Nov 1 2013
This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Toldot. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
Maybe you’ve been feeling a little guilty about your parenting lately; you shouldn’t. There is no one perfect way to be a mom, and you’re doing your best with the resources you have. (Remember, #YouAreAGoodMama.)
Still, it’s so easy to feel insecure sometimes–especially when you constantly see other mothers who seem to have it all together, all the time: they take to breastfeeding with the greatest of ease, they throw birthday parties that are Pinterest boards come to life, and they look damn good doing it in their little black dresses two months after giving birth. Meanwhile, you’re desperately tossing back Fenugreek like M&Ms for just a minute increase in your milk supply. Your nipples look like Mike Tyson’s face (or Evander Holyfield’s ear) after a brutal round in the ring; your parties are fly-by-night operations with whatever was left over at Amazing Savings; your fashion style is more worn beatnik than city slick. Read the rest of this entry →
May 14 2013
Daniel in the lion’s den.
Living in a predominantly non-Jewish environment, we make a conscious effort to cultivate our kids’ Jewish identities. So I bought a couple of Bible storybooks, wanting to give my kids the main highlights of biblical narrative.
While I love Torah study and recognize that every word is ripe with meaning, I now see how the “juicy” parts of biblical narrative are difficult to digest. And when we cozy up on the couch at bedtime, I am confronted with page after page of troubling tales. There’s the fratricide of Cain and Abel, the slavery and the killing of the firstborn child in Egypt, Samson murdering his aggressors and committing suicide in the Samson and Delilah narrative, and of course, a Prophet Daniel and his brush with death in the Lion’s den (spoiler alert: he comes out alive). Night after night I find myself sanitizing these stories, glossing over the violent acts that are hard for me to swallow. Read the rest of this entry →
Ruth clings to Naomi.
Conversion to Judaism is a profound thing. Stepping into the ritual waters has a ripple effect on everyone close to you, for better or worse.
My decision to convert was met with long blank stares masking mountains of internal dialogue. Many people inconsequentially convert to religions within Christianity, but for someone who was raised Christian to convert to Judaism is by definition a rejection. Rejecting that the Messiah has come can be interpreted as a dismissal of the morals and lessons you once lived, and in many cases a rejection of those who raised you. It can also be seen as a choice that was made that wasn’t entirely your own. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 3 2013
1. Children will do things you tell them not to do (2:17)
2. They will blame each other (3:12)
3. You will curse at them, or perhaps want to (3:17)
4. Not all siblings get along all that well (4:8)
5. Children babble and make a lot of noise (11:19)
6. Your children may have to go off on their own journeys (12:1)
7. You may love your children so much that you put yourself at risk (19:26)
8. Do not, under any circumstances, let your children get you drunk so they can have sex with you even if they think it is the end of the world (19:32) Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 14 2011
I’ve been comparing my twin girls a lot lately. Blame it on teething. One of our girls, Maya, woke up one morning with a little white tooth sprouting from her bottom gums. No warning. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she’s happier and more content with teeth than she was without. A week later, Avi, “traditionally” our calmer and quieter baby, started waking up every hour during the night, taking shorter naps, and being generally fussy all afternoon long. Sure enough, after a few days of this and not to be outdone by her sister, Avi sprouted two teeth (and continued to fuss, albeit with more drool).
I know I’m breaking some cardinal parenting rule when I say that Maya’s suddenly the easier baby–I know I shouldn’t compare them for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s bad for their self-esteem. But it’s basically impossible not to compare. In fact, I think comparing them is how I understand and get to know them better.
The biblical model of twins, Jacob and Esau, are described as polar opposites and never evolve from their prescribed roles. In the bible, Esau is described as hairy and a hunter, while Jacob is smooth-skinned and spiritual. Esau becomes the “servant” of Jacob, who becomes the leader of a great people. Esau trades his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 10 2010
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Here’s a version of the Bible that even your kids will understand.
Brendan Powell Smith, a musician and the son of a Christian Sunday School teacher, spent four years of his life (and, he estimates, over $10,000) putting together an exhaustive collection of Bible scenes–made exclusively out of Lego. His project, called the Brick Testament, begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and continues on to the Exodus, the legal sections of the Torah, the stories of the Prophets–and also the Christian Bible.
The Bible has more than a few “adult scenes,” and so does the Brick Testament, with everything from sexual discharges to the battles for the Land of Israel. Still, most of the dioramas are suitable for all ages, and also–dare we say?–cute.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether Smith’s models are meant to be genuine or ironic, but it doesn’t matter–this is a labor of love, and it’s easy to tell how much Smith loves his material.
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