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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


Kitchen Construction 101


Before we began the work on our kitchen remodel people  wished me an easy time. I thanked them, but truthfully I didn’t get what could be so complicated about building a kitchen. I really didn’t know what the big deal was.  Basically, pre-kitchen construction,  my impression was of the process that you go through a few simple lifestyle changes, and voila you have a kitchen at the end of the journey. You make a few decisions, and you go about your life, and there’s a huge mess and that’s it. Oh, yeah. You buy a lot of pizza and takeout in the interim,  and you eat a lot of spaghetti made in the microwave, and cereal and milk for breakfast, lunch and even dinner sometimes. You have a hot plate and microwave and toaster oven and George Forman grill set up in your living room, and lots of paper dishes and you manage. You get invited to your kind friends’ and relatives’ homes for Shabbos dinner sometimes too. And that’s a lot … Continue reading


On Celebrating Mistakes and Making Music


When my 6 1/2 -year old grandson came over after school a few weeks ago,  he pulled a worksheet out of his backpack and sat down at the dining room table to do his homework. The sheet had a series of incomplete phrases, pictures and blank lines where he was supposed to fill in the blanks with the word that matched the picture. The first word was “bike,” which he found on a list of choices and copied correctly onto the blank. Further along the page came a picture of a lake. He saw that and started to write the word, but he somehow skipped the “a” and wrote “lk” which I pointed out to him, by asking him to look at it again. “Oops,” he said, and turned over his pencil to erase it. And just as he was beginning to erase the letter, he said, “Wait a minute,” and turned the pencil back again upright. Then he drew a circle around the K and … Continue reading


A GUEST POST: SANDWICH GENERATION ISSUES


One of my favorite topics that I’ve blogged about is the sandwich generation. I am blessed to have my mother and mother-in-law in my life as well as my children and grandchildren. That’s four generations right there. I constantly vacillate between being a daughter/daughter-in-law to my mom/mom-in-law and a mom/mom-in-law to my own children. And so it goes. Today we have a guest poster, Fay Wein, from Senior Planning Services, who comes with loads of knowledge on the topic of sandwich generations, caregiving and elderly parents. I welcome you to read Fay’s article below and feel free to comment below the post. Sandwich Generation Vexations Introduction: There is almost nothing as stressful as caring for elderly parents while at the same time raising your own children. Being pulled in all different direction daily can get anyone frazzled. At the same time, the altruism and strong multi-generational relationships fostered cannot be understated. This topic is multi-faceted and we’d like to touch on some … Continue reading


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