We’re popping out baby Jews all over the place—our editor, Debbie Kolben, welcomed her second child, as did Daniel Septimus (the CEO of Kveller’s parent site, MyJewishLearning), Tamara Hansen Reese, and Amy Deutsch (who then proceeded to lie about it).
Jordana Horn Gordon put us all to shame by having her fourth(!), and Mayim Bialik walked the red carpet as an Emmy nominee. I finally finished school, and Adina Kay-Gross bought a house. Sarah Tuttle-Singer became the Social Media Director over at the Times of Israel, and live-tweeted us through the war in Israel.
As I reviewed all of the posts, I was struck by the honesty and authenticity of our writers and the universality and of the struggles that many of us face as we embark on the challenging work of raising Jewish children in a complicated, diverse world. We might not always agree on the right way to do it, but that’s what makes Kveller such a vibrant, interesting community. To everyone who shared their stories with us, thank you. Our community is stronger because your voice is part of it. It wasn’t easy to choose my ten favorite posts, but here is what I came up with, in chronological order:
1. Behind the Scenes of Amy’s “Oh, It’s a Tiara!” Moment by Mayim Bialik. Mayim tackles a lot of serious issues in her writing, so it can be easy to forget that she’s also hilarious. The first time I watched this scene from the Big Bang Theory, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to… well, let’s just say I ended up running to the bathroom, cursing my post-baby body the whole way. I also love Mayim’s willingness to give us a behind-the-scenes peek into the world of acting.
2. This Too Shall Pass, Even if You Don’t Want It To by Carla Naumburg. These words have meant a lot to me over this year, and I continue to meditate on them when times are hard and when they are easy, too.
3. A Day in the Life of a Dad by Matthue Roth. Kveller hosted our first Dude Week this year, and it was great to feature the voices of so many men. (Guys, we love you! Keep writing for us!) I loved Matthue’s post not only for its honest portrayal of life as a working father, but also for introducing me to the Yiddish word “cucky.” Oh, and this: “As a stay-at-home mom, from the minute she [Matthue's wife] wakes up until the minute I show back up, she’s on. She’s working. My day job and my subway ride are a blessing. She never gets away from the house (except with the kids), and she never gets a rest from them. Which is why I don’t mind when she dumps them on me and runs.”
4. My Pregnancy Crazy by Tamara Hansen Reese. Those of you who know me know that I am eternally grateful to any woman who writes honestly about the messy, scary, and exhausting challenges of pregnancy and life with little babies. Bonus points if you make me laugh while you’re doing it.
5. Pregnant Again and Not Completely Happy by Tzipporah La Fianza. Sometimes I feel like I’m raising children in a culture where it’s not OK to acknowledge our ambivalence about parenthood. Tzipporah’s piece about finding out she was pregnant for the fourth time was heartbreakingly honest and beautifully written.
6. When to Hide Your Race and Religion by Alina Adams. As a social worker and a Jew who was encouraged to hide her religion, I am so grateful to Alina for writing so honestly about the challenges of raising biracial Jewish children. I really think every parent, regardless of the color of your skin, should read this piece.
7. I’m Halfway to 70 & Feeling Fine by Adina Kay-Gross. Maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for lists. More likely, it’s this: “I am far more compassionate now than I was 10 years ago and I have to assume I’ll be even more compassionate 10 years down the line. I think life’s easier when you can empathize with people.” And this: “No one gets off scot-free. Everyone is battling something.”
8. Yahrzeit for a Dog by Jordana Horn. Jordana’s story about a beloved pet that brought her family together brought tears to my eyes.
9. Concentration Camp Tattoos for a Younger Generation? by Avital Norman Nathman. I have a tattoo, and while I don’t regret getting it, I know that many Jews disagree with my choice. I love Avital’s honesty about her own thoughts about tattoos, the Holocaust, and how to honor her grandfather’s memory.
10. A Letter to My Daughter About Fighting Back by Sarah Tuttle Singer. I had a hard time choosing between this piece and the one about her abortion. They’re both amazing, but Sarah’s letter to her daughter truly inspired me to be a better, stronger, mother.
Those are my Top Ten from 2012. What are your favorites? What pieces from this year inspired you, angered you, made you cry, or made you laugh? We’d love to remember with you!