After my saddened state a few nights ago, it was decided by the members of my Sderot “entourage” that no decision about our trip should be made until Wednesday, the day before our scheduled visit to the playground. I thought this was a great idea, as it released me from having to think/worry about this decision for the next couple of days!! So, we finished the Jerusalem portion of our trip, and ended our last day sitting up on the rooftop deck, drinking red wine and savoring the view of Jerusalem and the Old City below us. I must admit, this was a MUCH MORE PLEASANT way to end the evening than sitting in the office center, searching through websites to find any news about unrest in southern Israel. We have since checked out of our hotel and arrived in Tel Aviv. Our hotel here does not have any access to internet except for one lone computer in the lobby which must be paid for before use, so I just haven’t had the time nor inclination to go on line. And, I’ve enjoyed a web-surfing-free couple of days!!
Last night we celebrated the Seder with Tamar’s very large, fun-loving family. It was a great time, and of course, the topic or our trip came up. Tamar’s family unanimously agreed that the trip would be fine. And to a group of Israelis, traveling to Sderot is no more dangerous than walking around the streets of New Yorks or jogging alone in Central Park! In their view, it’s hard to justify being nervous about going to Sderot any more so than being nervous about being in Jerusalem or any major city anywhere…
So, tomorrow is the day. I’m sure phonecalls to the playground will be made, Tamar will consult w/ people who shall remain nameless, and our decision will be made. It seems to me that, at the present moment, we are a go…I’ve even unrolled the Bingo Boards so they will lay flat when we play with them on Thursday! Tomorrow while we drive up north for our day of adventure, we’ll listen to the Zumba and Party CDs to refresh our memories about the songs we are dancing to, and the order of the ineractive activities. After all, it’s been over a week since I planned all of this. IF we are going to go, I want this party to be KICK-ASS the best it can possibly be!!
So, stay tuned and wait to learn tomorrow’s decision…That’s what I’ll be doing!
After a VERY LONG day of touring, I returned to the hotel in Jerusalem, and immediately checked on line to “take the temperature” of the southern region in Israel. Even though I have been asking people if anything is happening around Sderot, I knew nothing about this til just now…
Air Force fighter jets struck two targets in Gaza early on Saturday, in response to a double Grad rocket attack on Ashdod that shattered a six-day ceasefire.
Friday’s Palestinian rocket fire triggered warning sirens in the southern port city, and sent residents fleeing for cover.
The rockets exploded in open areas, failing to cause injuries or damages.
Hours later, warplanes flew over Gaza and struck two terror targets, the IDF Spokesman said.
“An accurate strike was identified, and the planes returned to base safely,” the spokesman added.
No details were provided on the targets that were struck.
“The IDF will not tolerate fire on the South, and views Hamas as being responsible,” said the spokesman.
Palestinian sources did not report any injuries in Gaza following the air strikes.
It was not immediately clear which organization in Gaza fired the rockets.
Some reports suggested al-Qaeda-affiliated Salafi jihadi members had fired the Grads in spite of a Hamas order to all armed factions to respect a ceasefire with IsraelSo, once again I’m not feeling 100% confident about our party at the playground. Granted, I’m very tired right now – it’s 11:30pm Israel time, and we’ve been out touring in the north since 8:30am. I am too bleary-eyed to keep reading about the stikes/counter strikes and what it all means for the future…But I am definitely surprised and dismayed to read about this, and now go to my room with a heavy heart…The “shattering of the six-day ceasefire” (that’s it?? only six freakin’ days??) was NOT the news I wanted to see…
I will speak w/ everyone tomorrow and see what’s what…What else can I do??
In the meantime, most of our dance floor give-aways are on their way to Israel as I type. Tamar packed mostly everything in one of her family’s 10 allowed suitcases. We are bringing tinsel wands, blinkee rings, Michael Jackson sequined gloves, glow necklaces, light-up peace sign necklaces, tattoos, and USA silicone bracelets. I’m also bringing a couple of roll-up Limbo sticks and my ever-popular “Betsy’s Boogie Bingo.” However, this game will have a twist. Tamar, Yael, Caley and I secretly replaced some American songs with some Israeli songs. Tamar re-created the Bingo Boards and wrote them out entirely in Hebrew. Too Cute! The best thing about all this stuff is that the children will all have dance floor goodies to take home with them, and we will leave the Bingo Game ~ Boards, Markers, CD, the Limbo Sticks, and the Dance Party CDs so that the staff at the playground will be able to use these fun items with the kids in the future…
We’ll be doing a dance warm-up, some circle dances, follow-alongs, line dances, and free-style dancing. Also, we’ll be playing some circle games, Limbo, and the Israeli version of Betsy’s Boogie Bingo. I am very hopeful that this party will come to be, as it is going to be a BLAST!!
