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Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

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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Can you believe it’s already been a full year?  I can’t.

We are always excited to get out to see Carl and Tricia and now… new Angelo.  His first birthday was amazing; with hours of food and fun in the pool.  I think Angelo enjoyed smashing his cake more than anything else going on … happy birthday delicious little man!

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my brother chatting with clients and friends

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a pool during summer parties: dreamy

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“hmmm what’s dat?”

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“me like!”

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Bubby and her 5 sweet grandkids

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Ahh summer we knew you would finally return, hot temperatures and all. But what a difference a year makes. We are still only minutes from Manhattan by train but can catch fireflies after dinner in the alley now. Lots of lemonade stands and random box inventions going on… here are some glimpses via our instagram:

(and remember our friends The Blys? They got another story on their cool garage!)

a new babysitter gives Zoe some summer bling

a new babysitter gives Zoe some summer bling

ahhh I'll just rest here

ahhh I’ll just rest here

rambutans are in season!

rambutans are in season!

the kids made a 'candy ATM' using an old box, and leftover Halloween candy

the kids made a ‘candy ATM’ using an old box, and leftover Halloween candy

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firefly scouting by night

firefly scouting by night

summer naps can happen anywhere, anytime

summer naps can happen anywhere, anytime

the lizard goggles are back

the lizard goggles are back

the 'kid's table' is simply a picnic blanket

the ‘kid’s table’ is simply a picnic blanket

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Our last grasp at summer… the waves were amazing, the blown sand made it all look like the moon. And we finally got to play with those incredible kites that grandma and grandpa got from their trip to China!

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more fun upstate at Roseland Waterpark – and of course it wouldn’t be summer vacation if it wasn’t capped off with an ice cream at the end !

(photos courtesy of aunt Becca)

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Wow what an amazing 2 weeks – with some great kids who got along seamlessly for all those days and nights. And a special thanks to our hosts for putting up with us under foot for all that time! For memory’s sake here’s a recap via instagram photos by Ina Seow:

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