Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Festival of Frugality #8

People all over the world are trying to save money, or at least to spend less. Read some great ideas in the latest Festival of Frugality. And look at who has the number one spot!

It's kosher; it's not kosher; it's kosher; it's...

There are some foods which are considered, by most, to be kosher even though there aren't kashrut inspectors watching all stages of production.

It's generally easier to ascertain the kashrut of ordinary foods, at least where there is an active Orthodox Jewish community. Also, many of the large American food companies have recognized kosher certification, and these foods can be found all over North America and sometimes in other countries.

The big controversies usually involve "hard liquor." Sometimes the same people who are so strict over their meat and cheese will be rather trusting that the booze they like is kosher. It helps to understand what the liquor is made of.

When I went to New York a couple of weeks ago I bought some Johnnie Walker at the duty free, and now it's the subject of debate. Apparently some rabbis claim that you can taste the traife wine that had once been in casks that store the whisky. Now, OK, I admit that I'm no whisky lover, but really, who can taste a hint of wine in JW? Honestly, I can't taste anything in it; it numbs my mouth completely. That's why it's good for tooth aches!


I'm just curious. Has anybody had any real monetary success by having adsense on their blogs?

Please let me know.


Lovely Left-over Lunch

Yesterday, when it came time to make lunch, and I needed a good one before going off to work, I noticed lots of left-overs in the fridge. Of first priority, according to price, was a piece of salmon I had cooked for lunch way back when on Friday, or was it dinner Thursday evening?

There was also a container of fine rice noodles from Friday lunch and some regular pasta from Thursday night.

I don't eat double-carbs and some of my meals have none at all, so I had to choose which. I chose the rice noodles, since I had eaten wheat in the morning.

Then I cut up some vegetables (onion, squash and you can also use carrots, cabbage--anything!), put it in the giant frying pan, added oil and the fish, covered it all and started cooking it. When it was mostly cooked I added Tamari (soy) sauce and some balsamic (optional) vinegar, and when that was cooking hot, I added the already cooked noodles. I let it cook a little and then served it over some freshly cut salad.

I ate it all, and then I was off to work.

You can do the same with any cooked protein, like poultry and beef. AKA stir fried vegetables or "Chinese" food. You can also use tofu, just add more flavoring.

Monday, January 30, 2006

114 BOMS

Amazing, the 114th BOMS is better than ever!
Take a gander!

Crochet report

I'm totally amazed. Some of my hats have been getting compliments, especially one I gave my daughter.

I still think of it as occupational therapy, keeps me sane.

Back in the loop

Years ago, I was among the first joggers, then first fitness walkers here in Shiloh.

Somehow, during the past few years flab and laziness reigned. My schedule no longer jived with my partners' and somehow, though my reputation still lived, I've been staying home with my trusty pc, trying to increase daily hits, rather than breathing clean air and increasing my lung capacity.

On occasion, I'd spy a few female walkers as I was hanging out the wash. Wouldn't it be nice...

Well, I'm back in the loop. I asked one of the walkers to start reminding me, inviting me to join. And this morning I joined two of them, and a fourth changed directions to join us.

Now I just have to continue...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

sidebar addition

I just added something to my sidebar, a list of my other blogs. As a "Gemini" I have various facets to my personality, and blogging different blogs suits me well. So take a gander.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Mincha sagas

A couple of years ago when I decided to "take on" saying Mincha, the afternoon prayer, daily, I really didn't think about the logistics. Not that I think I would have thought harder or rejected the idea, but I honestly didn't think much about it that day.

It can get complicated finding a spot, where I won't be disturbed, for the few minutes of the prayer. It takes planning so I won't get stuck. Saying T'hilim, Psalms, is much easier, since you can just sit almost any place. To properly doven, one of the three main prayers, Shacharit, Mincha, and Ma'ariv there are parts one should stand, though when there's no choice one can doven in a moving vehicle seated.

In most places I go, it's normal to see people dovening. It's not always easy to find a suitable place, and I've had problems before finding the right spot.

When I was in New York this summer and a couple of weeks ago I ended up dovening in midtown "parks." I'm sure that the city planners who put the benches and chairs in Herald Square and Bryant Park never thought that they would be used for Jewish prayer.

One of the more annoying places is the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, which has a synagogue, but there is no women's section. This week when I was there I needed a siddur in addition to a place to pray. Luckily the book shelves are near the door, and luckily there wasn't anyone dovening in the doorway. I stuck my hand in and grabbed a siddur. Then I found an empty wall, which can be set up with a partition and benches or chairs to be an official Ezrat Nashim. That's where I dovened. Then I stuck my hand back in and returned the siddur.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Very First Kosher Cooking Carnival!

For this first edition, many of the recipes will be from my own blog, but I hope to get many more contributions. The only requirement is that the recipes are kosher.

I'm starting with an old favorite and the very simplest recipe of all, Baked Apples. It has just one ingredient and a spice. Now for a two ingredient recipe, carrot salad. And continue with 1, 2, 3 Cookies.

OK, you really want something more "Jewish," and can anything beat kishke? Thanks to Blog d'Elisson for his easy to follow recipe. I'm going to try it for sure the next time my Tunisian son-in-law comes over with my daughter and the grandkids, though I may try wrapping it with "baking paper." Any suggestions?

And of course, don't forget kneidelach. I make it all year and with all types of soups, even super vegetarian vegetable soup. Another traditional Jewish, at least Ashkenaz, food is tzimmis, a sweet vegetable dish. If you want Jewish food, there must be challah.

Here's a "food diary" and cooking lesson from Blog d'Ellison. It's even illustrated with some yummy pictures!

For dessert, here's the easiest cake recipe, and try this surprisingly simple banana cake.

