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May 9 2014

Though I Left Hasidic Life, I Kept My Mother’s Rice Pudding & Stories

By at 2:14 pm


For Mother’s Day, I do something unconventional. I make rice kugel for my small family of two: myself and my son. My mother, a Hasidic woman who raised more than a dozen children in the Village of Kiryas Joel, taught me a special rice pudding recipe. The recipe calls for a slice–and a story.

She made her kugel and told her story on Rosh Chodesh, the women’s holiday of my youth. In the Hasidic community we did not celebrate Mother’s Day, but Rosh Chodesh–the first day of the month of the Jewish calendar–was a minor holiday for women. We honored the women in biblical times who had been more pious than the men. According to tradition, Moses left for heaven and the men lost faith, made an idol. The women didn’t. They stayed strong and refused to throw their jewelry into the crafting fire for the idolatrous bull. To commemorate their strength and resolve, we always had something special to eat for dinner on Rosh Chodesh. Often, it was rice pudding and the story.

I have a warm image in my mind of my mother sitting at the dinner table in our kitchen on Satmar drive, her chair turned out to face the highchair. She began to tell and as she did, she fed pieces of chicken and potatoes to some baby–which of my siblings it was must have been of no consequence to me because I don’t remember. In that memory she puts the spoon in his mouth and tells the story in Yiddish: “There was a king that came to visit a town of not such smart people.” Read the rest of this entry →

May 8 2014

As a Mom Who Suffered From Infertility, Mother’s Day is Bittersweet

By at 5:14 pm


I’m not going to lie, and I shouldn’t have to. I love Mother’s Day. It’s strictly selfish, and I have no problem with that.

The holiday was never widely celebrated in my house growing up (“we should celebrate mothers every day,” “this is just another Hallmark holiday”), but ever since I became a mother for the first time, I have anticipated the day with a childlike excitement. What craft will my 2-year-old proudly bring home from preschool? I now wonder. What beautiful words will my husband put to paper, to be uncovered one day by our great-grandchildren? And even, Will I get something pretty?

The thing is, it took a lot for me to become a mother, and although it is no longer in the forefront of my mind, occupying every moment of my time the way it once did, I have not forgotten–the tests and treatments, the surgeries and procedures, and perhaps most significantly, the waiting and uncertainty. I went through a total of four IVF cycles for my two gorgeous sons, and I am reminded by my doctors that if I want to have another child, I will need to do IVF again or adopt. I may be a mother, but I still suffer from infertility. Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2014

What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day–Including Gifts That Don’t Even Cost a Dime

By at 5:48 pm

We asked Kveller mamas what they wanted for Mother’s Day–both material items and those more elusive wishes. Here is what they came up with.

Last minute gift-givers, take note!

Things you can buy:

1. This Ring.


I have been swooning over this ring for so long. It’s a total splurge and I would never actually ask for it but I think it is so sweet and perfect.

-Tamara Reese

2. Gym Gift Certificate.

I want a gift certificate to the workout place of my choice. I have finally found a place I love to work out–and have lost 15 lbs of baby weight in the past two months! I’d like to get a gift certificate there so I can get more classes, more endorphin rushes, and even more ‘healthier and energetic me,’ which ends up being a gift for myself and my family.

-Jordana Horn Read the rest of this entry →

This Mother’s Day, Let’s Reach Out to the Moms Who Are Going it Alone

By at 12:10 pm


Five years ago on Mother’s Day, I didn’t know my husband yet. I knew my ex-husband, for sure. And I knew that I was living with my unbelievably kind parents–they took me in when I got divorced when my boys were 3 and 2 years old, respectively. I knew I was one of the lucky ones: I had an emotional and economic safety net that kept me safe from the sharks of self-doubt, poverty and loneliness.

And I knew I still felt lonely.

I had so many people who loved me, yet, I felt alone. And when Mother’s Day ads started showing up in stores and online, I chose to focus on finding the right words and gift for my own mother. I changed the focus of the day to her, rather than me. Read the rest of this entry →

May 6 2014

Free Stuff Alert: Mother’s Day Just Got Greener With This Lovely Grow Bottle Giveaway

By at 3:34 pm



Don’t go with boring old flowers this year. This Mother’s Day, Kveller is giving away an elegant (and eco-friendly!) zinnias grow bottle from Modern Tribe. Keep them for yourself, give them to your wife, or have them shipped to your own mom.

