Thursday, June 30, 2005

blogging vs freelancing

This will be cross-posted to Shiloh Musings.

On an email list the topic of freelance writing vs our blogging and getting our posts/articles into all sorts of publications, just for fun. Or just so people will know what we think, etc.

The note that follows is from a freelance writer.

Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:25:17 EDT
Subject: Re: Second Job / Volunteering

I just came back from a press association conference where a handful of
freelancers learned that we are an endangered species hovering on the
edge of extinction because editors no longer want to pay for our
stories--cause all those people out there want to write for free. (Many
of them just express their personal opinions and glory in the ink.)
Here's the reality: It essentially means that those people who are
writing for newspapers for free are stealing the food and rent money
away from the professionals who have been working hard to make a living
at it for at least 25 years. Now, instead of story assignments, we get
editors calling us in emergencies to fill their bar/bat/wedding
celebration section at $30-50 a pop. No one pays to sniff out
investigative stories (like the rabbi and child abuse story that was
squelched until an editor moved to town and heard about it).
Each year there are less and less column inches left for freelancers to
fill. And we are talking Jewish freelancers for Jewish media here. Not
the "real" world. No freelancer purely freelances anymore because it's
becoming impossible to eat, let alone pay for medical coverage, which is
$25,000 a year for two middle aged people.
And that fact doesn't make retirement likely for any of the Jewish
freelancers I know who write for Jewish papers--and are working twice as
hard to make the same amount of money they made five years ago.
So those of you who write for free--be aware, you could be ruining other
people's lives. Some of those people, and I met them, are over 70 years
old and without the income...well, you can guess the rest.


At present, there "agents" working "underground" pretending to be patriotic, enthusiastic anti-Disengagement activists. Unfortunately, the truth is something else.

There are at least two groups of kids who were arrested simultaneiously for preparing "tacks" to blow tires. Activities like these are not part of the civil disobedience. Road blocking does not endanger anyone, and the legal situation is simpler.

Do yourself and everyone else a favor, and WARN YOUR KIDS, RELATIVES AND FRIENDS. I know that it's hard not to trust, but remind people that they can't protest when jailed in a "sting."

cross-posted in Shiloh Musings

haves and have nots

If you're reading this, you're one of the haves. You have internet, and you read blogs. Sometimes it's so strange, since I have to remember when talking to others, which they are. I have friends who, in conversation, refer to what they've read in my blogs, and others who don't know their way around a keyboard.

It sort of makes me schizophrenic at times.

We're all in different worlds with different references. I, for instance, don't see much tv, and when I do it's just one @#$%#$% channel, Israel's first and worst. I watch only two shows and not when broadcast. We record "CSI" and "L & O," since I fall asleep watching tv at night. On rare occasions I catch a glimpse of the news, which generally gets me upset. You know the saying: "Don't get mad; get even." ? They sometimes inspire some of my best musings.

In Israel, cellphones are so universal, it's rarer than rare not to have one. Though I'm not planning on carrying one around when in the states for a visit. G-d willing, through the help of a friend, I'll have a laptop to get messages, though I don't want to carry it all over.

Now, must finish morning, pre-exercise class preparations. And that's another category here in Shiloh, those who take Channinat Hashem's classes and those who don't.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Carnival of Education #21

It's summer vacation from school in the Northern Hemisphere, and the 21st Carnival of Education is nice and long, lots and lots of good posts to read. Yes, including one of ours.

night stretching

Last night I went to an evening exercise class to make up for last week's disappointment.

The teacher is a real professional and gives a different workout at the end of the day. I was truly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, since I'm a morning person. Actually, I'm glad that I had the opportunity, since I had strained my shoulders the day before. The weakness began yesterday afternoon. By evening, I could hardly lift my arms. I called her to tell her that I wasn't 100% and would be participating any how.

Thank G-d, now I'm fine and was very alert when I returned home. It would be nice to sign up for two classes next year, one morning and one evening and also continue with my weekly trip to the Neve Yaakov pool and find a Torah or Bible class. Oh, yes, and I'll have to work a bit, too.

Now to attack the laundry I washed yesterday.
Must be sorted and put away.

I can always watch the recorded Law and Order, since I don't watch it when it's broadcast, must save it for special occasions like this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

teaching, getting rich?

All over the world, teachers complain about the low salary, and parents complain about teachers' long vacations. Of course, very few non teachers know how much a teacher does to prepare when not in the classroom.

But even I was surprised to read what these teachers do when on vacation. I thought that if teachers worked during school vacation it was in camps, to give their own kids free or at least reduced tuition.


When I was doing my "teacher's license" a few years ago, I did a presentation for the special ed class about the high percentage of students with serious concentration/behavior/memory/impulsivity problems. According to neurologists, there should be only 3-5% of kids with ADHD, but there are so many more who show the symptoms, characteristics.

