Friday, March 31, 2006

a different "sandwich"

Yes, I'm the sandwich generation.

Last Sunday, when I was in New York for a wedding, I had fun flaunting my lofty status as great-aunt to the adorable "flower girl" who really wanted to see her aunt's wedding. I pushed my way over to the "chuppah," wedding canopy from from my front row seat and seated her on the floor, inches from the bride, to give that five-year old a perfect, unblocked view of the ceremony.

Last night, back home in Israel, I was at another wedding, that of a friends' son. There I found myself moving two chairs right to the front of the chuppah and assisting the groom's two grandmothers to sit in them for a perfect, unblocked view of the ceremony.

Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d, for the wonderful opportunities. I pray to merit seeing my own grandchildren wed and I pray to merit that they see their aunts and uncles wed. G-d willing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Test Timing

One of the classic accommodations for those with "minor learning disabilities/differences" is allowing more time on tests. In Israel, 25% is added to the time for some during the high school "matriculation" exams, known as the "mivchanei bagrut."

For some people it makes the difference between passing and failing. For some it's just knowing that there is extra time that makes it better. It takes that panic pressure off. I try to have my students skip the tough questions and come back later. Some people can't concentrate for very long periods of time, so extra time just doesn't help.

The American College Board Testing service is weighing the advantages and disadvantages of changing their tests to make them fairer for all. They may eliminate timing completely, but that isn't too great in a "multiple choice test," since it's known that one shouldn't go over multiple choice answers, since the first is frequently a better guess than the correction. With unlimited time, some students may start playing with their answers and find themselves erasing the correct and substituting mistakes.

I'm sure glad I'm finished with that part of my life.

Savta Brei, my late mil's version

Savta is "grandma" in Hebrew, and therefore I named my mother-in-law's version of "matzah brei" after her.

Standard matzah brei is like a "French Toast" using matzah. You soak broken matzah in eggs with some milk. The milk is optional, so those allergic can eat it. Then you fry the mush in a frying pan until fully cooked, then turn over to crisp the other side. It comes out really thick when I make it, so I use a cover. Start on a high flame and then lower it. You'll see a "cooked texture," then you'll know to turn it over. It is usually served with honey or jam, but you can use sour cream, nothing or whatever you want.

Savta Brei is different. You still need the big frying pan and oil. On Passover I use olive oil or special Passover margarine, but any margarine will do.
You have to grate (I use a blender) potatoes and onions, like for potato latkes, the fried potato pancakes served on chanukah.
Use two potatoes per onion and an egg, can be doubled, tripled etc. Either hand-grate, or shred in food processor or blend. Add some salt, pepper and enough matzah meal, so it's not watery; it has to "stick."
The "mush" is used to "coat" the matzah before frying.

  • Heat the oil or margarine in the frying pan.
  • Break off a piece of the matzah and coat one side with the mush
  • put mush side down, and coat the other (not too thick)
  • when cooked side cooked, turn over to cook the other
  • have paper towels waiting on plate to absorb extra oil
  • when second side is cooked, place on towel
  • serve with apple sauce or sour cream or plain yogurt


I never heard of any other clan with this recipe, so the chances are if your family eats it, either we're now related, or you learned it from reading the recipe in the Jerusalem Post, where I once sent it, and it was published.

This will not be very compatible with your diet, unless you've been ordered to gain weight, but it is very tasty!!!

carnival update

This week's BOMS has Woody Allen's words helping to introduce the posts. Just perfect!

And the latest Carnival of the Recipes has some really great recipes.

It may be that I have posts in other carnivals, but I'm still rather "out of it" and haven't been keeping up with things.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Trying to catch up

While I find myself fading, fading, jet-lagged and confused, I'm trying to catch up on a few things.

I can't believe that I really went to NY/NJ for the weekend. I'm not that kind of person.

The flights weren't all that bad. Maybe it helped that I started the flights with vodka and orange juice on the way over and red grapefruit juice on the way back. Then I had some white wine with the meal. Sleeping was easier.

The flight to NY/NJ was full. The woman next to me apologized in advance for making me get up frequently during the flight. She confided that she had a "bladder problem." I don't know why she was so self-conscious. She slept for hours, but I did a lot of "walking" etc. That's why I request the aisle seat, as not to destroying anyone.

I think I already wrote about that flight and how hungry I was.

I also mentioned the pink and white kiddush; I wish I had managed to taste more of the food!

Did I mention that I visited my parents Saturday night? It was ridiculous, ok, scandalous to go so far and not see them.

When we got back from Great Neck, I saw that my sister-in-law and friend were busy trying to finish the "table cards." I joined in to help of course and also managed to finish putting the tassels on the "programs." We didn't have such things in my day. People had to guess and whisper: "Who's that with the uneven hemline?" or "Can't that guy get his tie on right?" "Wow! She's that old and not married?" or "Who is that little doll?" "What a cute little girl, just the right age to be the Flower Girl." and things like that.

It's said that broken plates bring luck, the same for rain on the wedding day and even more "serious disasters." Did you know that the part of Westchester, NY where the wedding took place had an electric outage, just as the photographer was about to take the formal shots? His camera and lights didn't have a battery back-up. That wasn't the only "problem," G-d willing there's plenty of other "good luck" for them to rely on. And yes, the electricity did go on just in time.

