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Jun 9 2014

Why An Ignorant Comment At Work Made Me Speak Up

By at 2:42 pm

parking-meter

I was late. Lateness isn’t a new concept for me–ever since my daughters’ births, my whole life seems to run behind schedule–but that day, it was especially bad.

I was going to be late for work and I was supposed to represent my school at an important meeting. It was held on the other side of the city, and I knew I’d have to hustle. The weather was not helping. As I merged onto the parkway, the skies opened. Buckets of rain poured down, causing rush hour traffic to stagnate. I got lost. My trusted GPS dropped the signal at the worst possible moment, and I got off the highway at the wrong exit. I had to circle back around and hope to find my way.

Parallel parking was never my strength, but I managed to squeeze my SUV into a legal space. Well, mostly legal. I looked up at the sign, and noted that I’d have to move my car before lunch. I glanced at the time. Better than nothing, I thought.

I hurried towards the school, getting drenched despite my umbrella. My soggy shoes made squishing noises as I jogged up the entry stairs. But when I arrived, I was surprised to find that the school lobby was still packed. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that had been delayed by the weather. I greeted colleagues and waved at the administrator who would be facilitating the day’s workshop.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 3 2014

My Kids Don’t Need Material Gifts To Be Happy

By at 10:51 am

material-gifts

Recently I went out of town without my children for an engagement party. When I returned two days later, I shared what I had brought home for them: stories. They liked hearing about how the hostess at Shabbat dinner, known for talking in her sleep, had once murmured that it was “spaghetti o’clock.”

I told them how when I’d asked, my host said, “We’re cereal-atarians here.” They laughed at my recounting of how, at the engagement party, the other surprise guests and I were comically delayed from making our appearance to sing the couple’s favorite song. Both kids shared in my enjoyment of retelling the events of the weekend and followed up with their own version.

In other words, I didn’t bring home any physical gifts, and yet my children were happy. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 2 2014

10 Gorgeous Shavuot Tablescapes To Inspire You

By at 12:27 pm

We are quickly approaching my favorite holiday of Shavuot, which begins on Tuesday night. Any holiday that celebrates by decorating one’s home with flowers and eating cheesecake is my kind of celebration! I thought it would be fun to put together 10 of my favorite floral tablescapes to help inspire your table decor this year.

shavuot-table-2

1. Let’s start with this year’s Shavuot table that I created using dozens of peonies. These are hands down my favorite flower and they always bloom around the same time as Shavuot, so to me the two go hand-in-hand. Notice that I added height to the table by placing peony blossoms on top of candlesticks instead of candles. This is a great tip you can use on your own Shavuot table. Read the rest of this entry →

May 29 2014

When it Comes to Jewish Holidays, Is It Wrong to Focus on the Food?

By at 3:55 pm

cheesecake

It’s no secret that Jewish holidays tend to be very food-focused. So while my toddler is only just starting to learn about the rules, back stories, and traditions of the various holidays we celebrate, he already knows that on Purim we eat hamentashen, on Passover we eat matzah, and on Rosh Hashanah we eat apples and honey.

As I started teaching him about Shavuot this week, I realized I spent more time explaining that we’re all going to get together at Savta’s house for cheesecake than I did explaining that during this holiday, the Jewish people received the Torah.

It got me thinking: When you’re teaching a child about Jewish holidays, is it necessarily a bad thing to focus on the food? Read the rest of this entry →

May 14 2013

Happy Shavuot–See You Friday

By at 4:51 pm

shavuot cheesecakeShavuot, the holiday that celebrates the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, begins tonight at sundown at lasts through Thursday at sundown. Which means the Kveller office will be closed and we’ll be off eating way too much cheesecake.

If you’re looking for some tips to celebrate Shavuot with your kids, check out this post conveniently titled “Everything You Need to Know About Shavuot.”

And if you’re looking for delicious dairy recipes, check out all of our Shavuot recipes here.

Chag Shavuot Sameach to all! See you Friday.

The Book of Ruth–A Story Close to this Convert’s Heart

By at 9:41 am
ruth and naomi book of ruth

Ruth clings to Naomi.

Conversion to Judaism is a profound thing. Stepping into the ritual waters has a ripple effect on everyone close to you, for better or worse.

My decision to convert was met with long blank stares masking mountains of internal dialogue. Many people inconsequentially convert to religions within Christianity, but for someone who was raised Christian to convert to Judaism is by definition a rejection. Rejecting that the Messiah has come can be interpreted as a dismissal of the morals and lessons you once lived, and in many cases a rejection of those who raised you. It can also be seen as a choice that was made that wasn’t entirely your own. Read the rest of this entry →

May 10 2013

Friday Night: Is One Day of Appreciation Ever Enough?

By at 2:58 pm

breakfast in bed for mother's day“How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?”

This is what all the moms were asking each other in our “Shabbat Shalom” toddler group this morning. For some, it was only their second Mother’s Day as mothers. For others of us (hand raised), Mother’s Day almost feels like a regular facet of the calendar. The real question, though, was eloquently asked by my friend and Kveller contributor Rebecca Schorr: “Are you in the “Mother’s Day means I want to be nowhere other than with my precious children” camp or the “Mother’s Day means I want to be nowhere near anyone who calls me Mom” camp?” Read the rest of this entry →

Everything You Need to Know About Shavuot

By at 11:14 am

mt. sinai signNext up on the Jewish holiday docket is Shavuot, which is a two-day holiday that begins next Tuesday at sundown.

Shavuot was originally an ancient harvest festival celebrating the grain crop. In Hebrew, Shavuot means “weeks” and the holiday is celebrated seven weeks after Passover begins. But today, Shavuot is mostly recognized as the anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Read more about the basics here.

So how do you celebrate this holiday with the kids? Some ideas: Read the rest of this entry →

May 7 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook

By at 4:09 pm

get cooking! a jewish american family cookbookShavuot–the Jewish holiday celebrating the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai–is coming up next week, May 15-16th. And what better way to get into the spirit of the holiday than to eat bucket loads of dairy? While the reason for the tradition to eat dairy on Shavuot is not entirely clear, the positive benefits of two days filled with blintzes, cheesecake, and rugelach sure are.

If you’re looking for some fun holiday recipes that are both kid-friendly and adult-approved, look no further than Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook by Rachel Harkham and “Mama Doni” Zasloff Thomas. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 28 2013

Counting the Omer, Counting the Milestones

By at 1:39 pm

pile of legos“Dear God, how many hours until bedtime?” I mutter from my prone position on the playroom floor as Legos bounce off of my head.

And how long have I been doing this, anyway? I’m home with the kids today, and my husband left for work at 7:30, so it’s been eight hours (not all of them involved being pummeled by Legos, but still). Now the Legos are hitting me in the arm as my toddler flings them into the air, his giggles piercing the torpid afternoon. Let’s see…if there are no major meltdowns, I can reasonably expect to get both kids into bed by 8:30, so I’ve got five more hours to go. Five more hours is doable, right? Five is a lot less than eight, so clearly I’ve reached the downhill part of my day. No problem, I think. I’m golden. I’m coasting. I’m… oh, for crying out loud, can’t they make Legos out of something softer? Read the rest of this entry →

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