Happy Yom Ha’aztmaut (Israel Independence Day)—I will see you at the party tonight!

Maybe. Probably. Definitely.

There is a fun event tonight at our temple. We should want to celebrate—we were just in Israel in February—and I know that going to our temple more often would be the same as eating better and walking more: It would be good for us and we would enjoy it.

But since Saturday morning, members of my family have been to:

  • Two different b’nei mitzvahs in two different towns
  • One playdate when they were still supposed to be at a bar mitzvah
  • One Saturday night bat mitzvah party that went to 11 p.m., and while we thankfully did not have to do the pick-up after the party, it did take us most of Sunday to get the full report on the slow dancing and other teen behavior
  • Three soccer games; one was played, two were refereed and one more was missed (who knew that the U11 girls’ team schedule would conflict with Saturday morning services every week?)
  • One bingo fundraiser for a friend’s amazing bat mitzvah project
  • One morning of Hebrew school for the twins and one missed tour of the Hebrew high school program
  • One dance team rehearsal, and one dinner show
  • One special needs swim lesson
  • One very long and dysfunctional dinner at Friendly’s

Every family we know has a similar or longer list.

So I want to go to the celebration tonight, I really do. Even if my older son would prefer to go to his soccer practice. (Here is where all parents secretly pray that the soccer fields get closed as they watch the rain clouds overhead. Remember to ask the rabbi if there is a real prayer for that.) And my husband will even try to get to the temple in between his full-time day job and his evening meeting to help juggle the three kids and the falafel. So I will convince the three kids to go and I will pack my daughter’s epipen (we know there are nuts in Israeli food—we have “the night of barf in the Israel desert” story) and my son’s headphones because he cannot handle loud music (or crowds, but I can’t put anything for that in my tote bag) and head over.

My 10-year-old twins have actually been asked to speak about their favorite thing from our trip to Israel, so here is what they planned:

“Hi, my name is Bea and this is my twin brother, Saul. Earlier this year me and my family went on the Emunah Israel trip and we had an amazing time. My most meaningful experience was going to the Western Wall with my mom and my best friends. And I wish my grandma could have been there with me. One of the most fun things I did was camel riding, but pretty much everything was fun because I was with so many good friends.”

“Hi. I am Saul and my favorite part of Israel was riding a camel. That’s our Israel highlights.”

So we will see you there!

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