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 →
Oct 10 2012
It all started with a note taped to a refrigerator. Not just any fridge; this was the staff refrigerator in a hospital maternity ward in Jerusalem. The nurse, who discovered the note, was placing her pumped breast milk therein when she noticed it. “To Whom It May Concern,” read the politely worded note with a less than polite message, “Please do not store breast milk in this refrigerator. The Staff.”
Back just a few days from her maternity leave, as the only nursing mother on staff, the letter may as well have been addressed to her. Shocked, she complained up the chain of command all the way to upper management. She was told that each ward is its own democracy and can decide independently if it wants to allow breast milk to be placed in its own staff refrigerators. Unable to be a part of a “democracy” that could make such decisions, the nurse resigned. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 5 2012
Sarah's kids hanging out in the neighbor's sukkah.
“Mama, where are we going?” my daughter asks after I pick her up from gan on the kibbutz.
A sudden gust of wind, and her hair dances. “Wind!” my son shrieks from his perch on my shoulders.
It’s cold for October. And it gets dark early now — a few weeks of passive-aggressive autumn and then winter will be riding us hard in full force, slamming my LA ass against the ground in torrents of wind or rain while I look for a cozy room with a radiator. #FirstWorldProblems.
Except, then she asks again:
“Mama, where are we going to sleep tonight?”
This should be the biggest no-brainer question in the whole entire universe. Because let’s be real: there is only one right answer, and I should be able to look into my daughter’s upturned face and say “we’re going home, sweet girl.”
But… It turns out there is something worse than feeling homesick in the Homeland.
Anyone want to wager any guesses?
Try Homeless in the Homeland. And on the nights when I am with my kids, I do not have anywhere to take them. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 6 2012
From left to right: Emily Muskovitz Sweet, ED Chicago; Sara Rose Gorfinkel, ED TOWF; Joy Sisisky, ED JWF NY
For the first time, Jewish women’s foundations–14 in the United States and three in Israel–are pooling resources to effect social change for women and girls in Israel. The Jewish Women’s Collaborative International Fund has awarded a two-year, $150,000 grant to Itach-Maaki, the lead organization of Bringing Women to the Fore: A Feminist Partnership. We talked with some of the leaders from these foundations to find out more about the discirmination of women in Israel, and what we can do to help.
What recent events was the Jewish Women’s Collaborative International Fund responding to with this project?
An 8-year old girl walking to school in Beit Shemesh was spit upon by a group of ultra-Orthodox men who also called her a prostitute for her “immodest” dress. Around the same time, a group of Orthodox IDF male soldiers walked out of a ceremony where women were singing. An Israeli woman who refused to move to the back of a public bus was accosted by a hostile crowd, women’s faces were blurred in billboard advertisements in certain Jerusalem neighborhoods, and a national conference on women’s fertility banned women experts and speakers. This sad confluence of events prompted the Jewish Women’s Collaborative International Fund to look at the exclusion of women from the public sphere in Israel. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 7 2012
Let’s see… how do I say this without sounding like a total ass? Ok. Fine: I don’t hate the kibbutz.
In fact, I kind of like it.
Ever since I left late last year, I’ve come to realize that this place really isn’t so awful. And the people here are like people all over–good and bad and mostly just in between and trying to get by. Like me.
If I’m going to get all introspective and whatnot, I think the problem wasn’t the place–it was my place. See, I looked to this small community to fill the cracks in my life, and like any relationship that’s based on a dysfunctional need, I was disappointed. And because things at home were so tenuous–the kids were sick all the freaking time, and the surly silence between our walls would shatter in the clatter of yet another misinterpretation–I expected this kibbutz to fill my need for companionship and friendship and belonging. Read the rest of this entry →