Sunday, October 10, 2021

CHELM for the HOLIDAYS, Brilliant! A Book Review

Titling this book review "CHELM for the HOLIDAYS, Brilliant!" isn't an oxymoron. The classic Jewish "wise men of Chelm" stories aren't about stupid people; they are lessons in life and siyata d'Shmaya, the hand/power of Gd.

Valerie Estelle Frankel did a wonderful job writing CHELM for the HOLIDAYS; I enjoyed reading it. Allegories, such as stories about Chelm, are actually theological books written simplistically with humor, rather than heavy-handed preachiness. 

CHELM for the HOLIDAYS is written for very young readers in short, clear chapters sans illustrations, but you can read it to younger children, even preschoolers. The advantage of reading it to children is that you can discuss the issues and laugh together about the characters' "foolishness." 

For example, the Chanukah story, "The Oiliest Miracle" can be used to teach children how many candles or portions of oil would be needed to light the Chanukiyah, Chanukah Menorah all eight nights. Teaching via humor is very effective.

A very important concept is found in all of the stories, community. The people of Chelm aren't isolated individuals. Whether intended or not, they end up helping each other. We see this especially in the Shavuot Blintzes story and The Disappearing Challah.

CHELM for the HOLIDAYS is highly recommended. Buy it for young readers or to read to children of all ages.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kar-Ben Publishing ®; Illustrated edition (August 1, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 72 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1541554620
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1541554627
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 - 15 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 740
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 - 9

Monday, October 04, 2021

Surviving Without WhatsApp and Facebook

This evening Israel time, Facebook and WhatsApp, which are siblings of sorts, have ceased to work.

Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp apps crash throughout the world

Nobody knows what happened. Luckily I was able make arrangements with a friend by SMS. 

So much of our everyday communication is by WhatsApp and Facebook. 

I hope by the time I wake up in the morning, life will be back to norma.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh

I look at next week, and all I can say is that it's going to be a busy week. The past few weeks have also been busy, but in a different way. We've spent over three weeks on and off Jewish Holiday times, including two fast days.

Despite the holidays and all the necessary preparations, I managed to get to the Ariel Swimming Pool quite a few times.

Next week I Gd willing return to my studies in Matan. In addition there will be a memorial for friends who had been killed in the Yom Kippur War, 1973, and it's Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. My women's prayer group plans on getting together in Shiloh Hakeduma-Tel Shiloh on the 1st of Cheshvan, Thursday 7/10/2021 at 8:30am.
ראש חודש חשון תפילת נשים
שילה הקדומה
יום ה' 7\10\2021 8:30
כולן מוזמנות

Tel Shiloh is the Biblical Shiloh where the Mishkan Tabernacle stood as the central location for Jewish Prayers for almost four hundred years after the exodus from Egypt, during the time of the Judges. Shiloh is where Chana Hannah had prayed for a son, and when one was finally born to her, she took him Shmuel Samuel to serve with the priests after he was weaned. So, I'm sure you agree that Shiloh is the perfect place for women's prayers.

Shiloh Hakeduma has activities for the entire family and is easy to get to, also by public transportation.

For more information 02-5789122,

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Yom Kippur Outdoor Synagogue-- I Finally Prayed "With" a Minyan

 I know. You are thinking that this is some strange playground draped in sheets. Yes, you can look at it that way, but it's our local outdoor synagogue. 

Add a small portable "ark," a bunch of chairs, string up lights for the night prayers, and you have yourself an outdoor synagogue. Quite a few of my neighbors had prayed together here for over a year, even last winter, but I got no closer than my front door once or twice. It's across the street and down the block. Depending on who's the chazan, I can hear or not hear the prayers.

A couple of months ago, it had been decided to close it down and have everyone return to their former synagogues, in buildings. The powers that be had decided that it was finally safe enough, at least for those vaccinated.

But then the numbers of COVID positive began to climb, and it was clear that at least for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur the outdoor synagogue had to reopen. This time our neighborhood synagogue took charge declaring the synagogue building "green" and the outdoor synagogue "purple." This way children could attend with their parents outdoors, and there would be fewer people indoors. On Rosh Hashanah I attempted to hear the outdoor prayers from my front door. I was partially successful, but that was good enough. Shofar blowing both days was perfect.

