Thursday, July 29, 2021


A few days ago a neighbor gave me a call:
"I'm going stir-crazy. Do you want to get out?"
"Me, always. Where are we going?"
That's how we ended up having lunch in the Ariel branch of JAPANIKA

We left home without much of a plan and drove to the nearest city, Ariel, which is only about fifteen 15 minutes away by car. 
My main course, chicken, vegetables and
noodles. Delicious
At the entrance of Ariel, from the direction of Highway 60, the Ariel University is on the right and a shopping center on the left. This time we decided to enter the shopping center from Moriah Street just before the shopping center and not from the lower parking area. It was a good idea, since there were plenty of empty spaces; something never found on the bottom.

Feeling rather adventurous, we stayed away from the big dairy restaurant chain --aren't they all pretty much the same?-- and we decided to try out JAPANIKA.

Neither of us had been there before.

We definitely were lucky, because they have a lunch special which includes a cold drink, first course and main course. There are different main courses according to which price you pay. My friend chose the least expensive, NS55, and her main course was sushi, which she really enjoyed. 
Salad, my first course, excellent
I "splurged" paying NS59 and had a fantastic filling chicken dish as my main course. 

Now, in all honesty, a simple tuna salad in most of the dairy chains would have cost us more and have been less satisfying.

We were both very happy with our food choices. Service was pleasant, and the entire atmosphere in the restaurant was perfect. I must admit that I had been a bit nervous about going, since a few weeks before I had gone to a different Japanese-style restaurant with a different friend and a short while after eating began suffering from an awful aftertaste. But, thank Gd, JAPANIKA's food was better, no aftertaste at all.

JAPANIKA is open Sunday-Thursday 12 noon to midnight, Fridays 12 noon until two hours before Shabbat. Then it opens an hour after Shabbat ends until midnight.
Phone *3636
Kosher Ariel Rabbinate 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

2021 Jerusalem Beer Festival Fantastic Beer

Here I am in my "uniform"
my Israel Brews and Views

If you didn't make it to The Jerusalem Beer Festival last night, you can still go tonight. It's best to buy your tickets in advance, less expensive and then you won't get disappointed at the door if it's sold out.

This year, all the beers I sampled were great. Two years ago at the Jerusalem Beer Festival many craft beer companies had been experimenting with "flavored beer," which I found mostly awful. I had even titled my post about it Where's The Beer?" Jerusalem Beer Festival 2019. Now as the world, including Israeli craft beers, is struggling to survive corona/COVID, my guess is that they don't have the "profits" to invest/waste on experimenting with unusual flavors in beers.

I won a hat from Jem's by successfully tossing hoops.

I caught Doug Greener here talking about beer, what else?

You can't see it in the photo, but Doug is wearing the same sort of T-shirt I wore. We were part of a team promoting his blog and expertise in Israeli craft beers.

Tarantino is where I bought my meat sandwich. It doesn't seem to have a website. But the food was great and inexpensive.

Shapiro Jack's Winter Ale was a treat. It includes whiskey. At present they're not selling it, just producing it for winter. But I was very lucky to be given a generous sample. Gd willing I'll order some when they market it, along with their IPA which I adore.

On the whole I requested IPA samples from all the craft beer stands offering "tastes." I'd rate them all from good to excellent, some more fruity tasting than others. IMHO the quality of Israeli craft beer has gone up. There's lots of competition. I didn't make any attempt to sample the foreign beer. Honestly, there's a limit to the amount of beer I can drink, especially when it's the same evening not from the same source. And Shapiro's "whiskey beer" was really powerful.
I hope you make it to the festival or one of the others happening in Israel. If you can't try to buy Israeli craft beer. The "little guy" is producing fantastic beer.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #34 Binyan Clal Public Toilets Renovated

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. Your input is very welcome, thanks.

See #33#32
 #31#30#29#28#27#26#25#24,  #23#22#21#20#19#18#17#16#15a#15#14#13#12#11#10#9#8#7, #6#5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1.

On a recent trip to Jerusalem, I found myself in need of facilities when in the area of Machane Yehuda, aka "the shuq." After a year and a half of corona/COVID, lockdowns and rarely making it to that part of Jerusalem I feared the choices as being between "the devil and the deep blue sea." Not only is the shuq's WC hard to find, but it's rarely clean, and the last few times I had searched for one in Binyan Clal, most had been locked or in awful disrepair. 

So with great trepidation I entered Binyan Clal from "the back," aka Rechov Agrippas. At least that was my plan, but "the back" is no longer connected to the Rechov Yaffo building. The "KIACH Building" is now prettied up. In addition not only are the hallways closed off, but there were no WC signs at all. I had to exit and reenter from the side street near the Hobby craft shop.

