Monthly Archives: May 2021

Hebrew School Podcast Review

For people of many faiths, the question of how to educate their children in the doctrines and traditions of said faith is not always easy to answer. While the obvious answer is sending their children to full time religious school, not every parents wants to or is able to do so. The compromise is that the child(ren) will go to secular public school and then attend religious school.

The second season of the Tablet magazine podcast, Hebrew School, premiered this past weekend. Now hosted by Frank Spiro and Sabrina Marielle Friedman, this quiz show brings in young contestants, asking them questions about Jewish history, culture, and holidays. Using games, songs, and sound effects, these kids are challenged on their knowledge of everything Jewish.

This podcast is adorable. I wish it had existed when I was in Hebrew school. It is brilliant, charming, funny, and educational for listeners of any age.

P.S. Shout out to Sabrina for the Destiny’s Child reference. It was good laugh and made this old millennial feel old.

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Filed under Music, Podcast, Podcast Review

The Lincoln Project on Memorial Day and the January 6th Commission

January 6th, 2021, was a day that will forever part of American history. Those of us above a certain age will forever remember where we were and who we were that day.

Nearly 6 months after the fact, a bi-partisan commission is being put together to figure out what happened and more importantly, what went wrong. As expected, while some members of Congress understand the importance this commission, others (cough, Republicans, cough) have shot down the idea.

Today, as we all know, is Memorial Day. Instead of remembering those who have given up everything to protect this country and everything she represents, they are as usual more concerned with saving their own skins and brown nosing you know who.

The Lincoln Project is far more eloquent and knowledgeable on this topic than I am. I will end this post with their latest video because a picture is always worth a thousand words.

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Filed under History, National News, Politics

Let’s Talk About Hard Things Book Review

Hard conversations are hard for a reason. But until we have them, we cannot overcome the reason for the conversation.

The new book, Lets Talk About Hard Things, by Anna Sale (host of the WNYC podcast Death, Sex, and Money) was published earlier this month. Based on the podcast, Ms. Sale goes deeper into the difficult topics that we need to go over, but for a variety of reasons, keep inside of us. Talking about death, sex, money, family, and identity (all of which are complicated), she allows both her readers and the people she interviews to release what is holding them back and living a fulfilling life.

I loved this book. The author is as amiable and authentic on the page as she is on the show. Her approach is a gentle one, opening the door and allowing a confessional style interview that feels like two friends meeting for drinks, not a journalist speaking to an interviewee.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Life, Podcast, WNYC

Flashback Friday: The New Yorker Radio Hour (2015-Present)

These days, it is hard to listen to and watch the news without feeling like your views are being twisted to match the perspective of that particular organization.

The New Yorker Radio Hour has been a part of the WNYC podcast family since 2015. Hosted by The New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick, the topics covered are that of popular culture, news, and politics.

I really enjoy this podcast. Remnick and his team of reporters present different perspectives in a way that gives the listener the opportunity to hear the facts and make a decision for themselves. Which is how journalism should be. They also venture into subjects that are not the easiest to discuss and require an open mind. Which in our current cultural and political state, is sometimes hard to find.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The New Yorker Radio Hour releases new episodes every Friday Night.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, New York City, WNYC

Throwback Thursday: The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama

History is both fascinating and truthful, if we are willing to listen.

In 2013, The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama premiered on PBS. Hosted by British born historian Simon Schama, this mini-series talks about Jewish history from the ancient world to today.

I love this series. Schama obviously knows and loves this subject, but does not present it in a way that boring or academic. It is vibrant, alive, and relatable to our time. Regardless of faith or knowledge of the topic, the viewer (at least I did) will learn without realizing it.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under History, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Pieces of Me Book Review

No living human knows what happens when we die. We can only imagine what happens when our souls leave our body.

In the 2014 novel, Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer, Jessica’s one vanity is her long blonde hair. Known in her high school for being weird, her hair is cut in a brutal and unexpected manner. After she is killed in a car accident, her body parts are donated to four other teenagers. Through the organs her family has donated, Jessica is given an insight into the other kids who have received the parts of her former physical form.

Samuel has had health issues his entire life. Turning to religion and prayer, he hopes to find solace in the higher power. Vivian loves to paint, she sees the world through color. She is also battling cystic fibrosis. Leif’s parents are famous athletes who expect their son to follow in their footsteps. An accident on the football field changes his perspective on everything. Misty is juggling a new liver that she is unsure about and family/economic problems. There is a question of immigration status, which only adds to what is already on her plate.

I wanted to like this book. I was drawn in by the narrative and the potential of weaving the individual threads into the larger story. The problem is that there were moments that in jumping from character to character, I got a little lost. The ending was also not as satisfying as I hoped it would be.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books

May 25th 1977-A New Hope Premieres

Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of premiere of Episode 4 of Star Wars: A New Hope. I could go every delicious movie morsel that makes up the film, but the trailer speaks for itself.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Star Wars

6 Ways Journaling Improves Your Mental Health — Feed Your Curious Mind

You have probably heard the advice to keep a journal numerous times before, but somehow you have never started doing it. Or perhaps you started, but the habit did not stick. Journaling involves writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings in a notebook, phone note app, or on your computer to understand them more clearly. […]

6 Ways Journaling Improves Your Mental Health — Feed Your Curious Mind

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Filed under Mental Health, Writing

Thoughts On the Anniversary of George Floyd’s Death

It is amazing how a year can change us or the world as we know it to be.

One year ago today, George Floyd‘s life was taken by Derek Chauvin. Floyd could have been just another number, another causality of the police brutality against Americans of color. Instead, he became an icon and a match that would light the fire of protest against prejudice and hatred for people across the country and the world.

I wish that it did not have to be this way. Mr. Floyd did not have to die that day. But because he was a black man in America, Chauvin decided that he was both judge and juror.

May the memory of George Floyd forever be a blessing and a reminder of how powerful and pervasive racism can be.

Z”l.

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Filed under National News, Thoughts On....

Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood College and Creating a Better Future for Young Families Book Review

For many women, when we are taught the birds and the bees, there is one message that is emphasized over and over again. The only acceptable way of being a parent is when your married. Having a child outside of wedlock is unacceptable and scandalous. It is even worse when your still a child yourself.

According to reporting from the CDC, approximately 195,000 babies were born to teenage mothers in 2017. Many of these girls are black and brown, and come from families and neighborhoods that are already underserved. Back in the late 90’s, activist and writer Nicole Lynn Lewis was a young lady with a bright future ahead of her. Then she got pregnant and her plans as she knew them to be forever changed. Determined to attend college in spite of the challenges of poverty, homelessness, and the responsibility of being a parent, she had a goal of earning her degree. Her newly published memoir, Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood, College, and Creating a Better Future for Young Families is not just her story. It is the story of many girls whose experiences are similar to that of the author’s.

I loved this book. What is different about this memoir is that Ms. Lewis is also teaching her readers about the stigmas and added levels of anxiety that come with parenthood before the age of twenty. She is throwing down the gauntlet, asking on both a person and societal level to question if this treatment of young parents is fair. What I find inspiring is that instead of throwing herself a pity party, the author did everything she could to not just help herself, but help others in the same situation.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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