Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chag Shavuot Sameach and Shabbat Shalom

If I don't get to post much before Sunday, don't worry. I'm just busy with the holiday.

Best-made plans...

If you're one of the lucky ones to receive and read Sharon Katz's Voice's Magazine, you know that I started writing about the "endangered yishuvim." And if you don't already get the magazine, find a way to get it, since this is only the "coming attractions" for our next big feature.

Even before Ehud Olmert was the de jure Prime Minister of Israel, before the recent elections, when he was just the de facto, acting one, he announced to all the world that his aim was to destroy most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. His Resettlement Plan envisioned the forced evacuation, the exile of 70,000 law-abiding Jewish Israeli citizens and transferring them into ghettos, in what he euphemistically calls "settlement blocks."

Now, 70,000 people may be small potatoes for China, the former USSR or the United States, but for Israel, it's well over 1%, that's 1 out of 100, or more accurately about 13 out of every 1,000 of the Jews in Israel and a higher proportion of Israeli children.

I call it the Resettlement Plan, but Olmert and his public relations agency have been looking for more obscure names, "Convergence," now called "Realignment." The lists have also been changing, but once included, the danger remains. As long as even one community is G-d forbid slated for destruction, we're all in danger. You can't be a little bit pregnant. And even more important, the entire viability of the State of Israel is endangered by the plan, no matter what he calls it!

First I wrote about Shiloh, and then Sharon and I decided that Elon Moreh-Kedumim should be next. We checked out public transportation and decided that it would be really easy to get to Kedumim, so we notified the office there that we were coming, and here's how we got there... (for the actual visit, you'll have to read the next issue of Voices.)

It was all planned so well, and if you know us, you have no doubts.

There's a 473 bus from Jerusalem to Kedumim that passes Shiloh. What could be better. The plan was simple. Sharon would get on in Jerusalem, and I would join her on the way.

A few minutes before she was to be on the bus, I called her, and she was stuck in traffic and would be missing the bus. So I checked on the internet and discovered that there's another bus which takes a different route, which leaves a bit later, just in time for her. Great, but then I looked at the stops on the 473, and Shiloh wasn't listed. The bus passes by on the main road and doesn't stop in. So I checked if at least it stops in Eli, but not there either. There was no way for me to catch the bus to Kedumim.

OK, not the end of the world, I'd "tremp," hitchhike. There was only one problem. I don't really know where Kedumim is, and it's very dangerous to "tremp" if you don't know where you're going. But nothing was going to stop me. I told Sharon I'd meet her and she should enjoy the scenery.

I packed up and started down to the bus stop. On the way I saw a neighbor: "Do you know where Kedumim is?" I asked. She very patiently tried to explain. Good, now I knew that there were two ways to go. Wonderful.

Down at the bus stop I saw some young neighbors, army age. "Does anyone know how to get to Kedumim?" Things began looking up, since one of them was going there, too. He hoped to catch the 473 in Ariel, but it was looking rather "iffy." Was I glad to have found a partner.

Eventually there was a ride to Tel Aviv, and we got in. Then we discussed where to get off. The driver was willing to take us towards Tapuach, but we settled on Ariel, but by then it seemed like it was too late. I remembered once seeing a sign to Kedumim a couple of miles past Ariel, and that's where we got off. Yes, on the side of a road, no bus stop, but not alone. After a few minutes a truck came with gas canisters in the back. It was going to Emanuel, about 10 kilometers from Kedumim. Maybe we could catch the bus or a ride there. So we squeezed into the front seat.

Eventually we got close to Emanuel and asked the driver to let us off at a bus stop. He didn't know where to go, but suddenly at the gate, we asked the guard, and there was the bus. Luckily the door was open, since the driver didn't really want us to enter--it wasn't an official stop. "But you have to let us in, you didn't go into Shiloh." My companion told the driver. So we got in and paid.

After a long tour of Emanuel, we finally got to Kedumim, and I asked the driver how many stops there. "A few," he answered. Gevalt! I didn't know where to to get off, since Sharon hadn't given me the number of our contact. "Please, just let me off in the center someplace," I begged the driver. He left me at some bus stop, which at least was in the shade.

