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Mar 5 2014

Update: Crown Market Is Back in Business

By at 10:01 am

crown-super

I recently wrote about my local kosher market’s announcement that it was closing after 74 years in business and how devastating the news was to so many people in our community. I regretted not shopping there more often and wished I had a chance to do things differently. But how often do we get second chances in life?

With immense pride in my community and gratitude to our leaders for coming together, we all have that second chance in the Greater Hartford area. Our beloved Crown Market has been saved, and I for one will be shopping there all the time. I will not make the same mistake twice. I hope everyone who was affected by this story takes to heart that our local businesses truly need our continuous and community-wide support.

In the many Jewish communities I have lived in over the years, I have never seen people put aside their differences and work together as decisively as this. Our Jewish community acted swiftly and cohesively to rescue one of our most prized institutions, but it could so easily have ended differently. The Crown Market was at the brink of closing, and in other communities around the world, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are not enough to put their institutions back together again. Don’t wait until your community’s institutions are on life support before mobilizing to save them! Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 3 2014

Ten Tricks for Staying Sane as a Stay at Home Mom

By at 2:12 pm

thrift-store

I am a stay at home mom. And holy crap do I love it. I mean, wow! FOUR human beings call me mom! I am blessed, lucky, honored. In total mothering bliss! But, as being a SAHM seems to be an increasing rarity in my circle of friends, I often get asked how I manage to keep from feeling bored.

Can I tell you something? As much as I love these kids of mine, and as much as I cherish every hair on their beautiful little heads, sometimes, yes, I get a little bored. And sometimes I even start feeling like my whole identity has been consumed by my role as mother. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 6 2014

Having Seven Kids in the Orthodox World

By at 9:44 am

costco exterior

Yesterday Kveller contributing editor Jordana Horn wrote about the challenges of  raising five children in a two-child world. Jordana’s friend Ruchi, an Orthodox mother of seven, wrote this follow-up piece about raising her own brood in a seven-kid world.

I feel Jordana’s pain. My freakishness, when I venture beyond my little Orthodox Jewish community, or others like it, feels a lot like yours! But it is infinitely easier to have seven kids in a seven-to-ten-kid world than five kids in a two-kid world. See, my whole seven-kid world works perfectly around my seven-kid family. Two or three kids is considered a “small family,” while twelve is considered large. Fortunately for me, expectations in my world fit right in with my family’s lifestyle.

1. Grocery shopping.

In bigger kosher communities (i.e. Israel, New York, Lakewood, NJ) you can call or fax your local kosher store or produce market and have them deliver everything to your door. Here in cute little Cleveland the best option for large-scale shopping is still Costco. True story: I can’t understand why anyone with two kids belongs to Costco. How’s that for reverse-freakishness? Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 5 2014

Having Five Kids in a Two-Kid World

By at 10:05 am

Having five kids in a two-kid world.

I am a freak.

Arguably, this was true anyway. But by having a fifth kid (on purpose!) I have pushed myself into the realm of the unfathomable…at least, in the environment where I live.

I live in an area of suburban New Jersey primarily known to most for its mall. It is a bedroom community of Manhattan. It’s where I grew up, and arguably continue to grow up. It’s a well-to-do place where people–to generalize–tend to focus on status symbols like fancy cars and fancy college stickers for said cars. It’s a secular place where, with the exception of attending a friend’s bar or bat mitzvah, people are more likely to be at spin class Saturday morning than Shabbat services.

Having five kids around here is not normal.

I’m not sure what it is about the number five that makes it so different from four. I can name a handful of local peers who have four kids–hey, I was one of them until not so long ago. But for some reason, “five” tips the scales. When people ask you how many kids you have and you say “five,” it’s prone to produce wide eyes and a “Wow!” or “Yikes!” That never happened when I answered “four.”

The fact of the matter is, if you’re not in a religious community in America, more often than not, you live in a one, two, or three kid world. I’m fine with being different, but my experience thus far has made me start to see the ways in which the secular world is not hospitable to families like mine. Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2013

Father’s Day: Special Offer for Our Readers

By at 3:56 pm

secondbutton-gift-guideThis Father’s Day, we’re teaming up with SecondButton, a men’s bespoke shirtmaker in New York City, to make sure the dads in your life are well taken care of. If you want to give Dad a shirt he’s guaranteed to love, surely your best bet is to let him design it!

At the SecondButton website, you can design your own custom men’s shirt, choosing everything from the basic style to color, pattern, and little things you could never even think of like button thread color and style of cuff (what’s his style, double button or French?).

These custom shirts cost $80, but all Kveller readers can get a 10% discount just for being awesome. To claim, just use the code “Kveller” at checkout. And if you’re feeling lucky, we’re running a giveaway through next Wednesday, June 5th, which you can enter here.

Happy shopping, happy designing, and most importantly, happy Father’s Day!

Go to SecondButton to get your custom shirts today!

