Let’s Schmooze!

LinkedIn

Like Me, Pretty Please!

Subscribe to the Tribe!

Enter your e-mail address to get Mishegas of Motherhood in your Inbox:

Archives

Ellie S. Grossman

Why I Celebrated 2 Passover Seders—in 1 Night

Jewish holidays, from Hanukkah to Purim, give us another opportunity to grow spiritually, and thankfully there’s a reason to celebrate all year round. Passover, which begins this Friday night March 30 and lasts for one week, is certainly no exception. What makes Passover, also called Pesach or Festival of Freedom, so special is that all generations come together to participate in this ritual ceremonious meal called the Seder (means “order or arrangement”) in which we read the Hagaddah (means”retelling”) of the action-packed story of the Israelites journey from slavery to freedom.

The Haggadah begins, “All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy come and celebrate Passover.”  Come to find out, it is ME who feels like the stranger in my own religion, hungry for knowledge and wanting more from this holy experience when Jews all over the world celebrate the the Hebrews becoming their own nation thousands of years ago. I’m grateful to our family and friends for hosting the Seders all these years, allowing me to indulge a little more into the meaning of it all without the stress of plating sliced carrots atop gefitle fish for dozens of guests and then cleaning all the dirty dishes. Continue reading

Why is This Haggadah Different From All Other Haggadahs? Because It’s Funny!


As our Passover Seders evolve over the years, and our kids grow into adults, and the guest list has some new faces, so does our Haggadah. Haggadah means “retelling the story,” and it doesnt have to be the same long, boring version year after year like some of us remember from our childhoods, thank you Maxwell House. Perhaps it’s time to change things up a bit and try something new to guide us through the ceremony and full course meal that can last as long as the Exodus from Egypt. There are hundreds of Haggadahs to choose from with various themes, from social justice Haggadahs to the chocolate Haggadah (non edible) that addresses contemporary issues of slavery, economic justice and fair trade. But only one Haggadah is laugh out loud funny with all due respect to Moshe and the sancity of the Festival of Freedom.  It’s called “For This We left Egypt?” from the comic minds of Dave Barry (nationally syndicated humor columnist/author), Alan Zweibel (Saturday Night Live producer/writer), and Adam Mansbach (NY Times bestselling novelist/screenwriter),  a talented trio of wisecrackers who succeed in tickling our shank bone. Just in time for Passover, Zweibel will be sharing his Seder satire as part of the 39th annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, on Sunday March 18, at the JCC in Creve Coeur.

Continue reading

On Purim Treat Yourself Like a Queen

If ever moms deserve to feel like a queen, Purim is the time to treat yourself like royalty (before some of us become slaves again and start cleaning the house of chamitz for Passover). Continue reading

Great Big Challah Bake Unites Women Worldwide



In a world that is more and more divided, The Great Big Challah Bake is bringing us together, one challah at a time. Another alarming reality is that many Jews are drifting away from their heritage, and nothing brings us back to our roots and unites us like this aromatic braided bread made lovingly by hand from the most basic ingredients, mainly flour, water, yeast, egg, sugar, salt. Every single week, in preparation for the Sabbath, this ordinary or mundane act of making bread is elevated and becomes holy and even magical,  as hundreds of women in the same room (and thousands across the globe) come together for the same mission. Last year, more than 500 women and girls, representing the entire spectrum of the St. Louis Jewish community and all levels of observance, bonded together to share their love of making challah. This year’s third annual event, October 26 at the JCC in Creve Coeur, will be bigger and better than ever. Continue reading

Empowering Girls To Be Their True Selves


When it come to empowering girls to be their authentic selves and to boldly pursue their dreams, nobody does it better than Girls In The Know (GITK). Founded in 2009, GITK has already reached more than 2,500 middle school age girls and their parents (or caregivers) and given them the strategic tools they need to navigate through the challenging adolescent years. It’s not easy growing up in today’s world, and young girls have more pressure than ever to conform to unrealistic standards. Again, that’s when GITK comes into play. Continue reading

