Adar….

February 15th, 2013

My family had lots of good news this week!

My daughter found a turtle. There has been a three-year campaign (at least) for a pet, that resulted in my finally declaring that if they found a turtle and it lived in the yard, they could keep it. So this find means not just an adorable (???) turtle named Sheldon in our midst, but a triumph over the parents that said “no” to pets. Very exciting.

Turtle

Not Sheldon the Turtle, but similar.

I have two boys that have been accepted into a high-quality private school in Jerusalem, who have decided to commit to the longer commute and increased hours of Torah study. I am proud of them for deciding to take on the challenge. More than that, I am relieved for them because their acceptance in their current school has not been great, has caused them a lot of tears and frustration and has not helped their aliyah one bit. It is very hard to move at 11 years old, and it is also hard to accept new and different boys into your circle when you are 11 years old.  The school itself starts in seventh grade, so the rest of the boys will be “new” as well, and I hope this will help.

I also have three boys (two of them are the same boys) that were accepted into a boys’ choir based in Jerusalem. They all love to sing, we love to let them, it will give them fantastic opportunities and experiences, help them make new friends, and involve three boys in one chug  (after-school activity) – always a logistical plus.

We want you

The most important part for now about both the school and the choir is that word accepted. After feeling rejected socially by their peers for so much of the past six months, the three of them feel wanted, and we all need that.

I also am feeling a more “wanted”. I have accepted a part-time job that is challenging, exciting and rewarding. I hope to have more of an official “announcement” soon, when we finish finalizing the details at work. In the interim, I often come home feeling like I have done a little bit of good out there in the world. As I drive to work I get this ‘high’; the feeling of freedom and escape from mundane housework, the astonishing views on my commute that just feel like a daily gift from Hashem, and the knowledge that I am working in the Holy City of Jerusalem with ideas and people that make a difference just come together in a moment of endless gratitude.

My children are daily beginning to experience their first Purim in Israel. It is one of the moments in the year that olim internalize deeply, because it is so radically different than in the rest of the world.

There is much for us to be celebrating this Adar,

our first as a family in Israel. 

…BUT…..

It is hard to ignore that Adar is also a month of azkarot, memorial services. Purim is the story of the return of Amalek, and our triumph as a people over it – with Hashem’s help. Israel has suffered an inordinate number of terror attacks in the month of Adar. When people pause to remember, they realize that it was Adar when a terrorist killed eight young boys in the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva. Adar when the Fogel family was torn apart, leaving those young children orphaned in a way that so clearly screamed “bloodlust”. Unfortunately the list goes on.

Fogel family, z

Fogel family, z”l, killed two years ago today.Boys murdered at Mercaz Harav yeshiva March 6, 2008.

As the Jewish calendar is cyclical, we know that Adar beckons Amalek back every single year. In our age, we triumph by simply going on, building our state, celebrating life and not death. But it is the modern day “ad lo yada” challenge for us to be b’simcha (joyful) not only over Mordechai but also Haman, and to rejoice in Adar, our month-long Purim-fest, while also attending memorial services.

Ad Lo Yada, celebrating on Purim until we don’t know the difference between blessing Mordechai and cursing Haman.

 

I pray every day that in Adar this year Amalek doesn’t add any names to the list.

 

 

**If you would like to support Israel’s victims of terror financially you can do so by ordering mishloach manot for them or sending your matanot l’evyonim to them. If you want more information or ideas, please just leave a comment here, and I will respond.  

 

 

HAPPY ADAR!!!

Shavua Tov and Chodesh Tov!

This week I once again have the honor and pleasure of hosting “Haveil Havalim”, a roundup of posts from the Jewish blogsphere, carnival style. Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and is organized by way of our facebook page.. [The term "Haveil Havalim," which means “Vanity of Vanities,” is from Koheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon.]

This week we have a great number of posts, and I hope you take the time to check out a few…. it is worth your while to read down to the end this week…

Please consider submitting your posts next week and every week. You can email the links to your blog post to shilohmuse@gmail.com. If you want more information, find and join our facebook page, or  just contact me, ima2seven@gmail.com.

Let’s Feel Good   

I want to start with some Adar fun, so we have a parsha wordsearch for Parashat Mishpatim 5773  over at Thinking Torah.

