Friday, July 31, 2009

Best Laid Plans Go Awry

Tomorrow is August.

Where did the summer go? (Yes, I know that August is still summer but...)

All my best laid plans for a summer full of productivity seem to have gone by the wayside. Where are the neatly typed and ready-to-be-edited High Holy Day sermons? Where are the organized files in my office? Where are the long inspiring blog posts waiting in the queue for the busy season? Where is the toy reorganization project and 2nd grade readiness program?

I think they are sitting by the pool and squished up in the sandbox.

I think they're damp from the spray of the hose and dizzy from too many rides on the swing.

They're tired from all the "uppy" and snuggled on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.

I think they have been left by the side of the road between Wisconsin and Illinois.

I think they might be lost on a long walk with a friend or trampled by the horsey rides at camp.

I think they're buried under a pile of legos and drying on the line with the picnic blanket.


Maybe the summer hasn't been so bad after all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How many brownies did you eat?

I love the summertime. Inevitably we go to family parties and the kids run wild have a great time. They have a lot of different adults around who think they're really cute and will give them whatever they want. And they've learned to work the system. After you get a brownie from your mom, you go and ask your grandmother. And then your dad, and then your grandfather. Eventually you've eaten a week's worth of brownies and you're not even old enough (in the case of Sam and Yael) to actually recall how many brownies you ate.

How many brownies do you think each of them ate?
David - I think 4.
Sam - I think he had at least 3.
I caught this one on camera and I know there was at least one more.
Just a side bar - this photo my father entitled "Future Metorologist."
Yes, she's checking if it's raining.

See more Summer Stock Photos (any other brownies?) and more Best Shots here.
More about the party and why we were holding it later...and more about BlogHer eventually too.

Oh, and P.S. Haveil Havalim is up over at Jewschool. And it's great.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Welcome the Month of Av...

the month begins
aleph then bet

sadness and joy
destruction and pain
held onto

but there is hope.
yes, hope.

will Change
begin in Av?

we begin with aleph-bet
it is the start of it all.

so too does hope and joy
come out of the ashes
out of the desire for

The Hebrew month of Av begins Wednesday, Rosh Chodesh Av. It is a month of mixed feelings - Tisha B'Av (the 9th) commemorates the destruction of the Temple. But the tradition also teaches that the Messiah will be born in this month as well. While I don't believe in the idea of a physical, individual Messiah, it does seem that out of the mourning and destruction comes our desire for a Messianic Era, an opportunity and requirement for each of us to work for the repair and renewal of the world. Just as children begin their learning with the aleph-bet, starting with the basics, so too do we take small steps that grow to larger ones on our quest to improve the world for all.

It's also a month known as Menachem Av, the month of consolation; the weeks that follow Tisha b'Av have special Haftarah portions that are meant to provide comfort. I always feel that rabbis (and their families) in particular need all the consoling because those seven weeks lead us straight into the High Holy Days. Can we really believe that they're here already!?

May this month bring comfort and hope to us all.
*spelled in Hebrew "aleph-bet"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Did I mention that I'm going to BlogHer?

I'll Be at LobbyCon! (okay, I'm not really going to the whole thing)
I'll Be at LobbyCon!

I'm very excited to go, though! I'm hoping to meet people and just feel the general buzz. I'm going to go down for this shindig on Thursday night:

People’s Party 2009 BlogHer

And then go back Friday morning for the LobbyCon fun...and I'll even go green and take the train each time!

And depending...I might go back on Friday night for a party...even though it's Shabbat.

MNACP in person button

Type-A MOMfluence party button

Why am I going to BlogHer? I think I want to connect and see what's out there. I want to be a part of something that feels really big to me - I know that most people in my "real world" don't always "get" my blogging/online/social media obsession. But I think it will be fun to do it...

So, if you're going to be at BlogHer09, DM me on twitter @imabima - I think that is a more reasonable thing than to put my cellphone number out here on my blog, don't you agree? But if you have my cellphone number, by all means, text me and let me know how and where I can meet you too!

I'll have to let you all know how it goes....

P.S. I'm a little bit nervous! What should I wear!?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's a Big Day....and I'm Going!

I am *right now* seeing this movie. 
Yes, I know I didn't stay up for the midnight show.
But here I am today.
So excited!!!!!
P.S. isn't that a cool pic of Hermione? While I love Harry, she is a totally rockin' wizard and my favorite.

Making a Rainbow Connection

A little backyard fun...

See more Wordless Wednesday posts at the original WW home and at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

High-Flying Experience

We had a swinging good time at camp.
Now home to the piles of laundry...I always think we need a vacation after camp to recuperate!

See more great photography:
Summer Stock by Robin's place
Best Shot Monday over at Tracey's...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Overheard in the Dining Room at Camp

Camper: you know what, camp is like a more-fun orphanage. Except at the end we go home. Oh, and we get mail from our parents. So I guess it's not really an orphanage.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

And A Hush Fell Over the Camp....

 Today is Friday. Hayom yom can feel the very air of the camp begin to change.
As Friday (Yom Shishi) begins, there is an excitement, an electricity in the air. The campers know it, the faculty know it, the counselors know's all around us.
Shabbat is coming.
Shabbat is coming!

