Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sandwich Spreads, Be Creative

Those of you who have f2f'ed my husband recently must have noticed that he has been shrinking, width-wise.  Yes, he, too, has changed his way of eating and is dieting.  Just after the doctor sent him off to the dietician for instructions, we had a friend over for Shabbat who gave us the best advice possible.  He told me that it was my job to prepare all of my husband's food.

So, now, I have to provide my husband with his "food for the day," so he's never tempted to buy a pizza or pig-out on cakes, cookies etc.  When he leaves early in the morning, for about twelve or more hours, I send him with a yogurt, two fruits and two "diet" sandwiches.  When he gets home, he has a full dinner of protein, vegetables, starch and salad.

The sandwiches can be filled with things as simple as avocado or even peanut butter. But sometimes I get creative, like this morning.  I mashed up a hard-boiled egg with a spoon of sesame paste and a spoon of "grilled" eggplant from a jar.  This is much better than using mayonnaise.  It's healthier and tastier.  I then wrapped the sandwiches separately in clear plastic. 

All this takes no more than a few minutes. 

My meals to go are more complicated, because I don't eat bread/carbohydrates.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Hour Less of Sleep

Thursday night, we in Israel are turning the clock ahead, which means one less hour of sleep, unless you sleep "late," which was "on time" just a day ago.

I really don't like Daylight Savings Time.  It's more like Can't Fall Asleep on Time Time.  I remember struggling to get my kids to bed when the clock said bedtime, but the sun said playtime.

Some of us find ourselves suffering a mild form of jetlag without the fun of traveling.

On one hand the longer pre-Shabbat Friday is a joy, but we pay for it with less time to sleep at night.

The easiest way to survive it is just to jump into the "deep water" and force yourself to adjust to the time change.  Or do you have any better ideas?

The hardest day will be Shabbat morning, so soon after the change and no alarm to help me wake up.

Sad News From Mother in Israel

Hannah's father, Dr. Ben Zion Wacholder, passed away.

All sorts of people all from over the world are sending their condolences via blog comments, facebook etc.  It's the positive power of the internet and social media.

HaMakom y'nachem...
May G-d comfort the mourners...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm So Lucky; G-d Is Good

I am very thankful to G-d.

A lot of my traveling and logistics are triumphs of split second decisions and timing and even more the goodness  of others for which I thank G-d.

We don't have a car, never did.  I used to drive but haven't for almost 29 years.

We believe in the importance of public transportation.  This is supplemented by חסד chessed, the goodness and generosity of other people.

One of the things that contributed to my "burn-out" when teaching in Beit El was that it's a difficult place to get to from Shiloh and even harder to get out of if you need to go in the direction of Shiloh.  Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin is much easier in that respect, although there are shifts which do make me nervous about "how I'll get home..."

Last night was one of those...
I had the late shift.  At first I wasn't worried, since there was someone there who had given me rides in the past.  But just to be safe, I checked with him, asking if he had his car.  Negative, no, that's right, no ride.  He was expecting to tremp home. That put me in a nervous mood, hard to concentrate.  I did my best to work, but I was distracted with worry.

A couple of hours before my shift was to end, someone who lives near me offered a ride home, but I had to decline.  As the end of the shift got closer I got more nervous.  I hadn't seen a single familiar face from home in Rami Levi.  I spoke to the guard asking if he knew of anyone to Ofra--zero, nada.

I had visions of myself on the bus stop bench all night.  But then on the other hand I knew that it would be fine.  G-d has been very good to me since working in Yafiz. I've always had a relatively easy trip home.  I got back to work, trying to distract myself from worry.

Suddenly I saw a familiar face at the other end of the store.  Yes, a neighbor had stopped in on her way home.

G-d is good!!

Being A "Real Granny/Bubby/Savta"

My tendency is to be too strict and health conscious.  I raised my kids without rewarding, bribing etc. with cakes, cookies, candies and chocolate.  OK that's besides using some treats to bribe my oldest through the last stage of toilet training.  (I'll blog that story if you ask nicely.)

My married daughter, the mother of my grandchildren, always tells me that I should be giving them all sorts of goodies, like a real savta, and not be "me." 

It's not that easy.  I wasn't raised with that sort of grandmother or aunts or anyone.  My kids had their saba and savta, my husband's parents, who loved giving them things that davka they knew and stressed I didn't approve of.

This past Saturday night after Shabbat, when the kids were still here, I was informed that the now six year old expected a "birthday party."  I had given her gifts weeks ago, and they and two of my other kids had been over for Purim.  I wasn't prepared for a party, but I had an idea.

Friday afternoon some local kids delivered two rather flat, pathetic looking, but chocolate, cupcakes in honor of "Youth Shabbat."  Nobody had touched them on Shabbat. I set them on a plate, cut them each in half for the three kids, put out napkins and brought the colored sprinkles out of the pantry.  The party activity was to "decorate" the little minicakes, which the kids did very enthusiastically.  As expected, they ate more sprinkles than cake and were still hungry.  So I took out their favorite flavored yogurts and told them to sprinkle them, too.  That was a big success!  They requested seconds and seconds they got.

My daughter was proud of me.  I actually gave the kids junk food.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Unofficial "Reading Glasses G'mach," Lending Service

Just as I was about to light Shabbat candles last Friday night, there was a knock on the door.  It was a neighbor with her guest.  Very apologetically they explained that the guest had forgotten to bring her reading glasses.
"...and how can one spend a Shabbat without reading?"
My neighbor was pretty sure that I, being of that age, was sure to have an extra pair.  Among a number of friends it's well-known that I lend out reading glasses.  One friend who is a frequent Shabbat guest knows that she doesn't need to bring hers, because she can always borrow one of mine.  Another friend has called to borrow some when hers were broken or couldn't be found.

I was very happy to help out these friends.  But I just couldn't find the usual ones I lend out.  So I gave her my full-frame ones normally used for the den computer, the second pair I ever bought which are about fifteen years old.  I even provided a box.

Then a few minutes later there was another knock on the door.  Very, very apologetically, the same two were upset to tell me that when cleaning the glasses the frame had broken.
"No big deal.  These are very old." I replied.  "I'll find you some others."
First I found a broken pair, just missing one of the parts that goes over the ear.  Then suddenly I saw the usual lenders in their box.  I had bought them just for these sorts of emergencies and cost less than NS10- under $3-.

Maybe I'll take the old ones to my optician to see if they can be repaired.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Simplifying Passover Cleaning

Yes, post-Purim, it's that time of the year again.  Although the weather makes us pine for spring cleaning, Passover cleaning does not have to be so vigorous and all encompassing.

Unless you eat in your bedrooms or store food there, you don't have to take apart the beds.

Unless you eat off your windows, they really don't have to be cleaned, nor do the curtains have to be laundered.

If I were to open and shake out all the books in this house, I'd be busy for a decade.

I do have to clean very thoroughly the entire kitchen.  And I do have to go through all of my pocketbooks and backpacks, since I frequently take food along with me when traveling.

When cleaning bathtubs and tiles, I use a long-handled brush to apply cleansers.

