A Birthday Party for Eli #2

 

IMG_8079This past weekend we celebrated our two-year old with a perfectly simple, sweet, intimate party.

What started out as a plan for a  bonanza of a house warming/toddler birthday with all the things and all the people turned into a small gathering of just a couple of friends and grandparents. We decided to move the party from the lunch hour–and Eli’s prime nap time (what were we thinking!?) to a relaxed early afternoon time slot at two o’clock (how appropriate, no?). Instead of burgers and hot dogs and all the fixings, Simeon made a tapas dish called papas bravas and a strawberry upside-down cake. Maggie and Sam brought a vibrant green salad and Emily and Scott brought a bubbly wine for the grown-ups. With vanilla ice cream and sugar cones from the pantry it was the perfect amount of food for the guests and super scrumptious all around!

Good food, good people, and a best of all: a brand-spanking new Radio Flyer tricycle for the birthday boy. He rode that thing in circles all afternoon. We even taught the boys how to hitch a ride on the back! They loved it. It’s so fun to witness these little friends fostering a friendship that I hope will last and last.

And then, as we started singing “Happy Birthday” to my baby boy, he grabbed my face in his hands and pushed his cheek next to mine. He held us there until the song ended–suspended side by side. As I reflect now, it’s how I’d like us to remain as he grows. Arms and faces and hearts, looking forward together side by side. With plenty of cake to share, of course.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

playing in the snowHappy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours.

I feel so lucky to have my family with me in these interesting times. Though there is a lot to feel disheartened about these days, right now I am reveling in my beautiful, healthy, happy family. And for them, I am very, very thankful.

May this season remind all of us what is at the heart of all our efforts during the rest of the year: those people who make up our circles of family, friends, and loved ones and the incredibly diverse humanity of which we are a part.

xo

Yiddish Book Center

Yiddish-Book-Center

This past weekend Sim, along with his parents, and I went to Amherst to visit the beautiful Yiddish Book Center and deliver a big box of donated yiddishkeit books. Once inside, we were welcomed into a world of history, folklore, and memories.

Yiddish-Book-Center-Inside

On one corner a TV played interviews with people who lived in Yiddish speaking neighborhoods or who remembered family tales of those times. The stories were fascinating, haunting, and hilarious. Besides the stories of a Klezmer musical family legacy and the arrest of a famous Rabbi, there was the biker gang bris, (which was nothing like Seinfeld, a bris attendee made sure to mention), and tales of a time in the cheder (boys Jewish school).

Book-Stacks

Deeper into the museum stood row upon row of literature stacking high within the large sunlit hall. I especially loved the Moshe Pipkin interactive restaurant and the gift shop/bookstore (always). And of course the rare book room with manuscripts encased in protective plastic.(What memories must they contain?!)

It reminds me of how precious all words are, both written and told. Not to get too sentimental but there are many millions of voices who will never speak, never write, never laugh because of the horrors of the Holocaust’s persecution. My words here are often of the everyday but the mere act of writing is itself feels like it links me to my ancestors to the very act of being human. Because when it comes down to it, its the stories of the everyday–what we eat, who we know, where we spend time, how we live–that makes a meaningful life. Don’t you think most anthropologists would agree?

Yiddish-is-magi

xoxo,

Natanya

Natanya-at-Yiddish-Book-Center