Monday, March 31, 2014

Busy Blog World, HH on Esser Agaroth

Esser Agaroth is the host for this week's Havel Havelim, the weekly International Jewish Blog Carnival. He has collected a wonderful selection of blog posts from all over. Check it out, enjoy and share.
Adventures In AliyahLand will be hosting next week's edition. Please send your submissions directly to her via e-mail at
More information can be found on our facebook page.

This week, since tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh Nissan, I'll be hosting the Chodesh Nissan, aka pre-Pesach Kosher Cooking Carnival. I'm not quite sure when I'll have the time, but bli neder somehow I'll manage. We also have a facebook page. Please send me your links about all aspects of kosher food and kosher cooking to shilohmuse at gmail dot com, with "kcc" as subject, thanks.

With Rosh Chodesh Nissan tomorrow, we're really getting into the home stretch before Pesach. Personally, I feel less ready than usual. I miss being a teacher here in Israel when I'd have at least a full week off, as paid holiday, beforehand.  Now I work in a store, and we get no holiday pay and certainly no pre-holiday vacation pay. So when you're shopping, please be extra kind to the staff. We're under terrible stress between the pre-holiday rush at work and the pre-holiday stress at home. Thanks. Hmm, I wonder if anyone will read this paragraph. If you do, mention it in a comment, please, thanks.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fancy Cakes for Siddur Party

Mothers (or am I being sexist for taking for granted that the mothers and not the fathers?) of the First Grade boys of Ofra got very creative baking specially decorated cakes for last week's big מסיבת סידור Missibat Siddur, Siddur (Prayerbook) Party.

Yes, some of them looked too good to eat, but by the end of the party, most cakes were pretty much finished. There was lots of other nosherei, too.

Of course, we weren't there for the food.  We were there to see our grandson get his first official siddur. The students are given siddurim after basic reading skills are taught to the class.

The timetable has changed in recent years. It used to be that the children received their siddurim around Chanukah time, early winter. And then around Shavuot, late spring, before the school year ends, they would receive their first Chumash, בראשית Bereishit Genesis Book of the Bible. Now the siddurim are given late winter and the Chumash is given at the beginning of the Second Grade when they begin to study בראשית Bereishit Genesis. So, G-d willing and bli neder, I'll post about it next year.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

HaDassah, Letting Go to Support Aliyah

Popular Jewish American blogger HaDassah Sabo Milner already has one son in Israel who made aliyah. Lots of Jewish American eighteen year olds come to Israel.  They come for the year, but HaDassah's Aryeh made aliyah. He's now improving his Hebrew for the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces. So like many religious Israelis he'll be about nineteen when he starts his army service. It's very common to spend a year studying in a "michina" (pre-army preparing program) and improving one's fitness before the army.

This summer, her second son will join his big brother in Israel:
My second son, Naftali,  turns 18 in August. By the time his birthday rolls around he will have made Aliyah, and will be living in Israel, surrounded by family – including his older brother.
Here's my comment on HaDassah's blog:
HaDassah, halevei all Jewish mothers had your attitude and the Jewish population in Israel would be so much greater. Too many parents tell their children:
"First get an education."
"Save some money."
"Get job experience."
And we all know what that causes...
staying in chutz la'Aretz, because it is easiest to make a successful aliyah when you're young and when you get your education and language skills, Hebrew skills in Israel.
This is becoming a long comment. I may as well blog about it.
I know of so many people who really wanted and planned on making aliyah, but they took their parents' advice.  Some of them did make aliyah after doing all those things, but many more didn't.  Or they tried and discovered that their American/Canadian/European etc educations didn't really prepare them for life in Israel. It's also so much more difficult to come to a new place, new language with children. Also there's no real guarantee that one can save lots of money living abroad.  Life can be very expensive.

G-d willing, HaDassah and family will all be blessed. Reading her post was a great way to start the week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Good News, Bad News, and Where's Ramat Hasharon?

