Monday, October 31, 2005

Replying to a comment

Someone who read the latest HH sent me an email commenting how upset she was about:
Many of us Torah observant Jews have a problem with the chareidi life style, in which the men don’t work; they expect to be paid for learning. This is in direct conflict with the great Torah scholar, Maimonides, as told on

Now I think I see what bothered her. I implied that none of them work, rather than saying what I meant that their ideal is to learn for parnasa and not work at regular jobs. Even though I know that plenty of chareidi men do hold jobs. What bothers me is that "ideal."

Here's my reply:

Thanks for writing.

I'm sorry that you see my question as "sinat chinam," because there's no hate. I'm comparing one of our greatest scholar's decision to make his parnasa from
doctoring rather than Torah and the modern (yes there was never such a high
proportion of Torah observant Jews relying on study for parnasa) custom of the
full-time kollel.

Personally I believe that Torah learning and principles should be integrated in everything we do and should be spread thoughout our people, not in isolation.

As an English teacher I've brought Parshat Shavua in English, and when the students don't know the translation of the word "doubt" I tell them that it's the same gematriya as Amalek.

I'm sorry that you miss-understood me,


BOMS #101

Another great selection of posts from all over, including some of mine. Gary's graphics and commentary are in a league if their own.

Take a gander.

Small (Jewish) World

I received this from one of the lists I subcribe to:

In, "--" wrote:
Comments received from my friend's friend.

In reading the New York Times which I get via the Internet, I saw that the new nominee for the Federal Reserve Chairman is Ben S. Bernanke.

I had a student pulpit in Dillon South, Carolina, for the Yamim Noraim of 1966. I went alone as my wife was expecting our first child and stayed until after Yom Kippur. I stayed with the nominee's parents and remember Ben very well. He helped me roll the Sifrei Torah and was very interested and involved in everything about the shul. He was post Bar Mitzvah. His parents, Philip and Edna, had a strictly kosher home. They had two younger children, Sharon and Seth. His mother was originally from New England and her parents had relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where her father was the kosher butcher. Meat was sent via the bus that traveled from Charlotte to Dillon. Ben's father was a pharmacist and he and his two brothers were the only pharmacists in Dillon.

Ben's full name is Ben-Shalom and his parents, who I recall as most gracious and kind, told me how they gave him that name. It was the tradition in the South that the first born son received his mother's maiden name as his first name. Thus, in Dillon there were people with the name Smith Williamson and Brown Jones. The Bernankes translated Edna's maiden name - Friedman to Ben-Shalom.

His grandparents were both physicians in pre-war Vienna. They came just before the war to the states but their medical degrees were not recognized. As they had to make a living and were too old to sit for exams etc. and had three children, they came to Dillon where they operated a pharmacy.

The area synagogue was located in Dillon since the town had made rooms available to the area Jews to hold services in the 1920s. The synagogue dated from before World War I. They never had a permanent rabbi and were served by numerous JTS students for the Yamim Noraim over the years.

For many years, Rabbi Murray Alstett, the brother of Rabbi Philip Alstat, served their religious needs when he had a pulpit in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The sisterhood was proud ofits support of JTS and was a member of Women's League. I have fond memories of the almost two weeks in Dillon 39 years ago.

Just think, the youngster who helped me prepare the Sifrei Torah and gave me numerous insider pointers is now the nominee to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Well, it's a small Jewish world.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I guess we're all in agreement about the importance of keeping spam and viruses out of our email and blogs, but sometimes it's such a challenge to send mail and comments. Blogspot's "word" verification isn't too bad, except for the times I find myself with 6 or 7 letters to type in, rather than 4, but it enabled me to open up my comments, on my varied and various blogs, to many more people including non-bloggers and those who'd rather stay totally anonymous.

Yahoo is a real challenge, and as a teacher of MLD's, (mild learning disabled) like the dyslexic and dysgraphic, I can't imagine how they can figure out the letters and numbers. Even I get caught, forced to retry with a new mystery challenge, at least 10% of the time.

Other blogs have "closed clubs" of commenters, which is so annoying. After working hard to write just the right clever, unforgettable comment, I find myself rejected.

It's also annoying and sometimes highly inconvenient to be told by yahoo that I've sent too much mail in the past hour. Then I have to save the letter as a draft and remember to send it later, not easy for one suffering "information overload." How could they dare have though that I was spamming?

Havel Havelim #42

Celebrating Havel Havelim #42

Welcome to the post-Holiday edition of the Jewish-Israeli Bloggers Carnival!

We’ll open up with a news item from
Dry Bones about Syria. Yes, if you haven’t yet heard, Dry Bones blogs.

We’ve just finished over three weeks of Holidays, quite a lot and no two the same. Read Blog D’Ellisson’s
Whomping Willow. And for a different way of seeing the holidays, or just about anything, there’s the one and only Hulah Hoop. Nothing beats Willow Green’s holiday guest

And speaking of guests,
Soccer Dad’s Succah Saga
says it all
about smachot
on Succot.
Surprises galore,
read it all.

In a beautiful post, Mirty reflects on the past year and her
return to an active Jewish life. Shaister reminds us that not every Jew is raised knowing what Yom Kippur means.

If You Will It reflects on his post-aliyah
Simchat Torah, and brings up some very interesting points.

It’s hard for many of us to be just spectators, and Devarim tells us how hard it was for her this Simchat Torah, since she wasn’t allowed to
hold a Sefer Torah.

There’s a mitzvah of “Aliyah l’Regel” to Jerusalem. “Regel” means foot, so read about the
march to Jerusalem, and see the pictures here and here.

Israel Perspectives reminds us of differences between the lives of Jews here in Israel and those abroad, even if they are here for the holidays. And Cosmic X reflects on American Orthodox Jewry. But Esther, Outside the Blogway, shows what power some other rabbis have.

A bit more on the holiday spirit, what’s special about being a Jew and a great-looking
succah from Boker Tov, Boulder.