 .. And A Soldier’s Mother gives us a story that just has to make you feel good (and proud), in An Only Israel Story from India.

Mr. “Amazing Resource” Jacob Richman, shares Israel’s New Educational Stamps with us over at

Good News From Israel. (They are also beautiful.)

  What about a vacation? (Just the word makes me happy.) The Travelling Rabbi gives us tips to the wandering Jew for Visiting Scotland or England. 

.. But before you leave, make sure to read Beneath My Wings‘ amazing tips for Keeping Kosher Away from Home!

Batya over at Me-Ander takes on her journey in Take The Train! First Time for Me on The Israeli Railways.

 When the weather was bad, I really asked myself for a moment why we shouldn’t just run off to the Golan. And then the some comes, and all is gorgeous, and beautiful and wonderful and I can’t imagine ever living any further from Jerusalem than I do right now. Sharon brings that feeling home, in pictures, of course, in Jerusalem After a Very Wet Week at Real Jerusalem Streets.

… and take in Beneath the Wings’ tourist-at-home beautiful pic too in Spontaneity.

And for a super tourist-at-home experience, read the ROUNDUP IN A ROUNDUP!  Tali Tarlow, founder of Jerusalem Scavenger Hunts  brings us the Bloggers Nachlaot Scavenger Hunt Roundup. A great time was had by all – you should try it too!

Social Responsibility

I was in an Adar groove, and not sure how I wanted to include posts of a more critical tone this month, since I am in the Adar spirit. But the truth is, increasing social responsibility and accountability is one of the best, most positive things about today’s blog world.

Esser Agaroth wants your take on a conversation he shared with a shadchan in The Facebook Match-Maker Incident. I don’t think I agree with either one of them, but you decide for yourself.

Batya gives us an update on the coalition building process and the remarkable number of new MKs that have just been sworn in (without swearing) at Shiloh Musings with New Government Coalition in Israel?  Can our new Knesset have a new tone, maybe with a little more Adar in it?

One of those MK Moshe Feiglin has made some statements that has Ariel’s unhappy over at The Torah Revolution. I have to personally disagree again, but healthy debate is part of social responsibility, right?

In talking about the New Government Coalition in Israel,  Batya raised her concerns about Obama’s visit, and the timing… as does Esser Agaroth, in US President to Visit Israel….Without Demands?

What about the changes in Greek government? Esser Agaroth discusses the disturbing Rise of the Nazi Party in Greece. Oh, how Amalek just keeps coming back in so many different and varied forms….

Let’s Show the Love

I learned that Mishloach Manot are all about brotherly love within the Jewish People. And that brotherly love; caring for one another, seems to be the natural these this week! What will be your random act of kindness today?

Maybe you will help an orphan today. Liz from Lizrael Update reminds us of our need to help Israel’s orphans and HOW in her timely Help an Orphan Help the World.

Maybe you will be a special-needs advocate today. A Mother in Israel gives us VERY practical advice to advocate for our children with the government bureaucracy  we all know and love here in Israel. (Okay, maybe love is a bit strong…) Fighting City Hall: Get Services for Your Special-Needs Child is really a great post for anyone who has a child that needs anything from “the system”.

Maybe you will help someone who has lost their way on the derech today – or even better, prevent it from happening. Check out  Shlomo’s Freiing Out – A Book Review over at Thinking Torah.

 

Maybe your prayers will add to the fight against cancer today. Yarden of Crossing the Yarden has given us an update on his family’s personal rollercoaster battling Stella’s cancer in Turning a Nightmare Into a Dream, where we get to join them at DISNEY. And if you are reading this, say a little prayer for Stella and her winning this fight before you keep reading, okay? Thanks.

Maybe you will invite in a guest, someone radically different from you, today. Yael sends us Open Doors in the Wild West Bank on Yael Yells… Softly. About the power of hachnasat orchim, for hosts at least as much as guests.

Maybe you will just help someone who is down today (maybe yourself?) with Cheriblevy’sRolling With the Punches... thoughts, ideas, and unique way of giving us all some “@cherapy”.

Leave With a Smile

..So before you get on with your day, your week, your Adar, I wanted to do something nice for all of you that are still reading, just to make you smile, and hopefully someone else as well.

( ***giveaway was removed because of a lack of proper entries…..) 