As the afternoon comes, the camp begins to clean up, to prepare, to take showers and put on pretty dresses and shiny clean polo shirts. Hair is combed and fingernails are cleaned...sometimes.

The strumming of guitars begins to fill the air as Shabbat Walks begin, welcoming Shabbat all around camp. The sound of "Shabbat Shalom!" fills the air and friends who saw each other only moments before greet each other with kisses and hugs, their world transformed by the change over into Shabbat.

Together as a unit we pray, welcoming the Sabbath Queen, and then the whole camp, all the units, gather together for dinner. There is an overwhelming din and then a hush falls over the camp as the candles are lit and the blessings said over wine and challah.

The evening truly culminates in singing - Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat song session - is both rowdy and controlled, celebratory and exhilirating, full of passion and spirit and love and joy. Music fills the camp, fills the air, fills our souls. We drink it in, knowing that we can only have this experience, this moment for 8 Shabbats of the year (and for some of us only 2...), knowing that this community only comes together just like this for just this week. Last week, next week, we'll be different. But today, here, now, we are together just like this.

We ARE Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom from OSRUI!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Rabbi's Kid

This morning got off to a bit of a rocky start in the Lodge where I stay with my family. Let's just say that sometimes the rabbi's kids are the most unwilling to attend services (which happen twice a day at OSRUI).

David: Are we going to breakfast first or services first.
Me (hurrying because it was my morning to lead the service): Services, like every morning.
David: Argh, I hate services.
Me: sorry, kiddo, too bad, let's go.

Grumpy child heads into the service. As I'm putting on my tallit and the kids are all settling in, I notice that the counselor sitting next to David is laughing. After the service she tells me he said:

"No one should stop talking because then they'll have to listen to my MOM."

And a few minutes into the service, he totally called one of my lines: "She's gonna say it's a rhetorical question." And lo and behold I did... (by the way, the counselor also thought this was hilarious.)

This is the same kid who was once eco-unfriendly to get back at me.

I think it's hard to be the rabbi's kid.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What I've Done at Summer Camp So Far

Now that I've got things working again (certificates, blogger?!) here is a quick update of all the fun we're having at summer camp...

We welcomed Rick Recht to a concert on Wednesday night. He was great and the whole camp had a fabulous time.
My husband (on the right) and our friend (and colleague) Rabbi Eric Siroka of South Bend, Indiana, at the Rick Recht concert.
Ahem, um, you know you're a blogger when you ask someone to take their picture with you so you can post it on your blog. That's ME with Rick Recht and his son Koby.
My own little camper, deep in contemplation of a blade of grass.
My middle guy, on a horse. This was a huge highlight for him, and he keeps asking when we can go back.
In preparation for Shabbat, our campers created a mural of words of praise and thanks to God. It came out really cool. Eventually I'll get to pictures of the finished product.
Celebrating Shabbat, a hug from Ima.
Our all-camp Shira, song session. We are usually indoors but this year experimented with an outdoor song session. The bugs were bad but there was so much more fresh air! Videos coming soon....
And my littlest camper, dressed up for Shabbat.
Whew! A quick recap as I run to teach my Hebrew group. Today's lesson: opposites.

What are you up to this summer?
P.S. I haven't had time to read it but I hear Haveil Havalim is up over here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Update from Camp

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is our first Shabbat at camp. We have been here since Sunday afternoon, and things have been going really well. A chilly start to our week but spirits are high and things are moving right along swimmingly.

The campers arrived on Monday for the beginning of Kallah and Tzofim Bet. These are the two youngest units on camp and they are here for 2 weeks at a time (some stay for both sessions). Kallah campers, with whom I work, live in cabins and Tzofim campers live in tents.

Starting right away, the campers get to know their counselors and the camp environment and they dove right into fun activities.

For me, this is a unique year. It's my sixth summer on faculty (I can't quite believe it!) and it's my son David's first year as a "day camper." This is a special designation for the kids of faculty and staff who are a tiny bit too young to be overnight campers (he's going into 2nd grade, the youngest campers right now are going into 4th grade) but old enough to "hold their own" with the bigger kids for daytime activities. He appears to be having a wonderful time but he's a) exhausted and b) wishing he could sleep in the cabin with the big kids! In fact, it seems to be a daily question from him...I have finally resorted to turning the question over to the unit heads. Why not let someone else say no for a while!?

I have many colleagues and friends who are up here with us. While we work hard, we also play hard together, a little bit like reunion week for us. Our kids are all up here, they play together, and we get a chance to reconnect and reunite. This is the most special part of camp for me, being able to share it with other rabbis. We usually end up sharing "war stories" and laughing a lot together!

I seem to be having trouble logging into Blogger (I think it might have something to do with camp's wi-fi connection, but I'm working on the problem) so I'm blogging from email...I have tons of great pictures to share, including from our interesting and creative educational programming and my middle child on a horse! We've been to the NEW pool and the lakefront, and spent a lot of time slapping mosquitoes away. The pictures will come....hopefully I'll get it cleared up before Shabbat because I also have video from the Rick Recht concert ( as well as a photo of me with Rick himself) that was here on Wednesday night.

As you can see, it's been busy and we're having a great time at Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute!!!

Math, David Style

David: I haven't been swimming in 3 days!

Long Pause

David: that's like....73 hours!

Thankfully, we're going swimming today.