Should I Be Jewish Just Because My Parents Are?

The following is a question submitted by a Maidelle reader:
My parents decided to keep Shabbat and kosher and send me to a Jewish school and all that stuff. How can I enjoy Judaism if it’s just a tradition from my parents? As I grow up, I need to grapple with the decision to take religion or observance for myself. I don’t know.

We asked another one of our readers, Chaya Freeman, to respond, here is what she had to say:
I’m probably your age, so I’ve been thinking through the same question. It’s a funny question, the type I like to flick off with a simple answer that doesn’t make much more sense than the question does. I tell myself, my mother is Jewish, and therefore I am, too. A sheep is born a sheep because its mother is a sheep, and I was born a Jew because my mother was born a Jew.

But the question is a good nudnik question and it doesn’t leave me alone. Sure, being born to a Jewish mother is a sign that I am Jewish, but it’s not the reason I am Jewish. Continue reading “Should I Be Jewish Just Because My Parents Are?”

Tabloid Mania

I inhale deeply, and the stench of acidic nail polish remover fills my nose. In the orange glow of my bedroom, I am transported back to my younger self, sitting on my old bedroom floor, leaning against my bed. On the floor, I am surrounding by brightly colored magazines, a pair of scissors, and push-pins in a variety of colors. With precision and an unexplainable glee, I cut out picture after picture of celebrities, “inspiring” quotes and eye catching photos. The radio is playing in the background, the latest and greatest chart topping hit of the hour.

For some reason, I am enthralled by the glitzy life of the people I read about. Their scandals make my heart race.

Continue reading “Tabloid Mania”

Reflections On My Camp Koby Experience

As I stood in line, waiting for my turn to wash for hamotzi, I smiled at the sweet-faced little girl waiting patiently ahead of me. In response, she reached up on tiptoes and shyly kissed me on the cheek. “Shabbat Shalom,” she said happily. “Shabbat Shalom,” I responded with overwhelming pride. Looking around the dining room, which served the multitude of campers and counselors, one could almost forget the circumstances that brought these children to Camp Koby. Happiness and ruach filled the room. We ate heartily and sang the beautiful Shabbat zemirot from the depths of our souls… Continue reading “Reflections On My Camp Koby Experience”

Victim or Survivor?

Everyone, at at least one time in his or her life, gets knocked down, and most of us have trouble getting back up. Let’s face it – we all get depressed at times. Sometimes we get stuck in a funk and we don’t know how to get out of it, especially if we’re constantly being knocked down. Eventually, we don’t even want to get up anymore. Why should we get back up, just to get knocked down again?

That’s when we have to catch ourselves and be conscious of our thoughts. What does being self-aware have to do with getting back on our feet, you ask? Just about everything. Continue reading “Victim or Survivor?”


Branches, in many ways, are like people. A tree has one trunk,

and extending out from it are many branches, which are all beautiful in

their own unique way. Every person has many different qualities, some

overlapping, some conflicting, yet all beautiful. Just like a tree, which

sometimes has oddly shaped branches, the beauty of a person is often

found in his quirks and oddities. But what would happen if you went over to

a tree and started hacking away at all the “imperfect” branches? You would

end up mutilating the tree, and what would you be left with? A pile of wood,

good only for burning. Continue reading “Branches”

Good Bye Steve Jobs.

“Your time on this earth is limited, don’t live someone else’s life, live by your vision.” – Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

I am sad as I type this up on my shiny white MAC laptop. Steve Jobs passed away this week. I didn’t know Steve but I was fierce in my defense of the holy MAC when debating it’s merits to PC fans. I saved up patiently until I could afford my very own MAC and now carry it around like a prized accessory. Yes, it’s more expensive than the other brands but as I surf the net without fear of stumbling onto a virus and enjoy the beauty of it’s design and programming, I know it’s worth it. I shop at Forever 21 and will buy designer knockoff sunglasses for five bucks on the street but when it comes to my laptop, I want the real deal. Continue reading “Good Bye Steve Jobs.”

The Slow Days

Summer tends to let stuffy old Sundays creep up on you, the days when the heat outside is crisping the fallen brown leaves to look ancient beyond their short-lived season and you call your friends but the phone just rings and rings until you feel so lonely you’d rather hang up and stare at the ceiling and you feel like you’re stuck in a cliché kid’s book where the ten-year-old is sent to spend the summer at his grandma’s where the old flowered wallpaper is peeling off at the corners and the decrepit, slanted kitchen smells like cauliflower and pea soup and then suddenly he discovers some magical creature or the other and his whole summer flips around, except that last wonderful part never happens to you. Continue reading “The Slow Days”