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Oct 14 2014

Pinterest Has No Good Ideas For Decorating Jewishly

By at 11:56 am

Chagall-window

I’m desperate to redo the sad, drab entryway in my house. After seven moves with the U.S. military, I’ve become accustomed to simply putting our things “where they fit” in whatever home we’re currently living in.

Our family–and our belongings–have become the only real indication of where our “home” is after moving so much. But now that we’re more settled at our current duty station, it’s time to really reevaluate.

Does this home look like we want it to? Like us? Who are we, anyway? Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 10 2014

Mazel Tov! Fran Drescher Ties the Knot

By at 2:34 pm

Fran-D

Fran Drescher is off the market.

The actress we know best as Fran Fine from “The Nanny” got married to inventor Shiva Ayyadurai Sunday, whom she met a little over a year ago when she watched him speak at a Deepak Chopra event, reports the Huffington Post.

“I was speaking on sages and scientists — in fact, talking about innovation and the fact that we need to more universally look at the models of innovation,” Ayyadurai explained to host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. “And Fran heard my talk and we fell in love, and we’ve been together since that talk.”

The nuptials took place at an intimate ceremony with family and close friends at Fran’s beachside home. The bride wore a red Badgely Mischka gown, and the groom wore Ralph Lauren. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 3 2014

How to Have Male Friends Without Destroying Your Marriage

By at 3:32 pm

can men and women be just friends

Last summer I was a bridesmaid at one of my very dearest friend’s weddings. I wore a fitted black dress with a white sash that made me feel a little Audrey Hepburn-ish.

When I walked down the aisle, I smiled tearfully into his eyes and then I took my place by his side.

That’s right. His.

Ben has been one of my closest friends since I started college. He’s the one I confided in when I failed tests, when I got my heart broken, even when I lost my virginity. We’ve gone on crazy wild adventures together, sleeping in cars and getting lost in the woods. He’s held my newborn babies and I’ve held his. Read the rest of this entry →

May 12 2014

Up Close: Rachel & Scott Stein

By at 9:02 am

Up Close: Rachel & Scott Stein

1. How did you and your husband meet?

Scott and I met as undergraduates at Stony Brook University. We were both dating other people at the time but socialized in the same circle of friends. After graduation we reconnected and he asked me out on a date.

About two months into dating we took a road trip to North Carolina. After being in the car for such a long time I just blurted out, “So is it important to you to raise your children Jewish?” I said it so casually, like if it was important to him to put pickles on his burger. It turned out to be a great conversation starter for such a long drive and it really helped us make sure we were on the same page in regards to the future. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 5 2014

Since Becoming A Single Mom By Choice, My Idea of True Love Has Evolved

By at 4:27 pm

huppah

Imagine the scene yesterday: I needed to find one piece of paper, a particular form that will accelerate the process of renewing my daughter’s passport before we travel to the United States this July, for my younger brother’s wedding.

List-maker and Type A that I am, I thought I had the perfect system in place, and that finding this form would be easy-peasy. One hour later, I had opened every file cabinet and folder and drawer in the house, with a forest worth of paperwork covering every available space in the living room. My entire bureaucratic history in Israel exposed, the last 17 years of job applications, funny newspaper articles, and editorial cartoons from the New York Times, and all the fantasies I had constructed: the new car I cannot afford, the Canyon Ranch spa that represents the vacation I so desperately need, the novel I started one night after a particularly inspiring dream.

After another hour of digging through the chaos, I found the passport file, right next to THE WEDDING BOOK. Several envelopes containing a full set of plans for my Israel wedding, from the caterer to the diamond ring to the chocolatier, to the list of potential and acceptable music which would accompany me down the aisle (Either orchestral “Field of Dreams” soundtrack or “One Heart” from “West Side Story”). All the contact information was there, ready to be activated should I get engaged, if I were getting married ten years ago; I am fairly certain that most of these people in the “field of happy occasions” have changed their numbers by now. Apparently we–my potential husband and I–were planning on traveling to the Far East for our honeymoon. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 10 2014

News Roundup: Does More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?

By at 2:52 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.no-sex-roundup

-Do more equal marriages mean couples are having less sex? In short, yes. Or at least those were the findings of a study which appeared in The American Sociological Review last year. Check out the New York Times’ fascinating reporting on the subject, which is bound to be the topic of dinner table discussions for a while. (The New York Times)

-Losing a nipple can be a traumatic side effect of breast cancer surgery. After losing her nipple in a double mastectomy, one Israeli survivor spent a year studying with a silicon designer who specializes in prosthetics and invented the first ever a prosthetic nipple–filling an important niche for women all over the world. (JTA)

-Are Jewish day schools gender-typing our kids as young as preschool age? What is long-term impact of an elementary education that encourages Talmud study for boys and Challah baking for girls? These are the questions raised in a new book by Elana Sztokman and Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman titled, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools. Check out Tablet’s fantastic podcast interview with the book’s author. (Tablet Magazine)