Since I know that there are toilets built by the main elevators on each floor, that's where I went. In my experience, most had been locked, but there would be a sign indicating on which floor the WC was open to the public. I hit the jackpot on the first floor I tried, "C." Not only did the door open, but no nasty urinal odor greeted me. And even more surprising was the décor. As you can see, the public toilets have been renovated and look gorgeous. 

There was even toilet paper and soap!

It's really good to know that there's no reason to avoid the Clal Building when in the need...  And I like writing good news, since we all need the services, translation of the Hebrew for toilet שירותים sherutim. In the future, I'll try to check out the other floors. If you have more information, please add it in the comments, thanks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck- Book Review

The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck by Shimshon Meir Frankel is a well-written and perfectly structured self-help book, which can assist people in "getting unstuck."

What does Frankel mean by "getting unstuck?" It's escaping bad habits, taking charge of your life to make it better and more.
"Anxious? Overwhelmed? Maybe a little depressed - or more than a little?

If you want to regain control of your life, this book is for you. It is full of effective, time-tested, and workable techniques for setting aside the concerns that hold you back."
Frankel is a clinical psychologist with decades of experience blending Jewish concepts with classical therapy. And now you don't have to be his patient to benefit from his therapeutic skills. For some this book, The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck, will be enough to get out of a rut and for others it will be a great supplement to personal therapy. Frankel can be contacted at

Following Frankel's basic guidelines is also a great preventative measure.

Each chapter is clearly written and summarized, ending with what he calls "takeaways," which are key points. Finally all the key points are in the appendix at the end of the book.

A very basic principle of Frankel's is to "Sweat the Small Stuff." This is the opposite of other self-help gurus. Change is best and easiest in tiny increments. I like his common sense and definitely recommend The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Light Summery Lentil Vegetable Soup

Light Summery Lentil Vegetable Soup


I made this Light Summery Lentil Vegetable Soup on Sunday to break the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, but I've been enjoying the leftovers ever since. And my husband has had it for lunch with pasta added to make it more filling. It's labeled "light," because the orange lentils cook quickly and disintegrated, unlike peas, rice, barley or pasta.

Since I didn't measure the ingredients, I'll just list them. My cooking is very flexible. Measuring is very rare. 
  • orange lentils
  • onion 
  • carrot
  • squash
  • pumpkin
  • mushrooms
  • a bit of vegetable oil, coarse salt and coarse pepper
  • water, of course
Cooking was in two steps. First I poured boiling water over the lentils, covered and waited over an hour. Then I added the cut up vegetables and the oil. Once it was boiling, I added more boiling water, plus the salt and pepper. Once it's boiling nicely, lower the flame to simmer for 35 minutes to an hour depending on your pot.

You can add other vegetables or leave some out. Generally I add some dill or parsley-- dehydrated is fine, but since I was fasting my mind wasn't fully there.

This is a very easy to make soup. Enjoy.

Friday, June 18, 2021

DISSONANCE, An Amazing Adventure In The Days of The USSR- A Book Review

DISSONANCE A Novel by Carol Cosman is set in the USSR on the eve of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Cosman deftly weaves the struggles of Soviet Jews, USSR dissidents, spies, Israel's security and the difficulties for elite musicians in this fast-paced historical novel.
Young Soviet pianist Natalia Aronovich is poised for international stardom when, in one shocking act, a Red Guard officer interrupts her performance and removes her from the stage. She later learns the KGB has arrested her father, Pravda journalist Mikhail Aronovich, for his undercover involvement with Soviet dissidents, refuseniks, and Israeli Intelligence.
For those too young to remember that era, DISSONANCE is a good introduction. Though I must say that to my knowledge, Cosman may have sanitized and underplayed the dangers

DISSONANCE has very well drawn characters and a fast-paced plot. Actually the book could have been at least fifty or more pages longer if we had been able to read the escape, rather than just a summary. I really enjoyed reading DISSONANCE and recommend it to readers of all ages.

I became an activist for the Soviet Jewry movement as a high school student in the 1960s and even met my husband at a demonstration. In addition, he went on a short mission to the USSR in the mid-1970s from Great Britain where we had been doing Jewish Zionist youth work. Later on back in Israel we were active helping new immigrant Soviet Jews adjust to life in Shiloh. 

It would be wonderful if Cosman could write a sequel, so we'd learn what happened to the very talented and brave Natalia Aronovich.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ (March 10, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 404 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1647192978
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1647192976

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Super Summer Breakfast, Pineapple & Watermelon

One of our Shabbat guests brought us a perfectly ripe pineapple. I served most of it at the meal, and it was enjoyed by all.  This morning I cut off a bit to have as part of my breakfast.

As proof of its ripeness it was very easy to cut, and I enjoyed eating the "inside" of the peel. I added some watermelon and then sesame paste for protein. 

