My July 4th Surprise

My July 4th Surprise

As we set off for the neighborhood July 4th Parade, my kids were fighting non-stop.

After a block of bickering, I started getting worried.

“Look, chamudim, we are going to a place where we will be the only religious Jews, and this will the first time that many of these people have ever even seen a religious Jew!” And I added a few more choice words about getting their acts together and kiddush vs. hillul Hashem.

The Weisberg-ettes were quieter after that. But I still felt a bit nervous.

There I was, with my son in his kippah and tsitsis, my daughters in their 3/4 sleeves in the 96 degree heat, and a big blue beret with a flower on the side of my head. Usually, back home, I feel SO proud to be and look like a religious family. But here, back in the neighborhood where I grew up, I felt and frequently feel like we are a walking freak show.

And when I got to the parade and then the picnic that followed, it was pretty much what I suspected.

Lots of traif hot dogs. Confused/curious/suspicious looks at the Weisberg clan. And inquiries from a father or two of childhood friends if they could still give me a kiss (“sorry, but…”).

Pleased to meet you, I’m Chana Jenny, the bearded lady.


And then I saw her. A JewishMOM in a pink tichel waiting in line with three little kids.

And then she saw me too. And I could tell from the way her eyes opened wide that she wasn’t seeing me for the first time.

“I can’t believe it! Are your Chana?”

“I’ve read your books! I read your blog all the time! I was wondering why you weren’t blogging this week…”

“I was just driving by and saw that there was something going on here, so we stopped to see…”

“I am so excited to meet you! Can I give you a hug?”

An offer I couldn’t refuse.

G-d bless my JewishMOMs.

I travel across the world. To Mt. Washington. And even here. There she is. Waiting to give me a hug when I needed it most:)


  1. I love this!!!!!! You give us all comfort and encouragement when we need it, so Hashem sent you someone when you needed it too…..

    I so relate. I was recently in Switzerland feeling like the local freakshow, with my heavily bearded husband (no tribe in tow, tho) . I commented to him how I was definitely uncomfortable and not to keen to come back when an older couple passed us, without stopping, and said “shalom Aleichem”….

  2. It was so great to see you as well!
    I was telling my husband how your daughter looked so surprised to see a frum jew, and I couldn’t figure out why, now I understand.
    Your books have been some of the most powerful books I have read in my life, so it was a great honor to meet you. They truly made my mothering experience much smoother.
    Your children looked so pure and special and Israeli!
    Wonderful to meet you, enjoy the rest of you stay, and please let me know if you need anything.

  3. My sis-in-law came to visit with her 5 young kids and it made me wonder… How are frum families supposed to travel anywhere with so many kids and not feel like they’re imposing and overwhelming anyone they go to???!
    We have a small house and I have 3 kids of my own and when they added all 7 of them… wow bh!

    • JewishMom

      it’s not easy, I don’t come with all my kids. We also send them to camps during the day. but again, not easy!!!

  4. In these situations it helps to hum to yourself Uncle Moishy’s song: “I’m a Jew and I’m proud and I’ll sing it out loud- ‘cuz that’s what I’ll always be….”

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