Friday, December 12, 2003

Birth of Calanit Dora Epstein

Congratulations to Daniel Sharvit-the winner of the Epstein Baby Pool Fundraiser!

With thanks to G-d, we welcome Calanit Dora (pronounced Kah-Lah-Neet). She’s a big eater (like her dad) and all should be returning home Friday morning.

In this email:

1. An explanation of the meaning of the name and the ideas behind it
2. An overview of the day’s events and Jeremy’s reactions to them
3. Key statistics (and how well our winner did)

The Meaning of the Name and the Ideas Behind It
Calanit is a Hebrew word for a species of poppy flower that grows in Israel. It is bright red with black in the middle. Here’s a link for a picture if you can’t see the one in this email

Dora is a Hebrew word that literally means “her generation,” and in the name of our daughter serves part of a double entendre.

The festival of Channukah falls during the Jewish month of Kislev (usually late November and December (and the story of the festival centers in part around the outnumbered Maccabees who defeat the superior numbers of Greek/Syrian forces. The Greeks/Syrians were determined in their efforts to compel Jewish assimilation into the larger non-Jewish culture.

A Channukah legend relates that wherever a drop of Maccabee blood spilled during a conflict with the opposition, a bright Calanit bloomed forth in remembrance and glorification of what they represented and of the sacrifices that they made.

We have named Calanit Dora with two people in mind.

One of them is her paternal great-great-grandfather, Charles David (Jeremy’s mother’s mother’s father) with whom she also shares common initials. Charles came to the US when he was about 10 years old. He built a family and a business that beautified the homes of many by selling wallpaper and paint. Through his years of sacrifice, he enabled his offspring to prosper in America. His life was marked by his commitment to family, to Judaism in general, and to the Synagogue Center in Baltimore in particular through his daily attendance at the morning prayer service. Through his devotion and investment in the community, he lived the example of the Maccabees by working to ensure the survival and flourishing of the Jewish community. He was a man of integrity, of character, of honesty, among many other fine qualities and it is our sincere hope that our daughter will seek to emulate the example of her great great grandfather. Calanit represents the first of Charles’s descendants to be born since his death in the late 1970’s/ Jeremy was fortunate to know him for the first 6 years of his life.

Calanit is also named for her maternal great grandmother (Tamar’s mother’s mother), Doris Goldsmith, whose Hebrew name was Raizel (Rose in Yiddish) Dina. Our beloved ‘Savta’ passed away less than a month before her 24th great grandchild’s birth. A woman of immeasurable virtue, she emerged from the Holocaust years having lost her parents and youngest siblings, but summoned the strength and faith to defy those who would attempt to decimate her people by building a family of four daughters, 23 grandchildren, and an ever-expanding number of great grandchildren, all committed to the preservation of Jewish life and tradition. In naming Calanit after this extraordinary woman, we hope to transform our overwhelming feeling of loss and follow Savta’s legacy. Tamar’s sister, Michal, spoke of Savta and lamented the loss by saying, “they just don’t make them like her anymore.” We pray that Calanit Dora will aspire and achieve at least a portion of the virtues of her namesake-that she be cognizant of her place as Dora (in Hebrew-her generation) one of Savta’s dorot (in Hebrew-generations), Savta’s descendants, perhaps the only aspect of Savta’s life regarding which she allowed herself to exhibit pride.

May she be blessed with the merit of her ancestors and may we, as her parents, stay true to the legacies of all those beloved to us, and thereby merit God’s continued blessings.

An Overview of the Day’s Events
I am shocked by how much I have cried in the past 24 hours. I just keep staring and staring at this little girl, this little piece of me, that is in my arms, in Tamar’s arms, in my grandparents’ arms or just sleeping in her little tray thing and I just lose it.

The thoughts are overwhelming. I see a wedding. I see her having children of her own. The fears of all of the evil in the world that could happen to her and from which I want to protect her; The thought of some horny teenage boy who wants to take her out on a date (takes one to know one) and my desire to beat the crap out of him. There are just so many emotions that flow through me right now. I hear Tamar singing to her and I break down. I have never felt tears of joy like these before. It’s intense, well I guess that’s an understatement.

Yesterday morning at 6am when Tamar woke me up to say “my water broke” and I replied “that’s great,” and went back to sleep, seems like another plane of reality. It didn’t dawn on me that it was REALLY happening. In fact, Tamar said “my doctor says I should go to the hospital now,” soon thereafter and I said, “ok, let me do 20 minutes on the Nordic Track first.”

It wasn’t that I was being selfish (well maybe a little bit), but it just didn’t seem real. I knew we had been waiting, but to think that the moment was finally here - well, that seemed a bit too much. Besides, her due date was the 17th, so this 10th thing was probably a false alarm.

When we got to the hospital, things were kind of slow. Contractions were sporadic and the nurse told us that we were at least 10 hours away from a baby. It was 8am. Tamar was so confident that nothing was going to happen that she suggested I get in my car and drive to a planned meeting in Baltimore and get back at noon.

That seemed a bit crazy to me. I mean, having your first child is a once in a lifetime event and if today was going to be the day, well I wanted to be here for all of it, even the slow parts. I did go home for a bit and pick up my laptop and then using my portable Ethernet cable managed to piggyback the Holy Cross Hospital network in order to have email and web access direct from Labor and Delivery room 12. Not bad, eh? I’ve got a pretty understanding wife, that’s for sure.

Tamar had written out a birthing plan and given me responsibility to make sure of a few things.
1. Avoid C-section at all costs
2. Avoid epidural
3. Avoid other narcotics.

By 1 pm, she was still only 1 cm dilated (she needed to be 10) and with a safety window after the water breaking requiring the baby to be born by 4am on Thursday, we had some decisions to make.

The doctors advocated Pitocin, a naturally occurring drug which would enhance the labor process. Tamar initially demurred, but realizing the overall slow progress could raise the risk of C-section, eventually relented.

By 3pm, she was in unbearable pain. I was just watching and I was suffering unimaginably. I couldn’t even guess what she was feeling. However, I had taken an oath to respect her “no epidural wishes.”

Clearly she was hurting, but it’s a classic situation of how do you balance the wishes of someone before vs. during an event (like say an end of care situation)? I was the executor of the birthing plan, if you will. So, I set the bar quite high. Tamar is not known for cursing. Perhaps 1-2 times/year max and then only in highly unusual circumstances. I wish I could be that clean.

“Tamar,” I said, “if I hear you start cursing,” I’m going to give them the OK for the epidural. The code word is “Give me the fucking epidural.”

“I don’t think I can do that,” she said.
“Well, as your fiduciary agent then, I have to respect your stated wishes from your birthing plan.”

The next few contractions intensified and we got a series of “Oh my God! Oh my God!” It was really tremendous

I was crying just watching her in writhing pain. The nurse (Armelle) and the Dr. (Norman) were incredulous. “She’s gone longer than most women even try.” They measured her at 4.30pm. She was only 3 cm dilated. It was getting to crunch time.

At about the same time, the next massive contraction occurred. (There was a monitor that recorded each one so I had the unique ability to make color commentary on each one’s appearance, such as-“whoa, that looked like a big one!” or “come on, this one isn’t nearly as big as the last one. Let’s suck it up!”). Tamar was looking like a boxer after a 15 round fight. She leaned over to the side of the bed, her eyes full of that glazed over, dazed appearance like she hadn’t slept in 48 hours and just sort of whispered…”give me the fucking epidural.”

I turned to the doctor and said, “OK, let’s do it.”

Can you say NIGHT and DAY? 20 minutes after the epidural, it was sunshine time again even on the agenda of possibilities. All along, and during the course of the whole day, the steady 130 some odd beats per minute of the unborn baby were coming through the speakers of the fetal monitor as a kind of constant musical backdrop to our unfolding drama.

At 7.30pm, the doctor returned and checked for dilation. “10 centimeters,” he said, “she’s ready to start pushing.”

I excused my parents from the room and 28 minutes later, we had a baby.

Well, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. Those 28 minutes were transformative.

From the time in the early morning when Tamar said, “it’s time to go to the hospital,” until the doctor said “she’s fully dilated,” I knew intellectually that there was a baby, but somehow, it just didn’t seem real. I mean, I had been having pushing contests in utero with the child, but it just wasn’t there.

The doctor said “oh yeah, you can see the head now.” He opened Tamar open ever so slightly and sure enough, the top of a head was there. I held one of Tamar’s legs up as she pushed like a champ and then a full head popped through. I’ve got a great picture of just the head and for that moment, you know there’s a baby, you just don’t know what gender the baby is.

It’s interesting. All along people asked us if we were going to find out what the gender of the baby would be and we agreed we wouldn’t. We felt like it was akin to reading the last page of the book before you start. I kind of thought of it as the ultimate climax to the pregnancy saga and while I now think that this is indeed true, I am starting to see that it is really the climax to chapter 1 of the saga.

As soon as the baby came out and the doctor (who had a better view than I did) said it was a girl, man, the world just shook on its foundations. I heard the cry. I held her little hand and I immediately started thinking about how I would do anything to keep this person I had just met as safe, sound, and secure as possible. I thought about her wedding, her kids, and worried about what would happen to her with the evil in the world. I started to cry. Bawl, really. I could barely control myself. I was holding the baby, soaking up the moment, taking pictures and videos (I even managed to cut the cord at one point), kiss my wife and have all of these thoughts. It was a tidal wave of stimuli, probably similar to the experience my daughter (whoa, even writing that is surreal) was having after having emerged from the womb.

She is just so cute. She has a stuffy nose and I want to clean it out for her. Yesterday, the thought of changing a diaper was admittedly a bit off-putting to me. Now, all I want to do is keep her comfortable.

I changed her today for the first time and I think I was a just a little bit rough. You know with girls, there are some folds and well, I just wanted to make sure she was clean as could be. She was crying, cold, and she peed on herself. I started crying because I was worried about hurting her. I am crying now just thinking about how I may have hurt her.

On the second change, I noticed that some of the adhesive from the diaper was on her skin-my fault-and I started crying again, begging her forgiveness as I pulled it off. Again, I am crying now just thinking about it.

When she cries from discomfort, I cry. This little 7 pound 19.5 inch piece of me has given me focus and appreciation the likes of which I have never felt before. I now recognize that it is about priorities. As my Uncle Bob said today and, though I’d heard and read this before, for the first time I really appreciate the full meaning of “this is what it is all about.”

I am appreciative, really impressed with the awesome power of God to make this creation process possible. It is said that each of us possesses a part of the Divine and if creating a life is not that spark, then I have no idea what is.

I have tremendous appreciation for our parents and all they have done for us. I am grateful that my mother’s parents were able to see this day and hold their great granddaughter in their arms. I am appreciative of the loving friends and family that we have who have called and visited up until now and for the society in which we live that so values human life and invests so many resources into protecting and nurturing it.

Calanit Dora is now 1 day old and doing well, but it’s not about the milestones, it’s about the inches in between the milestones and every little aspect that make up those inches. In 24 hours, this little girl, my daughter (whoa!) has taught me more about myself than any self-help book or meditation course ever could.

It’s so surreal. I know it has happened and while it has dawned on me at moments, I doubt the full effect of it has. It may never. All I know is that when I get in the car, I am as cautious as when I first got my license. I can’t get killed now. I’ve got two beautiful women counting on me.

I’m absolutely exhausted, but I don’t want to sleep. I want to watch her sleep and watch her breathe. I want to hold her, rock her, sing to her, and explain things to her. I’ve already showed her my laptop and Sunday, we’re going to watch the Redskins-Cowboys game together. I want to read Torah with her and I want to watch her grow and become beautiful, full of good values, self-respect, dignity, and wisdom.

