Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Overcoming Fears

I'm not sure if it has been forever, but for as long as I can remember I've had fears of heights.  It has gotten worse in recent decades; that's for sure.  When I was a teenager, I could jump off of a diving-board, meaning that I could fearlessly walk along a plank of wood.  But by my thirties or a bit later, I had developed terror of such a thing.  Even as a young child I found walking down a rocky, woody path had me screaming from fear, but I don't remember any fears of the amusement parks of fifty, or sixty years ago.  Yes, I'm that old!

So, I'm really awfully proud of myself for climbing the high ladder at work to put clothes on high shelves.  That's part of the job working in a large store like Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin.  But this week I really surprised myself when I climbed to the very top of the highest ladder to change the scarves on the dummies/mannequins.  I kept encouraging myself. 





It's important to conquer fears.  Of course that doesn't mean that you should talk yourself into doing something risky or dangerous.  I rationally knew that the ladder was steady and that the platform on top could hold me.  It was kind of tricky to get one scarf off and the other on each of the dummies while perched up there, but I succeeded safely, Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d!

And, yes, I was very pleased with the results of my work.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baking Challah, Really Easy, So Simple. Anyone Can Do It

fermenting yeast dough before
adding more flour
The first time I ever baked challah, I was a young mother and had never before in my life seen how it's done.  I had no idea how the fermenting dough was supposed to look, nor did I know how yeast dough was supposed to feel.  In those days, about forty years ago, the only yeast I could buy was the fresh yeast.  Unfortunately, I discovered that I was allergic to handling it.  I suffered swelling around my fingernails, but I found a solution.  I worked in light, white cotton gloves.  Nowadays I only use dehydrated yeast. It keeps for years if kept in a dry place, like the pantry in a clean, dry glass jar.  I've never had an allergic reaction to it.  Another advantage of the dehydrated yeast is that you can be spontaneous about baking challah or any other yeast recipe.

If I had a large freezer, I'd be able to keep home-made challah in it, which had been baked whenever I have time to do it.  I just don't have enough time before Shabbat most weeks.  I always heat the challah on top of a tray baked vegetables, so even long-time frozen or the store-bought challah taste fresh from the oven.

Following is my basic challah recipe.  You can adjust* size, amounts, sweetness etc.  The exact amount of flour depends on the size of the eggs and type of flour used.  I bake with whole-wheat and brown sugar.  You can use white or a combination.  I do find that baked products made of whole-wheat flour taste best with brown sugar.
a kilo (just over 2lbs) of flour, more or less, whole wheat and brown sugar
start with about a 1/2 cup sugar and 3T dehydrated yeast
mix in large bowl
add about 1/4 kilo flour then a pinch of coarse salt
mix
add 1 1/2 cups warm water 6oz soy oil and 3 eggs
mix well and cover
let sit until fermenting
Then gradually add/mix the rest of the flour
until the batter no longer sticks to your hands
then knead for 10 minutes
cover and let rise until double
challah dough after being punched down
punch down and rise again
(take "challah")
shaped, painted and divided

after 2nd rising, bake


then shape, paint with raw egg, let rise, then bake
start with hotter than cake temperature, and when it starts to "brown" lower until less than cake temperature
until bottom "hardens" and if you tap the bottom it sounds "dry"
freshly baked and out of the oven

*If you "google" or check challah recipes in a cookbook, you'll discover that they're all different.  That should give you the confidence to "play" with the recipe and know that almost nothing is "wrong."  I knead by hand, and I don't have strong hands, but the challah still comes out nice and soft. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Like Soup or Stew, Some Work Days are Better Than Others

One of the best things about my job is Yafiz is that each shift has a different mix of workers.  It's a lot like the way I cook.  I never make anything exactly the same twice.  Each shift I work is slightly different.  When you add that the weather, day, season etc. are always different, then you can see that it really is very much like the way I cook.

I don't work exactly the same shifts every week.  Very few people do.  Some have been hired only to work night shifts, but they sometimes get a night off.  I was hired to be flexible, and I am. My boss is flexible about which shifts she assigns, also. All of these factors give a great dynamic to work.  It's never the same and never boring.

