Friday, September 30, 2005

Mechitzot--separation during prayer

For this pre-Shabbat post, my husband showed me Cross Currents, which has a post about mechitzot. I tried to comment on it, but somehow it was rejected.

This is what I had tried to send:

I was raised in a Conservative shul until the age of 13 when we moved, and the most practical for various reasons was Orthodox; later I become Torah observant.At first, before becoming religious, the separation bothered me, but once synagogue attendence became spiritual, rather than social, the mechitza became very welcome.

When I was about 17 and already well on my way to Orthodoxy, a friend from my old shul called and told me that she wasn't going to go to shul any more. I asked her why and she said:

"I'm sick and tired of everyone making a big deal about which guy I'm sitting near."

A good mechitza reduces distractions. Unfortunately, especially in Modern Orthodox shuls in the states, the mechitzot are rather farcial and don't prevent men and women from having full visual and even verbal contact.

Do other people see it like this? I go to shul for a more inspiring prayer than I can get at home. I bought myself a seat by the wall, so there would be less distractions. And I have no desire to "participate" from the "bimah."

Shabbat Shalom and Shannah Tovah

Busy Friday

I must remove myself from the computer. I have a very busy day and have been reading and writing non-stop for two hours.

We're going to a very special wedding this morning, recent converts are re-marrying. Yes, I'll leave you in suspense as to their story. Just that this isn't the first time I've been to something of this sort of "simcha," joyous occasion.

I'll tell you more, later...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kever Rachel

I was at Kever Rachel, Rachel's Tomb today. It's all so sad. We have to go in a bullet proof bus. That's the law. And it's only a few minutes walk from Jerusalem.

That's just one of the things here that must be changed.

going to bed early

I didn't gain anything by going to bed early, since I ended waking up earlier than usual. For some strange reason, the coffee ended up tasting weak this morning. Now to the kitchen. Some still frozen chickens need a warm bath, and yesterday's dirty dishes are fermenting in the sink.

But first I'm going to try to post that "head shot" my sister took of me. She sent it so big I don't really know what it looks like. I just saw little pieces on the screen, like lipstick on my teeth. So I'll go into the muse's pics and see what I looked like that morning in NY.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Beauty of Hebrew

I've been inspired by Mirty's post.

And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice*,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!

Isaiah 5:1-7

* I'd say that "mishpat" is more like Law, not Justice; Justice is closer to "tzedek," which is related to righteousness.
The transliteration of the Hebrew, below, is:
V'yikav l'mishpat
V'hineh mishpach
l'tz'dakah v'hineh tza'akah

from Mirty: Weevil has several posts about these verses, as she is studying the language closely. She points out the interesting Hebrew in the last verse:

וַיְקַו לְמִשְׁפָּט וְהִנֵּה מִשְׂפָּח
לִצְדָקָה וְהִנֵּה צְעָקָהGod yearns for us to do justice, but here is bloodshed;
not righteousness, but screams of suffering.

As idiodic as I sometimes sound in Hebrew, it's not that I'm a total ignoramous. Look at the two pairs of highlighted words. Even if you don't know Hebrew, you can see that they are almost identical. There's a difference of one letter in each pair.

Between "mishpat," Law and "mishpach," blood shed, violence, it's a switch from "tet" to "chet," and in the order of letters, the "chet" comes before the "tet." "Chet" also means sin. When "laws" are upheld incorrectly, or the "democratic process" brings in unjust laws, like Disengagement, we have tragedy and bloodshed.

The difference between "tzedakah" and "tza'akah" is the "dalet," like "delet," door, and "eyin," like the word for eye, a very difficult letter to pronounce, it's totally gutteral, almost the sound one makes when choking. When the "Justices," like in Israel's court system and government are are corrupted by false, perverse morality, there's no "tzedek," Justice, no "tzedakah," charity or righteousness, just screams of pain from the suffering innocents.

"Tzedakah" brings us through the door to G-d, but when the superficial, perverse/false morality is in play, we all suffer until we cry out in pain.

G-d has given us so much, and instead of doing what we should with it, like settling the Land, we have a corrupt, superficial government that will cause and has been causing tragedy, until we--all the Jewish People--learn our lessons.

Gmar Chatima Tova, May G-d Accept Our Prayers

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I should be going to sleep. I don't think that I'll go to the pool tomorrow. Too much to do, and I don't feel like getting up so early. This morning the coffee maker didnt' work. I may use the "gift certificates" and get a new one if there's trouble tomorrow.

I'm getting lazy.

Ahhhhhhh the spaaaaaaaaa...


On Sunday I went to the Chamei Yoav Hot Springs Spa with the Israel Center. Every last Sunday of the month is "ladies' night" at the spa. Even the staff is all female, so it's a very tzniusdik, modest, experience.

I'm no real spa maven, expert, but this seems to be the best. It's certainly a lot better than the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi Spa. I can't compare it to the hotels by the Dead Sea, but it's better than the Jerusalem Regency Hyatt's spa--a totally different facility.

We left Jerusalem about 4pm, and most of us, including yours truly, hadn't the vaguest idea where where were going. The signs we passed on the road mentioned Ashkelon and Gaza, so we began to wonder to what war zone it would be.

Just over an hour later, we saw a sign to the "Hamei Yoav Spa," made a left and turned in to the parking lot. We paid a lot for a locker key, unlike Ein Gedi, none of it was returned after giving back the key.

There were lots of dressing rooms and it all seemed clean. Then in bathing suit, robe and old tichel, scarf, I went off to see what I had paid for. One of the workers gave a quick explanation. There were a few types of mineral pools. Blue was just the sulfur water, green had "jets" in the sulfur pool to put "pressure" on pain or tight muscles. There was a cold, clean water pool, a "deep," 1.2 meter mineral pool with high pressure "waterfall" for water massage, two jacuzzis with chlorinated water and in another room there were hydrotherapy, high pressure warm mineral water pouring from the ceiling, where you could either stand or sit adjusting your body to get hit by the water, where ever you want.

There were signs instructing visitors to spend only ten minutes in each "activity" and then a half hour out resting. I was totally energized and couldn't sit more than a couple of minutes. I spent one break looking at the goods in the gift shop and was a bad girl, not taking more than ten minutes between pools. There are also a steamroom and dry sauna.

