Zev News – June 2008


On the last day of May, we all went to Temple Ahavat Shalom to set up for the Israel’s 60th birthday celebration.  Marc was the chair of this event and Sunday, June 1, was the celebration.  The kids in Benjamin’s year of Hebrew school put on a performance which was wonderful.  Jackie especially liked that they performed one of her favorite Hebrew songs, which is not normally sung, because it’s fairly complicated.  The speaker was from the Israeli consulate and she was good, even if she did go on too long.  It was considered a roaring success, and only Marc knew of the numerous things that went wrong.  He received lots of accolades for his work making it all come together.


That night we had the first traditional Sunday dinner at Jackie’s Mom’s in months (not counting the Sunday after her dad died, where the house was filled.)  Don and family weren’t there – they’d gone to Disneyland for Michael’s birthday.  We tried a new game called Abridged.  It was only for four players and we were 6, so Aunt Marjorie teamed up with Jackie’s Mom and Benjamin teamed up with Jackie.  We like it.


We celebrated Michael’s birthday at his house the following Friday.  We gave him a card, the book “I Robot” and $50.  The card played “Happy Birthday” when you opened it.  It totally surprised Michael.  That was fun.  We had put the $50 bill in the book like a bookmark.  The card said that even if he didn’t like the book, he would like the bookmark.  To our amusement he couldn’t find the “bookmark” in the book.


Saturday was Mitchell’s confirmation.  Each confirmand made a speech.  Jackie remembers being unimpressed by the speeches at Jordan’s confirmation, but the speeches at Mitchell’s were mostly good.  The one where the girl said that she went to confirmation because her grandmother wanted to see her confirmed made Jackie sad, though, because her father won’t get to see our boys confirmed.  Mitchell put on his “entertainment” personality – suave, debonair, serious with a touch of humor, sometimes subtly insulting.  Marc described Mitchell’s parents experience at the service as “somewhat akin to a World War II fighter pilot – long periods of boredom punctuated by periods of sheer terror (when their son stands up to speak).”


Sunday was the final assembly for religious school for Benjamin.  They do a nice program where they seat all the kids by year.  The kids in their last year, which are graduating, have a separate program, so they are not at the end-of-year program with the rest of the kids.  However, they leave a section open where these kids would have sat.  Starting with the oldest year there, they have each year come up in turn.  The teachers talk about what they learned that year and the kids do a presentation – usually a song.  Then, when the kids sit down, they don’t sit in the seats they left, but rather in the seats of the year they are going to be in next year.  It’s a nice program – the parents get a little information about what the kids studied all year, it only lasts an hour, and it ends with the kindergarteners, which are the cutest of the lot. Afterwards they served ice cream, and we went home for lunch.


That night was erev Shavous, We had been invited to Efrat’s for dinner.  There were lots of Israelis there, so there was  lots of Hebrew being spoken.  Jackie was pleased at how much she understood. They had a short “seder” and a “shi’ur” (a lesson.)  We enjoyed it very much.  Jonathan enjoyed it even more once he discovered that Efrat’s son plays Magic..


The following Thursday was both the last Religious School Board meeting of the year and the Sisterhood meeting where the books were transitioned from last year’s Board to next year’s Board.  Since Jackie is currently a part of the Religious School Board and She will be on the Sisterhood board next year, she was expected to be at both!  The following night was the Sisterhood installation


Saturday was a party to say farewell to Kim Roberts, the religious School Director at Temple Ahavat Shalom. We’re so bummed she's leaving  – she's made such a difference.


The next day was Father’s Day.  Jackie went to the cemetery with her pad and pen and sat on her Dad’s grave and wrote and watched other people come and leave flowers on graves and go.  We had tickets to “My Fair Lady” at 1 p.m. at the Canyon Theatre Guild Theatre.  Jackie spent so much time at the cemetery that we were concerned that we would have trouble getting lunch in time for the theater.  But we went to a deli we’ve gone to before and had no trouble at all.  Deb Schuraytz and family had tickets to the show too, but they got the starting time wrong.  Fortunately, they had planned to get there early and only missed a small part of the overture.  The musical was good, but the Schuraytzes said they thought the guy who played Eliza’s father (a role akin to the Major General role in HMS Pinafore) was slightly under the weather that day, as he’d been even more flamboyant the last time they saw the show.  The casting was amazing, the voices were excellent, and we all enjoyed the show tremendously.


