Feb 15 2013
The Western Wall or Kotel, archaeologically impressive though it may be, is not holy to me in a conventional sense–and recent events have made it less holy in my eyes, though not in the ways you might think.
Many, many Jews consider the Western Wall to be holy because it is the oldest remaining structure from the time of the Temple. It’s not, mind you, even a wall of the Temple itself–it’s just a retaining wall around the Temple Mount. To me, this makes the wall interesting, poignant, historically critical, and relevant–but not inherently holy. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 7 2013
“We didn’t sign our son up for preschool,” my ex messaged me this morning.
Evidently, somewhere in between everything, Expat Barbie over here missed the memo. Literally. A memo in Hebrew that went out to the parents about signing up for gan.
And ooohhhh, this raised issues for me. Nasty, mean issues like crusty alligators that lurk beneath the surface of my (deep) neuroses, emerging periodically to bite and snap in a carnivorous power struggle.
I’m reminded of a girl in my elementary school–Shella had chocolate eyes and hair that shone like the sun at high noon. At first, she wore dresses with too many frills. At first, her mouth shaped her words differently than ours. But that began to change. She cut her long silvery blonde hair by herself with a pair of toy scissors. She started wearing ripped jeans and t-shirts, just like us. American slang scattered from her lips carelessly, tripping her parents as they stumbled to catch up to her. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 29 2013
Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to parenting.
My most recent journey into impatience came last night as my 2-year-old daughter twirled and sang her way into the wee hours of the night.
I had been trying to put her to sleep for three hours, and it just wasn’t working. Given the fact that she had experienced a transatlantic flight, and we arrived in Israel a few hours before (and that she was excited about being in a new place, and sharing a room with her older brother and being out of a crib, and and…) I had to cut her a little slack. But my ability to empathize and (what seemed like) the Herculean task of mustering the patience I needed had grown thin. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 22 2013
For me and my children, one of the highest things on our to do list when traveling to Israel was to visit the Kotel, the Western Wall.
Before our trip, I had quickly read about, but not dwelled on, the arrest of Anat Hoffman, the leader of Women of the Wall, in October, allegedly for singing the Shema out loud at the wall and for wearing a tallit (prayer shawl). For a woman to wear a tallit while praying at the wall is against current law: in 2003, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a government ban on women wearing tefillin (phylacteries) or tallitim at the Wall, or reading from the Torah at the Wall. I was shocked to read of Hoffman’s arrest, but her act of wearing a tallit didn’t resonate with me, as I have never worn one, despite attending Conservative shuls my entire life and being bat mitzvahed. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 14 2013
My son has become a rabbit.
A 3-year-old rabbit with pale blonde hair and a blue Angry Birds ski cap pulled low over his forehead.
I didn’t get it at first. And I didn’t understand why he was hopping out of the classroom when I picked him up from preschool.
“Do you have to go to the bathroom?”
He wiggled his nose.
“Did you hurt your foot?” Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 21 2012
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, as time in any Costco parking lot will tell you. But this Thanksgiving season, I am gasping for breath, torn in different directions.
It’s been a busy few weeks in my own personal life. I popped my fourth kid out a month ago. She went back to the hospital. Hurricane Sandy hit hard, leaving us powerless for two weeks. But in all the stress of living with a newborn and three other kids without power for two weeks–and as you may remember, I’m a semi-spoiled girl who likes her epidurals, so imagine how I feel about electricity!–it was nothing compared to how my friends in Israel are now living. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 20 2012
I remember a conversation I had with my grandmother not long before she died. She was in a hospital bed that had been set up in the dining room; she hadn’t been able to climb the stairs to the second floor of her house for years. I pulled a chair close, and asked her if she used to light candles on Friday night back when she was a little girl in Northern Italy.
The question had been chosen carefully, and with great intention. I knew that if I asked her if she was Jewish, if we were Jewish, she would vehemently deny it. But when I asked her about the candles, my grandmother smiled and told me about cleaning the house every Friday, about cooking all afternoon, and yes, she told me, of course they lit candles. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 19 2012
All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.
This week we’re focusing our News Roundup on parenting stories that focus on the recent rocket attacks in Israel, and Israel’s military response:
- The New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, was interviewed by the Sisterhood blog about being a reporter and a mom who has kids living in Jerusalem as she reports on the recent events in Gaza. Maybe it’s a front but this lady seems tough as nails.
- Jessica Apple, a mom in Jerusalem, writes in the New York Times about how she’s talking to her kids about what’s going on, and about her lost hope in the peace process. Sad, and riveting.
- An Israeli dad writes an open letter to a Palestinian man who lost his daughter in an Israeli missile attack. Heartbreaking.
Nov 16 2012
“Airplane!” my son shrieks while the sky rattles as fighter jets rip through the clouds.
He spreads his arms, roars like an F16, and zooms across the grass.
My daughter is older–and she notices what her brother has missed.
“There are a lot of planes today, Mama.”
There are a lot of planes today because no matter what you want to call it, this country is at war. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 1 2012
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, Sarah Tuttle-Singer shares her child-support strategy.
Last month I had a grand total of 42 shekels in my bank account and no place to sleep with the kids. Nights get cold here, now. The sun sets early, and the usual standbys–the pool, the pub for dinner, or sleeping in a tent–are no longer options.
But the most stressful part of all of this was I couldn’t pay child support for two months. Read the rest of this entry →