Mar 10 2014
During a recent parent-teacher conference, I learned that my 8-year-old daughter Sophia was asked by a classmate at her Jewish day school, “So your dad is Jewish and your mom isn’t?” Sophia responded, “Yes.” The other child said, “You know if your mom’s not Jewish, then you aren’t either.” According to a teacher who overheard this conversation, Sophia responded, “It’s complicated,” and walked away.
When the teacher told me this story, my first reaction was anger at the other child and my second reaction was regret that Sophia hadn’t dished out a firm retort: “Yes I AM Jewish, I was converted by an Orthodox rabbi when I was a baby, and, by the way, it’s none of your business anyway!”
I could go on. But it would go south fast, as in, “And you go tell whatever parent or rabbi who taught you it was ok to question someone else’s religious identity to shove…”
OK, I admit it. I’m a little defensive…actually, more than a little. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 6 2014
This winter was rough. There is nothing like a Polar Vortex that can undermine a lifetime of painstakingly implemented household rules and limitations. That tight ship you run has long been sunk by a tidal wave of television shows. Well, since Purim is around the corner (March 15th, to be exact), why not make the most out of your child’s newfound obsession with “Dora,” “Wonderpets,” or whatever infuriating cartoon your kids are into these days.
Here are some costume ideas inspired by your child’s favorite–and your most reviled–T.V. shows of all time. The more annoying the character, the more kids have a tendency to love them to pieces, so these guys are sure to be a hit:
1. My Little Pony.
This is the perfect choice for little girls who love to get glammed up. There are so many ways to do “My Little Pony.” Think: glitter, fake lashes ($6.99), pink hair extensions ($9.99), and make-up. Star Song ($29.99), Pinkie Pie ($29.27), Rainbow Dash ($26.79)–take your pick. Read the rest of this entry →
Over at Today Moms there is a story on minimalist mom who “spends nothing on her baby or her toddler.”
British blogger Hattie Garlick instituted a spending freeze on all kid-related items last year after losing her job. Now she says she enjoyed it so much that she is carrying on the plan this year, with a monthly “get out of jail for free” card. (She doesn’t mention how much one is allowed to buy with this card.)
I think we can all agree that as a culture we need to chill out on consumption. It’s not good for our wallets or our planet and most of our kids could do with a lot less. But praising “minimalist mom” without acknowledging the amount of time that goes into procuring hand-me-downs is misleading and wrong. These “free” things she finds? They aren’t free at all. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 4 2014
We called it! In 2010, though she was not yet a mom, Scarlett managed to make Kveller’s Top 20 Most Stylish Jewish Mommies in History.
Suzie Felber wrote:
She grew up without much money in New York City, is GQ’s woman of the year, does all sorts of charity works and was, until very recently, married to People Magazine’s Sexiest Man 2010. OK fine, she doesn’t have kids, so probably doesn’t count. But come on — tick tock — she’s going to be on this list (along with Alicia Silverstone) in no time flat. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 3 2014
If you’re planning a seder with kids, you’ve got plenty to worry about (can they really sit in their seats all night without spilling anyone’s glass of wine on the nice tablecloth?) Let us take one of those worries off your list: choosing the perfect haggadah. Thanks to CCAR Press, we’ve got three whole bundles of Passover haggadahs to give away that should please both the grape juice-drinkers and your more mature seder guests.
The bundle includes classics, such as “A Passover Haggadah” illustrated by Leonard Baskin and “A Children’s Haggadah,” as well as the new and innovative haggadah, “Sharing the Journey,” illustrated by Mark Podwal, which offers clear step-by-step explanations of the seder as well as inspiring readings and discussion starters. The bundle also includes “The New Union Haggadah,” a revised and updated edition of the classic 1923 “Union Haggadah,” which preserves the elegance of the original version while making it relevant to families today. There’s something for everyone in this bundle, whatever your seder style may be.
To enter the giveaway, fill out the form below and we’ll choose three random winners next Monday, March 10.
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Feb 27 2014
Courtesy of Elaine Hall
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Jewish Disability Awareness Month, Elaine shares her journey of raising a son with severe autism, from toddlerhood through bar mitzvah age to where he’s at now, at almost 20 years old.
