Seeing life the right way

“It must be an issue with her left eye.” Shaina’s teachers and therapists all seemed to be in agreement. We had been sitting in Leah, the school principal’s office. Being called into the principal’s office is daunting for a child. It is overwhelming to be there to hear an assessment of your special needs child’sContinue reading “Seeing life the right way”

You’re always so positive

It happened again this week. Someone wanted to know, “How do you always stay so positive?”  I’m sorry to disappoint the fanbase, but I’m neither a saint nor superhuman. I don’t “always” “stay” positive. I actually think both of those words are barriers to positivity. If we expect to “always” be in a good space, we make it worseContinue reading “You’re always so positive”

Would you like fries with that?

Want to insult a Jewish mother? Turn down a second helping of dinner.While other moms fret if you don’t make your bed or fold your laundry, Yiddishe mamas only want to make sure you are well fed. A Jewish mother whose child won’t eat properly goes into anxiety overdrive. Food has become a big issueContinue reading “Would you like fries with that?”

Choosing the right lenses

Shaina will often perch a pair of glasses on the tip of her nose and announce that she is a granny. It’s a super-cute reminder that reading glasses are for old folk. Only, I don’t laugh as much as I used to. I’ve worn glasses ever since my third-grade teacher told my mom I couldn’tContinue reading “Choosing the right lenses”

Discovering Vulnerable Leadership

I was about fourteen when I decided to become a rabbi. I imagined, quite idealistically, that I would inspire people to follow a spiritual lifestyle if I would just show them the way. I received my rabbinical ordination shortly before we were married and couldn’t wait to take on the role emblazoned on my certificate.Continue reading “Discovering Vulnerable Leadership”

Coming out with Shaina’s story

“Discretion is knowing how to hide that which we cannot remedy”. We were slowly coming to terms with the unacceptable: We could not fix Shaina’s condition. Neither could the doctors. While we will never stop praying for a miracle, we had to start to confront our harsh new reality. We had a forever journey aheadContinue reading “Coming out with Shaina’s story”

Having the toughest conversations

I miss the days when the tough conversations with our kids were about school grades or who had hit who back first. Over the last few years, we’ve had to talk our children through their sister’s close calls and hospital admissions. We’ve had to debrief them after traumatic medical emergencies and sugar-coat feedback from doctors. Continue reading “Having the toughest conversations”

I don’t want to join your club!

I shivered as I stepped off Crown Heights’ bustling high street into the dimly lit stairwell. The Brooklyn night was frigid, but the tremor that ran through my body wasn’t from the cold.  I hesitated in front of the metal door. I didn’t have to open it. I could have stepped back into normality toContinue reading “I don’t want to join your club!”

Searching for answers

Everyone was happy with Shaina’s progress. Except for us, of course. And her neurologist. The good news of 2019 was that Shaina was seizure-free for over a year. But, her developmental delays still gnawed at us, and new challenges seemed to materialise every few weeks. Shaina’s teachers boasted a sterling record of toilet training everyoneContinue reading “Searching for answers”