Baking ‘hamantaschen’ with your Israeli children.

Ears of a guy we’re meant to love to hate. Jews: still rocking weird drama since 3338.

First time making hamantaschen with my kids. Or as an adult. FYI: as you and the diaspora-born father of your kids keep talking about ‘hamentashen,’ your Israeli-born kids are bound to, at some point, look at you oddly.

“Oh. Right. Oznei Haman… it’s, uh, Yiddish to say ‘hamantaschen.’ Haman + taschen.”


I had this thing baking hamantaschen. It wasn’t as bad as I thought… Here’s the recipe we used, nothing fancy. Obviously we traded fruit jam for chocolate.

If only it were that simple, eh, Diplomacy?

It’s on my mind. Constantly. The fact that it’s nearly Purim and everyone wants to draw comparisons doesn’t help.

So I’ll let Jon Stewart take on the Iran-Israel-USA dance of doom: Words of Warcraft

(And, come on, he totally could’ve saved the erection slip-up by pointing out that it’s all the MEN and TESTASTERONE that is forcing us all into this corner…)

Einstein spending Purim in Beitar Illit?

One of the best things about Purim is the idea that you can enjoy the humor, the sass, the tongue-in-cheek quality of opposites. You can turn the world upside-down, you can defy the laws of gravity with a sprinkle of humor and darkness.

So why was I so amused to find, in Beitar Illit, my charedi neighbor-town, a mask resembling no one other than the secular god of science, Albert Einstein himself?

I suppose it could be an angry old man. Or an angry old anti-Semite. Or an angry old Haman, if he had continued living past the pole.

Either way, it made me smile.

The state of Purim costumes in Israel: Sexy-blurry edition.

Ah, Purim. It’s quickly approaching. Its various timings fall out on March 7-9 this year.

And as it’s one of Israel’s favorite holidays – kids’ or not – the toy stores have been gearing up around Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, and the advertisements have been sent in the mail. The brightly colored pages of ‘Purim’ costumes, from the little Disney princess to the gory undead zombie. From the murderous gladiator to the oddly sexy space hero.

Purim, right?

I’m not prude, and I’m not a zealot. I’m just a Jew with a sense of tradition. And this shit is whack, friends.

Click for closeups:


On the flip side, some charedi ads feature a host of modest and holiday-themed (or at least, Jewish-relevant) costumes. The national Red Pirate chain is now infamous for this with their recent Bet Shemesh campaign – with girls’ faces blurred out. Girls. As in, pre-teens with cute chubby faces and no clue.

So I think my Purim costume this year is clear: I’ll dress up as my own blurred face.

And if I really want to send a mixed message, I’ll pair the blurred face mask with a sexy zombie nurse costume.



Purim roundup.

Purim is a different kind of fun with a kid. I don’t think mine’s old enough to be the truly fun kind of kid fun, but we’re getting there.

It’s also super-exhausting, although that might have to do with the second baby I’m carrying around.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We got through most of megillah with him, and he didn’t even freak out at the Haman craziness. Which makes it the first year! (including prenatally).
  • My gratitude to the two jolly Arab petrol station attendants who gave my whiny boy a ra’ashan on the house today.
  • We did seudah with a friend of Koala’s from gan. It’s extra-fun to see him playing with a kid he knows and likes on a daily basis.
  • It’s also fun to learn how much more Hebrew he actually knows than what we hear.
  • He’s not a fan of dressing up too much; but we’ll get there with age I suppose. He stuck to the bunny pajamas for the duration of Purim (as opposed to several other costumes I had on hand). But he likes the make up aspect, so it’s a start.

Banking on Purim.

Here’s what it’s like for Abba and Mama to sign a whole fuck-ton of mortgage papers at the bank on Purim… through the eyes of a nearly two-year-old cookie lover:

Koala became very concerned at the whereabouts of our Minnie Mouse-attired bank rep whenever she got up to copy documents. Today has seen a lot of ‘Efo Betty?’ which, I suppose, is nice to know that he gets concerned for others.

Oh, and, Koala aside – we signed a fuck-ton of mortgage papers today. We are that much closer to the whole home-purchasing thing being done.

