Saturday, August 27, 2016

Alex's Bar Mitzvah

For the past year, Alex has been working hard on learning to read and write Hebrew, to prepare for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah at Chabad San Jose.

He spent many Monday afternoons with Rabbi Aaron Cunin, Sipi, Jonathan, and his fellow students on learning the portion of the Torah he would be reading. He also had to learn to read ancient Hebrew.

Alex wrote and delivered the following speech during his Bar Mitzvah:
August 27, 2016 
Hi everyone! Thank you for joining me for my Bar Mitzvah! I would like to thank a couple of people who helped me along the way to achieve this goal. 
I would like to thank my Dad because I wouldn’t have this bar Mitzvah without him. He paid for everything for me to have this Bar Mitzvah. 
I would also like to thank my Mom for spending sometime driving me here. For the next set of people teaching me Hebrew, I would like to thank Sipi, Rabbi Aaron, Jonathan, for teaching me Hebrew. I would have never been able to speak without them so I appreciate it a lot. I want to also thank my grandma, uncle, and everyone in my class who supported me. It makes me feel confident when I become supported. Without Rabbi Aaron’s help, I wouldn’t have gotten this Bar Mitzvah. 
Now let me talk a little about my Torah portion. Moses addresses all children that if they fulfill the commandments of the Torah, they will conquer and settle in Israel keeping with God’s promise. Moses describes the land ahead of them with all kinds of food. During their 40 years in the desert, Moses mentions that man does not live on bread alone, but by the utterance of God’s mouth does a man live. Thank you for being here celebrating my Bar Mitzvah and I hope you have a great Shabbat!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hiking Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Today, we decided to explore the beautiful Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. To avoid early morning traffic on highway 17, we woke up early and headed to the park around 9:00 am.

It's one of the few California State Parks that allows dogs. Last week, we went to Shoreline and were disappointed to learn that no dogs are allowed, as it's considered a wildlife sanctuary.

Since our friends' beautiful sheltie "Maya" was with us, we had to find dog-friendly trails. We followed the "Pipeline Road" trail to the trail overlook. This trail is right next to the "Redwood Grove Overlook Trail" and allows dogs. There was another trail that allowed horses and we saw a few horses on that trail.

There is a nice Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park map located here.

"Pipeline Road" is a beautiful road with many large redwoods. Even though it was a very hot day, the tree cover was substantial and we never really felt overheated. We didn't see many animals on the trail - only occasional birds and other dogs.

We walked a few miles on the trail (by the narrow stream) until we arrived at the overlook.

There was not much to see at the overlook, so we decided to head back. The total distance of our hike was about 4 miles.

After our long walk, we decided to drive to Santa Cruz, to get lunch downtown. After some deliberation, we decided to try lunch at the well-rated Gabriella Cafe.

We needed a restaurant with a patio, so that we could eat with Maya.

I ordered highly recommended Coquellas. It's a Mexican dish with fried eggs, black beans, tortillas, and avocados. It was quite delicious and a bit spicy.

Inna ordered "Housemade Pappardelle Bolognese" and was impressed with the freshly made pasta.

Alex ordered a burger and was impressed with the quality of the beef and the freshly made bun.

After our delicious lunch, we stopped by Penny Ice Creamery down the street for some delicious, freshly made ice cream (the Best in Santa Cruz).

Inna and I both really liked the Raspberry Chocolate ice cream! We could see that it was freshly made and nothing beats freshly made ice cream!

After finishing ice cream, we headed to the Santa Cruz beach for more walking.

Maya ran around the beach, chasing incoming waves.

I shot a couple of videos of Maya playing with other dogs on the beach. She usually prefers to play by herself.