Monthly Archives: June 2010

Did I do the right thing?

A while ago I published a letter here – from a reader asking for input on her dilemma from myself and my readers. Someone figured out who she was, and posted a snarky comment which I deleted as soon as I figured out he was playing around and having fun. Before I deleted it, I was in touch with the letter writer, and she wanted to know who had written that snarky comment because it worried her. She asked me to check the IP address and see where the comment originated. I did so, and told her the state (not the city) the person resided in. I usually will not share anything about my commenters with anyone, but I felt this situation was an emotional one, and eventually I made the judgment call.

Now that person who was outed by this information (apparently the location gave him away) is royally ticked off at me. I could have shared his exact location, but did not. He says I should have a disclaimer: “you should probably write that somewhere on your blog! commentors locations given to whoever wants it based on ur judgement call”

I feel he was being ridiculous – I shared it with the author after a potentially hurtful comment was left on her post. If he didn’t want to be found out, he shouldn’t even have commented….

What say you, dear reader?

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Did you feel the earth move?

My Canadian connections are all abuzz over the 5.5 magnitude earthquake that supposedly just hit Ontario. However, the best Tweet about this whole thing comes from my buddy @Ha_Safran.

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After 4 peaceful weeks hanging out together, just me and the KoD, our peace and quiet is coming to an end tomorrow. My boys arrive. While I have missed them incredibly, and ached in my soul at times at the pain of separation, I so loved having this special time with my husband. Doing mundane stuff together like making supper every night, and folding laundry and running errands. Hanging out as a real couple, day after day, instead of a snatched weekend here or there. You know, really experiencing being married!!

But tomorrow night REAL LIFE begins. The boys are coming. THE BOYS ARE COMING!! I am so excited. I am going to be cooking up a real storm for this Shabbat where we will have all our kids under our roof. You will feel the radiance of our smiles wherever you are.

So if the blogging slacks off for a few days, just bear with me – and know I am way too busy squishing a child or baking him his favourite treat, or watching all my menfolk play catch in the yard….

Happy sigh.

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So Proud of Her!

Last week The Jewish Week announced its list of “36 under 36” – the top young innovators who are changing the landscape of Jewish Life. Below please find the article that was written about one of these innovators, Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse. I connected with her thru Twitter and Facebook many moons ago, and finally had the honour of meeting her and her husband in person at #Tuvivah’s wedding last month (probably the most tweeted Jewish wedding ever). The energy that this young lady gives off is truly something to behold, and I know that Susanne is going to go very far in life.

Susanne tweets under @JewishTweets and under her own personal handle of @susqhb. I love learning more about Judaism this way – every day there is a little shiur (lesson) in 140 characters.

Susanne – congratulations, mazal tov, may you go from strength to strength!!! Looking forward to reading more about you and the amazing things you have done and will do for our Jewish community.

Here’s the article:

Social media rock star

Julie Wiener

Associate Editor

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse

Several numbers structure Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse’s life. There’s 613, the number of mitzvot that Orthodox Jews like herself observe. And then there’s 140, the character limit on Twitter, where Rosenhouse spends much of her workday.

As founding social media coordinator for the Manhattan-based National Jewish Outreach Project, Rosenhouse, whose handle is JewishTweets, tweets about 12 times per day on myriad Jewish topics. For many of her 8,000-plus followers, Jewish Tweets provides a “sense of community” and is their main link to the Jewish world, she says.

Rosenhouse’s tweets range from trivia and news to questions intended to spark discussions about Judaism (“What was your seder like growing up?”), links to articles and blogs from all over the Web and suggestions of daily Jewish “actions” to take.

Some recent tweets: “It was today, Rosh Chodesh Sivan in Hebrew Year 2448, that the Jews arrived at Mt. Sinai & prepared to receive the Torah!” (May 14, 9:22 a.m.); “Action: If you have a friend or family member in need, find a discreet way to help, such as giving food you ‘over-bought.’” (May 13, 5:32 p.m.)

