Author: Bonnie Beth Chernin

Bonnie Beth Chernin lives in Queens with her husband, daughter, and cat. She works as a staff writer for a Jewish non-profit and writes essays and fiction when she can.
The Artist’s Torah

I’m always on the look-out for commentary I can read while the Torah’s chanted in Hebrew I don’t understand during Saturday morning Shabbat services. So when I came across The Artist’s Torah by David Ebenbach, also the author of two short story collections and a book of poetry, I was grateful to have new material to delve into.

Do Not Abandon Me: Judaism and Alzheimer’s Disease

During the years my father struggled with dementia—from the early signs that began when he walked around touching sculptures in a sculpture garden; to the later years when he remembered I have a daughter but not her name— I wish I had had Broken Fragments available to me.

Menorahs I Have Known

I had only one menorah in my life for my first 18 years. The blue chanukiah with brass candle holders in the shape of simple lamps that belonged to my parents. I don’t know how they came to own this menorah, but I welcomed its reliable appearance that marked our holiday tradition as much as… Read more »

Rosh Hashanah Dishes of Wishes

For the new year I’ll have a new congressman. He’s anti-choice and wants cuts that threaten our social welfare. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Bob Turner, who won the special election for Anthony Weiner’s seat, which includes the New York City district where I live. And that’s the kicker. One of the… Read more »

Judaica and the Good Find

When I decided to stop at an outdoor flea market in Ocean County, New Jersey on the way to visit my parents in their retirement community, I recalled the pebbled blue havdalah spice box my mother had once rescued from entering an auction. The memory instinctively put me on alert for abandoned Judaica while I scoured… Read more »

Birthday Serenade

I had just finished listening to my daughter serenade me with Happy Birthday to You when I asked if she could sing the song again in Hebrew. Maybe it was because I didn’t want my birthday celebration to end, or maybe it was because I knew she could do it. Rachel had learned the Hebrew… Read more »

Israel’s Starry, Starry Night

The first time I visited Israel in 1979, Sadat and Begin signed the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The announcement came over the radio while I sat on the ground near lush grapefruit trees and drank coffee poured from a thermos, on break from picking the yellow fruit. The Israelis who listened to the… Read more »

Shabbat Tales

The first Shabbat my husband and I said the parents’ blessing for children our daughter was an infant, her delicate head with fine hair soft to my touch, and the final words of the prayer a quiet hope for the future, “May God turn God’s spirit to you and grant you peace.”

Three Faiths and a Pizza

The day was supposed to be a date with my husband, without my daughter, that included lunch and a visit to the New York Public Library to see Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, an exhibit of texts from each religion.

A Bright Spot in the Mid-Term Elections

After the shift in Congressional power, I’m grateful for any bright spot in the 2010 mid-term elections. For me, that bright spot was the passage of the Kansas Disqualification Amendment, which no longer allows the Kansas legislature to take away a person’s right to vote because she or he lives with mental illness.