November 27, 2012 § 6 Comments
Just imagine — you’re going to pick-up your daughter from a friend. Driving over there after work, at the stop light making sure the car seat is in the back, looking forward to that first snuggle. Maybe smelling your baby’s neck and kissing her pudgy cheek.
You pull into the driveway and bound out your door. Jog up the front path and knock on the door. Your friend is expecting you so you try the door. It’s only after a couple of minutes that a nagging feeling begins to creep across your heart. Why isn’t she answering the door? « Read the rest of this entry »
November 26, 2012 § 3 Comments
A listener of NPR’s The Takeaway posted a comment questioning the relevance of my being a stolen & sold baby to my “story” and if I wished to keep that part of my history private. The comment was respectful and eloquent, herself an adoptive parent.
Here is my answer — yes. And no.
All right, that’s it. Have a great day everyone. (I always wanted to say that!) The answer isn’t that easy, though, is it? « Read the rest of this entry »
April 8, 2012 § 4 Comments
It was hour number 10 into our 12 hour drive to visit my in-laws for Passover/Spring break. My husband was driving and truth be told, was looking a little cranky. Can’t imagine why — except maybe for the slow drivers that seemed to be boxing us in or maybe because Thing 2 kept asking “when are we going to be there yet?” Every. Two. Minutes.
Perfect time to ask a loaded question, right?
January 17, 2012 § 6 Comments
I find myself “chatting” with a someone I “met” through a dear sister-in-law a few months ago. Gotta love that 5 am coffee break!
This individual often shares the perspective that all religions are pretty much the same with minor differences. Ok, I’ll accept that premise. So why, then, am I petrified of learning more about Islam?
Because deep down, what if I end up wanting to convert?
There. I said it. I am afraid of wanting to convert. Not because being Muslim would be a bad thing or because I don’t want to have to explore wearing hijab (not all Muslim women do), or even because I don’t think I would find a welcoming community. I’m afraid because it would destabilize my little family.
Now before anybody thinks this is a window to say Islam doesn’t support families the destabilization would simply be because I would then be following a different religion than my immediate family. Logical, which isn’t normally the case so early in the morning.
So why is religion so important? Why would my being a different religion than my husband or children be destabilizing? That to me gets at an interesting aspect of religion and the human psyche: specifically, why do we need it at all?
If the three major religions are so similar yet different religions in one nuclear family have the potential of disrupting that essential human construct, why has the human race kept religion around for so long?
January 6, 2012 § 3 Comments
Seriously. Have you? Doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindi, or martian – you gotta have some latkes. Here’s why — they are so unbelievably good!
First, let’s deconstruct the latke, shall we?
Potatoes – yum
Onions – yum
Salt – seriously, yum!
Peanut oil – yum yum
And there you have it folks, the parts that together create a whole far greater. The Holy Latke. As in, “HOLY LATKE, BATMAN!”
A note about this recipe. The recipe comes from a dear dear friend who is a great cook. My kids will eat almost anything if I say Tanta Heidi made it. Anything. The recipe shown above I wrote down during the first Hanukkah after I got married. I was watching her make them and furiously taking notes. This recipe is now a family treasure along with the torn out back page of the book on which it is written. No pressure Tanta Heidi, really.
Recipe for Heidi’s Famous Latkes
5 pounds potatoes
2 bunches green onions
A few tablespoons of salt – trust me
The recipe is simple. Grate the potatoes and onions together (don’t purée) and in a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Strain the potato-onion mixture and combine with the eggs.
Mix it all together save the oil.
Pour a solid amount of the peanut oil into a nonstick pan (some how nonstick works best) and once the oil is shimmering, fry away!
Be sure to drain on some paper towel and feel free to heat in the oven the next day or so. They will be just as good. Promise!
So be you a Levinson, Qadri, Ahmed, or Smith – try them! You’ll like them, I promise!!!
December 9, 2011 § 1 Comment
Last Friday night my husband and I did what any good Jews would do after they put their kids to bed – we watched a movie. A movie about a Muslim and a Jew. Or more accurately, a movie about a Muslim-Jew or Jew-Muslim, depending on how you look at it.
