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Aug 26 2013

How Your Kids Can Help You Mentally Prepare for the High Holidays

By at 10:07 am

balconyWe live on the third floor, and have a little balcony. My 4-year-old has taken to throwing things–toys, couch pillows, books–off the balcony. It’s really not OK, and he knows it. He also knows that if he throws toys he won’t see them again for a while, and that there may be some other consequence, to boot. But he’s 4, his impulse control is not so hot, and he’s testing boundaries.

This morning, I asked him to share the toy he was holding with his little brother, so he ran halfway across the apartment in order to throw it off the balcony. It was a clear f-you: If I can’t have it, nobody can have it. It was the last straw of a frustrating morning, and I yelled at him, really shouted, as I put him in a time out.

There are a lot of reasons why I don’t want to raise my children in a home with yelling. I have a pretty firm commitment to raising them to feel loved, safe, and not afraid in their own home, and a screaming adult is terrifying to a small person. So to have slipped in a way that’s human and understandable but still, well, urgently not where I need to be–it’s a terrible feeling. This morning, I failed my son and I failed myself. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 22 2013

The Best Kids Books for Rosh Hashanah

By at 5:01 pm

engineer ari and the rosh hashanah rideIn her beautiful post about her sons’ Jewish identities, Tamara mentioned getting her first Rosh Hashanah book from PJ Library, and then pulling several more off the shelf.

That’s right, folks. It’s time to start thinking about the High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah starts on SEPTEMBER 4th. Once you’re done freaking out, you might want to think about getting some books of your own to read with the kiddos. Here are some of my favorites, courtesy of PJ Library and my local library:

1. Classic Symbols & Themes

If you’re looking for books specifically about the symbols and themes of Rosh Hashanah, you might want to check out Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Bodin Cohen or Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Cathy Goldberg Fishman. The first book is a fun story about a conductor taking his train on its first trip across Israel during Rosh Hashanah, and the second one explores the traditions of both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur through the eyes of a young girl. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 20 2013

What I’ve Learned From My Son About Hope

By at 3:57 pm

cori son elulTraditionally, during month of Elul, we say Psalm 27–lots of rabbis and other clever Jews have insights as to what it teaches us as we head into the High Holidays. Suffering from mommy-brain is a new part of my fabulous identity as an emah (mother), and I can’t help but think of the psalm in terms of my son. His name, Kaveh (קוה) comes from this particular psalm and in biblical Hebrew, it is the command form of the word hope.

Every morning, Kaveh wakes up, showers us with kisses and hugs, and babbles excitedly about things like breakfast and the people he’s going to see that day. Even if he had a tantrum before bed, or a bad dream during the night. He faces every day as if he was obligated to believe that it was going to be the best day ever.

When my chubby, beautiful toddler is sitting in his stroller and we pass the park, he repeats “Park! Park! Park!” over and over again until it’s no longer in sight. Until it’s truly, truly gone he maintains that it is a very real possibility that he’ll soon be giggling on his way down the slide, even if we’ve already told him that we’re going to the grocery store and there’s no time for the park. He never folds, because he believes that everything is possible. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2013

What’s Your Rosh Hashanah Resolution?

By at 3:32 pm

what's your rosh hashanah resolution?Want to learn how to knit? Do a lot less yelling? Spend a little more me-time?

As Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, fast approaches, we want to know what your Rosh Hashanah Resolution is–a goal, big or small, that you think you can hold yourself to in 5774.

We’ll be sharing resolutions from writers and others on the blog leading up to the High Holidays, and we would love to include some from our readers in the mix. If you’d like to participate, send an email to info@kveller.com with “Rosh Hashanah Resolutions” as the subject line. Be sure to include the following in your email:

1. Your resolution! Tell us in a few sentences what you’d like to do in the coming year.

2. Your first name, and where you live.

3. A picture of you to include on the blog.

More of a Tweeter? You can tweet your resolution to us, too! Be sure to direct it @Kveller and include the #RoshRes hashtag.

We can’t wait to hear what’s in store for you this coming New Year!

For the Month of Elul, Threading Together My Sons’ Jewish Identities

By at 11:53 am

croc with jewish star buttonOn her blog “Ima On and Off the Bima,” Rabbi Phyllis Sommer started something called #BlogElul. Elul is the Hebrew month preceding the High Holidays, and is meant to be a time of introspection as we mentally prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rabbi Sommer has designated every day of Elul to a different topic, and will be blogging about each one and encouraging others to join in.

