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Apr 19 2013

Friday Night: It’s Almost Shabbat & We’re on Lockdown

By at 4:11 pm

challah on blue backgroundLast night my husband and I sat on the couch together and watched reruns of Saturday Night Live. Melissa McCarthy was hilarious. We laughed. It was good to laugh. I was glad to have my husband home after he was away all week on work. I went to sleep looking forward to spending the morning at a local park with my daughters and some good friends.

I woke up to the news that we were on lockdown. Less than five miles from our home, thousands of police and SWAT are searching houses in hopes of finding a man implicated in the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the murder of an MIT police office, and the shooting of a transit police officer. My uncle offered coffee to the cops in bulletproof vests carrying assault rifles through his backyard. His 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were fascinated by the “army men” outside.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t wrap my mind around the image. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 22 2013

Friday Night: Do Passover Your Own Way

By at 10:01 am

plastic wine cupsPassover is my favorite Jewish holiday. A meal and story followed by an entire week of daily (albeit minimal) sacrifices made in mindful celebration of our ancestors’ exodus from Egypt. Admittedly I can’t pass up an opportunity to smear horseradish on things and the beet juice variety literally makes me swoon. I’m excited to pull out the little book collection for our boys and tuck matzah into the afikomen bag I sewed myself. For eight days, the usual chore of dinner gives way to a food challenge where none of the usual players are allowed. And the last day I always get a text from my husband that says, “can we eat real food tonight?” and we head out for burgers after sundown. The kitchen is cleaned out and we start fresh when the week is over.

I am a Jew by choice married to a humbly secular tribe member. We light candles every Friday, pay temple dues and with each passing year grow more in our observance. Do we throw away every bit of chametz? No. We can’t afford to. What we didn’t consume prior to the holiday, we box up in plastic tubs and lock it away in our storage unit. Does that make us less Jewish? I hope not. To gentiles we seem like uber-Jews while Orthodox families may scoff at our attempts at Halacha. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 15 2013

Friday Night: I Chose My Kids (and Shabbat) Over a Job

By at 2:49 pm

fresh baked challahHere’s the thing. I actually did try to lean in. I updated my resume, sent it out, and dug out the blazer I only wear to interviews. I answered the standard questions about why I want the job (because biweekly midnight visits to the ER with croupy kids aren’t keeping me busy enough, apparently), what my weaknesses are (chocolate, pudgy-faced toddlers, and men who fold laundry), and how I would feel about being the only post-doc with kids (um, great?).

To be honest, I’m still not sure what happened at the interview. Perhaps I sabotaged myself. As perfect as the job was, and as much as my husband and friends assured me that we could make it work, I just couldn’t quite figure out how our family would function with both us working full time. I know millions of American families (including many of my neighbors and friends) do it, but all I could think about was laundry piling up, last minute emergency trips to the grocery store for milk, and strawberry-banana yogurt, and hushed but heated conversations about who was going to take a sick day to stay home with a feverish child. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 8 2013

Friday Night: Should We Cut Back on the Cutesy 10 Plagues Stuff?

By at 2:03 pm
10 plague masks

Fun or frightening?

Sometimes the most thought-provoking questions aren’t posed by our writers, but rather, by our readers. And so it was that last week, after Kveller posted on Facebook about a free Passover giveaway of nail decals illustrated with pictures of the 10 plagues that one reader commented, “I was just wondering if I was the only one who thinks death and destruction aren’t cute…Which finger should we put the dead babies on?”

Yikes. And…touché. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 22 2013

Friday Night: Honoring My Man of Valor

By at 2:06 pm

hot seatJordana recently posted on Facebook about an article she’d seen on wsj.com. The title of the article, “Small Acts, Big Love,” pretty much sums it up.

Basically, a recent study shows that people who find small ways to show their partners that they care are happier in their marriages. Not surprisingly, when you’re compassionate, loving, just plain nice, you make your partner happier, and you feel happier, too. The research is focused on the small things–like warming up your husband’s side of the bed or peeling your wife’s orange or bringing home his favorite dessert. Apparently, the little things add up.

I read the article and it got me thinking about hot seat, a game my family would play on Friday nights growing up. Each week another family member was chosen to be in the “hot seat” and everyone at the table was required to say something nice about the person.  Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 8 2013

Friday Night: BAM BOOM! BAM BOOM! BAM BOOM!

By at 11:55 am

baby girl listening to music with headphonesThat is how my daughter says, “Bim Bam.” As in, “Bim, bam, bim bim bim bam, bim bim bim bim bim bam.” Sing it with me if you will. I know this song inside and out. In fact, I am kind of an expert. I sing this little ditty approximately 4,000 times a day. Baby G is 18 months old, and Bim Bam is rocking her world. Baby G does not want to sing it herself, of course. In fact, she doesn’t actually want to sing it at all. She prefers to have it performed for her. By me. And who could blame her? I am the Lady Gaga of Bim Bam.

Little kids love repetition. You know that thing inside us adults that finds about 99% of things in the world annoying if we have to hear them more than twice? Yeah, little kids don’t have that. In fact, it’s just the opposite. When little kids find something they like, they like the hell out of it. As in, “Let’s make that thing I like aural and visual wallpaper for every waking second of my life–and then, when I wake up from my nap, we’re going to do it ALL OVER AGAIN! YEAH!” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 1 2013

Friday Night: Reuniting with Dad on Shabbat

By at 1:07 pm

familiy meal with mom dad and kidsTamara’s experience of Friday night, erev Shabbos, is very different than my own. To me, as a young child, Friday night was extra special precisely because my father was always there.

When I was a kid, my father traveled for business. He would leave on Sunday night, my mother, siblings, and I tearfully waving him off as he waited for the elevator. He would return Friday morning or late Thursday night. Every single week for as long as I can remember. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 25 2013

Friday Night: Too Tired for Shabbat?

By at 9:26 am

shabbat challah wine and candlesLately, I have been desperately seeking Shabbat.

At least I think I am and then I wonder if I’m just wishing the week away. Wishing away another seven days of snow and cold; tantrums and snotty noses. During the week, dinner is a mad dash to bedtime. My toddler gets more on the floor than he does in his mouth, the dishes seem like an impossible task plagued by the absence of a garbage disposal, and don’t even get me started on bath and bedtime. Times two.

The end of the day is hard and I’m rarely coherent enough to be mindful or graceful in my execution of motherhood. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 2 2012

Friday Night: Shabbat is a Feeling, Not a Routine

By at 1:41 pm

empty hotel roomDriving 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 →

Saturday Morning Breakfast Traditions: Challah French Toast!

By at 9:46 am

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 →

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