After some reseach, it was obvious that the cause was insufficient sleep. The negative effects of insufficient sleep are identical.

read this from :

Figuring Out How Much Sleep You Really Need
On your next vacation, go to bed when you feel tired, but don't set an alarm. Sleep as long as you can -- until you're "slept out." Ridding yourself of the sleep debt you've accumulated may take several days. The time you naturally start waking up tells you how much sleep you need. If you find that eight hours seems to be the average length of time you sleep on vacation, set that amount as a goal when you get home.
Sleep experts generally agree that you need eight hours of sleep a night. People who get six or less hours of sleep have a 70 percent higher mortality rate according to the California Department of Health.
Live long and live well with the help of
Fit Over 40 For Dummies, by Betsy Nagelsen McCormack with Mike Yorkey.

best of #83

One of our all time favorites about a very special wedding, was included in the latest BOMS. Read all the wonderful posts from all over the world right here .

Monday, June 27, 2005

no time

HH #26 took up a lot of time, so I don't have much time. Actually, I'm off schedule.

Just a question about the latest euphemism I've seen, SSA. How popular is it?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

There's plenty to read

While you're waiting for me to fix Hevel Hevalim #25, you can work up an appetite reading Carnival of the Recipes at

And don't forget to tell me how yummy the easy cake is.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Hevel Hevalim #26

Sorry about all the foulups. Someday......
If there are any other problem, just let me know....
Your computer clutz

This week’s
Hevel Hevelim is celebrating aliyah. It’s thirty-five years since my husband and I got married and voted with our feet by packing our meager possessions onto the Greek Lines ship, the AnnaMarie. Yes, we came by water, not by air, so this year I’m joining a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight to see how modern olim, immigrants travel.

Let’s start with
Pinchas who is making aliyah!!! That is really great, and we Israeli bloggers all hope to meet you here in Israel.

And before I go any further, I’d like to mention the
survey request from Am Echad. It’s for those who triedhave made aliyah whether they're still here or not.

Now for one of those absolutely Siyata d’shmaya true stories, just now I discovered which Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week this is,
Shlach, which has the story of the “spies.” Read more about the parsha here.

It’s wonderful to know that there are people who really want to come to Israel. Read of
Celestial Blue’s Israel dreams.

In my pre-aliyah days, as a young Zionist activist in the 1960’s, the Israel Folk Dance Festival was an annual highlight. We danced up a storm in
Carnegie Hall. Are there any other dancers out there blogging?

Besides all the spiritual, historical reasons for wanting and needing to be here, one mustn’t forget that there’s also
great beauty here in Eretz Yisrael. Thanks Fred.

Shmuel Sackett gives a very important and sometimes ignored
reason for making aliyah.

You really must read about Balagan’s
shoes. It’s no joke, and makes me wonder if some “big brothers” will pull out my orange nail-polished nails. And if you want to read about modern civics lessons here in Israel, Mozemen will tell you what her kids learn from classmates.

Mystical Paths gives us an idea of what his life is like in the Shomron.

Cosmic X tells us of an interesting dialogue in Jerusalem.

Rishon Rishon has made up for lost time in a very high IQ post.

As one of the, bli eyin haraa, eldest in my synagogue to walk out for
Yizkor I’m interested in the discussion mentioned on Bloghead .

L’havdil, the opposite type of religious ceremony is the
naming a baby girl, which is discussed by Devarim. My husband named our daughters in shul the first Shabbat after they were born, whether the baby and I were home or still hospitalized, and a small Kiddush was done that very Shabbat. I didn’t know anything about benching gomel. Yes, that was a very long time ago.

Since we’re mentioning females,
Orthomom writes about a great Torah Scholar, yes, a female one.

Pillage Idiot
discusses American anti-semitism Maybe that's why and

I have no doubt that there’s more truth in these blogs, than on CNN. Read what Esther says: She gives us some important information. And Nathan reminds us to be suspicious of nameless sources

Mirty writes of ribbons, not the type for your hair.
Mirty's ribbons

And Soccer Dad writes about Israel should G-d forbid have to do, but I really didn't want to get into politics,
as if I could avoid it.

Politics in Israel isn't so clean; Sha! tells us about
one political party.

According to
Willow Green real life is making a joke come true. I’m sure you’re familiar with the three nationalities joke with the punch line “the Israeli says that we have two months to learn to live under water.”

And whom can we trust?
Israpundit reminds us that the universities have their agendas, which may be the source for the bad analogies that Rachak writes about.

Does anyone really trust
Ms. Rice’s judgment? Read what Michael Freund has to say.

blogus gives some useful bus-traveling instructions.
Yes, many of us travel by bus in Israel, the dilemma and I must admit that I’ve reached the “age” when some people give me their seats, though being middle-aged, I sometimes get up, too.