She answers questions about Judaism (many of which she refers to rabbis), helps connect Shabbat hosts and guests, and reads the posts of the almost 5,000 people she follows. “I don’t want to be followed and not follow back,” she says. “You can’t engage people on Twitter if you just spout, spout, spout.”

She also serves as a program officer at NJOP and was one of the volunteers who helped launch ParnasaFest, a Jewish job-networking event.

Rosenhouse grew up in a Reform but “Chabad-friendly” home in Orange County, Calif. She chose to go to Yeshiva University’s Stern College, where she was one of only a handful of public school grads, because she “loved the idea of a dual curriculum.”

Recently married (she met her husband, also a baal teshuvah and YU alum, through the online site SawYouAtSinai), Rosenhouse lives in Washington Heights and, believe it or not, also has a personal Twitter handle: Susqhb. “It tends to be very Jewy, but I also tweet about things like movies.”

Bet you didn’t know that… Until six months ago, when she got a Droid (“I have Verizon, so the iPhone isn’t in my clutches”), Rosenhouse did not own a smartphone, doing all her Tweeting from computers.

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Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

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Kids and technology

Oh Squiggy and Lenny, how I love you both. GRIN. I was so happy that you wanted to videotape your brother’s graduation. We sat down, went through the program, and made sure you knew what I wanted to be taped. What I neglected to remind you was that the HandyCam captures all the noise around it, including your asides to each other while listening to the Rebbeim speak. It certainly made for interesting playback today. Mmhmm. But thanks to your volunteering, I was able to put together a lovely little video for Prince HockeyFan to remember his Grade 6 graduation – something that I will hold on to forever.

Oh, and darlings? Next time, don’t try to do fancy things with the camera, such as try to stand the principal or Rosh Yeshivah on his head in your viewfinder. It might be funny for you…..but for the viewer,…….. not so much.

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WWYD – text messaging

Recently I was at a public gathering, where out of respect for the purpose of the evening I turned off my BlackBerry. I would have hoped most people would have done the same. There was a lady sitting next to me who not only didn’t turn her phone off, she didn’t even put it on vibrate. The whole evening she was texting back and forth with friends – the annoying chirp every time a new message came in was disruptive. At one point I was extremely irritated – and out of the corner of my eye was able to read the text messages she received and was sending. Pure fluff.

I kept my mouth shut because she is someone well respected in this community, but I still feel I should have asked her to turn it off.

What would you have done?

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Hello Montreal!!

I am up here to see the boys and squish them all hard, to see Prince HockeyFan graduate from elementary school (oh the nachas), see the boys and squish them all hard, take care of some personal business, see the boys and squish them all hard, visit with some friends, and buy some kosher digestive biscuits! And see the boys and squish them all hard.

A Montreal friend of ours, DW, was in NY for a wedding, and very generously offered me a ride up with him, so I wouldn’t have to shlepp on the bus. We listened to cantorial music most of the way up – which was awesome! I love chazzanut and one of the CDs was the London Jewish Male Choir singing some of my favourites from when I was a girl. Was a wonderful trip down memory lane. (Note to self, check to see if I can upload some of this awesome music to my iPod).

I already miss the KoD something chronic – saying good bye to him last night was so hard. I hate missing him! I cannot wait until we are ALL together under one roof in the US of A.

If you are looking for me this morning you will find me buried under a huge pile of mail with my name on it…. 🙂

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Place in my heart

With thanks to Frume Sarah’s awesome hosting of the Haveil Haveilim this week I stumbled on another blog, and read a blog post that resonated really well with me.

Please read what Ima2Seven wrote:

“You have seven kids? Wow! That’s a lot… I only see six. ….Oh? He’s your stepson… so he lives with you? …………….No? Oh, so you have six kids of your own………..”

“You have seven kids?! What’s the age range? …………………Oh, so one is your stepson. So you really have six kids, then.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard comments like these, or countless variations on them.  Almost all of them are conversation with well meaning, kind, good people. I am certain that if they knew how hurtful and upsetting these comments are, they wouldn’t dream of saying such things.

