Author: Revital Belz

Tangerine Tree Thoughts

“Look at that tree, Imma! It’s loaded with REAL tangerines!” (I have to agree with him. Real fruit on a real tree is exciting- at the grocery store, I always have to remind myself that these bright neon colored oranges are actually not machine manufactured, and no, they weren’t born right here on the shelves! I’ll bet to a kid, seeing real fruit on an actual tree is an eye-opening experience similar to the first time they realize their teacher doesn’t sleep under the desk at night!) The truth is- I too like to stop for a second and...

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Chanukah-my ego booster

“Are you sure you want to buy so many Chanukah candle boxes?!” the surprised and a bit perplexed vendor at the Makolet (corner grocery store) asked me the other day. I couldn’t help but smile and patiently explain that besides for my five kids, husband, and myself, my first grader simply insists on lighting all of his Chanukah menorahs- yes, all four of them; the wooden one he brought home from school last week, (he painted it himself!) the clay one from kindergarten, his preschool granite strip with glued-on bolts for candleholders, and of course his new Dreidle Chanukiyah from Abba’s Judaica store with removable dreidels that really spin! That night, as I stood watching the not-so-short-ten-Chanukah-menorah-set-up –and-candle-insertion operation, I knew I had a good quarter of an hour to relax and just let my thoughts wander. Yes, each Chanukiya really does match its’ owners personality: Moshe the musician with his harp menorah, Daniel the adventurer with his portable fold up Menorah; Avi-full of life with his rainbow colored one, Noam the little engineer with his train Menorah, and of course Yair- the master persuader- how was it again that he convinced me to let him light all his Chanukiyot? He seemed so absolutely sure that I would say yes- I just couldn’t bring myself to let him down. I’ll bet he’d make a great Maccabee- they sure had...

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Seven for Sukkos Fun

Sukkos has always been my favorite holiday.  As a child, I would wait eagerly for my father to come home from work and put up the sukkah.  It was a magical place to live out all my fantasies. I was in my element making paper chains and hanging up the ever-growing collection of decorations.   I want to keep up the fun with the kids throughout the holiday to keep their interest so I came up with a list of fun activities in the Sukka. I put my head together with my loved ones and came up with seven fun ideas.   My neighbor came up with this idea.  They play, I spy, with the decorations.  One player goes out of the sukkah and the rest of the players choose one small part of a decoration.  The player comes back and has to ask questions and find where it is. A similar game would be to hide something small in the sukkah and play a game of hot and cold.   My personal favorite Sukkos activity is to build an edible sukkah with the kids.  We take plain wafers and stick them together with a mixture of melted chocolate and peanut butter.  For the roof, we use long pretzels and stick them with the same chocolatey mixture.  There are a variety of jellies in shapes to decorate the sukkah....

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Rosh Hashannah Lessons

Rosh Hashanah is supposed to be the day we coronate the King of the World.  It can be rather humbling and sometimes we fail in our mission… but sometimes we don’t. When I had a few young kids, I also wanted to sit with the congregation and hear the shofar being blown.  I wanted connection.  Connection with the holiday, connection with my family and connection with my community.  Our congregation had very strict rules about quiet when the shofar was being blown.  No noise.  Period.  I knew the rule and I was sure my young boys knew them too. Or at least I thought so. The proud mother that I was, I had my boys dressed up in their best finery.  They wore matching navy shorts, neat tucked-in shirts with adorable vests and bow-ties.  Adorable enough to make any mother glow.  We reached the synagogue a few minutes early and waited outside.  The boys began to squirm. (me and the boys on our way to celebrate Rosh Hashanah ) “Hold on everyone,” I pleaded.  “We will go in inside in a minute.”  I was saving their prized lollypops to keep them quiet during the shofar blowing. I peeked my head in to see where the prayers were up to.  It seemed the right time to enter.  With my finger to my lips, I silently led the little jumpy boys into...

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Jewish Women Are Crazy

“You know Jewish women are crazy?” my friend Rita said to me recently. We were standing in the aisle of the supermarket with loaded down carts each.  I gave Rita a questioning look.  I never thought I was crazy but Rita persisted. “I bet you are shopping for some big family get together, aren’t you?” she said eyeing my bulging cart. I hemmed and hawed because I was planning a summer get together. “And I bet you also worked at least a few hours today…” Well I did have some deadlines to meet, I thought honestly. “The boys are on vacation, right? Did you take them somewhere today? To a pool, a park, the beach?” I thought in my mind that I had driven the boys to the pool but they would take the bus home.  The only problem was that my second youngest son had hurt his foot and wasn’t interested in being in a pool and so he was boooored.  After too many phone calls, I found an equally bored friend who was home.  I dropped my half of the boring duo off while I did the shopping.  I would then go home and set things up for the get-together.  It’s not meant to be fancy; just fruit, cake and snacks. Rita wasn’t giving up.  “Have you started with the school supply shopping yet? And what about...

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