Home April 2013 Mishpacha Time

Mishpacha Time

With our family time being much more limited these days because of our teenagers’ busy schedules, I’m being more selective about how we spend our time together as a family and really seeking activities that are not only fun, but meaningful.  I seem to be naturally gravitating toward activities with a Jewish component.  Not that we didn’t before.  We’ve always attended Jewish events, and our synagogue life and activities with friends from temple have been a constant in our social lives.  Perhaps it is because our kids are now older and more mature; thus, the types of activities we can enjoy together are different, or because there are more and more Jewish events in the greater Orange County community.
In any case, a review each month of OC Jewish Life Magazine has given us ideas about many Jewish events to attend together as a family.  In November, we all enjoyed several of the activities associated with the Jewish Film Festival at the JCC.  Shortly thereafter, we had a phenomenal time with each other and Jewish friends, attending a concert of the Jewish a cappella group Six 13, here from New York.
Two things on our calendar are things that I think everyone would enjoy.  First, we are very excited about going together as a family to see the film Hava Nagila The Movie, which opens March 15 and will be running for “at least a month” (according to the theater) at the Regal Westpark theater in Irvine.  The film, which has premiered at all of the major film festivals across the country, is appropriate and enjoyable for all ages.  Receiving a positive review and enthusiastic endorsement from the New York Times on February 28, Hava Nagila The Movie is a documentary chronicling the history and meaning behind its namesake, the song we all associate with Jewish events.  Through interviews with a well-known cast and clippings from many Bar Mitzvahs, weddings and other events, the film apparently tells the story of the origins of the song and follows it around the world from “the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the Kibbutzim of Israel to the cul de sacs of America.”  Promising to be entertaining and fun, the film explores the themes of the importance of joy, the power of music and the resilient spirit of a group of people.
Another event on our April calendar is one of our favorites – the Israel Expo, which is being held again this year at the Tarbut v’Torah campus on Sunday, April 28, from 1 to 6 p.m.  We have faithfully attended this event year after year, having missed only one a few years ago and feeling very sad about it.  I fondly recall the days when the Expo was much smaller, held in the parking lot of the JCC when it was still on Baker Street in Costa Mesa, and then in the center of campus at UCI.
Featuring rides and activities for little kids (moonbounces and other types of attractions), Israeli and all kinds of other foods, vocal, dance and other performance groups for entertainment, and exhibitor booths of the area synagogues and Jewish organizations, this fabulous afternoon brings together our entire Jewish community into one place where we can all celebrate being Jewish together, being part of a community and having a love for and connection to Israel.  There’s literally something for everyone at this event and we always have a good time.
When our kids were small, it was such fun to help them onto the rides and attractions, eat together and follow them around while they went from face painting to the balloon person and game to game.  In more recent years, the second we arrive, they are off connecting with their Jewish friends, actually working at the booths for their Jewish organizations and only coming back to us now and again to get more money.  Marlon and I enjoy watching the entertainment, talking to people that we know, wandering around the exhibits and knowing that even if our kids are off and running on their own, we are all enjoying the same event, not only with our family but with our entire Orange County Mispacha!  See you there!

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