Since it was totally "ladies only," we could take off our hats and scarves, though some women didn't, and some don't wear them at all. The waterfalls on the head were fantastic, and tied hair reduces the effect.

The prices in the gift shop were reasonable. It was also possible to pay for other "beauty treatments," and there's a cafeteria, but I didn't even check it out. I don't know about its kashrut. I brought my own food and ate before we went back on the bus.

Showers were fine; bring your own soap.

We got back to Jerusalem before ten, so I could have taken the bus home. Since I didn't know when we'd really get back, I had made plans to sleep at my daughter's. So it was nice to see her.

We all had a great time, and it's highly recommended. Next month, the Israel Center is planning another trip, though people from other parts of the country can go directly.

It's important to learn how to relax and enjoy yourself.

Heavy blankets

I wasn't raised sleeping under heavy blankets, down comforters. We didn't have any in our small apartments. They're bulky and need lots of storage space. A few years ago, after much urging from some of my kids, who had gotten used to them in other homes, including their own, I plunked down some money on down. It's amazing how heavy feathers can be.

You know the

What weighs more? A ton of
rocks or a ton of feathers?

They both weigh a ton!

Well, if you've slept under a down comforter in the summer, you'd have no doubt. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago, when I decided that the nice comforting heat of those blankets were disturbing my sleep, so I emptied my summer blanket cover and dumped the ton of feathers up on the unused upper bunkbed in the girls room. Yes, that's where I store them. At this stage, my family doesn't have anyone old or young enough to sleep on an upper bunkbed.

Why is it that the mountain nights start getting chilly just a couple of days after I remove the blanket? At most I had a week of comfortable sleep, when I began to feel the chill. Feeling foolish, I tried a good woolen blanket, but once you get used to down...

So, I'm back to sleeping under that heavy feather comforter. No doubt how it got its name.

Lots to Read

There's lots to see in Blogsphere. Just to remind you of some great "carnivals." I think of them as "magazines," where you can find links to a great variety of posts.
First of all Heval Hevalim, the Jewish-Israeli blog carnival. Lots of food for thought.

Then the "Best of Me Symphony," known as BOMS. It's always full of surprises.

And lastly, for now, getting back to food, is the Carnival of Recipes.

Take a look at them all. Enjoy, enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Moze and Muse discuss the issues

This may still need some work, but better posted than saved.

Cross posted to Shiloh Musings and mozemen

This started as a private e-mail correspondence. It has not been edited or spell-checked. The discussion is not yet finished.

The original post is in response to the Is it only in my shul? post on Shiloh Musings.

Flush left, green comments are by moze, indented, purple comments are by muse.

Are you saying the way your shul behaves is a good thing or a bad thing? In my shul weekly pulpit speeches rail against serving in National Service and are beginning to advocate not serving in the army, either.

Actually I agree with what's happening in the shul.

I am against the trend not to serve in the army. It was one of the aims of Disengagement to disengage us from the state. We're all suffering because the chariedim kept out of the army and many national affairs. We all have to be strongly involved and not let the anti-religious, anti-Eretz Yisrael continue to run the country. This was a battle, and we have to fight harder to win the war.

Do you really think the Charedi back the dati leumi except as allies
in their battle against the chiloni?

No, I think that they should see themselves as part of Am Yisrael, instead of as a superior waiting on the side.

And being part of Am Yisrael means fighting in the Israeli army?

Yes , becuase to boycott it means to only have others there making decisions and risking their lives.

We've been here since 1970, during the Yom Kippur War, when my husband worked pr in Shaare Tzedek, they had to take turns being there Shabbat and chag. The rav of the hospital poskened that only religious workers could work then, because they would be doing it "shem shamayim." And they had to dress expesially nice. Someone donated ties for the men, at a time when ties were never seen.

> Yes , becuase to boycott it means to only have others there making decisions
> and risking their lives.

Maybe the risk is there because those who hold the State holy allow it
to do suicidal things, stepping back from the brink of true protest
because "we can't break with the State--the State is the people"?

How can the Israeli government/army/institutions be Am Yisrael when
most of Am Yisrael doesn't even live in Israel?

By the same token, many blame America for forcing Israel's hand. How
can we, particularly we who are American citizens, sit back and let
others have to work to influence American policy while we soak up the
spiritual benefits of living here? Maybe we should move back to NY and
try to influence the American givernment from the inside?

We have to keep pushing into the system. That's what's behind #143, that they are trying to disengage us, and we must hold fast, because they don't have the numbers of kids we do, and they're scared and fighting dirty.

Who are we going to push in? What are we going to end up with? A
Mafdal MK as PM? What will that help? How many decades did "we" have
control of the educational system, and what did "we" do with it?

What party do you feel you could vote for if the elections were to be
held in a few months?

I was never for mafdal..

We push ourselves, and it has been happening, when so many army officers are religious or their parents are. Other professions where you rarely saw relgious people are filling, and we can't give up now. The burden was always on us, since chareidim just took the money for their silence..

Can we turn this discussion into a post that we'd crosspost? I'm sure that others are asking the same things. I've been writing about the issue a lot.

> I was never for mafdal..

Then who for? Not Leiberman, I don't think.

And even off the national level -- Moetzet Yesha? That's no model for
our young people. I can't think of a yishuv which is run totally
honestly, either. Where are the kids to learn the ideal way to run
things? Are there any role models out there at all?

Or is it the system, the "magiah li" mentality, the problem, and not
the number of bare heads? Might it not be so rotten that it has to be
torn down and built anew rather than shored up with our help?

> We push ourselves, and it has been happening, when so many army officers are
> religious or their parents are.

And did that help us any? We've been pushing since 48, very strongly
since the 70s. It got us Yamit, it got us Gush Katif, it got us North
Shomron, and it's getting us the wall. Why shouuld I allow my son to
go off and defend the people on the other side of the wall, the ones
who are leaving me vulnerable so they can feel (feel, I said, not be)

> since chareidim just took the money for their silence.

And meanwhile they get the money and the perqs. We get stepped on and die for our troubles. Maybe they had the right idea all along. In a
world of "magia li," take what you can and always ask for more.

> Can we turn this discussion into a post that we'd crosspost?

