Last year, we held Josie’s birthday party in our sukkah. As a kid, I had loved making construction-paper chains to drape gaily around the s’chach. So at my behest, Jonathan bought a forest-stripping ton of construction paper at Costco and I painstakingly cut it into strips and stocked up on glue sticks at the dollar store. As the kids tentatively filed into the sukkah, I chirped at them like a demonically peppy camp counselor: Hey! Grab some paper! Make some linked circles! Fun! Whee! They all looked at me the way Tom Cruise looks at an anti-depressant.
Spirituality can be a single-player game, but Judaism is a team sport. While solo prayer, meditation and reflection certainly have a role in our religion, the history of our peeps is all about collective action. “Al tifrosh min hatzibur,” we’re told in Pirkei Avot — don’t separate yourself from the community.
I remember hobbies. I used to go to the pottery studio and the gym. I’d find furniture on the street, then strip and repaint it in crazy colors and patterns. I tutored newly arrived immigrants in English. I baked. I read things. Things with more pages than Entertainment Weekly.
Today we will talk about poop. I was hoping to somehow bring poop into a discussion of this week’s Torah portion, to give the poop gravitas, but Parshat Pinchas turns out to be about immoral Israelites sexually consorting with Moabites and getting righteously killed in flagrante delicto. So, uh, not so much. (I could save this parsha for
Every day, Josie plops her Hello Kitty lunchbox on the counter and says, “Mama, look at my artwork!” Every day, I look at her portraits of herself and Max. Josie and Max with crowns. Josie and Max with wings. Josie and Max with flowers. Josie and Max with a rainbow. Uh-huh. “Fabulous!” I coo, barely paying attention, thinking about work,
As Father’s Day nears, I contemplate the delightful ways fatherhood is changing. Men are increasingly involved in their kids’ lives, having more meals with their kids than their predecessors did, choosing more family time over more money. (I’ve used the stats in a previous column, so I won’t repeat them here. And yes, I’m
During a recent bout of my usual frantic procrastination-induced Web surfing, I stumbled onto something that made me stop clicking: There were my husband’s eyes, staring out at me… from a photo taken in 1870. It seemed that a distant cousin of Jonathan’s in Israel, someone we’d never heard of, had put together a huge Steuer
Every once in a while I take a break from my very time-consuming twin hobbies of neurosis and obsession to remember how fortunate we are. I was reading back through some old columns (and marveling at the amount of navel gazing you people put up with), when I hit the one about our first visit to the emergency room, three-and-a-half years ago. And
Maxine’s a fresser. I seem to remember her first word as “mama,” but both Jonathan and our baby sitter insist that I am delusional. Her first word was “cheese.”This kid will pretty much eat anything. Kiwi, stinky Stilton, dal, smoked whitefish, oily lox, spicy tofu and bitter greens with Thai fish sauce. She loves it all.
Are you so sick of me meditating on how having small children changes the nature of everything? Well, too bad. It does! It’s like going through life thinking that something was solid, and suddenly you discover it’s a gas. Passover is a case in point. For decades we had My Zayde’s Seder (aka “humminah-humminah-humminah,” the sound