Sunday, July 31, 2011

Forty 40 Years!

According to the Jewish Calendar, exactly forty years and a couple of hours ago I became a mother.  I didn't write "for the first time," because once a mother, always a mother.

With the birth of my first child, my life changed forever.  All I had ever wanted to be was to be a mother.  I had never planned any other profession.  I expected my husband to provide all the financial resources we would need, just like my own father did.  That part of my dream was a mistake, and we'll always suffer for that, unless one of us manages to write a great book, best seller, to provide us with a comfortable income for the rest of our lives.

This may not be "pc" in this modern world, but I still think that there's nothing more important than being a mother.  What's the point of going through pregnancy and birth to give your child to others for raising and education?  No, I'm not promoting "home-schooling."  My first-born and I used to prepare for my parent-teacher conferences.  I knew what to say and ask each teacher.  By the time my younger ones were in school, I was a real professional... mother.  Yes, being a parent is a profession.  One of the things that made me want to leave teaching was that the parents weren't playing their role properly.  I even tried to get the school to invite the parents of remedial students for special parent-teacher get-togethers, so they'd learn how to help their children.  After sitting alone at my desk for hours waiting for parents who didn't come to talk to me, I knew that I was wasting my time.  I didn't even receive phone calls from parents who received letters that their sons were failing English.

A parent's role is to be an advocate for each child.  That doesn't mean to blindly support everything your child does.  It's to help your child and the "system" get along.

I've learned an awful lot in the past forty years.  In some ways being a mother is nothing like I had expected, and in some ways it has been even more wonderful than my dreams.

My five children are all very different. I love all five equally.

It's hard to believe that I've been a mother for forty years.  In my mind, I'm just a teenager...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Happened to The Weather?

It's too hot!

It's much too hot!!

I can't take the heat!!!

Yes, I'm back to feeling the heat, suffering from the heat.  Yes, it's too hot!

Sorry for the rant. 

And, yes, I know that in a few months I'll be kvetching about the cold.  Why can't I just bottle the summer heat for winter and the winter cold for summer?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eating Kosher on Delta Airlines

I must admit that the Regal kosher food served on Delta was pretty tasty.  Considering that I'm on a low carbohydrate diet, I didn't try the rolls, so I can't give an opinion about them.  The food was much better than the kosher meals served on British Airways and competes with El Al.

Delta provided "unlimited" kosher pretzels and peanuts in tiny bags.  But of course I recommend bringing a supply of fruit and unsalted nuts for noshing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Big JBlogger Tweet-up, Meet, Just Fun

HaGov, The Lion's Den--the best kosher sports bar & grill in Jerusalem, was the venue for a major Jewish social media get-together last night.  Dozens of Jewish Bloggers, facebook and twitter folk gathered in honor of the visit of Hadassah Sabo Milner, In The Pink.

Here are a couple of pictures.  There's more on my facebook page.  Name the bloggers!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Elegant and Delicious, Kosher Dairy Dining on the Upper East Side

U Café was a big surprise for us when we were wandering Lexington Avenue searching for a kosher restaurant after arriving in New York.  Was it totally by chance we had turned uptown to look instead of downtown, or was it that my husband had done an internet search when I had been napping after the all night flight?  Whatever the reason, we were very happy with our find and even returned for a second meal there.

Considering how exhausted and jetlagged I was then, I can't remember the names of what we ordered but here are some pictures.  Presentation, as you can see, is as important to the Pini Ben-Ari and family as the recipes.  Service is also great.  He came over to check if everything was alright and quickly discovered that we have mutual friends.

U Cafe LLC
1436 Lexington Avenue
(Between 93rd & 94th Streets)
New York, NY 10128

Tel: (212)-427-8223
Fax: (212)-427-8825

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That Ancient Golden Bell


Now I finally understand the reason why gold is so valuable. Think about how old this bell is.

Rare gold bell discovered in excavations in Jerusalem

24 Jul 2011
The bell was apparently sewn to the garment worn by a high official in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period.

(Communicated by the Israel Antiquities Authority)

A rare gold bell with a small loop at its end was discovered during an archaeological excavation in the drainage channel that begins in the Shiloah Pool and continues from the City of David to the Jerusalem Archaeological Garden, near the Western Wall. The excavations are being conducted at the site on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority and underwritten by Ir David Foundation.

According to the excavation directors, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, "It seems the bell was sewn on the garment worn by a high official in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period (first century CE). The bell was exposed inside Jerusalem's main drainage channel at that time, among the layers of earth that had accumulated along the bottom of it. This drainage channel was built and hewn the length of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, on the bottom of the slope descending to the Tyropoeon Valley. This drainage channel conveyed rainwater from different parts of the city, by way of the City of David and the Shiloah Pool, to Nahal Kidron.

