Make Father’s Day Gifts from Kids, Not Mom

I don’t ignore Father’s Day, but follow this philosophy: a gift for Father’s Day should in spirit, at least, come from the child.
Together, a Mom and even a very young child can produce something meaningful for a Dad. Call us boring, but my son and I have been giving my husband the same gift for Father’s Day since 2009. Each year, we make a stepping stone using cement mix and primarily my son’s feet. Continue reading

Hit That Record Button, Preserve Loved Ones’ Voices

The voices of our loved ones hold incredible power of us. I realized just how much when a friend of late brother said he had found a tape with my brother’s voice. Then the friend couldn’t find the tape. I wrote an essay about this for a magazine, and readers wrote back their own stories. Everyone, I suspect, has a story to tell about voice and its hold on them. Continue reading

A Family’s Unintended Journey of Faith: At 4, Our Son Loves Going to Temple

My son treats our temple like a second home. He hugs the rabbis and the cantor. He exchanges high fives with other parents and children. He seems as comfortable in the children’s service as he is in the adult services. Seeing my son embrace his faith so early in life is beautiful and at times, astonishing. Both my husband and I grew up largely disconnected from our faith. We didn’t set out to make Judaism such an integral part of our son’s early childhood. It just happened.
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Musing about the Muse: Prepping before Big Writers’ Conference

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May 3, 2012

Our instructor looked at the dozen of us and asked, “So who’s going to the Muse?” Maybe half the hands went up.

It was April 2011, and several of my classmates in a nonfiction workshop were on the fence about attending the upcoming Muse & the Marketplace, Grub Street’s annual conference. Some hated any kind of conference because they were, like many writers, wall flowers. They hated to schmooze. Worse, they were petrified about giving an elevator pitch to an agent or editor.

Mel Gibson’s Latest Remark about Jews Makes Me Want to Teach My Son Well

I look at my son and want to protect him from hearing anything derogatory about his religion, but know I cannot. How should he respond to a direct insult about his faith? Do not shout back, I will urge him as he grows older. But do not take it in silence, either. Continue reading

Don’t Give Me Spa Time for Mother’s Day

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April 15, 2012

I’m just four years into being a mother so forgive my naiveté. For now at least, some items top the list of what I do not want for Mother’s Day. No facial, no pedicure, no manicure, no day at the spa. No thank you, please.

What I do want is simple: A fun day with my husband and my son. The fact that I have these two amazing males in my life is a gift in and of itself, one that I look at in awe quite frequently. I … Continue reading

Does it Cross Line to Bring a Little Passover to Son’s Preschool?

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April 11, 2012

My son snuggled into my lap as his pre-school classmates clustered around me. I had offered to read a book to his class. No big deal, right? But this wasn’t just any book. It was the day before Passover, and I had brought in a Jewish children’s book.

When I mentioned my upcoming visit to my mother, she asked if I were worried about crossing that line separating church from state. I was not that worried. My son’s preschool is private. Besides, is it promoting Judaism to read a … Continue reading

Passover Joy Comes in Small Packages

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April 2, 2012

As a few adults rush by him, my 4-year-old twirls around as he plays with a wind-up matzo ball toy. He giggles as he watches the matzo ball hop across the rug.

“It’s like in Big,” the sales clerk at Israel Book Shop says. “He just brings such joy into the store. He should come every day.”

I create an unambitious shopping list for this recent Passover shopping trip to Brookline, which has a few blocks of Jewish delis and stores. Simon has a day off from preschool. The … Continue reading