By Inbal Arieli for Israel21c
From the moment they can raise their heads, we encourage our sons and daughters to explore the world around them without fear or constraint.
People ask me all the time: “What makes Israel such a cradle of innovation?” or “Why are Israelis constantly busy with new initiatives?”
I have given these questions a lot of thought and quite frankly, I think it starts from the cradle.
Granted, I’m an Israeli mother, so perhaps I am a bit biased, but I think the answer to why Israel is such a laboratory of innovation and entrepreneurship begins with the way modern Israelis raise their children.
By Rabbi Nicki Greninger on eJewishPhilanthropy
*This goes out to all parents thinking of sending their kids to a (Jewish) religious school… to parents who were raised Jewish, those who chose Judaism, and those who aren’t Jewish but married a Jew.*
In the last month, I’ve had several conversations that got me thinking. One friend asked a group of us who went to Jewish summer camp together (we are now grown up with kids of our own), “Are you going to send your kids to religious school?” In another social situation, a friend innocently asked “Why do kids go to religious school twice a week starting in third grade?” In both cases, these friends of mine are connected to the Jewish community and are already committed to raising Jewish kids. But they (along with many others) wonder about the value of religious school, and about the time commitment required to take part in it. Is it worth it?
Watch Something Jewish
This summer, between all of the camps and trips, make sure that you take a little time to engage Jewishly with your children.
No matter what their age, BimBam has engaging, high quality, educational content that will meet them where they are, and hopefully spark an interest in Judaism. Your child can learn about:
- Jewish values and how to practically apply them in our Shaboom! series.
- Holidays, rituals, and traditions in our Judaism 101 series.
- The weekly Torah portion and other Jewish texts.
BY CARLA NAUMBURG for Kveller
I am not built to be a free-range mother. I am anxious and over-protective by nature, and my years of experience as a social worker have only increased my awareness of everything that could happen to my daughters, from sexual abuse to traumatic brain injuries. If I had my way, my girls wouldn’t leave the house without a GPS tracking device, a helmet, a cellphone, and a Taser Jr.
And so I was as surprised as anyone when I realized I had started free-range parenting my daughters, ages 7 and 8.5. The girls will spend weekend afternoons running to the neighbors’ house, and then sometimes the other neighbors’ house, and eventually either my husband or I end up texting the other parents on the block in order to figure out where they are.
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE for Kveller
June 9 was Natalie Portman‘s 36th birthday. The mom of two (her kids have the best Hebrew names: Aleph and Amalia) is also one of the biggest stars today, not to mention one of the most talented. Regardless of whether you are a huge fan or not, you have to admit, she’s got range; her films range from “V for Vendetta” to “Black Swan” to “Jackie” to “No Strings Attached.” And let us not forget one of her most shining moments: that profane SNL rap.
Here are some of my favorite Portman quotes in which she reveals her sassy side, how she parents, and what she stands for.
Dr. Eliana Aaron for The Forward
Allergy advocacy used to be easy. Given the potentially tragic consequences of anaphylactic shock, everyone assumed a simple formula: the more precautions the better. In wealthy countries like the United States, ever greater accommodations were made to ensure that allergy sufferers were separated from the foods that could do them harm. Nut-free schools went from unheard of to ubiquitous in just a few decades. It seemed that the only limits on the allergy-containment agenda were money and willpower.
Over the past decade, however, this crystal clear picture became distinctly blurry. The first blows to the confidence of allergy advocates came from studies that suggested that allergy-free zones were ineffective in keeping people safe. Instead, we learned, they were often counter-productive because allergy sufferers developed a false sense of security, while compliance with increasingly draconian restrictions was impossible to enforce. Warning signs were starting to flash up, counseling moderation in the fight against allergies. However, they were nothing compared to the bombshell revelation waiting in the Jewish state.
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE for Kveller
Gordy Baylinson is a 16-year-old who has never spoken. His parents, Evan and Dara Baylinson, didn’t realize their son could understand anything they had said previously–but recently, they were proven wrong. Gordy understood everything.
This month, Gordy wrote a letter–his first letter–to a police officer about the treatment of people with autism. He was diagnosed as on the autism spectrum when he was 17 months old, but it wasn’t until February of last year that his parents found out, while he doesn’t speak, Gordy has strong opinions of his own, which he can eloquently communicate through writing:
“My brain, which is much like yours, knows what it wants and how to make that clear. My body, which is much like a drunken, almost six-foot toddler, resists.