I'm not sure how, but it would be fine with me. I'm always looking for
blog fodder.

There wasn't any pushing until the mid 1970's. Mamlachti dati used to be a mafdal "pie," and Cherut the Begin componant of Likud, pre-Likud, had nothing.

I'm for Arye Eldad. I used to vote "Begin" then Techiya and since then Moledet, especially now I'm for Arye.

We have more power than you think.

I don't respect Moetzet Yesha.

> There wasn't any pushing until the mid 1970's. Mamlachti dati used to be a
> mafdal "pie,"

As you say. Do you think that if "we" get the power of pie again we'd
use it any better than mafdal did? We do have religious hot shots in
the army--the head of AKA for one--is it making any dent?

Obviously it's hurting them; that's why they've been trhreatening the hesder yeshivot. They won't have any koach adam without us. Each year we're stronger.

But stronger at what? Playing their game their way? Is that what we want to do?

The system is rotten at the core. Replacing Sharon and Bibi with
Bentzi and Wallerstein won't get us anywhere.

By the time "our people" work their way up the ladder of the system,
they'll be as thoroughly co-opted as today's "pet religious." Fie on
that. I have more choices than Sharon or Peres -- I can choose to work
to topple the whole house of cards.

Bentzi and Pinchas, yuch and double yuch.

Remember, the "powers" were hurting; that's why they disengaged. You can't imagine how much.

But again,

> what is it you want the kids to engage with? Business as usual?

learning, working and settling etc
never give up

> learning, working and settling etc
> never give up

But you also want them to make their future in *their* institutions--the army, politics, etc.

So what happens to all the education we give them, when they get the conflicting message of "Torah" and "obedience to government" all their lives? How do you expect these kids to play the game by *their* rules and survive long enough with *our* values intact?

Not easy, but Judaism is the integration of all aspects of life.

> Not easy, but Judaism is the integration of all aspects of life.

Judaism is against the hilul HaShem which is the inevitable result of
working with corruption, and Israeli institutions are riddleed with
corruption. In Judaism, when a house is infected enough, the only
solution is to destroy it.

You're saying that we can save the situation by putting our good nails
int a rotten wooden house. I say fie on that--let's build our own
sturdy building.

And you still haven't said--can you name one person--just one--from
"our camp" who'se made it into public recognition through "their"
system and who hasn't been co-opted? Can you name one yishuv that
isn't riddled with corruption problems, for example? (I know the
situation on our yishuv. I've heard residents talk about yours, too,
but there may be another side to that story. And look at Karnei

Maybe I"m crazy, but I just try to look foward. this summer I kept thinking of Nachshon and Avraham and Yitzchak and their perfect faith. It's said that the water came up to Nachshon's nose, and Avraham was less than a fraction of a second from sacrificing Yitzchak. We can't look around and get bogged down in the corruption and filth.

When I see Tzachi Hanegbi on TV I want to cry, because I love Geula Cohen, trust and respect her. To think that her son has become such a disapointment. There's "nothing" in his eyes.

I do trust Arye Eldad; he's a credit to his parents. And I think that a "mesorati" leader suits us. He's not a politician; he's a world reknown plastic surgeon, and he was head of the medical department in the army, despite his politics.

I read the Uzi Landau 18 points, and there are some red lights, like his support of a referendum. He's not a leader; he's being run by a "committee."

I just keep doing my thing and saying what I think and feel, and I'm amazed every time someone tells me that I've put in words exactly what he/she believes. That gives me strength, and that's why I write and send things out without making a bloody cent on it.

> Maybe I"m crazy, but I just try to look foward. this summer I kept thinking
> of Nachshon and Avraham and Yitzchak and their perfect faith. It's said
> that the water came up to Nachshon's nose, and Avraham was less than a
> fraction of a second from sacrificing Yitzchak. We can't look around and
> get bogged down in the corruption and filth.

Exactly--Nachshon broke the paradigm. Moshe did, too. He was in a
position to "work his way up the system" and didn't. He broke the
cycle of slavery from the outside, nearly ruining Egypt in the process
(according to our tradition). Maybe Israel should have tried to get
more babies adopted into the royal household instead of the
destruction of the 10 plagues?

And Avraham--he's worked outside the paradigm his whole life, and then
G-d tells him to go back into it, to perform a child (man) sacrifice.
And if G-d hadn't told him to go back out of the paradigm and leave
Yitzchak alone, where would we be now?

Jews don't generally play inside the box--especially a box taken from
the non-Jewish world, which is the box you want our kids to try to
take over and I'd like to see our kids replace with something more

> When I see Tzachi Hanegbi on TV I want to cry, because I love Geula Cohen,
> trust and respect her.

I wonder if she thought, as she saw her son take his first steps in
politics, that he was the first of a generation of "our camp" who
would eventually take over the country? See what I'm afraid will
happen to our kids?

> I do trust Arye Eldad; he's a credit to his parents. And I think that a
> "mesorati" leader suits us. He's not a politician; he's a world reknown
> plastic surgeon, and he was head of the medical department in the army,
> despite his politics.

He's coming from outside the system. Again--any "rose in the ranks"
who are worth the electrons to discuss them? I'd bet not--by the time
they get any prominence they've been thoroughly corrupted.

Tzachi was raised in Tel Aviv and Arye in Jerusalem and both in different family situations.

Tzachi was not the first, the first were Olmert, the Meridors, the Netanyahu brothers etc.

The older generation, post independence, took the discrimination against them (for being Lechi, Etzel, Revisionist etc) as normal and didn't fight it. So they suffered and their kids like Tzachi and Olmert were raised thinking that you have to bend laws to be successful; that's what the elite do.

The Mafdal crowd were "Uncle Toms." Yosef Burg was king and look at his son and the Herzogs even worse. I see them as the same mentatlity.

The younger generation, those born and raised after the 6 Days War are different. They're a higher madrega, level. How many more stages do we have to pass? I have no idea, but I'm in awe of these kids.

G-d willing, we won't have to wait much longer, but thinking back to the Bible. Things went very slowly then, too, slower than now. Shiloh was the capital of the Jewish Nation for 369 years before David made Jerusalem the capital.

Shabbat Shalom

> The younger generation, those born and raised after the 6 Days War are
> different. They're a higher madrega, level. How many more stages do we
> have to pass? I have no idea, but I'm in awe of these kids.

