yay! you’re here!

 

Hello hello! I’m so happy you’ve made it to my little rose-colored corner of the web. I'm Rebekah, a writer, editor, and jill-of-all-trades creative happily living in New York City. And this—as I hope you’ve gathered by now—is my blog. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you're up to... I'm glad you found your way here.

Grab a snack, get comfy, and let’s get to know one another!

 
 

what can i expect to find here?

Here on the blog, I share ideas and inspiration for creative Jewish entertaining, including party planning resources, cheerful celebrations, holiday inspiration, and more. It’s a scrapbook of all the beautiful parts of Jewish life that I think are worth sharing and celebrating out loud…those happy, light-filled things that just make my heart sing.

(Fair warning: Most everything makes my heart sing.)

why’d you start this whole thing in the first place?

Great question. Here’s the deal: As a lifestyle editor, I’ve spent my entire career scratching my head over the scarcity of Jewish holiday content in women’s magazines and other purveyors of “the beautiful life.” It’s an absence that I’ve tried, reluctantly and defeatedly, to chalk up to a small Jewish readership. Sometimes, though, it’s hard not to feel like the lack of Jewish content represents a more deliberate exclusion.

After all, it’s not as if Judaism is wanting for thousand-year-old holidays to spruce up or fabulous recipes to reimagine. Food is practically the centerpiece of our heritage, and tangible, decorative symbols have long accompanied the building of a Jewish home: calligraphed ketubahs, whimsical tzedakah boxes, kiddush cups, candlesticks, and more. Why shouldn’t those things get the glossy magazine treatment?

It’s a question that feels more pressing and less rhetorical than ever in 2019. What I see on the news horrifies and saddens me — the alarming increase in antisemitism, the stereotypes, the violence. But these things also compel me to cling more steadfastly than ever before to my faith and to my people. More than anything, they remind me of the grave importance of speaking openly, proudly, and, publicly about my history and heritage.

Elie Wiesel famously said: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides." It’s a beautiful, profound idea—the logic of which, I think, shouldn’t be relegated to life’s darker moments. As a people, we have a responsibility to break our silence about all aspects of our faith, including (and especially) the light-filled moments in between the darker ones: the hopeful celebrations, the set tables, the rugelach, the laughter.

That’s exactly what I hope to do here. To take sides with goodness, with joy, with light, with color, with creativity. To share the beauty of our religion, to revel in the very best of it, to celebrate its exquisite colors and tastes and textures...particularly as they relate to our celebrations and holidays. And, in turn, to encourage my sisters around the world to speak in a louder collective voice about their own Judaism — not just once or twice a year, but every day.

I hope you find something here that inspires you. And I hope you remember to pay it forward by sharing that newfound pride and delight with someone else.

Because—I promise!—that’s the best part.

love it. but, wait, who are you?

By day, I’m the Lifestyle Editor of Country Living, and I love my job. I hope you’ll check out our site and bookmark it—there’s always something fun happening over there—or subscribe to our print magazine here!

In addition to my work at Hearst, I’ve been lucky enough to write for many different magazines and lifestyle outlets (Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living, and more), host a few fun video series for the Today Show, Shape Magazine, and the Food Network, and appear regularly as a lifestyle contributor on TV programs across the country.

A bit more about me: I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and I love, love, love New York City. Other things I love: reading, writing, singing, painting, laughing, hosting dinner parties, yoga-ing, making too many to-do lists, and continuing my quest for the perfect unlined notebook (sigh). I’m one of six kids, and my siblings and I are all really close. Poetry is one of my favorite things in the world, and I can spend hours turning a beautiful line or lyric over and over in my head. One of my biggest passions is interior design, and I’m always scouting out the perfect painting or coffee table book or vase to go here or there in my apartment. I adore unlined notebooks and Broadway soundtracks and country music. I’m inspired by beautiful words, ocean air, and weekend road trips. I value hard work, I'm passionate about helping and mentoring other women, and above all I believe in unconditional kindness. I was born and raised in Connecticut, and I still feel like a New England girl at heart.

PHEW.

What else, what else?! Well, a lot else. But I’m sure we’ll cover everything in due time. For now, I’m just happy you’re here following along.

where else can we hang out?

Have any other thoughts, comments, questions, or just want to say hi? DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email at rebekah.lowin@gmail.com.

that was fun! can you do it again, but in the third person?