What are your tips?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lots More Than The Hora, Israeli Folk Dance

Israeli Folk Dance was one of my great loves.  Of all the types of dancing-and I've studied most-it's among the greatest.  It competes well with the dancing you see in shows and movies, like Brigadoon and West Side Story. 

I learned my first couple of dances in the mid-1950's in Oakland Jewish Center, Bayside, NY.  If I'm not mistaken they were "Shavti Mayim," "V'David Yefe Einayim" and "Haveinu Shalom Alechem."

Later on I became known as an expert in dancing and teaching.  In NCSY I was taught a lot of dances by the late Leah Weiner, ZaTz"LIt's Leah's yartzeit today the 22nd of Adar, so let this article be l'ilu'i nishmata, to uplift her soul.

Leah established the NCSY Dance Group.  If I'm not mistaken they first appeared in Fred Berk's Israeli Folk Dance Festival in 1966.  They were a very unlikely group of "dancers," and with her legendary charisma and enthusiasm she got them into shape for the big show.  I was part of her second try.  We performed in the 1967 Festival and also danced as part of the NCSY delegation of the 1967 Salute to Israel Parade.

Years later when we met up again in Israel, she introduced me to people as her protégé`.  During my first year in Stern College, my friend Debbie Klaff (today Dan) and I took Fred Berk's Leadership and Choreography Course.   In 1969 I took over the group.  I was responsible for the NCSY Israeli Folk Dance Group and our performances in the 1969 and 1970 Israeli Folk Dance Festivals.

The festivals and the parade were the highlights of the year for us Zionists and Jewish activists.

I'm a dancer by nature.  Music has a strong effect on me.  I was very lucky to have known and learned from Leah and to have been a student of Fred Berk (and Alan Wayne whose dance movement classes I took around the same time.)

Play the right music from my past and my body will think it's twenty again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Death, Eclipsed by More Important News

In a sense it wasn't really fair to Elizabeth Taylor that G-d took her body when there was so much more important news for the media to report.

This was a woman who always took center stage, even when in a minor role.

If there will be a film made of her life, is there anyone who can pull off playing Elizabeth Taylor?  As the old icons die off, none of the younger stars have the same power.

T'hillim, Psalms List for Injured in Jerusalem Terror Attack

This was sent to me by email, and there are probably mistakes. It may already be in need of updating. If anyone has more recent or exact information, please send it in the comments. Thanks

Please Daven for the victims of yesterday’s bombing:

Odelia Nechama bat Michal - suffered serious head injuries and is in intensive care. Her life is still in danger.

Natan Daniel ben Shulamit - a 17-year-old suffered massive internal injuries and has had internal organs removed.

Leah Bracha bat Shoshana - is a 19-year-old seminary student. She suffered burns to her legs and arms as well as serious shock.

David Amoyal - David is the owner of the snack stand next to the bus stop. He told everyone to run away and then called the police, and was on the phone with them when the bomb exploded. He suffered injuries to his legs and feet and lower body. He is in moderate condition.

Sasson ben Shulamit - This is the second time Sasson has been injured in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. He suffered lower body injuries and serious post-traumatic symptoms.

Ad Shapira - Ad is 18 years old and just about to complete high school. She suffered light orthopedic injuries and is in good condition in hospital.

Shilo ben Ofra - Shilo is 15 years old, and suffered burns and fractures to his legs and lower abdomen. He is sedated in intensive care.

Daniel ben Nurit - Daniel is 13 years old, and suffered lacerations and shrapnel injuries to his lower extremities, and is likely to be released from the hospital before Shabbat.

Elchanan ben Alona - Elchanan is 14 years old, and suffered serious injuries to his feet. One ankle and three of his toes were crushed. He has had one operation and will require more surgery. He will likely be in the hospital at least 2-3 weeks.

Netanel ben Shlomit - Netanel is 18 years old and works as a security guard at the bus station. He was injured in the abdomen had surgery. He is now recuperating in the hospital.

בתוך שער חולי ישראל

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Feel Fat

OK, a dumb kvetchy title, sorry.  But I do feel fat.  I don't get enough exercise and I may be eating too much.  It's hard to control my days and weeks.

But my regular sized clothes still fit.  And just the other day some friends, the rest of the older staff members, told me that I had a great figure, tiny waist etc.  So maybe this feeling is more from the winter woes.  In theory I love the rain, because I know it's important, but I need light.  And I need to take walks.  So last night when I was about to take a nice needed walk, I discovered that it was raining, so I washed the bedroom floors.  I need the exercise.

I guess I'm also depressed about having to clean for Pesach.  I hate cleaning.  You see, I'm not that sort of baleboosteh.  I'm lazy, a slob etc sort of.

OK, just a couple of more things on the computer and then I'll wash dishes and go to sleep.  OK?  Sorry for the rants and kvetching.

Pizza Dough, Even if You Don't Know How to "Spin It" and You Don't Have a Rolling Pin

The kids came for Purim, second day-Shushan Purim.  I let them choose the menu.  They wanted pizza and I hadn't made it for years.  I had forgotten my old recipe.  My married daughter said that her husband has a tnt-tried and true pizza recipe for the dough.

Here's what she sent:
20גר שמרים טריים
או 2 כפיות שמרים יבשים
1ושליש כוסות מים חמימים
אחד כפית סוכר
2 כפות שמן זית
500קמח מנופה גר
כפית מלח
Translated that's:
20 grams fresh yeast
or 2 Tablespoons of dehydrated yeast
1 1/3 cups of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
500 grams of sifted flour
1 teaspoon of salt
I doubled the recipe and accidentally used a Tablespoon for the sugar and intentionally less salt than indicated. 

Eventually, I got the dough to a kneadable state.  I kneaded it and let it rise.  Then I found myself in big trouble.  My rolling pin had been thrown out.  How was I going to spread out the dough on the baking pan?  I certainly don't know how to spin pizza dough.

So, I took out a simple glass, pressed gently, as not to add blood to the recipe and the emergency room to the itinerary.  And it really did work.  I ended up with nice flat pizzas.

Can't you see?

The two large ones were topped with homemade tomato sauce (recipe to follow on this page, and if you want the microwave version it's here) and grated cheese, and my daughter topped the others with what her kids like, plain cheese, olive oil etc.

Photos by my husband.

Very Easy Homemade Tomato Paste
  • tomato paste or concentrate
  • cut up onion
  • garlic either fresh or whatever's in the closet/pantry
  • oregano
  • oil, any type (I've always cooked with plain ordinary Israeli soy oil except on Passover, when I use olive oil)
  • boiling water
Now:
  1. put water up to boil
  2. start sautéing the onion (and fresh garlic)
  3. add tomato paste and some boiling water to get the right sauce consistency
  4. add the oregano (and dried garlic powder)
  5. let it simmer for a few minutes
Yes, that's it!  If you want you can add salt, but I don't.  You can also add other vegetables, like mushrooms.  Whatever you want.  This is the basis for meatballs and all sorts of foods you want to serve with tomato sauce.  It's really so simple to make. I don't understand why people buy the ready-made.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And the Phones Start Ringing

Baruch Dayan Ha'emet for the woman who was killed in the Arab terror attack.  HaMakom y'nachem, May G-d Comfort her family and friends.  Refuah shleimah, a complete healing to all the injured.