Arabs and Jews, mothers and babies, Amalek and us.

I don’t like getting political because I’ve been there and it’s an energy-sucking lifestyle. But a few events are coming together that make me have to say this.

The Itamar murders were the utmost in terror and hate crime. Killing defenseless people – children – in their sleep is the utmost in cowardly and not a way to achieve  justification or revenge or sympathy for any cause. It’s not a productive, constructive, or human way to let out your anger, frustration, hate. It takes a lot to get to that point of monster status. Maybe read more about it here. There’s a lot I could say, but that’s not my point right now.

My point is this: The calls for bloody revenge; the calls for revenge on animals who could have done this; the calls to keep it up with cyclical violence – also, not going to help. On either side, we’re begging for our children to grow up hateful and vengeful. And with motive. It’s painful to hear Jews calling for bloodshed and violence. Yes, war is a part of life, a civilizational necessity, there’s a whole bunch of political philosophy on that. But there’s also a required state of thinking it through and not being blind, deaf and ignorant.

So when I see today the same folks saying things like, how amazing are we for saving the baby of an Arab mother in late stage labor, whose cord was wrapped around the neck, stuck in a taxi cab that went to Itamar to find help… Yes, it is amazing. Absolutely amazing. In fact, it’s what was commanded of us as Children of Israel. There are other stories like it too. They help when we mankind seem to be getting out of hand. Truly inspiring to know there are humans around us at times like this.

But then, might you want to think twice before getting all vengeful with violence? Maybe there are alternative modes of revenge?

Which brings me to Parshat Zachor which we read this week as Purim approaches.

Speaking of Purim – a holiday where they tried to kill us, once again, and here we are partying it up with kids generations later. Lovely legacy, really. Not that we didn’t take revenge at the time; that last couple chapters of the megillah are a bit hard to read, but like I said, sometimes war is a necessity in nature, right? But if it’s not hard for you to read it – what does that say about you?

Anyway, Zachor. An official mandate from the Torah to deal with our utmost enemies. The really bad guys. The Hitlers, the Hamans. At least, so the interpretation goes; who is Amalek anyway, and do they still exist?

My problem is this: Why do so many people automatically go into kill mode when discussing, ‘wiping out the memory of Amalek from under heaven – do not forget!‘ Why is this interpreted as killing every single member of Amalek, from men to women to children? Why is it automatically assumed to mean killing? Why can’t ‘wiping out memory’ be genocide of hatred as opposed to genocide of people? Why can’t it be a combination of resolutions? Why talk in absolutes?

And, if it is true that it means destroy-kill, where is the human remorse in what we’ve been commanded to do?

Why isn’t there pain in our voices as we discuss it? It’s a bitter pill, meant to taste bad. Does it not make you uncomfortable? Does it not make you squirm? Have we lost our sense of humanness when we get to these topics?

And how is that different from anyone who’d find it in themselves to support a hateful, vengeful, murderous Palestinian killing a sleeping Jewish baby?

It’s not political for me. I’m a mother. I want my babies to be safe… forever. And I want other people’s babies to be safe so mine will stay safe. We’re all human, we’re all trying to survive. Maybe sometimes it would be good to remember that as we come up with ways to make that happen.

Bunny overload.

My head is not in Purim this year. I suppose I have a decent excuse, right?

So today was the Purim party at Koala’s gan. For a week I’ve been reminded to send him in dressed up. He’s a bit of a particular kid, so I wanted to keep it simple. And who are we kidding? I’m exhausted and my head’s not in it.

So I put him in his blue bunny pajamas. You know the one – a giant onesie with feet, a tail poking out and a hood with ears. I drew on his face with my eye-liner, a nose and whiskers.

It’s not that I thought I was being original; I thought I was being really lazy. So in that way, Koala would stand out.

Well, I was very wrong. My husband dropped him off this morning, and reported back to me: he had walked into a gan filled with… bunnies. White ones, in proper store-bought costumes. With pink ear hats.

And eye-liner faces.

The gananet said, “Oh! He’s like a bunny!” to which my husband replied, “He… IS… a  bunny…”

Oh well.