There’s more to being a rabbi than preaching and holding the Sefer Torah; the Velveteen Rabbi tells us of her Holiday

It’s time for some Parshat Shavua from Elie’s Expositions about "V'Zos Haberacha." (If I’m not mistaken, he doesn’t take into account that we celebrate Simchat Torah on different days in Israel and the Diaspora.)

Here’s an important
lesson from Shemittah Rediscovered.

And Moze writes of how her kids took their minds off of “hamatzav,” the “situation” because of a star.

Yes, Succot is a holiday that causes men to complain of hard work, but how does it
compare to the holiday seasons when women have lots of work? And don’t forget that we still have all the cooking plus, even though it’s usually the men constructing the succah and hurling, rolling or dropping the s’chach.

Kesher Talk offers a Caption Contest. “I’ll wow them with this bright yellow gem; they can’t catch me!”

Elms in the Yard shows a little Passion.

And “passion” brings me to the singing rabbi, honored and forgiven by many after his death, the unique and intriguing, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Thank Shaister for this well-written and well-researched

And on a more serious note, nobody can escape terror. Read what Israel Perspectives recommends.

IRIS points out how
tainted and anti-Israel AP is. And Daled Amos tells about the anti-semitic poem in a book of children's poetry to be distributed among schools in the UK

A Very Heavy Stone
quotes the Bible and sounds like a modern prophet of doom.

I hope that Chayyei Sarah’s “b’shert” reads this, contacts her real fast and they should G-d willing consider me the shadchan.

Israel Perspectives gives his opinion about Jewish singles and the
aliyah issue.

Celestial Blue's in Israel; read about her adventures and look at her gorgeous photos!

Many of us Torah observant Jews have a problem with the chareidi life style, in which the men don’t work; they expect to be paid for learning. This is in direct conflict with the great Torah scholar, Maimonides, as told on Blacktriangle.

Reb Chaim HaQoton writes a two-parter about the halachot concerning murder and morals in Judaism.

I think that one of the great questions of the world is how or why a person is willing to even kill himself if the act will also kill/murder someone he hates. Unfortunately, we’re in constant danger, because Moslems think such murder is wonderful. Blog D’Ellisson gives us some background
why. And here’s more comparative religion from Rishon Rishon.

Read Smooth Stone’s

Why is the death of one Rachel considered tragic by world media, while the murdered Rachels are ignored? Thanks to Israpundit for the article. Our murdered Rachels were murdered by terrorists, and so many good Jews have been murdered, that many of us are numbed, beyond feeling. Yeranen Yaakov writes how he makes himself mourn and feel for the many he has never even met.

If you haven’t heard, the Israeli Government is talking about giving the Vatican a building used by the Diaspora Yeshiva at Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Read what my husband
wrote. More details are here. And if you think that Jewish prayer on Har HaBayit is a new issue, take a look at this news item he scanned in from 1971. And read what Israel Perspectives discovered. Here’s more on the digs from Smooth Stone.

Unfortunately, it has not been a very joyful time for some, since they their succah has more permanence than anything else in their lives. On Blog Free! a mother/grandmother writes of her visit to Ir Ha'Emuna to see her daughter and grandchildren. The situation is terrible, and I think that people are giving them the wrong advice. What do you think? Read this letter from one of the evacuees.

Daniel writes about a new, or first, Jewish radio programme in England. And the Jewish Atheist shows illustrations from a gorgeous Bible.

If you’re among those moderns who depend on the internet for your newspapers and magazines, or just like to read from a wide variety of sources, subscribe to
The Raphi, Think Israel and The Gantseh Megillah for a great choice of Jewish and Israeli themed articles from all over. Yes, they’re not blogs, but…

I don’t have time to play Avian-MEME-7 flu virus right now, so to all of you, please consider yourselves tagged by The Muqata. Sorry, Jameel, I’m sure you understand. And just to show no hard feelings, I’m really impressed that you showed seven ways to tie tzitziyot with Techelet. Biur Chametz and Nathan’s newly re-decorated blog explain that MEME-7 is not just a time-wasting game.

I’ve been a bad girl and didn’t follow
Mirty's instructions to save my template before replacing the blogpatrol code in Shiloh Musings. Now the “buttons” or whatever they’re called are missing from both the blogpatrol and sitemeter counters, even though they’re on the template. Help!

Now, before I finish I want to run a new idea by you. How about something for the kosher cook? Ever since the Carnival of Recipes rejected my kneidelach, because their theme was pork…

Send your links for the next edition via Conservative Cat’s
handy form, and at the same time you may discover other “carnivals” to visit and enter. Jack's Shack is hosting the next Havel Havelim; you can also send your post directly to talktojacknow at sbcglobal dot net. Thanks to Soccer Dad for his hard work keeping this going, and if you want to host, please let him know at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.
Shavua Tov and have a Wonderful Week, even though it's back to work for some of us after almost a month of vacation! I shouldn't complain, since it's one of the perks of teaching in a yeshiva high school in Israel.
I took the photo on top approaching the kotel, Sunday Chol Hamoed late afternoon, yes, it was packed, Baruch Hashem!
cross-posted on Shiloh Musings, where colors are less problematic but links are harder to find, and this appears in the UberCarnival

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Just a few Saturday night jots. I'm giving a little more time for late-comers for Havel Havelim, though it's chock full already.

Newsweek now has an email newsletter, which is worth getting. Sign up here. It's free.

I ought to go check those papers for work and start planning lessons again.

There was something else I wanted to write but can't remember.

Suffering serious information overload.

Friday, October 28, 2005

SIDS Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

On the stomach, or on the back?

SIDS is a terrible fear of parents of infants every where. Why do apparently healthy babies suddenly die? What did they do wrong? How could it be prevented?

In recent years, the "experts" have been preaching that statistically there's more of a chance of G-d forbid SIDS if the baby is put to sleep on his stomach. So mothers all over the developed world are trying to keep their babies on their backs as much as possible, even though most sleep better on their stomachs.

