Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cell Phones, oh, boy!

How can it be? Cell phones are simultaneously the best and worst invention of modern times? It's wonderful to have such a quick, convenient and easy way of keeping in touch, but...

Ooh, as a teacher, forget it. They are the enemy of "attention and concentration." How can the students listen and participate in the lessons when they're waiting for phone calls and/or sms-ing?

I demand that my students turn off their phones during lessons. They reply:
"But it's on vibrate."
"Vibrate isn't off!"
"But you won't hear it!"
"Turn it off--I want a blank screen!"
"But I'm waiting for an important call!"
"Not during class!"
"If I can turn my phone off, when my two sons were in the army, you can, too!"

Confiscating the phones from teenage boys, when the phones are smaller than the palms of their hands, is very difficult. I'm sure that many of the "emergency" trips to the toilet are really caused by vibrating signals for conversation.

I'm glad that the New York City public schools are taking a stand against cell phones in the classroom. If only there could be a universal code of behavior and ethics concerning phones in the classrooms. Even in the high school where I teach in Israel, different teachers have different demands making it difficult for the kids and for us teachers.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with turning the phones on during breaks, but I want a total close down of outside communication during lessons, and of course during tests.

It's hard enough for our sleep-deprived students to function, but it's worse when they're on the phone during lessons.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

To boycott or not to boycott

OK, maybe boycott is "too strong" a word. Let's say, that I won't buy any more of their products, but I'll still use what I have. Oh? What am I referring to? Artscroll, the big publishing company of Jewish prayerbooks, Bibles and all sorts of books of Jewish Law.

Over the years I've collected and use quite a few. They are generally well-edited with clear instructions. There are just a few problems. The main one is that they are edited for "chutz la'aretz," galut, out of Israel. That means that a short line of a couple of words, which we say during the main prayer, the Amida, the standing prayer of 18 blessings, which is said three times a day, is missing a couple of words. That's because those words aren't said in America. Strangely enough, the Birkat Kohanim, priestly Prayer, which is said on Shabbat in Israel, but not abroad, is included. During the Succot/Simchat Torah Holiday, there are also problems, since there are differences in the days at the end of the holiday. This gets very complicated. At least if they would list the necessary pages...

Another problem is that "Shir HaShirim," the Song of Songs, by King Solomon has a censored translation. They consider it too risque`. So they "interpret it" instead of translating.

They also don't include, Prayer for the State of Israel and for the Israeli Defense Forces. Now, even I who don't agree with present policies, insist that the government needs our prayers. The prayer asks for G-d to help them make the right decisions and govern us well. Now who could complain about that. The problem with the government has been that it's not listening to G-d, so we have to pray that those politicians will all repent.

And of course, in principle, theirs, they don't include the short service said on Israeli Independence Day. They don't even include it in the all Hebrew edition for the Israeli market. They are chareidi and are against the state.

I'm going to have to get a new Tihillim Book soon, because mine is so well-used that some words aren't clear. It's an Artscroll one, and maybe it should have lasted longer. Their interlinear one looks so nice, but I really don't want to give them my money.

Artscroll has such a dominant monopoly that I haven't even seen an alternative.

Friday, April 28, 2006

One of those days--

It wasn't a "bad day," just a varied one.

Started regular, with my couple of hours on the computer, while drinking water, coffee and waiting to "eliminate yesterday's food." I once read that you shouldn't eat new food until you got rid of the old stuff. I wouldn't dare claim to be the healthiest specimen for my age, but I have no doubt that the situation would be worse if I didn't follow this routine. It also gives me a couple of hours every morning by the computer, which I can't complain about.

Then dovened (that's prayed the morning prayer) and spoke to my walking partner, who declined. So I didn't walk. Sue me!

I did some, not enough, of my Shabbat cooking and "cooked" some more on the computer. That means I have extra work for today. I also cooked my husband's dinner, since I knew that I wouldn't be home in time.

Then off to work, and some how I didn't take some important papers, which I still have to find... One good lesson and one bad one.

Took a ride to the "tachanat delek," that's a gas station-bus stop on the way to Jerusalem. I had to wait there over an hour for my ride to Kever Rachel, Rachel's Tomb, for my monthly, when it fits my schedule, visit. To pass the time, I crocheted son #1's reggae hat and ate lunch, which I had prepared at home.

Finally got on the bus, but there was a massive traffic jam at the entrance to Jerusalem. We wasted over half an hour. Last week I got stuck over 40 minutes at the same place. That's the security check for Jerusalem from the north. Jews and Arabs all wait together. There's no separation, no apartheid here, though there's another road ONLY FOR ARABS. They can have easier access.

Then on our way, we made it to the road near Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) but couldn't find the soldier escorts. Eventually we did. In the meantime, lots of people just piled into our bus to get to Kever Rachel. It's so ridiculous. We have to be sardined into bullet-proof buses, while Arabs and Christian tourists and left-wing Israelis and Jews can just wander freely. We don't endanger anyone. Why should we be imprisoned? They just added another 10-15 meters of cement barriers to the entrance of Kever Rachel. It's very depressing. It was really packed in the Women's Section when we arrived. Not pleasant. I managed to get myself into a far corner in the front. I always need to be near a wall, less disturbances. Forty-five minutes later, I was already waiting to leave, when a soldier entered and said: "Mateh Binyamin!" That's us, the Benjamin Council bus. So I ran back to tell my friends, and everybody hurried out. So did a lot of "hitch-hikers," who seemed to think that it was a free service. Some men even had the gall to tell our kids to get up for them, but I reminded them that it wasn't their bus, and they hadn't paid for the seats.

The trip back was pleasant, especially once the "extras" got off. But it had been a long day since I had any water to drink or gotten to a toilet.

Finally home and rushed to get ready for a surprise 40th for a friend. I was late, but they were waiting for me to take pictures. So my dinner was a "real cream" cake and other nosherei. It was nice being with a bunch of friends, a typical Shiloh gathering from all over the world. From Holland, Hong Kong, Mexico, U.S., Israel, Catalonia, and more. Shiloh's a real example of the "ingathering of the exiles." We spoke a combination of English and Hebrew between ourselves.