I finally reached Sharon and then the contact and managed to identify where I was. Sharon was still on her way on the other bus, and thank G-d we met up and had a great time, and you'll just have to read all about it in the magazine.

summer's here

Hot! Hot and hotter!

The pool here opens next week, so today's the last time for the next few months when I must travel for a swim. But the local one has neithter a sauna nor steam room. Well, if I want a sauna, I just have to pull up my livingroom shades for the morning!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

There's a picture in my "profile!"

Thank you Sarah!

The photo was taken by my sister. Guess which artist...

Penn Station

I'm a New Yorker in a time warp. I'm one of the few who doesn't notice that the "twin towers" are gone, since I moved to Israel in 1970, before they were built. They were never part of my visual memory, and I never went there, even during my periodic visits back.

So I was rather shocked to read that Penn Station has to be totally redone. In my New York, the present Penn Station, sans the Gimbel's Department Store, in the basement of the new Madison Square Garden, is a recently constructed modern building.

This is all so disorienting for me. I haven't gotten used to the present layout, still expecting to see that "Nedicks" just next to the 7th Avenue subway entrance. At least I can now use the well-kept (compared to my memories) "ladies' room" in the special waiting area of the Long Island Railroad. And of course I still wait for the window displays at Gimbels.

During a recent visit I got lost in the giant discount store not far from the LIRR. All I wanted was a pair of stockings. The most traumatic by far has been learning how to use all those ticket machines; though I'm proud to say that I even learned how to buy with my charge card. It was worth the challenge, considering the weight of the dollar coins, used as change.

I know that the Museum of Modern Art has been moving all over the place, just to confuse us all--but isn't that "modern art?" Is Penn Station really next?

Monday, May 29, 2006


I'm totally awed by those who actually do more than just post to their blogs and add a few things to the sidebar. I haven't even figured out how to have a picture in the "profile" which can join my comments. I've tried, but even though I know how to post pictures, it's different on the profile.

And then there are those with special "banners." "And some change colors. Oy do I feel stupid.

Carnival time!

There's quite a few to tell you about.

I found a new one the Carnival of family life, which is very family oriented and nicely presented.

Families must eat, so here's this week's Carnival of the Recipes.

And don't forget food for thought at BOMS!

Enjoy, and please tell them that I sent you...

Digital Question

Never one to follow fads, buy something new "just because," or throw out working equipment, now it looks like I'm going to have to take a very traumatic plunge.

go digital?

My camera, which isn't all that old, is giving me trouble. There are times I click on just the most perfect shot....and nothing happens. So I click and click again.

I've taken some gorgeous pictures with that camera, which have been sold and hung as art. Not to brag, but I am a good photographer. I waste very little film, but recently, I've been wasting more, since it's not working well. Also, I discovered that I don't have the focus flexibility I really need. It's great for landscapes, distance etc, but it's not the perfect camera for getting photographing the grandchildren. Now, tell me, what's more important, the sunrise or Hallelie and Porat's smiles?

Now for the problems:
  • I don't like the quality of digital prints.
  • the time-lag when shooting with the digital is toooo loooong
  • composing via the mini-screen is difficult for middle-aged eyes
  • and the view-finder isn't all that comfortable to use
  • there are too many small pieces and stages to worry about, like those little memory chips and the battery power
  • so it's harder to be spontaneous and just keep my camera in a bag to be pulled out whenever
  • I'll have to learn a whole new system to use on the computer, instead of just handing the film to the guy in the shop

So, if you have some recommendations for me, please don't be shy. I need all the help I can get.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Shiloh Pitt

Shiloh Pitt, sounds like a hard fruit. I'm not talking about the New York basketball player, 6’2” soph Shiloh Pitt. It's also the name of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's baby girl!

I wonder if either of those named Shiloh Pitt will ever make it to the real, the genuine Shiloh.