Whenever there's a terror attack or some other emergency, the phone calls begin as everyone calls to check that their near and dear are safe and sound.  That is how I heard about this explosion. My daughter called to ask where I was.  When I said "home" she was relieved.  I asked why, and she told me.

Quick and Kosher, My Take on The New Cookbook

I don't know why it has taken me so long to review Jamie Geller's new Quick & Kosher Cookbook-Meals in Minutes.  The cookbook is impressive in its production, and there really are some great things about it.  The illustrations are gorgeous and the instructions are very clear.  The food looks amazingly tempting, and I've gotten a lot of good ideas from it.

Before I go any further, I'd like to remind you if you don't know anything about Geller is that she works for kosher.com, and her book does promote its products.  I live in Israel, and I don't order food by internet, so I have to look at the recipes in terms of how to cook them with my local products.

One of the important lessons I've learned from the book,  which is very different from my own cooking style, is that to speed things up you can combine all sorts of ready-made products.  Honestly, the only ready-made "food" stocked in my house/pantry is catsup.  I've always made my own tomato sauce, and my soups are totally from scratch.

The recipe I find most tempting, Stacked Eggplant Rounds, isn't on her sample page. I'll have to try it.

One short comment suggestion I have is that as a kosher cookbook, it should have icon/indications labeling, meat, dairy, parve and ways of turning a dairy recipe into parve etc. It's also  important, because today there's more awareness of food allergies. Some people are lactose intolerant, celiac etc.

Here's Jamie to tell you more:


Quick and Kosher-Meals in Minutes is by Feldheim Books and here's information on ordering it.  Yes, I certainly consider it a good cookbook.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Great New Pesach Video, Not Quite The Family of Your Dreams



Benji Lovitt co-stars in it. I got it from his facebook status, whatever.

I'm pretty tired after two days of eating what I shouldn't have and a long hard day at work. Sleep seems like a good idea.

Another Generation of Readers

One thing we have in this house is books. If my husband had his way the wall space over the windows would be lined with bookshelves and the pictures taken off the walls and replaced with bookshelves. I've vetoes all those proposals. It's enough that we have floor to ceiling bookshelves on two (the longer two) walls of the den and lots and lots more in the livingroom.

I, too, love to read, but I don't collect or perish the thought buy books.  Our daughters love to read, and our sons, even with their various dyslexia and dysgraphia have found their ways to the written word. So we'd been waiting to see how the next generation would take to books. 

B"H, thank G-d, the eldest granddaughter began to read chapter books as soon as she could read fluently in the first grade.  Now towards the end of the second grade nothing holds her back.  Yesterday my kids searched the attic for treasures, their childhood library and within minutes of bringing the box down she was reading a very serious children's book for kids older than her age.

It's always good precedent when the first-born is a reader, and thank G-d that's what we have here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

PP, Post-Purim... Do You Know What That Means?

A couple of hours ago, I took off my wig and put on a tichel.  Purim had ended, all two days of it here in Shiloh.  I had eaten more than I should have, but less than I could have.  I didn't pig-out on cake, cookies or chocolate.  My weakness was simple whole wheat bread (homemade,) and I didn't eat as much as I once would have.  I had a couple of bites of candy, but I threw them away before I could finish.

My visiting kids were happy to take home all temptation.  I feel like I've just scrubbed the kitchen for Passover, but I haven't done that yet.  I have three and a half weeks for that job.  My married daughter may not like it, but I'd rather not entertain them for a Shabbat until Passover.  I must start cleaning the house... room by room.  I'm awful and cleaning.  I don't do a good job and I rarely get a feeling of joy and satisfaction.  The perfect balaboosteh I'm not.  I enjoy cooking, but only my sort of simple stuff.  Simple can be delicious, too.

Now I must go seriously into emptying the freezer.  Who should be our lucky guests next Shabbat?  I have to get rid of all sorts of things we won't be eating.  Some of them are foods that were bought before my husband began his diet.  I haven't bought pasta for over four months.  He eats so little of it now.  A package lasts for weeks instead of a meal and a half.

A lot of the cleaning we do for Passover is not really Pesach cleaning.  It's spring cleaning.  Some people always have a nice clean and sparking house.  And some of us don't reach their level of "clean" even as we do the Bidikat Chametz, the ritual searach for forbidden chametz the night before the Seder.

I don't know how I got on to the tangent about Passover.  All I had planned on writing was that after changing my hair-covering, I took a walk, a well-needed one, a double circuit around the neighborhood, maybe two and a half kilometers, or a mile and a half.  I certainly need the exercise.  Even though it was already dark and Purim was over, there were a few families still singing and feasting.

Now to do my Al HaPerek preparations for my chevruta, study group.

Mishloach Manot From G-d

Last night when I opened the door to go to Megillah reading #3, I suddenly saw that it was raining.  It was a very gentle rain and I hadn't heard it.  I quickly grabbed an umbrella and walked down the hill* to the neighbors, where I really like the reading.

Rain is a gift from G-d, so does that make it Mishloach Manot, Purim food gifts?  Sure, why not?

The other day I had to take a detour, and there I discovered more gifts, beautiful flowers:




If I hadn't been forced to take that detour, I never would have seen those spring flowers.

*And when the megilla reading was over, the rain was much stronger, but unlike the previous readings, this time a neighbor from my neighborhood with a car was also there.  So I had a ride home.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"I Don't Need Everything I Want"

Today This morning, immediately after hearing Megilat Ester, I went to the grocery store.  There were just a few things that I needed.  A friend from my street was just ahead of me and offered me a ride home, which I happily accepted.  I had just finished checking out when I realized that I had forgotten something.  I rushed all oer and couldn't find exactly what I wanted.

Then frustrated I ran out trying to catch my neighbor before she left.  As soon as I found her I said:
"I don't need everything I want."
"That's so brilliant," she replied.
And then I thought about it.  We run after more and more, just because we want it, not because we need it. 

Now, the funny thing is that I had sent my husand to buy some candies for Mishloach Manot, the little food packages we give out on Purim.  I had bought some candies, but for whatever reason, I felt the need for more.  And when I was getting everything ready to pack, I couldn't find the bag.  I've wasted too much time looking for that bag.  Then standing there in the store, I had realized that I was wasting time and money.  We'd manage just fine without more.

And now I'm going to tell you a "secret." 

Not only did we manage perfectly fine without that extra bag of candy, it's clear we already have too many candies to give out paired with the cakes I've baked.

We must stop saying and thinking "I want."  What's really most important is what we need.

Purim? Already?

I don't feel ready for Purim, though it started last night and lasts 48 hours here. I've already gone to one megillah reading. Three more to go.

There are a few ancient cities like Shiloh where for varous reasons the rabbis insist that there's something lacking in our history, so aren't fully fledged Shushan Purim celebrators, but for sure we should be, so they made up this nishta heen nishta hare status of two days. Regular Purim with brachot (blessings) and Shusan Purim with calories, costumes and... sore throats for the leiners, megilla readers.

And before the Purim spiel videos, here are some more serious Purim links:
Why was the Megillah named for Esther?

