Nov 5 2013
As I have written about here, I have started taking my sons on approximately once-a-month family Shabbat sleepovers to religious neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We stay with friends/acquaintances who aren’t intimidated by the fact that we’re vegan, my sons bring along their little travel KidKits, and we learn about another family and how they celebrate Shabbat.
This past weekend, we had our Shabbat sleepover in a very religious neighborhood. Like even more religious than I am used to, which you would probably describe as Moderate Modern Orthodox. This was not that. Everyone was very nice and welcoming, and I didn’t feel unwelcome at all, but it was very different from what I’m used to. It was more like ultra-Orthodox. Streimels, you know, those big furry black hats. And I might have been the only woman I saw with my hair peeking out from under my tichel (headscarf), since all of the women in this neighborhood wear expensive sheitls (wigs) or hats with no hair showing.
Here are the Top 7 Things I learned this past weekend.
1. Heads Up. Some women never uncover their heads. Like ever. Meaning: they even sleep with their heads covered. There’s a whole reason, it’s not just someone misunderstanding the rules of halakha (Jewish law). The woman who described it to me is a very educated, smart, and interesting person. I had never met someone who never uncovers her head except in the shower, literally. Fascinating. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 8 2013
As I have talked about here on Kveller quite a bit, I love Shabbat. I love turning off anything electronic for 25 hours, not working, not driving anywhere, having leisurely meals, taking a nap while my sons play hopefully safely and sort of quietly nearby. Oh yeah: I also love celebrating the miraculous religious experience of echoing God’s cessation of labor by engaging in the blessed Sabbath; it’s not just the hanging out and napping and not working, although those are pretty awesome too and sometimes seem more needed than the religious ecstasy.
What I don’t love is that I don’t currently live in a neighborhood with other Shabbat-observant Jews. I am not in a position to move just now, and so Shabbats are often “home days” with my kids. Sometimes we walk to synagogue but the closest one is about an hour’s walk away and since we don’t know anywhere well enough to eat after synagogue, we end up walking longer than we even stay in synagogue. And some of us get tired and cranky and hungry. And sometimes so do my kids.
What I have decided to start doing since my divorce is to try and take my kids to a Shabbat-observant neighborhood once a month and stay over for all of Shabbat. I don’t find driving in the spirit of Shabbat, even if it’s just to go to synagogue. It forces me to engage with streetlights, roads, people, traffic, and other things which do not make me feel the peace of Shabbat. I know some people drive on Shabbat and that’s fine for them, but it has never felt right since I took on observing Shabbat the way I currently prefer to. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 24 2013
This post is the last entry in Mayim’s month-long series about the Jewish aspects of divorce.
As a child, I lit two Shabbat candles with my mother every time she lit Shabbat candles. I felt like a little Ima (mother), like they make you pretend in preschool or kindergarten Hebrew school. It’s practice, you know. For when you are a “real” Ima. Imas light two candles.
When I got married, I had not been consistently lighting Shabbat candles for years. After leaving my parents’ home and going to college, I stopped, but I would light them with the other girls at Hillel when I attended services there and looked forward to a day when I would light them as a married woman. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 12 2013
Shabbat is great. Shabbat is lovely. Shabbat is 25 hours of no phone, no radio, no piano, no driving, no cooking, no TV (which I don’t watch anyway), no pressures of the outside world. You hang out with friends, eat lavish meals, nap, let your kids frolic as you get a “break,” and enjoy the synagogue of your choosing which both enlightens your soul and tantalizes your children. Unless…
Unless you live an hour’s walk from the nearest synagogue and have no friends within walking distance, in which case it’s a 25 hour test of wills: can I keep my kids happy? Entertained? Happy to be Jewish when the day seems like one long list of restrictions? Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 27 2012
My new finger Spanx.
Mayim here with an update, not dictated. Typed with left thumb.
1. I have two fingers still very swollen. The hand Dr gave each swollen finger a miniature sleeve. Each looks like a tiny finger SPANX. Kind of adorable.
2. Speaking of SPANX, I was on Access Hollywood Live! today and my husband helped me get dressed. He at 6′ and more strength than my stylist was an excellent SPANXer. He basically shook me into that cozy sausage casing of an undergarment. Not adorable, but efficient and worthy of a giggle.
3. I’m still in pain. But I’m stronger every day.
4. My 4-year-old keeps asking me to play. I tell him I can’t. But Friday he suggested, as if it hadn’t occurred to me, “Mama, play one hand.”
5. Had a very healing Shabbat. Surrounded by friends and kids. On Sunday I napped. I got my stitches out. I had a wonderful acupuncture session.
That’s my update. More later, when FAB (Fancy Assistant Brandon) and I get to work.
Aug 17 2012
I had a horrible accident. I will be okay. I have all my fingers but a very impaired right hand. It was very bloody and scary but I am ok. A man named Tim and another man whose name I don’t know saved me from losing a lot of blood and helped me talk to my husband at the scene. I am grateful to them.
I am a deeply religious person who used prayer and deep breathing to keep me going all the way from the accident to the ER to surgery 6 hours later, no medication until surgery. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 28 2012
One boat, One Shabbat, One Mayim, 500 Jews.
I spent my first night away from my 3 1/2-year-old ever this past Friday night. How does Mayim Bialik spend a night away, you may ask? Maybe in Vegas? Or a girls’ weekend at the spa? Wrong and wrong again. I spent my first night alone at a Shabbaton. All by myself. Well, me and about 500 other people. Read the rest of this entry →