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Aug 3 2012

Taking My Kids to the Cemetery

By at 3:02 pm

gravestones cemeteryMy grandmother’s unveiling was this past Sunday, on Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish year. Except the day wasn’t especially sad for me. My grandmother passed away just months before her 96th birthday and she lived a very long and full life. She was well loved. And while I wish my grandmother could have met my daughters, born just two days before her death, I think we’re pretty lucky to she got to meet–and got to know–the six other great-grandchildren who came before my own. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 28 2012

Our Favorite Tributes to Nora Ephron

By at 10:39 am

nora ephron and tom hanksIt’s become abundantly clear that we will all miss Nora Ephron. Our own Jordana Horn shared her slightly (okay, more than slightly) embarrassing story about faking an orgasm a la When Harry Met Sally, and plenty of other writers in the blogosphere have written touching tributes. Here are some of our favorites:

On Tablet: This Was My Life, by Nona Willis Aronowitz

On The Arty Semite (The Forward): Nora Ephron Made Genius Look Easy, by Jordana Horn (Damn, girl)

On Diner’s Journal (New York Times): Nora Ephron Never Forgot the Food, by Julia Moskin

On Time: Nora Ephron: A Life of Voice and Detail, by Tom Hanks

On Huffington Post: Nora Ephron Made My Career Possible, by Jennifer Weiner

And one quite excellent video tribute (thanks to Matthue for sharing):

Jun 27 2012

My First Fake Orgasm: A Nora Ephron Tribute

By at 4:07 pm

when harry met sally katz deli sceneNora Ephron taught me what an orgasm was. Call me naïve, but I had no idea.

This isn’t as sad as it sounds, truly. I was in high school when When Harry Met Sally… came out. And I loved every part of the movie. This, of course, was despite not being able to relate to it on several levels in the least: unlike the film’s protagonists, I was a suburban teenager who had never had sex. Read the rest of this entry →

May 9 2012

My Mother, In the Pictures

By at 3:01 pm

sarah tuttle-singer mother photographsIn honor of Mother’s Day, one of our writers reflects on the lasting memories of her mom.

My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November, 1999. For a while, chemotherapy was her powerful ally, and she won battle after battle against the invader cells. By May, 2002, she was proclaimed “cancer free,” and went traipsing off to Provence with my dad and his cousins for a 10-day adventure, where they enjoyed the flowering countryside, good food, and fine wine.

She returned happy and very, very tired. When the fatigue didn’t lift after a few weeks, she was back at her oncologist’s office, bravely facing the terrible news: The cancer was back. With a vengeance. So, she and her oncologist tried to hit back twice as hard, until she developed a life-threatening toxicity to the only drug that was kicking cancer’s ass. But, instead of giving up, she entered a hard-core clinical trial–one that left her skin blistered and peeling, her nights suffocated by excruciating dreams, and her unusually keen memory foggy and addled. Read the rest of this entry →

May 8 2012

What Maurice Sendak Taught Me

By at 12:48 pm

maurice sendak where the wild things areThere are so many things to say about Maurice Sendak, the incredible children’s writer and illustrator who died today at 83 years old. In the famous book The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim wrote that the most truly magical works of children’s literature were the ones that allowed children to face their terrors and fears through symbolism. Sendak was a master of this–and not only for children.

Facebook feeds will surely be full up today with status message tributes to Sendak’s legacy. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2012

Passover is Coming! And I’m Not Excited!

By at 4:37 pm
trapeze artist

The trapeze and the seder: both a balancing act.

I don’t have to look at a calendar. Lodze, the woman who has helped me clean my house for 25 years, and is by now as much friend as “cleaning lady,” already told me the first week in February that she is starting on my kitchen drawers and cabinets. Lodze is a religious Roman Catholic Pole who had family members who died in Auschwitz.

I don’t like Pesach. I dread it. I feel like I should make the shehecheyanu blessing, thanking God for “sustaining us and bringing us to this time” at the end rather than the beginning of the holiday. I’m grateful when it’s over.

What a confession from a FFB (Frum-From-Birth) woman who has made the seders for about 20 years. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 1 2012

What Ayelet Taught Me

By at 1:18 pm

gift of life blood marrow donationTwo-year-old Ayelet Galena died early Tuesday morning. When I found out, I cried. I cried for the death of a little girl I’d never met, and for her parents and family. And I cried because I had not done enough.

When she was only a year old, Ayelet was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow failure disease. She received a bone marrow transplant in August. Her brave, incredible parents, Hindy and Seth, blogged each step of the way. In doing so, they let readers into their unimaginable world, and did so with grace, humor, and dignity.

And now she is gone. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 31 2012

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

By at 2:25 pm
Baby Ayelet

Ayelet Yakira Galena, Z"L.

About a year ago, I wrote to you all with a plea–please help my friend’s baby daughter, Ayelet. I explained that she had a disease that attacks bone marrow, and she desperately needed a transplant. Ayelet did have a transplant, at the end of August, but after months of hospitalization, this morning it proved to not be enough to save her life. As is said, baruch dayan haemet–blessed is the true Judge. My heart is breaking for her family. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 16 2012

For My Mother, On Her Yahrzeit

By at 10:43 am

four aces on wooden tableThe following piece first appeared in Sarah’s blog, The Crazy Baby Mama. We’re running it today in honor of her mother’s yahrzeit.

When I was still my mother’s little girl, my parents and I spent our sunsets strolling south along Ocean Front Walk. We enjoyed checking out the architectural anomalies along the way–the homes that stared down the sea and sky were almost cartoonish with their clown colors and garish asymmetry. And, every evening–except when the fog rolled in–their windows were lit on fire with the colors of the sky, and walking past them, it felt like we were surrounded by the sunset, completely enveloped on all sides in a primordial orgy of red, violet, and gold.

My parents and I loved our evening walks, when the sun lay low on the lip of the sea, and the wind sashayed through the palm trees. Usually, we’d just stroll down to the old Venice Pier, and then turn around again, but once in a while, we’d linger on, and have dinner at one of the restaurants on Washington Boulevard.

One of our favorite places to go was The Crab Shell, a large restaurant-slash-bar painted Pepto-Bismol pink with mighty windows boldly facing the sea. My mom loved this place because they served up a mean Bloody Mary, delicately spiced and garnished with not one, but two crisp celery stalks. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 11 2012

Being a Jewish Mother…to Everyone

By at 10:04 am

how to be a jewish mother book coverI was at a party a couple of weeks ago, and started chatting with a lovely young woman, a cousin of the hostess. She was in graduate school, getting an MFA in painting, and worked as a ballroom dance instructor to keep food on the table. Her boyfriend was a musician with a small but loyal local following. I was enjoying talking to her so much, and then she mentioned in passing that her mother had died when she was 3.

It was all I could do to stop myself from yanking her to my breast right then and there. “My daughter’s 3,” I blurted out. “It’s, like, my worst nightmare that something would happen to me and I wouldn’t be there for her.” Read the rest of this entry →


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