The Day I Couldn’t Protect My Son

hate imageMy teenage son was called a “goddamn Jew” yesterday. The words were just words to the utterer; likely just one of many curses they swore with on a daily basis. But they were more than words to my son, who had never been on the receiving end of hate before. Continue reading

Turn Off Those Menorahs: Hanukkah Is Over

Jerusalem menorahI’m willing to bet that most of you knew Hanukkah was over, even if you couldn’t pinpoint the exact day that it ended “sometime last week.” However, if you’re slightly confused because, although you don’t celebrate the Festival of Lights, you’re still seeing lit-up menorahs (or more accurately, Hanukkiahs) in your everyday travels, I couldn’t blame you. But I do blame the people who have not taken those menorahs down. Or, at the very least, turned them off. Continue reading

I’m Far from an Über Jew (Part 2)

Hamsa ColoringWhat Judaism, and specifically my Judaism, means to me has been something I’ve grappled with my entire life. I think it’s harder because Judaism isn’t just a religion, it’s a culture and heritage too. You’re never just from a country as other people would define their heritage—i.e., I’m Polish. No, for us, it’s always more specific—”my grandparents were Polish Jews”—because being Polish and descending from Jews who lived in Poland are not nearly the same thing. So many Jews living in the U.S. today share this duality and I think it makes it harder to figure out for ourselves what an “observant Jew” looks or acts like. Continue reading

I’m Far from an Über Jew (Part 1)

Becky Mandela Coloring1Wow! Tuesdays’s post (See “In Case You Didn’t Know: I’m Jewish“) led to some interesting and thought-provoking conversations, via email, text, Facebook DM, and in person. My mind is still processing it all. I didn’t realize when I was writing it what an incredibly personal thing it would turn out to be and hitting “Publish” was hard. After all, with a nod to Billy Joel, I only reveal what I want you to see, and this blog is the most personal public place I have. Typically, only a handful of people read it, but sometimes it goes places and distances I never imagined. So, I took a deep breath, hit “publish” and then left. I took the dog and went on a walk and didn’t know what reactions I’d find upon my return.

Continue reading

In Case You Didn’t Know: I’m Jewish

Bimah photoI’m Jewish. That shouldn’t come as any big surprise to anybody that knows me, or reads my blog. But sometimes I just feel the need to say it–to make sure that there are no misunderstandings on either side of the aisle. After all, my last name is Scottish and so you might be fooled.

It’s my husband’s family that carries the Scottish heritage, but I’ve embraced it, having always been a fan of the country. Now that I’ve been there multiple times, it’s actually become one of my favorite places on earth. So there’s haggis – my Scottish side, and challa – my Jewish side. (Challa is actually a nod to “Rachallah” – my Yiddish name used by my father as a term of endearment my entire life, and later adopted by my husband. It is not the bread.)

Back to the fact that I’m Jewish. Continue reading