That was quite a trip!
This blog is my way of sharing some of my thoughts and sharing the life my family has chosen to live. Here is a travelogue of my recent week long break from the Chicago winter.
The schools we send our children to do not have their winter break when most people go on vacation, namely the end of December.
Instead, their schools’ winter break is one week in mid-January.
Since I have been in Israel on trips with students most of the last 10 years over the new year break, it has been hard for me to take off more time from work a week or two after I get back.
So my children have spent their winter breaks in Chicago. They’ve still had fun (last year we went skiing at Wilmot Mountain). But they’ve always been in cold weather.
This year I did not go to Israel and so for the first time, we decided to take our children to visit their cousins in Los Angeles. Actually, it was only two of our four children, Elisheva and Nachman. Yisrael Tzvi is in yeshiva in Israel and Meir Simcha is in yeshiva in Telz in Chicago and they don’t have a winter break. (They have a month off for Pesach and Sukkos and a month in the summer)
While everyone else was going to spend a full week in LA, I was going to leave early to spend Shabbos in St. Louis (more later) so I decided to get up very early on Sunday morning and take the first flight out. My first destination, of course, the beach! Santa Monica beach.
There I met my close friend for over 30 years, Gary Puterman. We first met playing rugby in the Maccabi Games in 1985. He has been in LA for a long time and almost every Sunday morning since he arrived, he has been playing in a competitive touch rugby game on Santa Monica beach. In past years, when I’ve had the time, I’ve joined in and had a great time. Last time, I tweaked my hamstring and didn’t want to take the chance again. So while he played, I went for a run along the water’s edge. I grew up by the sea in Port Elizabeth and used to run along the beach, knee high in the water for rugby training. It was a little cold to go swimming but it felt great to run along the water’s edge.
After lunch in Pico with Gary, I went to pick up Hilary and the kids and headed to North Hollywood. That is where Hilary’s sister, Dena and their family lives.
There was a game on erev Shabbos, motzaei Shabbos and the playoffs and championship game on Sunday morning. In between was an inspiring Shabbos which began with a lively kabbalos Shabbos led by Rabbi Tendler of the University City Shul. The highlight of the Shabbos was the oneg Shabbos where students stood up and talked about how much they enjoyed the opportunity to disconnect on Shabbos and grow spiritually. On Shabbos afternoon, I shared the Rugby Rabbi story, which was well received by the like minded football players.
If you have any interest in starting a league in your city and/or participating in a future tournament/shabbaton feel free to reach out to Rabbi Yaakov Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org