Author Jennifer Weiner speaks up against fat shaming and bullying. 


img_3633Author Jennifer Weiner, spoke to a group of women at Franklin County Conservatory on November 2. The Jewish Federation’s women’s philanthropy group brought her to Columbus, Ohio.

Weiner, dressed in a cheerful blue dress, was friendly, compassionate, engaging, and hilarious.

This New York Times best selling author is talking to all women, but she resonates with the ones who don’t fit into a size 2.

Her first book, “Good in Bed” was all about an overly sized woman who delighted in sex.

She talked about how difficult it is to be overweight, and lonely in this society. But, she does it in a humorous way. She recalled how the first agent she interacted with wanted the character to only be 15 to 20 pounds overweight. And she wanted her to change the title because how could an obese woman be “good in bed?

Weiner also speaks to all sizes and shapes of women. ” What I like about her is her honesty .”

She was promoting her book, “Hungry Heart” that is a biography. She read excerpts from the book, which focuses on her less than perfect family.

Her grandmother, who is now 101, is a central character, and so is her mother, Francis, who discovered her true sexuality after her divorce. Getting used to her newly claimed homosexuality was difficult for the traditional family to accept.

Weiner also speaks to all sizes and shapes of women. ” What I like about her is how honest she is”, stated several avid readers.

Her fans in the audience truly love her. They thanked her for speaking up for them, being real, and honest. One woman tearfully told her how much she appreciated her speaking for her.

One questions asked was about how mothers can make sure their daughters don’t fall into the trap of hating themselves because they’re not the “perfect” shape. Wiener said she wished she had the answer for that. She thought one approach is to tell them over and over, “they’re beautiful from the inside and outside.”

“The Littlest Bookfoot,” is a children’s trilogy mixing mystery, adventure, and coming of age themes. Weiner mentioned that this book will turn into a television series or movie.

Considering it’s become socially acceptable to fat shame and bully, We all need someone like Jennifer Weiner to speak up for those made to feel less than.

From Generation to Generation: Aidan’s Great-Great Aunt Rochel


Grandmother Diaries

Three year old Aidan and his great-great-aunt do not concentrate on the past or the future. They both savor the present moment.

Aunt Rochel first held and spoke to  him when he was 1- day old.  Now, he converses with her in his 3-year-old way. “Sit here in this chair, and I will sit here,” he says.

Aidan doesn’t know that Aunt Rochel always had specific seating arrangements when our little family celebrated countless Shabbat and holiday dinners at her home.

Today was the first day the Jewish New Year, 5777.  She went to the temple service, and stood up for all the prayers.  She could very well have sat them out, but she refused.

“Why, I have no trouble standing, it’s just walking that’s a problem,” she says. Her balance is a bit compromised, so she uses a walker.

After services, my husband decided to take some pictures of…

View original post 124 more words

A Holocaust Survivor’s Story


My best friend growing up, Ellen Jacob, had parents who had both been in the Holocaust. I knew Ellen was very close to her father. Every time I would see Mr. Nebel, he seemed kind, and I liked him.

I was really impressed with some of the things Ellen had at her house. When I would ask her about something, she would say, “Oh my Dad made that.” Even as a silly teenager who wasn’t very materialistic,  the furniture made an impression on me. After watching this video, I realize where he first learned his craft.

Yom Kipper, an important holiday on the Jewish calendar, is coming this week. It’s about forgiveness. It’s a time to forgive others and yourself.

Mr. Nebel passed long ago, and this interview, edited by Ellen, is quite emotional.

You will have to click on the link to get to it. It is worth your time, especially if you don’t know much about the Holocaust. As the years pass, the Holocaust gets

A picture of Holocaust victims from Poland.

A picture of Holocaust victims from Poland.

further and further away from us. It is a cautionary tale everyone should know about.

https://www.facebook.com/ellen.b.jacob/videos/10205049160737263/

 

Do you practice age discrimination against your peers and yourself?


A beautiful, positive woman. my 93-year old Aunt Ruth

In this youth oriented society, it is not cool to be old. As someone I know said, It’s knowing what comes next.”

