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Feb 25 2011

Weekly Roundup: Billboard, Addiction, and Apartment Maintenance

By at 4:43 pm

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

- A giant billboard in SoHo featuring an anti-abortion message with a picture of a little girl has been taken down, much to the relief of the girl’s mother. The billboard read, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb,” and caused quite the public outcry, understandably. (WSJ)

Nancy Cavillones writes a truly inspiring piece for Offbeat Mama about the everyday worries and frustrations that come with being a deaf parent. (Offbeat Mama)

Charlie Sheen, father of five and role model to dickwads everywhere, went on a rant after learning that his show, Two and a Half Men, had been cancelled for the rest of the season on account of his recent addiction problems. The rant turned a tad anti-Semitic when he talks about the show’s producer, Chuck Lorre: “I violently hate Chaim Levine.” (Babble)

–  This doesn’t have much to do with Jewish parenting, but it is about Dr. Ruth, and she is a Jewish parent. Her Manhattan apartment had a bad case of clutter, so designer Nate Berkus gave her a renovation on his TV show, along with “two pink-jacketed antique volumes in German, which turned out to be precisely illustrated sex guides.” (NYT)

Feb 18 2011

Weekly Roundup: Reading Woes, Family Vacations, and Econ 101

By at 12:43 pm

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

- Many parents are confused by a new methodology taken on by several private schools that delays formal reading instruction until the 1st grade. One parent pulled her child out of a prestigious school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for fear that the elite institution was actually delaying her kindergartener’s growth, who had been reading since he was 18 mos. (NYT)

– Our own Mayim Bialik has been cheating on us blogging for the Today Show’s Mom blog, and this week she shared her thoughts on why the pace of her sons’ development does not need to be compared with the pace of any other child’s development. She also has some tips for raising polite, compassionate kids without drilling ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ into their heads. (TodayMOMS)

– Did you know that there’s a business side of marriage? Paula Szuchman writes for the Wall Street Journal about how using basic economics lessons can result in a more blissful marraige. Two key points: Do the dishes and put out. (WSJ)

– The ever-impressive McSweeney’s franchise is taking on two things we love: food and kids. The San Francisco-based publisher will be launching a children’s book imprint with 10 titles already planned to be released this year, so keep an eye out for some lovely-looking, quirky books to read to your kids. (GalleyCat)

An Israeli step-mother who married into a “ready-made family” full of all the expected drama that comes from dealing with an 8-year old, a 14-year old, and their mother, has found the perfect solution for some much-needed stress relief: a family vacation. (Tablet)

Jan 28 2011

Weekly News Roundup: E-mail Gaffs, Facebook Feeders, and the Name Game

By at 1:01 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably missed this week.

- The father of a 3rd grader on the Upper East Side sent an e-mail to the public school’s e-mail list recommending a book called Debating the Holocaust, which he exclaimed was, “rocking my world!” Turns out he meant to send it to the other mass e-mail list he belongs to. You know, the one for people who debate whether the Holocaust was really as bad as they say it was. I’d recommend him and his son get the hell out of New York City. (NYT)

– Speaking of that thing that definitely did happen, Marjorie Ingall questions where the tastefulness/tastelessness line falls when it comes to children’s books about the Holocaust. Benno and the Night of Broken Glass may have a cute cat protagonist, but can young children really handle the brunt horror of Kristallnacht? (Tablet)

– Science weighs in on the breastfeeding debate and declares that it’s no debate at all: breastfed babies are smarter babies. And luckily, those mothers who are unable to nurse but would still like a brainier baby can head over to Facebook (if they aren’t on there already) to join their local Eats on Feets group and easily connect with other mothers interested in milk-sharing. (NPR)

– America may be a Christian-majority nation, but Jewish names have been dominating the most popular baby name lists for some time. For the tenth year in a row, Jacob was the most popular name for newborn boys in America, and the rest of the top 10 include Ethan, Michael, Joshua, Daniel, and Noah. (CNN)

– The roar of the Tiger Mom is still being heard around the world, and JTA has a nice round-up of the different responses Jewish parents have thrown into the mix, from one notoriously opinionated group of parents to another. We won’t even hold it against them that they forgot to include Kveller’s own response. (JTA)

Jan 21 2011

Weekly News Roundup: Moms are Matchmakers, Tigers, and Drug Mules?

