Oct 1 2014
For the closing event at camp this past summer, our children paraded around a field in costumes for “Halloween in July,” collecting candy as Michael Jackson’s Thriller blasted from the speakers. While I watched the children scramble to fill their bags with treats, I noticed a man dressed in business casual slowly approaching, and for an instant his familiar appearance gave me joy. I almost smiled, but then I remembered how much I hate him.
Our divorce was finalized last Passover, and though we were both released from the contract that bonded us, I am still enslaved, unable to break free from the pain and anger. I was hoping that this Rosh Hashanah would bring forgiveness and peace at last, but it would be a lie to say I have forgiven him.
I willingly admit my own mistakes that contributed to the failure of our marriage. I am truly sorry. I also regret that we did not try harder to get the help that we needed to preserve our relationship. This is not the life I had envisioned for my family. But if the father of my children were to stand before me today (or send an email or a text) and ask for my forgiveness, I am not sure how I would respond. In my heart of hearts, I suppose I know what the correct response should be, but I cannot swear I would do as I am supposed to do. And while I rarely question God, our sages, or tradition, I find it impossible to forgive simply because it is dictated at this time of year. (Lucky for me, I guess, my ex has not asked for forgiveness.) Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 23 2014
My children and I will be spending the High Holidays apart this year. This is nothing new. When my now ex-husband left our home in Albany five years ago and moved back in with his parents on Long Island, part of our agreement was that our son and daughter would spend most of the Jewish holidays with him and his family. They were 2.5 and 5 years old at the time.
During the first year of our marriage separation, I travelled to Long Island with my children for Passover. I was not ready to let go. It was all so new, this idea of not being with my chubby-cheeked babes every moment of the day. I stayed with a friend-of-a-friend who opened up her house to me, aware of my tenuous grip on sanity as I prepared to leave my kids for a full day with their dad and grandparents for the very first time. I was scared.
Of course the visit went just fine, and subsequent holidays and alternating weekends carried on without me. My children are now 7.5 and 10 years old. They love the car rides down to Long Island, visits to museums, and–most importantly–time with their dad and grandparents. They are truly lucky to be loved by so many caring people. For this, I am blessed. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 10 2014
Fran Drescher is off the market.
The actress we know best as Fran Fine from “The Nanny” got married to inventor Shiva Ayyadurai Sunday, whom she met a little over a year ago when she watched him speak at a Deepak Chopra event, reports the Huffington Post.
“I was speaking on sages and scientists — in fact, talking about innovation and the fact that we need to more universally look at the models of innovation,” Ayyadurai explained to host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. “And Fran heard my talk and we fell in love, and we’ve been together since that talk.”
The nuptials took place at an intimate ceremony with family and close friends at Fran’s beachside home. The bride wore a red Badgely Mischka gown, and the groom wore Ralph Lauren. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 23 2014
I love those afternoons when I arrive at camp pick-up after a long day of work and my children come running, faces smiling, eager to jump into my arms and share their accomplishments of the day.
Yesterday was not one of those days. Instead, when I arrived at camp for pick-up I found both 5-year-old twins crying.
The older twin is hardly a mystery. He struggles on some days, particularly after a late night, because he no longer gets a mid-day nap. He is also a very picky eater and admittedly not fond of camp food, though I serve a variation of the menu (chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, or hot dogs) every night at dinner and he rarely complains. These factors, combined with the summer heat and too little water throughout the day, make for a cranky little boy. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 25 2014
The clock says 8:16 again. While I am sure it is largely coincidence or my imagination, that number is always illuminated regardless of where I am… at home, work, or in my car. 8:16 taunts me, causes my stomach to lurch and my heart to pound because this number represents my birthday: August 16th.
I am struggling with this particular birthday more than any previous year because it has arrived too quickly. I expected to be in a much different place at 40 years of age. Read the rest of this entry →
Credit: Tom Kates
It’s been a year since you wrote “Since My Divorce, I’m Missing the Mikveh,” and you know what, Mayim? You and I have a lot in common.
OK, so I’m not a movie star. But I have watched “Beaches” approximately 517 times. That’s got to count for something, right?
Like you, I grew up in the world of those who knew not of mikveh, and significantly expanded my learning in college. I immersed before I got married and my introduction to mikveh was from a more traditional perspective. In all honesty, as I learned more about alternative uses for mikveh, I had a hard time with it. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 25 2014
The children’s service at the synagogue where I teach on Shabbat–filled with singing, dancing, and prayer–is saving me during my never-ending divorce proceedings. Though designed for a young audience, the hour provides an opportunity to reflect on the past week, to give thanks, and to ask for strength in the week ahead. I listen to a few words about the Parsha (the weekly Torah portion), kiss the Torah with the children, and take comfort in the momentary peace.
