Finding His Voice: Toddler Fills House with Jewish Song


May 23, 2011

It always sounds a little bit like Passover at our house. Nearly every day, our 3-year-old son sings Dayenu. He warbles it in the bathtub. He belts it out as he strums his ukulele and marches around the living room and kitchen. Sometimes he hums it before he goes to sleep.

You’re thinking that I should say, Dayenu (enough)? No way. Simon is equally enthusiastic about singing David Melech. Jewish music has become a part of the fabric of our family. Simon likely does not understand the meaning … Continue reading

Havdalah Neophyte: Being Jewish Keeps Me on Learning Curve


I’m a havdalah neophyte. Until well into my 30s, I had no clue what havdalah was. Judaism, unbeknownst to me, had an ancient ritual to mark Sabbath’s end.

Why write about this ancient ritual now? For the first time on Saturday night, I experienced the beauty and simplicity of havdalah in my own home. It was not planned. We had our temple’s cantor, her husband, and 4-year-old over for dinner, and the idea slipped out of my mouth as the sky began to darken.

Jewish woman’s reasons for marrying a Jew


Three daughters of rabbis startled me with their revelation in this spring’s Lilith magazine that each was okay with the idea of never marrying someone Jewish. The three 20-something women are passionate about their commitment to Judaism. They just do not think they necessarily need a Jewish partner.

Being Jewish is “internal,” the young women say. Agreed. Yet, being Jewish is also external. We are part of a bigger community. I was raised in a non-religious home in towns with few Jews. I dated non-Jews into my 20s. Then, in … Continue reading

Finding love, having baby in my 40s


Summary: In 2003, I am a 39-year-old single newspaper reporter in Dallas. I refuse to consider becoming a mother on my own. Instead, I wish for what seems out of reach. Love, marriage, then baby. I wrote a post a few years ago by request for the website for a book called Three Wishes: A True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak, and Astonishing Luck on Our Way to Love and Motherhood. Below is a link to the piece.

Author reveals challenges of writing about faith in interview


Author Dani Shapiro recently gave a reading of her memoir, Devotion, at Porter Square Books in Cambridge. She was low-key, yet mesmerizing as she spoke about her personal search for spirituality. A few days later, I interviewed the 47-year-old author by phone.

Shapiro, who spoke from her home in Connecticut, was candid about her search for spirituality, her challenges in writing the book, and her continued attempts to add Jewish ritual to her life.

Finding Our Voices


Breathe. Breathe. Relax.

The flute teacher I began studying with in high school kept saying those words, and eventually, it sunk in. The teacher showed me how to breathe from the depths of my soul – or rather my diaphragm. Leave the shoulders out of it. Breathe from your belly. Voice teachers gave me the same kind of coaching when I studied singing in my 30s. I learned to let the music flow. Music I played became less technical and more soulful. Internally, perhaps I became more soulful, too.

Sisterhood: Mahjong and Old Ladies or Something Else?


Mahjong. Bridge. Gray hair. Lots of gray hair.

Say Temple Sisterhood, and those images crowd my mind. In my 30s, when I first joined a temple, I avoided sisterhood events. I was sure I was not one of them.

But now I am 45. A mother of a 2-year-old, I’m juggling part-time work, child care, and home life with my need to become a bigger part of a Jewish community. Try the all-at-once approach, I decided, and signed up for the annual sisterhood retreat in early February.