Monday, July 28, 2014

Should a Mom Be Jailed for Her Own Stillbirth?

By Rabbi Jill Jacobs for Raising Kvell

Jailed for Her Own StillbirthAs I enter my final few weeks of pregnancy, I sometimes worry about ordering a cup of coffee. Too often, the barista responds, “Decaf?” or a stranger within earshot wonders aloud whether I’m “allowed” to drink that.

It’s not just coffee. When I was pregnant with my daughter, a waitress balked at my husband and my order of labneh, and a co-worker expressed shock that I was eating sushi (never mind that I’m vegetarian, and the sushi in question involved avocados and cucumbers).

Continue reading.

Follow our    page.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Prayers for Preemie With The Help of Google

By Elisheva Blumberg for Raising Kvell

PreemieThe last thing I told her before it happened was, “Oh my goodness, Aliza, you’re so tiny! You’re barely showing!”

My oldest childhood friend was starting her sixth month of pregnancy, and she had the cutest baby belly I had ever seen. I couldn’t wait to see how enormous she would grow in the months ahead, and neither could she. But neither of us got the chance.

Continue reading.

Follow our    page.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In Favor of Letting Toddlers Run Wild At Temple

By Justin Sakofs for Raising Kvell

This past Shabbat, my wife, son and I visited another shul. For the record, we went to this shul not because we were unhappy with our current one, but because there was a guest speaking and friends had invited us to join them. It was during Kedusha that our 2.5-year-old son began to do what he does best: explore.

Continue reading.
Follow our    page.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Breaking From Hasidism, Online

Exploring the Internet led me to knowledge, questions, and, ultimately, leaving the Hasidism I’d grown up with

By F. Vizel

Breaking From HasidismIn my Hasidic community, people knew me as the young newlywed, mother of one, daughter of so-and-so, and married to such-and-such, with a scarf over my head and an apartment in the new development. But on the Internet, I was anonymous. I was anyone. I was everyone. I was a mystery, and I was hidden. I was whoever I wanted to be, and I could say whatever I wanted to say without fear.

I didn’t intend to create this dual identity. I hadn’t been prepared for what could happen to Hasidic life in the Internet age, because no one knew. My husband purchased a laptop with Internet access for some business ventures, and when I used it I chanced upon some blogs by fellow Hasidim and soon after created my own. It was an impulsive act. The topics of conversation online were enthralling and broke every taboo. It broke the prohibition of men and women conversing and shmoozing, it broke the barriers that divide those who left from those who are in the community. It gave anyone a space to be heretical and outrageous without the social repercussions that usually come with it: ostracization, having your children expelled from the Hasidic schools or even worse, your parents sitting shiva over you.

The social environment online was diverse and gritty, and I was there anonymously. I could finally say things, express my opinions and confusion and use my own voice, which had been trained to be silent. No one knew or would ever know that indeed I was so-and-so’s daughter, the pious-looking woman who swayed to and fro in prayer like everyone else in synagogue. Under the guise of an authorial pseudonym, I commented, posted, and debated. Not for many months after I began blogging did I realized that my little literary adventures on the Internet—on those dawns while the challah was rising and my Hasidic family was still fast asleep—were life-changing acts.

 Continue reading.