Feb 11 2014
My first experience with Valentine’s Day was a perplexing one.
At the age of 7, I arrived in the United States (from the Soviet Union) with my parents on January 19. I started school. Less than a month later, everyone in my class gave me a flurry of pink and red cards, some of them heart-shaped. I didn’t have anything for my classmates, and I didn’t exactly know what was going on, in any case. So I came home and taped the cards up on my bedroom walls, like decorations. For the rest of the school year, people would periodically give me other cards, this time not necessarily in pink or red or heart-shaped, but looking enough like the first set that I dutifully went home and taped them to my walls, too. It wasn’t until I learned to speak (then read) English, that I realized the latter were birthday party invitations I had never responded to, and that the former were for something called St. Valentine’s Day.
It was a Jewish Day School, by the way, but, in subsequent years, I got with the program, never giving a lot of thought to what the whole experience is like from a parental point of view.
I’m a parent now. And here is something else I’ve learned about Valentine’s Day. It is even more complicated than I could have possibly imagined. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 20 2014
How do you get your kids to understand the meaning of a holiday, and not just the fact that they get a day off from school? Well, we were wondering the same thing, so we asked our readers on Facebook to share how they were planning on translating the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to their kids.
Here are the five most thoughtful answers we received to help you celebrate MLK Jr. Day with your kids in a meaningful way:
1. Make them listen to his “I have a dream” speech. It’s wonderfully captivating!
2. There is a great book called My Brother Martin, written for young kids by MLK’s sister. It is beautiful and well written. I heartily recommend it!
3. I told my kids that MLK was a person who wanted everybody to be friends. Some people don’t think everybody should be friends; they think you should only be friends with people who are like you. But he really wanted everyone in the world to be friends with each other, even if they were different. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 12 2013
I have never liked having a fuss made over me. I skipped both my high school and my college graduation ceremonies because I didn’t see a point to the long-winded, tedious ritual (held outside in the heat, no less). My husband and I got married at City Hall, because I felt the same way about weddings. (Maybe I inherited the trait from my own mother. Whenever we go to a friend’s wedding, she always tells my husband and I, “Thank you so much for not putting me through this.”) Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 14 2013
I’ve never had a theological problem with Valentine’s Day. It was never a big deal in my family and my husband and I never really made a big deal about it in our relationship (though on Valentine’s Day 2004 he did give me TiVo. Best present ever!). And since our kids all attended JCC preschools where it was not acknowledged, we didn’t even have to deal with it until our oldest started kindergarten at a public school.
And that is what got me thinking: is Valentine’s Day an appropriate celebration for Jews? Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 14 2012
Growing up, I was always giddy about Valentine’s Day. Yes it was totally awesome to wrap up a shoe box in sparkly pink paper and have prepubescent boys shove little notes in that said stuff like, “I like your hair” or, “Want to share my cheese?” But my parents always went out of their way to make me feel special on Valentine’s Day and that’s what I looked forward to the most. Read the rest of this entry →