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Friday, January 29, 2016

Shabbat Shiluv! Er, Shalom...

I put my own spin on a few of the Sabbath customs...

Every Friday, as we leave school on Friday for the weekend we say, "Shabbat shalom!" Peaceful Saturday, Day of Rest.

All very nice, but none of which applies to a house full of babies. "Day of rest" is better known as "wishful thinking" for parents of small children. The Ten Commandments of Babies address the day thus: "Remember the Sabbath to wake up even earlier than normal and be more stir crazy than usual and prevent your parents from resting." This is our way of keeping it holy. Can I get an amen??

But this week at school was a little bit different as I was Yeled Shel Shabbat (the Sabbath Child) for our own pre-Shabbat ceremony. This means that the proper greeting today was Shabbat Shiluv - Shabbat of Integration!

Integration works best when things, well, integrate. Like a great recipe where all the ingredients meld together for a single flavorful dish. Or an orchestra where various instruments, all different, make beautiful music together.

Definition of integration in education: "To bring people or groups with particular characteristics or needs into equal participation in or membership of a social group or institution: ex. integrating children with special needs into ordinary schools" thereby making those ordinary schools extraordinary. (I may have added the last part.)

Yes, a high calling rests upon our shoulders to bring these schools up to "extra."

Each week, one of us students gets to lead the Shabbat ceremony: blessing the bread and the wine/grape juice, lighting the candles (playing with fire!) and showing and telling what our families do on the weekend.

Here I am showing and telling along with Avi, my teacher
This week was my turn in the starring role. I donned a spiffy sweater, brushed my swirl into control and prepared my show and tell. I also introduced my own spin on certain traditions. For example, I symbolically cover my mouth instead of my eyes when praying. "Guard your steps as you go to the house of God ...  let your words be few." (Ecclesiastes 5:1)

Thankfully I am surrounded by a team that encourages me to thrive, starting from the principal Udi (who considers himself more 'pal' and less 'prince' and, to me, very much 'advocate'); my teacher Avi (who is actually a musician whose daily gig is to enthrall us preschoolers with music, Zumba and the most obscure facts such as what snails eat); teacher assistant Shula (who doubles as my life and acting coach and is the best hallah bread baker, who did a superb job today with mommy's whole wheat flour, by the way); and, last but never least, my personal assistant Talia (who doubles as my girlfriend, taking me on dates and caring for my intellectual and social well being during the day).

And then there is my fan base, better known as my friends - all the students in the class.

We all work together to create a better society. After each day of creation, God observed the enthralling things he had made and "he saw that it was good." And then, after six days of goodness, he rested.

May we too rest in the fact that all creation is good, if not great. And thanks to such camaraderie that creates a better society and a better me, we can have a Shabbat of shalom and shiluv.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Welcome, Private! We are Your Family

Welcome, Private! (Theo!) He doesn't move much yet,
but he's well on his way to all sorts of baby exploits!

Impossible to get a non-blurry photo these days.
We are movers and shakers!



A few days ago, before our new and first first cousin entered the world mommy reminded us of the gift of life and said that Zemmy (Zia Em or Aunt Emily) would be having Theo soon. But we babies set the record straight forthwith.

"No," corrected Lucas. "We are going to have Theo soon."

Yes. The cousins shall have him. We claim him. He is one of us. He is ours.

And now it has happened. Officially, Theodore Walter Boyd arrived to our world on Jan. 26, 2016 at 7:59 a.m. Zemmy did all the work but we all have him now.

Now we don't know much if anything (nothing really), about the birds and the bees. We do know this, however: We are going to have Theo. All. To. Ourselves.

We shall disciple him. We shall teach him the ways of babies. We shall pass on all of our natural and acquired wisdom to the new cousin, Private, as he shall be known to us. He shall join our adventures.

I know that with this statement Zemmy and Uncle Hart are trembling with fear, but are also relieved that we live so far away and may not be able to exert our influence on a daily basis (save for telepathically). But we are nonplussed. God has created each baby with an innate knowledge of "the code." Theo already knows how to be baby! He will follow in the path we have carved for him. And we will show up a few times a year to conference on how we can all enhance our baby skills.

A theory that floats about is that one's birth experience as a baby is indicative of their personality. Take our family for example:

  • Me, Daniel: Extremely dramatic - Check!
  • Lucas: Right on time but most painful - Check!
  • Raia: Impatient and bulldozer-esque - Check! Check!

What does this mean for Theo and his birth? Slightly early yet extremely stubborn in actually  making his way down the hatch. Hours and hours. It can only mean good things. And good luck to Zemmy and Uncle Hart! That's all I can say.

Here is our official welcome to Theo and you can see how he fits perfectly into his new family in the following video starring Rico as Daniel, Skipper as Lucas, Raia as Kowalski and in his debut role, Theo as Private!! (As per Lucas and his observation... seriously he made the parallel a week ago after watching the movie.)

We are so excited to see how Private will participate in our shenanigans!!