5782 (and 2021-22) was another interesting year. Our 4 young men all hit significant age milestones (13,16,18 and 20) and we never quite knew what was going to happen next. The pandemic definitely had a way of thwarting even the best laid plans. All of us managed to avoid getting infected until the beginning of July when Aubrey and Koren both got it, three weeks before Teva’s Bar Mitzvah. Speaking of Teva’s Bar Mitzvah…
One of the biggest highlights was Teva’s (scaled down) Bar Mitzvah on July 23rd. Although there were some technical difficulties with the livestream, it was a beautiful service under the trees, overlooking Lake Ontario in Oshawa. Teva came home from three weeks at Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa without his voice, but he still managed to chant his Torah portion, Haftarah, helped lead parts of the service and delivered his D’var Torah (sermon on his portion). We are so proud of him. If you want to check out the highlights of the service or his “What is a Bar Mitzvah?” video or his speech, I have them all up on YouTube. Click here to see the list of YouTube links. Since the he turned 13 in July he has already grown more than an inch. Hard to believe that our youngest is not so little anymore.
Erez is still studying at UBC in Vancouver. He has switched faculties and is now studying Materials Engineering. He stayed in Vancouver this summer for the first two months so he could take a course, and then stayed the rest of the summer to play Ultimate Frisbee. He also had a job as an assistant coach at an Ultimate Frisbee summer program for July and August. He still managed to come home three times between May and September, including when he was competing at the National Ultimate Championships in Brampton. He will also be playing Ultimate for one of the UBC teams this school year.
Speaking of “Nats” ( as the Ultimate players call it), Erez competed in the Seniors division, and Zev and Noam played on the same club team in the Juniors division. Their tournaments were not at the same time, but consecutive. Koren spent A LOT of time on the field watching games over most of a week in August. The boys had a fantastic experience playing Ultimate with teams from all over Canada.
Unlike Erez, who graduated during the height of the craziness of the pandemic, Zev, actually got to go to Prom and Graduation in person. During his last year at Bowmanville High School he played Ultimate, was playing Trombone in band (almost till the end of the year – sorry Choco!), and Badminton. After touring and applying to 5 Universities, Zev decided to go to McMaster University in Hamilton. He will be taking the Coop Engineering program. Zev’s girlfriend of over a year, Mae, is going to Queens, so they have already been trying out the train and bus system between Kingston and Hamilton. Unfortunately, two days into Orientation week, he got COVID and had to come home for 5 days, but he was still able to start his classes on time. Teva also got sick on the same day. Miraculously, Noam and Erez have still managed to dodge it in spite of multiple exposures.
This year Noam turned 16. He got his G1, and is working on his G2. He is always trying to get in his driving practice. He is still in band (playing bassoon), joined Jazz band (playing trumpet) still in French immersion, and is still playing Ultimate. He also wants to be on the disc golf team. He is really happy that they are back to the full regular semester system instead of the quadmesters that he has had the past two years. Noam is still dating Amy – it will be two years in November.
Teva is in grade 8, his final year at Duke of Cambridge Public School. Teva is really looking forward to getting back to all of his extra curricular activities, including band (he is playing the Saxophone and the clarinet) and drumline. He is also trying to do as many sports as he can.
As for Koren, she was doing lots of different things this year. Every day brought something new…She was teaching a lot of b’nai mitzvah students over zoom. She officiated eight B’nai Mitzvahs last year, including those that were rescheduled because of COVID. She was also excited to have lead two of those services for cousins – Eli in Oakland, California, and Owen in Brooklyn, New York.
Koren also took a few yoga teacher trainings over the pandemic, even though she wasn’t teaching in her studio, as a result, the studio became a giant storage room. It took a long time, but she finally finished clearing out the space and has just started teaching yoga in-person in her home studio again. Hebrew School has also started up and she is looking forward to a great year teaching Hebrew and Jewish Studies, but also teaching the new crop of B’nai Mitzvah students.
Koren’s final bit of news is that she is starting a process that will hopefully see her able to officiate weddings on her own instead of having to co-officiate. She started the first course this week, and is looking forward to an interesting learning experience. Hopefully by next summer she will be able to do weddings solo.
Aubrey is also busy as usual, still has his family practice in Newcastle, a few shifts a month in Emerg in Bowmanville, Family Medicine Obstetrics in Oshawa, Urgent Care, Nursing Home, Palliative Care, MAID, lumps and bumps clinic, circumcisions, and sometimes Hospitalist. During the pandemic he was also working in the COVID-19 Assessment Clinics and Vaccine clinics. Another big part of his life is teaching residents and medical Students, mainly from Queens but occasionally from other schools as well. He is still the Curriculum Lead for the Queens Oshawa Bowmanville Lakeridge (QBOL) Family Medicine Program. The program just celebrated its 10th anniversary. He also managed to join a curling league this winter which was great.
Overall, in spite of all the uncertainty, we got through it. We are all grateful for the intense family time we have had together during COVID, and have also been grateful that we have slowly been able to gather again with family and friends. We missed so many connections with so many people.
Our last bit of news is that we will be hosting a Ukrainian Mom and her 12 year-old son for awhile until they figure out what their next move is. We are very excited for them to arrive on Oct 7th. We have no idea how long they will staying with us, but Koren had one video call with her already and she seems lovely. We connected with her though our common friend, Mitch Smolkin, who lives in Sweden right now. He will actually be in Canada that week and will pick her up from the airport to bring her here.
We wish all of you, our loved ones, a Shanah Tova U’Metukah – a sweet, healthy, happy new year filled with love.
Here’s to a new and improved 5783!
With Much Love,
Zev, Erez, Noam, Koren, Aubrey, Teva