The music was great, and I danced up a storm, making sure the younger relatives, knew my age, to make them less phobic about growing old. One of the advantages about our "separate cirlce" and line dancers. We don't have to wait to be asked by popular partners.

Then we went to NJ, where we stayed with relatives, and we left from there, first to visit Uncle Bucky, who had been hopitalized. We said good by to all. and I'm fading, fading fast...

NOw I must admit when I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

Of course my huband claims tha I never apologize to being wrong. There's a very good reason for this. I'm almost never wrong. But this time I really was. I was so certain that thousands of Israel's who have been lighting abroad would someone be willing to pay anything to vote.

...Instead, the plane was more than half empty. The "long-legged seat" by the emergency door had been reserved for us. When we arrived, the steward suggested that we "spread out," and we did, each having a row of three. Others were doing ti , too.

I got to sleep on the way home, but now my head is spinning.

Yes, I'm falling asleep, but it's too early.

I voted, wheeled Porat over to watch, but she fell a sleep.

...And that's what I out to do.

Good night!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

about to go to a wedding

manicure ok, sort of
I'm glad I wear a hat so no hairdresser
my clothes will definitely be different, as was my Shabbat outfit

I'll check in post wedding


I've been busy. It's late Saturday night, and I'm functioning. Jet lag has been gentle this time.

We're at my sister-in-law, Young Israel of Scarsdale. Managed to walk into shul, just as the rabbi was saying mazal tov, after her husband was called to the Torah.

There was the most unbelievable pink and white kiddush in honor of a baby girl born to members. Delicious! The best salads I've seen in the states; it really was more like an Israeli menu, at least the salads. Meat was American. I didn't try everythign, or I'd still be eating. I didn't touch the kugels, nor the herrings, over half a dozen kinds, nor the three colors of geffilte fish. I didn't have the pasta salad either. I did eat the chopped liver, great, reminds me of Yaakov's famous in jerusalem and Shiloh. And yes, salads, and I must admit that I tried a few of the cakes and cookies, just a few, like maybe ten out of a hundred.

It was all decorated with flowers and pink and white trees. Too bad it was Shabbat, since it deserved to be photographed.

After Shabbat I visited my parents, and now my sil came in with the dresses.

Friday, March 24, 2006

quick note

The colors look different on this computer.

I landed a few hours ago, a bit of a "balagan" confusion, until I made it to my husband's aunt's and uncle's house.

I flew El Al, but most of the passengers were English speakers, lots of Christian tourists. In that sense it didn't feel like an El Al flight. Only the Hebrew announcements.

Since I no longer travel with little kids, and frequently I've gone after work, I don't schlepp nosh, food, etc along. Years ago, you could barely get a cup of water in between meals. Now, they have an "open kitchen." All the drinks, at least the juices and water are available; there were cookies and instant soup, a great one. I was hungry and tried it. During one of my summer flights there were tiny sandwiches, all you wanted.

Must get ready to go to Westchester, by public transportation, which won't be that easy.

Next time, I really must use a cell phone when I travel.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Trying to remember all the things to do and pack.

I had better get the chicken cooking, so I can freeze it before leaving.

"Carry-on" almost finished, and room left for "Birkat Kallah," special "Bride's Prayer" my #2 made for her cousin, who's also a #2.

Also, probably room for folding bag #1 wants me to take along as extra suitcase on return. I'm not taking a suitcase with me; my husband brought most everythign.

I wore the new hat to last night's wedding.

I found the kids' voting cards which give them free bus service home to vote.

The chicken's in the oven.

Yesterday I ordered the "fruit meal' for the midnight flight.

Charity check written, as soon as chickine's finished, I'll run down, mail it and get mail.

Packing passport, ticket etc

Still must pack crocheting, 2 hats, reggae and other

I've been working, no time,

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

menu changes due to bird disease

Pesach is the poultry holiday for most of us. Eggs for cooking and even the "stab the egg" contest we have at the seder. And most of the main courses served are poultry--chicken or turkey.

And now, just now, thousands and thousands of diseased or suspected to be diseased poultry have been killed to prevent avian flu from spreading.

This is a bad time to have stopped being vegetarian.

At least I'm pretty careful about where I prepare the raw birds, other meat and fish,too, in pots, not plates nor cutting boards. Then I wash my hands with soap and launder the apron I've worn after preparing the raw meat, fish and poultry. Yes, I'm an apron person, it's sure better than wiping my hands on my clothes.

I guess we'll have to use more fish and beef. In recent years, we've used less eggs, since I no longer bake. The store-bought cakes are cheap and tasty enough. The homemade ones are too tasty, making me eat too much.

More Carnivals--

We're the "comic relief" in Carnival of the Feminists. I've never really thought of myself as a feminist, but I thought they'd like the post and glad it brings a smile.

And we have another appearance in the Carnival of Education, though unless they do some editing, my name isn't mentioned, so you'll have to search and guess.

It's not a carnival, but On the Contrary mentioned my complaint about how the YU Alumni Shabbaton missed being a perfect Shabbat.

New York Weather

I just checked the New York weather, since, hard to believe, I'm flying there tomorrow night, just for the weekend for Jessica's wedding. Insanity? No? Even nuttier, we'll have to take a cab or car service to visit my parents after Shabbat. That's since my mother said that they won't be able to get to the wedding. They're only returning to New York today or tomorrow from Arizona, and it's just too much. So if you notice a reduction in posts for a few days, that's the reason. I won't be home.

