My Little FFBs

My Little FFBs

Moriah woke up crying from a nightmare.

And then again the following night.

I thought of getting advice from my mom who’s a psychiatrist, or setting up an appointment with my homeopath.

But my husband had a different plan.

After reading 6-year-old Moriah a bedtime story the following night, my husband took out his siddur. And then he asked Moriah to read the following words from the Bedtime Shema out loud, “May my ideas not scare me and bad dreams and bad thoughts…”

And that night, Moriah slept like a rock.

Yesterday, when I was putting Moriah to bed she asked me for a siddur to recite her “special nightmare prayer.” And my little girl read her prayer in silence but with great focus. And again, last night, only sweet dreams.

It sounds like such a simple story. Moriah read a prayer, and it made her feel better. It comforted her.

What’s the big deal, Chana Jenny?

But I actually think it’s a huge deal.

I have a daughter who believes with total certainty that Hashem hears her prayers.

I didn’t grow up like that. There were many wonderful things about my childhood, and my parents are the awesomest. But I remember very clearly lying in my bed, unable to sleep as I contemplated nuclear war, death, all of my worst fears…and I was scared out of my wits, just a six-year-old girl all alone staring into a vast terrifying existential void.

And Moriah? When she faces her worst fears, she says, “May my ideas not scare me and bad dreams and bad thoughts…” and she believes that Hashem is with her and He will help her. And her faith takes away the fear.

My little FFB.

This BT’s dream come true.
My 3-year-old American nephew Elio wanted my son Yoel to teach him the 4 questions in preparation for the family seder.

So yesterday was the big day. When 2:30 arrived 4-year-old Yoel rushed up the stairs to the computer, and addressed his younger cousin in his broken English and with a voice heavy with responsibility, “I want to be teaching Elio the Moh Nishtonoh!”

Yoel sat on my lap, and he mixed up the whole thing. He matbeeleened when he should have yarakoted, and mesoobeened when he should have marored.

I tried to keep Yoel on track by singing in his ear, and anyway Elio didn’t seem to notice Yoel’s abundant Mah Nishtanah bloopers. And, in fact, he looked quite awestruck by his Hebrew-speaking cousin with his exotic kippah and bushy blond peyos.

And it occurred to me that aside from Yoel, Elio has quite probably never ever met a child who looks like Yoel and his cheider classmates.

In fact, to Elio, Yoel looks as downright strange and other-worldly as he would have looked… to me as a child.

And I felt so proud of my rambunctious cheider boy, bloopers and all.

My little FFB.

This BT’s dream come true.


  1. can’t stop smiling
    so sweet!
    and i can relate
    we moms sometimes go overboard, we’re going to DEAL, because we CARE and we are RESPONSIBLE mothers.
    psychiatrist? homeopath? where are those phone numbers?
    but no – siddur.
    beautiful. thank your husband for us.
    may all your children always be “dreams come true”

  2. B”H….we should all be so blessed!
    May HaShem continue to bless your family and may your children bring you nothing but Naches. 🙂

  3. Thanks for all your stories. As an FFB it always gives me chizuk to hear how much BT’s appreciate something that I took for granted, my yiddishkeit.

  4. you should always have much nachat from all your children!

  5. And then there are the children of BTs who are, taken along the journey with their parents: like my 3 PTs: Pre Teshuva kids. We also get our beautiful rewards, like this afternoon when my 11 year old son had a close shave with a motorbike, he said: Thank you Hashem! I had a nes!
    Those are the defining moments that give me so much strength and resolve.

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