Kveller.com/October 27, 2023
It’s not often that I let my 4-year-old Hanna scream endlessly (that is, for more than five minutes). A friend suggested I learn to ignore her sometimes, not to always “give in.”
I chose the worst time to take that advice: at a park in Jerusalem several months ago. I had to make plans with family, so I took calls while Hanna screamed on the floor near the slide.
“Look at your daughter! Aren’t you going to do something?” another mom said to me.
“I know, but I just have to take care of something!” I said, figuring we’ve all been there. Apparently not.
“What can be more important than taking care of your daughter?”
Did she just mommy-shame me?
“Only God can judge!” I snapped back. My one-line sermon did not move her. She glared at me, even wagging her finger and tapping her phone with it, mimicking me.
“Only God can judge!” I preached again. She walked away, finger still wagging.
Her mocking gesture still comes to mind when I’m tapping my phone while Hanna is demanding my attention. This is happening more and more lately, when I’m constantly checking my social media feeds for updates on Israel’s war against Hamas, when my broad concern for my people subsumes my immediate concern for my daughter.
But I’m starting to wonder if this judgmental woman was actually an angel, teaching me to put my phone addiction in check — at least on Shabbat.
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