Today, I must get things done in the house, so I won't go swimming. There's a wedding tonight, which G-d willing I will attend. And tomorrow, I'll teach and then go to Jerusalem and from there to the airport.

And about the weather in New York, seems cold, but no rain predicted.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cheating and the "New Morality"

When I was a student it never occurred to me to cheat, copy or use another's knowledge to do well in a test or paper. I remember hearing about a relative who earned his college tuition by writing papers. Apparently he was really good at it.

It's not that I got great grades without hard work or "help." It's just that cheating was so foreign to the culture of the day, at least where I lived. Or maybe it was just me. I'd rather fail, and also I was terrified of being caught. We were a generation that knew our limits and was terrified of authority, at least for awhile. Mine was also the generation that became "hippies" and ate natural foods and tried to be at peace with nature. Competition became evil, and I remember hearing the phrase: "learn for learning' sake, not for the grades," or something like that.

According to this article, new, modern technology has made cheating very easy, amazingly so. Tiny cameras photograph tests, so someone else can text message answers.

What bothers me is the attitude of kids I've caught cheating: "What's the big deal?" they ask me. I learned the hard way that I have to insist on a "clean desk," when I found one students copying from a paper under his jacket, which was lying on the table. I used to teach in a special English Room, so it was much easier to enforce the "clean desk" rule.

Where I teach, we have a rule that students can't use phones during tests, and I insist that they are off during ordinary lessons, "off, not vibrate" I tell them. I used to say: "I have two sons in the army. If I can turn my phone off, so can you!" The main reason I insist the phones are off to keep from seeing my students distracted and talking during lessons. It's hard enough for those sleep-deprived kids to concentrate on my lessons. I don't want to see more distractions.

Good night!

The 500 Club

I'm far from being in the mega-blog category, but I'm proud to say that yesterday I joined the 500 plus hits a day club.

OK, it's partially due to latest Havel Havelim, but considering all the hours I invested...

Maybe some people will visit again, and I know that the Kosher Cooking Carnival, which I initiated, has brought more visitors.

Enough bragging, I must finish writing the rubrics for my 11th graders' project, and then grade more tests and make up report card grades. A teacher's work is never done.

As if I wasn't nervous enough...

As my husband is encased in an airplane, flying between Israel and Toronto, then to Newark, NJ, I really didn't need to see this article about airlines and missing baggage.

He has most of my clothes and all of the gifts packed in his suitcase, since I'm leaving later in the week and only landing Friday morning. Since we're going for such a short time, we figured that it didn't pay to take more than one suitcase, and he was nominated to schlepp it. I did the bulk of the packing, including all of the gifts, all breakable. Please don't make me any more nervous.

The only important things I'm planning on taking in my small "carry on" is the tunic and hat I'll be wearing to Jessica's wedding. Last night I sort of finished decorating the hat, which I crocheted. Yes, my crocheting has reached that level, sort of. I can do about two and a half different stitches, and my hats, for good or for bad, look like nothing you've ever seen before, and probably you may not want to see again.

I bought the tunic a while ago and never quite found the right hat for it, though I searched and searched and bought a few hats and "accessories," which don't quite do the trick. Once I realized that I'd really be going to the wedding, I realized that the tunic's fine, but I had given up on buying a suitable hat.

First I planned on crocheting a plain black hat from "ribbon yarn" and wanted a friend to crochet a flower to be tacked on. Then as the hat began to grow it took on a life of its own, and I realized that it needed some sparkle, so I crocheted rows of holes and bought metallic "spangle" thread, and last night I finally "did it," with the help of a small safety pin.

I haven't tried it on and don't really want to know until it's too late to look for an alternative.

In the meantime, I hope that the suitcase doesn't join the statistics of "lost luggage."

Monday, March 20, 2006

The latest BOMS

Last week's BOMS brought me-ander lots of hits, most probably because my link/blurb was illustrated by a picture of a woman showing off her "whatever," and people must have thought that it was me. I wonder if this latest BOMS will prove attractive, since it has a picture of the Beatles for me-ander, but the Shiloh Musings link has some old shoes.

Take a gander; the other links look really interesting.

My latest breakfast

I don't know about you, but I like the routine of the same breakfast every morning. Yes, I'm a "breakfast person," a "morning person."

Over the years I've changed my breakfasts. When I was a student in Stern College, I started the day with fried eggs in the student cafeteria, but on "test days" I treated myself to a "Spanish omelet."

There are times when I've eaten dry cereal with milk, or I breakfasted on eggs, or oatmeal. Whatever the breakfast is, it remains my standard for a number of years, until suddenly I feel that it's not keeping me going the way I need.

Generally I don't nosh between meals, though I've tried to start having a fruit or something like that, since diet experts now say that you can lose more weight on five meals a day than three, and sometimes, since I'm an early riser, the breaks between my three meals are really too long. And if you're curious to know, I am overweight, seriously overweight, even though I'm "fitter" than most.

During my final years as a vegetarian, which I was for twenty-five years, I had a two-egg vegetable omelet every morning. It included an onion, a squash and sometimes fresh garlic. On it I ground pepper, and when I had it I also ate horseraddish, which I "grind" in the food processor. And it was all "fried," or sauteed in olive oil in a regular frying pan.