Great News! My son's IFL Israeli Tackle Football Team, The Jerusalem Big Blue Lions won their quarterfinal game against the Haifa Underdogs and will be going on to the semifinals next Friday.

shaking hands at end of game

Yes, that means that the bad news is that next Friday is an important game, and I'll want to be there, which won't be easy. I also have to find out where Ramat Hasharon is and where the stadium/field is and how to get there from here.

Generally I only go to the games in Jerusalem, but this semifinal is too important to miss. So I have to get everything ready for Shabbat and do Pesach cleaning before and after. Everything can be done if you really want it done. We all make our own priorities and must be realistic.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shabbat or "Any Occasion" "Hostess Gifts," Nu?

What do you give or like to receive?

When I go to the states, I try to bring something Israeli or from Shiloh, whether it's a good and interesting "framed" photo I've taken or once for my sister and brother-in-law a well-wrapped bottle of Meshek Achiya Olive Oil, which they probably enjoyed more than any of the other things I've brought them.

I've also bought necklaces for hostesses from my jeweler neighbor who makes exquisite fine jewelry.

My sister-in-law gets the cookbooks I review, which she loves. She actually follows recipes; something I don't do.

In the neighborhood I usually bring a vegetable dish, which people count on when inviting us. And there are neighbors who do the same when our guests, bringing salads, fancy fruits and other delicious healthy foods. Other guests like to bring us a good dessert, knowing that dessert is not my specialty.

There are meals we're invited to that are planned around the fact that everyone will bring something. The hosts must be well-organized to know what to request from the various guests.

We've gotten nice serving dishes, flowers and of course bottles of wine.  It's always nice to get something, and it doesn't have to be expensive.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring, Whether We're Ready or Not

Here's a selection of photos I've taken near my home in Shiloh. It didn't rain enough this winter, and besides the blizzard, wasn't all that cold. But the flowers are blooming and trees are developing fruit, so spring is sure here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Marathon of Blogging, Havel Havelim

This week's Havel Havelim was delayed by the Jerusalem Marathon, because Eitan, our energetic host ran the 10 kilometer race.

Let's cheer him on by reading, commenting and sharing the oldest International Jewish blog carnival in the world!

Next week's host is Esser Agaroth. Submit your posts by either emailing him esseragaroth at gmail dot com or via blog carnival We keep the carnival going on our facebook page, where you can also sign up to host an edition.

There's also the monthly Kosher Cooking Carnival which deals with all aspects of kosher cooking and kosher food. It gets posted every Rosh Chodesh, so that means that the next one will be next week, G-d willing on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.  Please send me your links about Kosher food from this Jewish Month via blog carnival, thanks. KCC also has a facebook page.

As you can see, there's lots to read in the International Jewish Blogging World.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Trying to Stay Balanced

This week's 52frames theme/challenge was "balance." I'd say that it's something we should try to achieve, balance in our life, our aims, actions etc.  It's being realistic.

I lost balance somehow rushing down to the bus stop yesterday and fell, potentially really badly. That's why I consider the damage and injuries to be minor. Everything could have had been much worse. My hand, knee and new glasses are all banged, scraped and scratched. But a just slightly worse landing could have broken my glasses, even endangering my eyes, broken nose and teeth or even just cut up my face or broken my hand. So, kapporah, I can't complain.

At work I filed an "accident on the way to work" report in case I suddenly do feel more damaged.  The funny thing about my glasses slightly pushed down on one side is that now I see better out of them.  And since they are multifocal a pretty new, I can and have to report that this new "alignment," aka "balance" seems to be better for me. Now I don't have to try hard to find the "right spot" for various distances. The frames may look "unbalanced," but the lenses now are "better balanced" for my vision.

Here's my picture:

It's too busy.  I should have used one of these perhaps...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thank G-d, Another Win

Last Thursday night, along with many others, most of the Israeli Medad Clan showed up in the Jerusalem Kraft Stadium to watch and cheer the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions play against the Jerusalem Kings.  Yes, that's real American tackle football gear you see on the guys.