The main street of the Jerusalem is in the region of the excavation, above the drainage channel. This road ascended from the Shiloah Pool in the City of David and an interchange, known today as 'Robinson's Arch', was built in it, by way of which people entered the Temple Mount. Apparently, the high official was walking in the Jerusalem street in the vicinity of Robinson's Arch and lost the gold bell that fell from his garment into the drainage channel beneath the road.

We know from sources that the high priests, who served in the Temple, used to hang a gold bell from the fringes of their robe. Thus, for example, in the 'Tetzaveh' Torah portion, in the Book of Exodus, there is a description of the high priest Aaron's robe: "All of blue... it shall have a binding of woven work... And upon the skirts of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the skirts thereof; and bells of gold between them round about." It is impossible to know for certain if the bell did indeed belong to one of the high priests; however, the possibility should not be entirely discounted.

Monday, July 25, 2011

HH, The More The Merrier

I just love these sorts of surprises.  Because of some foul-ups/malfunctions in blog carnival the free service that collects and sends links to blog posts for blog carnivals like Havel Havelim, The Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX, there was no HH last week.  Yesterday, Susan posted a "make-up" edition and now Ya'aqov has posted another "make-up edition."  Instead of one or none we now have two!

So check out Ya'aqov's Havel Havelim and Susan's if you haven't gotten to it. 

All the information for participating and hosting is in both.

As Ya'aqov mentioned, there will be a big "tweet-up" in Jerusalem's best kosher sports bar & grill, HaGov, 5 Yoel Solomon St., 7-10pm, on Wednesday so we can f2f with Hadassa and  William Daroff.  Actually, although my blog posts tweet, I'm not in the scene.  I don't travel with that sort of equipment. 

It seems like there will never be an official "third international Jewish bloggers convention."  With Twitter and Facebook many bloggers are in touch and actually blog less.  There will be quite a number of bloggers at HaGov on Wednesday.  So if you want to f2f, meet us in person, then come.   PS the food is great!

Please Help Through Israeli Bureaucracy

Well-known jblogger Lady-Light of Tikkun Olam is here in Israel trying to help her daughter who is now physically handicapped and in constant pain ever since being hit by a car when doing guard duty.  The story of Nechama Tzippora bat Ora Tova's RSD is chronicled in their blogs.

This morning I had a long talk with Lady-Light and tried to help her find ways to get her daughter into the proper Israeli system to get all the medical and financial help someone with RSD needs G-d willing to be cured or at least function.  Unfortunately, her daughter had worked for a private company and not the government.  The private security companies do not take good care of their workers.  Also, in Israel there isn't the American legal precedent "custom" of awarding enormous financial packages as compensation.  But there are things that Israelis can and should get by law, and that does include what she needs.

If anyone knows more about how to get into the system, please email lady-light.  Thanks

New Israeli Singing Sensation, Ethiopian-Israeli Woman

Netivotgirl, who sometimes posts on Shiloh Musings, sent me a youtube of the winner of Israel's version of "American Idol," כוכב נולד "Kochav Nolad," "A Star is Born,"  is Hagit Yasou, an Ethiopian from Sderot.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Leaving on a Jet Plane," Last Month's Voices Article

Written for Voices Magazine

Voices from Shiloh

Leaving on a Jet Plane
By Batya Medad
July, 2011

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. It’s time for the big “kibbud av v’em” mitzvah. And now that means flying all the way to Arizona. Last year my son and I took my father to reunite with my mother in Arizona near my sister. The year before I flew to New York and brought my father here on aliyah since there was nobody who could take care of my father. My mother was in the hospital, and the plan was for her to join him here. Now, I try not to make plans.

I couldn’t sleep last night. There are all sorts of “minor details” concerning this upcoming visit I still haven’t taken care of. It’s rather insane. My bags are pretty much packed. That’s the “easy part.”

It’s always hard for me to leave Shiloh and Israel. Each time gets worse. I just can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t made all the changes I made, very much following G-d’s commandments to Avram in Lech Lecha:
א וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ. 1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.
Not that many years ago, such a move would be very permanent with almost no contact with one’s old, former world. But today is both easier and more difficult. We have phones, internet and that jet plane…

Have a good and safe summer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Indian Kosher Food in New York

Friends took us out to Dakshin, 1154 1st Ave Corner Of 63st on the East Side of New York.  They had found it by chance after visiting some nearby hospitals.