The avoidance of being on their tummies is causing other problems, developmental ones. The head, neck, shoulder, back etc aren't getting a workout, when the baby is kept on his back. Add to this the increasing practice of using the "straight jacket," oops! carseat for everything, babies aren't moving enough.

Lying on one's back, following a mobile with eyes and flapping one's arms is not enough physical stimulation for an infant.

My daughter and I have been discussing this dilemma ever since her elder daughter was born almost two and a half years ago. I'm a firm believer in stomach sleeping and playing and with my background in dance, movement and sports, it's an easy stand for me to defend. But of course we don't want to endanger the kids.

Recently my daughter came up with some additional questions about the statistics. Could the higher statistics for SIDS when on the tummy have to do with how the sheets were laundered? She said that soon after she became a mother, she became suspicious of the laundry softeners and other additives to the wash, so she reduced use. Is there a statistical difference if the clothes are hung out to dry in an area, like where we live that isn't polluted?

Recent statistics also show that there's a lower percentages of death for babies "always on their stomachs." Maybe their neck and chest muscles are stronger, enabling them to put their heads in positions for easier breathing?

I just wonder.

Are the simplistic "keep the baby on his back" instructions really endangering them?

Last chance

Last chance for laundry, since rain is predicted for Sunday. I love to hang mine to dry. I have 4 lines 5 meters long, facing south, along my "merpeset," balcony/terrace. In dry weather like this, it takes less time to dry outside than in my clothes dryer.

And Sunday afternoon, G-d willing, I'll be off for a repeat visit to The Spa!

That'll be my way of resting up after all the work preparing Heval Havelim--hint! hint! Get your links in!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

pictures can be found

They are here and here!

"hevel" wasting time

A few years ago, the first time I learned any Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, my rabbi/teacher/neighbor told us to look at the word hevel and see what other Hebrew words we could find. The aim was for us to see the word "bli," without. So "hevel" means nothingness, a waste.

And so, I've been wasting hours of time on the next edition of "Havel Havelim."

I have cooking and laundry and must get to Jerusalem for various errands, even just to force myself out of the house. I'm still in my bathrobe at the keyboard, two and a half hours after getting out of bed. Bad girl.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

day after

Well, it's the day after Simchat Torah, which was the last day of the 8 day Succot-Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah holiday and the last day of the three weeks plus Jewish Holiday Season that began with Rosh Hashannah. And, if you've never read it, it's the perfect time to read my classic Thank G-d I'm not a Washing Machine! No kidding. It's working overtime today, and I'm waiting for my son #1 to pop in and take down the succah, which is blocking some of the clothes lines.

I sort of missed part of Simchat Torah. Yesterday morning I got to shul, on time as usual, but I wasn't feeling very well, and felt worse with every minute. So, just as the blessing before the Hallel was being said, I slunk out and went home. Baruch Hashem, the shul is in our "backyard," so it took less than a minute, and I was in. I grabbed a blanket and made myself comfortable on the couch and soon conked out.

By the time my husband and our guest made it home, after the dovening, dancing and kiddush (food), I was capable of speaking. B"H, we had a female guest, so I could stay in the living room and join in on the conversation, though it was rather "peculiar" when just as she was complimenting me on the food, I was begging them to open all the windows, because I couldn't take the smell. I didn't say that made me feel like puking, but I guess it was clear.

And thank G-d, this morning I'm fine. I could even drink my coffee, which is usually the sign of health for me. If the coffee doesn't taste good, then it's a sign I'm sick or coming down with something. Yesterday, I drank tea, which was a sign of things to come.

Now, I must get to work on Havel Havelim, hint, hint! So get your links to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fly Lady?

I forgot that not everybody is familiar with "Fly Lady." It's an "organization system" to take control of your life. For a couple of years I got their email reminders and was also on the Jewish Fly Lady yahoo list and the Israeli Fly Lady Yahoo list. They're still going strong if I'm not mistaken. We had "fests," get-togethers.

The system is based on organizing tasks into small steps, baby steps, and banishing perfectionism.

A few months ago I stopped getting all the mail. I waste too much time as it is, and I'm not good at following directions. The general principles are excellent.

Monday, October 24, 2005

BOMS #100

Gary has a great variety of blogs to celebrate his one-hundredth edition of the Best of Me Symphony! I had suggested that he make a real party out of it, but he's waiting for BOMS second birthday, which is coming up real soon.

Take a gander. These posts have passed the test of time. Not quite vintage, but not hot off the press. Whenever I see the great job he does, I feel that my attempts at Havel Havelim--Remember to get your links to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com--are so pathetic. His graphics are on a totally different standard. I'm happy to change colors and fonts, which is all I can do with my limited skills.

Who needs a cookbook?

When I was a "Fly Lady" I heard a revolutionary idea. A great way to "unclutter" is to throw away your cookbooks. Yes, today who needs a cookbook? It's all on the net. Just google the food you want to cook, and a wide variety of recipes come to your computer screen.

And if you like cooking or recipe magazines, there's a weekly one by bloggers from around the world, The Carnival of Recipes. My unbelievably easy Kneidlach Recipe is included.

In addition, I'm seriously thinking of starting a "Kosher Carnival of Recipes." What do you think?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I did it, sort of...

Well, I was the oldest female at the Od Avihu Chai March from Shiloh to Jerusalem. We ended up, after gathering in the Shiloh Cemetery, walking from Waadi Charamiya, where the road forks, east to Jerusalem and west to Neve Tzuf and Ateret, to Ofra, where we had a short rest and pit stop. Then we continued walking to Tzomet Ha-Tee, the T Junction to Beit El, also known as Givat Asaf, named after Asaf Hershkowitz, HaYa"D, who was murdered there. I must admit that I took a ride from Ofra to Givat Asaf, since I couldn't stay in the strong sun, where the wind was blowing my hat so much, it didn't give me shade.

