Ilana Grinblat

Va-yetzei: The Notepad

Last Sunday, my husband went to a franchise expo and returned with various nick-nacks for the kids. He gave my six-year-old son a pad and pen that he’d picked up. Jeremy was delighted and immediately started writing a story about our recent trip to Israel on the pad. At first he asked me how to spell each word. Slowly, Jeremy came to realize that he was able to write the words by himself. Over the course of the evening, he filled up almost half of the pad, describing our trip. He was exuberant to discover that he could write. A world was opening up for him to the first time.

Lech Lecha: The Dance

Last night, I attended my cousin’s wedding in Israel. The bride was glowing; the party was jubilant. The couple was clearly beshert (meant for one another); they had been together for years and travelled the world together. The evening was a beautiful celebration of their love. Only one element was conspicuously absent to me; they didn’t dance the hora.

When Lightening Strikes

This week, we finish reading the last Torah portion of Deuteronomy and start again at the beginning of Genesis. I can hardly believe that it’s now been a year since I started writing these columns. In reflecting back on the year, I’m struck by how much writing these columns have enriched my life in ways that I couldn’t possibly have anticipated when I began.

A Sukkot Message

On Sunday morning, I woke up feeling refreshed and energized, grateful that Yom Kippur was done.

Clean Hands: A Yom Kippur Message

This past Sunday, I took the kids to our synagogue?s tashlich at the beach where we threw bread into the ocean to symbolically cast off our mistakes of the past year. At the beach, we saw several of our friends, so after the ritual was over, we took the kids for lunch. When the kids sat down to eat, I realized that there was no place nearby for them to wash their hands, and my hand sanitizer was in the car. I asked the other parents if they had any hand sanitizer with them.

Ha'azinu: The Phone Call

Last week, I received an extraordinary phone call from an acquaintance with whom I attended elementary and middle school. She had run into my father on a recent visit to my hometown. He told her how I was doing, so she looked me up and gave me a call.

Nitzavim and Va-yelekh: The Anniversary Celebration

This weekend, my husband and I went away for a night to celebrate our ten year anniversary. I was initially apprehensive about going. It would be our first overnight outing away from the kids since our first child was born six years ago. My son had been on sleepovers before, but my three-year-old daughter had not. We reserved a hotel room near my in-laws, so that if the kids refused to sleep, we could pick them up and bring them to the hotel.

Ki Tavo: A Hole in One

On Sunday, my family and I went mini-golfing at a place called the Magic Castle. My three-year-old daughter Hannah had never gone golfing before. Nonetheless, she insisted on swinging the club herself and had a great time hitting the ball as best she could. On one of the holes, she took about ten strokes and then got tired of trying to hit the ball. She simply picked up the ball, put it in the hole and cheered with delight, “Yeah! I got a hole in one!”

Ki Tetzei: The Right To Grieve

“I miss Gan Edna,” my three-year-old daughter told me this morning at breakfast. Gan Edna was the nursery school Hannah attended two years ago, but out of the blue, she decided she missed it. We spoke about it, and I assured her we could go back and visit it if she’d like. She loves her new school, and I was surprised to hear that after so long, she still missed her former school. As the new school year approaches, meeting new teachers and classmates and getting to know a new space will be exciting; but at the same time it also means a loss of past teachers, classmates and cherished space.

Shoftim: Time Will Tell

This past Sunday, we went on a family outing to Oxnard, a seaside community about an hour away from our home. After a yummy fish-and-chips lunch, we rented an electric boat to take a ride out on the bay. My husband steered the boat and let both kids help. Our six-year-old son Jeremy was absolutely beside himself with glee at being able to operate the boat.