Treppenwitz writes of dead dreams.

The View From Here offers something very unique, as only American Jews living in Israel can produce.

Shavua Tov to All

PS for information of future hosts check
Soccer DadSoccer Dad (Yes, there's a problem, but the link works! And I'm one of the oldest bloggers in town.)
and this is also cross-posted on me-ander. Oops! Yes, I know this is me-ander; of course I had meant to write Shiloh Musings.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ladies' Day

It seems to be ladies' day on Arutz 7, and it's not even Rosh Chodesh.

For those of you not familiar with their homepage, it includes "introductions" to five opinion articles (which can be read with a click), right in the middle of the page. They offer a wide variety of writers, and I'm one of them. And I'm not the only female featured on a regular basis.

Today, while I should be cooking for Shabbat, I discovered that my most recent article is up, and I'm in good company. All of today's authors are ladies.

That's all for now, must cook for Shabbat. Yes, I may have my articles published all over, but I still do the cooking.

This will be cross-posted on Shiloh Musings

Shabbat Shalom

Basil? Basel?

not Fawltey and hope not faulty
probably bad timing
to buy plants

last time
I went abroad
those tasty fruitful strawberries

to someone
who adds water
to the kettle

was greeted
by straw
not berries

but maybe
email reminders
to add
a bissel water
to the basil

and green
will greet me
and partner me
in gastronomic greatness

can dream

getting ready

getting ready
I guess I'm always getting ready for something. Now, getting ready to go to the pool and getting ready for Shabbat.
And I'm getting ready for my trip to the states in a few weeks.
And I ought to be getting ready for next year's teaching.
We need lots of strands of plans.
Like ribbons braided or yarn woven.
Into a wonderful life.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

lazy, very lazy day

The class this morning at the pool was a disappointment. I was offered a make-up, since it didn't suit my needs. At least I got some exercise in the pool before it began.

Then I goofed off at home all day, eating what I shouldn't and keeping those fingers nimble on the keyboard, and I did a wash and cooked the chicken. I also made the weekly, Thursday dinner for my husband and myself. And I've been reading one of those mystery adventures, Mary Higgens Clark, I'll be Seeing You. And I'll be seeing it again and probably finish it before going to sleep, simply, because it's one of those books.


Yesterday, my girls and I divided forces in terms of entertaining my visiting parents. There's no need for my 80 year old mother and almost 85 year old father to do the same things all the time.

My eldest daughter took the afternoon off from work and took my mother to the Hyatt spa, and then they had dinner out. Simultaneously, I took my father by bus to daughter #2 and her two daughters in Ofra. She and her husband and the little girls, of course, kept him happily fed and entertained all afternoon and evening.

I made my way back home late afternoon. Catching the bus was one of those "perfect timing" stories. Just as I was passing the "ulpana," girls high school, between my daughter's home and the bus stop, I saw a neighbor driving. He stopped for me, but said that he wasn't going home, going to Jerusalem to meet his wife, so I asked for a lift to the bus stop, which of course he agreed to. As we approached, so did a bus. It was the bus home, so he sped up, dropped me off, I ran and made the bus. I wouldn't have if he hadn't given me the ride. One of G-d's great little favors. Now I hope that G-d doesn't waste His powers on little things like that, when our country's in danger.

And today, I have my exercise class by the pool. Honestly I'm not happy with that, since it's costing me extra money, since I don't have pool membership. Also, I know how to exercise in the water. But I'm curious to see what Channinat Hashem comes up with. Yes, that's her name.

I'm going to have to bring tons of stuff with me since I want to swim first and need shirts to wear against the sun etc. It's important to look at this as an opportunity and not money waste. Just must stay out of the sun.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


the season
of dehydration

exhaustion from
just breathing

blinding sun
late nights

last night

Last night I went with my daughter to Caesaria; it's in northern Israel on the Mediterranean Coast. With Israel's new #6 super highway, which we entered not far from Ariel, it wasn't such a bad trip.

She's a lawyer for the Movement for Quality in Government, and they had their annual prize giving ceremony last night in the ancient amphitheater. It was very impressive with thousands of people. Some of the audience was only there for the entertainment. Veteran Israeli singer, Shlomo Artzi, put on a full show after the ceremony.

We didn't stay late, as a hungry baby was waiting for her mommy to come home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

back to my favorite newspaper

I'm pretty sure I know why I've been spending more time on the computer, rather than less. It's my favorite newspaper, "The New York Times." The paper I was raised reading, raised to read, and now I can get it here via the internet.

In Israel, want ads unabashedly advertise for "young" people. In the states it's illegal.

Now if you've ever wondered why many Jews make the stupidest political decisions, here's the answer: It's genetic!