I can’t stop crying now, so I have to stop. The worst part of this email is that I know that no matter how long I write, I can only scratch the surface of the experience.

It’s a ton of responsibility and I know it won’t be easy, but I feel a sense of mission slowly creeping over me. It’s not about me anymore, it’s about her. I also know that I’ll be able to do it. I have to. I have no other choice.

Key Statistics
Date: 12/10/03 (Daniel said same)
Time: 7.58pm (Daniel said 9.46am)
Gender: Girl (Daniel said same)
Weight: 7 lbs (Daniel said 7lbs 8 ozs)
Length: 19 inches (Daniel said 20 inches)

Sunday, November 23, 2003

So, I have a question of etiquette for you.

You’re in a parking lot, riding as a passenger with a friend. It’s crowded, spots are not easy to come by. As the passenger, can you get out of the car and walk around the lot? And if you do see an open spot (that hasn’t been claimed by another person), can you go and “save it” until your car arrives there? Are you allowed to wave off other drivers?

I’ll share what happened to us a few weeks ago after I hear back.

A few items of relevance:
1. Please note my new email address:

2. One week to the deadline for the baby pool. See entries to-date below.
Enter now at:

3. I’ve also posted this email at:

As for the life changing event on the horizon, it’s like I have the distinct feeling that someone is moving into my apartment, it’s just that I don’t know who it is. Or, that we have a long-lost friend who has been on a trip and will be returning any day now. It’s kind of surreal. We’ve got the accoutrements; clothes, diapers, car seat, stroller, bassinet, Pack ‘n’ Play.

Tamar tells me that baby has ‘moved into position” and last night I could definitely feel a limb for the first time. I think it was a foot, but I’m not sure.

We took a tour of the hospital and while the other husbands were asking questions like, “how much do private rooms cost?” and “are phone calls free?” I was rebuked by Tamar for asking “is there wireless internet access available in the cafeteria?” (apparently that is the only place in the hospital where laptop use is permissible) and “what’s the name of the company that makes the Baby Lo-jack system?” (It is a tag on the baby that sounds an alarm and shuts the doors of the hospital if the wrong person tries to remove the baby from the premises). I thought it sounded like a good investment opportunity.

Nevertheless, I am excited, nervous and relaxed-all at the same time. Everyone says “your life will change in ways that you can’t imagine.” I accept that and since there’s nothing I can do about it, I figure, why sweat it? The advice I’ve received from others has been stellar and I think I’m about as ready as I can be for now.

We’re getting close to Showtime. I’ll keep you posted.



D Yr Sex Hr Min. A/P Lbs Oz In. First Last
1 1 2003 Female 1 0 PM 7 6 23 Rafi Rone
1 1 2004 Male 2 0 AM 6 10 19 Chuck Fox
1 3 2004 Male 6 7 AM 6 6 17 Joyce Stern
10 8 2003 Male 5 50 AM 9 4 1 Inbar Gazit
12 1 2003 Female 9 5 PM 6 7 19 Sarah & Hannah Mandelbaum
12 7 2003 Female 7 56 PM 7 2 21 Loren Edelson
12 12 2003 Male 5 0 AM 8 0 20 stanley robinson
12 13 2003 Female 6 26 PM 8 0 12 Albert Vernon
12 13 2003 Male 6 13 AM 9 1 23 Benjamin Epstein
12 14 2003 Female 4 0 AM 5 6 10 David Borowich
12 14 2003 Male 6 0 AM 7 3 21 Jon & Robin Reuter
12 15 2003 Female 3 23 PM 7 2 19 Nava Silton
12 15 2003 Male 12 15 AM 7 2 12 shira silton
12 17 2003 Female 12 1 PM 7 4 20 Howard Teitelman
12 18 2003 Female 6 0 PM 5 12 18 Lili Zemon
12 18 2003 Male 7 18 PM 8 10 21 Leonard Epstein
12 18 2003 Male 11 11 AM 6 7 25 Steve Fisch
12 18 2003 Male 11 20 PM 8 7 22 Shai Shen-Orr
12 19 2003 Female 5 12 AM 8 2 20 Petras Petroskevicius
12 19 2003 Male 6 28 AM 6 2 11 Dov Robinson
12 19 2003 Male 9 0 PM 6 7 19 Michael Merwitz
12 20 2003 Male 3 0 AM 8 2 22 Yah-el Har-el
12 20 2003 Female 4 0 PM 7 3 20 stacey mintz
12 20 2003 Female 9 1 AM 7 14 20 Kevin Epstein
12 21 2003 Male 4 0 PM 6 13 22 Illana Moskowitz
12 21 2003 Male 5 37 PM 6 7 17 Kira Epstein
12 21 2003 Female 6 26 AM 6 7 19 Lee Smith
12 21 2003 Female 6 25 PM 7 7 21 Barry Epstein
12 22 2003 Female 2 45 AM 6 8 19 Bethel Weiss
12 22 2003 Female 3 5 PM 8 2 22 Julie Epstein
12 22 2003 Male 5 0 PM 8 0 21 Michele Thompson
12 23 2003 Male 2 0 PM 7 3 21 Jon & Robin Reuter
12 23 2003 Female 2 17 AM 7 14 20 Matt Pangaro
12 23 2003 Male 9 0 PM 8 10 22 david lesser
12 23 2003 Male 11 30 AM 7 6 20 Lynn Rosenfeld
12 24 2003 Female 1 15 AM 7 10 21 Barak Epstein
12 24 2003 Female 6 15 PM 7 2 19 Ellen Epstein
12 25 2003 Female 3 0 AM 6 12 20 Asher Epstein
12 25 2003 Female 5 38 AM 7 12 20 mark walsh
12 25 2003 Male 5 27 AM 7 6 21 Rebecca Kittrell
12 25 2003 Male 12 0 AM 8 0 18 Helene Reisler
12 26 2003 Female 12 0 AM 6 8 20 Joe Richter
12 28 2003 Male 5 0 AM 7 13 20 Lauren Battista

Monday, October 20, 2003

Ok, it's been a while since I did this, but I am going to try and get in the habit of doing it. Maybe a "private writing" effort of sorts that I just publish. how do these guys make money anyway/ I wonder if this will be here in a few years. Oh well. We can always copy and paste

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Don't Cry for me...I'm back from Argentina

It’s no wonder that they call Buenos Aires the “Paris of the South.” It’s clear that at some point, someone decided that they would go to Europe, copy the ideas of avenues, cafes, parks, the way buildings look and just import it wholesale to South America.

What this has done has created a unique oasis of beauty within an otherwise fairly typical South American experience (having only been to Peru, but extrapolating from what I’ve seen there and heard about others.) That may not be 100% accurate as Argentina has historically lived at a higher standard than its neighbors, but there is a divide between B.A. and its inhabitants (known as ‘Portenos’) and the 2/3rds of Argentineans who don’t live there. Buenos Aires, however, is the center of EVERYTHING. Business, politics, culture…you name it. It is the center of gravity for the entire country and arguably for the entire southern region of the continent.

What you have then are wide avenues, shopping districts, museums, and government buildings that belong in the great capitals of the world.

The citizens of the polis possess a wonderful sense of fashion and dress quite well. There is a sense of flair and style, as exemplified by the national dance of Argentina, the Tango (which we unfortunately did not get to see in person).

The center of Buenos Aires is the Plaza de Mayo. Buenos Aires smeans ‘good air’ for the fact that the patron saint of the city (can’t remember right now) is the patron saint of sailors and because of the strong winds that helped sailors come up the Rio de la Plata. The River is 42 miles wide and separates Argentina from Uruguay (a former province of Argentina) and originally was thought to be the sought-after passage to the Pacific because it looks like an ocean.

The Plaza de Mayo is marked by a large, pink building at one end, which serves as the office of the President. It’s a unique hue and according to our guide, in 1810 when the country received its independence from Spain, led by one San Martin. At that time, the country wasn’t so wealthy and they didn’t have any paint, so they used cow’s blood as the basis for the paint…hence the pink hue.

But, as the saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ During our trip (this was everyone in my immediate family-8 in total, except for my lovely, 6 months pregnant wife), we read a number of books and articles about our host country, most notably an essay by Nobel laureate, V.S. Naipaul entitled “The Return of Eva Peron” (yes, we did visit her grave at the Recoleta cemetery) which essentially puts forth the notion that Argentina is a country that is perpetually ‘on the cusp.’

Blessed with rich, fertile soil, natural resources, a well educated population (almost 100% ofo which are descendants of European immigrants—the Indians were exterminated), and a huge amount of land (from top to bottom the country extends 3000 miles), Argentina has just not been able to get its act together. Every few years, it seems that the country is thrown into upheaval. Corruption continues to be theh single biggest barrier to effective, true, and sustained growth and its existence has come to be accepted with a shrug of resignation. That, plus as our travel agent, Fernando, in Salta said: ‘most people here are just lazy.” Admittedly, we didn’t see that, but the siesta (not so much in B.A., but in other places), does create for a strange work life.

So, what you have behind the beautiful facades of the European city is a country that followed a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality, lived on credit for too long, and now is finally having to pay the piper.

The recent economic turbulence in 2001, where the Peso was devalued (it had been equal to the dollar in value) has had serious impact on the population, especially for the bulk of people whose savings were in dollars. For the tourist, it’s a blessing. At an exchange rate of almost 3 to 1, your purchasing power is tremendous.

A few examples. The 8 of us went out for a steak dinner (there are a large number of Kosher restaurants in B.A., with 300k Jews) that easily would have been $400 or more in NYC, cost us only $80, with tip and wine. Plus, the Argentinian reputation for fine beef held its own.

Our hotels, nothing fancy, but nothing grimy, were about $30 per room. We had an English-speaking guide for a full day for $30. One other sign of the relative poverty was the large propensity of Locutoro’s, or telephone calling centers. It gave me the impression that many people no longer could afford phone service at their homes. The benefit for me was that I was always in a position to call Tamar, for about 5 cents a minute, roughly.

You get the picture. In fact, I compared notes with a friend who had taken her family of 6 to Disneyworld for 10 days and, including airfare, it was more cost-effective for 8 of us to go to Argentina for the same amount of time (in fact, some stayed as long as 14 days). The good thing for the Argentines is that, as an economy, they are benefiting from tourists, seeing their importance, and in the words of one guide, ‘at least things have stopped getting worse, even if they aren’t getting better.”

The primary impetus for our trip was the fact that two of my sisters-in-law, known as the dynamic duo (they’re twins) had gone on a young adult’s solidarity mission to aid the poverty-stricken members of Argentina’s Jewish community. We spent our first Sabbath in Buenos Aires with them before heading to the northwestern part of the country.

Argentina, unlike the US, was settled from west to east. The Spaniards, in search of gold, had all but ignored Argentina (which if you know your periodic table of elements is named for silver—which there was quite limited, if at all), gone around the tip of the continent to Peru in search of the elusive El Dorado. As their wars against the Incas progressed and they expanded their efforts, they moved into the heart of Argentina back across the Andes.

Our first stop was Salta, where the first thing you notice is the architecture is more Spanish colonial than the Parisian of B.A. The second thing you notice is that the Caucasian faces have been replaced by more Indian and mestizo. Lastly, you start hearing of the rivalry between Portenos (generalized as snobby and aristocratic) and the rest of the population.

A number of Argentines told us that this part of the country is the ‘authentic’ one. This is the land of estancias (ranches), gauchos (cowboys), although not a huge number, and beautiful mountains full of color (Pumamarca is known for its 7 color hills with deep purples, reds, and browns). It is also the land of legends, such as the Omahuaca (crying heads) Indians, who were lulled into a false peace by a woman who was ostensibly sent as an emissary from another tribe. After a good night of drinking and partying, the crying heads became the dead heads (not the rock band kind), as the other tribes’ warriors descended upon them and slew them in their sleep.

