Photobooth.

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Almost a year ago to the day, Yael and I stood up (along with David and Yoni) and spoke. It was her Bat Mitzvah, and she spoke with so much poise and confidence that I tear up just thinking about it. To quote one of our favorite Channan-isms, “she sparkled.” I was the proud mom and most of what I said was a jumble of love and pride and humility.

This past Friday, Yael and I spoke again. Yael was one of the winners of the Junior High speech contest so she, along with the rest of the winners, presented their speeches to proud parents with large cameras and to middle school students who were all too happy to be missing class. She spoke about saying goodbye to her friends in Israel, moving to America, making new friends, having new experiences and saying goodbye to new friends. She quoted Dr. Seuss telling her choked up mother (who wasn’t allowed to bring her large camera) “don’t be sad that it’s over be glad that it happened.” And she is right.

A few hours earlier I spoke to the High School after tefilla. I talked about journeys — about starting them, finishing them, about going on adventures with no guarantee about what the outcome could be. I teared up. I tried not to make eye contact (that’s my standard speech strategy).

Tonight we had a High School “girls night in” — part all-girls’ prom (flashback to awkward Ulpana 1991), part Renaissance Fair, part talent show, we also brought in a photo booth.  Ain’t nothing like a photo booth for some great closure. You’ve got your silly hats, your over-sized sunglasses and you’ve got instant happy. I’m all about a little instant happy. I never anticipated loving teaching High School. But I loved it. I really got off the plane not knowing or understanding what 365 would look like, or could look like. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have envisioned this. But the pics don’t lie. It has been an epic journey.

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