By at 3:55 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably missed this week.

– Something that is either completely brilliant or totally nightmarish has happened to the online dating world: Now meddling mothers can quit asking when their son or daughter will meet a nice Jewish mate and take matters into their own hand.  (Don’t you dare get any ideas, Mom.)

– At first, receiving a vacuum cleaner as a gift from your children might seem somewhat degrading, but once you learn that it is filled with over four pounds of meth and cocaine, you may have other worries beyond shattering those housewifely stereotypes. (Huffington Post)

– We apologize in advance for continuing to talk about this, but the Tiger Mom’s daughter has responded in The Post to her mother’s now infamous article, assuring the world that she loves her Mom despite the name-calling and piano practice she’s endured. To be honest, we’re getting sick of the tigers, bears, and Ayelets. Why do the crazy moms get all the attention? (New York Post)

– Students in a high school in Vestal, NY are facing disciplinary action for participating in a school-wide event called “Kick a Jew Day“. The students got the idea from South Park (big surprise) and spread the word through Facebook (bigger surprise), though a chairman at the local Jewish Federation seems to be okay with the fact that the day resulted in nothing but “casual kicks”. (F0x)

Jan 14 2011

Weekly News Roundup: Jews Are Happy, Men are Perverts

By at 4:29 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably missed this week.

-We’re all still reeling from Jared Loughner’s deadly massacre in Tucson last week. As parents, it’s tempting to think about how Jared’s parents failed him though this sort of finger pointing may miss the point. (More on what the Talmud can teach us about this here.) It’s also an interesting time to revisit a fascinating piece in O Magazine by Susan Klebold, the mother of the young Columbine shooter whose shooting rampage left 13 people dead. (O Magazine)

-Go figure. I never really thought of Jews as being the happiest people around. But according to new data, Jews rated the highest on something they call the the Well-Being Index. Perhaps all the kvetching is good for the health after all. We’re closely followed by the Mormons, which makes me wonder if they also have a propensity to kvetch. Or is just that having all those wives keeps them happy? (Don’t get me wrong, we love the Mormons. Mayim Bialik’s husband used to be one.) (NYT)

-The anti-helicopter mom, Lenore Skenazy, (we’re publishing your piece soon Lenore, I promise!) wants to know why we’re all so darn scared of men. In the Wall Street Journal, she says that by treating all men as predators of our children, we’ve become pretty sick. Sick stuff indeed. (WSJ)

-Why are Chinese mothers superior? Author Amy Chua raised quite a hullabaloo when the Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt from her provocative new book. If Jewish mothers thought they had the market on being pushy and overbearing, they haven’t seen anything yet.  (WSJ)

Jan 7 2011

Weekly Roundup: Divorce Drawings, Twiblings, and the Downside of Crying

By at 11:28 am

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

- A program called Kids’  Turn encourages children of divorce to express their feelings through art. Though the drawings are definitely too depressing to hang on any refrigerator, it’s actually pretty impressive that the program allows children to deal with their grief in a way that gets out their deeper feelings. (Huffington Post)

– Is it possible for one set of twins to be birthed by two different women? Kind of, according to Melanie Thernstrom. In her New York Times Magazine cover story, Thernstrom writes about the birth of her “twiblings”, who were created using her husband’s sperm and eggs from a single donor. Two embryos were then implanted into two different surrogates on the same day, resulting in genetic siblings who were born 5 days apart. Over at The Sisterhood, Debra Nussbaum Cohen reflects on how much joy can be found amidst all the complication. (NYT)

It’s scientifically official: women’s tears are a turnoff for men. A new study from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science has found that seeing a woman cry can actually lower a man’s level of testosterone and signal that “now is not the right time” to get it on. What seems highly one-sided is that they are only now starting to test the effect of men’s tears because not enough men responded to their original call for “good criers.” What a bunch of scaredy cats! (WSJ)

Dec 30 2010

Weekly Roundup: Portman Pregnant, Generation F, and Joint Custody

By at 3:35 pm

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

-Let’s just get this out of the way. Natalie Portman is engaged. And pregnant! The 29-year-old acctress has already said that she wants to raise Jewish kids though her soon to be husband is a French dancer with nary a drop of Jewish blood that our Google fingers can detect.

