“Just be aware,” are three of the worst words one can say to a person who already runs moderately anxious, the way I do. And this phrase seems to be everywhere: parents’ groups on Facebook,…local “investigative” news reports, and neighborhood watch apps, all imploring us to increase the amount of attention we apply to virtually all of our daily activities. “Just be aware” is the slightly more innocuous cousin of “you can never be too safe.” It’s a phrase that is casual on the surface, but ultimately leaves you… >> Read More
Improbable though it may sound now, when I married into a Jewish family I had no idea about the magic that is chicken soup. Oh, I’d had chicken soup before — mostly chicken noodle soup from…Campbell’s. And I’d had home-cooked comfort food, like my mother’s chicken and vegetable stew with dumplings. But the sort of healing, made-from-scratch-after-a-visit-to-the-butcher, simmered-on-the-stove-for-hours, sweetened-with-earthy-carrots-and-brightened-with-fresh-dill kind of chicken soup was a whole new world for me. The first time my husband, Matt, made his family’s recipe for me — after tracking down chicken necks and backs… >> Read More
I don’t feel guilty about being a working mom. My own mother worked, as did my mother-in-law. My husband and I actually met while at work on a political campaign. He encouraged my career…aspirations throughout our relationship, cheering me on as I pursued a second advanced degree in education during my pregnancy and collected it when our baby was seven months old. That baby is now a toddler. I miss him during the day while I’m at work, but ultimately I feel proud of my contributions to our… >> Read More
My first real exposure to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was when I was dating Matt, my future husband. I didn’t really know what observing these holidays entailed. He wasn’t flying home to visit…family during that time, and as he was working and living in my small Northern California hometown, he reached out to a synagogue in Sacramento (the nearest “big city”) to find services and a group of people to join for Rosh Hashanah dinner. The following week he fasted, and I met up with him briefly… >> Read More
Recently, I accidentally did a favor for a white supremacist. It could have been a totally forgettable favor, but I’m still thinking about it now.
It began when I went for a coffee run with my…toddler. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw an opening before a long line of traffic. I was about to go for it, but I saw a man hobble past. Even though I could have made it without cutting him off, I felt an uncharacteristic wave of patience wash over me… >> Read More
Like many Americans, I lay in bed sleepless and demoralized on Election Night. Pondering, processing. What kind of country is this?
Also like many Americans, my husband and I thought about moving…to Canada. Honestly, we did more than think about it. At various points over the past several months, after refugee bans were announced, cabinet members with zero experience were confirmed, and press conferences during which the term “Holocaust center” was coined, we talked about it out loud. A lot, actually. We talked about finding new… >> Read More
I formally converted to Judaism one month after I lost my father and two weeks before getting married.
I hadn’t been raised with much religion. I was baptized Lutheran, but always joked that my…parents did that more out of superstition than dogma. They didn’t do much to disabuse me of this notion—we attended services at the local Lutheran church on Christmas Eve, but beyond that and spending a week or so at an Episcopal church camp for a few summers, I didn't have much of a religious identity.… >> Read More