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May 25 2012

Dear Mayim, Don’t Quit Facebook!

By at 9:26 am

official mayim bialik facebookYesterday, Mayim told us that she was taking a break from Facebook because of all the negative comments she has to deal with. Today, Jordana Horn pleads with her to rethink that decision:

Dear Mayim,

And I do mean “dear”! I’ve interviewed you, I’ve argued with you, and I’ve learned from you. It’s a great honor being a Kveller contributing editor with you.

You are an awesome person. I’d go so far as to call you an aishet chayil–and have actually done so in print–which means a woman of valor, whose value is beyond rubies. We don’t agree on a lot, but you are a deep, kind, intelligent and thoughtful person and I feel so grateful and fortunate for our friendship. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 19 2012

Friend Your Baby

By at 9:44 am

Your baby can have this onesie too at uncommonlycute.com

Don’t put your baby on Facebook!

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. But Wall Street Journal writer Janet Paskin isn’t refraining from posting the cute baby pictures out of fear that she’s compromising her kid’s digital security. Rather, Paskin writes, “I worried that, by publically [sic] donning my mom-hat, I might be hurting myself.” In other words, keeping baby off of Facebook isn’t for his or her own good–it’s for yours.

Paskin writes that she’d rather not post pictures or items about her baby on Facebook because “women with children fare worse, professionally and financially, than women without. Moms face more difficulty getting hired and earn less than their childless peers. It’s worse for new, breastfeeding moms, who are judged to be less competent and less likely to be hired than bottle-feeding moms and who suffer more severe and prolonged earnings loss. Even controlling for all the extenuating circumstances that make salary comparisons really hard, the evidence seems pretty conclusive: Moms earn less, and have less success, than women without children.”

Clearly, I disagree with this completely. Frankly, I’m not even sure where to begin. Of course, I take issue with the underlying premises that mothers are somehow crappier workers–if anything, mothers are perhaps the most kickass multitaskers in the universe. The breastfeeding versus bottlefeeding mom hiring stats are almost too stupid to mention.

But I am particularly offended by the idea that in order to succeed in the workplace, I would need to hide who I am. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 21 2012

I Was Cyber Bullied

By at 12:14 pm

cyber bullyingHave you ever been bullied on the Internet? Thanks to a discussion about the horrible murders in Toulouse, I have.

I’m a journalist and writer, and my work often attracts comments online. Those comments are not always nice and fuzzy. But Facebook feels somehow more intimate, though, than comments after an article. I’d always thought that “friending” someone meant a sort of tacit agreement to have discourse in a way that could be acrimonious, but would always be mutually respectful. After all, according to Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers)–”Your friend’s dignity should be as precious to you as your own.”

I was very, very wrong. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 22 2011

News Roundup: Facebook Helps Save a Kid’s Life and are Playgrounds too Safe?

By at 2:30 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

-Can playgrounds be too safe? In order to prevent skinned knees (and broken bones) our our playgrounds have become quite safe. But are they also too boring? Critics say that modern play spaces “may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears that are ultimately worse than a broken bone.” (New York Times)

-Our own Mayim Bialik does a live taping of The Talk. She rehashes the Chelsea Handler-thinks-I’m-Sara-Gilbert moment with Sara Gilbert! OMG! (Vimeo)

-This mom used Facebook to save her son’s life. When doctors didn’t properly diagnose her 4-year-old’s illness, her social network stepped in to help.(Slate)

-Kveller editor is interviewed about the fate of Jewish names in America. We’ll give you a hint: it has something to do with a little boy named Alef. (Jewish Week)

-In other Kveller news, our resident non-parent editor, Molly, writes here about going on Birthright. At the Western Wall, she thinks about lunch. (Forward)

-For non-Jewish moms raising Jewish kids, things can get complicated. (Though they always have Kveller) (JTA)

Jun 30 2011

Elmo Says Shema, But My Kids Don’t

By at 11:23 am

When I was a child I thought I could talk to God and my dead grandparents. I thought they could hear me, watch over me. I thought they knew what was in my heart.

