Book rec! and other stuff!

by marjorieingall on July 2, 2017

This new picture book about a boy and a stone lion is very touching…and a good way to open a discussion about immigration with one’s children.

If you are in downtown NYC, check out this ship-focused show about migrants and millionaires at the South Street Seaport Museum. (There is a Black Tap milkshake truck parked nearby, if that is an incentive.)

Why are there so few Jewish father jokes?

Maimonides did not discourse upon dad bod,” BUT HE COULDA. 

Wonder Woman gave me Jewy-feminist-y feelings

Also, I am in New York Family magazine being snarky about summer camp photo websites.

As ever, SorryWatch is on the case…this time internationally! Here’s a good apology from Esquire in the Philippines for insensitivity toward a trans singer, and here’s a bad apology from Mamamia in Australia for fatphobic, fake-solicitous idiocy toward writer Roxane Gay. Lots more good stuff, plus shorter apology thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. 

Have a good Independence Day. I will be watching fireworks, wearing my Yael Kanarek RESIST necklace. 



what’s been going on here

by marjorieingall on June 7, 2017

I realize I haven’t posted in a while. My beloved kitty Bookie died. He was a miracle kitty — had a heart defect, battled back from a pulmonary embolism that paralyzed his back legs, put up with us shoving medicine down his throat and never bit or scratched anyone in the process. He was a lovebug. After he threw his first clot we were told we had four to six months tops with him, and we got 13. But I’m still so sad. This past week we got a kitten, because our surviving kitty Novella really needs a friend. I’m wary. Maybe of falling in love with another cat, maybe merely of the fact that a kitten is TINY. JEEZ. (I’ve never had a kitten — I’ve only ever adopted adult cats — and the rest of the fam forcefully advocated for A BABY.) Anyhow, it is a lot of work. I’m adjusting. Novella is adjusting. I’m sure everything will be fine. Yeah. 

But hey, I still write things! Let’s discuss! I wrote about the trailer for the forthcoming movie Wonder, which is raising red flags for some advocates of people with disabilities. I wrote a paean to cheesecake and Jewishness. I wrote about neo-Nazi graffiti that appeared all over my neighborhood (and after I wrote the piece, a lovely person covered up every incidence of it with black paint, so THANK YOU, PERSON!). I wrote about the nifty artsy Noah’s Ark playground at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, and I am grateful that my editor did not use the photo of me squatting in a child-sized hut made of corncobs. On the same trip, I wrote about an all-romance bookstore in Culver City. I adored the youthful proprietresses, and realized only after the piece was finished that I was really writing about mothers, daughters and loss. (I am slow.) I wrote about the cultural reclamation of the word “mom” (I HAVE THOUGHTS) and about a new documentary I found funny, smart, edifying and touching. 

In Mamaleh Knows Best news, I had such a fun time in New Haven! I love you, New Haven! Cambridge can SUCK IT. 

In SorryWatch news — we have been busy, what with the world being what it is, so just go over there and see what we’ve been up to. You might as well follow us on Twitter and Facebook too. (We cover a lot of apologies there that we don’t cover on the site — mostly when you know exactly what we’re gonna say but we all know we’re gonna say it anyway, Bill Maher, Kathy Griffin, talking to you.)


Wolfie Cohen and more…

by marjorieingall on April 29, 2017

I wrote this piece on the late, lamented Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House on an iPad, in the car, on the way from Orlando to St. Petersburg on vacay with the fam. I nearly barfed. But not because I was remembering the food at the Rascal House, which was DIVOON. 

I had a piece in the April issue of Real Simple (sorry I forgot to mention it, whoops) about a sweet family in Maine who do animal rescue work. It’s a great teaching tool for their kids — about kindness, accountability, the circle of life…

Would you like to read a nifty coffee table book about the history of the card catalog? You are in luck! 

War Paint, Schmore Paint — here’s the story of a 15th century Jewish female cosmetician. Helena Rubinstein had nothing on Anna of Rome. 

Here’s a review of a powerful children’s book about the history of the song “Strange Fruit.”

Here’s a look at a training program to help Jews support Muslims being harassed in their communities. 

In SorryWatch news, a decent apology from an academic journal that assigned an elderly professor with white supremacist views to review a young academic’s book about academic inequities in public schools. (Oops!) And Pepsi issued a pallid apology for that Kendall Jenner advertising debacle. 

I had a delightful visit to St. Louis to promote Mamaleh Knows Best. Next up: Los Angeles! I think this event is private, but if you know any LA radio stations or bookstores who would be open to my self-whoring, let me know. 



by marjorieingall on March 30, 2017

Look, an interesting new graphic biography of Mamas and the Papas singer Cass Elliot! 

In other things-I-wrote news, I enjoyed a genre-smashing lesbian time-travel romance and a queer cabaret about Weimar Germany. I enjoyed learning that Lucius Malfoy attended Orthodox Day School. I enjoyed getting to welcome one of my heroes, historian Jenna Weissman Joselit, to Tablet — once upon a time we both wrote columns for The Jewish Forward. (Re-u-ni-ted and it feels so good!) And in SorryWatch news, I enjoyed this lovely caffeinated apology. 

I am less full of enjoyment about instances of women and female smurfs being erased from ultra-Orthodox media, and about the crappy apology from The Daily Beast for outing gay athletes, but we can’t have everything. 

In book news, I’ll be at Temple Beth-El in Providence, RI (my homeland!) on April 9th at 10:30 am. Deets here.




random smoldering delightfulness

by marjorieingall on March 14, 2017

Would you like to know about silent screen star Rudolph Valentino’s workout? Of course you would!

In 1923, Valentino published an 81-page book of exercise tips called How You Can Keep Fit. I discovered this while searching for a photo I’d seen somewhere of Valentino in what seemed to be Chuck Taylors. (I am pondering the purchase of some Chuck Taylors.) And look, he is wearing them here! And they are very pristine! 

Thanks to the Internet Archive, now you too can read and download the whole book.

An aside that is not really an aside: As a college frosh I took a seminar with the film scholar Miriam Hansen. Her class was where I first learned the phrase “the male gaze.” She talked about the way Valentino was marketed as the first sex symbol for women. Until him, men in the movies looked at women and women were looked at. But Valentino, who played exotic and oft-undressed sheiks and caballeros rather than all-American dudes, was himself presented as an object of desire. Of course, the natural order of things was SORTA kept: Women in his movies who looked lustfully at him were always bad women, while women he looked at were pure and good. But…women in the audience were, of course, looking at him! So let’s see, women who turn the female gaze on dudes are still bad, except maybe NOT, because Valentino is both subject and object. As Miriam wrote, “the erotic appeal of the Valentinian gaze… is one of reciprocity and ambivalence, rather than mastery and objectification.” It messes up the power structure. Which may be why male film execs and viewers often had major mishegas about Valentino. They impugned his masculinity and were obsessed with his sexuality. The fact that he was usually shot in the gleam-y, soft-focus-y way reserved for starlets worked men up into even more of a lather. But money talked, so moviemakers kept making movies in which he stripped, smoldered and shone. (Valentino, meet Magic Mike.)

But we were talking about his workout guide! 

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by marjorieingall on March 8, 2017

A new documentary asks whether it’s OK to make jokes about the Holocaust: What makes a joke about genocide funny? (Or not?)

And there’s a new initiative to support trans kids in the Jewish community

Also, check out the five best children’s books about the holiday of Purim. I have opinions. You are shocked. 

I’ll be in Washington DC, at the Edlavitch JCC on Thursday, March 16, to talk about Mamaleh Knows Best as part of the JCC’s Litfest. Hope to see you there. 



even non-political articles wind up being political right now

by marjorieingall on February 25, 2017

Except for this 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. 


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Betsy DeVos: Bad for the Jews, Bad for America

by marjorieingall on February 7, 2017

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.



by marjorieingall on January 26, 2017

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.



bylines, bylines, bylines

by marjorieingall on January 7, 2017


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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