Category Archives: Personal Reflections

Thinking on a warm Sunday

I’ve been out walking with my son for the last hour plus, thankfully about15 minutes into it, he gave in and promptly began that nap he sorely needed since waking at 5:30.

Becoming his mom has definitely acquainted me with more than just early ass waking hours and stubbornness. It’s made me more aware of how my behavior emotionally impacts him. My husband thinks Raphi is shy because he likes to demure and hide his face in whoever is holding him chest. As a shy child myself I have no remedy for that but it does seem to make me smile at him even more than I already do and I wear his giggles and snorts like badges of emotional honor.

I don’t know much of the Jewish approach to mothering. My mother, I feel, wasn’t really Jewish in her caring for me, and honestly I don’t even really have a clue of what the hell it means though undoubtedly there are books on it I can at least get some insight from. Instead I wish I had the chance to learn something, anything from her example. Instead I must draw from my memory of her personality to understand how important patience is when raising a child. Oh my God, is it important! And that’s not a Jewish value, but a human value that dwarves most others.

Raising Raphi hasn’t tested my patience a whole lot yet, sure I lost my shit when he was tiny but that had more to do with the fact that I was in postpartum physical hell and he was a newborn. Instead (I keep saying this today often) I now think on the Jewish Ashkenazi wisdom of naming my son for his babushka. Raphael means “God has healed, healed by God, one who heals” in Hebrew and in infinite ways that’s exactly what he has done for my family. Though seeing his smile and hearing his laughs every day reminds me often heart wrenchingly (I’m talking watching Russian grandmas at a playground with kids and trying not to cry) that his babushka isn’t here to watch him grow, I see his existence as a great healing worthy of his namesake. My father was floored and almost destroyed when my mother passed three years ago and I didn’t know if anything could ever make him truly happy again. Well, Raphi has done that for all of us and especially for my father who is genuinely in love with his grandson. That’s the greatest healing there can be. What’s more Jewish than that?

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New Indian Jewish Art – Jewish Review of Books

The artwork of Siona Benjamin, who says she belongs everywhere and nowhere, recombines traditional and contemporary elements in surprising ways.
— Read on jewishreviewofbooks.com/articles/3153/new-indian-jewish-art/

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Rokhl’s Golden City: Bury Me Behind the Fence! – Tablet Magazine

Rokhl’s Golden City: Bury Me Behind the Fence! – Tablet Magazine
— Read on www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/262631/bury-me-behind-the-fence

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Books: The Jewish DNA

“I cannot live without books.” These famous words were spoken by Thomas Jefferson on June 10, 1815, but they were most likely born on…
— Read on jewishjournal.com/culture/books/234206/books-jewish-dna/

Amen.

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On Shavuot, the Book of Ruth Offers Doctors a Prescription for Compassion – Tablet Magazine

On Shavuot, the Book of Ruth Offers Doctors a Prescription for Compassion – Tablet Magazine
— Read on www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/173596/prescription-for-compassion

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The Secret Lives of Jewish Mothers – Tablet Magazine

The Secret Lives of Jewish Mothers – Tablet Magazine
— Read on www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/171976/secret-lives-of-jewish-mothers

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Ask Unorthodox: What Do People Get Wrong About Judaism? – Tablet Magazine

Ask Unorthodox: What Do People Get Wrong About Judaism? – Tablet Magazine
— Read on www.tabletmag.com/scroll/262042/ask-unorthodox-what-do-people-get-wrong-about-judaism

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New Children’s Book About Women Who Changed the World Leaves Out the Jews – Tablet Magazine

New Children’s Book About Women Who Changed the World Leaves Out the Jews – Tablet Magazine
— Read on www.tabletmag.com/scroll/262015/new-childrens-book-about-women-who-changed-the-world-leaves-out-the-jews

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Ask Unorthodox: What’s the Perfect Jewish History Book? – Tablet Magazine

Ask Unorthodox: What’s the Perfect Jewish History Book? – Tablet Magazine
— Read on www.tabletmag.com/scroll/261542/we-put-together-the-ideal-reading-list

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A steep curve

Life has definitely not been quiet for the last few months. I don’t think anything can really fully prepare you for what a life with a newborn/infant would be like. Or at least perhaps I didn’t have a whole lot of a clue of how consuming it would all be. Sure some people told me sleep would be hard to score, sure he would need attention a lot, but very few went into specifics and perhaps I didn’t really listen well anyway. Well I definitely did not get a good enough preparation for how physically difficult postpartum would be but that’s a different story.

Anyway, would it have made a difference if I spent more than cursory amount of time with newborns or infants when I was younger? Maybe but really probably not. For me, as for a lot of new parents, until you are personally in the saddle, the reality of the end of YOUR days (and I’m sorry but once you have a child, your life as you led it before is over) and the need to accept that and adapt, became a key to survival. I’m still working on accepting it. Sleep is still a struggle on some days, so is performance anxiety but at least physically I no longer feel like I got totally wrecked. And my son is adorable. I live for his smiles and laughter which he gives with what seems like much forethought( the giggles, not the smiles-smiles are very much abundant :)). He’s learning constantly and doing and touching and leaning and wanting to do things his little body hasn’t mastered yet. And I do manage to read that aren’t total mush too!

I guess we will be learning each other for a long time to come.

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