Category Archives: Family

My latest favourites: Adorable comic of what parenting looks like, hilarious autocorrects, heartbreaking photos and more

There is a lot about parenting in this one. So it shall be. :)

Louis CK on cellphones

louis c.k. about cell phones
Louis CK, a pretty amazing comedian, explains cellphone behaviour and why kids shouldn’t have them. Click to watch the video.

Grand Snider’s adorable comic about parenting

Grand Snider created this beautiful, sweet comic about what it's like being a parent.
Grand Snider created this beautiful, sweet comic about what it’s like being a parent. Click to see the whole thing.

One man dances like everyone’s watching

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_xIoJzZtKg

HILARIOUS autocorrects

Click on the picture for more.
Click on the picture for more.

Pictures that go straight to the heart

These pictures are heartbreaking, beautiful and chilling.

Glenn McCy’s comic: Dad, Mom… I’m a gatherer.

dad i'm a gatherer (he caved)
Just really cute. (Glenn McCoy)

Aziz Ansari on how texting has ruined dating

Not so funny because it's too true.
Not so funny because it’s just so true. Click to watch the video.

Michael McIntyre on how people without kids don’t know

Another one about parenting. “Singles do things that they don’t even realize are things.”

Michael McIntyre about parenting. Click to watch the video.
Michael McIntyre about parenting. Click to watch the video.

Dog wiping his paws

Just so cute!!!

dog wiping his paws
Just so cute!!!

Bill Cosby on cursing

Bill Cosby is baaack and here he talks about how terrible it is that people curse so much. Love it.

Certifying Facebook friends

This really gets across the absurdity of random Facebook friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO-1VaR3PPo

Mother and Son

“Come on, Sammy. Come and play piano for Deena.” The mom asks of her 8-year old son.

“No.”

”Come on, Sammy. Come and play. Deena wants to hear you play the 18th Century March.”

I do?

“I’m busy.”

”Sammy, you come here in 2 minutes.”

“You come here in 2 minutes,” Sammy mocks his mother’s Asian accent.

“Oh, he’s very shy,” his mother tells me. “He is smart, has lots of friends…”

Finally Sammy runs into the living room, sits down at the piano and plays the boring 18th Century March very well. Then, face down, he makes a quick get-away, before either of us can say anything to him.

“Oh, he’s not practicing. The teacher says he’s talented and smart but isn’t practicing.”

Uh-huh…

We go into the study where Sammy is playing computer games. He stares at the screen, trying to ignore our existence.

He’s a teenager at the age of 8, I keep thinking.

She scruffs his hair. He automatically moves away.

Does he avoid her touch? He’s only 8. When did he start doing that?

She retains her composure through our meeting, giving nonchalant excuses for his behavior. Talking easily about their need for a babysitter – someone to come in the afternoons and “help” him with his homework and piano practice.

Uh-huh…

Are we truly convinced a babysitter is what this family needs?

Written March 14, 2007 as part of a creative writing course with the thoughtful and caring teacher and writer Paul Belserene

Children and Lashon Hara – by Michael T. Pullen

So what do you do with 10 year olds when they say things that are not true when they do not understand the gravity of there words?

I live in a small sleepy suburb just West of Boston, MA. It is a bedroom community where the executive elite of Boston reside. It is a wealthy town. It is quiet. It is not usually in the public eye.

Wednesday morning Sudbury caught the attention of most of America. Why would anyone care about this town? Well, 1 street over from my house a man was arrested on account of trying to be a terrorist. I say trying because he attempted to join 3 terrorist organizations that would not let him in. And in a country where a weapon is as easy to buy as alcohol he was not able to buy his semiautomatic rifles he wanted for attacking the local mall.

So … good the Fed caught the man.

Well of course as parents we have been wondering what would come back home from school after such excitement.

We have some neighbors who have moved here from Iran. Lovely people. She is doing research on autistic children and he resigned from his high level job to come support her in the US. They have 2 children and one is in class with my son. So on the way home from school, as the kids rode the bus, another boy (happens to belong to our synagogue) decided to tell those around him that this Iranian boy’s father is a terrorist. We are not sure the boy heard on the bus, however, when they got off at the bus stop a couple of girls decided to inform him that this boy was saying this on the bus. Of course he got quite upset.

In the end my wife called the mother (she did not know anything about it even 2 hours later – he did not tell her) and the principal.

So my thing is this, the boy who is spreading these rumors is Jewish. My kids are Jewish. They are all under 10. How do you teach children about Lashon Hara? My favorite tale is the one of the child who is telling stories is asked to take a pillow of feathers and to run as fast as he can without dropping a feather. The moral of the story is that your words are like the feathers, once they are out of the bag and carried by the wind they are impossible to gather and put back in. It is a good tale but does it work?