You're talking my age, maybe two or three years younger than me. I look around at my contemporaries and I see few Nachshons. The few that are there are getting their...nether regions trampled by our own "religious leaders" (who are not far off from the 'younger generation' -- maybe in their mid-40s?).

If you're looking for true leadership, look to the under-20 set. But again--how to keep them pure?

And, frankly, I think you're attributing too much idealism to some of the kids. Do you really think most of those thrown out of Gush Katif will rally to the defense of Gav HaHar or Drom Har Chevron? If yes--where are they now for North Shomron? Netzarim is already fundraising for itself. The Katif job site doesn't even mention the 4 non-Gush losses. Do you recall an "I heart N. Shomron" bracelet earlier this summer? Nope, neither do I.

It isn't right that Northern Shomron has been ignored. Strategically it's so important. Davka that's where Arye and his wife made their home this summer.

Of course not all the post-67 generation are idealists. And many won't go back to this sort of protest.

Democracy, majority rule has always been a danger with us. Moshe and later Shmuel had to fight to rule. And that's besides the classic example of the spies.

There are some unbelieveable psukim in the TaNaCh, where Shmuel complains to G-d that the people aren't listening etc, and G-d replies that He knows, since He has the same problem.

> It isn't right that Northern Shomron has been ignored.

But it makes perfect sense. My son is in school with several kids from Gush Katif, and what they say about their "leaders"--it doesn't surprise me that GK was targeted first or that it got all the attention. What does surprise me is how much communities in Shomron and Binyamin are cooperating in hushing-up the expulsion of N. Shomron--my daughter's off for 2 days to plant in GK hothouses, but there's never been a volunteer day for NS communities, though some of their teachers were from there!

I may be getting into Barry Chamish territory, but I don't think the primary targeted area was random at all. They knew who would get the media attention yet go quietly.

But back to the main topic. I spent a lot of time talking to my son this Shabbat. He's due to go into the army in the summer. He sees the army as his enemy. How can he be expected to follow orders when he considers the army as the corrupt enforcement arm of Sharon's plans? Most of the boys his age who are already are in the army, he says from conversations with them, are in it only for the shooting (occasionally) and access to the "mizron plugati" (most of the time). Why on earth should I encourage him to swim in a cesspool? In the hopes he can clean it out before he gets covered in muck? What are the chances of that happening when it hasn't happened over the last 30 years?

True there wasn't equal focus to the two areas of Disengagement. Northern Shomron was never a "moetzet Yesha stronghold." I guess that's why Arye Eldad ended up moving there. At some point in the near, pre-election future, I must have a good talk with him. I'm on the anglo moledet yahoo list, and it's not serious. I'll drop from digest to special notices. I don't know what party influence it has, but I'm disappointed. The powers ignore me. Ok, it would help if I wrote in Hebrew, but maybe I'm safer this way.

From what I was able to hear on Shabbat from Rav Elchanan Bin Nun's drasha in my shul, the state and army should still be supported. Rav Elchanan is Rosh Yeshiva of Beit Orot, near Har HaZaitim. Maybe your son should speak to him, and you, too.

> True there wasn't equal focus to the two areas of Disengagement. Northern
> Shomron was never a "moetzet Yesha stronghold."

And GK was?

> From what I was able to hear on Shabbat from Rav Elchanan Bin Nun's drasha
> in my shul, the state and army should still be supported.

Why? Could you give me a short summary of his reasoning?

GK had mafdal and MY people. Northern Shomron had none of that.

Sorry, I only heard snippets from Rav Elchanan. He generally bases on Rav Kook. I'll have to ask around.

Ah, well, then, it wouldn't be of much help to my family. Our philosophy is Talmidei HaGRA, and you'll find that most of the Old Yishuv people had serious disagreements with R' Kook, though they might have shared a Shabbat chulent with him.

Watch the Show

Religion doesn't have to be just serious.

Recently I came across a couple of great links to short "movies." The first is about the shofar, or what it takes to blow the shofar. And the other is Chabad in TV Land.

Enjoy, enjoy!

Shavua Tov and Shannah Tovah!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

rain clouds

I saw rain clouds. Yes, and a sunset, that, oy, why was it shabbat? I wanted to photgraph it. From where ever I looked, greys and oranges, gorgous.

Is is almost winter?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Seeing Voices

What do we see, when we hear someone's voice on the phone? Can we see a smile? That's what experts say. Trainers for telemarketing always stress the importance of smiling when talking on the phone.

This week I needed a favor from people I don't know. The first person I called spoke in a quiet worried voice. I didn't need to see her face to know that she was frowning, eyes furrowed, forehead wrinkled. In the end, she couldn't help me.

So I made more contacts, and as I persisted in my quest, smiles broadcast on the phone, radiating, brighter and brighter; it was contagious. I felt cheered and optimistic. Finally, the biggest smile was heard, and my goal was accomplished.

All by phone.

I just wonder if that's how the blind read people's moods, since they can't see faces.

Shabbat Shalom

anti-Semitism vs heroism

Thanks to The Gantseh Megillah for this encouraging story of how heroism finally triumphed over anti-Semitism. It's about Tibor Rubin, 77 year old Holocaust survivor and war hero. Rubin was denied the United States Medal of Honor for fifty years, because his sergeant had refused to put through the nomination papers, due to anti-Semitism, for his--should be in a movie--heroism during the Korean War.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Shiloh news from jail

No, I haven't been to jail. Two of our local kids are among the last anti-Disengagement jailbirds. One has been involved with a different sort of "engagement." He's a chattan, groom, and the wedding was just a couple of hours ago, next to the Beit Kenesset Mishkan Shiloh, Shiloh Central Tabernacle synagogue. Baruch Hashem, the chattan was allowed to attend. He has had his first day of freedom in months, and now he's a married man. Next week they lock him up again, but...

And our second prisoner, a teenage girl, who sat in the road and tried to get away from the police or soldier who tried to arrest her in Chomesh or Sanur--yes, she has a full file of "offenses." Well, she's still in jail. She doesn't recognize the government. Her mother can only sympathize with her ideals.

