Shabbat Shalom, Hey!

Shabbat mornings have become an increasing quandary for me. I know it would be good to take the kids to shul, especially the girls who are already 4 and 6. I have memories of going to shul with my father, playing with my friends, sitting on his lap for kriat hatorah. However, since we haven't really found a shul that we're all comfortable in, it's kind of hard to swing that. My husband goes to a local Israeli minyan, but the girls don't like going with him because they don't have friends there. The shul where they have friends is not really comfortable for my husband (too Anglo). So, occasionally I've taken them to the park near the Anglo shul where they have friends, so they can socialize and I can see some of my friends and then we meet up at home for kiddush and lunch. I've tried to take them into shul myself and it always ends in disaster. It's just too hard to manage the three of them myself.

Usually, I'm just lazy, and the girls happily play their elaborate pretend games in their room, which usually involves every costume and plastic food item we own, Eli gets cereal crumbs all over the house and I make it 3/4 of the way through my latest New Yorker. Very spiritual for all involved...

This week, I decided to make a change. I made everyone get dressed (the above homebound scenario occurs in pajamas).  We cleaned up the living room and we did tefillat yeladim at home. Avital, my oldest, was our chazanit. We used her old gan siddur. I had her lead from what she knew from gan and school and Tehilla and I followed along. Eli came with a bencher and answered amen where it was and wasn't appropriate. We went through the brachot and did a lot of hand motions. And then I added some Shabbat related tefilot. I taught them the first line of El Adon and we sang v'Shamru from Shemoneh Esreh. And then we did Birkat Hachodesh and davened really hard for a good month. We all really enjoyed it. I'm sorry we didn't start this sooner, but, better late then never.

And then, in fine tefillat yeladim tradition, we ended the session with a treat. Bittersweet chocolate, because that's all I had. It's no toffee, but, at least they've developed a taste for it.  

How do you handle shul and kids?

I Wanted to be Different, Just Like All the Other Different People

Mrs. S made a very insightful comment to me at the recent blogger meetup in Modiin. She said "You make so many great comments, why don't you just turn them into posts?" I am a pretty prolific commenter, I'm not sure why I don't turn them more into posts. That strategy would populate this blog a bit more.

I'm really glad I made it to the meeting, despite being appallingly late once again. It was great to see everyone and great to hear some blogging tips from the pro, Mom in Israel.


So, because I'm a friend or fan of a Morasha alumni group on Facebook, I got a notice about an alumni event they're planning soon, in the States. Obviously not relevant to me, but I started snooping around their site and discovered they have photo archives going back to the sixties. Since I went there from 85 to about 91 ( I skipped a year but went on their Sulam Israel trip, Gd knows why), I started trying to look up my old camp photos and look what I found:

What a hoot. Can you guess which one is me? Yes, the only one wearing a blue shirt. I wanted to be different, just like all the other different people... Why the heck couldn't I find a red shirt? And why am I wearing a skirt? I wasn't particularly frum back then, as far as I can remember. I definitely wore pants and shorts in general.

I love the commentary in this photo about Modern Orthodoxy. The majority of the girls are wearing pants, shorts and short sleeves.  I was 13 then, what a horrifically awkward age. Just leaving childhood, not quite a grownup. I wasn't a big fan of camp, but this age was particularly difficult. I was never good at dealing with cliques (to this day I can't seem to get the hang of it). Because of this I'm very sensitive to how my daughters deal with their friends and if I hear of any kind of insensitivity, on their part or their friends, I try to help them work through it. I also encourage them to be as inclusive as possible. Since I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from their friends' parents this seems to be working. 

(As an aside, I notice a lot of parents have a hands-off approach when it comes to their kids and friends. I really believe that kids need to learn how to be good friends and they need guidance from parents on how to be sensitive and inclusive. I think that children have some natural empathy and sensitivity but these feelings do need to be nurtured and supported). 

I look at photos like this and I feel like I've lived so many mini-lifetimes already- distinct time periods that I'll never be able to go back to but are still so sharp in my memory. I'm starting to have that feeling even in my own marriage- I'll never be able to go back to the first year of our marriage, my oldest will never be a baby anymore. Hard to believe.