Tu B’Shevat, Tiger Parenting, Chesed Meals, and Israeli Budgeting

tree at AdulamI had too much to say about some of  the articles I had planned to include, so I pulled them out for separate posts.  Look for them in the next few days.

Never miss a post: Sign up for email updates via Feedblitz.

  1. Tu BeShevat begins tonight. Read about some of the myths of the holiday at Green Prophet. I also wrote Name that Fruit: A Tu Beshevat Game.
  2. My mention of Amy Chua’s book generated a lot of discussion, so I’ll link to some online responses. First, Jessica Gottlieb reviewed the book at Tiger without a Plan.
  3. David Brooks at the New York Times writes a disingenuous response, claiming that Chua is a wimp because she doesn’t let her kids get —œcognitive skills— from sleepovers with 14-year-olds.
  4. Hugo Schwyzer presents a different point of view, as a professor at a college enrolling large numbers of students with Asian ancestry: It Would Be Funny if It Weren’t So Deadly.
  5. On a different note, Kosher on a Budget posts excellent tips for making Chesed Meals, the ones for people in your community who are having a baby, moving or going through a crisis.
  6. Rusty Mike Radio offers a podcast on How to Run a Family Budget in Israel.

Happy Tu BeShevat!


  1. Totally OT: What? You neverhad guava? You’re invited to our place when they’re ripe – we have a guava tree in our backyard (among other fruit trees)!

  2. Thanks so much for the link love, MII! I am really enjoying the comments on that post – so many more good ideas. Chag Sameach. xo

  3. I think David Brooks was trying to be funny. I also think he was trying to make the valid point that maybe academic achievement isn’t all we want for our children. To me that’s the scariest thing about the Tiger Mom reaction–that not enough people have stood up to say that not only do we hate her methods, we also hate her goals.

    • “I think David Brooks was trying to be funny. ”
      Ah, okay. 🙂

    • Good point about not enough people mentioning that her goals seems to be out of kilter. Aish.com has a response (http://www.aish.com/f/p/Are_Chinese_Parents_Superior.html) that covers just that. I’ve had a few conversations on the matter with people (off-line) who say the same thing. But the only other person who I’ve seen mention this on line is John Rosemond, who is often criticized for being too harsh and authoritarian. I think though, that most people here would agree with his summary of the issue:

      “At the crux of my disagreement with Ms. Chua is her definition of success. She’s fixated on grades and other material accomplishments (one of her daughters played Carnegie Hall in 2007). I want a child to pretty much—with some coaching and correcting of course—find his or her own way in life. I’m all for the child learning through trial-and-error what path is right for her. Ms. Chua is about choosing the child’s path and keeping her on it no matter what. I think character is more important than material success. Ms. Chua believes character is forged in the struggle for material success. We agree on nothing.”

    • sylvia_rachel says

      Yes, I also thought he was trying to be funny. But also to make the point that there are other measures of success than high grades, and that there are, in fact, ways in which giving your kids freedom to make choices, which means giving them freedom to make bad choices sometimes, can take more courage than fighting to keep them on the path you’ve laid out for them.

      Did you notice what else is missing from the Tiger Mother article? Who is teaching these girls compassion, tzedakah, empathy? Who is teaching them that “only A grades are acceptable” doesn’t mean “even if you have to cheat in order to get an A”?