A Walk on the Dark Side

First let me say, I am Jewish and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  However, (you knew that was coming) I wouldn't mind taking a walk on the dark side, during the holidays and by that I mean, you know, dipping my toe into the winter wonderland of Christmas.  Come on Jews!  You have to admit it looks kind of fun.  (Except for that freak Elf on a Shelf...Seriously, what are you guys thinking?)...more

Being Jewish in December

I took my youngest, G, to the doctor today, dragging almost-four-year-old S along for the ride. The doctor was trying to engage S by asking him if he's made his list for Santa yet. S didn't seem to know what the doctor was asking, but he also didn't know what to say in response. I quickly jumped in and told the doctor that S's birthday is coming up, which prompted the doctor, who apparently also has a December birthday, to commiserate about getting only half the gifts, because you get combined birthday and Christmas gifts....more

What We Can All Take Away From Kwanzaa

Last week we gathered at a friend's house to learn about and celebrate Hannukah. It was a great fun evening which we will be repeating. We left a little wiser about this particular celebration and with a much deeper appreciation of any holiday that emphasizes fried food (latkes and donuts) and gambling (dreidels) as part of its celebration. It got me thinking about the other celebrations happening this time of year and how we ALL might embrace some of the messages these holidays hold as their center. ...more

Decisions About Someone Else’s Life

So here I am now, sitting at my computer, a complete flubbering mess. This morning, my whole family attended a religious ceremony at my my son’s school (my grade one-er). There we were, all six of us; me, hubby, two grandmothers, two grandfathers, beaming with pride. I was on video camera duty, hubby on regular camera duty. We were all right there, the cheering squad, front row....more

Happy Chanukah - It's Lots More than Candles

When I was a kid, Channukah was a time to light one more candle each night and sing a song.  It was about the Judah Macabee, his brothers and their amazing miracle.  As they fought to preserve the Jewish people they took over a synagogue that only had enough oil to burn for one more night.  The light was supposed to stay burning.  There was little hope that the light would last until they could track down more oil...more

Reducing holiday stress for your kids

The holidays are supposed to be "the most wonderful time of the year," yet for many people they might as well be known as "the most stressful time of the year." We often think of stress as something that only affects adults, but it can play a significant role in the lives of children as well, especially around the holidays. There are a lot of changes to children's routines during the holidays, from visits from unfamiliar relatives to traveling, from an influx of sweets to over-scheduled days and late bedtimes. All of these things can take a toll on the wee ones. ...more

Christmas should be lots of fun for kids, but sometimes, due to traditions, we forget that ...more

Did Adam Sandler really make Chanukah go mainstream?

Although it may be a little hard to believe, that's the theory posited by John Campanelli, a writer for the Plain Dealer who interviewed me a week or so ago about how it is that so much of the Jewish holiday of Chanuka is in the mainstream now (it's a very well done article about the evolution). He opens with a vignette I told him: ...more

Making the world a little better

Again the holiday’s are coming up quickly and we all have people on our list who are difficult to shop for. Whether they don’t want or need anything, they’re hard to please or fit there’s always at least one. ...more

Hey kate, noting wrong with that. Good use of our time and good example after all those ...more

SORRY I ASKED

Recently, after ten minutes of dinner conversation with Phoebe wherein I found myself nodding and saying things like: JESSICA: My eyes aren’t purple, your eyes are purple. I just couldn’t pretend smile anymore and so I stupidly decided to ask her what she wanted for Hanukkah. PHOEBE: I want a kitty cat and a puppy and 2 bunny rabbits to which I responded: ...more

GENTILE HOLIDAY STORY #1

Well, I managed to make it through Hanukkah. One thing is for sure, Phoebe now knows she's a Jew and mommy is a bigger one when I handed her a little Jewish guilt with her Hanukkah gelt by letting her know how hard I searched for the frozen latkes she refused to eat. "Oh hannukah, oh hannukah, a yom tov ashener" :) ...more