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Oct 14 2014

I Miss The Simpler Days of Pen & Paper

By at 9:46 am

love-letter

It was the 80s when I started dating my husband. It was a simpler time. Not just because we were younger and just falling in love, but also because it was an era that, in my opinion, was more conducive to love and courting.

My husband is fantastic, but when it comes to expressing his feelings, he’s generally not a man of many words. I guess he leaves that to me. Yet as I sit here surrounded by his old letters and cards, nostalgically reading and rereading his words from almost three decades ago, I realize how untrue that statement is.

My husband’s handwritten love letters, from an era before email and text messaging, were filled with emotion, with meaning, with love, with yearning, and mostly, with vulnerability.  Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 16 2014

MIT Research Group Asks: Why Does the Breast Pump Suck So Much?

By at 2:12 pm

breast-pump

Hate pumping? You’re not alone. Most of those human milk machines are loud, clunky, uncomfortable, and prone to spillage. The double breast pump is especially creepy looking. (Kveller’s Director of Operations, Meredith Lewis, wrote about her love-hate relationship with the breast pump here.)

But pumping is important, not just for working moms who want to stay connected to their infants, but for premature and orphaned babies that rely on pumped milk for survival.

That’s why MIT Media Lab is hosting a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon.” Organized by a group of students and researchers at MIT who are also parents, between 60 and 80 designers, engineers, lactation consultants, parents, and public health researchers have gathered together to brainstorm ways to make life easier for moms and their babies. Cash prizes range from $1,000 to $3,000, sponsored by breast pump manufacturers like Modela and Vecna Technologies. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 9 2014

What If I Don’t Want to Go to England With My Son?

By at 2:20 pm

Boy using computer at school

In those halcyon days when I knew everything about parenting (i.e. before I had children), I worked as a television researcher for figure skating. Because figure skating is a sport where potential Olympic contenders have to start intensive instruction at a relatively young age, a good percentage of the athletes I worked with were forced to move away from home in order to work with a championship coach at an elite training center. Some did it while of high school-age, while others were as young as 12 or even 10. Most ended up either living in dormitories or with local host families.

As a childless parenting expert, I knew exactly what I would have done in their mothers’ places. If I ever had a kid who I sincerely believed would benefit from living away from home, whether in the name of athletics or academics or what have you, then, without a doubt, I would relocate with them. (Which is exactly what 1994 Olympic Champion Tara Lipinski’s mother did, leaving her husband behind in their home in Texas, while she and Tara lived in Delaware and Detroit.)

As of this writing, I do not have a future Olympic champion on my hands. Nor do I have one of those kids who enrolls at Harvard or MIT at age 12.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 26 2014

Five Reasons This Stay At Home Mom Loves Her Stupid Phone

By at 3:21 pm

old-phones

I get a new phone every few months. I’m just cool like that.

Nope. That was a lie. I’m actually kind of a nerd–and I don’t mean the I-have-a-tech-startup-and-wear-hipster-glasses-to-be-ironic kind of nerd. I’m talking the I-go-birdwatching-every-Sunday kind of nerd.

So why do I constantly update my phone? It’s because my wireless communication device of choice is the cheapest stupid phone I can find, and they break so frequently that I have to replace them as often as I calibrate my binoculars. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 12 2014

How An Email I Sent About Pizza Started a Religious Firestorm

By at 2:09 pm

email-firestorm

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. The other day, I forwarded an email to a local community listserv from a local pizza restaurant offering to donate 20 percent of proceeds to a well-known Jewish charity. And with that, I had ignited a religious firestorm.

The listserv was started by an Orthodox woman in our town and, though I assume initially it was comprised of mostly Orthodox women, word has spread and it has grown to nearly 200 women who span the range of religiosity. I was added to the list about two years ago. For me and for many others, it is our go-to place for community recommendations like babysitters or doctors. All three painters who provided an estimate to paint my house were recommended by women on the listserv. When I was cleaning out my playroom, with a quick email to this group, I found an eager taker for many of the toys my children had outgrown. When a friend from California posted on Facebook that she was looking for a bike to borrow or buy cheaply for use during an upcoming New York visit, I was able to hook her up through this list. People post about anything from asking for a last minute ride to the train station to finding out which streets have been plowed in a snowstorm, from promoting a local Torah class to offering sheitel (wig) cleaning services. Though I have never met many women on the listserv, including its founder, I love that they are out there and that we are all willing to help each other out.