Our tradition dictates: “Be fruitful and multiply.” I couldn’t do either. Each year at Rosh Hashanah, where we read Hannah’s story of her inability to give birth, I cried Hannah’s tears. I prayed, “If you give me a child, I will give him back to you, to serve you all his days.” My prayer was finally answered when I adopted my son from an orphanage in Russia.
I had been raised in a religious ”Conservadox” family in a non-Jewish area of Southern Maryland and had felt different all my life. Now, I just wanted normal. I looked forward to returning to LA and beginning a normal life: car pool, little league, Tot Shabbat. On a blissful flight home across many continents, I had no idea what lay ahead of us.
Reality set in quickly. We discovered that our toddler son had liver toxicity, parasites, malnutrition, and he was spiking fevers of 105. He stared at his hands for hours at a time, spun around in circles, opened/closed and banged cabinet doors, made no eye contact, couldn’t speak, tantrumed for hours, and didn’t sleep. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 26 2014
Dear journalists, scriptwriters, and other members of the media: I officially revoke your ability to use the word “adoption,” in any of its related forms.
The lead story on CNN recently (which was not about adoption in any way, shape or form) pointed out not once, but twice, that a couple adopted their son. In one instance, they use the line, “…[She] carried him out of the hospital in her arms, as ecstatic as if she’d carried and birthed him herself.” A sensation, indeed: imagine, a woman whose name is on her own child’s birth certificate is over-the-moon at the anticipation of parenting her actual son. A banner day for mothers everywhere, to be sure.
Also on repeat, a show named “Bubble Guppies” on Nick Jr. (listen, I know it’s not exactly Masterpiece Theater, but sometimes I need to do things like take a shower) described adoption (in this case, the adoption of a puppy…or a mer-puppy, to be specific) as “giving someone a nice place to live.” If that’s all it takes, then I’m going to skip the college fund and start vacuuming more often.
(As a side note: While I applaud a marketing-job-well-done by the animal rights industry, until a cat is able to go to court and sign away her or his parental rights, there is absolutely no connection between pet ownership and parenthood.) Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 24 2014
Last week my partner and I wandered into a new cloth diaper store in our neighborhood. It has lots of cloth diapers, plastic covers, slings, and basically all the things you need if you’re planning to be a hippie parent. We were there to purchase dryer balls, but my partner started asking the woman who owns the store about various cloth diaper services in the city, and she looked at me. “Are you expecting?”
I had a brief moment of not knowing how to answer. At all. My mind went completely blank. Finally I regained the ability to speak. “Kind of. I’m not pregnant, but we’re being certified to be foster parents. So we’re hoping to have a baby sometime in the next few months, but we don’t really know when.”
“That’s great! Congratulations!” the woman said, looking as surprised as I felt. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 20 2014
It was my second time meeting with Chana with the hopes of renting her Jerusalem apartment. I was in Israel on a research grant and following an ulpan (intensive Hebrew immersion course) in Jerusalem, had moved to Tel Aviv to be closer to my university. After just a few weeks of living by the water, I felt pulled back to Jerusalem.
Chana went through a checklist of the idiosyncrasies of the apartment. It would be furnished and I would not need to, nor would I be permitted to, bring my own bed. The school across the street could be loud at lunchtime. There was no dishwasher, of course, but I was welcome to use the laundry machine provided. And then almost as an afterthought she added, “Shabbat. Of course you keep Shabbat.”
“Well,” I started. And that was the beginning of the end. “I may turn on the lights here and there.”
“No. No turning on and off the lights. You must keep Shabbat.”
“No. No. I cannot. My friend rented to someone like you and first she had a car accident. Then…” her voice trailed off. “No. I cannot take the risk.” Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 19 2014
It’s a match made in Barbie doll heaven.
Each year, in time for summer, Sports Illustrated features in its annual swimsuit edition bikini-clad bombshells with doll-like faces and Barbie-esque proportions. Well, this year the magazine is making waves (pun intended) by modeling in its pages–instead of a real woman–the buxom, blond toy herself.
Naturally, there’s been a bit of a backlash, with many accusing the men’s magazine–which has long been the center of controversy for its objectification of women–of further dehumanizing the female form by substituting it with that of a lifeless doll. Read the rest of this entry →