I still have to put together the playlist for the Zumba Family Party. That won’t take too long, so I’ll deal w/ that tomorrow. Tomorrow is total packing day, as I haven’t packed a thing yet! I’ve been very busy finishing up classes, rehearsals, returning phonecalls, etc. Tomorrow is nothing but focusing on prepping to leave. Yeah! (I’ll be sad to take our new puppy, Wilson, to his trainer for boarding, but someone needs to look after him!!)
To read more about the playground, checkout
So I finally make the time to write about my upcoming Dance/Zumba Party that I’m hoping to offer the families in Sderot, and literally, the next day, the terrorist group Hamas blew up an Israeli school bus. not too far from the city. From the website http://debka.com …Hamas’s attack on a school bus Thursday, April 7, using a sophisticated Cornet anti-tank missile for the first time. A 16-year old boy was critically wounded. This attack was followed by 50 Palestinian rockets and mortar rounds, a blitz which had not abated by Friday night despite constant Israeli counteraction.
debkafile discloses the mounting violence has more than one objective: Hamas is trying to establish new rules for the conflict on advice and directives coming from its Lebanese ally, Hizballah, to step up its barrage on Israel by 25 percent. The IDF is forced to respond to the resulting escalation in kind.
So, this is what’s been going on since I first shared my plans on this blog!! Needless to say, it’s been a very worrisome and emotional couple of days for me! On top of being exhausted (One Zumbathon Friday night ~ That’s 2.5 hours of Zumbaing in one evening, plus cleaning between the two sessions!, two parties on Saturday and two parties on Sunday) I am torn by all the different emotions I am experiencing!!
On the one hand, I have been thinking about this party, dreaming of this party, and talking about this party for months!! Although always a bit nervous, it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Now, with this escalated violence, I feel terrible on so many levels. First of all, I am so sorry and upset for the people living in Sderot. They should not have to suffer through this. Secondly, I am extremely disappointed by the fact that I might not be able to do this event. As I mentioned before in my previous blog , no one deserves to shake off some stress and enjoy a party more than the families of Sderot! I feel awful that there is a good chance that the agression of these different terrorist groups might prevent me from doing what I love to do!! I have been upset and worried since the weekend and I’ve been talking with several people and doing a lot of reading. (Basically driving myself crazy!!)
Naturally, the Israeli perspective is completely different than the American view. “Come on down, it’s been very quiet today. And we only had two alarms yesterday!” This from the head maintainance guy at the playground! JNF personnel in Israel have also mentioned how the families will be so happy knowing that someone flew over the Atlantic just to put smiles on their faces. And, the ever-popular, “The show must go on!” Of course, everyone assures me that it is my decision, and they will respect my choice about going no matter what I decide.
And then there’s the opposing responsibility issue. How could I even consider going to a dangerous area with my loved ones and friends?? Who would even think of such a thing – especially as part of a “vacation??” And, topping it all off yesterday was the phone call I received from my father, (who, by the way, rarely ever phones me,) during which he told me he doesn’t want me to go to Israel at all!! I needed that like a hole in the head!!
So, after much reading, conversing w/ Israelis here and in Israel, speaking to Americans and even my Rabbi’s wife, the plan now stands that we WILL travel to Israel, and then take a wait and see approach regarding our day in Sderot…I will be planning/packing as if the Show Must Go On,” and then we shall see. I want to share w/ you all the fun stuff we are taking, but it’s extremely late right now, and I must get to sleep!
(My thought is that if I am TOTALLY exhausted by Wednesday, I should really sleep well on the plane!) More to follow…Nighty night!
