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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“Nachas,” Grandchildren and Facebook

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I’m a Nachas-ist. Yep. You read right. I’m addicted to “nachas.” Now, nachas – (pronounced nakh-es) according to the dictionary is Yiddish for joy or blessings,pride especially from one’s children and grandchildren.

The truth is that there is no English word or phrase that captures the exact nuance of what nachas is. Not one of the words – joy, pride, blessed feeling – conveys the true meaning of what we know to be “nachas.”

Nachas is so unique to the Jewish culture with the stereotypical grandmother/Bubby or Mom who kvells (there goes another non-translatable Yiddish word) about her progeny.

groovy-granny

So back to being a Nachassist, I believe that I spend most of my existence as a grandmother kvelling (loosely translated as inner boasting, bragging) about the little and not-so-little-anymore boys who were born from my children- otherwise known as grandsons.

Cute ones. Adorable ones. Smart. Talented. Athletic. Perceptive. Kind.

hands

Oh and handsome and charming too.

And did I mention that I am absolutely NOT prejudiced or biased at all? I mean anyone will attest to the above claims.

So how am I a nachassist? You see, I thrive on nachas. (See above descriptions. We’re showing, not telling here.)

Nachas is what keeps me going. And nachas is what also keeps me distracted from doing what I have to do as in when I tell my 5-year old (irresistible) grandson, “Will you just stop being so cute? I can’t stand it anymore and I can’t get anything done with you around. Go away, okay?”

And he smiles back at me, in that knowing way. He gets it. He knows that I don’t have patience for too much cuteness. Then I tell my daughter-in-law (his mother) that they should make it illegal to be so cute.

The last few weeks, I agonized  at how little I wrote, blogged, read or did anything of significance with my brain because all I could do is kvell.

And you know, kvelling and accomplishing just don’t go together.

Now, in case you think that Nachassists are similar to Narcissists in that they have a personality disorder, think again.

Nachassists are not bad or selfish or damaged. They are simply human and they are just doing what comes naturally when good things come our way in life.

You see, even if you don’t have grandchildren, you can display a healthy dose of nachassism with regard to anything good in your life.

For example, if you have a child who is accepted to an Ivy League university, you have joy and pride in what the child has accomplished. That’s “nachas.” (if you’re not Jewish you call it something else, but you get my drift).

And if you worked really hard to play a Beethoven Sonata on the piano and then you perform it perfectly (or almost perfectly) in front of a large audience, you have nachas from yourself.

Nachas is that good old-fashioned, cuddly feeling you get when  you or someone you love gets or earns something really good and worthy of pride.

Now, sometimes “nachassism” can veer into dangerous territory and perhaps earn a not so nice reputation like its cousin “narcissism.”

How? When a Nachassist gets an urge to post a picture of his or her progeny on Facebook, it can cause some issues. For example, if the nachassist forgets to ask permission from the parents of the cute, adorable and irresistible kids. That can pose a problem of privacy being invaded into the young family’s territory, a feeling of being intruded upon.

And that’s when nachassism gets a little sticky.

The simple way for a nachassist to prevent any problems is to ask permission. Then, the parents of said children can either say yes or no. (hopefully they say yes, right?)

If yes is the response, the nachassist is free to post that photo for all his/her facebook friends to ooh and ahh over said child.

Never mind that each of those facebook friends who are admiring, liking, reacting and otherwise stroking the Nachassist’s ego on Facebook is secretly thinking, “My grandchild is much cuter. Hmph.” It doesn’t matter if each one is eagerly waiting to post his or her own nachas about his or her own life, it doesn’t matter.

Because that just proves how powerful the Nachassist phenomenon is. Later on, the likers, reactors, and strokers can post their one Nachas on Facebook for all to see.

You see, it’s all just a Nachas game, played by nachassists who want to brag and boast, share about their good events in life and/or grandchildren.

And that’s not so terrible, is it?

So the next time something good comes your way, go ahead and share it. Post it. Be proud of it. We are all here to read and share in your happiness.

And just so you know, we begrudge you the good fortune. In Yiddish – that’s called “Farginning.”

Oh, yeah, it’s hard to translate exactly into English. But you get my drift, don’t you?

May all grandmothers, grandfathers, parents and children have nachas from each other and themselves! Amen!

 


Graduations, Grandparents, and Gratitude

Today I attended an important graduation.

It wasn’t my own graduation. I haven’t had any of those lately, even though several years ago, I graduated from being a mom of growing children.

Today, I attended my grandson’s kindergarten ceremony.

benchumash

 And it was most exciting because my husband and I enjoy watching our grandsons’ milestones.

You see, my youngest son, who is 20 and his brother above him are studying out of town. With the rest of our sons married, my husband and I have got the empty nest, and we are grateful. Continue reading


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.)


Post Gathering Post

Here is my Post-Barbecue – my recap of the barbecue:

Firstly, I read my previous post and thought to myself how it does sound kind of “oy-ish” — (read: negative!) but hey, that’s my blog – the Bubby Joys and Oys…and what fun would it be if I – the Grandmother/Bubby only reported on the Joys all the time?!!  I was stressed today at the end of the day, and as much as I was looking forward to being with family and entertaining them, I was tired and a bit tense.

Enough excuses.

To report on the barbecue: The good news is: a) I didn’t overeat tonight. I had vegetables and chicken! Yay me!! And b) A great time was had by all. Everyone filled their stomachs, and enjoyed each others’ company.The baby charmed everyone with his adorable smiles and flirting with the adults. His five year old brother charmed everyone with his sweet comments and cheerful disposition. I had so much nachas having the kids around me, baruch Hashem. And we even snapped a bunch of family pictures.

Almost all the food is gone so that’s a good sign. And as it is now October 4th, I look forward to our future barbecues – in the autumn (which it is now!), winter, and the spring …(not summer anymore – although the weather has been in triple digits lately here in Southern California.)

For now: good night, and have a wonderful weekend and Shabbos!

 


Bubby’s Blessings

Recently, my supervisor at my workplace, asked me what “Shana Tova” means. She is a Christian, but – living in Southern California – is  familiar with Jewish terminology.  Often she asks me to explain certain words, phrases or customs. I told her that it means “Good Year” literally, but is the equivalent of “Happy New Year.” She smiled and said, “May you have a good and happy new year!” And then I told her about “Shana Tova U’Metuka” which means “Good and Sweet Year!” She agreed that all are good to have: good, sweet, happy. It’s all good!!

Which reminds me of how many ways one can wish blessings to others at this time of year.  Some say, “gut gebentched yahr” (German/Yiddish for a “good and blessed year”). Others list all the different areas in life one is to be blessed: health, livelihood, success, etc. In Hebrew/Yiddish it somehow sounds much better:

Gezunt (health), Parnassah (livelihood), Hatzlacha (success), Brachos (blessings), Mazel (fortune), Nachas (pride/pleasure).

I could get carried away giving (and receiving) blessings. It makes me feel good to spread warmth and good cheer around, especially at this time of year. And writing this post, I could  probably list more languages, customs, and styles in various cultures here (in Hawaii they say “Shaloha!” for Shalom/Aloha!”).

But then this post will be way too long.

So instead, I will end with a mini-blessing: whatever the language, whatever the style – may we all have a good, happy, sweet, healthy, fulfilling, blessed New Year!

Amein!


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.

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