Friday, March 30, 2007

A trip to the Matzah Factory

LO's Hebrew school class just took a field trip to visit the "Matzah Factory" at our local Chabad. She was thrilled about this field trip because she LOVES matzah. Each of the children got a chance to make matzah from scratch. They went through the whole process starting with grinding the wheat all the way through the rolling and baking. When it was all over and done with, each child went home with a cute little box containing the matzah they made. (The matzah in the picture was indeed handmade by LO. Not bad huh?)

I asked LO if she liked the field trip. Her response was, "It was fun making the matzah. But only meshugganah people make matzah like that. Who grinds the wheat for matzah when you can just go to the store and buy it?" that a sign of our times or what?

Wishing everyone a blessed Shabbat HaGadol.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Could my kid be any more Jewish?

We went to a party on Saturday night to celebrate the Hebrew naming of a little girl in LO's class who just got adopted. The mother really outdid herself and if you were just passing by the party, I am certain that it appeared to be as grandiose as many bar mitzvahs are these days.

In one corner there were two clowns. LO has clown-a-phobia so I figured as soon as she saw them she would be hiding behind me for the rest of the night. But across the room I saw her watch from a distance as the clowns made balloon animals and painted the other kids' faces. I guess she saw that the clowns weren't going to go psycho and kill her because then I saw her step into the line to get her face painted. I watched other kids running by - one little girl had some flowers on her face, another had a princess crown on her forehead, another with a peace sign (guess her parents grew up in the 60's) and then came my little girl...

why was I not surprised? Just when I thought she couldn't be any more Jewish.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bedtime Rituals

(Yes, those are curlers - she loves to have curly hair!)

Every night when LO goes to bed, I tuck her in and we say the Shema together. This is always followed by a series of hugs and kisses and the following dialogue:

Laila tov.

Jo tau.

Buenos noches.

Bonne nuit.

Good night.

I love you.

(Goodnight in Hebrew, Cantonese, Spanish, French and English respectively.)

I hope this is a "bedtime ritual" she nevers grows too old for.

Shabbat Shalom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Off to the theatre

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I was a theatre major in college. I'm not sure if I believed back then that I would ever be able to make a living by singing and tap dancing, but I guess it seemed like a good choice at the time. Once I got out of college I did professional theatre and opera for a while, worked on a couple of cruise ships, even did some theme park work. It was fun. I saw the world. But as much as I loved it, I had a greater need in life. I wanted to settle down and have a child. And so while all of my friends were going on to do Broadway and Las Vegas shows, I was settling in Miami and getting ready to adopt LO.

I can't lie. I miss it. I miss the lights. I miss the sound of the applause. I miss the rush of being in front of an audience. But I wouldn't trade my life with LO for it.

PHD and I are going to the theatre to see Wicked tonight. Tickets were incredibly hard to get but we somehow managed to get orchestra center seats. I'm thrilled because nowadays I have to get my "theatre fix" by sitting in the audience instead of being on stage. It's not quite the same but you have to admit, there's nothing quite like live theatre.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Passing over just like Passover

I am not sure how popular these are elsewhere, but here in Miami you can hardly go anywhere that you don't see a child whizzing by on Heelys. (They are actually so popular for the kids and so distracting that many of the schools have banned the wearing of them during the school day!) For those of you who don't know what they are, they are sneakers that have wheels in the heels, hence the name "Heelys". As is any trend for kids these days, they are not inexpensive, but I gave in and got LO a pair. LO loves to skate (or heel as the case may be) around in these any time there seems to be an open space large enough (and much to my chagrin, even when the space isn't large enough.)

Yesterday we went to the large chain (non-Kosher) grocery store. It's not the one closest to our house but it's the one with the largest Kosher section and the only one in our area that carries fresh Kosher meats. We were surprised to walk in and find one of the largest Pesach sections we have ever seen in this store. LO was thrilled with what I can only describe as the Kosher chocolate aisle. Her favorites are the dark chocolate dinosaurs, which just so happened to be right at her height so she could grab several boxes. So, as I was filling the basket in preparation for Peasch, she was skating around me and all the other Pesach shoppers giving them a good rendition of Ma Nistanah followed by her version of Dayenu (let's just say that other than the actual word "Dayenu", I don't think any of the other words she said were Hebrew.) At one point as she was passing me by - she said, "Mama, I'm passing over just like Passover."

I had to laugh and just shake my head at this show she was giving the other shoppers. Where else in the world can you find a Chinese kid on skates rolling around the Pesach section at the grocery store and singing Pesach songs?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Explaining the Holocaust to LO

(Photo: Mariusz Kubik)

LO often has to do a current event for school. She always asks me to find a Jewish-themed article and this week's article was about Poland's Senate honoring Irena Sendler. Irena Sendler is a 97-year old Catholic woman who saved 2,500 Jewish children during the Holocaust.

