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Dec 5 2013

How a Public Menorah Lighting Taught Me a Valuable Parenting Lesson

By at 3:55 pm

giant menorah lighting

We stood shivering in a hotel parking lot waiting for the lighting of a giant outdoor menorah. It was my first public menorah lighting and I was in full “mom mode,” pulling up hoods, chasing dropped dreidels, handing out gelt, and sort of pretending to be excited–but we were really there for the children.

Since we live on a farm outside of Jewish community, they need to see that Hanukkah doesn’t just happen at our house and at their grandparents’ house.

There were a few brief speakers and I was feeling pretty distracted, thinking of the Thai restaurant right across the street, wishing my children would stop swinging their light sticks at each other, and feeling cold. The rabbi was talking about our inner olive oil which burns longer than we expect, about our essential Jewishness, but my mind wandered. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 3 2012

The One Thing I Actually Learned From Anderson Cooper’s Coming Out

By at 3:20 pm

anderson cooper is gayFor those of you who missed it yesterday, Anderson Cooper is gay. In other news, I am carbon based.

I don’t know too many people who were shocked by the “revelation” that CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is gay. I immediately penned an Onion-esque headline: “Anderson Cooper Comes Out As Gay: One Person On Planet Surprised.” Also, I firmly believe that sexuality is part and parcel of who a person is, and that each person should embrace and be happy with who they are. In short, good for him.

Both of these statements, of course, perhaps reflect the fact that I live in a comparatively liberal, Jewish, nebbishy Northeastern US bubble. I’m sure that in many places, Cooper’s revelation that he is gay was shocking and perhaps upsetting–but those worlds and Facebook feeds are far from my own. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 7 2012

What Does Purim Mean For the Ladies?

By at 10:10 am

This is actually me, dressed as Queen Esther. Circa 1985 or so?

Purim has always been one of my favorite Jewish holidays. As a kid, I was so proud to dress up as Queen Esther and be savior of the Jewish people. Even at the young age of 8, I knew that it was rare in Jewish lore to have a woman be the true hero.

But as I got older, I started to really think about the holiday, and wonder whether Esther really was the kind of hero that woman should look up to. Now that I’m a mom, and constantly thinking about the message I’m sending my daughter in our society, I’m questioning how I should feel about Esther even more.

I don’t think it was until I was in college that I actually read through the whole megillah and discovered that it wasn’t just that Vashti didn’t feel like going to the king’s party that night–he wanted her to come to the party naked (well, she was allowed to wear her crown) and she said no. She’s kind of a badass. I loved how she didn’t let the king boss her around–because really, who wants to go stand naked in front of their husband’s friends? Of course the king didn’t like that. He banishes her, and holds a beauty contest to find the next queen. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 10 2012

Being Positive Sorta Sucks

By at 1:19 pm

debbie downerAs a writer, I’m criticized all the time. By editors, by other writers who know they could have said it better, by readers, and by those who didn’t even bother reading, but are pretty sure I’m wrong anyway.

As a mom, I am criticized all the time, too. This isn’t the kind of dinner I like. The bathwater is too hot. Ow, you’re pulling my hair! You skipped my favorite part of the story! Other kids’ parents do their homework for them… Now the bath water is too cold! Read the rest of this entry →

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