Last night was one of those great stews.  We all got along together working hard and sharing the loads.  Thank G-d!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kislev KCC to Warm You Up, Or Cool You Down


Yes, although I've always been in the Northern Hemisphere, I know that some of you readers live south of the equator.  Kislev is the month in which we feel whatever strong/extreme season has begun.  Here in Israel, we've already had winter (only) rains and have turned on our heaters.  There's enough variety in this Kislev, the Kosher Cooking Carnival comes out monthly, according to the Jewish Calendar, Kosher Cooking Carnival to suit the needs of all, no matter where you are. 

KCC is a round-up of blog posts about kosher food, kosher cooking, kosher cookbook and restaurant reviews, Halachik Jewish Law posts about kosher food etc.  You can submit your articles/posts via blog carnival.  It's also possible to host one of the monthly editions; contact me for details.  Please be sure to visit the various links and share them around.  The success of KCC is up to you.  Thanks for participating.

Abeach Cottage presents Beach Cottage Too Easy Banana Bread Recipe posted at A Beach Cottage. *Yes, I noticed her mention of Christmas, but the recipe is kosher and a good way to use up soft bananas.   

Ilana-Davita presents Root Parsley Recipes posted at Ilana-Davita.

anything kosher!

Chaviva presents Fall Food: Sweet and Savory posted at Just call me Chaviva, saying, "A sweet and savory fall soup!"

Sarah presents [sweet or savory?] pesto pizza posted at sarah's view, saying, "Easy, TASTY and healthy pizza recipe with a meat or dairy variation!"

Jay3fer presents It’s the Great… posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "I don't know where pumpkins got their "goyish" reputation (okay, maybe the scary faces carved on them around here in October!), but there is nothing more frugal or wholesome to have tucked away in the freezer all winter long..."

Yosef presents Solving the Leftover Turkey Dilema: Dairy-Free Turkey & Leek Pie, inspired by Jamie Oliver posted at This American Bite.

Leora Wenger presents Mock Chopped Liver with Lentils, Walnuts, Onions, Cumin, Coriander posted at Here in HP, saying, "Once again I find a spread that works well on challah."

Yosef presents Turkey Mushroom Soup posted at This American Bite.

desserts

Mrs. S. presents Freshly Baked Friday: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bars Edition posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress, saying, "Thanks for all your hard work, and Shabbat Shalom!"

Batya (yes, me,) presents Coffee Chocolate Chip Cake, Rated "Better Than The One We Bought You" posted at me-ander.  That was said by teenage boys, so that's proof that the cake was great!

diet food

Yosef presents Two Bean Soup with Kale (Thank You to Ann) posted at This American Bite.

economical use of left-overs

Emily Segal presents Salad in Winter: Jumbo Croutons Balsamic Vinaigrette posted at Triumph Wellness*Here, too, I've decided to include the soup, which is kosher, although the blog has a different agenda.

Halacha

Mordechai Torczyner presents Still think you can trust the fish counter? posted at The Rebbetzin's Husband.

Jay3fer presents Cranky Complaints-Lady Cooks Kosher-Style posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "where halacha and Canadian law intersect..."

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

Tali Simon presents Upside-Down Vegetable Tower posted at More Quiche, Please, saying, "Thanks for considering me for inclusion in the next Kosher Cooking Carnival. This dish is great for Shabbos but could be used during the week, as well."

Lady-Light presents Yummy Recipe for Sukkot from the Leaders of Ohr Chadash posted at Tikkun Olam, saying, "This recipe sounds delicious, but we were unable to make it where we live in GALUT, because you just can't get raw kosher turkey pieces here! All my kids in Israel who ate it (3 outa 5) said it was great, though!"

Jay3fer presents On Baking Challah posted at Adventures in BreadLand, saying, "Why do YOU bake challah? A little more philosophical than my usual for the bread blog..."

Restaurant or Cookbook Reviews

Ilana-Davita presents Kosher Revolution ? a Book Review posted at Ilana-Davita.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of kosher cooking carnival-kcc using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.  FYI, even though receipts haven't been arriving from BC to those who submit posts, the "instacarnival" includes them all from what I can see.  Yes, I've "cheated" and just edited the "instacarnival."  You can do the same to make hosting easy.  So, I'm repeating:

It's also possible to host one of the monthly editions; contact me for details.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Joking About "Reconstructive Surgery"

This post may not be "ladies only," but males may feel rather "uncomfortable" reading it.

