#1) Why no posts in a while? Well, a week and a day ago was the Bat Mitzvah of my youngest daughter, from here on to be referred to as "J-Daughter," because she discovered that if you typed in her actual name on Google and searched for images, her picture from this very blog turned up. Made me a little uncomfortable, so I tried to find all references to her by her real name and replace them with "J-Daughter."
So, how did everything go? BEAUTIFULLY! Friday night's service was long and the most tear-filled thing I've ever witnessed. The Cantor of our temple left this past week for a bigger, better job with a temple outside Chicago, (anyone from North Shore Congregation Israel? you are very, very lucky people!) so the Friday night service was a tribute and farewell to him. The choirs sang, there were speeches and gifts, the Cantor broke down in tears, the Executive Director broke down in tears, the Rabbi broke down in tears. The hundreds of people in the congregation broke down in tears. It was quite something. There was a huge Oneg (coffee & desserts) afterwards, but we skipped out of it so we could get home to our Shabbat dinner with all of our out-of-towners. (I must say, it is a WONDERFUL thing to leave your house cold and empty and return to see the caterer's truck pulled into your driveway, to smell the smells of wonderful cooking, to see delicious food displayed artfully in your own kitchen and diningroom, and to have your house filled with family and friends, all drinking wine and happy to be there!)
J-Daughter was amazing on Saturday morning. She was very nervous beforehand, but her nerves don't show in being jittery or getting hyped up. Her response to stress is to get quiet and close down. Just before we stepped up to the bima I told her that she was beautiful and smart and that she knew perfectly everything she had to do, that all she had to do was "let her light shine." And she did. She is tall and very pretty, with long, blonde-streaked hair. She was wearing a golden linen dress and very tall gold high heels, and her whole image was like an angel. And her voice is heavenly! The Cantor did the presentation of the Torah for the passing from generation to generation and was magnificent. The Rabbi spoke to her after her Torah and Haftarah and speech, and complimented her on several things, not the least of which was her honesty in her speech. It just all went perfectly. Especially when, after the Silent Meditation, she played violin and her older brother accompanied her on guitar for "Shalom Rav." It was beautiful! (Especially after hearing them practice it and make a million mistakes and have big arguments with each other over "the Cantor told you to do it THIS way!") I can't wait to see the video and the pictures. It is so hard waiting for them!
The luncheon went nicely -- a few snafus from the catering end -- but, it was lovely to be surrounded by so many friends and relatives. And J-Daughter's party in the evening with her friends was a blast. The room was decorated with purple tablecloths and lime green, purple, teal, and silver ballons, complete with subs from Jonny C's New Yawk Deli, a DJ, an airbrush tattoo artist, and Dippin' Dots. The kids danced their butts off and got a million tattoos, the relatives hung around and had fun, and our dearest grown-up friends stayed and kept us company. (And drank lots of wine.)
The weekend ended with brunch at our house and then saying goodbye to everyone who had planes to catch and car trips home. I was completely exhausted at the end of it, and was looking forward to a little bit of R&R... which might have happened, except for, well, read #2) below!
#2) To my dear friends:
"Beshert" -- A Yiddish word meaning "it was meant to be."
Which is about the only way I can describe getting a phone call this past Tuesday afternoon from a woman who ran the pre-school at the JCC for years, and recently left there to take a job at the local private Jewish day school in town. She was wondering if I was still looking for a teaching job. After I completely ignored the whole job search thing for months and concentrated my entire summer on planning for last weekend, she calls me completely out of the blue and asks if I could please come over for an interview in, oh, the next hour or two? I raced over, met with her and with the headmaster, and basically was hired on the spot. Evidently, one of their teachers had unexpectedly left their employ that morning. My resume was in their files and when this woman, god bless her!, saw my name, she grabbed my resume from the pile and told the headmaster that I was the one to call!
I will be teaching secular second grade (Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.) The kids spend half a day with their secular teacher (me!) and half a day with their Hebrew and Judaic Studies teachers, so I will be working five 1/2-days a week (two mornings and three afternoons.) Of course, I will have to spend countless more hours in addition to that, but it should still allow me to continue teaching my 4th graders at temple and my two classes on Wednesday nights at the Hebrew High School.
Private Jewish school... half-time... the people so far are lovely and the building is brand-new and beautiful. It just seems perfect... Beshert. Wish me luck!