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Sep 15 2014

Bronze Statue of Amy Winehouse Unveiled Wearing Star of David

By at 1:51 pm

Amy-Winehouse

A bronze statue of British R&B and soul sensation Amy Winehouse, who died from alcohol poisoning three years ago, was unveiled in Camden Sunday, on what would have been the singer’s 31st birthday.

Designed by artist Scott Eaton, the statue of Amy has a star of David draped around her neck and a live rose perched in her signature beehive.

The unveiling took place in front of her parents, family, and fans who came out by the hundreds to pay tribute. As the statue was unveiled, Amy’s father Mitch Winehouse, who lobbied for its erection, planted a kiss on his daughter’s cheek, reports the Guardian: Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 11 2014

My Sister’s Stillbirth

By at 4:13 pm

stillbirth

On October 31st, 2012, I awoke to a phone call from my sister. “I think I’m going to have a baby today. Maybe baby!” I pretended to be calm and collected and told her I would be right over. She only lives five minutes down the road.

When I got to my sister’s house, her curly-headed 2-year-old Rachie greeted me at the door with a big grin. My sister was trying to stifle her own excitement, knowing that while she had been having steady contractions since 3 a.m., birthing is unpredictable–it could be an hour or a day. As we watched television, she wiggled around on the birthing ball, shifting positions, walking around, breathing deeply as her contractions rose and fell. I was mesmerized. This woman before me, sister of my blood, seemed elevated with grace and knowing even in the throes of her primal ache. What a great laborer, I thought to myself enviously. I wish I could do that.

When it was almost noon, we noticed that the contractions were coming a bit less frequently than the morning. “When they get back from the store, Rachie will nurse,” my sister said confidently. “That will get the contractions going again.” Sure enough, the arrival of her big girl sent strong clenches through her uterus as we awaited the midwife. Not just any midwife, but the woman who had gently steered and caught my son and both my sister’s older children. Read the rest of this entry →

Since My Sister-in-Law Died in an Accident, I’ve Learned to Stop Worrying About Death

By at 10:10 am

sad-boy

My son Dalen is a worrier. He worries about big things like mass extinction and little things like being late for school and not wearing the right color clothes for Spirit Day. When his mind begins to spin and his fingers begin to twist, I think of myself at that age.

I was an anxious kid. I worried about thunderstorms and math tests and lingering coughs. But more than anything, I worried about death. I was obsessed with it, in fact. Every time my parents were 10 minutes late to pick me up (always) I imagined them buried under a monstrous tractor trailer. When my little brother started going out with his friends, I stayed up and waited for him long after my parents had gone to bed. And when my dad complained of chest discomfort, I didn’t sleep for a month.

Death lurked behind every doorway, sneaked in through every crack in the ceiling, crawled under the floor, slithered into my daydreams, and lingered long into the night. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 9 2014

Howard Stern Talked About Joan Rivers’ Vagina at Her Funeral

By at 3:01 pm

Joan-vagina-joke

Oh, Joan. The reason we love her so much is because she was never afraid to blurt out what we all were thinking–especially when it came to motherhood, childbirth, and all things vaginal.

So it was only appropriate that Howard Stern deliver a quintessentially Joan-esque eulogy at her star-studded funeral at Temple Emanu-el on the Upper East Side of Manhattan this past Sunday.

On her website, comedian Margaret Cho, who was at the funeral, described what happened after Howard’s opening line, “Joan had a dry pussy.” Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 4 2014

RIP, Joan Rivers

By at 3:29 pm

Joan-Rivers-death-2

We are so sad to learn that Joan Rivers has died at 81 today, from complications related to throat surgery.

RIP, Joan Rivers, and thank you for making us laugh for all these years. You will be missed.

Read more about Rivers’ impressive career here, and share your favorite Joan moments in the comments below.

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Aug 19 2014

Yes, You Can Be Too Close to Your Mom

By at 10:01 am

too-close

I have worked with retired “senior” adults for many years. The other day a woman I had never met came in sobbing about the loss of her mother over a year ago. This was not the first time I have been surprised by the intensity of grief experienced by an older woman over the death of a very, very old mother.

But it did pose the question: Can you be too close to your mother?

A few weeks ago, the same thing happened with another woman in my office. Years earlier, someone else told me she had never married or fulfilled her potential because her mother insisted that she take care of her until she died. I recall a man who slept on the floor next to his old mother’s bed in case she needed immediate attention during the night. She lived a long life and by the time he got up off that floor, he didn’t have much else. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 14 2014

Larry David Wrote a Funny Play About Shiva–And it’s Coming to Broadway

By at 2:02 pm

Larry-David-New-Play

Larry David is coming to Broadway!

David plans to star in a comedic play he wrote about death and mourning–something only Larry David could pull off. Initially titled “Shiva” but renamed “Fish in the Dark,” Larry says the show was inspired by the death of his friend’s father.

David told The New York Times that he will be playing “somebody very similar to Larry David–it might even be Larry David with a different name.” Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 13 2014

I Never Thought I’d Let My Son Watch TV–Until Now

By at 3:25 pm

Boy-watching-TV

I love television. I always have. I love to talk about TV with friends, I love to rewatch shows I haven’t seen in years, and now with services like Hulu and Netflix, I love catching up on shows I missed the first time around. I don’t usually have much time for TV, but while recovering from a C-section this past February, I watched almost the whole 10-year run of “How I Met Your Mother” while caring for my newborn. Hundreds of episodes, probably.

I can’t believe I just told you all that. Because I love TV, but boy, do I feel guilty about it. Whenever I am watching, I always feel that I should be working, or cleaning the house, or exercising, or pre-cooking healthy meals for my family to be pulled out of the freezer at a moment’s notice, or, or, or… you get the idea.

For better and for worse, I have used TV as a method of self-care, distraction, and procrastination for decades. It’s not as destructive as drugs or gambling, I know, but it isn’t exactly virtuous either. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 28 2014

Why Are There No Children’s Books About the Saddest Day of the Jewish Year?

By at 12:04 pm

book-store

It seemed like an easy enough question. What books could I use to teach my preschooler about Tisha B’Av? Since my son was born, children’s books had heralded every event of his life, big or small. We had Boynton for waking up and bedtime; “How Are You Peeling?” to discuss emotions, Berenstain Bears to assist with our move to a new city, and ­I had bought ­picture books for every Jewish holiday. But the first time I tried to explain why I wasn’t eating or drinking on a hot summer day, I didn’t have a book to help me.

The concept of fasting was relatively easy.

“Not eating is a way of remembering sad things that have happened,” I told my 3-year-­old. “When we don’t eat, our bodies feel bad, and that reminds us of feeling bad in our hearts. It’s also a way of talking to Go­d. It’s like we’re saying, ‘Go­d, help me. I feel so sad about what happened, I can’t even eat anything!’” I stopped and responded to simple questions about when I could eat again and whether I was allowed to drink water. But my son didn’t stop there. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 15 2014

Not Your Bubbe’s Baby Shower

By at 10:58 am

baby-shower

I am expecting twins any day now. The excitement is rising and the worries that these babies may arrive too soon are being relieved day by day. But when my colleagues offered to give me a baby shower months ago, I cringed.

As a rabbi, the idea of disappointing every bubbe in my congregation by having a baby shower did not feel right. Members of my own family had already asked, “You’re not going to have a baby shower, right?” As if that is a question and not a statement. Jewish women are not afraid to share our opinions, and often baby showers are simply taboo.

The conversation continued and the other rabbi’s wife, who happens to be a mentor and friend, reminded me that communities like to celebrate with their rabbis, so we had to come up with something. Read the rest of this entry →

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