How You Spend Your Days and Your Life

how we spend our daysThis week is the Jewish holiday of Purim. (It starts Wednesday night.) This is my 4th or 5th year writing about different Jewish holidays, and I always worry that as the holiday approaches I will have nothing new to say. Of course that never happens!

Have you ever read the same book more than once? Seen the same movie three times? The story may stay the same, but as we grow and experience life in different ways, we see those same words and scenes in a new way, too. Likewise, the same holidays and the texts they come from (in this case, The Book of Esther) always reveal something new to me each year.
This year I found a message in Queen Esther’s story that I had never quite noticed in the past about recognizing joy where it already exists and increasing joy where it doesn’t exist. As one of my favorite writers, Annie Dillard, said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Why not find the most joy possible every single day?

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C-List Friends

Ask Nina a Question

Have you ever worried that you consider someone a good friend, but the feeling isn’t mutual, at least not equally mutual? This week’s friendship question comes from someone who fears she’s a C-list friend to one of her oldest friends. I gave her my two cents on what to do next, but I’m sure she’d…

Do Listen Read: Mid Februrary

Do listen read

You can see all previous “Do Listen Read” posts here.  DO – I’m planning to make this egg salad. – My sister-in-law, Jaci, made Bryan and me this dish called Pan Con Tomate. It was so fresh and delicious. – I pre-ordered Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. The book…

How Not to Talk About Ex-Friendships

Ask Nina a Question

Today’s friendship question deals with the end of a friendship when the two parties have the same social circle. The woman who asked the question wanted to know: Do you tell the shared friends what happened? Even if you know your ex-friend is making her case, do you take the high road and keep quiet without…

Do Listen Read: Early February

Do listen read

DO -Check out the fashion blog “Fashion-Isha” because it focuses on modest clothing. It’s so refreshing to see a little less skin! LISTEN/WATCH -One of the best quotes from Sunday night’s Downton Abbey. (The Dowager Countess, of course.) “All this endless thinking. It’s very overrated. Before 1914 nobody thought about anything.” READ -The conversation about synagogue participation continues. JTA…

More Than Money


I’m having a very Jewey week, I know. Yesterday was all about the bar mitzvah problem. Today’s piece, however, was not one I planned to write. It’s an op-ed that I wrote for after reading an article in Monday’s New York Times about how some synagogues are eliminating mandatory dues with the hope of increasing…

No Easy Answers

nina's bat mitzvah

In last month’s column for, I wrote about our family’s struggle to decide which educational path to take as our oldest child gets closer to bar mitzvah age. And yes, I acknowledged and continue to acknowledge that by struggle I mean “struggle.” The fact that we’re putting this much thought into our kids’ Jewish education…

Do Listen Read: Late January

Do listen read

DO – I made a good coconut chicken curry this week as well as a good thai curry soup. Both were really healthy recipes. – Speaking of healthy recipes, I want to make this granola from Goop, which means I had to order this puffed millet cereal from Amazon. (Could not find it in a store here.)…