Recipes #92 and HH #71

yes, mamma's done it

Westbank Mamma presents Havel Havelim #71!
She cooked up a good one, but if you want recipes, check out the Carnival of recipes.

And don't forget to send in your kosher food posts and recipes for next the Kosher Cooking Carnival, which will be hosted by Sadie's Luncheonette .

Not Just Meatballs

A couple of months ago, my son #1 and husband told me not to make chulent ever again.
Nobody likes your chulent! It's horrible!

Chulent is a slow-cooking stew, specially developed to suit the Jewish Laws of Shabbat (Sabbath) which forbids cooking. It's first cooked before Shabbat and then it stays on a very low burner, hotplate or crockpot until served either late morning or early afternoon.

Now, I've tried various chulent methods--don't call them "recipes"
#1 Take any left-over cooked meat or poultry and cook it up with potatoes and water.
optional-add any of the following:
onions, carrots, garlic, beans etc. Then leave it on low heat "forever," until the next day.
#2 Braise some chunks of beef; add potatoes, water and any of the following:
onions, garlic cloves, barley, root vegetables, cooked or canned beans, tomato paste...

Ok, I agreed to stop cooking it. No big deal, since I'm not a chulent-eater myself, but what should I do with the goulash beef bought specially for it, sitting in my freezer? That's how I came up with "Not Just Meatballs."

  • I took the cubes of beef and braised them in vegetable oil,
  • added some cloves of garlic and chunks of onion.
  • Then I added tomato paste, water and some red wine.
  • While it was cooking up I made the meatballs out of ground turkey
  • for about a pound (500 grams) I added: an egg, a diced onion, spices and matza meal (you can use bread crumbs or flour)
  • I mixed it until it was evenly distributed
  • by then the beef and sauce were boiling
  • so I "double-spoon" (for health reasons I avoid touching raw meat whenever possible) dropped the "balls" into the broth
  • then I lowered the flame to simmer and let it all cook for about an hour

It was a great hit! You can add vegetable to the "stew," but since I was serving three vegetable dishes, I didn't.

*hint--make sure your pot is large enough, or you'll have a real mess.

swell, cut and...

I was rather surprised this morning when my feet had to be squeezed rather uncomfortably into my shoes. OK, after creaming them to try to reduce all of the dead, cracked skin, I put on thickish cotton socks to protect the shoes, but I figured that they should be fine in the morning. Honestly I don't suffer from swollen feet, it's just that the size changes ever so slightly from season to season etc. I've also been wearing sandals for the past week or so, since it had gotten really hot. If I take a walk, it will have to be in different footwear.

After decades, yes, decades of having my hair tied with a strong metal clasp under my hair covering, I'm thinking of having a real hair cut. Of course, my hair will still be covered, but I won't need to use that clip. I'm not thinking of one of those "crew cuts" so popular nowadays, just very short in the back, and leaving enough to be pinned on the sides. Ever since I got married, I've cut my own hair, since the edges don't show. Now, I'll have to call my neighbor who does it professionally. The only problem is if I decide to grow it out again, there's a difficult "in between" stage.

Now, should I call my neighbor to ask if "we're walking?" I have other plans today, so if we walk, it should be very soon.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Should we?

For years we didn't even have a fan, and we can get the house warm in the winter with the simplest heaters. But recently the heat has been just too much. More and more Israelis, even in the "cool mountains" are having airconditioners installed.

Should we?

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Family Bed or Co-sleeping

When I was a young mother, we were chastised by the medical establishment for feeding (breast or bottle) more frequently than every four hours, unless the baby was premature or severely undersized. People like me who refused to obey were threatened with all sorts of "problems." We were also warned not to hold our babies and young children too much, or they'd be "too dependent." Too much "attention" could and would spoil the children. That's what the experts told us.

And the greatest sin of course was to take the baby to your bed to sleep! Gevalt! You can't imagine what a serious crime that was.

