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
My children are celebrating Christmas at school. Since we decided not to send them to a Jewish school, you might argue that we should have expected this. And I might agree, except that my children…are French and attend French public school. French public schools are required to be “laïque,” a word that translates as “secular” but carries more weight than that. France takes the separation of religion and the state incredibly seriously. I don’t always agree with the extent to which my adopted country goes in order to separate… >> Read More
Brian Zionts-Bernstein knows miracles are real. He knows this because he experienced a miracle -- right in time for Hanukkah too. This is also why he carries a dreidel inscribed with Hebrew letters…forming an acronym for nes gadol hayah poh, meaning “a great miracle happened here.” So, what exactly happened? Three years ago on the last night of Hanukkah, Zionts-Bernstein underwent a double lung transplant that saved his life. Zionts-Bernstein, now 53, lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Kym and their son Sam. The operation took place six years after he… >> Read More
One month ago, I was two months pregnant with my second child. Despite being constantly nauseous, I was overjoyed with all the possibilities of bringing another life into this world. I imagined…sharing this news with our family and friends at the end of Hanukkah when I would be completing my first trimester. My world felt full of potential. Three weeks ago, at our first appointment with the doctor, we received the crushing news that there was no heartbeat. Although my body was working on overdrive to… >> Read More
When my children were small, it wasn’t easy to stop by my mother’s house for Hanukkah.
Instead of menorahs and dreidels, my Holocaust survivor mother filled her house with Christmas tchotchkes.…A small tree. Some type of light up garland painstakingly strung around the family room, certainly a fire hazard. A dusty stuffed Santa Claus pulled out every year, in a sleigh intended to hold Christmas cards and, indeed, filled with Christmas cards from her old real estate clients, all of whom thought she was Christian.… >> Read More