Jordana Horn is a contributing editor to Kveller. She is a journalist, lawyer, writer, mother of six, travel aficionado, and self-declared karaoke superstar. Before her life got too crazy, she was the New York correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. She has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Forward and Tablet. She has appeared as a 'parenting expert' on NBC's TODAY Show and FOX and Friends. She enjoys writing about herself in the third person and, one far-off day when everyone is in school, hopes to get back to work on her novel.
I’m starting a new year in which my oldest is in high school (!) and my youngest is in Pull-Ups. Repeating the mantra, “No one goes to college in diapers,” I have decided that the latter issue…will work itself out somehow, sometime. (After six kids, somehow potty training continues to be a weakness of mine – insert shrug emoji here). My parenting right now spans a wide range of human experience. On the one end, we are having conversations about college, consensual sexual relationships, responsibility, and time management. On the other… >> Read More
I got “woke” this morning before 7 a.m., all thanks to some sequins.
You’ve probably noticed that many, many kids have flippy sequin shirts. Not only are they super shiny and sparkly — an…instant plus with most kids in the 3-10 age range — but there is also something remarkably, oddly pleasant about the tactile sensation of running your hand up and down the sequins to flip them in one direction or another. Kids particularly love the sensory element of these shirts (though adults are not immune). As… >> Read More
I have two boys at two different summer camps right now. One of them is having a blast. The other is also having a great time — but I only know that because I have extrapolated it from his…silence. My oldest son, 14, knows that when it comes to letters, he needs to Feed The Beast. (Yes, “the beast,” in this particular scenario, is me.). He knows that I am someone who gets super excited about receiving real mail, and have ever since I was little. In fact, when I was a girl,… >> Read More
I post a lot about politics on Facebook — so much so, in fact, that I suspect that even close friends have unfollowed me. That’s OK: The state of the world is important to me, and I want to share…both the news and ways that people can get involved. And if people don’t want to hear it, that’s their choice. But I’m human, too. And there are times when I am sitting at my kitchen table just before 7 a.m., amid the detritus of abandoned child breakfasts, and I find myself thinking about stupid… >> Read More
I am so angry about so many wrongs transpiring in our country right now, from voter disenfranchisement to threats to women’s reproductive rights to immigrant family separations to our president…selling us down the river to Russia. And perhaps you, too, are furious about the current state of the world. But at the same time, you may find that you are way overwhelmed with your own life. The combination of kids, bills, sick friends or relatives, work pressures, and general day-to-day hassles can make you… >> Read More
This morning, Israeli police burst into a house at 5:30 am to detain someone. His crime? He was a Conservative rabbi who presided over non-Orthodox weddings.
Conservative Rabbi Dov Haiyun of…Moriah Congregation in Haifa was taken for questioning following a complaint filed against him by the Rabbinical Court in Haifa for allegedly "marrying those who are not eligible to be married." Today’s incident was the first attempt in Israel to enforce a 2013 law forbidding performing weddings outside the Rabbinate, a law carrying a sentence… >> Read More
“I don’t know Kavanaugh the judge. But Kavanaugh the carpool dad is one great guy,” reads the headline of a Washington Post piece published yesterday. When I first saw it, I assumed it was…satire, penned by the Post’s incredible Alexandra Petri (check out her work if you haven’t already). Because surely there is no relevance, pertinence, or merit to putting a non-satirical piece like this in a serious newspaper — a piece that aims to convince me that likely future Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whatever his judicial… >> Read More
This past spring, the United Nations-affiliated World Health Organization was apparently the setting for a previously unthinkable battle between the United States and basically the rest of the world.…And just what was the cause of this major showdown? Global epidemics, perhaps? No: The fight was over a resolution supporting the use of breast milk. Yes, really. According to The New York Times, the U.S. delegation to the World Health Assembly worked hard to dilute a resolution which was designed to highlight the importance… >> Read More
Just how do you celebrate the Fourth of July if you are feeling deeply unsettled about the trajectory of our country?
I know I’m not the only person thinking about that this year. In a Facebook…group I follow, another parent mused about the Fourth, “It has always been a holiday my family enjoys, but I am feeling terribly conflicted about celebrating this year. I am grateful for 200 years of independence, but this year, I am not feeling proud of my country.” To be clear: I love America deeply and… >> Read More
Yesterday, I dropped my 13-year-old son off at the bus that would take him away from me for seven weeks of overnight camp. The drop-off was the same as it’s been the past four years in many…respects: same location; same discussion about how it’s better for him to sit behind the driver so we can wave to each other as the bus leaves the parking lot; same negotiation over who he’ll sit with on the two hour ride. But there was one major difference this year: I didn’t cry. In previous… >> Read More
Three years ago this week, I had my last baby. I realize there’s the “hey, you never know” factor, but she was my sixth. So, stick a fork in me: I’m done.
But what’s amazing to me is…that even now, 14 years after having my first kid, I still get so pissed about how many things fall into the category Stuff People Never Tell You Before You Have a Baby. Obviously, I have no regrets about having any of my children. But, that being said, was I in any way adequately aware… >> Read More
Maurice Sendak’s short story, Pierre, is the kids’ book that haunted me the most throughout my life.
In this story, the little boy, Pierre, will only say three words — “I don’t care”…— no matter what options or choices are presented to him. Whenever his parents ask him to do something, or try to give to him something — whether they are offering him breakfast, or inviting him to go to town with them — he only says, “I don’t care.” And finally, when a hungry lion comes… >> Read More
Since this article was published, President Trump signed an executive order on the afternoon of June 20 ending the policy of separating migrant children from their parents. However, a…"zero-tolerance" policy remains at the border, "but we are going to keep families together," Trump said. How do you feel when you hear the voices of children sobbing and crying for their parents – parents whom they may never see again? ProPublica put that question in the face of the public Monday evening, releasing a… >> Read More
OMG — is your kid going to overnight camp for the very first time? Time to freak out!
Wait. I am totally kidding — though I suppose some of you already ran away, sobbing, to wrap your arms…around your little one. But for those of you still here, welcome! Sending your child to sleepaway camp for the first time really is a liminal moment. You’re standing on the threshold of a new parenting era. This is when you start to realize your kid is and can be separate from you (for an… >> Read More
As a mother of six kids, there are so many different teachers to whom I entrust my children day after day. And now, as we approach the end of the school year (sob!), I need to write…to you to tell you how much I respect and admire you and all that you do. First, for my youngest daughters’ teachers in nursery school. I believe nursery school teachers are a special breed. For the first time, our kids are away from home, and you become their out-of-the-house fearless leader. You teach them… >> Read More
Kate Spade, the fashion designer, was found dead at age 55 in her apartment Tuesday in an apparent suicide.
I am so sorry for her, for her family and all those who love her. She left behind a note…for her 13 year old daughter, Page Six reported, telling her that her mother’s death was not her fault. If that doesn’t make your heart go into painful knots, I don’t know what would. In the aftermath of a tragedy like this, so many idle tongues will wag. They’ll spread garbage like, “Kate Spade was… >> Read More
You’ve probably heard of the marshmallow test, especially if you ever took a college course in psychology or read an article in The New Yorker. It’s a famous experiment: put a marshmallow in…front of a preschooler and tell them that they can either eat it now or, if they can wait 15 minutes and not eat it, they will get two marshmallows. Demonstrating the willpower to not eat the sugary treat, the test found, was a predictor of the kid’s future ability to succeed in life generally.… >> Read More
Once the calendar starts its perilous turn around the corner into June, we get into the thick of it: the onslaught of all those end-of-the-school-year events. The moving-up ceremonies, the concerts,…the performances, the awards ceremonies, and the graduations. There are so many of them. (Yes, as a mom to six kids, I perhaps have more than most — but even parents of one kid know exactly what I’m talking about.) All of these wonderful, important events are attended by a sea of proud parents and… >> Read More
My son’s bar mitzvah happened about two weeks ago. Obviously, being the proud Jewish mama that I am, I have to say the kid nailed it.
But I am not here to write The Ultimate Kvell. Rather, I’d…like to share with you the lessons I learned from this blessed event, in hopes they can prevent some headaches when you, too, are fortunate enough to witness your own son or daughter becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. So here goes: 1. Chill Out. On the way to synagogue on the morning of The Big… >> Read More
Last week, nanny Yoselyn Ortega was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the brutal 2012 murder of Leo and Lucia Krim, ages 2 and 6, who were in her care at the Krim’s Manhattan…home. The story is a gut-wrencher; it haunted me endlessly when it happened back in 2012. Everything about the case was horrific, from the violence of the crime, to the senselessness of it all, to how it touched on such a raw nerve for parents everywhere who leave our children in someone else’s hands. Because,… >> Read More
Literary giant Philip Roth died Tuesday night. While the first words frequently used to describe him are “Jewish-American writer,” he would vehemently oppose that characterization.
I know that…because I got to personally ask him about it. I interviewed him as a reporter for my college newspaper 25 years ago. (Yes, I find that as unbelievable to type as you must find it to read). In the course of our almost hour-long interview, he ranged from snarky to petulant, but he was vehement… >> Read More
Ten people were killed last week at a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, and 13 more were injured.
Among the unnecessarily dead is Shana Fisher, a 16-year-old year old girl who allegedly…turned down romantic advances from the shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, and, after four months of unencouraged overtures from him, stood up to him in class. Her mother contends that Fisher was deliberately targeted for having refused the Pagourtzis’s attention. I’m enraged by this, for a variety of reasons. I’ll start with the obvious: Nobody should be… >> Read More
The country’s first-ever “free-range parenting” law just went into effect in Utah. As other states across the U.S. contemplate similar legislation, it could be a sign of more changes to…come. The Utah law amends the definition of neglect with regard to childcare, stating explicitly that “neglect” does not include “permitting a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities,” such as walking or biking to… >> Read More
I have a whole mess of kids — six, to be exact. It’s crazy but it’s also a lot of fun. There are a lot of fights about nothing — like who gets to wear the Sofia the First costume — and…there are so, so many moments of joy. As the hashtag says, #blessed. But having a ton of kids underscores a flaw of the human condition: You Can’t Be In Multiple Places At Once. Life is basically constant triage: Yes, I can come to your play — unless someone is bleeding. I try to be… >> Read More
My second child — out of six — will become a bar mitzvah in a few weeks. And while I still have many more bar and bat mitzvahs ahead of me, as the accoutrements of this event threaten to overtake…its substance, I find that I am already burned out. Let me explain. We live in the New York metropolitan area — which is another way of saying “there are a lot of Jewish people around here, so almost every weekend, my 7th-grader goes to at least one bar or bat mitzvah service and party.”… >> Read More