Sure! Find a fancier, third-person bio below. And thank you again, so much, for reading.

xx

 
 
 
 
 

“At times, it felt as though [Rebekah] had already absorbed life lessons that most of us don’t begin to consider until much later... 
In other words, she’s a natural.”

— Stephen Holden, The New York Times

 
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about rebekah

Rebekah Lowin is the Lifestyle Editor at Country Living, where she oversees digital lifestyle content for the brand's 19.5 million monthly consumers. With over 800 published bylines, her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, Southern Living, Travel & Leisure, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, People, Time, and more. Rebekah has hosted original video series for NBC News' Today Show, Shape Magazine, and the Food Network, spoken on behalf of brands such as Yahoo!, AOL, New York University, and The Nantucket Project, and appeared as a lifestyle expert on television news programs across the United States (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX). A classically-trained theatre actress, she was previously the inaugural winner of 54 Below's city-wide singing competition, as well as a 2015 MAC Award nominee, a 2015 New York Cabaret Award nominee, and a finalist for the Noël Coward Award from the Noël Coward Foundation London. Rebekah holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University and happily resides in New York City.

 
 

 
 

less-frequently-asked questions!

 

why is it called “made by rebekah”?

Because Rebekah.com was taken. Kidding! Sort of.

The real answer: As Jewish people, our decision to participate in holidays and share them with children and friends is an active, deliberate choice. Holidays are actually less about "celebrating" and passively observing than they are about true, meaningful participation (or, as is the case with Shabbat or Yom Kippur, abstaining from participation in certain activities). This is one reason we often say "making yontif" (the Yiddish word that contextually translates to "holiday") instead of "having or observing yontif." Hence: Made by Rebekah!

(On a more literal level, I do also “make” all the things you see on the site—I take the photographs, I make the food, I dress up the tables, etc.!)

Are you jewish?

Yes! I was raised in a Conservative Jewish household, my father and grandparents conversed in Yiddish, and, growing up, my siblings and I observed Shabbat and attended services every week. Starting this blog was such a fun way to return to traditions I grew up with in a new, more creative way that fit my current lifestyle as a working gal in New York City with way too many arts and crafts supplies and a penchant for pretty stuff.

I’m not Jewish. Is this blog for me?

Absolutely—and thanks for being here! There's so much inspiration and beauty to be found here, and you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy any of it.

i’m “not jewish enough” / i’m “too jewish.”
is this blog for me?

Both of those things mean very little to me, because I see Judaism as an active choice (or set of choices) that you can make at any time—not as a passive state of being. Still, no matter your background, I hope you’ll consider that wider participation is one of the easiest and best ways to enhance, celebrate, support, and strengthen the Jewish community at large.

I want to start celebrating jewish holidays or hosting shabbat dinners, but i’m not sure where to begin.

As with all things in life…you begin by beginning! As a wise woman (Anita Diamant) once told me (in a book of hers that I read), "The Jews are the choosing people." Just make a choice, go for it, and don’t worry about messing anything up. You’ve got a fan in me.

I want to learn more about judaism.
Can you help me with that?

I hope, at least, that I can point you in the right direction, but I’m really not the best resource to help you understand the intricacies of a 4,000-year-old religion. Here on the blog, I’m pretty laser-focused on the aesthetic stuff: holiday decorations, hosting tips, and party planning ideas. I’ll work to compile a more comprehensive list of resources, but for now, you might want to start with this beautiful book and this very insightful Instagram account, started by friends.

Do you make money or earn commissions from this site?

Nope! I work full-time as an editor; this is a personal passion project. I don’t accept paid sponsorships and I don’t earn commissions from any links on the site.

you don't do [insert tradition here] the way my family does.

That's probably true! In fact, that's sort of the point of this project—to come up with new, creative ways of doing things so that they feel even more personal to me, my particular lifestyle, and my someday family. I'm so glad you have time-honored traditions of your own, and even if you're not looking to incorporate new ideas, I hope something here inspires you to continue honoring your own customs and practices with renewed energy and excitement.

Who takes the photos on your site?

I do. Unless otherwise noted, each and every photo is styled, produced, and shot by me in my little New York City apartment.

can i use one of your photos in a round-up or other editorial piece?

Yes! I’d love that. However, no more than one photo from a given post can be used, and you must include a clear and direct link back to my site—i.e., not just written photo credit. If you'd like to share one of my photos on Instagram, kindly tag @madebyrebekah_! And if you're not sure what to do, shoot me an email at rebekah.lowin@gmail.com.