Of Guns and Pluffers

Here’s the thing with boys and Purim. They will get dressed up as ANYTHING, so long as they get to have a gun or a sword, preferably both!

A few weeks ago, my son was playing with a little girl his age.  The toy he chose was a medium-sized box of Gears. To be clear, this is not a building toy, but rather a sort of puzzle where you connect flat boards and then build a chain of gears upon them that you can control with a small handle.

I heard my son say, “Let’s make a gun.”

The girl groaned. “No.”

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Preparing Your Son for his Bar Mitzvah

As appeared in Hamodia Simcha Supplement

Preparing Your Son for His Bar Mitzvah

By Beily Paluch


In our family, we joke that we should prepare all our boys for their bar mitzvahs at once. We should book the hall, print the invitations, and order the tefillin and tefillin bags. Unlike a wedding, where both the identity of the other side as well as the date are unknown until the engagement, a bar mitzvah falls predictably on a boy’s thirteenth birthday. So whatever age your son is, you can start getting ready!

For example, starting at birth, keep track of his age. Libby’s son Dovy’s bar mitzvah was approaching, and she sent out beautiful invitations. Then she met an acquaintance in the supermarket, and she shared the news of the upcoming simchah. “Your son is not turning thirteen, Libby, he’s turning twelve,” said the woman. “Don’t you remember we were together in Eim Vayeled? My Yossy’s birthday is also coming up, and he’s going to be twelve!”

Libby did the math, and realized the woman was right.

How did it happen? Libby’s precocious son was skipped a grade at a young age and, at some point, they forgot that he was younger than the rest of the class. When everyone signed up for bar mitzvah lessons, Dovy signed up as well. Libby also booked a hall at the same time as everyone else in the class, and from there it was a short route to “oops.”

But of course your son is really turning thirteen soon, so let’s get started!

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Boy Oh Boy! Reviewed on Amazon

I loved this book! It was a really fun read and chock-full of helpful information for Orthodox Jewish mothers of boys. The anecdotes sprinkled throughout made me laugh at loud. For those of us raising boys, especially on our own, it takes out some of the angst and replaces it with a sense of camaraderie and fulfillment. Thanks, Beily!

Binyan Blocks

When my older children were small, we spent hours playing with Fisher Price sets. I used to imagine that I would one day partner with that company to create a Shul set, complete with Tatty and boy figures, Torahs, and a backyard sukkah with a crank-up roof.

So when I saw the Binyan Blocks ad with the shul AND the sukkah, I knew this was a company after my own heart.  Those boys are grown up now, but their younger brothers were very willing to indulge my fantasy and become the proud owners of a few sets of Binyan Blocks.

Even though it was a school night, actually  a whole week of school nights, everyone managed to make time for Binyan Blocks.  Homework?  Two minutes.  Put away my briefcase, coat and shoes? Done.  Can we build now?

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Boy Oh Boy! Free Gift Option in Binah Pre-Call-A-Thon

It was a very special day for me when Binah chose Boy Oh Boy! as one of the four selections offered to subscribers during the Pre-Call-A-Thon renewal drive.

It was even more exciting when they contacted me once, and then again and again, asking for more, more and still more books!

Thank you, Binah readers, for choosing Boy Oh Boy!



Floyd Bennett Field – A Gem Close to Home

For years, our Chol Hamoed motto was “an extra half hour in the car to save two hours on line,” and we traveled far and wide in every direction from NYC.  We did Mystic Seaport and Norwalk, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Scranton, and NJ from North to South and East to West. Then Itty was born.  Itty got nauseas in the carriage when I drove it over pebbly concrete as a newborn.  She threw up in a car ride to my niece’s graduation, and again when I headed out by car to thirteenth avenue to run some errands. Since then, we go where we can  get with a carriage.

Occasionally, we prepare for the inevitable (bags, towels, bibs, wipes, air freshener, change of clothing), and head out for the closest attraction we can get away with, while still satisfying the older children’s craving for excitement.  To our surprise, we’ve found an inordinate number of things to do rather close to home, and they were not nearly as crowded, even on Chol Hamoed, as I had expected.

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Girl in a Boy House/Boy in a Girl House

Here’s a link to the article as it appeared in Hamodia, and the text of the article follows:



Boy in a Girl House/Girl in a Boy House

By Beily Paluch

“I really enjoyed the article in this week’s Inyan magazine about families with only boys or only girls.  An interesting follow up might be interviewing parents who have one boy or one girl among siblings of the opposite gender. Title suggestion: “the lonely onlies.”” – Bassie Friedman.*

Writing for Inyan magazine is rewarding in and of itself, but it is especially gratifying when readers take the time to share their feedback.  In this case, we were happy to accommodate the letter-writer, especially as material for this article was already partially collected in my files!
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Magen Tzitzit – Tzitzis Shield

One of the perks of having written Boy Oh Boy! is that friends are quick to share new boy-related products with me.  So when my husband pulled a small box labeled ‘Magen Tzitzit’ from his suitcase, I knew what it was.  It was the thingamajig a friend had shown me during the summer, and it was meant to keep the tzitzis strings from tangling in the wash. Her endorsement, though, had  been a bit lukewarm…still, I refrained from sighing, “I hope you didn’t spend too much on that!” and instead pretended to be suitably impressed.

And I’m glad I did!  Just a few days later, a neighbor raved to me about the Magen Tzitzit, saying it was amazing and she had just ordered more, so I decided to be a sport and try it.  And what do you know? It worked like a charm!  You wind the tzitzis around a spiral piece, snap on a protective cover, and throw it into the machine.  When you’re done, the strings are neat and tangle-free, a boy mom’s dream come true!

So of course, I need some more…