The Shavuot Update
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Today is the Jewish chag of Shavuot. Since we now live near a progressive shul that I can relate to, I treated myself to participating in the dairy breakfast and morning learning session, followed by festival services. Rabbi Gersh gave a great learning on the different roots of Shavuot and how the Rabbis connected an agrarian festival with receiving the Torah. He also introduced us to the concept of the SONO — the Strictly Orthodox Non-Observant Jew, a phenomenon I’ve been encountering and grappling with since coming to Australia. More on that some other time. If it’s Shavuot, that means that it’s been 49 days (seven weeks — Shavuot means weeks) since Pesach and a few days more since Elisheva’s wonderful bat mitzvah.
And, if it’s Shavuot, it’s past time for another update. We find our Bachrach-Coxes a few steps further along in the process of settling in Melbourne. Mid-second term, we’ve filed the first form indicating our preference for Abby to attend McKinnon Secondary College. We rented our house because it is in the zone for McKinnon which has a great reputation for being a secondary school that is very strong academically, in the arts and in music, as well as being strong in sport. We will need to get our lease extended, or buy in the zone over the next several months to be considered permanent residents of the zone. The McKinnon Zone is so small and in demand that properties cost $100k more here than they would outside the Zone. And the school is so vigilant about people renting in the zone only to leave when their kid is admitted that they are now known to actual send investigators to make sure that the family is actually residing in the zone on the original school application. As you can imagine, we’ve been visiting the various schools around here, and McKinnon seems to far superior for Abby’s needs that we’ll establish residency, one way or another.
Abby’s been enjoying Valkstone Primary School very much. It is a warm, stimulating and very well-organised school. Abby’s made friends there and is enjoying even her homework which includes learning how to edit digital music using Audacity. But even the spelling homework is more interesting: instead of coming home with lists of words she has to copy over and over again, they have exercises that invite the students to use the words in sentences, construct wordfind games, generate other words in the family and other activities that are interesting but still require them to spell correctly.
Abby has also made her Promise in Girl Guides and is really enjoying the club. She goes every Monday evening but also is participating in the Adventure Guides which gave her a chance to swim with dolphins a few weeks ago and to go GoKarting this coming Sunday. It’s also fun for her that some of her friends from the neighbourhood and Jewish community are also in the Guides. Thanks Alexis for introducing us to it!
Abby’s also very much enjoying her netball. She’s on the Maccabi Meteors team and is really making her mark as Goal Defense.
Simon is slowly recovering from his dislocated shoulder. Although the shoulder was eased back in the evening of the accident, his arm is still very sore and prevents him from sleeping well — not fun for him.
We’re planning a trip at the end of June to New York City for my Mom’s 80th. Never a dull moment.
Well, that’s all for now. Please stay close.