Sukkot: What We Learn When Our Walls Come Down

When Yom Kippur ends, another Jewish holiday begins. Sukkot! This week-long pilgrimage festival (October 5-13, 2017) commemorates the time when Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years after escaping from slavery in Egypt. The Jewish people built temporary tent-like structures to sleep, eat, and dwell in, and it’s a mitzvah for us to build a sukkah and to immerse ourselves in nature and God’s presence. At this time in our world, when everyday seems to bring another natural or manmade tragedy, from the hurricanes to mass shootings, we are reminded of how vulnerable we really are. The safety of four concrete walls can’t protect us from harm. Also, when we isolate ourselves in our shelters, we can’t connect with each other. So, Sukkot is a time for our walls to come down, for us to be in touch with not only nature and with God, but also with each other. During Sukkot, we are reminded that God’s presence is bigger than all of us. Sukkot, yet another opportunity to make the ordinary–like an outdoor hut–holy again. Continue reading

Four Ways to Forgive, A Yom Kippur Lesson

Forgiveness. It’s the theme of Yom Kippur, and not an easy concept to swallow—kind of like that pickled herring served at break the fast.

Yom Kippur is a time for atonement between us and God. It is the most solemn (and yet positive) time in the Jewish calendar. During the High Holidays, or the 10 Days of Awe, we not only ask God for forgiveness, but also that of our fellow human beings…and ourselves. We can pretty much count on God forgiving us for our mistakes, wrongdoings, and lashon hara (talking negatively about people behind their back) because the Almighty has unconditional love for us, like a parent would of his child. Making mistakes is an inevitable part of human nature and an opportunity for self growth. Asking (and accepting) forgiveness, whether the hurt was caused intentionally or not, is a physical, tangible way to heal the soul and clean the slate for the coming New Year. And it’s not meant to be easy. For Jews, this is the time when the real homework begins. Continue reading

Three Gifts I Learned at Rosh Hashanah

Aish HaTorah St. Louis welcomes Slovie!

Rosh Hashanah, translated in Hebrew as “head of the year,” is a time to let go. As a new Empty Nester, letting go seems to be the theme of everything these days. We let go of our mistakes from the previous year, let go of shame we may be feeling, let go of sorrow for hurting someone, and, of course, ask for their forgiveness.

The Jewish New Year is also a celebrated time for new beginnings…a new school year, a new relationship with others, a new commitment to better ourselves, and a reawakening of Judaism and the Almighty.

Acclaimed author speaker Slovie Jungreis Wolff

Continue reading

The Birth Of An Empty Nester

 

I’ve been preparing to become an Empty Nester since I became a mom. I just didn’t realize it at the time. Now that my son Jack is 22, and is subleasing an apartment in town, and my daughter Sari, 18, is getting ready to leave for college out of state in TWO days, I will join the ranks of Empty Nesters and start a new chapter in my life.

Continue reading

Parenting in a New Political World

On the eve of the highly anticipated inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, I’m glued to the televised pomp and circumstances like I was a couple weeks ago for the Golden Globes. Only this event isn’t entertainment, it’s real life.  These two worlds of fantasy and reality have collided and a billionaire businessman/realty television star with no political experience is about to become our commander in chief. No matter what the outcome of this ugly, contested election, half of the voting population was predicted to be up in arms and protest the results.

I have struggled to write this post-election blog because I didn’t quite know how to express my feelings.  I’m glad I waited to process my thoughts. In the days leading up to and after the election, I refused to get caught up in the spew of hatred, negativity, and filth in social media. I’m no angel, but words like “misogynist” and “xenophobic” were posted so many times on Facebook that I’m afraid spelling bees and ACTS will sink to a new level with this kind of commonplace vocabulary. This country is great because we have a platform to speak our minds and share our views, but the constant bombardment of anger, bigotry, and ignorance is out of control from both sides. Instead, I choose to focus on my family and encourage open conversations about our different opinions. I’m trying to be a better listener. Continue reading