Logo for "The Matzo Chronicles - Family, Food, Memory and Guilt"The Matzo Chronicles offer light-hearted reflections on family, food, memory, and guilt — in short everything Jewish. The column addresses timely topics and timeless concerns. It’s like a soul-satisfying bowl of matzo ball soup with a pinch of Nora Ephron and a sprinkling of salty Sophie Tucker!

Karen’s stories appear in J. The Jewish News of Northern California, The New York Jewish Week, The Washington Jewish Times, The Intermountain Jewish News, and The Times of Israel.

Read on for a hearty helping of The Matzo Chronicles.


  • The eternal question of my grandparents’ cemetery care 
    on December 7, 2021

    It’s that time of year. Not Thanksgiving. Not Hanukkah. Not even Christmas or New Year’s. Rather it’s that time of year when I’m asked about providing “perpetual” care for my grandparents’ cemetery plots. These annual cemetery solicitation letters cause profound rumination and […]

  • Thanksgiving evolves, and my mind turns to the first Jew in the Americas
    on November 11, 2021

    For many years now, people have questioned the meaning and legacy of the Columbus Day and Thanksgiving holidays. For me, the debate has been valid. The challenge, however, has been preserving the good part of my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving — the watching of the Macy’s parade, the gathering […]

  • Torn jeans, tattoos and parental taboos
    on October 4, 2021

    Growing up, I chafed under three parental fashion edicts — no tattoos, no pierced ears and no jeans with frayed edges or holes. It wasn’t, I admit, as stringent as living under the Taliban, but as a teenager, it seemed harsh, unjust and unreasonable. Not quite grounds for running away from […]

  • 5782 is coming, but too much new is making me blue
    on September 1, 2021

    A new city for my husband and me. A new job for one of my children. A new year soon to begin for us all. Still, “new” is not how I feel. Adrift. Unmoored. Those are words to describe me right now. Instead of downsizing, my husband and I recently purchased a bigger house in The post 5782 is […]

  • Eastward Ho! My state of mind as I leave the Bay Area
    on August 12, 2021

    We’re moving after eight years. My husband is excited. He should be. The move to Reno is his idea. A return to his childhood home state, something he’s been longing to do for many years. I, on the other hand, am not excited. It’s a relatively small town. I’m a big-city girl. So I view The […]

  • My Saturdays with Betty, Barbie and Mighty Mouse
    on July 14, 2021

    Growing up, I watched Betty Boop and Mighty Mouse cartoons every Saturday morning. Then I played with my Barbie dolls all afternoon. And for a break, I read and reread my ever-growing stack of Superman comic books. Weekday afternoons, I watched Shari Lewis and her puppet creation, Lamb Chop, on TV. […]

  • My face has gone to the dogs
    on June 17, 2021

    When I was a child, my Uncle George would grab my cheeks so hard I thought he’d lift me off the ground. “Such a shayna punim” he’d exclaim with joy. “Yes!” my parents would reply with equal joy. At 6, I hated Uncle George and I hated my parents. Now, at 67, I hate my The post My face […]

  • Three life lessons from sheltering in place
    on May 25, 2021

    It’s been a hard year in oh so many ways. Now, thankfully, in most parts of the United States, we’re starting to emerge from the fear and isolation of sheltering in place. And as we do, I for one, am pausing to reflect on what I learned about myself during this time. One “lesson” surprised […]

  • At $3 a bagel, I might have to put myself in lox-down
    on April 20, 2021

    Here in the Bay Area, sitting out the pandemic, I’ve developed a serious addiction. It’s surprising it’s taken so long. After all, I’m a native New Yorker, the daughter of native New Yorkers, the granddaughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Experts say addictions run in families. […]

  • Am I a Galatz from Galați? Part 2
    on April 6, 2021

    Three years ago in this space I asked, “Am I a Galatz from Galați?” Well, since then, I’ve been taken on an unexpected joyride of genealogical learning and been thrilled by the revelations I’ve acquired. Here’s a brief sampling: First, genealogists are delightful fanatics. Second, forget […]