Now for something special, a real recipe--not a link-- by Yitz (of Heichal HaNegina)'s wife:

ONION BUTTER a la Binghamton

Onions, as many as fit into the pot.
Cooking oil - for those watching their cholesterol, use Canola
Tamari soy sauce
[Time - this is the main ingredient]

1. Put in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot with a thin layer of oil. This is not deep-frying! Heat under a low flame.

2. Cut onions into slices [first in half, then slice each half]. You don't need to dice them!

3. Place onions into pot, as many as fit in. You will have to stir them for a while at first, but eventually, they'll release enough water to "cook themselves."

4. Simmer the onions on a low flame until they're very soft and BROWN . The longer, the better! Add tamari soy sauce to taste.

Onion Butter is excellent on Challah, pita, any bread, or as a side vegetable dish. It also makes an excellent base for Onion Soup.


Since nobody sent me a good hearty vegetable soup recipe, here's a great one from a healthy food site.

You don't have to wait until next Chanukah to try Baile Rochel's sufganiyot. Think of them as deep fried yogurt pancakes.

It's almost Shabbat, and I must return to the kitchen. Please send me, either to shilohmuse at yahoo.com or via Conservative Cat's handy form, all of your food posts, as long as they're kosher. Recipes, menus and even special food memories and customs.

Shabbat Shalom

Carnival news

First, a reminder to get your kosher recipe posts to me, shilohmuse@yahoo.com , for the very first Kosher Cooking Carnival.

Check the top foooorteen, since we're in it along with some really fun posts from all over.

We're also included in the latest Carnival of the Vanities, so take a gander.

There's lots to read out there.

The fridge...

...has arrived!!

Last night I got a call from the stockroom asking how to get to Shiloh. That had me a bit nervous, justifiably, since the salesman had been so confident that delivering "out here" was no problem, just routine.

I described the route as best as I could, and then I waited and waited and waited. I also re-washed the kitchen floor, especially the area where the fridge would be residing. Honestly, how often do you think I move fridges to clean behind? Then I waited.

Finally, I got a call. "Lady, we're in Shiloh. Where are you?" I tried to ascertain where exactly they were. Somehow, they had entered the school's parking area, not quite my neighborhood. "Here's a little girl; we'll ask her and give you the phone." The young woman, who hadn't been a "little girl" for quite a while, directed them to my neighborhood. Then they called again: "Lady, where are you?" I stepped out of the house, into the street, cell phone to the ear, again trying to figure out where exactly they were. And it started to rain. Finally, they seemed to be nearby, and I thought that I heard the heavy truck lumbering close by. I stood in the middle of the street and saw them turn into it. I waved my free arm as I shouted into the phone: "I see you; do you see me?"

There was no room to park the truck, so they had to block the road with it. I quickly checked my watch to see if a bus was expected within the next 15 minutes. Baruch Hashem, it seemed like they had almost a half an hour before annoying the bus driver and tired commuters. I pointed to my house and ran back, opening the doors, haunted by the memory of the delivery of my first washing machine to our Jerusalem apartment almost 35 years before. We couldn't get it through the door to the "service balcony" and the deliveryman had to cut through the door frame.

The fridge was still in its giant carton and loomed large, very, very large. They bounced it up the front stoop, only about six steps, as my stomach bounced along with it. Miraculously it got through both doors. The fancy metal "carry-wagon wheels" chipped some of my walls. This deliveryman didn't carry it on his back, like I had expected. I guess they don't make deliverymen like they used to. Finally it was in, and they acted surprised, when I asked them to "unveil" it. But they did it and maneuvered it into its freshly-cleaned little corner. They even schlepped all the wrappings out to the garbage.

I paid them, including a generous tip, and gave them directions to get to the Tel Aviv area. They were pleasantly surprised at how close we are to Ariel, which is on their usual route, and I'm sure that the tip cheered them immensely.

I called the store to double-check (ok, I must have called the poor salesguy twenty times this past week) how long until I could plug the fridge in. I started the two hour count-down.

While waiting, my husband came home, inspected the fridge and wasn't impressed. Then son #1 came home, inspected the fridge, face lit up--he likes it! But he thought it could have gone into the corner without his having to raise the upper cabinet.

Finally, the two hours were up and my son moved it out a bit, so he could plug it in. we heard the motor start and then waited until it began to feel cool inside. When I felt it was cool enough I took an empty basket to my next door neighbor to return our food back home. Instead of the five or more trips Saturday night, when the fridge had stopped working; this time it only took me only two. We had eaten up the rest during the week. This morning, I'll send my son to the neighbor who has been storing the frozen food.

And now I must put away all of the things that used to live on its top and front. Of course, I'll have to make a few changes. The extra ten centimeters of height make it much harder for me to get things from its top, but stretching is healthy for an aging body.

Now to clean up all the clutter, no more excuses.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, January 26, 2006

and another Carnival of Education

Here's #51 of the always interesting Carnival of Education. It's fascinating to read what's going on in the rest of the world. We all have a lot in common. And one of our posts is included...

Take a gander.

Fridge saga...

You may be curious why I haven't written about my new fridge, how big, wonderful etc. Can you guess? Yes?

It was supposed to have been delivered Tuesday afternoon, that's almost two days ago. Well, here's the story...so far...

Tuesday morning I called the store to give them my son's cell #, since he would the one to greet it. My work schedule, as a teacher, doesn't afford the same flexibility. He works with a plumber, and they were scheduled to be not far from the house.

The store gave me the number of the "machsan," storage place where the store keeps its stock. That's where the technician would be changing the door direction and put something on to keep the light off on Shabbat.

When after, don't ask how many tries, I got through to the guy in charge there, he told me that there was a problem. The model I bought couldn't have its door changed. Of course I was livid and called the store again. He said that there is a model, and it will be available on Thursday, today, and then it will be delivered. I told him that it can't be in the afternoon, when I'm at work. It must be at night. He claims that the new model is more expensive, but of course they aren't charging. And yes, of course the salesman checked that the door could be changed when I ordered it.