These kids are nothing like the "JD's" of my youth. These kids are wonderful idealists, willing to do anything for Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Why are they treated like the most dangerous criminals? Actually, they're treated worse than the most dangerous violent criminals.

No wonder that wonderful girl has no respect for the court system.

Baked Apples

Another of my super, super simple recipes, the only way to cook!

A baked apple is just what the name implies.

Cut the top off the apple and core it, that's take out the hard stuff, but honestly, if it's not for serving others, just cut the top off, but don't throw it away.

Sprinkle some Cinnamon, sugar optional and replace "cap."
Put your apples in a baking dish, or if just one, in an oven-proof cup or bowl.

Bake medium heat until soft.

Good for all ages, including babies.

PS The best is the liquid that leaks out of the apples, totally irresistible!

Thank G-d

It seems like my energy has returned. Maybe I was pre-flu before it struck hard. I hardly slept last night, and I was up early. The chicken's soaking, and the glass candle holders are, too, though not together, of course. And another musing is evolving. A wash is in in the machine, spinning and soaking.

I still have to shower, dress, doven, breakfast etc. Don't forget lesson plans. I wonder if the rumor I heard at work, on Tues. was true, that at least one of my classes has a "trip."

G-d willing a wedding in Shiloh this afternoon at dusk. That's if the groom is let out of jail.

Never dull, Baruch Hashem!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I went shopping today. Two very different goals. First I promised my mother I'd get her some of her medications which she found cheaper here in Israel. Second, I've worn all my shoes and sandals out. No more spring to the step and worse.

The ones I wear "all the time" seem to have died. I have to schlepp them. They don't propel me forward.

A second pair of sandals are made of nice soft leather, a very expensive European brand. Well, this nice soft leather has stretched and stretched, making wearing them a serious danger. Luckily I have strong ankles, bli eyin haraa--evil eye not by me, or I'd be a cripple. Those sandals would be good to donate to a terrorist, who should break her (there are females) ankles as she's walking on uneven ground and fall on the bomb and let it explode among her loved ones.

Another pair, considered a top American brand, was worn to death. They were very good when "younger," like... and they did a great job keeping me comfortable when I unexpectedly walked a good portion of the way to Jerusalem, on the first Avihu Chai March two years ago. But this summer the sandals were ready for retirement. I took them to the states, and when I wore them on Shabbat at my sister-in-law's it was very hard for me to walk the mile plus to ther shul. The following week, I wore different ones and walked with ease. So, they have to go. They're only good for standing still, and how often do I do that?

And my "walking shoes" can't be walked in. All I want to do is take them off. No wonder I no longer read "Fly Lady."

So I shopped. I found some shoes that were so comfortable, I put my feet in and didn't bother even lacing them. It was love at first fit, first try, whatever. That was store one, which I hadn't been to for years. After that I picked up the medication at "Ora." then to one of Jerusalem's oldest shoe stores. I bought "Yom Kippur shoes" there 36 years ago. They always have a great selection of sandals. The saleslady was the pits; I found the sandal I wanted sitting on a chair. Don't nitpick if you don't think sandals sit. Unfortunately they didn't have my size so I got something similar, good price, for me. And then after she brought out what I was already wearing, yuch! I found something in the catalog which looked great. It felt good on, so wasn't that enough shopping in one day?

Teachers blog, yes, we do.

Here's the very latest Carnival of Education Week 33! There's a great variety of posts from all sorts of teachers all over. Take a gander.

Win the raffle!

All of us whose articles are published on Arutz 7 were requested to let you know about the raffle. Personally I really count on Arutz 7 for my news. If you read my posts here, you've noticed how many times I've referred to something on the Arutz 7 site. I also know some of the people who work on the news team, and they're the people I call if I need some information. And if you were about to ask, "No, I don't get paid." Also I've never been to Eilat, seriously, it's true, so I wish I had a chance to win this raffle.

Good luck!

You have read my articles on Arutz Sheva, now help support this terrific news service by entering Arutz Sheva's Free Raffle:
"Sheva Ways to Win" featuring 7 fabulous Prizes.

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I like coffee. That is with milk and real sugar. There were times when I didn't drink it due the ideology of "good health." I drank all sorts of "substitutes." Honestly, I don't know how healthy all those charred and spiced roots and other potions are. A little bit of the real stuff ground up and stuffed in a filter may actually be a lot healthier. Boiling water drips over it, and the result is "coffee."

Yes, I prefer drinking it with some real sugar. Considering the "sweet substitutes" and the periodic, more like constant news of what horrid chemicals they really are and the nauseating after-taste, and the fact that I don't taste sweetness from them. I can't imagine that real, natural sugar, whether white, brown or tan could be any worse.

Yes, about the milk, my house is one of the only ones I know still buying "whole milk." When I was in the states, I thought I was in "Skimmed America." Here in Israel it's almost as bad. If you're going to eat dairy, a couple of percentages of milk fat is important for health. That's right! No fat is harder to digest, since it activates milk allergy. The milk protein causes all sorts of irritations, but the milk fat doesn't, or at least causes less; it makes it all easier to absorb. And did you know that cholesterol is produced by the human body? If you don't eat enough of it the body will produce it, and when the body produces it, it goes into panic mode and usually produces too much. Whole milk only has a few percent, around 3% or less in Israel, and there's nothing wrong with having 3%. The problem is the cheese, especially the yellow and processed, which have over 20% fat. And it doesn't matter if it's animal fat or vegetable fat, it's still fat.

So, I'd rather have my whole milk and low fat, 5% or under white cheeses and yogurt.

This morning I had my first post-flu coffee, and it was great!

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Yes, it's a career!

Things have changed! But not really, sort of back to what it once was.

According to this article in The New York Times, SAHM is a profession some Yale students are looking forward to.

When I was in my teens, the feminists were starting their crusade, encouraging women to adopt the same goals as men. Careers first, and kids are a burden. Many of the best and brightest of my generation never had kids, or managed one little miracle well into middle age, which while being better than none, is more difficult all around than having a few in one's twenties.

In the United States, the birth rate dropped in the 70's, even though baby-boomers were at their peak of fertility.

The saying was that all a parent needed to give was "quality time," and women could do it all, be top workers in elite careers and be mothers and just everything.

