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Jul 1 2014

I Left The Hasidic World But Now My Son Wants to Keep Kosher

By at 2:39 pm

Kosher-symbol

When my son was nearly 5, he and I moved to a new home. It was only 30 miles away, but those 30 miles changed everything. We left the insular Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, and settled into a Modern Orthodox community in Rockland County, New York.

Although I was virtually alone, I was determined to remain connected to my past and remain observant. My commitment didn’t come from a particular religious belief, but from the strong resolve to stay connected–and help my son stay connected–to our network of Hasidic relatives. For my son, I believed, it would help nurture a relationship with his Satmar family.

But things didn’t go as I’d hoped. Staying religious as a full-time single parent meant spending Shabbat in our tiny basement apartment, waiting, waiting, waiting for the day to pass. My son also had trouble fitting into the religious community and, despite my best efforts to go to shul and participate in meals in the neighborhood, we felt shut out. It wasn’t from lack of effort on the community’s end. We simply didn’t fit: nothing of my socioeconomic situation as a struggling single mom belonged in middle-class Modern Orthodox suburbia. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2014

Nice Modern Orthodox Boy Slings Penis Jokes on “America’s Got Talent”

By at 10:27 am
Josh Orlian slings penis jokes on "America's Got Talent"

Josh Orlian via Twitter

Meet Josh Orlian, a 12-year-old Modern Orthodox Jew from White Plains, New York, who made his stand-up comedy debut on last night’s episode of “America’s Got Talent.” Not yet a bar mitzvah, young Josh, with sweet red hair and a kippah on his head, explained to the camera before taking the stage that he was quite nervous–until this moment he had only performed his jokes in front of family and friends.

Like any proud Jewish parents, Josh’s folks were there to cheer him on, his mother kvelling, as expected, “Of course I always laugh. I’m his mother!”

What wasn’t so expected? The dirty, dirty act that followed. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 18 2012

My Orthodoxy Doesn’t Look Like That Orthodoxy

By at 12:02 pm
Serving up cholent for Shabbat.

Serving up cholent on Shabbat.

Everyone takes their own journey and I was interested in Yael Armstrong’s account of hers. I was sorry, though, that she did not distinguish among the different types of Orthodoxy in the Jewish community. Because despite the fact that “Orthodox” literally means “true belief,” or “one way,” there are many ways that one can be considered an Orthodox, or “Ortho-prax,” Jew today. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 22 2012

Interviews with Interesting Jews: Daniel Nissanoff

By at 9:59 am

dan nissanoffWhat happens when your classic businessman/entrepreneur takes his talents for business-to-business models and business shopping robots* to the playpen? Daniel Nissanoff founded Make Meaning, a creative play space for children and adults with two locations in Manhattan, and soon to be hundreds more throughout the country. We talked with him about the concept for Make Meaning, and his life as a working (Jewish!) dad.

*Yes, that’s an actual thing.

Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for Make Meaning? Read the rest of this entry →

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