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.
Why is This Night Different?

The Lilith Blog regrets that a technical fluke prevented this post from going up before Passover, as planned. We apologize for the delay and hope you enjoy Maya’s excellent writing. My three-year-old came home from nursery school when she began learning about Passover, and, at the dinner table, asked “why do we do so many… Read more »

What’s For Dinner?

The baby’s got a new trick. She can turn her hands into wind-shield wipers. When it’s time for breakfast, I drop her into her high-chair and dump some cheerios and a hunk of banana on the tray while I go get the yogurt, or oatmeal. Her older sister sits at the table eagerly, awaiting the… Read more »

In Motion

The baby learned to walk – ah! The freedom of it! Tentative steps for a month, and then, seemingly suddenly, the determination palpable, the joy uncontainable, the falls inevitable, she is on the move. Most radical, I imagine, must be the change in perspective, from feet to knees, from the steady lines and right angles… Read more »

A Parent's Job Description

My mother-in-law forwarded me an email with this description of a Parent’s Job Description. I haven’t been able to find the author–-though multiple links come up when you Google “Parents + Job Description.” I admit to laughing out loud at least once. In the spirit of Purim, which we celebrated this week, I wanted to… Read more »


A friend of mine was visiting from out of town for a conference recently, and a group of her women friends gathered to see her. We ordered in pizza, and the woman who was hosting lit candles, which she arranged on her twin boys’ ping pong table, opened a bottle of wine, and baked heart-shaped… Read more »

I’ve Been to the Mountaintop

And it was cold. And snowy. A blizzard, actually, and the winds were so strong that despite the gravity and despite the skis and despite the thick wet snow we were stopped in our tracks. And my gloves were soaking wet, inside and out, and the mountain was steep. But I didn’t mind. Because my… Read more »

The Milky Way

When my friend’s son was one year old, she and her husband threw a big party in their back-yard to celebrate the baby’s weaning. It was June in Northern California. People arrived in sundresses and sandals, on bikes and roller-blades, and drank lemonade in the dappled shadows of the late afternoon. There was a lot… Read more »

The Nanny Diaries

I was in a meeting with a colleague when my cell phone rang; I didn’t recognize the number, but I picked it up anyway. It was the head of the home-owner’s association of my complex of townhouses. He is an older gentleman, owns a big Dachshund, is relentlessly jolly, and never calls me. He began… Read more »

Leben Oder Theater

After college, I spent a year living in Germany, working with the Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union who were flocking to cities across Germany in such numbers that, to this day, render Germany the fastest-growing Jewish community in the world. My friend and I worked as Lauder Fellows in Frankfurt am Main. Twice… Read more »

Getting Into Med School

From time to time, I tutor girls for their Bat Mitzvahs. The other night, I had a first session with a new student, and, as I always do, rather than jumping right into trope, I talked with her. We discovered that we both love to swim. I swim twice a week, if I’m lucky, and… Read more »