A *Giveaway* because . . . Surprise! It’s My Kid’s Hebrew Birthday!

26 Jul
My sweet girl just one HOUR old.

My sweet girl just one HOUR old.

Today is my daughter’s first Hebrew birthday. I want to write something poetic about that fact. I’d like to connect the meaning of her Hebrew birthday with the meaning of her name, Siona, which happens to be the feminine form of Sion, Hebrew for Zion, but I can’t. I can’t do that because I have never celebrated a Hebrew birthday in my life; not even a little bit. In fact, I wouldn’t have even known that today is my daughter’s Hebrew birthday if it weren’t for my very sweet and dear friend, Sharona, who told me that today is the day. I had texted her to see if she wanted to go out on a lady-date next Wednesday but she declined because that’s HER daughter’s first Hebrew birthday, “So”, she texted me, “That means that Friday is Siona’s Hebrew birthday!” (insert cricket chirps here and blank staring at text message here).

To be honest, I didn’t text her back after receiving text. In fact, I let it sit for a day or so before responding because I felt like such a farce for not even knowing my kid’s Hebrew birthday. Hell, I don’t even know my own Hebrew birthday!

Siona's Simchat Bat - her Jewish life is beginning.

Siona’s Simchat Bat – her Jewish life is beginning.

It takes a lot for me to feel self-conscious about something; I consider myself pretty confident in most of the important areas (i.e. competency as a wife, in my job, healthy sense of self) but my confidence levels in my Judaism have always yo-yoed. I mean, I’ve worked in Jewish organizations for the majority of my professional life. I’ve been to Israel more times than I can count. I sent myself to Yeshiva for a year when I was 28. I named my kid Siona, for crying out loud!  But I didn’t learn the full Birkat Hamazon until I was 29. I’m pretty sure it’s been 5771 for like, 5 years now and I often get our forefathers, Joseph and Isaac confused (thank Gd for the musical, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat’ because seriously, that’s what I use to remember who is whom when I’m occasionally sitting with a student and walking them through Judaics homework; “Give Mrs. Fisch a moment, honey. I’m trying to recall which one had the fabulous coat.”). All those gaps in my Jewish knowledge coupled with an expectation that, as a Jewish professional who keeps Shabbat and kosher and has a daughter named Siona, sometimes accumulates to me feeling “less than”. “Less than” whom?  I’m not sure (p.s. Gang, are you picking up how many times I used ‘whom’ in this post?! I’m hoping all the English majors in my life will be proud). But when I was standing there on the other end of that text, receiving the information of the fact that my daughter’s Hebrew birthday is upon me from another mom, I felt like an idiot. And let me just state that later that night, when I told my husband that Siona’s Hebrew birthday was 2 days away he responded, “Cool”, and went about his business.  Ahhh, how much simpler life might occasionally be if I were man.

Two weeks old

What? Me worry? (2 weeks old)

Playing in the sand in Montana - 11 1/2 months old.  Where does the time go!?

Playing in the sand in Montanan- 11 1/2 months old. Where does the time go!?

I’m not sure what we’ll do to celebrate our daughter’s day, if anything. I’ve been eyes-deep in Pinterest, doing menu -planning and decoration-planning for her 1st English birthday. But I’ve come up with nothing to celebrate today or to make it something special for her or for us as a family.  But, she’ll be one so she will have the same memories of this birthday as she will have of her English birthday, which is to say she’ll have no memories. Yet, I’m huge into positive family traditions of all kinds so I’d like to do something. I’m very curious as to what you have done to celebrate your or your child’s Hebrew birthday? What are some traditions you’ve incorporated into your family to celebrate this day?  I’d really love to hear from you so if you don’t mind taking the time and jotting down a few ideas/traditions in the comments portion of this post, I’d be very grateful.

I’m not sure if our child will attend Jewish Day School but I do know that whatever we can do in the home to build positive associations/feelings/connection to our children’s Judaism will do more for them than anything else done Jewishly outside of the home. Plus, I mean, I am deeply obsessed with like birthdays so any excuse to celebrate a loved one’s birthday more than once is always a good thing in my book.

A free trip to Israel via the pages of this gorgeous book.

A free trip to Israel via the pages of this gorgeous book.

Orly'z traditional shakshuka -- my idea of Sunday morning brunch heaven.

Orly’z traditional shakshuka — my idea of Sunday morning brunch heaven.

So, because its my daughter’s surprise Hebrew birthday, I’d thought I’d give YOU, my dear readers, a chance at receiving a beautiful gift. I was blessed to have Orly Ziv’s stunning new Israeli cookbook, Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration, sent to me by the cookbook’s talented photographer, Katherine Martinelli. Orly is a talented nutritionist, cooking instructor, and culinary tour guide in Israel. Cook in Israel, her first cookbook, is filled with 100 kosher, mostly vegetarian recipes accompanied by beautiful color photographs (including many step-by-step illustrations). The cookbook shows that healthy and delicious home cooking doesn’t need to be time-consuming or complicated. Flipping through the pages of this cookbook is like being transported to Jerusalem’s famous shuk (market). I swear, all it needs is a scratch-and-sniff za’atar sticker and you are IN Israel. The book is available for $35 plus shipping OR you could simply click on the Rafflecopter link below for up to 6 ways to up your chances of winning your own copy. The giveaway will run until, Friday, August 9th, at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday, August 12th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go to Cook In Israel to find out more about Orly, her culinary tours, cooking classes and how to purchase this book, which you can do here. BUT, if you want to SAVE yourself $35 plus shipping, enter into the giveaway via the link above and remember, some options you can do daily so come back often.  Also, note that this giveaway is open to those living in Israel too!!!

