Is it wrong that I’m kinda looking forward to some hate mail?

My latest essay, “Stuck in the Middle” (and, yes, I’m quoting the Stealer’s Wheel song on purpose), appears in Tablet Magazine. To summarize: coming from a family of typical American Jewish Liberals, I moved into a community of Orthodox Republicans. And I refuse to blend in with either herd.

Anyone, I’m kinda hoping that I offend someone. I’m even hoping for a little hate mail. Is that normal?

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Orthodox Women Talk: Roundtable about media consumption

OWTHi, everyone! I know I pretty much never post twice in a day, but I’m hosting this month’s Orthodox Women Talk. Our panelists include:

  • Tali Simon
  • Melissa Amster
  • Ruchi Koval
  • Rivki Silver
  • Keshet Starr
  • Estee Lavitt
  • and yours truly.

This month’s question is this:

How much do you engage in popular music, movies and other forms of entertainment? What factors have contributed to that choice?

Wow! We’ve got a lot of variety in responses. Let’s see what our roundtable panelists have to say... Continue reading

Visiting elsewhere today for the Orthodox Women Talk roundtable

Rivki Silver from Life in the Married Lane organized a Jewish women’s roundtable, Orthodox Women Talk. Today’s topic is how to deal with long services in synagogue when you may or may not understand the language. 7 bloggers — including me — give responses over at this week’s host’s, Keshet Starr’s, blog. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what the other women said (okay, pretty much all of it). One of the things that I liked most was that the women selected reflect different stages of life and different backgrounds. Check it out. (If you’re so inclined…)

The 3 Comments I Hate to Find on my Articles

Last week, a personal essay of mine appeared on Tablet Magazine online. As it hit the front page, I braced myself. A couple of my previous contributions to Tablet received a lot of comments…including a bunch of nasty ones. I figured this latest essay–about being Jewish during the holiday season–might ruffle the feathers of readers.

A couple days after the story was published, much to my surprise Continue reading

Prejudices, or how we pick what we want to read now, next or never

My sister attended Conservative rabbinical school here in L.A. back when I was a California greenhorn, still getting confused because the ocean was to the west instead of east, that people called flip-flops slippers and jimmies, sprinkles. At the time, I was exploring Orthodoxy, but shared many of my sister’s friends from the UJ (now American Jewish University) and her Conservative synagogue. Despite my move to Orthodoxy, I remain friendly with many of her friends and colleagues.

Recently, one of my sister’s classmates came out with a book. Naturally, I was excited, so I checked read the synopsis on Amazon.

Within 30 seconds, I decided that I couldn’t and wouldn’t read the book. Continue reading

The 2 Best Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills (with a little backup from Anne Lamott)

I’m going to offer some advice today that seems simplistic, so basic as to be ridiculous. Yet recently, I’ve experienced people who have neglected these 2 important strategies that are pretty much guaranteed to improve their writing abilities. So here I am repeating them.

Almost every book about writing offers the following advice. (The wording might vary according to the delicacy of the audience, but the meaning is the same.)

relaxing in a chair

Okay, so you might need more than a chair. This guy isn’t going to get much writing done if he doesn’t pick up a pen!

1) PUT YOUR TUSH IN THE CHAIR.

By this, of course, we learn that if you tell us you want to write, well that’s a nice sentiment. But we know that you mean it if you sit at a desk, pick up a pen (or keyboard) and actually practice writing. Certainly weekly, and preferably daily, you need to write. A human being is only a writer if s/he is a person who writes.  Continue reading