Saturday, November 30, 2013

Middle of Chanukah, Four out of Eight

On Frday I followed the directions Phil Chernofsky wrote in Torah Tidbits so that I wouldn't have to rush at at the last minute after Shabbat to get the oil ready for lighting.
• Friday - ideal to set up for Friday lighting - and Motza"Sh - early in the day (Friday), to be ready to light before and after Shabbat without last-minute delays. Suggestion: Set up for 3 candles and 4 candles, as in the picture, and have another shamash ready for Motza'ei Shabbat lighting. Matches ready too. Don't worry about the right-to-left, left-to-right issue.

Here at a better angle:

It really was helpful to have the cups in and the oil poured before Shabbat. Then when Shabbat was over, all I had to do was to light a match.   We light the Chanukiya, Chanukah menorah after  making Havdalah.

Here are tonight's candles and all burning brightly.

Chag Urim Sameach
May You Have an Enlightened Chanukah 

PS Yes, my husband lights candles and I switched to olive oil years ago.  I just use a candle for the shammash.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Very Public Chanukah Menorah Lighting

One of the things I enjoy about my job, working at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin is the public Chanukiya lighting on Chanukah.  The mitzvah is to light your Chanukah menorah at the entrance of your home. It's supposed to be in a very public place to publicize the miracles G-d did and always does for us.

Rami Levy always sets up a giant Chanukiya at the entrance of the stores, the discount supermarket and Yafiz. I was working last night, and a short while after they had announced Arvit, Ma'ariv Evening Prayers, there was an announcement inviting people to come to the entrance of the store for candle-lighting.

Some of the managerial staff then came out to light the Chanukiya, and people gathered around listening and taking pictures.

Chag Urim Sameach
May you have an enlightened Holiday 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Visiting Other Blogs, No, Not Havel Havelim, Just a Round-Up

This morning when I took a quick look at the blogs on my blog rolls of both blogs I saw so many interesting posts.  So, instead of blogging of my adventures, I'm going to list the posts I suggest you read and share. It's not that I've been living a dull life, but sometimes we should listen to others.  I was going to blog about my frustrating day yesterday trying to get a better cellphone deal, but since the story isn't yet over, I guess that should wait.

Yesterday I took some gorgeous pictures riding the light-rail as the winter sun slowly rose in the sky, but I don't think you really want to see an entire post of them.  So, let's get on with the show.  I have a busy day today.

As I indicated in the title, this isn't Havel Havelim.  The next one will be posted on A Damaged Mirror during the next few days.  Join our facebook group.

Chag Urim-Chanukah Sameach
May You Have an Enlightened Holiday

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Front Row in The LightRail

Many times when I take the train, the Jerusalem Light-rail, I try to be in the first car/carriage or whatever I should call it. That's so I can get to where I need to go as quickly as possible.  When the train isn't too crowded I also get a great view.

In the area near the Old City, with the Damascus Gate on the left, the tracks were laid on grass.  IMHO, it's gorgeous, like riding on a bright green carpet.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The "Losers"

I'm a member of a photography group. Every week there's a theme, and we're supposed to photograph and send in a suitable picture.  This week we're required to send in a picture taken from below.  So I spent a couple of days pointing my camera up and getting very strange reactions from people who spied me doing it.

I took a lot of pictures while walking around my neighborhood, at work and also in Rami Levy when to and from the WC.  A fellow worker thought the project interesting and set up this pagoda for me.

Her shot of it with her smartphone was much more successful.

The pictures posted here are among the rejects, the losers.

I've already sent in my choice, and you'll have to wait until Sunday night Israel time to know what the picture is.  Here's the runner-up.  I do love this picture, but the one I chose is even more unique.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgivukkah, Esser Agartoth's Havel Havelim and Some Double-Holiday Videos

First of all I must thank Esser Agaroth for his excellent pre-Chanukah Havel Havelim.
Join our International Jewish, Israeli blog community. If you would like to submit a post, you may do so through our on-line submission form, hosted by Blog Carnival. If you would like to host, please join our Facebook Group.  Any questions, please contact me at shilohmuse at gmail dot com, thanks.

