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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