Have a great CHODESH ADAR, and do something to “marbim” (increase) someone’s simcha (happiness) today.

Please visit next week as I host the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival (and “celebrate” turning 40!).

This week I want to leave you with my FAVORITE Pesach recipe… so you can join me in hording the ingredients that run out at the store.

As much as Purim is not my favorite time of year... Pesach is. I love freshening up the house, the arrival of spring, the intensity and seder (order) of the holiday.

When I start to think about Pesach, I start to think about granola. Pesach granola. I love to make it, I love to serve it, and I especially love to eat it.

My recipe is based on the one from “Stove Tops Personal Chef Service” in NJ.  Several years ago I was asked to speak about Pesach at a local Hadassah meeting, and this was the gem I walked away with.

It is easy to make, yummy to eat and with yogurt is a million times better than pesach cereal for breakfast.

You can substitute or omit  ingredients. I recommend mixing it right in the pan you bake it in. My hope is I am giving you enough time to buy the ingredients.

PESACH GRANOLA

Ingredients:
4 c. matzo farfal, or broken up pieces of matzo
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. dried raisins/cranberries
1 1/2 c. sweetened, shredded coconut (the stores run out of this one.) 
2 tsps cinnamon
2/3 c. veg. oil
1 c. honey
2 tsps Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the matzo, almonds, fruit, coconut and cinnamon together in a large bowl ( I do it in an aluminum pan I am baking in). Pour the oil and honey over the mixture. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly coated. Add the Kosher salt and toss.

Spray pan with non-stick spray ( usually don’t do this step.) Pour mixture onto the sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the granola and cool on the sheet pan. Stir occasionally as it cools. Store the granola in an airtight container.

Variations: you can add chocolate chips when cool, add more dried fruit, change or add more nuts. 

I try to make a variety of batches, but we always run out. I don’t like Pesach cakes, candies or cookies, so this becomes my treat for the week.

If you make it, PLEASE post a comment. Happy Pesach prepping! 

Post-Purim post…

March 12th, 2012


 

I didn’t blog about Purim this year. Those of you who have read my earlier posts know that it is not my favorite holiday.

But this year is different; we are in the midst of a move. A big one. To Eretz Yisroel. I am excited about it, and looking forward to every aspect, every challenge, every hill we have to climb. (ND’ers, get it? Hill?)

That doesn’t make it easy.

Catching up on doctor’s visits has meant a slew of diagnoses and challenging follow-up for the next few months.

The children have started to manifest all of the anxiety and mixed emotion expected with any move. At the end of the day, I am taking their stuff and moving it around and putting it in boxes…. Painters have come, cleaning off their decade of marks – and permanently removing their art from the walls.

Some of their possessions were even on the front lawn for a yard sale. The tension is coming out in all sorts of interesting ways. Fever for one, hostility for another, worry for all… and migraines for me.

I gained tremendous chizuk from Trip’n Up’s recent post about grief and her interactions with her son. Her piece was a stark reminder that my children are going through a grief process and how important it is for me to manage it as such.  I know that as the Ima I set the tone. That my positive attitude is needed to carry us all. I know this deep down, and have seen it in action so many times. That doesn’t always make it easy.

 

Bombs raining down on our brothers and sisters over there hasn’t made it easier, either.

So Purim for me this year felt like a backdrop of  noise, partying and chaos while I quietly tried to embrace safek – doubt -and to breathe through the pain of limbo knowing this is all for the good, part of a divine plan and that Hashem will always be there, behind it all.

In Adar we celebrate the triumph over Amalek, which is related to safek, and lack of faith. Only Amalek could doubt Hashem’s hand when the Jews left Egypt and it was clear to the world who took them out. I am trying, for my children and for myself, to model an ability to live within this stage of limbo. I try so hard to empathize with the sadness that the children feel despite knowing so much better than they do just how excited we all should be.

The irony is that they do not yet comprehend that they are moving to a new home where everyone must master living with safek. Where the conversations about doing so are clearly and deeper and certainly more frequent, but the emunah that goes with it will be B”H  all around them.

I hope they can have emunah in me as I keep reassuring them that it all will be good in the end.