Chanukah is the Jewish Holiday of  thanks, Thanksgiving?, for a couple of reasons. The first is that the name of the historic heroic figure in the holiday's background story is יהודה Yehuda, Judah, which means thank you to G-d.  The name first appears when the Jewish Matriarch Leah, wife of Ya'aqov (Jacob) gives that name to her fourth son to show her thanks to G-d.
Genesis Chapter 29 בְּרֵאשִׁית
לה וַתַּהַר עוֹד וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן, וַתֹּאמֶר הַפַּעַם אוֹדֶה אֶת-יְ--ה עַל-כֵּן קָרְאָה שְׁמוֹ, יְהוּדָה; וַתַּעֲמֹד, מִלֶּדֶת. 35 And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she said: 'This time will I thank the LORD.' Therefore she called his name Judah; and she left off bearing.
The Al Hanissim "Because of the Miracles" Prayer, added during the eight days of Chanukah is also a Prayer of Thanksgiving to G-d for making it possible for the small seemingly weak Jewish People to defeat the mighty Greeks.  So, to be precise, we Jews have had a Thanksgiving Holiday thousands of years before there ever was a United States.

This year's rare calendar coincidence has inspired many American Jews in the states and some ex-pats, too. Here are a couple of clever videos.  Enjoy!

The first is a very clever one from Stand with Us.

Sorry, but as cheery as that video is, it doesn't hold a candle to Benji Lovitt's brilliant holiday special.

Enjoy them both!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rami Levy, Not Just a Supermarket and Politician..

I'm not sure that there's one of these in every branch of the Rami Levy Discount Supermarket, but the shul, beit knesset, synagogue in the Sha'ar Binyamin Branch is very popular.

There's no Ezrat Nashim, women's section, so I haven't dovened there, but I have borrowed the books for Mincha, the afternoon prayer and for Tehillim, Psalms when I've somehow forgotten mine.

It's nicely furnished with high quality-looking seats.  Throughout the afternoon and evening, there are calls on the loudspeaker for men to come and pray.  Besides that, there are set times, and some men come in especially to join in the dovening with a minyan.

Rami Levy doesn't market himself as a religious person, but he offers the Torah observant Jews the services, no pun intended, they need.

He's a member of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's party and a city councilman.  I hope that Levy uses that sensitivity to the needs of the Torah observant also in that position.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stuffed Eggplant, The Ironic and Easy Recipe

If there's one thing you can say about my cooking mode, it's "easy."  You can also use synonyms like "simple."  I have these very vague memories about once making stuffed eggplant many years decades ago, and I never tried it again.  It would require following a cookbook while cooking, which isn't on my multi-tasking menu.  But then I bought these gorgeous gigantic eggplants in the shuk, Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda-Open Market, and they just cried out to be stuffed.

The only problem was that I really didn't know how to stuff eggplants.  So I called out to facebook friends for help, and Risa of Isramom sent me a link to a recipe, davka, based on something I had served her. Ironic isn't it?  I didn't know whether to feel flattered or stupid.  Click on or paste this for her recipe. I made mine a bit differently.  I'll explain with the photos I took.  The moral of this being that there are no real rules to making stuffed eggplant or most other things. Just enjoy and use what you have in the house.

Ingredients I used

  • 1 very large eggplant (a few small ones would be perfectly fine, too)
  • 1 medium onion, cut small
  • a few pieces of fresh garlic; you won't get arrested if you use the powdered stuff
  • some cooking oil
  • a can of crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce or paste, or cut up a few ripe tomatoes
  • 800 grams or a couple of pounds (or less) of chopped meat or poultry

First I sliced the eggplant in half and then cut the "inside" out from the eggplant.  You need a sharp knife and a grapefruit spoon to do it easily.

Place the empty eggplant shells in the baking dish.

Put the cut vegetables in the pot and add the onion, garlic and oil.  Saute a bit and then add the crushed tomatoes and after that the chopped meat.

Cook a few minutes stirring well and then stuff the eggplant.  If you end up with too much of a stuffing mixture, then take out some other vegetables to stuff. I used peppers, but you can use large tomatoes or squash or even just bake the mixture as a meatloaf.

Bake in a hot oven until well cooked. Remember that you've already partially cooked the meat so it shouldn't take call that long.

Enjoy!  We ate one of them on Friday night, and it was delicious!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hidden Corners of the Shuk and Bargains

Recently, I've been doing a bit of shopping Wednesday noonish in the Jerusalem open air market, Machane Yehuda aka the "shuk."  Wandering around looking for bargains, I've found them plus pleasant spots I had no idea existed.  If you want to save money, this is definitely the way to shop, even on a Wednesday when prices begin to edge up.

I don't buy all that much, because there's a limit on how much I can carry, but if I had a wagon I'd really stock up.  I shop after my Matan studies, so I also have books with me.  Also it's hard to take a wagon along to my studies.  But if I ever need to just go in to shop, I'd do it with something to wheel and a backpack.