Now that I eat poultry almost everyday, my morning needs changed. I have some bran flakes, sometimes a bit of puffed wheat, a diced or shredded (food processor) apple, a banana (when there are some in the house) and plain yogurt, either goat or 3% bio. For awhile I was adding dried fruit, but I began feeling a weight gain.

It seems like my body and food habits are beginning to recover from my change back into being carnivorous.

Since I eat kosher, I'm not going to start the day with meat or poultry.

And I drink my coffee before I eat. First I have a few cups of water, then the coffee, which helps "eliminate" yesterday's food. Only after that do I have my breakfast.

not asleep

It's a good, or should I say "bad?" two hours since my usual bedtime. I couldn't fall asleep.

Could it have had been the basketball game? I played again. We were the same six as last week. My thigh muscles are killing me. They didn't hurt last week, ok all sorts of aches the following day, but this time all sorts of movements seemed to have stimulated the muscles to "ache." It's like roll call at the beginning of a lesson, when there's 100% attendance.

Maybe it was due to the fact that I had walked up and down about seven flights of stairs on Shabbat, a few times. I hope it will all make me fitter. My right arm got an extra workout, since I had to open and close my neighbors' car door, and it's a bullet proof pick-up truck.

I'm starting to yawn; I hope that a retun to bed will get me to sleep.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Havel Havelim #62, Specially for You!

Post-Purim Edition

There's supposed to be a picture here, but blogger isn't cooperating, must be in kahoots with Haman, so if at a later date it gets "done," you'll, see it, but in the meantime...

“Havel Havelim,” ”Vanity of Vanities” is the Jewish-Israeli blogging carnival consisting of posts from blogs all over the world. It’s hosted by a different blogger each week and coordinated by
Soccer Dad. The term “Havel Havelim” is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon, who built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other “excesses” and finally realized that it was nothing but norishkeit, “havel” or in English “vanities.”

You're only seeing this edition of HAVEL HAVELIM, now that it's finished, but for me this is a rushed one, since it's already Wednesday, Shushan Purim and I'm only beginning. It usually takes me a
full week. I've already heard three out of four Megillah readings, one of the advantages/disadvantages of living in Shiloh, and I've had enough sugar and other diet "no no's" to ice a wedding cake for a thousand.

Posts are pouring in, thank G-d, and yes, some bloggers are multiply represented. I'd rather include all the posts than have the thankless task of choosing "the best from each," since it's like choosing which of your children you love the most. I remember reading an interview with one of Israel's greatest song writers, the late
Naomi Shemer, in which she was asked which was her favorite song, and she answered that she always loved her most recent one the most. I'm not presumptuous enough to consider my varied posts as having the artistic merits of Naomi Shemer's songs, but I'm certain that I'm not alone in feeling, undoubtedly more than once a week, that I've written something that should be included in Havel Havelim.

Obviously, I'll start with Purim posts…

Instead of Havel Havelim,

Bavel Bavelim!!

The Muqata is the place to be
For innumerable Purim Parodies!
Decide which is best in your eyes
vote for the CRIB First Prize!

And if you want to know what to sing
Yitz's Purim niggunim!

Just not too
Or I won't join the crowd.

hates firecrackers;
I can't stand the noise,
But for some "boys will be boys."

Purim by the bloggers
Like a bunch of groggers

Ya'aqov Ben Yehuda
Sing this louder than a tuba

Have we forgotten
What happened in ancient

And if you want to feel better
Read the Purim
Arutz 7

Here are some wise
From Chavie Willig Levy

And the Sin of Expulsion
Asks Howdy Doody's help
In deciding the

This rabbi may be
But she sure knows about Purim.

Listen to this
Monkey speaking

Menorah—News and Views
All about
Purim, "venahafoch hu!"

About that perfect
Purim poster
Not Quite Perfect's confidence needs a bolster

This is no Purim spiel;
It's actually for real.

From a Balloon Twister's Aliya Saga
A first
Purim which sounds rather gaga

All about
From Miri, who lives afar

The Cos' returns only to announce
His plans to
drink every ounce
Whether he did,
or whether he didn't
Next morning he threw everyone out of bed
To hear the

See psychotoddler's Purim
It's great

A Simple Jew and a
Space Cadet
Oy Gevelt!

From the Pillage Idiot, good news
Irish Jews
Though not written for Purim,
It's a good'n

YUTOPIA's about
Purim, no doubt.

Thinking of Haman inspires Irina to tell a moving a moving story about a small
resistance cell against the Nazis.

Treppenwitz reminds us that
the Jewish heart and values can't be judged by the external, or more simply put, that there's strong Jewish feeling in many Israelis who don't appear "religious." And he later explains the background to the Jericho army operation.

Carl sees the Jericho Operation
this way. And he also writes about the inflated PA demographics.

Look at the beautiful, early spring
flowers from Elms in the Yard. is still reporting and updating, but now the Arabs are
attacking the Negev.

It's hard to tell if my husband's
taxi story is uniquely Israeli, or is it the type of thing that happens wherever there are taxi drivers.

Over six months after Disengagement, the condition of the
refugees no longer gets its own heading. There's more in The Sin of Expulsion.

My Ober Dicta writes about the importance of
Mishpat Ivri, Judaic Law.

The olah chadash From French Hill tells us why she's
so tired, and it's not from cooking.

knits across Greece. OK, it doesn't really belong in this section, but she did say that Greeks are like Israelis.