Once I got home I began gorging on the vegetables and bulgar I had made for my husband. There was some left-over. It's just not good to eat so late at night. So now, I still feel uncomfortably full.

Enough! The first load of laundry is waiting for me, and it's time for stage two of my morning routine. Besides the usual, I have a student coming in an hour, and the dovening is longer, since it's Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the New Month.

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom, though you may be hearing from me again before the day is over.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

busy day

but I have to run, tell you about it later....

other ways of cooking vegetables

I'm on a food list, and one of the members asked for "other ways of cooking vegetables," so here's a simple and popular one:

Baking or Roasting Vegetables

A great advantage for entertaining or "festive meals," is that it can be done in a nice serving dish, either "Pyrex," ceramics, or any other impressive, not always expensive, baking/serving dish.

Take any amount or variety of squash, sweet potato, regular potato, carrot, onion, red, green, yellow peppers, garlic, etc. Cut in thick strips or large bite-size pieces, place in pan, or on "baking paper," then dribble some oil and any or no spices, and bake, medium-high, until soft. Just cut the quick-cooking larger than the slow cooking, so they'll be finished at the same time.

Serve either warm or cold. You can use just one type of vegetable or a great variety.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


It's frightening how quickly people forget. There's a large chunk of the most fertile part of the former USSR, which is radioactive. Do you remember Chernobyl? Twenty years ago, a nuclear reactor there "leaked" major amounts of radiation. It seriously contaminated the Russian "breadbasket." Chernobyl is in the Ukraine, close to Belarus.

This was during the the communist rule, and at first it was hushed up. The population stayed home, unaware of the danger and forbidden by Soviet law of living wherever they chose.

Soon after, Jews were allowed to leave an massive numbers (not all Jewish according to Jewish Law) moved to Israel. I've spoken to many who said that the Chernobyl disaster was one of the reasons they left.

The area is still radioactive. Anyone in that area, eating food grown there, drinking its water, etc, are in danger.

For the past twenty years, Chabad's Children of Chernobyl (CCOC) is airlifting children from the danger zones in Belarus and Ukraine. Even today, young children are being sent by their parents for health and safety in Israel.

A few years ago, I almost took a job in Kfar Chabad, doing PR for them. The travel logistics were too hard. Nowadays it would be easier, with internet and laptops. Something in me wishes I had taken that job. They're saving lives.

Linking education

There's a new edition of the Carnival of Education. A nice variety of posts, but I don't think they fully understood my post, so sore, which is included. As a carnival host, I understand how draining it can be to have to read posts, which, although submitted by the blocker and gratefully received, aren't what you'd choose to read. The blurb for my post is so totally contrary to my stated message, that it's clear that the post wasn't read to the end and wasn't understood. This isn't the first time I've noticed this problem; I do submit posts to numerous carnivals. I guess I had expected a higher level of reading comprehension from fellow teachers.

SRO in the Plane!?

Could it be true that some airlines are planning standing rather than sitting on "short flights?" The airlines have been working hard to fit, ok, squeeze, more and more passengers on their airplanes. As the seat manufacturers make "slimmer" seats, instead of giving us more leg room and walking space, the airlines are trying to add more passengers.

Business-wise, of course, they're right, but what about if they get sued, because it's too difficult and crowded for passengers to walk around during the flight, and then the passengers suffer thrombosis in their legs, which is potentially fatal?

This past year I ended up flying from Israel to NY, and back, three times. The aisles were full of people trying to keep their blood moving. The seats were so packed that one couldn't do any of the "sitting exercises." I always request aisle seats, so I don't have to inconvenience, wake up and disturb, anyone to get out and move.

No place in the article does it discuss whether standing, strapped to the padded boards being designed, will be even worse for blood circulation than sitting. If I'm not mistaken, standing is much more dangerous.

If the airlines want to save money, they can eliminate or charge for their "entertainment." Years ago we had to pay for the earphones, but then they were of better quality and more comfortable. During my recent flights, there was nothing worth listening to, and the mini-screen was the wrong distance from my middle-aged eyes. It was too far to be seen comfortably with my reading glasses on and too small to be seen clearly without.

If you want comfort when flying, the best is to try to get on an unpopular flight, and then you can stretch out on empty seats.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006



Now that my Passover dishes are all
put away I can concentrate on the Kosher Cooking Carnival. First I must thank the two guest hosts Ezzie, who hosted the third KCC and Sarah, who hosted the fourth one. If anyone else is interested in hosting it, please let me know.

Here are the previous ones, the
4th, the 3rd, the 2nd and the 1st. I hope that I can do as well as the two guest hosts who certainly raised the level quite a few notches.

Pesach is over, and that means that next Pesach is a whole year away, but there really are a lot of good posts to give ideas for next year. And you know that you can eat matzah and other Pesach food all year long. Many people do. For that reason I'm not separating the posts by Pesach and not Pesach. So enjoy…

We'll start with something so simple and appetizing,
mensa-barbie's salade d'heritage. Next is Westbankmamma's charoset, an Israeli version of what she ate in the "old country." It's a great way to eat fruit and nuts, a power house of vitamins, minerals and deliciousness!

Maybe it's because of my Russian grandmothers, but I eat horseradish all year long, and
not the store-bought type. Dry Bones doesn't use the store-bought either; here's how he makes it. You can tell that he starts with the root by that cartoon.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder of
bread! Thanks, Mirty! And here are some guidelines about baking with yeast.

Sarah, last month's KCC hostess, gives us a great recipe that uses
pumpkin, rice and chicken; I must try it soon.

There's no reason to be afraid of making gefilte fish; here's the
secret. Check it out, since there's more than one version, some surprising, too.

From the multi-lingual Boris, here's a little movie showing us how to
peel a potato. Honestly, I haven't the vaguest idea what language they're speaking, but, the pictures are easy to follow.

Ezer K'Negdo provides a good "bow tie"
pasta with milk and mushrooms recipe. While we're talking pasta, try this easy way of making lasagna.

