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Friday, July 7, 2017

Wrapping Up the Picnic!


13 Tamuz, 5777

I've needed a rest to recover from Tuesday July 4th's picnic, culminating two solid months of hard work which included running around the city in high heat so I could gather necessary items. But gosh it was worth every drop of sweat!

If you were my editor at some paper, here's the summary that I would have provided about how things went on Picnic Day:

AACI Annual Summer Picnic 5777

Yocheved Golani and her Picnic Planning Committee set to work soon after Shavuot 5777. Judy Neuman suggested that AACI hold “an old-fashioned picnic” and Yocheved ran with the idea.

Elizabeth Homans proved her extraordinary capabilities once again, repeating her past successes at garnering iriya assistance with permits, electrical options, police officers to patrol the park, and safety barriers. She picked up burlap bags donated by Li-Lo Vitori, and brought crunchy, energizing vegetable cups from Beer Sova's kitchen.

Reesa Cohen-Stone guided Yocheved through the picnic planning process, and facilitated success. The 300+ picnickers who enjoyed the fun despite high heat and humidity even included teens from the Operation Forward group visiting Israel over the summer.

Kids of all ages enjoyed the Bottle Painting Workshop when they dipped bottles of various sizes and textures into paint, then pressed them on to paper to create lovely designs.

Younger children laughed in Soda Bottle Alley as adults assisted them in knocking down recycled “pins,” and giggled when they rotated the occasionally cooperative hula hoops around their bodies.

Almost every child stood patiently on line to have their faces painted with Batman logos, flowers, faux helmets and other designs. Some kids spent time with Bubbles of Fun as they used unusual wands to create unusual bubbles.

Bean Bag tossers enjoyed the silliness of knocking down a chair or landing a shot through a wooden toy.

Richard Tasgal amused onlookers as he bounced about on his jumpy stilts.

Gabe Axler of the Israel Baseball Association conducted a game with happy picnickers willing to brave the heat.

Readers bought bargains from the AACI library and Doron Mason’s eclectic book collection. Ethelea Katzenell sold her newly published Beer Sheva tour books.

Megan Turner of the iriya Klita office gave necessary information to new olim as Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Mallory Kahn-Johnson gave out bottled water and turns with a magnet-making photographer.

Picnickers from English, Spanish, Russian, French and Hebrew-speaking backgrounds took home complimentary Shlock Rock CDs provided by musician-singer Lenny Solomon. The gifts were made to publicize his site. It promotes Jewish continuity with Awareness, Identity and Pride. Gil Harpaz is the hero who brought the CDs to Yocheved’s home for picnic distribution.

Raffle winners walked home with lovely gifts worthy of a bridal shower and one lucky person won a tour with Licensed Tourist Guide Denis Weintraub!.

Miriam Green lent her expertise to the planning of the event, and escorted AACI central’s David London about Park Hay on picnic day. They and the crowd enjoyed the smell and/or taste of MASAmerica’s ( fresh hotdogs, Devora Kessin’s fresh-baked treats, AACI’s variety of satisfaction-guaranteed sandwiches (prepared to perfection by Judy Neuman’s crew), and other edibles. Gesher shopping center eateries provided delivery service to the park and to the picnickers who simply needed to eat fresh falafel, shwarma, pizza or baked goods.

The MMAAD band (Marc, Marty, Alon, Alan and Dov) left picnickers thinking “Whuttaband!” They made the picnic more fun with their lighthearted music and many encores.

AACI profited from the event. That will help new plus veteran olim in a variety of ways. Everyone involved will be smiling long into the future as they remember the extraordinary picnic day.

Yocheved Golani extends her thanks to the many volunteers and vendors who made the day a HUGE success.

 (I can't post photos of the fun as they show the faces of minor children. It is against Israeli law to share such pictures in public without the parent/guardian's permission).

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