Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rainbow Pudding Pops

I was inspired by these two posts and thought that these Rainbow Pudding Pops would be a fun activity.

And they were. Pretty easy, too. Just make up a batch of instant white chocolate pudding, divide into separate cups, color each cup, and then make rainbow-ish layers in a clear cup (well, it doesn't have to be clear but if it's not, how can you see your layers?!) and stick a popsicle stick in the top. Freeze. Sounds simple, doesn't it? In practice, MUCH more complicated to get those pretty layers. I can't quite imagine how those other bloggers got such pretty lines. Also, I used two boxes of pudding and ended up with very small pudding pops. But that's okay because my children didn't even finish these smaller ones in one sitting. So it was fine.

Loading up the cups:
Pretty rainbow-ish pops ready for the freezer!
The last one, just a mishmash of the leftover colors...
But the verdict? They were yummy and the kids were pretty happy about the whole thing!
Oh, and I haven't even started my High Holy Day sermons. So this is um....procrastination posting?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Love is in the Air

The Homeshuler has challenged some of the Jewish bloggers to tell everyone their favorite Jewish love song in honor of Tu B'Av. Tu B'Av is a relatively unknown "holiday" in the Jewish calendar. Coming fast on the heels of Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), Tu B'Av (the 15th of Av) is completely its opposite. It is a Jewish "love" day - young unmarried girls would dance in white dresses and sing in the vineyards of Jerusalem. Less than a week after the mournful day of Tisha B'Av, Tu B'Av offers a respite, a reminder that life goes on, that love goes on, that we must endure and continue to celebrate. It is a chance to be joyous and silly after weeks of preparation for mourning.

So...it's a perfect day for love songs.

I'm not great at the whole "what's your favorite song" question. It usually happens to be whatever I'm listening to! So I had do quite a bit of thinking.

First, I thought of the Song of Songs. After all, it is the most well-known, beautiful, ancient (Jewish) love song ever written. Here is a lovely rendition of Dodi Li....from my friend Marci's congregation! (With practically her whole family singing!) This was a totally random find, by the way, when I searched for versions of this song, which was sung at my wedding.

Then, I thought of Erev Shel Shoshanim, always a favorite.

Then, I totally cheated and saw Midianite Manna's post - a Broadway song! Good thinking!

This is one of my favorite love songs....written by Richard Rodgers, one of the greats...and, since he's Jewish, it qualifies for Amy's meme!

Whew. This was tough! What's your favorite love song?

Last year on Tu B'Av, I was celebrating my brother's Aliyah! Mazel tov on one year in Israel, little bro!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not-So-Secret Summer Sundays

Most rabbis I know have a dirty little secret:

We love Sundays in the summer.

Because most of us, for most of the year, have a little thing known as Sunday School. So every Sunday, we're up at the crack of dawn with our enthusiastic smiles on, ready to impart Jewish knowledge and wisdom to the next generation....

But in the summer, we get to experience Sunday mornings. Lazy and delightful.

So today, I made chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes (not together, but separately), drank a cup of (decaf) coffee, read the newspaper, and then we went to a pool party sponsored by my younger kids' day camp. Wonderful!

What is better than popsicles at the pool?

P.S. This is late for Robin's Summer Stock Sunday and early for Tracey's Best Shot Monday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Camp Highlights!

Now that we've returned home, most of the laundry is done, our mosquito bites have started to heal, and camp is slowly becoming a memory for my kids...so I share with you now some of the highlights of our 2 weeks at OSRUI...

We got to hang out with the amazing Dan Nichols. He worked with all the different kids around camp in smaller groups and he did a big concert for the whole camp. It was awesome! When David was little, he would sing Dan's songs and call him "MY Danny Nichols." Pretty cool to get them together again....

We spent Shabbat afternoons at the waterfront...

We met the frog that lives in the Tzofim ark. On Shabbat morning, I even got to pick him up and move him so we could carry the Torah without disturbing him.
We got to feed the goats. Every day. All the time.
There were puddles to stomp in.
And then a fan to dry off the wet feet...
Some of us got to fly high on the "flying squirrel" at the Alpine Tower.
Some people got to ride around in the stroller all the time.
And I got to spend Shabbat with my husband and family!

A great time had by all....looking forward to next summer already!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm (a little) less certain

As you may know, I'm a big advocate of Jewish summer camp. I think it's so great for kids to go away for a few weeks, gain some independence, learn something new, and have the opportunity to immerse in Jewish identity.

My kids LOVE camp.

But today, this conversation made me a little less certain about, um, the other parts of the summer camp experience.

David, with a huge smile: Hey, mom, yesterday I got to second base and then a home run!
Me: Oh, were you playing kickball? or baseball? What sport?
David: Fart baseball.

(Oh yeah, then I asked him to smile and instead he showed me his lunch...)

Time to go home from camp....hard to believe it's been 2 weeks!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Favorite Part of Camp

Ask Sam and Yael what their favorite part of camp is and they'll both tell you "the horsies."

On Wednesday, they got their turn riding...

I can't believe it's almost time for us to head home...it's been a great 2 weeks!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Carrying the Torah with Pride

Today, I was greeted with this news about the arrest of Anat Hoffman, one of the leaders of Women of the Wall and the Reform movement in Israel.

From the Facebook page of Women of the Wall, this press release:
Chairperson forcefully removed by police for carrying Torah

Jerusalem, Israel – One of the leaders of the Reform movement in Israel and Women of the Wall (WOW) was arrested for holding a sefer Torah during a Rosh Chodesh celebration at the Western Wall.

Women of the Wall (WOW) gathered this morning for their monthly Rosh Chodesh services at 7 a.m. on the women's side of the Kotel. Anat Hoffman, with a sefer Torah in her arms, led the 150 women strong prayer group in song as it continued its celebration in a procession toward Robinson's Arch.

Moments after leaving the Wall, police confronted and blocked the procession and began menacingly to attempt to remove the Torah from Hoffman's arms. Hundreds of participants watched in shock and distress as the Torah was jostled by police.

Hoffman was detained under the pretext that she was not praying according to the traditional customs of the Kotel. Hoffman was taken into police custody and interrogated for five hours. Police claim that holding the sefer Torah is against the Supreme Court ruling. Police are currently consulting with Attorney General to determine her charges.

Anat and her lawyer stated that the act of carrying a Torah is not mentioned in the Supreme Court ruling. Women of the Wall stood in solidarity with Anat outside of the Kishle Police Station near Jaffa Gate. Hoffman was released from police custody and banned from the Kotel for 30 days.

The arrest of a woman on the first day of the month of Av is a harsh reminder of the price that Israeli society may pay for its religious intolerance and fanaticism. Tomorrow at 13:30, WOW will lobby at the Knesset for civil equality and pluralism at the Kotel, emphasizing the Wall as a holy site for all streams of Judaism and advocating for equal rights of women at the Wall. 
This morning at OSRUI, Torah was read all over camp. Our readers were women and men. The Torah was carried by rabbis and teachers, counselors and staff - male and female. The Torah for which Anat was arrested is the Torah from which we teach and learn each and every day. The country that allowed for the arrest of a woman carrying the Torah is the country for which we pray for peace and safety each and every day.

I'm torn, truthfully. I consider myself an ohevet Tzion, a lover of Zion. But I am intensely and incredibly hurt by this action taken by the police in Jerusalem. (I do, however, smile a little at the 30-day ban from the Kotel proscribed for Anat - which ends just in time for Rosh Chodesh Elul. Reminds me of the wise judge in the story of the sukkah who gave the owner 7 days to take it down...)

For now, I will continue to wait and see what happens in the land I love. I will fill my days and world with Torah and I will teach anyone who will listen about my own beliefs about equality and plurality and fairness and right.

And I will continue to carry the Torah with great pride.
Support Women of the Wall: on Facebook, or at their Website.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Scenes from Shabbat at Camp....

On Shabbat at camp, everyone gets dressed up in their finest (camp) Shabbat clothes, and greets each other with smiles and happy hugs. Here's David, waiting outside his tent, doing what he loves to do best:
In the dining hall, waiting for dinner...

Dinner is followed by Shabbat Shira, a rockin' and crazy song session. Can you see all those kids in the distance? They're lining up to go into Port Hall, that building right there, to start the fun. And yes, Michael has a bear on his head.
On Shabbat, we don't swim in our pool, but instead spend the day on the waterfront. Here are my littles, enjoying the sand and the sun....
A restful and lovely Shabbat was had by all!

How was your Shabbat?

See more great Summer photos at Summer Stock Sunday.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sock it to me

Every camp has their traditions and culture.
Every camp has their rituals and routines.

Here at OSRUI, one of those unique and creative rituals, long-standing and with blurry origins, is High Sock Thursday in Kibbutz haTzofim.
(this was part of a 3-legged race, obviously)

It does add a little bit of fun and excitement.

Do rituals need to have purpose? Or is their very purpose to add purpose to our lives? What purpose does wearing "high socks" serve for our campers and staff? Certainly it builds community. Certainly it builds silliness, which is a critical element for fun at any summer camp. And certainly it gives us a sense of shared experience.

So why do we wear High Socks on Thursdays?

Because that's what we do.


Heading into Shabbat at camp....I can't wait for the quiet, the peace, and the pure Shabbat-ness of it all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Eaten Alive?

I've never quite seen as many mosquitoes as I've seen this summer at camp.

Seriously, I have mosquito bites in places I didn't even know I had skin.

And one on my eyelid.

This photo that I found seems to be appropriate...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

La la la....

Scene: Morning Services at camp

Songleader explains that the tune begins with "la la la"
Camper turns to me and says: "Why does everything have a la la la in it?"

Just Kidding Around....

We've arrived at OSRUI!

My oldest child spent 2 weeks here and we picked him up on Sunday, and then returned a few hours later (with freshly laundered clothes for him, thank you Sun Laundromat) to move into our rooms and begin our family's time at camp. I will be serving as faculty for Kibbutz haTzofim, a section of OSRUI that spends most of its time outdoors, and lives in large platform tents.

This is a new experience for me and my family! For the past six years, I've worked with Kallah, a similarly-aged unit (kids in about 4-7th grades) but living in cabins and eating their meals indoors.

I knew things were different right from the start:
At OSRUI, the "Downstairs" units live in tents while the "Upstairs" units live in cabins. As you can see, we take this division pretty seriously!

Another major difference - you might have noticed that the full name of this unit is "KIBBUTZ haTzofim" - and we take that Kibbutz concept as far as possible. These campers work together to prepare meals, work in the garden, and perhaps best of all, take care of the animals:
Yep, no kidding around (oh, it never gets old with me), we have goats and even a cow. I hear there are some bunnies around but I haven't seen them. I'll keep ya posted.

Our campers in Tzofim get all the other fun parts of camp, too - they venture "upstairs" to the pool, the waterfront, the arts center, the sports center, etc...but it's just a little bit different from what I'm used to in the past. And you know what? It's really exciting for me to step outside of my element! My kids are also enjoying the picnic tables and the goats, so hopefully the fun will continue!

More updates as camp continues....