Kitniyot is a major Passover issue for Ashkenazim, "European" Jews; from Ya'aqov, a site with
rabbis who say that Ashkenazim should be liberated from the restrictions. There are some, like my daughter, who took a less controversial route; she married a Tunisian.

Crossing the Rubicon discusses
the serious side of food.

During the entire year, when my kids, who are all adults, discover an extra few slices of matzah, they demand
matzah cereal. The matzah they use in the cereal is just the ordinary kind. Adloyada tells us all about the real hand-made shmura matzah.

brisket recipe from Odd Quanta, which is a blog I hadn't met before. Give it a try.

This isn't an advertisement, but these
recipes from Norman's are too good to ignore. Try them at home.

Yes, that was from the steak place, but what about

This interesting post from the
Concurring Opinions tells us why some non-Jews like kosher and Jewish food.

If you've had too many eggs, but still want good cake, try these
recipes from recipezaar.

We should all have such "problems" as Ezzie, as he works out the
logistics for the Shabbat and Kiddush in honor of Elianna's birth. She's a lucky little girl!

From the one and only
Fred, here's real recipe, not just a link:

Magic Noodles
Or Anything with Pasta

This is one of my own creations, Batya, but it works and it tastes great, so what could be bad?

One can do this with any variety of ingredients to their own tastes.

Cook up noodles, or rice, 1 cup for 4 servings should be ample, unless they're "Fressers".
In a smallish pot, or pan boil approx. 1 cup of water, add a soupspoon of different soup mixes.
I usually use chicken, onion, and mushroom soup mixes. These will be the base for the sauce, and usually contain sufficient flavoring, and salt, so that no or little additional seasoning will be needed. When the soup mixes have turned into a thickish sauce, add a can of mushroom pieces, or champignon whole if you prefer. Cook for about 10 minutes and put aside to be added later.
In a pan, using either oil, {I prefer olive oil} or margarine, or butter or fat....your choice, fry up a good sized onion diced, a couple of green peppers, diced or sliced, about the same quantity of celery stalks, and if you like add a half can of corn, or peas, after the first raw ingredients have been fried to your liking. Some prefer well fried some slightly....again your choice.
Once finished with this basic mixture, because of the cottage cheese, one cup, and 3 eggs, you can't add wouldn't be kosher. But you can leave out the cottage and just use the eggs and add meat, or chicken pieces, already cooked. Hot dogs serve the purpose well.
Now put all the ingredients together, including the mushroom with soup sauce, and mix
Then put into a dish for the oven, and bake for about 40 minutes on a highish setting. I usually use 200-250.
Ready for serving, and I think you may find it surprisingly tasty, and let me know what your guests think.

That's it for this month! I hope that you've found something you want to try. Please let others know about the Kosher Cooking Carnival by mentioning it on your blog and sending the link to friends. Everyone's invited to contribute posts, and I thank you all for your support. Again to remind you that guest hosts are welcome.

The 6th KCC, will G-d willing, appear in another month, after the third Thursday in May. Please send your links either to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com or 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...

B'Te'avon! Hearty Appetite!

yeast for baking

Fresh yeast can be frozen; it's that smelly stuff, that sort of looks like grey plastelina, modeling clay.  If you freeze it, freeze it in small pieces to be thawed for baking, but it's more complicated to work with.
Shimrit has to be refrigerated.  It comes in little packets and can spoil in a week or two, so always check the date.  That's its name in Israel; I presume that there are all sorts of brand names in other places.
Dehydrated yeast has all sorts of brand names.  It lasts "forever."  It can be kept in a closet in a clean, dry glass jar.
Yeast and salt shouldn't mix.  I bake with the dehydrated yeast and these instructions are also good for the Shimrit and the fresh yeast.  First I put the sugar in a large bowl, then the yeast, (then the liquids for the fresh yeast.  When using fresh yeast, you have to wait until it starts to "bubble,)" but for the other yeasts, you don't.  Add some of the flour, and then on top of the flour add the salt and for the other yeast, then the liquid.  Then mix it all.  You can do them all like the fresh if you want.
It's easier than it sounds.

New Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Call regular phones from your PC and save big.

Monday, April 24, 2006

And tired, too

This morning I complained that I was sore, but now I'm tired. My Passover vacation is over. I taught this afternoon.

I walked this morning with friends, sort of in between the raindrops. It was crazy. First I waited out in the drizzle for my friends to show up. Finally one did, and the other invited us into her house, since the rain was strong. Just as her husband came home, the rain stopped, so we walked, and we walked. Then I went down to the grocery store.

Just a little shopping, but there was no ride home, so up I sculpted--too much.

Then I realized that I had better get ready to go to work. Made lunch and planned lessons. I also tried to find any tests I sort of thought I had given my students. I hadn't done anything for work the entire vacation. Got ready.

My shoes were wet, and my feet were cold, but I didn't want to wear my really good walking shoes, and I didn't want to wear boots, so I kept the wet shoes on.

Then I went to work, but it wasn't so simple. No ride out of Shiloh. Finally the bus came, but he wouldn't let me off by the T junction to Beit El, only Ofra, so I waited again. Finally a young mother with lots of carseats and a baby in the car. Room for one, me, as far as the junction. Then more waiting in the cold and rain. Finally a ride to Beit El and a walk to the yeshiva where I teach. I survived, and the trip home was easier.

And now I'm just too tired, so I'll go to bed.

So sore

My muscles are reminding me that I'm out of shape. Last night I played basketball. I was the oldest on the court by ten years, and more than half those playing were the age of my youngest, or younger. OK, we were only seven all together, but we used the full court, so I had to move.

Reaching for the ball's good stretching. I didn't score much; though I did get the first points in the game. When I gave some throwing suggestions to a newcomer, one of the others mentioned that I was the one who had taught her. I was the local school's girls gym teacher for thirteen years, and three out of the seven on the court were my former students. I'm older than their mothers, and there I was, sort of, keeping up with them, the kids.

