Michelle grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as an actress, dancer, singer and happy Labor Zionist Youth group kid. She graduated form NYU and moved to Israel after her first off-Broadway job. There she met an American guy, of course, who happened to be in Rabbinic school, and together they set up shop in Los Angeles. Michelle works an actress and singer on TV, Film and live theatre. Her highly acclaimed solo show "From Baghdad to Brooklyn" will be appearing in NYC in November, and her hilarious new web-series can be found at https://youtu.be/AQD1J4af3sA.
Michelle also holds a degree in Drama Therapy and is a certified Hatha Yoga teacher .
We have a great rabbi in our congregation — and I'm not talking about the one I get to sleep next to every night. A powerhouse came into our community a few years ago, and her combination of…old-school wisdom and new-school strength has been enlightening to me, specifically in this new #MeToo age. She recently introduced me to the term “microaggression” and, for better or worse, I now view my childhood in a whole new way. Every morning growing up, my father would greet me with a slow smile in the kitchen… >> Read More
When we came to California, I was the new, young rabbi’s really young wife. I had a master's degree in drama therapy, a BFA in drama, and was set to get my acting career going in Los Angeles. I…always made sure to have a second set of “temple-ready clothes" in my car at all times, as this was the time period where most auditions I went on required short skirts and low cut tops. So I could chant a mean Torah portion and then show up for a casting call for a porn… >> Read More
True or False: an episode of the sitcom "Friends," can actively alter feelings of historic family betrayal and heartbreak. For me, it was true.
My family had flown in for Passover. Preparations…were exciting this year, as there were new babies and toddlers in addition to our regular Seder crowd. Along with my brisket, I was busy preparing a 5-minute excerpt from my one-woman show to present at a special “Downtown Seder.” My show tells the story about my immigrant Iraqi father, my immigrant Polish grandmother, and… >> Read More
“Ugh, I have to go to a wedding this weekend for my uncle,” said a girl during lunchtime to my 11-year-old.
“Why don’t you want to go?” she asked. “Weddings are fun.”
“Well,…he’s marrying a man! Gross!” My daughter was quiet as the other girls confirmed the storyteller’s disgust with their own giggles. Some moments later, my daughter asked calmly what exactly was wrong with same sex marriage. The girls looked back at her silently. One finally asked, “What’s THAT?” Then it was my daughter’s turn to… >> Read More
We returned from the long afternoon trek to pick up my daughter at her school. I was ready for a little alone time outside in our garden, so when I heard my eldest say to her younger sister, “Hey,…do you want to hear the new verse of my song?” I smiled to myself and exited the scene. Outside I thought about how lucky I was to have these two daughters who enjoy each other so much. I grew up very close to my sisters, and I so wanted that for my kids. After… >> Read More
Growing up, if we sat down to dinner as a family, the discussion ran something like this:
Me: Pass the taco shells?
Big Brother (not ever picking his eyes up from his book): No.
Me: MOM! He…won’t give me the shells! Mom (yelling from kitchen): BE PATIENT! Enter Sisters, giggling. Sister 1: EWWW! Someone farted! Mom (jumping in from kitchen): We don’t use THAT WORD at the dinner table! End scene. On Shabbat, the dinner dialogue was similar, but it included my dad and some of his 60 cousins, plus an… >> Read More
We were sitting at arguably the best Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles, somewhere deep in the heart of Chinatown. I watched my eldest daughter and father delight in the rare occasion of each…other’s company. My father just got his shoes shined at Union Station. This took him back into history and opened the door for his infectious walk down memory lane. We listened as he slurped soup and remembered moments from Iraq to Israel—the small boy he chased along the railroads in Baghdad where he was born;… >> Read More
We were too lazy to get dressed, so we only slightly camouflaged our pajamas, filled my purse with some not-too-stale Halloween candy, and ambled off to “The Peanuts Movie.” It had been a rather…intense week: friends morphing into strangers, the testing of talents and preparation, moments to win, and many losses to face. Ample opportunity to scratch away at a gal’s confidence (and I don’t just mean my daughters). Shabbat was in sight, but for a rabbi’s family, the day of rest blurs with a day of work.… >> Read More