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.
CEO, Home

I recently finished reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I did skim, quite liberally, many of his more philosophical chapters, which tend to begin with a question like, “What is Power” and end, fifteen pages later, with the conclusion that, “Power is Power.” Overall, though, I loved each page, and loved the experience of sinking,… Read more »

Instructional Swim

It is finally upon us – the Jewish annual summertime killjoy – Tisha B’Av – the ninth of Av. My daughter came home from her Chabad day camp last week with her bathing suit. “Why did they send this home,” I wondered aloud as I scraped the remnants of her peanut-butter sandwich off of the… Read more »

Road Trip

My husband, Noam, and I just returned from vacation. Swimming in a lake, hiking in the mountains amidst a sea of wild flowers, late afternoon ice-cream cones, and French toast for breakfast. Each activity, though, was asterisked – “swimming” meant spending hours gathering rocks, putting them in pails, and making sand mud-pies. “Hiking” involved the… Read more »


I was roller-blading with my kids in the double stroller this past Sunday, heading from morning mud-pies in the park to summer peaches at the farmer’s market. As I weaved my way through the crowd of shoppers, a woman who attends the same yoga class that I do caught my eye. She smiled, and asked:… Read more »

A Modest Proposal

Don’t worry. I’m not going to purport that we eat them, nor will I wax poetic on how juicy and delicious those baby pulkes would be with Soy Vay. Though I’ll confess that the idea has occurred to me. And it has been confirmed by other parents who have told me – “when they’re little,… Read more »

East Meadow

CalTrain, which runs from San Jose to San Francisco, zooms by the corner of East Meadow and Alma, about five blocks from our house, numerous times a day. It stops about two miles north and three miles south of that corner. When I go to work at my office in San Francisco, I bike the… Read more »

Peaceful Protest

On Tuesday morning, my small office’s regular staff meeting took place in the plaza in front of the Supreme Court building in San Francisco, under a chuppah, amongst hundreds of waving rainbow “marriage” signs. We were awaiting the news from the court about Prop 8, which, in November of last year, banned same-sex marriage in… Read more »


A close friend of mine has a box in a chest in her house. It is filled with her grandmother’s Christmas Tree ornaments – delicate, hand-picked, beloved pieces. Golden orbs and shining stars, heavy ceramics and light, painted glass. The ornaments have been passed down through her maternal line for generations. She has no idea… Read more »

A Tyrannical Victory of the Common-Sense View

I was struck by the first sentence of Peggy Orenstein’s article, Kindergarten Cram, in this past week’s New York Times magazine. She claims, and I believe her, to have “made the circuit” of kindergartens in her town. And Berkeley’s no small town, mind you. I had to immediately put down the article to dodge the… Read more »

Adobe Needs Your Attention

The baby has another new trick. She’s taken to screeching. I’m not sure if, unbeknownst to me, and against my explicit will, she has joined the 15 month-olds Trying to Pass as Screeching Monkey Competition (very prestigious, really!), and is in the final weeks of rigorous practice. If that is the case, I have no… Read more »