-Here’s a novel idea: using beans to talk to kids about money and charity. Since kids often can’t compute number in the five or six digit range, this author suggests breaking down the family pie visually in order to foster a healthy discussion about giving and where the family finances get distributed. (The New York Times)

-Check out this poignant essay by Kveller contributing editor Adina Kay Gross about losing her father when her twins were just 18 months old and how she keeps his memory present in their day-to-day lives. (Modern Loss)

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Jan 22 2014

Mitzvah Notes For Mommy

By at 9:32 am

notez

My daughter’s preschool teacher has created a daily task in which we, the parents, write “mitzvah notes” for our children each day. These notes are meant to describe the ways in which our children are helpful, cooperative, or did good deeds. The notes are read in class with the children, who, I am told, are excited to hear and discuss the good things they have done.

I must admit that when I first learned about this task, I considered it a burden. How, I wondered, could we be expected to come up with a good deed that our 3-year-old did each day? Have you ever met a 3-year-old? I knew it would be far easier to rattle off “not so mitzvah notes,” like so:

She refused to brush her teeth.

She refused to get out of the bath.

She refused to get dressed.

She hit Mommy.

She pushed her sister.

She screamed in my face when I tried to comfort her because I was not Mommy. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 13 2014

14 Things You Should Know Before Getting Married

By at 1:56 pm

marry

My husband and I just celebrated a milestone anniversary–our 40th.

We married when we were 21 and 22, respectively, after meeting five years before in summer camp. In my senior year of high school, even while dating other people, I knew I wanted to marry him. I didn’t have a “list” or set of criteria like so many women seem to have now. I didn’t analyze, intellectualize, or speculate on his earning potential or what kind of father he would be. I just jumped, taking a leap of faith that remarkably, astonishingly, and awesomely paid off.

Over the decades I have learned a lot about marriage, from my own experience and from observing other people. These are some of my conclusions; some things I think people should know before they get married:

1. Know that you will not always be happy.

2. Don’t expect your spouse to fulfill all your needs. Women, especially, should make sure to keep their friends. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 6 2013

On Our 10th Anniversary, Discovering a New Meaning of Faith

By at 12:23 pm

DanaSiles_SCAN036wtmkwtmk

We got married on Sunday, December 7, 2003. (Yeah, yeah, I know, the Day That Will Live in Infamy. In our case, it was more like the Day That the Rabbi Was Available.) It was a sunny, beautiful day, with nearly three feet of snow on the ground. One of the largest Nor’easters in recorded history had passed through New England in the days before our wedding, but our wedding morning was perfect.

I recently got a copy of the words our Rabbi said as we stood with her under the chuppah:

Now I want to talk about this snowstorm. I think there’s something auspicious in it, perhaps a teaching here. Planning a wedding is a vast exercise in the delusion of control. There are so many details, so many things we want to get just right. And then, something like the snowstorm occurs and suddenly we realize that we’re not really always so in control. Sometimes that realization brings disappointments, frustrations. But it also uncovers something important: that to a certain extent, we just need to have faith.

We can make our plans for future happiness, but we can’t be sure things will unfold exactly as we hope. And that’s really the beauty of the commitment you’re making here today–the statement of faith that each of you is making about the other. That even without knowing exactly how things are going to turn out, even with not being able to control for every eventuality, you have faith that this is the person you want to be on this journey with.

And now we have been on this journey for 10 years. A decade. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we got here, to this place of love and stability and occasional squabbles and frustrations. And I keep coming back to faith. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 14 2013

Parenthood? I Think You Mean Marriagehood: Recap for Episodes 6 & 7

By at 3:37 pm

courduroy

It’s possible that we’re wired to notice those aspects of art that apply to our own lives–one person staring at a Degas painting might see light, truth, and love, while another might simply see smashed up crumbly cheerios because they are the bane of her existence.

What? My point: the story lines on Parenthood that I am most interested in talking about are the ones that I can relate to, or the ones that somehow reflect my life. As such…

I have been less interested in the Amber/Ryan kerfuffle, or the Drew-goes-to-college-and-tries-to-figure-out-girls saga (though I do love Drew, such a sweet boy) and way more interested in the Julia-and-Joel-chaos and, to some degree, the Bonnie Bedelia-Coach-autumn-of-our-years plot.

First, though, let me take a moment to pay homage to Crosby, my favorite Braverman who, in episode six, rages against the minivan. Now, this was indeed a hackneyed storyline. Surely we all know someone in life (or on Facebook) who has struggled with a similar reality. (I don’t think anyone does it as cutely as Crosby does, though.) To get the details out of the way: Jasmine wants to get a minivan and get rid of Crosby’s “cool” vintage car. This comes to pass, and they make out in the backseat and all is well. Read the rest of this entry →

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