Well the kids born in the mid-1980's are now in college. They're the kids of "super mom" who either did the feminist dream or failed. Now the young ladies are studying hard, but don't plan on devoting their lives to their working careers. They hope to have kids and plan on enjoying the kids and taking a break from the work grind. They want to take their kids to the playground and the other perks of professional motherhood. Yes, the young women, the successful, top student, young women of today want it all. But for them "all" means knowing that their priorities will be their kids.

I think it's wonderful and wish them all lots of joy and lots of kids.

Pictures and New York and...

Besides my musings and meanderings, I also have a picture blog. Some of my New York shots were included in The Big Apple Blog Festival. Even though I've spent most of my life here, virtually all of my adult life, I guess something in me will always be a New Yorker.

What is it about New York?

On the other hand, when I was growing up, I always knew that I didn't really belong in America. It wasn't me, but that was more of a Jewish thing. America was much more a Christian country than people like to think. Tolerance and freedom of religion signify that there's a "mainstream" religion and culture, and there are "others."

Sometimes, for Americans, it's not a pleasant thing to think about. If a Jew takes his "Americanism" as primary, even if he does his best as a Torah Jew, is he doing the right thing as a Jew? Personally I think not. That's why as I realized that I was going to live full-time as a Jew, I had to do it in Israel. For me it came with the package of Torah.

Yes, I know it's pretty easy nowadays to be a Jew in New York. In many places it's very easy, and pleasant, too. But for me that's not enough.

Yesterday at work, one of the other teachers asked if Daniel Kurtzer, the outgoing US Ambassador really is an Orthodox Jew. I'm not sure if he couldn't believe that an Orthodox Jew would feel right working heart and soul for the American government, or that the American government would promote an Orthodox Jew to such heights. For him it was a great enigma. I tried to explain the psychology as I see it, but it's foreign from my values, too.

Strange I got onto all this. All I wanted to do was to give proper coverage to the that NY carnival. I guess I'm still amazed that almost 40 years after being rejected from membership in NCSY's Ben Zakkai Honor Society, they've suddenly voted me in. Why now? From what I understand, email and blogging have given me a sort of "celebrity," and the "powers" decided that the wrong must be righted, whatever. When I got "the call" of the unexpected news, I was given the impression that I'd be "inducted" or whatever the system, ceremony is at the Israel Center or some such venue in Jerusalem. The day before yesterday, my dinner started burning when I was in the middle of a call from the states, probably NY, that they need a good picture of me and names for my "committee," and they hope enough journal ads in my honor will mean that I'll be some sort of "feature" at the NY dinner.

I haven't been to an American NCSY event since they made sheva brachot for me and my husband at National. Over the years I've heard of all sorts of changes in the organization, but it was only the other night that I found out that my beloved Torah Fund, which I was responsible for as National Financial Secretary, is now run by Ben Zakkai, and the annual dinner is to raise money for it. As I understand, Torah Fund provides scholarships for NCSYers to attend events and study programs. It's sort of a full circle for me in a way to be suddenly thrust into it all again. Obviously I hope that the scholarships are given for study in Israel. I guess I'll have to check it out.

I guess this all shows that we're a product of every experience we have ever had and every place we have ever lived in.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Well, I survived my first day back at work. Hard to say "after being sick," since I'm certainly not 100% ok. But I did survive. Very conveniently the school decided the 9th grade class needed to go on a school trip of sorts. I guess they were afraid of my coughing on them, and they're our youngest.

All that was left was a double lesson with the 10th grade. That's my "A" group. I decided to keep them busy and gave them a "Reading Comprehension" for a grade. Generally they take those things pretty seriously. I had to see how they'd react. First I had one all photocopied from an old book, and then at the last minute, I decided that they needed something else. So I grabbed a book, found a "mock test" and photocopied it.

Honestly, I should be marking them, but, ok, soon.

...and tomorrow I have more punishment, oops, challenges planned. I hope I get my strength back in time, especillay since I can't count on the kids being taken off campus everyday.


Why am I always so surprised at the total weakness that remains with me after the flu? For day, weeks after the symtoms are long gone, there's no get up and go. And I must get up and go to work. Luckily a class was cancelled, but those kids I teach are the best diagnosticians. They can always tell when I'm tired, weak, sick, distracted, and they take full advantage.

So I had better get off of the computer and prepare myself.

BOMS better than ever

The latest BOMS packs more interesting articles. It's a great weekly magazine. Take a gander.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The best things...

I'm thinking of the best things of being a teacher. And I'm not even thinking about the vacations, which are nice and long, but do you know how much English my students forget?!

But very seriously, one of my favorite things is meeting up with former students. Once wandering with a friend in downtown Jerusalem, suddenly a gangly young man leapt over to us so excited to say hello to me. She guessed immediately that he was a former student.

This summer in the Old City, I noticed a group of soldiers, suddenly the officer left his charges and came over to talk to me, of course, a former student.

A couple of years after I was removed as girls gym teacher, I had to go into the school for something, and suddenly I was surrounded by little girls asking me why I wasn't teaching them any more.

One morning during women's hours at the pool, a young mother told me how much it meant to her to be swimming with her "gym teacher."

On a bus not long ago, suddenly I saw a familiar face; the young woman ran over. "Do you remember me?" "Of course, I was the substitute teacher for four months." Then I heard her ask her friend. "Do you remember? She was our teacher."

I "tremp" or hitch hike, where I live it's normal. Many times I've gotten rides with former students, and they are so proud to be driving the teacher.

This is so strange for me, because I don't remember ever seeing or knowing any of my teachers outside the classrooms. None of my teachers ever saw me grown.

HH #37

Honestly, I don't know how Soccer Dad does it. There's so much in this Havel Havelim.

Seabiscuit, What a Story!

I only heard about Seabiscuit a few months ago, or was it a year or more. I read a review of the movie and decided that I had to see it. I don't go to the cinema. I prefer watching at home, where I can walk around or take a break. I don't have to see a movie when it's new and generally prefer old ones. I'm a member of a video library that specializes in old movies. It was the only time I took out one of their new features. The movie was even better than expected. I don't know how many times I've seen it.

In recent years I don't buy books, but when I was recently in the states, I decided to make an exception. I wanted to read the real story. In the end, my brother gave me a spare copy he had. (Thanks!)

