Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #8, Kupot Cholim to The Rescue!

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

Unlike in restaurants and other places of business, I've never been questioned when entering a Kupat Cholim, Sick Fund Clinic. I've never seen a sign saying "for patrons only." The guards just take a quick look at my bag and never comment about the shortness of the time I spent in the building, if they've even noticed.

I'm not even going to mention the names of the various Kupot Cholim, Sick Funds, since if you really need the WC, you don't have to prove membership. There are clinics all over the place, and they all have relatively well-equipped public toilets.

Just look around, and you'll see the icons for toilets. I've always found them close to the entrance. And while you're there, you can have water, which is also easily available in most. Be glad that you're visiting the clinic for something as healthy, normal and benign as a pit stop.

In private clinics, there is usually some receptionist who asks what you're in for. But I've never been asked anything in these public clinics, and I've always found the toilets relatively clean and orderly.

Enjoy in good health!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Photo Experiment on My Virus "Cure"

Let's "kill two birds with one stone" as the saying goes...

  • this is a health post, a natural health cure
  • experimenting with simple settings on my camera, Canon IXUS 145
For years I've been using a very simple "cure" for "colds" and other viral annoyances. I drink water, tap-room temperature, that has freshly squeezed lemon juice added. Yesterday, I, davka, added another simple natural ingredient, a bit of fresh ginger. And since then my "scratchy, then painful throat has softened into a runny nose, but my hip now hurts a bit. Actually it hurts less now than earlier in the day. And Gd willing this little "virus" will soon be gone. 

Now for the photo experiment. 

no flash
1/50 sec. f/3.2 5mm, ISO 800
flash fired
1/60 sec. f/3.2 5mm, ISO 125
Slow Sync flash mode
1/10 sec. f/9 5mm, ISO 500
These photos are totally untouched, unedited, not even cropped. So you can see that I was the same distance from the glass mug when I shot the pictures. All three were done at the sametime, with barely seconds between them. All adjustments were done automatically by the camera. All I did was choose the flash mode from none, flash and slow sync.

Which do you like better? 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Finally Checked Out The "New" Store in Shiloh

A few years ago, honestly, I haven't a clue as to how long ago, a fruit and vegetable store opened in the Shiloh Industrial Zone which is over a kilometer from my house. It's on the way to the Shiloh Junction. The Shiloh Industrial Zone has all sorts of businesses, small factories and offices. It's also the location of the Meshek Achiya Olive Oil production. For those with cars, it's very convenient, but for us, it isn't. I don't mind walking down to it, though walking up is quite an effort, since when I say "up," I mean UP!

Since my husband goes to the shuq, the Machane Yehuda open market a couple of times a week, we really don't need to patronize a local greengrocer. I also buy some fruit and vegetables in Rami Levy Discount Supermarket. And until about a month ago, when stuck especially for potatoes and onions, we'd go to a small greengrocer which was next to the regular large makolet/grocery. But that small convenient store finally closed.

Yesterday I needed to buy fruit, so I decided to go down and check out this new store. Well, I discovered something very surprising. It has become enormous and sells a lot more than onions and apples. 

Apparently, it has been expanding. It is really has lots of different foods and other things as you can see in the photos.

And the transportation wasn't all that complicated. I got a ride down, after walking less than a quarter of the way. And there were plenty of people who offered me rides up.  It's nice to know there's another option when necessary. And the fruits and vegetables were nothing special, but that's more because it was just after Shabbat and on the Eve of Simchat Torah. No store could offer any great selection and quality yesterday.

No doubt I'll be checking it out again.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dawn! Transition! Something New, Gd Willing!!

I love dawn! It's the most beautiful time of the day. The colors change so quickly from dark to bright orangey, yellow then blue lights. 

One of my favorite "dawn memories" is sitting by our glass-paned mirpeset/terrace door which faced east, watching the sunrise with all the glorious colors as I nursed my firstborn. That was the dawn of my being a new mother.

And this week, this morning looking at the dawn I'm reminded that I will be transitioning yet again... News to follow, Gd willing.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Reflecting on This Succot

This year during Succot I've been rather distracted by other things going on, and we haven't had many guests at all.