At first I liked the food.

Then, some point during the main course I began to feel that I had eaten too much salt.  I'm not a salt-lover.  Everyone else loved the food. 

It's a meat restaurant, unusual for an Indian one.  But considering that it's for Jews, no big surprise.

Friday, July 22, 2011

That NYC JFK Air Train

Last year when I landed in NY's JKF International Airport from AZ I wasn't prepared to use it.  For some reason crossing the road from the arrivals exit to the door/gate seemed insurmountable.  Instead I spent a ridiculous amount of money to be a passenger on some bus that took me to Mid-town Manhattan after a long wait.  This year I was ready and am glad that I took the plunge.  Now I wouldn't hesitate as long as I could carry, wheel, schlepp my bags.  I took it twice.

The first time was after landing on the red-eye from AZ and needed to get to a cousin in Far Rockaway.  I took the Air Train to the Howard Beach subway stop and followed his directions to the station from where he picked me up.  The helpful red-jacketed worker helped me fill my Metrocard with enough money and pointed me in the right direction.

My second time traveling the Air Train was to get to the airport.  Since I had my big suitcase and carry-on, my lovely nephew (after assisting me to walk, with all the bags, cross-town from Grand Central Station) got me onto a LIRR train to Jamaica at Penn Station.  At Jamaica I successfully followed directions to the Air Train and arrived at JFK International Airport without any problems.

Here are some pictures:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

JPIX and KCC Reminders, Now That Blog Carnival Is "Functioning"

For the past couple of months those of us who look forward to, host and participate in the Jewish blog carnivals, floating internet magazines, have found them floundering because of problems with the service that usually delivers links to the hosts.  I don't know what the problem was, but there are signs that it has been solved.

Please send your links to Jewish picture posts for JPIX, which I'll be hositing in just over a week or so.  And also send posts concering kosher food, halacha, Jewish Law, customs, recipes and restaurant and cookbook reviews to the Kosher Cooking Carnival.  If you'd like to host an edition, please let me know.

Eating Kosher on The Go, JFK Airport

Foolishly, I didn't stock up on fruit before my trip home to Israel, so I did some price checks at JFK. My plan was to go to a supermarket, but didn't have time in the end. And I was mistaken that the street carts would be a bad deal. OK, I really didn't want midtown soot and smog to polute my apples, so I ended up arriving at JFK in need of eating flora. I had time, so I went from "shop" to "shop" and asked how much the apples and bananas cost. I was horrified to see that some of the more popular places were charging on the average $1.50 up to $1.90 for a very humble plastic-wrapped apple that couldn't have had been washed very well, because it still had a sticker on it.

The hunt was worth it, because I found them for the "bargain price" of "only" $1.03 in this place, called Cascade, if my memory is correct.

Of course, I had no idea that my Delta flight would be cancelled and I'd have another chance to shop for food.  I ended up buying in an Upper Eastside fruit stand near the 92nd Street Y.  It cost me a fraction of the price and took seconds to purchase, no lines and very convenient.

As part of my horrendously cheap Delta compensation package, I received three $6- food vouchers.  When I asked what I, a strictly kosher consumer, could do with these at the airport I was sent to  Healthy Gourmet.

I was told that they had some kosher food.  I saw sandwiches and "ready made meals."

The meals were all vegan, no animal products whatsoever, so there could be fewer kashrut problems.  And there's a hechshar.  The next day someone told me she'd "never eat" from that supervisor, but I'm no expert and the meal had already been eaten.

I chose the buckwheat, rather than the others all based on noodles, hoping it would be less starchy. I'm on a low carbohydrate diet.

I hate to disappoint you, but I can't quite think of any suitable adjectives to describe it.  I finally ate it in my daughter's apartment.  I had been starving, and it was food, low in fat, a consideration when taking into account the stressful evening. It cost me two vouchers, almost $12- to the penny.  I had been warned that I wouldn't get change, so I should do my best to use the vouchers for six, twelve or eighteen dollar purchases.

The following day, on my deja vu return to JFK I used the third voucher to buy a liter of mineral water and a cookie (to make it close to $6-) that thankfully tasted so awful I couldn't eat it.    I had to drink the entire bottle of water when taking off my shoes before the extra security check Delta demands of all passengers to Israel.  Soon after we took off and before the seatbelt sign went off, I was the first passenger to get up and us the WC.  The stewardess chastised me on my return to my seat that it was dangerous to walk around the plane.  I replied: 
"It would have been more dangerous if I hadn't."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Keeping Jetlag Away

OK, I admit it.  I failed.  I've had some bad nights when I couldn't fall asleep since coming back home.  Going west was easier.  I suffered some sleep deprevation from the simple numbers of waking hours available versus sleeping opportunities, but I had no problem falling asleep in New York and Arizona.  And I got up at normal for me times.