It’s been a loooooong while since I’ve written anything for my GrooveBlog!! Naturally, being the sole proprietor of my business, along with being the mother of three teenagerss, a wife, mother to a new puppy AND taking on the jobs of writing a monthly post for ProMobileDJ.com, and choreographing a FlashMob Dance for our local minor league baseball team’s opening night, I’ve been VERY BUSY!!! However, I’ve been wanting to post about an upcoming event, and I’ve been thinking about writing for many weeks. Well, now the event is a mere 15 days away, so the time is NOW!!!
No matter your political beliefs or where you stand on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the fact remains that the residents of southern Israel have been targeted with rockets for a long period of time. Terrorists have continually sent rockets into residential areas for the sole purpose of killing innocent Israeli civilians. Without going into further detail or having this blog become a forum for a debate, let’s just leave it that the situation has been so bad in the past, that the Jewish National Fund (JNF) here in the United States, raised enough money and built for the citizens of Sderot, and indoor playground, so that the children and families of this southern city have a safe place where they can play, host parties, and enjoy recreational activities. Here is a description of this amazing facility:
Over the past few years, the Israeli communities on the border with Gaza have endured continual Kassam rocket attacks. These attacks are untargeted, but some have hit residences and schools, killing 11 citizens and hurting hundreds more. The city of Sderot, located on the border with Gaza, has been hardest hit — its children growing up in the shadow of violence, fear, and uncertainty.
To directly impact the lives of the children of Sderot and provide them with the chance to simply be kids, Jewish National Fund has embarked on a massive project: building the largest indoor playground in Israel in Sderot. The all-inclusive Indoor Recreational Center opened on March 10, 2009 to provide Sderot’s youth with a place to have fun, connect with friends, enjoy stimulating classes, and be children, beyond the conflict. A place to feel strong and free, away from their daily helplessness and anxiety. And parents can have peace of mind knowing that their children are playing and learning in an environment that is safe and secure
To learn more about this playground, check out http://www.jnf.org/work-we-do/our-projects/security/sderot-indoor-playground.html.
While attending the National Conference for JNF in Philadelphia not too long ago, I had the opportunity to hear the Mayor of Sderot speak. David Bouskila was an amazing speaker, despite his difficulties with the English language. In short, he expressed to us his thanks for what JNF had done for his community. I was so moved by his speech, and made sure that I met him personally afterwards. He gave me his business card, and told me that if I ever went to Sderot, to be sure to get in touch.
Well, I will be traveling to Israel ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!! My daughter is invited to the Bar Mitzvah of the brother of her friend, so while she is attending this happy occasion, I decided to travel with her. I’ll be doing my own thing (joined by my sister,) while she celebrates with this wonderful family. Our activities and adventures will sometimes be together, and a great trip has been planned for all of us.
One of the adventures we will be having together will be to travel south to Sderot, to offer the families there an opportunity to Zumba, and enjoy a high-energy, very interactive DANCE PARTY!!! As I’ve written in the past, it’s a wonderful thing to GIVE BACK, and I can’t think of too many people who deserve to relax, celebrate, dance, play games and enjoy thmeselves more than the citizens of Sderot!!
Although things with me right now are crazy/busy, it’s time to put the focus on this BIG EVENT!! The FlashMob Dance is well underway, other personal and professional events are completed, so the focus for the next few days leading up to our departure is the P*A*R*T*Y!!!
The Bar Mitzvah mom, Tamar, has spoken with Yossi, the gentleman who runs the playground, and the official advertising has begun. We are not sure how many people to expect (50? 100? 200??) nor are we sure of the ages of the kids (0-18!!!) NOR are we even 100% CERTAIN that we will travel to Sderot. If we are feeling uncomfortable because of any rocket activity around the time of our scheduled visit, we will NOT go do that area. I hope and pray that all is quiet, and that we will feel confident and excited to venture south. We are planning and will be packing everything we need to make this party happen, so all systems are go at this point. And seeing the ad for the first time today made all of this a reality for me… I would really hate to disappoint anyone.
So, that is all for now. I must get back to work. But I wanted to at least post about what we are planning to do. More details to follow…Thanks very much.