I was definitely one of those expecting winter weather this Succot considering how late in the solar year, but summer has been very slowly fading, and the rain hasn't fallen.  Even though it's chilly at night and early morning, the weather is dry and hot during the day.

This Succot I really didn't do anything very special besides going down to Shiloh Hakeduam, Tel Shiloh and doing my sales job in Yafiz. The highlight was a family get-together and then spending Shabbat with our daughter and her family in Ofra.

I haven't bought any citrus fruit yet, because they don't get sweet until the rains fall. Artifical irrigation does not provide the same exact nutrients and flavors to the fruits and vegetables as rain. Apparently not all water is the same.

This is the holiday of transition, which is why we are supposed to live in our succah. And I'm also in transmission mode. More to follow.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Why Do I Still Make Those Irresistible 1, 2, 3 Cookies?

The other night I made two batches of my 1, 2, 3 cookies, oatmeal and chocolate chips. I used to make them a couple a times a month. That's when my kids were young and living at home. I'd keep them fresh in metal cookie tins. And yes, they do stay fresh and delicious for a few weeks, if nobody eats them. That's because they only have three basic ingredients:

  • 1 part (by weight) sugar
  • 2 parts margarine
  • 3 parts flour
And you can then add cinnamon, vanilla or chocolate chips or nuts or seed or whatever...

  • Just melt the margarine
  • mix all the ingredients
  • spread on the baking pan lined with baking paper
  • bake in medium oven, like for a cake until slightly brown
  • take out, cut and cool, and you're in for a treat
The oatmeal version takes a bit more skill, since you need less oats than flour or it's too dry. I combine some oats and flour (and also some cinnamon) and just can't tell you exactly how much. Al I can say is that it always is delicious. 

Oh, and I use fine whole wheat flour and dark brown sugar, so how can it be bad? And when in doubt, a bit more sugar... 

And to answer my question. Why do I make them when they always tempt me to eat them? Irresistible is an under-exaggeration.  My kids still love them, so I make the cookies for special family occasions. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sounds like 52Frames!

This week's theme/challenge on 52Frames was Sound. I ended up going for the household kind of sound. If you like this photo, then please click its title and like it on facebook, thanks.

"Listen to the Spin"
Even the quietest of washing machines makes noise as it spins. This is probably the most silent washing machine I've ever had. Our previous washing machines could've be used as alarm clocks if they had timers. Yes, it's almost like Science Fiction that this one can be set to finish its final spin cycle in the morning, or whenever I decide... Never could I have imagined such an amazing invention. 
I had to do a lot of laundry the week this photo had to be shot, because it was just before the Succot Holiday, when the custom is not to do unnecessary milachot-a certain type of reality-changing work, even on chol hamoed, the "intermediate days" those between Succot-strict holy day and Simchat Torah. So now that it's decades after I've had to launder diapers, and over a decade since my sons are in army uniform visiting home, I do try to take a holiday from the laundry chore. So, I was hearing that gentle buzz of a spin quite a bit last week. Can you hear the spin?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Great Succot Fun at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh

This afternoon I walked down the hill to Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh to see this year's Succot extravaganza. Each year it's different, so even if you've gone before, you won't be bored.

But before I tell you more, I'd like to remind the women out there that Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan is very soon. Here's the information about our Women's Rosh Prayers there:

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, 
Tel Shiloh 
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, 5777
Tuesday November 1, 2016
30th of Tishrei, 5777, 8:30am
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh
Tour of Tel Shiloh
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors.

תפילת נשים ראש חודש חשון
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ג' 1-11-2016  ל' תשרי, תשע"ז 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

The first thing I noticed when I entered the area of the Shiloh Succot Festival was a beautifully decorated stage and show for kids and hundreds of children (and their parents) watching mesmerized.

There used to just be "street theater" mostly by lone actors aka "one man shows," at various locations around the Tel's various archaeological sites of interest. There still are a few of those, plus "guides" at a number of places who are supposed to engage the visitor with interesting and helpful information.

Now instead of lots of crafts, there are also games for the kids to play.

And you can also play at being an archeologist at a "dig."

You can still attend today and tomorrow. Click here for more information!

And of course there are succot to eat in and easy to find or organize Mincha minyan.

