The East Village Mamele


Summer Lovin’ Outside the City

By Marjorie Ingall

Most of the time, I am self-righteous and self-congratulatory about my choice to raise children in the city. I pontificate about the myriad cuuuuultural opportunities and diveeeeersity; I boast about being able to walk everywhere; I coo about living in a tenement just like the ones our huddled-mass Jewish ancestors yearned to escape. I am so strident and smug about my urban life, perfect strangers want to slap me upside the head.Read More


A Kosher Dilemma

By Marjorie Ingall

I’m having a crisis of conscience about kashrut. (For some reason I want to write “krisis of konscience about kashrut,” because it sounds vaguely like a hardcore band that would play headbanging songs about kale. But I suppose fans would want to call them by their initials, and that would really not be kool.)Read More


Buy, Buy, Baby

By Marjorie Ingall

The economy is not doing so hot. Perhaps you’ve heard. Even Josie has noticed that bananas from street carts, which were five for a dollar only a year or so ago, are now three for a dollar. (And she let out a bray of shocked and horrified laughter when I showed her that the four bananas I bought at the hotel gift shop in Walt Disney World cost four dollars — though that price is not a function of recession, but of my idiocy for buying bananas at Walt Disney World.)Read More


Vivid Imaginations

By Marjorie Ingall

‘That picture is awesome!” said my friend Gayle, as she looked at a painting Josie had made in kindergarten. My daughter had painted a line of orange, yellow and red semi-constructivist children, some with stars over their heads and some with hearts hovering over them.Read More


A Thing of the Past

By Marjorie Ingall

Objects have power. In my last column I wrote about the power of Christian right-wing trinkets as symbols of identity and values. A Torah is another powerful object; when it’s no longer usable it has to be buried, like a dead body. Then there’s the power of loveys and blankies — they’re sources of security, a reminder of the membrane between self and other, a stand-in for parental love, an opportunity for toddlers to practice caretaking. Then there’s the power of an American flag lapel pin, the absence of which, in this election, apparently means, “I am so totally a Muslim.”Read More


Stranger in a Strange Land

By Marjorie Ingall

In “Rapture Ready: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture” (Scribner, 2008), Daniel Radosh presents a delightfully varied compendium of Christian items known among many actual Christians as “Jesus junk.” These include candy conversation hearts imprinted with “John 3:16” and “He Lives” instead of “Kiss Me” and “Sweet Talk.” There are Faith Pops (wrapped in bible verses) and Cross Pops (shaped exactly the way you think). There are Testamints. There’s a T-shirt that looks like it’s adorned with the Mountain Dew logo, but when you look closely it says “Do the Jew.” (“The Jew” would be Jesus, not, say, Abe Foxman.) There are gospel golf balls (“Now when you lose a golf ball you will be sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ!”) with a pastor’s endorsement: “This golf ball is the most effective outreach tool I have ever seen in golf.” Which, Daniel points out, raises the question of exactly how many golf-based outreach tools there are.Read More


It’s a Mall World After All

By Marjorie Ingall

I have written of my Disney evolution. I used to sneer at the company and its products. I used “Disneyfied” as shorthand for “cleaned-up, dumbed-down, soulless mass-market consumerist cheese.”Read More


A Kid-Friendly Seder

By Marjorie Ingall

Purim is funny. Passover, not so much.Read More


Give a Little

By Marjorie Ingall

As many of us know, tzedakah doesn’t actually mean “charity.” It means “righteousness.” But our family generally uses tzedakah to mean donating money or goods, and mitzvot to mean doing good deeds.Read More


Bully for You

By Marjorie Ingall

Adventures in sibling conflict, installment #3,121: Three months ago, at the Sacred Ritual Changing of the Toothbrushes, it was Josie’s turn to choose a brush. She chose the pink My Little Pony version with lavender bristles, leaving the purple one with blue bristles for Maxie, who wailed in thwarted fury. (If I could get the little cretins the exact same toothbrush, I would, but that way madness, gingivitis and grossness lie.) Now it was Maxie’s turn to choose first. She chose the pink Hello Kitty toothbrush with the dragon on the handle (no, I don’t get what the artist was going for either), which meant Josie got the purple cowboy-themed Hello Kitty with the lariat-adorned handle. Josie slitted her eyes in fury, but rather than screaming, she used her devious older sister wiles. The moment I left the room, she convinced Maxie to trade the coveted pink toothbrush for a chance to hold Josie’s closely guarded stuffed koala. The instant after she agreed, though, Maxie realized she’d been suckered. She sobbed and grabbed for the toothbrush, which Josie held above her head, taunting, “You traded! You traded! No backsies!”Read More





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  • 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?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
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