Dana Rhodes, past contributing blogger
Dana cringes when instructed to write bios, "short and fun". She has lived in lots of places that start with vowels, including Ann Arbor, Arad (Israel), Evanston, Urbana, Indianapolis, and Iowa City. In fourth grade, she bragged because she was Jewish, left handed and had AB+ blood. In fifth grade, she shut up. Yesterday she did Pilates, drank steamed soy milk, schlepped the girls to Sunday school, and tried to fly a kite. Tomorrow she hopes nobody wakes her up at 4 AM with bad dreams about camels or monkeys.
Like Chai and Sarah, Dana is a grants person at the Jewish Federation—planning, allocating, pushing papers and fixing the world.
ARTICLES BY THIS AUTHOR
My dear friend Aaron has finally fallen in love. He is a 39-year old Chicagoan; she’s an editor in Tel Aviv with strong sabra roots. He’s asking me for advice. Some days I want to tell him marriages between Americans and Israelis should be outlawed. Other days I want to say, follow your heart—just don’t expect it to be easy.
It is windy but ass-melting hot the day Benny and I tie the knot under a Kemper Lakes weeping willow. Cantor Jeff sweats buckets as he sings Yhiyeh Tov. Rabbi Eleanor dashes to rescue the ketubah as it blows toward the water. And the chuppah corners fly off the poles nine times during our short ceremony.
There is evidence to indicate I have no business contributing to anything called Nosh. My college roommate still recalls the time I removed a cold, hard Idaho potato from its produce bag and asked, “So is this a baked potato, or do I need to do something to it?” Fast forward two college degrees (yes, from accredited universities) and you will witness a similar scene as my husband – in one of his more patient moments – walks me through the complex art of boiling an egg.
My three days in the Bay Area deviated slightly from the Hemispheres magazine recommended itinerary. No dim sum in Chinatown, no inline skating through the Golden Gate Park. I headed west last month for one reason: to connect with my big brother.
It is a classic love story with a twist. Kim and Scott Holstein met at a Richard Bach book signing in 1994. Kim was obsessed with pretzels. Scott was obsessed with Kim. The following year, they launched a gourmet pretzel empire out of their Lincoln Park studio apartment. Kim and Scott have since upgraded to a 25,000 square-foot factory west of the Loop and added three kids to the mix, but the key ingredients haven’t changed – a passion for pretzels and for each other.
I coerced my dear friend “Irving” into writing a story with me about how he used to be my bully. I told him he had to get off his lawyerly ass and write something creative about himself being an asshole a long, long time ago. That’s exactly what I told him.
Of 761 things to do in Denver last Friday night, Josephine and the Mousepeople’s live show at the Lion’s Lair was the Editor’s Choice on Metromix. But long before this electro-pop duo was creating a buzz on the Denver music scene, they were two kids finding their voices in the Chicago Orthodox community. Back then on Friday nights, Avi Sherbill and Danny Shyman were not performing She Needs Fire – they were chanting the kiddush.
Eight months pregnant with our first child, I traded in the keys of our cool Evanston loft for a Skokie bi-level. It’s practical, it’s convenient and it’s so unimaginative I sometimes turn into my neighbors’ driveway instead of my own. Her violin students knock on our door. His leaves fall on our neglected lawn. The old Jew across the street dies. A new one moves in.
Aaron Becker digs the music, savors the wine, and makes new friends wherever he goes, whether it’s the Chabad house in Florence or the bathhouse in Konya. His resume crisscrosses the planet: ten languages studied, a 2007 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, two Fulbright scholarships (Turkey and Morocco), educational programs in Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Russia, Egypt, and around the world we go.
When it came time to deliver, my Ethiopian neighbors used to squat, yelp, yelp some more, and pop out those little babies. Then and only then would they call for an ambulance. At least, that’s what Benny the security guard told me, and he should know. He witnessed it five times.
We were born during the summer of ’69. Woodstock, man on the moon, the whole bit. That year, Golda Meir became Prime Minister of Israel, the world first strolled down Sesame Street, and new homes on Main Street averaged $15,550.
I was minding my own business in the courtyard on the corner of Monroe and Wells, trying to enjoy my Mexicali salad and a little sunshine, when I was interrupted. Not by the usual culprits like a colleague, a pigeon, or some guy selling Streetwise. I was interrupted by a voice inside my own head. It happened to be speaking in a booming baritone and didn’t give two shits about serenity or spring greens.
Piku stole my husband's heart over 20 years ago and I’m working on getting it back. I call it Operation Get a Dog and it’s a full force attack. The history is poignantly clear. A whimpering puppy left to die in a Galilean dumpster, a five-year old boy, a dramatic rescue. Fourteen years and many shared steaks later, the boy kisses the dog good bye and bravely sets out to defend his country. Am Yisrael Chai. Poor dog drops dead that very week and the young soldier decides his beloved Piku cannot, will not, must not ever be replaced.
Our world is a little pinker this month, much to my daughters’ delight. Pink ribbons, pink soup cans, pink M&Ms, pink skyscrapers all aglow. I can take a moment to tell my girls that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, why that’s important, and what we can do to help. I’m happy to have the pink prompts.
Noa has a sunny disposition to match her bouncy, blond ringlets which is partly why I didn’t catch the signs of her deteriorating health. My eyes flew wide open in mid-May when she had an acute asthma episode and turned some scary shades of blue.
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