My younger daughter and I came home the other day from a lovely 8 day vacation, the first we two ever took together. Originally M had been headed to Young Judaea sleep away camp but after sustaining (another) concussion to her head while working at a local music day camp, her neurologist told us she could not attend camp. She sobbed bitterly, and I told her that as a consolation, I would take her on vacation. Within two days we decided to visit Dublin, Ireland, a moderate sized city with lots of interesting attractions.

So M and I visited castles, museums, parks and vegan restaurants, and attended two plays in the capital of the Republic of Ireland. But even though we focused on the fun things we saw and did, I was well aware of horrifying events unfolding in the United States. I read about the neo-Nazi/Ku Klux Klan rally in Virginia which led to a woman's death and dozens of injuries, as well as frightening, unleashed hatred, much of it aimed at Jews. And I was also well aware of threats from North Korea aimed at the United States, and other awful news.

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While on vacation, should we ignore the world's woes? I think not, but I do see the value of enjoying my vacation as much as possible.

Then the next day we went to pick up J, my older daughter and M's older sister. We had not seen J since July 2nd, when we dropped her off for a month-long program (sponsored by Young Judaea) in Israel, and then a two-week stint working at the Young Judaea sleep away camp. During the weeks J was away many bad events occurred around the United States, Israel and the rest of the world. Two Druze police officers were killed soon after J's group arrived in Israel. Many other unfortunate events unfolded while she was away from home, and she was somewhat aware of the headline news. Should she have been cocooned from these? I think not. We all want our children to have fun summers, but real life does intrude at times.

This has been one of the worst summers, news-wise, that I can recall in my 53 years. From hatred and deaths, to arson and threats of nuclear war, to natural disasters and transportation and infrastructure malfunctions, the summer of 2017 has not been sanguine. And it is very hard to balance our desire, our need for entertaining summer experiences with these awful stories.

I have also thought of P and A, two people with whom I taught in 2010. We all taught at a small public high school in northern Brooklyn, and now not one of us does. P and A were friendly with each other and I wondered if they liked each other as more than just colleagues, but at the time P had a fiancee, Well, P and his fiancee broke up a few years ago and guess what? P and A have now married! They wed in early August. I am very happy for them. On Facebook and Instagram I have seen photos from their wedding ceremony and honeymoon. And while I am so pleased for them, I wonder how they can escape the dreadful domestic and international news stories. My guess is they cannot, but they put it in perspective.

Summer should be fun, but as often happens, plans go awry. May 2017 become more peaceful for us, especially as Elul approaches.


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