When my first two were little, I didn't listen to the feeding rules, since luckily I was influenced by a nursing friend, who trusted her baby to tell her when it was time to eat. But nighttime was harder. I remember getting up with my second and sitting in the rocking chair nursing here in the middle of the night miserable and cold. By the time I had my third, things changed. First of all I was abroad and didn't have my rocking chair. Second I didn't have the energy to stay awake to feed her seated, so I just took her to be with us and discovered some very easy ways to feed and sleep. By the time the other two came along, they were perfectly welcome in the "family bed" until they didn't need it.

So I'm glad that the "experts" are starting to wake up to the advantages of flexible sleeping arrangements.

Old News, so what

It seems like the Clinton marriage is in the news again, though I don't see why it's important. All the important dirt has been sifted through in the past. What it boils down to is that she was always the brains of the outfit, and for whatever reason, she was willing to live with his "flings" and to play second fiddle.

Monica got the most publicity, but it seems like Clinton was a lot like JFK, and who knows if the Kennedy machine could have had been able to keep his secret life secret if he had lived longer. Times were different then, and the media was more cooperative.

I've never been a Clinton fan, neither hers nor his, but it always bothered me that she played the "good wife," when she obviously had more intellect. So now we see her as a very professional politician and senator in her own name. And yes, it does make me happy, though it may not be good for the politics I hold dear.

As a woman, I'm glad to see Hillary Clinton succeeding, but the "sisterhood" isn't everything.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Big 6 and the Big "S"

Baile Rochel #13

I spent the evening celebrating my friend's "Big 6" Birthday. Her daughters decided to make it a birthday, as if she was just the "little 6." So we all wore pointy party hats and got bags of candy favours.

It was a surprise party. She had called me a couple of hours before, sort of sniffing around about it. I played it cool and convinced her that nothing was up. Boy was she surprised to find me aiming my camera at her in her house a few hours later, when she walked in with her kids. A bunch of us had decorated it all with balloons and stuff, just like a six year old would like.

Then not long after I arrived back home, I walked into my room and saw a "big s" on the wall near the ceiling. I called for reinforcements. My son walked in took a look and said that it was a job for his brother, but his brother wasn't home. So I called in my husband. He arrived with a piece of paper in his hand. AW come on, if a piece of paper was all that was needed, I would not have had called for help! I told my husband, that he'd have to climb; even being over six feet's not tall enough for that. He walked out.

So it was a job for Supermom, of course, what did you think!?! I schlepped the ladder out of the laundry room and set it up as close as I could get it to the "big s." Then I picked up my slipper and climbed. I climbed higher than usual, since I had to reach almost to the ceiling, and I have short arms and not much height.

Very slowly and carefully I took aim. Whahm!! I wounded it, and it disappeared. There was no way to find it, so I just prayed that it wouldn't suddenly show up in my make-up or favorite hat. But I stayed cool, real cool.

About a half hour later, I was back in my room and suddenly noticed him, without a leg or two, on the floor. I was ready in a jiffy, trusty slipper in hand, and @$%W#$ bang! I got him, and then I hit him again for good luck. Finally I got some toilet paper, picked up the remains and flushed it down the toilet.

...and I'm not even 6 yet!

more things

My wrist is hurting from schlepping my "bag on wheels" all over. I can't carry bags with straps on my shoulders, and I never developed the muscles to use a backpack, and not my wrist... HELP!

I must get ready for a special celebration, tell you after...


It's not that make up isn't used, it's that it shouldn't show. Frequently it's harder to get that "natural look" than a "made up" look. I've never liked anything on my face, besides water. It has been really hard in recent years to use sun screen, and I've found the pool/beach type the best.

What really repulses me is the "surgically improved look." That's those "perfect" features, finely chiseled by the surgeon. One of the reasons I prefer watching British TV is that the actors look more natural, even though their teeth could use a better dentist. American, both North and South, actors have those "catalog-chosen" features, which make me wonder what they really looked like, before all the operations and procedures. Also their acting is less effective and realistic with their plastic faces.

bad way to start the day

I'm tired, boy, am I tired.

