Mayim Bialik is best known for her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory, as well as her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom. She is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is the founder of GrokNation.
A few weeks ago, I was a guest at a Shabbat retreat (called a Shabbaton) at a synagogue near my house. I was invited by an organization called ETTA to experience the community they create for…individuals with disabilities. ETTA was started almost 25 years ago. They have five group homes in the Southern California area and they support activities and events that help individuals learn life skills and build confidence while participating in rewarding job, social, and recreational activities, including summer camps and Shabbat experiences such as the one I… >> Read More
The New Year makes me nostalgic and emotional. Am I alone in this? I can’t be.
The holidays, with all of their regularity and fluidity, make you remember what you did last year, and then…invariably something happens that makes you say, “Oh, wow. Fred couldn’t even read last year and look at him reading along in the prayer book this year!” or, “Miles understood the meaning of fasting as something other people did last year, but now he is looking down the barrel of his bar mitzvah in a… >> Read More
It’s almost the Jewish New Year! Yay! It’s so wonderful; the leaves are starting to change color (yes, even in sunny Southern CA it happens a little bit), the air is finally starting to cool off…(yes, even in sunny Southern CA it dips from our typical 75 degrees every day to 65 degrees a few days a week and 70 degrees the others…), and my mother is starting to ask, “What we are doing for the holidays?” It’s time for the New Year and everyone is so excited! Well, that… >> Read More
My children do not have smartphones. My children want smartphones. Kids their age have smartphones, even with limited functionality (i.e. some kids have smartphones for video games and phone calls…but no internet access). Why won’t their dad and I get them a smartphone, they ask all the time. When I heard that someone wrote a new book about the tech age and kids, I rolled my eyes. “This is going to be a book basically telling me I am a fuddy duddy for not… >> Read More
A progressive Modern Orthodox Rabbi friend of mine sent me this video a few weeks ago:
The video was actually made by another rabbi…who I don’t know at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy here in Los Angeles. The basic gist of this little video is that we need to stop labeling each other as methods of division in the Jewish community, because we are all Jews. Period. As a person who sees myself as one of the growing number… >> Read More
As I was cutting into a cantaloupe the other day (I bet you can’t wait to hear what I say next), I had a funny thought: I am so glad summer is here.
And I don’t mean I’m glad summer is here…because I like summer. Heavens, no! I hate heat in general, I dislike wearing clothing that shows more of my mama body than I deem necessary, and I fear the sun because of all of the moles and skin spots and grossness that happens to skin when it sees the sun after you turn 35.… >> Read More
There are so many ways to be connected to Judaism. I’ve had different kinds and levels of connection throughout my 40 years on this planet. With the holiday of Shavuot approaching (it begins at…sunset on Saturday, June 11 and ends on the evening of Monday, June 13), we celebrate the giving of the Torah, and with it, the possibility for recommitting ourselves to Jewish living and Jewish life. As a child, I connected to being Jewish through the songs we sang at camp—I was moved by the ways… >> Read More
This article is part of our essay series, “Why Be Jewish?,” based off of “Why Be Jewish?”—a new book by the late Edgar M. Bronfman.
Why be Jewish? I don't know, honestly. It's the only…way I know to be. I was born to Jewish parents. I'm Jewish. At some point in history, I suppose some intermarriage happened between someone historically Jewish and someone not—hence my blue eyes and fair skin and formerly blond hair. But I don't think about that a lot. I have more in common with most… >> Read More
When planning a Passover menu, there are many things to consider, including:
1. How long until the main course? Because the first several sections of the seder before you even get to the meal are…so long, everyone is pretty much ravenous by the time you actually start to feed them. When planning what comes before the main course, you need to take into consideration the fact that people will have had karpas, which in my family is parsley. We also serve small potatoes during the karpas portion of the… >> Read More
Passover is a-comin’. This holiday is a little bit like the gigantic trip you know you are going to take, no matter how much you deny that it’s coming, and involves a lot of preparation and a bit…of dread, but you also can’t wait for it. For many, Passover is the most beloved holiday of the year. For many (women), it’s the least beloved holiday of the year. The preparations involve spring cleaning of a religious and, in many cases, compulsive order, abiding by the prohibition from the Torah to rid our… >> Read More
I’ve been on a journey towards more learning and deeper understanding of Judaism since college. I received a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies as part of this journey, I learned Hebrew, and I did…a lot of extra curricular activities, through UCLA Hillel in particular, and in the Jewish community in general during the years I wanted to immerse myself more in Jewish learning. I learned a few important things in this journey I’ve been on: 1. Ask questions. Never act like you understand something if you don’t, whether… >> Read More
I'm going to be super honest right now--sometimes it's hard to be happy for people when they have success you want for yourself. As an actor, I run into this all of the time. But here's the…thing about a real deeply connected friendship: you are so happy for the other person's success, even if you crave it for yourself. This is how it is with Melissa Rauch, who plays Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory" with me. She co-wrote and is starring in her very own movie called "The Bronze," and… >> Read More
One of the best things (in my opinion) about being Jewish is we don’t have all the answers. Like, ever. My rabbi, who taught the class in Jewish Studies at UCLA, once said, “Other religions stand…on the street corner and claim to have all the answers. Judaism stands on the street corner and says, ‘We’ve got questions!’” So when I learned about HODS.org (Halachic Organ Donor Society), I was astounded. HODS is an organ donor society organized and supported by Orthodox rabbis and Orthodox people. You see, I always thought Orthodox… >> Read More
My boys are 7 and 10, and so many of the troubles of being a mom of two young kids are finally over now, thank goodness! No more needing to find a potty in the middle of every major department store,…or having a constant barrage of Cheerio-type products underneath every carseat all the time. No more irrational (or so it seemed at the time) tantrums and very few meltdowns, because I won’t provide another lollipop or another toy after we have just consumed lollipops and bought many toys. But as they say, small kids small… >> Read More
Sigh. We try to do things differently. Branch out. Be brave. Be bold. Be open to change.