B"H and the very hard work of our team, we won.  And that means that this Thursday night we'll be back for the playoffs, G-d willing.

May they all be healthy and safe!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Traif Meat Con Caught, B"H

This really gets scary when you realize how easy it is to sneak traif meat as kosher. Here's an article from the Jerusalem Kosher News:

Three tons of treif meats were apprehended, confiscated and destroyed in a joint operation involving the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Ministry of Agriculture inspectors. The meat was apprehended in the Israeli Arab municipality of Kfar Kassam. Yassam commandos took part in the raid along with other Israel Police units.
The meat was found in a warehouse for meat distribution packed in cartons marked as kosher, intended for distribution nationwide. It is believed the cartons were collected from trash receptacles.
I have been under the impression that kosher food shouldn't be deserted, left unguarded in transport. But it seems that there are Arab trucks and truck drivers who have opportunities for these illegalities. Does anybody know more about this?

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Doable Diet, The Life-Transforming Diet, Based on Maimonides

I've been reading diet books for over half a century.  My mother got me the Pat Boone one, Twixt Twelve and Twenty when I was barely a teenager. My kitchen book shelf is full of diet and health books, but to tell you the truth, none of them promote a diet one can really live on forever.

Over the years I've heard that our great sage Moshe Maimonides included eating and health suggestions among the books and article about Judaism.  So I was extremely happy to be offered The Life-Transforming Diet, Based on Health and Psychological Principles of Maimonides by David J. Zulberg to review.

Zulberg's book is one of the wisest and most practical diet books/guides I've ever seen. It's actually doable and realistic. Unlike most diets which start with extreme changes and then gradually get to what they consider the way one should eat to keep the weight off, Zulberg follows modern coaching guidelines and promotes small slow changes to one's routine.
Experience an inner and outer transformationwith David Zulberg's The Life-Transforming Diet. This simple, practical and anything-but-boring program is more than merely a diet. It is a lifestyle that you can live with, because you are empowered to choose what to eat - and when to eat it. Based on the wisdom of Maimonides (Rambam), one of the greatest Jewish sages who ever lived and the outstanding doctor of his time, the Life-Transforming Diet will give you the tools for optimum emotional and physical health, a more spiritual outlook and sustainable weight loss, no matter what your age, gender or occupation. 
The Life-Transforming Diet offers you: - gradual, step-by-step implementation of a new approach to eating: you don't go cold turkey 
- theoretical and practical information, including insights into how we form bad habits and tips for laying the foundation for new, better ones 
- a simple, quick and well-rounded exercise program that doesn't require a financial commitment
- a do-it-yourself support system that takes only a few minutes a day 
- advice for Shabbos and other dieting challenges 
- an intelligent and realistic maintenance program 
As many people know, a few years ago I lost 15 kilo, just over thirty pounds (30lbs,) and I've kept it off. There are many similarities between The Life-Transforming Diet and my new way of eating. Zulberg has his terminology for the types of meals on the diet.  Once I figured out what he means by them, I realized that I've been eating that way, and it works.

I agree with Zulberg that walking is a fantastic exercise for most people and will facilitate fitness and weight loss.  As a former dancer, exercise and Physical Education Teacher, I would just suggest getting personal professional advice about what exercises suit you rather than doing the more strenuous exercise routine he suggests. It's not suitable for many people. Also, taking into account that in the time of Maimonides, The Rambam, about nine hundred 900 years ago,  fat removal from milk meant skimming the fat off of the top of the raw milk after it sat a bit, which resulted in a "fat free" milk of at least 1-2% fat, I don't think that the Rambam would recommend the highly industrialized modern 0% dairy products of today. That's just one of my pet peeves, which you can take or leave as you wish.

On the whole I consider Zulberg's book to be excellent and highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pre-Pesach Freezer Inventory

I usually start posting this pictures before Purim, when I begin to search out what is in the freezer that must be used before Passover or dumped. My freezer is just the refrigerator one. I have no real complaints about the size of the Sharp.

