Friday, December 30, 2011

Wordless Whenever: IC Boston

Sorry for not posting lately. Just got back from IC where they announced next year's IC location... Boston.

I can't get the best picture to upload properly, I should really get a real camera.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1st Timers Olympics

First all participants will be divided into countries (teams of 5). There will be three Olympic events each one will participate in.

The first is a game of intellect. Each person will have to get to know the people in their country. Each person will be responsible for knowing one other person but the person who one is responsible for cannot be responsible for him or her. After a few minutes everyone will be asked questions about the person they were supposed to get to know. Every time a person gets a question right their country earns a sticker. The country with the most stickers at the end wins.

The second event is a team building activity. The team has to arrange themselves in order of their birthday without talking to each other. First country to finish and be in the right order wins.

The last event is a more active one. It is an Israeli game call three sticks. Tree sticks are laid on the ground. All the players must line up in front of them. As their turns come the players must get from in front of the first stick to behind the last, but can only take one step in between each stick. The last stick will be moved to where the last player’s foot lands after they have finished. If a player falls or takes an extra step they are out. The last player who is still in wins for their country.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kinnus on Crutches- A Survival Guide

I have now experienced 3 conventions and part of an encampment on crutch so I feel more than qualified to write this guide.


First off packing can be a challenge. If you are having surgery and you know ahead of time that you will be on crutches pack ahead of time what you can. If you have to pack while on crutches put everything on the floor, don't try to use a table it will only make it harder.

The bigger problem than packing with luggage is carrying it. I suggest that you have one friend who will hold onto your luggage, especially if you are traveling using public transportation. If it stays with one person you are less likely to loose it. There is no way my suitcase would have made it to fall boards weekend if it wasn't for Micah.

Food and Drinks and other Stuff

Most of the time food at conventions is served buffet style which is an issue if you are using crutches. Again go to get food with a friend, than let your friend carry it back for you. If someone is sitting near you and is going to get a drink ask them to get you one too. I personally made sure all my friends at Leadership Convention (which I went to 3 days after knee surgery) knew how I liked my tea and that way if they were getting some for them selves they would grab me a cup.

Shabbat Issues

All people on crutches know that elevators are essential to life. Staying on say the 4th floor of a hotel on Shabbat can pose a problem. Make sure you know how to go up stairs on crutches prior to the convention, and when going up the stairs make sure someone who is willing to go at your pace is with you. Not only for safety but you will want someone to talk to and who can cheer you on.

If the convention is home hospitality make sure you talk to your regional director. If you don't need to walk and there are some houses where people are driving stay there. If you are shomer shabbos or everyone is walking make sure you are staying as close as possible to the Shul.

Services can pose another problem, it is a lot of standing...and then sitting and standing again. If you can stand you should. If it hurts to be up right or is just too hard to get up and pack down it is ok to sit the whole time. I didn't even attempt to stand during services at Leadership.

Other Random Things

If you are at a camp make sure you are never walking through the woods and similar areas alone.

I wanted to be self sufficient my first convention on crutches, but I would of been so much better off if I accept more peoples help. People are nicer to you when you are on crutches so you might as well take advantage of the only good thing about crutches. If someone ask you if you need help just say yes.

Be creative, if everyone is playing mini tanks you can too, only you should play the hand version.

Most importantly HAVE FUN!!!

Shockingly one of the only pictures of me on crutches at Fall

Monday, December 12, 2011

Icebreakers: Around the World Themed

This past weekend was Hanefesh Fall Convention, it was around the world themed, plus I really like post-its.

Length of program: 10 Minutes

Overview / Summary of Program:
The purpose of this program is to put people into groups for the skits activity. Each
person will have to guess what his or her card says and then organize themselves by
the continent the card is associated with.
Supplies Needed:
Index cards (each card will have a word that is associated with a specific continent),
Step-by-Step instructions (be specific):
1. Give out the cards, one per a person. Have them tape it on either their forehead
or back without looking at the word written on the card.
2. Have people walk around and ask other people yes or no questions about the
word that is written on their card.
3. Once each person has guessed the word on their card, have everyone get into
groups based upon which continent their word is associated with.

Special Notes to make the program successful:
Make sure people don’t start cheating! Also make sure that the tape can stick to skin.

Examples for cards
South America – Salsa dancing, taco, World Cup 2014, Amazon
Asia – Martial arts, Mulan, sushi, panda
Australia – Koala bear, kangaroo, boomerang, outback
Europe – Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Summer Olympics 2012, pizza
Africa – Lion, safari, The Lion King, pyramid
Antarctica – Ice, polar bear, penguin, North Pole
North America – Hamburger, baseball, maple syrup, Coca Cola

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Flat Stanley's Adventures

I hope everyone had a very yummy Thanksgiving.

For the break Lily was given a flat Stanley and was told to take pictures of his adventures. Lucky for Lily she has three older siblings who took care of it for her.

All the pictures started out innocently enough, mostly involving food.

Flat Stanley poses in front of the turkey.
So many were taking we started calling him "fat" Stanley.

"Fat" Stanley hiding behind the chocolate cake.
After running out of food we had to get more creative though.

Here are the picture Lily has seen.
Flat Stanley's Leg Catches on Fire

Using Water to Put out Fire
After we were done with "light" him on fire our hostess asked much to my parents' dismay, "Has Flat Stanley gone to the bathroom recently?"

Off my brother goes to the bathroom with the camera and Flat Stanley in tow.

Flat Stanley Takes a Bathroom Break
The next section of pictures Lily has not seen.

After the bathroom pictures someone decided to get ketchup. Max launches into a 127 hours theme photo shoot.

The rock has been replaced with a mug.
And now Flat Stanley cuts off his leg of course.

The Ketchup Comes Out
It is pretty safe to say most of these pictures will NOT be sent to school with Lily come Monday.

*No Flat Stanleys were harmed in the making of this post*

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Membership: The Value of One Member

10 members standing in a line. One disliked the president, and then there were 9.
9 ambitious members offered to work late, one forgot his promise and then there were 8.
8 creative members had ideas god as heaven, one lost enthusiasm, and then there were 7.
7 loyal members got into a fix, they quarreled over programs, and then there were 6.
6 members remained with spirit and drive, one moved away, and then there were 5.
5 steadfast members wished there were more, one became indifferent, and then there were 4.
4 cheerful members who never disagree until 1 complained of meetings, and then there were 3.
3 eager members! What did they do? 1 got discouraged, and then there were 2.
2 lonely members, our rhyme is nearly done. 1 joined BBYO, and then there was 1.
1 faithful member was feeling rather blue, until he met his neighbor, and then there were 2!!!
2 earnest members each enrolled 1 more, doubling their number, and then there were 4!!!
4 determined members just couldn’t wait, ‘til each got another, and then there were 8!!!
8 excited members signed up sixteen more, and in another 6 verses, there will be 1024!!!!

Small but Mighty

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friendship Circle Helps Special Needs Kids ::

Please go vote for Friendship Circle at
I have blogged about this amazing organization before, it really helps a ton of people.

Friendship Circle Helps Special Needs Kids ::

'via Blog this'

Wordless Whenever: Hanefesh URL Bracelets

So I find these bracelets extremely awesome. Everyone got either this one or the NERUSY one at our joint Leadership Weekend (depending on which region they are in. You can take a picture with a smart phone of the bar-code part to get to .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Icebreaker: M&Ms

I just got back from the Hanefesh and NERUSY Leadership weekend. This is the ice breaker I used, it was written last year by Daniella, who is the NERUSY president, so all credit for it goes to her. I found everyone really enjoyed it and were really getting into it.

M&M Ice Breaker

The first game or more of a boundary breaker is for everyone to get to know each other. After going around saying our name and chapter and a fun fact about ourselves, I will pass around a brown paper bag filled with M&Ms and tell each person to pull out one M&M, but to keep it covered in their hand. One by one people will uncover it and depending on the color of the M&M they will have to answer a different question. The point of the game is to learn something new about each other in a fun way and it’s yummyJ

Red: one superpower that you would want and give a scenario that it would be used in (be creative)
Blue: most embarrassing, stupidest or funniest moment in a USY setting and if you don’t have one just a funny/embarrassing story
Green: what would you do if you had $10,000,000 (but it can’t be donated to SA/TO because MEM/KADs hate SA/TOs)
Yellow: serenade the person next to you with your favorite song and explain why you chose that song
Brown:  If you had to bring a new member to a USY event who is your date who would you bring and why. It can be someone famous or a fellow USYer. If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend that is not in USY, well that’s too bad, pick again or do your job and make them join USY. Simple.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

USY Handbook: USY Lingo

I have not done a Handbook post in a while. Sometime it is hard for people and new USYers to keep up in a conversation about USY so hopefully this can help a little.

IA- Israel Affairs Vice President
SA/TO- Social Action/Tikun Olam Vice President
Rel/ed- Religon/Education Vice President
Mem/kad- Membership/Kadima Vice President
Comm- Communications Vice President

REB-Regional Executive Board
RGB- Regional General Board

Kadimanik, Kadink, Dinker- Nicknames for someone in Kadima

Chofesh- Free time
Sicha- Lesson

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wordless Whenever: Free Hugs!

Thank you to USY Facts for the picture.
This is a free hug card that Tammi found somewhere and passed out to e and the rest of the Hanefesh board at encampment. I still have a few left in my clipboard, I tend to give them out at random. I think they are really cute, but still don't get why there is a dollar bill in the background when it is supposed to be free.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sweet 16

The highlight of my birthday so far was getting an e-mail from my past self, through . I wrote it when I was 14. I think I might of been smarter than, than I am now.

Dear FutureMe,
Happy 16th birthday. Today is the day you change your life do somthing daring.You can drive. Remember to smile, have fun. You can't win the lotto if you don't buy the ticket, so do that take a leap of faith the worst that can happen is you loose a dollar, but what is a dollar in the great scheme of things anyway? Remember to jump because you just might fly.
-Your self Joan at 14
It is quit brilliant I think and I don't think I could write such an amazing letter to my future self today.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wordless Whenever: Snow Snow GO AWAY(now please)

Trees should NEVER look like this!!!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, life kind of got in the way. Between APUSH work and holidays something had to give, and the blog did. Also there has been a SNOWSTORM in OCTOBER!!! In OCTOBER!! Not OK!! Now we have two snow days so far and it isn't even my birthday yet! November 4th, We are not supposed to have snow days before than! Also if there is one more(which at this rate there will be) we can say good bye to April break(and I can say good bye to March of the Living).

Grand Total of snow days last year-6

Current total of snow(and hurricane days) so far this year- 7 (after tomorrow)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Region: Hanefesh
Type: Shirt
Words Written: Hanefesh <3's Israel
When Purchased:  Fall Convention '10
Status: Soldout 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Sukkot!!

Happy Sukkot Everyone!!

Hopefully the three day Yom Tovs aren't driving you quite as crazy as they are driving me. I think they make people rather crazy, at least we don't have them again next year. They have also thrown off my whole blogging schedule. It is rather frustrating. A 4year old I know came up to me Friday night after a Shabbat Sukkot dinner at my Shul if it was time for Havdalah yet, and this boy usually HATES Havdalah.  So since I am to out of whack to feel like writing I am going to post some visual things.

Funny How I Wrote a Similar Thing About Rosh Hashanah

This isn't about Sukkot but it is very funny and I know two of the people in it(the "interviewer" and the Shlomo sitting in the front center)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Icebreaker: Human Bingo

Yesterday was Hanefesh's Regional Kick-off, which was skating this year. I am going to write about that tomorrow though, when I have some pictures hopefully. Tonight I will write about the icebreaker we played.

Human Bingo Instructions


Make cards with different descriptions of people on it. Make sure the items on the card match the people you are expecting.

I made them using a bingo card generator, or if you e-mail me I could send you mine. I have 45 different cards with about 18 different things out of which 12 appeared per card.

At Event

As everyone arrives hand out bingo cards with pens or pencils.

Explain to people that the need to get signature of people who fit the description on the card to sign the box they fit, and they should try to fill up the card.

Why I Like It 

First reason I like it is that you don't need to take a set time to do it, so at the beginning of an event people can catch up with old friends or start making new ones. I also like that since you have the course of a few hours to do it you can really have a conversation with the people you meet.

Sample Bingo Card from the Internet

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wordless Whenever: Tzafon Mug

Region: Tzafon
Type: Mug
Words Written: Tzafon Region, Caution: Contents Extremely Hot
When Purchased:  Quad-Regional Encampment
Status: Unsure

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wordless Whenever: Colored Water

So yesterday I walked into my kitchen and saw my sister with a bunch of food coloring, a measuring cup filled with water, and a camera.

My Personal Favorite, Yes She Did Stick Her Camera in the Water

Testing 123 Testing

So I am attempting to use a new feature called blog this where I post web pages directly as I am on them. I figured this was a good way to test it, also please click the link and help Hanefesh win the international contest to see which regional website can get the most page views:)
Welcome to the Hanefesh Region - Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Region of United Synagogue Youth (USY):

'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Actual Information!!

Yay so lots of things I probably should of posted earlier.


Time is really running out to sign up!! Tomorrow it the last day to sign up, so fax in you forms in NOW!!

It will be a ton of fun and better yet you will get a chance to see me attempt to skate. I will also be handing out candy to all those who applied to mem/kad RGB as promised.


While you can not actually sign up yet, PLEASE SAVE THE DATE!!! If you are on RGB or chapter board this may be the most important event you attend all year. I know this was very helpful for me when I attended it last year as a regional president.


Inter-national Convention is in Philadelphia this year and it is going to be amazing. Hanefesh is having pre-convention with EPA. Registration has started so make sure you register NOW! (If you did not get the e-mail about IC, first sign up for the regional listserv, and then send me your e-mail and I will send you the info and application)

IC song as song by the regional presidents and international board members.

How Elmo High Jacked My Work Time

I spend many Sunday Mornings at my Shul during Hebrew School, I find that I get a lot of work done there. But today I did not.

As usual I get to Shul at about 9:30 just as the Hebrew School kids are arriving, but since it is the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur its Sukkah Building Sunday. The parking lot looked like a lumber truck had lost a few pieces of wood in a very orderly fashion. As I make my way to the office where I usually work I pass the chapel, where the men who had come for Sukkah building are in Minyan.

I soon spot two boys I babysit for, Joel and Eli, 3 1/2 and 2, respectively. Eli comes running up to me and gave me a big hug. He then proceeded to show me HIS Kipah (the day before it had been left at home and he refused to wear any other Kipah). Joel and I then pounded it.

I went to the office and set up my laptop and made a human bingo game for the Hanefesh Kick Off(which you are all coming to, RIGHT?). By the time I had finished I figured I would check on the boys, who were now by the Sukkah building with their dad.

I asked Eli and Joel if they wanted to come in with me. Joel was very happy being a go-for for the adults but Eli wanted Airplane(when I pick him up and hold him out like an airplane while running). So I brought him inside like an airplane.

I brought him to the office with me and he was content on my lap while I attempted to get a program from another region to help with a new program we are trying to create for Hanefesh. By the time I finished typing my message Eli is pointing to the computer shouting "ELMO! ELMO!"

So soon I found my self on the Sesame Street website making a custom playlist of Elmo and Big Bird. I just want to add here that I usually object to having little kids watch TV and I this is like the third time I have let someone under the age of 5 watch TV while I was watching them. Eventually Joel comes in and joins our 'Street Fest'. Both seemed completely mezmorized  by Elmo and friends. I have to say the worst part though was that I was singing along (I also happen to spend a lot of time with a boy age 4 who has known the words to Elmo's World since he was one and has kindly taken the time to teach me all the sesame street songs).

Eli Mesmerized by Elmo 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rosh Hashanah-The Beginnings of a War

I hope everyone had a good Rosh Hashanah.

Wednesday night I went with my family to my Aunt Lisa's house. Stuck in traffic we called my Aunt's house to let her know we would be late, to our shock my Aunt Renee answered the phone. This was impossible to fathom, Aunt Renee has been known to show up to places upwards of six hours late. We frequently take bets on when my Aunt Renee and Uncle Scott will show up. Well it turned out Aunt Lisa told them to show up an hour earlier than everyone else, and for once they were actually on time.

 As usual we ate in her dinning room which is downstairs(her kitchen is upstairs). Oh and by the way Aunt Renee is very opinionated. Someone at the table starts with politics, setting off what probably could have been confused with World War III. By the time we were through gefiltah fish  and soup everyone who wasn't fighting had started to take refuge upstairs in the kitchen in between courses. The fight was getting louder and louder.

 In the kitchen my Aunt Lisa turned to my brother Max and said "What is going on down there?"

Max replied "We all try not to say anything but Aunt Renee will say something so incorrect that my father just has to correct it."

This encounter pretty much some sup all family event I go to.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lashana Tova!!!

This is my last post until after Shabbat, as this year we are lucky enough to get a tree day Yom Tov. So I wanted to just put up a few fun Rosh Hashanah theme things!

Because who doesn't love white Jewish boys attempting rap?

Stupid but the little boy is really cute and has the sweetest voice ever.

Or a ram.

Hope you enjoyed. Lashana Tova Ometukah!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wordless Whenever: Painted Car

This has nothing to do with anything except me REALLY wanting to share it. I was at Panera's and I saw this in the parking lot and could not resist the urge to post so ENJOY!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Friendship Circle

Every Wednesday I get an opportunity to spend time with an amazing 3-year-old, Jo Jo. She has gorgeous blond hair that is almost always pulled back in little french braids. She loves Elmo and all his friends. One of her other favorite activities is assaulting her 2-year-old brother, Teddy, with some sort of book.

Always full of life Jo Jo has a ballad of songs she is always ready to share ranging from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to the ABCs. Her most recent accomplishment is potty training which she is still working on.

Sounds like any other 3-year-old right? Well almost, Jo Jo is extra special, because she has an extra 21st chromosome, otherwise known as Down Syndrome.

I am lucky enough to get to know her, and many other teens get to have a similar opportunity as me because of an organization called Friendship Circle. FC runs many programs ranging from Hebrew School for children with special needs to a winter camp for them. All these programs are free of charge, and to help support the programs they host a walk once a year.

It is a chance to help change the lives many kids if you could just donate a few dollars to this fantastic organization by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update on Israel

The UN vote has been postponed till Friday. I ask that everyone reading this now goes online does research on the UN bid for Palestine and DON'T just listen to someone else's opinion.


I am not telling you what to believe but PLEASE believe in something. THIS IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION!!!

Please share the opinions you form!! Anyone who writes an e-mail to with the subject 'UN Israel Vote' will get the contents of the e-mail(if deemed relevant) published here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Tomorrow as I am sure many of you know is the UN's vote on Israel borders. Israel is very close to mine as I am sure many of your hearts. I have only been there once, it was an amazing experience. I hope to be going again really soon.

One of the trips I am heavily considering is March of the Living. This trip is two weeks long. The first week is in Poland where you go to visit concentration camps and go on the march through the camps on Yom HaShoah. The second week is spent in Israel for Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmeuts. Last Wednesday I was at a meeting for all of the kids from my Hebrew High School thinking about going on the trip together. During this meeting someone commented "Yeah, if there still even is an Israel."

What is that supposed to mean. Of course it will still be a country. The thing that might change is the lines that outline Israel. They have change before and they will again, Israel is a strong nation that reaches far beyond its own border's in a way no other country or state ever could.

The best way to fight this is not to JUST protest, but to research what will happen tomorrow. I don't care where you stand on this issue, JUST STAND SOMEWHERE!!!! Being informed is the best way to fight for what ever your opinion is.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wordless Whenever: PB 'n J Advetures

Like many night I just got back from babysitting, and for dinner the kids had PB 'n J.
The Master Piece
The Sue Chef Arin(10 in 2 days) with her Creation

After a Lip Reduction Performed by a 4-year-old

Happy Coby(4) Eating His Sandwich
The Middle Child, Noa(7), with her Heart Shaped Sandwich
Evening well spent? I thing so.

Also I would like to thank everyone who applied to RGB!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Charity Poker

Today was my chapters kickoff event, it was relaxing not being in charge. I also had to keep my mouth shut at times when I felt I would of done something different. This was a really good event, and I am really proud of the chapter board. I was also very impressed with the turn out and I am glad to see some more freshman get involve with the chapter.

The event started with everyone chilling and eating.

Sydney's Cup(Left) and My Cup(right)
Somehow I ended up with a preschool cup while everyone else had normal cups:(  At least it is cute.

Next on to some poker. We played Texas Hold'em which I had never played before.

My Poker Chips
Surprisingly I actually won at my table. Micah chalks it up to beginner's luck, I think it was because no one else knew what they were doing either.

My Sister Playing Poker
I was trying to take a picture of people playing poker. My sister realized this and tried to block it but was too late, so I HAD to post it.

In the end all the money that was charged for admission is going to our SA/TO Fund!