Brain, Child

Raising A Child Who Is Like Me

I wake up to a steady and dull thump-thump-thump outside. I look out of the window: grey sky and a heavy wall of rain. It’s Saturday morning. I breath a sigh of relief. I put my head back on the pillow, close my eyes and take in the comforting sound of pouring rain for a few more minutes. Saturday indoors? No pressure to get dressed, get organized, and go “do” things? The complete guilt-free permission to stay inside and let the day spontaneously unfold, guided only by our minute to minute desi
Brain, Child

Monsters In His Head

I’m watching Martin’s weekly private swimming lesson from the viewing area of the local pool. A girl of about the same age as him is swimming widths nearby, accompanied by her teacher. There is nothing unusual about the girl, but her presence suddenly disrupts the sense of normal that I’ve gotten used to. Every time she answers her teacher out loud, her voice rings like a bell standing out from the background noises of the pool, and I stare at the source of the sound in sheer amazement. I’m so u
The Manifest-Station

On The Edge Of The Void

Martin stands at the edge of a swimming pool, nervously shifting from one foot to the other, his whimpering becoming full blown crying the longer he stands there. I am waiting for him in the water, my arms invitingly outstretched, ready to help him in whenever he’s ready. I’m not pressuring him to go in, but the whole situation is: most of the other 4 year olds at this birthday party have been splashing happily in the water for a quite a while now, their happy babbling at stark contrast with his
Tablet Magazine

Feeling Jewish Enough to Enjoy the Spirit of Christmas in Israel

Thirteen years ago, I attended a welcome meeting for incoming students at the University of Toronto, where I was about to start my graduate studies in linguistics. The conversation turned toward Jews and Israel and kosher food. One of my future professors, an observant Jew, announced: “In Israel people don’t keep kosher very much because they think they are Jewish enough without it.” As the only Israeli in the room, I wasn’t sure how to react to that. Apart from the condescending undertones and
CBC

As a non-Indigenous student of Oji-Cree, I learned much more than a language | Canada 2017

"You want to go where?" The travel agent's eyes slowly widened as his finger traced the map north, north, north … until the map ended and his finger was on the bare wall. The northern Ontario community I wanted to visit was not even on his map. I was no less surprised than him. I was an international student from Israel doing my PhD in Linguistics at the University of Toronto with a focus on Oji-Cree. Now the plan was to continue learning in Kingfisher Lake First Nation — despite maps that e
The Manifest-Station

The Ride

He went on that ride with his Dad. At first I was sure he wouldn’t go. I stood behind the fence and watched them get seated and strapped in, watched the guard lower the safety restraint on them for extra security. Oh how I hate roller coasters. I hate them precisely because you’re supposed to love them. Because every time I admit to myself that I hate them I get this nagging feeling of inadequacy in my stomach, as if some cheerful somebody is about to come over to me any moment, cheerfully grab
Motherwell

The length of the pause

Figure out the length of the pause. That was my main challenge in the first couple of months. The pause between the moment somebody asked my son a question and the second I began to answer it for him. Wait too long and it could mean risking him unnecessary embarrassment (as well as putting the asker in an awkward position). Respond too soon and it might deny him the possibility to answer for himself, narrowing the chance that at some point I might hear his voice in social situations. One day my
The Forward

How A Christian School Helped My Son Find His Judaism

When we find out that the local primary school to which we are about to send our son is affiliated with a Christian Methodist church, we begin to worry what it will do to our child’s malnourished Jewish identity. The school has a friendly atmosphere, claims to be tolerant of all religions and views, and aims to raise kind, liberal and open-minded children. But still, the Christian aspect is inevitably there: in the daily worship and the weekly assembly in church, the reciting of prayers, the N
The Wisdom Daily

I Don’t Fast On Yom Kippur Because I Feel Like An Outsider In Judaism

Soon it will be Yom Kippur. But I’ll probably be eating a scone with my morning tea as usual. I want to say: this year I won’t be fasting because my husband is away for a week and I’m already in a survival mode alone with two kids. Food is my sustenance and one of my comforts. I can’t afford to give it up right now. It feels good to say this. I imagine a small crowd of understanding non-Jewish individuals nodding their head in support and understanding as I explain to them, that THIS YEAR I’m no
The Forward

As a Soviet Jew, Yom Kippur Makes Me Feel Like An Outsider

For many years, I had my own personal tradition that I would observe on Yom Kippur. The day before, I would go to the big supermarket in our neighborhood in Southern Jerusalem and buy myself a watermelon. On the morning of Yom Kippur, I would split the watermelon in half, and declare the official beginning of Watermelon Day. And for the entirety of Yom Kippur, I would eat that watermelon and only that watermelon, scooping it out with a spoon from its shell like from a giant bowl. For the years