Late for a Purim Unveiling?

Photo: Check out this adorable Lag B'Omer cupcake.  Looks like something kids would enjoy making (and eating!).I was talking to my husband last week about how even if one does not change what they do but change their approach to something, how all of a sudden one can change the situation into a totally different light – and nothing was physically different about whatever it was that was done. About 6 months ago this happened to me. I had this fantasy to get all the laundry washed, dried, folded AND put away before Shabbos. Yes, I do laundry during the week, but it does not get all done, and for some unknown amazing reason it just seems to come back on a very regular basis. This was very stressful and I would obviously not get it all done (like who in their right mind tries to wash, dry and fold the clothes and towels thrown in the laundry a few hours before Shabbos? I obviously was not in my right mind.)

I finally woke up and decided that was ridiculous and since then, I try to get whatever is washed and dried at least folded and put away. At least all put back in the basket to be put away later. With that attitude, I have usually been able to enter Shabbos so much more relaxed. I know that my house is never going to be perfect, and nor do I want it to be and I have accepted it happily in return for a more peaceful entrance into the much awaited special day. One might say, that by lowering the bar I would get less. No, I actually get at least the same, and sometimes I might even get more. What I do not get is the anxious feeling that I have to get it all done, NOW!

One big thing that I have been working on myself, and very recently trying to instill in the boys a lot lately, is Emunah (trust in Hashem.) If nothing else, it provides relief and less stress and worry into my life. I do not need extra worrying, I get enough of it already as a parent trying to raise 4 beautiful gifts, trying to be the best wife and trying to work on myself to make myself the best I can be. There are many things that I do not have control over, and why bother worrying about them. As long as I have trust in Hashem and know that He does only good and since He created me He will look after me, I cannot have those extra worries. He knows, I do not. I have tried to talk about this to the boys lately as opportunity arises to help them as well.

We have definitely been put to the test.

My husband has been suspicious that layoffs were coming soon. About 2 weeks ago his suspicions were justified and layoffs were
announced. What were we supposed to do? The only thing we can, or anyone, can; we try our best and do our part. For the last two weeks the two of us have talked and talk about our contingency plan. We had something to work with and started to put everything in place. Most of what it entailed was to figure out if our plan was viable and if it was, what was the best approach to take to make it happen. We obviously went back and forth with our emotions – loving it, not wanting to do it, loving it, hating change, loving it. All through the weeks we kept reminding each other: “Hashem knows best and He has always provided for us and whatever He decides is the best.” We did a very good and thorough planning and had such amazing detailed information. We spent many hours researching and talking and thinking. This past week we both talked from after supper until after 11:30pm every night (and my house shows it!) By the time we went to bed on Wednesday night, it was all set! We knew exactly what we were going to do. Our part was done. The only thing left to do is to sit back and wait for the future. It was not in our hands. If the plan was good for us, Hashem would let it happen, if not, we had complete trust that He would make sure we understood not to go through with it.

Wednesday night we were not worried. Antsy about what the future would bring, but not worried. We had complete trust that Hashem would guide us along the correct path. We actually were thinking our contingency plan would be good no matter what and that if it was not good then we trusted that Hashem would make it so obvious it was not. Well, our sign came.

Thursday morning my husband writes me – our contingency plan blew up. There were two other people involved in our contingency plan. One of them blew up at the other. There was no plan. It was almost like being dunked in a huge vat of ice water. Not only would we now not wanted to have worked with the person that blew up, that person actually nixed the whole plan for us – we cannot go through with it even if we wanted to. It is all for the good. What we didn’t expect was what happened a few hours later.

Hashem knows. My husband was thinking that perhaps layoffs were coming this week and so we just sat and waited. (Layoffs will happen by next week and there have been a few given earlier this week just not the bulk of them.) All that thinking, research and gathering up of toys and books and whatnot in the living room from the boys flash through my mind. This is good. There was really nothing to think about. I had no more thinking inside of me, I already did it all. I did my part already. Then, just hours after the bomb hit, I get another text from my husband. His work asked him to go on a business trip to multiple places. When? In three days. Lag B’Omer. Length of trip? However long it takes to get the job done. My unofficial personal third party guess is that the most likely case is about 2 weeks. If we are lucky, it will be less. As one of boys stated: “I guess he’s not getting laid off, is he?” Um, no, does not look like it. Isn’t it a little late for Purim? Or, is it just a bit on the early side? 😉

As I sit here and wait for boys to wake themselves up, I am ever so thankful that I have let Someone else do all the worrying for me! Life takes us on roller coaster rides and yes, life does get stressful for I do need to do work and make decisions – I have to put in effort and do my part, however, the outcome of whatever I do (or do not do), is out of my control. I can just imagine the possible headache and tight painful shoulders I would have had otherwise. Glad I do not have them! Today is going to be a busy day. Today is the only day to shop and pack before Daddy leaves. Baruch Hashem we have boys who can, and love to cook. They will help me this morning and that will be done.

