The first time Anise Simon talked about her abortion with someone was at a mikveh in Los Angeles. The attendant asked her what she was hoping to get out of her ritual bath experience, and her story…came bubbling out. “I unloaded that I’d been in an abusive relationship and I was struggling with it, but I’d been in a place where I’d come to find joy in searching for answers,” she told me. She remembers the mikveh attendant recounting stories of strong women in Jewish history, including stories of dysfunctional families… >> Read More
It’s 1968, or 1978, basically anytime I’m with my mom in her lifetime and we’re out in public. Finicky about fabrics and proper attire, my mother always offered a choice opinion in Yiddish. If…they don’t speak the language, no big deal, she just mutters her criticisms to me in that tongue under her breath, criticisms so precise that they take my breath away: someone’s dress is plotzing (too tight), or it’s ongepotchked (over-ornamented), or it’s just drek (junk). We were an immigrant family, more immigrant in spirit when… >> Read More
The idea of riding the U-Bahn train for 45 minutes to and from university as a summer session college student in Germany seemed, in advance, like a mundane, time-consuming detail of a potentially…enlightening and enjoyable study abroad trip. I was staying in a part of town that was formerly East Berlin, in a dilapidated neighborhood near the end of one of the subway lines. So each morning, I grabbed a seat and watched the train cars fill up, stop after stop, as we approached the center of… >> Read More
Eric and Lara Trump are expecting, and everyone is asking: will this be his fourth Jewish grandkid? Is Lara a member of the tribe? Was that a crystal chuppah, or just a canopy?
Turns out, maybe…she’s not Jewish. You know what? It doesn’t really matter. Just because Trump has a growing family that may or may not have Jewish heritage, doesn’t mean he knows the first thing about Jewish values. Or family values, either. Let’s just start with the basics. You know what I’m going to say: tikkun olam, Hebrew for… >> Read More
Amy Kurzweil is a writer, illustrator, and cartoonist. Her debut book, a graphic memoir, "Flying Couch," was just published--and it's the story you've been wanting to read your entire life (even if…you didn't realize it yet)--about three generations of women: the narrator, the narrator's Jewish mother, and the narrator's Holocaust survivor grandmother. Essentially, it tells a coming-of-age story both for the narrator and for the narrator's bubbe, who escapes the Warsaw Ghetto alone. It's so good that The New York Times listed it as one of, “The… >> Read More