Which is why I was so surprised at the reaction to my email. Within minutes of posting, one woman responded to me directly to point out that this restaurant was not kosher, stating that she didn’t think anyone on the listserv would go there. A few minutes later two more women sent replies to the entire group questioning why I’d send an offer for a non-kosher restaurant. Feeling like I had totally done something “illegal” by the unspoken listserv rules, and not wanting to engage in a religious debate, I quickly sent an email to the entire group: “I am sorry if my email offended anyone. My apologies.” Read the rest of this entry →

May 12 2014

Don’t Know What to Name Your Baby? There’s a Kveller App for That

By at 12:30 pm

Kveller Jewish Baby Name App

Becoming a parent comes with many challenges, one of the first ones being choosing the perfect name that will honor tradition, sound unique but not too unique, and help form this child’s identity for the rest of her life.

No biggie, right?

We’re here to make this grueling but important process a bit easier with the launch of our very first app, Kveller Jewish Baby Names. Now you can search through our extensive Jewish baby name bank on the go, from the comfort of your iPhone or iPad.

The app lets you scroll through both English, Hebrew, and Yiddish names, learn the names’ origins, keep track of your favorites, and read through fun name lists. And for those feeling extra brave, the “Name My Baby For Me” button does not disappoint.

The best part? The app is FREE! So head on over to the iTunes store today, download, and enjoy!

DOWNLOAD THE FREE APP HERE.

This app was produced with the generous help of G-dcast. Check out some of their other fun apps for kids here.

Apr 30 2014

If Becoming a Mom Means Losing My Old Identity, I’m OK With That

By at 3:42 pm

woman-driving

I am Iliana’s mom. That is my identity, according to all of her friends.

Am I OK with that? Hell, yeah!

I have heard many times that you lose your identity after having a child, as no one calls you by your given name. You are just “someone’s mom.” But I don’t understand the issue with that. I know who I am and I am not worried that I will lose that knowledge just because a bunch of 4-year-olds call me something else. If anything, it makes me blush. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 31 2014

Free Stuff Alert: The Bronfman Haggadah App & iPad Mini

By at 1:57 pm

Win The Bronfman Haggadah App & an iPad Mini

This is not your Bubbe’s haggadah.

This Passover (April 14), technology is your friend. The Bronfman Haggadah is now available as a truly unique app, allowing users to interact with this book through sound, animation, and video, all on a mobile device.  Watch behind the scenes videos, hear the words of the haggadah read aloud, and see the artwork come to life.

Some features of the The Bronfman Haggadah app:

1. Users have the option of hearing the text of the haggadah read aloud with page-synced narration, or to turn off the sound for a do-it-yourself Passover seder. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2014

Girl With Cancer Virtually Celebrates Purim With Help From Her Rabbi, A Robot & Google Glass

By at 2:58 pm

google-glass

What do Google Glass, a robot, and Purim have in common with one another?

Normally nothing, but this year, they came together in order to create a vibrant and engaging project that enabled a little girl from White Plains, NY to be a part of the communal celebrations.

Hebrew Institute of White Plains is home to around 300 families with many children. Purim is a time that the community comes together and celebrates. We host a carnival, a children’s megillah reading, a beautiful night time megillah reading where adults and children pack our main sanctuary to the brim all decked out in costumes.

Unfortunately this year, one of the children in our community was unable to attend as she is undergoing treatment for cancer. She is a bubbly, bright, fun and outgoing child, who unfortunately has been unable to join us at Sabbath services, and was unable to join us for Purim celebrations. Her family would like to remain anonymous during this trying time, so for continuity of this article she will be called Amy. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 25 2014

I Won’t Let My Fear of Travel Hamper My Son’s Curiosity About the World

By at 12:26 pm

road-trip

Growing up, my parents liked to take Sunday drives around the scenic parts of Connecticut: to watch changing leaves, visit aging relatives, drive over covered bridges. During one of these outings, I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up, I asked my parents if we were in Texas.

Their shock and horror likely prompted them to make the generous offer, some years later, to send me abroad my junior year of college: a last-ditch effort to provide me with some geographical context. I declined, citing a commitment to my position in student government. Obviously the Brandeis Student Senate would suffer mightily in my absence. I stuck with that story, even in my own mind, for a long time.

All that year, I received postcards from friends in Israel, London, Spain, Australia. They told tales of impromptu weekend trips to Florence, milking cows on a kibbutz in southern Israel, and late-night rendezvouses with strangers encountered in youth hostels. What could possibly make me choose “Robert’s Rules of Order” over these exotic adventures? Read the rest of this entry →

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