In order not to stress out too much today in having to get everything done, I think I will keep in mind that even though I do not like
20130425_141641my boys running in the house, there is just no way I can tell a little boy who wears a cape or a bathrobe and tells me that he can fly just seconds before he “flies” down my hall. Or, how this week he asked how to spell my name. And he did. Or how his older brothers are proud that they can whip and fuse ropes. These all put a smile on my face and remind me it is the little things that make it all worthwhile (and keep those grey hairs from appearing too soon!)

Que sera sera, whatever will be will be. Things will get done. Food will be cooked and bags will be packed (somehow!). I have learned not to expect anything else in such situations. The only thing I would like to do is make just a few treats for Shabbos – just because. We all need them. I saw a neat photo of a Lag B’Omer cupcake that I can keep the boys busy decorating (so I can pack 😉  ) and some delicious looking strawberry/banana sliced snakes that we might have for breakfast tomorrow with our cinnamon buns. 🙂 It is all good.

Have a great Shabbos and Lag B’Omer!


Upcoming 5th Annual Torah Homeschool Conference!

Photo: TorahTutors will be at the Torah Homeschooling Conference in Baltimore on May 25-26th - I would love to meet you! For more information, email me at rmeyers@TorahTutors.orgThe 5th Annual Torah Homeschool Conference is almost here! In less than 6 weeks homeschooling families from around the world (yes, the world!) will be coming together to share thoughts and ideas. If you have not registered already, there is still time and join us. We would love to see you! Instead of writing something, I have decided to post information about the conference and then hopefully take the time to do some writing for the conference.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

To register for the conference, just go to:

The 5th Annual Torah Home Education Conference will take place, G-d willing, on Sunday, May 26 2013. The conference opens with check-in at 8:15 AM with complementary morning refreshments and concludes at 6:30 PM.

A catered lunch by Eden Cafe will be served. The cost is $15 per meal and can be purchased along with your registration. New this year, we will be organizing special seating for the lunch period. Attendees will be placed at tables according to their specific interests and background. When you register, please take the time to fill out the registration questionnaire to let us know about your family, the ages of your children, how long you’ve been homeschooling, specific areas of concern to you, etc.

Vendors will be on hand to display and sell the materials they’ve created to enhance your Torah homeschooling experience. It will be possible to visit these vendors from the lunch period through the end of the day.

Schedule of the Day: (subject to change)

8:15 – Check-in

9:00 – Opening Remarks

9:15 – Educating for Eternity: Clarifying Our Vision and Passing it on to Our Children Susan Lapin

10:05 -Learning as a Way of Life; Life as a Way of Learning Yael Resnick

How to develop a “homeschooling mindset” that frees your children’s natural love of learning, anytime and anywhere-and how to catch opportunities for learning academics holistically throughout the day. Specific examples and guidance will be given in the contexts of math, Hebrew, science, language arts, and more.

For the Record: Creative Ways to Keep Track Karen Zeitlin

This workshop will discuss a range of options for keeping records of your child’s growth and accomplishments as well as present methods to create support documents for umbrella groups and/or other official documentation. Using a creative, multimedia-based approach, participants will be presented with ideas to support their record keeping.

10:55 – Teaching to Our Children: A Look at Individualized Education Yosef Beck

Worried that your homeschooler will never learn what he or she needs to make it in the real world? Yosef Beck will share how his experiences as both a homeschooler and as a homeschooling father have helped him relax and enjoy teaching his children instead of worrying about their developmental progress. From spending a year playing Nintendo to overcoming his hatred of math to be accepted into one of the leading Physics departments in the United States, Yosef Beck will entertain and reassure you that your homeschooler will (probably) turn out a normal human being.

Setting Priorities Beyond Academics Rebecca Masinter

Although it is tempting to view homeschooling from a primarily academic lens, why stop there? Aren’t the lessons we’re teaching in interpersonal relationships (i.e. sibling rivalries), home management (i.e. chores), and character development (Yes, you must wait patiently for your turn with Mommy!), equally deserving of our attention? This workshop will explore some Torah priorities, how to determine your family’s particular priorities, and how we can balance the pursuit of those priorities with the “schooling” part of homeschooling.

11:45 – Hash It Out – A Moderated Shmooze

A Father’s Perspective David Eagle, Esq.