Breast cancer is getting more and more common.  Thank G-d, I'm not in the club, but when statistics claim that one out of eight women 1/8 will be diagnosed with breast cancer at least once in her life-time, I have to consider that possibility.  So, of course, considering the numbers, I do have many friends who have had it.  Most are still alive, even those who have had two mastectomies years apart.

It's easy for me to say that I'd prefer a radical mastectomy over chemo and radiation and that I wouldn't risk undergoing further surgery for reconstruction, because I've never had to make the choice.

Some of my friends complain bitterly over the unbearable discomfort of the special prosthesis ("You have no right to call them 'falsies.'") bras and go without. Yes, they prefer being flat to the pain, discomfort and summer heat.  One finally said that she just can't take it, wants to look "like a woman" and is going to have reconstructive surgery.

She tried explaining to me what the surgeon was going to do.  We ended up laughing hysterically, especially after she said that they'd be inserting some sort of magnet.  I asked about all those metal-detecting security checks we go through.  I have bracelets that set the alarms screaming.  What is she going to answer/explain?

"They're my boobs and you can't have them?"

I frequently offer to show the guards my dental work, but breast implants are something else; not that anyone has ever agreed to check my teeth.

Experts say that laughing is good for your health, so if you have any other jokes or funny stories, please send them.  Thanks

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unwinding, I Wish

The downside of working nightshift at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin,  is that no matter how tired I am by the end of the shift, I can't fall asleep.  I keep trying all sorts of things to unwind when I get home.  Nothing works.  Even when my mind is blank, like last night, I can't fall asleep for the longest time.

At work, like performing in the theater, I enter a special energy zone, and it's hard to remove it.  Selling, like teaching, is a performance art. 

For me, nightshift ends up being about eight hours.  Because we don't have frequent or hourly bus service I get to work an hour earlier than needed. I do a drop of shopping in Rami Levi discount supermarket and then I sign in to work.  After Yafiz closes at 9:30 we straighten up for about a half hour.  And then I must find a ride home.  Last night, a girl from Ofra who works in Rami Levi found us a ride.  It ended up going to Shvut Rachel and the driver took me into Shiloh, all the way up the hill.  The walk home was barely three minutes.  Then I washed dishes, put some groceries away, other chores, ate a drop of pea soup, checked emails and still couldn't fall asleep after getting into bed.  Eventually, I did, but it took well over half an hour, and it was very late.

This unwinding problem must be physical.  I wish I knew some "pressure points" to press to relax me.  I only drink coffee early in the morning, so it's not from caffeine.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving? Don't We Thank G-d Every Day?

I try to remind myself that every breath is a miracle.  Every morning when we wake up, we're supposed to thank G-d that He returned our soul.  Accidents happen, even fatal tragic ones, for "no logical reason."  I really do try to remember that G-d controls these "little things."

The United States has a holiday, Thanksgiving, when it's traditional to gather with family and friends for a large meal, to thank G-d for the survival of the pilgrims, colonizers, invaders.

As I remember learning, the early pilgrims were grateful to have survived the bitter conditions in the "new world" and established the holiday.  There's a myth that they feasted with local indians.  I don't know what's taught today in American schools, since there's more sensitivity to the fact that the European pilgrims, settlers were racist colonizers.  Don't choke on the turkey bones, but that's the truth.

Here in Shiloh, I feel totally at home, having returned to my, as a Jew, historic homeland.  Honestly, I find it rather offensive to celebrate that immoral/racist American holiday in the Jewish Holy Land.

Sorry, this isn't the post I had planned on writing.  The keys on the keyboard just kept pulling my fingers, and this is what came out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Caption This! Our "Youngest"


I'm curious as to what you'll come up with this time!  Please add your "caption" to the comments.  share if you can

Last Night's Local Shiloh Elections

I live in Shiloh, a small Israeli town, in the same location as the Biblical Shiloh where the Mishkan, Tablenacle stood as the central place for Jewish prayer 369 years,  Chana prayed and the Kohanim and later Samuel the Prophet ruled and guided the Jewish People according to G-d's words and instructions.

Today's modern Shiloh is ruled by Israeli Law and local democracy.  And for some reason, my neighbors keep nominating me for the local election board.  We organize the voting for our local council.  Every year half the council members are replaced with new ones; it's a two year term.  For over twenty-five years, there has hardly been more than one election without me. 

I agree to serve, because I love the oppoortunity to meet my neighbors.  It's a great social event for me. 

My husband and I have lived in Shiloh for thirty years.  We've been part of the growth.  Today, many of the young families are second generation.  Children of the alumni of our local attend it today, and last night we had two generations voting in many cases.  As a frequent trempistit,  hitchhiker, I relished the chance to thank some neighbors whom I had never met outside of their cars.

I hope you enjoy the pictures from the elections.  All were taken by me except for the one I'm in which was taken by my husband.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"If You Want, You Can Pay 75 Shekels For The Hanger"

Yes, I know, you're not supposed to give the "punchline" before the joke, but this is a real story. 

I generally keep my cool no matter how stupid or rude or chuzpadik or outrageous our Yafiz customers, real or faux--including Arab or Jew, get.  I don't even get nasty to those, obviously missing some basic familiarity with stores, who ask if the meaning of the "2-8" sign means two shirts or sweat-suits for the price of NS8.  But last night I just couldn't control myself.

There were two men, potential customers of course, who came up to me with a jacket that sported a NS120 price tag.  One of them pointed to a small sticker on the hanger:
"So, this jacket it seventy-five shekels?"
"No, the tag on the jacket says one-hundred-twenty shekels."
"But this sticker says only seventy-five shekels."
"The important one is the one on the jacket, but if you want to pay seventy-five shekels for the hanger, you can."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Women Can Now Pray in The Egged Jerusalem Synagogue!

When the new Jerusalem Central Bus Station aka CBS opened a few years ago, it touted the fact that there's a synagogue.  For many men, this was great news, since that way they could doven pray with a minyan proper quorum of ten or just pray in a place designated for prayers, where they won't be bothered or jostled.  As a woman who also prays (ok two out of the three daily prayers) I was disappointed, because there wasn't an Ezrat Nashim women's section.  I'd still have to find some wall or corner or just wait until I got into the bus to pray.

Especially since the lightrail, (trolley) began rolling, I have only very rarely made it to the bus station. I usually walk to the Shmuel Hanavi stop at the beginning of Sderot Eshkol or take the train too Ammunition Hill to catch my bus, either to home or work.  Last week, I got to the CBS with enough time to use the WC (which is right next to the synagogue) and noticed this sign:


There's now an עזרת נשים Ezrat Nashim, Ladies Section in the synagogue.  I was pressed for time, so I didn't investigate/photograph any further.  G-d willing, in the future I will...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crembos or Krembos, Just Havel, Havel Havelim

Yaaqov is sure plugging crembos, ok, krembos this winter.  Even his Havel Havelim is named after them.  Yes, when the weekly jblog carnival needs someone to save host it, we have Yaaqov to the rescue.  Thanks Yaaqov!

Nu, have you checked out the latest Havel Havelim?  Visit and share, the blog carnival and all the posts.  And send yours in if you're a blogger.

Yaaqov mentions a serious problem.  Blog Carnival, the free service that sends blog post (article) links to the hosts, has been giving trouble for the past week and a half.  Simply put, the links aren't getting to the hosts.  It's a bit tricky. It seems to work when you send in a link, but you don't get a receipt and the host doesn't get the link.  I don't know if the instacarnival is accessible. 

I'll find out soon enough, since I'm due to host the next Kosher Cooking Carnival next week.  G-d willing, by then things will be back to normal, but what if it isn't? And even if it is, there's no guarantee that it won't snafu again.  Since I know Yaaqov's address, email that is, I just mailed him a few links for HH.  So, I suggest that for the Kosher Cooking Carnival, send via Blog Carnival and to be safe send here, too, with KCC as subject.

