Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Being a Baalat Teshuva’ Category

For some reason, out of the blue this week I found myself singing a song that I haven’t sung in over 2 decades. I learned the song “The Road Not Taken” by Randall Thompson (based on the poem by Robert Frost) as a 7th grader at Friends School of Baltimore. As I sang this stirring song in my kitchen this past week, I realized that more than any of my classmates who stood next to me on the bleachers in the Friends School auditorium performing this song– I have lived this song. In fact, as a baalat teshuva, a newly religious Jew, this song is the story of my life.

Read Full Post »

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

Bookmark and Share


When children become religious, it is a rejection of the lifestyle of their parents to a certain extent. But that shouldn’t mean that they reject their parents as well.

I have witnessed this phenomenon time and time again: religious children and grandchildren who remain incredibly close and loyal to secular grandparents. Even more than the other non-observant children and grandchildren. Because for religious Jews, respecting parents takes TOP PRIORITY.

That was why this cute home video moved me so deeply. To see an Orthodox son and his kids paying a heartfelt tribute to grandpa in honor of his 70th birthday. You can just feel how much they love their Saba.

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

Bookmark and Share


Do you know how I decide whether to post something on this blog or not?

My rule of thumb is this: if an article or video brings tears to my eyes, I post it. Because if it makes me cry, that means that it’s something real and touches and expresses a real and deep place within my gut and heart. And “What comes from the heart, enters the heart.”

So why am I posting this surreal, polyester-clad clip from the 1981 season of the game show “The Price is Right” with Bob Barker?

Because 1981 was the year I was 10 years old. And watching this video reminded me of my 10-year-old daughter Hallel studying for a test last night on the book of Vayikra (Leviticus). It reminded me that Hallel’s 10-year-old head is brimming over with the sacrifices we brought in the Holy Temple, and the clothing the High Priest wore in the Holy Temple, and her burning questions over when she will see the Holy Temple finally rebuilt. Hallel’s 10-year-old head is full of Torah, and Mizvot, and Hashem.

And my 10-year-old head was full of this.

That’s why it makes me cry.


CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com user Pink Sherbet Photography

CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

Bookmark and Share


Chana Jenny. That’s my name.

And I’ve always hated it.

To clarify, I have nothing against the name Chana or Jenny on their own.

I love the name Chana. That’s the Hebrew name my parents gave me. I like that I’m named after my grandmother, who died before I was born. I like that my name means grace and kindness, two traits I’d like to have some more of. I like that my pen-name is Chana, since I write about moms and Judaism and holiness, which I feel are so embodied in the name Chana.

And I like the name Jenny, too. Jenny is the name that people I know have always called me, even today. I feel like it’s a cute name, a light name, a sunshine-y name. I feel like Chana is my true spiritual essence, but that for day-to-day dealings with neighbors, plumbers, telemarketers, I’d prefer that my true Chana essence remains hidden behind the fluorescent yellow, smiley-face mask of Jenny. Using the name Jenny, for me, feels akin to wearing clothing to cover my bare skin.

So, if I don’t like the combination “Chana Jenny,” why for G-d’s sake did I combine them in the first place?

I combined them because, as you might be aware, there are two of us writers named Chana Weisberg. The other Chana Weisberg is a Lubavitch rebbetzin from Toronto and a popular writer and editor on Chabad.org (and yes, we’ve met. She is the best! I am so totally proud to be a member of the hyper-exclusive “Writers named Chana Weisberg Club”!) So a few years ago, I decided that in order to reduce, at least somewhat, the considerable confusion between the 2 Chana Weisbergs, I would change my writing name to Chana Jenny.

It was a hard decision to make, and I’ve never felt comfortable with it. It feels so weird, so awkward. Faigy Sue. Leah Leslie. Odelya Margit. Chana Jenny. Yuck!

But the other day I was walking home, and I had a funny, meteoric-sudden revelation about the name Chana Jenny.

I realized that I love it.

Because the dissonance between Chana and Jenny, I realized, is who I really am.

Chana…Jenny

I am religious…but for the first twenty years of my life I was far from it
We are religious…but our families are not
My kids attend an Orthodox school…and I attended a Quaker one
I am an Israeli…and an American
I celebrate a “Mazal Tov” birthday…and a “Congratulations” birthday too
My kids speak Hebrew…and I answer them in English
My two favorite magazines are Binah…and the New Yorker
My two favorite hangouts in Jerusalem are the Central Belzer Shul…and the avidly secular Israel Museum*
My two favorite websites are Aish.com…and the New York Times “Motherlode” blog
My two favorite musicians are Efrat Razel…and Vivaldi
My two favorite cities are Jerusalem…and New York
My two favorite foods are felafel…and Pringles potato chips

Weird, right?

Weird, and nice too. Because today when I see the name Chana Jenny Weisberg, it no longer makes me cringe and grit my teeth.

Today, when I see the name Chana Jenny Weisberg, it just makes me smile real big. Because that’s me.
CLICK TO RECEIVE THE #1 WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FOR JEWISH MOMS

Bookmark and Share

*I love the Israel Museum especially since the new spectacular renovations. But I am careful about the exhibits I enter there. Some of the Modern Art exhibits, for example, are absolutely nihilistic and gross. I love the Archeology, Judaica, and South American, and African exhibits, for example.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: