Alef, Bet, Vet, Day 20

When you are a young child, who teaches you information? Who guides you along the way? Your parents, or guardians, yes, yes of course, well one would hope that they do. However, your siblings provide the examples.

Watch a child, any young baby, or toddler when they are amongst other people. They are fascinated by the alternative human beings beyond those in their small niche. They are most intrigued by other young people. They can distinguish between adult and child. Their stares and interest are paired with a hard wiring in the brain that encourages them to try to emulate the behavior they see. This is the learning process folks.

My guide was Debbie. Now I realize I have already touched on this subject a bit in previous blogs, but this topic of learning is different.

Debbie taught Hebrew classes at our synagogue in her late high school and early college years. I loved it. I can still see you walking down Temple Beth Shalom’s hallways with a giant Hebrew alphabet board and a bag of books slung over your shoulder. You sang the alef, bet, vet, with my kindergarten class, I’m not sure if you remember.

My teacher was Joy Grisan. I loved her. I felt special in her class and I enjoyed her story telling and art projects combined into one.  I can fondly recall the story of baby Moses in the reeds. We used pipe cleaners to fashion our tiny Moses baby and made itty-bitty baskets to hold him within.  I can see the tiny dixie cups filled with grape juice for snack time.  Our mom was the executive Hebrew School coordinator and long time volunteer for years.  Sunday school was a familiar affair.

Correct me if I’m wrong, I mean, I was little, but I think Joy took you under her wing and showed you some ideas, lessons, and helped you organize yourself as a traveling Hebrew teacher. I know that this was one of your part-time jobs in Bellingham during your first few years of college, or maybe it was all four years. Your days at Temple Beth Shalom helped shape your abilities as a teacher. Early classroom management, choral reading, and literacy skills were being fostered under your tutelage.

I used to sing the Alef, Bet, Vet, with you along with Debbie Friedman’s music. I loved those times in the van with you. Singing was always my favorite and still is. Go figure… 🙂

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Sharing in this same experience of Jewish culture with life in Hong Kong was so important to me this past fall. I am grateful for the Shorashim experience we had together. I loved it. Every minute of sitting with you and Declan. I loved how he’d look up at me and see if I was singing along too. He was adorable. I loved sitting in services and being given the gift of a community experience to question the Torah and think together. This is one of the most important things, I believe about our culture. The ability to question and have a shared learning with other people. It all goes back to education, and the connectivity of all of this with music.

I love you Debbie! Have a Happy Monday of vacation. xoxo.

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Yellow Herbie Day 15

There are ten years between my sister and I.  I was always keenly aware of this age difference for the first eighteen years of my life, as I’m sure my sister was as well. Although, to be the little sister is quite different than the elder. For one thing, I was given the opportunity to have a mentor and role model, where she, was given a sweet little shadow that wanted to emulate her every move. 🙂 Adorable at times, but annoyingly awkward and over involved at others.

One such occasion was the summer mom went to Israel. She was graduated and working an office job for the summer and taking care of me in the morning and evenings. I remember being dropped off at summer camp at my elementary school.  She’d pick me up at the play ground and I’d run to you and think, “That’s MY sister.” Oh I loved it so much. I felt super cool that my big sis would come get me and drive me home. Teeheee…you never knew eh Debbie?!

Then entered the boy crush for that month. He had a pony tail, and a yellow herbie or volkswagen. I think he also had a pierced ear, what a babe and a rebel right?!

All I remember of him, was the one evening you were helping me wash my hair out and you were on the phone with him.

Man I love thinking about that gray, plastic, cordness/portable telephone. I yelled for you from the bathroom and you popped your head in. “Aren’t you going to help me wash my hair out?” I called.

I could hear his voice come through the phone as you sat down to help me with my long tendrils. “How OLD is your sister, she can’t wash her own hair, woah…” The conversation commenced and you continued to help me. I was covering my eyes with a wash cloth as you poured water over my head. “You know Rachel, you could learn how to rinse out your own hair…” and that was the moment that I knew I was growing up.

As silly as it sounds, it was true though.

She always gave me good advice, she taught me how to do countless things, but in that one silly hair washing moment, I felt a shift, a change, and that sense that, “Huh…I’m not three years old any more.”

Thanks for pushing me to take a baby step forward, and for also helping me with my long knotty hair that summer. I love you! And as for the boy, he wasn’t so great after all. But the yellow herbie car was cool. 😉

xoxo. Have a sparkly fantastic Friday!!

ari and i flowers