What Menachem Begin and King Achashverosh had in common






Have a truly joyous Purim, על הניסים Al HaNissim, For the miracles...
May they bring us to G-d's forgiveness and Redemption!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

No More Unlimited Free Views

The New York Times has decided to limit free access to 20 free articles a month, or 5 via search sites per day.  That's if I understand what they've written.

12. Can I still access NYTimes.com articles through Facebook, Twitter, search engines or my blog? Back to top .Yes. We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. When you visit NYTimes.com through a link from one of these channels, that article (or video, slide show, etc.) will count toward your monthly limit of 20 free articles, but you will still be able to view it even if you've already read your 20 free articles.

When you visit NYTimes.com by clicking links in search results, you'll have a daily limit of 5 free articles. This limit applies to the majority of search engines.

13. How can I keep track of how many articles I have read each month? Back to top .When you get close to your monthly limit, pop-up alerts will begin to appear at the bottom of pages you read on NYTimes.com. The alerts will tell you how many free articles remain in the current month. Note that the number of "remaining" articles does not include the article you're currently viewing; the current article counts as an "already read" article.
This will affect Shiloh Musings more than this blog, but it means that I'll be linking to other news sites.  The Jerusalem Post seems to have instituted a different way of making people pay.  Some articles are free and others aren't.

Now, I don't get paid for writing, blogging etc, so there's no budget to pay to link an article.  I'm doing them a favor when I link their articles.  Yes, I read more than I link, but that's obvious; I must check them out.  If I can't access the NY Times for free, I just won't read it.  I'll survive.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Breaking The Fast on The Run

Jewish Life has a number of fast days each year. I'm pretty lucky that I'm generally home on fast days and don't have to lead my normal life. OK, that's because my "normal life" is based at home and when I taught in a yeshiva high school, they didn't have English on fast days.

For me a fast day could go lazy and slowly. I'd spend the afternoon preparing vegetable soup (and pizza when the kids were living at home,) no stress at all. Then, davka, yesterday was Ta'anit Ester, the Fast of Esther and I had late shift at Yafiz. And to top it all off, it was Thursday, and I have cooking and cleaning to do on Thursday. How was I going to pull that off?

First of all, I psyched myself up on the possibility that I may have to break the fast early. Over the years, I've discovered that I do best breaking a fast on cooked foods, like a hearty vegetable soup. There was no way I could bring any of the versions of my tnt delicious vegetable soup with me to Yafiz. So I took out my old trusty frying pan (plus cover) and cut up:

  • onion
  • carrot
  • squash
As that began cooking with a bit of oil, I then added some cauliflower and just before turning it off I added a big chunk of cabbage. When it was cooked, but not too soft and mushy, I let it cool and then packed all the vegetables into plastic containers. I ended up with more than I'd usually take and needed two containers, which ended up absolutely perfect. For my protein I took some shelled walnuts. Nuts are my protein of choice for traveling or when I'm in a place where cooking kosher food is difficult. I also made sure that I had a bottle of water, a tea bag and special hot cup packed up.

I had one of those "gift of G-d" rides straight to Sha'ar Binyamin's Rami Levi, Yafiz when I was waiting for the bus, so I got there early. I tried to do a bit of shopping in Rami Levi, but I couldn't concentrate and decided to obey the rule:

Don't shop on an empty stomache!
There was nothing left to do but go to work, so I "signed in." After working with the customers for an hour or more, I felt that I was walking in circles and knew that the time had come to eat. I wasn't getting paid to wander around confused. My boss was very supportive and understanding:

"Eat already!"

So I sat down and ate the food in the smaller container, a couple of walnuts and drank some water. I didn't jump up immediately, because I wanted the food to reach my brain first. Then I felt fine, and after the fast was officially over, I ate the rest of my food, made myself tea and finished the water. Within a half an hour I felt "myself" and it was as if I had eaten normally the entire day.

Thank G-d I have an understanding boss and I've learned what's best for myself. Just like my dieting advice, the key is planning and preparation. As long as I have the right foods with me, I'm not tempted by what I shouldn't be eating.

Today is Friday, Erev Shabbat, lots to cook, clean and also pay a shiva call, (visit a mourner.)

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Same'ach

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fun Time at Yafiz

We've been having a big sale on all the winter clothes here at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin

-- HALF PRICE-50% OFF!





I don't know how much is left, but it has been great fun selling bags of clothes to people for bargain prices.  Now it's almost Purim, and that means that Passover and spring, soon summer are approaching really quickly.

The other part of the store is full of gorgeous new stock, and people are buying that, too.

Now, what should I buy for myself....?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baking? Do People Really Eat All the Purim Food?

I'm going to bake a few cakes for Purim's mishoach manot, the food gifts we give.  They will be in aluminum pans, so they'll be clean and there will be a better chance that someone will eat them.  Slices of cake generally just get dumped.

I also bought a couple of things to add.  I'm making very simple things.   I bought nice wrapping paper, too.

I have flour and chocaltae chips and fruit juice to use up.

I can't believe that I want the house kosher for Passover in just four weeks!

A Different Megillah

In a few days it will be Purim.  Most Jewish communities world-wide are commanded to listen to the Megillat Ester, Scroll of Esther twice, evening and morning of Purim.  It tells the story, giving background and history of the events and personalities we Jews have been commemorating for thousands of years.  Here in Shiloh, the Biblical one in the HolyLand, we have two days of Purim, so we have double all the commandments including hearing/reading the Megillat Ester.

But this post is about a different megillah, the Gantseh Megillah, a monthly round-up of articles about Jewish life from all over the world and all sorts of life styles.  Here's the March edition of the Gantseh Megillah for your reading pleasure.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friends for Life

How many of you have some friends you've known your entire life?  I have my cousin who lives in Israel and has been my friend forever.  And I have some other cousins with whom I'm still in contact in the states. 

But friends, non-relatives?  I only have some friends from high school, NCSY and Seminars. They are the people I've known the longest. 

An amazing thing is that there are a few of those, whom I met when we were in our teens, who also study in Matan.  And we're in some of the same courses.  That's pretty amazing.  We didn't plan it.  I wasn't even in touch with them until we found ourselves in the same place, studying the same things.

The summer when I was thirteen, my parents bought a house, so we moved very suddenly from Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, to Great Neck.  When that happened I lost contact with all but one of my old childhood friends.  In Great Neck I made new friends.

Then, when I was in my middle teens I made a major change in my life.  I became religious, a Torah observant Jew.  As my life-style changed, so did my social life, and again I found myself with different friends, except for the one who became religious with me and those who wanted to be active Jews in other ways.  After that I married and made aliyah with my husband.

My children have friends they've known since they were young children.  Today when I went to see my grandkids, my daughter's two best friends from childhood came over with some of their kids.  I'm friends with the elder generations there, too.  As I saw the kids playing together, I was happy to see the fruits of my friendships.  The grandparents of some of the little kids, I've known for forty years, and other grandparents I've known almost thirty years.

May all these friendships continue, G-d willing...

Pet Peeve, Sorry It's A Rant

I have no problem giving a neighbor milk when I have extra and they're in need.  As long as it's returned before I need more, and... as long as it's the same sort of milk we drink. 