A while ago, at the pool, another former student told me that it meant something to her to be in the pool with her "former gym teacher."

I never trained or studied, to be a gym teacher. I love to dance, and when various opportunities arose, I declared myself a "Creative Dance Teacher." That's how I began my career as a teacher, which evolved into "physical education."

My aim was to make my students enjoy physical activity. I never graded them on their talents and skills, considered that those were gifts from G-d. They were graded on remembering to wear sneakers and bring sweatpants for modesty's sake.

And the truth is that I was always horrid at sports. I ran slowly and never impressed anyone with my athletic talents. And the funny thing is that I'm a much better athlete at my present--almost old enough for all the senior discounts--age than I was in my teens.

So, the message is not to penalize the sports clutzes. The important thing is just to "do it." Exercise for fun not for winning.

And now I had better hurry, since I'm meeting friends for a walk around the neighborhood.

Adlai Stevenson

Gary took my suggestion and gave us a BOMS using Adlai Stevenson quotations. If you've never looked at a BOMS, I suggest you do now. Gary links the links to quotations from various people; each week someone else. Adlai Stevenson was the unsuccessful American presidential candidate who ran against Ike in the 1952 and 1956 elections.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

66 HH

Yes, have you guessed? It's Havel Havelim, the 66th! Great job, Perspectives of a Nomad! Now, one and all, take a gander!

The Hamburger, the rabbi and the lettuce

And the rabbi said:

"Lettuce entertain you."


Newsweek magazine has a rabbi, Marc Gellman; though he's not included in the edition they send to Israel. I discovered him in the internet edition that comes to my trusty pc1* for free.

His latest article, very pc2**, extolling the alleged virtues of vegetarianism, is off the mark.

Rabbi, There's no ham in the hamburger you're craving, so as long it's from a kosher animal, slaughtered and cleaned according to Jewish Law, you can eat it.

For over 25 years, I was a strict ovo-lacto-vegetarian; that's a vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy, but no fish, poultry and beef. I was perfectly healthy, had my two youngest, out of five children, during that time and also investigated the status of my "diet" in terms of Jewish Law. I was told that as long as I described it as "my desire and decision" and didn't give a "higher" moral status it was acceptable.

According to the Torah, the source of Jewish Law, one can neither add nor delete the commandments. Therefore, since we have commandments to eat meat, then it's permissible. Though one isn't forced to if there are medical reasons or it repulses him/her.

And if you're curious why I ceased being a vegetarian, to put it simply: I was hungry. Yes, and as soon as I returned to eating meat, fish and poultry I craved it in vast quantities. My body was starving for the nutrients found in no other foods. For me, being vegetarian, even with all of the whole grains, fruits and vegetables I had been eating, it was a form of mal-nutrition. G-d permits us to eat animal protein, because He created us with the physical need for it. So, you can eat that hamburger, and it's great with lettuce!

*pc= personal computer

**pc= politically correct

profile and sidebar

I made a couple of additions to the template to promote Kosher Cooking Carnival. This should make it easier to you to send me food posts; remember "anything kosher." And if you could, please blog reminders on your own blogs.

G-d willing, the 5th edition will be up this week.

Thanks and Shavua Tov!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The holy game

On tonight's TV sports roundup they brought up a very important issue. Should Israeli soccer players and fans be given Shabbat off to be a day of "rest?"

Apparently, there are players who want to "keep Shabbat" according to Jewish Laws. Many are "traditional" and pray daily. Even of those who aren't very observant of Jewish Law and tradition still kiss the "Mezuzah" as they enter the stadium to play. the program showed them praying and touching the mezuzah.

Also many fans are religious. Some just don't get to games, and others walk to the game if it's nearby. When the Betar Jerusalem team played at the YMCA stadium across from the King David Hotel, the lucky ones were able to watch from apartments in the neighborhood which overlooked the playing field. It was also possible to buy tickets in advance and see the game.

In the show, they even interviewed someone from an Arab team, who also wanted the weekends off.

Who knows what will be...

Friday, April 21, 2006

some misc.

Am I the only Jewish-Israeli blogger who has noticed a serious reduction in "hits" and "visitors" this past week? I figured it's the Passover vacation, and not everyone has as much computer access as I do. I hope it's not something personal, against me and mine.

Back at the ranch, as the saying goes, we got used to chametz really quickly, like traveling abroad and not suffering from jet-lag. Our first "taste" was at the Maimona, three doors down the road. We only got introduced to the custom since we moved to Shiloh. During our Jerusalem days, we had one good friend who is Moroccan, and they used to spend the holiday with relatives in another city, so we had no idea what we were missing. It's certainly added incentive to get all the kitchen back in order, so that we're free to go out at night.

The special treat at Maimona is the "mouflata," forgive my spelling. It's a very thin crepe, or pancake, which today would be called a "wrap." The host spreads honey and butter in it and then folds it. In recent years our neighbor does the spreading with special individualized "kavana," "intention/concentration" to give a blessing to the recipient. It's food for the body and the soul.

There are lots of goodies to eat, and all sorts of drinks, from Arak to milk. This year there was an irresistible vodka-strawberry drink. So the bottom line is, if you didn't go up a whole clothing size from the Passover food, you'll certainly get enough calories at the Maimona feast.

It's a tough year, this year, with Shabbat so soon after, but I know that out of Israel there isn't even a full day in between. That's it for now. So into the kitchen I go to cook some more, oy.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

as if I had nothing else to do

I took Willow Tree's advice and typed my name in go quiz.

Here it is:

Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator

Do you think it's me?

Women's Health Update

There's an "old joke" that complains that if breast cancer affected more men, there would be better treatment, diagnosis and preventative methods. I'm sure that mamographies would be more pleasant*. (The full text of the famous "mamography preparation" is at the end of this post.)

Maybe women are getting more into the "research business" or "doctoring," but recently, more attention is being paid to "women's medical problems."

Here's a recent article about a better drug for preventing breast cancer. And even more interesting, is this article which explains that males and females have different types of heart disease, which is something doctors are only recently beginning to discover.

