Don’t Sweat the Jewish Stuff

A mother worries whether her non-Jewish family and friends will feel comfortable at her son’s bar mitzvah.

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Coming Full Circle

A personal narrative of a woman who researches Judaism before agreeing to raise her child Jewish and then decides to convert herself.

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I Was the Only Jewish Kid on the Block & Worry My Kid Will Be, Too

By Melissa Henriquez Growing up in a small, rural town in northern New Jersey in the ’80s, I never had perfect attendance in school. Not because I was sick or because my family took vacations outside the school calendar, but rather because every fall, I needed to take two days off in observance of the […]

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You Got That from Me—and My Mother

After belting out an energetic rendition of “The Bare Necessities” recently, my 8-year-old daughter Molly asked me, “Where do I get my love of music from?” I’ll admit, I greedily credited my side of our family. After all, my Jewish grandmother was a piano teacher who played beautifully. I have lovely memories of being about […]

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Dear Mom, Thank You For…

Dear Mom, I know this will embarrass you (and definitely make you cry) because that’s who you are, but in the spirit of this month of Thanksgiving, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for… …saying yes when I was 7 and came home from a visit to Hebrew School and declared that I […]

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Choosing Love and Family at a B’nei Mitzvah

I’ve been to a lot of bar and bat mitzvahs in my life, but I’ve never been so deeply moved as I was on a recent Shabbat. My cousin, Nancy Sharp, who I’ve always adored, has experienced a life of tragic loss and re-found joy. Her husband, Brett, who I remember vividly as a most […]

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Does Our Daughter Need Religious School?

A mother struggles with whether to enroll her daughter in Jewish religious school

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Lessons from ‘My Basmati Bat Mitzvah’

I don’t normally read books written for middle schoolers, but I was in the children’s section of my local library picking up a book for my daughter the other day when I noticed a book with a bright yellow cover with a pretty Indian girl entitled My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, written by Paula J. Freedman, […]

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Maya’s Inspirational Bat Mitzvah

The best bat mitzvah service I ever attended was my niece Maya’s in California last year. There were 200 people gathered outdoors to participate in a beautiful Shabbat service run by Maya where she led us all in the prayers, read her Torah and Haftorah portions, gave a wonderful D’var Torah (speech), and invited family […]

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The Blessing of the Parents

I attended an informative and provocative session at Limmud Philly. This conference is held in several major cities and is a usually a day or weekend of Jewish learning. The learning includes philosophy, prayer, entertainment and socializing. It is quite an event for those that like to think Jewish! I attended a session entitled “We […]

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