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FAREWELL TO A HOUSE


When a neighbor sold her house, her grown children complained. “How could you give up our childhood home, Ma?” they asked. My friend couldn’t understand what the fuss was. Her kids were already married and settled in their own homes with growing families. Why the guilt trip? A few months ago, my mother sold her house of 53 years – the one my siblings and I grew up in — to a construction company. Today, I’m that balking adult child who dislikes any change. I’m miserable at the thought of our house being demolished, unhappy that a huge apartment building will replace my childhood home. I want to kick and scream, “No, No!” I am emotionally tethered to this home and I need some closure. Badly. So I travel to Brooklyn from my home in Los Angeles to help Mom clear out some final things before she moves and to say my official farewells to… The House. To me this … Continue reading


Beyond Knitting in the Rocking Chair


One of the best things about being a grandmother is that I get to define my role as I go along. I can be hands-on sometimes, hands-off other times, fun-loving when I’m in the mood, and too-busy-to-take-care-of-them at other times. It’s all good and it works; my relationships with my grandsons are really comfortable. My daughters-in-law appreciate the time I spend with the kids, and the family dynamics are great (most of the time!). So when last week, photographer Gloria Baker Feinstein from Kansas City,  emailed me and asked if I would I write a review of her new children’s read-aloud photo book called Some Grandmas, I said yes! Some Grandmas is a collection of photos taken by Gloria of  all kinds of grandmothers from all over the world doing all kinds of things with their grandchildren. Short captions accompany each photo for reading aloud to a child.  While one grandmother might be flying a kite with her grandchild, another will be painting. While one grandmother … Continue reading


Please Tell Me That Story Again!


About two weeks ago, my mother-in-law had hip surgery. After several days in the hospital, and a remarkable recovery thank G-d, she was released from the hospital and admitted to a rehabilitation center where she stayed for about a week. While my mother-in-law (we call her “Grandma”) was in the rehab,  I visited her. Wanting to cheer her up, I shared a cute story about one of my grandsons. My husband mentioned to  me that after I told Grandma the story, she was so happy that she repeated it to my husband that night when she saw him. And the following evening she asked my husband to review the story again with her. She wanted to remember every detail. When my mother-in-law (did I mention she will be 95 kain ayin horah, in May?) joined us at Pesach where our family was together for the Holiday, the first thing she asked me was “Miriam, please tell me that story again. The one about the little one who you took shopping with you. I love … Continue reading


AFTER THE FLAMES, on (not) PLAYING THE BLAME GAME


This past week, a house in Brooklyn, due to a malfunction of a hot-plate,  became shockingly engulfed in flames on Friday night and seven children tragically perished. According to the fire department, this was the most devastating fire in NYC in the past seven years. I live in California, and even from far away, looking at the images, knowing that neighborhood, I can’t stop thinking of the sadness and trauma that the family will go through. Apparently, the hot plate that malfunctioned, was used weekly by this (and other families) on the Sabbath to keep food warm, since Orthodox Jews don’t turn ovens or stoves on throughout Shabbat. Various methods of keeping food warm on the Sabbath are used. Some use warmers, others use a crockpot and/or put their food atop  a “blech” which is a metal covering over the range which has a flame underneath. But somehow, people who read the news about this horrible fire, in which lives were lost, others were injured and badly burned and … Continue reading


Seven Realities of Masks


Recently,we celebrated the Jewish Holiday of Purim when children and many adults get dressed up and do things all upside down. This is one way we commemorate the story of Purim in Persia about 2500 years ago. I’ve been thinking that life is often about dressing up and wearing masks. Even if we don’t wear actual costumes every day, we often wear intangible masks and other forms of cover-ups in our daily lives. And so, I’ve taken a serious look at this light and fun holiday today; I’ve compiled seven life realities inherent in all kinds of masks. 1. Masks portray an element of surprise and life is full of surprises. You just never know what will happen. 2. Masks are temporary; eventually one unmasks and the real face is shown. In life, there’s just so long that one can keep the charade or masquerade going. 3. Masks have holes for the eyes to peek through. In life, the real … Continue reading


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