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Jun 3 2014

I Need My Kids to Know That There is No Right Way To Be Jewish

By at 3:13 pm

curly-hair

I never want my kids to feel like there is a right way to be Jewish.

Because that’s the way I felt growing up. Even though both my parents are Jewish– and their parents, too.

I grew up in the 1980s in New Jersey in a town that was predominately Jewish. I wanted to be like the popular girls who seemed so together: pretty, well adjusted, wealthy, and yes, Jewish. So I tried to copy them. I thought wearing Guess Jeans, having beautiful hair, a big house, a big fancy car, and a mom who stayed home and always looked glamorous that I would finally become Jewish in just the right way. But I failed miserably. My parents were artsy. I wore Lee Jeans. My mom worked outside of the home. We didn’t live in the fancy part of town. No matter how much I blow-dried my hair, it remained frizzy. My nails were always dirty. Read the rest of this entry →

May 29 2014

Notes From a Mom Who Used To Be Bullied

By at 1:48 pm

mean-girls

From 7th grade through 8th grade, I was bullied.

In 7th grade, I started at a new school and made friends quickly with a popular group of girls. With wonderful friends and good grades, I thought I had made it. But just as suddenly as we all became friends, it quickly shifted to “Mean Girls.” It was weeks before my Bat Mitzvah and each girl in our group stopped talking to me, wrote nasty notes to me and would hang up on me when I called. I was left feeling helpless and wondered what I did wrong to provoke such a response. This is where irrational thinking set in.

My grades began to go down and I started to dread going to school as I would hear their whispers and laughter, all directed at me. I felt betrayed. I also started to feel scared as I was left with only a few friends, which can feel deadly when you are in middle school. I never spoke of this at home as I was embarrassed and did not want my parents to know. This was the beginning of years of self-doubt. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 13 2013

Kveller Makes its MSNBC Thanks to Jennifer’s Bat Mitzvah Tee

By at 1:31 pm

msnbc_kveller

In the concluding (we think) piece to the Jennifer’s bat mitzvah t-shirt saga, we are proud to say that Kveller was featured on MSNBC last night!

Earlier this week, NPR’s Planet Money alerted readers to be on the lookout for the owner of a bat mitzvah shirt from 1993 that ended up in a used-clothing market in Africa. We posted about it with hopes to help solve the mystery, which inspired JTA employee Adam Soclof to use his Facebook searching skills to find Jennifer, as well as the owner of the t-shirt.

Last night on MSNBC, Chris Hayes included the story in his “Click 3″ round up, which summarizes the three most awesome things on the internet that week. We make our debut at .56 seconds in!

Kveller: solving bat mitzvah mysteries, one tee at a time.

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Dec 11 2013

Jennifer’s 1993 Bat Mitzvah T-Shirt: Mystery Solved

By at 1:28 pm

toonies

Yesterday we helped NPR’s Planet Money on its search to find a cartoon-themed bat mitzvah t-shirt that turned up in a bin of donated clothes in Sub-Saharan Africa. Once he saw our post about it, Adam Soclof at the JTA went on a hunt for the namesake of this amazing shirt from 1993.

Somehow he ended up finding Rachel Aaronson (maiden name Williams, whose name was sewn into the tee thanks to Jewish summer camp) on Facebook, which led him to interview Rachel and identify Jennifer Slaim–the bat mitzvah girl–who he also interviewed on this bat mitzvah tee fiasco. Check out the interview to learn more about Jennifer’s Betty Boop obsession, her thoughts on her bat mitzvah tee winding up in Israel, and an amazing video of her daughter dancing to MC Hammer. Mmm-hmmm.

UPDATE: NPR got in touch with Jennifer and Rachel and posted this update, including an amazing picture of the two wearing the bat mitzvah t-shirt at the bat mitzvah. The story will be airing on All Things Considered tonight.

Well, folks, never underestimate the power of Facebook and Jewish geography. And keep donating your old tee’s to those in need–you never know when a story could unfold.

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Dec 10 2013

Let’s Help NPR Find The Owner of This Bat Mitzvah T-Shirt from 1993

By at 3:06 pm

toonies

Ah, the days of the bat mitzvah tee–before Drake started playing at parties and expensive hoodies became a gift giveaway norm. Well, we miss the classic bar mitzvah party t-shirt, and so do two NPR correspondents. Thus, they are on a hunt to find the owner/namesake of this “Dancing with the Toons” t-shirt.

Last week, Gregory Warner and David Kestenbaum reported on the after life of American clothes–namely how clothes we outgrow or get tired of end up in bins in sub-Saharan Africa. Through out their rummage, they found this gem from Jennifer’s bat mitzvah, dated November 20th, 1993.

The question they desperately want answered (as do we): WHO IS JENNIFER?

The shirt had a tag sewn inside (most likely from the clothes-labeling days of Jewish summer camp) that reads Rachel Williams.

Do you know Rachel? Do you know Jennifer? Help these two guys solve this bat mitzvah mystery! Email planetmoney@npr.org and put “that’s my shirt” in the subject line.

Let the Jewish geography conversations commence!

UPDATE: Jennifer (and Rachel Williams) have been found. Good job, internet. Read the update here.

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