My family likes to travel. We love basking in the beauty of breathtaking scenery, as well as meeting frum Jews wherever we can find them. It’s an expensive hobby, so we try to keep costs down where we can. We book the cheapest flights possible, often with one or more stopovers, and we happily volunteer to be bumped from our flights when our schedules permit. We don’t order seats, and we take a minimal amount of baggage so as not to incur additional fees. Our accommodations are not usually of the highest standards, and our family subsists mainly on peanut butter and tuna sandwiches. We view ourselves as simple people with a strong desire to broaden ourselves and see the world.

 When I got married, I didn’t have a whole lot of kitchen experience. As a matter of fact, when I was a child, I believed that when girls got married, they would wake up the next morning and magically know how to cook. Well, alas! Such is not the case.

I’m trying. Really! I am! But it is difficult for me. My father was the gadget king. He bought every new technological piece of equipment as soon as it hit the market, especially when it came to recording devices, which he used to tape (record in old jargon) every shiur ever given. He figured out how to use them with ease and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of tinkering with them. I did not inherit this gene, not even recessively. I would call myself technologically challenged. I’m always trying to keep up, but since this doesn’t come to me naturally, by the time I get it, all that I’ve learned becomes outdated. I understand that along with progress comes improved efficiency, but that’s only when things work as they should and one understands how they work, which I often don’t. Children seem to be born with this knowledge, and I imagine the day when newborns will be able to request full service from their mothers with the swipe of a finger. They will be able to place orders with Amazon in utero, with free shipping for waterproof products costing over $50. Even though I am challenged, I continue to persevere.

 I love music. I mean I love music. There is usually one song or another playing in my head at all hours of the day. I will hear a song and it will stick in my head until the next song comes along and replaces it. I’d be a winning contestant on Name That Tune, as I am able to identify songs I’m familiar with just by hearing a few short notes.

 Time and time again, I am amazed at the disparity of knowledge that I find among the non-observant Israelis I meet. At one end of the spectrum, there are the cab drivers who are as familiar with Tanach as the back of their hand, and can quote from it with the ease of a rosh yeshivah. At the other end of the spectrum, unfortunately, there are Israelis who have never in their lives been to the Kosel, celebrate Christmas, and don’t even know how to say Sh’ma.

Reprinted with the permission of Ami Magazine


As a child growing up, I never would have imagined myself to be bereft of both of my parents at a young age (according to my calculations). But I was wrong. My father passed away five months after the birth of my first child, and my mother passed away one year after that same child’s bar mitzvah. Although my father did get to meet my son and enjoy the tender pleasure that only a newborn can provide, I cried many tears over the fact that my father didn’t merit to see him grow and develop in a way that would have made him so proud. I had difficulty coming to terms with the fact that both my father and my son (and future children) would miss out on the opportunity to share an irreplaceable bond from which they would have grown so much. My mother did get to see more than my father did, but it wasn’t enough by my standards. When my mother passed away, I grieved for her individually and for the loss of my parents as a unit. The link to my past was broken. My parents would not attend my daughter’s siddur party. They would no longer beam with pride as my boys would make siyumim, nor would they ever again be present at any of our future s’machos. This hurt. It hurt…a lot.