My Eye tells us
why Israel is not a democracy.
Adloyada gives us the scoop on the media.

Westbankmama brings up some interesting points about
democracy and voting.

Don's "On the Contrary…" discusses Bibi's
failed attempt to form a coalition, pre-elections.

"It's Almost Supernatural" has a series of posts
defending Israel, which was accused of being an apartheid state.

Daled Amos explains the
importance of Jewish blogging.

Ze'ev's perspective about
Israeli Arabs is very clear.

Outside Esther tells us what she thinks of the
raid on Jericho.
Robin writes of virtual mishloach manot.

Meryl Yourish complains of
A.P. media bias, though I was reasonably pleased with the A.P. article I was interviewed for.

Here's an
excellent, comprehensive article about media bias from Soccer Dad.

Shaister wrote that MK Naomi Blumental's
jail sentence is justified. Personally I think that it's out of proportion to the punishments given to much more serious offenders. It's sort of like the income tax paid by multi-millionaire business men, who write off "business failures" and hardly pay any tax.

Read Daled Amos' post about the
Jericho Operation.

Some of the Israeli bloggers are not just observing the political scene; they're actively involved, like
The Path to the Knesset, which is supporting Yisrael Beitenu.

Many of the NU-NRP supporters are disappointed in the campaign ads. Read what my husband wrote about

The Sin of Expulsion
reminds Israelis to vote.

And soon we'll know, are the vegetablepundits right in their
election prediction?

Barak of IRIS Blog explains that the
Dubai Port Capitulation Likely Fraudulent.

Rachel Ann has a very clear idea of what
a hero is. And she also writes about how the nearby Arab kids are being "educated."

Dry Bones gives us more in a small cartoon than most op-ed writers find to fill a full page.

Blog Free! presents:
The Campaign Speech That We Didn’t Hear by Israel Zwick.

What's a monitor? Israpundit explains.

And Smooth tells us
what's an Islamaphobe.

The police brutality in Amona is still strongly affecting us. My husband's blog offers a
link to one of the better videos shot there.

Thoughts about Parah Adumah, the Red Heffer… and its

And more about that
ruste taurus from Reb Chaim HaQoton.

hosting the pre-Passover Kosher Cooking Carnival! Send in your recipes, menus, food stories and traditions, "anything kosher!"

Elie's Expositions announces:
A Tzedaka Fund for Aaron.

Irina writes about
the role of women and race from her very special perspective.

A Simple Jew
fits a piece in a "puzzle." And he also posts some beautiful paintings.

Different River describes
a strange kind of "art."

On Cross-Currents, there's an article about
easing conversion to Judaism.

Who remembers
John Falotico?
May he RIP.

AbbaGav presents his very own:
Hollywood Squares!

This post on Judeopundit reminds me why I'm happy to live in Israel.

From the Aliya Blog we learn about
kosher toilet paper, which reminds me of the old "crepe toilet paper" which could be used to scrub pots.

Read all about the
YU Alumni Shabbaton.

Irina tells us
what she misses about her grandmother.

Here's the Canonist's view

in love;

The clown picture is one of
Fred's; thanks, Fred! (I hope that I get blogger to load it.)

Send your links for the next edition of Havel Havelim via Conservative Cat’s
handy form or the blog carnival one, and at the same time you may discover other “carnivals” to visit and enter. You can also use those forms to send kosher recipes and other kosher food posts to the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

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.

This appears in the
Please put up a blurb on your site alerting readers to Havel Havelim

This will be cross-posted to my other blogs; each has different templates and different "viewing pleasures." I guess at some point I'm going to have to repair the templates or switch, so if anyone can help....

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Yes, I know I've been busy

I'm almost finished with Havel Havelim, bli eyin haraa. G-d willing tomorrow, and then back to normal. Hah! Normal? I still have to make up a test, check tests, make up a project rubric, cook in advance, clean. Pesach is coming and I'm not ready to begin to be ready! Oh, yes, I'm going to NY for a couple of days, yes a couple of days, and it takes a long time to get there from Israel.

We were away for Shabbat, the YU Alumni Shabbaton, I think it was called. Honestly, everything was fine, until the last big "speech" at the Seudat Shlishit, that's the third Shabbat meal, as the sun goes down. It's not like we actually saw the sun in the hotel, but...

There were hundreds of people; we took over the largest ballroom for meals, and it was full. One of the people at our table came to Israel on the same boat we did, but she was a little girl, and we were already married. Another table, which had old friends was the "happy table." There were Smiles, Freilich and Sasson!

We were all impressed by the new YU President, Richard Joel, who's an amazingly talented and dynamic guy. But as I said, there was an awful speech by some yored (an Israeli who leaves Israel to live in another country) rabbi, who seems very popular with the bigshots in YU, Yeshiva University.

This yored said that in the states, there isn't the phenomena of kids from religious families leaving Orthodoxy, so it's better to raise kids in the supportive communities of America. This is total hogwash, and it's obvious that he has his emotional problems trying to justify his yerida, descent from the Holy Land to the states. Everyone who understood his Hebrew was angry.

Considering that YU has been working so hard to make us all one international community of alumni, it was surprising. A few days after Purim, they took off their masks to say:
"Aliyah just isn't it."

YU President Joel tried to put a good spin on it, but as one of my friends said:
"Four hundred people couldn't all have misunderstood, exactly the same way."