This letter is not a cry for pity, pity is not what I’m looking for. I love myself just the way I am, drunken toddler body and all. This letter is, however, a cry for attention, recognition and acceptance.”
BY CARLA NAUMBURG for Kveller
Some of my favorite life memories are with my Grandma Dede, who passed away just over a month ago. I particularly remember playing cards with her, including many games of Russian Bank.
For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of playing Russian Bank with Delia, here’s how it goes: it’s a two person solitaire-style card game, played with two decks. The goal is to get rid of all of your cards before your opponent does, and you do this by building up the center game board, solitaire style—and by dumping your cards on your opponent’s pile whenever you can. As the playing board gets built up, each move can require multiple steps, and if you see your opponent missing steps or breaking the rules of play, you can call “stop!” and take over their turn.
BY RACHEL SHARANSKY DANZIGER for Kveller
“You know,” my friend told me, “I recently realized that I’ve been making it harder than necessary for myself.”
My friend’s newborn baby slept in her arms. Her toddler ran around with my children, happy to explore the mess of baby accessories. “Parenting, that is,” she clarified. “By trying to control everything.”
The kids shrieked and she craned her neck to try and see what they were up to. And then she forced herself to turn back toward me. “Like right now,” she added. “It’s really hard not to go and check and manage and all that.”
BY TOBI ASH for Kveller
We had just spent the day at Disney World, and our overexcited 16-month-old daughter was crying hysterically. She couldn’t stop screaming, the tears streaming down her face, barely catching her breath to pause, only to let out more hysterical shrieks. I checked and changed her diaper, offered a new fresh bottle, bathed her, undressed her, put on fresh clothes, put on the TV, but nothing worked.
A frantic hour passed by, and then another, and another, while my husband and I desperately tried to stop her crying. Finally, a thought struck me—a superstitious thought about “Ayen Hara” (the Evil Eye), perhaps placed on her by a fellow Disney attendee.
With nothing to lose, I carried her into the bathroom myself, and locked the door. Then, with a heart full of love and a mouth full of saliva, I viciously spat at her three times right in the forehead.
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE for Kveller
- (Note from JVillage:) Nothing inherently Jewish about this, but we thought it might be a fun thing to do with your kids, sitting down and interviewing them on subjects and getting their opinions.
Don’t you actually want things, like toys and kids’ movies, to actually be rated by kids themselves? Well one dad has done it. Hamilton Leithauser, a musician (formerly in the band The Walkmen), made a video where he and his daughters talk pretty seriously about the movie “Trolls,” pizza, dad on dad fights, sleeping in the car, the Barbie Dreamhouse, play-doh, the kids’ menu and more in the latest episode of “Over/Under” on Pitchfork.
The Barbie dreamhouse, for instance, was determined to be: overrated. His older daughter said, “I hate it!! I don’t like it at allllll.”
BY DR. CARA BERG POWERS for Kveller
“Here is a cup of tea, Ima.” My daughter mimed handing me a hot mug the other night as we sat on the couch together watching her favorite episode of the new Netflix series “Julie’s Greenroom.” This particular episode features Ellie Kemper (aka “the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) teaching a charming group of puppet children about improv. And thanks to an earworm song called “Yes, And,” I know exactly how to respond to my daughter’s kind offer: “Yes, and… it is very hot.” I took improv in High School, and so I’ve known the cardinal rule for a long time, but I never expected my 3-year-old to be able to use it.
Grandpa has a broken toe and is stuck in bed! The Plonys feel bad but are too busy with their elaborate weekend plans and Shabbat picnic to do anything about making him feel less lonely. ”SHABOOM!” The Sparks rain chicken soup down, and then send over a flock of quacking ducky pals to cheer everyone up. But what really makes Grandpa feel better is when the Plonys learn a lesson about visiting the sick, or bikur cholim.
Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) arrives just as the weather turns warm. Celebrate with patriotic planters.
Unglazed terracotta planters
Blue and white acrylic paints
Paint the rims of each flowerpot blue and the lower part of the pot white.
When the paint is dry, add a blue Star of David to the white section of each planter.
Plant seeds of your choice. May we recommend blue and white perennials?