Apr 23 2014
The eight days of Passover are over as of last night. Here are the highlights of my days of Chol Ha’Moed (the intermediate days) and the final religious days of the holiday.
1. Heartburn. Never had it in my life. Apparently, it happens to a lot of people from matzah. So I’m a vegan. And I don’t eat kitniyot during Passover (beans, corn, rice, etc). And I basically was unable to eat matzah for the final four days. Try and think of what I could eat. Not a lot. It was lots of fruit, spinach with Russian dressing, nuts, and dates. And some BBQ potato chips. And the last of the corn syrup-free Passover Coke. Mama was hungry. And pretty grumpy.
2. Universal Studios. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 17 2014
I feel like I can’t even put two sentences together. Passover has me worked. I’m tired of cooking, I’m tired of not being able to eat out (I know, I am spoiled, I know!) My stomach already hurts from matzah. That set in literally 24 hours into the holiday. Okay: I’m done kvetching. I just had to put that out there.
And, oh, here’s my lunch from the set of “The Big Bang Theory” the other day.
Mmmmmm. Matzah. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 14 2014
Well, folks. Passover is upon us. The cooking is done. All that’s left for me to do after work today is assemble the eggplant-tomato casserole at my ex’s and to help him set the table. And to hang on tight as I head into eight days of not eating out, not eating grains, not eating beans or corn or anything with those ingredients, and eight days of feeling a part of a tradition stretching back thousands of years.
Tonight at sundown we begin the celebration of the freedom that should be a human right: to be allowed to eat where and how and when you want, to not be a slave to someone else’s desires or needs, to not forget what it means to be imprisoned simply because you are not enslaved today.
For many Jews, Passover is a beloved holiday. The proscriptions for observance are centered in the home. The Seders involve singing and discussion and this communal meal that echoes ancient order. And as much as many of us complain about matzah making our tummies hurt, there is a familiarity to this holiday of complaining and kvetching about the Bread of Affliction that I cannot distance myself from. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 11 2014
Passover begins Monday night with the first of two seders. Because of my work schedule, I can’t host the seders this year. My ex-husband has generously offered to host in his house for the first time.
How? What? Why? Seriously?!
My ex and I decided even before our divorce was publicly announced that we would put our kids’ needs first as much as humanly possible, which we decided meant including each other in holidays and family events as much as possible. As I discussed here last year, last Passover was the first Passover since my divorce, and my ex and his mom and my parents and my uncle and our kids all celebrated together.
In this past year, we have spent holidays such as Thanksgiving together (and with each other’s parents!), we have attended weddings together from respective sides of our families, and we have even done things like go to Disneyland with our kids (and my ex’s mom) and take them to their first movie together. It’s not always 100% comfortable, but as far as our kids are concerned, it is. They know we’re divorced, I promise. The whole two houses, two sets of sneakers, two toothbrushes, and shlepping toys and dolls and Hebrew homework back and forth makes it really clear that we are divorced. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 9 2014
In the spirit of Passover, Kveller asked our readers and writers: What do you need to break free from this year? Here’s Mayim’s response as part of our “What’s Your Exodus?” series. Want to join in? Tweet @kveller with the #WhatsYourExodus hashtag.
My Exodus this year is thinking about my needs first, rather than dampening them to make other people more comfortable. What a novel idea, right!?
I grew up thinking that being accommodating and maybe a little teeny tiny bit of a martyr was positive, and now I see that I have gotten lost in the forest of other people’s needs. I want to actively and bravely take back my voice this year and I want to pass through the narrows of Mitzrayim with more clarity and self-respect than I ever thought possible. I hope to achieve this by putting my needs first rather than making my needs smaller to make other people happy.
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Apr 8 2014
So you all know I’m a hippie, right? I made my kids’ shampoo for the first five years of their life, I don’t use paper towels or commercial cleaning products, I use naturopathic and holistic medicine rather than Western medicine, I don’t own any toys that require batteries, I believe in natural birth as an empowering and profound experience for women, and I don’t shave my legs. You get it: I’m a total hippie.
Well, as you can imagine, conventional parenting magazines never sat right with me because they simply didn’t address the things I needed to know as a parent interested in cloth diapering, sustainable parenting, and how to stop well meaning family from buying your kids every battery-operated toy in existence for every birthday and holiday. There used to be a print magazine called Mothering that was THE parenting magazine for moms (and dads) like me. It is now available only online for environmental reasons at Mothering.com and it is a tremendous resource for those interested in what’s referred to as Natural Family Living. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 2 2014
Remember when I took my kids to Disneyland with my ex? And remember how I am kind of a Scrooge and didn’t really enjoy it that much? Well, I took my kids to Knott’s Berry Farm and Amusement Park (home of “Camp Snoopy,” the littler kids section of the amusement park) last weekend without the ex.
Here’s why it was better. And no, it wasn’t better because the ex wasn’t there. I actually really could have used an extra set of hands since Little Man wanted to be held practically the entire time. And no, Knott’s isn’t paying me to say this. I bought my tickets off of some website where things are less expensive than at the ticket counter like all of you.
1. Knott’s is smaller. Square footage, diameter, circumference; you name it and Knott’s has a smaller number before any of those measurements. And that made it more manageable for sure. I could hold the images of the layout of the park in my head all at once, I didn’t get lost, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the size. It was smaller and sometimes smaller is better. Like now. Talking about Knott’s. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 1 2014
I haven’t been shy about my love for The Maccabeats, the a cappella group from Yeshiva University. But today I’ve got a major announcement: when it comes to one of these handsome singing men, I don’t just love his music. I love him. And we’re engaged!
For privacy reasons, I won’t be revealing his identity quite yet, but know that we are very happy together and plan to have a seder-themed wedding next Passover.
*Gotcha, didn’t I? Happy April Fool’s.
Mar 27 2014
Anyone else starting Passover prep?
Here’s what I did last weekend in order to start the thorough, divinely ordained, obsessive-compulsive, halachically elucidated purging of the five grains the Torah forbids us from consuming, eating, or gaining benefit from during the eight days of Passover, which begin this year on April 14, at sundown.
1. Croutons. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 25 2014
My dad was a junior high school drama teacher for most of my childhood. In all of the schools he taught in, he would approach the special education teachers and ask them if any of their students wanted to be in his drama class. Most teachers didn’t have students interested, but every year, a few students would say yes. So I grew up seeing my father put on plays with students with special needs, and work them seamlessly into his plays, such as deaf students signing their lines right alongside not hard-of-hearing students.
He once had a student with cerebral palsy who had significant difficulty with speech and walking as an active participant in one of his plays, reciting his lines from a wheelchair with great difficulty, but with tremendous heart. Everyone cried at that performance.
It was the gestures of my father’s tremendous heart that made me understand from a very young age that there is no such thing as too small of an act of empowering people with special needs. My father’s efforts impressed entire classrooms of students who got to have the opportunity to work with other students with special needs and learn about patience and flexibility and talent and trust as an artist. And everyone who saw my father’s plays saw what that meant in action. And the parents of the students he taught with special needs got to see their child have an experience rarely open to them. Those moments of my childhood have stuck with me. Read the rest of this entry →