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Sep 10 2014

Mazel Tov! Fran Drescher Ties the Knot

By at 2:34 pm

Fran-D

Fran Drescher is off the market.

The actress we know best as Fran Fine from “The Nanny” got married to inventor Shiva Ayyadurai Sunday, whom she met a little over a year ago when she watched him speak at a Deepak Chopra event, reports the Huffington Post.

“I was speaking on sages and scientists — in fact, talking about innovation and the fact that we need to more universally look at the models of innovation,” Ayyadurai explained to host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. “And Fran heard my talk and we fell in love, and we’ve been together since that talk.”

The nuptials took place at an intimate ceremony with family and close friends at Fran’s beachside home. The bride wore a red Badgely Mischka gown, and the groom wore Ralph Lauren. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 3 2014

How to Have Male Friends Without Destroying Your Marriage

By at 3:32 pm

can men and women be just friends

Last summer I was a bridesmaid at one of my very dearest friend’s weddings. I wore a fitted black dress with a white sash that made me feel a little Audrey Hepburn-ish.

When I walked down the aisle, I smiled tearfully into his eyes and then I took my place by his side.

That’s right. His.

Ben has been one of my closest friends since I started college. He’s the one I confided in when I failed tests, when I got my heart broken, even when I lost my virginity. We’ve gone on crazy wild adventures together, sleeping in cars and getting lost in the woods. He’s held my newborn babies and I’ve held his. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 28 2013

The Orthodox Matchmaker I Never Thought I Wanted

By at 2:39 pm

wedding rings on pink backgroundI grew up in an Orthodox Jewish world where at age 22, a girl was considered a cat-collecting spinster if she was heaven forbid, knock-on-wood, still single. In my world, girls at 22 were on the brink of “spinsterdom,” and girls who were 23, 24, or worse, 25 (gasp!), well, they were just ancient.

After graduation, I traveled to Jerusalem where I studied Hebrew, Israeli culture and customs, and visited the grave sites and the places of my Jewish ancestry. Each landmark visited reminded me that there was a world much bigger than Miami Beach, Florida, where I had lived for most of my life. Much like my classmates, I was studying in Israel for a year following high school. But unlike me, the girls I shared rooms with planned to continue on The Plan once they returned home. The Plan was to get “set up” with a suitable religious guy from a “good” family, who was either ambitious or extremely learned (depending on said girl)–a guy who would provide a comfortable life for the two of them and their soon-to-be children. The Plan was flawless. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2012

What Do You Think About Natalie Portman’s Wedding Dress?

By at 3:25 pm

natalie portman wedding dressI’m a huge fan of Natalie Portman. She’s a talented actress, an ethereal beauty, and a proud Jewess. Born in Israel, Natalie wears her Jewishness proudly as was captured this past Saturday night at her beautiful yet understated Big Sur, California wedding to Benjamin Millepied. A photo of the couple wrapped in a Tallis evokes strong emotion as it represents the melding of the beauty of the physical and the spiritual into one.

But let’s talk fashion for a moment… What about her dress? Fit for a true princess, Natalie’s dress, a simple tea length gown by Rodarte, was elegantly topped with a sheer lace overlay to softly cover her arms and chest. Bravo to Natalie for her sense of respect and modesty at such a revered time in her life. I believe her gown was perfectly apropos for her specific wedding setting; it was elegant, yet completely unstuffy. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 1 2012

Shiksa in the Mikveh

By at 9:45 am
mikvah jewish conversion

The ghetto mikvah.

Early on in my conversion study I remember sitting in bed reading one of many books on becoming a Jew-by-choice. I stopped mid-way through a passage and scanned back over the text once more. I turned to my husband and said, “Um, did you know that if I want to be Jewish I have to take a NAKED bath… IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!?” He laughed and said surely this was something only Orthodox women did, but the more I researched and spoke with my beit din (rabbinic court), it was confirmed. I had to take a naked bath if I wanted to join The Tribe.

The photo in Mayim’s recent post (which was wonderful, by the way) is what most literature will show you of a mikvah (ritual bath)–beautiful lighting, marble floors, and immaculate waters. A spa-like experience connecting you with your maker. The mikvah where I lived at the time came with an official rabbinical disclaimer of being “rough around the edges.” The Midwestern city we lived in, like many in America, had succumbed to urban sprawl and what was once was a vibrant Jewish neighborhood was now plagued with one-way routed streets to prevent drug trafficking. The mikvah was a small ritual bath in the back of a weathered home. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 28 2011

Don’t Let Your Daughters Watch The Royal Wedding

By at 9:47 am

The official photo of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

In all likelihood, I’ll be up early Friday, watching the royal wedding from my East Coast US residence with my daughter. That’s largely because my daughter’s manners, after 30 weeks of residence in my uterus, are still somewhat unpolished. So she hasn’t been born yet, and the odds are that she’ll have kicked me awake well in time for the sounding of the bells at Westminster Abbey.  In the event that I had an already-born daughter, however, I’d strongly prefer that she sleep in this Friday morning.

Is it really so important to get our bleary-eyed little American girls out of bed to show them that princesses are “real” and that “fairy tales can come true”? Not only would I say “no,” but I’ll go even further and say that it’s actually kind of creepy. Disney’s Princess industry is a golem of a marketing tool, aptly skewered by Peggy Orenstein‘s Cinderella Ate My Daughter, as well as others.  Yes, girls can be heroines too. Hooray. But Mulan – kick-butt Chinese warrior – is surely preferable to Cinderella – the girl who can’t find her way out of her own problems without a fairy-godmother bestowed dress, pair of shoes, and prince.  It’s important to note that Kate Middleton, whom I’m sure is a perfectly nice person, is going to have the world’s attention on Friday not because she’s cured cancer, but rather, because she’s done the best job of “marrying up” of anyone on the entire planet. And I’m sure she’ll look stunningly beautiful doing it.

So when you wake your daughter up early to watch the wedding, you’ve got to ask yourself: what are you celebrating, and what are you teaching your daughter to celebrate? Because it seems an awful lot like you are celebrating social stratification, and endorsing the belief that marriage is a best-bet ticket into a better life. As someone whose first marriage ticket was for a flight of fancy that was rerouted into tremendous turbulence, I’d have to say no to espousing that particular belief. No offense to Prince William, or my new husband, for that matter, but there is no Prince Charming. There’s no one guy who is going to be the magic bullet of your life, righting all wrongs and making everything beautiful and perfect and okay. And nurturing that fantasy is a one-way ticket to heartbreak and perpetual feelings of inadequacy. That’s not what I would want for my daughter.

The irony of celebrating a royal marriage as the height of fulfilled bliss is especially sharp in light of this particular young prince’s mother, Princess Diana, whose thousand magazine covers paved the way to her early death in a Paris underground tunnel in 1997. She died due to a car collision with fervent paparazzi in pursuit of her – paparazzi made fervent due to our collective, overly-prurient interest.  The lesson is almost too pointed to bear. Surely Friday will carry with it ample fawning reference to the beautiful dead princess, neglecting to mention that, at the end of the day, it was us who killed her.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m going to watch the royal wedding. I’m going to watch it because I do things I shouldn’t do all the time, like skipping out on going to the gym and eating too much ice cream instead. Yes, these things reap tremendous cognitive dissonance. But while I’m making snarky comments, I’m also going to take the time to think about why I’m watching and why we care so much, when we probably, if rationality were to come to the table, shouldn’t. So until your little princess can understand what irony means, I’d suggest that she take the morning off.

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