To be honest, I was very curious about the relative calorie counts and nutritional benefits of those two summer fruits. I knew already that watermelon is surprisingly low in calories, but I knew nothing about pineapples. 

Pineapple, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy209 kJ (50 kcal)
13.12 g
Sugars9.85 g
Dietary fiber1.4 g
0.12 g
0.54 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.079 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.032 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.5 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.213 mg
Vitamin B6
0.112 mg
Folate (B9)
18 μg
5.5 mg
Vitamin C
47.8 mg
13 mg
0.29 mg
12 mg
0.927 mg
8 mg
109 mg
1 mg
0.12 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water86.00 g
Watermelon flesh, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy127 kJ (30 kcal)
7.55 g
Sugars6.2 g
Dietary fiber0.4 g
0.15 g
0.61 g
Vitamin A equiv.
28 μg
303 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.033 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.021 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.178 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.221 mg
Vitamin B6
0.045 mg
4.1 mg
Vitamin C
8.1 mg
7 mg
0.24 mg
10 mg
0.038 mg
11 mg
112 mg
1 mg
0.1 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water91.45 g
Lycopene4532 μg

While I'm at it I'll add the nutritional information about sesame paste:

Sesame Paste (Sesame Butter Made From Whole Seeds)

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size1 tbsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Values*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin D
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

A New Format For Our Book Club

Last night we had another meeting of the Book Club, with a tasty, filling pot luck dinner. Dessert was scones with all the trimmings. So obviously we would have considered the evening a great success even if the discussion part had been a bust.

This meeting was the most ambitious so far of our new framework. We had been given (actually I think it was my idea) a rather open assignment. Read any book written by Herman Wouk, and as the date of the meeting got closer, I, as facilitator, loosened the requirement a bit. I told the participants that they could even watch one of his books as a movie or see one of the tv shows he had  written or was based on a book of his.

Our custom is to eat first and then talk books. Who can really focus on books when sitting around a table heaped with great food?

As we polished off the scones, we began the meeting. If I remember correctly, first I gave a summary of Wouk's life and discussed his book that I had read, This Is My God, which is a very personal book. Wouk was an Orthodox Jew in a time when it seemed that Jewish Orthodoxy was a dying breed. So we also discussed the state of American Jewry in the mid-twentieth century, which shaped Wouk.

Then I asked everyone to state the book they had read and I wrote it all down. There was only one overlap; two read the Caine Mutiny.  Each member described her book, and what she thought of it. The two who had read Caine Mutiny had a mini-panel discussion. Then we talked about Wouk and what we had learned together. 

We all agreed that this new format is working for us. It's such a relief not to have to search for the same book and/or rush reading so it could be passed on to other members. Our next meeting with deal with a time in history, and we'll all have to find suitable books in the genre.

If you use any of our ideas or are a member of a book club, please let me know in the comments. Thanks

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Shiloh Pool Season 5781, 2021 has Begun

This morning at 7:30am the Shiloh Pool opened for the season. Within a few minutes a handful of us were already in the water.

Adult pool

Children's wading pool

The water was clear, wonderful and reasonably warm for the opening day.  Lots of women showed up. This was our "women's hours," meaning that swimming was only for the 18+. Then the pool closed until early afternoon when girls, and adult women too, had their swimming time.

This "adult" swim time is one of the great advantages of the Shiloh Pool. We can swim, exercise and talk without young children splashing and screaming. No doubt most of the young mothers who had been in the pool when I was there, returned later with their daughters or infant sons.

Season at the pool is only three months, though we're trying to get it lengthened. Gd willing maybe next year. Our real dream is to have it winterized, covered and then the pool will be open most of the year. I was very encouraged by the amount of younger women who had shown up. Such an investment can't be covered just by the senior citizens. Many of us travel to Ariel to swim when our pool is closed, but the younger women don't have as much free time as we do. So if they enjoy the swimming enough... Gd willing we'll have an all year pool.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Updated: Super Simple One-Bowl Cake

Years ago I posted a recipe for my basic cake, and it's one of the most popular of all my posts. I've been baking a version of this cake for decades, almost half a century actually, soon after we got our first oven. I got the basic idea from a cookbook. Now all my cookbooks have been given away or trashed, so when I need one of my recipes, I check my blog.

This basic cake has morphed into all sorts of cakes. I've even used it as a base for ice cream cake. There was a time I made a lot of marble cakes, and when the kids were little I'd make it very low and later on pour jello to harden on it as a treat. Another version of it had cut up leftover apples baked into it. When the kids couldn't be relied on to finish their apples, I'd collect the leftovers in the fridge. 

In recent years I save mushy bananas in the freezer to be mashed into the cake batter, which also gets a generous dose of chocolate chips. After all these decades I must confess that I eyeball the liquids. The only ingredients I'm really careful about are the relative amounts of flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder. Water and oil are approximated, since I know how the batter should mix. I add enough until I'm satisfied.

