Thursday, May 22, 2008

Musings on Pajama Day

Today is Pajama Day at David's school.

David is in Kindergarten.

He came downstairs really excited about wearing his PJ's to school. I didn't argue or dissuade him. He thought the whole thing was "cool".

After breakfast, he started to have a change of heart. "What about my afterschool program? It's not pajama day there." So I offered for him to take a change of clothes, but told him it wasn't safe to change on the bus, to please change once he got there.

So he stuffed a pair of pants and a shirt into his backpack and we were off.

About a block from school, he started to look worried.

"What if no one else is in their pajamas?" he asked.

I assured him that many people, especially in Kindergarten, would be in their pajamas. After all, weren't people wearing green yesterday and dressed as their "future selves" on Tuesday? (It's Spirit Week.) He agreed that they were.

But as we got closer to the playground, he could see many kids in regular clothes. It's a bit chilly this morning, so I could tell that many of them *were* in PJ's (by the bottoms) but with coats on. He was unconvinced. "No one's wearing pajamas!" he bemoaned.

"Can I change right now?" he asked.

How could I argue with him? I tried. A few moments. I walked him through what to say to the teacher if he felt uncomfortable and how to ask for permission to go change in the bathroom at school. He would have none of it.

So he changed. Right there, in the car, in the dropoff line. (Yes, I was that mom holding up the line today.)

And my heart broke a little. (Especially when his best buddy walked up wearing his pajamas...but that's not the point.)

My heart broke for my little boy who is already concered about what other people think.

My heart broke for a world in which kids are cruel to other kids.

My heart broke when I thought that he was already defining himself by what is "cool" and what is "not."

It's a long way off for him to come into high school. But I just finished reading this novel, which, while fiction, has been haunting me.

This is only the beginning. I feel such a weight of responsibilty, to teach my child that he *is* a blessing, just by being himself. That I love him for who he is. That the world will love him too, if he just guts it out and makes it through whatever minefield elementary, middle, and high school will be for him.

I pray that it will be easy. I pray that he will not be a bullied kid, and that he will not be a bully either. I pray that he will be a mensch...kind and sweet and good and that *that* will take him places...


Monday, May 19, 2008

New Eats in Town....Worth it!!!!

Highland Park has a new kosher Israeli restaurant.

It is awesome.

Mizrahi Grill is the next-best-thing to actually eating felafel in Israel.

People speak Hebrew there.
And put cheeps into your felafel for you.
And charif.
And yum.

(And I hear the meat options are pretty darn yummy too. You'll have to take my husband and father's word for it. I won't try it just for you, my blogging public.)

Run, do not walk. They might run out of that amazing pita. Then again, they seem pretty on top of things. But go now. And then go back again!

(It's at 215 Skokie Valley Road, two doors down from Max's Deli. They now have a big sign. I drive by it regularly and salivate. That's how good it is. Closed on Shabbat, obviously.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights...

Bloggers Unite

Today is a day for bloggers to come together and stand on one issue, this time it's human rights.

What can I possibly say about human rights? It's overwhelming and unbelievable to me that while I sit comfortably on my couch, there are people around the world suffering from unbelievable abuse.

In Darfur.

In Myanmar.

Even in our own backyard.

Around the world, there is violence against women, violence against children, terror in the streets.

What can we do?

We can sign a petition.

We can vote.

We can make phone calls and write letters.

We can put bumper stickers on our cars. (We can drive our cars less!)

We can travel and help and support.

And we must do all these things.

Because we can't stand idly by.

The world can't wait.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May her memory be for a blessing...

Irena Sendler, Polish heroine, died this week at the age of 98.

From the New York Times article:

Mrs. Sendler once told Ms. Stahl [Stanlee Stahl, executive vice president of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous] that she wanted to write a book about the bravery of Jewish mothers.

“She said,” Ms. Stahl recalled, “ ‘Here I am, a stranger, asking them to place their child in my care. They ask if I can guarantee their safety. I have to answer no. Sometimes they would give me their child. Other times they would say come back. I would come back a few days later and the family had already been deported.’ ”

This comment strikes me as such a powerful statement about those who helped during the war. Most of them didn't consider themselves to be heroes, they were doing what they felt was right. Mrs. Sendler was among them. To think that she, who was putting her life in danger to help Jewish families, thought that the mothers were the brave ones.

They were all so brave.

As each of these survivors dies, the world loses a piece of history.
Each of them is a witness, and we need to remember for them and for our children.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Great Shabbat Opportunity!

Celebrate Shabbat by helping others...leave non-perishable food items by your mailbox tomorrow and your mail carrier will take them for the nation's largest one-day food drive ever!

Read more here:

The Torah is Full of Rules...

In this week's parasha....

There are rules for priests
Don't touch any dead bodies
except your family.

Do not shave your head
or the sidelocks of your beards.
Do not gash your flesh.

Priests have lots of rules
Do not marry a harlot
or a divorcee.

Priests have to be pure
They can't share the sacrifice
with any lay-folks.

Holidays happen:
Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot
Yom Kippur, Sukkot,

Rosh Hashanah too.
These holidays are holy,
each one on its date.

Light the lights a lot
every day in the Mishkan
an "eternal light."

There was once a man
and he was a blasphemer.
He was stoned by all.

Kill a man - you die.
If you kill a beast - you pay.
The laws are so clear.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

13 Things I Love About Israel

13 Things I Love About Israel

1. Felafel with cheeps and charif and pickles. Mmmmmm....

2. Walking on Ben Yehuda on Motzei Shabbat.

3. Watching kids play in parks that are full of ancient artifacts.

4. The whale sculpture in Old Jaffa.

5. Seeing Israeli kids riding the busses, hanging out, running around, just being kids and speaking Hebrew!

6. Spotting the blue paint in Tsfat.

7. Bumper stickers!!!!

8. The grottos of Rosh Hanikra, especially when the water levels are really high....

9. Watching the faces of first-timers when they really do float in the Dead Sea.

10. Reading Rachel's poems at her graveside.

11. Knowing that the young men and women carrying those big guns are Jewish kids ready to defend their homes and families.

12. Feeling Shabbat as it comes into Jerusalem...the frenzy of activity followed by the lovely calm. (And the shuk - rugelach and tomatoes and hummus and pita and spices and oranges and.....)

13. Feeling like I'm coming home.

Happy 60th Birthday, Israel!