Good luck and . . . Yom Huledet Sameach, Siona!

46 Responses to “A *Giveaway* because . . . Surprise! It’s My Kid’s Hebrew Birthday!”

  1. Alix July 26, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    ps…i still don’t remember my sons’ Hebrew birthdays!

  2. Steffi Berke July 26, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    yom huledet sameach l’siona

  3. fsafdeye July 26, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    Happy birthday Siona!!!!! Birthday one, based on my experience, is about the parents…..enjoy it and have fun!!!!!

  4. Mama B July 26, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Your Hebrew birthday is 20 Nissan 5740

  5. Alison@AliBabka July 26, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Happy Birthday!!

  6. ronnievfein July 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I have no clue about this birthday either. Plus, it doesn’t matter when you learn something. The fact is you learned it and it gives you another reason to celebrate. Kudos to you for ever looking to broaden your mind and yourself. Happy Birthday.

    • Whitney July 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Thanks so much Ronnie. I really appreciate it. One day, maybe I’ll give myself kudos 😉

  7. jessica // the kosher foodies July 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    happy hebrew birthday!

    • Whitney July 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks so much Jessica!

  8. dena @ohyoucook July 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Happy birthday Siona, now gimme that cookbook! Please?

  9. tamarsw July 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Mazel tov 🙂 My little girl is 14 months old.


  10. tamarsw July 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Oh, and also, it’s easy to get your Hebrew birthday : http://www.hebcal.com/converter/

    I actually love the separate birthdays, by the way. It’s funny since they’re not on the same time, since one is solar and the other is lunar. For example, my daughter is going to be shtayim (two in Hebrew) either before or after she turns two. So for my son, I used to say, “hey, he’s 1, but he’s shtayim!” No one understood.


    • Whitney July 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Thanks Tamar. LOL, they never do, but at least you get it. YAY for Hebrew birthdays!

  11. molly p July 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    Happy birthday Siona, now gimme that cookbook!

  12. Shoshana July 27, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Happy birthday!

  13. Rena July 28, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Happy birthday siona! Now gimme that cookbook perdy please!

  14. tziona July 28, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    Happy birthday Siona! GREAT name!!! 🙂

    • Whitney July 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      HA!! Tziona, it is, indeed, a beautiful name! We debated spelling it with the ‘Tz’ but my poor Southern family just couldn’t do it. 🙂

  15. Tammy July 28, 2013 at 2:42 am #

    Inspiring post. Happy Birthday! (Now gimme that cookbook!)

    • Whitney July 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      Thank you so much Tammy. I hope you come back and read more 🙂

  16. Hedy July 28, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    My kids and family just made Aliyah this July. Would love this book for them.
    Yom Huledet Sameah to your little one. Enjoy….the years fly by quickly.

    • Whitney July 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Best of luck to your kids and their family and thanks so much for the birthday wishes 🙂

  17. Susan July 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Happy birthday to your little cutie! Hebrew or English, doesn’t matter. The important thing is you celebrate this little miracle who was brought into your lives one year ago, and instill in her the values that are near and dear to your heart. Enjoy this and every moment, because before you know it you’ll be trying to remember her Hebrew anniversary! (ok, so maybe that ‘s rushing it just a bit!). Cookbook looks beautiful. Thanks for having the giveaway!

    • Whitney July 29, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Thank you so much Susan and thank you for stopping by! I hope you do again 🙂

  18. Jeremy Pepper July 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    That confused me so much at my Bar Mitzvah … which was a month after my birthday. Well, it still confuses me now.

    And now I have Yom Huledet stuck in my head from Hillel.

    • Whitney July 29, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      hahaha. Sorry about that song stuck in your head 🙂

  19. Hannah J July 29, 2013 at 1:22 am #

    Congrats on a healthy and happy girl.

    Looks like an amazing cookbook. =)

    • Whitney July 29, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Thank you so much Hannah! I truly appreciate it.

  20. Marsha July 29, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    What a sweet way to celebrate. I would love to win the cookbook.

    • Whitney July 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Thank you and wishing you luck in the giveaway!

  21. Fay Florans July 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    COngrats! my first time on your blog! cant wait to try some new recipes!

    • Whitney July 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      You’re the sweetest.

  22. Sarah Klinkowitz July 30, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Don’t feel bad. I only know my family’s Hebrew birthdays because a) 3 out of 5 fall out on an erev Yom Tov b) DH and DD SHARE a b-day and c) my son brags about his ALL year long. Heck, I didn’t know mine til I was..27, 28? No matter. Giveaways are awesome no matter what reason – I love a giveaway!

  23. beth July 30, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Happy birthday, Siona!

  24. Couldn't Be Parve July 31, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    Happy Birthday!

  25. Chanie@BusyInBrooklyn July 31, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Happy Birthday! I recently received this cookbook and love it too.

  26. Meryl August 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Happy birthday Siona, now gimme that cookbook!

  27. Misty D August 4, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Happy Birthday Siona, now give me that cookbook!

    Love, Your Aunt

  28. mistyfuji August 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I love middle eastern food, especially from Israeli food!!! Of all the cookbooks I own, none are Israeli so I’m keeping my fingers crossed & my taste buds in check. Thanks for hosting and happy birthday to your daughter!

  29. Daniel M August 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Happy birthday Siona, now gimme that cookbook!

  30. Sand August 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Happy birthday Siona, now gimme that cookbook!


  1. Free – chef/nutrionist Orly Ziv’s new cookbook, Cooking in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration – | Just Sweep - July 26, 2013


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