This year, I have been making Challah Hamentaschen rolls instead of cookies. I just end up with more hamentaschen than I want to look at, and decided I had to do something different. Since I had been working with bread dough for hamentaschen anyway, I decided to try something similar on pizza night, and it was really easy and fun… it would make a great kids’ option for a dairy seudah.

The secret to the success is the dough. I have a great pizza dough recipe, adapted from one on the web many years ago. This is a great dough to use for hamentaschen, but it is also a fast and easy dinner solution throughout the year. (Not that you ever need that…)

 

 

Pizza dough – for a family of 9 I double this: 

Take 2 cups of warm water, and combine with

4 tablespoons of sugar (or honey) and 

4 tablespoons of yeast

let sit… perhaps near your oven preheating to 425 degrees…. 

Combine in another bowl

3 1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup of oil

(at this point, if you want to get fancy, you can add some yummy herbs into your dry mixture too. )

If you are like me, by the time the kids have helped with the dry ingredients and the phone has rung once or twice, it has been about 10 minutes for the yeast to rise. But you can let it sit or not, depends on your taste and preference – and how “last minute” the last minute dinner solution is.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and knead until a wonderful pizza dough consistency. [ If you choose to use whole wheat flour, you may have to add some more warm water. ]

You can shape into pizzas or hamentaschen right away. Spray your baking pan with lightly before putting on the pizza dough.

If you are making hamentaschen, make sure the dough circles are very spread out and relatively thin. Since you are folding them up and the dough rises, it ends up being a lot of dough. Add a dollop of sauce and some shredded cheese and whatever toppings gladden your Adar and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes! Enjoy!

If you make them, I would love it if you let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

Immahlady prepared a dvar Torah that she shared with me. And I feel I have to share it with you. Although we have just said goodbye to Purim, we are unfortunately still reading headlines about Amalek every day. I just read about a disturbing incident of disunity in my former community, and I think that my friend has addressed it beautifully, albeit unintentionally.

I hope you had a beautiful Purim, and that the spirit of achdut can carry you through to an elevated and meaningful Pesach.