Books are generally better than the movies, and of course this was, too. But I think the screenwriters did a fantastic job in focusing on what they included. It would have been impossible to show everything on the screen.

Now finally, the book was written by Laura Hillenbrand whose personal story is no less amazing than that of Charles Howard, Red Pollard, Tom Smith and Seabiscuit who tied them all together. She has been suffering from sever Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for almost twenty years, since she was in her late teens. She has been bedridden, but still managed to research and write this fantastic book.

We're given lots of background information, not only of the characters, but of the culture of jockeys and horse-back racing. I must admit, that I learned from every page. Nobody could have made up such a cast and such a plot.

It was probably best to have seen the movie first, or I would have been looking for missing characters and annoyed at all the changes. So if you've neither seen the movie nor read the book, that's the order to do it in. The movie brings out all of the important points and messages.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sweating on Saturday Night

Believe me. All I've been doing has been writing another musing on the computer. I guess it's my age, but the breeze from the window isn't helping much.

I'm, Baruch Hashem, thank G-d, recovering from the flu, but I get impatient. NO I don't think it's fever; it's sweat! Sorry, but I figured someone would suggest it. Hope nobody googled this thinking that Saturday night sweats were something else.

I still have tons of dishes in the sink and ought to soap and scrub them. I don't want to see that waiting for me tomorrow.

Tomorrow, bli neder, G-d willing, (do those two go together?) I plan on writing more about the great book I just finally finished.

But now
dishes await
oy vey

Friday, September 16, 2005

An ordinary 21 year old

Prince Harry, 2nd son of Prince Charles and Diana is 21 years old. I enjoyed reading this very refreshing interview with him. I don't know how much was prepared and rehearsed, since you never really know with the Royal Family, but he does sound like an ordinary 21 year old who will follow his own mind. This is new and refreshing for his family. There's no doubt that if his father had done what he had wanted he never would have married Diana.

Everyone involved, Prince Charles, Camilla, Diana, and the two princes all suffered, because they were following orders, playing the parts.

It seems like Prince Charles is giving his sons more freedom to live their lives than he had, though his elder son, Prince William acts more "the king to be."

Time will tell, as the saying goes.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

fading and fading

I have the flu or something. Just a short while ago did I succeed at sitting long enough to blog.

after I got home yesterday, I collapsed on the couch and only started getting up this evening. Today I called our "green grocer" and asked for an order. He also considers himself a "natural healer." So I got advice along with the food.

I did something very rare, I didn't go to work. Usually I'm the type to go no matter how weak I am, but this year I finally realized that it was a stupid thing to do. Everyone was very nice about my calling in sick. There's no way I could have controlled my classes. Actually, today there was no way I could stand or sit. Periodically I made tea for myself, but then foolishly I left it in the kitchen, and then I couldn't get up to bring it to the couch. Yes, that bad.

Good night

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Besides trying to get a "picture" on my "profile," I'd love to ping, trackback etc, whatever. I see all sorts of strange logos on other people's blogs. Esther has a special individualized header, and she's also on blogger. How is this all done? She offered to help me with the picture, but I don't have a way of emailing her.

And now, of course, I've wasted half the morning just blogging. And no calories burned.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Help Save a Life

Read about my friend Judith Nusbaum who needs a kidney. And please pass this on and on to others.

I feel stupid!

I really do feel stupid. I'd like to put my picture or some sort of image up on the "profile" or whatever, but I can't figure out how. It's not the same as posting pictures on the blog. I know how to do that, as you may have noticed. It do it with the blogger service, so it doesn't add anything extra. But for some perverse reason, blogger doesn't use blogger pictures. HUH!? Does that make any sense?


last chance

Last chance for a morning swim in the crisp air and chilly water. I should be getting ready to go in, rather than sit here on my upholstered office chair. It's my only chance to exercise, since by the time I get home from work, I'm wacked, all emptied of energy.

But do I really want to go out, under the overcast sky? If I don't, will I take a walk? The pool cost me money. So maybe a good walk will be a better idea, and Thursday my exercise class may resume, so....

If I go to the pool I have to slather lots of lotion, yuch!

Monday, September 12, 2005

What are you reading?

Or more accurately, what book or books are you reading?
Or, are you reading any books?
Or do you read books?
Or what do you read, besides blogs, of course?

Honestly, especially during the school year, I don't read all that much, when it comes to books. Books, even junky ones, are more for vacations when I have that spare energy, of the visual, academic variety. I usually collect a bunch of "light" books, the kind that keeps me busy and can make me forget to nosh, sort of junk food of the mind. I don't even buy any. People are always happy to give them away, and last year there was a 2nd hand book store in Jerusalem that told people that they could just take from the boxes outside, and I did, and I did again and again. It was perfect timing since I needed books.

I also read the Friday, Jerusalem Post and Newsweek. And some Parshat Shavua, mostly, Torah Tidbits.

And of course I read for work as an EFL, English teacher. How else could I manage to do my job?

But now I'm reading a real book, "Seabiscuit." I love the movie; after taking it out of "Ozen Shlishi," video/movie rental a couple of times, I bought the DVD in New York. Luckily my brother had a spare copy of the book, and he gave it to me. It's quite a story, better than a novel. There are lots more twists and conflicts than they put in the movie.

I'm not going to play tag with this, but if you want to tag yourself, please do and link this to your answer and comment that you've done it, since I don't have trackback.

BOMS #94

Gary has done a great #94, a real labor of love for sure. There's another unique variety of blogs in this "carnival." Take a gander.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Joy and Laughter

sounds of joy and laughter
"kol kallah v'kol chattan"
sounds of bride and groom

over the hills of Shiloh
where the nation's prayers
were once said

we learned from Chana
how to pray

joyfully she returned to Shiloh

and we did, too

and we built a community
with Jews
from all over
and all languages, faces and histories

making history
where there were once
just memories

Kol Sasson, v'kol Simcha
voices of joy
many types

Aliza, joy, and Yitzchak, laughter,
Mazal Tov

HH Again!

Yes, it's that time of the week to read what's doing in the Jewish and Israeli blogging world. Hevel Havelim #36! Lots of great articles to read.


I was at a lovely, moving wedding here in Shiloh. I'll write more later.

new recipes

Start the week with some new recipes from the 56th Carnival of the Recipes. There's a nice variety, something for everyone. Oh, yes, we're included.

please help

OK, I admit that this is a vanity type request. The Gantzeh Megillah has set up a fancy "page" for me, called "out of the box." It's lovely except for one minor detail. The text is illegible, at least on my computer. The background comes out dark purple, sort of like the writing here.

Please take a look at the site and let me know if you have the same problem. If you do, please write to yenta at pass dot to .


new guy in the neighborhood

After much prodding, the famous Barry Silverberg has taken the plunge and became a blogger.

I promised to let the world know. And I can't believe that hula hoop was still untaken, at least until last night.

So, please be polite and take a visit.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Make way for the "Carpetbaggers"

New Orleans and environs, destroyed by Katrina and bad government is now being invaded by modern "carpetbaggers." Carpetbaggers are opportunists, and the modern ones don't need the bulky bags of old. Whatever they need they can hold in their "palm."

This article in the New York Times tells of those planning the reconstruction.

Who knows what will finally be built, but one thing for sure:
it'll be too expensive for many of its former residents.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Which side?

Last night we attended Alex and Liat's wedding. Mazal Tov!

The standard question at a wedding is: "Which side are you on?" Well, at this wedding we were on the orange side. Yes, many of us had something orange, whether the bracelets, a hat, shawl, nails etc. One friend proudly told us that her mother tied an orange ribbon to the walker, showing that one's never too old to be orange. One big orange family.

This is a case that underlines, confirms the accuracy of the morning blessing said by women thanking G-d for creating us how He wishes. It certainly is much easier for us females to show our orange side. Our clothes have so many more possibilities. Not too many men would wear double-breasted suits with orange buttons, or orange flowered slacks, or orange fingernails. On occasion I've seen orange kippot.

Just the right spot of orange means that we're members of the same club and the right side of the spectrum.

Good News, Bad News

To me it's a "good news, bad news" situation.

We're included in Carnival of Comedy. Yes, that's the good news.

The "bad news" is that we're in the lowest category, sort of being polite to include us. Though there have been lots of hits and visitors from there, so I guess not everyone has the same taste, or trusts the "host."

I'll read through the others when I have time.

It's Friday, and I must get ready for Shabbat.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

clear head, take a break

Let's just clear our heads from politics, Disengagement, floods, tragedies...

This week, along with going back to work after almost three full months of vacation, we have two weddings to go to. The first was on Sunday, and the second, tonight. They are very different couples and families, etc. That's part of the fun. You know, I hate getting bored.

Over the years I've given different things for gifts:

If I give a gift, I try to make it something that if they have it in duplicate or more, it's fine, or it can be exchanged. A couple of neighborhood kids asked for ironing boards. I hope that they like to iron, because I don't. I'd hate to think that they're thinking bad things about me as they iron.

For awhile I gave gorgeous ceramic bowls etc, until my husband insisted that it was an oxymoron. He hates ceramics.

Not long ago I was giving very good cooking pots, nice than one would get for oneself.

A few years ago we gave gift certificates. That way they had to buy something, but I didn't have to risk picking it out.

Recently, we've been giving checks, since the logistics of shopping have been too complicated.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

earth shaking

This morning I paid a "shiva call;" that's "nichum aveilim" in Hebrew. That means "comforting a mourner," a person who is in the seven days of mourning, known as "shiva," from the number "sheva," seven.

She described her father's death as both expected and unexpected and shook her up.

The religious laws of "shiva" are very suited to the needs of the mourner. It begins with the ripping of ones shirt, from the neck to the heart. And then for a week, just taking a break on Shabbat, one removes him/herself from the mundane world. The mourner should be served and cared for. The visitors, comforters, shouldn't initiate conversation. The mourner is encouraged to talk about the dead person, even remembering the funny things. The mourner should talk and talk and show pictures and whatever else to explain to the visitors who and what the dead person was.

The recent shiva calls I made were to friends sitting alone, while other family members were in different places around the world. We, the visitors also weren't acquainted with the dead person, which encouraged the mourner to express more and more.

Today, as I was talking with my friend, suddenly her husband asked:
"Did you feel it?"

"Feel what?"

"The house shook, and the table shook. Maybe there was an earthquake."

We didn't feel anything; neither her on her low stool, nor me on the soft couch.

"It was probably an explosion from the building," she said.

And I said: "Maybe it was a heavy truck; they sometimes make the street shake."

Later I went home and turned on the computer and read the news. There had been an earthquake, centered in Jordan, felt as far as Tel Aviv, and Eli is right in the middle.

The Greatest Carnival So Far!

The host of Education Carnival #31 must be some "gevaltic" teacher. I've never seen a more exciting carnival presentation! A real inspiration!

Surprisingly Simple Banana Cake

Don't believe the cookbooks; it's really easy to bake cakes, even a banana cake. First use my easiest cake recipe as a base. The only crucial difference is the liquid. Instead of water, or juice, you use mashed ripe bananas, up to the volume of liquid in the recipe. Less is also ok, and then add water or juice until you get almost the same consistency as a regular cake. It should be a little thicker.

Remember that cinnamon makes it taste richer.

Nuts, raisins and diced fruit are optional.

Bake slowly, slightly lower heat, to make sure it's well cooked on the inside.


I agree!

Rishon-Rishon takes the words right out of my mouth, or should I say "the taps off my keyboard?"

I also feel safer here in Israel, and yes here in Shiloh, than I feel any place else, including the states and my parents suburban Great Neck, Long Island neighborhood.

There's never any guarantee that any location will promise you safety. A few years ago a Jewish family decided to avoid the dangers of a visit to Israel, so they vacationed at the Grand Canyon and were killed in a freak helicopter crash. Recently an Israeli woman, who was afraid to go home because of terrorism was murdered in the London terror attack.

When people ask my mother how she and my father are willing to visit us in Israel, she reminds them that you can die in bed or in the bathtub, statistically more than anyplace else. My mother never gave up Broadway shows, even when New York mugging was at its peak. Though she insisted it wasn't safe for me to walk back from the station at night during my recent visit. I walk all over Shiloh at night without any problems.

There's never a way to guarantee safety, so don't use "danger" or terrorism as an excuse not to visit.