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cake, Rated "Better Than The One We Bought You"

Last Wednesday afternoon-evening, I ended up with "nothing much to do," so I baked cake and challah* and put them straight into the freezer.  We had been expecting guests for Shabbat, three teenage boys including my husband's nephew, so I wanted to treat them to the best we could offer.


I based my cake recipe on my classic, super simple, very easy to make one-bowl "plain" cake.

Here's the basic recipe. Multiply as much as you need. It freezes well.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 t baking powder
1/6 cup oil (I use soy)
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 t vanilla

mix dry ingredients
add oil and water
mix
add eggs
mix
pour in pan
bake medium heat, every oven is different, until pops up when center of cake is gently pressed
If it seems done on top and loose inside, then lower the heat a bit.

You can ice, sugar or serve plain.
Cake baking is easy!  This time I used the leftover coffee from the percolator as liquid, and I added about a cup of chocolate chips to the recipe tripled, x3.  The flour was 100% whole-wheat and I used dark brown sugar.  It did not "taste healthy." The cake was absolutely delicious.  You can't fool teenage boys.  They had brought a store-bought cake as a "house gift" and preferred mine, whole-wheat flour and all.  After Shabbat I froze the store-bought one and will donate it to a shul kiddush.

*Bli neder, I'll blog about the challah baking later.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Torah Art on Fingernails?

It's no secret that I favor rather "unconventional" or "surprising" nail polish colors, like aquamarine and  apple green.

A very special friend sent me a link about someone who does a lot more with her nails, Midrash Manicures.


Maybe it's my age.  I need reading glasses for such details.  My "visual talents" aren't what they used to be.  It seems like a lot of effort and expense for something that will last such a short period of time.  I have enough trouble keeping "in the lines" when applying my simple one color nail polish.  I also have trouble keeping my nails "nice" until I have time to redo them.  Yes, I "do" my own manicures.  I also cut my own hair, but that's another story...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Before Shabbat, Visiting Some Blogs and Dealing With The Unexpected

Sometimes Most of the time we must "go with the flow."  We make our plans, and then... things change.  When I was a teenager, actually it was the year of that first big New York blackout, I studied Modern Dance Choreography with Laura FormanMy mother had gotten Laura's permission to enroll my much younger sister in the same class, even though we're six years apart.  One very important lesson for life I learned from Laura was that if you fall while performing, get up gracefully making it look like it was planned as part of the dance.  There's never any guarantee that things will go as planned, so you must make the best of it.

Yesterday was once of those days.  Actually, things had been going well.  I cooked for Shabbat, got the rooms ready for guests, went to the cemetery for the 20th yartzeit of my friend Rachella Druk and got to Jerusalem on schedule for the opening game of the Jerusalem Lions American Football in Israel season.  Since it was scheduled as the second game of the night and I had plenty of time,  I was keeping warm in Center 1.  Then I got a call that for various reasons, the game was cancelled/postponed.  Now, I don't go to these games because I'm a football fan.  I go to watch my youngest play and see my other Jerusalem kids.  So, instead of the game, I met them for a snack and then took the bus home.  It was nice seeing them in a warm restaurant rather than sitting on those cold, icy cold and sometimes wet bleachers in Kraft Stadium.  What we don't do for our kids....

Now, for the visits!

The Rebbetzin's Husband asks about the concept of worship, especially Jewish compared to Christian.  They worship their G-d while we respect/fear ours.

Rickismom also spells crembo with a "c."  See what she says about them.

Jennifer posted about the ALYN bike ride.  My elder son spent too weeks there over twenty years ago...

If I ever make it to LA, I'd like Sarah to take me to these gorgeous places.

Hadassa's kids are among the minority of their generation with a parent who cares and enforces proper grammar

"Hadassa, I hate to break it to you, but things will only get worse, once these kids are the teachers and don't know proper English."

Sadly, I must say that Dry Bones is right, again.  Not sad that he's right, but his message is depressing.

Lady-Light is disappointed in US Presidential candidate Cain for many reasons.  His disdain for reading and degree in Math show he's probably dyslexic, uneven school talents.  The world's salvation won't come from politicians or businessmen.