D’var Torah – Parshat Tzav/Shabbat Zachor –by  Immahlady
When Parshat Tzav and Shabbat Zachor (the Shabbat prior to Purim) connect, we are given some special insights into how to combat our age-old enemy Amalek.
I’ll get there in about five steps.
Step 1:  The Joke.
You’ve probably heard it before, but laugh anyway. A new rabbi comes to a well-established congregation. Every week a fight erupts during the service. When it comes time to recite the Shema, half of the congregation stands and the other half sits. The half who stand say, “Of course we stand for the Shema. It’s the credo of Judaism. Throughout history, thousands of Jews have died with the words of the Shema on their lips.” The half who remain seated say, “No. According to the Shulchan Aruch (the code of Jewish law), if you are seated when you get to the Shema you remain seated.”
The people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, “Stand up!” while the people who are sitting yell at the people who are standing, “Sit down!” It’s destroying the whole decorum of the service, and driving the new rabbi crazy. Finally, it’s brought to the rabbi’s attention that at a nearby home for the aged is a 98-year-old man who was a founding member of the congregation. So, in accordance with Talmudic tradition, the rabbi appoints a delegation of three, one who stands for the Shema, one who sits, and the rabbi himself, to go interview the man.
They enter his room, and the man who stands for the Shema rushes over to the old man and says, “Wasn’t it the tradition in our synagogue to stand for the Shema?”
“No,” the old man answers in a weak voice. “That wasn’t the tradition.” The other man jumps in excitedly.
“Wasn’t it the tradition in our synagogue to sit for the Shema?”
“No,” the old man says. “That wasn’t the tradition.”
At this point, the rabbi cannot control himself. He cuts in angrily. “I don’t care what the tradition was! Just tell them one or the other. Do you know what goes on in services every week — the people who are standing yell at the people who are sitting, the people
who are sitting yell at the people who are standing—”
“That was the tradition,” the old man says.  It’s funny, and we do laugh, but how often do we see this play out in families, at work, and yes, brace yourselves – in shuls – and between the different movements of
Judaism?
Step 2: The Parsha
The parsha opens with HaShem telling Moshe to instruct the Kohanim regarding the sacrifice of particular offerings. Normally, when HaShem gives such instructions, the Torah uses the words ‘Emor’ or ‘Dabair’, which mean ‘say’ or tell.’ Instead, this week we have Tzav, ‘command.’ Command is a stricter, more concrete word then ‘say or tell.’ And given that commandments laid out this week apply to the Kohanim, a group already uniquely dedicated to the service of HaShem, it seems odd choice of words. After all, they have already proven themselves more than willing to obey HaShem’s laws. Rashi explains ‘tzav’ appears before the description of the olah offering. Whereas the Kohain is entitled to a portion of most offerings, the olah offering is entirely consumed by fire. ‘Tsav’ is a message to the Kohain not to downplay or ignore the elevation offerings, even though the other offerings are more lucrative. The Kohain does not profit directly from this korban, but nevertheless, it is a requirement he cannot shirk.  Why is the Olah offering so important?
Rambam explains that the olah offering was one from the entire community. And as such, this sacrifice serves as a means to unite the community, not just to each other, but to G-d. In doing so, making us one nation. In essence, we are commanded to unite ourselves as a nation.
Step 3:  Zachor
The Shabbat before Purim is called Shabbat Zachor. In addition to the normal Torah Reading, we read a few extra psukim from Devarim reminding us that we must not forget Amalek. While B’nai Israel walked out of Egypt, the surrounding nations were
pretty freaked, G-d rescued Israel from the most powerful country on the planet – with signs and wonders, with plagues, and of course, the splitting of the sea.
These miracles acted as a deterrent preventing the other nations from attacking Israel during the Exodus. Everyone, that is, except Amalek, which snuck behind B’nai Israel to attack the stragglers – the elderly, the weak, and the infirm. In doing so, they show
not only a complete lack of human decency, but also blatant disregard for HaShem. They showed no fear of retribution from G-d, despite the fate of the Egyptians, but they were afraid to meet their victims head on.
Because they acted so distastefully, we are commanded to wipe the entire nation of Amalek – sparing no one. In the HafTarah we read how Saul defied G-d’s commandment and did not completely wipe out Amalek. This misstep leads us to Purim, when we read about Amalek’s direct descendent Haman.
Step 4:  Purim
Listen to the words Haman uses to convince Achashverosh to annihilate the Jewish People. He says “There is one nation that is scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm.” Scattered and disbursed indicates that in
Persia, the Jews were very much as we are today – spread all over the land, not clustered into one community. The sages also explain that, like today, the Jews under Persian rule were just active in secular as well as non-secular activities, some more observant, some less so.
But Hashem and Haman agree in one critical point. No matter how we spread out and divide ourselves into categories, no matter how we separate ourselves from each other, Jews are – and always have been – one people, and have always shared in the same
fate. This is why Haman can justify genocide in response to his anger at Mordechai. As Rabbi Shalom Schwartz explains, the very goal of Israel’s enemies is to cripple the will of the nation through fear and suffering.  But we see in the Torah reading on Shabbat and in the Megillah on Purim, that the Jews rally under attack from Amalek – fear and danger united us in Shushan, just as the Olah offering
united us. The key word here is united.
Step 5:  Back to the Beginning
Like the Babylonians, Romans, and other historical enemies of the Jews, the Amalekites eventually dispersed through assimilation and marriage into other nations. Consequently, we can no longer identify Amalek as a people. But that does not mean
we don’t have the means to counter what Amalek stood for. Amalek leaves a calling card: It creates division and strife, sucking out hope and joy. Amalek tries to tear  asunder what we have spent generations joining together, and will use any means necessary to break our hope – whether by blatant genocide or by sneaking in to murder the unarmed and defenseless. The best means of combating Amalek is to prove that no matter what, we will always remain an Am Echad, one nation.
How do we act as one nation?
To truly behave as one nation, we must believe that we are all connected, that we all belong to each other. And as long as we can be one nation, hope is not lost. This room – like the rest of world – appears to be full of individuals. But if we could see each person as limb extending from a shared body, we would understand that in order to keep the whole body safe, we must take care of each part as if they were all of equal importance. We cannot discount a limb because it refuses to move in the same direction of the others. The problem with that well-established shul in the joke is not that a difference of opinion exists. The old saying about two Jews make three opinions speaks volumes. That’s not the issue. The problem is when we use those disagreements to create rifts and arguments. Working together, as an Am Echad, is the only way to effectively combat Amalek.