OK, it's not quite that bad, but it's no picnic. On the upside, many women thank it for alerting them to cancer and thereby saving their lives.

*Preparing for a Mammogram (R)Joke Submitted By: Anonymous For women - Helpful info. For men - For the woman in your life.
Many woman are afraid of their mammogram, but there is no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam and doing the following practice exercises, you will be totally prepared. And best of all, you can do these simple practice exercises right in the privacy of your own home.
Exercise No. 1:
Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Place one bookend on each side of your breast. Press the bookends together as hard as you can. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet again next year and do it again. Repeat all steps on the other breast.
Exercise No. 2:
Open your refrigerator door and insert one breast between the door and the main box. Have one of your strongest friends(or a stranger) slam the door shut as hard as possible and lean on the door for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds. Don't breathe. REPEAT again in case the first time wasn't effective enough. REPEAT all steps on the other breast.
Exercise No. 3:
Visit your garage at 3:00 a.m. when the temperature of the concrete floor is just perfect (anywhere below 32 degrees). Take off all your warm clothes and lay comfortably on the floor with one breast wedged tightly under the rear tire ofthe car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until the breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Turn over and repeat for the other breast.
CONGRATULATIONS! Now you are properly prepared for your mammogram.

A different way to count the Omer

If you need "something else" to help you count the "Omer, the 49 days between the second night of Passover and the Shavuot Holiday, try this one. It's more a "reward" than a reminder, but it does remind us which "positive characteristic" we should be concentrating on each day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Back to the chametz

Chametz is the "forbidden food" over the Passover holiday. In order to be assured that we're not eating any, even in the most minuscule amounts, we use different dishes, pots, etc. It's a whole process, enjoyed and exploieted by the most obsessive in the tribe, but honestly, it's not all that horrible. It's fun to have special dishes, tablecloths, etc for one week a year.

And now the holiday has ended here in Israel; it continues another day in the rest of the Jewish world. Once it was night, with stars in the sky, my sons and I began the job of changing the kitchen back to its usual. They did a great job. Only one casualty, the glass part of my coffee maker. I presume it will be possible to replace it, since it's so easily breakable.

I'm tired. Good night.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Passive Solar Cleaning

No, this is neither a typo nor a joke. I'm serious.

When I first became religious, I don't remember anyone ever mentioning that there are all sorts of "holiday-like" restrictions during "chol hamoed,' the "intermediate days" of Passover and Succot. Only in recent years did I refrain from laundering and crafts. This year my hands are itching to crochet, but I've managed to control myself, by eating.

There's something that must be cleaned, but for two reasons, I haven't done it. I'm talking about the little glass cups that hold the candles I light for Shabbat and the holiday. The wax that remains is less of a problem than the piece of metal from the bottom of each small candle. My "cleaning equipment" is in my "chometz" closet, and I don't have enough spares for all of the candles I must light, plus any guests.

I thought hard and came up with the perfect solution:

Passive Solar Cleaning!

Yes, by placing the glass cups outside in the sun, on the shiny side of some aluminum foil, the wax melts, and I can take it and the metal out easily.

Chag Sameach!!

Waiting for the hardcopy

It really isn't fair of Newsweek, whetting our appetite with some great descriptions but not including a single example. I'm talking about the review of the exhibit of pictures of Queen Elizabeth in honor of her 8th birthday.

I wonder...

David Ansen is one of the veteran, at least I remember seeing his movie reviews ever since we began getting the magazine, Newsweek writers. I've always wondered if he's one of the Ansen brothers of Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY. There was one, super-highly intelligent, in my class in PS 46 and I think also in JHS 74, for a number of years. There were three or four brothers, if I'm not mistaken. I have a vague memory that they once put a show on for the neighborhood kids.

I tried googling his name, but there was nothing personal about him. It's amazing how difficult it is to get information on famous people, while if you google my name you easily get oodles of stuff. There's the same phenomenon when googling Jon Avnet, the producer/director. He and his wife, Barbara Brody, were in my high school class. I know that they're married from a friend, but he's very discreet about his family life; no personal interviews or google would show them. No, they aren't from Bayside. I moved from there after the 7th grade. It's easy for me to be open, since nobody's interested.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The rich get richer, and the poor....

The haves and the have notes are growing further apart according to Walter Kirn, in The New York Times, and I thought that it was just here in Israel. Apparently it's an international force.

As he wrote, a million dollars are not considered much any more; you need a few to get a "nice home." The houses are getting bigger as the families are getting smaller. There are more kitchen appliances, but people eat out more. Even though more money is spent on fitness, obesity is ballooning. Many people have more than one home, but they spend more time traveling and staying in hotels.

We live in a strange new world, but while some people have so much, too much, others are struggling with their minimal expenses, and I'm not talking about upgrading their laptops.

Cookin' good

Yes, I know that it's poor grammar to say "cookin' good," but I was trying to attract your attention.

Now that I have it, I'd like to remind you that the fifth Kosher Cooking Carnival is simmering on the stove. So please send me your kosher food posts ASAP, either to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com or 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..

Here are some ideas, for your posting pleasure:
  • what's your first chametz after Pesach?
  • Pesach cooking hints and tricks
  • seasonal kosher cooking--I'm trying to take into account that we have participants from both hemispheres
  • recipes
  • cookbook reviews
  • funny food annecdotes--as long as they're kosher!

And remember lots of recipes and cooking ideas can be found on the Carnival of the Recipes! So take a gander and try them out!

That's not me!

Gary illustrated one of my BOMS links with a picture which isn't of me! I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. When I sent him that link, I didn't imagine that such a picture would grace my article.

There's lots of great stories, but please don't look at the picture, which may be difficult, because he also gave me "place of honor!" You can look at the picture illustrating my other post. It's more respectable. And of course, you must read all of the posts he links.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring weather

In Israel, the Passover Holiday is "spring." And spring can be almost anything, in terms of weather. One day we're in summer clothes, and another, it's pouring and then again. That's spring. Usually by the end of Passover the weather has begun to stabilize, but don't count on it. Sand storms and mud showers can, ok not every year, continue until the month of Sivan, even when it's in June. There have been thunderstorms and I even have memories of hail for Independence Day, which is generally in May. And you should know that in this part of the world, it doesn't rain in the summer, only in the winter.

