Let’s see, since we last spoke I wrote about the way Jewish summer camps’ programming for Tisha B’Av traumatized generations of tiny Hebrews (and offered suggestions of better ways to observe this sad holiday). I also did shorter pieces on a big grant that helps would-be parents dealing with infertility; the battle to save the East Village’s historic B&H Dairy restaurant; and journalist Samuel G. Freedman’s forthcoming book and audio documentary about his colleague, Jeff Schmalz, the pioneering AIDS reporter for the NYT.
Oh, plus a piece for SorryWatch confirming that nope, Lance Armstrong is still not actually sorry. Film at 11.
Here is a review of a parenting book that made me want to throw things. Here is a farewell to Phineas and Ferb, the smartest kids’ show on TV. Here’s a look at the fascinating history of a Greek-Jewish community in NYC. And here is a New York Times book review of Jami Attenberg’s wonderful new novel Saint Mazie.
I’m also working on my book (about the history of the Jewish Mother stereotype and why it’s wrong) and other projects, and sitting next to my beautiful cat, who is dying. Which, along with yet another insane shooting of innocent people and Tablet’s huge piece today about ISIS’s murder of journalist Steven Sotloff, puts a lot of things in perspective.
This week’s Tablet magazine column: A look at best practices for sex education (shout-out to the awesome Population Council) and how some Jewish schools and educators are trying to incorporate them. I can’t decide which I like more: Tablet art director Esther Werdiger’s work on this story, or her work on Tal Trachtman Aloy’s story about the little-known Jewish history of the Girl Scout movement.
[click to continue…]
1. Great show at the Studio Museum of Harlem (and no, fellow yehudim, we don’t need our own show about our hair).
2. Please do not watch serial domestic violence all-star Floyd Meriweather in his gazillion-dollar-payday fisticuffs this weekend.
3. What we can learn from a soulful 10-year-old girl with Ewing’s Sarcoma.
4. Fantasy Jewish megafights we’d like to see. (Hint: RBG KO’s all.)
Unrelated note: I am loving Daredevil on Netflix and trying not to binge it all in one crazed sleepless fell swoop. The fight scenes, the humor, the very existence of True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll on this planet, the heavy Catholicism (as a Jew, I relate to Catholic guilt), Vincent d’Onofrio’s just-enough scenery chewing, the super-dark, saturated palette. But one thing. [click to continue…]
In Tablet magazine this week, I riffed on Lizzie Skurnick’s new book, That Should Be a Word, and discussed how to raise feminist children. I got hate mail for the latter, because MENINISM.
Also of late I have written some SorryWatch things: A roundup of recent celebrity apologies (Evans! Renner! Affleck! Rai!), a nasty sportscaster’s nasty apology, a fine response to barfing in a bookstore, and an apology-centric “pourquoi tale.”
In Tablet magazine this week: I did pieces on the plethora of Holocaust books for children, most of which are NOT GOOD, and on the ALA’s list of most-frequently-banned-and-challenged-books of 2014, which does not contain enough Jews.
The art for the Holocaust piece, incidentally, was inspired by an actual book cover.
You know, for kids!
A fun-to-report and strangely moving (to me, anyway) piece on how Jewish soldiers celebrated Passover in the European and Pacific military theaters during World War II. It’s a bit freaky, handling these old documents at the Center for Jewish History/American Jewish Historical Society. They don’t even make you wear gloves! (I was super-careful anyway.)
Other recent pieces: The Best Children’s Books for Passover, Josie’s and my annual CHALK expedition in memory of the Triangle Factory Fire, ideas for making your seder sparklier, and more.
My most recent piece for Tablet magazine has over 3,000 Facebook shares, so I’m guessing it’s hit a nerve. It’s about the Meitivs, a family in Maryland who were found responsible for “unsubstantiated child neglect” after letting their kids (ages 10 and 7) walk home (during the day) from a nearby park (on well-traveled streets). And it’s about a woman calling my synagogue to accuse me of being a neglectful parent for letting my 10-year-old take the bus alone.
We talk about wanting our kids to be responsible and independent (and we tell them “Let’s Move!” if we are the First Lady of the United States) but we don’t allow them to actually get out in the world to play, walk and bike in a self-directed way. Grr. Anyway, the piece makes the point that keeping your kids in a lockbox is not actually a Jewish value.
Working on my book. Pissing off parents of kids with nut allergies. Pondering certification for ethically kosher marijuana. Reviewing a novel I very much respected but did not enjoy. Pointing out a really crappy apology for using racist imagery to sell Photoshop tools. The usual.