Sukkot decorations

Why We’ll Be the Family in Midwood Without a Sukkah

Can we get away with NOT having a sukkah in Brooklyn?

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US Border patrol

When Faith Reaches the Border

The young girl in the photo looks like my Helen

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wedding

How to Make Joint Decisions as Newlyweds

Zach and I have been married for a few months now, and one of the things that has surprised me most? We don’t have a dog yet! Our friends know we’ve been talking about fostering dogs for a while, but with the wedding we never had the time.

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The Miracle of Light

This interfaith holiday season has been trickier than I thought. If there is a lot of planning, cooking and gift buying for one holiday, then the two holiday celebrating seems impossible. My family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. But, we are not just a Jewish/Catholic home. We are a Brooklyn Jewish and Mexican Catholic household. This […]

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How to Pray with Two Faiths

Our family has had a hard few weeks. Every day we open the news to a different headline about hatred and anger. Sometimes it feels as if the whole world has gone bonkers. To top it off, my significant other, Adrian, recently received a phone call from Mexico informing him that his mother is ill. Her diabetes […]

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Two Faiths and Powerful Women

My daughter, Helen Rose Castaneda, wakes up one day at 10-and-a-half months old, pulls herself up in her crib and says “hola!” at the top of her lungs. “Hola, hola, hola!” This makes sense because Adrian and I speak to Helen mainly in Spanish at home. She says “hola” for an entire day and then […]

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Our Attempt at Planning a Family Vacation and Baby’s First Fever

We had been planning our vacation to upstate New York for six months. The hotels book up by the end of August, so we made the reservation well in advance. Adrian, my significant other, got his freshwater fishing license, and we ordered our daughter a ton of new summer clothes. Everything was packed, even Grandma, […]

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My Favorite Interfaith Children’s Book

When I was a child there were two books I wanted desperately to hear before bedtime. The first was Goodnight Fred. This was a favorite because the grandmother in the book comes out of the telephone to visit Fred and Arthur, her grandsons. I, too, thought my grandmother lived in the telephone and could come […]

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Mysticism and My Newborn

    I believe in the mystical. Tarot Cards, Ouji boards, even the woman on the corner of Ocean Avenue who stares at me with one blue eye and one gray eye and says “you have a purple aura” when I walk by. Yes, I believe in her too. As I watch my newborn grow […]

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New Hanukkah Books Take Kids Places

The usual Hanukkah picture books can be a bore, but these new ones feature great science and geography tie-ins.

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