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Jun 24 2014

Is My Daughter Confident or Cocky?

By at 9:56 am

Rita-collins-cocky-kid

I’ve always wanted my daughter to be able to shine and feel good about her personal accomplishments, and so, like many parents who put their children into copious amounts of activities, I too have done that for my 7-year-old. She has tried soccer, tennis, piano, and competitive dance. In the academic arena, I have placed her in multiple summer school courses and I have her doing extra reading, writing, math, and even some educational documentaries thrown in for good measure. My hope was that her involvement in these activities would make her well-rounded and build her self-esteem.

But, what if I am creating a “cocky” kid?

Recently at my daughter’s Open House she was showered with praise for how well she had been doing in school, but her teacher also told us that she was being bossy with the other kids and sometimes acting in a “superior” manner toward them. When she was asked about it, she said, “Well, I’m smarter than they are.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 19 2014

Drag Your Kids To Summer Camp

By at 11:20 am

archery

I recently read a New York Times article about one woman’s unfavorable experiences in summer camp and laughed out loud.

Like the author, I was not much of a joiner and hated sports. I also disliked getting dressed and undressed in a roomful of strangers. My first summer, I was the only girl still wearing undershirts so I’d change clothes in the bathroom. (Not that I fooled anyone. And most of those gals didn’t really need bras, either.)

I sucked at anything involving a softball, volleyball, golf ball, basketball, fencing foil, or bow and arrow. And unlike some other kids who might have also been less than stellar athletes, but who discovered at camp that they enjoyed drama, music, dance or even carpentry, I didn’t. My favorite “activity” was shiur during which we learned Jewish subjects. Unlike most kids (but also like the writer of the New York Times piece), I actually liked school. Read the rest of this entry →

May 1 2014

For Now, They’re Teens in California, but Soon They Will Be Israeli Soldiers

By at 10:12 am

Roi-outruns-his-mark-3-15-14

“Hey Ima, you know, the college scouts come to see the U16 games.”

I felt shivers up and down my spine, the same sort of chill that gripped me in early fall while watching my 14 and 15-year-old sons play together in a competitive soccer match in San Rafael, California. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching them play; or at least I used to.

Both boys are passionate about the game, playing at a high level of competitive youth soccer. Every weekend during our stay in the San Francisco Bay area, I watch them play–two, three, or four games. I spend hours and days gazing at their strong, rapidly growing bodies, their lean muscles, tanned skin and their incredible agility as they chase a ball on a soccer field, somewhere in sunny northern California. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 7 2014

The Disturbing Reaction to a Certain NY Mets Player’s Paternity Leave

By at 1:47 pm

daniel-murphy

When NY Mets second baseman, Daniel Murphy, got word that his pregnant wife’s water broke on Sunday night, March 30th, he traveled from New York to their home in Florida, arriving in time for the birth of his first-born child, Noah, via C-section. Murphy then took the three days paternity leave permitted for Major League Baseball players to be with his wife before returning to the team. He missed two games including the Mets home opener.

Murphy has now come under fire on a few radio shows for choosing to be with his wife instead of immediately rejoining the team.

I immediately felt a fire within myself when I heard this criticism. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 13 2014

Forget the Sochi Games–We’re Watching the Shoshi Games

By at 10:27 am
Forget the Sochi games, we're watching the Shoshi Games

via Shoshi Games 2014

 

We love “Girls.” Lena Dunham‘s hit HBO show epitomizes the New York City, mid-20s, struggling writer/artist experience. One of the most exaggerated, but lovable (and Jewish!) characters of the show is the neurotic, OMG-dropping, Camp-Ramah-going Shoshanna Shapiro. Aside from her highly quotable one-liners, Shoshanna, played by Zosia Mamet, is known for the most intricately knotted hair-dos you have ever seen.

That’s why we were pretty psyched to see this perfect Tumblr dedicated to Shoshi, and her true calling, the Shoshi Games 2014–it’s, like, totes amaze. Enjoy.

Forget the Sochi games, we're watching the Shoshi games

via Shoshi Games 2014

 

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Feb 6 2014

Here’s to the Three Jewish American Male Figure Skaters at the Sochi Olympics

By at 5:04 pm
Charlie White with ice dancing partner Meryl Davis

Charlie White with ice dancing partner Meryl Davis

 

First, I was a figure skating fan, then I was a figure skating TV researcher/producer, then I was a figure skating mystery novelist, and currently I’m a hodge-podge of all the above.

