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Archive for the ‘Jewish Life’ Category

Just before New Year’s Eve, we made a trip to Kansas City for cousin Stella‘s Bat Mitzvah! Aside from the joy of watching Stella lead a service and turn 13 on the same day, we also got the added bonus of some time to dart out to get some yummy BBQ and see the American Jazz Museum. Now that Ezra has made the move to Louis Armstrong Middle School, it was extra fun seeing all the info on our own musical great in the museum – while also learning about the (new to us) Kansas City jazz scene. Of course in the end, Zoe was sad to leave the cousin crew – and we can’t wait to see them again.

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enjoying the Jazz Museum

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and some of its instruments

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and of course, the bat mitzvah girl herself!

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Mazel Tov cousin Stella!

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Zoe was too sad to leave, and tried to hide in the hotel coat closet ; (

 

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Our holiday ended a week ago, but we have these lingering photos of a massive menorah lighting at the Friday night service – and Ezra is doing some more performing at synagogue lately!  He’s sitting on and playing a percussion instrument called the ‘cajon‘ here, and performing with the cantor.

We hope your December is going well and you are staying warm.

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Wow was I impressed when the kids got home from Sunday school with these awesome menorahs that they made by hand! Dovetailing and all! And of course we had to add a little Italian ‘mozzarella and tomatoes’ with delicious pressed olive oil to the mix, along with E&Z’s dad’s BEST and most crispy latkes.  This amazing recipe is from grandma – and they are a favorite even to our neighbors (who sniff them out while we are cooking). See below – our neighbor Eesha  – whose mom says she ‘didn’t even get her coat off before eating them’.        ; )

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Director of Community Affairs at our synagogue ‘Souks’ lends Ezra a hand..

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little Eesha means business with her latke eating skillz!

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I wrote this ‘Home Shuling’ piece for my synagogue’s newsletter, and thought it would be fun to share here.  Enjoy!  Hope it’s useful:

I’m still in the dark about why the summer is so quiet during Jewish life. That great big expansive gap between Shavuot and Rosh Hashanah is made up of 3 whole Jewish months where nothing occurs… Tammuz, Av and Elul are as sleepy and quiet as summer should be. On top of that, it becomes too hot to think about baking challah together or roasting a chicken for Shabbat. How does a reformed Jewish mamma keep the Jewish life alive in her home when all the Sunday school is done, holidays seem stashed away until Sept, and summer starts?

For starters there’s Jewish sleep-away camp to consider as a way to keep the momentum going with Jewish learning. As an Israeli friend of mine said: this seems to be the hallmark experience for most Jewish kids growing up in the north-eastern states of America. But being from an Italian-American family – I was always a little baffled about sending kids away for the summer. My brothers and I spent lazy, steamy summers laying around, getting bored. Or perhaps we sometimes tended my dad’s garden in the yard, went to city pools, rode bikes around alla ‘Stranger Things’ – until we got old enough to hold down summer jobs to pay for college.

My kids love laying around bored, and hate sleeping in any kind of ‘different smelling bed’ than the ones in their bedrooms. So for the moment, the “Jewish learning through summer” is all on me. And it got me thinking of a few ideas for summertime activities that will keep the Jewish learning alive in our home until high holidays:

1.) Have the kids keep a summer journal of ‘mitzvahs’
If even sparing a mosquito a swat, or doing something as big as helping out at a food pantry – ask your child to write down how they FEEL about doing these things. Even gratitude is a mitzvah .. in that you stop for a moment and thank G_d for something positive.

2.) Swim Swim Swim!
And don’t forget to remind your children before swim lesson that this is in the Talmud (Kiddushin 29a) ! Yup, there is a list of things that parents are obligated to do for their child after birth, and swimming appears on this list (but somehow feeding, shelter, and care do not. Go figure.)

3.) Watch some lazy-summer-day Jewish-kid programming: On rainy days I find Shalom Sesame to be a lifesaver. I know my kids have far outgrown the muppets – but there is something so incredibly reminiscent and comforting about hearing Hebrew and learning Judaism from these familiar lovable characters. It’s worth taking a peek even if your kids are no longer toddlers. Because the show is produced in Israel, it’s steeped in cultural tid-bits that make you feel like you’re visiting another country or watching a foreign film. Give Jewish Grover a try:

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Ezra making me more holy with every pool trip ; )

 

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Hi all.  We had a lovely Passover/Spring Break week in a redwood forest!  I love an outdoor seder … but this one just takes the cake.  We worked up an appetite hiking around a bit on Uncle Stan’s favorite path, then returned to food in the most beautiful woods.  In the days following, we explored beautiful Santa Rosa and saw the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens and took in all the gorgeous California foliage we could.  I hope you had a lovely spring week as well!

 

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Isn’t it nice that Passover and Easter are coinciding again?  We are away from our ‘alley egg hunt’ this year, so I’ll miss creating bunny prints – but back soon with photos from this amazing season of renewal.  Enjoy and Peace, Paz, Pax, Happy Passover, Buona Pasqua to all…

 

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I’d forgotten to post some pix from our synagogue’s Purim Carnival… always a fun event, and colorful in that the kids get to make their masks and costumes and nosh on jam filled hamantaschen. Enjoy some pix of one of the Jewish Holidays that – at least in this year -seems to usher in spring!

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