On Yom Kippur I started out by my door, and my next-door neighbors, who have a better perch invited me to their lawn. That's where I prayed most of Yom Kippur. There were just two of us on a large lawn, very private and safe. It was wonderful.

I wonder when/if I'll ever really get back to praying from my seat- the best seat in the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Gallery. There were things bothering me, even making me leave in the middle and pray at home, even before corona. 

May 5782 be a wonderful, healthy, safe and joyful year for all, Gd willing.

Monday, August 30, 2021

The PROPHETESS, A Book Review

Evonne Marzouk's The PROPHETESS is an amazing book that slowly draws one in until it can't be put down. Even though it was written more for teens and marketed for that age group, I truly enjoyed reading it.
We follow Rachel, her family and friends as she discovers her destiny. There are no goody-goodies, as the characters are all drawn realistically with good points, bad points and problems. Rachel lives in an ordinary suburban neighborhood with all sorts of people, Jews religiously observant and not along with non-Jews. Rachel's parents, though both Jewish, have different attitudes towards their religion. Rachel's mother's father was very religious and influences their home, even after his death. The last thing Rachel ever expects is her destiny as a prophetess. And nothing is simple.

The PROPHETESS leaves us with a few incomplete storylines, so I'm hoping for a sequel. What was the turning point in Rachel's mother's life, and what happens to Rachel's three best friends Maya, Chris and Jake? Nu, Evonne, hint, HINT!

The PROPHETESS is the perfect gift for readers of all ages, including yourself. It can be ordered on Amazon hardcover or Kindle. 

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bancroft Press (October 16, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 161088504X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1610885041
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 14 - 18 years
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 10 - 12
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.25 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1 x 9 inches

Saturday, August 21, 2021

One Bowl Meal Salad, Easy to Prepare


You can see almost all the ingredients here:

onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and canned peas

What you don't see is the olive oil, pepper and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

You can substitute cooked or canned lentils or beans for the peas and even add canned tuna, or whatever.  You can also add other vegetables to the salad, like leeks or red pepper, fennel or whatever suits your fancy or you have waiting impatiently in the fridge. 

I'd love to know what version you make. Let me know in the comments, thanks.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #35 Pleasantly Surprised by a New WC Near The Center of Town

This new WC is nicely decorated and even has a trash can by the door.

This is the latest post about public toilets in Jerusalem. I'm glad to be of service. If you have any suggestions or corrections, please add your two cents in the comments, thanks. Read more in the series:

#34#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, #4a#4#3#2 and #1.

A couple of weeks ago when doing errands in Jerusalem, I discovered a new public toilet building. It's on Straus Street near the Geula Taxi stand, which isn't far from Nevi'im Prophets Street. 

It has just the minimum facilities, separate for men and women, but as you can see, it was fully supplied with soap and toilet paper. Plus it seemed clean. Really, do we need anything else?

I must say that since Moshe Lion has become Mayor of Jerusalem, there has been a definite improvement in the state of the city's public toilets. There are more, and the older ones, like at the Jerusalem Municipality, are much cleaner than they had been by the end of Nir Barkat's time as mayor. 

This WC is conveniently located near lots of bus stops and small stores, which aren't required to have public toilets. Some of these stores don't even have a toilet for the staff. That's why you'll sometimes see a note on the locked door saying: "I'll be back in a jiffy." 

I hope you find this helpful. Enjoy in good health.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Faux Beatles, But Good Enough for Me

Yesterday my daughter-in-law found the perfect treat for me, a Jerusalem performance of The Magical Mystery Tour Band. The performance was geared for the "entire family," and my three year old grandson was as enchanted as I was. Three generations sang and danced along to the timeless Beatles songs.

The Beatles had filled my adolescence. Yes, I'm of the '60s. Way back when, over half a century ago, nobody could have confidently predicted that the Beatles' music would be so popular today. It has more life than modern music for sure. We certainly didn't need the beer and chaser to enjoy ourselves, but toasting a l'chaim, to life, never does any real harm. We weren't driving

Most of the audience seemed much younger than me; it was an afternoon show. I got a kick observing the enthusiasm of the audience, who had been encouraged to get up, dance, jump and play with balloons. In addition we were invited to sing along, thank Gd. I couldn't have stayed quiet even if I had tried. I still remember all the lyrics.

So, if you have the opportunity to attend a performance of the Magical Mystery Tour band, don't delay. Get your tickets before they're sold out.

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.