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Aug 15 2014

Why We Tell Our Children Stories

By at 11:08 am


This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Ekev. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Driving home from my sister’s house last night, I did what so many parents do when it looks like their kids might fall asleep in the car and it would be highly inconvenient if they did so. I flapped my lips for 25 minutes about whatever I could think of. We reviewed all the major Jewish holidays and what they represent (read: what we eat on the holidays). We sang the unabridged version of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” (someone’s always in the kitchen with mom-my, someone’s in the kitchen they know-o-o-o) and we talked about who’s a cousin and who’s a friend and how the brake pedal and the gas pedal work and why some people choose to get tattoos and how much we like meatballs. Then, Maya decided it was her turn to tell a story.

Five exits later, and Maya’s story was still going. In her tale, she and Daddy went for a walk, saw a ghost with big eyes, met a giraffe who wanted a bath, ate some apples, swam in a lake, took a nap, got scared, saw a fire-breathing dragon, got saved by Avi (Maya’s twin), tripped on a rock, said “it’s OK, you’re alright, it’s no big deal,” to each other, and got mosquito bites. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 6 2013

Are Superhero T-Shirts Kosher for Jewish Kids?

By at 9:58 am

superhero teesIn the hallways of my kids’ Jewish camp I’ve seen “Crab Shack” tees and even shirts that say, “Hail Bacon!”

With smugness, I told the preschool director I’d never dream of sending my kids wearing “those kinds” of tees to anyplace attached to a synagogue. We also spoke of the more eyebrow-raising baby clothes we’ve seen recently (“Free Gas Around the Corner,” “Bros Before O’s,” “I Only Cry When Ugly People Hold Me”). Which was worse: cute little crab or outright hostility?

“Ideally,” said Randi, “when it comes to choosing clothes, parents are sensitized to anything that contradicts Jewish values.” A pause. “That includes skull-and-crossbones tees. And Superheroes.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 18 2013

Why Does My Son Only Like the Bad Guys?

By at 4:37 pm

ursula from the little mermaidIf you have an evil cackle, malicious facial expressions, the odd wart or two or green-colored skin, and pick fights with heroic, selfless individuals, chances are: you are a storybook villain, and my son just adores you.

For the past few months, my 3 ½-year-old has been utterly entranced by the “bad guy” in everything from biblical stories and children’s books to comic strips and movies. In discussing the Purim holiday, he perked up only when we told him of Haman, asking numerous questions: “Mommy, is he a bad guy?” “But why is he mean to Mordechai?” “How come he wants to hurt the Jewish people?” Though he is interested in Batman and other masked heroes of his ilk, my son is way more transfixed by the Joker, as made evident when he pulls his pants down several times a day, bends over to prominently display his character underwear to me, and asks, “Mommy, who do YOU want to be on my underwear? I want to be the Joker because he’s mean!” Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 17 2013

Fairytales for the Next Generation: Beauty Isn’t Everything

By at 9:40 am

I am a storyteller, so my children were first exposed to fairytales through my own storytelling rather than reading them in books.

My son really loved “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” amended slightly to teach the lesson about not walking into strangers’ houses, and “Little Red Riding Hood,” which I was nervous about telling due to the carnivorous wolf but which my son found hilarious. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 22 2012

Free Fun Stuff for the Family

By at 2:03 pm

Dear Kveller Readers Outside of New York:

I know. You’re tired of me writing about all of the amazing things that happen in New York City for kids. The thing is, it’s really hard not to tell our New York readers about great programs when they’re happening right here in our backyard. So I’ll make a deal with you–tell me about the awesome programs happening in your neck of the woods, and I’ll write about them too, so you don’t feel left out. Meanwhile, the rest of this is for the New Yorkers. Sorry!

Dear New York Kveller readers,

Ignore that note above–we all know that NYC is the center of the universe for everything, Jewish parenting included. After all, that’s why our Kveller offices are here. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2012

Contest: Make-Your-Own-Book

By at 12:43 pm
Scribblitt Book

You too can make your own personalized books with Scribblitt.

Now that my daughter is 2.5-years-old, our lives have changed a bit. She’s big enough to do a somersault, she can recite books along with us, and she loves it when we tell her stories. In fact, stories are her new obsession. Some stories are from her life, like the time we went to see Auntie Kim run the Philadelphia Marathon. Others are made up, like Queen Midas who turns everything she touches into candy. Read the rest of this entry →


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