After turning 64 last year, I got the nerve to go into a Senior Center in my suburb which is mainly conservative. Not exactly my cup of tea, but why not?

I asked the director, “Am I too young to join this place.” She looked at me with a funny look; probably because I am way over 55 and don’t look as young as I think I do. So, I joined.

I joined the Senior Chorus, and its been a fairly good experience. They go sing at nursing homes

and rehab centers twice a month. I get to go out in the audience and talk to the people. It is community service. The people in the chorus are pretty nice, and it is fun. The music is just as old as the chorus, but there has only been one song in a year I never heard before. Most of the other songs I already know by heart. I know anyone under 50 would probably not know all the words like I do.

I am still not accepting my age.

Today, I went to a style show at the Center and positivity shone through 

Some members were  modeling clothes from a thrift store that gives their proceeds to cancer.

First, we said the “Pledge of Allegiance” which I haven’t said in a long time. (I wonder if my kids learned the words in school because they don’t say it anymore at schools.)

We ate this great meal because they all brought homemade stuff. Who can argue with that? I, not being exactly a cooking person, bought store-bought sugar-laden cookies.

A group from the chorus came out and sang an old song. They also did a little dance. One of the audience members was quietly laughing at them which I resented. It might not have been Broadway worthy, but at least they were trying!

The ladies came out and modeled the clothes, and they looked like a million bucks. They stood up straight acted proud, and smiled. Some of them wore those clothes beautifully. You still can look good after the age of 65. I guess it all has to do with a positive attitude.

The last model came out in a walker, and lip synced to the song, “Second Hand Rose.” That was a lady with a positive attitude and spirit. She was really giving it all she had.

Suddenly, I looked around and realized, like it or not, I fit in with this group. I am no spring chicken, but that doesn’t mean I’m less valuable than people younger than me. I think it’s too bad that this society devalues age so much, and I have to feel this way.

Inside I don’t feel old because I am physically active, and don’t take tons of medicine. I use exercise and singing as my defense against physically falling apart, and so far it’s working!

What do you think? How do you think people should accept their age. Should they join places like Senior Centers, or is that admitting you’re over the hill?

The enclosed picture is of a close relative of mine who is 93 years old. She has always looked at the bright side of life, and it shows.

10 things I learned after joining a Senior Citizens Choir


You're never too old to sing.

You’re never too old to sing.

1. Just because you’re older, you can still have fun. This choir puts on hats, cowboy scarves, Berets, necklaces, and whatever costume fits the songs. The choir director is a bubbling, optimistic person. The piano player finds joy in the music, and rarely makes a mistake.

2. Age is just a number. You can learn a new musical interest when you’re quite old. Look at Mick Jagger: he fills stadiums!

3. You will meet people with all kinds of life stories: retired army heroes, teachers, nurses, musicians, rich and poor people. Some really enjoy retirement, and other’s have a harder time living on a pension.

5. There are all kinds of old age diseases, but the secret is to just ignore them and keep going. It’s all in the attitude. Find joy in something, like singing and it won’t bother you as much.

6. Even if you’re old, you can sing for others and they will appreciate it. Giving to others never goes out of style.

7. Even if people are older, they are still concerned about the performance. How they sound, look, and stand. One choir woman in particular, always dresses beautifully, wears makeup, and cares about her appearance. If you’ve lived a good life, it shows on your face. This lady is 87!

8. You’re never too old to want a solo, duet, or quartet. There are no shortage of volunteers for this.

9. The repertoire is older songs, but I recognized every one of them. Enough said!

10. There is a chance I may someday sing at a current member’s memorial service. Just keep going!

A delicatessen documentary makes me cry : “The Sturgeon Queens”


A documentary about a delicatessen in the lower east side that survived for more than 100 years provoked tears from me today.

It was about the family that still runs a deli on the lower east side of New York called “Russ and Daughters.” Documentarian, Julie Cohen interviewed Hattie Russ Gold, 100, and Anne Russ Feldman 92 , the daughters of the original owners, who took an active part in the business. The current owners, Joshua Russ Tuper and Nikki Russ Federman were also interviewed.

