Stuff I have been writing and ALSO! NEW KITTEN!

by marjorieingall on June 26, 2020

I have been out of touch. Sorry. Updating the site feels a little frivolous right now. Also on a personal note my job at Tablet has expanded and I’m still learning the new design and content management system. And also also: NEW KITTEN!

I SAID NEW KITTEN!

Look again upon my NEW KITTEN!

Anyway, here are some things I wrote for Tablet recently: 

The Ethics of Takeout, about what Jewish law has to say about the balancing acts demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Best Jewish(ish) Books about Summer Camp. Ah, camp. Plus a couple of suggestions for grownups. If I were to add another, I’d suggest Sarah Wendell’s Hanukkah novella Lighting the Flames, which I wrote about in Tablet a few years ago, about two friends who met at Jewish camp when they were seven and stayed friends every summer until they were both counselors, and then meet again to run a winter fundraiser for the camp. And there is Hanukkah-time hotness! What a delight to read a winter love story when it’s sweltering, and to read something in the romance genre in which both characters are happily, comfortably Jewish! And if you, like me, are totally unable to focus, it’s a novella. You don’t have to focus for long. 

How to Talk to Your Kids about Police Brutality, from a white Jewish perspective. 

Suggestions on how to run your own Jewish summer camp from home, which is not like the other articles on providing summer camp experience at home in that it is a joke. 

A call to cancel Mother’s Day (2020 did not feel like the right time, not when most of us can’t see our moms in person and friends are losing their moms unnecessarily to this terrible disease, and also did you know that Ann Reeves Jarvis, the original person being feted by her daughter was a freaking public health badass? so maybe it is a good time to celebrate after all, but too late now). 

Also I talked to NYT columnist (and friend) Paula Span about the best children’s books about death. And my pal Susan and I are working on redesigning the SorryWatch site and um, writing our book. 

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rainbows ahoy

by marjorieingall on May 4, 2020

I am healthy again! Suck it, Covid-19! And thank you to my wonderful East Village neighbors, who took care of me and my family while we were all sweaty and hallucinating. Since writing this Tablet piece, I have learned another way in which we were lucky. My husband Jonathan’s doctor was MIA when he got sick (RUDE) so we got health advice from my doctor and from my brother-in-law. The latter is a brilliant genius person who is a professor at Albert Einstein and has managed school-based health clinics in the Bronx and Montefiore Hospital’s Adolescent AIDS clinic and he is a mensch and a half.

As it turned out, Jonathan’s doctor was MIA because he himself was very sick with Covid-19. Had he not been, he would have told Jonathan to go to the hospital when his temperature hit 103 and his blood oxygen level hit 83 percent. (Of course we have a pulse oximeter. What kind of Jews would we be without a home pulse oximeter?) And, Jonathan’s doctor said, if Jonathan had gone to the hospital he would have been admitted. And as we know now, a hospital is a really bad place to be. 

So we all lay around the living room wilting like clocks in a Dali painting and now we are better and I am coping with a massive Tablet redesign and feeling like the STUPIDEST PERSON IN THE WORLD for my inability to learn the new content management system. Maybe this brain fog is Covid-19 related, maybe it is perimenopause (fuck you, you sexist spellcheck, you should fucking KNOW THAT WORD), or maybe, as I mentioned, I’m just THE STUPIDEST PERSON IN THE WORLD. 

Regardless, please enjoy this fine specimen of NYC firefighterdom, posing with a box of masks we found in our shed and donated. 

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happy-as-possible impending passover

by marjorieingall on April 5, 2020

We are a Covid-19 household, gearing up for Passover. Here’s what I’m thinking about. This afternoon I’m making nut-free charoset, which should wipe me out for the rest of the day.  [click to continue…]

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In completely non-me news, I just saw Birds of Prey with my teenage kid who loves girl-power ass-kicking in media, and to my surprise, I loved it. I did not get any of the comic-book references and it did not matter. I also thought there was a direct visual reference to the Margaret Atwood line, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Let me know if you have inside knowledge. 

 

In me news, Spaghetti Bolognese! Jewish superfood! Its Hebraic origins SHROUDED IN MYSTERY! 

Passover is coming. A little planning ahead will help engage your kids in the seder and foster delight for all. 

Remember when I was bitching about there being too many bullshit picture books about Coco Chanel? Most of the gazillion picture books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg are better…but there are still TOO DANG MANY. And this is a problem. And I will tell you why. 

Over at SorryWatch.com, on the heels of the Astros’ crappy apologies for cheating, we have a GOOD sports apology:

It’s Australia’s apology to Peter Norman, the white athlete on this 1968 Olympic podium, who was punished mightily for supporting the two African-American athletes. 

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so much Holocaust

by marjorieingall on February 15, 2020

At Tablet, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I wrote about the best Holocaust books of 2019. This year, I kept all Holocaust books off my annual list of the year’s best Jewish children’s books; I promised to talk about the best Holocaust books when the day of remembrance came around. The reason: As I’ve written many times, I feel there are too damn many children’s books about the Holocaust, and for the end-of-year gifting season, I really wanted to celebrate books that were NOT about genocide.

That said: If I were allowing myself to add ONE MORE book to the Best Holocaust Books column, it would be A Boy Is Not A Bird, about an 11-year-old boy in Romania in 1941. The only reason I cut it was that it’s sorta more Holocaust-adjacent than Holocaust? No Nazis, no concentration camps. (Honestly, consider that a point in its favor: Lesser-known setting.) A Boy is Not a Bird is both accomplished and odd, with an unreliable narrator — I love an unreliable narrator.

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in which my brother and his husband have a simcha

by marjorieingall on January 23, 2020

Keeping on the feel-good tip, here is a story about joy and liberation and a Bat Mitzvah at CBST, New York City’s LGBTQ shul. (Autocorrect changed that to “soul,” and yeah, that too.) 

And at SorryWatch, this is less happy: Crappy apologies, apology-shaped objects, and onomatopology after the implosion at Romance Writers of America

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happy new year (?)

by marjorieingall on January 3, 2020

Here’s hoping 2020 is better than 2019.

In upbeat news, I am enjoying Oscar Isaac and John Boyega giving Disney agita as they promote Star War: Rise of the War Star. (Oscar Isaac, repeatedly: “I wanted my character to bone John’s character, you Mouse cowards.” John Boyega: “Reylo SUX.”) I did not like this movie for many reasons — mostly that it was incoherent — but what I liked best were these guys’ performances.  


More upbeat news: Here is my annual list for Tablet of the best Jewish children’s and young adult books of the year. It was a particularly strong year! Which is good, because we Jews need all the help we can get at the moment. This reminds me: Non-Jewish friends, please explore the “Love Your Neighbor” booklists compiled by the Association of Jewish Libraries: Four lists of children’s books on various Jewish topics, designed to foster understanding and solidarity.

Also, I reviewed four picture book biographies for the New York Times Book Review. 

On SorryWatch, we have a poor apology for racism in the restaurant world and a poor apology for tree destruction. Please send us your good apologies. We need them right now. (And as we said on Twitter: The Pope’s apology was fine. It was not great.) 

 

 

 

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News of the Jews

by marjorieingall on November 23, 2019

A personal history of Sesame Street at 50. (I am trash for Oscar.) 

Musings on Jenny Slate‘s performance and writing. 

The history of anti-Semitism at Emory University’s dental school (and, sadly, in midcentury dental schools across the country). I loved talking to Perry Brickman; one of my fave interviews in years. 

And on SorryWatch, apologies after yet another young adult literature blowup, plus a forthcoming book that helps kids be mensches (which includes knowing how to apologize well). 

Also I made Revenge Meatloaf (and went viral). Pretty good. A lot of meat. Vengefully tasty. 

 

 

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Happy Halloween

by marjorieingall on October 31, 2019

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Nu, where are all the scary Jewish children’s books?  (We’ll always have Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins.)

