Portion


Va-yetzei: The Notepad

By Ilana Grinblat

Last Sunday, my husband went to a franchise expo and returned with various nick-nacks for the kids. He gave my six-year-old son a pad and pen that he’d picked up. Jeremy was delighted and immediately started writing a story about our recent trip to Israel on the pad. At first he asked me how to spell each word. Slowly, Jeremy came to realize that he was able to write the words by himself. Over the course of the evening, he filled up almost half of the pad, describing our trip. He was exuberant to discover that he could write. A world was opening up for him to the first time.Read More


Lech Lecha: The Dance

By Ilana Grinblat

Last night, I attended my cousin’s wedding in Israel. The bride was glowing; the party was jubilant. The couple was clearly beshert (meant for one another); they had been together for years and travelled the world together. The evening was a beautiful celebration of their love. Only one element was conspicuously absent to me; they didn’t dance the hora.Read More


When Lightening Strikes

By Ilana Grinblat

This week, we finish reading the last Torah portion of Deuteronomy and start again at the beginning of Genesis. I can hardly believe that it’s now been a year since I started writing these columns. In reflecting back on the year, I’m struck by how much writing these columns have enriched my life in ways that I couldn’t possibly have anticipated when I began.Read More


A Sukkot Message

By Ilana Grinblat

On Sunday morning, I woke up feeling refreshed and energized, grateful that Yom Kippur was done.Read More


Clean Hands: A Yom Kippur Message

By Ilana Grinblat

This past Sunday, I took the kids to our synagogue’s tashlich at the beach where we threw bread into the ocean to symbolically cast off our mistakes of the past year. At the beach, we saw several of our friends, so after the ritual was over, we took the kids for lunch. When the kids sat down to eat, I realized that there was no place nearby for them to wash their hands, and my hand sanitizer was in the car. I asked the other parents if they had any hand sanitizer with them.Read More


Ha'azinu: The Phone Call

By Ilana Grinblat

Last week, I received an extraordinary phone call from an acquaintance with whom I attended elementary and middle school. She had run into my father on a recent visit to my hometown. He told her how I was doing, so she looked me up and gave me a call.Read More


Nitzavim and Va-yelekh: The Anniversary Celebration

By Ilana Grinblat

This weekend, my husband and I went away for a night to celebrate our ten year anniversary. I was initially apprehensive about going. It would be our first overnight outing away from the kids since our first child was born six years ago. My son had been on sleepovers before, but my three-year-old daughter had not. We reserved a hotel room near my in-laws, so that if the kids refused to sleep, we could pick them up and bring them to the hotel.Read More


Ki Tavo: A Hole in One

By Ilana Grinblat

On Sunday, my family and I went mini-golfing at a place called the Magic Castle. My three-year-old daughter Hannah had never gone golfing before. Nonetheless, she insisted on swinging the club herself and had a great time hitting the ball as best she could. On one of the holes, she took about ten strokes and then got tired of trying to hit the ball. She simply picked up the ball, put it in the hole and cheered with delight, “Yeah! I got a hole in one!”Read More


Ki Tetzei: The Right To Grieve

By Ilana Grinblat

“I miss Gan Edna,” my three-year-old daughter told me this morning at breakfast. Gan Edna was the nursery school Hannah attended two years ago, but out of the blue, she decided she missed it. We spoke about it, and I assured her we could go back and visit it if she’d like. She loves her new school, and I was surprised to hear that after so long, she still missed her former school. As the new school year approaches, meeting new teachers and classmates and getting to know a new space will be exciting; but at the same time it also means a loss of past teachers, classmates and cherished space.Read More


Shoftim: Time Will Tell

By Ilana Grinblat

This past Sunday, we went on a family outing to Oxnard, a seaside community about an hour away from our home. After a yummy fish-and-chips lunch, we rented an electric boat to take a ride out on the bay. My husband steered the boat and let both kids help. Our six-year-old son Jeremy was absolutely beside himself with glee at being able to operate the boat.Read More





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  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
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