12:15 – Lunch

2:45 – Skills-Based Homeschooling in Torah Sheba’al Peh – Principles and Practice Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Hayman

One of the great benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to share the atmosphere and contents of Kodesh with our children in a manner which leads to respect and love for the Masorah. However, most parents find themselves limited to the study of content, and don’t feel they are adequately advancing their children as competent and independent learners. Rabbi Hayman’s presentation will focus on the theory, method and practice of skills-based instruction for homeschooling, with an emphasis on Torah Sheb’al Peh – Mishnah and Talmud.

3:35 – Unschooling Kodesh: an Oxymoron? Jessie Fischbein

Limudei Kodesh through a Classical Education Lens Yael Aldrich

4:25 – Ways to Prevent Mother Meltdown Robin Alberg

5:15 – Homeschooling Parent Panel: Questions from You

6:00 – Closing Remarks

Featured Speakers:

Susan Lapin, growing up in Brooklyn, NY, had no idea that marriage would entail sailing across the Pacific or homeschooling seven children. After 16 years of homeschooling she now writes and produces books and audio CDs with her husband, Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Her blog, Susan’s Musings, goes to over 37,000 subscribers each week.

Yael Resnick is a homeschooling mother of five, math teacher at The Binah School, piano teacher, writer, composer of Jewish choral music, publisher of Natural Jewish Parenting magazine, co-founder of, and coordinator of the Room613 and NJP online communities. Yael is also the creator of a growing collection of original curriculum materials, including a new Hebrew language program based on her unique, holistic approach to education.

Karen Zeitlin is the wife of Rabbi Hillel Zeitlin, mother of four homeschooled children and grandmother of two. She is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and has a BA in Educational Kinesiology. Along with her husband, she is homeschooling their fourth child, and has homeschooled 16 out of the past 20 years. She currently spends part of her year in Israel where her older children have all established Torah based homes and professional lives. Her current interests include learning Torah, music, art, hiking and reading.

Yosef Beck was homeschooled from 4th grade through college and is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Holding degrees in both Business Management and Physics, Yosef currently works for Jabian Consulting, a Management and IT consulting firm in Atlanta, GA. Yosef and his wife Elisheva (also homeschooled), are homeschooling their two sons, ages 1 and 2.

Rebecca Masinter

Dovid Eagle has been married to home education guru Yehudis Eagle for more than 28 years and they have 11 children. He has survived innumerable years of formal education, having graduated from Amherst College in 1982 and Columbia Law School in 1989, with several years of yeshiva education during and after college. When Dovid and Yehudis began home educating their children about 20 years ago, an old college friend quipped, “So let me try to understand this, you are experimenting on your own kids?” So far Dovid has been very happy with the experiment. For his day job, Dovid is a litigation attorney in Wilmington, Delaware.

Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Hayman is the founder and CEO of Bonayich Educational Services, Ltd, an Israeli consulting firm founded in 2004 that specializes in curricula and materials for the teaching of Torah Sheb’al Peh. His Mishnah program – V’Shinantam – and his Talmud skills program – V’Dibarta Bam – are rapidly becoming the gold standard in Orthodox day school education. His new program for adults – Pathways in Torah Sheb’al Peh – enables even novices to gain mastery of Talmud skills within two years. Rabbi Hayman spent seven years as the founding Rabbi of the renewed Congregation House of Jacob – Mikveh Israel in Calgary, Alberta, and almost twenty years as a lecturer in Education and Talmud at Bar Ilan, and served as the head of the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, and directed the Teacher Certificate program in Talmud and Torah Sheb’al Peh at Bar Ilan. He and his wife Shoshana have six children and eighteen grandchildren! Rabbi Hayman lectures widely in synagogues, and consults to over a hundred schools worldwide – in the US, Canada, Latin America, Australia, England and Europe.

Jessie Fischbein teaches 11th grade Chumash at Midreshet Shalhevet early every morning, leaving the rest of the day for homeschooling. She isn’t very good at housework, but she keeps practicing. She regularly gives shiurim on parsha and other Torah subjects. She is the author of the book Infertility in the Bible, about how the Imahos handled their challenges and what that means for us. These hobbies in no way qualify her to teach her children, but do help answer the question: What do you do all day? Her family has been homeschooling for fourteen years. Her oldest daughter homeschooled until she asked to go to high school. They have been exploring the efficiency and joy of unschooling for the past six years. The children (ages 1 1/2- 11) choose their daily activities and are the instigators of their educations.