The small towns are characterized by a small square with some stores (selling the same type of merchandise) and handicrafts made by Indians at extremely low prices. Also, the open air markets for produce in less than fully hygienic stalls.

One thing I did notice is that despite the relative poverty and economic hardship, this was not a country of aggressive solicitation, nor was it a country where we felt consistently like we were being taken advantage of. Undoubtedly, there were times we got the special ‘tourist price,” but frankly, this was probably more from our travel agents than anyone else (though they did do a fantastic job in helping us with the logistics of moving eight people around).

Argentina is not really a country full of destinations, at least in the traditional tourist sense. Walking Buenos Aires is fun, of course, and Iguazu Falls in the northeast along the border with Brazil, which we visited after a 2-day, 20 hour cross country drive in a big Mercedes van, is without a doubt one of nature’s beautiful creations (more on that later), but for the most part, this is a country you visit to clear your mind and get into some wide open spaces. The one time in trip where we really felt like we were in the depths of South America was at Iguazu. It was a rainforest environment (the Argentines did a wonderful job with the national park there) and you really got the sense of isolation. Plus, we had the opportunity to see some crocodiles and exotic butterflies among other wildlife.

There is a unique Argentine history to study, full of colorful personalities like Eva Peron and horrific events, like the Dirty War of the late 1970’s, but the question of what defines Argentine culture and national identity is one that eluded us and many of the Argentines we asked. We were aided in these conversations by our two Spanish speakers (my brother, Barak, and father.)

In fact, driving across the country from northwest to northeast, you are struck by a few things. One, the amount of wide open spaces with no people. Second, the generally good infrastructure (except for one road of about 200 miles which has been ignored according to our driver by the provincial government for reasons that are unclear, but probably involve graft, politics or both). Third, the police checkpoints.

There are a lot of resources in the country devoted to internally monitoring the flow of people. While we had no problems at all and saw no corruption take place, it was interesting to wonder for what they were looking. Drugs from Bolivia is one answer, but frankly we’re not sure. It’s just a drain on the flow of commerce. Imagine if every 100 miles or so, you had to tell a policeman where you were going and where you were coming from.

As with any trip that is composed of 8 people who are related, there are bound to be moments of tension, but as far as Epstein family trips have gone in the past, this one was one of the more sedate. By now, we’re a relatively smooth operating machine—thanks in large part to the 5 Motorola Talk-Abouts which my dad brought and which enhanced efficiency tremendously. The family bonding, the shared memories, the laughter, and the good natured kidding that comes from this type of prolonged exposure to each other is what makes the trip a central element of our family’s identity.

Argentina 2003 was no different.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Advice on Fatherhood

This is a compilation of advice from my friends on Fatherhood. I asked for these comments prior to the birth of my first child (Calanit, born December 10, 2003)—Jeremy Epstein

Vincent D'Agostino
vince *AT*

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of them is roots; the other, wings." --Hodding Carter

Jeremy -- Thought this quote was nice. And it is true.

For roots, I've given my kids an extended family (as best as possible, avoiding the oddballs when possible) holiday traditions (which you'll have no problem with) and a warm friendly home that they want to invite their friends to. I also gave them a vacation home in Nantucket (place is immaterial) that we've gone to every year of their lives. This became real important when we moved to CA -- it was a "home base" that provided security. Even when times are tough -- financially, emotionally or otherwise - always let them know you are their for them. That grows roots too.

Wings -- I love baseball, as you remember. However, neither of my sons has played much little league - I've let/helped them find their own way. Never tell your young child to "color in the line" or what color a cloud should be -- let them experiment. But you are very creative --so ask your folks what they did for you. Treat them and talk to them like they are somewhat grown up and trust them as much as they deserve to be trusted -- which is a lot for some, not much for others -- but always remember that no matter how mature they seem, they will need you to and look to you to say NO (don't be afraid to if you have a good reason)

Most important -- be around as much as possible -- to help with homework, to go to school plays, to build Lego models with on Saturday afternoon when you really should be getting some chore done -- They'll never complain if you don't hang out with them, but they'll treasure the times you do. Don't miss the chance to spend relaxing time with them.

One thing I threatened to do, but never did, was get a boat so the boys and I could bond while chugging around the harbor and fishing and such. May still do it.

Once you have more than one - never compare them.

Finally, show them how hard you work and get them use to the idea that they'll have to do it -- lead by example. That should be easy for you.

Have fun -- keep us posted as the due date approaches! Also -- watch the movie Parenthood if you have not already. (Love that movie -- I've always been a cornball)


Ariel Jurmann
aridalnoa *AT*

beshaah tova - very exciting. the most important advice I can give you is don't stress too much, relax and trust your instincts. of course if that were possible for you, you would
not be seeking everyone elses advice. anyway, I will ask Ari if he can add anything else.

i am very excited for you.

Dalia and clan

Scott Chait
yawp78 *AT*

Holy Cow! Be'sha Tova! That's wonderful guys!

2 pieces of advice:

Take your kid to at least one baseball game every year, just the two of you (yes, even if it's a girl!). I remember nothing as well from childhood as sitting in Yankee stadium with my dad, keeping box score and eating peanuts.


Never give him/her everything they want-- even if you can afford it. G!d bless my parents, they gave us everything we asked for and I feel that it caused me to demand/expect that life would always go my way. Boy I needed to get over that as I entered adulthood!

Again, Be'sha tova-- you guys will, G!d willing, make wonderful parents!


Josh David
JDavid *AT*

Congratulations, Jeremy!

Here's some advice about parenting that Ken Brecher shared with me recently
which I thought was terribly interesting: "Make sure your child sees you
make a mistake." Or put another way: "Don't try to hide personal mistakes
from your child, because you think they will compromise your status as a
role model." Quite the contrary, the best way for a child to develop a
sense of morality and ethics is to witness human error and its consequences.
Seeing a parent screw up is a much more effective way to develop a sense of
right and wrong then merely being told. The book this idea comes from is
entitled: "The Moral Child." Ken recommends it highly.

By the way, having said all that, you'll be a great dad. Please pass on my
congratulations to Tamar.
All the best,

Gretchen Shinoda
gretchen *AT*

Hi Jeremy

Congratulations! That is so exciting. You will LOVE it.

I am a Mom, but here is my advice: You have never been a father before,
but your baby has never been a baby and has NO expectations of what you
should be and how that diaper should be changed. You get to figure it
out together!!!!!!

My daughter turned 5 years old TODAY. As everyone says, time goes fast.
My cousin told me to take a 30 second to 1 minute video of our baby
every Sunday and tell what amazing things she did that week. Sit the
baby in the same chair and when you no longer have a baby, but a little
person, you can still go back and remember all those great things and
literally watch your baby grow! We did this and we LOVE it. So does
our daughter.

We did this reliogiously the first year, then like once or twice a month
until she was 2.

Of course you need another video tape for all the highlights and "as
they happen" events. Dont mix the two or the magic gets lost. AND DONT
be a Dad always behind the camera. Experience life with the baby, not
film it for news at 11.

Enjoy, and all the best of pregnancy for you and Tammer!


Gretchen Shinoda

Tjada D'Oyen
tjadad *AT*

CONGRATULATIONS! This is so exciting. You and Tamar are just going to be fabulous parents. Your mother must be just jumping off of the walls.

I think that I had the greatest Dad ever. He just loved me unconditionally. He called me "Precious" and took me everywhere. He always made me feel as though I can do anything. Just remember, that your opinion means the world to this new child...particularly during those rough puberty years. Have an open mind and just let them explore everything. I know all of this is super germane and not very helpful but I am sure that you will be fabulous.

I wish you guys all the best! Love, Tjada

Josh Sultanik
jsultanik *AT*

Just be yourself and convince your wife that when the diaper has doody in it, its her job to clean.


gladyce *AT*
gladyce *AT*

Mazel Tov !! Don't have any advice to give you (you'll learn the way we all did - by practice!) ... Hope all goes well for both of you and the baby ..
Gladyce & Marty

Cheilaugh Garvey
garvar *AT*

congrats to you both! well, i am sure steve will have some pearls of wisdom to impart. just remember for all stages, "this too shall pass." more when i am not yelling at my kids to get to bed!!!


Joshua Finkel
joshua_finkel *AT*

Great to hear that you are expecting. I dont have any direct experience myself, but all good relationships that I have are based on trust, respect and boundries. If you treat your kid like that from the day he is born, I dont think you can go wrong.

Hope all else is going well. Say hey to the wife.


Aaron Aumiller
abaumiller *AT*

Congrats, Jeremy. My advice - get your kid involved in some outdoor activities - including sports. They are happier and healthier.

My other piece of advice: if you have a son, tell him to go to the College of Charleston. I was down there last month - my eyes still hurt due to the images of the coeds burned into my retinas. SMOKIN'!!! "Go south young man!"

Melissa R. Burton
mburton0214 *AT*

Mazel Tov to you and Tamar!

However, as I'm sure you're aware, get ready for sleepless nights, tremendous patience and to watch time fly like there's no tomorrow.

Again, mazel tov to you and Tamar!


Anad311 *AT*

Mazel Tov to you and Tamar! I'm so excited for you both! I think your preparation guide is a great idea. I do have something for you to add to it. I have to start it off as a story before i can get to the "must do's and do not's."

My family and I went on a vacation to Orlando, FL about 18 years ago. I think I was 7 and Noah was 3. The major plans for the trip included visiting my great grandmother at her nursing home and spending the day at Walt Disney World. Keep in mind that to a 3 and 7 year old, the biggest moment of your life is doing anything that involves the word "Disney." As we were in the car driving to WDW, Noah and I couldn't stop fighting. Every few minutes my dad would turn around and scream, "If you don't stop bickering right now, I'm going to turn this car right around and we're going to the Science Museum." As you know, those threats only last a short amount of time, because we were back to our arguments within a few minutes. My dad persisted with his threat as our fighting continued, and as we came upon the gates of WDW he turned the car around and drove us to the Science Museum. Noah and I were crushed. We thought our lives were over! Of course, we forgot all about WDW five minutes into the Science Museum and to this day I remember having the best time there.

So, my fatherly advice to you is...Do stand your ground when you make a decision. Don't let tantrums and fighting wear down your decision making process. Do remember that it is important for children to be inspired, and if you ever have to choose between a Science Museum and WDW, please choose the Science Museum. They'll thank you for it...if not immediately, then maybe 10 years later!

Have a happy father's day! Eventhough the baby isn't here, you are in a special way a dad now!

Lee Pearlman
ljpearl *AT*

This is not our advice, but there is a very funny book for the dad-in-prep, called "What to Expect When Your Wife is Expanding" - obviously a parody of the What to Expect series. I think you'd enjoy it.


Fuerstr *AT*

Dear father-to-be Jeremy, I can only tell you what I did when my children
were young.
It's a matter of allocating my time. My children always came first, than came my wife. Next was the work I had to do and finally what I needed to do for myself and what I wanted to do for myself. So, when I came home after work, or after school (University),
and my children wanted me to help with schoolwork or listen to them, this
came first.

My wife was not demanding, knowing that my time was limited, but I asked if she needed my attention. Than I did homework or preps for the next day or days. Finally, I looked at TV or read the paper, etc. Often I went to sleep very very late. This is called being a father. Does this help??? The rewards are well worth it! Best wishes to you and Tamar and the "crazy Grandmother to-be" Robert

Joseph Richter
jr545 *AT*

B'shaa Tovah!
Any specific questions you have can go to me if not Akiva. If I had to summarize it into a sentence it'd be "If you're spending as much time as you can with your child, while doing things because you love them and want them to grow up right, you're ahead of the game" --Tzei Ulemad.

