Author: Maya Bernstein

Maya Bernstein is Director of Education and Leadership Initiatives at UpStart Bay Area, where she blogs on Jewish Social Entrepreneurship. She lives with her husband and three children in Palo Alto, CA, where she’s made a secret deal with the devil in exchange for time to support her piano, swimming, yoga, and poetry habits.

Last year, this time, I was struck with an unexpected virus, which sent me spinning. It hit me out of the blue, while I was swimming. 

Halloween, Coda

Halloween is one of our lines in the sand, a line that we have chosen not to cross, as part of our definition of who we are, and who we are not.

Autumn Moms

Cheering our children as they falter and get back up.

Leaning In Means Letting Go

The “Lean In” debate, with its focus on women and their personal decisions, is masking a broader societal challenge, which is felt to the extreme by families in general, and women in particular. 


My oldest daughter recently performed in her kindergarten’s annual Thanksgiving Extravaganza. What is it about watching your kid in a school performance that turns a parent into dripping, slobbering mush? There is something so visceral about seeing your kid “up there,” shirt tucked in, braids in place, belting out songs and moving like a turkey… Read more »

Farmer’s Market

It happened, and then it was over. There was nothing much to talk about, and I have mostly forgotten the details. The images are somehow fuzzy, remembered in strange slow motion, as if I am still distracted, surprised that I am in the center of the memory, rather than standing on the side, looking in.… Read more »

Business Trip

Six years ago it was evening, and the light came gently through the slats of the hospital window shades, and the room was strangely calm, and it was all so new, and then she was in my arms, a being of radical energy, and I sang to her. Today it was morning of breakfasts and… Read more »

The Train: New Poetry

Each week, I travel to and from work by train. My children cling to my legs and wave their arms and shout farewells, as I board my bike and pedal towards the train station, feeling a tight-throated yearning for their sweet presence, and a gravitational pull towards freedom, possibility, self. The train has become a… Read more »

Failing Forward

My daughter, in a post-kindergarten exuberant high, has been exercising her new reading and writing skills by creating “books” in her free time. She wrote one called “Zoo.” It was four computer-paper pages long, taped together. Page one had a picture of a horse, and, underneath, the word “horse.” Page two had a zebra, “zebra.”… Read more »


Our family had returned from Israel. We had, eventually, embraced the mid-trip loss of our camera. We drew sketches of the special places we had been. We laughed and then sighed, without attempting to re-enact and re-capture the laughter for the camera. We returned home without pictures. We had moved on. And then we got… Read more »