Then we were bussed to the Hyatt Hotel, where we entered the succah to say a quick hello to the Disengagement refugees, temporarily housed there. From there we walked to the kotel, the Western Wall. Yes, we had planned to go to the cemetary in Har HaZaytim, the Mount of Olives, but it was decided that the kotel was more suitable.

Afterwards we had to walk another couple of kilometers to the bus.

We were over a hundred people, and I'm tired. I'll write more tomorrow, G-d willing, as a real numbered musing on Shiloh Musings.

Yes, I really was the oldest female there, though I didn't march every step of the way.

I felt great except for the dry, sandy winds in the first part. But otherwise, I feel fine, thank G-d. I could have gone on further, especially once it got dark. The sun and wind were the only things bothering me.

I guess I'm repeating myself.

Good Night

wasting time

I've wasted too much time this morning. Why? It's just too easy.

And on Chol Hamoed, the "intermediate days" of Succot, there isn't much else to do but eat. I can't crochet, and I'm not doing laundry. But it's time for breakfast, dovening, showering and dressing, of course not in that order.

And then...I'll march to Jerusalem!

Saturday, October 22, 2005


There's no "it" in Hebrew. All words and objects are either male or female, at least linguistically.

When I have to try to explain the concept to my students I tell the guys--they're teenage boys--that "it" is Dana International, the guy, Yaron Cohen, who had major surgery, castrated and then lots of silicon in certain places and takes tons of female hormones and pretends that he's a woman.

He's an Israeli performer and is the last Israeli to have won the Eurovision song contest. Tonight was a big 50 years of Eurovison show on TV, and he was one of the featured performers. Yes, he performs like all the drag queens, parodies women.

And this is less than a week after my once-favorite TV show, CSI, had an episode about those poor things called "trans-gender."

I used to love the show and bring episodes in to show my students. I can't even think of it recently. I wouldn't dare. They've become so perverse.

Meet the march in Jerusalem!

G-d willing tomorrow morning we're marching from the Shiloh Cemetery to Har HaZaytim, where most of the bodies that had been buried in the Gush Katif Cemetery are now buried.

The Od Avihu Chai march is in memory of my neighbor, Avihu Keinan, who was killed in a badly planned army action just over two years ago. More information here and here.

We should, G-d willing, be arriving in Jerusalem early afternoon. Join us for the final part of the march.

For information call 0545-649-140 or 0545-321-136.

yes, this is cross-posted to my other blogs, and I'm the photographer

Friday, October 21, 2005

getting into shape

I've been trying to "get into shape," ok, that's a bit too impossible, "getting fit" may be better, for the Od Avihu Chai March to Jerusalem.

I did some walking in Jerusalem yesterday, to see if my shoes would be suitable. I walked from the bus station to the Begin Center, which is near the old train station. Later on at night, I walked back from the King Solomon Hotel, in between the Begin Center and the King David, to the bus station. The night walk was easier, no sun, and I really picked up the pace. It's well over two kilometers, if I'm not mistaken. Of course next Sunday's walk is much longer.

I didn't even feel strained, but then again, I walk twice around my neighborhood a few times a week which is a similar distance.

The problem will be schlepping water and spare shoes or sandals, if I need to change shoes. The water's the big problem. It's not good to eat when doing heavy exercise, just drink, and water is so heavy, and toilets so rare and inconvenient.

Luckily there was an article in the NY Times about drinking and exercizing, more specifically marathon running--close enough. It's a warning that too much water is dangerous. I highly doubt that I could ever reach that situation, but I really shouldn't carry those heavy bottles. I hope that I can keep the big bottle in the bus and just refill the small one. We will be bussed part of the way.

I also don't want to be in the sun so much, but what can I do, besides long skirt, sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat?

And just a reminder, if you'd like to join us or cheer from the side-lines here are the details.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY

Every once in a while, I discover that somebody got to this blog by "googling," searching the web for mentions of BPG, Bell Park Gardens. So far, none of the visitors has left a message, and I'm so curious as to who they may be.

Are these searchers young people, checking BPG out as a home? Or are they former residents looking for old friends?

I lived there from the last day in 1949 until summer 1962. It, all three apartments we rented over the close to thirteen years, was the first home I ever could remember. I was just an infant when we moved there. OK, now you know my age.

In all honesty, it was a wonderful place to grow up in. Everything was new and friendly. The families were basically the same age and so were most of the children. In the fifties, there were few cars, so we were able to use the parking lots for bicycles and roller skates. Tricycles stayed on the sidewalks. There were lots of playgrounds. Every building, or almost every, had washers and dryers. When weather permitted we hung the laundry to dry on communal lines. Yes, there were areas set aside for hanging the wash. The families that lived in the five room duplexes didn't need it, since they had back doors and "private" yards, where they could set up their own clothes lines.

Every summer there was a community day camp. I loved going. It ended when my sister was little, because there just weren't enough kids. Most families had two, around the ages of me and my brother, but very few had a third of my sister's age. And even fewer had some younger than her.

I went to PS 46, which was very crowded. We didn't need the lunchroom which was sometimes used as a classroom, since we all lived nearby. Classes were divided according to level, so forty good, ok, excellent students had no problems in one room with one teacher. The slower classes had fewer kids.

I always wanted to give my own kids a similar life, and that's one of the reasons I'm happy to have raised them in Shiloh. A yishuv in Israel is as similar as one can find. Yes, really.

March to Jerusalem!

G-d willing, this coming Sunday, Chol Hamoed Succot, the 23rd of October, we will be marching from Shiloh to Jerusalem.

There will be three stages of marching.
  1. From Shiloh Center to the Shiloh Cemetery, Avihu Keinan, HaYa"D's, grave.
  2. From Waadi Charamiya (just north of Ofra) to Givat Assaf, the Beit El Junction
  3. From French Hill to Har HaZaytim, the Mount of Olives, the cemetery where the bodies from the Gush Katif Cemetery have been re-buried.

