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What does Zoe do when Ezra is away at camp by day and she’s bored? Get creative of course!
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and of course when Ezra got home, he also had to contribute:
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Well this was their biggest performance to date… in a theater that holds 2000 and about 500 people arrived.  They were the youngest band there (most others approaching college age or older) and they were really solid!  I was so proud.  Better yet, Ezra was lit up like a Christmas tree for the rest of the day after being on such a big stay with a crowd: he loved it!  I don’t know where these kids get their fearlessness from.  Not me!

(see his street performing below, and other E3 practices and performances by clicking here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCha8hq9mndSIvQiKoaZRnUg)IMG_2528IMG_2529IMG_2530IMG_2532

 

and check out E doing some street performing in Washington Square Park!  He’s got fans:

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To New York Aquarium we go!  What better way to spend the first week of summer vacay then to get to the Coney Island area and check out some sealife?  This spot has been under years of renovation after the last hurricane hit .. and soon that big Shark Tank will be opening to the public!

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It’s finally here… and yet, it’s arrived too quickly.  The winter really did speed by this year (hello? what happened to spring?) and now the kids are officially out of school and frolicking.

Ezra’s Lemonade stand is open again for business and Zoe got to graduate from her k-2nd grade school. It’s off to another school next year for her .. but mostly with the same kids in her class.  We are lucky that another school nearby has opened up a dual-language (Spanish English) class for her to segue to.  I couldn’t be more pleased that it’s practically across the street from our house!  And Zoe couldn’t be happier about staying with her classmates.
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It’s been an ideal time of year to see historic houses, and we stumbled on this one just as we were driving to one of Ezra’s band gigs.  Who knew this little historic gem would be nestled amidst the factories of an industrial neighborhood between Queens and Brooklyn (Ridgewood) ?

Vander Ende–Onderdonk House is a historic house at 1820 Flushing Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens It is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City.  The original house on the site was built in 1661 by Hendrick Barents Smidt, from land that was granted to him by Peter Stuyvesant.  Another part of the structure, expanding from the original house, was built in 1709 by Paulus Vander Ende.

Clearly it’s got us thinking about adding a ‘dutch door’ to our house!

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We finally made it out to the newly renovated ‘Theodore Roosevelt House’ or Sagamore Hill .  It was a perfect day for running around the natural surroundings quickly, and getting a tour inside. The man received so many interesting gifts from kings and leaders and diplomats all around the world, that this summer home is more like an interesting art museum than anything else!

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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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