I was jealous of my Christian friends who prayed at night before bed. I had seen children kneel at the side of the bed, hands pressed together. And I saw it on Little House on the Prairie. One night, I actually tried it. I didn’t know about the crossing myself part, but I was afraid my parents would walk in and find me praying and I would get in trouble. It just wasn’t something a little Jewish girl was supposed to do. We don’t pray before bed.

When my children were born, I read to them every night. Even when they were newborns and couldn’t focus on pictures let alone words, I read to them. And I sang to them. Every night. I sang the Yiddish lullabye, Ofyn Pripichik and Kenny Loggins’ House at Pooh Corner and Sesame Street’s I’d Like to Visit the Moon, as sung by Ernie and Aaron Neville. These were the songs I sung. These were my prayers for them. That they’d be adventurous and bold. That they’d know that however far away life would take them, they would always be grounded by love and home and tradition.

But I didn’t teach them to say the Shema before they went to sleep. I didn’t know I was supposed to. And quite honestly, even if I did know, I don’t think I would have done so. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 9 2011

We Know You Like Facebook

By at 4:13 pm

From the looks of this blog, we know you guys like to comment on things. We also figure a good amount of you have not been able to escape the #1 time-sucking world of Facebook, which leaves us happy to announce that all of the articles on our main site, Kveller, now give you the option to leave comments through your Facebook account.

So, quit holding your tongues, and start getting back to us on stuff like making Mommy friends, skipping the circumcision, and Lisa Loeb’s obsession with summer camp.

Just don’t get mad at us if you get into any classic comment wars.

Feb 7 2011

Birth and Oversharing

By at 2:53 pm

Those who know me know that I am perhaps the least likely person to decry the phenomenon of “overshare.” I frequently employ the first person, both around the home and on the Internet. I post on Facebook so often that, when I found out that a place I’m going on vacation in a few weeks blocks Facebook, I fleetingly considered whether or not this trip was really for me.  (I’m going anyway – and you can be certain that I’ll report on that experience when I return.)

So you might think I’d be a strong proponent (see numerous articles, including Kveller’s post here) about live-reporting giving birth via Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Surprisingly, I’m  just not that into it. Is it overly contradictory if I share why?

Much of my affection for Facebook stems from the juxtaposition of two irreconcilable facts – I’m an insanely social person who works from home. Facebook is an easy way to slip into interaction with generally polysyllabic, interesting folk who have much to say about the world around them. It’s also, of course, an easy way to slip into avoidance and procrastination, but I’ll write that column another day (ha!). The point is that, used properly, Facebook is a welcoming vehicle for interconnectedness. Were it not for Facebook, a friend recently pointed out, I never would have known that she could easily provide me with a printout before my trip to Japan that read, in Japanese, “I do not eat shellfish or meat products. Please adjust my menu choices accordingly.” Were it not for Facebook, I wouldn’t be able to have the feeling of ersatz workplace and social contact.

All those things are good.  But there are points at which, at least for me, it feels equally good to circle the circumstantial wagons and draw the line of privacy.  When I got pregnant, my husband and I joked about when we would go public with the information and when we would go ‘Facebook public.’ There was a clear difference between the two. Telling our parents and siblings in that precarious first trimester felt much more responsible than courting the potential double horror of writing a Facebook status message of “miscarried today. L” And yet, when the amnio sounded the all-clear, I began crafting ways to spread the news to my nearest and dearest 1k friends, and loved the outpouring of joy and kindness I received in return.

Still, the experience drove home the difference between what is virtual and what is real. I want to share joys with the Facebook masses – not sorrows, which would demand a higher level of interaction and intimacy. There’s a level of risk in childbirth, addressed in recent articles as well, where the more casual media of electronic communication has no place. And even if all goes well, I want to share that first with the people to whom I am closest in non-virtual reality. Read the rest of this entry →

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