Please join us! We should be reaching Jerusalem sometime in the afternoon.

These are the contact numbers for more information. This number should be called also if you're marching from Shiloh, Waadi Charamiya or Ofra and to check during the afternoon when and where to join us in Jerusalem: 0545-649-140, and this just for updates during the march itself: 0545-321-136.

Yes, I took the photo last year, as we were crossing the road at French Hill, Jerusalem.

This will be cross-posted on my other blogs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is comfortable enough?

Is it enough for shoes to be comfortable? My criteria for comfort is wide, flat and flexible. Before even trying on a pair of shoes I try to bend them. If they don't bend easily in my hand, they're rejected. My shoes have to walk with me. I don't wear slip-ons, or classic "pumps," because they just flap and fall off my feet.

Recently I noticed another required characteristic for shoes. They must energize, yes, with really great shoes, they're not only comfortable, they make walking effortless.

My new sandals energize; now I have to find energizing shoes, which are also light-weight, flexible etc.

Rain, yes, rain

Second rain of the season, nice and solid, good for the garden. But terrible for the succah, dripping through the schach.

Officially it's not supposed to rain until after Succot, until after we do the "rain dance," oops! Prayer for Rain. Traditionally, rain wasn't supposed to start in ernest until the pilgrims returned home from Jerusalem, after Simchat Torah. But it rained on Sunday after the murderous terror attacks, and it rained again today. I didn't hear of any terror attack, but just before it began to rain, the beeper went off, rather hysterically. It announced that the grandmother of a terror victim, who's buried here in Shiloh, just passed away.

It's said that rain is G-d's tears.

I remember at our Soldiers Memorial Ceremony a year and a half ago, looking at the tableau of bereaved parents and grandmothers. Those elderly mothers couldn't protect their children from the pain of losing their own beloved children.

Yes, G-d cries. And people murder; yes, terrorists are people, evil people. And the "tikkun," correction is our responsibility.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Succot progress

One full into the seven day Succot Holiday. We ate in our succah on our "merpeset." That's a balcony or terrace. It's on the side of the house from the door between the dining area and kitchen. It decorated it with various posters, mostly about Gush Katif, and I gave a friend some of the calendars I had been saving. She used the gorgeous pictures in her succah.

So far, only a bee or two. Once they learn the address, I'll eat inside and keep the door shut. I have a strange bee allergy. For the first 24 hours, the sting, where I was stung, doesn't look bad at all, but after 24 hours, it really blows up and gets very hot. The last time I was stung, quite a few years ago, I tried taking anti-histamines, but they had no effect. I've never heard of this type of allergic reaction.

A few male bloggers have been complaining about how exhausting this season is. Of course I won't mention their links, because I don't want to embarrass them. Now, how can this holiday compare to the Purim-Pesach holiday season? It's a minimum of a month and a half of real work, exhausting work.

First getting ready for Purim:
  • mishloach manot (food gift packages to be given out)
  • the festive meal, or meals, 2 in Shiloh and other select locations
  • costumes and decorations
  • and women also have to hear the megilla at least twice, (4 times in Shiloh and a few other select locations)

then get ready for Pesach

  • start doing inventory of food from even before Purim
  • clean and organzie the house and closets
  • search for chametz (wheat products forbidden on the holiday)
  • clean some more
  • cook for the holiday
  • launder everything before so there won't be any during the week of the holiday

Now, in all seriousness, how does this compare with the present holiday season?

Monday, October 17, 2005


Yesterday I did something I've always told my kids not to do, and when I told one of my daughters, she was horrified. I put brand-new sandals, just after paying, on my feet, sans socks, and I took a long walk. I walked from Givat Shaul, just before Har Nof, all the way to the Central Bus Station. Insanity? Daring? Irresponsible? The walk isn't much more than a mile or less, probably less than two kilometers. But to risk getting blisters and infections just a week before the Od Avihu Chai March from Shiloh to Jerusalem?

And just to relieve your curiosity, no, I'm neither blistered nor sore. The sandals, a style I hadn't seen before from Na'ot, were so comfortable, I didn't even kick them off when I got home. The store advertised bargains, but those sandals weren't among the cheapies, but they're worth every penny, shekel, dollar. I wish they would make shoes like them.

When I got off the bus at home, there was an unusual blinding, golden sunset. I tried to photograph it, but I don't think that it will come out. Then I heard the ambulance sirens. Only later did I hear about the terror attack, just north of us at Eli.

Afterwards was the first rain of the season and the usual epidemic of car accidents.

I hope it stays dry enough today for my laundry to dry. I'm allowed to say that until after Succot, since it's not supposed to rain until after Succot, at least we dont' say the "rain prayer" until then. Yes, tonight is the beginning of succot. My son#1 has promised to return early enough to put up the schach, since it's bad for my husband's back and a reason why he's glad that our brother-in-law the chiropractor visits every Succot.

I still have to decorate the succah; good thing I didn't do it earlier. All I have to do is hang up the calendar pictures, New Year's cards and some Gush Katif posters I bought. I hope the money doesn't go to Moetzet Yesha.

History! I think that I completed my first crocheted hat. My daughter will decide if it's large enough or needs another row of stitches. I'm glad that she's willing to wear it, since I don't really look good in those sort hats. I do like the crocheting, which has me amazed. It keeps me busy and is less of a bother to schlepp than my needlepoint.

Chag Same'ach

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Heval Hevalim

Biur Chametz is hosting the latest Heval Hevalim. Read the wide variety of posts.

The next Heval Hevalim will be here and here and here and maybe here.

Please try to send me your posts before the Shabbat after Simchat Torah.
shilohmuse at yahoo dot com or via Conservative Cat's form.

