I Feel Guilty About Not Living in Israel

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Last month I wrote this piece on Kveller about my kids’ obsession with Christmas decorations, and I noticed an interesting trend in responses, which prompted me to post this status update on Facebook:

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That led to a bunch of comments, mostly from chutzniks (people who live outside of Israel), though a few Israeli friends chimed in. For the most part, I felt validated and bolstered up by the comments, but there was a niggling feeling that I couldn’t shake: maybe I’m so bothered by comments about making aliyah because, deep down, I still feel guilty for not living in Israel. Continue reading

This Winter Will Not Defeat Me!!

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Last year, when we were in the peculiar limbo of knowing we were moving back to Cleveland but not having moved yet, I watched my Facebook feed with dismay as the snow piled up and up and up and up and… you get the idea.

It snows a lot in Cleveland (the lake effect, no, not the movie – this), and it’s windy, and winter can last awhile. We were spoiled in Baltimore, where they cancel school when there’s even a possibility of snow (true story).

When people asked why we were moving back, I would quip “well, it’s not for the weather,” but after a while of this mock-grousing, I realized that if I were to survive winter, I needed to revamp my attitude. I didn’t want to complain for four (or five or six) months about the weather because I felt like it would make me miserable.

But I didn’t know what to do, really, because getting little kids in and out of the car in the winter is a pain, no question about it. And walking to a Shabbos meal when you can’t push your stroller on the sidewalk and the street isn’t much better isn’t fun either. Or safe.

As I was despairing of my ability to be positive, I found this: Continue reading

Coming Out of the Convert Closet

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If you follow this blog’s Facebook page, or have read my Of Interest posts, you’ll see that I’ve shared posts from Hevria more than a few times. This community of Jewish creators is such a great space, and, full disclosure, I was super bummed to not be a part of it when it started.

But then they opened it up to guest posts, and I was all “oh, no, no, no, no, I can’t. What if they say no? Then I might be sad.”

So I didn’t submit. Until I did. And they said yes.

I submitted a post that had been knocking around in my head for maybe a year. It was something I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share. It was so personal, and I felt like it was also a little bit of a critique of frum society, which isn’t something I usually do. There are enough people who do it on the internet, what would my story add to it? But over the course of the year, I began to understand that there is power in narrative, and that there might be value in sharing this experience.

You can read it here.

If you’re coming here from Hevria, you might like to start with this post. Or do whatever you want. That’s cool too.

Looking Back

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Okay, so I’m cutting it a little close to the wire here, but I thought I would take a minute to got through the year and see which of my posts were the most popular, what I wrote about, etc. etc.

I feel fortunate to have not one, but two opportunities to reflect on the year. By Rosh Hashanah, obviously, that’s the big time for introspection, but as my Facebook and BlogLovin feed fill up with reflective posts at the end of the secular year, I can’t help but get a little thoughtful during this bonus time of reflection.

Here goes – the most 10 most popular posts of 2015, in reverse order of popularity (it’s a countdown!! Fun!) Continue reading

The most wonderful time of the year

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I’m not sure what it’s like outside of the United States, but here, many places, both residential and commercial, have been decorating and getting in the festive spirit since Thanksgiving. Some places before Thanksgiving (that’s just not right, people! Seriously!). This week is the week where anywhere you go, you’ll see holly, you’ll see lights, you’ll hear carols, and so on.

Even though it can get overwhelming to be surrounded by holiday cheer that is not part of a holiday that I celebrate anymore, I do like how people tend to be more, well, jolly this time of year. I like the general happiness that people have, anticipating vacation time, or time with family, or whatever traditions they might have. People being in a good mood is good. But this year my kids started to get much more into noticing and appreciating all the trappings of the season, and I had a much stronger reaction to it than I anticipated.

Today over on Kveller, I share my complex emotions about this time of year, both for myself and for my children, and what I hope to do about all the feelings. Let me know what you think about it!