Regina Carmel
mlmdt48 *AT*

Omigosh, Jeremy: Mazel tov! How exciting. I don't remember your father although I'm sure I met him on Parents' Night but he must be extraordinary: look at you. Be like him ...... I'm off to Italy for 12 days and then, to Israel for 5 weeks. More to come.

Wonderful news for everyone. Be well!


Regina Carmel

Tevi Troy
tevitroy *AT*

We're thrilled to hear the news.

My advice is: see all the movies you can on the big screen now, because it's going to be all videos and dvds from here on in.


RobbyUnion *AT*
Stanley Robinson


Nirvana Kundu
nirvana_kundu *AT*



It must be relatively early yet. Nevertheless, early planning in required to ready oneself for the coming changes in life.

My experience is somewhat different from that of a first time dad to singletons, however, I think I can lend some worthwile advice.

1. the first few hours are consumed with just getting used to having a little human be totally dependent on you.
2. mom will be exhausted, but seemingly full of energy -until she crashes and then its just you and the kid
3. you will never drive more slowly than when you load up junior for the first car ride home.
4. of all our baby paraphanalia, the most useful single item was the bouncy chair with "soothing vibrations" - or "Magic fingers" as we called it. They are pure GOLD. much better than any toy or swing.
5. Tell your wife she's beautiful throughout the pregnancy
6. Take her out to dinner, but only if she's gotten over all the nausea
7. pregnancy horomones make everything slow down
8. She will start being seemingly irrational about many child related things

whew, that's enough for now. Good luck , give tamar my best, and God Bless,


Gibbs, Denis P [FIN]
denis.p.gibbs *AT*


Congratulations! I'm very excited for you.

Main thing I can say is be involved in everything. Late night feedings, naps on the couch, dirty diapers. Love them all because they don't last. Cherish each moment for what it is - they keep getting better.

Robert Sacks
jrsacks *AT*

One of the old rules is that kids always detect hypocrisy -- teach by example (not the Do what I say, not what I do attitude that always fails).

Alan Krausz
vze26jpw *AT*

hey -- Bshaah Tova!

Advice? Just do what your wife tells you.


Stuart Milner
smilners *AT*

Dear Jeremy,
I am delighted to hear the news. I will be happy to speak with you; hopefully we can get together when you return from Seattle. In the meantime, building on the army slogan below, the 82nd airborne slogan is "all the way and then some."

Best regards,


simeon gelband
sgelband *AT*

BeShaa Tova -- like anything else in life .. learn as you go.


Noa Resi Hirsch
resihirsch *AT*

Dear Jeremy and Tamar,

One of the more unique "We're pregnant!" emails I've gotten!!!

Congratulations on the future Epstein Jr. May he/she inherit your love of life, subtle wisdom and ability for fun!!!


Colin Laird
Colin.Laird *AT*

Read 'Raising children in love justice and truth' by Barry Long.

Lisa Goldman
lisa-g *AT*


What unbelievable news!!! Bsha'ah tova. I hope Tamar is feeling well.

Our baby#2 is due in about 8 days, G-d willing. It's getting down to the wire. I am feeling well physically thank G-d, although yesterday I was an emotional wreck watching the news about the piguah, more upset than usual. I guess I feel very vulnerable right now, bringing another life into this sometimes violent, scary and horrifying world. I just kept hugging Shaielle really tight and counting the minutes until Jeremy came home from work.

Being married to an excellent father, I have a kernel of wisdom for you relating to something that happened just this morning. Shaielle woke up at around 6AM and called out "Ma Ma" as she usually does. She doesn't cry, she just says my name. However, I (unwisely) went to bed quite late last night and did not really have much strength to go in to her this morning, so Jeremy tended to her. As soon as he opened the door and she saw it was not me, she started to cry- hysterically. But Jer just picked her up and sang to her and calmed her down, gave her a bottle and changed her diaper. Eventually she stopped crying and was soon chatting up a storm with her da-da.. So the kernel is: do your best not to get personally insulted if your child seems to prefer its mother. At first I think it really hurt him that she seemed to always want me over him, but he got over being offended and just dealt with it and she was fine. Anyway, with the new baby coming she has to learn to feel equally comfortable with us both. Perhaps some men would be turned off and not want to be as involved with their children because they think they like the mother better anyway, but this kind of attitude is not very productive and certainly is not good for the family.

Have a wonderful Shabbat & stay in touch,

Zila Shen Orr
z_shenorr *AT*

The best advice that I can give you as one who had the best Dad. And one that have 2 wonderful kids (Shai &Tammy)' and Chaim has an husband and father is LOVE' LOVE' and LOVE.
Love you Zila

Sarah K Doshna
sarah.doshna *AT*


B'shaha tova. Mostly, relax and enjoy the ride. It's a teriffic adventure. And, realize that most kernels of wisdom you get (1) may not apply to you and (2) may not apply to future offspring (G-d willing) even if they apply to this one. As Malkie is fond of saying, "Man Plans, G-d laughs his a** off."

The only thing I have found true with both of our children, as well as with other parents who are (according to my own criteria) sucessful is the following promise that Jeff and I made when we were younger, ignorant, and still childless.

We will never say "Because I said so" and (corrallary) we will answer any question.

This is extraordinarily difficult; much more so than we ever anticipated. There is no way, at this point, you can even comprehend how difficult. Noah is four, and I'm only at the very beginnings of comprehension. But when you answer a question for a child, not only do you teach him the answer, but also that questions are worth asking and the answers worth seeking. This is, I think, the basis of our faith and our culture.

There are times, usually after the 27th "Why," that you just want to scream. Then (G-d willing) your child's preschool teacher says "You know, your son asks really good questions" and you realize that it's all worth it.



Debra Spivak
dehatlady *AT*

B'Sha'a Tova!!! All should go well and it should be a memorable start to the
newest chapter in your life.

I am not a father, but f course have opinions on "parenting" in general:

1. Children need and thrive on structure. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
2. Read to your child(ren) from birth. They focus and listen sooner than you think.
3. Talk to your child(ren) like children. There wil be enough people talking "baby". The benefits a year later are enormous. (Baby sign language is good too...Daphne even knows it)
4. Give your child his/her independence. Children learn by doing.

Nothing is more important than LOVE...give lots of it!

Can't wait to hear the stories...

(PS- buy your wife a NICE present after birth...even the best pregnancies/
deliveries need recognition)

Tony_Ruiz *AT*
Tony_Ruiz *AT*

Hey Jeremy,

I am a father of 4 daughters and have been a father for 10 wonderful years, and I have a father.

What would you like to know ?

Oh and BTW congratulations, you life is about to change forever, and for the best provided you drive the results.

-Tony Ruiz

Eliza Shulman
pippaprop *AT*

CONGRATULATIONS!! I could not be happier for the both of you.

As for advice - my father is the best listener in the world. He has never made me feel afraid to tell him anything. as a result i am very close to him. you are going to be fabulous - no worries.

much love and blessings,


Tony_Ruiz *AT*
Tony_Ruiz *AT*

PS. .
Aside from you knowing me from Dell, I am a Church History Teacher and
Christian Family Counselor, so I think my do's and don'ts are in order, but
it is a continuous learning experience, in fact most of the time it is
through trial and error that I can offer my advice.


michael kelsey
kelseyis *AT*

B'sha'ah Tovah! Jeremy, what exciting news! There's nothing more important than spending quality time with your family. Try and establish routines for the morning and the evening, at least!

Also, make sure that you and Tamar get some time for yourselves. Last year, Aviva and I committed to at least 1 date/month. We've been doing it and it's been wonderful for ensuring that we keep growing together. With all the pressures of work and the kids, you can lose focus on how important it is to have time with your spouse.

Waiting with anticipation,

CarolAAdamsRNC *AT*
CarolAAdamsRNC *AT*

Congratulations, Jeremy! I could not imagine a better father or mother for a child coming into this world! You will make the best parents just the way you are. I think what I look for in a father is wisdom, humor, and someone with integrity and high values. And you already have those qualities. Being available to your child for advice whether invited or uninvited is very important also. I think that about sums it up. I am so happy for you two! Give Tamar my best. My prayers will be with you for a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery. (One more thing, I think. Children are like Lay's potato chips, you can't have just one.)

Have safe travels ahead and keep in touch.


Maurice Bretzfield
mbretzfield *AT*

Don't ever forget what it was like to be a kid - that's hard sometimes but when you find that you're getting angry, hurt, worried - whatever - try to remember what your experience was like. The older your kid gets, the harder the remembering will be but put in the effort as it makes things much clearer for you.

Many blessings.

Maurice Bretzfield
Email: mbretzfield *AT*

Paul D Spreiregen
paularch *AT*

Dear Jeremy and Tamar:

Unfortunately there is not much we can tell you about fatherhood or
motherhood, but we do know something about being about being an uncle or
aunt. Namely it is probably a lot easier. However we can say that the best
preparation for parenthood is to have had parents who knew how to do it (or
learned as they went along) and who raised you very well. That seems to
have been the case with you and Tamar. So we think you will do very well.

love P and RH

Jennifer Bauman
buje *AT*

Hey, Jeremy & Tamar,

Congratulations! I'm so happy for you and know that just by instinct you'll make wonderful parents.

Christian would tell you one thing...."Stay north of the stirrups"!
I'll tell you that the best thing you can do is love one another and remain consistent with your parenting--no one should be the softy, they won't understand why one says one thing and the other parent says another.

There's a great book that I think I told you about by Wendy Mogul called "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, how to raise self-reliant children using Jewish Wisdom" Our Catholic moms group did it for book club back in the winter and everyone loved it. It's very practical and none of this new age crap!

Again, Congrats...please wish Tamar well with her pregnancy...I'll keep y'all in my prayers.

Jennifer travels

Levin, Jonathan L.
JLevin *AT*

Do everything in your power to have dinner with your wife and children as many nights a week as humanly possible, especially from pre-school through the middle school years. Mazel Tov! Jonathan

Schwartzberg, Jay
Jay.Schwartzberg *AT*

As crazy as work is, this task is more important. Here is a quick brain dump
Parenting Do’s and Don’ts*

Do’s Don’ts
Do tell them that you love them every day
Don’t ever use the words hate and cannot around them
Do kiss them every opportunity that you can. At a minimum, you must kiss them before they go to sleep. Also see above
Don’t buy them a toy because you feel guilty about punishing them
Do read to them every day
Don’t punish in anger
Do wipe their tears away
Don’t squash creativity
Do cuddle (this is a gender neutral requirement)
Don’t criticize their mistakes. This is different from providing critical feedback, which is a Do
Do see the world through their eyes
Don’t substitute the TV, PC or Game Boy for real interaction with your children
Do say that you are sorry
Don’t complain about dirty clothes
Do let them lick your ice cream cone
Don’t expect them to be perfect
Do be their parent and not their friend when the situation requires it
Don’t try to re-live your childhood through them
Do celebrate their achievements
Don’t accept excuses for them not doing their best
Do listen, listen, listen
Don’t forget that you were a kid once
Do love them for who they are
Don’t start drinking when you find that you are repeating statements from your parents that you swore you would never say when you had kids
Do let them make their own mistakes
Don’t go against the other parent’s decision
Do make them have responsibilities (poor grammar I know, but you get the idea)
Don’t wait to praise, punish, counsel or comfort
Do let them see you smile and let them see you cry
Don’t take it out on your child because you had a bad day. Take a timeout for yourself and then go back to your child
Do teach them the golden rule and to not lie, cheat or steal
Don’t ever use the children as a threat with grandparents. As absurd as that sounds, I have a sister who has done this
Do teach them the importance of family. Deeds are better than words
Don’t miss the special moments in their lives due to work. Life is way too short. Trust me on this one, I am the expert.
Do recognize each other’s contribution as parents
Don’t be afraid to ask your parents for advice
Do take a moment to reflect on what a wonder a child is and what they bring to your life
Don’t be afraid to tell your parents to butt out
Father specific - Do volunteer to change the poopie diapers
Don’t forget to find time for each other
Father specific - Do volunteer to do the late night feeding. This is a great time to bond with your child
Father-specific – Don’t forget to give her a foot massage
Do be a role model every day
Don’t forget why you became a parent

*Please Note: While this listing is a compilation of my wisdom around the rearing of offspring in no way should it be construed with actual practices performed by myself or my wife. Per the advice of our attorney, we include the following disclaimer. Performance or failure to perform any of the activities listed above will be the sole responsibility of the reader of this document. Said authors will in no way be liable for any negative effects that result from the following of the items in the aforementioned list. Please be advised however that the authors will take full credit if in fact these items are followed and your child/children grow up to be fine upstanding citizens of the community.