So this morning I'll call the "machsan" again.

And all of our Shabbat plans are messed up. I can't cook and store Shabbat food, just too much, so...

another reminder--Kosher Cooking Carnival

Please don't consider me a nudge, but I'm waiting for your recipe links. Now, there's a real easy way--via Conservative Cat's easy to use form! Yes, that makes us an official carnival! Debut, G-d willing, very soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

$20 isn't what it used to be

When I was a little girl, the five cent chocolate bar was big. Over the years it seemed to have shrunk and gone up in price. Could it have been my imagination that made it seem to get smaller every few years? Actually not. Instead of raising the price, the manufacturers would reduce content, little by little....

Last July when I was in New York I bought myself one of the "rolling pocketbooks," sort of like a "backpack" on wheels. It cost me $20- in Macy's, a large middle-priced department store chain. Once I got home I realized that I had made a mistake. I should have bought two of them.

It has two main compartments, both with double zippers, for easy use. It also has an "expander zipper" for enlarged capacity. I decided to use it for work. I'm a teacher and didn't want to carry around my books, since it's a long walk from the road to my school building, and I quite often do lots of walking to and from work.

I realized that I needed another bag, one for errands. A few months ago I pulled something in my shoulder and couldn't carry my regular bags. The situation was bad; another rolling bag was needed urgently.

I began checking out every single bag and suitcase store I could find in Jerusalem. I was willing to pay more, up to about $30- No luck. Then I found out that I'd be going to New York again, soon.

It was a short visit, barely a week, but I returned to Macy's for another bag. I found them. Just perfect, still $20.

Then I got it home and used it for the first time. It was different. Only one inner pocket. Then I noticed that the smaller section had only one simple zipper, and there's no "expander." It was impossible to fit everything I needed to take and be sure to have room for shopping. Yes, it's total capacity is much less than the one I bought last July.

Well, there was only thing I could do. Yes, I put my work supplies in the new one, and packed the old one for errands.

Twenty dollars just isn't what it used to be.

High Quality Teachers

Complaints about low quality teachers, especially in the maths and sciences, seem international. Honestly, I complain about language skills, too. How can I teach a foreign language to kids who don't know their own properly?

The real cause of the scarcity of high level teachers is that young teachers are the results of terrible teaching and education methods. Once it became "forbidden" to correct young children's grammar, and that was in the '50's, things began going seriously downhill. Add to that school workbooks, which replaced copying from the board, pocket calculators and phones that do all the math and an emphasis on fluency over accuracy... What can we expect? That's why there are so few teachers today capable of teaching high level academics. The standards have fallen to keep the "Bell curve."

We're dealing with cultural and emotions issues that block educational goals. I wonder how possible it is to correct it all.

What a wasted evening....

What a wasted evening
I could kvetch forever...

I stayed at work for a staff meeting. I finished teaching at 5:25; the meeting started at 7:30. In between I ran to the local grocery to buy some crackers and cheese for "dinner." Luckily I was armed with two incomplete hats to crochet.

The meeting was "billed" as a pedagogic session on 10th grade students. I was prepared to say a lot and had even warned my "darlings" that their bad behavior was badly timed, since I'd have a captive audience to hear all their sins.

It took me a couple of hours to realize that this was a very limited discussion on just half a dozen or less students, and NONE OF THEM WERE MINE!

I consider that totally unforgivable. Now, when the administration wants my time, they will get less. Most of the teachers considered it time wasted, but for me it was the worst. I live far from the school and was not needed at all at the meeting. All I accomplished was crocheting, which I could have done at home.

I feel sorry for the male teachers who consider crocheting beneath their dignity. It's the best time filler and "occupational therapy."

Monday, January 23, 2006

New York, Third Glance

I don't know if it was the shortness of the visit, the first NY winter in over 35 years, or just my mood at the time, but during this past recent visit, for the first time I noticed the massive number of people.

You have more people in New York City each day than in all of the State of Israel. Suddenly I comprehended the economic strength, why Israelis who want to make oodles of money go to major American population centers like New York and California.

And me, I like a different sort of quality of life. I like my small country and community and good neighbors. And I consider it important to live in the one and only Jewish Land and State, even with all its faults and problems.

BOMS #113

Gary's 113th BOMS! Great job and lots of interesting posts. Take a gander.

Judith on radio

For the next few days, you'll be able to hear a radio show with Judith Nussbaum about the live-donor kidney she received from a very special person. So I suggest you don't delay and hear her story.

HH, bigger and bigger

Heval Hevalim is getting bigger and bigger, no joke. Jack has done a wonderful job this week.

And I'd like to remind you to get your kosher recipe posts to shilohmuse@yahoo.com for the first ever Kosher Cooking Carnival! Anything, as long as it's kosher! G-d willing, bli neder, the carnival will be monthly. And put a blurb on your blog inviting one and all to send in recipes. Thanks

Sunday, January 22, 2006

fridge #3

Fridge #3 was ordered today, and G-d willing will arrive in its new home in two days time. Son #1 was asked to be on call and take off from work to greet it and make it feel at home. I already took a week off from work to go to NY for the Ben Zakkai Dinner and to see my parents. Baruch Hashem, he has agreed to take on the responsibility. Of course, he was one of the main lobbiers for a fridge replacement.

It is a Sharp and replaces an Amcor, which replaced a Friedman. It will join stove #3, washing machine #4 and dryer #2, which is so rarely used...

G-d willing, more news, good news, I hope, in two days. In the meantime, my neighbors are storing my food, and we're managing fine.

Kosher Cooking Carnival

Just a reminder

Please get your links to: shilohmuse at yahoo dot com

Any kosher recipes welcome

It will appear monthly, bli neder. More details here:


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Baile Rochel's Staying Calm

Baile Rochel #11

I'm Staying Calm, yes I am!