There's still four in the freezer, although I baked challot and rolls for Purim. There aren't too many Shabbatot before Pesach, and I don't quite know what I'll do with all that flour, which is expensive. We sell some chametz and according to our rabbi can section off part of the freezer as a "no touch-chametz sold" area. I know that not everyone does it.

In addition there is a neighbor who collects unopened chametz to sell for a food gmach  in memory of his sister who had been murdered in an Arab terrorist attack. I'll donate some things to them.

But for now I'll buy less and cook less and use what we have.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Return of The New Umbrella

For some very peculiar reason I have this reputation at work for having "a good memory." There are routine things I'm good at keeping, like making my food for work and bringing the meals. In the three years I've been working at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin I left it home only once. I'm also the person who is considered to be the "one who knows where everything is."

But the truth is that there are aspects of "memory" in which not only don't I excel in, but I fail abysmally. One of the reasons I left teaching was that I couldn't remember the names of all the students in my classes. I somehow managed when I had tiny groups of four to eight students, and I taught them, the same kids, all four years they were in high school. But there was no way I could remember three or four classes of twenty or more names.

I generally bring everything I need to work, and one of my tricks is to pack early, so I have time to add what was forgotten. I try to make a routine out of it.

This winter there hasn't been all that much rain, but it did rain last Thursday when I was on my way to work. On Wednesday I threw out a broken umbrella when I was in Jerusalem, and on Thursday I took the new one that I had bought a couple of months earlier. It protected me when I was walking to the bus. It was wet, so I put in on the floor of the bus by the window right next to me.

I was just as I got into the store when I realized that I had forgotten it. I mentined it to my fellow workers and they were horrified.
"YOU! You never forget anything. How did it happen? Who drove you?"
They were more upset than I was.  When I told them what type of bus I took, within seconds one of my friends had the head of the "company" on the phone and told him to trace the driver and leave the umbrella where she could get it.

Today she gave it to me. I do have the most amazing friends.

PS You can see the tag is still there. It really is a new umbrella.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Now That Purim is Over, Will it Rain Again?

Purim Day #2
This is how I dressed for work sans the jacket and dark glasses.
Photo by Linda Fairman
In terms of rain we've had an awful winter.

Don't let the discarded umbrellas fool you. Just because the rain-wind factor was strong enough to destroy flimsy umbrellas doesn't mean that enough rain fell on our thirsty Land.

I dumped last year's new umbrella in the trash last week after schlepping it around Jerusalem. I must have looked like some sort of nutcase as I almost wrapped the broken antique-gold colored umbrella around my face/head while walking around Jerusalem. I finally retired it to the trash. Then on Thursday I took my new one to work and promptly forgot it on the Mateh Binyamin bus. A friend called their office and promised to try to get it returned.

Maybe I should resort to the trick I used a number of years ago to make my personal effort to counteract the drought.  I just didn't get an umbrella. I decided that for the sake of our Holy Land I'd get soaked hoping that Murphy would davka convince G-d to send the rains since I was unprotected...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Purim Goes on Forever in Shiloh

We in Shiloh are among the very select locations in the Jewish  world to celebrate a double Purim. Although it's a widely recognized fact that there was a city of Shiloh here in Shiloh long before and certainly long after the events of the Purim story, the rabbis/sages added a hard to prove criteria which would unmistakably give Shiloh a rather conventional one-day Purim.

No photo archives or recognizable stone etchings or mosaics show Shiloh as a walled city at the time of Joshua or the time of Queen Esther, Mordechai and King Achashverosh.

Therefore even though the archaeologists have exposed all sorts of proof of a walled Shiloh, they've decided that our wall's timeline is in doubt.

I have a feeling that the debate will go on forever, just like the calculation of Pi . Little doubt that's why our local Le Profesor Doctor Numero, the world renown advanced number expert used it as this year's Purim theme.