This is #1 grandson and this video was made because he was so proud of having learned to dive into the pool head first. Well, how can Savta share in this achievement if she can't come to the pool to witness it? I suggested perhaps coming and looking in from the entrance. No good. Woman just aren't allowed. OK, I said, you'll take my camera and someone will photograph you diving into the pool. And so it was...
At his age (almost 7) I could take his dad down to the Kinneret (we lived in Ramat Hagolan at the time) and find a spot for the whole family to sit under a tree and play in the water. Sometimes we organized a bus and mothers and their kids all went down to swim in the Kinneret.
I am sad because my grandson is growing up in an environment where girls and boys (and of course men and women) live in increasingly separate environments. Two years ago his kindergarten and (also his sister's kindergarten) marked Friday by having a 'kabalat shabbat' with an 'abba' and 'ima'. The abba made kiddush and the ima lit candles. No more. The kindergartens are now single gendered.
So, although there is a nice shady picnic area adjacent to the pool in Mitzpe Ramon, I can not come, fully clothed, and watch my grandson dive into the pool. If his dad is away doing reserve duty (as he was for most of July) he can't go swimming. Dads can't teach their little girls to swim. How do they play 'house' in these kindergartens?
It isn't that I question the need for modest dress and behavior. I know that these are important concepts. But all of us, old and young, men and women should be developing tools and patterns for living and working together when we can. Cutting ourselves off from each other cuts off possibilities for growth and development.