Purim

March 17th, 2011

I haven’t been posting much on the progress towards Purim. I have pretty good reasons, both compelling and dramatic. I was a “key” witness in a high-profile case in another country. Yeah, that sounds like a whopper of an excuse, right? Well, it happens to be true.

I prefer the drama of seven children and a first wife, frankly. I haven’t written about it because I couldn’t- can’t. It was a suprising, excrutiating and emotional experience, and I hope I can write about it at some point.

But now isn’t that point, now is the “oh my gosh, I lost the two weeks before Purim to some nutty trial and now I don’t have time to get ready for it, never mind blog about it” point.

Here is my run-down. What should be several posts is rolled into one.

1. One son wants to be a robot. I made very cool malleable costume by putting silver duct tape on shopping bags. It wasn’t my idea; I scoured on-line for non-cardboard box robot costumes, until I found one. I added glitter foam with adhesive backing as buttons. My super amazing architect brother has made a light up board for the front. When it gets here I will post a pic.

2. One of my sons has decided on Indiana Jones. I did ruin a Shabbat shirt, but it was pretty gross already. I had to make a sidebag out of brown construction paper, but he doesn’t seem to mind.He has a gun…and the whip is a jumprope.

I know he's my kid, but couldn't you just eat him up?

3. For some reason, every single year my first batch of hamentaschen are awful. I have just accepted the need to have a starter batch. I don’t know if it is just me. This year I made three batches with two recipes. The second dough was the best one I have ever made. It was easy, but made really good cookies.

This is the first batch:

The yucky batch.

The recipe for the  second set came from the Jewish Hostess.   The look much better, don’t they?

4.  Every year I go to a good dollar store to buy things for Mishloach Manot and to save money. I NEVER save money; I always wind up finding lots of cool stuff and spending money. Maybe since I am now blogging about it, I will remember next year and finally wise up.

5.  This year the megillah reading at night is quite late.  I wrote last year that lack of sleep on everyone’s part ruined my Purim, so we are trying something new this time. One of us is going to stay home and put the littlest guys to sleep before Purim even starts. The lucky parent will go to a late megillah reading. Wish us luck – I hope it works out a lot better.

I hope to put up some after-the-fact Purim costume pictures, but I don’t think that will help anyone much for Purim, it just might make me feel good about having them recorded.

6. I want to leave you with one beautiful Purim idea I learned this year from Rabbi Aba Wagensberg: Why do we say “Mi Shenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha” – One ushering in Adar should increase their joy? Not be happy, or revel, but increase one’s joy. He explains that the Rabbis tell us that we need to be “b’simcha”, joyful because we have the gift of Torah all year round. We simply increase that joy in Adar.  Given the horrendous tragedy in Israel this week and the suffering going on in Japan right now it helps me to have a reminder that we are supposed to remain joyful of Hashem’s Divine Plan, even when that seems hard.

May you have a Purim filled with joy, non-cranky children, and Mishloach Manot that contain things you actually like!

Purim

February 22nd, 2011

Last year I posted three Purim posts. One on hamentashen, one about costumes and the third an after-the-fact accounting as to why I had a rotten Purim. This is a reprint of #2. Please re-visit #’s 1 and 3 as well. The third one is my advice to myself on how not to screw it up this year!

Enjoy:

Costumes.

I am not very artistic. I have a long standing script with my mother that seems to keep repeating itself to no end:

“Mom, I did X.”
“Really? Don’t tell me you aren’t creative!”
“I never said I’m not creative, Mom, I am just not artistic.”
“Well, I think you are very creative.”
“Okay, Mom. Thanks, Mom.”

… Homemade purim costumes need both I think. I do okay with the creativity, and I can help my kids figure out how to use what we have around to become what they would like.

But I can’t design anything, sew anything, draw anything or make anything….

… and I see this year that as we have gotten closer to Purim they have changed their desires to meet with more realistic expectations from Ima.

15 yo – too cool for costumes, of course. I think he might come to Purim as a person with a text message addiction.  : )

10 yo – VERY artistic, and decided she could cover that area better than me a long time ago. She has decided that it would be very humorous and in the spirit of “naafochu” (turnabout, or doing things “opposite”) to dress up as a candy shop. We have a no candy ever policy for our kids. (Cookies and cake are allowed on special occasions, but no candy. That’s a story for a different blog post.)

