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Jul 25 2014

Not The Israel of My Fairy Tales

By at 1:27 pm

Dead-sea-israel

When I was a little girl, my mother would tell us stories about her home far away across the sea. It was a magical place where deserts burst into life and the sea was so blue it was like swimming in the sky. This magical place was called Israel.

The people were good in this land. Warm and loving and quivering with life. They were smarter and stronger and braver and funnier and more beautiful than anyone we could imagine in our small, rural town. They were kings and queens and knights and storybook heroes.

Of course, there can be no heroes without villains. And Israel had them in spades. They lurked on the outskirts, brandishing sharp rocks and explosive packages. But, the innocent people could rest easy knowing that God was always on their side. Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2014

How Traumatized Are Kids By Gruesome Bible Stories and Fairy Tales?

By at 10:02 am

gruesome-stories

On a Shabbos morning some months ago, my husband, fatigued by minor surgery he had the day before, left the service in the main sanctuary of the synagogue and went into the small, empty chapel downstairs. He lay down on his back on a pew and closed his eyes. Soon, he told me, he heard the voices of young children.

“Do you think he’s dead?”

“He might be sleeping.” Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 31 2013

Finally a Disney Movie That’s Not About Boy-Girl Love

By at 3:03 pm

frozen disney movie

Fine, I admit it: trekking to the movie theater after a day of heavy snow against my husband’s generally sound advice was not my best plan. But I had promised our 4-year old that I would take him to the movie theater for the first time that Saturday night, to see Disney’s Frozen, and I loved the symmetry between the white-covered world outside and the premise of the movie featuring a snow queen (which is about as much as I knew about the plot).

Clad in boots, gloves, and puffy coats, we drove ploddingly to the mall, where I skidded terrifyingly a couple of times and vowed to always take my husband’s advice from then on. But we made it safely and, tickets and popcorn in hand, settled in to enjoy the show.

It was magical. And not just because I loved seeing my adorably inquisitive son’s eyes grow wide with wonder as he took in a new experience with “the biggest TV screen ever,” but because the story itself was a revelation. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 28 2013

What Kids’ Cartoons Teach About Intermarriage

By at 9:48 am

Elana Gartner’s piece about “adjusting” the fairy tales she tells her son and daughter reminded me of how my poor children are forced to bear the brunt of my Master’s in Media Analysis every time they watch a movie or television show.

Most recently, my 13-year-old son and I discussed how in Les Miserables, the noble revolutionaries who only care about the plight of the poor set up their barricade and destroy the poor people’s (whom they care so much about) neighborhood. Then, while said poor people are literally on their knees cleaning up the mess, the only revolutionary left goes back to his rich grandfather’s house and proceeds to celebrate his lavish wedding without a moment of irony or even self-awareness. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 17 2013

Fairytales for the Next Generation: Beauty Isn’t Everything

By at 9:40 am

I am a storyteller, so my children were first exposed to fairytales through my own storytelling rather than reading them in books.

My son really loved “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” amended slightly to teach the lesson about not walking into strangers’ houses, and “Little Red Riding Hood,” which I was nervous about telling due to the carnivorous wolf but which my son found hilarious. Read the rest of this entry →

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