Jay Schwartzberg

Jeff Epstein
epstein_jeff *AT*

Hi Jeremy,

Congratulations on your new adventure. This one will change your outlook on life more than college, travel, and living abroad - all put together.


Sandi Abadinsky
sandiabadinsky *AT*

What wonderful news. I don't have any fatherly advice, but I can tell you from experience that's a tough time to have a b-day. Just remember, a birthday and Hanukah are SEPARATE holidays, each deserving of separate presents! My parents were
great about it; my friends usually weren't.

born 12/21

Rabbi Lyle Fishman
ravlaf *AT*


This fatherhood things is not a role for which you learned everything in kindergarten. However, a few skills you did learn then--
Mitzvot aseh
be involved in every aspect of your child's life (e.g. diapers, feedings, visits to pediatrician, etc.) share esp. time and concerns
listen to your child and Tamar with the keenest sensitivity you can muster
Mitzvat lo ta-aseh
Don't forget Tamar is your wife,lover, friend, etc. and not just the mother of your child
Don't think that you have mastered the role. As soon as your hubris kicks in, your child will teach you that you ain't learned nothing yet.

The rest is commentary, go and study. Lyle Fishman

Michel Laloum
Michel_Laloum *AT*

Mazal tov!!

Fantastic news!

no advice - just go on being yourself - love your wife, love your child, and
look after yourself!

be well,


paulie rose
rosep *AT*

really?!?!?!? B'sha'ah Tovah!
how's tamar feeling? hooray - i am so excited for you guys! rember the book we read in japan - i think it was called "the girlfriends guide to pregnancy"? that was a good one!
we cant wait to see you and hug you and give you our good wishes in person.
you are going to be such an amazing papa!!!
Miguel Pincay
miglow *AT*

I am not sure that I am ready to give any advice on this matter, but I would like to congratulate you and Tamar on the great news.
I am confident you both will do well, and if you do get to write the preparation guide, go ahead and publish it...I'll buy it for me when my time comes around.
Take care and enjoy Argentina (really good food).

Herbert Eiteneier
heppye *AT*

There's very sensible advise (test your German):

Erziehung ist sinnlos, die Kinder machen uns sowieso alles nach.

Mazel Tov! Herzlichen Glueckwunsch! Ich wuensche euch ein gesundes Kind.


Aliza Zuckerman
aliza_zuckerman *AT*

B'sha tova! Best of luck to you and Tamar in your latest endeavor. : ) These are exciting times for all of us as we reach new stages of our lives. It's nice to see so many friends in our peer group going through the same stages (I have 3 good friends who are pregnant and two sets who just had their first child). Although we aren't quite there in the parenthood stage, Mike and I will be moving into our first home next week. It's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in Chestnut Hill, MA which has a lovely backyard and plenty of
space for us to grow and raise our family. Good luck!
- Aliza

Michael S. Sellinger
michael *AT*

go with the flow
its all good

Mark Cummings
mcummings *AT*


Well... unfortunately I am not a father and am not about to become one anytime soon. The closest I have come to fatherhood is having a dog, so I really do not have much advice to give - except trust your gut.

From what I can tell you were raised well. I am sure you can pull a lot from your personal experiences if you look back. I guess the main thing that I can offer for a long term outlook is let your child grow to be an individual. Too many parents expect their children to be mini replicas of themselves, or expect them to be something they are not.

Parenting, as I am told, is a continuing learning process. As my father -in -law mentioned to me once..."Raise them so they understand the difference between wrong and right, but ultimately they need to make the choices themselves. If you have raised them the best you know how, they will make the choice that is best for them."

As far as short term goes....expect to get NO sleep, and purchase a bunch of of Barney, Blues Clues, Power Rangers or whatever is the hot "keep-your-child's attention-while-you-get-some-time" videos or DVDs.

That is my two...well, what ever cents...

Good luck! and take care.


Mark J. Cummings

Gemma_Lee *AT*

wow! big daddy!

I got one advice only...something I can attest to from helping raise my beautiful twin nephews right outta college: until the baby is born...stock up on your sleep time - mui mui importanto 8-)! and anything yer wifey blames you for, apologize for everything and anything & leave your sorrows for your family that will be there to lend you a shoulder to cry on - no joke 8-P.

As for the child, I just read that massaging the, 15 min. a day expedites their neural development - if you do that every morning & night, you may end up w/ a genius that speaks more languages than you :-). Plus, no worries if the baby's weight drops from breast-feeding, I also read that the lower weight infants develop far greater & smarter brain capacity. As for their emotional develpment, show them firmness but unconditional love
always 8-).

Gemma Lee

Michael Merwitz
michael *AT*


I am so happy for you & Tamar. You should only have nachas!

As is typical, you are starting to obsess... STOP IT!

Whatever works for one set of parents and their child, or even within the same family with different children does not always work in a different situation. As Reb' Zushia says, "I will not be judged for not being more like this one or that one, but will be asked, 'Why were you not more like Zushia?'". Hashem is the only other partner in this 'deal'.

So in essence, my advice is, "Be Jeremy". Your child will then be perfect.

With blessings,


Belinda Hsu
belindahsu *AT*

Congratulations! How's Tamar feeling? You guys must be excited. I can tell you that it's fun to see the baby grow so much everyday. They respond more and more and gain motor skills so quickly. It's difficult during the first 2 months but everything will be easier from there.

By the way do you guys have the book called "What to Expect When You Are Expecting"? If you don't I'll send you a brand new copy (I got an extra). Let me know.

I got some new photos of Naomi uploaded to Check them out! Use my log on name belinda_hsu *AT* and password sharephotos.


Petter-Lipstein, Ami
apetterlipstein *AT*

b'sha-a tovah! Please give our best and warmest to Tamar. I hope she's feeling well. One thing I've learned thus far (and baby isn't due to arrive until September)... (particularly in conjunction with is a great way to weed through the morass of baby details. I mean, truly, how on EARTH are you supposed to know which stroller of the 17,000 different models out there?

Best of luck.

Cheryl Tallman
camoell *AT*

Hi Jeremy,

Congratulations! Of course, you will make baby food at home. It is healthier for your baby. Plus it is easy and saves you $300-$500! Please send me your address and I will take care of getting you started.

Busines is going well. We just got a huge break - QVC picked us up as a vendor and we will be doing our first show on July 1 at 7AM EST. Tune in! I am totally and completely swamped, but having a good time!


P.S. My other advice:
1. The delivery room - Promptly do what ever your wife says without asking
any questions.
2. Encourage breastfeeding by taking care of things around the house so she
does not feel compelled to get more sleep, because of all the other stuff
that is piling up. If you have not already done it, but a tube a Lanosh
Lanolin cream - she will need it.
3. Make it a point to go to all the well baby check ups, so you have an
opportunity to ask your own questions and get answers directly from the
4. From my sister, the best advice she gave to me - No one ever got
arrested for a putting a crying baby down and walking away for a few minutes
so that you can re-group and come back to him/her refreshed.

Good luck and all the best!

Cheryl Tallman
Fresh Baby
616 Petoskey Street
Suite 202
Petoskey, MI 49770
P:(231) 348-2706
F:(231) 348-5374
E:cheryl.tallman *AT*

When you make it yourself, you know it's better.

ian schonwald
ischonw *AT*

congratulations jeremy!
my parents always told me "we'll always try our best, but we guarantee that there will be things that you'll say to yourself 'i'm never doing that to my kids.'" they were right, but the fact that they acknowledged their inevitable shortcomings allowed for dialogue when i thought they were wrong or disagreed with them and made things much more open. also, i had friends growing up who were able to pit one parent against the other-on the
contrary, mine, even when they disagreed, had a united front and is definitely something i'm planning on instituting with my future wife. i hope this helps, although i don't know how much since i am far from that point in my life. again though, congratulations.

soccerron *AT*

First - congratulations to you and Tamar!

Somebody once said to me that if you are right 51% of the time - you'll be a hero.
Here's my 2 cents worth Jeremy:

1] love them every day - and tell them that you love them every day . . . from the moment the baby enters this world!
2] Praise them - but make sure they know the difference between praise for effort and praise for results. The corollary is: when angry, make sure they know that it's anger for something they did ( or didn't do ) - not anger with them as a person. Praise them all of the time. Their self-image is going to be critical for their mental health - but they must understand that they are not "better" than anyone else.

3] Teach them to praise and appreciate others

4] Because of your upbringing, and Tamar's, you'll have no trouble bringing G-d into their lives.

5] Teach them about passion - and teach them to follow their passions; be it art, music, sports, etc. They live in the 21st century in the USA - there are virtually no boundaries ( short of being 5'10" tall and aspiring to be the Celtics next center ). Don't fear showing ALL of your emotions.

6] Finally - and most importantly - trust yourselves and do NOT try to follow a plan. Do you know why there is no road map for parents? Because each trip with each child is completely unique . . . ergo - no one has been there before you. You and Tamar are the trailblazers for each child. TRUST YOURSELVES!! We all share some similarities with each other, but you had only one mother and one father - - - and no one had Jeremy as a child before you appeared.

Raise your children to be loving, accepting, passionate, dispassionate (regarding business type issues ), open-minded. G-d fearing and G-d loving, DISCIPLINED, tough-minded, focused, and self-confident. They will make you happy and life will become more rewarding than you can dream it is today.

lan Mitrani
amitrani *AT*

As a non dad i can offer minimal advice but lots of mazal tov to you both. You will make terrific parents I bet. As an Uncle I can offer some adc.

1) Kisses and hugs are free. Profer them generously and frequently and you will receive more in compensation than you give.


P.S. Oh, one other thing, if your son accidentally sets fire to the living room rug when he's eight years old, be easy on him.

from back to the future. Remember that?

russell shaw
russellhshaw *AT*


Congratulations! I'm thrilled for you two. It's entirely possible that your little one and Caleb will share the same birthday (December 23).

My brief thoughts on parenting (it's the last week of school and things are, of course, insane):

1) Be present. It's cliche, but true--it goes all too quickly. When you are with your child, do your best to be thinking of nothing else--not work, not problems, just your kids. Impossible to achieve all the time, but a good goal to keep in mind.

2) Don't be afraid to get serious about your baby's sleep. You may luck out and get a good sleeper--if not, you need to train your smile to sleep. It will be better for you, Tamar, and your child. I highly recommend "Sleeping through the night" by Jodi Mindell.

3) See movies, read books, go out on dates, etc. in the coming months. Soon discretionary time will disappear. Take advantage of it while it still exists.

4) Take care of your relationship with Tamar. Schedule weekly/biweekly dates for just the two of you and stick to them religiously. This will be important for the two of you and for your child as well.

5) Prepare to be amazed. For all of the things that people tell you, I've found that being a parent has all sorts of aspects that I never could have anticipated. It's one of life's greatest experiences. A true blessing.