Candy Shop
Candy Shop costume

8 yo #1 wanted to make a very elaborate costume to be a “joke box” that involved writing down a lot of jokes and being able to emit them at will… he has since changed his mind and in lieu of complicated has chosen evil; he is going as Haman.

8 yo #2 wanted to make a “Star Wars Clone” costume from scratch.

StarWarsCloneTrooper
Star Wars Clone Trooper

He suggested that I could make him the mask myself, or of course buy him one with my limitless funds at a store…. he has switched to going as a doctor.

The 6 yo. stuck to elaborate and complicated. He has to paint it himself. He is going as a confetti box. His idea. He says people won’t get it and will ask him what he is, at which point he can throw confetti at them as he explains. Pretty clever  6 yo right? Those are the ones they say to watch out for. By the way, don’t tell anyone who lives near me the secret or you will spoil all of his fun.

My 4 yo, who is a cross between Junie B. Jones and Olivia, said she wanted to be “a pit”. No, I don’t know what that means. She had to come up with a queen costume for a pre-purim activity at school, and I convinced her to just stick with that for Purim, too. It only worked because I promised to let her wear lots of Ima’s makeup.

The 1 yo will be a lion. All of the rest, except for dss (dear stepson) wore it. It is frayed and the zipper is completely broken. I am quite certain that I would have been horrified at the thought of my first little one doing such a thing. Now I am thrilled when he gets raspberry hamentashen filling all over his front I won’t have to worry so much. After he completes this rite of passage I think we finally get to throw the darn thing out.

I have a huge chest FULL of premade, prefab, store bought costumes. A LOT. I mean it. Wolverine, Superman, Spiderman, Spongebob, Snow White, Pirate, Soldier (x2), ballerina, Harry Potter robes, wands AND broomsticks (3 each!), The Incredible Hulk, Power Ranger,  Batman, Clown wig, kimono, ninja, and those are the ones I can name off the top of my head.

Of course none of those will do for anyone.

It isn’t about authenticity; it is about two things, I think: 1. The never-ending contest for Ima’s time and attention. The more elaborate the costume, the more time I have to stop everything else and devote to it, right? 2. As the clever 6 yo recently said about hisPinewood Derby car (it’s a boy scout thing; also for another post.) “The fun is in the making it.”

And knowing that is why I bother trying to make a confetti box, or putting my makeup on a 4 yo, or helping a 10 yo go to the store just to buy fabric to make a candy shop, running around town begging for used medical supplies for my dr., and revamping a gold satin robe for Haman. As for my little lion, he will jump into the competition soon enough, and broken zipper and all, I am happy for him to wait!

P.S. – Yes, you are all welcome to come to NJ and shop for Purim costumes in my playroom.

Purim – #3

March 2nd, 2010

The kids really enjoyed Purim. The costumes went really well. My 4 yo decided that poofy dresses like Queen Esthers wear hamper one’s lifestyle. So she changed into a ballerina outfit for most of Purim. You can do a lot more bouncing off of walls and everything else in ballet clothes…

Unlike years past, we kept Purim pretty simple. Familiar, close to home, and simple. The kids volunteered (which means I volunteered them) to deliver a large number of mishloach manot on behalf of our shul. My husband took them. He didn’t enjoy it very much. Delivering anything with 7 kids isn’t ideal. But the kids thought it was fun.

I, on the other hand, had a pretty rotten Purim.

I have had time to think about what was wrong. First of all, my number one rule of life as a parent played a major part.

IT IS ALL ABOUT THE SLEEP.

I got up early with the kids the day before Purim. Wisely, although not necessarily willingly, everyone in my household took a late nap. Except me. The next morning (Purim morning) I got up early with the kids again. Therein lies 90% of what went wrong with my Purim. I should have insisted on being the non-tired one, and slept in. Hindsight is so great.

The other factor in my less-than-ideal Purim was also my own doing.

A few weeks ago I intiated a conversation with my family at the Shabbat table.  I told them that every year I make a big seudah, a big production for the whole neighborhood, because I really like it. (That’s not the only reason, but that’s a story for another day.) This year, I told them, I wanted to hear what they wanted to do for Purim.

…. So they got what they said they wanted; simple plans, simple food. Socializing, but elsewhere and in doses.

