Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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The Ultimate Friend

Saw this somewhere on a Group that I follow:
“G-d doesn’t use an iPhone but He is my favorite contact.
He is not on Facebook but He is my best Friend.
He is not on Twitter but I follow Him nevertheless.
He doesn’t need internet yet I am connected to Him,
And although He has a massive communication system,
He never Un-Friends me, nor does He put me on hold.”
As I shared this on Facebook (the app that is on my blackberry), and then jumped at each of the “Likes” I got while browsing the internet, I decided I have a ways to go before integrating the essence of the above quote.

C’est la vie. It’s all about the process.

 

 

 

 


Klempner’s blog today: (Oy – I’m sooo farKlempt!)**

Nachas from friends

by beccakinla

**  In my original version of this post, I had attributed Rebecca, the wonderful reviewer to being Farklempt, which is German  for being choked up, touched, emotional and basically all flattered. Well actually, I am the one who is farklempt (choked up, touched, emotional and flattered). Why?  because Becca wrote this beautiful review for Judy and me.  I’m so touched. See below why I am  FARKLEMPT, or VERKLEMPT (a la Mike Myers from SNL)

So without further ado….

HERE ARE 2 REVIEWS MY GOOD FRIEND, REBECCA KLEMPNER  WROTE ABOUT JUDY GRUEN’S AND MY NEW BOOKS: READ ON:

A couple months ago, I published about being farginen–taking pleasure in other people’s success. So today, I’m going to share reviews of two of my friends’ new books:

I’ve known Judy Gruen for at least a decade, and she’s as funny in print as she is in person, which is saying a lot. Her articles on Aish.com and in magazines are not only funny, but touch the experiences of women everywhere, which is one of the reasons her writing is so effective. Readers can’t help but identify with Judy.

Judy’s <Till We Eat Again> is a rollicking trip through Judy’s attempt to shed 15 lbs prior to a reunion. We follow her struggle with conflicting and often wacky weigh-loss advice, the apathy of her spouse, and her children’s hatred of health food. Her self-deprecating humor allows us to laugh at our own propensity to cheat when confronted with chocolate or be jealous of the effortlessly and relentlessly thin among our friends. Fortunately, Judy survives her fight slightly thinner, but with her humor completely intact.

Note: this book is not even remotely an attempt to give accurate weight-loss advice. It’s more like a stand-up act. Fellow warriors in the battle of the bulge will, however, appreciate the humor and may even loose a couple ounces laughing (I almost fell off my bed at one part). Also, some very conservative (little “c”) readers might not approve of a few very slightly racy situations. Until We Eat Again can be found on Amazon.com.

I’ve admired Miriam Hendeles’s work ever since she started out in the late magazine, Jewish Life Los Angeles. After she moved on to Binah Magazine, she became a friend, too, so it’s with great excitement that I’m reviewing her first book, Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby!

Mrs. Hendeles is a native of New York, but has been an active member of our L.A. community since her marriage. A former Bais Yaakov teacher, she currently works as a music therapist. Even more importantly, she and her husband have—bli ayin hara—raised a family of several boys…boys who are steadily growing up, marrying, and starting their own families, providing plentiful material for her magazine columns. Mrs. Hendeles’s new book is a compilation of those columns, along with additional material touching on the life of the contemporary Blackberry-wielding, Skype-viewing, master’s-degree-holding mother-in-law and grandmother.

Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby!  is an upbeat book about a topic that is fraught with anxiety: the transformation from daughter-in-law and mother to mother-in-law and grandmother. Mrs. Hendeles’s self-deprecating humor and positive outlook set this book apart. She invites us along in her attempts to be a “Model In-Law” and “Model Grandparent.” Her efforts are usually successful, but occasionally flounder. She takes the missteps in stride, poking fun at her foibles, but also seizing the opportunity for introspection and improvement.

