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
Two rolls of glittery wrapping paper poked out of my shopping bag as I approached my kids' school bus stop. It was just a few days after Halloween, and they caught my friend’s eye. “Are those…dreidels?” she asked. “Wow, you’re on top of it! I haven’t even started to think about Christmas.” My family does not usually describe me as “on top of it” when it comes to the holiday season. Two days before Thanksgiving, the grandmas had already started begging for the kids’ Hanukkah wish lists; I didn’t even… >> Read More
We have certainly come a long way when it comes to accurate portrayals of Jews and Jewish themes in movies and TV. But for some reason, one thing that’s seriously lacking — yes, still, in 2018…— is the amount of films that exist about Hanukkah. Despite growing up in a relatively observant home, I pretty much spent the December breaks of my youth watching Christmas movies like Santa Clause and Home Alone because the Jewish holiday movies were so scarce — A Rugrats Chanukah and Eight Crazy Nights get old really quickly, let me… >> Read More
I was raised in Canada, where most of the people I knew didn’t make a big deal of — or even celebrate — Thanksgiving (which, in Canada, falls on the second Monday in October). So when I moved…to the States some 16 years ago, I was surprised to learn how Thanksgiving is so cherished by Americans. Yet, the first time I sat around a Thanksgiving table with friends and shared words of gratitude, I was struck by how familiar the holiday felt: To me, Thanksgiving seemed to be profoundly Jewish. While we… >> Read More
Like so many of you, I’m a working mom trying to juggle it all — my kid, my job, and, you know, my life. This year, during these most holy days, I was inspired to write a working parents’…version of the Ashamnu, an alphabetic acrostic of our collective transgressions, which is part of the public confession we recite during Yom Kippur. This year, 5779, I strive to acknowledge my wrongdoings, to do better by my little guy and my family, and to forgive myself and others more. For the sin of not acknowledging… >> Read More