As if saying goodbye to all family and friends in Israel wasn’t enough, today I put Yael and Yoni onto buses heading to Camp Stone. Yael was shocked to be going on a bus (“you mean a bus? like campers?”), but I only saw minimal tears as we said our goodbyes. I, of course, wore large sunglasses. Yoni held my hand as I walked him to his bus, but made me wait on the sidewalk as he walked on to the bus himself. Oh, Yoni.

Arriving in Cleveland has only reinforced what we knew about our kids. An hour after Yoni arrived at shul on Shabbat, he was surrounded by the  boys in his class, hung out with them on Shabbat afternoon and sadly turned down an invitation on Sunday because he had to shop for camp. Yael will be slower to pick her friends. It reminds me of the Famous Gan Lili. When Yael started Hebrew-speaking gan, she did not speak in gan from September until December. In December, she opened her mouth and spoke flawless Hebrew. She waited patiently until she had perfect Hebrew. Yoni, on the other hand, attacked Hebrew from Day One of Gan Lili and beat it into submission. Yoni 1. Hebrew 0. Got to love those Katz kids.

David covertly and unilaterally decided to sign Eitan and Channan up for day camp while I was at an early morning Target run with Yael and Yoni. By the time I got home at 9:15, he had the forms filled out tossed them in the car and off they went.

Sending the kids off gave me the opportunity to see Cleveland in action. I saw an old friend from the infamous 8th grade Cleveland Shabbaton, camp friends, even my old camper from Stone sending her daughter off to camp! The community is so warm and welcoming that through my tears I managed to meet a few new people and see old friends. Super shout out to Shoshana Gordon who knows when to show up with ice cold Fresca, extra cell phones or just a perfectly-timed phone call.

Tomorrow starts the whirlwind day of details: cell phones, drivers license, planning out our move to the house.

I miss everyone. And also I miss kosher coffee shops on every corner.


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