Nov 11 2014
My daughter’s 6th birthday party didn’t start off a total disaster. A handful of kids joined us at an art studio for a drawing lesson and other activities. I had a peculiar feeling that morning that the party wouldn’t be a good idea–I still can’t explain why–but when I saw the old-fashioned fun they were all having playing “Duck, Duck, Goose,” I started to pat myself on the back for a job well done.
But then, right in front of my eyes, yet too far away to do anything, my daughter Julian rounded the corner between one of her “ducks” and “goose,” slipped on the carpeting, and flew face forward into the sharp metal corner of a chair. We ran out–before even serving the cake–to tend to a nasty puncture wound just below her right eye.
Our pediatrician examined the gash and automatically mentioned a pediatric plastic surgeon who could revise the scar once it healed. After all, he explained, “If she was a boy, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. For them, scars are cool. But she’s a girl; it’s totally different.” Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 5 2014
It’s the season again—my children, ages 9 and 11—are in a hundred thousand different activities between them. That’s my own fault—I accept full responsibility for the daily scheduling insanity that is my Google calendar. But what I don’t get—maybe someone out there can shed some light for me—is why, why when I ask my children’s teachers, coaches, and activity leaders to kindly (I always use the word “kindly” in my request) email both my husband and me with their frequent updates, these seemingly competent people seem unable (I won’t go so far as to call it unwilling) to add a father’s email to their distribution list?
I’m the kind of parent who wants to play with you—we’re trying to do the right thing in our home. I will sign up for snack and remember to bring it, and with god as my witness, it will be nut-free. I will make sure my daughter brings in a recyclable container to make a new home for an insect without ever questioning whether it is better for the insect to remain outdoors. I will bring my son to his special needs soccer practice an hour early for group photos, to run around the field with the Philly fanatic, to partake of a special snack from our local food co-op—whatever damn thing you want the kid to do, he shall arrive on time for it and do that thing!
But I can’t manage to make the magic happen on my own—I need that guy, my husband Fred, who is my partner in co-parenting our kids, to get the reminder, too. We work best when our aging brains can act as wonder-twins and remember that this is the night that the piano teacher’s benefit is happening and all of the students are strongly encouraged to attend. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 24 2014
Listen very carefully: Tell your kids to go into the other room. Turn down the volume, or put on your headphones. And watch this video of some very adorable little girls dropping some very graphic language in the name of feminism (NSFW!!!): Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 23 2014
Granted, it probably won’t cause lasting harm if your kid views a Georgia O’Keefe painting, sees you walk around naked, or overhears Joan Rivers telling a vagina joke. But it seems one mama took anatomical pride a bit too far when she brought vagina-shaped cookies to her child’s 2nd grade classroom, suggesting a vagina-themed lesson to go with them.
According to a Reddit poster, who was repeating the story for her friend, the teacher, parents were invited bring in hypoallergenic snacks on Fridays as an occasional treat.
Here’s how it went down: Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 16 2014
There’s a little Jill Abramson in us all.
The first-ever female executive editor of the The New York Times opened up to Cosmopolitan about getting fired from her position and the media brouhaha that followed. Spoiler: Abramson was careful to dance around the reason for her dismissal, but acknowledged that the way women’s management styles are viewed “is an incredibly interesting subject.” Still, she made it clear that being fired is nothing to be ashamed of:
Is it hard to say I was fired? No. I’ve said it about 20 times, and it’s not. I was in fact insistent that that be publicly clear because I was not ashamed of that. And I don’t think young women–it’s hard, I know–they should not feel stigmatized if they are fired. Especially in this economy people are fired right and left for arbitrary reasons, and there are sometimes forces beyond your control.
We’ve compiled the best snippets from the Cosmo piece for you, but definitely read the full interview here. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 15 2014
I am expecting twins any day now. The excitement is rising and the worries that these babies may arrive too soon are being relieved day by day. But when my colleagues offered to give me a baby shower months ago, I cringed.
As a rabbi, the idea of disappointing every bubbe in my congregation by having a baby shower did not feel right. Members of my own family had already asked, “You’re not going to have a baby shower, right?” As if that is a question and not a statement. Jewish women are not afraid to share our opinions, and often baby showers are simply taboo.
The conversation continued and the other rabbi’s wife, who happens to be a mentor and friend, reminded me that communities like to celebrate with their rabbis, so we had to come up with something. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 14 2014
I am 42.
Many of us have read Tom Junod’s Esquire article, “In Praise of 42-Year-Old Women.” In it, the author declares that 42 is the most alluring age of women this year.
Yay, me! Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 11 2014
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Pinhas. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
This week, a dear old friend came to visit. We haven’t seen each other for a long time, but we seem to be on the same mama schedule–we both have 2-year-olds and are pregnant again.
We sat outside drinking iced tea, talking about birth and motherhood and the 15 years since we met. We talked about how confident, driven, and maybe a little entitled we both were in our early 20s. How much has changed since then. And how much of what we’ve learned, we’ve learned from our kids.
Both committed to a natural birth, we ended up with C-sections. Both committed to exclusively breastfeeding our babies, we ended up with serious nursing problems that made that goal physically impossible. And we’d both carved out wonderful and unusual careers that grew out of our passion for our work, involving tons of travel, and have turned out to require some major re-adjustment–especially as we head into two-young-kids territory. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 30 2014
“The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.” –Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her dissent of “Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.”
Today, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling that says the government can’t require certain employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control and emergency contraception that conflict with their religious beliefs. The case centers around Hobby Lobby, a self-proclaimed Christian corporation and chain of craft stores, and their refusal to cover birth control for their employees. These Supreme Court cases can be tricky to fully understand at times, so let’s break it down a bit.
Some background: Hobby Lobby, which has used their Christian values to explain away their lack of Hanukkah decorations in the past, decided that once the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, aka Obamacare) made it mandatory to cover birth control and emergency contraception, they were having no part of it, and took it to the Supreme Court. Then, after reviewing all the evidence, five out of the nine judges ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor, noting that in some cases, religious values was enough to get out of covering contraception care for female employees. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 23 2014
One of the challenges of being female and Orthodox is straddling the line between halachic modesty, artistic expression, and personal empowerment. Take it from Mina Black, a professional dancer and Orthodox mother of four.
“Being an artist in our community, a dancing artist, is a very odd thing. You’re not allowed to express your body. It’s not modest. A woman is supposed to be covered, humble,” says Black.
One of 14 siblings, Mina was raised in a haredi Jerusalem neighborhood where professional dance was strictly forbidden, and she spent a lifetime struggling to find a niche for her talent. Today she lives with her family in Long Island, where she owns a ballet studio for Orthodox girls, blending prayer and spirituality with the art of dance. Read the rest of this entry →