I started writing the Kids Konnection column in early 2006, over eight years ago. It all began because I read the Orange County Jewish Life magazine for the first time and realized that the editor was Ilene Schneider, a good friend from Hadassah and the Jewish community. I thought the publication was fantastic – it wasn’t new, but it was fairly new to her editorship and was becoming more visible and available at OC venues and being mailed to OC residents who were affiliated with synagogues.
“Finally!” I thought, a magazine devoted to topics of interest to Orange County Jews, with local news, interesting features, calendars of local Jewish events and advertisements for products and services in our area. As I read it cover to cover, it struck me that it would be nice if the magazine had a special column about kids and family issues as they relate to being Jewish, such as how to make Shabbat and holidays more meaningful for your kids, how to balance religious and secular lives when they conflict and how to parent Jewishly. Ilene and I met for coffee and I presented my ideas, she said “Great idea, want to write it?” and “Kids Konnection” was born! I have so enjoyed sharing my perspective, my family’s stories and adventures and my thoughts and ideas with the OCJL readers and the positive feedback I have received over the years has been incredible. (I still meet people who say “I know you- you write Kids Konnection!”)
The publication has grown in the last eight years, as have my children. This year saw the beginning of Kiddish, a new supplement found in OCJL that is devoted entirely to young children and their families. “Kids Konnection” would naturally find its home in this supplement, but my kids are no longer young children, and the issues and situations of our family (and thus my material and inspiration) have also matured. I think it’s time to let a new crop of writers write take over the topics pertaining to young families, and it’s time for “Kids Konnection” to mature as well… to make the transition to something a little different.
Therefore, “Kids Konnection” is now becoming “Connection” and with its name change, comes a whole new and fresh perspective and a plethora of potential topics. The basic premise hasn’t changed: the original purpose of “Kids Konnection” was to connect parents with their children and their Judaism. Similarly, “Connection” will do just that; it just won’t be limited to topics pertaining to young families. One month might be about teenage issues, one about kids in college, one about empty nesters and one about adult topics that have nothing to do with kid or family issues. Whereas Kids Konnection might have talked about ways to make Shabbat meaningful with your children, “Connection” might talk about ways to celebrate Shabbat meaningfully as an adult or how to keep your teens or college student interested in celebrating Shabbat and keeping it a priority. Each month will, of course, relate to being Jewish! Forming connections is what it’s all about – it’s at the core of a family and the core of a community. My mission is to help people connect – with one another, with their children, spouses and extended families, with resources and services, with places, with ideas and with Judaism. The opportunities are endless, and I hope my words and ideas will help spark conversations, form relationships, enrich lives and make a difference!
I’m very excited about this new transition, and I hope my readers will be too! I’m very open to topic suggestions, so if you have something you would like to see, please email me and let me know! (firstname.lastname@example.org). I love the feedback. Sometimes “Connection” will be in the form of a column in the magazine; other times it might an on-line exclusive. And sometimes, depending on space, the needs of the issue and the editorial focus, it might take the form of a news or feature article rather than a column. Just now that if you see “by Barbara Boarnet,” you know it’s me… out there connecting our readers to people, places ideas and Jewish life!