What lessons have you encountered on such “soft” topics?

mTp

Triplets for his three lost sons

(The facts in this post are taken from the Arutz 7 article which you can access here.)

You’ve gotta admit it blows your mind, at least a little, this story.

This poor man lost his wife and three of his seven kids when one of our crazy local terrorists came into their house in the Shomron yishuv (settlement) of Itamar and killed them. (Um, just btw, how in the world can a religion think that’s a good thing?)

The people killed in his family that day:

Rachel, his wife, 40

Neriah, 15

Tzvikah, 12

Avishai, 5

How heartbreaking. Since this horrid incident in June 2002, Boaz Shabo remarried. His new wife, Hila, and her five children moved in with Boaz and his two unmarried children.

Reminds me of the amazing movie, Yours Mine and Ours (the original, of course).

Anyway, on the second day of Sukkot (so, around a week ago), Hila gave birth to triplets! Two girls and a boy.

We can’t know what a person deserves in this world so I hesitate to say that Boaz deserves this blessing, but it just seems so fitting after he lost three sons that he should have triplets. He said, “Though it’s impossible to forget those who were killed, this is a very joyous occasion for all of us.”

Read the full article on the Arutz 7 website, including the story how, in 2004, he went to visit a man who lost his whole family – his pregnant wife and four children – in a terrorist attack.

Pesach: I am a Child: I am a Man

by Avrum Rosensweig

It is springtime. It is Pesach time. As a child, my sisters and I would scour our house for crumbs, which might have fallen from a plate we held while reading or playing.

We would take each and every one of my father’s (may he rest in peace) books off the shelves and dust the front cover, then the back ones and finally do a quick wipe of some of those large Talmudic pages.

He was a bibliophile, my father was, and our task was to ensure his collection of 10,000 Sepharim (Jewish texts) were spotless, purified for Pesach.

I, like many of you I’m sure, feel a depth of warmth inside when I think about the Sedarim of years gone by, especially those of my early years. My Mother, God bless her, would set the table for us – as if we were royalty -complete with the Passover plate and the funny looking shank bone and terribly distasteful marror – the bitter herbs.

Later on in the evening when I would eat the marror sandwich and was instructed to remember: “All their labor was carried out under conditions of excessive force,” (Exodus 1:14) – in reference to the terrible plight of our Jewish ancestors – all I could do was wrinkle up my face, frantically reach for a glass of cold water and swear off horse radish (the main ingredient) for another year.

I was the youngest of five and therefore had the distinct honour of saying the Ma N’ishtana (The Four Questions). How special this moment was, as being the youngest then generally meant being the last in line for most things. One year I decided I would learn this whimsical prayer in Yiddish – Far v’us is the nacht f ’in Pesach, un’dish fin alla nacht fin a gunz yor?” (Why is this night different from all other nights?). I was so very proud of myself.

I also remember thinking about my great-grandparents in Poland, and the trusting smiles on their face when they were little and perhaps lucky enough to be the youngest. I thought about their shtetls – Slipia and Biesechien – and the joy they and their neighbours must have felt sitting around the Pesach table.

Then I grew up and realized that Pesach was more than just a holiday with fanciful rituals and ritualistic items to compel the children to ask questions. I began to understand that those shtetls I had remembered as a child, no longer existed and wondered what happened to the little ones who once had happily asked the F’eer Kashus (The Four Questions).

It became clearer that freedom is a sister to slavery and reclining like a Queen or King (as we are instructed to do at the Seder) is mirrored by the plight of the poor and tattered who are searching for an open door where the people inside are bidding them to enter, by the words: “those who are hungry let them come and eat.” The season has changed and we have joined our loved ones and friends at the Passover table.

As children we should play, and incessantly ask questions: Why? Why?

Why? Children are supposed to do that. Good luck with your answers! As we get older, we can’t help but remember those Jews who died building the store houses for Pharaoh; who perished in Auschwitz while quietly singing the promising prayer – Day’einu; and those who are suffering this very moment through poverty in Israel, genocide in Sudan, and loneliness and hopelessness on the streets of Toronto.

But, as adults we must also sit back at the Seder, taste the sweet charoset and as free people, dramatically and with fanfare, tell and retell the story of the Exodus, recollecting how we found our way back home to Israel, and discovered the uniqueness of the Jewish people and our ability to create extraordinary communities and congregations such as Habonim.

Chag Sameyach. Happy Pesach. Be free, play and remember!

