Thursday, December 16, 2010

Swirling Thoughts #180 – Ima Shel Shabbat

In Brooklyn when your child is the Shabbat Ima you get a note home inviting you to join the class and asking you to bring in a snack or a drink.

Tomorrow my Rosie is the Ima Shel Shabbat in her gan. I am not invited. This is not to be taken personally. It’s just not done. Last year I asked the Ganenet if I could just pop in. She told me I should just give her my camera and she would snap some pictures for me. They make it like a big non-event. Because seriously, doesn't the real Ima have enough to take care of on a Friday morning?

And while I did not receive an invitation, I did receive a petek (note) listing for me the items I am to send in with her tomorrow. I looked over the petek and understood only one word, ooga (cake).

Cracking the code…
1st attempt:
Rosie, are you supposed to bring cake to the Shabbat Party?
No, mommy. I have to bring something for the cake!
What are you supposed to bring for the cake?
Something something something
(really fast in Hebrew).
Uh huh.
Mommy, maybe you can call the Morah?

2nd attempt:
Bob – can you read this petek?
It says you have to bring things for cake.
Things for cake?
I think you have to bring ingredients.
(quickly passing the buck) Here, Barbara, tell Mommy what this petek says.
It says you have to send tzedakah.
Oh, wait, no, it says you have to bring ingredients for cake.
What ingredients? What cake? What are they talking about???

3rd and final attempt:
Morah? Shalom. It’s Rosie’s mom. What should she bring tomorrow?
Thankfully the morah was in the company of an English speaking friend who kindly advised me over the phone:
You need to send a recipe for cake. And you need to send all the ingredients to prepare the recipe.
I looked at my groceries, just delivered, sitting on the kitchen floor, wondering what cake recipe could be made without white flour and white sugar.
Got it. Thanks!

Okay but that wasn’t even the hard part
I quickly turned a chocolate cake recipe into a whole wheat, brown sugar chocolate cake recipe and measured out ingredients. Now came the fun.

3 cups flour became
3 כוסות קמח
2 cups sugar
2 כוסות סוכר
Etc. etc.

I decided the reason Israeli's love these little envelopes of vanilla sugar is because they are so easy to send to gan when your recipe call for vanilla. I mean, that's why I love them now. Because how is anyone sending in one teaspoon of vanilla?

I worked with my doctored recipe and Google Translator for almost an hour getting the measurements and then the instructions ready for a class of Hebrew speaking 4 year olds. I had Barbara proofread the recipe. I can’t believe after all that work I am not invited to see my Rosie be Ima Shel Shabbat! Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe I shouldn’t be there when the untested doctored cake comes out of the oven…

I put the ingredients together in a bag with the recipe and showed it to Rosie. She told me she wants to wet her hair in the morning so we can fix it just so. This is sounding less like a non-event and more like a magical princess party.

A friend of mine recently commented in the middle of our 10 year old daughters’ school play that her daughter didn’t know how to strike a match. She mentioned it after one of the 10 year olds on stage lit candles. With a match. I said Barbara had never struck a match either. We laughed as we recognized the difference in Israeli vs. American upbringing but I wondered – at what age are Israeli children instructed in match striking? Is it in gan? Is that why they don't want mommy's to come?!

Rosie - will you light the candles tomorrow?
Yes, Mommy but the Morah helps me.

She’s so very excited to be Ima Shel Shabbat. And while I stay home being the real Ima, preparing for the real Shabbat, I will be thinking of my Rosie. Lighting candles, looking like a princess. I’m so very excited for her.

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