Posted by Sandy Slavet
When you're born and raised in Greater Boston, you might overlook the amazing sights and sounds that bring so many tourists to our city. But if you take the time to ‘visit' Boston as a tourist, you might be surprised by what a great city it is! On a beautiful Sunday in July, twenty participants of Chaverim Shel Shalom, a social program for Jewish adults with psychiatric disabilities, had the opportunity to do just that. We spent the day experiencing the beauty and history of the Boston waterfront. We began our day at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. This is part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway and it is really lovely. We strolled around the park enjoying the flowers, the fountains, and the people. It was easy to spot visitors from all over the world enjoying the park right along with us, and we wondered if we sounded as foreign to them with our Boston accents as they did to us!
At midday, we spread out blankets and made ourselves comfortable on the grass and on the benches and had a delicious picnic lunch. After lunch, some of us wandered out of the park to explore the larger waterfront area while several of us stayed and were entertained by an amazingly talented duo that played drums and electric guitar: they played a wide range of instrumental music from Greensleeves to Green Day including many favorites by the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel.
At 2:00 p.m., we all gathered back together for a cruise around Boston Harbor. We were surprised at how much we either never learned or have forgotten about Boston's history! As we sat back and enjoyed the warm, sunny (not humid) weather, we listened to our guide explain how Boston Harbor came to be, about the first people who settled here, and how much has changed in the past 384 years! We got to cruise by the USS Constitution and had the extra bonus of seeing up-close and personal the Charles W Morgan - the last wooden whaling vessel in the US and the oldest whaling vessel still afloat in the world. The Charles W Morgan usually lives in Mystic Seaport but happens to be visiting Boston this summer.
We ended the afternoon like any summer tourists - with an ice cream cone on the wharf. All agreed Boston is a great city to visit!
Sandy Slavet is the Director of Jewish Life Services for People with Disabilities. Sandy works with CHAI and CHAI Works participants providing social, educational, and Jewish programs including Shabbat and Jewish holiday celebrations as well as participation in community activities at local synagogues and other community locations. She also leads several social programs for adults with disabilities including Chaverim Shel Shalom, Chaverim Chaim (Friends for Life), and Jewish Signers of Massachsetts. Before coming to JF&CS in 2001, Sandy was an ASL Interpreter in private practice. Sandy is active in many community organizations and is an active member of her synagogue. Most importantly, she and her husband, Joe, have four wonderful daughters; her youngest daughter, Marie, is a beautiful 26-year-old who happens to have Down Syndrome.