The #BlogElul challenge spoke to me, as each year I contemplate how to weave bits of Judaism into my children’s day. Bits that over time will be threaded together to form their Jewish identities and sense of self. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2013

The Review of Rosh Hashanah Menus Past

By at 5:02 pm

rosh hashanah apple cakeA few nights ago, I began my annual pre-Rosh Hashanah ritual: “The Review of Menus Past.”

Since 2004 I have kept a record of what I planned to serve each year for Rosh Hashanah. Over the years, the record keeping has been refined.  In the second year of this project, I decided to list who was “responsible” for making the item on the menu like me, Mom A, or Mom B (my mother-in-law and my mom, designated this way because of last names, not priority, of course).

In 2006 I realized that it would be really helpful to add in the cookbook title and page number so that when I went to cook the food I could find the recipe quickly. It turned out to be even more helpful years later when I decided to make something again and I didn’t have to rack my brain to remember where it was (I have a lot of cookbooks). Finally, four years ago I added the schedule of cooking so I knew what I had to accomplish each day to stay on track. (Perfect for my busy life and my type A personality!) Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 19 2012

Rosh Hashanah Recap

By at 10:24 am

green applesWelcome back, Kvellers! We hope everybody had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah and kicked off 5773 with a bang. We’re glad to be back in the swing of things, but are definitely curious to hear how your holiday weekend went. If you’re in the mood for sharing, tell us the one thing you were most thankful for this Rosh Hashanah in the comments below.

And then remember, it’s never too early to start preparing for the next Jewish holiday. T-minus one week until Yom Kippur.

kveller 5773 baby glasses

Sep 14 2012

Rosh Hashanah Recipes: Apple Cake

By at 2:30 pm

Today’s Rosh Hashanah recipe of the day brought to you by Meredith Jacobs is a nice alternative to the traditional honey cake. Enjoy!

Rosh Hashanah is known as a holiday that loves sweetness–after all, that’s what the whole dipping apples in honey thing is all about. And traditionally you’d find a honey cake on the holiday table–sweet and spicy. But personally, I never really liked that honey cake. I’m a fan of apple cake. This is my mom’s recipe and I think it’s delicious. I hope you like it too.

You’ll Need:

3 cups flour
2 ½ cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
5 unbeaten eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup orange juice
2 ½ teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons baking powder
8-10 thinly sliced apples
cinnamon
sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease and flour a tube pan or bundt pan.

3. Beat together flour, sugar, oil, eggs, salt, orange juice, vanilla, and baking powder until smooth in a large bowl.

4. In another bowl, mix together apples with 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 3 teaspoons sugar.

5. Layer apples in the bottom of the pan. Pour over enough batter to cover, then layer more apples, then batter again. Top with apples.

6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Rosh Hashanah for a Marine Household

By at 12:20 pm

marine corpsTwo years ago, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, our moving truck pulled up to our current home in Pensacola, Florida. The move was arranged through the Marine Corps, and did not take into consideration that it was a Jewish holiday. While this might have seemed like a great excuse to skip services, my husband was determined to walk to shul that morning to pray.

Part of this determination stemmed from living, for the past four years, over an hour away from a Conservative congregation. Even when he wasn’t deployed, he struggled just to get to a meaningful High Holiday service. Read the rest of this entry →

There are Stars in Your Apples

By at 10:36 am

In 1990, at 8 years old, I went away to sleepaway camp for the first time. My parents chose Camp Morasha in Pennsylvania, 3,000 miles away from my Seattle abode, partially because my father had attended years earlier, and partially because it was filled with my cousins. It also granted them an excuse to eat their way through New York’s kosher restaurants on their way to seeing us on Visiting Day, but this is a realization I only came to recently.

Is listening to stories a traditional sleepaway camp activity? At Morasha it certainly was. Every Shabbat morning, instead of a speech about that week’s Torah portion, we were told a story. It was always about the animals of the Magical Forest. We looked forward to hearing about Leah the Lion, Moishy the Monkey, Ze’ev the Wolf, and more. Read the rest of this entry →

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