Jul 23 2013
I held off on any screen time for my firstborn until after he was 2 years old. Not because of the American Academy of Pediatric recommendations or because I think TV is evil, but because I wanted to be the one influencing his newly developing mind. I wanted control over what concepts he was taking in and be present to talk about it when he had questions. All of this was relatively easy with one TV in our house that was never turned on while he was awake.
And then I was pregnant and dry heaving my breakfast into a trashcan and needed a break.
I actually had to teach my son how to watch TV by reading him Curious George books and then showing him that the same monkey was inside the television. It took a few times, but eventually he learned to love the show and I learned to love the 30 minutes I could hang my head over the toilet alone without anyone saying, “Mama is making that noise again.” Read the rest of this entry →
May 22 2013
What Makes a Baby, a picture book “about where babies come from,” is written and illustrated in a way that is sensitive to children and parents who found one another via the traditional route (i.e. sex!), or those families which came to be via reproductive technologies, surrogacy, or adoption. The pictures and language are gender neutral and the message is one of inclusivity and openness.
I got a chance to catch up with author Cory Silverberg, who is also a sexuality educator, over email recently, and asked him a few of our–ahem–burning questions.
OK. So what, exactly, does your work as a sexuality educator entail?
I write about sexuality each week for About.com. Part of my time is spent teaching and leading workshops, mostly for professionals and sometimes for regular people who want to know more about some aspect of their sexuality. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 4 2013
Rachel Zaslow is a midwife and Executive Director of Mother Health International, an NGO that supports high volume midwifery model of care centers in areas of extreme need. We talked with her about MHI, how a rabbi’s daughter ended up delivering babies in Uganda, and how midwifery has impacted her own child-rearing. Below the interview, learn how you can help MHI fund a new ambulance for their Uganda clinic.
1. How did a girl from Brooklyn end up delivering babies in Uganda?
It’s a long and twisty narrative, but the short version is that I was invited to come to Northern Uganda almost seven years ago to volunteer in a government-funded hospital, just as the war was ending. What I witnessed there was devastating. The hospital was functioning at what the WHO estimated to be over 10 times its capacity. Formerly abducted women were turned away in labor or sent to walk home minutes after giving birth, with a great likelihood of bleeding to death on the road home. Because the hospital was so busy, women who were admitted to the labor ward were often treated violently by the staff midwives for not pushing fast enough or failing to bring their own piece of plastic to give birth on. These conditions made for a traumatic and dangerous place to give birth in an area that has been ravaged by war. I founded the birth center in Uganda with a group of 30 traditional midwives and my partner midwife, Olivia Kimball, the next year. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 8 2013
Michelle Cove is the author of I Love Mondays: And Other Confessions from Devoted Working Moms and the editor of 614: the HBI ezine, an online magazine that aims to spark conversation on hot topics for Jewish women. Michelle is also the mother of an 8-year old girl. In her free time, she writes books and gives talks around the country. She chatted with us recently about the working mom guilt, avoiding burnout, and how important it is for our kids to see us fulfilled.
What prompted you to add the word “confessions” to the title of your book? Do you really find there’s a stigma attached to mothers who enjoy working outside the home? Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 3 2013
Priscilla Warner co-authored the New York Times bestselling memoir The Faith Club, and more recently, she wrote Learning to Breathe: My Year Long Quest to Bring Calm to My Life. She was kind enough to share a bit of her journey with us, including her experience with meditation and Jewish mysticism and her reflections on parenthood.
Learning to Breathe is about your journey “from panic to peace.” You began with meditation. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to start there?
For years, I’d been reading about Tibetan monks who meditated so effectively that neuroscientists were studying their brains. I felt that my overactive central nervous system was totally out of whack, but these men seemed to have figured out how to put their anxiety to rest. One monk in particular, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, had battled panic attacks as a child, so I signed up for one of his semi-silent retreats. He became my first meditation teacher. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 14 2012
Fifty-Two Shades of Blue-ish is a hilarious Jewish parody of 50 Shades of Grey.
In it, a nice Jewish girl named Rachel Levine gets involved with Jew Ishman, a tall dark and handsome CEO of Kosher Candyland. Jew is sexy, and very committed to Jewish women, but Rachel has to decide if she really wants to submit to his ALMOST TEN COMMANDMENTS (he always puts them in all caps) and a relationship with “Master Mars Bars” (what he prefers to be called). The book will keep you giggling even if you haven’t read the trilogy it’s riffing on.
We interviewed Karen S. Exkorn, author of Fifty-Two Shades of Blue-ish about her book, her life, and why she decided to donate a portion of her profits to an autism charity.
How did the idea for a Jewish parody of Fifty Shades of Grey come to you? Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 26 2012
When Theodore Ross was 9 years olds, his parents divorced and he moved with his mother from New York City to Mississippi. With that move, his mother decided to hide the fact that they were Jewish. She enrolled Theodore and his brother in Episcopal school where he sang in the choir and took communion. Years later, as an adult, Ross wondered: Am I still Jewish?
Am I a Jew? is Ross’s attempt to answer that question. The book documents his travels to various Jewish communities, including the Crypto-Jews in New Mexico to Monsey, the Ultra-Orthodox town in upstate New York. Below, we talked to Ross about his foggy memory of his childhood religion switch, why there are more mom blogs than dad blogs, and what religion he plans on raising his kids with.
How clearly do you remember your mother telling you about her plan to pretend to be Christian? Were you upset? Confused? Cool with it? Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 24 2012
Claudia Gold is a pediatrician, writer, and perhaps most importantly, a mother. She took some time out of her busy writing schedule to share her experience negotiating the challenges of balancing family and work.
How many children do you have? How old are they?
I have a 14-year-old son, an 18-year-old daughter, and a 24-year-old stepdaughter.
What kind of work do you do? Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 24 2012
Rabbi Heidi Hoover is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Emeth v’Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek in Brooklyn, NY, but unlike most rabbis, Hoover grew up the daughter of a Lutheran pastor. We sat down with Rabbi Hoover to talk about her conversion, swapping clergy stories with her father, and why her Jewish kids believe in Santa Clause.
Do you and your dad ever bond about both being in the clergy, albeit different religions?
Yes! The day-to-day work of a member of the clergy has a lot of similarities across religions. When I was in rabbinical school he once called me to say, “I want to tell you about this committee meeting I just had, because you’re going to have to deal with stuff like this.” Another time he told me I’d inspired him to brush up on his Hebrew, and he called me once to say, “What do you think about [the word] chesed?” A couple of times I’ve called him for advice, in particular one time when I had to lead services in a very challenging situation.
(BTW, I love this question, and it’s not one I’ve been often asked.) Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 21 2012
Earlier this year, Rabbi Ilana Garber found out her 1-year-old son has a genetic disorder known as Fragile X Syndrome. She was kind enough to share about this difficult experience with us, from the day of his diagnosis to her current fight to improve prenatal testing questions.
I understand that your 18-month-old son was recently diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome. What does that diagnosis mean? How are your son’s behaviors different from other children?
Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic disorder. Unlike most genetic diseases (like Tay Sachs, for instance), with Fragile X, it’s not about two parents being carriers of a disease; instead it’s about one parent having a mutation on the X chromosome. I am a carrier of a pre-mutation of the gene (which has certain health implications for me down the road) and my son has over 200 repeats of the mutation, so he has Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). Read the rest of this entry →