Enjoy every day, Jer!



David Siegel, HR
siegeld *AT*

Mazal tov!

1. Honestly, kids aren't fun until 6 months - 1 year. Rather than be disappointed in beginning - know this upfront. When kid hits 1 gets much better, when he hits two (as mine is) - it is the time of your life, truly.

2. Go on at least one trip alone with your wife every year.

3. Once kid hits 3 months - have a date night one day a week with your wife.

4. Finally, ask parents for help as often as possible - it is really a win-win and helps tremendously.

All the best,

David Siegel

Cheryl Tallman
camoell *AT*

One more tip - this one is a product recommendation -

A co-sleeper - the BEST product on the market. It allows you get to more sleep than any other bedding product and it is safe. It is worth every penny.

Hale Foote
hfoote *AT*

Many, many congratulations. As you all too well know, coming from a large family, children change everything and you are starting a great adventure.

I don't have much advice, because I don't think one can give that sort of advice. Parenting is too personally unique, except for the common denominator to think hard, pray hard, and then trust your gut. You and Tamar will do fine.

Quite by coincidence, I received the following from a family member today, which I will pass along in spite of its irreverence. Best to Tamar --



Why God Created Children

To those of us who have children in our lives, whether they are our own grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or is something to make you chuckle.

Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to His own children.

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was "DON'T!"

"Don't what?" Adam replied.

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said.

"Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve...we have forbidden fruit!!!!!"

"No Way!"

"Yes, way!"

"Do NOT eat the fruit!" said God.


"Because I am your Father and I said so!" God replied, wondering why He hadn't stopped creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked!

"Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" God asked.

"Uh huh," Adam replied.

"Then why did you?" said the Father.

"I don't know," said Eve.

"She started it!", Adam said.

"Did not!"

"Did too!"


Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.


If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?


1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.

3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.

4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.

5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.


Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home.


Thomas Siegman
tbsiegman *AT*

I'd be interested in hearing what you collect. Here are some random thoughts:
1. Things are easy when they are going well. The key areas to prepare for are the bad times.

2. In any given situation we tend to react the way we've seen other people react before. Giving some forethought to the situation will let you act spontaneously in a way that you want to act.

3. Most times when we get angry, it is because we are afraid. If you can own the fear and communicate it, it is usually more effective than simply being angry.

4. The best fatherhood book I ever read was called "Good Owners Great Dogs" Yeah, your kid's not a dog, but the basics are the same:
a. Dogs want to please you; so do your kids
b. Dogs want to have fun; so do kids
c. You never stop being the dog's master; you never stop being a parent.
d. Poorly trained dogs think that their name is "no." Instead of telling a dog what not to do, one must teach them what to do; kids like that too.
And so on.

5. Get sleep now.

6. Excellent communication is key. The best class I ever took on parent/kid communication is the Landmark Forum ( It will help you master your own fears and self imposed limitations so that you don't pass them on to your kids.

7. Enjoy. Even when things seem horribly wrong, it's part of a great cosmic dance.

8. Be someone you want your kid to say "I want to grow up to be just like him"

9. It's not what we do; it's who we are being as we do it.

10. The reward for being right is that you get to be right. It does not make you loved, it does not make you effective, but you do get to be right.

Seigo Ishimaru
Seigo.Ishimaru *AT*


Not yet having had the opportunity awaiting for you, can't be of much help. Rather, guess I need a preparation guide myself. (And a guide of "how to convince your wife to be a mother", ha! )

All I can say to you now is, congratulations!! You are about to go through one of the most precious and wonderful experiences of your life.

All the best,

Kevin Epstein
kevep *AT*

Mazel Tov! That's awesome news! I will be rooting for December 24. I think all three family lines extending from Bobe and Zeide should have a December 24 birthday. Aunt Eleanor and I have two of the lines covered. Now your kid could be the December 24 birthday from the David Epstein line.

I don't have any great pearls of wisdom for you now. You don't really need them anyways. With the love you and Tamar have for each other and will have for the
baby, you've got this fatherhood thing made.

Epstein, Barry (DLS)
bepstein *AT*

In today's WSJ artice ( on the front page of one of the back sections at the bottom) there is a summary of a number of studies. The results are that the father's influence on their children (in some realms) when the children is very young is more powerful than the mom's and a good indicator of the child's future psychological health. It is a fabulous article entitled "Move Over, Mom". Let me know what you think.

Noah Kressel
nkressel *AT*

Not having a child of my own, although I hope to one day (I've got some good news of my own - Lisa and I are getting married in Aug), I can't speak from experience...but Mazel tov!!! I did have a great role model for a dad though. He managed to teach me how to do things without forcing anything, sort of by quiet example I suppose. Patience and a sense of humor...

Noah Kressel
Coordinator of Recreation Programming

Steve Vardy
vardicus *AT*

First of all, let me congratulate you and Tamar on the wonderful news. It's really spectacular, and I am sure you will be great parents.

As for advice......! Are you SURE you want to solicit so many opinions about fatherhood? You will undoubtedly receive hugely conflicting pearls of wisdom. But I suppose you can sift through it all and find the nuggets that actually have value.

Not surprisingly, I am more than willing to offer my own take on the subject. I guess I'll just do a stream-of-consciousness thing, as one thought will hopefully cascade into another. Don't be surprised if my own advice conflicts with itself...

I have 3 children, 2 girls and a boy. Fiona, the oldest, is now 12. Gemma is 10, Cooper is 4. Like yourselves, we started our family when we were about 27. You will soon encounter many first-time parents who are a good 10-20 years older than you. God knows where they find the energy. Babies and young children are exhausting. I can't imagine dealing with the stress and pains of pregnancy, sleepless nights with a newborn, first experiences with everything from feedings to teething. Cooper was born when we were 36. By then we knew what to expect, what to worry about, when to let things ride.
As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. We were pretty strong by the time he showed up. We are getting progressively weaker.

In the beginning, when your child is born, there is very little you can actually do to screw things up. Assuming you don't drop the kid, or bounce or shake too vigorously, they are more durable than they look. Yes, the baby will require seemingly constant feeding and changing, and the cherub will instantly become the main focus of your life. But you really can't do much damage yet, as long as you're conscientous about basic care and feeding. Oh, one thought: breastfeeding is great, but if the kid isn't into it don't make
it a crusade. Cheilaugh and Fiona fought over eating from day one, and continue to do so. Children will NOT shrivel up and die if they feed from a bottle. Also, it gives Mom a break and Dad can enjoy (and learn to detest) the entire feeding process firsthand.

Unless you don't mind the thought of sharing your own bed with the kid until well into the teen years, I recommend letting the baby cry itself to sleep on occasion, assuming he/she has been fed and burped and is clean and isn't running a fever. Once you crack and bring the baby into your bed "for a few minutes" you are doomed. They will expect the same accomodations nightly.

Babies have a wonderful, sweet baby smell, especially behind the ears. Even when they need a bath.

Pay attention to the noises the baby makes. They make great gurgling and smurfling grunts when they are newborns. You will miss these noises when they suddenly have disappeared. The grunts get intense as they build up to real hunger and chew on their fists.

When giving a bath, make sure you do funny things with the baby's shampooed hair, and take pictures of it.

It's fun to let babies chew your fingers. Just make sure your fingers are clean.

Every baby throws up. On their parents. It stains clothing. It smells awful. You have been warned.

You cannot reason with newborns, toddlers or 99% of children younger than 6.
Trust me. Be the boss or be the loser. Sometimes, you will be both simultaneously.

As your baby learns to speak, pay close attention to the mispronunciations, speech impediments, and the misuse and misunderstanding of common words. You will never forget them. But try to capture as much as you can on paper or video.

Eventually, your child will no longer be a baby, and you will marvel at the baby pictures and realize how much of that time you don't remember.

When people speak of the Terrible Twos, they are really referring to a period of about 3 years, starting at about 18 months of age, during which your child will discover fun things like fighting with you, throwing tantrums all the time, being stubborn and generally practicing for their elevation to Evildoers. I have absolutely no advice to give here, except to ignore as much of it as you possibly can. With my older kids, I think I let
this phase get to me way too much. I yelled alot, threw fits in retaliation, spanked them on occasion (though I deny this to their faces) and basically lost it alot and at great volume. It didn't solve anything. While it is true that kids sometimes need to feel the Wrath, it's better to keep it a rare event. I learned over time to not sweat all the small stuff so much. I am NOT suggesting you let a bratty kid have his or her way. Just deny it to him or her at low volume.

Your house will be a complete mess until you are 50 years old.

You will never seem to have enough money.

Your car will be a complete mess until you are 50 years old.

You will find yourself obsessing about housing costs, property taxes and school districts. If you choose private school over public, make sure you live in a good school district anyway.

You will go to see 2 movies a year, until the child is about 5. Then you will see about 10 movies a year, but only 2 of them will be for grown-ups.

You will find that your friendships change. People you are close to now, whom you have known for years but who do not have children of their own, will not call you as much. Old friends who do have children will not call you or get together because they are too busy. Your new friends will be people you meet through play groups and pre-school activities. You will talk endlessly about your children, your careers, your houses and your property taxes. Men will talk with men, women with women. You will prefer it that way. Contrary to what you may have been told about the suburbs, there are NO key parties.

Try not to get too upset at childless friends who try to one-up your stories about your baby by telling you a stories about their pets. This will actually happen. Trust me. The Infant Epstein will be equated with a cat.

You will never, ever have enough time to spend with your children. No matter how much you try to balance things, you will be torn. You will feel guilty.

At some point, it will occur to you that your baby has become a person. With individual opinions and tastes. You should respect this, even as you try to shape said opinions and tastes. If you are lucky, as time goes on, he will become quite articulate about why he likes/dislikes something, and his thinking will take him well beyond what's merely popular and conventional.

Share your enthusiasms. When they are young, children will catch them.

I'm not one to advocate Power Parenting. I don't think kids need to be writing sonnets by 3 years of age, nor playing violin expertly by 5. They won't be Olympic athletes either, most likely. It's great to expose kids to as much as possible. My children love to write, draw, act, play music. But we don't make these things stressful tasks that must be accomplished at peak performance levels. Stress and obligation are the exact opposite of what creativity and exploration should be for kids. We have known many families with stressed-out kids who have forgotten what it was like to enjoy doing something they used to love. That's not part of growing up. That's tragic. I was deeply thrilled yesterday because Gemma wrote in her yearbook that I was her hero, because I "encouraged her in her interests." Exactly what I had hoped I was doing. Encouraging, not pressuring. It's rare that you get such clear-cut signs of having done something right.

Another clear-cut sign is spontaneous hugs from your children. They don't continue to do that forever. It's the best thing in the world to be your kid's hero. And it doesn't last long.

Remember to let the kid play. Not every moment of every day should be scheduled and structured. The best parts of childhood - of life, in my opinion - are all the unscripted, unexpected moments. Between the and videos on Saturday nights...reading bedtime stories... lounging on the couch.

In the end, you have to go with your gut on just about everything that matters most when raising kids. It is your job to teach them things and help them grow, but the fact is you'll do as much learning and growing as your child will. Your life is about to change forever. It will be the best experience you'll ever have.

Becoming a father is the one decision in my life about which i have absolutely no regrets whatsoever. I believe you will feel the same way.

No doubt I have forgotten all the truly good points. But the really, really big one is: say "I Love you." Alot. My kids seem to like that.