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Maybe it's just my sort of "out of the box" mind, but I like to use opposites for teaching.

When I teach reading, I teach the long and short vowels simultaneously. And I like to teach words in pairs. I think it helps. Also with grammar. To teach what I call the "passive" and "active" adjectives, I teach this sentence:

The bored student slept because of the boring teacher.

This Shabbat is Shabbat Parah, the Sabbath of the "Red Heifer." The Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer, is required during the time of the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple.

The Haftarah read on the Sabbath of Parashat Parah contains the verse, "And I shall sprinkle pure water upon you, that you be cleansed. From all your contamination and from all your filth I will cleanse you" (Ezekiel 36:25). There are other parallels in the Haftarah between the concepts of sin represented by contamination, and atonement represented by purity.

It is extremely rare; every hair on its body must be of the required red. Whenever a calf that seems totally red is born, there are headlines in the Jewish world announcing that there may possibly be that rarest of rare creatures. I don't think that there is one or has been for centuries or longer.

In contrast another rarity mentioned in the Torah is the "rebellious son." There are very, very specific details and descriptions in terms of age and behavior or a son to be considred "rebellious" and deserving the extreme punishment.
"When a man has a wayward, rebellious son, who does not obey his father and mother, they shall have him flogged. If he still does not listen to them... [the parents] must declare to the elders of his city, 'Our son is wayward and rebellious. He does not listen to us, and is an (exceptional) glutton and drunkard.' "(Deut. 21:18)

As a result, it is believed that no child ever fit the description. But there were "parot adumot" at the time of the Temple to cleanse people of contamination.

So does that mean that there are more chances for good and repentance, than there are chances for evil?

It could be a Purim post...

There are lots of negative things health experts have to say about sleeping pills, but did you know that they are associated with over-eating?

That's what the NY Times published. One of the popular sleeping pills causes terrible hunger, making people sleepwalk to the kitchen, where they cook and gorge!

too busy to blog

I've been too busy to blog, until I finish the next Havel Havelim!
Please send me your posts, or any Jewish or Israel ones, from this week, you think would be good to include.
It's just taking me much longer than I anticipated, so I could use some help from my friends....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Clueless and Education, the Carnivals

Take a gander at The Carnival of Education and The Carnival of the Clueless. Enjoy! There's lots to read.

Great News! Re:KCC#4

From across the seas Sarah's View will be hosting the fourth Kosher Cooking Carnival!

Thank you Sarah!

Please send your links "anything kosher" by April 2nd, either to me shilohmuse at yahoo dot com or to sarahsviewblog at yahoo dot

This is going to make a lot of women happy!

Finally, there are statistics to prove how foolish men are! As if we need them; we've known that forever. Have you ever met a man who's willing to ask directions, except how to do the laundry and then act so confused that it's clear that he wants it done for him?

Male drivers waste six million hours a year

Honestly, I'm sure that's it's an underestimate!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I didn't think it would be that bad!

Last Purim I had a really great time at the local Ladies' Purim Party, where I danced up a storm. With those pleasant memories encouraging me to go, I finished baking the hamentaschen, threw on a wig and other props and went on my way to the party.

It was just over an hour after the official start, so I knew it was just the perfect time to arrive. Everything should be set up, and I was looking forward to a pleasant evening. then I saw something that made me get a bissel nervous. A couple of little girls, much younger than the boys I teach, were making their way to the door of the very same building where the ladies' party was supposed to be. Could I be imagining it? No, there aren't enough very short women in Shiloh to have had been them, and I could tell that they were little girls. I just wasn't in the mood for a party with little kids. At a quarter to eleven at night, little kids shouldn't be partying.

I went in; it was noisy, and there were little girls. My friends tried to convince me to stay, promising that the children would be leaving soon. Honestly I'm not as nasty as I seem from the first paragraph, and I decided to stay for a bit. Then the already too-loud-volume was turned up. I fled.

My hearing isn't what it used to be, and the painfully loud music at the party would only make it worse.

Many, otherwise healthy, people are losing their hearing due to noise. Even children are suffering.

As I walked out I spoke to a number of friends who were just walking in, and I explained the dangers of the high volume. As I spoke to one, the volume was turned even louder. I'm glad that I left when I did. More people must take a stand and leave loud places if they can't convince the people in charge to lower the volume. Don't be shy. Protect your hearing.

Loud music is one of the biggest causes of hearing loss.

Read this:

Did you know...
...Noise is the most common hazard for American workers?
...Hearing loss from noise is slow and painless; you can have a disability before you notice it?
...Hazardous noise is found off the job from things like power tools, lawn mowers and guns?
...You can protect yourself from hazardous noise?

Yes! You can prevent noise-induced hearing loss
...If you must raise your voice to speak with someone only 3 feet away, you are in high (hazardous) noise.
Wearing hearing protection in high noise prevents noise damage to your hearing.
Use ear plugs, ear muffs, or both, when in high noise.

I'm not sorry that I walked out of the party. There's no reason for me to endanger my health.

Monday, March 13, 2006

from a friend across the seas

Hi -

Right now I’m all covered with flour, waiting for a cake to come out of the oven and trying to decide whether to stay up to eat around 4:30 am or just take a bite now and go to sleep.

