Dec 24 2012
“Mommy, is Grandma Dede Christian?”
“No, sweetie, she’s not. She’s Jewish.”
“Then why are we doing Christmas with her?”
This is the conversation I had with my 4-year-old daughter the other night over dinner. Grandma Dede is my beloved paternal grandmother, and today we are driving to New York to celebrate Christmas with her and the rest of my extended family. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 20 2012
As someone who learned English from watching TV, wrote a Master’s Thesis about TV, then worked in TV, I feel I can say with certainty that Christmas specials, be they rip-offs (sorry, homages) of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol,” or “Miracle on 34th Street,” all share a common message: Nonbelievers Snooze, Nonbelievers Lose. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 18 2012
“On the first night of Hanukkah, my mommy gave to me,” my 13-year-old son began singing, as the 9-year-old and 5-year-old joined him in the chorus, “Absolutely no-ooooo-thing!”
Well, it’s not like they weren’t warned.
A good week before Hanukkah started, I informed my kids that, due to the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, with people not 50 miles away losing everything they owned, not to mention the high unemployment rate, the millions of people going hungry all around the world, and the fact that my children already had so much stuff they couldn’t even manage to keep their rooms clean, there would be no Hanukkah gifts this year. Instead, we would spend the eight days of the holiday doing good deeds, and the eight nights discussing them as we lit our candles. Read the rest of this entry →
As Christmas approaches, many Jewish families, especially interfaith families, confront the question: Do you have a tree? Both married to non-Jews, but raising Jewish children, friends Aliza Worthington and Shoshana Martyniak have two very different answers.
Aliza: So, I have a Christmas tree in my house. Here’s why, not that you asked.
I’m married to a man who was raised Catholic. I was raised in a secular Jewish household by Jewish parents who insisted that the most important requirement for marriage was mutual love (lots of it) and mutual respect (lots of that, too). All other considerations were secondary. So, it surprised no one when my sister married a Catholic. When my grandmother learned my sister and her then-husband were going to have a Christmas tree, she said, “But, it won’t be a Jewish household!” Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 14 2012
There’s no easy way to put this, so I’m just going to come right out and say it.
I bought my daughters an obscene amount of princess toys for Hanukkah. No, not organic, hand-made, gender-neutral princess dolls who are engineers in their free time. I’m talking straight-up plastic, Disney, hot-off-the-shelves-of-the-big-box-store, probably-made-by-Taiwanese-orphans, useless-without-a-handsome-prince-to-save-them princesses.
I got them these. And these. And then I bought them this. And this. I wrapped them all up and gave them to my daughters for Hanukkah. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 12 2012
My favorite holiday memories revolve around my mother’s Hanukkah parties.
Three generations of Americans, Israelis, and Russians gathered in our small home by moonlight, their stories and voices and accents braiding together.
Old Hanukkah tapes would play, the almost-twangy music filling the spaces between food and loud and food and talk and food and fun.
Latkes were eaten, sufganiyot were devoured, and more than a few dreidels were spun.
My memories of these parties are golden, and their lesson equally bright: Hanukkah is meant to be a celebration. A fun one.
Today, my husband Jason and I are ready to create our own version of my mother’s parties for our (adult!) friends, with a twist.
Enter: The Vodka Latke Party. Read the rest of this entry →
Yes, of course, anyone who gives your children Hanukkah presents is super-nice, thoughtful, and should be thanked for being such a good person. That being said, here are eight Hanukkah gifts that should be marked “return to sender.”
1. “Sand art” kit: I’ve said it before and will say it again: anyone who gives your child a sand art kit secretly hates you. They don’t hate your kid–they hate YOU. Because there is no imaginable scenario in which the opening of the box of sand art does not end with you having arguably toxic sand permanently embedded in your floor, clothing, and home generally. On the plus side, now someone no longer hates you in secret! Read the rest of this entry →
If you’re still looking for new recipes for these last days of Hanukkah, look no further than this simple treat from Sina Mizrahi, author of the kosher food blog The Kosher Spoon.
For those who are especially busy during the week, make these easy 15-minute Cinnamon-Sugar Coconut Doughnuts. They are a breeze to make, requiring no yeast or rising time. Their texture is perfectly fluffy, with the dough being dense like cake rather than airy like traditional doughnuts. They are also moderately sweet, and the coconut gives a hint of flavor that’s pronounced yet subdued. A wonderful recipe for your busy, light-filled Hanukkah.
Cinnamon-Sugar Coconut Doughnuts Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 11 2012
Tamara and her kiddos
One of the most popular posts of late on the Huffington Post was one by Allison Tate about moms staying in the picture.
Her piece has been shared almost seven hundred thousand times not only because it was powerful and true and speaks to deep insecurities that so many of us carry, but because it was a call to action. When I look back at pictures of my own mother from when I was a toddler, I see nothing but beauty. While I have very few actual memories of that person I can see that she is young, happy, and bursting with love for the little red-headed girl she carries in the pictures. And every time I see one of those pictures I think to myself, “I wish there were more.” Read the rest of this entry →
I have a shocking bit of information for TV producers, magazine editors, and greeting card writers everywhere: Hanukkah is not Christmas.
While this may be obvious to some, the subtle differences in the two celebrations appear to have been skimmed over by many in popular culture who have decided that, since both take place in December, and we don’t want to be insensitive to non-Christians, let’s make sure that whenever we talk about “the holiday season” we take great pains to point out how Hanukah and Christmas are each about peace on Earth, goodwill towards men, and universal brotherhood. Read the rest of this entry →