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.
If I Only Had a Luge

The winter Olympics are approaching. Hooray! Something to watch on TV besides reality shows. I’m a product of the TV of the 80s. Fraggle Rock, Growing Pains, and MacGyver. Now, that’s TV. And the Olympics were always occasion for a good hot cup of cocoa, and wide-eyed dreams. Who knows, my eager ten year old… Read more »

Fertile Chaos

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I became prey to the endless array of children’s gear, clothing, and toys marketed to parents as if they would be negligent if they did not purchase it. One evening, while watching Saturday Night Live and realizing that the commercials, marketed at young parents like myself who… Read more »

Up in the Air (With Children)

I used to love to fly. I would request a window seat and forget that I was in a tiny claustrophobic cabin and lose myself to the clouds, to the perspective of being in a liminal space, above life on land, and closer to the vast expanse beyond. I always travelled light; my carry-on contained… Read more »


I’ve spent the past month searching for a new nanny. Albina, our beloved babysitter, who had lived three doors away, moved. She doesn’t drive, and now lives just far enough away to have rendered me mad with searching for a chauffeur for our nanny, and then distraught that I am not an upper-class lady in… Read more »

House of Straw

While spending time at my parent’s house with my daughters recently, I reacquainted myself with some of my favorite childhood books. My parents have a stash that weren’t subject to today’s politically correct sensors. My older daughter delighted in Maurice Sendak’s The Night Kitchen, which tells the story of a little boy who has a… Read more »


Today I bought a new bike. The used one I’ve been riding ever since I moved to the Bay Area was so heavy that I could hardly lift it up the five steep stairs required to mount the train, which I take to commute to work. I got tired of watching other commuters lift their… Read more »


Michelle Obama is hula-hooping for health on the South Lawn of the White House. Jamie Oliver’s going to teach obese America how to cook their vegetables, and eat them too. Herbivores, frugivores, and locavores are putting their stakes in the ground, amidst the moist dirt of organically grown slow food. Meanwhile, my 20-month-old daughter went… Read more »

Chicken Soup

My foray into vegetarianism began in 8th grade, and, if I correctly recall, had something to do with a dead squirrel. It was a year of rebellion for me: I got kicked out of class for the first time; cut class for the first time; and even joined an illicit “pizza group,” composed of me… Read more »

Back To School

Ah – crisp September – You are most welcome here! O Chill in the Air, Dear Crunch of the Apple, Ye Shavings of Sharpened Pencils. This time of year has taken on precious new meaning for me in motherhood: it marks the return of blessed routine. This year, our eldest daughter started Pre-K, a joyous… Read more »


In his article “Siberia II” in last week’s New Yorker, Ian Frazier packs his readers into his dilapidated van, and takes them for a ride across Siberia. He describes the numerous places he visited on his summer-long trek in August, 2001, including Irkutsk, the Paris of Russia, its famous Lake Baikal, which, as Frazier describes,… Read more »