I'm sure the times will inspire you, so I won't mention topics, except that due to the murders of innocent Jews by Arab terrorists here in the Holy Land, there will, unfortunately, be a section for obituaries from those who knew the victims personally.and if there are any blogs or posts or reports from Disengagement victims, they're all welcome.

But please remember that the main mitzvah of this holiday is "simcha," be happy. We must learn how to control our joy and sadness.

Chag Sameach

ps This will be cross-posted here and here and maybe here.

Kosher carnival?

I've been submitting recipes to the Carnival of Recipes for the past few months. OK, not every week, but pretty often, but this week my recipe was rejected. Why? What's wrong with my kneidlach? I'll tell you.

The theme this week is pork, yes, the same food forbidden by both Judaism and Islam. Not very good for an international recipe carnival. I complained that it was in poor taste. Yes, punny but true.

That makes me wonder if there would be enough of a "market," interest in a kosher recipe carnival. I figure that a monthly one would be enough. Please let me know what you think. My recipes, mostly Jewish, have gotten lots of hits and interest from the search engines. And I wouldn't make it exclusively for Jewish recipes, anything that's kosher. It would also be good for those with restrictive diets.

If I get enough positive feedback, then make an official announcement, open a special email account and apply to conservative cat to be included in his service. So ask around.

After hosting Hevel Hevalim a number of times, I'm not daunted by the prospect.

Shavua Tov and Chag Sameach,

Saturday, October 15, 2005


When I began this blog, I thought that I'd keep my identity a secret, like some bloggers do. But I just couldn't. When I wasn't going to "reveal" anything, it seemed unnecessary, though, I don't know if my name actually appears anywhere. It does appear on Shiloh Musings.

For the past few days Arutz 7 has had an opinion piece by someone named Orit. There's a picture, supposedly of her, but it could be 15 years old or in disguise. She says that she lives in Tel Aviv and got to know Gush Katif and its residence when reporting for a paper.

Honestly, it really bothers me that she won't reveal her true identity. Does she live in a totalitarian racist neighborhood? All she reveals is that she's from Tel Aviv, but is she from Tel Aviv proper or one of the suburbs?

Many of us whose articles appear on Arutz 7 bare our souls, and we sign our names and show our pictures, more up-to-date than what appears on our passports.

Bottom line is: I feel sorry for her.

Shavua Tov

Friday, October 14, 2005

Short Friday

Short Fridays are when there's no day light savings, and Shabbat comes in--the sun begins to set--early according to the clock. Last week we lit Shabbat Candles, which ushers in the Shabbat, over an hour earlier.

Two factors have combined to have Shabbat start so much earlier this week. The first is that it's the time of the year when the sun begins setting much earlier day by day, and the second is that just a few days ago Day Light Savings was cancelled.

I was just going to write that Day Light Savings is artificial, but all time measuring is in actuality. The decision that all hours take the same amount of time was a decision of man; so were the time zones.

Not only is there a Jewish Calendar which combines lunar months with solar seasons, but there are calculations during the day, and they're based on percentage of time from "high noon" to either sunrise or sunset. And these differ from day to day and season to season.

And back to my original message here. I don't have much time before Shabbat, so, even though we're empty-nesting this week, I still have a few things to do before I light candles, and then all of the "melacha" (specific types of work forbidden on the Shabbat) may not be done.

Shabbat Shalom


First, I'd like to thank Biur Chametz for bringing to my attention a list of "frum Jewish" blogs that has left off some of mine, most of mine to be more accurate! The writer was trying to trick me by using a mini-font, hoping I wouldn't notice. Must be one of the younger Jewish bloggers... Rrrrrrr, oops what a way to write just after Yom Kippur, oops.

"BC," you'll certainly have fun with the "HH;" I've done it a few times and it gets better and better. And as you mentioned, I'll do the post holiday one.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach


There's a custom to start the year, post Yom Kippur, with the mitzvah of building a succah. The succah is a "hut," with certain halachik (Jewish Law) restrictions or requirements.

Last night, before I even managed to wash the dishes, I could hear lots of hammering from my neighbors' homes and porches. My son and son-in-law went down to the storage room and dragged up the "succah walls." So they're already up. All that's missing is the special roof and the decorations.

I can't believe they worked so quickly, but that's because my trekking son wants to see others over Shabbat and will only return before the holiday begins.

And I have lots of nice easy decorations, pictures from Jewish calendars, New Years cards and some small posters with depressing pictures of Disengagement. My arts and crafts talents are pretty weak, and at least these things only need thumb tacks.

Carnival of education

Here's a very full edition of the Carnival of Education. It's always nice to read about what's going on in the rest of the world.

...the last minutes of Yom Kippur

I don't know how common the situation is, but in our shul we always end the Yom Kippur dovening a bit early, too early, and then there's singing and dancing to stretch out the time until we can blow (OK, hear) the shofar. This happens without fail every year.

The dancing goes on in the men's section, since there isn't room enough for all of us to stand in the Ezrat Nashim, women's section. So it's a time when whispered words are exchanged, because, what else it there to do?

Normally we have the quietest and most dignified and intense dovening up in the balcony, certainly a lot quieter than downstairs where the men are. There's no room for baby carriages, nor for all the women who want to doven. We have another women's section in the sideroom, by an open window from which the dovening can be heard. That's where the oldest and youngest women doven together, the baby carriages and wheel chairs, three and even four generations of G-d fearing, G-d loving women (including infants and toddlers.)

Back to the whispers from the balcony...

Do you think that the evacuees/refugees/victims of Disengagement are going to sing "Leshannah habaa b'Yerushalayim?" Next year in Jerusalem

I wonder...

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I've written about my friend, Judith Nussbaum, a tireless worker for Israel, who needs a kidney transplant. Well there's progress, Baruch HaShem, Thank G-d. A possible donor is willing to travel here to Israel to check if they're really "compatible."

It's a long complicated procedure, lots of tests. And since he's not an Israeli, he and a care-giver companion will need a place to live. Judith is trying to find them an apartment in Tel Aviv.