-They’re calling us “F.” What the F? Our generation of Jews is now being dubbed  “Generation F.” The F here is for “fluid” and they’re referring to our Jewish identity. (The we here being Jews in our 30s who aren’t following exactly in our parents’ spiritual footsteps.) (Jewish Week)

-In Israel, when couple divorce, the mother automatically receives custody of children under age 6. Fathers can petition, but it’s rare that they actually win. A campaign by fathers is trying to challenge that law and as a result something called the Schnitt Commission was formed to investigate the issue. The commission has now issued a recommendation to the Knesset that the default arrangement should be changed so that parents have joint custody. (A Mother in Israel)

Dec 23 2010

Roundup: MTV gets kids to stop having sex (kinda) and Gwyenth Paltrow on Hanukkah

By at 12:36 pm

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

-In a shocking reversal, the teen birth rate actually took a dive this year. In fact, it reached the lowest point in the seven decades the statistics have been tracked. And who can we thank for this? MTV! Yes, the networks documentary series about pregnant girls, “16 and Pregnant” is credited with helping to kick start this trend. I guess having teenage girls see what it’s really like to have a baby–y’know, getting fat,  never sleeping, watching all your friends have fun while you’re stuck at home–is much more convincing than, say,  carrying an egg around school for a week. (CS Monitor)

-Gwyneth Paltrow is Jewish? Ok, that’s not the point. The point is that she and her husband Chris Martin celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas as do many celebrity couples. And that, my friend, is newsworthy? (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

-Modern family. What do you do when mom is Jewish, dad’s not, and mom remarries a Jewish guy? And then your kids celebrate Hanukkah with you, Christmas with dad, but you still want Santa to visit them at your house? Sound like your situation? (NY Times)

Nov 24 2010

Roundup: Giving Birth Like You Make Love, Adopting Noah, and Latkes!

By at 11:09 am

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

–Now that I’m a mom, it’s not difficult to make me cry. Just show me something sad or happy about parent and child, and well, hello tears. This story about a Philadelphia couple trying to adopt a baby in Kazakhstan did the trick. They’ve been living in a small Kazakh town for months trying to bring home a little boy they now call Noah. Looks like this Thanksgiving their dream came true. (NY Times)

-Here’s a little bit of awesomeness for your day. A Manhattan lawyer in the middle of a trial preemptively asked for a day off to celebrate the bris of his grandson. The baby isn’t yet born and the lawyer doesn’t yet know the sex of the child, but wanted to give the judge ample warning. He added that he would basically be disappointed if the child was a girl and the day off wouldn’t be necessary because there would be nor formal celebration. And here’s how the judge responded.  (WSJ)

-“Giving birth is the most intimate experience we can imagine. And how we make love is how we want to give birth.” Here’s an argument for giving birth at home. Also of note here, the United States has the  second worst newborn death rate in the developed world and one of the highest maternal mortality rates. (Huffington P0st)

-Art projects during breakfast? Shipping foam mats to villas in France? Can we engineer the perfect child?And why the hell are we trying? Katie Roiphe’s piece in the Financial Times was picked up by Slate and caused a shitstorm or comments there. (Financial Times)

-We all love the latke. But what about the Double Down Latke Sandwich? This video, straight from LA. (Jewish Journal)

Oct 29 2010

Roundup: Taxing Breastpumps and Jewish Mom iPhone App

By at 11:58 am

– Our country has some pretty wacky ideas about breastfeeding. Pediatricians say that we should nurse for at least six months, but most of us have to be back at work after just three. That leaves pumping. But under the new healthcare legislation, while consumers will get tax breaks on dentures and pimple cream , IRS officials say that breast-feeding does not have enough benefits to qualify as a form of medical care and therefore does not qualify for a tax break. (AP)

– Um, if you have a Jewish mother, this video (shown above) is pretty funny. (YouTube)

– It’s not even November, and we are already being bombarded with Black Friday sales. I can live with that, but must we already confront the perennial Christmas v. Hanukkah conundrum? Can’t we have just a couple more quiet weeks before the storm? I can forgive, though,  because it’s written by one of our fave Kveller writers, Michael Kress. (Parents)

Having a sister actually makes you happier. I’m not sure my brother would agree. (NYT)

– It’s that time of year again when we’re supposed to boycott Nestle for inflicting the ills of formula on the world.


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