I am referencing my C.V. in order to explain why, while I don’t know the total number of Jews on Team USA for the Sochi Olympics, I do know that there are three of them in the figure skating delegation: two-time World Ice Dancing Champion and defending Olympic silver medalist Charlie White, singles skater Jason Brown, and pairs skater Simon Shnapir. (Ladies’ singles skater Gracie Gold is, alas, not Jewish, despite the name.)

That’s right, the US is being represented at the Olympics by three nice, Jewish boys. The latter actually emigrated from Moscow as a toddler.

It stands to reason. Figure skating is a huge sport in Russia. It’s a huge sport in America, too. But, primarily for girls. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 10 2013

Interview with Interesting Jews: Judy & Tamir “Jewish Jordan” Goodman

By at 2:07 pm

judyjudy copy

Since retiring from playing professional basketball in 2009, Tamir Goodman, known as the “Jewish Jordan,” has been steadily on the go. Tamir and his wife, Judy, have four kids, founded the non-profit Coolanu Israel, and co-wrote The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat together. Individually, Tamir created Sport Strings Tzitzit and partners in the Omri Casspi Basketball Camps, and Judy works for various companies–as well as writes, runs, and cooks.

I got to chat with the couple about playing sports with their kids, writing a book together, and their day-to-day life as parents.

Tamir, what do you miss most about playing professionally?

I was fortunate to live out my dream of playing Division I college and professional basketball without playing on Shabbat. I played until injuries prevented me from physically being able to compete anymore. I love the game and I definitely miss playing it, but I never played just for the love of the game; I always played for the larger purpose of representing Israel and Judaism on the court.

Fortunately, I am able to continue this mission even after my playing days have ended through my Coolanu Israel basketball camps, clinics, development of my basketball products like sport Strings Tzitzit and Zone190, and my recently published book, The Jewish Jordan’s Triple Threat.

Do you ball with your kids? What sports are they into?

As a coach (Tamir) and soon-to-be certified personal trainer (Judy), we both recognize how important it is for kids to be active. With this in mind, we play lots of different sports–not just basketball. Some days we ride bikes, or play catch, or go to the playground. We even play sport games in the house when the weather is too cold to go outside. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 6 2013

When One Son Wins an Award & The Other Son is Jealous

By at 11:59 am

prizemoneyhoney

My middle child won an award last week. It wasn’t a Pulitzer, an Oscar, or a Nobel, but it did come with a ceremony and a cash prize. And it did prompt his older brother to whine, “How come he always wins everything and I never win anything?”

I took a moment to remind my son that the previous few months had been more or less a non-stop party dedicated to the theme of: Yay, You Got into NYC’s Top Public High School.

“That’s not the same,” he pouted. “I never get prizes for the things I do.”

I noted that he’d won the handwriting prize at school–twice! (Anyone remember the book/movie The Bad Seed where the mother laments, “What kind of school gives out only one award, and it’s for penmanship!”)

I recalled that he was picked to be featured in an art exhibition where he was the sole child among adults (my husband observed at the time, “I think we’ve got the only artist here with a bedtime.”). Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 16 2013

Where Are Today’s Heroes?

By at 9:49 am

mickey mantleToday, there are no heroes.

We had Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, and Willis Reed. My grandchildren have A-Rod, Ryan Braun, and Lance Armstrong.

We had Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. Today, we have David Petraeus and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Not to mention Anthony Wiener and Elliot Spitzer.

We had Golda Meir, Gloria Steinem, and Bella Abzug. Today’s young women have Sarah Palin and Sheryl Sandberg.

No more heroes, no more larger-than-life figures. Now everyone’s clay feet (or entire clay bodies) are revealed. (Unlike the miscreants during my youth, who didn’t necessarily keep it in their pants, but were protected by a less intrusive fourth estate. Come to think of it, I’m grateful for that.)

We (figuratively and literally) looked up to the brave astronauts hurtling into space. Now, we don’t even know the names of who is going where, when, or for how long. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 11 2013

How I Went from a Baseball Hater to a Baseball Dad

By at 12:14 pm

little league baseballI am not a fan of baseball. I’ve never understood the draw of the game, and could never comprehend the passion people have for it. My closest friends from college are all crazy baseball fans; they’re involved with fantasy leagues, spending hours arguing over who has better players.

I didn’t get it. After all, I didn’t play baseball as a kid. I never watched it on TV. I never played catch with my dad, who was never around. My only real experience with baseball was occasionally–very occasionally–going to Shea or Yankee Stadium to see games with my camp or friends. We’d sit all the way at the top, in the cheap seats, directly in the summer sun. There we’d sit, broiling, as all the action occurred amongst the ants on the field far below.  In my opinion, a slower, duller game could not have been invented. Y-A-W-N. Read the rest of this entry →

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