Planted in a recycled wine bottle, these zinnias are super-easy to grow and sprout button-like flowers in bold, hot hues of almost every shade (except blue). They also attract butterflies, making them the perfect spring blossom!

Included in this gift are seeds, a growing medium, coconut husks for drainage, a cork coaster, and directions. A winner will be drawn on Thursday, May 8.

Spread the love. Fill out the form below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Jun 12 2013

Why We Don’t Celebrate Mother’s Day, but Do Celebrate Father’s Day

By at 10:00 am

father's dayI have never liked having a fuss made over me. I skipped both my high school and my college graduation ceremonies because I didn’t see a point to the long-winded, tedious ritual (held outside in the heat, no less). My husband and I got married at City Hall, because I felt the same way about weddings. (Maybe I inherited the trait from my own mother. Whenever we go to a friend’s wedding, she always tells my husband and I, “Thank you so much for not putting me through this.”)  Read the rest of this entry →

May 14 2013

Jewish Mother’s Day, With a Side Order of Guilt

By at 2:00 pm

darth vaderDon’t go on Facebook on Mother’s Day.

“Look at the breakfast my kids cooked for me,” one of my friends posted, proudly displaying a picture of some beautifully plated granola, coffee, and bud vase of flowers. Honestly. Other friends posted several photos of floral bouquets of varying size. There were status messages that said things like, “Oh, thank you so much, blah blah husband, for letting me sleep until 11! I have the best family in the world!”

When you write, “I have the best family/husband in the world,” the only thing it’s really conveying is “and YOU DON’T!” (Out of curiosity, how would one possibly measure the “best” spouse in the world? In good deeds? Penis/breast size? Bank account? Some combination thereof? And what does it matter if your spouse is the “best in the world”–doesn’t it matter more that that person is the best for you?) Read the rest of this entry →

May 11 2013

Trying to Make Nice with My Mother-in-Law

By at 9:20 pm

yellow yarnWe present this piece about that tricky mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship just in time for Mother(-in-law)’s Day.

My mom and I are so close that we can finish each other’s sentences, or at least harmonize in what my husband calls the Parade of Horribles (“Hope this milk’s not expired/Hope it’s not too cold for shorts/Oy, oy, oy”). But this Mother’s Day, I need to make a special effort to knock down the walls that have risen between “MIL” Dearest and me.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2013

Friday Night: Is One Day of Appreciation Ever Enough?

By at 2:58 pm

breakfast in bed for mother's day“How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?”

This is what all the moms were asking each other in our “Shabbat Shalom” toddler group this morning. For some, it was only their second Mother’s Day as mothers. For others of us (hand raised), Mother’s Day almost feels like a regular facet of the calendar. The real question, though, was eloquently asked by my friend and Kveller contributor Rebecca Schorr: “Are you in the “Mother’s Day means I want to be nowhere other than with my precious children” camp or the “Mother’s Day means I want to be nowhere near anyone who calls me Mom” camp?” Read the rest of this entry →

Mamaleh Day Gifts: What Debbie Wants

By at 1:17 pm

deborah kolbenNeed some Mother’s Day gift inspiration? We asked our contributing editors the three things they want (and the one thing they can’t actually buy). Now, in order to assure my husband gets me what I want, it’s my turn. Here’s what I’m hoping for this year, honey.

1. Japanese Coffee Funnel

japanese coffee funnelSince becoming a mother I have so few vices. However, the one I have refused to give up on is coffee. My 6-month-old has developed a fondness for early mornings, so we often get up and hang out at 5 am. More fun for her than me, I’m guessing. In those early morning hours I’d like the ability to make one delicious cup of coffee.

2.Dwell Magazine

dwell magazineI’m a sucker for magazines. And pretty houses.







3. Mamaleh Necklace

mamaleh necklaceMy life right now (or ever) has nothing in common with that of Carrie Bradshaw. But I’m pretty sure that if Carrie Bradshaw was the editor of Kveller, she would wear this necklace. In gold, of course.




The one thing I want for Mother’s Day that you can’t actually buy:

I want everyone in my house to sleep through the night. In their own bed.

*By purchasing any of the above items through Amazon, a portion of the proceeds will go to support our work at Kveller. It’s a Mother’s Day mitzvah!*


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