There was a time when something like this would make be beserk! But I've been very good about it, amazingly good. Real cool. Oh, yes, you're a bissel curious as to what the problem is, obviously it's a problem.

For the past few months, my kids, at least the ones who visit, have been making nasty comments about my trusty old refrigerator. One even had the gall to accuse it of making him sick! Can you imagine such a thing? In reaction my husband, to show how generous he could be, gave me the green light to go fridge shopping, and I did. But I didn't buy one yet.

So today, Shabbat of all days, I noticed that the food wasn't coming out of it cold. Yes, it had died. My refrigerator died at the ripe old age of twenty. We got it for this house and moved in twenty years ago. During the twenty years, it didn't require a single repair. It kept our food cold with dignity. I'm certain that one of the reasons is that I didn't annoy it by too much intimate cleaning. I respected its privacy. We had an excellent working relationship.

And tomorrow I must buy a replacement. It will be a tough act to follow.

PS If you're curious as to what happened to all of the food in the fridge and freezer section, all I can say is: "That's what neighbors are for." My neighbors here in Shiloh are wonderful. I couldn't survive without them.

Introducing the Kosher Cooking Carnival

I'm allowing the announcement to drop down, and will remind about the carnival in different posts.

This will be "sticky taped" for awhile, until the carnival is well-cooked, oops!

I've been bouncing, or sauteeing, this idea around for awhile, and I've decided to go for it! The monthly, bli neder*, KOSHER COOKING CARNIVAL!

Please send in your recipes, anything kosher! It certainly does not have to be "Jewish." Jews have lived all over the world, so anything can be made kosher.

Kosher separates dairy from meat and poultry into totally separate meals, meaning that they are neither cooked nor served together. Many Jews also have to custom of not putting fish and meat in the same plate together. Some foods are totally forbidden, like pork and shellfish. And some are "parve," neutral, and can be cooked and served with both meat/poultry and dairy. Kosher cooking can also be helpful to non-Jews who are looking for recipes without dairy, or without meat. Vegetables and eggs are parve and can be eaten at all meals.

I won't be surfing for recipes, so get your links to me by the third Thursday in the month, either via Conservative Cat's Carnival Form (KCC may not yet be on their list, so you'll just have to email them to me,) or send to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com

*bli neder means: if I don't keep to schedule, it's not life or death, so it's not the end of the world, ok, it's not an oath or something like that

Friday, January 20, 2006

Just before Shabbat

Just a quick note before Shabbat. Nice to be home. Plumber's apprentice helped with cooking, and he's a better cook than I am. Niece here for Shabbat, at present busy reading in "girls' room."

I'm all unpacked which is good for me; it usually takes weeks. I keep thinking that I must have forgotten something, but... OK, still have to wash lettuce.

I'll write more about visit after Shabbat. Yesterday I taught as usual. No real jet lag, rather amazing. Sure helps to have been able to stretch out on three seats.

Remember, send your kosher recipes for the "Kosher Cooking Carnival" to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The 71st Face, Vayechi, the Haftara

Our sages say that there are "shivim panim l'Torah," 70 faces, or opinions to the Torah. Ok, I'm certainly not a great sage, but I do have opinions.

Last Shabbat, Torah Portion, "Vayechi," "And they lived," while reading the Haftara, the portion from the "Prophets," I realized a very important lesson that was missed by one of Israel's nicest and most noble politicians, certainly the nicest of all those who ever held the position of Prime Minister. I'm referring to Menachem Begin.

King David, whose road to kingship was long and tortuous, gave very important instructions to his young son Solomon, Kings I, Chapter 2, verses 1-12. First of all he reminded Solomon to obey G-d and all of the Commandments G-d gave us. Then David told his successor not to be merciful or kind to those who could be described in today's terms as "loose cannons." Specifically he mentioned his sister's son, Yoav, Solomon's cousin. In order to rule, the young king had to show strength and courage and eliminate those who could endanger his reign. For the same reason David instructed him to show kindness to the children of Barzalai, for their their loyalty.

As I sat in shul, it occurred to me that Menachem Begin did the exact opposite when he became Prime Minister in 1977. Instead of strengthening settlement in all of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, and telling the world that we had all rights to any land liberated in wars of aggression against us, instead of supporting and promoting those who had been loyal to him for decades, he decided to try to be a "peace maker." He decided to "change his image," to get the "admiration" of those who had always hated him.

Menachem Begin showed his "nobility" by not firing Foreign Ministry workers, even though legally they were political appointments who could be replaced by the new regime. He didn't give the important positions to those who had been loyal to him. He made Moshe Dayan foreign Minister and allowed him to dictate policies that contradicted Begin's previous positions.

That's how we ended up with Camp David, and The Sinai went to Egypt, and Yamit, Ofira and many agricultural communities were destroyed. This was the precedent for Disengagement. Without Begin's act, none of these "painful concessions," unilateral withdrawals could have ever taken place. The fact that it was Begin, the "patriot," not someone from the left wing, who made it possible, and today, our country is in danger.

Back home and NY second glance

You can call me chicken, but when I saw my yahoo inbox had 271 letters, I figured I'd just say hello via me-ander, first.

I had a full week plus, =9days, without cell phone and just one short session on my friend's computer. Yes, I survived! I just hope that y'all missed me.

The plane was more than half empty. I had a whole three seat section to myself; so I actually slept a bit.

It seems like Arik Sharon is still in a coma, or badly brain-damaged. Nothing else is new here, except that my "master bedroom" shower was fixed. They hung up the shower curtains I bought a couple of years ago.