I remember growing up when "bussing" black kids to white schools was a big debate in the states. The supporters had no problems, since their kids' schools weren't included. Things haven't changed: Also in Israel, the people voting for Disengagement aren't, or don't think they'll be, touched by it. That's a major mistake, since all of Israel, and actually the entire world will be effected, very seriously effected, if the dangerous plan takes place.

Many years ago, when our home was on the "must see's" of foreign journalists visiting Israel, a "Wall Street Journal" reporter spent almost a week with us. My daughter (now the lawyer) told me that she didn't trust him. Why? "He doesn't take pictures." I told him, and he laughed: "The WSJ isn't that sort of paper." Now things are changing:

And more on insecure finances:

Monday, June 20, 2005

Carnegie Hall

I performed in Carnegie Hall; yes, I did.

Carnegie Hall is a major New York cultural icon. There is nothing like it. My former classmate, the late, legendary Andy Kaufman used the venue for his entertainment extravaganza that culminated in a very 1950's cookies and milk for all.

actually, I performed there before he did! It used to be the venue for the "Israeli Folk Dance Festival" directed by the irreplaceable Fred Berk. I danced in three festivals for the NCSY Dance Group. In 1967, it was led by Leah Weiner, z"l. That was my first time on the stage in Carnegie Hall. After the evening performance we went to the Manhattan Betar Moadon and sang for hours. Then we checked into a cheap hotel and tried to keep the kumzitz going, until some of our friends were thrown out.

The following year, there wasn't an NCSY group; though we danced in the Salute to Israel Parade down Fifth Avenue. A picture of me and Debbie Klaff Dan (now of Beit El) was used the following year by the Jewish Agency to publicize the parade.

In 1969 and 1970 I led the NCSY group, but 1969 was the last year we danced in Carnegie Hall. Fred didn't consider a stage with curtains to be suitable for folk dancing. He taught us (I took his Leadership and Choreography course with Debbie 1967-8) that genuine folk dance had both an entrance and exit, which was much easier in the Felt Forum Madison Square Garden sports arena.

There used to be a small kosher restaurant, "I & M" near Carnegie Hall. It was a popular place with middle-aged musicians. I used to eat there a lot, to the point when the owners fixed me up with their waiter's nephew. That didn't come to much, and I didn't get there for a while. One of the last times I was there, the owner was so glad to see me he shouted: "Look who's here." The other customers did and couldn't understand what the big deal was.

Mattresses and floor tiles are looking better and better

As paranoid as some of us are about our codes and accounts, the real danger isn't our home computer. It's the big banks and credit card companies. Our secrets aren't well-kept, it seems.

Hackers are raping our bank accounts and credit ratings. I have a good friend who loves to balance her checkbooks, a rare occupation according to many. Maybe we should all join her.

And maybe we should keep our greenbacks, lirot, pounds and shekels buried under the floors.

HH #25

For the latest Hevel Havelim, see:

Next edition is by yours truly. My theme will be ALIYAH TO ISRAEL, since this summer we celebrate 35 years in Israel. We actually docked on September 5 after two weeks on a boat, large ship.

I'm beginning the celebrations already, since I'll be taking a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight, G-d willing, this summer. I'll be one of the journalists on board and hope to get a new perspective over a generation later.

Send your entries to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com before Shabbat.

Art and Judaism

Mirty wrote about Jewish art and her attempts to be a Jewish artist

Here are my comments to her post:

There are some fantastic artists here in Shiloh, and even I've sold "sunrises."
About the nudes, my neighbor, Rabbi Dov Berkovits discussed the issue recently at a shiur. He said that the worst thing is that the art students are taught to think of the human body as a simple, ordinary object to be copied, as if it were just a vase or fruit.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

here we go again

Trekker's leaving tonight. The washing machine's going double-time and the lines are full. Luckily the sun is strong; wish I was. He'll summer guarding Camp JORI, and my nest will be empty.

But I have plans to travel, too. Maybe I'll get up to RI and see him in his pastoral splendor, cabin by the lake.

I'll return on a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight, G-d willing. I'm still looking for additional commissions for pay articles. Though we all know that thousands end up reading my musings and meanderings on various internet sites. One of the latest to publish my writing says that millions visit.

I ought to make some lunch for us.

Food For Your Thoughts

My blogs are now featured on WORLD JEWISH NEWS AGENCY in a column titled "Food For Your Thoughts." You can access it via the sidebar link, and then go to their home page for lots of interesting articles.

Shavua Tov

the easiest cake recipe

Plain Cake, Simply Delicious! This is the basis for all sorts of cakes, including chocolate, apple, chocolate chip, etc. It can be multiplied, and I never make it with less than 3 cups of flour. Of course, it can be frozen and iced. I make it with whole wheat cake flour and brown sugar.
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 mix add eggs mix pour in pan bake medium heat until pops up when gently pressed in center of cake You can ice, sugar or serve plain. ***New healthy icing idea! My two year old granddaughter loved it! Ice with date spread!***

Saturday, June 18, 2005

should be

Let's make a list, a should be list.