If you can help, please write To: Judith

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Avihu Keinan, HaYa"D, Memorial March

Od Avihu Chai!
G-d Willing, Sunday,
October 23, the 20th of Tishrei
Avihu Keinan, HaYa"D,
Memorial March
This year's route will be from
Avihu's grave in the Shiloh Cemetary
to the Hazaytim, Mount of Olives Cememtary
where the dead of Gush Katif were reburied
It will start from Shiloh, 9am, and we will march to his grave. From the cemetary we will be bussed to Waadi Charamiya, just before Ofra. From there we will march until Givat Asaf, the "T" junction to Beit El. Then we will be bussed to French Hill, Jerusalem, and from there we will march to Har Hazaytim.
To register call 02-940-1111. NS10- participation fee. Wear a sunhat, hiking shoes, and bring food and water. It is possible to join up mid way or for the last part.
Read about the march and the second one.

Easy-to-Make Kneidelach, matzah balls, for soup

Someone on a food list I'm on requested a TNT, tried 'nd tested, kneidelach recipe. So here it is, so simple, you'll never guess.

I usually double or triple it. This is enough for 4-6 bowls of soup.

1/2 cup of matzah meal
a pinch of salt and some pepper
other spices, like paprika, parsley etc optional
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of water
2 tablespoons of oil (soy or olive or any other)

mix together and leave for at least 40 minutes
It's a good idea to prepare the soup at this point, while waiting, so the soup will be boiling when it's time...

Then put either spoonfuls (use the two spoon method like in drop cookies) or roll balls in your hands, into the boiling soup or lightly salted boiling water.

After it returns to a boil, lower to simmer for another 40 minutes.

They can be eaten all year and in any soup. I love them in vegetarian vegetable soup!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Tonight, I hope that dog doesn't bark again. Last night I could barely sleep and by five I gave up trying. So now after cooking and cleaning (and blogging) this morning, and then I went to work in the afternoon, I think it's time to get a good night's sleep for a change.

G-d willing, my trekker's coming home tomorrow, and then it's Yom Kippur.

Good night, I hope.....


Well, first of all, if you hadn't heard, I have a new blog, Blog Free! It's primarily as an outlet for articles you won't find in the mainstream media. My other blogs are more for my original writing. And Blog Free! includes lots of other stuff.

I'm very proud that I fixed the template all by myself. Somehow I discovered that there was no way of accessing the various "previous posts" from the sidebar. Very strange. So I checked the template, as if I knew what I was looking for, which I didn't find, apparently. So I went into another of my blog templates and copied what I guessed was the code and pasted it into the template. After the first try, still nothing, so I deleted it and pasted it someplace else, and YIPPEE! I fixed it. So I guess I'm not as computer klutzy as I had once been.

Somehow I had understood that I wasn't working this week, another mistake I am, which is a problem, since I have to get my trekker's room set up, since he's G-d willing coming home again.

Must sign out, husband wants to check his mail.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Comfortable shoes and crocheting report

I'm very fussy about the shoes I wear. I can't wear heels and my feet are wide, and the shoes must be very flexible, like walking barefoot on some padding.

These are the requirements for all of my shoes, and that even includes "dressing up," fancy etc. No high heels for me.

A couple of weeks ago I did a big shoe shopping, buying two pairs of sandals and one of lace-up walking shoes. Nothing was cheap, pretty standard, though not "the most expensive." One pair of sandals were "Lady Comfort," which were less than the nice "Na'ot" I also bought. I have a feeling that the Na'ot are better quality, but we'll see.

The surprise purchase, which was a little less than I had been dreading was for the walking shoes. "Moran," an Israeli company, which makes a nice shoe. Mine are suede, a tan or light brown. They also make shoes for men, also comfortable and a bit less than the other good brands. Today I finally wore them for the first time, and I'm pleased. No back pain or any of the other bad side effects. Time will tell.

And my crocheted hat, the first ever I've tried, is almost finished, just over one more row, unless, I decide it needs even more. It's a little strange, but... making it has been fun, and I'm all set for more!

Civil Servants, Teachers and "Goofing off"

Yesterday I visited my visiting aunt and uncle. They're the most "elderly" by age close relatives I have. They're even older, by only a couple of years, than my parents, bli eyin haraa, ad me'ah v'esrim, to them all. (That means, the "evil eye" shouldn't attack them and they should live to 120.)

Believe me, they're both excellent ads for growing old, past eighty, that is. When I was growing up, and a younger adult, we didn't have such role models. The very few relatives who reached their ages had to relinquish their minds in the process. So I must say that my generation and my kids' generation are very privileged.

During this visit, besides family updates and politics, we talked about (or mostly I listened to) my uncle's recollections about being a government employee, a civil servant in New York in the 1950's to 1970's, if I remember correctly.

Earlier in our talk he was criticized by me and my aunt for calling teachers "goof offs." My aunt, who although not a teacher, has no illusions about what challenges await teachers in the classroom. And I've been a teacher for enough decades to have no patience for those who think we can get away with anything other than hard work. The modern generation of kid doesn't do anything "he doesn't want to do," so we have to make the unbearable "fun" and enticing.

In yesterday's reminisces, my uncle talked about the corruption in the civil service and how promotion was via, what's called in Israel "Vitamin P," for protexia--whom do you know... In addition, there's was always tons of waste, including time. That reminded me of how my father established his private business as an accountant. He was a civil servant and had to finish a specific "weekly route." He didn't need the entire week for it, so he plenty of time to handle private clients and only quit the civil service when they wanted to "promote" him to a desk job. It would have restricted him and prevented him from taking care of his business.

Now, in most parts of the world, teachers are also civil servants, government employees. But they can't get away with same things other civil servants can do. A mailman who manages to deliver everything to his route in less time than officially estimated or an inspector who gets everything checked in less than a day can find ways of "keeping busy," or "goofing off," without letting their superiors know that they can really handle more.

