And Yadda Yadda Yadda … I Made Aliyah

Finding religion in a Saturday morning buffet

Today is Saturday. Shabbat. What did you do? I went to Shacharit for the first time ever on Hannaton. I sang. After the 50 minute special chanting service, I snuck out before the Torah was taken out. I walked home. I drank coffee. I meditated in the morning sun.… Read more »

I wasn’t always like this

A well-thought out middle name is an underused tool. My middle name should be “in progress.” Jen In Progress. In my case, In Progress would remind me to be compassionate, to others, but mostly to myself. Mother In Progress Wife In Progress Friend In Progress It would remind me… Read more »

I’m really the farthest thing from a gardener

jen broccoli-2013

My photos on instagram paint a pretty picture. The above broccoli and cabbage are part of the harvest from our backyard vegetable garden. We took advantage of the beautiful weather today (70 degrees and sunny) to weed and pull. It’s the second season we planted; and the second season… Read more »

I can’t remember growing older

When you’re a parent, each day is a struggle not to live in the future. What if? What will be? What will she look like? How will he make it through? And some days are harder than others. The days when fear grips you. When headlines make you want… Read more »

Other people’s garbage

What I am about to say doesn’t apply to everyone. It doesn’t apply to the immigrant family just arrived from Darfur. It doesn’t apply to the disabled veteran living in a box on the corner. But it DOES apply to anyone with enough money and sustenance to afford a… Read more »

The marketing professional who went to vote

No one understands better than a marketing professional how much emotional triggers impact our decisions. Fear. Despair. Hope. A feeling that your choice matters. A hunger for power. A desire to belong. Competitiveness. Trust. A belief that you are smarter, more sophisticated, more right. Ego. Ego. Ego. I voted… Read more »

One Shabbat

annie-shabbat-jan-2013

Sometimes… All it takes is one Shabbat… One morning to clean One afternoon to cook One evening to shower and dress in your handsome clothes…   Just one Shabbat. One morning to sleep in … until 7. One weekly meditation group. One quiet admission. One hour to sit with… Read more »

Earth changes (sung to Lara’s theme)

I'm lucky I brought my down jacket from New Jersey with its faux eskimo hoodI'm lucky I brought my down jacket from New Jersey with its faux eskimo hood

Two years ago, it snowed like the apocalypse in Newark, New Jersey. Nevertheless, the airports were open the next day and early in the morning December 28, we packed our three kids and 15 duffel bags into a shuttle bus. As the sun rose, we headed up the NJ… Read more »

The long road to desire

Bragging moment: I was accepted into the University Honors Program in college. I even got a scholarship. That letter in the mail was likely the pinnacle of my academic career. That, or the poetry award I won from Mr. Schaeffer at the end of 9th Grade. I was your… Read more »

Star gazing

jen stick on stars

I’m a minor space geek. Minor because I’ve never fully engaged in studying the skies above me; rather remained content to swim in the magical mystery of it all: Glow-in-the dark constellations arranged haphazardly on my bedroom ceiling “Star light star bright first star I see tonight” Scanning the… Read more »

Taking a picture in my mind

A boy with his homemade sun scope, after observing the Transit of Venus in 2012A boy with his homemade sun scope, after observing the Transit of Venus in 2012

Back when this little guy was a tad bit younger than he is today, he used to “take pictures with his mind.” He’d put his pointer fingers up to his temples, lean down towards the object he wanted to focus on (typically a kitten or a flower), and snap… Read more »

Believing in your inner rock star

Tonight my son was the student of a lesson I’ve been actively trying to learn all week all my life. How to keep thinking you’re a rock star when the world hands you proof otherwise. The setting? My son’s soccer ceremony. The kick in the gut?  Instead of being awarded the… Read more »

A woman on the brink of death

(This was originally posted on the Times of Israel on 1.2.13) Sometimes I imagine I am a woman on her death bed. How else to explain the sense of wonder I have the minute I pull out of my driveway each morning to head to work? Before I even… Read more »

Dear 38-year-old me

Israel, 2012Israel, 2012

Dear Jen: It’s a trend in the last decade or so for writers or celebrities to pen letters to their younger, seemingly more innocent and vulnerable selves. While sometimes introspective and poignant, this practice is a waste of time. Letters lead only to wistful and wishful thinking. Energy is… Read more »

Religous puzzle

Is it possible to move to the Jewish State and feel less Jewish? Yes. Yes, it is. Even when you’re acting a lot more Jewish than you did when you lived in the Non-Jewish Jewish state. (Not, no the Vatican. New Jersey.) Even though I moved to Israel and… Read more »

The magical power of you (yes, you)

Twice a month, on average, I travel to Tel Aviv for work. And twice a month, on average, after I park my car on Menachem Begin street in Ramat Gan I walk over to Cafe Cafe to order an espresso k’tzar to go. Today, I walked into Cafe Cafe… Read more »

Wonder might be what saves us

jen heaven-seekers-470x264

(This was originally posted on The Times of Israel on 12.13.12 … before the hullabaloo over Instagram privacy rules …) In college, one of my best friends was Stephanie. We met sophomore year as we both hesitantly decided to join the eager freshman girls in sorority rush. By the… Read more »

Remedy for discontent

 ”’Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping, I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why…” Lyrics written before I was born, and yet as I sing them out loud today, I feel their depth and their truth. They penetrate my heart, and silence my… Read more »

A monster is hiding in the closet

You know that feeling you get — that rush of breath-stopping adrenaline — when you watch a scary movie and you helplessly watch the main character walk across the screen straight into the death trap of pure evil? And her hand reaches for the door knob…and… BAM! Someone behind… Read more »

I’m sensitive to war

In case you haven’t heard, Israel has launched an operation against the terrorists in Gaza who have been firing rockets on Southern Israel. Rockets that keep children from going to school. Rockets that force families to sleep in bomb shelters … if they can sleep at all with the… Read more »