Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chanie, Rivky, Estie, oh my!

If I had to make up a typical Jewish American couple, I'd call them Bryan and Michelle.  Or Julie. Or Lauren/Lori or some such form thereof.  But if I had to think of your typical Orthodox couple, I'd call them Miriam and Moishy.  Or Yaakov and Chanie.

From Mary to Lisa to Michelle and Jennifer, girls' names in America have gone through their trends. What about Orthodox girls?

When I was a kid going to the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in the 80's, there were 20 girls in my class. Three of them were named Estie - which is also my sister's name.  I have two sisters-in-law named Rivky. Chanies are everywhere.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Chana's Question

My friend Rachael Rovner posted the following on Facebook last week about her daughter, Chana:

Chana is asking some pretty amazing questions lately. She is very torn about what religion is right. She asked me why I believe Judaism is right. I told her that my understanding is that all main religions stem from Judaism. She reminded me that "Avraham was the first Jew. He came from a family of idol worshippers. So the first religion was really idol worshippers."
I was stumped. So I told her I was proud of her for asking such great questions and I hope even if she doesn't find great answers, that she keeps asking such thoughtful questions.
Any ideas from my more learned friends???

I asked Rachael if it would be OK to use Chana's question here and she agreed.  So here's my response to Chana.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Book Review: With An Outstretched Arm

Miriam Yudelson Katz was one of my first and is one of my most loyal readers.  Plus, she lived in Cleveland AND we've met In Real Life.  That makes her a VIP around these parts.  So when she asked me to review her mother's new memoir, I made up my mind to put it at the top of my priority list.

I didn't need to worry.  From the moment I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.

Firstly, "knowing" the protagonists's daughter and some of her life's story, it was a sad and suspenseful journey to read about the backstory that led up the pivotal events of her life.

For me, it was also a precious insight into worlds I knew nothing about - the Reform community of the South in the 60s.  The Yudelson's journey toward greater observance and deeper religious connection was fascinating to me.  The way that journey was framed by the Passover seders was a haunting and beautiful literary technique as well as a powerful Jewish message - that the linkage of our faith from one generation to the next is what it's all about.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Different Kind of Other

never other
as a girl
in the in group
doing fine
happy in my class of 20
opportunities to shine were plenty

Hungarian grandmother to give me esteem
never experienced anything mean
approval, encouragement was mine for keeps
in the loop
in the heart
in the midst
of IT.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Nine Things I Wonder About Other Bloggers

This post was inspired by my bloggie friend Nina Badzin, whose post was in turn inspired by Kristen Ploetz.  Here are 9 questions that us writers wonder about other writers.  Here are my answers.

1. Do you share your work with your spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet? I rarely show anything to anyone before I write it.  I write spontaneously and usually share instantly. On rare occasions, I'll ask my husband if he thinks I should blog about something before I do, because his sense of caution is a good balance to my spontaneity.  
2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it? My mother, mother-in-law, one sister, and one sister-in-law (I have a lot more than that) read regularly.  Sometimes I will get feedback - usually not.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Post-Post

When you write a blog post with a lot of personal revelation, several things happen.

First, you get flooded with incredible feedback.  Texts, emails, Facebook messages, WhatsApps, even - wait for it - phone calls.

Second, you walk around wondering Who Read It and Who Didn't.  It's a little weird.  And wondering if people feel weird about how to act toward you or mention it to family members or what. A blog post, once released, becomes an organic entity all its own.

Leave a Comment

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Happy new year and goodbye to 2014. I will not miss you.

2014 was tears. Grief, sadness. For many things, some not for the blog.

In 2014 our beautiful little sweet boy, who never lets me hug or kiss him, or even say I love you, was diagnosed with Aspergers.

And anxiety. Social anxiety. Which we didn't understand for a long time.