Teachers can't do that. If we finish the lesson plan early, we can't just take it easy. The students must always have something to do. We're part of large system, and in most schools, kids can't just walk out early.

Actually, where I teach, I do have more freedom, and I find that sometimes the best motivation is letting my students know that once we finish everything planned, the lesson is over. Of course, that's just a matter of minutes and seconds. I can't cancel entire lessons, nor rearrange schedules. I have to make sure that my plans mesh with what the school gives me. I have to be in the classroom and take attendance and report back to the administration.

And there's certainly no way I can "goof off." For every lesson plan, I must be prepared to adjust to the moods of the kids. Sometimes, just a minor change, and I can keep them on track, and sometimes I see that due to events beyond my control I have to find something else to do in a split second.

Honestly, it's really annoying when people think that teaching is an "easy job" with great vacations. We're pretty busy during vacations and before and after lessons with all the planning, checking and extra professional courses. That's because the bureaucrats are always coming up with new, impractical teaching ideas.

but that's another story...

the latest BOMS

The latest "Best of ..." is up. Vintage posts froma wide variety of blogs.

Take a gander.

Heval Hevalim #40

The 40th edition of Heval Hevalim is hosted by Israel Perspectives, who did an excellent job. Take a gander...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

"HaMerkaz," the center of the country

Perception, it's all in the mind.

In Israel, when people refer to "hamerkaz," the center of the country, they actually mean close to the coast, near Tel Aviv or the old "green line" which was the pre-1967 border.

For me, that's not the "center." I see the area I live in, Shiloh, as the true center. We're actually a half hour or a bit more from most places. We're barely a half hour's drive to Jerusalem and the same to the Yarkon Junction, near Petach Tikva, with Kfar Saba just a few minutes in the other direction and Netanya, if you stay on the road. Just today I visited my aunt and uncle who are staying with my cousin in Neve Ne'eman, just a mile or so from the junction. Even my combination of buses and hitchhiking made the trip no longer than it takes to get to shop in Jerusalem. The Jordan Valley is even closer.

Ever since I discovered how centrally we're located, I've been very upset with the way the yishuv is marketed. And I'm not quiet about it.


After a major build-up, the actually anniversary of our aliyah passed silently. We docked at Haifa port, Saturday night, September 5, 1970, a few weeks before Rosh Hashannah.

"In Jerusalem," the Jerusalem supplement of the "Jerusalem Post" has had a series on a young couple, American olim chadashim, and their aliya experiences. The final article tells of their living in the Old City of Jerusalem. That prompted me to write the following letter, which may or may not be published:

re:In Jerusalem Oct. 5, 2005 14:07 Updated Oct. 6, 2005 18:42

Settling down

Thirty-five years ago my husband and I were the very first American olim chadashim to make the old city of Jerusalem our home. We went from the boat to the Maon Betar on the corner of Rechov Hayehudim and Rechov Plugat Hakotel. The "Jewish Quarter" wasn't the trendy place it is today. Mud paths connected the buildings and there was so much construction, we constantly had to find new ways to get from place to place. Our only Jewish neighbors, besides the guys in the Maon Betar, were Rav Moshe Tzvi Segal and his wife.
So many memories...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

best intentions

Here's an excellent article from the NY Times about the difficulties in helping the Katrina refugees. A lot of the problems are universal in these horrid and tragic situations.

The Disengagement victims, the evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Shomron are still homeless. All of the present housing is temporary. And now they need more help than ever. It's hard to find information. Almost all are unemployed. It's hard to job hunt if you don't know where you'll be living. Most want to stay together with their former neighbors and somehow recreate what they once had.

There seems to be a news blackout about it. Yes, it's old news, but it's still a tragedy. And the people must be helped. And the world must know.

In our Rosh Hashannah Prayers we pray for all of Am Yisrael, that is all of the People of Israel. Jewish Unity demands helping all Jews, including and especially those who were thrown out of their homes by the Israeli Government.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Enlarging the house

We've been playing around with the idea of enlarging our house. On one hand the "master bedroom" is tiny, and I hate being at the western end of the house, and the livingroom, for whatever reason never seemed large, especially since the kids got us a gift of a large "cocktail table." And on the other hand, the house is very empty most of the time. We've been empty nesting for years. It used to be that it filled on most Shabbatot and all Jewish Holidays. But now it's common to be alone, unless I invite neighbors for a meal or two.

Every few weeks and plenty of the holidays, our married daughter comes with her husband and two daughters. They fill the house, and there's hardly any room for the girls to play. And, G-d willing, next week, in just a few days, trekking son will be returning. At present he plans on basing himself here, but he's 24, and can end up doing almost anything.

Over a year ago, an architect-builder made up plans for us, which are tempting, though I can't imagine myself living with builders for months on end. The renovations would utilize our unfinished attic to make the master bedroom suite of my dreams, with a view of the sunrise. Plus another couple of bedrooms up there. Downstairs we'd change the entrance, lose a small bedroom and toilet and end up with a larger livingroom.

I don't know if it's cost effective, in that the selling price would increase to the extent of expenses.

Also, even if everyone (all the kids at present) visits, we can still fit everyone in. Of course if G-d willing more would get married, it would be more complicated. We should only have such challenges.

On the other hand, we're not getting any younger. I'd hate to leave my kids a much larger house filled with even more clutter than we already have. My parents and many other elderly people are, in a sense, imprisoned in houses larger than they need, because sorting through all their possessions and throwing out and giving away most of it is too overwhelming.

In the interim, I made more room in the livingroom/diningroom by moving the diningroom table so that its length is on the short wall, giving more space, especially so we can put the baby on a blanket on the floor to play. I've also announced that we're making some changes in the bedrooms, so that the entire young family will be able to fit into one, rather than needing more. Hopefully the trekker will help with the moving and painting.

The "problems of the rich."

Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach!