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.
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
I'm going to start with a confession: I am generally not a crier. I am a yeller whose operatic yawp can be heard for suburban blocks. I am also an amazingly targeted vomiter, and I can hit a trash…can while running through an airport to make a flight (true story). However, parenthood has made me a crier. And by crying, I don’t necessarily mean with tears, even though that’s the most popular variety. When I say “crying,” I mean that feeling of your face crumpling up into unnatural shapes as you let your… >> Read More
Somewhere in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, a 9-year-old girl named Alice has become known to the world as a comedy gold mine.
When her mother’s issue of The New Yorker comes to the house,…Alice, fresh off a day from third grade, grabs the issue and immediately goes to the back and writes an entry to the magazine’s cartoon caption contest. Her entries, written in typical 9-year-old handwriting, are what my 12-year-old son would call “savage AF.” Alice’s mother, Kim Kassnove, told Kveller she has always taken great delight… >> Read More
So many people tell me that they don’t have time to read. Well, I don’t have time to pee, and I do that. I’m kidding: I understand the dilemma. Reading is often portrayed as an immersive…experience, one that you can’t do without a full-fledged commitment of an event-free day and a deck chair. Well, would-be reader, I’d say that is wrong. I read in five minute increments wherever I go, and you can too with these riveting books easily broken into small, digestible and delicious chunks. 1. Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir, I… >> Read More
The story of Passover is pretty complex and rather long, which means you might lose your youngest kids in the retelling of it. Personally, I am a huge fan of The Prince of Egypt — an animated…version of the Book of Exodus that’s perfect for children — and I can’t recommend it highly enough. But if you can’t spare 100 minutes to watch the film, or you need something in writing, I present to you Passover Junior. Much like MasterChef Junior, my version of the Passover story is delectable to younger… >> Read More
In honor of Safer Internet Day — a global day dedicated to online safety and respect — Kveller’s Jordana Horn connected with writer, activist, designer, and onetime White House intern Monica…Lewinsky. When Lewinsky was 22, her relationship with President Bill Clinton eventually led to his impeachment — and a very public scandal. When the story broke in 1998, it was the early days of the Internet; Lewinsky has called herself the “patient zero” of online bullying. After years of laying low, Lewinsky has returned to… >> Read More
It’s a tough time of year. Sure, the days are short... but they are SO LONG. Warmth seems far off for most of us, and our houses are plagued by colds, stomach viruses, strep, and flu.
You’re…exhausted. You need an escape, ideally into a book that will keep you awake for more than two pages. And I will give you that escape, because I love you. Read these six page-turners now — you'll be glad you did. And stay strong! Winter is ending! Not really, but whatever. 1. The Perfect Nanny… >> Read More
If you haven’t seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, I highly recommend that you do so. It’s a witty and fun romp through some truly great period costumes. It’s probably best to go into the…1950s-era comedy — which is nominated for two Golden Globes Awards, including Best TV Series — about an Upper West Side Jewish woman and her family knowing little about it beforehand. But, SPOILER ALERT: The show begins with Midge Maisel’s husband leaving her unexpectedly. (Sorry! There was no way I could write this piece without… >> Read More
There have definitely been times in my life when I’ve been a real asshole. And today, I’d like to apologize for at least one of them.
I never really “got it” when it came to food allergies.…All I knew, for the duration of my first 14 years as a parent, was my vague feeling of, “Hey…there sure seem to be a lot more allergies out there than there used to be when I was a kid.” It didn’t make sense to me – I mean, I ate peanut butter and jelly… >> Read More
Maybe you have a vacation coming up and want to bring a great book with you. Maybe it’s your turn to pick your next book club read. Maybe, with Hanukkah less than a month out, you need some…recommendations for readers on your list. Personally, I don’t think you need an excuse. I read voraciously, keeping one book on my phone and another paperback on my bedside table (and if I’m being honest, a third one next to my tub/shower — I’m still working on the mechanics of the shower thing.) I burn meals… >> Read More
Author Tova Mirvis’s new memoir, The Book of Separation, is a beautiful examination of what it means to upend one’s life: In Mirvis’ case, she left her marriage and she left her…then-lifelong practice of Orthodox Judaism. Her story is wrenching, introspective, honest and wonderful. Here, Mirvis, a novelist known for skillful writing of Orthodox characters, spoke recently with Kveller’s Jordana Horn about divorce, empathy, religion, and truth. You refer to pluralistic Judaism — you write about your children going to a pluralistic Jewish school — but you… >> Read More
Let’s get this out there first: It is unquestionably easier to vote without a child in the voting booth with you.
