Courtney Ball

Category - Family

Real Community

My Camp Golden Valley Community. After almost 20 years, they’re like another set of relatives. Both my brothers have told me more than once, “Community for the sake of community is not enough.” (Strangely, we have these kinds of conversations.) I get what they mean, but I think they’re wrong. What they mean is that a...

A Place for Secular Christianity?

Last week I had a conversation with a man who is in the midst of planning a bar mitzvah for his son. This bar mitzvah will not be a religious ceremony or connected to a synagogue. Instead, it will take part in the context of a secular Jewish community called Sholem. Now, I have heard of secular Judaism before, but I hadn’t ever really...

In the End, There Was Only Love

Conservative. Old-fashioned. Persnickety. Judgmental. These are words I might use to describe my mom’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Diller. Like many of their generation, they embodied the post-World War II belief that conformity, hard work, and discipline were what led to a successful life. Anything worth doing was worth doing right. The...

Jake’s First Trip to Red’s

I was seven years old the first time I got my hair cut at Red’s Barber Shop. Up till that point, my mom had been cutting my hair on the back porch or in the kitchen. She figured there wasn’t much point to spending hard-earned money on a barber when most of the time I did my best to look disheveled anyway. She changed her mind after the second...

Our Response to Brokenness

Warning: this article contains profanity and may not be suitable for children. I heard angry yelling coming from the street outside. Up to that point, it had been a relaxing Saturday morning in the summer. I walked out onto my front porch to see what was happening. I live in the city in what could be called a modest middle-class section of town...

What I Learned from Slobbery Shirts

When my oldest daughter was a little girl, she had this super gross habit of chewing on her clothes and hair. I know some of you can relate to this, because I’ve seen other kids do the same thing. You know the signs: ends of sleeves chewed to the point of disintegration, hair crusty with dried slobber, big round wrinkly wet spots on the...