Saturday, September 20, 2014 Elul 25, 5774

Miriam Steinberg-Egeth

Jewish Exponent Blogger

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...

Comment0

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...

Comment0

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...

Comment0

Dear Miriam,

Another Miriam, writing in Slate's column, "You're Doing it Wrong: Charoset," says that the Hillel sandwich (korech) during the seder is matzah, maror, and charoset. In my family, we always just put horseradish and matzah together. Who's doing it wrong?

Signed,
Konfused by Korech

Dear Konfused,

This is indeed one of the more confusing steps in the seder, both in terms of what to do and why we do it, but let me start by saying to all my readers that wherever you come down on this debate, the presence or absence of charoset in...

Comment0

Dear Miriam,

I am hosting seder for my family this year as a I do every year, and I've had the menu planned for weeks. Yesterday, my son called from college to say he wants to bring his new girlfriend with him, and she's a vegan. I have no idea what to serve her. Help!

Signed,
Starving the seder guests

Dear Starving,

Near the beginning of the seder, we say, "All who are hungry, let them come and eat." This includes vegans, last minute guests and new girlfriends. At least that's only one additional person in your case. (There are, of course,...

Comment0

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.

Subscribe To our E-Newsletter

Our Supporters

Advertisement