Friday, August 21, 2009

Vive le roi!

Laura, Adi, and big sister Ahuva are proud to welcome our baby boy



Melech Karl Mahalel

7 August 2009

9 lbs 4 oz (4.2 kg)





So far his main interests include eating, sleeping, and looking around while making cute squeaking noises. We’re all feeling great after a relatively easy delivery but as you can see by the lateness of this mailing, he keeps us busy!


Melech means “King” in Hebrew. For more about why we chose this name, see my blog entry:

For pictures from Melech’s bris:

More and ongoing family pics on our phanfare site:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's an interesting structure

At Ahuva’s wonderful school (aka day care) they have certain conventions about language. Instead of “labeling” the childrens’ building by saying, “what a nice house”, they unjudgementally refer to all their creations as “Structures”. As in “That's an interesting structure, Jakey.” It can be quite amusing to hear toddlers saying to each other “No!! don’t touch my STRUCTURE!” when they build with others.


The other day we were thrilled (and a little grossed out) to greet Ahuva in the morning and find that on her own she had pulled down her night-time pull-up, pooped in her little potty, and pulled up her pull up.

I  enthusiastically praised this achievement while Aba bravely emptied the contents of the potty.

“That was great, Ahuva. A big poop!” I said. In fact it had been a towering pile of mulit-colored excrement.

“I made a STRUCTURE of poop!” she exclaimed.



Monday, August 17, 2009


Photos from the Bris:

Melech Karl Mahalel

We deliberated a lot about his name. In fact, the last things keeping us at the hospital were two blank spaces on his birth certificate (first name, middle name). Although we were still discussing until the last minute, Melech Karl's name was the one that stuck in my head for months now. Adi finally agreed.
Melech ("king" in Hebrew) is named for one of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King. King was a modern-day Moses who stood for justice not only for his own people but for all mankind. When I watched an interview with him this pas MLK day I saw a man who was deeply thoughtful, highly intelligent, wonderfully articulate, and very handsome. But most of all what struck me was his sense of dignity. I believe it is this sense of dignity, dignity of self and dignity of humanity that led him to pursue his causes through practice of non-violent means. This sense of dignity has been sorely lacking amongst most of the leadership I've seen during my lifetime both in this country (the United States), in Israel, and amongst those we consider to be our enemies.
I hope that our Melech will treat all people with respect and dignity, for there is no King but God under whom all people are equal. Or, if you don't believe in God (nod to Adi ;) - there are no kings among men, only equals.
According to wikipedia, it is likely that it was not for Dr. King's groundbreaking civil rights work that he was assassinated. Rather, it was for his radical vision of economic equality for all which preoccupied his final days (as well as false rumors that he was a communist) - that terrified his destroyers.
Economic equality is not a goal that King lived to realize. As he put it, “It is much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee a monthly income.” We are not even close to the mountaintop on this issue.
Which brings us to Melech's middle name, Karl with a "K". Yes, for that Karl!
Karl Marx's revolutionary analysis of class divisions gave us a solid understanding of how capitalism deprives many people of their dignity. I believe that the solutions to the problems raised by King and Marx are far from clear. If they were, then I'd like to think that we'd be seeing some signs of their success somewhere.
In the meanwhile, I hope that our children will come closer to that time of economic and social equality where the dignity of all is fully respected and realized.
And if all this - my comfortable praise for both God and communism in the same speech is too much to process, then consider this more simple explanation: the name Karl comes from a Germanic root meaning "manly".
We can sum up everything I just said with the instruction to our son in Yiddish:
Zai a mensch!
Be a mensch.

Baby Boy's birth story - to be written

Quick summary: it was a lot like air travel. Much waiting that wasn't painful but was nonetheless more waiting than you want to do. But once we got there the actual birth went great.

Baby Brother, Baby Brother!

Big Sister came to visit her new Baby Brother on the day after he was born. She was very excited and said "Baby Brother, Baby Brother!!"
She was reluctant to join me on the bed. It seemed the hospital gown made her nervous. I changed into a pyjama shirt and that helped. She was very curious about the bandage on my hand from where the IV had been, and about my wet hair (I managed a glorious shower just before she and Aba arrived).
"What's his name?" she asked.
"He doesn't have a name yet," we explained.
"He don't have an Ima and an Aba," she said. He doesn't have a Mommy and Daddy.
"Actually," I explained carefully, "He has the same Aba and Ima as you do."
Ahuva grew silent. Later Aba told me that they had had the same conversation in the taxi to the hospital. Bub and Zaydee had had the same conversation in the morning. So when I corroborated their stories, she must have started to get the picture.

Great News: No. 4!

Baby-boy* Mahalel was born Friday night August 7 at 9:27 to Adi and
Laura Mahalel. Ahuva is very pleased to be a big sister at age two
and a half. As Ahuva would say, "He's a big one", weighting in at 9
lbs 4 oz (4.2 kg) and 21.5 inches (54.6 cm). Baby and mother are
both doing exceptionally well -- Laura looks terrific, is not too
tired, and expects to come home on Sunday.
*In keeping with ancient custom, his parents are keeping his name a
secret until his bris at age 8 days.