When I felt at the end of the day that I had taken care of everyone else while no one had taken care of me, I was exactly right.

It was just that I had forgotten that the person who was in charge of taking care of me is the same one who spending all of Purim taking care of them.

Maybe, just maybe next year will be the year I get the balance right. I know it will be the year I go into Purim with enough sleep.

Ima2seven as a happy happy clown on Purim

Me, the happy Purim clown.

Purim prep – #2 (Costumes)

February 24th, 2010

Costumes.

I am not very artistic. I have a long standing script with my mother that seems to keep repeating itself to no end:

“Mom, I did X.”
“Really? Don’t tell me you aren’t creative!”
“I never said I’m not creative, Mom, I am just not artistic.”
“Well, I think you are very creative.”
“Okay, Mom. Thanks, Mom.”

… Homemade purim costumes need both I think. I do okay with the creativity, and I can help my kids figure out how to use what we have around to become what they would like.

But I can’t design anything, sew anything, draw anything or make anything….

… and I see this year that as we have gotten closer to Purim they have changed their desires to meet with more realistic expectations from Ima.

15 yo – too cool for costumes, of course. I think he might come to Purim as a person with a text message addiction.  : )

10 yo – VERY artistic, and decided she could cover that area better than me a long time ago. She has decided that it would be very humorous and in the spirit of “naafochu” (turnabout, or doing things “opposite”) to dress up as a candy shop. We have a no candy ever policy for our kids. (Cookies and cake are allowed on special occasions, but no candy. That’s a story for a different blog post.)

Candy Shop

Candy Shop costume

8 yo #1 wanted to make a very elaborate costume to be a “joke box” that involved writing down a lot of jokes and being able to emit them at will… he has since changed his mind and in lieu of complicated has chosen evil; he is going as Haman.

8 yo #2 wanted to make a “Star Wars Clone” costume from scratch.

StarWarsCloneTrooper

Star Wars Clone Trooper

He suggested that I could make him the mask myself, or of course buy him one with my limitless funds at a store…. he has switched to going as a doctor.

The 6 yo. stuck to elaborate and complicated. He has to paint it himself. He is going as a confetti box. His idea. He says people won’t get it and will ask him what he is, at which point he can throw confetti at them as he explains. Pretty clever  6 yo right? Those are the ones they say to watch out for. By the way, don’t tell anyone who lives near me the secret or you will spoil all of his fun.

My 4 yo, who is a cross between Junie B. Jones and Olivia, said she wanted to be “a pit”. No, I don’t know what that means. She had to come up with a queen costume for a pre-purim activity at school, and I convinced her to just stick with that for Purim, too. It only worked because I promised to let her wear lots of Ima’s makeup.

The 1 yo will be a lion. All of the rest, except for dss (dear stepson) wore it. It is frayed and the zipper is completely broken. I am quite certain that I would have been horrified at the thought of my first little one doing such a thing. Now I am thrilled when he gets raspberry hamentashen filling all over his front I won’t have to worry so much. After he completes this rite of passage I think we finally get to throw the darn thing out.

I have a huge chest FULL of premade, prefab, store bought costumes. A LOT. I mean it. Wolverine, Superman, Spiderman, Spongebob, Snow White, Pirate, Soldier (x2), ballerina, Harry Potter robes, wands AND broomsticks (3 each!), The Incredible Hulk, Power Ranger,  Batman, Clown wig, kimono, ninja, and those are the ones I can name off the top of my head.

Of course none of those will do for anyone.

It isn’t about authenticity; it is about two things, I think: 1. The never-ending contest for Ima’s time and attention. The more elaborate the costume, the more time I have to stop everything else and devote to it, right? 2. As the clever 6 yo recently said about his Pinewood Derby car (it’s a boy scout thing; also for another post.) “The fun is in the making it.”

And knowing that is why I bother trying to make a confetti box, or putting my makeup on a 4 yo, or helping a 10 yo go to the store just to buy fabric to make a candy shop, running around town begging for used medical supplies for my dr., and revamping a gold satin robe for Haman. As for my little lion, he will jump into the competition soon enough, and broken zipper and all, I am happy for him to wait!

P.S. – Yes, you are all welcome to come to NJ and shop for Purim costumes in my playroom.