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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Delicious, Easy and Low Carb Musakka

Very simple, just layer sliced vegetables and some ground meat or poultry.  I
Dribble on a bit of oil.  Seasoning is optional.  Bake and serve. 

Honestly, what could be easier?

Serve with a salad, and you have a meal.  Those who can eat carbohydrates can have it with bread, pasta or rice.  Or add sliced potatoes when assembling it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Debut Havel Havelim on "A Jewish Israel"

I've been greatly encouraged by the interest of newer Havel Havelim participants in hosting the veteran and distinguished Jewish Blog Carnival, Havel Havelim.  Yes, this week is the debut of A Jewish Israel as Havel Havelim host, thank you.  He did a wonderful job, and I'm also happy to see that there are new participants in this week's edition.  Please share and visit/share the various posts included.

Now that we're getting very heavily (maybe the wrong word, since I'd hate to think that I'll be putting on weight) let's say intensely into the three week Jewish Holiday season of Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, Succot and Simchat Torah, HH won't be weekly.  I scheduled the editions a bit further apart.  It's nothing that participants need to worry about, because when you send in your link via blog carnival, it will automatically go to the next host.  Just please remember to send in links after posting, or if you're like me you'll forget and miss the deadline.  Next host is Esser Agaroth, one of the most dedicated and veteran members of our jblog community.

There are a couple of ways to keep track of what's happening with Havel Havelim.  One is to join and check up  on our facebook page, and the other is to put the  blog carnival Havel Havelim widget on your blog's sidebar.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

More in My Coffee Saga

Here's this morning's facebook "update status:"
Last of my American coffee stock.  I'm not even sure where I was when I bought it, but I do remember that I was with my sister in some store and saw a whole bunch of coffee on sale.  This one is the least successful davka.  Archer Farms Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée.  It's a light roast, so not really strong enough.  When that's gone, I'll have to start perking my Elite Turkish again.

It doesn't have anything approaching the zing my homemade vanilla coffee, which is Elite Turkish well perked with a dash of good vanilla extract.  It's my fault in a way for picking a "light roast."  I should have stayed far away from it.  It has the coffee flavor of an ordinary instant coffee.  My previous Archer Farms was good coffee.

Kashrut is OU.  When I was pulling sale price coffee out of the bin in the store I can't remember*, there were many OU coffees.  I looked for the hechsher, kosher certification first and the name and strength of the coffee second. I remember being wary about the "light roast," but the vanilla in the label intrigued me.  Years ago I had bought a vanilla-flavored coffee from a different brand and loved it.  Lesson learned.

*As I was checking out more about Archer Farms I discovered that it's a house brand of Target, so I must have bought the coffee there.  My sister and I did go there to get my grandkids all sorts of arts and crafts supplies. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dancing Up a Storm, Aish's Rosh Hashannah Video, "Get Clarity"'s latest holiday video, "Get Clarity," is full of good music and fantastic dancing with the backdrop of the Jerusalem City Walls.  Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Big Day Tomorrow in Shiloh

Women are invited to come to Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh for tours, prayers, shiurim, Torah talks, music and more! Tomorrow night, Wednesday, August 28, 2013, the 22nd of Elul 5773.

The official program is in Hebrew, but the experience, our prayers and more are in all languages.  There's food, crafts, jewelry, clothes etc for sale.  But the true focus of the event is prayer, women's prayer at the site of the ancient Mishkan, Tabernacle.



For at least the third year in a row, the amazing and mesmerizing Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi will be the featured speaker.

Rabbi Shmuel Yosef and the very popular singer Etti Ankori are also on the program.

Each year the crowds get larger, because the program is so spiritually thrilling and successful.  Women and teenage girls return year after year.  Many girls high schools take advantage of the T'fillat Chana event as their annual Elul Teshuva-repentance program.

Join us!  For travel information check out Egged buses or see if there's a bus from your area  by calling  02-994-4019 or 08-9712348.

The photos are from those I took at last year's T'fillat Chana.

Monday, August 26, 2013


I thought I had seen everything. 

I've been among a crying crowd at a funeral for a baby who died when her totally over-tired sick father forget her in a car.  The sight of the chevra kaddisha (Jewish burial staff) emerging from the ambulance (we don't use hearses in Shiloh) carrying the dead baby in his arms elicited such a collective cry of grief... unforgettable.

I'm a survivor of a terror attack which left a couple dozen wounded, including myself, and one dead.

I once found myself waiting with neighbors, some dead and some alive, who had been in a horrific, tragic car accident.

I've spent time in the hospital praying for my sons, one after an accident and one who was deathly ill as a tiny infant.

I successfully, thank G-d, did Heimlich on my young son choking on an ice cube.

I could go on unfortunately...

But when I saw the toddler with her head fully enclosed in a plastic bag, while her parents happily shopped I could not be quiet.  I just had to speak to the parents.
"Excuse me, but it's very dangerous to pull plastic bags over a head like that."
"It's fine" insisted the young father.
"It can be fatal" I continued.  The father glared at me as the mother took the bag off of the child's head.  "There are countries that have Keep Away From Children on plastic bags."
picture credit
Then I continued on my way to use the amazingly well-kept WC's at Rami Levy Discount Supermarket.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ruti Does Havel Havelim So Well

Start your week with Ruti's latest Havel Havelim.  It's the nicest one I've seen for a long time.  It's also beautifully illustrated with lots of stunning pictures. Thank you Ruti!

Next week we have a debut Havel Havelim by A Jewish Israel.  Yes, HH is still growing in the Jewish cyber world.  To submit a post click blog carnival, sign in, fill in the form, and your post will go automatically, bli eyin haraa, to the next host.  Keep in touch and sign up for hosting on our facebook page.

Havel Havelim is the most veteran of the Jewish blog carnivals, but it's not the only one.  There are two others, the monthly Kosher Cooking Carnival and a few times a year JPIX.  You can send in your links to KCC via blog carnival and for JPIX click here.  There's also a KCC facebook group.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Crazy Couple of Months

It's just starting to hit me that I've had a crazy couple of months.  Early June I rushed to Arizona, because my mother wasn't doing well.  Also since my son's wedding was coming up, I felt that it would be a good idea to get the summer visit over as soon as I could. 

Within a few days of my return, my mother was dead and I was back on a plane.  Then it was to New York for the funeral.  I managed to return to Israel for most of the shiva.

And then I rushed back to work as soon as the shiva was over.  Since I only work part-time, I didn't "take off" work when my son got married.  I sort of squeezed it all in. 

Now I'm feeling it, especially when people ask me how I am, if I've recovered form the wedding, if things have really begun to sink in.  I didn't really give myself a chance before. And now it's almost Rosh Hashannah, which this year is a challenging three day "yontiff," because it's immediately followed by Shabbat.

I must admit that I am starting to feel that things have changed.  So much is mixed up.

And just like in the middle of a Jewish wedding ceremony the chattan, groom breaks a glass, to remind us all that Jerusalem still hasn't be rebuilt.  We still don't have the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount. 

Photo by Yona Zoref

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Granny, "Savta," Day at the Israel Museum

When my kids were little we went to the Israel Museum an awful lot. For two years, before we moved to Shiloh, the two older girls were students there and learned all sorts of arts and crafts.  After we moved to Shiloh I kept up family membership for a number of years so that we could visit unlimited times when they had vacation from school.  So, of course it's the place to take the grandkids when on vacation.  Yesterday was the day.

As you can see, we weren't the only ones with that idea.  And when the kids were at the "illusion" craft activity you could hear "Savta," granny, more than "imma," mommy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sort of Like Cheating... Isn't It?

As some of you may know, my mother passed away two months ago.  As a Torah observant Jew, as a mourner, I'm in a restricted state, forbidden a number of "pleasures," such as wearing new clothes, certain social occasions and listening to music.

I have control over the first two restrictions.  Even under normal circumstances I don't get new clothes all that frequently, and if I do really need something, like a hat to wear at my son's wedding or an unripped shirt at work, I can ask someone else to wear the item for a set period of time.  That way it's not considered "new."  It's not that difficult to decline invitations to social occasions.  It's only permitted if there is Torah or educational content and no music.

Music!  Yes, staying away from music is near impossible.  I can't avoid music, at least recorded music.  At work, in Yafiz and Rami Levy there is always music on.  Even before my mother passed away I'd ask that the volume be turned down in Yafiz, since I can't hear the customers clearly when the music is too loud.  And there's also music on the buses and tremps I take to and from work and other traveling.

I have no control over this music.  It's part of life.  I'm not in charge.  And even more troubling... I love music.  I find myself singing, humming and sometimes even dancing along...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

It Was Worth it!

When I first began planning the large Sheva Brachot, post-wedding celebration for my son and his wife, I, with the encouragement of one of my kids, thought I could somehow do it without a caterer.  I figured I'd combine my cooking, my daughter's and various take-out and store-bought things.  But then the various additional logistics such as finding and setting up enough tables, chairs etc. made it seem a bit more complicated. Neighbors, younger than us, who have married off quite a few kids told us to get realistic and hire a full-service caterer.

That's what we did. We actually took our next-door neighbor who had been recommended by many.  He and his staff did it all.  They got the tables, chairs, tablecloths, plates etc.  He bought and cooked all the food, set it up and cleaned up afterwards.

My husband, family and I were able to just enjoy ourselves and the guests, food etc.

The fancy challot were gifts from a neighbor and the popular Herby's Bakery from Beit El.

I just made a few decorations to make sure that it looked like a real party.

I didn't even bring my camera.  These photographs were done by my neighbor Linda Fairman, who's a professional photographer.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why Blog? It's an International Community!

With the advent of other forms of magical communication such as facebook, twitter, skyping etc., people have been predicting the end of blogging.  Blogging is more than sending a line or two into the magic, mysterious cyber world via Wi-Fi, cellphone waves etc.

Many of us bloggers are either actual writers, photographers, journalists, public relations aka social media experts or wannabes of one or more of the above.  And there are your "just ordinary people" with a story to tell, a writing talent and people saying:
"You should start a blog."

Some blogs really take off and become popular, even money-making, and others just schlepp along with a small group of followers who manage to catch the blogger at just the moment he/she thinks it's time to quit with a:
"I love your blog.  It really speaks to me. Please don't stop."

How do they know that we continue blogging just to hear/read that?  Many of us have become "friends," community over the years, even if we've never met f2f face to face.  And there are those we actually know in real life and discover more from their blogs.  I have a combination of that on my "blog rolls," the list of blogs on the sidebar of my two blogs, this one and Shiloh Musings.

Many of us blog a combination of personal and political, whatever is on our minds and new in our lives.

Paula blogged of a death in her family, A Woman of Courage and Strength HaMakom yenachem, may G-d comfort....
Seraphic Secret gets a mazaltov on the birth of a grandson.
Mazaltov and refuah shleimah to Geuliyah on the birth of her twins,
מיה אמונה בת גאוליה שומרונה
זהר אושר אביה בת גאוליה שומרונה

Our latest news is the marriage of our son.

Jennifer has been keeping us informed of her aliyah adventures, Skyping! from their temporary abode in a mercaz klita in northern Israel.

Blogging isn't dead. That's one of the reasons all sorts of mainstream press has added blogs on its internet sites.  I've had blogging rights on a few internet newspapers.  Of late, I can be found on the Jewish Press blog section.  They choose the posts from my blogs.  I stopped blogging on a different paper, because they demanded only original material written for their site.  And considering that they certainly didn't pay me anything, it reeked of chutzpah to make demands.

I like the independence of blogging what I want.  My blogs are my own newspapers.  I decide what's "fit to print."  I hope you enjoy reading my blogs.  Please share the links and comment in the comments, thanks.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baked Onion Omelet and the Story Of Course

The other day in the middle of cooking I realized that the time had come to change gas canisters.  In Israel most of us  have individual arrangements with gas companies.  The gas company hooks up each home to a pair (or more if water and heating are done by gas) of canisters aka "balloons."  You're supposed to keep only one open at a time and then close it when it's empty, open the waiting full one and quickly call the gas company to order a new one. 

Of course there are periodic foul-ups, usually planned by "Murphy's Law," just when there's about to be a holiday and the gas can't be ordered.  It has happened to me that either we forgot to order or somehow both were open and then empty out simultaneously.  When that happens I have to get immediate help from neighbors.

Well this time when I went to change balloons, yes, the canisters, I noticed that the "full" one seemed a bit on the light or empty side.  I also smelled gas and discovered that the nob attaching it wasn't fully closed.  I closed it and then called the gas company to order more gas and complain.  I was told that I'd have to wait as few days, and he'd send an inspector to check that all the connections were good.

But in the meantime I was afraid that I'd run out of gas, so any cooking that could be done in the oven was done in the oven, including my morning eggs.

I placed a sheet of parchment paper for baking on our handleless frying pan.  As you can see above, I put the cut onion and eggs on it and dripped a bit of oil to mimic "frying."

I placed the frying pan in the oven on high with the fan going to speed things up.  It almost looks "fried."  Doesn't it?  And of course I added the usual seasonings.

My Baked Onion Omelet really tasted good!

PS the gas canister did arrive on the day promised, and so far the "almost empty canister" is still cooking...

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Sheva Brachot," The "Post-Wedding Party"

Traditional and Torah observant newly married Jews don't just rush off on a honeymoon a few hours after the wedding.  The custom is to attend a series of festive meals, during which the Sheva Brachot, Seven Wedding Blessings are recited.  We hosted a large one in Shiloh for our newly married son and his wife.

one challah from a neighbor
and the other from
Herby's Bakery,
Beit El
It was in the nearby shul hall and catered by a neighbor.  The wedding was small by Israeli standards, so I used this Sheva Brachot as my opportunity to invite lots of neighbors.

Most people were very happy not to have had to travel far. 

And there were also guests from Jerusalem and other yishuvim.