This was my first winter in the "big apple" since '69-70. I was prepared for the worst. It rained and snowed. I packed boots but never wore them of course, since I didn't have them with me when I needed them. Par for the course. I wore my best shoes in the rain, since I couldn't get my sturdy ones easily. I went down from the 21st floor to the 5th on Shabbat in my good ones, and if you think I was going to walk back up just for a pair of shoes... So after Shabbat I packed and stuffed the good ones with the boring parts of the NY Times, and they were dry enough, after changing the paper, to wear to the dinner on Sunday.

Yes, the "dinner," which was technically a "reception." I presume that the term means more to the caterer. But just like a "rose,"

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Romeo & Juliet , Act II, Scene. II

the reception was a dinner. That's the NCSY's Ben Zakkai Honor Society's Reception, honoring some very special people and also inducting five new people into the society, including me.

First of all I must thank everyone involved, and the most thanks goes to David Luchins and his wife Vivian! I can't believe that they actually considered my presence so important. And I want to thank David Hurwitz for introducing me so eloquently. And again to thank all of the others involved. I didn't have a chance to properly take leave, since the driver had come already to take me and my parents back, and Rav Leff was in the middle of his Dvar Torah.

What I must say is how amazed I was at how "at home" I felt at this NCSY event, like I always did from my very first event in 1963. Decades have passed, and nothing changed. Just hearing Rabbi Stolper's voice, the same magic as before.

Yes, we're older, but the Torah is Eternal. I guess that's the message, the real one, and the one I learned from NCSY as a teen.

Unless I'm mistaken, there were only three of us from Israel there, Rabbi Leff, his wife Rivka, who was with me on the NCSY National Board way back when, and me. My big surprise and great treat was seeing "the boy from the Bronx" and the one born on my 16th birthday. Twenty years ago they were in the yeshiva in Shiloh and "adopted" me and my family. It's so nice to see them all grown up and successful, and I must admit that it also feels good to know that they haven't forgotten me.

And if I'm already thanking people I must thank my "buddy," Rose, since I don't think I could have made the changes, transition, I did all those years ago, if I didn't have the support of a good friend attempting the same path. And also I want to thank my sister-in-law for making time in her busy schedule to be with me. And of course, my parents. In all honesty, who would I be without them? Bli eyin haraa, ad me'ah v'esrim, and they're getting closer.

And now, I think it's about time to see how many more letters are waiting for me at yahoo and attack them. I guess I'll have to delete a lot, so, if I inadvertently don't answer, your letter may have gotten mixed with the "I just can't," so please write again!

Baruch Hashem! I'm home!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sticky-taped to top

It's now the 2nd

G-d willing, I'll be in NY from Jan. 10-16 for the NCSY Ben Zakkai Dinner. I'm available for a very limited amount of speaking engagements.
ps let's see if Mirty's advice on how to stick works

Friday, January 13, 2006

New York, first glance

I'll be writing more, eventually, about my impressions of this quick, winter visit. Here's the first glance. OK, rather jetlagged, but managing.

Withdrawal has been better than I expected. I'm referring to my not being online, or near a keyboard since Tuesday early morning, until a few minutes ago, Friday afternoon. And I probably won't return until back home on Wed.

Please, if any of you are waiting for me reply to mail, I just checked my yahoo before blogging and found 150, round number, no exageration of letters, and there's no way I can check it all forget about replying, until I'm home. And you should know that I have tests to write up when I get home. So by then, there will be well over 200, right, so what do you think?

I also don't have a cell phone with me. Every once in awhile I hear "sounds" and think, oops! maybe it's my phone. Then I remember, no phone! After wasting a dollar in quarters in JFK trying to reach the taxi that had been ordered, I was really fed up. So, when I was at the LIRR GN station yeswterday I decided to ask the Kiosk/newsstand if they're was something for local calls, like the asimon card to call Israel. And he said yes, so I boutgt one. OK lots of numbers to dial, but so much chaeper. I feel like an idiot. Do you have any idea how much money I wasted last summer? Yes, most of you probably think "how dumb can she be?"

Sorry for the typos and lack of graphics. I guess that blogger doesn't like this mac.

Shabbat's getting closer. My visit is 1/2 over.

G-d willing, Sunday at the Ben Zakkai Dinner, I'll meet some of you.

Shabat Shalom! from the big apple!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

nervous wreck

Yes, that's me, the nervous wreck. I get that way before flying. It's not the flying, I don't think so, at least, it's the:
"Will I get to the airport on time?"
"Will I have all my documents?"

Those are the things I go nuts about. And for today's trip, I'm even more nervous. My married daughter, her husband and their two little girls are taking me. They're making a whole family trip out of it. Afterwards they're going north to an "Azkarah," memorial for a student of hers who died when in the army. She's taking off from work.

After high school, she did her "sherut le'umi," National Service, in Haifa teaching new immigrant high school boys. She managed to teach them Hebrew and enough of the high school curriculum, so they passed the "bagrut," Israeli matriculation exams. She's still in touch with many of them, and even some of the parents.

That's fine. Just will they pick me up on time?

Monday, January 09, 2006

getting ready

Getting ready, yes, I'm packed, I guess. Labels on suitcase and bag. Ticket printed. Nails polished and already smudged. Phone numbers printed. I should wash my hair. Everything fit into my carry-on; that is the outfit for the dinner, including hat, but not shoes. I have to call my parents to find out how I'm getting from the airport.

I may post again in the morining.

#111 BOMS

Yes, the 111th BOMS is up for your reading pleasure!

#52 HH

The 52nd Havel Havelim hosted by Israel Perspectives leaves me out of breath, so jam-packed with interesting posts. There's so much to read, including a few of mine. Great job!

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Meanwhile, while life goes on, and Arik Sharon is on life support, ordinary people have to support themselves. Well, I went to work today, though it's not my regular workday. I was promised that it will be traded off for one of the days I'm missing to go to New York.

I really didn't want to go. It meant teaching a class that rarely attends and never pays attention, and they're so behind that I can't imagine how they'll pass the state test they're supposed to take at the end of the year.

