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.

  • Sweet memories of a short-order cook, and my father
    on April 10, 2023

    When I was 12, I had a terrible chronic ear infection. We had just moved across the country to a new town. I didn’t know anybody, couldn’t go to school, was in constant pain, suffered balance problems and had ringing in my ears. I was just miserable. But I found weekly salvation in the kindness

  • Workaholics of the world, unite!
    on February 6, 2023

    Long ago, I had a boss who worked long hours. Commendable, yes, but all too frequently and loudly he bragged of his Protestant work ethic. Each time he pointedly looked at Jewish me, also working those same long hours. It felt uncomfortable, but I just smiled. I knew from hard work and hard […]

  • A rose is a rose — unless it’s a challah
    on December 30, 2022

    My friends are all busy making plans for New Year’s Eve. But not me. I’m still savoring this year’s Jewish New Year, which was made especially sweet thanks to my non-Jewish husband. I had been feeling under the weather for a few days, and so was behind the curve in my holiday meal […]

  • Was my 30-year-old son happy I phoned him? Of course not.
    on November 2, 2022

    I called my 30-year-old son the other day. His first words were, “What’s the matter? What’s wrong now?” Ouch! Does he perceive that I am always the bearer of bad news? Worse yet, am I always the bearer of bad news? Worst of all, is there only bad news to bear? Certainly, now that I’m

  • Long Island history gone awry: the story of my not-mitzvah
    on August 10, 2022

    After 12 years of glittery Christmas trees, but no menorahs, no Shabbat candles and no Friday night services, I suddenly got religion. I wanted to become a bat mitzvah. And so, with no prior religious studies, but with all the zeal of a convert, I began my “speed” Torah and Hebrew studies for […]

  • My 50-year high school reunion was strange, fun — and bittersweet – J.
    on June 22, 2022

    The number 50 has symbolic and practical significance in Jewish thought. It spans the days between the Exodus from Egypt and Shavuot, when the Torah was revealed to us at Mount Sinai. The number, in the form of 50 shekels, even addresses the financial obligations of the ketubah, marriage contract. […]

  • It’s hard to say goodbye to an iconic local diner
    on February 23, 2022

    A beloved neighborhood restaurant is closing. It happens all the time all across the country, but when it’s your neighborhood and your beloved restaurant, it makes you sad, doesn’t it? In this case, the one feeling sad and nostalgic is my husband — and apparently half of Reno, Nevada. The […]

  • I didn’t know being a baleboosta coulda made me a star
    on February 2, 2022

    I could kick myself. I pride myself as a writer with a knack for timing and clever ideas. Yet I’ve just missed out on a golden opportunity to pitch a winning TV show. It’s too late. The train has left the station. The boat has sailed. Pick your cliché. Whatever, I blew it. To think

  • Over time, friends became more important than family
    on January 5, 2022

    Some children are precocious, spouting clever insights one after another. I wasn’t one of them. I had only one illuminating insight at the not-so-early age of 12. It came as I looked at my family sitting at the dinner table — all substantially older than me. My thought: I need to form a network […]

  • 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 […]