Except for this is an unhinged rant about Peeps Oreos. No politics, just venom.
Explicitly political: Here are some awesome rabbis, of varying denominations and backgrounds and genders, fighting for refugee rights (and getting arrested, like the badasses they are).
Here is why I fell for a Google ad even though I know it’s designed to sell me stuff.
Here is a Mahler concert that got unexpectedly pointed and moving.
Here is a review of five new young adult books that may be of interest to adult-adults. I should have reviewed four. But I would have had to drop one of my two faves and I am willing to subsume my own desire to look talented in the NYT to the necessity of people knowing about one superb book.
Here, from SorryWatch, is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE apology for a terrible headline in a story about a rape trial.
Also, I’m speaking about Jewish humor and reading from Mamaleh Knows Best on March 3 at 8:30 at the Brotherhood Synagogue in Gramercy Park. Free! And I’m on a panel about first-person writing and Jewishness and parenthood with delightful feminist authoresses Rabbi Susan Silverman and Carla Naumberg, Ph.D., on March 16 at 7:30 at the Edlavitch JCC in Washington, DC.
Welp, the votes are in and I’m curled up under my desk like a snail. But last week I wrote this piece about why Jews should be horrified by the notion of Betsy DeVos being confirmed as education secretary. Or you could read this other thing about Israeli visionary art shoes DO WHAT YOU WANT WE ARE ALL DOOMED.
Here is a piece I wrote about the OTHER Trump Magazine. It was created in 1957 by Harvey Kurtzman, who started MAD Magazine, and published by Hugh Hefner. It lasted two issues.
And here’s a neat little museum show depicting the Jewish ghetto (in NYC at the turn of the century, and in Eastern Europe) in postcards. I love old postcards. They tell you a lot, not just about what’s in the picture on the front, but about what people who buy postcards want to see.
Here are some recommendations of children’s books about great civil rights leaders your family should know about who are NOT Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And here are this year’s winners of the Sydney Taylor Awards for best Jewish children’s books!
Shocking no one, I squeal some more about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which recently produced possibly the most Jewish episode of TV comedy ever.
In Mamaleh Knows Best book news, I’ll be at Beth El Synagogue in Omaha on February 2, and at The Brotherhood Synagogue in NYC on March 3. More upcoming appearances on the Mamaleh Knows Best web site.
Also, one of my kids and I went to the NYC Women’s March. It was great. Here is a sign I liked.
I have a piece in Real Simple about my insouciant, devil-may-care inability to finish projects I start, a trait that delights all those around me. A life coach, a psychiatrist and a personal assistant try to help. Plus:
J’adore Paris-based jewelry designer (and Holocaust survivor) Léa Stein’s work. Madeleine Albright does too. Read about her in Tablet Magazine.
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Ta da! My annual list. SO MUCH LOVE FOR THESE BOOKS. Buy them! Read them!
Also for Tablet, a look at a new Jewish literary journal and a visit with The Schlep Sisters, purveyors of sexy funny Jewy burlesque.
On SorryWatch, a cowardly resentful passive-aggressive yet yearning non-apology song on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (where else?) and a pretty good apology from Tulane’s admissions department after a pretty big screwup.
In Mamaleh Knows Best news, I’m chatting about the book with Shmuel Rosner over at Jewish Journal. Part one of our conversation is here; part two is here. Stay tuned for part three. Motherwell included Mamaleh in its list of the year’s best parenting books, and Elana Sztokman of JewFem listed it as one of her six favorite books by Jewish women in 2016. It would make a great Hanukkah gift, I’m only saying.
This photo is my mantra right now.
In work news: For the New York Times, I reviewed an academic book about the history of the menorah (and learned two new words, aniconism and pseudepigraphic).
For Tablet, I wrote about the sudden, unannounced whitewashing of a historic Jewish mural on the Lower East Side; the little-known Jewish history of Yahtzee and Bingo; the seasonal Christianification of It’s a Small World; seven great Jewish-themed “princess” characters ripe for Disney’s movie-makin’ picking’; a gorgeous photography book about the decaying Borscht Belt; and Israel’s SufganiKing donutburger, a Hanukkah delight. (Or “delight.”)
For SorryWatch, I wrote about an excellent apology accompanied by hot pictures of Chris Hemsworth and a crap apology for applauding someone who called Michelle Obama “an ape in heels.”
In book news, thank you, Kveller, for including Mamaleh Knows Best among The 17 Best Books of 2016. Upcoming appearances: Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Philadelphia on January 11th at 7pm; The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA) annual conference in NYC on January 14 at 9pm; and Temple Beth-El in Omaha on February 2 at 7:30pm.
How do those of us who believe in multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance explain the results of yesterday’s presidential election to kids? I keep thinking back to everything I’ve learned over the years about what makes for effective Holocaust education: Don’t minimize, but don’t traumatize. Don’t lie. Be developmentally appropriate, but offer hope and emphasize the actions of helpers.
Some specifics for right now:
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Using children’s books to explain the refugee crisis to kids (this piece triggered hate mail and nasty social media comments from both the left AND the right — both sides think I am a patsy and a dipshit, which is not news). Also, here’s a piece about a shul that built a Sukkah as a metaphor for the refugee crisis.
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Long ago, before we argued over whether pumpkin spice was basic or maligned, we used to fight about whether candy corn was yummy or gross. Nostalgic for those more innocent days, I went looking for an important feature I wrote about candy corn a billion years ago (like, ’97?) for a long-dead culinary site called CuisineNet. CuisineNet is gone, lost in the ether of early cyberspace, roadkill on the infobahn. But my candy corn story lives on, in a homework assignment for middle-school students in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District of south metropolitan Portland, OR. Some enterprising teacher or administrator must have seen a wonderful opportunity to not pay me. Now poor Oregonian children have to read my vintage musings on candy corn deliciousness (involving the phrase “delicately work your way down the niblet shaft,” which should not be read by middle-school students, or anyone, really), as well as candy corn history and statistics. Then the children have to answer multiple-choice questions about candy corn and write an essay on “the impact retailers have had on the rising amount of candy consumed during the Halloween season.” (I am unsure about what I would write for this topic? Which is apparently based on my own reporting?) Anyway, you can take the quiz. I don’t know what the answers say about you or what Hogwarts house you should be in. [click to continue…]
Shana tova, for those who swing that way!
So what’s news? There is a new children’s book called Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf. I hated it like an eggnog latte.
I was a guest on the Unorthodox podcast, talking about the year’s best and worst apologies.
You should buy a fragrance from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, the Lovecraftian cult alchemist, to support the First Amendment Banned. Books Week natterings are here.
A Fox News personality did racist stuff and then issued a crappy “I regret” non-apology.
In Mamaleh Knows Best book news, check out this smart piece in the Chicago Tribune and gaze upon my tattoo-free arms in The Times of Israel.