Always Be Nice When You Answer the Phone!
In my wildest imagination, I would never have guessed that a television series about an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family living in Jerusalem would become an overnight sensation. But when Netflix purchased the rights to broadcast the Israeli show Shtisel, that’s exactly what happened. As I wrote in my feature (linked below) on Aish.com, the show has captured the hearts and imaginations not only of Jews across the religious spectrum, but also of many non-Jews as well. As testimony to the show’s appeal, my story on Aish.com has so far garnered more than 3,400 social media shares — pretty incredible!
Here’s how I explained my Shtisel addiction at the beginning of the story:
“On a recent Shabbat afternoon, I was arranging chicken on a serving platter when I heard one of our lunch guests talking about the hit Israeli series, Shtisel. I dropped my serving fork on the counter with a clang and hustled into the dining room.
‘No talking about Shtisel till I’m back at the table!’ I commanded, taken aback by my own vehemence. After all, our guest was not giving a D’var Torah; he was just talking about a television show about make-believe people. Yet, like thousands of other Shtisel devotees, my husband and I were hooked on the show from the first episode. It was compulsively watchable, even gripping in its quiet way. Now, I couldn’t bear for even a “bissel” (little bit) of Shtisel talk to take place without me.”
Becoming a Grandmother Made Me Rethink My Priorities — in the new Nashim Magazine
A few new online magazines geared for religious Jewish women have sprouted over the last year or so, and I am really pleased to be a regular contributor to one of the best of them: Nashim Magazine.
“Nashim” is Hebrew for “women,” and I salute the amazing editor Rochel Lazar for her professional work. In addition to putting together a smart and smartly designed magazine each month, she also homeschools her children and takes care of her infant. This is one dynamic woman who I’m sure barely sleeps! I wish her continued success with this worthy journalistic mission. I sure hope she can sneak in the occasional nap.
ast month Nashim ran my piece about National Organizing Month. This month, they are running an essay about how becoming a grandmother (a few years back) helped me reassess my priorities. The essay originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune.
Here’s how it starts:
“I am on a slow excursion around the block with my granddaughters, Leeba, 2, and Ahuva, 4. I also brought along my very elderly dog, who is 103 in human years. Just imagine how slow we are going with this crew.
Ahuva abruptly drops the handle of the red wagon she is pulling to scamper onto a short wall. Leeba ditches her plastic car, saying she is too tired to pedal. What was I thinking when I set off with two little kids, a dog, a wagon and a kiddie car? I am out of hands to deal with it all.”
“Politics Claims Another Friendship” in the Jewish Journal
Our political divide in this nation is very troubling, and many friendships and family relationships have soured as a result. This essay, in the March 29 issue of the Jewish Journal, describes how it has affected me personally:
“My friendship with ‘Caroline’ had been fading for years when, on a whim, I clicked on her Facebook page. When I landed there, I had a shock. She had replaced her previous personal photo — where she stands next to her husband, both of them smiling — with an illustration aiming daggers at political conservatives. It depicted a woman, seemingly Lady Justice, forcibly held down on a table. A man stands above her menacingly, his white hands projecting out of the sleeves of an expensive-looking suit. He gags the blindfolded woman with one hand as the other clamps down on her wrist, forcing her scales of justice to lay in disarray.
The pièce de résistance? The bold red-white-and-blue Republican elephant logos burnishing the man’s shirt cuffs.”
I’ve just finished two very different novels, both based on real people. The title links will take you to my reviews on Goodreads, where, by the way, I have 170 book reviews, if you want to scroll through and look for books to enjoy — or in some cases, avoid! The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber, is a diligently researched and well written book about Pamela Bianco, an artistic child prodigy and daughter of Margery Williams Bianco, author of 24 children’s books, including the classic work, The Velveteen Rabbit. I also reviewed The Orchard, a novel by Israeli author Yochi Brandes and recently translated into English, about the life and times of Rabbi Akiva, one of the towering figures in religious Jewish history.
Currently, I am about halfway through with Kitchen Table Wisdom, a fabulous book that I know I will read more than once. This book was a bestseller when it first was published about 20 years ago. Filled with very short, elegantly written stories from her life as a daughter, a patient with a serious, life-threatening illness, a physician, and then a counselor to cancer patients, author Rachel Naomi Remen fills every page with quiet wisdom. It is no surprise that she became a pioneer in the field of integrative health. I don’t have to get to the end of this book to recommend it as strongly as possible.
New reader raves for The Skeptic and the Rabbi
From Amazon reader reviews:
“[A] charming and well-written book that explains a difficult subject with elegance and restraint of style that is admirable. . . This is the kind of thing I would have liked to have passed to relatives and friends who wondered what strange lifestyle I was getting myself into many years ago.”
“This is a book that will stay with you for a very long time. It is food for the soul.”
More book clubs are selecting The Skeptic and the Rabbi for their groups. Why not yours?
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