Yesterday I must have overdone it, and I'm not talking about burnt food. I was up at five to go swimming, and that's after my cellphone woke me in the middle of the night with a message. The message was that I didn't have a ride to the pool. My neighbor was called in the middle of the night to watch her grandson, so he could become a big brother. MAZAL TOV!

No bid deal, I "tremped" and got to the pool quickly and easily. Then I did a couple of errands, "bought myself some presents," didn't get the cd of the pictures I had ordered, since the store goofed, then met someone for lunch for a "tactics meeting," then went to Ofra the babsit for Hallel and Porat, and then finally to a gorgeous wedding in Eli--MAZAL TOV!, where I saw lots of friends and danced of course. It took me awhile to unwind and go to sleep, but today's a holiday. It's JERUSALEM DAY, the anniversary of the day Jerusalem and Shiloh were liberated in 1967.

This morning, I'll miss my Thursday walk. It's ok, walked enough yesterday.

So, when I got up, a bit later than usual, but not by much, I started wash #2, the first washed overnight, made my coffee, took lots of water to drink, started answering my email, and then I went to finally take the coffee off the stove and pour it out of the perculator. I thought the problem was my stuffed nose. But the gas had been turned off. Our gas supply is in cannisters. We have two, one supplying the gas for cooking and the other as a spare. Yesterday, we had a delivery, since they must be replaced after one empties and you're using the spare. As a safety mechanism, they turn off, close the knob, on the open one. Otherwise if someone is cooking during the delivery, the gas supply is interrupted and resumes, unlit, which has caused gas poisening and death.

I had forgotten to reopen the cannister before putting up my coffee, so there was no coffee when I was ready to drink.

Now, it should be fine; I turned it on. While I was ranting this to you, the coffee began to perc.

I can smell it. Time to drink.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

a couple of things

Many people are wondering why the rabbis of Jerusalem haven't come out (bad choice of words) against the upcoming "Gay Pride Parade."

And on a totally different track, Blog d'Elisson offers a feast of posts in the latest Carnival of Vanities. Talking about cooking, I'm waiting for another of his recipes for the next Kosher Cooking Carnival! Maybe, he'll even volunteer to host one... hint, hint.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cell Phones, again

I'm in agreement with the writer of this op-ed in The New York Times.

Here's my response:
The writer gets a perfect score, 100% from me. I'm a teacher in Israel, and a high percentage of my students' attention span is wasted on the phone. I insist that they turn them off.

"It's on vibrate," they reassure me.

"I said OFF!" I repeat. "If I could turn mine off when my two sons were in the army, you can turn yours off!!"It's an international problem.

Another Seabiscuit?

Can Barbaro be another Seabiscuit?

Seabiscuit was a racehorse, legendary in his time, the most famous figure in tumultuous 1938. He and his favorite jockey Red Pollard both survived serious injuries to win their most important race.

Everyone loves the "underdog," and the entire Seabiscuit entourage could only be described as those who had suffered the worst life had offered. That was part of the magic. Barbaro doesn't seem to be in that category, but his owners are hoping at least to make something on their investment.

PS I love the Seabiscuit movie and the book, and I think it's the best job of editing of a long complex story into a great movie. I have it on DVD, and it was a good investment.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Relax--exam day over

Now I can relax a bit. The big exam day for English is over. Israel has a national high school testing process, like England and some European countries. It's call the "Bagrut," which means maturity.

Today the high school students took the English exam. There are all sorts of different levels. I teach weak students, so they took one of the simpler exams. It is necessary to take three written exams, one of which includes a "listening exercise," and there's also an interview.

I teach weak students, mostly. Today my 11th graders, ok less than half of them, took the "B Module," which includes one Reading comprehension and one short, very short composition. I finally convinced the boys to do the composition first, since they have trouble finishing on time. Afterwards they came over to tell me that they think it helped them. I hope they're right.

The Sixth Kosher Cooking Carnival!


G-d ordered us to work six days of the week, and one of the "work" categories is cooking! And here is the 6th
Kosher Cooking Carnival!!!! I have wonderful news for you! Sadie, aka Ezer Knegdo, of Sadie's Luncheonette has volunteered to host #7! I'm sure that it will be a great feast. In the meantime, try her "Chicken toes."