Jewish Journey: Mitzvot

This is part IV. Read: Part I, part II, part III.

Ah now I am Jewish, all the hard stuff is behind me right? All I have to do is continue on living the way I have always been living? What changed? One day I was a goy the next a Jew. You cannot tell me that the day makes a huge difference.

So why not jump into doing all the halacha? Why not do all the mitzvot at once? Whoa nelly. I do not jump both feet into anything and with this I did not even have an idea where to begin. It is not even something I had ever encountered until a few years before.

So my wife and I (yeah we got married in there somewhere) decided that together we would start incorporating different mitzvot into our lives. (Since she is not orthodox we did not venture down the halachic path.) The first thing we did was to incorporate Shabbat into our lives. We made Saturday the day where our professional jobs were not allowed and we would not watch TV or use the computer. Slowly we added more and more things into our lives.

So now I want you to think of this situation. My family is all Christian or something like that and my wife’s family is a participating assimilated Jewish family who used to attend a conservative synagogue. And we live in an assimilated American neighborhood.

The more we do to incorporate Jewish traditions the more different we look to our families. Why don’t we just follow all of the halachic laws? Because that would and does skewer the relationship we have with our parents, family and community we participate in. We have been warned of becoming “too” Jewish by the Jewish relatives. 

I do not live in a Jewish world. I live in a world that contains a good number of assimilated Jews but it is an assimilated American world. Some would say “ah that is too easy if you really believed you would do it all and become orthodox.” I think that sentiment is not fair and very particularistic.

I am proud to be Jewish and I am proud of the participation and ways of my family and myself. It is perfect for where we are today. As I learn more I try to incorporate what I am learning. I am willing to stand out and be different but I am not willing to separate myself from my family and community as a strict halachic experience requires.

Outside of the orthodox world everything is done by my will power. I am learning everything new. The language, the customs, the rituals, the traditions – everything is new. It is not necessarily better than what I had before. My parents did a fabulous job of raising me. They are great parents and in their honour, do not deserve throwing everything out just because I picked a new way of doing things.

As I get all wrapped and emotional about the expectations of the relentless external eyes questioning “how Jewish are you?,” all I can think of is back off. We are all people. How we do our Judaism is way more important then grey line rules. Living as a good Jew in this world is more important then living as a rule abiding Jew secluded from the rest of the world.

If I can be so bold, don’t make excuses for what you do and don’t do. Just do what you do with intention. Make sure that everything you do is done with the full beauty of Judaism in your eyes. That may mean that you do not live up to expectations of your neighbors. However, the most important thing is your family and the community you surround yourself with. They all should see the beauty of the Judaism you practice.

Peace, Shalom

mTp – With Intention

Finding your own way

Many, if not most of us, find the need to practice our Judaism in at least a slightly different way from our parents. The bigger the difference, the more difficult it potentially is. I even spoke to someone once who said that if he ever stopped being Orthodox, his parents would be absolutely devastated.

It’s interesting how different people have different experiences as far as how the parents react and how they (the “child”) reacts.

I have chosen a different path from my parents. I have two humongous “thank Gods” when it comes to this topic. One, is that my parents, as much as they want their kids to be frum (Torah observant), are very proud of us if we’re good, kind, honest people. Also, they love us and want to be close with all of us because we’re the most important thing to them in this world.

Second, I am thankful that I was able to be honest with my parents when I felt the need to be. I’m thankful that I have been able to make choices about my conduct and my attitudes towards my parents that helped them know how much I respect and love them. I am also thankful that, when you think about it, really I have kept most of what my parents taught me about what type of person I want to be.

Blog Midrash this week is the place to discuss, among other things, our experiences in finding our own spiritual/religious/Jewish paths in this world. Definitely an on-going process!

Today my uncle asked me to write a piece about my experiences with this for his blog. I am guessing it’ll be up in a few days on his blog and I’ll post a link to it from here.

Meanwhile, I’d love to hear what you have to say about this topic.

Shavua tov!

Judaism is tough for singles

Maybe I’m being a bit extreme but seriously, it can really suck trying to happily survive many of the different customs as a single person. What should be, and feel communal can often feel lonely. I know that loneliness is not reserved only for singles but we are allotted a lot of it (haha, allotted a lot).

But I’m not sure it’s exactly the loneliness that feels most difficult. It’s the planning. You know, Purim is around the corner and that’s fun! But then I think, wait, where am I going to go for the seuda (the main meal on Purim day)? Ugh. The meals on Shabbat are similar. With Purim coming up, one of my first impulses was, “You know what? Forget it. I’m just going to ignore that it’s Purim that day rather than ‘have to’ figure this out.” Continue reading