LO and I have briefly discussed the Holocaust before but in a very simplistic manner since I struggle with feeling as though she may be too young to comprehend it all at this time. She is usually satisfied with my vague explanations but this time she decided to ask a whole lot of questions (which as usual I was not prepared to answer.)

I started by going over the basics which we had discussed before. She stopped me after my first sentence and said, "Ok, NOW you are freaking me out." Well, that freaked me out because I want to educate her but I don't want her to have nightmares because of it. So I proceeded on cautiously. She interjected, "Wait, why would anyone want to kill Jews? We are nice people." I tried to candy-coat it and explain that Hitler didn't think we were such nice people. Her reply? "Well, that Hitler guy is meshugganah." I agreed. She then asked if Hitler was still alive. When I told her no she said, "Good, cause I was scared he would come and get me. But even if he were alive maybe he wouldn't know I'm Jewish cause I don't look Jewish, I look Chinese." I didn't have the heart to tell her that he probably didn't like the Chinese people either.

How do you explain such an atrocity to a child?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

LO's Pre-Pesach Babbling

(My shiksa niece when I introduced her to matzah last Pesach!)

As many of you know, LO LOVES to talk. I often marvel at how much she talks because I feel like if my mouth moved as much as hers does, my jaws would hurt. Following Hebrew school yesterday, Pesach was clearly on her mind. In between her singing eight million refrains of "Halaileh hazeh, halaileh hazeh" here is some of what I heard from the back seat of my car:

"Eww...are we going to have to eat that ickity stuff on the matzah again?" (I'm assuming she meant maror.)

"No bread right? How about bagels? Ok, how about challah? about pita?" She named just about every bread product she could think of and I just kept saying no over and over until she said, "NO MATZAH BALL SOUP???" I automatically said no and then started to giggle since she caught me off guard.

And since we were on the subject of food...

"Can I have matzah with salami in my lunchbox? Can you make me maztah pizza? What else can you make me?"

Oy...what will drive me meshugganah first? The Pesach babbling or the Pesach cleaning?

*BTW - since we live in a predominately Spanish speaking city, one of the children at Hebrew school giggles every time they sing "haleilah hazeh kulo matzah". I shudder to think about the day that LO figures out what that word translates into in Spanish.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A little shluf

Danny has already posted basically what I feel about this whole Daylight Savings Time thing and I hate to kvetch but....LO and I are REALLY tired and could use a little shluf!

LO has Hebrew school on Tuesdays. Since I have to go to work early so I can leave early to get her to Hebrew school on time, we get up earlier on Tuesdays than we do the rest of the week. When I went to wake LO up this morning, she basically rolled over and pretended she didn't hear me. When I finally succeeded in waking her, she sat up and said, "It's dark outside, I have to go to school in the dark?" Even with my sleep-clouded mind she managed to make me giggle.

And so here I sit having had at least a gallon of coffee trying to stay awake at work and trying not to think about how tired I am and trying not to think about how Pesach cleaning is just around the corner. Oy, does it feel like a Monday.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Chinese Jewish Adoptees

photo by: James Estin/The New York Times

It's interesting to me that on Wednesday I blogged about LO's adoption and then yesterday The New York Times ran an article about a Chinese adoptee who had just completed her bat mitzvah. (Thank you to everyone who sent and/or told me about the article!)

LO and I are the only Chinese members at our shul. And I know of only one other adult Chinese Jew (who found me through this blog!) But I have to wonder with the large number of Chinese children who have been adopted by Jewish families, will we start to see a change in the demographics soon? It will be interesting to see.

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Adoption Nostalgia

As any parent knows, it seems that our children grow up WAY too fast. A day hardly goes by when I look at LO and can't believe how grown up she is getting. It seems like the trip to China to get her was just yesterday.

For those of you who don't know much about the way the Chinese adoption process works, here's a brief explanation. It basically involves a WHOLE LOT of paperwork (and a WHOLE lot of $$.) Once you make your way through the paperwork, home studies, fingerprinting, etc. you basically send all your papers to China and then you wait. And then you wait some more. And then you WAIT even more. Until the day when you finally get "The Call" and are told that you have a child waiting in China for you.

My call came in March 2001 - just shy of six years ago. The above picture on the left is the first picture I ever saw of my daughter. The above picture on the right is a picture of her this past Sunday at our Purim carnival. LO was 21 months old when we met in May 2001. She stood 31 inches tall and weighed all of 16 pounds. Look at her now. What a difference love can make. And what a blessing G-d gave me.

Monday, March 05, 2007

LO's Purim Shpiel Song

This is LO with our Rabbi. Can you tell what his costume is?
This was LO's second costume. She said she was dressed as a Chinese Jewish kid!

Our shul did a take on the "Sound of Music" called the "Sound of Shushan". Here's a clip of LO's song from the shpiel. (It's also included on the Purim Podcast over at Jameel's.) Enjoy!

(It's supposed to be to the tune of "My Favourite Things", so use your imagination!)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Purim Sameach

LO and I would like to wish everyone Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach.

(Does anyone remember a Chinese Tinkerbell in the story of Purim?)