We drink regular milk, not skimmed.  I find skimmed nauseating and unhealthy.  I've never adopted the theory that a couple of percent of milk fat is unhealthy.  On the contrary, I think that it's very healthy, and milk with the natural fats is much healthier.  There are more lactose intolerance problems from fat-free dairy products.  Many people whose bodies can't handle milk can eat butter without any repercussions.

I don't like processed foods, and industrial skimming of milk is definitely a "process."  In recent years, I've cut back almost totally on dairy products.  The only dairy product in my daily diet is milk in my coffee.  Here in Israel we have fewer manufactured food products with "hidden dairy."  It's not like in America or Europe.  Because of kashrut, Jewish Dietary Laws, we must know if there's dairy, because it's forbidden to eat dairy with meat and poultry. 

One of the points I'll have to make in my book review of Jamie Geller's Quick & Kosher (and any other kosher cookbook) is that it's not enough to tell the readers to buy rolls or breads or breakfast cereals or cookies/cakes etc. If they are to be used with meat, like hamburger rolls etc, they must be parve, not dairy.  When I was shopping with someone who doesn't keep kosher in the states, I kept having to say:
"No, not that bread; it's dairy."
Skimmed and fat-free dairy products don't keep as long as the fatty or natural ones.

Food for thought, my friends...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Too Busy

I'm starting to really feel tired.  If you've noticed, I'm posting less than before.  Frequently only once a day.  Nu, some of you may consider that  a lot.  I do post on Shiloh Musings at least once, sometimes twice.

I need sleep than I need blog posts...

Good night

Jamie Geller Cookbook Review-- Stay Tuned

This is a "pre-review," since I don't have time to do the book justice at this moment.

When I was at the Jerusalem International Book Fair a few weeks ago I spoke to a couple of people about my willingness to review books on my blogs.  One author promised to send me hers.  I even took a picture of her to use for it, but no book arrived.  At another stand, the publicist wasn't there, so I left my name and email.  He, davka, contacted me that very evening and sent me two packages from different publishers.  So I have lots of varied reading material.

Among the books are two cookbooks.  At first I thought that I'd review them together, but each is a very heavy fascinating volume, and they each deserve an individual review.  I chose Jamie Geller's Quick & Kosher to read first, because Hadassah, In the Pink, has mentioned her many times on facebook.  I figured that any friend of Hadassah's is a friend of mine...

I love the chattiness of the book.  Being Israeli for the past forty years and of a different generation, I'd never heard of Jamie Geller before I read Hadassah's references.  Then as I read the book, I noticed the commercialization, mentioning products by name, espcially kosher.com, which seemed very, very familiar.  Hadn't it hosted a Kosher Cooking Carnival? Good to know that I'm not all that senile, even at my advanced age.  kosher.com had hosted KCC #49, but I don't think that Geller posted it.

Just that you know, G-d willing, there will be a book review pretty soon...

A Busy Day, On With The Show

On a personal note, I had a very busy day.  I went to work in Yafiz. It was a quiet day.  We're rearranging the store, selling off the winter stock and putting in the spring/summer collection.

There was an undercurrent of sadness, due to the brutal murder of the Fogel family of Itamar.  But Arabs did come to the store, and they did do their shopping.  And other Arabs did go to work in Rami Levi.

And, yes, I did sell to Arabs and smiled to those who smiled nicely to me.

Working in sales is like being on the stage.  You get into the role like an actor.  And after a full shift selling, I went to Rimonim to tutor some high school students.  There, too, I put on my mask and smiled and joked and did my job. Teaching is theater.  It really is.

Between those two jobs, selling and teaching I'm a very busy actress.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Drought-Damaged Flowers

When my friends and I were at Tel Shiloh for Rosh Chodesh Adar 2 Women's Prayers, we noticed a new sort of flower.


It's a pink kalanit. We had never seen it in that color before.  But this isn't a good news flower, its unusual color is a defect caused by the hot dry weather at the wrong time.

I consider this almost albino kalanit as symbolic of the warm, sunny winter days mistakenly called "gorgeous."  During our Israeli winters, the truly gorgeous days are the rainy ones.  Strong sun and bright blue skies belong in the summer.  Israel basically has two seasons, dry and wet, summer and winter.  If we don't have enough rain we'll be in danger, not only of fire like the massive destructive one which devastated the Carmel a few months ago.

We must pray for rain, in its time, G-d willing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

So Sadly, I'll Let King David Speak...

You may have already heard the awful news.  Five members of a family in Itamar were murdered by one or more Arab terrorists Leil Shabbat, Sabbath Eve.

In Shiloh a number of us have divided up the entire book of T'hillim, Psalms, those special prayers written by King David.  I say numbers 94-99.  Considering my mood, I'll just post King David's words:


א אֵל-נְקָמוֹת יְהוָה; אֵל נְקָמוֹת הוֹפִיעַ. 1 O LORD, Thou God to whom vengeance belongeth, Thou God to whom vengeance belongeth, shine forth.

ב הִנָּשֵׂא, שֹׁפֵט הָאָרֶץ; הָשֵׁב גְּמוּל, עַל-גֵּאִים. 2 Lift up Thyself, Thou Judge of the earth; render to the proud their recompense.

ג עַד-מָתַי רְשָׁעִים יְהוָה: עַד-מָתַי, רְשָׁעִים יַעֲלֹזוּ. 3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult?

ד יַבִּיעוּ יְדַבְּרוּ עָתָק; יִתְאַמְּרוּ, כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן. 4 They gush out, they speak arrogancy; all the workers of iniquity bear themselves loftily.

ה עַמְּךָ יְהוָה יְדַכְּאוּ; וְנַחֲלָתְךָ יְעַנּוּ. 5 They crush Thy people, O LORD, and afflict Thy heritage.

ו אַלְמָנָה וְגֵר יַהֲרֹגוּ; וִיתוֹמִים יְרַצֵּחוּ. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

ז וַיֹּאמְרוּ, לֹא יִרְאֶה-יָּהּ; וְלֹא-יָבִין, אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב. 7 And they say: 'The LORD will not see, neither will the God of Jacob give heed.'

ח בִּינוּ, בֹּעֲרִים בָּעָם; וּכְסִילִים, מָתַי תַּשְׂכִּילוּ. 8 Consider, ye brutish among the people; and ye fools, when will ye understand?

ט הֲנֹטַע אֹזֶן, הֲלֹא יִשְׁמָע; אִם-יֹצֵר עַיִן, הֲלֹא יַבִּיט. 9 He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see?

י הֲיֹסֵר גּוֹיִם, הֲלֹא יוֹכִיחַ: הַמְלַמֵּד אָדָם דָּעַת. 10 He that instructeth nations, shall not He correct? even He that teacheth man knowledge?

יא יְהוָה--יֹדֵעַ, מַחְשְׁבוֹת אָדָם: כִּי-הֵמָּה הָבֶל. 11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

יב אַשְׁרֵי, הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר-תְּיַסְּרֶנּוּ יָּהּ; וּמִתּוֹרָתְךָ תְלַמְּדֶנּוּ. 12 Happy is the man whom Thou instructest, O LORD, and teachest out of Thy law;

יג לְהַשְׁקִיט לוֹ, מִימֵי רָע-- עַד יִכָּרֶה לָרָשָׁע שָׁחַת. 13 That Thou mayest give him rest from the days of evil, until the pit be digged for the wicked.