The Purim Holiday, a month before Passover has even more weather variety. On very rare occasions, the weather is summary. I specifically remember 1973, before my second daughter was born; we dressed the big one in a summer dress. More times than that it has snowed. Rain is frequent, but sometimes the sun shines, just perfect for marching the kids around in their Purim costumes.

Israel is always susceptible to drought, so I stopped taking an umbrella, trusting that Murphy will do the right thing and have it rain. I'm a patriot, you see.

Since we can't control the weather, we may as well enjoy it!

half finished

The Passover Holiday, Pesach, is more than half over. Here in Israel it's exactly a week long, seven days, and began last Wednesday night, so if I'm counting correctly we've passed the half-way mark. It's now Sunday morning.

I got up nice and early and cooked and packed some of my giant Matzah Breis. They use up a lot of matzah and egg. This year I made them without milk, since son #1 has finally admitted that maybe it's the milk that causes his "sensitive stomach." A friend who spent many years eating only macrobiotic, which is non-dairy, says that all sorts of chronic conditions cleared, like toe nail fungus, when she kept to the diet. I guess many of us would be a lot healthier if only we'd give up milk. That's rather "sacrilegious" to those of us of my generation, who were raised drinking milk all the time. Kosher parents were accused of child-abuse, since they wouldn't give their kids a tall glass of milk after meat meals. Now the experts are blaming milk for all sorts of chronic ills, like acne and digestive disturbances.

Back to the matzah...
We seem to be at least half way through the two giant boxes. Each box is 2.5 kilo, which is about 5.5 lbs. One box is regular "white flour," and the other is "shmura" (guarded) of "whole wheat flour." I cook with the regular and find the shmura irresistable for eating, eating with butter, jam, cheeses, whatever, just yummy. They are the machine-made, not the exotic round, hand-made which looks and tastes like charred cardboard.

Somehow we ended up with too much jam. I only buy the "natural," without food-coloring etc. Instead of just some apricot and strawberry, we also have black currant and cherry. We always aim to finish at least one jar, so that it can be washed out before the Holiday is over, and then that jar gets filled the following year with our "Let's see how tough you are--chrain," aka horseraddish.

Here's the horseradish recipe:

  1. take a root of the stuff
  3. peel (and save the peels for the garden if you have one)
  4. cut into pieces and put into a food processor or coffee grinder--during the year I use the food processor with the chopping blade; on Pesach we have a "coffee grinder" attachment for the Moulinex blender
  5. put in a jar and add some vinegar, so it won't dry out

I eat it all year long. It's really good on my morning omelets, also good on fish, meat and poultry. In some parts of the world, it's considered medicinal. The first Passover after the big Russian aliyah about 15 years ago, some new immigrant neighbors discovered that we had good chrain, and a few came over for a medicinal whiff. When it's really fresh, all you need is to open the jar and stand back!

The house emptied out for the day, and the weather is strange, but that's "spring" here in Israel.

Rant Away!

I found a new carnival, and they found me! It's the Carnival of the Rants, or kvetches, complaints. This is serious stuff and nicely presented, so take a look!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Dangerous and irresponsible

Normal air travel is not faster than sound, nor does it subject the passenger to twice the force of gravity. Pilots of planes that fast and astronauts are rigorously tested first, before being accepted in such positions. None of these precautions exist for those being admitted to the "thrill" rides in the most exciting and daring amusement parks, though some offer rides that simulate the speed and gravity, putting the body under the same stress. In the past year two people died after being on one of those rides in Disney World.

IMHO, it's definitely dangerous and irresponsible to have such rides, especially since it's impossible to conduct proper medical exams on all of those who want to "enjoy themselves."

holiday time

It's Jewish Holiday time, and one of the problems is that more people than ever haven't been checking their email, so I get more letters back. The problem is "over full mailboxes."


I can't believe that it's Friday morning, and I must get the house ready for Shabbat, just after the first day of Passover. Of course, if I was in New York, or other places out of Israel, I'd be in the middle of a three-day yontiff (holiday-Shabbat restrictions) which would mean that I wouldn't be on the computer and there wouldn't have been a crowd you young men watching the Maccabee game last night.

And my life would be very different, etc, etc.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

a hodge podge of things

Let's see if I succeed this year. In recent years with the help of the internet, email reminders, I've counted all 49 of the Omer. There's another reminder service from the OU. So far the other ones I signed up for didn't show in my inbox. They may be on NY time, which doesn't help. The OU one has two time options, and the early one is perfect for Israel.

Now for something more pedestrian, and what's more pedestrian than shoes? I wear mine flat, flat and comfortable. I like the feel of "padded barefeet," with the padding securely strapped. I like flexible, so most "sports shoes" are too bulky and stiff for me. So this article about shoes that could make me almost as tall as my sons is not sending me to the shoe store. I can't wear normal 2" heels, but to think that there are women endangering their health and all those bones in their feet to wear heel-platform shoes that put them 7" higher than G-d made them... The writer even admits that they're a terrible strain to walk in, and one needs a "back-up" pair available, when there's a need to walk more than a few feet. So why do it?

When we were in New York for his neice's wedding, we spent Shabbat in New Rochelle, the Young Israel of Scarsdale, and my husband couldn't get over how many women were carrying shoes. In the synagogue they wore "nice shoes," but since most of them had to walk a distance, they walked in sneakers. Yes, men don't have that problem. Does it make me a feminist to wear flat shoes all the time? I'm not willing to suffer just to be in fashion.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, we had a wonderful Passover seder. My husband and the kids did a great job taking turns, and nobody complained that my cooking was bad.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

anything but wasting food

In my neighborhood we give the food away, too. That's the food we can't own on Passover. Dessert type stuff we give to the "Pre-Pesach Camps," where children are taken care of so the rest of the family can clean. There are also charities that accept certain types of food and then "sells it" and after the holiday donates it to needy families. This is also the season when the neighborhood dogs and cats eat well, since some of the extra food is just perfect for them.