My favorite part of the tefilah (prayer) is and has always been the silent prayer. While I love our tradition, enjoy the melodies we sing and appreciate the liturgy that has been passed down for generations, the silent prayer is the one prayer I “get.” This prayer enables me to say whatever is in my heart in a way that reflects who I am, silently, unscripted, and uninhibited. My silent prayer now includes hopes for our children and asks for assistance with my problems, but overall the prayer is the same one I have been reciting since I was a child.
This past Shabbat, following class, I joined a friend for lunch at a nearby cafe. As we meandered back to our car enjoying the long anticipated spring weather, we passed by two women on a park bench typing on old typewriters. The sign next to them read, “Give us one word and we will give you two poems.” Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 3 2014
The other day the guy next to me threw his computer bag on the table and quickly exited Starbucks. Without a second thought, I followed him out, but I stopped abruptly when I spotted him, cell phone in hand, making a call. Realizing he had no intention of blowing up the store, I took a deep breath, relaxed my shoulders and returned inside to try to enjoy my drink. When he eventually returned to his table, it took all the restraint I could muster to keep silent about the anxiety unleashed within me as a result of his clueless actions.
It has been almost a decade and a half since I left Israel, yet I have not shed all of my old habits and fears I acquired while living abroad. In Israel, when an individual leaves a bag behind and flees, we are told to report it and evacuate. I learned to call home after each terrorist attack. Then I would reach out to local friends and roommates to ensure everyone I knew was accounted for and safe. After a few days of avoiding public places, I would reluctantly make my way back onto the bus again, often the same bus route that was targeted; after all, life must continue. I told myself confidently that I still had much more business left to complete on this planet and I needed to give thanks for each day going forward.
I reflect often about my younger years while I sit in Starbucks, which has become my habit, my retreat and my sacred space on the long nights and weekends when the children are away at their father’s. Before my divorce, before my world turned into chaos, I had a very different outlook on my life. I followed the rules. I studied, I worked hard, I earned degrees and built a career and a family. Yes, I sinned–worse than some people, but certainly not as badly as others. Still, I have come to recognize that there is no logical explanation as to why good things happen to bad people and tragedies befall the rule-followers. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 31 2014
When the doorbell rang late at night a few weeks ago, as the boys and I lie upstairs in our beds, I knew there was reason to be alarmed. I grabbed the pepper spray that I have kept in my nightstand since my husband moved out and I cautiously made my way to the front door. I felt some relief when I peered through the window and saw a woman on the other side of the door. But it was the contents of the envelope that she held in her hands that would inevitably leave me paralyzed in fear.
The law firm representing our mortgage company had sent this messenger to inform us that our days in our house were numbered. It had been months since we had paid our mortgage, with both our salaries instead going to our respective divorce attorneys. Our legal battle has cost us our home, among other things.
When I lived in Israel many years ago, I participated in a monthly study group composed of some remarkable young women who had traveled from all over the world determined to learn a new language, assimilate into a very different culture and create a life much different from anything they had known previously. We gathered monthly to learn together, to support each other and to share. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 26 2014
All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.
- It’s been a big news week for Jewish celebrity parents. First the good news: Last month we reported that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (Mashton? Ashla?) got engaged. Well, a double Mazal Tov is in order, because people close to the couple have confirmed that they are now expecting a baby! Mila was even recently spotted attending a prenatal class. (Today)
-Meanwhile, in news to be filed under Jewish celebrity parent “tzuris,” Gwyneth Paltrow announced on her website that she and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin are splitting up after 10 years together. Too bad for daughter Apple, who had been wishing for a little brother named Orange or Banana. (The Daily Mail)
-J.P. Rosenbaum and former “Bachelorette” Ashley Herbert (who converted to Judaism for her hubby in 2011) are not only going strong, but are also expecting a child together. Congrats, Ashley and J.P.! (People)
-Courtney Kardashian and her Jewish hubby Scott Disick dress her daughter Penelope in son Mason‘s hand-me-downs, including his loafers and blazers. “I’ve even done a full suit for a full menswear look, like a Saint Laurent look.” she told reporters about her daughter’s gender-bending style. (People)
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