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Posts Tagged ‘children’

There was a weekend day that was just too hot… like ‘don’t know how to walk outside’ kind of hot.  We convinced the kids to get into our air conditioned car and drove to the city – it was that hot.  And we spent the day indoors at The Met, where the kids love the Revolutionary War paintings and floor of knights’ armor. But currently there’s an interesting show on display called Heavenly Bodies and The Catholic Imagination – a thoroughly engaging show featuring couture fashion that’s been inspired by the Catholic church in some way, shape or form. There are vestments donated by the Pope that are shown in the basement as well, but we weren’t allowed to photograph those. Zoe and I loved the more modern homages to religious life upstairs anyhow: the Dolce and Gabbana collection of nun-like black dresses, and of course who wouldn’t marvel at a set of paper-thin wood wings? And the environment (the Met’s room of Renaissance and Medieval religious art) couldn’t be more perfect, especially with choir music piped in.  We were transformed out of the (heat wave) hell outside, that’s for sure.

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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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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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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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I was invited to speak at Zoe’s ‘Multi-culture Day’ at her school, and got a chance to see all the projects they’ve been working on this year. The walls and bulletin boards are jam-packed with all sorts of cool projects: all about pulleys on the science board, heroes on the writing board, Spanish and English key words and 3D shape facts on the Math board. I don’t think I was doing this much in second grade! But it all looks so fun, I kinda wish I could go back to grade school. We will miss this sweet little school when Zoe leaves this late spring. Ezra went through here up until 2nd grade as well, and we wished we could keep them in this warm, nurturing, creative environment forever. (Plus they let this mamma come in and add some creative flair to backdrops and bulletin boards sometimes.. which I love). But it’s off to ‘bigger girl school’ in the fall – thankfully many of her classmates will be going with her.

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