In other children’s book news, I read a middle-grade graphic novel about the Holocaust I actually liked!

At SorryWatch, raging at the Astros’ lying Assistant GM (now out of a job, deservedly, and too bad about the World Series, fellas); sharing a nice poem about creating the world we want to live in; and musing about forgiveness for Yom Kippur. 

Also, we are Halloween-festive here.

   

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wedding dresses, just because

by marjorieingall on October 21, 2019

I enjoyed this post on wedding dresses, from Liz Black, a writer revisiting her wedding dress nine years later. It made me think of my own dress-purchasing adventures. 

Twenty-one (!!) years ago, Jonathan and I got married in a redwood grove in St Helena, CA. It was on the grounds of an old run-down hot sulphur spring resort that smelled like farts, but the setting was ethereally gorgeous. We set up a chuppah in the redwoods and crossed over a little brook on a footbridge decorated by our friends with flowers and then had dinner in a field. Hippies!

I bought and returned three dresses in quick succession, reflecting the fact that I wasn’t really sure of who I was back then. 1. Shopping with mom, I bought a vintage Priscilla of Boston fancy-schmancy white dress. Priscilla of Boston was famous for designing Grace Kelly’s bridesmaids’ dresses in the 1950s; the company, which specialized in ungapatchka lacy and beaded concoctions, went under in 2011. The dress, while beautiful, was not me. We returned it to the vintage shop.

I don’t have a picture of my ungapatchka dress but here is Princess Grace in hers? 

 

She looks terrified!

2. At the Jessica McClintock outlet in San Francisco (it was CLEARLY very important to me that I not spend a lot of money on my wedding dress, because I was an OFFBEAT AND ALTERNATIVE BRIDE, dammit), I bought a lime green gown with a satin corset top and tulle skirt. I planned to dye my hair (which at the time had pink and purple stripes in it) to match the dress. Husband was worried that I would clash with the lawn. I returned the dress. I wasn’t convinced that green hair would look that great on me anyway. Update: Jessica McClintock, who was born in 1930 (and is best known for being the designer of Gunne Sax in the ’70s and early ’80s, when I rocked her wares on the Bat Mitzvah circuit), retired in 2013 (!) and shut down her business. She’s since licensed her name for manufacture overseas. 

I found my green dress online, but the satin panels have faded unevenly and the tulle has discolored to a sickly lemon. It was really pretty, I swear! 

 

Imagine it looking more like this (this seller has a way with seductive lighting!), but in bright lime green.

For a time, I flirted with the idea of a flippy white Betsey Johnson mini-dress that I can’t find online. It was spaghetti strapped, with swirly white embroidery and little clear holographic sequins all over it. My mom conveyed her disapproval, and her imprimatur mattered to me a lot. Make of that what you will. I did not buy it.

3. I found the perfect dress at Jeremy’s, the late, lamented designer discount shop in San Francisco. (I am delighted to discover that a) Jeremy’s was pioneering enough to have registered the domain jeremys.com, and b) though the store is gone, the web site is still up! Thank you, Jeremy! Fare thee well!) It was dead simple, the product of an Italian label I no longer recall: A long, white, architectural A-line dress made of layered stretch mesh. (The sleeves had just one layer, so they were sheer; the rest of the dress had two. Still pretty sheer, but there was a slip and a lot of fabric in the skirt, so it wasn’t that CHECK OUT MY HOOHAH.) The sleeves were a little long, so I cut them with a scissors. Like a delicious porridge or comfy chair or proper-sized bed, it felt just right. After the wedding, I had a friend tie-dye it in purples and lavenders, so I could actually wear it again. (And did. I mentioned I lived in San Francisco, right?) Now my 18-year-old wears the slip (also tie-dyed) as a dress. 

Ha, you can see how unevenly I cut the sleeves! 

Anyway, just musing about the past, as one does when prompted by Fashion Thoughts. 

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