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Jun 15 2012

Stories of Our Fathers: The Namer & The Teacher

By at 2:06 pm

birth certicateAll this week, we’re featuringstories of great fathers collected by the Jewish Women’s Archive in honor of Father’s Day. We’ll be featuring the last two today. This first one is from Preeva Tramiel:

My father chose my name, and that cemented my connection to Judaism. He named me after his mother, Pruva, who died in Auschwitz. The “American” version of my name is Preeva, and it is on my birth certificate. Daddy took to me shul on Friday nights, and we came early so he could talk to his friends and show me off a little. He would say, “Preeva, explain your name.” And I would straighten my dress, and recite: “When God created man, on the sixth day he said to him, Pru U’Rvu Ee melu et ha’aretz, be fruitful and multiply and develop the earth. From that comes Pruva, which we pronounce here in America, Preeva.” Read the rest of this entry →

Kveller Poetry Corner: From Father to Son

By at 12:05 pm

baby holding dad's fingerFather’s Day is this Sunday, and we thought you’d like this short and sweet poem, from one father to his son.

When you fall asleep on my arm you make it ten times stronger.

When you lie on my chest it becomes a mountain.

When you wrap your hand around my finger no army in the universe can dislodge us.

I am father: giant, impenetrable, invincible, timeless, ageless, all seeing; cunning, determined, and when protecting you, utterly ruthless.

This is who I am now; this is what you have made me.

So my son, thank you for this first Father’s Day.

Love,

Dad

Jun 14 2012

Stories of Our Fathers: The Oyster Eater

By at 3:48 pm

oystersAll this week, we’re featuring stories of great fathers collected by the Jewish Women’s Archive in honor of Father’s Day. Today’s is from Ellen K. Rothman.

One night when my father was about 10 years old, he came downstairs looking for his mother. He paused at the top of the cellar steps. In the basement, he saw his parents and his maternal grandfather savoring a local delicacy–Chesapeake Bay oysters. In later years, my father would say that this night in 1933 marked the end of any real feeling he had for Judaism. He loved and respected his grandfather, a successful self-made businessman who was a pillar of the shul where my father would be bar mitzvahed and confirmed. But even as a 10-year-old, he knew hypocrisy when he saw it.

Still, my father never failed to make a generous contribution to the Associated Jewish Charities every year, he was famous for his skill at telling Jewish jokes, and without ever using the words, he instilled a strong sense of tikkun olam in his sons (two) and daughters (two). Did he make the connection between the importance he placed on service to the community–a value he both lived and passed on–and his Jewish heritage? I wish I had asked him.

To read more, head on over to JWA’s blog, Jewesses with Attitude.

Jun 13 2012

Stories of Our Fathers: The Big Thinkers Club

By at 4:30 pm

kid shoes with laces untiedAll this week, we’re featuring stories of great fathers collected by the Jewish Women’s Archive in honor of Father’s Day. Today’s is from Deborah Fineblum Raub.

“What do you think is the nature of reality?”

I gazed down at my untied shoelace, my skinned knee, the grass poking out of the sidewalk. “I dunno,” I shrugged. “What is it?”

“There is no right answer,” my father said, his corrective shoes keeping time with my own. “But it’s our job to keep asking the question anyway.” My Daddy knows a lot, but that did not make sense. Questions should have right answers like in arithmetic.

What l did know was it was summertime. I was 7. I had 27 freckles and two little sisters and Mommy was wearing the blue shirt again that meant another sister was coming. And after supper Daddy asked just me to take a walk. In the soft Ohio dusk I was initiated into the Big Thinkers Club. That fundamentally unanswerable “nature of reality” question, one that would eventually be posed to each of his five small daughters, gifted us with the chutzpah to shake our small fists at the limits of human knowing in a deeply Jewish way. It was, more than anything else, our father’s sweetest gift.

To read more, head on over to JWA’s blog, Jewesses with Attitude.

Jun 12 2012

Stories of Our Fathers: The Episcopalian Dad

By at 1:29 pm

sarah tuttle-singer with dad

Sarah and her dad.

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we’ve partnered with the Jewish Women’s Archive to start a dialogue about Jewish fathers, and the non-Jewish fathers raising Jewish daughters. They asked women to share their own stories of their fathers, and we’ll be cross-posting a new one each day this week.

To kick us off, here is a story from our very own Sarah Tuttle-Singer:

My Episcopalian dad proposed to my Jewish mom on their very first date over Irish Coffee and she laughed at him. But, my dad had charm, and she agreed to go out with him again. And again. And again. And over the next eight years when he’d ask her to marry him night after night, she would shake her head and laugh. But then, one night, while stuck in traffic on the 405 Freeway near the Wilshire Exit, she said “Yes.” But with one condition: They would have a Jewish home.” And my dad agreed. Every Friday night, we lit candles for Shabbat. He went to Torah class with our rabbi. We kept Kosher. And my dad’s love for my mom allowed me to grow up in a home where I grew up loving Judaism.

