Thursday, July 26, 2007


1. Yesterday I was making chocolate chip cookies with Barak, something we haven't done in a while. As per usual, I held up the eggs I had cracked into a glass measuring cup, for him to check.

"What color are the eggs?"


"Just yellow?"

"Just yellow. Dere's no spots in dere. Iss just yellow."

Then it hit me. Yellow, not lellow. He's never said that before.

2. Iyyar is just beginning to talk, albeit sort of reluctantly. When he's done eating and wants to come out of his high chair, sometimes he'll repeat "all done!" or even say, "up!" What he does with great enthusiasm, though, is say, "hi." Yesterday, he was in his high chair eating breakfast as I moved around the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up. Every time I broke eye contact with him, two seconds later I'd hear, "Hi!" I'd look at him and say "hi!" and he'd giggle. Then I'd put another dish away and hear, from behind me, "HI!"

3. And Iyyar's really walking now. He stands up in the middle of the room and walks halfway across it before toppling, and yesterday walked straight into my arms, collapsing in giggles. He's a lightning fast crawler, though, and still seems to see walking as an entertaining activity, while crawling is the primary means of locomotion. I predict this will change in about two weeks.

4. Barak, B"H, is finally in the realm where I would call him toilet trained. The only accidents he has had in the last two weeks have involved falling asleep in the stroller. We're thinking tzitzis party when his cousins come, the week after next. Woohoo! It only took a year...

5. I have a number of more serious posts in mind, since I feel like things have been kind of frivolous lately. I don't know if I'll get to them, though, since right now I am wading through a neck-deep swamp of the writing for which I actually get paid.

In the meantime, though, what I will say about the Noah Feldman article in last Sunday's NYT magazine (if you haven't read it, don't bother): this is the guy who, of his own initiative, offered to represent the city of Tenafly pro bono (to the tune of $75,000 in legal fees, by the city's accounting) to fight the Orthodox community's eruv (a more or less invisible halachic boundary, consisting of pieces of plastic tape on telephone poles, allowing Jews to carry on the Sabbath.) He also turned up at the reunion of his Orthodox high school with a non-Jewish girlfriend--sort of like turning up at the reunion of your Bible Christian high school with a same-sex partner, and introducing him to all of your old teachers--and couldn't understand why their picture wasn't in the newsletter, or the news of their later marriage. And now he's published a full-length feature piece in a national newspaper, saying about the students at his high school, "... our aim was to seem to outsiders — and to ourselves — like reasonable, mainstream people, not fanatics or cult members." And this is an article in which he says that he has not rejected his upbringing, an article that was on the most e-mailed list for days, an article that has probably put thousands of Jews in the awkward position of trying to explain to non-Jewish friends what exactly is so warped about the whole thing.

And yet, "As best I know, no one, not even the rabbis at my old school who disapprove of my most important life decisions, would go so far as to refuse to shake my hand."

He doesn't really realize how lucky he is, does he.


shanna said...

I agree with the bulk of what you wrote about the Feldman article, but there if one tiny factual refinement I'd like to was not that the school newsletter opted not a print a picture of Feldman and his then-girlfriend, but rather that the two of them were actually edited out of a group picture (a much stronger action, as I see it - and also an action on the school's part that I disagree with). Also worth commenting on...would Maimo have done (or failed to do) so many things if Feldman's non-Jewish girlfriend (and later wife) were white and named, say, "Susan Miller" - thereby not making it so obvious at first glance that she was not Jewish? Does the school perform background checks on everyone's significant others before decide what photos and announcements go into the newsletter?

Israel Mom said...

Harry Potter!
Harry Potter!
(I just finished reading it)

Have you got to it yet?
Can't wait to hear your take on it!

uberimma said...

Shanna, I am sure that if his wife had been white and named Susan Miller she certainly would not have been included in the mazal tov section, and if his Korean girlfriend had been wearing a knee-length skirt and 3/4 sleeves and been m'gayur, she would not have been edited out.

He tries to make it sound racial, but he is being disingenuous. He is one of their most high-profile grads, of quite a few, and no background check was necessary to know who was who.

shanna said...

I'm not talking about it being racist, just obvious. If he showed up with a woman named "Susan Miller," and it was not obvious from her appearance or from conversations with her that she wasn't Jewish, would the school have even thought twice about whether or not she was Jewish? What about if "Susan Miller" said she was Jewish, and could walk the walk and talk the talk, but based this on having had a Reform conversion? What I'm asking, basically, is whether every spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend at these events, or about whom an announcement is submitted, is subject to the same level of scrutiny.

My issue with the picture is not that they edited out an Asian woman (based on looks) but rather that they manipulated visual documentation of who was present at the reunion.

(And you bring up an interesting point - what if an alumnus's Jewish wife showed up wearing pants, or in short sleeves? Would that get her edited out of a photo?)

jasmin said...

Wow, don't read for a week and the kids are all grown up. I'm afraid to fall behind now: next thing I hear, Barak will be driving Iyyar to their high school reunions...

Congrats on the potty training and your patience. That's quite an accomplishment.

Uh, YELLOW eggs? I'm assuming just the yolks, or do you have some really interesting cookie recipes?