Since I've returned home I had two nights when I feel asleep and two when I had trouble.  Even though I didn't get enough sleep last night, I managed to put in a full day's work today.

So, since I have plenty planned for tomorrow and I see many too many typos,

Good night!!

Enjoying The NYC Subways

I'll post my Air Train pictures later, G-d willing.  Those NYC subways are sure more fun than they were decades ago.  Maybe it's my Israeli mind-set, but I didn't feel the tension/fears that once accompanied travels on them.  Just like most American TV series I've seen of late, there seems to be a color/racial integration in New York that was a "dream" in the 1960's.  You can see it in dress and body language.

My "Rip VanWinkle" experience was in how I learned to "deposit" exactly the sum I needed into my Metrocard, so I wouldn't get stuck with unusable dollar "investments."  This was the first time that I actually found my first (and usually only) payment insufficient.  When I needed the Air Train, which costs $5-, I only had $2.90 in the card and the "red-jacketed" attendant assisted me in depositing $2.10.  I'm still amazed.

If I'm not mistaken, I took the following pictures when walking to the 42nd Street Shuttle.  The colors and music made it a real treat!  It reminded me of the Jerusalem Ben Yehuda Midrachov, closed-to-traffic street.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kosher in AZ (Arizona)

I managed pretty well, food-wise, this visit to my sister in Tempe (Phoenix) Arizona.  Armed (supplied) with a good pot, cutting board and knife I was able to cook in her kitchen at least once a day.  I didn't have to live on fruit and nuts.  It certainly helped to be invited for Shabbat and have my friend's delicious food.

You should know that the Phoenix-Tempe-Scottsdale area also has a few kosher restaurants.  Even though I certainly hadn't been starving, after eating so much home-cooking, in principle I consider it important to patronize kosher businesses.  That's one of the reasons I suggested to my sister that I take her and her husband out for dinner.  (In the end my brother-in-law grabbed the check but promised that we'd get our chance in Israel.)

My sister and I did some internet searches and discovered the Mozart Cafe.  I called first and asked if they were really a kosher restaurant.  It wasn't the first one we had called.  That one had replied "kosher style" and got deleted from our list.  "Mozart" sounded amused by the question.  No doubt, I'm not the first to have asked.  We received travel directions and went later that evening, before I took the red-eye to New York.

We eventually found the restaurant, went in, checked the menu and ordered.  My sister and I ordered salmon and vegetables, while my brother-in-law took the vegetable lasagna.  My sister and I started with a salad.

The food was delicious, everything!  It's definitely a restaurant good enough for all, not just for those who only eat kosher food.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Story Behind The Photo

I used this photo to illustrate tonight's post on Shiloh Musings.

I took the picture in Arizona, in my parents' apartment.  They live in a modern "old age home." It's not a Jewish one.  This is their little "Jewish spot," with my mother's Shabbat candlesticks, a Chanukiyah, Chanuka Menora, Havdala spice box and that little "statue."

My parents were never religiously observant, but they were always strongly Jewish in identification and culture.  They're of the generation that shed Jewish observance to be more American.  That didn't stop my father from letting (or allowing) people to know he was Jewish when serving in the American Navy during World War Two.  They called him "The Jew."

No doubt people who enter their apartment notice this arrangement.

Natural Wonders- More Pics From Recent Trip to USA

I spent a long weekend in Arizona, because my parents and sister (and her family) live there.  I was with very generous friends for Shabbat who were horrified to discover that although it was my third visit I hadn't been to see the Grand Canyon and had no plans to go.  They announced that they wanted to take me up there on Sunday.  So, after Shabbat I called my sister to ask if she minded.  She told me to enjoy the opportunity.

Here are some of the pictures from the Grand Canyon and nearby Sedona.  You may notice that some of the pictures were taken from a moving car, even through the closed window, and at other times we stopped, and I even got out to see/photograph from more angles.  There's more on my facebook page.

Is there a poem about these sites?

Trees by Joyce Kilmer, 1886–1918

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, 5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain. 10

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pics From My Recent Trip To The States

Of course it all starts at the airport and then strange sights on New York streets.

There seemed to be more dogs than babies on the upper east side of Manhattan.

G-d willing, there will be more pictures to come.