Nov 2 2012
Driving past towns and daylight and whining, we make our way to my husband’s home town.
I note the sun setting in slices against open fields. Miles of blues and oranges blending together above corn and cows and red tinted barns as Friday makes its way into Saturday.
The kids are immersed in their movie, and we’re just a titch beyond pointing out the animals, the fields, the memories that make this road trip something different.
We haven’t been here for years. But today we drive into town, and tomorrow we’ll visit my husband’s sick grandfather. Read the rest of this entry →
Right now we have two adults and one picky toddler eating solid foods in our house and on Friday night, we always have lots of left over challah.
One of our family traditions is to make challah French toast on Saturday morning. Literally, the first thing my son says when he opens his eyes on Saturday morning is, “Challah French toast day!” (God forbid I attempt to serve him cereal.) Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 10 2012
Five years ago my husband and I completely ignored Shabbat for the last time. Eager to arrive at our friend’s 30th birthday party, we kissed our (then) 3-year-old son and baby girl goodnight, gave the sitter cash for pizza, and made for the door. By then we were hosting traditional Shabbat dinners most weeks. I liked the idea of a weekly ritual that brought our family together, but I didn’t want to feel shackled to it either.
As we walked away our son yelled after us, “But what about my Shabbos dinner?”
The poor kid sobbed. He didn’t want pizza or a babysitter. He wanted chicken, kugel, challah, candles–the whole nine yards. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 20 2012
It happened again.
A suicide bomber blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria on Wednesday, killing six people and injuring over 30.
These people were on vacation. They went to a resort city to relax and to get away for a bit, as we all do every now and again. They chose a destination that was different and interesting from their normal environs, yet noted for a comparative absence of anti-Semitism.
And yet, Jewish blood was deliberately shed. Again.
Note I said Jewish blood, not Israeli blood. The person or people who committed this unspeakable act murdered my people. I may be American and not Israeli, but it doesn’t matter: these people were murdered because they were Jewish. Just like the rabbi and children in Toulouse, France earlier this year. Just like the bombing at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina 18 years ago. Just like the brutal murders at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago–murders which the world still refuses to honor with even one minute of silence. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 27 2012
Last Friday, exhausted and still jet lagged from our Passover travels to Canada, I found myself up at the crack of dawn, elbow-deep in challah dough and determined to make a challah–in the shape of a giant key! Apparently there is a custom before the first Shabbat after Passover to bake challah with a house key stuck inside of it and/or in the shape of a key. Known as “Shlissel Challah,” (shlissel means key in Yiddish), this custom is supposed to be asegulah, or good luck for sustentance or financial success for the coming year. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 20 2012
The story of parenting is one of stepping back and stepping away.
The baby leaves your womb, then your breast, and eventually your bed.
Instead of running into your arms, your daughter runs into the world.
Instead of babbling constantly to you, she prefers chatting with her friends.
Going off to school, first she cries and clings, then walks slowly away with a quick turn to wave, and later–a “goodbye, Mommy” and a sprint to the kids at the other end of the schoolyard. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 23 2012
This Shabbat, we may be saying goodbye to the crib.
I submitted an article to Kveller earlier this week, and then asked Debbie, my editor, to ignore it. It wasn’t very good. She read it and agreed–my heart just wasn’t in it, she said.
She was right. My heart wasn’t in it. My heart, and my mind, have been in a million different places lately, everywhere and thus nowhere. I’m packing the family for a long weekend vacation for a cousin’s bat mitzvah. I’m wiping the snot from my toddler’s face, who has been battling the same head cold for a week now. I’m worrying about where my big girl will sleep (or not) in the hotel, as she’s too big for a travel crib, but unwilling to sleep in a bed. I’m thinking about friends with cancer, and friends of friends with cancer. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 16 2012
So, my wife works wayyyyy more than full time. She’s an elementary school principal. It gets better! She’s also currently eight months pregnant. So, even if she had a flexible schedule, she doesn’t have any energy left at the end of the week to make Shabbat. I run a part-time law practice out of a home office, but I shut it down at noon on Fridays.
Just about every week, I take my 18-month-old son to the store to get challah (unless I baked it myself). I buy flowers. I cook a meat dish, usually in the sous-vide cooker starting days in advance. I make a chopped salad with a dressing recipe I’ve evolved by making it every week. I make sure we have wine. I set the table and make sure there are bentshers (Grace after Meals booklets) for everyone. During the week, I’ve put it out to my friends that they’re welcome to join us as long as they give me some notice so I know how much food to make. On top of this, I sit at the head of the table, make Kiddush, sing the songs, and say the blessings, just like a traditional male should. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 9 2012
On Tuesday, I sent my husband a text message that said something like: “SHE’S IN! Two mornings a week! Phew!!!” To which he replied: “?”
Wasn’t it obvious? I was talking about preschool.
Here in Park Slope, mecca of babyhood, toddlerhood, and childhood, applying to preschool and kindergarten is almost more insane than college applications. (For example, one school has a Monday morning first-come first-served process… for which parents get in line at 4 and 5 am. When the doors don’t open until 9. In February.) For months now my friends and I have been talking about preschool. Where would each of us choose to apply? Should we just scrap the whole thing and start our own co-op with each other? How do you afford preschool in the first place–especially because you often still need a babysitter to pick the kids up? Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 2 2012
Bialy: just as good as challah.
One night, at dinner, my 3-year-old son suddenly said “Shabbat Shalom.” My husband and I both looked up with a start. I quickly managed to put together that it had been music class day at his school (which is at a temple) and he was repeating “Shabbat Shalom” from a song he had learned. This led to a conversation about Shabbat. He has only experienced it at my parents’ house and one Tot Shabbat at his school. We figured we would “do” Shabbat, eventually, when the kids got older and it was more important to their Jewish learning. He wanted to do it now. Read the rest of this entry →