Good luck and much love,

From: Aaron Frank
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 5:41 PM
To: Jeremy Epstein

Congratulations! That is excellent. As for advice, you’ll get PLENTY before you’re done – from everyone, even people who have never had kids! :-) And you can find a book by an expert who will tell you whatever you want to hear. So, listen to people a little but not too much! Is this your first? If it is, the one thing I would say is spend a lot of time with your wife doing things that just the two of you can do and wouldn’t do with a baby. My wife and I just came back from our first date in three weeks and we won’t have a chance again for a while. Her folks are visiting so we Sam w/Grandma. So do special things with each other!

Sorry. I’m not planning on being in Redmond again until July. I’m off with my wife and son until then. That is one of the best benefits at Microsoft, btw – one month paid leave for a new dad! Be sure to use it.

Congratulations again!


Miles Levin
miles *AT*

I'll give you some advice people often don't like to admit, but is often the truth especially for fathers. Love may not happen at first sight.
The love and instant connection I thought would automatically occur at the birth of my children, took months to develop. Instead I 'forced' myself to have that love at first site, and went through the motions, and exhausted myself by sleeping in the hospital with my wife for 3 days, while rarely putting down my children even during the pathetic naps I took.
When children are born, they look weird - sort of like aliens. They don't do anything, have no reactions, make a lot of noise, and require lot's of attention. Moms love this and usually do have the 'love at first site', but Dad's often don't. Dads usually imagine babies, at about 5-6 months and onwards, when babies start moving, can climb over things ( Daddy's belly), start giggling and positively respond to parents increasingly so. So just realize the love you'll experience for your child, may be at it's lowest point at birth and you may end up just going through the motions for a few months as the powerful parent-child connection develops. Don't feel bad, that's just life for many new fathers.

On a different note....I'm sure you're aware of the Jewish custom not to buy anything for the baby before birth. I know plenty of people who ignore that custom, insisting that their just doing it to be organized, to be properly prepared, and that things are too hectic afterwards
- Whatever. I had twins, slept in the hospital the first 2 nights, and had plenty of time for everything. I installed four sets of car seats ( two for each car) bought hundreds of dollars of baby bottles, clothes, pack n play, towels, diapers, laundry detergent, and other crap. I set up for a bris, spent too much time on a corny speech for the bris, worked on a website,
sent out emails, etc etc. We did have lot's of help from the community. Someone lent us one crib, we bought another, made lot's of meals for us (usually lasangna). The babies slept in the same pack n play for the first month. All we did was empty out our former office/computer room. No decorations, just some early presents were placed in the room ( including four car seats someone bought for us) Perhaps if we had money we would have ordered baby furniture in advance to be delivered after the due date.
I'm out of breath. B'shaah Tovah.

Howard Teitelman
hteitelman *AT*

Hi Jeremy and Tamar,

Mazel Tov to both of you. We are so excited.

As for advice for Jeremy: Don't teach the baby the word Daddy too early on so that he/she will call for Tamar (Mommy, Imma) when there are problems.

Beshah Tovah.


Yoni Schwab
yschwab *AT*


I probably hold the distinction as the youngest father on your list (one month, two days). My advice is to get the car seat installed before you go to the hospital - which means doing it way before she's due, in case she's early. If you're going home by cab, then I suggest getting the car seat early and practicing on other cars. Oh, and don't forget to learn how to adjust the straps.

That was my worst moment as a father so far, and it happened on day 3 of Hillel's life!

Good luck, enjoy, and b'sha'ah tovah!



Mazal Tov on the good news. How exciting. You should email Abraham for his opinions . However, coming from the mother (as I'm sure your mother would agree) any and all help from the father is always very welcome. Dirty diapers don't bite so dig in! Most important , take tons of pictures and videos because it goes by too fast and you forget. Love to Tamar. Stacey

LT Joseph Cohn
cohn *AT*


B'shaah tovah! I would suggest always looking in on them when they are asleep (at night, before you sack out) and you have calmed down from the day- that is when you are almos guaranteed that they will look picture perfect just like you imagined they would, no matter what they have gotten into during the day.

Joseph Cohn, PhD


N. Glasner
nm.glasner *AT*

That's the thing - it's very personalized. Given the way you operate in everything else, I'm sure you will be "all you can be" even without all the advice.
Enjoy, have fun, be yourself, and get some sleep now while you still can.
Love, Nina

Sol Glasner
sglasner *AT*

Jeremy---First I will offer you & Tamar a super Mazal Tov---this is really exciting news & opens up a whole new, challenging but most wonderful, dynamic chapter in your lives (and that's coming from someone who always found the timing of our kids' respective arrivals to be most inconvenient. )---

-I need to think a bit about the advice part--but keep in mind that free advice is worth what you pay for it. Probably, my instant bit of wisdom is mainly to trust your instincts---Be yourself
(though figuring that out is probably the greatest life-long challenge) & let yourself enjoy without getting too hung up about trying too hard to fit into someone's idealized version of what fatherhood is about.

As for the trips without wife and/or kids----they too have some value----but don't overdo it!


Lipshultz, Andy
Andy.Lipshultz *AT*

Congrats. That's great news to hear. I think you will certainly hear the same platitudes ("it changes your life", et al) and I'm sure you know that it will. However, there is nothing like experiencing it. My $.02's:

* Get the book "Baby Bargains": Demystifies things like strollers and car seats
* Take as much family leave as you can. You don't get those first couple weeks back and work will go on without you.
* Kids really do amaze and delight, but every so often they can frustrate. Take time occasionally to reflect on how you react to these frustrating times. Was the battle of wills worth it? Did it teach them anything? My big thing now with Zack (now 2 and a half) is that I don't want him to learn to whine to get what he wants. If he says he doesn't want to do something nicely, I may give him a moral victory by allowing him to help in the
activity he doesn't want to do (i.e. "I don't want to wear sandals, I want shoes." Zack, can you help me pick out which socks we're going to wear and then put on sandals? Crazy, but sometimes that works).

That's it off the top of my head. Congrats again.


Zinn, Nancy (HBO)
Nancy.Zinn *AT*

Jeremy. That's great news.

I'll tell you now that I've found nothing better than the feeling I get when Jacob holds my hand, gives me a kiss or when I can make him laugh.

everything changes, and you can't remember what it was like before. It's
the most incredible love in the world.

David Bench
david.bench *AT*

B'shaa Tova to you and Tamar!!!! When you get the advice, pass it along. Dro is expecting in the end of October...

May we here only simchas!!!!


Joan Goodman
joang *AT*




Emily Reisler
emjreis33 *AT*

Oh my goodness!! Congratulations!! Mazel Tov!! I am so happy for you guys! What a blessing... Honestly, you probably don't need too much advice--I am sure your
dad set incredible examples... Eventhough I am NOT a dad, hehe, (or a mom), I would say follow your instincts and you'll be fine. :) Please tell Tamar congrats and good luck for me!!! Talk to you later!
Emily :)

Emily Reisler
Michael Findling
findling67 *AT*

Now, I'm not a father, that I know of! But, the one thing that I know I will carry from my father to my children is that there are many kinds of people in the world: rich, poor, black, white, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim - and we have to treat them as we would want to be treated.

It's basic, it's cliche, but he's taught me well. I think it's amazing you and Tamar will be parents soon - I HONESTLY can not think of 2 people to be better parents who will create a child of love and gifted knowledge to encourage the world to be a better place. Amazing, amazing, amazing.....shabbat shalom my friend.


Landy, Jonathan
JLandy *AT*

Mazel tov on the exciting news! We're thrilled for you. Needless to say, there is much one needs to be prepared for, but at this very moment I have no one-in-a-million nuggets to offer. I will forward them along as they come to me. One thing I will say, however, is in terms of dealing with a pregnant wife, particularly as she becomes ever more pregnant,
absolutely get her whatever she wants, take every birthing/parenting class she requests, spend as much time as she likes looking at baby furniture, talking about names, etc. You will find it all worthwhile, trust me. Anyway, hope Tamar is feeling well, and I'll write with more soon.

Isaac, Marty
marty.isaac *AT*

congrats! Don't stop at one ... go for 3!
all the best ... Marty

ps. When she's in labor and you're watching the device that measures the contractions, don't ooh and ahh too much as the contraction begins and ends (eg., "wow, that was a big one ... "). Also, don't get too involved watching tv and miss a call for somemore ice. Good luck!!

Josh & Shelby Rogers
joshandshelby *AT*



My advice:

1. Sleep as much as you can now.

2. Don't reveal the baby's name except to parents who have recently had children. First, they know how near and dear the name is to your hearts -- and won't make faces or odd remarks; and second, they know the list of the top 10 names for both sexes for the past 10 years!


Ralph Perlberger
ralphxp *AT*

Your baby will have very few needs and, if those are satisfied easily and comfortably, he/she will find the world to be a warm friendly place. If not, he/she will learn that one has to battle to get anything.

Your baby wants to be fed when hungry, be warmed when cold, be burped when necessary, and live in a clean diaper. Guess which one you can do the best. No, it is not breast-feeding. If you realize that changing diapers is one of the few ways in which you can make the baby happier, it will be not an onerous task but a sought-after task.

Next, if your baby treated as an incompetent, you may be sending a message. If your baby is treated as a real person, with wishes, abilities, etc., he/she will feel like a real person.

Last, this is going to be more fun and a better feeling than you have ever had before. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Love, Ralph

P.s.: e-mailed to you from the Wobers in Glasgow.

Char2Mike *AT*

Congrats! Very exciting news! Kernals of wisdom? The funny thing is that after three years with Danny I am not sure I have any. Parenting has been the most amazing and rewarding and yet utterly humbling experience of my life. What does all of it mean? I guess just to treasure every moment. The best way I have come up with to explain the phenomenom is simply that it has helped me and Mike move from being a couple to being a family, it has helped me to think outside of myself all the time and to prioritize in ways I did not think I was capable of. I have had moments when I've lost my temper that I am not proud of, having to ask my son for forgiveness, moments of joy and happiness I
cannot believe I lived without for so long. The wonder of being present and watching my son gain skills, experiences, understanding, independence. There is the incredible being that Danny is, so much like me, so much like his father, and yet, entirely unique. There is the deepening of my relationship with Mike as he assumes his role of husband to me and father to Danny. Being a wife and mother, or, I imagine, a father and husband is so much more. To sum it up, to me, Danny is the embodiment of all that I can hope for. I have learned to be a much better person because he is. I am so very happy for you and for
Tamar. It is truly an incredible journey.
With Love,

george miron
bgmiron *AT*

My advice: Just look to your own family Jeremy. It is my opinion that you all have created a beautiful family with beautiful relationships, with love and respect for one another Just continue doing what you all have been doing so well.

Mazel Tov. We are going to enjoy hearing about this child. Thank you for letting us know this exciting news.

Best regards. Enjoy the pregnancy.

Shulamith Passow
shulip *AT*

b'shah tova! i don't have much advice to offer...though i think a cardinal rule of teaching
applies to parenthood, as well--praise and offer affection as often as you possibly can.
looking forward to reading about your adventure as things develop!

ps--we'll be back in ny next week, so let me know how stein can get in touch with your brother to discuss teaching.

hope all is well,

Yosef Siegal
yosefsiegal *AT*

My fatherly advice is not to take advice from other parents.

Mazel Tov to both of you!! You will LOVE the experience of being a father- it's like no other, and can't really be described until you get there yourself. Enjoy every moment.


Joyce Stern
joycestern *AT*


I love to give advice, having lived a long and fulfilling life, and made a lot of mistakes :-), I have some qualifications. But not everyone asks for it. Since you have, I will do my best.

Michael is one of the best fathers in the world. Watching him in action for 40 years has been an awesome experience. He had a terrific role model. And now Avi is a great father. L'dor vdor. Your Dad is also a good role model. As a result, I think you will find it easier to be a good father than you think. Having a good role model makes the job a lot easier.

