“If you need to pass, you should,” my grandfather told me. We started having this conversation when I was around seven years old. It always went the same.

“No,” I would respond, “I wouldn’t ever want to do that.”

“No baby, you don’t understand,” he’d say. “If times return to…


(First, there are countless ways to spell Chanukah in English. I’ve chosen this one, but there is not a “correct” spelling unless you’re writing in Hebrew: חֲנוּכָּה)

The month of December is filled with holidays. Obviously, here in the U.S., Christmas comes to mind first. My family has celebrated the…


Someone who’s been following my NPE journey and exploration of Judaism asked me what was so awe-inspiring about the Days of Awe? Hopefully, after reading my response, he’ll understand. You know the craziness many start to feel towards the end of November regardless of whether you’re a Christian or not…


I first encountered this phrase, Welcome Home, when I dropped my son off at Camp Kalsman, a Jewish overnight camp. My son asked me why the camp counselors all greeted us in this way. I shrugged and said they were trying to be welcoming, to make him comfortable since he’d…


You see, there’s really only one thing that I find completely bewildering about Judaism — the calendar. Growing up in the U.S. we’re steeped in the Gregorian calendar. It’s a stable thing for the most part. Every day the sunsets and a new day begins. Most of us are pretty…


Somehow you ended up taking an over-the-counter DNA test. Perhaps the commercial of lederhosen versus a kilt sucked you in. Or maybe you received the test as a gift for your birthday, Mother’s Day, or Christmas. Whatever brought you to the moment where you found yourself spitting into a little…


During a break at one of our Intro to Judaism classes, my husband slid a brochure my way. My eyes scanned the title, “PNW Sisterhood Retreat.” Me? I thought. My husband must have read the expression on my face. He told me he thought it would be fun for me…


I’ve never attended a Passover meal before. In my non-religious upbringing, the word conjures up something to do for the dying. I see people sitting vigil for someone who’s about to pass. While the origin of the name of the holiday does have to do with death, Passover is a…


A bastard is a child born out of wedlock or from an adulterous affair. Under the common law, a bastard in England was considered “no one’s” child and therefore could not make any claim for support from their parents. While some were acknowledged by their biological father, this did not…


One of the oddest Jewish traditions I’ve encountered is the custom of placing a small rock on top of the headstone or somewhere close to a gravesite rather than flowers. I love the color, the reminder of life flowers offer the gravesite of a loved one. It’s comforting to see…

Kara Rubinstein Deyerin

I was raised half black but had a DNA surprise. I’m an NPE (not parent expected), Jewish, mom, wife, writer, cook, knitter, and connoisseur of all things human.

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