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Jun 11 2014

Up Close: Adina Kay-Gross & Family

By at 9:50 am

adina-kay-gross-up-close

In what ways do you think having extended interfaith family has enriched your lives?

I’ve written about this a bunch before, and my feelings haven’t changed. My mother, who converted to Judaism, honored her non-Jewish mother by making sure she was never alone to celebrate her holidays. This meant she and my dad often packed up our family of five and shuttled us to the bowels of Italian Brooklyn for Christmas Eve and Easter dinner. Sometimes when holidays overlapped, we’d bring our matzah or our menorahs with us. My parents worked hard to make sure we knew who we were, and that meant not just knowing that we were Jews, but also knowing that we were, as the Talmud teaches, “the compassionate children of compassionate parents.” They were confident in their Judaism and instilled that confidence in us. There is no such thing as mutually exclusive in this situation; you can be religiously committed and not alienate family members who have made different choices. Sure, it’s hard work and it’s often confusing and complicated, but if you want to make it work, you can. In my family, love came before difference.

Is there a specific day/experience you can remember where this family set-up felt particularly complicated?   Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 17 2013

Watching TV is Different When You’re a Mom

By at 10:01 am

law and order svuI admit it: there was a long period of time when Law & Order: SVU was my favorite TV show. I’d set the DVR and watch it every week, giving myself crazy nightmares. But like any good addiction, it was hard to quit. Week after week, I’d watch–sometimes covering my eyes for half of the episode–because I needed to know how Elliot and Olivia would handle the latest “ripped from the headlines” tragedy.

Then I had kids. And suddenly, a show about special victims went from appealing to appalling. I can barely watch the commercials anymore. SVU has lost its glamour. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2012

On Raising Resilient Kids

By at 10:55 am

The fear can sometimes be so intense that it feels nearly unbearable.

True, being a parent brings with it unparalleled joy, fulfillment and, of course, exhaustion, but the knowledge that our primary responsibility in this world is to keep our children safe is almost too much to handle; it is both an incomparable responsibility and incomparably fear-inducing.

We need to keep our kids safe from choking while nibbling their first soggy Cheerio. We need to keep them safe in the bath, even when the water is no higher than their chubby thighs. In the car we strap them in. On the playground we call out “slow down!” We try to protect them from the wind on their chapped cheeks, from the rash on their tush, from the concrete as they learn to walk, and run, and bike. Read the rest of this entry →

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