To read more, head on over to JWA’s blog, Jewesses with Attitude.

Jun 11 2012

Thanks to My Dad, I Still Have My Bear

By at 3:10 pm
alina adams stuffed bear

Me with my beloved Misha.

In honor of Father’s Day, here’s one mother’s ode to her dad–a fond memory from her own childhood:

For my oldest son it was a yellow blankie and a stuffed Baby Elmo doll. For my middle son, it’s a Winnie-the-Pooh puppet that my mother sewed onto a blanket and that he carried everywhere until, today, Pooh only has a few loose strings hanging off him. For my youngest daughter, it’s a lamb’s head attached to a fuzzy body that she not only sleeps with, but puts on her boo-boos to make them feel better.

For me, it was a black bear whose limbs kind of moved, with glass eyes, a yarn mouth, and a nose where the fuzz was already staring to come off.

Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 8 2012

As the Father-to-Be, How Can I Help?

By at 12:55 pm
opera singer

Our baby will definitely be a fan of the opera.

Psst. Father’s Day is coming up on June 17th. In preparation for this joyous occasion, here’s an interesting perspective from a first-time-father-to-be.

I’ve been singing to my wife’s stomach lately and oddly enough, this doesn’t feel too strange. As Yael enters her third trimester and her beautiful belly bursts, I find myself looking for ways to stay involved in her growing process. I’m reading books and hearing stories, wondering all the while: does all this really prepare me for the epic change we’re about to experience? Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 7 2012

Share the Stories of Your Fathers

By at 2:31 pm

cool jewish dad t-shirtFather’s Day is coming up fast, and we’ve just caught wind of an exciting project from the ladies at the Jewish Women’s Archive that’s all about dads. Your dads, specifically.

For their blog, Jewesses With Attitude, JWA is collecting short blurbs from Jewish women about their fathers, and the role they played in their Jewish identity and development. They also want to add some dad voices to the blog, so they’re seeking guest posts from Jewish fathers, or fathers raising Jewish children. Read the rest of this entry →

May 31 2012

My Stage Dad Moment

By at 9:35 am

To this story that was just posted on the McSweeney’s website  about baby photographer Anne Geddes who is fond of taking syrupy sweet pictures of little ones inside giant eggs and perched on large tulips, I just have to say yes, and more yes, and amen.

Together, we the Anne Geddes babies ask: How many sets of triplets must be stuffed into matching terra cotta pots freshly plied with breast milk and in a state of undress before enough is enough? How many oversized props must pile up in studio corners, snails upon bird baths upon acorns, before we recognize the monument we have built to poor self-image and willing infantilism? How many more toddlers must be kicked to the curb as they approach sentience and can no longer be easily crammed into a gourd before we assert that impossible puzzles are a marker of intellectual stasis? Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 20 2012

Free-Range Dad

By at 9:30 am

I pride myself on being a hands off/free-range kind of dad, especially when it comes to the playground. I attempt to emulate my neighborhood moms in most ways, but I cannot fathom heading out into the jungle gym myself, unless explicitly invited by my daughter. The reason is twofold. Selfishly I want that time to space out or blissfully stare at my daughter from afar. (And yes, I will cop to furtively sneaking glances at my smart phone.) And unselfishly, I really feel that it is her space, and I want her to learn to navigate it.

I recently got a friend to take her to the playground so I could play frisbee in the adjoining park. This is easily simultaneously one of the geekiest and jockiest things I do. Appropriately, I injured myself on the first day of the season, diving underneath a fellow player, a medieval-bearded-kind-of-dude named Duvid, to intercept a pass. He landed on a part of my body that I didn’t realize could be injured, the meaty small of my back on the left side. Essentially, my love handle. I had the wind knocked out of me, but got back in for the next play, and promptly re-injured it, so I hobbled over to watch my daughter, who I had been feeling extremely guilty for leaving, anyways.

I found her on the swingset. At this point, pushing my daughter on the swing was not an option, so I obeyed my inclination to hang back. I saw her at the center of a group of moppets. I couldn’t hear her voice, but her pantomime was clear. The group of fellow 4-year-olds hoisted her in the air, like a group of moshers helping someone crowd surf. As her cohort pushed her, I saw a look of beaming pride I have seen few times on her face.

I felt completely validated in my hanging back to give space. “She doesn’t need me,” I practically purred. There are some family stories involving nameless relatives of mine lining up all of their playmates and giving detailed instructions of how they needed to play, but this was different. Ronia was the instigator, but was happy to give others a turn. I stood there, aching with love for my charismatic spark of a daughter.

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