I'm in love! Don't worry, Lenny-there is no replacement for you. This is a more therapeutic affinity. But I am definitely in love.
The warm water soothes my every bone. As I move my arms back and forth, I am transported to another time and another place: The sun is shining as a pleasant summer breeze soothes my inner soul. I am my calmest while pacing myself in the calm waters of this special time. This is the answer to my exercise prayers! A place close to home where I can keep myself moving while enjoying myself at the same time!
No, I didn't take a sudden trip south (although if it were warmth that I was seeking, that would not have been a perfect choice anyway these days). I took a trip (practically around the block from my home) to the new Kulanu Torah Academy's own indoor Endless Pool.
I am told that I was the first person to actually swim in the pool. What an honor! I chose last week to finally test the waters with a quick dip, while my daughter Rochel gladly donated her lunch hour to accompany me for that first swim. The pool itself is not huge. It is a tad bigger than my office at work (in other words not that big). But with the "magic machine," through modern technology, with a flick of the remote control (if you can visualize a swimming treadmill), one can swim for miles on end.
Of course, satisfying my love of swimming was not the sole purpose of this endeavor. It is certainly a great side perk! G-d willing, this activity will become part of the treasure trove of beneficial resources that Kulanu has to offer, of which I will happily participate.
After trying out the pool for myself, we moved on to sampling an activity with actual children as participants. A couple of days later, Rochel and I added Yussie and Lea to the mix, and had them test the waters as well. Lea was immediately in heaven, and after Yussie slowly became acquainted with the water, it was quite difficult to separate him from the marvelous mayhem.
This past Sunday, Kulanu wanted to have a pilot pool program as part of its adaptive sports day. Alas, I explained to Jonathan Cooper (one of the devoted Kulanu leaders) that we would be transporting our eldest daughter to Newark Airport at that same moment in time for her excursion to Israel, and that I would be unable to participate. But, not to worry, I explained, daughters Rivka (the newest lifeguard in the Lubin clan) and Rochel (lifeguard-in-training extraordinaire) would be ready, willing, and able to man the pool for this noble endeavor!
I am pleased to report that the Sunday morning pilot program went swimmingly well without me. But I look forward to my participation in the future as well. A few hours ago, I returned from a very fulfilling evening at the Kulanu Torah Academy. After seeing the pool every day as they walk by on their way to their various classes, the high school students were very eager to jump in (so to speak, since I explained to the eager swimmers that we never jump into our magical pool-alas it's just too small) as well! And so, this afternoon, from 4:30 to 6:00, a few lucky teenagers were fortunate enough to sample the great attributes of the treadmill in the water.
I was so pleased with their enthusiasm! We splished, splashed, dunked, and bobbed for the rings that were on the bottom of the pool. Each child, as per their abilities, had an opportunity to attempt to swim using the "magic machine" that exercised their arms and legs and a bit of their minds too as they had to coordinate with the water currents to keep themselves from being pushed backwards (picture a treadmill if you stop treading). Thank you to the supervisors and assistants for making this swim experience as safe and as fulfilling as possible!
And so as I sit staring at my computer screen on dry land, I look forward to many more trips to my "moment in the sun" around the corner. While the weather outside is cold and brisk, inside the pool room at the Kulanu Torah Academy, for a few brief moments in time, we can imagine the warmth of the summer!
KULANU is a local Jewish organization under Orthodox auspices open to all people with disabilities. KULANU provides inclusion, support and advocacy services in social, cultural and educational areas to individuals and families with special needs.