Camp Solomon Schechter

Ready for an unforgettable summer? Photo by CSS

Overnight summer camp is an All-American tradition. Imagine a clear lake, surrounded by reeds and water lilies, with a private sandy beach and all the amenities: diving board, pedal boats, kayaks, water trampoline, and SUPs. To get to the beach, you walk through a large lawn shaded with beautiful trees. Now add a soundtrack to this idyllic scenery – laughter and joyful cries in Hebrew and English of kids having the time of their lives in an unforgettable summer. Welcome to Camp Solomon Schechter, one of the oldest and largest Jewish summer camps in the state of Washington.

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Chabad Issaquah Summer Camp

Sail into a summer of fun, Photo by Chabad Issaquah

Spring is here, a sense of hope and optimism fills our hearts as the sun shines, and the flowers begin to bloom. But then we recall that spring is followed by summer and summer contains the time of year busy parents fear most – Summer Vacation.

Summer camps seem like the best option but can have their own set of challenges. Most of the camps in the area have weekly sessions. So, each week is basically a new camp. This is great if your kids like variety and constant change but may require some adjustment for others. Another challenge is the cost. Summer camps are expensive, most will cost hundreds of dollars per week. Multiply that by 2-3 kids and you end up with quite an expense.

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Jordan River Moving

Photo by Sharon Joseph

In Seattle’s gray weather, Jordan River’s bright yellow trucks are a ray of sunshine in a cloudy day. You can see them crossing the local highways, on their way to Oregon, California or any other state, filled with people’s lives and hopes, on their way to a new beginning.

Owners, Sharon Joseph and Kobi Bracha, arrived to the US in the 90’s as part of their post-army big trip. After traveling they started working in the east coast moving industry, a must-stop for any IDF veteran. The moving industry suffered from a bad reputation at the time. “Unfortunately, I still hear stories even today. This just makes us work harder and be committed to high standards” says Sharon.

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Meital Golan-Schwartz – Makom Bamoshava Real-Estate

Sunshine and fresh fruit, Photo by Meital Golan-Schwartz

Just a little over two years ago, Meital Golan-Schwartz and her family packed their Kirkland, WA home and moved back to Israel after more than a decade. They replaced Mount Rainier snowy peaks and the clear waters of Lake Washington with the green slopes of Mount Carmel and the sunny Mediterranean waves. Today Meital is the proud owner of “Makom Bamoshava”, a local real-estate agency specializing in the picturesque area of: Binyamina, Pardes-Hanna, Karkur, Zikhron Yaakov and Caesarea.

Meital, how did you become a real-estate agent?

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Dafna Chen – Psychotherapist

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Listening and guiding for action, Dafna Chen

I met with Dafna Chen, a licensed mental health psychotherapist and substance use counselor, for an interview. I ended up experiencing a mini-session, and left with new insights about myself and some useful advice. Dafna has a practical and direct approach to therapy. More than nodding sympathetically, she pushes and motivates for action and change.

“We all have challenges and difficulties and we deal with them daily to the best of our ability. Often talking and sharing with another person can help and offer a different perspective. Being heard and understood provides strength in the ability to cope. Patients keep saying to me: “I never thought of this like that, until I said it out loud”, “It helped to get this of my chest”, “Discussing this made me see it in a different light.”

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Ofra Duchin – Nutritionist

By: Hagit Galatzer

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Photo by Ofra Duchin

If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding! Sang Pink Floyd. Back in the olden days, or when we were kids, we ate most of our meals at home, we had to finish our plate or else… Snacks and candy were not as common and eating out was a rare treat. Today’s environment offers rich and easy temptations everywhere you look with take-out, junk-food, and processed snacks that are designed to make us crave more. It is hard enough to make smart and healthy choices as adults, but how do we convince our kids to try new and healthy foods and not just the standard fried kids’ meal?

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Erez Benari – Steam punk and upcycling art maker

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A touch of steam punk, Photo by Erez Benari

Erez Benari is known as a calculated person who doesn’t like to waste money. In his column “There’s rain here” in the Seatelon he teaches new residents, as well as veterans to the area, how to save when shopping for cars, insurance and even furniture. In fact, being frugal is what led him into art and creating. “A jeweler was offering a pendant looking like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. As a geek and a fan of ‘Star Wars’, I was interested in the piece, which was pure gold and cost a fortune. I decided to try and make something similar myself.”

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Iris Brumer – Life coach

By: Hagit Galatzer

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Iris Brumer, Life Coach

Iris Brumer, a certified Life Coach, is no stranger to dealing with life’s hardships. A few years ago her husband of 25 years passed away unexpectedly. Through the pain and hardships, she discovered the healing power of the community. The support she got from the Jewish community in Seattle was heartwarming and inspiring. Not only did she get back on her feet but she also found the strength to fulfill an old dream and complete her mission – becoming a Life Coach.

During the coaching session with Iris you will be working on your story. What goes on in your life currently and the events that led to this point. However, instead of focusing on why this is happening to me? The focus is on how to deal with what is happening. How to get out of your story and not re-live it. According to Iris “Things happen in life all the time, often out of our control. We have the control of deciding how to deal with what happens and how to move forward”.

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Etty Alony – Personal Trainer

By Hagit Galatzer

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Photo by Adi Alony

I arrived to Etty’s home studio in Redmond, without really knowing what to expect. Etty welcomed me with a warm smile and a bottle of water and we got right to work. In my mind I’m in pretty good shape, I’ve got a gym membership, which I even use, sometimes. But nothing can test your fitness level like a personal training session…

After the warm-up we started the real workout. Etty demonstrates each and every exercise and then watches me like a hawk when I repeat. It’s a little strange to work out when someone is watching you, on the other hand, you can’t cut any corners. Every exercise is done in the most precise way, both important to the health of your muscles and joints and also to get maximum results. Every set of exercises is repeated a couple of times with colorful aides like rubber bands, fitness balls, and weights. With the music going on in the background, time flies by and in one hour we covered the entire muscle groups including special physical therapy exercises for my left wrist injury.

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Gani Preschool of the Arts

By: Hagit Galatzer

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The sandbox Photo by Nechama Farkash

Today we are meeting Nechama farkash, administrative director, and Dorit Hayardeni, a senior teacher at Gani Preschool of the Arts, a nurturing Jewish preschool in Issaquah. The preschool is located on a 3 acre green area, surrounded by trees and nature trails and conveniently located only minutes away from the I-90 freeway.

Nechama, the director, resides in the adjacent house; she greets me with a steaming hot cup of tea and takes me on a tour. The preschool was established about 5 years ago, filling the need for a Jewish preschool in the area. Since then the preschool grew and developed, moved into a designated building with state-of-the-art equipment, housing 21 children. The children aging 2 – 5 years old, are divided into a few age groups. Group sizes are kept small to allow for personal attention for each and every child. 

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