Cohen  also interviewed some loyal customers including Maggie Gyllenhall, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Food is a powerful drug: it fills us up, and works on our emotions too. Sometimes, it can remind us of a happy childhood.

The Deli was celebrating 100 years! It is a true testament to that family to have kept it going so long.

If you have this in your background, I’d suggest seeing this documentary. Warning: it may make you cry.

Traveling in a time machine

Me grandpa, Harry Zelivyansky

My Grandmother, Miriam Zelivyansky when she was young.

It brought back memories of my grandparents, and the extended family I came from. Although she was born in the United States, my mother’s first language was Yiddish. She didn’t speak much English until she entered kindergarten. My mother had 3 brothers and 1 sister. When I was a little child we often got together.

My grandfather was a small, handsome, man who learned the craft of tole painting in the old country, and liked to sing. Grandpa had a headful of white hair, and stood up very straight. I knew all the members of the family respected him. Their children called them “ma and pa.”

My grandmother was a stout lady who I do remember hugging every Sunday when we came to visit. My mother and I would also take Grandma shopping at the local grocery store every Thursday. When I was being good, she would hand me a square of Dentyne gum. I’d carefully unwrap it, anticipating that burst of flavor.

I remember going to their house every Sunday and visiting them. Sometimes I didn’t want to, but I knew they were an essential part of our lives. My grandpa would watch me sing and twirl my skirt. They had a stained glass window in their house, and I liked to look at it, and imagine another family living on the other side of it.

Although  both my grandparents spoke English to me, their main language was Yiddish. Sometimes, when my mother didn’t want me to know what she was saying, she’d speak Yiddish to both of them.  She also would also loudly argue with my grandmother in her native tongue, but never my grandpa.

They came to our house for every holiday.  We’d have to pick them up at their house, and my grandma would say, “is the machine (car) ready for us?”

My grandma never made us any meals. The closest thing she would come to was offering fruit. My mother always said, “She’s tired from feeding 5 kids for years, and is now retired.”

I know my mother really liked food Jewish style.  She made a few Jewish things: real matzoh ball soup, and chopped liver. Other than that, she got it from Cleveland, Ohio, Jewish eateries like: Davis Bakery, Corky & Lenny’s and Solomon’s.

Why did a movie about a delicatessen provoke tears?

One way my mother shared the Jewish culture with me was through the food.

Every weekend, my mother bought the traditional Jewish food : tongue, pastrami, and corned beef. She also bought some bakery items like: chocolate cupcakes and coconut bars. She also got a dozen bagels, and a loaf of rye bread. For herself, she’d buy some creamed herring which I found revolting. She must have bought the same thing every weekend because I distinctly remember the white paper, boxes, and the smell of the whole stash of food. Later in my life I developed a taste for the herring and the salty lox.

When she was at the end of her life, I would try to return the favor by taking her out to a deli and helping her order a tongue sandwich on rye bread. By then, she was blind, and not the same woman I’d grown up admiring. But, she still enjoyed a good tongue sandwich, and was still attempting to be fiercely independent.

And so that’s why a movie about a delicatessen on the lower east side of New York provoked tears from me. A deli where people still come to feel that sense of family. A place where the help spoke Yiddish to the customers.

That side of life is nothing I will ever see again. It’s gone. Just like my parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles.

Me and my cousin Sheridan with mom's sister, Lil and her husband Al

Me and my cousin Sheridan with mom’s sister, Lil and her husband Al

L to r: L to R : Aunt Lillian, Uncle Sam, mom, Uncle Phil (blonde) & Uncle Phil

L to r:
L to R : Aunt Lillian, Uncle Sam, mom, Uncle Phil (blonde) & Uncle Phil

My sister Marilyn and me with my Dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa's house,

My sister Marilyn and me with my Dad outside of Grandma and Grandpa’s house,

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

L to R: Eileen, Dad holding me, and Marilyn.

Mom's brothers and sisters getting older

Mom’s brothers and sisters getting older