We watched The Infidel, a movie written by David Baddiel, starring Omid Djalili and Richard Schiff. First of all, I have to say this…it was very funny. Inside joke kind of funny. The actors were great which is not surprising and the writing spot-on.
An important aside, this post is one big spoiler so if you want to watch the movie without knowing what happens stop reading now! If you want to stop reading and perhaps see the movie (which I recommend), check out the trailer…
Let’s see….what do I have in common with Mahmud?
:: Finds out about adoption ‘scandal’ as an adult? Check
:: Raised in a conflicting faith? Check
:: Presence of unsuspecting spouse? Check
:: Execute several a cultural faux-pas? Check
Mahmud is a hilarious character and one I completely identify with. Hilarity aside, the part that spoke to me most was the scene when he felt all was lost and he was alone. His family left him and his friends didn’t know what to do with him. The movie comes at this story from the Muslim perspective. It makes fun of the Jews – brilliantly if I may add but the core community is Muslim. For me, well, you know that’s where I differ from Mahmud.
My core community is not even really Jewish, it’s American. And truth be told, I don’t have any close Muslim friends. In one fell swoop, I went from almost complete ignorance of Islam AND Pakistan to loving them both. Here’s the key that isn’t really addressed in The Infidel. Mahmud no longer can say “you and not me” to a Jew. He can no longer claim the luxury of “other.”
Before I found my family, Islam was a religion that was based in a different part of the world and all I really knew about Pakistan was that it was a pain in America’s ass. (Sorry everyone, but it kind of was and still is.) Now, some of the people I love most in the world and would do anything for are both Muslim and Pakistani. “Other” they are not. They are now a part of me. I am part Pakistani and each day long to learn more about this heritage a bit more than the day prior.
I still claim that Pakistan, at the government level, I think – still need to learn a ton – is a bit of a pain in the ass. E.g., not going to the Afghan conference? Really, Pakistan? Come on! But, a government isn’t a culture or a people. I’m beginning to love what I am learning about these amazing people and this amazing culture. So perhaps that is also a good lesson not overtly offered in the movie. Aside from the universal hilarity of the bar mitzvah.
Maybe, “other” isn’t a luxury after all.
Signing off —
Jewy McJew Jew Jew
(Really one of the BEST lines EVER!!!!!!)
November 24, 2011 § 4 Comments
Last night my husband and I asked our boys for what they are thankful. Thing 1 thought for a minute and declared his thanks for his little brother.
“I’m thankful for having someone to play with.”
Thing 2 then scrunched up his face and announced “I’m thankful for play!”
Remember when life was that simple? When getting to wear your favorite shirt made your day and a dropped ice cream cone resulted in crushed spirits. Ah, childhood! How I long for thee.
As I drink my morning coffee I find myself thinking about “thankfulness.” We are often thankful for the gifts life brings – healthy family, warm home, plentiful cupboards, and good friends. That’s easy. It’s the being thankful for the not-so-welcome gifts that is hard. Perhaps it isn’t so useful to determine if the developments life brings are gifts. Perhaps we can’t tell which is which until the gifts stop coming.
So on this Thanksgiving day, here’s what I’m thankful for…
:: I’m thankful for a husband who despite unbelievable insanity stands by me with love and humor;
:: I’m thankful for my beautiful children who remind me of tomorrow’s promise;
:: I’m thankful for my friends who keep my feet firmly planted on NYC pavement;
:: I’m thankful for my brothers who make me laugh until I cry;
:: I’m thankful for my sisters-in-law who don’t act like they are in-laws;
:: I’m thankful for my father who kept the same telephone number since 1973 with the hope I’d call;
:: I’m thankful for my mother who generously gave me my sense of humor;
:: I’m thankful for learning my medical history which lead me to the BRCA test;
:: I’m thankful for the parents who somehow raised me sane enough to handle all of this; and
:: Lastly, I am thankful for whatever life has in store for me tomorrow.
Here’s to a thankful Thanksgiving and may we all have many more!