What should you be doing? Taking for granted that blogging and surfing aren't the most important things in the real world.

I'll start:
I should be washing the dishes.
I should be putting a wash in the machine.
I should be spending time with my family.
I should be cleaning from Shabbat.

What should you be doing?

Shavua Tov,

My husband just nudged that he wants a turn on the computer. And I had to use a tablespoon with my yogurt, since there weren't any teaspoons clean and dry.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

different laws for different people

Only the most naive of us really believes that we're all equal under the law, regardless of where we live.

In the states, OJ S. and Michael J. were declared innocent, even though the evidence, except to their fans and juries, showed something else.

In Israel, we also have seen left wing and pro Disengagement politicians get away with major corruption when those at the other end of the political spectrum are held to stricter standards. And jailed teenage Arab terrorists were able to do their state final exams, while the Jewish anti-Disengagement teens were forbidden.

Apparently, in America, there's also different tax law for different types of millionaires. It'll break your heart to read this, nebich.

"Little Darlings" making it big time

Baile Rochel's "Little Darlings" is being featured on this week's Carnival Of Education . Take a gander at all the great articles and features.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


My trekker is repacking his bags to revisit last summer's haunts in rural Rhode Island. Is there any other type of Rhode Island?

He'll be guarding the kids and staff of JORI.

And the nest re-empties...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


not like tv or the papers

heaven here
and safer
than where
those who fear tread

but they'll never know
they don't visit

The Olympics to Queens?

Sure, why not? The great World's Fair was in Queens twice, so why not the Olympics?

Mayor Bloomberg came up with a quick alternative plan, which is most probably better than his original one.


I've been in Israel since 1970, and honestly, I think we have an easier life here, especially in a yishuv like Shiloh. Kids have more independence from a younger age. It's much more like my childhood in idyllic Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY in the 1950's.

One of the major differences between Israel and the USA is healthcare. In Israel there are a variety of programs and "sick funds," as their called, and even a very part-time worker or those not employed are covered. There are special "well baby clinics" called "Tipat Chalav," a drop of milk. Every child is covered and gets develpmental tests, vaccines, etc. When my kids were little, I think I paid a symbolic fee after they were born.

Whenever I read something like this NY Times article, I'm reminded again, how lucky I am. And it also reminds me to make sure that before I go to the states this summer (returning with a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight), I sign up for the special travel insurance through my sick fund!

Monday, June 13, 2005

a splish and a splash

It's almost that time of the year.
Just a few more hours...
and then we can splish and splash,
and splash and splish
in the neighborhood
in the local... pool
yippy, splisshy

I'll reduce
my morning computer time
on pool days

there's no place like home
when there's a local pool

no need to go away to vacation
vacation comes here

let's get that sun screen'
and top the suit
with a high-necked shirt

early to bed
early to swim
and if I'm lucky
I'll be slim!


BOMS Best of... *81

Here's an interesting variety of posts, including one by our very own Shiloh Musings.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Success and Inspiration

I just couldn't wait to brag about my success in counting the full 49 days of the Omer, from Pesach until Shavuot. It's only the last couple of years, witht he help of cellphones and internet that I've done it. Other years I wasn't even close.

But after reading
I feel like I've done nothing with my life. I'm not the type to complain of suffering and difficulties, and Baile Rochel shows us the bright side. But really who am I compared to the woman featured in this article. Read it and tell me what you think and feel.

Hevel Havelim #24

Just in time, the latest is posted.

There are lots of new, at least for me, blogs mentioned.

Take a gander and Chag Sameach (though not at the same time!)

Take me back...

Take me back to the ball game
take me back to my youth...

I remember when Shea Stadium was new and and the "World's Fair" was the event. My brother and I went on the second day, since we figured that the first would be too crowded. I returned many times, since it was the best place for a teen and only a short ride from Great Neck on the LIRR.

Now, since NYC's mayor Bloomberg lost his bid/attempt to build an enormous sports stadium in Manhattan, he's thinking of rejuvenating Shea. Anything to bring the Olympics to Olympian New York City!

Baile Rochel #7 The Little Darlings

Baile Rochel’s Back! #7
Eve of The 28th of Iyyar
June 6, 2005

The Little Darlings…

Well, not quite so little. I’m referring to those teenage boys I teach. Some of them are a bissel* large, but I can’t let myself notice that, or I’d never be able to control them. On a good day they are adorable, but on other days… I look forward to retirement.