It is a challenging, however. The hard part in today's society in my opinion, is striking a balance between training/directing (and correcting) and not domineering/controlling. My generation was overcontrolled and beaten into submission, which made for a lot of neurotic, fearful, and angry people. Today's generation of parents is overcorrecting for this, never directing but expecting the child to grow into a responsible adult by breathing air, I guess. They don't even have kids do chores, for heaven's sake! The results often are creatures who (a) are clueless about right and wrong and (b) have expectations that the world owes them everything and they are responsible for nothing. I read in Commentary recently that this problem is greatest in proportion to the education of the parents. I can believe that.

The first thing I would do is to never let them watch TV. Ever, ever, ever. When I was raising mine, the problem was not so great. But now even the kids' shows (e.g. Nickelodeon) are R-rated. At best the shows promote unbridled materialism. But I am off subject. Fatherhood:

Be a father. Not a friend. There is a difference. I see young men fearful of correcting their children because they are afraid of alienating the child. Nonsense. The child wants age peers for friends, not someone 30 years older. Dad should set standards, be a role model of moral behaviors, especially toward his wife and in his business, teach skills (be it fishing or chess). And be there. As in tucking the child in bed. Michael read to the children until they were practically teenagers, and made up wonderful fanciful stories when we took car trips. But there always was a line. He was the Dad. Not their buddy.

And ground them early in spirituality, which is the only reality that lasts and matters. It is never too early to convey to a child that God sees everything and cares what you do. Michael always took the kids to shul and one of my happiest memories is seeing Avi and Michael daven together.And don't forget that our tradition expects a father to be honored. Not only must you earn it, but your wife has a responsibility to give you honor in front of your children. Michael has never, ever criticized me before our children, even to this day, and I try to do as well as he in this respect.

Anyway, I have gone on enough. My best wishes to you for a happy life as a Jewish father. I know you'll be great.



Leonard Epstein
Leonep *AT*

The first thing to do is have a baby pool. I can provide forms, if you wish. To have this pool, you cannot learn the gender in advance, as that provides unfair advantage. Please advise if you want forms faxed to you. --lae
As an aside, both my brother kevin and Aunt Eleanor are December 24 babies, yes Joe came home from the hospital in a big red stocking, so that is a distinct possibility.

Jonathan Katz
jkatz *AT*

Congratulations and let me wish you that everything will happen "B'sha'a Tovah UMutzlachat"!

I wish I had any good advice to give...

I suppose the easy one is: Get all the sleep you can now, and get as much work done as you can now, before things go insane (and they will).

A more gnostic one is: Don't be afraid you'll break your baby, but handle them carefully anyway!

BTW, what are you doing in Seattle and Argentina? Those are both fun places to visit...

Siegel, Joram
joram.siegel *AT* CSFB.COM

mazel tov...we are due october 20th as well. how is she feeling? lynn felt like crap for the first trimester but now feels really good. the only worthwhile thing i have picked up so far is that you have to avoid eating the same things as your wife. when she was feeling nauseaus she could only eat french fries, which i ended up doing as well. now we are racing to see who can gain 50lbs first. be careful. how are things otherwise?

Ayelet Miller
ayeletmiller *AT*

Hi Jer,
Thanks so much for remembering my birthday. It was really nice to get your message.
A baby on the way!!! I'm so thrilled for you. That is such great news. I happen to have a father myself but my tip comes from the perspective of a babysitter. I've been working with babies while I'm in school, doing lots of babysitting. One thing I've found that they really like is the Baby Einstein videos. Baby Bach is really calming. They like it so much, some even cry when it ends so I have to rewind it and then they're happy again.
I wish you both(+1) the best of health.
Take care.

Dialectic *AT*
Dialectic *AT*

1) keep a sense of humor
2) every day, you have to back up to let them grow
3) Your name changes and nobody asked you when they are born
4) you will find yourself discussing bodily functions in ways you never thought you would.

Dia Epstein
depstein4 *AT*


Regarding your search for fathering advice, I urge you to follow your own good instincts and those of your wise wife. I would expect both of you to be naturals.


cfdfa *AT*
cfdfa *AT*

Jeezux X Krist, now you've had it for the next 21 years!!!
I don't know that I've a lot of advice except to READ to the child, TALK to the child and LISTEN to the child.
You know recent research has shown that children learn a lot more than was previously thought during the first year, so just keep on talking even though there is no outward response. Another piece of research has shown that, if you have any inclination to teach the child a second language, this is the time to start -- one study showed that a child never really gained full proficiency in a language, particularly re pronunciation, unless started before the age of 1 year.
I could hardly wait until my son started to talk and could tell me what was on his mind.
Two things I did, both accidental, added I think to the development of my son.

1. When he was about age 6, I built a little desk for him. At that time I lived in a house where there was little extra room, so I put his desk in the study beside mine. Almost every evening after dinner, the evening news and perhaps a single TV program, I would get up and casually remark that I was "going into the study to work". This little 6 year old would also jump up and declare that he was "going into the study to work".
And he would come in, color, make all sorts of things a 6-year-old could do. I think this may have contributed to the work habits which make him into such a successful lawyer, working long hours.
2. One night when he was ... 10 or 11 ... he could not get to sleep. Two or three times I firmly told him to get back into bed, but "Daddy I just can't get to sleep". So to calm him down, I went in and lay down with him. Now I have a wide variety of interests: mathematics and computing obviously; I also taught descriptive astronomy at the university level (this was when "space" was big with kids); I'm interested in history, particularly American history; and this was at the time when I was trying to get a National Park Service area approved for Illinois so I was very active in politics, making trips to DC to lobby (I even got into the White House twice to talk to presidential assistants). So we began to talk ... about EVERYTHING. So it became a nightly ritual that I would "come rest with me" and we would talk on and on and on. And that went on
until ... some time when he was in high school. Not only did it broaden his world, but built a close relationship between us.
I remember in particular we talked about "conflict of interest" when Nixon was trying to appoint Haynesworth?? to the Court. A week later, his high school principal said he would not permit music teachers to give private lessons to their students in school; tho I though he was wrong, he claimed there was a conflict because in school the teachers might pressure the students to take private lessons from him -- and tho the principal was a friend of mine, he would not change his mind. Alden was devastated for he really liked his violin teacher. So I drew upon our discussion about Court appointments, "conflict of interest", and he was able to accept it.
I guess I was lucky; I had 2 really good kids and both turned into very responsible adults. Now and then I think of things I would have done a bit differently, but ... not many.
Good Luck. And just remember to warm the bottle. // Ferrel

Terry Pittman
terry *AT*

Jeremy -
Congrats on your soon-to-be fatherly status. With 12 years of experience and 2 great kids to show for it, I will offer my two-bits without a lot of contemplation:

- Read to your infant every day and night. Children that are read to from the beginning become readers themselves and will develop curiosity about the world that will pay dividends down the road.
- Don't talk baby talk to your infant. Talk like you would to someone you love that speaks your language. I think that infant language skills are hampered by the whacky baby talk.
- Do not be quiet while the baby is sleeping. Vacuum the house, build a deck outside the window, rock out, whatever. Children who are accustomed to sleeping in a normally raucous environment will sleep better than those that have the house turned into a cone of silence.
- Kiss your kid a lot. Hug your kid a lot.
- If it is a boy, and you are changing the diaper and have to turn your back to get something while he's on the changing table, be sure and cover his privates with a towel, or something. Every time I left my son on the table for a nano-second he would soak the changing table, the wall, the floor... Little boys have the ability to reach great heights with their equipment, so beware! (Just to make sure you understand, I don't mean leaving the room for a few seconds while he's on the table - that's a no-no, I'm talking about turning around for a split second to reach for the baby powder, or to pick up the huggie that fell to the floor).
- Buy the Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You'll Go and read it to your child often. Read it to yourself when the kid is not around. It is full of wisdom for life.
- Sing a song to your baby in a rocking chair each night. Do not sing Rock-a-bye-baby. That is a creepy song. Pick a good folk song, something by Bob Dylan, Elvis, Crosby Stills and Nash, or anything that you can reasonably sing. Your child will soon ask for you to sing it and this will be the only time that an audience asks for you to sing. Very gratifying.
- Remember some old stories that your grandfather told you when you were a kid, embellish them and tell them to your kid. Don't break the chain and let a family story disappear.
- Play music, all types of music. Music is a language and children who are not exposed to music early have a harder time learning this essential language.
- When you talk to your child, kneel down to their level (physically) so you can look them in the eyes and you can both hear and see each other clearly.
- Explore your house (before and after your child is born) while crawling on the floor. Things look very different from down there and that's what they will see. You need to understand the world as your child experiences it.
- When your child is big enough to walk (or wobble) let him/her take you on a walk. When your child wants to stop and examine a rock, a piece of grass, a popsicle stick, a jar of jelly in the grocery store, etc., pause, and try to see what they are seeing. If you are always in a hurry and tug them along past these little treasures you will raise a child prone to ignore his/her curiosity.

I'm sure there are other things that will pop into my head later tonight, but this is a good start. I hope you will enjoy being a dad as much as I do. I love being a dad more than anything in the world.

Best wishes,

MidSis48 *AT*
MidSis48 *AT*

Dear Jeremy,
First of all, mazel tov on the wonderful news that you and Tamar will become parents soon. That is great news. I am sure that all your family is overjoyed.
I do not have advice so much as just a few comments.
First, parenthood is a lot harder than it looks. I found that flexibility was a desirous quality to have during the early years. Anticipation of what might come next is also useful. David tried not to talk too much about the children when we were alone with other adults...he seemed to need to separate himself from his role as a parent from his role as a friend or rabbi ...does that make sense?
I think that I tried to enjoy my children and take any opportunity to join them in their world. I feel good about the fact that my children like me as well as love me. and I think that it is because I worked hard at parenting. Even with all the advice, you have to do or act in a way that feels right for you and Tamar...
You both will be wonderful parents...we wish you much joy along the way.
Keep us informed about the next few months.
Again, mazel tov.
Regards to Tamar,
Cynthia and David

From Men’s Health

The Guy Who Never Stops Working

I work all day, and my wife takes care of you 4 year old and the baby. As soon as I get home, I play with the kids and help them get ready for bed. My wife takes it easy when I get home. Don’t I get any downtime here?

I get it. You deal with a nasty boss, high-pressure deadlines, and some real ruthless folks at work, right? And your wife, all she deals with is diaper rash, nuking a few hot dogs, and flicking between Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel? Do this: Trade places for a week, then tell me who needs the downtime. What you have to understand I s that when it comes to your home life, you wife’s the starting pitcher, and she throws a ton of pitches every day. Be a trouper and close out the game, would ya? The more save you make, the more she’ll ant to give you a break and throw a complete game herself.

The Guy Who Wants to be a Good Dad
Jim, I want my kids to do great—in sports, in school, everything. But how do I push them without being one of those pushy parents?
Forget he kids for a sec. I’ve been back here a long time, and I’ve heard thousands of guys approach nice-looking women and say, “Can I buy you a drink?” Sounds simple enough, but you know how many ways a guy can say it? Too cocky. Too car salesman. Too sudden. Too desperate. It’s all about tone-here, and with your kids. You can push them, you can even criticize them so they’ll learn. But pay as much attention to your tone as you do to how well he squared around on the bunt. With kids, one bad snap can ruin everything. Whatever it is you want to tell them, think: slow and steady, relaxed and patient. Because if you Bobby Knight them, you’ll be fired—and won’t be hired again.

Joyce Stern
Your son is at five your master, at ten your servant, at fifteen your double, and after that, your friend or foe, depending on his bringing up.- Hasdai ibn Crescas
As cited in "Jewish Wisdom" by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.Dear Jeremy,
I came across this today and as you invite advice, am sending it for your edification as you ponder your upcoming entrance into the status of fatherhood.