It's a real bargain, because I don't pay extra bus/train fare.  I can squeeze in the shopping within the 90 minute free transfer time after getting on the bus near Matan and then taking a bus or train to my next stop to get to the bus station or trempiada home.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Detective Work, The #25 Bus Stop Near The Shuk

For the longest time, ever since buses in downtown Jerusalem had been rerouted to facilitate the light-rail, I've been searching for a #25 bus stop in Machane Yehuda. One of my sons even tried finding it on a google map, but it ended up going in the wrong direction, so I took a #8 that day.

Now why is the #25 so important?  It is an express route to an important location in Pisgat Ze'ev, just across the street and around the corner from the new "trempiada," where I can pick up rides and the Shiloh #148 bus or the Sha'ar Binyamin #143 bus.   I usually find myself transferring buses to catch it at the "Buchari shuk," just past Geula/Kikar Shabbat.  The latest "bus fare laws" include free unlimited transfers for 90 minutes.  The quicker I can catch the bus, the better the chance I can do all I need on one bus fare.  A few weeks ago, I went over the 90 minutes by two minutes which meant that I had to pay again.  Catching the bus in the shuk gives me an extra twenty minutes or so, plus that way I get a good seat and don't have to schlep my bags as much.

Yesterday, by chance aka siyate d'Shmaya, the Hand of G-d, while I was walking to Rechov Agrippas on my way to shop in the shuk I spotted the #25 as it entered the street near the back of the Clal Building. There was a lot of traffic, so I was able to see it turn at the street on the side of the Clal Building and then go through Kikar Davidka (Square.)  I filed that information away and did my shopping.

Then I walked back to the back of the Clal Building and waited for the bus.  I was well within the maximum ninety minutes after hopping a bus in Talpiyot, which was good.  I knew that I'd make it to the Pisgat Ze'ev trempiada early enough for the 2:05 to Shiloh which goes up to my neighborhood or a ride, whichever came first.  Of course, I took pictures on the way.

There's nothing like those Jerusalem buses.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homework, Deja Vu

Today when I was babysitting for the grandkids, my grandson was doing his homework.  He's in the first grade.  He seemed to be having a good time filling in the missing letters to make words and then draw a picture of the object to prove that he understood what he had written.  On occasion he asked an older sister if a specific word had one of two similar sounding letters.

Then he seemed stuck, saying he couldn't do one of them.  So I asked to take a look and I saw that he was doing it incorrectly. The workbook exercise he was doing was actually much, much simpler.  All he had to do was to fill in the letter they gave per line, then read and understand what the word was and draw a picture to prove it.

When his mother was a year older than he is, she failed an entire section of an IQ Test for making a similar mistake.  She was supposed to complete a word with the missing letters and then draw a picture to prove she knew what she had written.  She invented objects that combined two words.  The educational psychologist who explained the results to me gave me examples, which were brilliantly creative.  But no points were given for that entire section, and she didn't get into the gifted program.

Watching my grandson quickly do his homework once he didn't have to struggle and wasn't challenged at all gave me some clues as to why I always hated doing homework as a kid.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Art Fun, Searching for Jewish Symbols

Yesterday I was at the Israel Museum with a friend.  They have this totally mesmerizing paintings by European Jewish artists, even those on Christian topics.  I don't usually go for that type of art, but my friend and I couldn't get over the amount of Jewish symbols and ritual objects in this large painting.  We had great fun trying to point out the Jewish symbols and ritual objects.  How many can you find?  Please reply in comments, thanks.

Here's the introduction of what was written in the Museum newsletter:

Europe's Pioneering Jewish Artists Celebrated in New Exhibition

Maurycy Gottlieb, Jesus in Front of his Judges, 1877-1879 

Jerusalem, August 29, 2013 – The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, presents an exhibition exploring the work of fourteen pioneering Jewish artists living in 19th-century Europe. Each of these artists, representing the first and second generations of Jews to enter the art world previously closed to them, straddled the fine line between maintaining their Jewish origins while pursuing a field in which they depicted nudes and even Christian subjects for their patrons. Making an Entrance: Jewish Artists in 19th-Century Europe also challenges the long-held premise that the "first Jewish artist" was Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, protégée of the Rothschild family, and presents the works of the lesser-known artists Salomon Pinhas from Kassel and Jacob Liepmann from Berlin, who worked in Germany at the very beginning of the 19th century. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Always Performing

My youngest granddaughter is full of surprises. There's always some reason she doesn't want to leave gan, nursery school with me, but at least I can usually negotiate with her and find a way to get her to come with me.