 

Nov 2 2012

Teach Me How to Splurge

By at 11:28 am

As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, Melissa Langsam Braunstein tells us about her struggles to splurge.

Not too long ago, I had lunch with a college friend. When we hung out in our 20s, we’d talk about politics, office politics, and the romantic entanglements of our friends. Now that we’re new parents, we kvelled about parenthood.

He loves being a father, and I love being a mother. We love it all–-except the cost. At some point, we found ourselves agreeing how surprisingly expensive baby gear is. “I just don’t buy things for myself anymore,” he said. I nodded, because while I hadn’t really thought about it, the same is true for me. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 23 2012

2012 Passover Shopping Guide

By at 12:35 pm

Besides buying those giant value packs of matzah and a nice brisket from the Jewish deli, there are other things you might want to have on hand, especially if you’re hosting a seder. There is a lot–a lot!–out there in the way of seder plates, Passover toys, and more, so while this list is by no means exhaustive, here are a few of our favorite things on the market this year. If you’ve made some great finds this year that we missed, let us know in the comments!

Seder Plates:

Maybe you use the same seder plate that’s been handed down in your family for generations, and if so, that’s great! We love family traditions. But, if you’re looking for a change this Passover, there is quite the selection of seder plates out there to fit all styles and budgets. Jonathan Adler’s “Futura” plate ($150) is made with porcelain and real gold accents and has a very nice, simple loveliness to it.

jonathan adler seder plate

Or, if you’re tired of your seder plate being so… flat, there is the seder plate tower ($354)!seder tower plateIf you want things to get a little more personal this year, the Etsy shop charlotteandmia offers custom-made seder plates ($36) that would make great presents for the kids, allowing you to choose the color and details of the little cartoon person. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 8 2012

It’s All About Guiltily Spending the Benjamins, Baby

By at 3:24 pm

close up of one hundred dollar billSsh. Don’t tell anyone, but I have $100 in my pocket.

Not literally. What I actually have is two gift cards, one for an online bookstore and one a pre-filled credit card. I found them when I was decluttering the shelf in the bedroom with all the wedding cards.

Things are tight around our home. My husband spent three years unemployed after his last layoff; six months ago, he nailed a terrific contract position that was supposed to go permanent, but the company got sold, and the bigger company dismantled the team, and… well, you know the drill. Now we’re back to the double-freelance life, otherwise known as “Ack! Panic! 3 a.m.!” Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 3 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here Are Some Tush Panties

By at 2:44 pm

tushIn honor of Valentine’s Day, Kveller has teamed up once again with Rabbi’s Daughters to offer our readers a very special treat. For all of February, if you make any purchase at the site, you are eligible for a free pair of the tush panties seen to the right. Yiddish underwear? Yes, please!

So whether you’re getting a mensch t-shirt for the husband, some Shalom Sesame gear for the kids, or a Mamaleh necklace just for yourself, be sure to take up our offer for a free pair of panties.

In order to redeem your gift, upon checking out write “Kveller” in the comments box, and be sure to include the size of underwear you’d like (small, medium, or large). And if you do your shopping quickly, Rabbi’s Daughters is offering free shipping through February 14th.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now cover that tush!

Dec 7 2011

It’s Amazing What Happens When You’re Nice to my Kid

By at 10:00 am

baby girl with shopping bags

If you're not nice to my baby, I'll take my business elsewhere.

“If someone is nice to your child, you can forgive a lot,” my mother said. Seven months into motherhood, I consider that the ultimate truism.

If Lila and I meet you, this mother’s Jewish eyes may be smiling, but they’ll also be watching you like a hawk. Have you acknowledged Lila, and if so, are you treating her nicely? Those who bend over backward for Lila win my admiration, while those who ill-treat her may earn glares.

During our apartment search in July, the people who showed us around doted on Lila. That was a smart sales move on their part. However, at the fanciest building we visited, our guide ignored Lila. It could be that he was not bewitched by Lila’s big eyes and enchanting smile, or perhaps he doesn’t consider cooing part of his job. Still, this mother noticed, and that became the first of several demerits for his building. We passed on that address.

By contrast, we ended our whirlwind weekend in one of Washington’s tony shopping districts. While we sipped smoothies at the mall, a woman spotted Lila in her stroller and screamed as if she had just seen Justin Bieber. Lila, who already understood enough to know that “cute,” “beautiful,” and “gorgeous” were good words, listened nonchalantly to the woman’s effusive attention. This Mama Bear took note, though. I had never met that woman before, and I still don’t know her, but I already like her.

When we went furniture shopping in September, my opinions about furniture were similarly colored by reactions to my girl. Lila patiently endured visits to 11 specialty and department stores. At one shop, the saleswoman complained I was restricting too many design options because of Lila. Yes, it’s true that Lila won’t always be a baby, but we also have many years of small stature and paint handprints ahead of us. Read the rest of this entry →

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