Portion


Ki Tissa: A Work in Progress

By Ilana Grinblat

A few days ago, my son, Jeremy, was drawing a picture. He took a picture of a robot and was coloring it in. I walked by him and noticed the bright colors and interesting pattern. I also noticed that his drawing skills were improving, relative to when he was younger. “I love the picture you’re making,” I said. He replied, “You don’t really love it because it’s not finished.”Read More


Jewels on the Heart

By Ilana Grinblat

On Sunday, my daughter Hannah (who’s almost three) had her first ballet class. When we arrived, Hannah was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, while all the other children wore pink leotards and tights. Hannah enjoyed the class and immediately asked for dance clothes. I thought we’d go buy them sometime during the week before the next class, but she wanted to go right away. Somehow, she sensed that the class was incomplete without the proper attire.Read More


The Gifts We Make

By Ilana Grinblat

Sunday was my son Jeremy’s sixth birthday party, and I spent the few days prior baking his birthday cake. On Thursday, I bought ingredients and on Friday I baked four rectangular cakes. Saturday night, I decorated the cake. First, I made white, red and black frosting. I then assembled two layers, shaped the cake like The Cat in the Hat and frosted his striped hat, whiskered face and body — even adding a black liquorish for his tail.Read More


Holy Indignation

By Ilana Grinblat

Last year, my parents took my younger sister and brother to see Annie (one of my favorite musicals). My sister Mira (who was eight at the time) was terribly upset by the show. The show recounts the story of an orphan who is adopted by a billionaire businessman. Mira was so disturbed at the idea of orphans and their mistreatment that she refused to see another play. This year, when Mira was offered to go see “Mary Poppins,” she initially burst into tears and adamantly objected. Luckily, she was eventually persuaded to see the show and loved it!Read More


All The Way

By Ilana Grinblat

My two-year-old daughter Hannah developed an annoying habit recently. Whatever she wants, she asks be done “all the way.” To simply put on her socks is insufficient; she wants them pulled up all the way to her knees. If she asks for milk, she wants it poured all the way to the top of the cup (so it almost spills over). To put her shoes on, she insists that I first unbuckle the strap and then fasten it so that it covers the Velcro completely — with none left showing. She frequently says: “All the way, mama, all the way.”Read More


Packing for the Road

By Ilana Grinblat

Nowadays, I am continually amazed by how much stuff I take with me when leaving the house. In the past, I used to take my purse and go. Now, especially if I go somewhere with the kids (even for a few hours), I have to pack a bag with a change of clothes for each child, sweaters in case it gets cold, snacks etc. I also bring a water bottle and a book in case the kids fall asleep in the car. My two-year old daughter invariably packs a bag with snacks and toys “for the road.” Not to mention the stroller, the car seats, and well, you get the picture.Read More


What God Sent

By Ilana Grinblat

On Sunday, I saw a shocking segment on CNN about the earthquake in Haiti. First, the program recounted the story of a three-year-old girl who was critically injured in the earthquake and needed immediate surgery to survive. Later, the program reported about a minister in Haiti who preached to survivors that God sent the earthquake as punishment for their sins. The minister said the disaster was “God stomping his foot and shaking the ground.”Read More


Moses, MLK and Miep

By Ilana Grinblat

In this week’s column, Rabbi Ilana Grinblat reflects on Moses, Martin Luther King and Miep Gies, all of whom “understood that people were created to be God’s partners in the work of liberation,” she writes.Read More


Bumps in the Road

By Ilana Grinblat

In this week’s column, Rabbi Ilana Grinblat discusses the parsha Sh’mot, which begins the book of Exodus, and recounts how the Jewish people became enslaved in Egypt. She relates how those suffering helped each other during this difficult period to how we support each other in modern times of need.Read More


New Year's Resolutions

By Ilana Grinblat

In this week’s column, Rabbi Ilana Grinblat discusses the parsha Vayehi, which chronicles the final days of Jacob’s life. She relates the blessing Jacob gave his grandchildren, and goes on to ask and answer the question, “What are the blessings that children give their parents?”Read More





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  • 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.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
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