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Jul 24 2014

How to Keep Up With the News in Israel

By at 5:12 pm

JTA daily briefing

Unless you’re living under a rock with no wifi, you know that there is a lot going on in Israel and Gaza right now. But we’re the first to admit it can be hard to keep up.

While Kveller will continue to bring you stories and perspectives from mothers and fathers in Israel and beyond, we leave the hard-hitting reporting to our friends at JTA.

If you’re looking for the latest breaking news from the Middle East, we highly recommend signing up for JTA’s newsletter. It’s free, easy, and you’ll be able to follow along right as things unfold.

Sign up for JTA by clicking here.

Jul 2 2014

How Do I Tell My Daughter That The Missing Israeli Teens Were Killed?

By at 1:17 pm


It’s been two whole days. Two days and I still haven’t told my daughter.

When my daughter was little, I used to worry that she didn’t have an appropriate sense of life and death–that she might do something stupid, even if I told her it was dangerous, because she didn’t realize what “dangerous” could mean. The first time she asked me about death, I grabbed the opportunity to try to reinforce the idea that death is serious and final–only realizing later that I had neglected any mention of a soul that lives on after the body, or any religious perspectives one might think a believing Jew should be teaching her child. It was so important to me that she grasp the great divide between life and death, I forgot that I believe in a continuum.

I say “when my daughter was little,” but she’s 8 now–is that still little? I don’t know. I still don’t think she grasps the possible consequences of “danger” as fully as I’d like her to. The other day I mentioned that some friends of ours are finally on the verge of aliyah, after putting their plans on hold years ago, because the father was hit by a bus. (I couldn’t bring myself to say “bus”; I told her he was hit by a car. I think that’s the biggest–maybe only–lie I’ve ever told any of my children.) Her big question? “Did he have to go to the emergency room?” 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

-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 8 2013

A Soviet Immigrant Mom’s Take on Russia’s Adoption Ban

By at 11:46 am

I start this blog post about Vladimir Putin banning the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans with two full disclosures:

1) I was born in the former Soviet Union and brought to the US by my own parents when I was a child. I have since been back to Russia several times, for professional and personal reasons, and I can state without qualms that, in my opinion, life in America beats anything the former Eastern bloc has to offer now, or back in the day of the USSR. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 3 2012

News Roundup: Royal Baby Edition

By at 3:02 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

– The Duchess of Cambridge is totally knocked up! And apparently has really bad morning sickness. We’re hoping she recovers quickly and we cannot wait to add her exploits to the Kid-Dish! (Remember how she might be Jewish?). (Washington Post).

– If we go over the fiscal cliff, guess who will be most adversely effected? Women and children living in poverty. Oy. (New York Times)

– Yahoo! CEO Marisa Mayer had her baby, didn’t take maternity leave, and is now saying her baby is “easy.” Some moms aren’t happy with that, but another asks why we can’t just accept that she’s an outlier. (Slate DoubleX)

– There’s a new prenatal test that can detect genetic issues, is way less invasive than an amnio, and can be done earlier in the pregnancy. The catch? The tests aren’t regulated by the FDA and are very expensive. (Washington Post)

Aug 20 2012

News Roundup: Yenta of the Senate, Schmuck of the Senate

By at 4:33 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

kveller news roundup 8/20/12

– The New York Times went for it and called Senator Charles E. Schumer the “Yenta of the Senate.” Schumer apparently has a knack for matchmaking, responsible for 10 weddings (and two more this fall) among his staff members. (NYT)

– “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Those are the now famous words from Sen. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for the Missouri Senate race, who has since said he “misspoke.” Don’t think so. (XXfactor)

– The unusually secretive genetic screening organization, Dor Yeshorim, works with Orthodox couples before they’re married to determine whether they are genetically compatible. But unlike other genetic screening organizations, they don’t tell each individual what genetic diseases they are carriers for. (Forward)

– A woman from Florida is suing Israeli airline El Al for gender segregation. She says a flight attendant forced her to change seats–without her consent–to accomadate an Ultra-Orthodox man. (Haaretz)

– Some interesting statistics: the number of stay-at-home dads has more than doubled in the last decade. But it’s still pretty miniscule when compared to the number of stay-at-home moms. (Daily Beast)

Aug 1 2012

Mayor Bloomberg Wants You to Breastfeed

By at 2:02 pm

mayor bloomberg formula lock up planIf you’re really thinking about it and not just squawking to be quoted, you’re going to have mixed feelings about New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s new push to get more women to breastfeed. Starting in September, 27 of the city’s 40 baby-delivering hospitals will begin to keep formula under lock and key, meaning they will only provide it to moms who request it or need it for a medical reason. Moms who do request formula will reportedly get a lecture about why breast is best.

