Special Sections

All-In-The-Family Hebrew School

Pilot ‘Yerusha’ program seeks new level
of engagement for kids and their parents.

Associate Editor

 On an unseasonably hot Sunday afternoon in May, Karen and David Nathan are in their Princeton, N.J., backyard with their two children and four other families. 

But instead of barbecuing or chatting, the parents are watching as the kids, ranging in age from 5 to 14, prepare to act out a story from the Talmud.

Justus Baird, a soft-spoken entrepreneur-turned-rabbi, passes out the short scripts and divides up the parts — which include Elijah the Prophet, God and Old Man with Two Myrtle Branches — among the 11 children.

Parent Esther Rose, left, leads a session while Ezra Edelman, Eli Nathan and Laila Finkelstein listen.

Chai Culture

18 New York experiences every Jewish kid should seek out before adulthood.

Special To The Jewish Week

 At least once a season, I stumble upon an event that reminds me of why I continue to make my home in New York City, despite high costs and tight space. The encounter generally takes me by surprise, reminding me of the rich culture that waits around so many corners.  

Get stuffed: Yonah Schimmel’s on the Lower East Side caters to kids with its pizza-flavored knish.

Bedtime Stories Good For Publishing Business

Children’s book giveaway writing new chapters in publishing market, and Jewish families.


Boston — Once upon a time it was hard to find a wide selection of Jewish children’s books. Mostly there were books on Chanukah and Passover, plus retellings of Bible stories and folk tales.

The market was small and uncertain, and mainstream publishers could not count on large enough sales to justify the expense of publishing new titles.

Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Harold Grinspoon and his wife, Diane Troderman, at PJ Library event earlier this year in New York.

Virtually There

Guests joining the party from every corner of the world —
on their computer screens. How technology
is connecting families as never before.

Special To The Jewish Week

A few months before his son Jonah was born, David Bryfman reluctantly told his Australian parents it would be best if they skipped the baby’s brit milah. Their presence in his small Brooklyn apartment would be more helpful a few months later.

His parents came anyway, dining on bagels and lox, tearing up with emotion and toasting the newborn — whose image was projected on a giant screen in a party hall in Bryfman’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia. 

Conservative rabbis Erez Sherman and Nicole Guzik married each other in January.

A Reading List For Harried Parents

Staff Writer

 I’m not one to read parenting guidebooks — who has the time if they’re truly parenting? — but I adore Wendy Mogel’s “The Blessing of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children” (Penguin Compass, 2001). Her book is easy to read and her approach is sensible. She and my mother are my two voices of parenting reason. I anxiously await the October publication of her new book, “The Blessing of a B Minus” (Scribner). 

Wendy Mogel calls Shabbat “the most widely countercultural rejection of the way we live.”

Tips For Avoiding Overscheduled Family Syndrome

Staff Writer

 When parents sign up for ice skating lessons on Thursdays and yoga on Mondays they have the best interest of their child in mind. But the constant running and shlepping to after-school activities can be draining for parents and in fact, harmful to children. (Not to mention the expense of class fees, sports uniforms and meals purchased on the go, rather than prepared at home.)

Lenore Skenazy’s free-range movement is about common-sense parenting.

The Overscheduled Jewish Child

As families and children juggle multiple activities, congregations seek to accommodate — and provide
a haven from — their demands.

Special To The Jewish Week

 Traditionally, when Jewish children first learn their Hebrew letters they’re given candy or honey to create a sweet association. At North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, L.I., the connection is more savory — try marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. So begins the Tuesday night Hebrew school for students in seventh grade. 

Blessing of a Friday-night meal: Family dinner takes precedence over soccer and music lessons for some local families.

The Jewish Family Now

Overscheduled kids, all-in-the-family Hebrew school, going green and more.

The Jewish Family Now

Journal Watch

Staff Writer

 Keitzad m’rakdim lifnei ha-kallah? “How does one dance before the bride?”

This question, seemingly simple, is in fact a classic formulation of the array of normative procedures, customs and traditions surrounding the marriage ceremony and its attendant activities. Journal Watcher, in a seemingly counterintuitive way, turns first to Yemen for a look at something old, something new.

Struggling To ‘Get’ Out Of Unhappy Marriages

For agunot, the wedding is the easy part; it’s the divorce that’s a Herculean challenge.

Staff Writer

 When Sharon thinks back to her wedding night, she remembers how the lights of Jerusalem enveloped her, how she adored her groom, and also this: a kiss. After Sharon removed her deck tichel, the opaque cloth that fervently Orthodox brides wear to hide their faces, her new-mother-in-law grabbed her, planted a kiss on her cheek and whispered, “You’re part of the family now.”

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