Those little darlings respect strength. Every few years I have to prove I’m no weepy middle-aged wimp and hope that my reputation won’t need quick renewal. One year I wrestled a chair from a six foot two (about 1.85 meters) senior. He wasn’t one of my students but had walked into my classroom to “borrow” a chair. That’s one of my “no no’s.” “This is no storage room,” I boomed. “You had better give that chair back and if your teacher needs one, he should go to the maintenance staff like I do!” I grabbed that chair like a mother lion fighting for one of her cubs, with my young impressionable freshmen watching in awe. Finally the senior slunk out chairless. Ok, he figured that it didn’t pay to fight such a nutty lady over a chair, even with an audience. I’m probably older than his mother.

Sometimes I buy their respect with more skill and dignity. One day, all dressed up for my son’s high school graduation, I approached the school and saw some of my students shooting hoops. They passed me the ball; I prayed real hard, and the ball went right into the basket, after a professional looking tap on the backboard. Of course, they may not have realized that I used to be a gym teacher; though my specialty was Creative Dance and Creating Games with Dead Balls. My proudest moment was at a teachers training session when we were having an informal basketball game. I found myself holding the ball, surrounded by all the tall, agile athletes. Then I caught the eye of my teammate, one of the other rare short and dumpy teachers. Figuring that there was no way that I could throw the ball to him over the octopus arms threatening us, I just rolled it to him. Perfect catch!

The time has come for me to find a new success to buy respect. All the witnesses to my previous ones have graduated, and boys need proof before they fully accept a teacher. This year I threw out almost half my seniors, since they hadn’t done enough work in previous years to have a chance to pass the finals. I told the administration that I only care about those willing to work, and if a student only walks in to the classroom to disturb, he’s not welcome. It took a while until everyone understood that I was serious, and nobody appreciated it more than the remaining students. Once they knew that I would fight for them they worked harder.

I teach English as a Foreign Language, EFL, as it’s known in the profession. It’s a very difficult job, especially since I generally get the weaker students, those whose native language skills are poor. And it’s so much more difficult to learn grammar, literature, composition etc in a language you barely understand.

It took me quite a while to comprehend why they looked blank when I gave examples from Hebrew grammar. Simply, they don’t know Hebrew grammar. That propelled me on another quest, to try to change the general curriculum. Now I buttonhole everybody I know involved in elementary and junior high school education telling them that there must be radical changes in the foundation curriculum. Young parents are also targeted. I urge them to take a good look at what their children are learning and how. And of course, I tell them not to be shy and not to trust the bureaucrats.

Obviously, I don’t win any popularity contests. OK, sorry, this isn’t very funny. But let’s think of it differently. If the curriculum and teaching methods were what I say they should be, I would never have been asked to teach. That’s because a number of years ago, during an unpleasant period of unemployment, I was asked to “do what I could” with a few failing high school students, even though I had never taught English before.

After a few minutes of training and lots of encouragement, I began teaching the “little darlings,” and as the saying goes: “The rest is history.”

*wee bit

Baile Rochel
Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

King David, the women before him

This is about King David's maternal line and the love of his life.

We get all sorts of Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week pages/stories/summaries/lessons. Some good and some I'd like to rip up. Today was one of those days. Tomorrow starts the Shavuot holiday when we read Megilat Ruth, Scroll of Ruth.

The one I read was so far from the truth. It gave a very censored/re-written version of the text. The truth is that Ruth, following her mother-in-law Naomi's instructions, seduced Boaz. The text is very clear about it. Boaz was one of the relatives of their dead husbands who could return their property or rights, if there was a child.

Now, Ruth wasn't the only woman who seduced a man to become one of the maternal line to David. Tamar seduced her father-in-law Yehuda when he didn't marry her to his third son. Leah, in cahoots with her sister Rachel, slept with Yaakov and married him. Yehuda was one of their sons. Ruth, herself, descended from Lot and his daughters who made him drunk and slept with him in order to get pregnant, since they thought that they were the last people alive on earth.

And, read the text carefully, it was Batsheva who was the aggressor with King David. Their relationship/marriage eventually produced King Solomon who built the Holy Temple.

And this week's parsha included the Sota, a woman accused by her jealous husband of being unfaithful. The magic potion only works against her if her husband was a perfect husband. And then reading the Haftara about the birth of Samson. His mother was alone with the angel, but her husband trusted her and didn't take her to be tested.

Just some food for thought when I really should be cooking for Shavuot or at least washing dishes.

another recipe carnival!

Nowadays those of us who are on the computer say that cookbooks are passe. That's bad news for my writing plans, but we'll discuss that aspect another time.

Even though I have a nice variety of cookbooks, I find myself "googling" for recipes. There's another address,
Yes, Carnival of Recipes #43 is HERE!

This gives me an idea, ok, I'll start it later in the summer, after my journalist trip on a Nefesh B'Nefesh flight.

How about a kosher recipe carnival? Interested?

Friday, June 10, 2005

NY Times

As I've mentioned before, I was raised reading the New York Times. Recently I subscribed to the email selected headlines. OK, maybe that's why even after unsubscribing to lots of norishkeit, I haven't reduced computer time. Here are some links, sorry but I'm too lazy to html them.