In New York, apparently the monkeys get it.

thanks Boris

Just a few things...

Here's the carnival report, as of 7am, just hours before the "seder," festive and fully programed Passover feast begins.

Passover, Pesach, is also known as the "Holiday of Freedom, so it's fitting that we're in the latest Carnival of Liberty. Enjoy reading the variety of posts. And considering that Passover is a very expensive holiday, it's just perfect timing to be included in Festival of Frugality! Read it for some very practical ways to save money.

I don't have "all that much to do," which are famous last words, most probably it means that there will be some unpleasant surprise or miss-calculation. Yesterday I cooked the main courses and soup and Gefilte Fish. I also boiled the eggs and did tons of laundry; even more surprising was that I folded and sorted it already. There's another wash already in, and at most, I plan only two more. The light grey sky I see through the den window isn't very encouraging, but maybe it'll brighten and dry out enough to dry today's batches.

There's already broiled salmon for today's lunch, and I have to make side-dishes. My husband and son #1 will do the charoset, chrain (that's the horseraddish) and clean the lettuce leaves.

We're only having our three youngest, and daughter #3 is a small eater, so we really don't need much food. But if I don't make a ton, they'll think I'm "cheap" and lazy, so off I go to the kitchen.

But just before then, just another reminder to post and send me your links about kosher food, kosher cooking and kosher eating for the Kosher Cooking Carnival!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Secret of Gefilte Fish

The secret is that it's so easy to make, that I can't understand why people buy ready-made.

Mine is made already. Here's how:

I did a small batch, with about a half a kilo, 500 grams, that's just over a pound; say a pound and a quarter of ground fish. Any ground fish, carp, white, pike, either from a fish store or the freezer section of your local supermarket. The earth isn't going to swallow you up if you don't use white, or pike or whatever it says in your cookbook. In Israel we have different fish than the ones used in New York, and it's fine.

First slice an onion and put it in the pot (4 quart or liter) with water, about 1/3 the way up. Add some salt, pepper and sugar.
When it's heating up, grate, or blenderize or food processor or by hand another onion.
Add 2 eggs (done together in the blender).
mix, add more salt, pepper and sugar
then add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup matzah meal

now for a secret, meatballs are done the same way, but with ground beef, or chicken or turkey or any combo

double spoon drop them into the boiling liquid
take a spoonful and round off with the second, then use the second to push it off the first into the "sauce" and while mentioning sauce, it could be tomato sauce for either meatballs or "Italian Gefilte Fish"

Top with sliced carrots. As soon as it starts boiling up, lower heat and cook (covered) for an hour.

See, it wasn't that hard. And you can "color" them by adding carrots for orange, or parsley for green.


off and...

I must just turn this off, since I overslept, since I went to bed after 4am after changing the dishes to Passover ones with my #1 son and then after he went to bed I covered the kitchen surfaces with "faux granite" contac paper, (though I really wanted cheerful flowers or butterflies like last year, but there weren't any like that in the stores I checked) and aluminum foil on places, since I was afraid I wouldn't have enough to cover the high chair tray, and this is quite a long sentence which probably doesn't make sense to anybody who hasn't done this sort of thing.

So I really better find something safer and more productive for my "breaks." But in the meantime, another reminder to send posts about food, kosher food, to me for the Kosher Cooking Carnival. The fifth, yes, 5th, will G-d willing be posted soon after Passover, so post and send those links in!

And now, off and...

Monday, April 10, 2006

All the better to sing to you, my dear...

Pesach is a great holiday for those of us who love music. The seder is a great opportunity for a family song fest. Just the trick to keep everyone awake and cheerful. I used to order/encourage my kids to interrupt my husband's recitation of the Haggadah. They were required to sing any words in any tune they knew.

Enough with the kvetching...
Heichal HaNegina has a fantastic post chock full of links to music for the Passover prayers and all, that's definitely worth checking out.

Music has another place of great importance for Pesach. Some of us must have the right "background music" to clean by. I hope that my neighbors enjoyed the "Rock 'n Roll" hits I had on. At least they haven't complained yet.

Time to heat of the last of the chametz left-overs for dinner.

Oscar's BOMS

This week's BOMS is "hosted" by Oscar Wilde. I first became "acquainted" with him when we watched the Lily Langtry serial on TV. Maybe Gary will have Lily host a future edition.

In the meantime, take a gander...

Free Sefira Reminder

It's that season again, when I prepare a bunch of computerized tricks for remembering to count the Omer. It starts the second night of Passover and ends just before the Shavuot holiday.

When I googled it I found this, which looks interesting. It's a download, and offers updates, so I hope that next year it will show up automatically. That would make life easier.

For a couple of years our cell phone reminded us, but I think it cost money. Actually, I only started succeeding in remembering to count each of the 49 nights once I drafted the computer and phone. I tried other reminders which didn't work.

If anyone has some good ones, I'd appreciate if you'd comment them into this.

Thanks and Tizku b'Mitzvot,

Sunday, April 09, 2006

carnival of recipes, no joke

It's worth taking out your reading glasses for this wild trip to comic land for Carnival of the Recipes!

You've never seen anything like it!

HH 65

Here's the 65th Havel Havelim! No doubt, this one is gevaldik! There's so much to it. Just the thing to read while taking breaks from cleaning or when on Pesach Vacation.

Chag Kasher V'Sameach to all!


Such timing. Here we are just a couple of days before Pesach, and there's an article in the New York Times about housework and how it somehow still falls on the woman.

Getting ready for the Passover holiday has become an orgy of spring cleaning run by paranoid obsessives. I'm convinced that if the rabbis who decide what's "clean enough" had been doing all the cleaning, their instructions would be different.
There are very famous instructions by Rabbi Aviner of Beit El, how to get your kitchen ready in less than a day, but that takes for granted that the house and especially the kitchen are sparkling clean all the time. Or at least you should follow certain guidelines all year.