I kept muttering that it really didn't pay to go. What if they don't show and I've traveled for nothing? Boy, was I looking for excuses.

Then I started on my way, getting very bored waiting for the bus or a ride. Finally the bus came. I got on without much enthusiasm and asked very humbly: "Is there any chance that you'd let me off at the T Junction?" (since it's not on their route) The driver said: "NO, but for you, yes."
"What? I asked."
"You have a million dollar smile," the young driver replied.
I floated in shock to my seat.

And he did let me off on the junction that goes to Beit El, where I teach. Just in front there was a school bus which had stopped on its way to Beit El. I was a good minute's walk away and saw it start to move. But suddenly it stopped and waited for me! Maybe this day was going to turn out better than I had thought.

I discovered that a kid I've been teaching, who's at the end of high school still doesn't know so many basic things, like the days of the week in English, so I decided to make up a bunch of charts with all sorts of important words and phrases. I filled three pages with my "Basic English" and printed it off for today's students.

I told them that they had to learn everything on it, and they would be tested when I returned. It took them a while to really participate, and then I heard the surprising, or surprised: "Wow! This is really something!" Apparently this is how they want to learn. Of course, it doesn't really prepare them for texts, but it gives them lots of vocabulary and test-taking knowledge.

I distributed copies to a lot of other teachers. You'd think I was a textbook writer.

Finally, time to go home. At least there was a school bus to Ofra, half way home. Just as I was walking to catch it, I saw a van with a neighbor, obviously her transportation home. I asked if there was room, and there was, so I got a ride home.

Thank G-d, a good day. A very surprisingly good day.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Back to regular programming

We seem to be back to regular TV programming, at least until...the next crisis, or there's a funeral to announce, or something like that.

Since Prime Minister, Arik Sharon's massive stroke, barely three days ago, the TV has had only one show. It's a medical show, with a bit of political guesswork and fantasizing.

Panels of experts continue to share their opinions of possible medical mistakes, and educated guesses of Sharon's survival chances and "quality" of life.

And the political spinners are having a blast, like little kids at a Chanukah party pretending to be dreidels.

I was expecting to record the "Simpsons," but it wasn't on. They started the programs late and must have figured that it would be just too outrageous, so I guess I'll turn on the dvd and see the third "Star Wars" movie. I just bought the first three made and after seeing the second, I realized that I had never seen the third.

Perfectly fine time. My son went out for the evening, and when my husband returns he'll be very glad to have some time on the computer. And I'll be able to crochet the hat I've been working on for dd#3.

I'm certainly not going to wait around for Sharon to die. It's like watching for the pot to boil.

Shavua Tov!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Mundane

While the world is hovering outside of Arik Sharon's hospital room, waiting for a death announcement or a miracle, it's nice to deal with the mundane events of life. That is the mundane of ordinary people. So, I'm proud to be featured in the very first Carnival of the Mundane!

To be honest, I wish I had thought of it myself! Instead I've decided to begin Kosher Cooking Carnival! So please start sending your linked recipes, good excuse to start blogging if you haven't yet.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

just too much

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm getting fed up with the "word verifications" on many blogs. They are light black on grey sgwiggles. I waste so much time being rejected, that I sometimes just delete my comment. And the strangest thing is that when I finally get through or email the blogger to complain, I'm sometimes informed that they don't have "word verificaton."

The yahoo is also problematic, since it automatically deletes the message, so you have to re-write it to try again. At least bloggers' is easy to get right on the first time, rarely needed another try, if so, it's just a typo.

ps No, there's nothing to say about Arik Sharon's health, and what I've said I said on Shiloh Musings. I have a busy day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Saving Money

We all like to save money; or should I correct it and say that we'd all like to save money or spend less--but live better. Is that right?

So, take a look at Festival of Frugality #4!

And by the way... there's one of mine included!

Facts? About Wikipedia

Today, everyone doing any sort of "on line" research must have used Wikipedia, at least a few times, if not many, many more. When I look, ok, search, for background or proof or a link that will clarify a name or term for my readers, it's frequently Wikipedia to the rescue.

I presume that I'm not the only writer who takes it all at face value. I've naively trusted that the articles, very impressively full of further links, are compiled by true experts. Here and there I've found things I don't agree with, but that's nothing rare, especially since I write from my own personal perspective.

Now I'm more wary, since I've discovered that there isn't a team of researchers. It's a compilation of volunteers who send their articles in, and they can manipulate facts.

I guess I must be much more careful about to whom I link.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New addiction?

Am I ripe for a new addiction? I feel the itch. Those DVD's are very tempting. Last week, desperate to use some gift certificates that were about to expire, I went into Israel's biggest bookstore chain and bought a triple set of "Star Wars." Three movies! OK, I admit that I was never a great fan, but it seemed the best way to use up those certificates.

What I'm really drooling for is a bunch of musicals, old classic musicals, like "Brigadoon" and "The Five Pennies," or even "Showboat."

So I excitedly read the NY Times article about what's newly "burnt" onto DVD's, to see if I could be tempted further. It's sort of a good news/bad news. Good news for my pocket and bad news for my soul.

BOMS away, and...

It's that time of the week, again. The latest BOMS is up and running. Catch it for some very interesting posts.

I must be nuts, since I really do want to start the Kosher Recipe Carnival. Please spread the word, and get your links to kosher, not necessarily Jewish, recipes in by the third Thursday in each month. Please make sure the links work, and the post tells something about the recipe. I won't be surfing/searching for recipes. So it's up to you! Send to: shilohmuse at yahoo dot com


Sunday, January 01, 2006

It wasn't that kind of party!

It wasn't only Havel Havelim that kept me from blogging much recently. Within an hour after Shabbat had ended, I was on my way to the bus to Jerusalem.