As someone who has taken three or four children into the booth with me at once,…I totally get it. That baby carrier or car seat stroller is bulky as hell. There is pushing of emotional buttons, and possibly actual voting booth buttons (not necessarily so legal). There are space issues. And once you actually get to the front of what feels like an interminable line, the curtain closes behind you,… >> Read More
If you’re on social media, you probably have seen an outbreak of a campaign of “me too”/#metoo across your feed. This isn’t a trend so much as it is an avalanche: People are posting the words…“me too” if they have, at some point in their lives, been harassed or assaulted. The fact is that most, if not all, women and queer folks have at some point in their lives been objectified – whether by someone catcalling to them and commenting on their body on the street, or by being groped… >> Read More
Personally, coming off this weekend of Yom Kippur, my soul is still resonating. I am still moved and humbled and awed by our world and our places in it–by the sacred gift that life truly is, and of…the meaning of living a Jewish life. And now, we wake up to death and destruction in Las Vegas. What can we do? The soaring feeling of possibility, of change, of growth that inspires us through the High Holidays cannot be shot down by a murderer’s gun. There will always be evil in the world.… >> Read More
Prayerbook doesn’t do it for you? Sermons are touch and go? Or just looking for some extra reflection?
Whatever your religious leanings, if you are looking for Jewish inspiration over the High…Holidays, here are a few book recommendations to inspire thought, curiosity and contemplation for the year ahead. L’shana tova tikatevu! This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe As A Journey of Transformation by Alan Lew. This book is a game-changer for me, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Lew was… >> Read More
Just. Say. Hi.
It is not that hard. It’s two letters. It’s a short sound.
Maybe it is hard for you. Maybe you’re new to town, or have social anxiety, or are in a rush, or are exhausted,…or are going through something personal. Then just nod. Acknowledge everyone you see. Because it can mean so much. It’s the start of a new school year—and almost the start of a new Jewish year, too (bonus!). We are surrounded by new people, and often, we don’t know each other at all. It’s awkward to… >> Read More
It’s fall! Well, not really yet at all, actually–the weather is still balmy and the kids are wearing shorts (of course, they’ll wear shorts into February, but you get what I’m…saying). Maybe now, however, you have some time to sit down and chill—and let your hand unclench from having filled out all those gratuitous school forms? Welcome to my fall list of Books By Women To Make You Feel Better About Life. 1. “Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood’s Messy Years,” by Catherine Newman Word,… >> Read More
Before the news world blew up in our faces last week, the link that kept popping up on my newsfeed was something called “Wait Until 8th.”
A group of parents in Texas started a pledge to…support each other making the decision to hold off on getting their kids smartphones until eighth grade—and the movement is gaining traction across the country. It’s an attempt to create a peer group of parents on the same page in their decision to hold off on smartphones–in a world where there are so many influences… >> Read More
My two oldest boys are about to come home from overnight camp. Having done the whole camp thing for about four years now, I am fully aware of the extent to which their duffels will stink, the need to…immediately repack the bags for next year with the “camp stuff” (trust me), and not to freak out when a lot of stuff has mysteriously gone missing. For those of you new to the overnight camp experience, though, I thought I’d give you a few words of warning/guidance--sort of like a “What to Expect When… >> Read More
“It’s Too Expensive To Be Jewish” is the title of a Los Angeles Times personal essay written by a mother who, in the course of trying to figure out how to afford bar mitzvah tutoring for her…son, decided that being Jewish is, well, too expensive (exemplified by the high cost of synagogue membership and High Holiday tickets). Her conclusion is one with which I vehemently disagree–but that is in no small part because I vehemently disagree with her feelings about the underlying value of being Jewish. Admittedly, I’m coming at this… >> Read More
“Come on girl, shake that thing!”
“Shake, shake your booty!”
Typical lyrics to a typical pop song. Except these weren’t being sung on the radio. They were being chanted by my…4-year-old daughter with her group at her camp. As they sang, she wagged her just-recently-toddler tush semi-suggestively behind her, while her camp group clapped and cheered her on. As I watched this happen on our day camp’s visiting day, I was grossed out. I was annoyed. I was mad. These feelings came up in me… >> Read More