Monthly Archives: June 2012

Wolf Whistling

Stepping out of the home office to walk to the mail box breaks up my day somewhat. Usually I don’t see a soul at lunchtime.

Walking back to the house a truck drove past me, with a male co-religionist behind the wheel. He slowed the truck and wolf whistled at me.

I came inside and complained to the KoD – and he laughed. My oldest son thought it was funny too (probably for different reasons). Why do they find it funny while I am insulted? I would never ever whistle at someone I drove past or walked past. It’s just not right. I just felt objectified and well, icky.

Would I have felt different if it was today’s equivalent of Fabio or Marky Mark whistling? $64,000 question there….


Open Letter to Parents

The KoD and I were just driving through a different part of town from where we live. The houses are very close together, the streets meander hither and yon, and there are plenty of children playing in their yards and on the streets.

Yes, there are plenty of children playing on the streets without a parent in sight. I am not talking 10 year olds. I am talking 2, 3 and 4 year olds. Walking up and down the street, into the street – and there is no one there keeping them safe. NO ONE.

It wasn’t one street. It was a whole bunch. I saw one teenaged girl on one street watching little kids. The rest we saw were all out unsupervised. (And don’t tell me you can supervise a 4 year old from the window. It takes two seconds to run out in front of a car)

I am angry. While the neighbourhood one lives in might appear to be safe, no neighbourhood is safe from predators, from cars, from accidents. Yes, granted, even kids who are watched vigilantly can get hurt. But when kids are watched properly there is less chance of the accidents happening, of the kids running into the street in front of a moving car to chase an errant soccer ball or a pretty butterfly.

I am feeling very judgmental in my anger. I believe that every parent is shirking responsibility when they allow their little kids to wander outside without adequate supervision. Our children are precious jewels to be guarded, their little souls and bodies entrusted to us to raise and form into decent human beings.

How can parents act so cavalier? How can they not care?

I wanted to gather up all those little kids and promise them they’d be safe. I wanted to gather up all those parents and put the fear of God into them. If you don’t try to keep your kids safe, if you don’t care about their well-being, there is a huge long list of parents or would-be parents who do and who will.

Parents, please, take care of your children. Nurture them and keep them safe, for the love of God!!

Look Up!

WWYD – Feelings vs Kashrut

A friend was recently visiting relatives who put out some yummies for kiddush Shabbat day. There were cheeses and chocolates, pastries and cakes – the table was groaning under the weight!

My friend happened to walk into the kitchen for a glass of water, and saw an empty package from one of the foods. She saw that the hechsher was Tablet K – a certification that she has been told is not trustworthy. (Full disclosure – in the HSM household we don’t hold by that hechsher).

She tried to call her husband into the kitchen, so that he should know that he should stop eating, but wasn’t sure how to go about it without drawing attention to the issue.

Everyone kind of gravitated toward the kitchen, having eaten their fill, and were clearing the table. She caught his eye, and surreptitiously showed him the package. It was one of those moments when everyone goes quiet at just the wrong moment. It was a very awkward silence.

What would you have done? Would you have just waited until later and spoken to your spouse in private, risking him eating something you don’t consider kosher? And then, how do  you go about dealing with the fact that now you are not sure that you can trust the kashrut in this house? What if you feel it’s just ignorance, and that this person does not know the hechsher isn’t widely accepted? Do you broach the subject?

What would you do?

From the Mailbag:

Dear HaDassah,

In one month and one week I will be turning 38. I’ve never been married and so far there are no prospects. I’m getting to the point where I have to accept the fact that meeting my soul mate might not be in the cards for me. Worse, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I may never be a mother. I love my friends and family, but it’s getting harder and harder to see their facebook posts and tweets about their kids, or pregnancies. I love them and I love their kids. My nieces and nephew are like my own. But they’re not.

I’ve explored other options such as insemination by donor. My mother is very against it, and she said so using the strongest language, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to really do this completely on my own. I can’t explain the pain I feel. Every time I get my period I mourn for a potential child I have just lost. Yes, I know it’s my “biological clock,” but it’s more than that, I resent my friends and family who do have kids, I’m getting to the point where I try avoid social and family events.

In addition to the birth of my nephew, in the course of one week among my cousins there were 7 births. I should be happy, but all I am is sad. Sad because I probably will never experience pregnancy and the joy of childbirth and the “nachas” of my own children. It kills me that I feel this resentment towards others when they’ve done nothing wrong.

Being single, especially being of a more “advanced” age, I’m treated like a second-class citizen. I don’t know if people realize how much it hurts. And it isn’t just about not getting married. In fact, I can handle the fact that I might not ever get married, but that I may never be a mother, that’s just devastating.


This letter tugged at my heart. I feel Chava’s pain. What can we tell her to help soothe her soul? How can we make her feel included and not shunned? How can we help her with her pain? What options are available to a religious woman whose fertility is ticking away and is not yet married? Can we religiously endorse Donor Insemination and provide a support system for our sisters who decide to take this route?

I am so curious to know how you feel after reading this letter, and how you would counsel Chava, or even what you would do in her place.

Another Milestone

Last night was Prince HockeyFan’s graduation from elementary school. He’s now a ninth grader about to start high school in the fall.

Time, it goes by so quickly! Watching his whole class sitting up on the stage last night – some of them, at 14, looking rather grown up, some looking like they are still kids… I think back to myself at 14, remembering how awkward I was, how grown up I wanted to feel.

HockeyFan has worked so hard this year in school – and didn’t stop doing so once his high school acceptance came in. Some kids would be content to say that they achieved their goal (place in high school of their choice) so they can sit back and rest on their laurels.

Not HockeyFan. Every day he put as much effort into his studies as he could. Now he gets the whole summer to relax and then prepare for high school.

Three sons in high school now. Three!! How is that possible when just yesterday they were so small?

This is HockeyFan when he was a year old…

The things we miss

I had to be back in Montreal briefly this week. Driving down the leafy avenues, seeing the French street signs – it was a lovely sense of familiarity. Being at the Pharmaprix (pronounced FarmaPree, thank you very much) and overhearing French being spoken, and finally able to pick up Advil Cold and Sinus in the silver bottle (not available here) – it felt good.

I was in town for such a short time that I didn’t get to have poutine nor see most of my friends (sorry guys – next time). I also had been so looking forward to a shopping spree at Winners (like Kohl’s) but I had no time for it.

Montreal was my home for 16 years and I really didn’t think I missed it. It took going back to realize it was the tiny little things that I missed. I love living in New York, but Montreal will always hold a special place in my heart.

Superman Sam!

Every parent’s worse nightmare is their child being sick. Ima on the Bima (Phyllis), a fellow Jblogger, and awesome person, is facing such a nightmare, along with husband Michael.

Their six year old son Sam was diagnosed a week ago with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He is currently in the hospital on Day 6 of chemotherapy. He’s a sweet boy with an infectious smile and is loved by his 3 siblings, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and many many many friends the whole world over.

My heart hurts for him and his family and as a friend I want to do all I can to help. If you are the praying kind his Hebrew name is Shmuel Asher ben HaRav Pesah Esther.

If you want to do something tangible, snap a pic of yourself, your dog, your cat, your baby, anyone, in a superhero costume, print and mail it over to Sam to put on his hospital wall. Read this: Superheroes for Sam Project  and follow directions for mailing.

Follow along with the Sommer family as they chronicle this painful journey that they have just embarked upon by reading their blog.

Sending all my love for a refuah shleimah.

First Solo Demo a Success!!

Last night I did my very first cooking demonstration. I prepared for the entire day, making three batches of challah dough by hand, and crafting various different delicacies just so that I could say “here’s one I made earlier”.

I showed the ladies at the party how to make pizza pockets, garlic knots, cinnamon buns, pb&j babka buns, and sundried tomato and basil dinner rolls. Due to popular demand, I also demonstrated how to braid and form 3 different challahs – the six stranded braid, and the 9 strand round challah, and the four-strand crown challah.

I had woken up hoarse in the morning, and spent the day silent in the hopes that my voice would manage to last for my 20 minute presentation. I was more nervous of not being heard (microphone and all) than I was of actually being there. I think this was a blessing in disguise.

Once I got going I really enjoyed myself. The audience was interested and actually laughed at my jokes and applauded after I showed them each item. It was more of a conversation that a one-way speech, which was perfect.

Looking forward to doing more demos. If you want to book me contact me at

Now, where on earth do I store all this challah and other yummies that I baked yesterday?

Photos of Challahtude for the Demo