“Could you read us another chapter? Could you?” Miri asked.
I had just finished reading the second to last chapter of “My Little Boy” to my kids for their bedtime story, but they wanted more; clearly they were as in love with the boy in the story as I was with the boy’s father.
I was 2 years old when everything changed. My father, who was not yet 30, was a rabbi at a synagogue in Budapest. After multiple harassments, he decided with my mother that America would be a much better place to practice freedom of religion and raise a family. My parents told family and friends that we were vacationing in Yugoslavia when, in fact, we had no intention of ever going back. It was 1972 and we were escaping communist Hungary, the threat of imprisonment looming over my parents’ shoulders.
We arrived in the United States a few months later, settling in Brooklyn, New York, where my father would learn English and audition as an assistant rabbi at a Reform synagogue. For our part, my sister and I went with the flow, assimilating into American culture. We spent most days like those of our classmates at the Jewish day school we attended. Other days were different, after all, we were the immigrant rabbi’s kids.
The author and his family arriving in America.
Being the rabbi’s son seemed normal, maybe privileged at times. In some ways, I felt like a child star with a couple hundred fans. My father’s congregants doted on me as if I were their own. I attributed this affection as kindness, and probably much of it was. As I grew older, I recognized that part of this behavior was their way to get closer to my father. In some cases, it was to satisfy their natural curiosity about the “Man of God,” who is also a family man, their spiritual leader, marital counselor, and advisor.
It’s ironic that most of my childhood memories of my father involve conversation, yet the big family joke is that he never really talked.
What we mean by the tease is that he was never one to open up and share his thoughts and feelings. If we wanted to know how his day of teaching went, or what he liked to do in his spare time, or how he felt when he lost his mother at the age of 14, or whether he believed in God, we would have to pry it out of him.
If your Facebook was anything like ours, it seems the new Father’s Day tradition is to post as many cute pictures of dads and kids as you can. We asked you send in your favorite photos over the weekend, and you definitely delivered in the cute department! Check out the slideshow below to see amazing photos of dads with kids–from then and now. If you’d like to add your own picture to the slideshow, it’s not too late to send them to email@example.com. Enjoy!
If Father’s Day and Mother’s Day threw down in a commercialized holiday ultimate fighting championship, Mother’s Day would serve up a knock out win, hands down. Using the greeting card aisle as the litmus test, mothers are honored for selflessness and beauty while fathers are honored for farting and grilling. Mothers are pampered and fathers are mocked in a time where Y chromosomes are stepping up and into the parenting arena like never before. What used to be touted as novel, hands-on fathering is now just considered: being a dad.
Here we are in the middle of viral posts and best-selling theories about how to have it all, do more with less, and bend over backwards transcending physics to prove we can truly be in two (or five) places at once without anyone suffering. But one of the major accomplishments of our generation is the blurring of gender roles in child rearing. How can we celebrate what women are doing in the workplace without honoring what men are doing at home? Al Bundy didn’t cook a meal or clear a plate and now if Daddy isn’t changing diapers you better believe he’s getting the stare down. Fatherhood.gov (in addition to producing the most adorable PSA on the planet) reports that almost 90% of today’s dads spend more time with their children than their own fathers did with them. Being a dad, more importantly being an involved dad is, dare I say it–trending. Read the rest of this entry →
Father’s Day is this Sunday, and while there’s no denying that most of Kveller’s readers and bloggers are, in fact, mothers, we’d be remiss not to honor the dads in our lives.
So, we’re asking you to hit up the camera this weekend and take some pictures of dads with kids. Or, hit up the old photo albums (ah, the good old days when those still existed) and find your favorite pictures of you and your dad from when you were growing up.
Once you find your favorites, either post them on our Facebook page or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Dad Pic” in the subject line. We’ll compile them all into a slideshow that we’ll feature on the blog next week.
In the meantime, take our Famous Jewish Dads Quiz to see how well you’ve been keeping up with Jewish celebrity fathers, or check out some of the posts on our blog that are all about dads. Happy Father’s Day to all!
It’s one of the first rules of parenting: don’t play favorites. And I don’t, really, even on those days when my daughter’s initially polite gurgles turn into screaming demands for a bottle at 5 a.m. and my son strolls downstairs closer to 9, well after I’ve had my coffee and am a cheerful–well, functioning–human being.
But when it comes to my son playing favorites (my daughter is still a baby, and thus still unversed in the art of emotional manipulation), it’s hard not to be delighted when I am clearly the preferred parent. There were always certain things–breakfast, shopping trips, snuggling, and especially bedtime stories–that were entirely my domain. And I liked it that way. Our home was Mommyland and I was the queen, minus the Corgis and inflated salary. It wasn’t so much being picked over my husband, really, that gave me a rush, but being so utterly adored and needed and the only one who could kiss a skinned knee, clean and bandage it, and make it all better.
Few of us can deny loving being needed, and fewer can deny the exceptional high that comes from being so unabashedly admired. Read the rest of this entry →
I have never liked having a fuss made over me. I skipped both my high school and my college graduation ceremonies because I didn’t see a point to the long-winded, tedious ritual (held outside in the heat, no less). My husband and I got married at City Hall, because I felt the same way about weddings. (Maybe I inherited the trait from my own mother. Whenever we go to a friend’s wedding, she always tells my husband and I, “Thank you so much for not putting me through this.”) Read the rest of this entry →
Father’s Day is just two weeks away, which means if you’re anything like us, you haven’t quite figured out what to get the dad in your life. Here are some of our favorite gift ideas to get you started.
You can never go wrong with a new shirt for dad, unless he doesn’t actually like it. Let him design his own with a custom-tailored shirt from SecondButton ($80). Kveller readers get a 10% discount by using the code “Kveller” at checkout.
Sports Lover Dad
No matter what his team, the sports loving dad will love Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame ($18.27) which explores Jewish athletes, coaches, broadcasters, trainers, and even team owners.
If Dad is the family iPhone photog, he’ll be thrilled to learn there’s an easy way to print all those pictures of the little ones. Plop your phone onto the Photo Cube iPhone Color Printer ($129.61) and voila.
Is dad not fully human until he’s had his morning coffee? If so, try this awesome and very intense authentic Nachle Israeli black coffee spiced with cardamom ($10).
Kveller is part of a not-for-profit organization and receives a percentage of the proceeds of any purchase you make using our links. Wishing a happy Father’s Day to you and any dads in your life!
This Father’s Day, we’re teaming up with SecondButton, a men’s bespoke shirtmaker in New York City, to make sure the dads in your life are well taken care of. If you want to give Dad a shirt he’s guaranteed to love, surely your best bet is to let him design it!
At the SecondButton website, you can design your own custom men’s shirt, choosing everything from the basic style to color, pattern, and little things you could never even think of like button thread color and style of cuff (what’s his style, double button or French?).
These custom shirts cost $80, but all Kveller readers can get a 10% discount just for being awesome. To claim, just use the code “Kveller” at checkout. And if you’re feeling lucky, we’re running a giveaway through next Wednesday, June 5th, which you can enter here.
Happy shopping, happy designing, and most importantly, happy Father’s Day!