Exploring Jerusalem with Kids

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I have spent a lot of time in Israel in my lifetime, and I have traveled to a lot of places.  Yet no matter where I go or how exotic the destination is, Jerusalem holds a special place in my heart.  When I started booking a trip to Israel that we took a few years ago, I knew we had to start in Jerusalem and spend a few days there.  The city also holds many special memories for me as I attended part of high school and college in the city. I know Jerusalem as intimately as I know my own hometown, perhaps even more so. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel … [Read more...]

Lessons Learned from the Holocaust Documentary Kinderbock 66

kinderblock 66

Yesterday I experienced a movie that I am going to be thinking about for many days to come. It was about the beauty that can be found even in the darkest places. The title of the film was Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald. We all know about the despicable acts that occurred during the Holocaust, but it's nice to be reminded of the courageous acts that were also undertaken to keep Jews safe, just as Schindler in Schlinder's List did. This film reminds us of both the atrocities and the miracles that occurred during the Holocaust, and it is a firm … [Read more...]

Becoming Dr. Ruth: Review and Giveaway

becoming dr. ruth

Everyone knows the supremely direct Dr. Ruth from her radio and television shows, "Sexually Speaking." But at 4 foot 7 inches tall, her life has been anything but short on adversity. She was a huge part of my childhood.  I remember hearing the sound of her voice on the radio as clearly as I can hear it today.  We were avid listeners.  She gave women a microphone. But before she became America's most famous sex therapist, she lived a life unbeknownst to many. She survived the Holocaust, moved to Israel and joined the Haganah.  Later while living in … [Read more...]

What’s More Exciting Than a Homemade Sukkah and Challah? Not much.

What’s More Exciting Than a Homemade Sukkah and Challah? Not much.

Raising my kids with Jewish tradition in their lives has always been a priority for me, but it's something that I've had to teach myself.  I wasn't raised observing all of the Jewish holidays, just the major ones. But when I joined a conservative shul as an adult, I immediately felt a pull toward a lot of the traditions and I've embraced them...in my own way. I wouldn't call my family observant at all, and I often wish I could do more, but I do know that my kids know who they are, where they came from and that they will take what we do through their … [Read more...]

Teaching My Kids About Hope at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

Teaching My Kids About Hope at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

On a recent afternoon, I took my children to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown NYC.  Located in the center of Battery Park City, the mission of the Museum is to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the broad tapestry of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries—before, during, and after the Holocaust. While I personally have a deep-rooted interest in the Holocaust, I wondered if the museum would appeal to my two young children and I feared that the exhibit’s content would be too provocative for them. Fortunately, the museum offers … [Read more...]

Esther Geizhals: A Story of Holocaust Survival

Esther Geizhals

This is a repost of a story that I recently posted over at The Broad Side. I am in the process of interviewing several survivors and many children of survivors for a project and I will be posting some of their stories. We must never forget the atrocities that occurred a mere 70 years ago and we must make sure that no one else ever forgets.  It was an honor to meet Esther Geizhals and she assured me that her story must be shared, along with everyone else who lived through it.  These stories of a mass genocide of an innocent people must be told. The photo … [Read more...]

The Rabbi, the Policeman and Forgiveness

forgiveness

A few weeks ago, I heard a story about a local Rabbi I have had several interactions over the last few years. He's from Argentina and leads a very spiritual congregation in my home town. It's not the synagogue that we belong to, but we have been on several occasions and I have been seated next to him at Shabbat meals and I've attended his services.  He's a gentle man, and a very wise one. He leads a very beautiful service, full of song, prayer and passion.  If you were to meet him, you would instantly know you were standing before an important leader of … [Read more...]

A Meaningful Passover (w/a Bit of Girl Power)

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This year Passover took a whole new meaning in my house.  For one thing, it's the first time my children have ever kept the holiday's strict dietary rules.  In prior years, I felt they were too young for me to change their dietary habits and I couldn't get them to eat enough Passover food to keep them going.  This year I decided that at ages 8 and 9, they could survive a week without bread, pasta and rice.  For another thing, going to Hebrew School twice a year seems to be paying off.  This is the first time they were genuinely excited to sit down at the … [Read more...]

Trying to Make Sense of the Senseless

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Ever since the news broke on Friday morning about the awful tragedy in Newtown, I haven't been able to find the words to write here or elsewhere. The world has had twenty beautiful, innocent children taken from our world well before their time and I can't get their faces out of their minds.  Yesterday at the basketball court, they were standing before me getting ready to join my son in a game of scrimmage.  Today at Hebrew School, they were standing in the corner, clueless that their lives were about to be senselessly cut short. As I look at and … [Read more...]

The Miracle of Hanukkah – What it Really Means to Me

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(This piece was inspired by an article I read today in the NYT - you can find it here.) Last night was the first night of Hanukkah.  The holiday falls much earlier than Christmas this year, which is always nice for parents like us.  There is less to compete with.  Trees aren't up yet in many homes and my kids aren't hearing talk of Santa lists, although I'm sure that talk will start tomorrow as Christmas is coming and the birds are getting fat ("please to put a penny in the old man's hat").  We managed to keep the emphasis on the candle lighting and … [Read more...]