Being Jewish anywhere

If my blog is about being Jewish in Hawaii, why am I writing about our summer vacation in places other than Hawaii?

Good question.

I guess it’s about perspective. I am Jewish all of the time. I live in Hawaii. So I am writing from that perspective.

Even if I am writing about doing the laundry in Kapolei (which I find myself doing more than just about any other activity in my life,) I am writing about it from the perspective of a nice Jewish girl turned somewhat nice Jewish mother who washes the sheets on a way too regular basis.

If I am writing about our recent vacation (which I am about to do,) it is from the perspective of a family living in  a small Jewish community on  Oahu and our experiences in the greater Jewish communities we visit on the mainland–or just the fun things we do there.

I can’t believe we have been home from our trip for over two weeks. The kids are back in school, I am embracing a new job and our family rhythms resume as we approach the Jewish new year.

Our annual trip to camp boo was fantabulous. The weather was hot and conducive to lake activities,  dog walks and late night “Apples to Apples” board game marathons.

With my mother’s death last May, so much feels changed. The time I spent with my sisters in June was different than any time we have spent together ever before. With this great loss we have changed.

It felt good to end the summer on a familiar note, to be joyful and have fun with my youngest sister, family friends and all their dogs. The timing was good, along with the weather.

My oldest sister and I often remark on the practical nature of shiva, the Jewish mourning ritual, and how it has served us well. 30 days made a huge difference. Each additional month feels different again.

I learned from Kids hurt too that grief is a physical process. This rang completely true for me. Over the course of the summer, my grief churned through me, supercharging every aspect of my system.

I feel it clearly on the 27th of each month. Even before I know the date, my body reminds me that one more month has passed. I am finally beginning to settle down.

From camp boo, we flew to Florida to convene with my younger daughter,  my in-laws and a huge chunk of the retired Jewish community who are living in the West Palm Beach area.

Talk about a cultural experience! When people come to visit us, I take them to Tamura’s in Wai’anae to shop with the locals. If you want to hang with some true Jews, go to one of my mother-in-law’s cocktail parties.

Held in our honor, it was an absolute pleasure. I got to meet parents of my husbands’ childhood pals, childhood  friends of my in-laws and grandparents of my daughter’s pre-school classmates. I was immediately at home and felt like I had been a part of the family for a life time more than the almost three years I have been married to my husband.

Our final destination found us in San Diego where my husband met us for a true family vacation. I’ve never vacationed in the area and was quite pleased. We particularly like the Carlsbad area.

We visited Legoland, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and the beach.

We ate delicious Italian and Mexican food, but were not remiss in making the requisite stop at In-N-Out.

Nothing Jewish about that cheeseburger! Or the way I felt a few hours after I ate my hamburger (no cheese) and an order of fries!

One morning found us in downtown San Diego in search of a breakfast other than the free one the hotel offered. We finally found a “Restaurant” and were treated to some seriously home style food.

We had dinner with my husband’s cousins and visited with two of my former yearbook students who babysat my daughter when she was  little and who have since relocated to San Diego.

As good as it is to get away, it is just as good to be home. A new year is ahead, change always on the horizon and the routine of our daily lives an anchor, offering comfort to embrace 5771 with open and ready hearts.

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