I am an “Ima” to seven children. The first, my stepson, who I love and who yes, does not live with me, chose the name of this blog. So, yes, I am an “Ima” to seven children.  My relationship with my stepson is different than my relationship with the other six of my children. My relationship with each of my children is different. I have one child who has another parent, another house, another way of doing things. It is different. Not less, not more. Different.

I could write a long post about the credentials that give me the “right” to say that I have seven children, although I did, yes, give birth to six, and I do, yes, have six children living in my house. I could regale you with tales of cleaning up vomit, wiping tushies, midnight peepee accidents, holding hands during scary stuff, scheduling and logistical gymnastics, school meetings, laundry, flexibility on every tiny detail of life, etc. I could talk about tailoring meals, trying to build character, discipline and learning from as well as teaching to this child. I could, in short, tell you the story of 11 years of parenting.

I could tell you that I would jump in front of a bus to save seven children without a moment’s thought. I could tell you that stepparenting can take more time, more energy, more patience than parenting a biological child living in your home.

I could also write about how adopted children are “counted” by strangers as our children. Children who go to boarding school are “counted”. Neither womb dwelling nor number of days living in one’s house each year constitute parenting.

There are women with children who have addiction problems (G-d forbid) that they are not in touch with, or barely see. There are women who don’t even have a speaking relationship with their children. And I seriously doubt that someone they just met would suggest to them that they need to edit or clarify the number of children they “actually” have.

But I don’t think any of that really gets to the point. The bottom line is that when I say I have seven children, I have seven children…..because if you could shrink yourself and get teeny tiny and crawl inside of my heart, you would find special little spaces that have grown in it. Spaces that weren’t there before, spaces that have caused me growth and pain and joy and  limitless capacity for love.

And there are seven of those spaces.

The next time you meet a mom and she tells you the number of children she has, and she mentions that one/some of them are stepchildren, I hope you don’t qualify her numbers for her.  I hope you don’t ask if they live with her. I hope you smile.

I really cannot presume to know how much this does or does not bother all other stepmoms. I also cannot, however, believe that it is just me.

I could not have put it better myself, Ima2Seven. The truest part of this whole piece that you wrote was this “The bottom line is that when I say I have seven children, I have seven children…..because if you could shrink yourself and get teeny tiny and crawl inside of my heart, you would find special little spaces that have grown in it. Spaces that weren’t there before, spaces that have caused me growth and pain and joy and  limitless capacity for love”. Kol Hakavod Lach!!

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Spending time with a friend

The following is a letter from a reader, the subject – a friend’s weight loss and the reader’s difficulty in spending time with her since the weight loss. Our reader wonders why she is having this trouble hanging out with her friend.

Dear Mama H,

Recently a close friend of mine lost a lot of weight and looks great. She’s not an overly gorgeous girl, but definitely looks better now. Plus her newfound confidence shines out of her.

I haven’t really seen her lately due to our schedules – ok, let’s be honest – I admit I have made up excuses not to see her or hang out because of her recent weight loss.

I’ve been struggling with my weight for a very long time, most of it genetic and nothing I can really do other than be as careful and healthy as I can. I eat right and I work out. I do what I can.

However this is something I know she feels amazing about, and for some reason we’ve always had a bit of a competition- but mentally, nothing that is really publicly known or acknowledged between us or anyone else.

I’m not jealous of her loss, however until I lose a little, and until I feel even better about myself and my looks, which is something I’m working on at the moment, I don’t want to really hang out with her alone or in a group.

We also have had a lot of drama over the years during our friendship. However I’m curious if me not wanting to see her in person and spend time with her due to her weight loss was something I am being weird and crazy about or if it’s just a woman thing.

Please advise.

So readers, what do you think? Does the reader’s reluctance to spend time with her friend make sense to you? Is she jealous, even though she says she isn’t? Can you identify with the way she is feeling? If her own self-image was better, would she be able to just be happy for her friend?

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