So when I took the Kveller “Which Celebrity Jewish Mother Are You?” quiz, I made a concerted decision…to choose what I really thought would be my answers, not just what I think Kveller thinks Mayim Bialik would answer. I didn’t choose that I’d like to cook a vegan meal with my kids, for example, opting instead to read books and take a walk with them, which is what I think I would… >> Read More
Remember Thanksgivukkah two years ago? When Hanukkah fell on Thanksgiving? That was so awesome. But this year, it’s just Thanksgiving. And then we will have to wait a week and a half for…Hanukkah. Growing up in a traditional Jewish house, Thanksgiving didn’t have the “star status” that holidays in the Jewish calendar had. Rosh Hashanah was a big deal and a big meal, as was breaking the fast on Yom Kippur. Plus, those holiday meals were planned around a lot of rituals and synagogue-going. Tons of ritual… >> Read More
Contrary to my mother’s belief that I am the best actress and the most gorgeous person ever and everyone should want to hire me to play leading roles that have been previously given to the likes of…Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Jessica Alba, my door is not being broken down by every producer in Hollywood. I audition for parts, I bug my manager and agents as to why I’m not getting enough scripts to read or auditions to go on, and when I do go on auditions, I often find myself… >> Read More
I know the jokes. I see them posted on Facebook and Instagram and I even chuckle at them myself:
How do you tell if someone’s a vegan? Don’t worry; they’ll f*%!#ing tell you.
Or the one…about what would a vegan do if someone’s choking and dying? They’d tell you they’re vegan. Ha ha ha. I understand the jokes, but being vegan is no joking matter. I’m vegan for a lot of reasons. It started as a child and teenager when I felt guilty eating animals, because I liked animals and… >> Read More
October is a month of so many good things. The changing leaves of the east coast which I try to visit yearly, fighting with my kids over Halloween (they like trick-or-treating, I don’t). My first…son was born in October so this month is particularly significant for me. That being said, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My paternal grandmother had breast cancer (involving a radical mastectomy in the 1950s) so I grew up with a conscious but vague understanding of breast cancer. “Cancer” was a word to be said… >> Read More
How did it happen? How did he do it? How did we do it?
He's almost 10 now. He still has so many echoes of his tiny self. Those big eyes. The rosy cheeks. The sweet cuddles and the smile that melts…my heart. But now the eyes have a better-proportioned head around them. The rosy cheeks once porcelain and smooth now have freckles and even a well-earned scar or two. The cuddles are only in private. The smile is older, and it's wiser. READ: How My Toddler’s Tedious Bedtime Ritual is Actually a Lot Like Prayer It… >> Read More
I attended UCLA in the late 1990s. In those days, one of the quintessential UCLA experiences was walking down the main drag of campus called Bruin walk. Bruin walk was full of tables lining both…sides of the broad walkway, advertising social and religious clubs and organizations, fraternity and sorority recruitment opportunities, and a variety of community events on and off campus. Once a year, the Jewish Students Union group would set up shop at a table on Bruin walk and advertise for genetic screening. Sexy, huh? Yeah, I know.… >> Read More
Once upon a time, I was a pregnant mom with a toddler and a graduate degree to finish. I had made the decision to not pursue a post-doctoral appointment once I completed my degree since it would take…me away from my children. After my second son was born, I taught in our homeschool community, designing a neuroscience curriculum for middle and high schoolers and teaching piano as well. I did the things we do to pay the bills and put food on the table, and I also started seeing more and more… >> Read More
Disclaimer: There are NO spoilers about season 9 in this post at all. It's safe to proceed as long as you saw Season 8's season finale!
And it began with a bang.
It's been a long summer. My father…passed away in April, so I spent the summer sort of picking myself up off of the ground in many ways. I am reciting Kaddish as much as my schedule allows, and now that the summer is over and I am on a more regular schedule, I will get to go with more regularity. I spent… >> Read More
I am a LEGO person. My children's fantasy of putting my head on Darth Vader's body and also putting me in prison and also putting me on the toilet with my LEGO head on a chicken suit body is finally…a reality. The long awaited, fan-suggested LEGO set for "The Big Bang Theory" just came out this past weekend on August 1. Now you and your kids can experience the show firsthand, right down to the miniature version of Leonard and Sheldon's super nerdy living room--Chinese takeout included! (But, you know, maybe don't actually try to eat the Chinese… >> Read More
Note: This article is in response to the stabbings that took place at the Jerusalem annual gay pride parade on July 30, 2015.
It shouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen anywhere. But especially not…now, not here, not in Jerusalem. It shouldn't happen in the only country in the Middle East that hosts a public gay rights parade of this acceptance and magnitude. It shouldn't happen in a country where the Prime Minister himself supports the rights of gay people to march and to live and to be free.… >> Read More