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Aug 21 2014

Sleep Training When Your Partner is in the Israeli Army

By at 9:47 am

sleeptraining

Sleep training is hard any time of the year. When trying to find a quiet week to start sleep training, parents will inevitably discover there is no good time, as “normal” life is constantly interrupted by birthdays, late-night meetings, work trips, and so on. You just have to pick a week and try to be consistent.

So when my husband got called up to miluim (emergency reserve duty in the Israeli Army) this August, you can imagine my hesitation to start sleep training alone. It was just a week after we arrived back home in Israel, right after our 6-month-old, Chanan, recovered from jet lag, and mid-way into Operation Protective Edge (which we hope is almost over).

Against my better judgment, I’m trying anyway. And as a result, I’ve come up with five reasons why miluim really screws with sleep training. (I’m sure in many ways these concerns will echo with the experiences of parents living far from the front.)  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 11 2014

I’m Sad Our Israel Vacation is Over–But I’m Glad It Happened

By at 11:00 am

Bag-map

A crumpled up map of the city of Jerusalem. A ticket from the Israel Museum. A black and red card for my favorite falafel place in Jaffa. A guide to the tunnels under the Western Wall. A pinkly pale and gray shell I found on the beach in Herzliya.

These smudged, damp, and crinkled remnants of our adventures gently spill out of my new turquoise made-in-Israel bag like the fine grains of Dead Sea salt that scattered on the bathroom floor from my bathing suit this evening.

It’s almost over, our vacation. And I wish it wasn’t. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2014

“Frozen” Parody Helps Israelis Cope With Rocket Fire

By at 4:08 pm

israel

Since we know you really need more “Frozen” parodies to add to the soundtrack of your life, we bring you this lovely spin on “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”

In order to deal with the constant barrage of rocket fire, some Israelis adapted the song to “Do You Think That Was a Siren?”

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2014

We Survived Our First Air Raid Siren

By at 12:09 pm

israel-houses

Exactly two weeks ago, we were at Ben Gurion Airport, freshly minted Israelis, exhausted and exhilarated after a sleepless night on our aliyah charter flight. We came in the middle of a war and, along with all the excitement of a dream come true, was the specter of the sirens: When would we hear our first one? What would it sound like? Would we know what to do? And most importantly: Would the kids be OK?

As we drove home from the airport, and many times since then, whether it was while enjoying the vibrant landscapes of our glorious homeland or munching on decadent dulce de leche waffles at a cafe or standing on line to open our first Israeli bank account, I would suddenly think: “What if it were now?” But those thoughts have been fleeting and instead we’ve gone about building our new Israeli lives–making friends, learning the way to the local park, buying choco at the makolet, meeting the school principal, and figuring out which Israeli cream cheese is the most like Philadelphia for my kids’ discerning American palates.

We had danced around the danger. Right after we left the airport two weeks ago there was a siren there (the one that lead to the cancelled flights). When we went to dinner in Jerusalem last week with new friends, it turns out we had just missed a siren there. While at dinner that night, we missed a siren back at our home in the Judean Hills. Calls and texts flooded my phone: Are you OK? Were you scared? Our new, extraordinarily warm and welcoming friends near our barely-lived-in-yet home were checking up on us newbies to make sure we weathered the siren well. We’re OK, we reassured them. We missed it. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Dissect The News With Your Kids

By at 11:13 am

CNN-news

My parents are in town. My dad watches the news. Constantly. CNN, BBC, DC (German), NHK (Japanese), Al-Jazeera. As a result, my kids, ages 15, almost 11, and 7 have also been watching the news. And we all know what’s been on the news the past few weeks. Constantly.

My master’s degree is in Media Analysis. In the past, I’ve deconstructed children’s cartoons and the messages they send about intermarriage, Christmas TV programming, and an infamous Cheerios commercial.

In other words, I cannot watch television like a normal person. And that includes the news. That especially includes the news. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 4 2014

Your Kids Are Ready to Talk About Israel. Are You?

By at 11:05 am

wailing-wall

Our children are listening. When we pore over news sources and incessantly check our Facebook feeds to find out the latest from Israel and Gaza, our children are watching. When we whisper in muted voices or cry out in protest about the situation in the Middle East and the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world, our children are hearing.

How do we talk to young children living far away from Israel about the current situation when they are not yet old enough to understand terms like “Zionism” or “anti-Semitism” or “terrorism” or “occupation”?

As parents of young children and also as Jewish educators, we would like to offer some tips for talking (and listening) to young children about the current conflagration. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 30 2014

One 9-Year-Old’s Proposal to End the Gaza War

By at 11:56 am

puppies-for-gaza

I have a 9-year-old son. He is sensitive and compassionate. He listens carefully to conversations so as not to miss anything, and he is able to see concepts and complex relationships, making him seem wise beyond his years.

Perhaps these traits are the reason why my husband and I have never shied away from discussing current events with him in an age-appropriate way. We’re also just not the kind of parents who believe that children must order strictly off the kids’ menu or discuss only kid-friendly topics.

So, when our son returned from his Jewish overnight camp, we mentioned what was happening in Israel. He told us he already knew. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 29 2014

A Kind Stranger Helped My Kids During a Tel Aviv Air Raid

By at 2:20 pm

shelter

My Israeli husband and I, along with our kids, made aliyah two months ago. Our new neighborhood, a sleepy suburb of Tel Aviv, has been disrupted several times a day by the sound of a long piercing siren. Our 3-year-old twins, born and raised in New York, refer to the sirens as “a big fire truck,” but this time was different.

I was caught outside alone with the twins and our 6-month-old baby on our way to the playground after school. We had stopped to feed the baby and they sat next to me on a city bench chatting away and undoing their sandals to busy themselves. Suddenly, my worst nightmare came true and the sirens started piercing.

I started visualizing horrors as I ran to the nearest building holding my baby, leaving everything behind including my purse and stroller. I called for the twins to come with me and walk up the stairs to a nearby apartment building, but they wouldn’t. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 28 2014

SEE: Israeli Actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

By at 1:07 pm

Director Zack Snyder revealed the first photo of Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman via Twitter on Saturday. Gadot is most recognized for her role as “Giselle” in the last three “Fast & Furious” movies. Before becoming an actress and model, Gal was a sports trainer for the IDF.

In other words, she’s pretty badass.

But even more powerful than the image of Gadot as Wonder Woman is this Facebook post of the actress and her daughter lighting Shabbat candles accompanied by a prayer for the IDF and the people of Israel. Just breathtaking.

 

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Making Aliyah in the Midst of a War

By at 10:02 am

EL-AL

I moved to Israel last week with four kids, ages 5 to 12, right before they stopped most flights to Israel.

Over the last month, while Israel had fallen on tumultuous times, I had been running my own Operation Protective Edge to keep my younger children in the dark about what was happening there.

Shielding them in the Cone of Silence had been easier because we had been driving cross-country from our former home in San Diego to New York over the last four weeks to get to our flight to Israel. We experienced glorious national parks in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, stood at the foothills of Mt. Rushmore, zoomed across the Badlands in South Dakota, and splashed on slides in the Wisconsin Dells, the water park capital of the world. Read the rest of this entry →

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