This is the first year I'm spending Christmas (and my birthday—Boxing Day baby!) in America, away from Mom, my family, and Yorkshire pudding. Which means the presents I send and receive this year need to be light enough to ship across the Atlantic without breaking the bank. Many of us have friends and family far away from where we live, but we still want our gifts to be thoughtful, personal, and come in lovely little packages. With that in mind, I've collected a number of gift ideas that are light on shipping but heavy on holiday cheer (as with last year's gift guide, I've tried to keep reasonable budgets in mind).
Rabbi Marc Katz is that rare person who can go from teaching a room full of restless children to a room full of work-weary adults, speak passionately about the environment and feminism and then relate them to Torah passages, and lead a powerful sermon before telling you in detail where exactly you should go for pizza in Park Slope. Marc is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, has published a number of articles, and his first book came out in September, The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort. Here, Marc talks about what it's like to be a first-time author, the struggles of self-marketing, how loneliness seeps into all of our lives, and the ways in which we can reach out for ourselves and for others.
To get home for the Christmas holiday, I have to take two subways (1.5 hours), wait at the airport (2+ hours), fly in the sky (6.5 hours), hop on the tube (1 hour), and hopefully not miss the train (2+ hours). You know what that means...13 hours of reading! Not to mention the mandatory time spent hiding from family members that drive you crazy. My "Reading Survival Guide" aims to give you some book recommendations that could help you cope with this hectic time.