So, I ended my first blog stating that I was planning to write about fabulous party ideas in the near future, and I DO have some fab ideas to share with you…However, in addition to being VERY BUSY this summer, I have been waiting for some Groove Lounge clients to send me pictures from one wonderful event in particular, so that I could have visuals to show you. Of course, even though they promised to send the pics, I never got them.
So, instead of waiting any longer, I wanted to take the time to write about something WAY MORE important than balloon arches or creative party invitations…I want to share with you about “giving back.”
I am a very lucky woman in many ways; in very good health, 3 wonderful, healthy children, a loving and very supportive husband, great extended family, and the opportunity to have my dream come true – the opening of Betsy Fischer’s Groove Lounge in late 2008. Opening and running my business takes so much of my time that I have been unable, as of late, to volunteer my time to some of the events/causes that I’ve contributed to in the past. But, my 3 kids are all attending over-night camp right now, so the homelife is a bit quiet, and the time was right for me to do something to GIVE BACK…
I rarely have the time to read the newspaper, and when I do read it first thing in the morning, I ususally feel guilty because I know there are so many other things I should be doing w/ my time. Recently, though, I was at Motor Vehicle, waiting my turn, and I had the time to read the Philadelphia Inquirer. On that very day, an article written by Kevin Riordan appeared in the paper. It was about a fundraiser being held to raise money for a day camp run by Sister Helen Cole of Guadalupe Family Services in Camden, NJ. Guadalupe serves families in crisis and offers services to families in need. And Sister Helen is the driving force behind this organization.
Long story short, I emailed Kevin right then and there from the DMV, and got the contact info for Sister Helen. I offered to host a dance party for the campers of Guadalupe’s Holy Name Camp, free of charge. She was very receptive, and this past Monday was the big bash…
About 33 excited kids, and their fantastic, energetic counselors descended upon the Groove Lounge, and an AMAZING time was had by all…We warmed up, did some follow-along dances, played some dance and party games, and I handed out TONS of prizes and a take-home party favor to everyone. The kids just couldn’t get enough, and the hour-and-a-half just flew by.
On the way back to the bus, all the kids said “Thank You,” and they were so appreciative. After everyone had boarded, Lourdes, who was in charge of the campers, had all of them yell “THANK YOU” simultaneously…It really made my heart soar!
The point of this story is to share with you that it doesn’t necessarily take MONEY to give back. Quite frankly, if one is fortunate enough to have money to donate, simply writing a check and sending it off really doesn’t take too much effort, does it? While of course, it did cost me some money to host this party, the
donation, in my opinion, was the donation of my TIME and energy…Donating one’s time really doesn’t cost anything (I know, you’re thinking, “Time is money,”) but really, it doesn’t require a check to give of your time. And I am POSITIVE that these kids thoroughly enjoyed the donation of my time much more than they would ever have enjoyed the results of me writing a check…Think about it!!
(BTW, if I was more savvy about using this Blog site, I would provide the link to Guadalupe AND to the article in the Inquirer…Maybe someone out there could tell me how to do that…Thanks!)
I attended a seminar on marketing this week, and the instructor told the attendees that we should ALL be blogging. I asked her how often, and she replied, “Once a week!” My initial thought, of course, was – ONCE A WEEK! Who’s got the time for that???
So, this is my first attempt at sharing with the world, and I hope that someone out there will be interested in what I have to say!! I don’t know much about this site, but I plan on learning as I go…With three children, a busy husband, and a business to run, time is short, but I’m going to give it a go!!
Tonight I will be sharing the Zumba Love! I was invited to do a Zumba demonstration at an event called “Eat. Dance. Laugh.” It’s at Andreotti’s Viennese Cafe and is being hosted by Turning Leaf Nutrtition and Wellness. In addition to good food and dance, there will also be a comedy performance, so I’m looking forward to hearing that.
Lots of work to do to get ready. I need to choose the 3 dance numbers I’ll be leading, burn the music and prep the equipment, plus print out a bunch of Free Passes to my studio for all the attendees. I’m going to have a table at this event, so I need to have materials to display on that table as well. Busy, Busy, Busy.
Please visit my blog again. I plan to be sharing great party ideas, like creative themes, activities and decor, as well as what life is like as a very busy business owner/mother of three children!! Hasta pronto!!