The following Wednesday was Benjamin’s culmination from elementary school.  They put on a nice performance.  Except for the speech by the principal, it was all done by the students and everyone had a part.  There was dancing, singing, and spoken lines.  And, of course, the obligatory saying of each kid’s name and walking across the stage.  Despite the fact that the school is 60% minority, with the usual array of hard to pronounce names, very kid’s name was pronounced correctly.  We know this because each child said his or her own name.  Afterwards they served cake and we took pictures.  Then Jackie went back to work. Marc took Jonathan and Benjamin to lunch and then he took them to (sleep-away) camp.  He dropped Benjamin off at Hess Kramer.  After finding someone to take Benjamin’s stuff, Marc took Benjamin to the dining hall, where they figured out what cabin he was in and took him away.  Marc was sad that he didn’t get a goodbye hug.  Then Marc took Jonathan up the hill to Hilltop.  Since the buses had not arrived yet all the exuberance of the counselors was lavished entirely on Jonathan.  Marc checked him in and took off.


The next day was grad night at Disneyland for about 3 billion high schools in Southern California.  Marc and Jackie had signed up to be chaperones for El Camino Real High.  Why?  Well, Jackie’s brother was organizing the event, and he needed chaperones, and they had no kids at home, and what the heck! What could be wrong with a free trip to Disneyland with free dinner or breakfast and free snacks?  Actually, if you are deaf, nothing!  However, if you have your hearing (and particularly if you want to keep your hearing) then grad night is somewhat problematic.  Loud does not begin to describe grad night.  Excruciatingly cacophonous is getting there.  Next time, (assuming there is a next time, which I doubt) we will bring earplugs.


The next night Jackie went to services at our Temple and discovered to her pleasure that Congressman Brad Sherman was there and spoke.  Afterwards, she went up to him and told him she was a fan of his.  She said that we had a number of his combs lying around the house.  The Congressman is mostly bald and passes out combs with his name and office number on them as humorous publicity. He said that my husband probably needed the combs more than he did.  I responded that, in fact, that was NOT correct, as Marc had continued to keep his head shaved since he shaved it in March to raise money for pediatric cancer research!


On Sunday we celebrated Rhonda’s birthday, which was two days later and Don’s birthday (which was a week later, but for which we would be out of town).  We had a “progressive dinner” starting at Jackie’s Mom’s house and moving to Don’s house for dessert and presents.


On Wednesday, we drove up to the bay area for a little vacation sans kids.  We stopped in San Jose and had dinner with Jackie’s friend Jeff, before continuing on to San Francisco to stay with Jackie’s cousins Lisa & Sharon and family. 


On Thursday, we took the bus to the Jewish Contemporary Museum.  The museum wasn’t open when we got there, so we went to “Zeum” – a hands on children’s museum.  At the entrance there was an exhibit based on the toy “labyrinth”.  This toy is a 15” x 15” wooden maze where you try to move a marble through the maze, without letting it drop it into one of the numerous holes, by tilting the maze forward, back and side to side using knobs on the side of the box.  In the exhibits, the maze was projected on the floor and was 10’ x 10’.  You tilted the maze by standing on it and moving towards the side to which you want the maze to tilt.  We very much enjoyed watching kids try it, and also enjoyed watching the interaction between some of the kids and their dad.  We then went to a little Italian sandwich shop and had excellent sandwiches and then we went to the Jewish Contemporary Museum.  There was a William Steig exhibit (William Steig wrote the book that was turned into the movie “Shrek”).  Jackie finds his work not quite to her taste.  There was an exhibit where the author had given various musicians various letters of the Hebrew alphabet and asked them to write music for the letter they were given.  This exhibit didn’t do much for Jackie, either, although we did think the room it was in was very cool.  There was also an exhibit called Genesis, which was a number of contemporary art pieces by different artists.  If you like contemporary art, you would probably like the exhibit.  As Marc and Jackie left, Marc turned to Jackie and said, “as my grandmother would say, ‘It’s good if you like it!’ ” That pretty much sums up Marc and Jackie’s reaction to the museum.


