Nov 4 2013
If your toddler is the proud owner of 3T skinny jeans, black-rimmed glasses, or anything with a mustache on it, let’s face it: you’ve got a hipster toddler. This Hanukkah, embrace their cool factor with some of our favorite gifts for the trendy toddler set.
1. Converse All Stars for kids ($23-$45). These Chucks are perfect for the little hipster who can’t tie his shoes yet. Pair with skinny jeans and BAM, you’re ready to walk the streets of Brooklyn. Bonus gift? The Retro Pillow Hightop ($19.00) so they can look fly even when they nap.
2. Little Yids Chanukitty Hanukkah Sweater ($38). Now that we’ve got the shoes covered, let’s take care of another hipster classic: the ugly holiday sweater. To be honest, this one isn’t even that ugly. In fact, it’s pretty darn cute. Also of note: the Little Yids Spinmaster Sweater. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 30 2013
Walking down the street here in Brooklyn, we are practically under a Halloween assault. It’s a riot of pumpkins, multicolored cobwebs, skeletons, and scarecrows. My 4-year-old calls out her favorites (pink cobwebs, in case you were curious) and even the baby can point to the pumpkins. There’s a house five blocks away that turned their entire front stoop into a pirate ship with a skeleton crew, and the witty folks on our walk to school have a spooky version of Instagram (they call it Instaghoul, and I giggle inside every morning).
I grew up celebrating Halloween. In fact, I never knew it was something that some Jews didn’t do until I got to college and someone lectured me on how its pagan origins made it something that Jews specifically shouldn’t do. I suppose that’s true—Halloween certainly was once something deeply religious, and not for the Jews. But that’s just not how it feels these days, at least to me. The majority of those celebrating Halloween in America aren’t doing it for religious reasons anymore. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →