Welcome to our 2017 Year in Review!
The highlight of our year, as anticipated, was seeing Sophie become a bat mitzvah. This milestone event marks a 13-year-old’s entrance into the community of Jewish adults, and it is preceded by years of study. The experience was meaningful for the entire family, as well as for Sophie, as teachers, friends and relatives supported her preparations. We all enjoyed having so many members of Sophie’s “village” together in June to participate in the Shabbat service she led and to celebrate with us afterward. It was quite a party!
Beyond the bat mitzvah, both Charlotte and Sophie continue to dazzle us with their accomplishments at school. Charlotte, now in fifth grade, says she wants to be a photographer. She recently took up the drums and will be performing with the all-county chorus this winter. Sophie, now in eighth grade, spent another spectacular season with the Vestal Marching Band’s brass section. She says she may want to be a music teacher when she grows up, though she’s also interested in writing.
Eric and Rachel enjoyed possibly their best year ever for live music, in part thanks to Rachel’s mom living nearby and being willing to watch the girls overnight. We saw the Barenaked Ladies, The Decemberists, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, The Shins, Josh Ritter and Good Old War. We’re looking forward to taking the girls to their first big rock concert next year, when we have tickets to see P!nk in New Jersey.
Rachel went on an adventure this fall with her father, touring Israel and Jordan with a brief layover in Iceland on the way. She also had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, Providence and Boston for work this year. For Rachel, 2017 was defined by political activism, too. She participated in the Women’s March in Binghamton with her mother and the girls, joined the Stand Up for Science rally in Boston with the family and attended a racial justice vigil in Binghamton this fall with Sophie.
This year’s family travels took us to Boston, where we visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and found out that the kids love pho. During the summer, we went to Hershey Park for a little post-bat mitzvah vacation with Rachel’s aunts as well as to the Poconos and the Catskills for hiking, a water park and lots of swimming.
Eric and Rachel continue writing and editing at Binghamton University. One of Rachel’s favorite stories this year focused on a new book about a famous Siberian experiment in which scientists are trying to tame foxes. She also wrote about a faculty author who’s trying his hand at horror novels. Eric wrote several profiles of inspiring students, including one about a young woman who became a nurse after surviving a near-fatal car accident and another about an undergraduate who had a star turn on a televised language contest in China.
This spring, Rachel and Eric will be team teaching Intro to Journalism again. We hope the year has some equally stimulating adventures in store for you and yours!
Eric’s favorite albums of 2017
1. “Soulfire” – Little Steven
2. “From the Fires” – Greta Van Fleet
3. “Pacific Daydream” – Weezer
Four excellent books published in 2017 (and three more Rachel read and loved this year):
1. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
4. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Charlotte’s top five movies of 2017:
1. My Little Pony: The Movie
2. Wonder Woman
3. Justice League
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Eric’s favorite movies of 2017 (with various family members)*
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
3. Wonder Woman
4. Thor: Ragnorak
5. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
6. Beauty and the Beast
7. Justice League
9. The Lego Batman Movie
* Star Wars: The Last Jedi not seen yet
Sophie’s top five dystopian novels:
1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
2. H2O by Virginia Bergin
3. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
5. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Eric’s favorite movies/TV (viewed alone):
1. John Wick 2
2. Atomic Blonde
4. Curb Your Enthusiasm
5. The Walking Dead
Rachel’s top 10 songs of 2017:
Eric’s top 10 songs of 2017: