Monday, March 22, 2010

Tears of joy and sorrow

This has been a week of great highs and lows. I'll start out on a high note. For a little over 3 months, I've been losing weight and working to achieve my goal of finishing a 5K race by spring. I'm proud to say that after waking up at 5:30 every other morning and making the time in my day to exercise, I have accomplished both of these things.

In order to get motivated and train for the 5K, I enlisted the help of a personal trainer - my friend and fellow synagogue member, Rebecca Kahn. (If anyone wants her number, I'm happy to oblige). She put me on a program and step by step I started to get stronger. She coached me through every thought, feeling, ache & pain and promised that I would run a 5K in the early spring. At first, I thought she was crazy, but it turned out she was right. Together, we ran the entire 5K on Sunday. I finished in 36 minutes and 24 seconds. Many finished ahead of me, but I wasn't the last one either. When I crossed the finish line, I am not ashamed to say that I broke down in tears of joy - totally amazed at my accomplishment.

More tears occurred earlier in the week when our shul lost a bright star, Natan - a 13 year old boy who was killed in a terrible accident. Natan means "gift" and he truly was that to our community. A boy whose smile lit up the bima when he sang with the junior choir and just weeks ago as the king in our Purim shpiel (play). His intelligence was beyond his years. In the days following his death, I learned that he had great passion for everything he did in his life from tennis to chess.

As I ran the 5K on Sunday, I thought of him and his "can do" attitude which further inspired me to run that race in his memory.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What happened to the weekend?

It is almost 7 pm on Sunday and I feel like another weekend has passed me by. Weekends are supposed to be for R&R, right? Lately, they are extentions of the work week with errands, kids birthday parties, food shopping, etc.

This particular weekend, I was sick with a terrible cold which kept me out of commission from Wednesday to Saturday. Today, I worked in the morning, played catch-up with the laundry and now I am preparing myself for the chaos that Monday mornings normally bring.

I did have time to sit at the Sisterhood Ladies Tea at the synagogue this afternoon with my daughter which was nice. It was basically the only time that I sat down all day. I should have savored the moment more because 2 hours later I found myself scrubbing down the bathroom.

As I look forward to next weekend, there is nothing on the calendar. Nothing that is until Sunday, when I am going to run in my first 5K ever. I'm excited because it looks like next weekend could be my next chance for some R&R. I hope...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Worried for nothing...

When my daughter first joined the junior choir at the synagogue, I feared that it would hamper her ability to read Hebrew. I though that she would memorize the songs and liturgy and that would be it. I asked the choir director and cantor if my worries were valid. They politely told me not to worry. And it turns out - much to my delight - that I was wrong.

When I hear her read from her Hebrew primer (10 minutes a night, 5x a week -most of the time LOL), she recognizes the words and starts singing a prayer or part of a song that she learned in choir practice for Family services. Tonight's word was "oneg" - oh yeah - she knew what that was. (For those who don't know - the oneg is the cookies and desserts served after Shabbat services). She gets excited that she recognized the word and goes on to read what other words are familiar.

Hebrew is taught in such a different way now than when I was a kid (Thank G-d!). I remember my primitive primer with endless lines of text and the hebrew letter of the week centered at the top of the page in 36 pt. font size. Today's Hebrew primer has colorful pictures, writing activities, and basic words and themes that relate to the words she is reading. And guess what - it comes with a computer game too! She can play Hebrew video games and listen to someone read the words back to her to make sure she got them right. Positive reinforcement - Love it!

Even my 6 year old, who doesn't start Hebrew for another 2 1/2 years follows along. Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An 80's Purim Shpiel in the works...

After the Purim Schpiel (play) ended and we finished up the last of the hamantashen, I started to think about next year's celebration. As a program director, I am always thinking ahead and trying to come up with creative ideas. While Purim is not one of the holidays I oversee, I thought about what kind of Purim Shpiel I wanted to see next year. And then it hit me - a Totally Radical 80's Purim Shpiel!

As a child of the 80's and huge fan of movies, music and the lingo (which I manage to slip into regular conversation from time to time), I started to think of how "totally awesome" it would be. The first song was easy - Vashti could sing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" right after she says (in a Valley Girl voice) "Dude - I am not going to your gag me with a spoon!" When the king chooses a new queen, we hear Mambo #5 as the theme music ("A little bit of Monica in my life; a little bit of Erica by my side ...").

Anyway, it is a work in progress, but I have visions of Haman quoting Bender in the Breakfast Club with his iconic quote, "You couldn't ignore me if you tried" and the entire cast at the end putting on sunglasses and dancing to "The Future's So Bright - I Gotta Wear Shades.

Well, I've got a year to work on it...