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Jan 11 2013

What’s a Jewish Costume?

By at 12:08 pm

A couple of years ago, I received a telephone call at work from my then-7-year-old. Who, by the way, I didn’t even know could use a phone. Bad mommy, I know.

Lilly: Mama, can I be in the multi-cultural fashion show?

Me: Is it tomorrow?

Lilly (laughing): Of course it’s not tomorrow.

Me: Then this conversation can wait until tomorrow. Anyway, why would you be in a multi-cultural fashion show?

Lilly (eyes audibly rolling): I am Jewish, you know.

[Sidenote: the audible eye-rolling at 7 ought to have been a clue that she's going to give us a run for our money.] Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 9 2012

My Kids’ First Brush with Fiddler on the Roof

By at 12:58 pm
Pre-Fiddler on the Roof costumes.

The original costumes, pre-Fiddler on the Roof.

Up until 15 minutes before we left the house to go trick-or-treating this Halloween, my 5-year-old daughter was going dressed as a medieval princess. Her biggest brother not only made her a crown with matching veil, he also whipped up jester costumes for himself and his younger brother so they could accompany her as wandering minstrels. It was all set. Photos were taken and everything.

But then, my daughter changed her mind. She no longer wished to be a princess. Now she wanted to be Tzietel from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Well. That’s quite a thematic change, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 31 2012

What Do Jews Think About Halloween?

By at 9:27 am

Halloween is kind of a tough one for Jews. Less openly Christian than, say, Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but not as ecumenical as Thanksgiving. There’s scary costumes and candy, and a vaguely pagan-y narrative. So how does it play out for Jews?

Here at Kveller we’ve given you a few different perspectives on this issue.

The Jewish Take on Halloween:
A summary of different Jewish positions on Halloween

Mayim Bialik tells us why Halloween isn’t for her, but how she still makes it fun.

Carla explains why she doesn’t like Halloween, but still does it up with her family anyway.

Mar 7 2012

My Son’s Mask

By at 12:45 pm
spiderman praying at western wall

My son isn't the only Spiderman fan this Purim.

Purim is upon us and as we dig around in our closets for the perfect costume, the one that my son would love to wear the most is Spiderman, for sure.

While the whole superhero obsession is relatively new in our household, it has struck with a vengeance! Spiderman is the hero de jour and my son can happily be found spinning his web and climbing atop all manner of furniture in our house.

The need to summon superpower strength isn’t something that he does only in the privacy of our own home. Tamir is a pretty confident and social child. When he approaches other kids who aren’t interested in playing with him he cops a “meanie” face and often instructs them to “go to jail.” While he does so many things that I love, this set of activities is among my least favorite. Where is my sweet boy who runs toward me asking for a “hug and kiss Ima” anytime I leave the house? Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 6 2012

An Immigrant Purim Spiel

By at 1:00 pm

R2D2 from Star WarsMy first Purim, I was 7 years old and newly arrived in the United States from the Soviet Union. I still barely spoke English, and was the only Russian-speaker in the  second grade of my San Francisco Jewish Day School. (There was one more boy who spoke Russian, but he was in the fourth grade and, well, way too cool to speak to me.)

Somehow, I managed to understand that costumes would be required. And somehow I had also convinced myself that the kind of homemade costume my mother wanted to send me in–the kind that she’d made back in Odessa: Little Red Riding Hood, the Snow Queen, Ethnic Ukrainian with a garland of flowers in my hair–simply would not do. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 28 2012

Purim Is Upon Us

By at 12:48 pm
Purim 2012 is here

Purim starts next Wednesday night, read up!

Purim–the holiday known to some as the day you drink too much and shake a gragger and to others as the day you celebrate the rescue of the Jews of Persia from annihilation–arrives next Wednesday night.

It is a favorite for many families since it involves cookies, costumes, and a pretty awesome story. For those of you who would like to brush up on the basics of the holiday, check out our Purim page. And we’ve put together a refresher on the ole Purim story. (Do you remember Vashti, Esther, Mordechai, and Haman?)

And for those of you trying to figure out what costumes to make, Mayim Bialik has a few frugal ideas (and there’s a bonus photo of her from the ’80s dressed in a kimono). You can really dress as anything for Purim, but if you want to go with a holiday-themed outfit, check out all our Purim costume ideas.

Feb 24 2012

Purim’s Coming: What Are You Gonna Wear?

By at 10:23 am

boy in dog costumeDid you know that Purim is already almost upon us? It starts on the evening of Wednesday, March 7, which means you’ve got just under two weeks to prepare. How does one prepare for Purim, you ask?

Besides baking (or buying) hamantaschen and stocking up on liquor (because you are supposed to get drunk), the best way to get you and the kids into the Purim spirit is to prepare some costumes. You could go with a classic like Queen Esther or King Ahasueros, or go with your own thing. It’s Purim, anything goes! Check out these tips from Mayim Bialik on how to make your own Purim costume on the cheap, and then let us know:

What are your costume ideas for this Purim?

If you’ve got pictures from last year or a sneak peak of this year’s costume, send them to info@kveller.com and we’ll be sure to share with the Kveller community. Also be on the lookout for our 2nd annual Purim Costume Contest, all the more reason to take this whole costume thing very seriously!

Oct 31 2011

Halloween Costumes, Too Cute!

By at 2:01 pm

Ok, we know, we know, Halloween isn’t a Jewish holiday. But some of our readers do celebrate this night of sugar and dress up. (This mama is avoiding the holiday for as long as she possibly can.) But I just got sent this photo of our contributor Gabrielle Birkner’s son, Saul, dressed as a piece of sushi.

When asked if she made Saul’s costume (she does live in Brooklyn, the borough of DIY) she explained: “If by that you mean that I made the money to buy it, then yes!” Oh man, I love that girl.

If you’re also celebrating the spook fest, feel free to post photos of your costumed kids to our Facebook page!

Apr 8 2011

The Purim Contest Winners!

By at 11:42 am

After Purim, we had a great idea. Why not have a costume contest? We’d have parents submit photos of their kids in adorable Purim costumes and then we’d choose a winner and post the photo on the blog and send them a prize. Sounds perfect, right?

Well, you try narrowing down what felt like a gazillion cute babies into just one. I mean, really, what were we thinking? How do you decide whether the dinosaur, ladybug, or sock monkey is cutest? THEY’RE ALL CUTE, PEOPLE. We have some adorable baby Kvellers out there and we’re not afraid to say it.

So we finally narrowed it down to our top three, after much deliberation. These kids are so cute they’re practically edible (and since one of them is dressed as a hamantaschen, she kind of is!) Thank you to everyone for participating, and we can’t wait to see what the kids look like next Purim!

And the winners are…

Michal Frumkin, 7 1/2 months old, from Germantown, Maryland

Elijah Rediger, age 2, from Bexley, Ohio

Noah Baumgarten (it was his 1st birthday on Purim!) from Kettering, Ohio

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