Passover is a great holiday. Seder this year was a bit hectic, as we piled 12 adults and 13 children into a living room/dining room area that seats 14 comfortably.
The Shabbat meals were fairly quiet, as Yaakov, Kinneret, and I hosted just my brother Ben. The food was a little sparse with no matza and all the bread eaten on plastic before the meal proper... (sorry Ben).
And then... we get to the good part. Each year, there is an Israeli juggling convention (IJC) held in Gan Hashlosha (Sachne) which is located between Afula and Beit She'an in the Beit She'an Valley.
(My dad claims it's in the Jezreel Valley, but it belongs to the Beit She'an Valley Council.)
I love juggling! I love jugglers. They're great people. I love juggling festivals. I don't love camping, but I'm willing to make the effort, as long as I have enough food. I really really really don't love traveling on multiple buses with my baby and lots of luggage. However, we examined all of our options, and sent up a big bag with Scott, and we went up by bus on Monday morning. We left at ten am, made a few stops at the central bus station in Tel Aviv, and got to Gan Hashlosha at three pm. It was hot and I was worn out from traveling, so Yaakov agreed to put together the tent and watch the baby so I could go swimming with Scott and his girls.
We swam. The water there is beautiful. The next day, I took Kinneret with me into the water. She was a little scared of it at first, but eventually, she calmed down and seemed to be having a good time.
The water there is beautiful, and there are fish in the water. The downsides to the convention: It was VERY VERY hot during the day, rising over 45 C (113 F). You can say "but it's a dry heat" as many times as you want, but when you're going through a liter an hour of water and you still don't have to go to the bathroom...
The gym, which usually stays cool all day got so hot that the few jugglers there wilted and could barely juggle. There was no air-conditioning available most of the time. The tent was so hot that I had a panic attack from feeling like I couldn't breathe the air inside of it.
In the evenings, it cooled down nicely. Friends and I cooked meals, and there was plenty of food this time. (Thanks to the Bar Yaakovs, Trachtmans, and Seltzers for their cooperation in feeding me and baby K. Sorry there were eggs in the cake, vegans.) On Wednesday, I hitched a ride to Beit She'an with M. Trachtman, and we spent a long time in the well-airconditioned supermarket. I picked up a cake for my birthday (which was Shabbat, April 19th, so passed with little fanfare. Thanks parents for the new outfit, and thanks Rach for the pearls!) and told the Bar Yaakov and Seltzer children that anyone who wanted cake had to sing happy birthday to me. It was a neat party out on a straw mat in the cool evening air.
The best parts were swimming in the natural spring, making some new friends and spending time with old friends, and Kinneret's big moment! At one of the shows, there were some technical difficulties, so they asked volunteers to come up and showcase whatever they want in order to amuse people. (With some assistance from Yaakov,) Kinneret went up on stage, sat there, and held three small rings (linked together) in her hands. I announced "Kinneret with three rings" and she got a huge round of applause. As we took our seats, Kinneret was asked for her autograph several times.
The down sides of the convention... There were mosquitoes and other biting insects. I'm still bitten up. Fortunately, Kinneret seems to be bite-less, and Yaakov was more careful about not getting bitten (not to mention that the aforementioned panic attack led me to sleep outside the tent all three nights whereas Yaakov and Kinneret slept inside the tent). It was insanely hot. The worst part, though, was that Yaakov was sick, so we ended up going home a day early (which was a relief in some ways), and we missed the big show with the international guests.