I never let my kids walk around eating, except maybe an apple. That worked for over twenty years; now they're all adults and insist that I'm just lazy. Nobody else has that rule!!!
I've always hated cleaning, and terrified of finding ants and crumbs all over. Of course it doesn't always help, but it does make things easier. If it's just a mess and not food, it's not as bad.

It doesn't matter how the work is divided among various family members, but the big responsibility is always the wife's, or the "lady of the house." When men divide it up, announcing "halachik," that means Jewish Law, standards, they frequently become the supervisors, not the dusters and scrubbers. At best they move the furniture, so the "little lady" or young kids can get to the grime (or chametz) more easily.

I'm sure that I'm not the only woman who feels that when someone walks in they take for granted that it's my, the wife's fault, if there's a mess. Even if I would put a sign up saying: "My husband washed the floor before Shabbat and he avoids the entrance, so don't blame me." Really, who would really blame him? They'd say: "Aren't you lucky that your husband helps!"

So, decades after Feminism began, nothing's new, and nothing's changed, and I really should be scrubbing behind the couch. But at my age, I need to take breaks. And I really need some hand cream.

I've been right, of course

Once I discovered home-viewing on my vcr-dvd, I felt more than fully justified only watching movies at home. When my husband and I were dating we went to lots of movies in the better cinemas of Manhattan. We've certainly changed a lot since then, but according to Nora Ephron the movie theaters have changed even more!

If you have the patience to wait, or if you're as out of the loop as I am in terms of "recent hits," you won't mind waiting until the movies are on sale, as opposed to for sale. The difference is major in terms of price. But if you would be buying for a family of five, or even four, or sharing with a couple of friends, you can buy a newly released dvd for less than what the tickets would have cost you. And that could be just weeks after the movie hits the theaters.

Once a movie is considered "old," it can be found for $10-15 in many stores. When I was in New York, in January, I found a store that reduced prices according to the number of films you bought, which made it pay to stock up periodically, rather than frequently. When we were in the states for a quick visit late March, there was no time to "shop," but we discovered a store at Newark Airport, "Virgin," which had a basket of vintage movies and tv shows on dvd for rock-bottom prices. We spent less than $10- each for most. Considering the poor selection of anything to watch on TV, especially ours, the dvd's are a real treat. We even found the old Disney "Pinocio," the perfect gift for our granddaughters. We bought two Alfred Hitchcock collections and some old "romances," four disk special, which includes Vivien Leigh in Anna Karenina!

Of course Never say never, but I feel perfectly justified, right as usual, in saying that I don't plan on going to "the movies" in a cinema again.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Lazy Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those foods with a "mystique!" One of those foods I've always believed best eaten in a restaurant, or bought from the freezer department. I have these nightmarish memories of trying to cook the large flat pasta and then somehow layering them into an inedible mush. I had heard rumors that you don't have to pre-cook the pasta, but I took the easy way out and just didn't buy any.

When I came back home after visiting my parents this summer, I discovered that my husband bought a box of lasagna pasta. Months went by, and it stayed in the closet. A couple of weeks ago, I did an experiment. I spread a layer on the bottom of a pan, then put some chopped meat and flavoring and tomato sauce and then another layer of the pasta and baked it. Well, I didn't cover it, so the top was brown, like roasted cardboard, but otherwise ok.

On Friday I tried again, since I wanted to finish the pasta before the Passover Holiday, when I can't have any in the house.

Again, I put a layer on the bottom of a pan.
Then I spread some cottage cheese.
Then I layered sliced onions.
Then slices of yellow cheese.
Topped it off with another layer of the pasta.
Since I had lots of ketchup left, I poured lots on top,
Added a few cups of water.
Covered it all with foil and baked in a medium oven.

Should I keep you in suspense?

It was a success. Everyone loved it, taking more and more slices. It's real easy to make, so I call it "Lazy Lasagna !"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Much to do

sky overcast
wash to hang and more to do
repairman, G-d willing, on Sunday to replace heating element

lots to clean
no real help

tutor job in an hour

so must get off computer, shower, get dressed, doven, eat

and guests for Shabbat
it is Shabbat HaGadol, the great Shabbat the abused one before Pesach

It's called the great to remember that it is Shabbat, regardless of what a mess the house is and how we really don't want to take a break from Pesach preparations
but Shabbat takes precedence over all the holidays. Only Yom Kippur can cancel Shabbat. It's the only fast that can, the only day that can. Other fast days are postponed to Sunday, or done early from Friday to Thursday.

So we must remember that it is going to be Shabbat, before Pesach, and after there's plenty of time for what's really necessary.

Shabbat HaGadol Shalom!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

And what else is new?

Just a few things...

First of all, miracles do happen, or anything for money--
We've been in Israel for almost 36 years, and for most of them, Pesach (the Passover holiday which requires major food changes) was a very difficult time. It is a school vacation, just when you'd like to buy a "treat" or meal to eat out, and there was no way. Restaurants which served the food we eat didn't exist, and it was hard to even buy snack foods. I always had to "brown-bag it," schlepp everythign along. I became an expert at packing my matzah brei and bringing it everywhere. Things have sure changed. This year, there will be lots of kosher for Passover restaurants. Click on the eluna listings. I guess it's good business, even though this year there are few full days to eat out.

And now for some carnival news:
The latest Carnival of the Vanities is chock full of great posts. Take a gander.
Read the 12th edition of Carnival of the Feminists for an amazing variety of posts.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More about Shaare Marpe

Today at the pool I was talking to one of my "swim" buddies, whom I only know from the water... She was telling me about her "special needs daughter." I asked if her daughter goes to the activities run by Shalva, where my sons volunteered when in high school.

"No," she said. "My daugher goes to Shaare Marpeh every day from 5-7pm. She gets dinner and speech therapy. It is really wonderful."

I couldn't believe it. In less than 24 hours I heard two stories about this charity, which I had never heard of before.

Agudat Shaare Marpeh
34 Eli HaCohen Street
Tel. 02-537-8388
fax 02-538-9994