And then came Sunday school and the parents said, “Ki Tov, it is good.”

My husband actually suggested that I post this entry. We were relaxing in the family room on  Sunday. He was watching football, I was reading and the kids were at Sunday school. We were savoring our last few, precious, quiet moments before the carpool  returned them to our door, filling our house with energy and the demands of parenthood.

Of course we send them to Religious school for a Jewish education and the chance to be with other Jewish kids since there aren’t a whole lot of those in our neighborhood or at their school  on this somewhat remote side of the island.

It is truly with their best interests  in mind that we write that tuition check, organize the carpool, hand them money for the tzedakah box, pack them a snack and religiously deliver them to the shul every Sunday at 9:00 am where they stay until  noon for their formal Jewish education.

But I would be lying if I didn’t also mention that I look forward to and completely enjoy those THREE fabulous child free, morning hours that I get to spend relaxing at home with my husband on the days that we do not drive from Kapolei to Nuuanu with a carload full of kids, special delivery to the School of Jewish Studies at Temple Emanu-El.

I will spare you the intimate details of how we choose to spend that time together. I will simply say that it is good for our marriage. We are not opposed to hiring a babysitter so we can catch a Saturday night movie or attend the National Guard Annual Birthday Ball. We get a reasonable share of alone time considering our busy schedules.

But there is nothing like a Sunday morning with nowhere to go, lounging around the house, eating pancakes for breakfast, having a second cup of coffee, reading the paper and doing it all together with no one else in the house but me and my handsome, charming husband.

We did not live together before we got married. We each brought a child with us into this marriage. There was no us before kids, no romantic weekends spent in bed or lazy Sundays reading the New York Times and doing the crossword puzzle together. From day one we hit the ground running.

And we have hit a pretty good stride. So I guess you can’t blame us for counting our blessings where we find them, taking a break when we can.  Sunday school has definitely done its job, for us and our kids.

Summer camp

I started going to Jewish summer camp between 7th and 8th grade. Camp Komaroff. It changed my life—my Jewish life.

An advertisement for a weekend retreat at a small camp in Lake Arrowhead, California appeared in our Temple bulletin the  winter of 1974. I attended along with  a few of my Sunday school classmates  and I caught the Jewish camp bug.

I couldn’t wait to go back. The following summer  and every summer until I went to college, I returned to Camp Komaroff, staying as long as my parents would let me, until finally, after my Junior year of high school, I spent the entire three month vacation there.

The programs and prayer and friendships and song I enjoyed at camp were instrumental in  fostering the joyous connection I feel about being Jewish.

I wanted my daughter to experience the same thing, especially since our Jewish community in Hawaii is even smaller than the one in which my family raised me at Temple Beth Ohr in Southern California’s Northern Orange County of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Since my oldest daughter has been in the third grade, I pack her up every summer and send her to URJ Camp Newman in Santa Rosa, California.

Like her mother before her, she connects to being Jewish through song and prayer and activities surrounded by other Jewish kids her age and the beautiful natural landscape of Northern California.

And that is also why I get to visit with my high school friend Jennifer almost every summer.

My daughter flies unaccompanied minor to Caifornia where the camp staff pick her up. Some summers she also flies home on her own. Other years, like this one, I fly to California by myself and meet her after camp to fly on to the East Coast together for a visit with family before returning to Hawaii and school and our regular lives.

I arrived at San Francisco Airport on Monday evening.  I spent the  night at an inexpensive hotel near the airport and took the BART into the city the next morning. I disembarked at Montgomery Street, walked over to Jennifer’s office,  dumped my luggage and embraced the city.

I walked several blocks to The Embarcadero, hit the YMCA for a swim and entered the Ferry Building, recommended by Jennifer as the perfect place for a delicious lunch.

I joined the Honolulu YMCA because there is a branch near our Synagogue, Temple Emanu-El,  in Nuuanu and I can go for a quick swim after I drop off my kids for Hebrew school. It is also near the Kukui Center where  I  work part time. And I have also been going to a great yoga class in the morning at the Leeward Y near our home in Kapolei. Great deal for $40 a month.

I can also use the YMCA when I travel. It cost me three bucks to enter the Embarcadero branch of the San Francisco YMCA, the nice man at the desk gave me my guest pass and I had a great swim in their 25 meter pool. The locker looks out on  the Bay Bridge which was a definite bonus.

A few blocks down is the Ferry Building, a foodie paradise. It reminds me of Faneuil Hall in Boston, but on a more selective scale. I did not eat at the Tasty Salty Pig Parts for fairly obvious reasons.

I was drawn to several places, but decided to stick with Jennifer’s recommendation for Vietnamese food and had the one of the best lunches I have ever tasted. 5 spice chicken on vermicelli.

I picked up some bread at the Acme bread company for the dinner we would eat at Jennifer’s San Rafael home and went back to her office to pack up our stuff and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to spend the night with her family and get ready to pick up my daughter the next day at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center.

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