יד כִּי, לֹא-יִטֹּשׁ יְהוָה עַמּוֹ; וְנַחֲלָתוֹ, לֹא יַעֲזֹב. 14 For the LORD will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance.

טו כִּי-עַד-צֶדֶק, יָשׁוּב מִשְׁפָּט; וְאַחֲרָיו, כָּל-יִשְׁרֵי-לֵב. 15 For right shall return unto justice, and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

טז מִי-יָקוּם לִי, עִם-מְרֵעִים; מִי-יִתְיַצֵּב לִי, עִם-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן. 16 Who will rise up for me against the evil-doers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?

יז לוּלֵי יְהוָה, עֶזְרָתָה לִּי-- כִּמְעַט, שָׁכְנָה דוּמָה נַפְשִׁי. 17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had soon dwelt in silence.

יח אִם-אָמַרְתִּי, מָטָה רַגְלִי; חַסְדְּךָ יְהוָה, יִסְעָדֵנִי. 18 If I say: 'My foot slippeth', Thy mercy, O LORD, holdeth me up.

יט בְּרֹב שַׂרְעַפַּי בְּקִרְבִּי-- תַּנְחוּמֶיךָ, יְשַׁעַשְׁעוּ נַפְשִׁי. 19 When my cares are many within me, Thy comforts delight my soul.

כ הַיְחָבְרְךָ, כִּסֵּא הַוּוֹת; יֹצֵר עָמָל עֲלֵי-חֹק. 20 Shall the seat of wickedness have fellowship with Thee, which frameth mischief by statute?

כא יָגוֹדּוּ, עַל-נֶפֶשׁ צַדִּיק; וְדָם נָקִי יַרְשִׁיעוּ. 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood.

כב וַיְהִי יְהוָה לִי לְמִשְׂגָּב; וֵאלֹהַי, לְצוּר מַחְסִי. 22 But the LORD hath been my high tower, and my God the rock of my refuge.

כג וַיָּשֶׁב עֲלֵיהֶם, אֶת אוֹנָם-- וּבְרָעָתָם יַצְמִיתֵם;
יַצְמִיתֵם, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ. 23 And He hath brought upon them their own iniquity, and will cut them off in their own evil; {N}
the LORD our God will cut them off. {P}

Friday, March 11, 2011

Another Video To Get Into the Purim Mood

Thanks to Marvin Schotten who sent me this great version of Raise Your Mask Purim by The Fountainheads in the comments of the previous post.



It's hard to believe that Purim is in a week. Yes, this year it's a bit complicated. The Fast of Ester will be next Thursday, and then instead of going straight into Purim, we observe Shabbat, and then after Shabbat we celebrate Purim. And in Shiloh, we have a double Purim, with two feasts, four Megillat Ester readings and two days of costumes and Mishloach Manot.

And contrary to previous years, my freezer is still much too full. I did pull out a meatloaf to serve on Shabbat and encouraged the invited guests to come Friday night when I'll be serving my version of Buffalo Wings and not the from who knows when meatloaf.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Get in The Mood for Purim With The Maccabeats!



There are great New York scenes in the background.

Davka, this coming Shabbat --yikes! in two days! I'm giving our neighbrorhood  Shiur Nashim, women's Torah class.  It's based on what Atara Snowbell has been teaching us in Matan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cheering the Team



Tomorrow night the Jerusalem Lions "Big Blue"  Football team will be fighting for 3rd place.

Time to cheer them on at Kraft Stadium!


Drink Your Coffee and Eliminate the Guilt

Please excuse me if I seem repetitive.  I'm pretty sure I've blogged this message more than once, but there's nothing more pleasant for me than seeing an article especially on a healthy food site that tells us how healthy coffee is for us.

Over the decades, coffee has gotten a lot of bad press, and it doesn't deserve it.  A few (1-3 or even a bit more, depending on which expert advice you read) cups of coffee is better for your health than none.  Of course, if you hate the flavor or have some other problem with it, don't drink it.  I say the same for all sorts of healthy foods.  Ban the clean plate club, because nobody should be forced to eat or drink anything.  We each have different nutritional needs, and if you raise kids without emotional food baggage, they will naturally develop good food instincts.

We, adults, have to learn how to eat what's best for our individual needs.  I'm glad that I no longer have to feel guilty about my love of coffee.  With rare exceptions, I only drink it in the morning, early in the morning.  That's best for me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Post: The Healthiest Hamantaschen

The Healthiest Hamantaschen
by Hadassa DeYoung, K'far Darom/Elon Moreh

I usually call them oznei Haman, but this alliterated nicely.

Instead of using a cookie dough base, use your favorite roll (as in small yeast bread) recipe for the base of the oznei Haman. I recommend using a whole wheat dough with olive oil and za'atar.
For the filling, chop in a food processor whole garlic, green olives and black olives in whichever proportion suits you. Onions may also be used, but I prefer garlic, which also isn't as hard to check for bugs. Add a bit of olive oil if the mixture seems dry. It should be as moist as any filling for oznei Haman.

Form the oznei Haman in the traditional way:
  • 1) Roll dough to a thickness of 0.6 cm-¼ inch
  • 2) Using a glass or large round cookie cutter cut circles of dough about 6.3-7.6 cm-2 ½ - 3 inches in diameter
  • 3) Place filling in the center of a circle of dough. Do not overfill. Leaky oznei Haman are unattractive. Eat your prototypes and give the perfectly shaped ones.
  • 4) Fold the edges of the circle towards the center so that the resulting shape is an equilateral triangle with rounded corners.
Or:
Google for more complete shaping instructions including pictures.
Baking time will vary depending on the bread recipe. Check frequently as oznei Haman are relatively thin and therefore bake more quickly than most rolls.
Be sure to put in your holiday greeting note a mention that the oznei Haman are bread, not cookies.

The Starbucks Kashrut Guide

When I visit the states, I'm frequently without easy to find kosher food, and I'm almost always suffering jetlag.  I find that a large cup of strong coffee helps me receive some relief from the jetlag, but being a foreigner in America (OK, expat,) I don't know the ins and outs, the permitted and forbidden re:coffee, kashrut-wise.  I've been told that plain (unflavored) coffee of the brands sold in the supermarket with a hechshar  supervision (or any of the flavored that are sold with a hechshar in the supermarket) may be drunk in disposable cups.

It's not that I like the Starbucks flavor, but it is easier to find a Starbucks than any other coffee bar, so I'm grateful to the kvetchingeditor* for posting this link to a Starbucks Kashrut Guide from  the Chicago Rabbinical Council on facebook.

*Apparently, she's not happy with it.  But for my visits, I guess it makes Hagen Daz ice cream even more attractive.

Monday, March 7, 2011

On The Move in Jerusalem

Now that the lightrail is "in training," you never know when you'll see it in action.  Last Thursday night, on my way from Jerusalem Central Bus Station to Kraft Stadium for the IFL football game (our team, the Jerusalem Lions, lost to the Gush Etzion Rebels) I got to film the train in action as it began to go up the bridge.



And then we went to the game.  There was a carnival atmosphere during half-time.



