Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flying Off to the Next Adventure



When I think about my first born son, I remember the days when he was first born, and the adorable froggy outfit that we borrowed from friends.

I remember each milestone, each moment when he sat up, smiled, rode a bike, ate sushi (yep, that's true), and played with his new brother, Yehuda.







And if you asked me to picture Matan, in my mind, I might have a picture that looks like this



or this


or this.



What I wouldn't have, however, is the picture of this....



And I certainly wouldn't think about this:




Because to me, my 14 year old is still a little guy. He was my first grand baby love, the one who taught me how to be a mom. And he continues to teach me so much each and every day.

And tomorrow, he leaves for high school. It's hard to explain to people abroad what the Israeli high school system is like. The boys learn a great deal in high school and their days are quite long. Some boys return home each night after their learning, but they often do so at 7 or 8 at night. For this reason, and for many others, many boys and their families choose to have them attend sleep-in schools. Now, these schools could be as close as the next town over, or as far as a few hours away. The idea isn't to send them far away, but to send them to a nurturing location that will help them to grow and learn; the school that is best for each child.

We wrestled a lot with where to send Matan, and Sussya was an obvious choice for us. It's not easy to think of him being away all week and returning home for Shabbat (and often on Tuesday afternoons) but we have watched other boys who have graduated from the school and we've marvelled at how the school has tranformed them.

The school has four main programs: The Beit Midrash Study Program where they continue their connection to holy texts and to their studies; the Environmental Courtyard where they learn about development, reconstruction and restoration; Social Involvement where they do chesed (acts of kindness) and Environmental Studies.

As we were discussing Matan's options, I told him that it's not often that parents say to a kid "Please go somewhere to school where you won't have to only pour your heart out all day over books! We want you in an environment that will develop your character, take you hiking the Land and expose you to so many other aspects of the world."

And he listened.

So now, the consequences of this choice is that we are taking him to school tomorrow. And my heart breaks a little bit just thinking about it. I'm so excited for him. And at the same time, it's going to be a major change in our family, in our interactions and in our time that we spend with him.

And we have to hope and pray, as have parents since the beginning of time, that we've given him the tools he needs to continue growing; that we've helped him to develop the wings with which he will fly to this next adventure.

Fly away my first born - but know the nest is always, always here for you when you return.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hummus, Smiles and Donations

We've been watching the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with interest. At first, it appeared to be frustrating. Why was it created so that people could EITHER pour freezing cold water on their heads or actually make a donation? Why not do both? People do appear to have caught on to the idea of doing both, which has been nice to see. And the ALS Association has had an astounding response.

Then, we saw another challenge that was even closer to our hearts. A few adorable soldiers got together to create the Hamas vs. Hummus challenge. And this we truly couldn't resist. What could be better than smearing hummus all over our faces AND donating money to the Friends of the IDF to help soldiers who have been working night and day to protect us?

Here is the original video:



So when my father challenged us on Thursday, we decided that we would do something creative. We would combine the two, and make donations both to ALS research and to our soldiers. Here is the result:



It's been a long, difficult summer. If we can get our kids to smile for a few minutes of hummus fun, while donating money to the much deserved organizations, then we have certainly fulfilled our job for the day.

Hummus faces!


What about you?