My daughter is in first grade, and she is the only Jewish kid in her class.
This is familiar territory for us: As a child, I was the solo Jew in my public school classroom, too. This made me…unique, and I always felt special being Jewish amongst my throng of Christian friends. Around the holiday season, my friends loved celebrating Hanukkah with me, and often gifted me eight presents while I handed them my one Christmas gift in return. The other week, I learned my oldest daughter was assigned the role of Christmas… >> Read More
Turns out, it is still hard to be the Jewish kid at Christmas time. Even in 2018. Even in Los Angeles and its environs. Or suburban New York. Or the North Shore suburbs of Chicago.
As a rabbi, I…often field the Jewish questions from friends; I’m basically their go-to Jewish Google. So, imagine my embarrassment when I couldn’t easily answer a question from my oldest and dearest friend, who now lives in a very Jewish suburb of New York. Turns out, her daughter — now attending public kindergarten — has, surprise surprise, begun… >> Read More
Growing up in New Jersey, I loved celebrating Christmas. I have lovely memories of opening presents on Christmas morning at my grandmother’s house. We'd find an apple or banana in our stockings and…eat a roast with my Aunt Karen’s signature mashed potatoes. But we always knew we were Jews. We knew that we were "different" from that part of my family--we weren't celebrating "our savior's birth" but rather a special holiday to share with family. While my dad is Protestant and my mom is Jewish, we were… >> Read More
This week, on the darkest day of the year so far, I found comfort in the dark drive home with my kids up a long hilly street in our neighborhood. As we drove higher and higher up the hill, the…Christmas lights became more abundant and spectacular, dotting a sea of blackness with color and zigzag designs. It looked magical. It felt hopeful. The lights buoyed my spirits. I didn't always feel that way. Growing up, I absolutely hated Christmas. Everything about it — the music, the commercials, the "holiday" specials, the colors red and… >> Read More
This time of year is more complicated for me than I’d like. I’m Jewish and my husband isn’t. That’s a pretty common story in the US. It’s more common that not, actually; according to the…2013 Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, the intermarriage rate among American Jews is 58 percent Here’s the tricky bit: This is my second marriage, I have two kids from my first marriage, and so does my husband. We were married in June of 2016, which is also the year that all six… >> Read More