We’re taking our community to the local Chabad for Megilla tomorrow night,! then on Tues noon -- is reading again in our chapel, and Tues for the Seuda we’ve invited everyone to our house.......which means I have absolutely NO idea how many people are coming. What fun.

I’ve called it a “127-country menu”, and so far I’m planning:--
-Couscous (the whole works, soup w/ chickpeas, pumpkin, chicken)
- MoroccanBut served over Quinoa, which is South American;-
--Meatloaf with horseradish (I’m not sure what that represents really, but I found it in a Southern Living cookbook)-
--Indian “yellow” potatoes with cumin, turmeric, etc. (Indian as in Hodu)-
--Acorn squash (Indian as in Native Americans)
---Cauliflower with another Indian (Hodu) recipe
---Dips: Hummus (Middle East), Guacamole (Mexican), Caponata (Italian, I think), with vegetable-root chips which have a bunch of different colors and include beets, sweet potato and taro root (I think that’s Hawaiian)
Plus olives (Shiv’at haminim), and probably some other stuff I’ll think of

.......In the meantime I just checked my cake, rescued it from the oven, but when I tried to flip it over only the top half fell out of the bundt pan.....oh well. I guess I can always make a pineapple topping for it, and that will be more Hawaiian.

And, it’s poppy seed cake, so even before we’ve gotten to the hamentashen we have the mohn in the picture.

I don’t know what my plans are yet for the next trip. Here everything is just going one day at a time. It’s pretty intense — with all the Purim stuff, and already planning for a big community seder at the Community Center a few blocks from our house. By Pesach time, I might have a better idea of my next travelling plans. In the meantime, enjoy Purim and I hope it really makes people stop and think. It’s very frustrating being over here and not really getting the full impact of the election craziness. Doubly frustrating that there’s no absentee ballot. But reassuring that the polls are actually such nonsense

--- hopefully it’s only certain politicians who think they reflect any truth
.........Be’ezrat haShem, may the “right” man win! (If it sounds like something from a boxing ring, well, that’s how it feels sometimes, isn’t it?????

Kol tuv and Purim Sameach --


Read Westbankmama's guard story. I found it brought back memories as I had a great laugh over it. So I commented this

That's a classic, I laughed so hard, I forgot how hungry I was/am.

In the early days, into the '80's, the guards doubled as babysitters, since all the adults were partying, and there weren't too many kids old enough to babysit. There weren't too many phones either, so the guards would check on crying babies and call their parents out of the parties and meetings.

and figured I'd tell you more.

On Purim, it must have had been 23 years ago, we were among the lucky ones, with a daughter old enough to babysit and alert enough to stay awake to do the job well.

It was a snowy night, really! Sometimes it snows here on Purim.

While all the adults in our neighborhood were "down the hill" a kilometer and a half, meaning a mile, from home partying, my daughter heard something outside. Imagine her surprise when she realized that it was a group of three little kids wandering around, crying, dressed in their pajamas. She left#2 in charge and ran out to see what was wrong. They had woken up and wanted their mommy.

Of course my daughter knew everyone in our small, then it was small, neighborhood and knew that there was a baby left alone in the house, so she got dressed for the snow and ran outside to rescue the sleeping baby. And she watched them, too, in our house.

When a guard came by, she sent the message to the parents, who then came up to put their kids back to bed.

I admit...

Yes, I must admit that I am "feeling" last night's basketball game, and I hate to think how I'll be feeling tomorrow. Usually one feels the strain a day and a half later.

I felt so great last night, but I haven't used my basketball throwing muscles for decades.

It's a fast day today, meaning no eating and no drinking. That means no water and no coffee, and I feel like I need a good night's sleep, but it's morning. Tomorrow, actually starting tonite, is Purim. It's the junk food holiday, but if you want to know what Purim really is, read this. And this is how we celebrate it in Shiloh.

Lots going on

Yes, there's lots going on in this blogging world.

First, Different River has an excellent post linking us, showing true understanding of the issues.

There's also Carnival of the Insanities, which has some excellent posts depicting the world's absurdities.

I just checked the Owner's Manual to see is BOMS was up, and here it is! Just that picture isn't me.

Here's the latest Havel Havelim, and don't forget, I'll be hosting the next one, so please get your links to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com, and also send me more kosher food links for the fourth Kosher Cooking Carnival.


Sunday, March 12, 2006


I'll start with my "adventure." A female basketball group formed here in Shiloh, and I decided to joion. It's fun, and yes I'm the oldest. So, tonight was the night. We were just over half middle-aged and the others were young, the youngest being younger than my youngest. It was great fun, and even though I was probably, ok, no doubt, the worst player, I got a few baskets and even maybe a rebound, when there was nobody else in the vacinity.The adventure was actually how I got there, down a steep unlit road, even though I'm phobic about walking down steep anythings, and then I discovered that the building was surrounded by a fence, so I walked around it on a "ledge" holding real tight, until I got to an entrance. Next time I'll ask for a ride.

And due to the basketball and walking in the morning and having my 11th graders all spread out in a large room for a test and walking to help them, according to the pedometer, today I took 16,291 steps.

Now, after all that exercise, I can enjoy the Carnival of Recipes, and I suggest that you take a look at it, too.

And just a "first reminder" that I'm hosting the next Havel Havelim so start writing and send me your links.

America is making the world sick

OK, this sounds strange, doesn't it? But to be exact, it's the fact that other countries are imitating America that is making them sick.

