Saturday, August 23, 2014 Av 27, 5774

Miriam Steinberg-Egeth

Jewish Exponent Blogger

Dear Miriam,

My husband and I are both close with our families, which is great until it comes to holidays. Both sets of parents expect us to spend every holiday with them, and each time a holiday rolls around, we have to engage in major negotiations to decide where we're going to go. At this point, we just want to stay home and avoid the conversation. What is a reasonable compromise to keep everyone happy and to keep me from going nuts?

Signed,
Whose home for the holidays

Dear Home,

Sit down tonight with this blog, your husband and your...

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Dear Miriam,

I ride the SEPTA bus to and from school every day, and I often see older people standing and younger people sitting. What's the etiquette for offering someone a seat?

Signed,
SEPTA Seats

Dear Seats,

I, too, ride the bus pretty frequently, and I like to think about how public transportation is one of the great equalizers (that is, for people who actually use it). If there's traffic, we're all stuck in traffic together. If someone's eating a smelly sandwich on the bus, we're all smelling it together. If it's crowded, we're all...

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Dear Miriam,

I have a bris to go to next week, and I'm not sure what an appropriate gift is for the occasion.  Should I give money?  If so, how much, and if not, what do I give instead?

Signed,
Milah Moolah

Dear Moolah,

A bris, or brit milah, is the ritual circumcision for a Jewish baby boy that takes place on the eighth day of life. It's also an opportunity for family and friends to meet the baby, share a celebratory meal and, yes, bring gifts. But just because it's a bris, the gift doesn't need to be any different from any other...

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Dear Miriam,

My husband and I are expecting our first child in July. My own mother lives across the country and isn't well, but my mother-in-law lives close by and has offered to come stay with us to help out when the baby arrives. I appreciate the offer and think she'll be a big help, but I'm also nervous about her being in my space for an unspecified amount of time during a potentially emotional and difficult time. What should I do?

Signed,
Giving her a grandchild

Dear Giving,

B'sha'ah tova!  You're very lucky to have a family member...

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Dear Readers,

We are currently (until sundown tonight) in the part of Passover called chol ha-moed, or the intermediate days. Even though work is permitted on chol ha-moed, it should be done a little bit differently so that it still feels like a holiday. In that spirit, today's column will be a little bit different as well.

The Omer is the seven weeks in between Passover and Shavuot, ostensibly the time that the Jews wandered in the desert before receiving the Torah. The Omer starts on the second night of Passover, so tonight will mark the sixth night. Some people set...

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Profile

I am extremely proud to be a part of making the Philadelphia Jewish community the best it can be.

I am a co-founder of Minyan Tikvah (a lay-led prayer group in Center City Philadelphia that meets once a month for traditional egalitarian Shabbat services), a founder of a former matchmaking service for Jewish graduate students, a children’s book reviewer, a former elementary school teacher, a pretty decent cook and a mom to two beautiful children.

I spent years as the director of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia’s Jewish Graduate Student Network before resigning to spend more time with my family. My husband, Marc, likes to say that I knew more people within a week of moving to Philadelphia than he knew after six years here.

I’m originally from the tiny town of Fredonia, NY, and sometimes I still stare at the skyscrapers and marvel at how many Jews I know.

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