Visiting relatives had invited us to a "dinner." They usually host a gathering of family and friends towards the end of their visits, and this time was no exception. Of course we said that we'd be attending. Our dance cards are usually very empty Motzei Shabbat. Of course, it meant that my prime blogging time would be deleted, and we'd be missing an episode of CSI Miami. I admit that we don't know how to program the vcr, and our "baby," the mechanical and technological family genius, is presently in NJ, enjoying the domestic and commercial advantages of relatives.

Having so much of my mind on Havel Havelim, it was only on Shabbat when it suddenly hit that this "dinner" was going to be on December 31st, and maybe there would, G-d forbid, be a significance more than family and friendship. I started getting nervous, especially when I heard on the news that taxis would be lowering their rates, that very same evening, to encourage their use, rather than drunk driving.

Gevalt! What had I agreed to? I found myself getting more anxious over Shabbat, probably because the house was cold. Our fuse blew about four in the morning. That meant, no heat and no hot food. It was a good thing that our guests had come for the evening meal.

Well if you follow the instructions I give my students.
Rule #1 First read the title!!!
So, if you have, you know that "it wasn't that kind of party!" It really was a wonderful gathering of family and friends, and for us, they are both! And we stayed over at our daughter's in Jerusalem, and I didn't get back home until the afternoon.

So, have a wonderful Happy Last Day of Chanukah!

Havel Havelim #51

Happy 87th Birthday, Uncle George, ad me'ah v'esrim shannah!
Here are Uncle George and his younger, by 19 months brother, my father.

and now for...

Havel Havelim #51
Celebrates Chanukah and Uncle George's 87th Birthday!

There are eight days in the Chanukah holiday, and it takes eight days for me to "do" a Havel Havelim. This will be presented in "diary form" from today, Sunday the 25th of December, or the 24th of Kislev, and G-d willing, I'll complete this one week from now on January 1, Rosh Chodesh Tevet.

Day 1
Even before Soccer Dad and this week's host, Daled Amos, have presented this week's edition, I'm already hard at work writing the introduction. I also cleaned out the old "hh" mailbox in my yahoo and even added a few new posts and links. Since my last edition I've been adding to my email list of bloggers, and as soon as this week's is out, I'll send a reminder to everyone.Let's start with something cheerful. If you haven't seen this, now's the time!

First prize for the very first submission goes to Crossing the Rubicon2; yes it's just perfect to open the show. I promised Arlene Peck that I'd post her when she opened a blog, so read her latest.If you're still looking for easy-to-make sufganiyot…they really are easy.Yes, there was a Judah Maccabee, and if you have any doubts, ask Blog d'Elisson.I blogged in the morning, and I blogged at night, day one.

Day 2

It's a cold morning, but there are a couple of hh posts in my mailbox, so here goes:
The Sin of Expulsion: discusses Uzi Landau and the Moshe Feiglin Likud fan club.
Winter, in the eyes of Reb Chaim HaQoton.All caught up (but fingers are frozen) and time for a hot shower! I like this diary method, very efficient. I first saw it in another carnival. As it's said in Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, we must learn how to learn from one and all.
Help Save a Life! Neshama is a Jewish website that promotes organ donations to save lives. Recently my friend Judith bat Tzippora received a kidney, a gift from a live donor. Refuah shleimah to all of those in need and to all those who donate.
My husband, who's in sunny England, tells us about Limmud. Considering how little sun we've had the past few days, who can tell where we are?
This isn't really a blog, but I thought that Israeli home owners would like it.
Heichel HaNegina sings Chanukah. Multiple Mentality reflects on a visit to a reform "shul" for a family simcha.
I blogged in the morning, and I blogged at night, day two.

Day 3
Just a quick start before a "savta day," when I'll accompany Porat and her abba to Jerusalem for errands.
For this second day of Chanukah and third day preparing Havel Havelim, I'll begin with Soccer Dad's reflections. It's a beautiful post, and now I have to pack; G-d willing, I'll resume this later in the day.
After lighting the 3rd candle, or small "pot" of olive oil.
It's just the time to read Irina's Chanukah story.
Yaakov Ish Tam gives his spin on our enemies
Adloyada gives us two posts about Chanukah in London.
And here's an interesting shiur about Disengagement from Yeshivat Beit El, the Arutz 7 one, not the one in which I teach English.
In the Orange Revolution, there's an interesting post about the Clash between religious, secular not a modern-day Chanukah .
Not Quite Perfect made two perfect Chanukah graphics, and I have a feeling if you check, there will be more by the time HH is posted.
Elie's Expositions shares another sad milestone after the death of his son.
Katif.net is still being updated, so you can keep posted.
Faith in Nathan praises the new immigrants from North America and writes about North American aliya in general.
Smooth Stone makes a very good point that in 1948, the State of Israel wasn't created, it was restored! Thanks, Smooth.
AJHistory by Menachem Butler gives us Samuel Belkin's application to RIETS.
Read Almost Supernatural's report on Nitzan where the largest group of Disengagment victims live. And here are a couple of pictures taken in Ir Ha'Emunah of the kitchen and kiddies.
It has been a long day. I blogged in the morning, and I blogged at night, day three.