Have a wonderful Shabbat and please visit the blogs I've posted here and send them my regards...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Reflecting" on Jerusalem's Lightrail System, Fear of the Future Changes


For many of us who travel in Jerusalem, residents, commuters, visitors etc., we've pretty much gotten used to riding in the Jerusalem trolley.  It's pretty easy, because it's free.  Yes, there are a few difficulties, like finding a seat at times, holding on when standing--because the poles are dangerously high and there aren't any straps to grab.

Since it's still free, a ride on the train is now part of the tour.
All those red caps are from a group of tourists.
There is great mystery concerning the upcoming bus route changes.  Pundits remind us that the Olmert promise to the company running the trolley was that no bus route would compete with the trains.  Simply put, that means that all the routes from Pisgat Ze'ev and Beit Chanina-Shuafat* to the Old City and Jerusalem Municipality, center of town, Machane Yehuda Market, Egged Bus Station (CBS,) and up Herzl Boulevard to Shaare Zedek Hospital and Mount Herzl must be cancelled.



A close friend of mine who lives in a senior-independent living home in Bayit V'Gan, near Mt. Herzl and Shaare Zedek, is very worried.  Now she can take one bus from just outside her door, which takes her downtown or all the way to Emek Refaim and even Talpiyot.  If she has to switch from bus to train to bus, she just won't be able to get out.  It's too much.  She's not the only one who would find such route cancellations life-changing in a very bad way.

Another even more serious problem is that there just won't be enough room on the trains for all the passengers.  At present, even as the train is free and buses-still full of passengers- cost money, the trains are packed.  There's no room for the bus passengers to join.  Also, it would add much too much time to the trip to get on and off buses and trains and back again.

I wonder how many of the planners are dependent on public transportation.  Before they make changes, they and their families should spend a month only traveling on buses and the lightrail. And the job should be restricted to those who live, work and/or shop in Jerusalem.

*Would this really effect the Arab bus lines, or are they exempt?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Israeli Classic, By Popular Demand


There was a time when you didn't have much choice in Israeli shoes, and that includes sandals.  Every company made a version of this very sandal, the Sandal Tanachi, Biblical Sandal.  One strap across the ankle and another just over the toes to keep them on your feet wherever you went.  They were 100% leather, plus metal buckle.  All shoes were leather.  Even when we made aliyah in 1970, besides fabric na'alei Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur shoes or bedroom slippers, you couldn't find anything else.

Keds sneakers, and the cheaper versions, were on many "bring me lists."  My daughters had sturdy tie shoes in the winter and sandals in the summer, just like everyone else.  Kids hiked, played and partied in their seasonal footwear.  Baby's first walkers were white.  After that children's shoes came in three colors, red, blue and brown.

One summer we went to the states and put the girls, then six and eight, in a local day camp of the Great Neck School District.  The first day there they were sent back with instructions to get sneakers. It was against regulations to play sports in sandals!

Today, Israeli shoes, of all sizes, are a big export business.  You can buy Nayot all over the world.  One of my favorite, most comfortable pairs is... a modern version of that Sandal Tanachi.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Krembos or Crembos, The Taste of "Old Israel"

Yaaqov has called us to a "Krembo Challenge."  He, of the scientific transliteration, spells them with a "K," but I've always pictured them spelled with a "C."  Just look at that "crembo," it looks like a "c word."  It's not lanky and graceful enough to even be associated with the leggy "K."

Crembos were the traditional winter ice cream treat here in Israel.  They satisfied the need for something sweet and soft to serve for dessert.  In the early days here in Israel, you couldn't find ice cream during the winter months.  It was a "seasonal sweet."

For an almost tropical country, Israel was rather late to get proper electric refrigerators.  Ice for iceboxes were still being delivered into the 1960's when many Israelis got their own first modern electric refrigerators.  Refrigerated trucks were only introduced thirty-plus years ago.  I really get a kick out of the Israeli "cottage cheese" demonstrations this summer, claiming that cottage cheese is an Israeli staple, not a luxury.  When we made aliyah in 1970, it was a luxury, and it spoiled in a couple of days.  The standard soft cheese was a white cheese that tasted spoiled, even when fresh, so it suited the primitive refrigeration of the time here.  Israeli dairy products used to be very natural without all of the chemicals which keep them "fresh" for well over a week.  When you had a small refrigerator at best, you shopped daily, so it didn't matter that the food only kept a couple of days.

Back to crembos...
I can't remember the last time I ate a crembo.  It was probably decades ago.  We were never great crembo fans.  They didn't tempt me after that first taste.  They're overly sweet, unless the flavors have been adjusted.  My kids, at least the eldest, absolutely hated them and never asked for them.  I also didn't have to make winter birthday parties, until my youngest was born, and by then there were other treat options.

When we came back from our two years shlichut youth work in England, our eldest was in the First Grade.  One day she came back home from school miserable and coated with a sticky mess.  There had been a party, and crembos were served.  She couldn't get herself to eat it and (paper napkins were rare luxury items) couldn't neatly dispose of the nauseating mess.

I don't know if this is the type of post Yaaqov was hoping for, but not everyone likes crembos.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winter, Is It You?

Walking around here in Shiloh, I've noticed a few signs that it must be winter already.  That's besides the colder weather.  I still haven't wheeled the portable radiator into the livingroom.  We've been relying on our south and east-facing windows and insulated double walls for "passive solar heating."  I dread the thought of the increased electricity bills that we'll get after turning on the heaters.

Many yards have that green "baby fuzz" of grass weeds growing.  Here and there I've seen a few crocus blooming, the light purple winter flowers that begin showing after the first rains.


G-d willing, we'll have a blessed year with the right amount of rain. There has been a drought in Israel for many years.  

So please remember that a nice day is a rainy day and a bad day is dry and sunny.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

HH #337 Kissing the Mezuzah

To Kiss a Mezuzah is doing another of her great jobs as Havel Havelim host, or can I say "hostess."  I strongly suggest that you pay her a visit, read the posts and share the riches.

Havel Havelim is one of the most veteran blog carnivals there is.  Try your hand at hosting or at least send in links.  And visit and share the carnivals and posts.

HH isn't the only Jewish Blog Carnival.  There are two others, the Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIXClick their names for details on how to submit posts and host a carnival.

Remembering Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, So Different From Matisyahu

Thanks to Life in Israel for the Matisyahu video.

Last night some young neighbors declared an "open house" singalong memorial for the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.




I got a real kick out of wondering how Reb Shlomo would have reacted to a separate seating event in his memory.  I wonder if the youngsters there had ever met him or been to any of his concerts or events.  Reb Shlomo certainly didn't relegate females to another part of the room.  His hugs and kisses went to all he could reach without gender discrimination.

I first heard Shlomo Carlebach in the mid-1960's in the Great Neck Synagogue; he came a couple of times.  After the formal performance, a few dozen of us were invited to someone's house for more songs and stories.  I don't remember any details, just the general feeling.  I was hooked.  Singing along with this rabbi is one of my favorite memories from that time.  It is a pleasant postscript to the singing and dancing I did during NCSY events.  OK, I'd sing and dance along to almost anything; that's me.

Carlebach became even bigger after moving to Israel about the same time we (1970) did.  This picture is of Reb Shlomo and Ruby Harris, who was part of the legendary Diaspora Yeshiva Band.

Last night I wasn't the only old-timer at the "Carlebach Kumzitz."  My friend and I exchanged stories.  She mentioned his classic "The Blind Chazan," and wouldn't you know it, but when I got back home, someone had posted it on facebook.  Reb Shlomo, thanks, you must have arranged that!



I remember reading an interview with him in which he said that he was glad that he had an ordinary voice, because it made people feel comfortable singing along.  In contrast, today there's Matisyahu who is the total opposite of Reb Shloimo Carlebach.  Matisyahu is an inaccessible "rock star" with a beard and payot.



Reb Shloimi's body was his weakness.  Now that he's dead and his body is no more, his pure soul, his sweet melodies, are heard throughout the world.  May we continue to enjoy them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Olive Picking Season

Olives alternate good and bad years.  This is a good year for our olive tree.  I can't take credit.  It was planted by the yishuv, Shiloh, before we chose to build here.  There were three trees.  One didn't survive the building, being that it was where the front stoop is now.  The most impressive and valuable is the olive tree.


Every once in a while people ask if they can pick olives.  My husband and I have been saying yes.  Sometimes we ask them to give us a sample of whatever they make with our olives.  The person pictured here picking was a guest of one of our neighbors.  I don't even know who he is.

G-d gave these olives to be used for food.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Joys of Looking and Being Older

Yesterday on my way to work, I experienced one of those joys of looking and being older.  In my mind, I planned a blog post about it.  But by this morning, I had totally forgotten and was wracking my mind for ideas of what to blog about. 

Then I checked out a new blog-friend, Miriam, and read how she celebrated her 65th Birthday.  There aren't too many bloggers older than I am!

I'm old enough to travel half-price on Israeli buses.  Here in Israel, those "senior citizen" tickets are called vattik, "veteran tickets."  Actually, that's a nicer euphemism than the American term, at least in my opinion

This post isn't about the financial aspect of traveling, since our bus fares in Judea and Samaria are subsidized for security reasons.  Everyone pays half-price to get people on the bullet-proof buses, which was begun when Ehud Barak was Prime Minister and Arab terrorism was deadly frequent.  Shooting vehicles was their method of choice.  Traveling was dangerous and stressful.

But the point of my story isn't terrorism either.

Yesterday when I got on the bus it was packed, standing room only.  I was just glad that the driver was letting us on.  Sometimes they don't, because it's against regulations for them to drive with standing passengers.  Within a minute or two a young soldier caught my eye to indicate that he was giving me his seat!  If I had been a decade or so younger, the chances were that I would have stood the entire trip to work.  I certainly didn't mind looking old when it gave me a seat in the bus!  And as I walked back to that seat, a young mother offered to hold her two kids in her lap so I could join her.

And not to leave you thinking that I really look decrepit, at work a couple of friendly young Arab women guessed my age at a decade younger.  I thank G-d for my good genes!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"This Would Make A Great Picture"

"This Would Make A Great Picture"
"So, here's my camera and shoot!"


The other day, when I was busy at work, a friend came by and said:
"This Would Make A Great Picture"
She was pretty surprised when I actually handed her my camera.  I had to show her how to use it, but as you can see, she took a good picture.  I was busy unpacking new sweaters. 

Yes, I was even sitting down, ok, on a crate, the type used for deliveries from Rami Levi.  By sitting, not only did I rest my legs, I was the exact right height to efficiently do what I needed to do.  Bending isn't good, especially repetitive bending. 

Many, many years ago, a friend, who's an Occupational Therapist, and I developed a program, workshop, presentation about how to work/live without overstressing the back.  Many injuries can be prevented by doing what I did, sitting at the right height for working.  That's how I manage at my age to do such difficult physical work.  Sadly, we only gave that workshop once.  Marketing myself isn't my strong point.

I'm a natural teacher and can still teach people the principles and give a great workshop.  Is anyone interested?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Internet Search, Never Too Young

After their New York aunt brought them these great "dancing accessories," the girls were taken on an internet search to see more ways to use them.


Let's Visit a Few Blog Friends

I'm really tired and afraid that I may start kvetching, so as not to bore you, let's visit a few and varied blog friends.  I have been trying to find some new blogs to visit and am very disappointed to see how few bloggers show blogrolls nowadays, even when they have two sidebars.

I'll start with Heshy who usually "teases us" about the less serious side of frum life, but today he has made a good point.  A Beit Din that withholds conversion certification is no different from a husband withholding a Gett.  I agree.

You're Not Crazy is smart to be working on her Hebrew.

Raising a teen can be difficult enough, but when the teen is a strong-willed girl with Downs Syndrome... read how rickismom is trying to help her daughter keep to a diet.

Mystical Paths is no usually associated with motorcycles, but they're the theme of this interesting post.

Dry Bones was inspired by Zorba the Greek!

Jameel wonders how pc we must be.  Is it immoral to "boycott" those who support Arab terrorists?

Mother in Israel brings up a good point about flexible maternity leave here in Israel, but more research would have made it a better post. 

Sarah designed my blog banners and is also a great photographer.

I haven't blogged about the geography problem the US State Department has about Jerusalem being in Israel or some stateless status.  Eric did.

Please visit and send my regards, thanks.