Remember that Shiloh Hakeduma is open six days a week, just not on Shabbat. Contact them at Tel Shiloh or on their facebook page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nice Strong Coffee From a Friend

Strong coffee from friend
nice, dark and very tasty
with sugar and milk

The friend who was with me when I bought that very disappointing coffee in the shuq was so horrified at the high price, she got me some American coffee that is so strong I need less in the French Press, so it will last longer than even Folgers. It's Italian Roast from a company called freshdirect. Apparently, not only do they have a good coffee selection, they also have lots of kosher food.

The coarseness/grinding of the coffee suits my French Press, which plunged easily. Sometimes, it gets stuck, even though I always give it a good stir beforehand.

This coffee cost just under $11 a pound, which is about NS42. The coffee I bought in Jerusalem was NS12, $3.14 for 100 grams. There are 453 grams to a pound, so if I had bought a pound of the Israeli coffee it would have cost me NS54, if I got it right. But even if it's not all that much more money, the coffee wasn't great.

And, no, I'm not enough of a coffee snob to add bean-grinding to my daily chores. When in New York I stay with people who have a very advanced electric coffeemaker that not only grinds the beans and brews the coffee, but it's on a timer, so it gets done for them rather effortlessly. All they have to do is to set it up the night before.

What I really wanted to blog about this morning was to ask if you take sugar with your coffee or not. Nu, do you?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Freeze The Action for 52Frames

I will be perfectly honest. I really can't believe I managed to shoot drops of water. Take a look if you don't believe me!

"Good to The Last Drop"
Watering the garden herbs. I took these cuttings from my daughter's garden just last week, and already I've forgotten to water them enough.
OK, maybe drops of water isn't quite the "action" great photographers aim at, but that shot seemed a lot better than the others of streaming water going into the plants. And in all honesty, it was pretty hard to pour and shoot simultaneously. What I don't do for 52Frames...

Apparently, a lot of people did photograph water and drops. This may not have been a popular photo, but I did my best...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Coffee Secret Most Don't Know...

As I hinted in last night's blog post, Coffee Kapora..., there's a coffee making technique, the easiest that nobody or almost nobody knows. It makes even simple Cold Brew look complicated. For cold brew, you do need a bit of equipment, the French Press or some sort of filter. Though you don't need boiling water.

If you want some quick cold coffee, all you need is water and any instant coffee. I've done this here and in the states with all sorts of instant coffees.

You need more than that. Just add the instant to your water and stir a bit. I've been amazed at how quickly I have coffee. Then I add my sugar and milk. Yes, there are time when even a coffee snob like myself must be realistic and compromise.

When I need to drink some coffee in the morning, and this is all that is available, then I just make it and drink it very happily. As it is written in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers:
Who is rich? One who is happy with what he has.
So, enjoy, and don't cry over spilled coffee...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Coffee Kapora...

As you all know, I've been making my Shabbat coffee in advance when I'm hankering for cold coffee Shabbat morning. Yesterday, Friday morning, I perked a nice big pot of coffee, let it cool and it filled two jars, one to the top, and the other a bit less. I knew that would give me more than enough coffee for Shabbat and figured I could drink the rest tomorrow morning/Monday.

So I started with the less full jar and had a nice mug full which perked me up and poured the rest into the mug for my second, but there wasn't enough. So I took out the other jar from the bottom shelf of the door, and somehow it just slipped out of my hand and dropped just a few inches, and... you guess it... crash!

It was all over the floor, my nice strong, delicious perk-me-up coffee... Splash! So, I mopped it all up, best as I could, and very carefully collected the glass and placed it all in the garbage and the pail of wet things to be laundered, and made do with a different sort of coffee, which I'll blog about tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned...

Friday, October 14, 2016

A New "Toy" From Work, Holiday Gift

In the almost six years I've worked at Yafiz, part of the Rami Levy discount supermarket chain, in Sha'ar Binyamin, I've rarely liked or use or kept the holiday gifts they give twice a year, before Rosh Hashana and Passover. Sometimes I beg my kids to take them, and last Passover I donated it, a good quality cooking pan, to a charity for young couples who don't have the money to buy what they need.