After the game, we got a ride to the Hizme checkpoint from some other parent/fans.  Within a very short time we squeezed in the backseat of a car going to Ofra.  If we hadn't lost weight, we never would have fit in with a very full-sized neighbor of ours.  Then at Ofra we all got another ride and again the three of us squeezed oursleves in.  Please don't ask about seatbelts....

Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup

Yesterday I decided to make myself a vegetable soup, but I didn't have all that much time. 
  • I put some water up to boil
  • I took some dried split peas, cleaned and rinsed them
  • I added the peas to water in a big pot and kept up the boiling
  • I got an onion, carrots, parsley roots and squash ready for the food processor
  • I shredded all the vegetables and added them, along with some oil, to the boiling peas
  • and I kept adding more boiling water to the cooking soup
  • then I added some salt, pepper and dehydrated parsley
  • it continued simmering for a half hour
And yes, I ended up with a nice big pot of soup.  Later on when it cooled, I put some in small containers for the freezer and the rest is waiting for me in the fridge.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Yummy KCC at Miriyummy!

Yes, yummy this Adar Bet Kosher Cooking Carnival certainly is!  Miri sure made a yummy KCC, so check it out, please and serve the link to others.  And of course check out the kosher food posts she has featured.

Next month, Nissan, the Bima Ima will host KCC.  To send your posts, just click here for the blog carnival page.  And if you'd like to host an edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival, please contact me.

Now it's time to empty the pantry and freezer for Passover.  Use what you can for Purim.  Enjoy and Chodesh Tov!

Ladies, Let's Party!

It's tradition in Judaism for women to have a special holiday.  That's Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the month, and even though the solar calendar recognizes twelve months, the Jewish one which blends the solar and lunar sometimes has thirteen, like this year.  And besides that there are months with a two day Rosh Chodesh, meaning that there are quite often about fifteen days of Rosh Chodesh in the Jewish Calendar, meaning fifteen days a year for us to party.

I like to celebrate Rosh Chodesh by visiting and praying at Tel Shiloh, about a mile from my house.  It's the perfect place to be on a Women's Holiday, because it's the location of the source of Jewish Prayer.

ט וַתָּקָם חַנָּה, אַחֲרֵי אָכְלָה בְשִׁלֹה וְאַחֲרֵי שָׁתֹה; וְעֵלִי הַכֹּהֵן, יֹשֵׁב עַל-הַכִּסֵּא, עַל-מְזוּזַת, הֵיכַל יְהוָה. 9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk--now Eli the priest sat upon his seat by the door-post of the temple of the LORD;
י וְהִיא, מָרַת נָפֶשׁ; וַתִּתְפַּלֵּל עַל-יְהוָה, וּבָכֹה תִבְכֶּה. 10 and she was in bitterness of soul--and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
יא וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר וַתֹּאמַר, יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אִם-רָאֹה תִרְאֶה בָּעֳנִי אֲמָתֶךָ וּזְכַרְתַּנִי וְלֹא-תִשְׁכַּח אֶת-אֲמָתֶךָ, וְנָתַתָּה לַאֲמָתְךָ, זֶרַע אֲנָשִׁים--וּנְתַתִּיו לַיהוָה כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו, וּמוֹרָה לֹא-יַעֲלֶה עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said: 'O LORD of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thy handmaid, but wilt give unto Thy handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.'

Yes, it's the very same place where Biblical Chana prayed for a son, the son who would rescue the Jewish People from the sins of the time of Judges:
כה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל: אִישׁ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו, יַעֲשֶׂה. {ש} 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes. {P}
In Shiloh, the Jewish People united after the horrendous civil war:
טו וְהָעָם נִחָם, לְבִנְיָמִן: כִּי-עָשָׂה יְהוָה פֶּרֶץ, בְּשִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
טז וַיֹּאמְרוּ זִקְנֵי הָעֵדָה, מַה-נַּעֲשֶׂה לַנּוֹתָרִים לְנָשִׁים: כִּי-נִשְׁמְדָה מִבִּנְיָמִן, אִשָּׁה. 16 Then the elders of the congregation said: 'How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?'
יז וַיֹּאמְרוּ, יְרֻשַּׁת פְּלֵיטָה לְבִנְיָמִן; וְלֹא-יִמָּחֶה שֵׁבֶט, מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. 17 And they said: 'They that are escaped must be as an inheritance for Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel.
יח וַאֲנַחְנוּ, לֹא נוּכַל לָתֵת-לָהֶם נָשִׁים--מִבְּנוֹתֵינוּ: כִּי-נִשְׁבְּעוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר, אָרוּר, נֹתֵן אִשָּׁה לְבִנְיָמִן. {ס} 18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters.' For the children of Israel had sworn, saying: 'Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.' {S}
יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ הִנֵּה חַג-יְהוָה בְּשִׁלוֹ מִיָּמִים יָמִימָה, אֲשֶׁר מִצְּפוֹנָה לְבֵית-אֵל מִזְרְחָה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, לִמְסִלָּה, הָעֹלָה מִבֵּית-אֵל שְׁכֶמָה--וּמִנֶּגֶב, לִלְבוֹנָה. 19 And they said: 'Behold, there is the feast of the LORD from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.'
כ ויצו (וַיְצַוּוּ), אֶת-בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן לֵאמֹר: לְכוּ, וַאֲרַבְתֶּם בַּכְּרָמִים. 20 And they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying: 'Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;
כא וּרְאִיתֶם, וְהִנֵּה אִם-יֵצְאוּ בְנוֹת-שִׁילוֹ לָחוּל בַּמְּחֹלוֹת, וִיצָאתֶם מִן-הַכְּרָמִים, וַחֲטַפְתֶּם לָכֶם אִישׁ אִשְׁתּוֹ מִבְּנוֹת שִׁילוֹ; וַהֲלַכְתֶּם, אֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן. 21 and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
כב וְהָיָה כִּי-יָבֹאוּ אֲבוֹתָם אוֹ אֲחֵיהֶם לרוב (לָרִיב) אֵלֵינוּ, וְאָמַרְנוּ אֲלֵיהֶם חָנּוּנוּ אוֹתָם--כִּי לֹא לָקַחְנוּ אִישׁ אִשְׁתּוֹ, בַּמִּלְחָמָה: כִּי לֹא אַתֶּם נְתַתֶּם לָהֶם, כָּעֵת תֶּאְשָׁמוּ. {ס} 22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come to strive with us, that we will say unto them: Grant them graciously unto us; because we took not for each man of them his wife in battle; neither did ye give them unto them, that ye should now be guilty.' {S}
כג וַיַּעֲשׂוּ-כֵן, בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן, וַיִּשְׂאוּ נָשִׁים לְמִסְפָּרָם, מִן-הַמְּחֹלְלוֹת אֲשֶׁר גָּזָלוּ; וַיֵּלְכוּ, וַיָּשׁוּבוּ אֶל-נַחֲלָתָם, וַיִּבְנוּ אֶת-הֶעָרִים, וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בָּהֶם. 23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they carried off; and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them.

The dancing was in this valley, the Valley of Shiloh, which I photographed as it was covered by a Brigadoon mist.


