Special Sections

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.”

Love, Lost and Found

The biblical romance between God and His people, just like all other emotional entanglements, is complicated.


 Love is not just joy and sweetness. “Love hurts” as the song goes and nowhere is the range of emotions that love excites more obvious than in the Bible.


My husband, a convert, is more observant than I am.


It is not because Claude was born Catholic that I consider us intermarried. No, it’s the conversion to Judaism that that did it. Though the smoke has cleared for a while—now that Shavuot is over, we are blissfully holiday-free until September—I know that when the High Holidays come, the differences between our commitment to religious practice will make themselves known once again.

 Melinda Camber Porter, Joe and Melinda Dancing in the Sunlight, 1985, Watercolor on paper 24” x 18”

Post-Wedding Planning

Looking beyond the ceremony to the realities of marriage.


 Weddings are perfect moments in time: celebrations of love, certainly, but also carefully crafted productions that express status, values and religious identity. Saturday-night dinner dance or Sunday afternoon in the backyard? Factory-farmed prime rib or sustainable wild salmon? Seven circles around the groom or none at all? Nothing is too insignificant to help a couple display their identity.

 Elderly couple embraces under the chupah after their wedding at Malben home for the aged. Netanya, Israel, 1959. Courtesy of th

The Decorated Contract

From birds to cityscapes, throughout history ketubah art reflects local traditions and contemporary styles.




 ‘And here is our ketubah…” 

Displayed proudly and prominently on the wall of a living room or bedroom in many a contemporary couple’s home, the ketubah—the marriage certificate—has become a mainstay of Jewish décor, a proud symbol both of the couple’s Jewish identity and of their bond with one another. And indeed, in modern, egalitarian contexts, the ketubah betokens mutuality and reciprocity.

  Fragments of the earliest surviving illuminated ketubah, Krems Austria, 1392 Vienna, Nationalbibliothek. Reproduced by permiss

Something Old, Something New

Algerian Jewish wedding traditions inspired a one-of-a-kind dress.


 I had never envisioned my own wedding until I met my husband Isaac four years ago. We wanted to create a wedding that would reflect both Jewish traditions as well as our own personalities. The summer before our wedding we spent three months in France, studying the colonial archives. At the time I was just beginning my dissertation about Jews during the Algerian War for decolonization (1954–1962).

 Norma DiSciullo
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