But this time, for Rosh Hashanah, they gave something I didn't have and should have, a simple vacuum cleaner. It's a Sauter Power Stick, but strangely I can't find any mention of it on the internet. I had been counting on that for English instructions...

Many years ago, I had a vacuum cleaner; I don't remember who brought it from America. It was either my mother or mother-in-law. They probably hoped it would make me a better housekeeper. I am one of the world's worst. OK I wouldn't win first prize, just honorable mention... I hardly used it, since I was always afraid that it would gobble up something of value. It's one of those things that ended up in the attic and died a miserable death, like being locked in a tomb.

My husband photographed me unpacking and unwrapping it.

After taking a quick look at the parts, I easily managed to put them together without trying to figure out the instructions, which seemed a lot more difficult.

And then I did some vacuuming...

I'm glad to see that instead of the old bags, this has a plastic container that gets emptied periodically. If anyone knows more about this "toy," please let me know in the comments, thanks.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

How Can I Report This?

The other day when I was walking from the bus stop at the First Station, the old Jerusalem Train Station which has become a lovely activity, leisure place with restaurants and more, on my way to my husband's office in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, I found myself being forced to walk on the busy road because of a truck parked on the sidewalk.

I really felt in danger, since it's a very busy road with buses, cars, trucks etc. so I took those photos. I figured that if Gd forbid something happened to me in my attempt to walk down the street, the camera's memory card would survive. I needed to be on that side of the street, and I was in a rush, so walking back and looking for a place to cross the street and then crossing back just didn't seem very practical. Thank Gd, as I walked, cars stopped for me to pass the truck and get back on the sidewalk.

My greatest danger ended up being the driver who returned to the truck just as I took these pictures. He wasn't a happy camper and kept yelling at me. That really frightened me. So I got to the Begin Center as quickly as I could and hoped and prayed that he was far away when I exited and waited for my next bus.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Those "24 Hour" Candles, Warning

In pretty much all traditional and fully Torah observant Jewish homes, you're bound to find "24 Hour" Candles, which are needed on certain holidays and when observing Yartzeits, anniversaries of deaths. When I was growing up these 24 hour candles were in glasses, which were always washed out well after the candle burnt out. And those became our drinking glasses. Nowadays, at least in Israel, the 24 hour candles are in metal cups.

For a number of years already, many people I know have been noticing that instead of the 25 hours or more they used to stay lit and be needed, nowadays, they don't last even twenty-four 24 hours.

To be honest, twenty-four 24 hours are not enough for some purposes. They really need to stay lit for twenty-five 25 hours. That's because if you have it lit on Rosh Hashanah in order to light the second night, that's twenty-five 25 hours after being lit. If there's no light/fire, one can't light the Holy Day candles. In my neighborhood, we've all come to each other's house in a panic looking for a light/fire to light from. And then we have to very carefully go from house to house with the lit candle to be used to light another. Sometimes, because we were too young to think of having Yartzeit candles in our homes, and the logistics of getting everything ready we'd forget, but more often, we lit, but the candle didn't stay lit long enough.

The candle needs to be still going strong after twenty-five hours for Yom Kippur, too, since it's traditional to light the Havdalah candle from a burning flame, lit before the fast/holiday.

For years already, I've been using candles that say 48 or 72 hours because of this problem. Before the Yom Kippur fast began, just seconds before lighting the holiday candles, like for Shabbat, I lit two different  Yartzeit candles. One was one of those 24 hour ones, and the other a 48 (actually 50 according to the label) hour one. I'm sure you're not surprised that only one of them was still lit when we came home from shul. And in case you don't know, our shul is just behind the house, so we didn't need to travel or take a long walk.

A neighbor had asked to come for  Havdala, since her candle had gone out pretty early. She said that many others had complained to the company and never received replies. So after we ate, I decided to blog about the issue and the suggesting that people do what I do and get longer-lasting candles. To do this I took some photos of the candles. And what do you think I discovered?

Not only don't the candle manufacturers attempt to give you enough wax for the needed 25 hours, which was once the norm, they now protect themselves by writing on the can in Hebrew and English:
"Burns About 24 Hours"
Next time you're buying, check to see what it is. They sure don't make 'em like they used to...