Mom, author, loving guide to the beauties of Judaism, and of course balaboosta, Marion Haberman has a warm and witty way of embracing rituals and traditions that are inspiring. Through her blog, My Jewish Mommy Life, readers find joyful ways to incorporate centuries old beliefs and customs into their modern lives -- without the guilt! Her new book, Expecting Jewish! gives practical advice and helpful insight on preparing for motherhood from a Jewish perspective. We had the pleasure of chatting with Marion, whose positive energy and dynamic spirit is exactly what we need right now.
AC: At what moment did you realize that My Jewish Mommy Life was becoming an important part of people's lives and that you were creating an important Jewish community?
MH: I began to get a lot of messages sharing things like 'I lit Shabbat candles for the first time in 20 years thanks to your encouragement' or 'My grandmother is Jewish and I always wanted to connect to something, thank you for showing me how to do that'. More and more of these messages started to come in and I began to feel like what I was doing was making an actual impact on people's lives and their Judaism.
AC: What is your favorite Jewish recipe from your mother or grandmother?
MH: Definitely my grandmother's blintzes, you know how a smell can bring back a memory? When I taste these I feel like I am back with her. This is a South African recipe which includes brandy, it's absolutely delicious.
AC: One of your Instagram posts shared ways to bring Shabbat into your home when "you might not be feeling it." We loved how you suggested buying fresh flowers or opening a nice bottle of wine. Do you have any favorite suggestions for decorating your Shabbat table that puts you in the mood?
MH: I start with a clean kitchen, that puts my mind at ease even if that means a more simple menu. My go-to is a big bunch of fresh flowers in a single color. I learned that from Ina Garten.
AC: Tell us about your new book, what it is about, and why you decided to write it.
MH: From conception to birth, Expecting Jewish! is the best resource for practical advice and helpful insight on preparing for motherhood from a Jewish perspective. Covering everything from the essentials of bris and baby-name planning to the mysticism of the mikvah, Expecting Jewish! is a guide for infusing Jewish customs and wisdom into each stage of the parenthood journey, from conception to the newborn days.
I wrote the book to clear up the misconception that there's no real connection between Judaism and pregnancy until the baby is born. Many couples don't think there's anything 'Jewish' to do when you're pregnant until it's time to plan a bris. Unfortunately that means we miss out on all the blessings Judaism has to offer during this special time in one's life.
AC: Which Jewish values do you feel are the most important to pass down to your children?
MH: B'tzelem Elohim is something I reference most often in my content - the idea that we are all created in God's image and that we all have divinity within us. I find this concept so inspiring and enlightening in terms of my own spirituality and the search for worthiness and self love that I know we all sometimes struggle with.
AC: What Jewish ritual do your kids get the most excited about?
MH: Baking challah! It's our Friday afternoon tradition and the boys love to help* *and by help I mean make a mess, but I love that it's a cornerstone for the beginning of our weekend and Shabbat.
AC: Apeloig Collection is known for creating products that are versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. Which is your favorite Apeloig Collection piece and how many different ways would you use it?
MH: Definitely the challah board! Especially as we're such challah fans in our home, but I would use it as a serving platter for any special foods!