Zev News –2007


The year started with a lot of fun.  Jackie took the boys skiing for the first time, and they took to it like ducks to water.  Jonathan’s 2006 soccer team had their post season tournament games and did very respectably.  Jackie and Marc got to see their favorite singing group perform (The Bobs) and Marc took a jaunt to Houston for the 20 year anniversary celebration of the Challenger Center. 


The year continued with Benjamin joining our Temple’s Jr. Choir.  Jonathan competed in the regional MathCounts competition and did well enough to qualify for the state competition.  Jonathan also performed in the Purim play that the Temple puts on each year.  Benjamin and the rest of the Jr. Choir performed in an event billed as “the world’s largest Jewish sing-a-long” with “Julie Silver, Cantors and a 200+ voice choir.” (Benjamin was one of the 200+ voices.)  Jonathan went to the State MathCounts competition at UC Irvine, and had a very good time. 


We also all went to the Annual Spring Spectacular at the Exotic Animal Training and Management (EATM) Program at Moorpark College.  It’s also called “America’s Teaching Zoo.”  They have a small zoo, which they use to train students to become exotic animal handlers.  Graduates typically go to work for zoos, animal parks, rescue operations, veterinarians, animal control, circuses, movie sets, etc.  EATM is open to the public every weekend, but each year they put on a fundraiser where they put on shows and give behind-the-scenes tours.  The Spring Spectacular was a lot of fun.


And I can’t leave March without mentioning the celebrations!  We had cousin Mathew’s Bar Mitzvah (on Aunt Sue’s birthday!) Benjamin’s birthday party (Lazer Tag!), Marc and Jackie’s anniversary and, in April, cousin Valerie’s Bat Mitzvah.  Marc and Jackie celebrated their anniversary with a weekend in Las Vegas which included the show “Spam-a-lot.”  In addition to the show, which they loved, they enjoyed trying new foods and shopping.


April included lots more fun.  We went to the LACMA Geffen Museum, the Japanese American National Museum and the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (hey, it was there with the other two, so we figured, “why not?”)  Benjamin went to Spring Camp at EATM during spring break and had a really good time.  He also went on a weekend retreat with his religious school class and had a great time there too.


May involved some traveling.  Marc went to New York for our cousin’s first communion, and the next day after he came back, Jackie went to Dallas on a business trip.  We also saw a bunch of plays – “the Wizard of OZ” (a traditional version,) “HMS Pinafore,” “Les Miserables,” “You Can’t Take It With You” and a version of “the Wizard of OZ” that comprised pieces from “the Wizard of OZ”, “the Wiz” and “Wicked.”  It was crazy and a lot of fun.


In June, Jonathan beat the odds by being accepted into his first choice of high school (Granada.)  He graduated from middle school, and left the next day for four weeks of camp.  No sooner had Jonathan left than Jackie's dad was diagnosed with colon cancer.  Fortunately, there was no sign that it had metastasized.  He underwent surgery, which was a success and, proving himself to be the block off of which Jackie is chipped, recovered fairly quickly.


Benjamin filled his summer with a week of camp at EATM, a 5 week program at CSUN and another week at EATM.  The CSUN program comprised classes in Drama, Soccer/Frisbee Golf, Puzzles, and Advanced Computers.  Each of the EATM weeks and the drama class ended in performances which we enjoyed very much.  On a more professional note, we saw “Wicked,” which we loved, and “Forever Plaid,” which we liked a lot more than the first time we saw it.


Each boy had 3 free weeks after his summer programs before school started.  However, Jonathan’s three weeks and Benjamin's three weeks did not overlap.  Granada is a charter school, and they start three weeks before LAUSD does. 


High school seems to be good to Jonathan.  Homework has not been onerous and he is doing well in all his classes. He is taking Algebra 2/Trig, Honors English, Health, PE, Honors Biology, and Robotics. He likes all his teachers except his Health teacher. Jonathan is really enjoying Robotics.


In September, school started for Benjamin, soccer started, Hebrew school started, and religious school started.  We went from a relaxed. leisurely life to one packed with activities. seemingly overnight.  And before we could settle into a regular schedule, the Jewish holidays hit: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah.  But after a month of having to call each day to figure out where the kids needed to be and who was doing drop-off and who was doing pickup, things finally settled into a regular routine. 


Jackie turned over most of her AAUW responsibilities to others so that she could become more involved with the Temple, which she did by taking over the Avodah program.  This program provides Temple kids (grades 7-12) with a way of volunteering for the Temple.  Marc was recruited to chair the Israel’s 60th Birthday celebration at the temple, a job Marc regrets every time he sends out an e-mail to his committee and only gets one response.


Another Temple thing keeping Jackie busy is that she is trying to start a new group at the Temple for people who love to sing.  The plan is that once a month, but scheduling it is a real problem and the group has yet to meet. Jackie is still working on it though, so cross your fingers.


Jackie spent most of the early weekends in November cleaning up the house in preparation for an AAUW event and Thanksgiving, which were both at our house 5 days apart.  The house looked great, partly due to Jackie’s efforts, and partly because over the last 6 months Jackie and Marc redid the living room, moving the TV and entertainment center down to the music room, replacing the furniture, buying new coffee tables, new display shelves, new lights, and moving the piano from the music room to the living room.  Jackie’s New Year’s resolution it to keep it looking this good!


We hosted Jackie’s family’s Thanksgiving at our house this year.  This year, 29 people were able to participate.  We were thankful for many things.  It was wonderful to have the whole family together.  Although a number of people in the oldest generation are having health issues, right now, they are all doing well and we are optimistic for the future.  We all escaped any serious effects from the Southern California fires, which were pretty bad this year.  We have a great family, where everyone gets along swimmingly. And, finally, the refrigerator waited until the day after Thanksgiving to die.


The good news is that our refrigerator is only 3 years old, so it’s under warranty.  But it’s been more than two weeks now and we still don’t have a working refrigerator.  (We’re waiting for parts to arrive.)  It’s a good thing we still have our old refrigerator in the garage.  It may be 20 years old, but IT still works!


We capped off the year with two more pieces of good news.  The Wright Group’s math curriculum, which includes Math Flaps, Marc’s invention to teach division, was included in the State of California approved curricula.  In addition, the Math Flaps patent application was approved. With the granting of the patent, Marc officially added “inventor” to his resume.


Wishing you a healthy, happy 2008,

Jackie, Marc, Jonathan and Benjamin