Ways my Mother Wronged Me

If I would have been taken seriously, I would have answered the question “Why do you want to be a historian?” on the application to graduate school: “because of the American Girl dolls.” Instead, I BSed my way through the application (and my PhD program, for that matter) with some nonsense or other about changingContinue reading “Ways my Mother Wronged Me”

Barbies, Babies, and Puffy Coats

One of the greatest offenses my mother committed was her desire to keep us bundled up and warm – even on the most important of holidays: Halloween. To this day, Halloween is still my favorite holiday – I’ve never missed a year of dressing up. And the point of dressing up, let’s be honest, isContinue reading “Barbies, Babies, and Puffy Coats”

“The Seck”

“The Seck” Parents and families have all sorts of weird names for their genitalia. Sometimes these monikers come about organically based on the funny way a child pronounced “vagina” or “testicle.” Sometimes parents are too uncomfortable with the scientific names for body parts and succumb to “pee pee.” A friend of a friend’s family calledContinue reading ““The Seck””


At Passover every year someone in the family quietly places a spoon on their nose. A cousin, or an aunt sees this and quickly follows suit. Soon, we are involved in an unspoken, but-never-the-less extremely cutthroat competition until my grandfather has had enough of the sacrilege and cries “Dayenu!”… My grandmother has cooked every mealContinue reading “Traditions”

Quotidian Antisemitisms

When people say CHallah bread… At my WASPY elementary school, I accidentally bumped into my academic nemesis as we lined up at the door. He turned around, looked me in the eyes and said ‘Jews have the knack of getting on my nerves.’ We were in 3rd grade. I wonder how he learned a phraseContinue reading “Quotidian Antisemitisms”