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Separate beaches for men and women

2 Aug

This past week I had the pleasure of going to women’s only beach in Herzliyah.  The beach’s name is called “The separate beach” and in Hebrew it is called “חוף הנפרד”.  On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday the beach is open only for women and on  Monday, Wednesday and Friday it is only open for men.

Israel has a large population of ultra orthodox and they do not go mix swimming.  A lot of the major beachside cities have a “separate beach” that most people who are not ultra orthodox do not know about.

So what brought me to an all women’s beach? My nieces. My sister is ultra orthodox and is raising her children in that world. She invited me to join her and her two eldest girls at the beach during their summer break.

Now I grew up by the beach. I have wonderful memories of going with my grandparents to Brighten Beach in Brooklyn as a young child.  I went to school and camp in Long Beach and as a family, we went to East Rockaway’s beach/pool. Yeah, they had a pool *on* the beach.

So when the opportunity presented itself to go with my sister, her girls and our visiting mom, I jumped at the chance. I mean, I’ve been to separate beaches before so I knew what to expect. I was a little concerned that the beach was not accessible by public transportation but I quickly found out that the beach is a kilometer ( a little over half a mile) away. Phew. Public transportation and walking distance. Perfect.

It was wonderful to play in the sea with my family. We really frolicked in the sand/sea and we taught the girls to jump over the waves,  collect seashells, dig and build in the sand.

These are the memories that last a lifetime.

 

What does a name mean?

25 Jun

Today I legally changed my name (in Israel) from just Berger to Berger-Burcat. I added my husband’s family name to my name. Ironically it took me almost a year of marriage to take this step.

I wasn’t hindered by the idea of “losing myself” by changing/adding his name. In my mind, I’ve been Berger-Burcat since we got engaged. Maybe even a bit before that. Now that I have a bit of free time on my hands, it was time to make this change.

It was time to make it “legal”.

A bit of background history …. when my mother married my father she wanted to do the same thing. Hyphenate her last name with my father’s last name and have  her family name Kaufman-Berger. My maternal grandmother was dead set against it and out of respect for my Bubby Leah, she didn’t hyphenate her last name. What she did do instead was give all of her girls double middle names. Each of us have double Hebrew names and double English names. All of us have only gone by our Hebrew name. There was a time early in my career that I used my English middle name. I needed an alias, and I thought – might as well use the name I never use. At least I’ll respond to it.

All three of us share one of our middle names – Kay. Kay, as in Kaufman. In America, you cannot write an initial on a birth certificate. You need to spell out the initial and that is exactly what my mother did.  My full middle name is Erica Kay.

Back to the present. I didn’t want to stop using Berger. My paternal grandfather’s family was almost wiped out during WWII. Our family name isn’t even our real last name (it was shortened to gain entry into Canada). But the “Berger” name was going to end with my father and his brother.

Now as the oldest sibling, I wanted to carry on our name and hope to pass it along to the next generation.

Berger-Burcat. It has a great ring to it, doesn’t it?

Counting your blessings

21 May

Sometimes life throws you for a loop – and it just helps remind you how lucky you are. To have people who love you, support you, care about you and mostly, stand by you.

I am blessed. Truly blessed. I dont know how I got to have such a wonderful supportive family made up of blood and non-blood relatives.

And I will never take it for granted.