What's it like to have a famous, but absent, father?

Liberalism, what's the truth?
I highly suggest that you read every word of this article about a very special person. She has accomplished so much in her life; makes me feel like I've done nothing, and we're the same age.

Here's a beautiful story that shows that some people do appreciate high school teachers.

Yes, there's nothing like the Times, even though I don't always agree with their editorial policy. There's always something to read.


How old's your computer? all the parts?
And how old are your phone, cellphone, tv, fridge etc?

Do you upgrade before the old breaks down or for the new special features?

This "New York Times" article gives some advice.

Personally, I must admit, rather proudly, that the screen I'm staring at and our printer are all part of the orginal package we got for our second computer over eight years ago. That was a few years after our original pc imitation hit the dust, and we had been computerless for awhile.

Our refrigerator, bli eyin haraa, has been cooling for almost twenty years. The trekker replaced the magnet/sealer, but I didn't ask him. I believe that too much playing and cleaning these appliances damage them.

My rule is never to replace anything that still functions or is still with us. If it was stolen or lost, like one of my husband's cellphones, that's something else of course.

We have a small tv, bought cheap a few years ago at duty free. Larger wouldn't fit, and we don't need it.

Recently I've seen old-non-electric type writers on sale in mail order deals. If you have to fill out a form, it's the only way, other than writing by hand. Though, I guess, like cloth diapers, it must be for a "cult." You can always scan your document into the computer, I think. Not that we have a scanner.

And just recently I've begun preparing my morning coffee in an electric coffee maker, rather than my old perculator. And I'd still like to know if I really need those paper filters.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

unsubscribed from more

Reduction's continuing.
So why am I still sitting?

What did I do pre-computer? Ok, then I had kids home.

Back into sandwich gear; my parents are in the country.

No more time, must go.

menu planning

I should have some idea of what I'm cooking for Shabbat and Shavuot, since I left stuff to defrost before going to bed. I'm trying to plan things that won't take up too much room in the fridge. And of course, I don't want anything to take up too much time for preparation, so why did I take out the rest of the ground fish for gefilte fish?

Shhh... if you won't tell, it's because I usually forget to prepare it and end up throwing it out when cleaning for Pesach. My husband buys freshly ground fish for Pesach, enough for two batches. In recent years, due to the empty nest syndrome, batch #2 doesn't get done. So I decided to do it for this holiday, Shavuot.

Shavuot is a tough one this year, as it's Sunday night-Monday. Most of the shopping and preparation are done before Shabbat. The fridge isn't very large, but trekker has other plans. So I've been scrounging for guests.

We're also hosting our annual Shavuot shiur, Torah-class, Shavuot afternoon. Our next door neighbor, Rabbi Dov Berkovits is giving it, in English. It's a highlight in our Shiloh calendar. There will be more learning in English as our local rabbi, HaRav Elchanan Bin Nun, will be speaking in English, not his native tongue, at night. The learning will be in memory of Shimon (Sidney) Simmons who passed away suddenly a few months ago and used to organize a full night of learning.

I had better make my way to the kitchen to start preparing the food.

education carnival

You don't have to be a teacher or student to enjoy this anthology of blogs. Take a gander.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

further reducing

No, not my weight, though I wouldn't mind being a size or two less.

I unsubscribed to a few lists/newsletters. That's even more radical than changing my yahoo groups to "special notices, only." I'll probably cut out a few more. Yes, a few and a few equal quite a lot. So you can imagine how many I previously subscribed to.

One moderator sent me a very sweet letter telling me how much they'll miss me. This is gradual, not cold turkey. I can't be on the computer so many hours a day when I visit the states this summer. Right?

What did I do with my time pre-computer? Honestly, it wasn't housework.

Burn Post Burn

Of course, they can always be deleted, but for bloggers we have other ways of disposing of our less successful posts. We can send them to Bonfire of the Vanities . Yes, you guessed it. One of mine made its way.

You should wander over just to see all the great illustrations.

The Gantseh Megillah!

Our Lag B'Omer story is included in the Gantseh Megillah . It's a cyber magazine with a wide variety of articles.

You can even subscribe and get it in your very own virtual mailbox. Otherwise, keep checking here for links.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

After the grades are in...

Fellow Teachers,

The grades are in. So far the kids are still in the dark and have no idea what they're getting. So I'm safe, at least for the time being.

Today I brought movies as lessons. The one for the 10th grade didn't even have subtitles. Ok, it hardly had any words, just some narrative and great animation. Maybe it was risky for me to bring, davka, that one. It was George Orwell's "Animal Farm." First the kids booed, claiming it a baby movie. A few never returned from the loo, but the rest stayed glued to the tube to the end. I wonder how much they understood. They fled when it was over, not willing to have a discussion, neither on content nor use of metaphors. Let's get that literature taught.

I really had planned on showing them "1984," but the place I rent my movies didn't have a video of it, and the school doesn't have DVD. I hope the thought police don't read my blog, or I'll be banished!

Luckily the 9th graders had a different movie. They couldn't have handled "Animal Farm." I brought them one of my all time favorites, must have seen it dozens of times and love it, never bored by it. I'm talking about "Remember the Titans," a true story. Ok, with a few additions and changes to suit Hollywood.

I used it for teaching a few years ago, and a great time was had by all. I show it to my students every year, which is why I couldn't show it to the 10th grade; they saw it last year. The first time I used it, I made a real research project. You can even email real members of the team. It's the story of a high school football team that was forcibly integrated when the city's high schools were 'restructured."

It's clean enough for me to show, great acting, great story, super-great music... and you should have seen my students. They'd probably say that this was the best lesson all year. I must agree!


I've made some changes.

First of all, I'm trying to use my time better, sort of out of the box thinking. Just because I've never done something before doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. This summer, I'm not taking membership in the pool. I'll just buy the "cards," twelve for the price of ten entrances to the pool. I'm not planning on being here all summer. I'm going to visit my parents, even though they're also coming here tomorrow! But there are things that I can only help them with if I visit. And to make things even more challenging, I'm going to fly back with Nefesh B'Nefesh--as a journalist, so among other things, I'm looking for paying commissions for articles about the new immigrants to Israel and my usual personal articles.

Since I won't have "membership" in our local pool, I won't be restricted, and I bought a "card" for the one in Ofra, which has different days/hours for women. It's just down the street from my daughter, and I was there yesterday. A lot of my friends from the Neve Yaakov pool were there. Now I'll be able to swim, ok splash and exercise, every morning if I wish. Ofra is only 15 minutes from Shiloh.

And lastly, at least for now, I changed/edited my membership in a few email lists. Now I'll only get "special notices" rather than emails or digests. G-d willing this will give me another few minutes each day. I truly enjoyed being on the lists and the people I met by reading the posts, but I'm trying to cut down, or at least refocus.

Any other ideas?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hevel Havelim #23

We're in the latest Hevel Havelim. It's a nice big one, lots of great posts for your reading and linking pleasure.

Baile Rochel's One of the Best of...

Our very own Baile Rochel has made it into The Best of Me Symphony , an "anthology," ok carnival, of the best to be found in "blogworld." Check out the company she's keeping as she rocks around the clock!

dip, splish and splash

My daughter informed me that the pool opened in Ofra this week. They took the "young family" membership deal. Maybe I'll give it a try for a quick dip, splish and splash, since ours opens next week. And the Neve Yaakov one had been closed for renovations for a couple of months. So I haven't been in the water a while.

Added advantage of going to my daughter's is that I can leave my wet stuff to dry there and not schlepp the heavy, bulky bag around town. My bag has been packed and waiting, since I had planned on going to swim when I didn't know about the Neve Yaakov closure. I just added a skirt and top, since I have lots of students in Ofra, and I don't want to look "unprofessional." One even lives just between her and the pool.

Here's to that splishing and splashing, all in the name of physical fitness!

Carnival of the Optimists #8

Shiloh Musings is included in Carnival of the Optimists . Take a gander!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

reading the NY Times

I grew up reading only one newspaper, until I was 13 and we moved to Great Neck, Long Island, but the "NY Times" is still delivered to my parents' home, ad me'ah v'esrim--they should live to 120. For me the "Sunday comics" were the political cartoons in "The News of the Week in Review." So if you're wondering why I'm me...

I just subscribed to the email headline delivery.

This editorial sounds like the '60's have returned, but with a twist, not Chubby Checkers'.
Young graduates are being encouraged to dream, but their dreams are selfish. Recently I had brunch with a few lady friends, and we were brainstorming about how to influence Israeli and world politics. One thing that bothered us was that so few people today have the faith and confidence that they can change the world. We're trying hard.

I've gotten used to the coffee from a coffee maker I received from my daughter. Does this make me a "maven?" Coffee's big business in the states. Are these places considered kosher?

According to Amnest International, the US is a human rights offender. I wonder what they say about the Israeli administrative detainees for demonstrating against disengagement.

I spent my labor with daughter #3 watching the movie about

and the American military seems to be in trouble. In my day, parents helped their kids dodge the draft, now that there's no draft, and the miliary has to recruit, parents are protesting, trying to keep their kids out.

comment police?

Recently I've been insulted by some "comment police." I've politely and innocently comment on some blogs, and then something called "karma spam," or something like that, comes on the screen and says that I've made them suspicious. They're going to have to check me out. They think that I'm "spam." Can you imagine such an insult?!?