If you are Jewish, or have Jewish friends, chances are you’ve heard the word “bubbaleh,” as well as some less savory Yiddish terms. It is a diminutive endearment, like “little darling,”…“sweetie,” or “my special little one.” You might gently pinch a child’s cheek and say, “Such a bubbaleh, you are.” And, if you’re on the receiving end, you should feel touched and adored. Back in 1951, my parents and siblings emigrated from a German displaced persons camp to Chicago. Growing up, us kids didn't hear… >> Read More
People are always interested in arranged marriages, otherwise known as shidduchim, a common practice in the Orthodox Jewish world. I was, too — I grew up in a typical, assimilated American Jewish…family. I became Orthodox when I was 24, and I myself went on a few shidduchim. Eventually, I was introduced to Mr. Right. Our story went like this: We met on a Friday night, we went out three times that week, and we were engaged by the following Friday. Three months later we were married,… >> Read More
Got a job interview ahead of you? A really important test? A high-stakes testimony in front of Congress against your former boss — who also happens to be the president of the United States —…about his alleged lies and criminal behavior? What you need, according to superstitious Jewish moms everywhere, is a red string bracelet. Such a bracelet was seen on Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, while he answered grueling questions from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. While this red string bracelet — which is literally a red… >> Read More
Torah study isn’t just Jewish tradition — it is a tool that can help children become willing to try on new ideas, and it challenges them to always ask new questions. Engaging with Torah is like…doing yoga for the mind: it keeps our perspectives flexible and creativity strong. Anyone, at any age, can study Torah — advanced degrees are never necessary to simply ask, “How is this text relevant to our world today?” As a Jewish educator, I encourage my students to study Torah with audacious creativity while still honoring… >> Read More
I’ve always loved Christmas songs. However, growing up in an observant Jewish household, they were sort of forbidden. Like ham. Although, truth be told, I never found ham all that appealing.
The…fact is, Christmas music is fun. It’s jingly and jangly and just uplifting enough to keep you from wanting to kill the driver in front of you while you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic because… well… it’s Christmas. Each year during the Christmas breaks of my childhood in central New Jersey, my parents would load our… >> Read More