August 22, 2014 / 26th of Av, 5774
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Mimi Arbeit

  • Susie, who is 45 and lives in Allston, reflects on her challenges dating men she meets online, mainly using Match.com.

    Formulas

    I sit across from Eric at Trident Booksellers & Cafe. I’m not sure if it’s a date or a friendly lunch. I’ve done my hair and makeup just in case. He starts telling me about his new girlfriend (guess it’s not a date!). He also rants that there’s something wrong with all women over 40 who haven’t been married...

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  • Just over a year ago, Michelle and Asher met at a Shabbat potluck, where they were co-leading the blessings over wine. They knew it was something special after spending the night talking about polyamory and the concept of “lashon hara” (evil tongue) and how it affects being in community. Asher is a 28-year-old queer trans Jew, originally from Wisconsin. He has been living in Jamaica Plain for the past five years and is a student at Simmons School of Social Work. Michelle is a 24-year-...

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  • Saturday morning at 11:30 barely counts as morning. So when my friend texted me that her date from the night before was still asleep in her bed, I have to admit I was surprised. It’s impressive, really, being able to sleep in like a college student home for winter break. So I asked: What’s your favorite way to get someone out of bed in the morning, or to be woken up yourself?

    Some people like it slow…

    “I need to be woken up in increments: ‘L...

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  • Yael is a 28-year-old marketing coach and former Jewish communal professional. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication. Yael lives in Melrose with her husband, Jeff.

    Last week, I hit my breaking point. It was after I had been personally insulted by a stranger with whom I share a mutual Facebook friend. Until that point, I had tried to engage others in productive, respectful conversation abo...

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  • I had tea with Beth Leventhal, a 54-year-old Jewish lesbian who is the director of The Network/La Red. As we stood up to leave, she commented that she had told me a lot more stories than she has in other interviews because she associates telling stories with Jewish learning and culture—the midrash, or oral tradition. Here are some of her stories. (Trigger warning for depictions of physical and emotional abuse.)

    “She used the smallest kernel of truth to hook me, t...

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  • I’ve started inviting partners to contribute stories or conversations together. (I think I’ll call it a “We-brief”—let me know if you and your sweetie are interested!) Today Eve and Kevin, 28-year-olds from Somerville and Jamaica Plain, respectively, reflect on how they worked through an apology as they started dating a few months ago, inspired by this article on teaching children to say sorry (yeah, adults have a thing or two to learn, too!).

    Eve: ...

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  • At the beginning of the film “Obvious Child,” 27-year-old Donna (Jenny Slate) tells her best friend Nellie (Gaby Hoffman) that she looks like “a lez who just got back from Birthright.” She was clearly talking about me and my friends, although the look is not actually about sexual orientation or sexual identity, and some of us have complicated feelings about Birthright. But there’s something in this movie about Jewish femininity, Jewish women’...

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  • I’ve been going through an intense breakup process over the past many months. While my post last week focused on my friends’ actions that have been deeply meaningful and helpful, this week I want to offer some practical suggestions about what to say and what to ask, to me or maybe to other people in similar situations. (I was inspired by this piece on a totally different topic that also felt kind of relevant.) All of the “instead of” lines below are things I...

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  • “Without regard for a broken heart, it’s another year…”
    —“Arch Drive Goodbye” by Eve6

    I’m turning 29 on June 26. Buzzfeed says that 28 is the best year of your 20s. Astrologists say that 28 is the beginning of the Saturn return, where everything turns upside down and inside out but through it all you become more in touch with yourself than ever before. Personally, that resonates. I’ve just been through the kind of ...

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  • The first time someone asked to kiss my stomach when hooking up, I said no. It made me tense, self-conscious. Every message I got about my body, about feminine bodies, told me the bulge in my belly was not sexy, not attractive, and was not going to make people want me. I couldn’t reconcile my internalized drive for thinness with a sweet kiss of adoration.

    When my high school boyfriend came to visit me during my first semester at college, I asked him if he’d noticed t...

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Mimi_headshot
Mimi is a Ph.D. candidate in child study and human development at Tufts University, focusing on adolescent sexuality and sexual health. She is a freelance sexuality educator and also works locally to promote and strengthen sexuality education in public schools. Before starting The Debrief, she wrote her own blog, sexedtransforms.blogspot.com. She loves dancing, taking walks around the city, and listening to people share their stories. Email mimia@jewishboston.com or tweet @mimiarbeit.

Latest Comments

I thought the video was hilarious because I never even considered the girlfriend's viewpoint. (Yes, I'm now that guy) Great video and great writing.
The Debrief: Marry My Way
FABULOUS FABULOUS FABULOUS ------LOVE YOU MUCH !!!!!!
The Debrief: Marry My Way
I am so grateful, every day, that The Network/La Red is in the world, doing this holy work. Loved this interview/conversation with Beth Leventhal, thanks Mimi Arbeit!
The Debrief: Midrash with Beth Leventhal
I am so deeply grateful that The Network/La Red, Beth Leventhal, and all the TNLR staff exist in the world doing the amazing work they do. Definitely check out this conversation with Beth!
The Debrief: Midrash with Beth Leventhal
This is wonderful stuff. I'm so glad Beth's perspective is out in the world, and when other people are willing to listen, I rejoice!
The Debrief: Midrash with Beth Leventhal
I think the suggestion about "supporting your children in exploring the power and potential of using their bodies as mediums for adventure and expression." is a really critical one. I'd perhaps add to that creating a family norm of expressing gratitude and celebrating the ways our bodies work and what they let us do, ie "I'm grateful for my legs because they let me run around the playground" or "I'm grateful for my tummy because it tells me when I'm hungry and turns my food into fuel for all the fun I get to have!" or "I'm grateful for my tummy because it gives mommy a place for blowing raspberries!" etc. (Caveat: It's important not to ignore the realities that people have bodies that work in all sorts of different ways, those we understand as "disabilities" and otherwise, and this exercise shouldn't reinforce shame re: legs that don't let people run around the playground, or anything else. The point is to reach for gratitude and celebrating what we've got!)
The Debrief: The Point is Not to Disappear
This is so beautiful, honest, and true, Mimi. The writer's little girl is lucky to have a parent who cares and a resource like you!
The Debrief: The Point is Not to Disappear