I bake about a month's worth of cakes and freeze them. Today six cups of flour made five cakes in loaf/Englishcake pans. 

You may have wondered about the color of the cake. It's not white. I use extra fine 70% whole-wheat flour and dark brown sugar. 

Here's the basic recipe for a small cake copied straight from that original blog post. You can double, triple etc. Just make sure your bowl is large enough. If you're using whole wheat flour, you may need a bit extra liquid. I add an extra egg every three cups of flour. And nowadays I use canola oil, since we never find soy in the local store. And in my modern oven I have to know the temperature, 160 Centigrade.  

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

mix dry ingredients
add oil and water
add eggs
pour in pan
bake medium heat
until pops up when gently pressed in center of cake

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Hip Set, A Police Mystery Set in Israel, Book Review

Hip Set  by Michael Fertik is full of surprises. Police/detective mysteries is a favorite genre of mine. Fertik's book didn't disappoint at all.

Hip Set is set in Tel Aviv, which isn't a city I know well, especially the neighborhoods he describes. As small as Israel is, it seems that many of us are pretty ignorant of cities and neighborhoods out of our comfort zones. And I can't imagine a situation that would require me to wander those Tel Aviv neighborhoods which are the refuge for Africans, who find Israel their safety net.

The main character is Oscar Orleans, a Congolese refugee and long-time resident of Israel. Oscar identifies as a Jew, though it's not clear if he has actually converted. With perfect Hebrew, Oscar is the liaison for the African refugee community and finds himself helping his good buddy Inspector Kobi Sambinsky of the Asylum Unit.

When a young African is found murdered, Oscar and Kobi work together to solve the crime and in the process clear up another very surprising mystery or two. The book ends with a teaser, which makes me think that there's another one in the works featuring the same team. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Yes, I definitely recommend Hip Set. It can be enjoyed by old and young readers.

Product details
  • Publisher : Tall Tree Creative Arts LLC (January 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • ISBN-10 : 0988413140
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0988413146

Monday, May 17, 2021

Super Easy One Step "Eggplant Parmigiana"


OK I must admit that I'm a lazy cook. I prefer one-pot, one-step recipes. I once watched someone make "real Eggplant Parmigiana," and I was shocked. First she soaked the slices of eggplant, then she coated them in beaten egg, and then bread crumbs and then fried them. Only after that complicated ritual did she do anything like my recipe.

So if you're anything like me you're not interested in the long complicated procedure. Nobody who has eaten my "Eggplant Parmigiana" has spit it out claiming it's "fake." So, here's the recipe.


  • sliced onion
  • sliced eggplant (thin)
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced pepper optional
  • cheese that melts well either slices or grated
  • garlic, oil, any spices you think will be good


  1. layer onion, then, eggplant, tomato then cheese, then onion, eggplant, pepper, tomato and top with cheese.
  2. add spices and some oil
  3. bake in medium oven 160 centigrade until bubbly
Yes, that's it. You can add some squash or zucchini if you want.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Back To "Pot Luck Dinner" Book Club, Thank Gd

 Last night I hosted our local Book Club.

The meeting was our second post-corona get-together, but the first time we got down to the business of literary book discussions. A couple of weeks earlier we just "partied," ate and hashed out how to best conduct meetings. 

Pre-corona our set meeting meant a book that all of were supposed to have read, usually facilitated by the same member. Some months it worked better than others. Buying, borrowing and sharing books can get complicated, even though a few members read most of their books on kindle. As we talked and ate, we realized that maybe we should change our meeting structure. On occasion we may manage to read the same book, but no longer always.

Our new plan is to choose monthly genres or authors. Each month a different member facilitates and decides on details. 

The member who facilitated last night wanted to read a couple of children's classics, Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables. I had never read either of them before, not even as a child. I borrowed Pollyanna from her. I surprised myself by enjoying it. There was a lively discussion about the books. Not everyone read both, and a couple didn't read either one. We agreed that even though we liked the books, we couldn't see our grandchildren reading them. The Harry Potter generation can't relate to the low-tech lives and innocence of Anne and Pollyanna.

Next month's book is The Brigade : An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WWII by Howard Blum. If I don't get a copy of the book, I'll try to research the history of the time.

I must admit that in the early days of our book club, we didn't have the pot luck dinner, and the club wasn't all that successful. Once we added the meal at an earlier hour and extra socializing, it really improved our meetings and attendance. I can't remember how many years our book club has been going on. Members are from Shiloh and nearby communities, and we're grandmothers and great-grandmothers, too.

There are book clubs all over the world which follow various "programs." We've even traded books with a few here in Israel. Not only do I enjoy the socializing and literary talk, but it has been good for me to stretch my reading to books I never would have touched if they hadn't been on our "list." What are your experiences with book clubs?