22 June 2009

On the Concept of the Ski Burqa

So, I've been floating around an idea.

Wait. Back up.

First, I decided to go to camp for a month to do waterskiing. So I'm at the same camp I was at last summer, and the summer I met Rafi, but not the camp I was at in the midwest in 2007.

Now, waterskiing is a good job for me because I like leading the hashkamah minyan - we meet at 6:45 for tefillot before we eat breakfast and go to the lake. It's also a good job because I like having one real co-counselor and only 6 kids. We all get to know each other really well, and it's special. They become, have become, OUR babies. Additionally, I like waterskiing because I'm good at teaching it, I love driving a bus to the lake, I love driving the boat, and it's the same lake I've been skiing on since 1991 (no, really).

But waterskiing is a terrible job for me because I am fishbelly white (something I unsuccessfully translated to beten-dag lavan in Hebrew today), I have had precancerous moles removed, and I do not tan, do not wish to tan, would prefer to spend summer under a large umbrella at all times. If it weren't for camp, in fact, I would spend my summers inside, sitting hunched in front of an AC unit, lamenting the summer heat the way most people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter. (What can I say, I was accidentially a Floridian for all of those years.)

So...I've been floating around an idea. Long sleeve shirts and pants can only go so far over bathing suits, which are required for responsible boat-driving lifeguards of the waterskiing-instructing persuasion. At some point, they get soggy, they flap in the wind, they get snagged on a strap here or a rope there.


Now, before you get all up in arms, let me remind you that I'm pretty liberal. In dress, in speech, in religious belief, and in politics. My dad calls me an empty-headed liberal on a regular basis, and I've gone so far as to be completely left-handed in everything that I do. I even slalom ski with my left foot in the front boot of the ski!

Actually, modesty in swimwear was all over the web today, with a blog post on MyJewishLearning.com, giving this take on other options. MJL linked to this article about modest swimwear. Neither article has any mention of sun protection, which is more my concern, although when I found out some of our ski videos might be on the web, my first thought (out loud, of course) was "My thighs are going to be on the internet?" Maybe I should just get some modest swim wear...?

I am slowly baking myself to (in my mind) death. Doomsday music rings in my ears when I check my shoulders after a day on the water. I am - GASP - tan. And I am not happy. And my nose! My poor nose! It looks like I painted a white line through my eyebrows that ends abruptly with a splash of tanned residue ruining my snowy nose! Let it be said in this forum that I reapply SPF 50 at LEAST once an hour - and I start with a foundation of SPF 85 on my face!

SOOOOO, hows about we get me a ski burqa? The way I see it, it has nothing to do with religious belief - except for maybe the Jewish concept of pikuach nefesh - saving a life. In fact, it can be stylish - made out of the same material from which you make rash guards, those long-sleeved surfer shirts. Quick to dry and a full-on cover, I can't see the down side.

I read today in the NYT that Sarkozy today said he wants to rid France of burqas. Maybe if they have a few over there made from the spandex-lycra blend of my favorite one-piece, they could mail them to me at camp?

02 June 2009

Not the Answer...

Warning: This post goes from fun to serious without much transition. Don't say I didn't warn you.

On Sunday, I went on a walk through the park with my former roommate B. We wandered toward the Israel Parade as I yammered on about the need for Israel education taught with a critical eye. On our way through the park we wandered into Japan Field Day, which meant we got some free tea:

Mmmmm, Jasmine. (Photo credit B)

When we got to 5th Avenue, we settled into a spot with my friend Mel, where we could watch the parade and not be too crowded. And there was quite the crowd of a wide variety of Jews, all celebrating Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary, and I LOVE Tel Aviv. It was peaceful and fun, happy and cheery. Then I got to hang out with my OLDER roommates, and life was good. I was all love, hearts and stars for Israel.

I was dancing to Yeshiva U's blasting music (Yehey, a camp favorite), and enjoying the Israel that I learned about growing up - Israel of dancing and snacks, of fun and chocolate.

The lovely happiness of Rikudei-Am / Israeli Dancing (Photo thanks to B)

[Insert transition here]

Somewhere else, at some point in the parade, "Am Yisrael Chai" blasted as onlookers sang their own interpretation, in Hebrew, "The nation of Israel lives" alternating with the phrase "All Arabs must die." Read the take on this episode from one Rabbi for Human Rights here. (H/T Jewschool)

I have said before that the answer to the conflict in Israel is not to kill all of the Arabs. That idea makes me uncomfortable, and I can't imagine how killing so many people. I was disheartened by the onlooker who said that the chant about killing Arabs is a chant from Zionism. I don't know the answer to this problem, but I hope that someone soon figures it out and that people won't die in the process. This is where the critical eye becomes important. How can we make this better? Who's going to tease out the solution?

In other news, an abortion doctor was killed in the states a few days ago, when he was ushering in his church in Kansas. If you want commentary on the murder, you can find it all over the web. I happened to like this post in Jezebel about how Tiller was a good doctor and person. Late-term abortions are contraversial. So are early-term abortions. But reproductive choice is a right in the states, and there are difficult decisions that people had to make (see the Jezebel post in particular for heart-wrenching examples) that sometimes end in abortion. Wanting to stop abortion is one thing, murder as a means to an end are another, and it's NOT ok.

Nobody wants a life to have to end. But certainly killing a doctor who does abortions is not the answer. And killing a group of people just for being Arab? Well, that's not the right answer to war, conflict, terror or tension. But debating about these conflicts will help smarter people than I to come up with answers.

To quote my fabulous Bubbie: May we live see peace in our day. Amen, Bubbie.