Once again, I can’t continue to ignore the fading faces of Jewish women in “religious media” outlets. Advertisements of medical clinics with the image of a female doctor replaced by a Cabbage Patch Doll or a real estate brochure for a new family development in Jerusalem with only pictures of daddy and no mommy. There are too many flyers for charity events honoring the Mr. and Mrs. with only a Mr. pictured. However, the most ridiculous example is the “kosher” version of the Super Bowl halftime performance of a male singer serenading the audience about the joys and pain of motherhood, a song that is sung by women, about women. Somewhere in the video there was a very faded and shaded female form. Thankfully, there are sensitive and informative organizations that highlight the harmful practice. Chochmat Nashim is leading the way to educate, re-educate and re-scramble the message behind the puzzle of the missing face.

 Listening to Iris Apfel describe her high school days in Astoria, Queens, ditching class to go shopping instead, reminded me of my senior year at Bais Yaakov High School of Queens (now Shevach). I was voted “most likely to shop” in my yearbook, because I thought Thursday and Friday afternoons were meant for exploring department stores on 34th Street in Manhattan such as B. Altman’s and Ohrbach’s.

When you walk into her studio in Long Island City, you are transported back to your childhood. Bursting in color and sparkling in glitter, it’s a world of joy, hope and love. Elizabeth Sutton is a self-taught artistic machine. Her comfort zone lies between butterfly dreams and the end of a rainbow. Elizabeth Sutton Designs is a brand and a movement of survival through art, creativity, and design. Her personality immeasurably draws you into her world of expertly executed linear murals, strong message panels, color coded landscapes, brand logo products, and ambitious collaborations.

I must admit that I can be a bit overzealous with my Shabbos tablescape, insisting that each week the table is perfectly coordinated in color scheme, complete with dishes, flowers, silverware, and sometimes parshah-related extras. Seeing the finished product, my husband’s son often declares that I should become a professional party planner specializing in tablescape. This whole idea started when I was in my early 20s and thought that my table would certainly overshadow the fact that I had no idea how to cook! My logical equation was: horrible chicken soup + Wedgwood china = Shabbos! So during my early years in Kew Gardens Hills, the Shabbos and Yom Tov table was specially set.

I wanted to do something different this winter vacation other than Miami. Yes, Bal Harbour has a street lined with various kosher restaurants and two huge synagogues, but I wanted a new adventure. Panama has been popping up in my Instagram and Facebook feeds as the newest destination for the kosher traveler. I asked some friends who frequent the area and received rave reviews. Since my husband is Argentinean, I knew the language and culture would be familiar to him and translatable to me.