Much of the debate has centered on, “How dare the city tell me how to feed my child?” And that might normally be me, but in this case, my first thought was, “Oh good, now maybe the hospitals will stop pushing formula.” Because believe me, they do. Any new mom can tell you that. How can they not? The entire maternity ward experience is practically “Brought you by Enfamil and Similac.” My impression: The formula companies have been so cozy with the hospitals for so long I’m waiting for them to sell naming rights to the maternity wings. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 13 2012

So He Left His Kid in a Pub, Big Deal

By at 3:13 pm
david cameron

PM David Cameron

Let’s be honest: Who HASN’T left their kid in a bar? Show of hands, please.

Well, me, for one. But I’m not the Prime Minister of Britain. PM David Cameron was lunching at a pub with some family members recently, as is his prerogative. He and his wife went home in separate cars–and inadvertently left their 8-year-old daughter behind, triggering (go figure!) a debate on neglectful parenting, “drinking while parenting,” etc. etc.

Let’s start with the neglectful parenting bit. This seems like much ado about nothing to me. First of all, surely the children of England’s leader have Secret Service equivalents, right? I mean, I don’t really think it would be possible to leave Malia or Sasha Obama somewhere unattended (POTUS: “Where are my kids?” Secret Service Guy One: “Oh, CRAP. I knew I forgot something at the Olive Garden.”). So we don’t really have to worry for the poor Cameron kid’s safety–even “unattended” by her parents, I figure she’s probably got more people watching her back than our kids would. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2012

Weekly Roundup: Legos for Girls, Giving Birth on Train, & Modesty Troubles

By at 4:45 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

retro lego ad for girls

– LEGO has a new line just for girls, featuring the iconic plastic people (with boobs!) in a variety of places like a house, cafe, animal hospital, tree house, and beauty salon. Some people are upset. (Ms. Magazine)

– UJA reminds us why screening for Jewish Genetic Diseases really matters. (UJA)

A baby was born on a PATH train (going from New Jersey to Manhattan), and promptly received an easy nickname: Fast. (Gothamist)

– In all of the hullabaloo with the birth of Blue Ivy, Jay-Z released a song which revealed a little known fact: Beyonce had previously suffered a miscarriage. (Washington Post)

– Israel’s Ministry of Health issued new regulations in regards to homebirths. Besides things like room size, a woman wanting to have a homebirth must prove that she is sane. (NYT)

– In deciding whether or not her son should have a Bar Mitzvah, Tara Dublin recounts her own Bat Mitzvah in 1982–“probably one of the very worst years for hair, makeup, and fashion combined.” (Jewcy)

– Last month, an 8-year-old girl in Israel was spit on by religious extremists for not dressing modestly enough. Dov Linzer wonders if a religious demand for modesty is “about anything other than men controlling women’s bodies.” (NYT)

Oct 17 2011

Weekly Roundup: Performance Birth, The Cost of Kids & More

By at 2:36 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read last week.

Aviva Shalit

– Debra Nussbaum Cohen details the deep sense of kinship she feels with Aviva Shalit, the mother of the longtime Hamas captive Gilad Shalit. (The Sisterhood)

– Performance artist Marni Kotak says she plans to give birth before an audience of Brooklyn gallery-goers. (The Daily Mail, via Mom365)

– Raising a child through age 18 costs the middle-class American family an average of $226,920 — and that’s apparently without a Bugaboo Donkey. (CNNMoney)

– Room for Debate has a lively discussion (though one in which female voices are glaringly underrepresented) about the repercussions of declining birthrates on the Earth and the economy. (Room for Debate)

– More than one in 10 families don’t adhere to the vaccine schedule set out by the Centers for Disease Control — with many parents delaying, or skipping altogether, inoculations that protect against such illnesses as chicken pox and measles, a new study shows. (The Associated Press, via NPR)

– After three years, and more than 1,200 posts, Lisa Belkin, the writer who has helmed The New York Times’ Motherlode blog since its inception, packed up her diaper bag, and headed to The Huffington Post. (MotherlodeWWD)

– While many European countries limit the number of children that single sperm donors can father, there are no such restrictions in the U.S. or Canada.  And one Toronto-based filmmaker, conceived with the help of donor sperm, believes that he may have as many as 1,000 biological siblings. (Montreal Gazette, via Babble)

– Dr. Perri Klass explains how a bilingual baby’s brain processes language, and why children exposed to two languages from an early age are “more cognitively flexible” than their monolingual peers.  (The New York Times)

– And “Dragon Mom” Emily Rapp writes poignantly about raising a child with Tay-Sachs, a genetic disorder prevalent among Ashkenazic Jews (though Rapp is not Jewish). “[My son] won’t prosper or succeed in the way we have come to understand this term in our culture; he will never walk or say ‘Mama,’ and I will never be a tiger mom,” she writes. “The mothers and fathers of terminally ill children are something else entirely. Our goals are simple and terrible: to help our children live with minimal discomfort and maximum dignity.” (The New York Times)


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