Controlling The Media 101: Deborah Kolben Of

The first of our new series, “Controlling the Media 101” features Deborah Kolben of Jewish parenting site Read More

By / November 9, 2010

Deborah kvelling over Mika

Welcome to the first in our ongoing series of profiles on Jews in the media, Controlling The Media 101.  Our first profile, is Deborah Kolben, a professional parent and professional writer who is combining the two to bring one of the best Jewish parenting sites on the internet,

Anybody who has ever held a new baby, a new kitten, even a new turtle, has undeniably experienced what it means to kvell. The feeling of glowing, swelling, bursting with pride; your heart expanding so much you think it might just explode.

Writer, editor, and relatively new mom, Deborah Kolben is a professional kveller. “I have a pretty darn cute 1-year-old who calls everything ‘aba’ or ‘ball.’” In addition to watching her baby grow, Deborah is also watching her new site,, blossom into one of the most popular Jewish parenting websites out there.

A project of, Deborah runs Kveller, a site that not only acts as an instruction manual for your baby, but also caters to Jews by helping them find Jewish baby names, mohels, and classic Jewish children’s books. And, no Jewish website being complete without mentioning food, “We have recipes galore, everything from the classics (chopped liver) to new takes on classics (Parsnip-Sweet Potato Latkes).”

Following the trend of, Kveller is nondenominational, and seeks to cater to all Jews. “I imagine that a good chunk of our readers will be moms in their 20s to 40s”, says Deborah, “But I do want to get a lot of dads to come to our site. And grandparents! We’re non-denominational and hope to appeal to queer and straight families.”

“There is no one way to parent Jewishly”, their mission statement reads, “and we are not about to change that. Whether you grew up observing Shabbat every Friday night, or had your first taste of matzo ball soup when you married into a Jewish family, the ways you can incorporate Judaism and Jewish culture into your parenting style are diverse.” To demonstrate their commitment to that diversity, Kveller has literally everything a Jewish/Interfaith/Queer/Out of the box family could hope for.

The site is divided up into several sections: pregnancy (where you can get information about anything from adoption to baby showers), baby and toddler (from circumcision to breastfeeding), preschool (from music and books to schools and rituals), and parents (from interfaith families to how to find balance between work and parenting).  The extensive site also has a very comprehensive Jewish Baby Name finder, with thousands of names. Overwhelmed by the amount of choices? Kveller has a Name of the Day that might speak to you. Recipes, crafts, and books galore fill the site, so you and your child will never have a bored or hungry moment.

Still not done kvelling? Hit up the blog, Raising Kvell, where there are close to 200 articles on parenting, Jewish celebrity gossip, traditions, holidays, etc, all written by new and seasoned parents wanting to share the light of their experiences.

Starting out as a reporter in Southern Brooklyn, Deborah Kolben later worked for the Daily News, became the City Editor of the New York Sun, and was later hired as the managing editor of Village Voice. “After that I ran away to Germany with my husband for a year and a half, got pregnant, returned to NYC, had a baby, and now here I am”, she said.

“We have local community pages for New York with lists of interesting events, local Jewish preschools, fun Jew(ish) excursions, etc”, said Kolben, and as the site grows, she hopes event listings will be extended to other cities.

Deborah Kolben isn’t just another Jew in the media; she runs an extremely comprehensive and fun site that is a true indulgence for everyone’s inner kveller.