As a young couple with one young baby, my husband and I once went out to a mall and were approached by a man taking a survey. He had been hired by a vacation home time-sharing company that was interested in targeting the religious community. The first question that threw us (We got through the ‘Hi. How are you folks tonight?’ part just fine.) was: ‘Where do you like to go on vacation when you want to get away without the kids?’ We stared uncomprehendingly at this alien in human garb and were rendered speechless. Eventually we stammered “Go away, uhm, without our baby? Maybe you should ask someone else.” We were too new in the parenting profession to even consider it, although now, two decades later, I’m not sure we would refuse such an opportunity.
Truth is, most of the time religious couples pack up everything and go somewhere, they’re either fleeing chametz or heading to a simchah, and most of the time the kids come with. Practically speaking this means: 1) You can go anywhere in the world because getting out the door is getting out the door, whether you’re headed to Target or Antarctica, and 2) You don’t need to bring a tourist guidebook along because your young travel companions are bound to create a lot of street theatre wherever you go! If that’s true for an average family, imagine what traveling means when you’ve got way more than a minyan…
Touring London after a family chassunah, would be exciting for anyone, but with 21 kids ranging from 2 months up to 19 years (Yes, they do have lots of twins and that’s also part of the fun), the Schneider family ends up the talk of the town – literally. From pretending to be a wax sculpture at Madame Tussauds museum, to meeting Her Royal Highness the Queen in person, the action (and reactions!) never end.
I’m supposed to tell you that 23 Under 1 Roof: Look Out, London! is a wholesome, charming and funny book for kids, but all the “big kids” who worked on this project laughed along with it. That’s why you need to make your children promise to share it with you.
So come along for the ride. How else can you take your kids so ‘far away’ and have so many adventures, without even packing a juice box?
Guest Blogger: Sara Miriam Gross
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