That’s not to say that Mazel Tov! It’s a Baby shies away from tumultuous emotions. We waver right along with her when she knows her “new couple” needs space but her hand keeps reaching for the phone. We see her mixed feelings about giving her adult children independence when her opinion just wants to leap out of her mouth. And we witness her nostalgia for her children’s youth as well as her hopes for their future. This is a book that touches the heartstrings as well as tickles the funny bone.

There is another common thread among the essays in Mazel tov! It’s a Bubby! In Judaism, particularly in the mussar tradition, we see the events and the challenges of life as opportunities for personal growth and character development. When the author writes, “Often, individuals refuse to think out of the box, since that may imply a perceived weakness…When we sense that we are spinning our wheels and getting stuck in the same patterns of thinking, perhaps we should ask ourselves, ‘Is it time for a change?’” she’s planting her book squarely in the mussar tradition. Mrs. Hendeles is urging her fellow in-laws and grandparents on to further self-improvement at a stage in life when some give up.

The opening chapters of Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby! depict the typical milestones that follow the marriage of one’s first child. We smile as the entire Hendeles family debates the various merits (and demerits) of “Grandma,” “Oma,” and “Bubby” before the first grandchild is even born. Our heart flutters when the author reflects, “…something inside me longed for the good ol’ days of PTA meetings, play dates, Mommy-n-Me’s, and strolls to the playground.” And we giggle when the author suggests her teenage son lie down next to her grandchild to help the latter tolerate “tummy time” or when a well-planned, first-time sleep-over goes amok.

As the volume progresses, the stories branch out a bit, with increasing hilarity and insightfulness. The author struggles with keeping family traditions of letter-writing and multi-lingual proverb-spouting at the same time as embracing emails and text messages. She juggles the needs of her teenage son living at home with the young grandchild visiting there. I laughed along with Mrs. Hendeles’s list of preferred traits in mechutanim and her “Diary of a Shadchan Wannabe.” Mrs. Hendeles discovers that middle age—with its less rigorous daily demands—offers opportunities to branch out into new hobbies and professions.

Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby! would make an excellent gift for the new—or not so new!—mother-in-law or grandmother in your life. However, it isn’t limited to that audience. As a woman whose oldest child is still in elementary school, I found plenty to enjoy in this book.

Mazel Tov! It’s a Bubby! is due in Jewish bookstores and at http://www.israelbookshoppublications.com on September 5th. (A version of this review appeared previously in CitySpirit Magazine.)


Shaking Things Around

This morning I woke up to some messages from friends, “did you feel it? did you feel it?” A few said they didn’t feel it. Others said they lost a whole night of sleep, but no damage otherwise.  Still others wanted to know what in the world we were all talking about.

I felt it, and felt it big. It could have been in my own backyard for all I knew.

“It” was an earthquake. Epicentered near Beverly Hills, a few miles from where I live.  Only a 3.2 – which for Southern California standards, that’s pretty low and unimpressive. But nevertheless worthy of mentioning during the time of Ellul, the month before Rosh Hashanah,  when we need to shake ourselves out of our complacency and oblivion, and get down to brass tacks of fixing up our ways – both to G-d and to our fellow man.

So the fact that it was a small one is a kindness. Some say the “Big One” is coming….and it’s only a matter of time. To me that’s a scary notion, and it makes me want to prepare and prepare (water, batteries, canned food…huh? what else?).

But for now the real preparation is for the Big Day in a few weeks when we will stand before our G-d in prayer on Rosh Hashanah. Praying for a sweet new year. For a non-shaking year…

Sometimes we need to shake things up, change and better ourselves down here, so that G-d shakes things up for us in a good way for the coming year. May we all have a sweet, happy,  and healthy New Year. And safe.


Out of the Mouths of Bubbies!

Ahhh…Grandmothers just say the most amazing things…don’t they (we?).

Bubby conversations. Or as I like to call them: Bubby Convo’s. Yes, whenever I talk to my friends, and especially my middle-aged (!) friends, many of whom are grandmothers, I learn so much from them. I am always surprised, impressed, excited, and enlightened when I hear a quotable quote from my friends who share my role as doting grandmother, but more so – insight-seeking grandmother.

And often that means that I have – you guessed it – more material for my blog, and other writing!

And so, I have decided to start something new: a collection of quotable quotes from my friends – those who have accumulated a great deal of life wisdom, and have come up with some great one liners.

Here is one:

From a 50-plus friend of mine – “I WANT TO DIE YOUNG AND GROW OLD”

How many of us bemoan the fact that we are growing older?

Well, what’s the alternative? (that was a rhetorical question – please don’t answer it).

Seriously, it’s a reminder to us that that growing old gracefully (whatever that means!) is our goal. With the help of G-d!

Another one:

From a 95 year old woman, very dear friend of our family, —spoken in convo to my husband and myself in a car ride home from a wedding –

“IT’S FUNNY – I STILL SEE YOU AS CHILDREN, AND  FORGET THAT YOUR GENERATION IS ALL GROWN UP…..”

How profound – another reminder to me – that “hey – I’m not the only one getting older! Everyone does too!! Get used to it, and try to relate…” (although it can be hard sometimes, as this wise woman recognized)

One more quote:

From a 50 plus friend of mine – as posted on her social media site online –

“IF ONLY THEY GAVE AN AWARD FOR PROCRASTINATION…..”

Gotta love her honesty.

And this one’s for you – my dear friend, Savta B, I followed your subsequent suggestion – that I blog about that quote! (without procrastinating? Huh?)

Stay tuned for more quotable quotes from the mouths of Bubbies, Savta’s and others……to be continued!


The Dodgers and Podgers

Last summer we took our then 3 year old grandson to a Los Angeles Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers played against the San Diego Padres that evening, and my husband, sons, grandson and I had a great time watching the game. Yes, the Dodgers won!! Yay! And our grandson still talks about the baseball game with the Dodgers against the “Podgers” – which is the way he chose to mispronounce the visiting team’s name.

Continue reading


Positive Transformation

“What a Wonderful World” – A song recorded by Louis Armstrong (1968), and written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss.

That’s how I feel right now. I feel positive, upbeat, and in a generally good mood about life.

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……I love you. Continue reading


Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh

As the summer is under way,  my mind turns to letter writing. Letters that we send – to friends, family and acquaintances. Thank you cards, post-cards, congratulations messages, sympathy notes, and newsy letters to loved ones expressing caring and what is going on. The summer is that time – when we tend to write more letters. Kids are in camp, families go on vacation and the desire to keep up in writing is prevalent.

Letters these days are written (actually typed) and sent off as a computer email. Letters in the “old days” (read: my days) were written by hand with care, using a pen or pencil. They were  placed in an envelope, sealed and sent off with  a stamp. The receiver of the letter had the opportunity to read and re-read the letter, thus relishing the connection and the relationship between reader and writer.

Both of my grandmothers were avid letter writers. And during the summer they tended to write – or type (on their IBM Selectric typewriters!) more letters than usual.

One of my aunts has gathered all of my maternal grandmother’s letters – skillfully handwritten or typed with her typewriter — into a large binder for all the grandchildren. Many of those letters were written specifically during the summer period of the “Nine Days” (which is happening now) before the fast day of “Tisha B’av.” Continue reading


A Grandma’s Pajama Party

“When a child is born, so is a grandmother”

The birth of my status as grandmother has been one of the most evolving and growth-oriented periods of my life. Each milestone and event that happens in our family – leads me to learn more things about myself and life.

And tonight’s big bash at our house is proof of that. Tonight, Friday night, our grandson is sleeping over at our house. He is so excited.

And so are we! (well, really me).

True, he’s not coming because of me – the grandmother. Nor is he talking about this Sleepover for the past few weeks non-stop because of my husband, or my single sons, or anything else about our house. The reason he is so very pumped about this pajama party is because his 5 year-old playmate and parents are spending the next few days with us, while they are in transition before moving to another country. Continue reading


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