Yael Aldrich is the jet-lagged face behind Jewish, Orthodox, and Homeschooling on YahooGroups. She travels around the world with her husband, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Aldrich, and four lively children, schlepping Lively Latin, Story of the World, Gemara, Explode the Code and scads of Lego in way too many suitcases. She hopes to settle down someday and take HOMEschooling more seriously.

Robin Alberg is the mother of four homeschoolers, ages 2, 5, 6, and 9. She became an observant Jew as a young adult, and is deeply grateful for her opportunity to now receive a Jewish education through homeschooling.

Gila Haor


Childcare NEW!!

We have arranged childcare for children of parents attending the conference at the Park Heights JCC, the same location as the conference. Lunch, snacks, cuddles and a whole day of fun will be provided at reasonable rates.

Conference Vendors NEW!!

We are excited to announce that the following educational businesses/organizations are coming to this year’s conference:


Chitrik Academy will be bringing computers to train new users to its site.

Morah Moriah will be bringing some of her items for you to look at.

Plus many more!


Shabbos and Optional Family Field Trip (Monday, May 27)

We are delighted to offer programming on Shabbos including a Friday night Oneg, Shabbos Day speaker, afternoon park playdate and Shalosh Seudos, as well as an optional Family Field Trip Day on Monday, 5/27. Shabbos hospitality will be provided if requested. We will do our best to find housing for those interested in staying through Monday.

For information on kosher restaurants, activities and local minyanim please visit Baltimore Jewish Life.




Post Pesach

20130325_163908Pesach has come and gone, I hope everyone had a good holiday. I really like all the Yomim Tovim and miss them when they go. I know I’m weird for most people are excited and can’t wait until the holidays are over, but I just love them. I love the cooking (and I do simple things and don’t drive myself crazy,) love spending time with the boys (still!) and of course my husband, and just love the Yom Tov feel. I honestly do not mind being with my children, even the day after. I wonder if it is because I am with them all day almost 365 days a year and they really are my life, for now. Some how I think holidays are more of a break than a burden for even though they are still with me, I have one less job to do during the day so it is like a vacation. 🙂

I try to do at least one nice, fun thing during Chol Hamoed. We do not go all out and crazy and feel like we have to fill up all the spare time, I guess it is partly because I spend a lot of quality time with the boys all year long, and partly because I don’t like to feel crazy. I like the lazy, nice, fun, relaxing vacation. We drove to Niagra Falls to meet up with my brother and his family who came in to Toronto to his wife’s family from all the way across the continent. Unfortunately it was for only an hour because I misunderstood our meeting area and went 20 minutes the opposite direction and then had to backtrack. 🙁 But, I will take that hour opposed to nothing! We had not seen them since last Pesach. We also went to the Children’s Museum on Friday afternoon before my pass expired. It was a fun time, I was able to send the older boys off to do whatever they wanted while I took the little one around for the stuff he wanted.

While other mothers were frustrated from sugar highs and otherwise seemingly cooped up children (and parents) the day after, I used20130329_134501 this time to put the boys to work. They worked on finishing up the packing that I did not get to finish at night and taking everything down to the basement (which really was not that much work, but I was glad I did not have to do it!) I even got my floors mopped for me which saved me from having to purchase a new mop head for one more week. We did daven and do a small bit of Torah learning but really did take the rest of the day off. It was really nice.

So today was the first day back at school. We even started on time! Davening, parsha and then the rest of our scheduled day. Since we have a schedule set out for when everything is done during the week, and this is the only day of real “school” for the week, I just let the boys pick out whatever they wanted to work on for the most part. It is a nice treat for them. There was still some left over sugar/Yom Tovness left inside of their beautiful bodies and some of the concentration was just not there, and yes, some tantruming was still present, but by the end of the night things have settled down and one boy is enjoying himself as I type and is on a night hike with his scout troop. I assume they have enjoyed their smores by now, and are about ready to walk back to the cars. Today was a nice change to the snow and nice cold we got on the last day of Yom Tov! It was in the 50’s and sunny, a great time for a hike! Spring has definitely come now.

My 3 year old did not want to sing any songs before or during Pesach, but now that it is after the holiday he has started singing his “Ma Nishtanah” for all of us to hear. That is so like him! He asked me yesterday when Pesach is coming again. I think he’s getting ready for next year quite on the early side! Now, it is time to make some shlissel challah (a “key” challah) for the segula of parnassa (money) which is customary to do the first Shabbos after Pesach. Usually this is the time where my school schedule starts to dwindle away somehow and I have all sorts of new ideas to try out for the coming year, but I think since Pesach was so early this year, I am still in the current school mode and am confident that next week will be a great start to the rest of the year.