In all honesty I feel so blessed living in Shiloh.  It's almost thirty years since we moved here, and I think that living in Shiloh has changed me in so many ways for the better.

Chodesh Tov!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Blog Across the Street

A few weeks ago, a neighbor called me asking if I'd help her start a blog.  So I walked over, as far as directly across the street, and sat with her by her computer.  We opened an account for her on blogger, which she likes, since it's a great deal considering the cost, zero.  We chose a simple template, added the title, picture etc.  This week I went over again to help get her started.

She was very lucky that It's All From Hashem hadn't been taken.  Yes, that's the name.  You can click it to read what she has posted.  She's an experienced, published writer who writes about her life here and her past.

I'm one of the more veteran bloggers, and I'm so grateful to all those who have helped me over the years.  Total strangers, who knew me only from my blog spent time trying to explain all sorts of blogger lingo and technical stuff.  My blog banners were done by Sarah.  Years ago, Akiva fixed my old templates, making them look and function better.  Others who have helped me are Risa, Leora and many more including some who no longer blog.  So, yes, it's a great pleasure to pass on to a good neighbor some of the skills and expertise I've picked up over the years.

There's a Jewish saying when you're thanking someone for helping you:
"Tizke/i l'mitzvot."
"May you be rewarded with mitzvot."
You can spin this to mean that when you do the same mitzvah to another, the reward is shared with the one who helped you.  It's like a glorious pyramid, where mitzvot "credits" keep increasing as everyone you've helped help others.  The mitzvah pyramid gets larger and larger as we pass on the help, the good deeds.  Yes, that's how I wish to thank those who have helped me, those I've named and those I haven't.  I thank all of you.

Chodesh Tov, 
May the month of Adar reverse all bad and make it all good.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mothers See Things Differently

Last night my son's IFL football team, the Jerusalem Lions lost the game.  They won't be playing in the finals.  It was a pretty good game.  Both teams made good plays and bad.  This will be the first finals they don't play in. 

Following is what I posted a few minutes ago on facebook.  Facebook limits the amount you can put in a simple status posting, not as restricted as twitter, but one must watch one's words.

Jerusalem Lions lost the game last night, won't be in the finals. We were ahead and then at the last minute lost. Afterwards another player's mother and I were talking. "At least nobody was carted off badly injured." Her son said: "I'd rather have been taken off in a ambulance and won." Mothers see things differently.

Honestly, I don't go to these games to watch football.  I can do without watching games, all sports games.  I go to them for one reason and one reason only.  That's to watch my son, not as much as to watch his sports prowess, but to watch over him, try to protect him with my prayers.  I want him safe, and I want him happy, but if I had to choose between a sports victory and his health....  Of course I want him healthy, physically and mentally healthy.

It was just a game.  We all have to deal with disappointment at times.  It's not easy, not pleasant, but that's life.  And the quality of our lives depend on how we deal with disappointment, tragedy etc.

I went to the game after attending an Azkara, Memorial Ceremony at our local Shiloh Cemetery.  And our community and seven others are commemorating the Yartzeit of Yonatan Eldar, HaYa"D, who was murdered by an Arab terrorist three years ago at Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, Jerusalem.  That was a tragedy, not the loss of a football game.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Of Those Big "If's..."

I love being in Shiloh.  I think that making that move to Shiloh almost thirty years ago was one of the best things we ever did.  It feels like the right place.  There's a mishna (please don't ask me for identifying name, rank, serial # etc) that says that there a "hidden magnet" in us leading us to the tribal portion of the Land of Israel we're supposed to be part of.  That seemed so true after volunteering a few years on our Va'adat Klita, Absorption committee.

But when we first looked for a yishuv in Judea and Samaria, we checked out Judea, not Samaria.  Actually, the very first place we almost moved to was Kiryat Arba.  We were almost among the very first and had even been assigned an apartment in stage one.  The Shabbatot and Jewish Holidays we had spent in the Hebron Memshal among the original post-1967 Jewish community there were great.  But then my husband got a good job in Jerusalem and it just seemed too much for a very young family to live so far away.  And we had bought our Bayit V'Gan apartment, having moved in after the birth of our eldest.  We had been so sure that we were going to live in Kiryat Arba that we didn't even fully furnish it, figuring that we'd wait.  Then we checked out Tekoa and Efrat, in both we would have been in the original group or close to it.  Tekoa would have had been great fun for me and my husband, but there were no kids for our daughters.  And the first stage of housing in Efrat did not attract us. They couldn't give a price but wanted a deposit, and one of the plans had all internal toilets, no windows, which seemed much too dumb.

Then friends, with daughters the same ages as ours looked into Shiloh and we all moved here the same year.  There's only one thing that gives me regrets, OK, make it two.  Raise Your Spirits Theater and Dames of the Dance.  I write for Sharon Katz's Voices Magazine from Shiloh, so that's taken care of.  But the stage calls me...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

They Look So Comfortable, Don't They?

I almost always have my camera strapped belted to my waist.  That's except for Shabbat, of course.  That's why I take such peculiar, you must have a handy camera pictures.  The funniest is that the dog and cat in these shots seem to be posing.

More Work, More Energy and Harder to Sleep

Recently, I've found it harder to fall asleep, even after a long exhausting day.  I feel too "wired," not relaxed.  My mind is spinning out of control.  I should have been tired yesterday and thought I was.  I need sleep.

Yesterday, I was up my usual early 5am, had my water, coffee, etc, made lunch to take for work, got dressed, dovened etc again.  Then, since someone from work had offered to pick me up, I walked all the way to the "gate," about a mile from my house.  Then I worked hard for six hours at Yafiz, walking all over the Rami Levi-Yafiz complex in Sha'ar Binyamin.  Then I tremped to Ofra to visit the grandkids, finally got home, made dinner, ate, read my Al HaPerek chapters, translated the Honenu news updates, a bunch of household chores and went to bed.  But I couldn't fall asleep.  It took me quite a while to unwind.  So for sure I didn't get enough sleep last night.

I hope this means my metabolism is speeding up!

I'm finishing this/posting it not home, since Explorer flew the coop/computer when I was typing at home.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Remember, Laughing is Healthy

Especially, since I have a lot to do tonight, yesterday and the day before, which I haven't gotten done, I'll give you something very humorous to watch, so maybe you'll forgive me.

Hat tip, Shy Guy

Mike Tyson The President's Speech, from the Chris Rock Show

I Love These Hats!!


Have you been noticing how wearable the designer clothes are getting?  Except for the middle skirt, which can be easily stitched, these outfits, if you could afford them, would be acceptable in shuls, Torah-observant, tzniyus-demanding synagogues, right?  Elegance is fashionable and true elegance is modest.  And those hats....

Jerusalem Sites/Sights

I haven't been to Jerusalem this week, but last week I took a couple of fun pictures.  I absolutely adore my "reflecting" photos, like this bus, which looks like a montage, but it isn't.


The next isn't quite clear enough, because until I pulled out my camera and caught the kid in my sights, he was pretty far down the tracks.  No, not the new lightrail tracks, the old Jerusalem train tracks in Katamon, which used to take the train and passengers to Tel Aviv and Haifa.


I haven't walked the tracks this year to Matan, but maybe one day when I have more time...