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Sep 18 2014

How Do I Explain to My Sons That Some of Their NFL Heroes are Criminals?

By at 10:01 am

Adrian-Peterson-Vikings

Football is a big deal in my house. Between my husband and three sons, there are seven fantasy football teams to root for. We have two Jets fans, one Giants fan, and one (ever hopeful but disappointed) Raiders fan. As you might imagine, it is not a quiet house. Especially on Sundays.

My 9-year-old son has a huge collection of football jerseys; he wears one to school each day, selecting it with care to coordinate with his fantasy players for the week. Recently, as I was hanging up his laundry, I perused his jerseys. Many belonged to players whose names I didn’t recognize. And then I came across three that I did: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Michael Vick.

The jerseys were purchased when these players were football heroes on the field, before we knew of their (alleged) crimes against their wives, children, and animals. My boys looked up to these football stars and were proud to wear their jerseys. Unfortunately, these players instantly transformed from esteemed athletes to abusive criminals when their shocking stories were revealed.   Read the rest of this entry →

May 14 2014

Why I’m a Die-Hard Feminist Who Loves to be Domestic

By at 10:20 am

feminist-muffins

I’m a feminist. A hard-core, there-is-no-inherent-gender kind of feminist. A Judith Butler-reading, Gloria Steinem-worshipping, Ms. Magazine-subscribing feminist. Heck, I don’t just read them, I write for feminist publications.

I also work part-time from home, bake challah every week, and teach my kids to use a sewing machine. (That last one, that’s really just Benjamin, whose vast stuffed animal family needs a lot of outfits and pillows.) Last weekend, I whipped up a purse out of a pair of old jeans while homemade vegetable stock bubbled away in my Crockpot. Sometimes we make our own pasta.

I’m like Caroline Ingalls in yoga capris, except with boughten underwear and indoor plumbing. Read the rest of this entry →

May 6 2014

When The Sex Offender Looks Like a Nice Jewish Teacher

By at 10:57 am

sex-abuse-in-day-school

Last year, some little girls were sexually assaulted in my son’s 2nd grade class. He was their trusted teacher who they called “Rebbe.” He was young, had children of his own, and seemed to be the friendliest, happiest, most smiling face in town.

It is his wife I think of often. When The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” comes on the radio, I cry when the lyrics get to “I’ve lost a friend.” I cry over the shock of losing a friend in such a horrendous, disastrous way. I told her she would have a soft place to land if she chose to leave him. That is where we left it. She didn’t leave him. This is hard to take.

I cry because the danger came too close. Every conversation with my child felt like walking a tightrope, a fishing expedition for the truth, a primal need to protect him. There was no relief in discovering he wasn’t abused. But he knew just enough to testify. Our son had anger issues that took months to heal. For me, the anxiety attacks were awful. Thirty days after the initial accusation, I sat in a support group with other women, including the mothers of the victims, and I had to hold back the tears. When I got in my car afterward, I broke down. I rushed home, ran to my bedroom, and fell into a ball on the floor, unable to breathe through my shock and tears and pain and sadness. “It’s too much,” I repeated over and over again. “It’s just too much.” I found out I wasn’t the only one who broke down that night. “It’s too much” became our shared emotion. Read the rest of this entry →

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