We left the Jewish contemporary Museum and went back to Zeum.  This time we went into the museum, which we had not done on our initial visit.  We learned that the museum focuses on creating things: masks, claymation, videos, kaleidoscope pictures, karaoke recordings, video recordings, music and more.  Marc and Jackie tried a few things and then wandered back to the Labyrinth exhibit.  Jackie tried it and after a couple of tries, got the marble to the end and was rewarded with flashing lights and a new maze to try.  But it was getting late, so we got on the bus and went back to Lisa and Sharon’s.


The next day, we went to Safari West in Santa Rosa and took Lisa and Sharon’s girls, Miriam and Rose, with us.  We enjoyed it very much, (particularly sitting on the seats on top of the Jeep,) but thought it a bit overpriced for what you get.  We came back and had a delicious Shabbat dinner that Sharon made and went to services at Lisa’s synagogue.  Services were really nice.  A number of couples had been recently married. They were asked to stand so that we could recognize them.  They had a really nice oneg afterwards too with fruit and cheese and crackers in addition to the usual sweets. 


Saturday morning was both Lisa’s and Marc’s birthdays.  Together, they were 98.  Next year they’ll be 100!  We made breakfast for them.  Jackie and Rose made the pancakes and Marc commented that this may have been the first time that Jackie has ever made breakfast for him on his birthday.  Since it was likely the first time she had ever made him breakfast at all, she does not doubt the statement.  The birthday “kids” opened their cards and presents, and then we left for Marc’s friend Hazel’s house in Half Moon Bay.  On Saturday, we just hung out, went for walks, picked blackberries, and played with Elan, Hazel and Paul’s 16-month-old son.  We also picked up our email, and found that Jonathan had scored a 760 on the Biology SAT II exam and that Marc’s new books had been published (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Marc+Zev+-Binding+-Chan&x=11&y=20).


Sunday, we met up with Jeff and went to the Exploratorium.  We got there at 11 and stayed until it closed at five, and it was not nearly enough time.  We want to go back, with the boys next time.  We went to Berkeley for dinner at Fondue Freds, an old favorite of Jackie’s and Jeff’s.  But before dinner, we walked around Berkeley and Jackie bought a Cal sweatshirt (and we bought Cal T-shirts for the boys).  On the way back to the car, we walked past the house Jackie lived in for three of the four years she was at Berkeley.  We peered in the windows and noted that her old room was now purple.


On Monday, we visited Jackie’s friend Dan in Palo Alto.  We got to hear his 11 year old daughter Tira play the piano – that was a treat!  We went for a hike, went to lunch with his wife Parva, and Tira, and just sat around and caught up.  We got to meet Dan’s son, Abe, too.  We went back to Half Moon Bay and had dinner at a local place that was an aspiring “Follow Your Heart” (a vegetarian restaurant near our house.)  The people at dinner seemed like they were ‘60s throwbacks. 


On Tuesday, we again were very relaxed.  We read, played the new game that Dan had invented (Suduro – www.suduro.com) walked into town and played with Elan.  We went into the bookstores in town, and Marc pitched his new book, but when he realized that there was a problem with purchasing it (after one of the bookstores expressed interest!) he decided to wait until he had resolved the problem before he would continue pitching the book.  But we were excited that a bookstores would have ordered it if they could have.  It was a nice relaxing day.  The next day, we slept in and then drove home.  We picked up Pippin, who was very glad to see us (of course he’s always glad to see anyone, so I’m not really sure that he missed us!)