, and once I entered treatment my doctors wouldn’t let me follow through on my plans to fast. Read more →