Jun 21 2013
Joining PJ Library is one of the best things we’ve done as parents. Every month a new Jewish book arrives at our home and Lila learns about a Jewish holiday or concept through a story that’s meaningful to her. Several PJ Library books–like the Hanukkah counting book and the “Dayenu”-centric Passover book–have become diaper bag must-haves, genuine favorites that we have read countless times. Perhaps because our experience has been so superlative, I was surprised by a disappointing recent selection.
Tikkun Olam Ted tells the story of a boy who is small in stature but does big things. He works to repair the world daily, and this storybook covers one presumably typical week. Each day, Ted does a different, vividly illustrated Tikkun Olam project. And whenever we finish the book, Lila enthusiastically chants, “’gain!,” eager for an encore reading. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 18 2012
“On the first night of Hanukkah, my mommy gave to me,” my 13-year-old son began singing, as the 9-year-old and 5-year-old joined him in the chorus, “Absolutely no-ooooo-thing!”
Well, it’s not like they weren’t warned.
A good week before Hanukkah started, I informed my kids that, due to the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, with people not 50 miles away losing everything they owned, not to mention the high unemployment rate, the millions of people going hungry all around the world, and the fact that my children already had so much stuff they couldn’t even manage to keep their rooms clean, there would be no Hanukkah gifts this year. Instead, we would spend the eight days of the holiday doing good deeds, and the eight nights discussing them as we lit our candles. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 11 2012
Let’s face it; in order to help Jewish children from feeling left out of the Christmas season, Hanukkah has lost much of it’s traditional meaning and has become a holiday based around eight nights of presents. Customarily, Hanukkah is celebrated with candles, dreidels, and latkes; the eight crazy nights of toys and books was only added to compete with Christmas. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 6 2012
So–it’s almost Hanukkah, just about everyone’s favorite holiday. Gifts, gelt (Yidd., money), no fasting, no standing in shul for hours, no cooking for big family meals, nice lighting-the-menorah ritual.
Well, I never liked it. Despite the gifts, I didn’t like it even as a kid.
As a first generation American on my father’s side (especially grateful to this country since everyone who was not here were killed by the Nazis,) and a third generation American on my mother’s, I am a very patriotic American with a strong American identity.
But every Hanukkah, I felt like the “other.” Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 13 2012
Election day may have come and gone, but voting is still going strong in Kveller and PJ Library’s $5,000 tzedakah giveaway!
We’ve got 10 amazing not-for-profit organizations (as nominated by you) competing for $5,000 from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and you can vote once a day, every day, until November 30th.
You may not get an “I Voted Today” sticker, but you can sure rest easy knowing you’re helping the charity of your choice.
Click here to vote today (and tomorrow, and the next day, etc.)!
**And remember, families in the New York metro area can still sign up to receive free Jewish books from PJ Library through Kveller by clicking here.
Nov 7 2012
Lulu and Burke, age 5, sold milk and cookies to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy. They raised money to give to Masbia Soup Kitchen in New York. We have an exclusive Q&A with these two generous (and adorable) kiddos.
Was Hurricane Sandy scary?
Yes, because it broke down everything. It was so windy and rainy. Guess what? Red Hook lost electricity, the traffic lights ran out and I was thinking about the houses. I felt cozy in my house. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 6 2012
Donate clothes your children have outgrown or just don't wear
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, Alina Adams shares her strategy for donating time and skills instead of money.
When I wrote my earlier piece about how to save money by (primarily) not caring about what other people had, I stressed that it applied to those in your higher and comparable financial strata. Caring about people who have less than we do is a completely different issue.
However, when it comes to tzedekah, I have chosen to teach my children that there are ways to contribute other than monetarily. Not only because, as a teacher and a writer living in New York City with three kids in private school we don’t have a lot to spare, but also because I truly believe that giving means more when you actively do something to heal the world, rather than merely pay someone else to take care of what you perceive to be a problem. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 5 2012
As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, Tamar Snyder highlights the best ways for women to get involved with philanthropy.
Women rarely refer to themselves as philanthropists. We tend to think that the term refers only to the uber-wealthy–to people like Bill Gates, Michael Steinhardt, and the Bronfmans (all men!). But that’s not the case.
In fact, a growing body of research on men, women, and charitable giving suggests that women of all ages–especially Baby Boomers and older–are more likely to give to charity and give more than their male counterparts. This is true even though women still earn less than men, on average; live longer and tend to be more risk averse. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 1 2012
Last month, Kveller announced an initiative in conjunction with PJ Library to give $5,000 to one non-profit organization, as chosen by you, the readers of Kveller. The generous donation is coming from Harold Grinspoon, founder of PJ Library.
We received nearly 300 nominations for some truly amazing organizations out there, and we’ve now narrowed the list down to 10. The rest is up to you: voting has officially started today to choose the winner of our tzedakah extravaganza. You can vote once a day until November 30th by visiting our voting page here.
Help be a part of this wonderful opportunity by voting for the non-profit organization that you think deserves it. And remember, vote early and vote often!
Remember, if you live in the New York metro area, you can sign up for PJ Library through Kveller and receive amazing Jewish books and CDs in the mail every month.
Oct 31 2012
Damage from Hurricane Sandy
My daughters are old enough to understand what a storm is, and that it’s loud and scary, even when we’re inside the house.
As we spent all day Monday inside, passing the time with markers, stickers, books, and a screening of Cinderella, my 4-year-old was a little more fragile than usual. She fell into tears and fussiness quickly and often, and I know it was because of the gusting wind outside. I just kept reminding her that we were safe and dry inside, and it seemed to help a bit. Read the rest of this entry →