Societies which have the healthiest food traditions are trying to "eat like Americans," meaning lots of packaged and prepared foods. It's not just an "emotional thing," of trying to imitate what's perceived as the most powerful country in the world, there's also a simple commercial phenomena.

Advertising is international, and businesses are always looking for more customers, and the poorest are sometimes the most susceptibility. I'll never forget the TV documentary I saw when I was pregnant with my third child thirty years ago. Yes, she's turning 30 this year!

It showed babies dying in Africa, because the mothers had taken the free samples of baby formula for their newborns, instead of giving them the truly free milk G-d had provided. Then instead of buying themselves food and breast-feeding their babies, they were spending on formula and bottles and mixing the formula usually diluted, since they couldn't afford the recommended quantities once the free samples were finished, with infested water, so their babies were getting sick and dying. I remember just crying hysterically. I'm not a crier, except when pregnant--those hormones!

It's all the packaged snakebite and ready-made meals, which cost more than traditional natural food which is causing untold damage to all. On Friday I had to do the shopping, and I had to get some cake for Shabbat. I really didn't have time to bake, but I foolishly read the ingredients on the packages. You guessed it! I baked some cakes once I got home. That's a problem, since I love my own baking and can so easily resist the store-bought, but we were having guests, so I'm not really sorry I did it.

KCC #3 off and sizzling

The one and only, Ezzie, did the smart thing. He figured that you needed the Third Kosher Cooking Carnival in time for Purim and HERE IT IS!

Thank you, Ezzie, the very first guest host! If anyone else is interested in hosting please let me know, and start sending your posts for the fourth Kosher Cooking Carnival! Either mail them to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com or via Conservative Cat's simple form, where you can discover other carnivals to enter.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bad Grades

Standardized tests are the norm in most, if not all, parts of the world. I spent most of my school days in the New York City Public School system and will never forget those special #2 pencils for marking the boxes on tests. You could play "eenie meenie miny moe..." and just guess. We were tested frequently, every year or two, or so it seems. Then towards the end of high school we had "College Boards."

Maybe it's just me, but I don't remember thinking about the questions once I handed in the tests. That's why I'm amazed that hundreds, if not more, of students have complained about incorrect marking. Or maybe they just expected higher grades and decided to complain. The amazing thing is that mistakes were found in the grading.

I'm finding this very traumatic. I always took for granted that these tests were infallible. That's how we were raised in my generation. Our parents would never complain to the school; they'd blame us if there were problems. It didn't pay for me to say anything, since the teachers were "perfect."

When my kids were students, I worked, ok, fought hard for my kids' rights. Of course, now that I'm a high school teacher, it's all the kids' fault...

Saturday night before Purim

Yes it's Saturday night, but it's not Saturday night! It's just after Shabbat. We don't do anything most weeks, just take turns pounding the keyboard. There are times, like this, when we need more online computers.

Last night, right after I had lit the Shabbat candles, I realized that I hadn't taken off my pedometer, which I'm sure isn't for Shabbat. So I quickly called my son who was home to unsnap it from my skirt's waistband. He brought it to the computer, and now I must tell you that just by walking down to the grocers and doing all sorts of things in the house, by 5:20 pm I had 7,025 steps counted. So basically, even if you're just running around all confused and disorganized, like a chicken sans head, the steps get counted, and you can reach 10,000 and only break a sweat, because you're sure that you forgot to do something very important before Shabbat.

I'm not ready for Purim, and it's Monday night. I don't think I'd be ready, even if was Thursday night. I don't think I'll be ready for Purim this year at all. I have some cakes in the freezer, and I bought nosherei and bottles of wine, but my head is still stuck around the day after Chanukah. I can't be ready for Purim, since being ready for Purim means that I'm getting ready for Pesach, and Pesach is a long way off, since we're going to New York for a wedding after Purim, and we'll be back just a couple of weeks before Pesach, which always starts before it really starts. Does that make sense to you? I hope so, since I know it's right, but it doesn't make any sense to me.

And the house isn't ready for anything, certainly not holidays. The laundry is piling up and the sun has not been shining the right days and times for me to hang things out to dry. In recent years I was able to hang clothes on those folding dryers all over the house, but thank G-d, my sons have returned, sort of, home, and the rooms aren't empty, waiting for laundry. Now there are people. During the empty years I tried to give the impression that the house was full, and now I have to get used to my young men dropping in eating and leaving me laundry. That's fine. So I had better leave the keyboard for a while and get to work.

I guess I'll never finish reading all the emails. There were 74 on Yahoo waiting for me, and twenty more I had to check and lots of netvision ones, too and I didn't even open the gmail. I haven't read most of those from Friday or was it Thursday. On Friday, noon, I turned off the computer, and it stayed off until two hours ago, when Shabbat was over. Have I really been on for TWO HOURS!!!???

That's it, just a quick spell check, and toodaloo!

Friday, March 10, 2006

taking a break

I'm turning off the computer, so the "yetzer horo" (evil temptation) doesn't temp me, at least for a few hours. There's much too much to do in the kitchen. We actually have guests for Shabbat, which is great! (Yoo, hoo, one of them is reading this!) And my chief assistant is learning how to rescue in the water, so he's adding another water-related profession to his repertoire, or however it's written. The other son is about to learn how to mix "liquids" of another kind.

And I've been a bad girl, eating energy noshes.