Day 4
Another day, another morning, and I'm frozen! Why did I have the heat go off at night? So as my coffee freezes in the cup, I'll give you something that's not really a blog, The Dishonest Reporter 'Award' 2005.
If you haven't seen Kumah's aliya "film," here it is.
And another post from Heichal HaNegina. Here he discusses the sanctity of "negina." This diary format encourages multiple posts from bloggers, since I just add as I go along, rather than choosing. As a frequent blogger, I really see its advantages.The hh mailbox is empty, and I have time, so I googled Chanukah blog. Most of it's not quite what I wanted, but I like these photos and the Forest's Chanuka song. And Sue gives us Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Songs. And don't forget the classic Dreidel Song, thanks to Mama Lisa. It's amazing what you can find on the net. Now I wish I knew why my Word spellcheck conked out and how to get the google toolbar back, which had a good spellcheck.
More Chanukah music from Jewish Dayton; bookmark it for next year.
Kever Rachel, laundry and dishes await me, so I had better save this and get back to the mundane.
After lighting the 4th candle, or small "pot" of olive oil. I turned on the computer and found a letter with this link showing pictures of Chanukah candle lighting in the FSU. Please forgive, since it's not a blog, but it is Chanukah.
Shark Blog teaches us Political Science. And History News Network offers Deja vu -- Judith Apter Klinghoffer.
"Shining full plate…." reports about Tony Kushner on Munich.
Judith of Kesher Talk presents an illustrated and detailed Chanukah post.
Avodah Ivrith shows how there's no free speech in Israel. Cosmic X writes about dovening at dawn, my favorite time of the day.
Dry Bones attacks Spielberg's Munich, in his very special way.Deja vu from A Very Heavy Stone.
Shemitta Rediscovered asks the Rabbanim to speak out.
And I'll end tonight's efforts with condolences to Ezzie's wife's family on the death of her grandfather, Dr. Abraham Luchins, Z"L.
I blogged in the morning, and I blogged at night, day four.
Day 5
And a good morning to you, too, though the sun hasn't yet risen. I've already checked my mail, and there's lots waiting for inclusion in this 51st edition. We'll start with a good question, "WHAT DOES PEACE MEAN?" by Israel Zwick, on Isralert.
From Smooth Stone, Dispelling the lies of palestinians: more photos of the Temple Mount (1922) and the good news that Campaign to Divest from "Palestine" is a finalist in Best New Blog in the JIBs. Different River laments what Bar Mitzvahs have become for some with more money than sense. Contrast this to the Bat Mitzvah in Kever Rachel.
There's a new blog, Qesheth Yonathan, and it tells of a different sort of Barbie Doll.
The Sin of Expulsion is full of news and commentary.
Back home after a very moving day.
And here's a very unique chanukiya from Everyone knows this is Nowhere.

It's late and I'm tired.I blogged in the morning, and I blogged at night, day five.

Day 6

Good morning. It's Friday, and we're getting towards the end of creation, creation of #51 that is. I requested that posts be sent to me before Shabbat, so I could have it mostly complete by then. Of course, I also have to look for some new bloggers. And I found an "olah chadasha," new immigrant to Israel. Read about Yael's adventures.

And for More on Munich read Jewish Current Issues.

Rachel Ann gets it right; mazal tov.

Mirty has Mixed feelings about Chanukah. Did I spell it right?

And Blogus Erratus has complications.

Ezzie tells us about the new blog for Jewish professionals.

Jewschool takes us to a wedding.

Growing evidence of hidden Jewish communities in unlikely places on Yeshaya 62:1.

Meryl Yourish.com has a great post on A.P.

Jameel spends some quality time with his daughter.

Ben Chorin tells us about an evening with Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Aumann.

If You Will It, it's a small world, and read his daily Chanukah diary. Celestial Blue notices some unpleasant things happening in Israel.

Joe Settler takes us to an illegal outpost.

And since the Rock of Galilee is gathering no moss this Chanukah, where should they light candles?

I agree with westbankmamma in that we are giving our kids childhoods that resemble the middle of the previous century, like when I was raised. And I think that it's wonderful!The Balabusta in blue jeans mentions that her husband takes his latkes with ketchup. It reminds me that my daughter was horrified to see her 9 month old baby grab and gobble up a greasy latke at the Betar Reunion. Even worse, she grabbed it from my hands. Bad Savta Batya!

Shaister tells us about the Avengers, who are now in their eighties. Read what they did when much younger.

Daled Amos writes about Spielberg's Munich.

And I had better get back to the kitchen and laundry and other Shabbat preparations.

Two washes on the line
and another in the machine,
so it's time to get back
to Havel Havelim!

One of the newer bloggers is well-known Jewish writer, Chava Willig Levy, an old friend of mine. Her grandmother, "Bubby" Willig, was a neighbor of ours in Bayit V'Gan, Jerusalem, and during that time we discovered that Chavie's mother and mine had been friends in high school.

Israel Perspectives gives his opinion about the Labor Party campaign.

And now, before I return to the kitchen and Shabbat preparations, here's A Simple Jew on being a father.

Last try before Shabbat.

Here are Chanuka Belz from Heichal Hanegina.

Check out the Orange Revolution! And a way of saving a life!

I blogged in the morning, and I blogged at night, day six.

Day 7 Shabbat Kodesh

Day 8 of Havel Havelim, and Day 7 of Chanukah and the first day of the week and the first day of the Month of Tevet!

I just got back home and I found a lot of "last minute" posts, so here goes:

Daled amos tells the truth about the "truce."

A whole slew from Ezzie. A couple I may have already been included, but I don't have time to check. It's faster to just put them in again. One, and another about his late grandfather-in-law. About auctions and raffles by SIL. Abbas' hypocrisy and two Chanukah posts. Thanks Ezzie, and will I meet you at the Ben Zakkai dinner?

Something about women from Jameel.

And four just arrived from Israel Perspectives; I don't have time to read them to choose, so I'm linking them all. One, two, three, and four. Judeopundit spins about the "border incident.

"I guess Mirty's hankering to host another, being so helpful and all. She sent me this from the NY's Funniest Rabbi. And one from herself and one from Gil's Hirhurim "musings," Who can retell?A Simple Jew provides questions and answers.

And that's it.

Chodesh Tov, Shavua Tov and Chag Urim Sameach!!!

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. If you want to host, then contact Soccer Dad at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.
This appears in the UberCarnival
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Yes, this is cross-posted to Shiloh Musings.