Last time I went to take her home, she kept on ignoring me and the teacher who kept telling her:
"Your savta* is here to take you home." 

She and her friend were standing up and singing a Chanukah song together. They were holding invitations (upside down, or at least hers was) to the gan's Chanuka Party and pretending to be reading the words.

She was so serious.  She just kept on singing and singing at the top of her lungs.

Three year olds are so funny.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Ground is so Dry

We should have had lots of these "winter is here" flowers and lots of rain by now.  It was announced that from today on we must add a prayer to request rain from G-d.

This sort of drought happens every frew years.  Here's an announcement including the text of the prayer from a few years ago.

from Kumah

Remember that only a rainy day is a "nice day" in the winter. May G-d give us sufficient rain, even if we don't deserve it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sometimes, I Wish I Could Put up a Sign Like This

Elevator Not Working

Don't we all need "time outs" to recharge our batteries?

I think I'd be worn to a total frazzle if I didn't have Shabbat.  For those who don't know, Shabbat is supposed to be very different from other days of the week.

According to Jewish Law, halacha, we're supposed to tune out from the busy, technological, creating, financial part of life.  Food is cooked in advance and can be heated by indirect heat.  Most of us keep water hot for coffee and tea.  We don't travel, and even the distance permitted to walk is limited.

There are three sets of prayer times, like all days, but the prayers are longer, and there's a prayer added to the morning one.  We read from the Torah.

We function on a different speed, different gear.

I wasn't raised as a Torah observant aka Orthodox Jew.  I was introduced to Jewish Law and Life as a teenager in NCSY and YU Seminars.  It attracted me, felt right, like a comfortable shoe.  When I was young I didn't fully appreciate the full value of Shabbat.  I was too full of energy.  But now, well into middle-age, I really feel that there are physical as well as spiritual benefits to keeping Shabbat.

A friend of mine has a very high-powered/pressured job.  On Shabbat that job is totally put away.  She has twenty-five hours of rest from it. On Shabbat she has Shabbat and family, friends, etc.  Work never impinges.  She credits Shabbat and the rest from work with her surviving that difficult job she has.  Non-Sabbath observers who work with her at the same sort of job wonder how she can get all of the work done in six days.  They need the full week, including Shabbat, to finish.  Shabbat makes it possible.  They would get it all done in six days if they kept Shabbat, too.

It's so important to just take a real break.  You must have noticed that I don't blog on Shabbat.  I don't talk on the phone or go near the computer.  It's wonderful.  My day, my Shabbat is full.  I'm never bored.

Try it, but don't try it alone.  It's best with a community.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Should I Start a New Hobby?

It's not like I have oodles, or any, spare time, but I had so much fun and felt so good beading last week. And I got so many compliments on my necklace that I've been wondering if it's a good idea to branch out and be craftily creative.

my very first necklace, if you don't count the noodles and spools from thread I had strung as a kid

The friend who brought all of the equipment, cutters, wires, beads, claps etc charged me very little for the "ingredients," things I used to make this necklace, and mine was one of the more expensive projects.

My friends insisted that my necklace was like those sold in stores.  So, I began to wonder if could make jewelry as gifts or even sell my handmade jewelry for money/profit.  I certainly don't get anything from writing, blogging etc. And my work salary is the pits.

I'd have to set up shop in one of the unused bedrooms.  We've had an empty nest for years.  One of the bedrooms even has a large desk which could be emptied off and made into a "beading workshop."

To check out this new idea, I went into a popular Jerusalem craft supply store.  I did see a number of beads that inspired me, but I also realized how quickly one could spend money one doesn't have on these items. What first seems to be an inexpensive craft hobby when you think of how much it cost to make one gorgeous necklace can be full of expensive surprises.  I didn't even check the prices of the cutters and wire. The necklace I made also needed glue and other things.  Those who bead a lot also have boards to keep the beads in place while planning, designing and beading, since the beads can easily roll away.  I have to think very seriously about it.

Like photography, beading is an artistic medium that doesn't require a talent at drawing.  When I was young, it seemed that the only criteria for artistic talent was drawing, which I could never do all that well.  I was always drawn to art, and there's a lot of talent in my family, but it always seemed that it had passed me by. Then I discovered photography, which is a great medium for my talents.  Now it seems like I can also develop a different aspect of it by beading.

Nu?  What should I do?