Before going any further, I must thank our two previous 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
5th, the 4th, the 3rd, the 2nd and the 1st.

Remember that you don't have to be Jewish to eat and cook kosher food. People who want or need to eat "simpler" food, which do not combine meat and dairy or who prefer for whatever reason to separate different types of food, may find kosher cooking very helpful. So in all seriousness, this food carnival is for everyone, not exclusively for Jews. And food is food. Most people like to sample ethnic dishes far removed from their personal family backgrounds. Anyone can submit recipes, as long as they conform to the
kosher requirements.

For more information about Kashrut,
keeping kosher, read what Soccer Dad has to say.

Thanks to Ezzie for finding me the Renegade Kosher Cook, who adds something extremely useful to
recipes, washing dishes as you go along. Strange, I never thought of that. And the salmon recipe looks like something I'll have to try, too.

Here's another
fish recipe; this time an old family favorite from Treppenwitz.

I wonder if I'm the only one who bases my weekday cooking on
left-overs. I think it's delicious.

Reb Chaim HaQoton
teaches us all about honey, which is not just for tea when your throat is sore.

Talking about sweet, try this classic
chocolate cake from Westbankmama!

Talking about classic, how about Bookworm's
chicken soup? I also measure by pot proportions.

Try this beautifully illustrated rice and squash
recipe from Mensa-Barbie.

And try cooking your vegetables
like this.

salad looks absolutely delicious! Find out how she does it.

Ezzie likes his cola
on chicken, which sounds very tempting.

Here's another recipe for carnivores, this time from I'm Ha'aretz, who tells us what to do with a piece of
beef , and also lots of variations. He's definitely my kind of cook.

Do you bake with brown sugar? If so, which type, and what is one to do when the store's all
out of your favorite?

I wish my lemon tree was as fruitful as Treppenwitz's, and then I could make his

My bar tender son must try Ezer Knegdo's
Margarita Cheese Cake. It's just in time for Shavuot; though I may have trouble concentrating on the shiurim…

Here's how
Fred stir-fries:
Yeah, I like to cook. Lately stir fries, since it's healthy and not
heavy in the calorie category.
Also simple and relatively fast to prepare.
Usually we buy a bbq's chick, debone about 1/2, as we're only cooking for
two. Slice the pieces into strips. Slice scallions, celery stalks, onions and
green peppers, also into strips. Cook a small batch of chinese noodles, as they
cook quickly about 5 minutes, I then set them aside to mix into the stir fried
wok with the veggies, and chicken, later.
For seasoning I use soy sauce, or
often I add Teriyaki in smallish quantity, which I make myself. Reason the store
bought kind is too expensive, and it's good to use as a marinate for the
chicken. A few drops of sesame oil adds to the flavor, but is not used in the
frying but into the seasoning process.

I normally begin with frying the
onion and celery strips first and add in the other veggies later, as they
require less time. OH...almost forgot a healthy handful of bean sprouts, are
also "adds" at the later stages of the frying process.

Important not to
fry until the veggies are soft and well done. The whole frying process takes no
longer than 5-10 minutes, depending on quantities. For 2 people about 5-6
minutes is sufficient. It's really a matter of practice.


Read this information about
sourdough breads. They're easier than you think.

And the easiest meal is just a banana plus...
Levana tells us all about it.

NORMAN'S STEAK'N BURGER sent out this great cheese cake recipe, not to be served with the steak, of course!
- 1 1/2 lb cottage
cheese - 3 eggs - 1 cup sugar - 1 tsp vanilla- 1 graham cracker crust or crush
enough petit beurre cookies with a bit of oil
To fill a 9" pan:Blend eggs,
sugar and vanilla adding cheese a little at a time.
When finished blend on
high setting.
Pour on crust. Bake 350°F (180°C) for 25 minutes.
Cool 30
Spread on top: - 1 cup sour cream - 2 tbsp sugar - 1 tsp vanilla
Bake for 5 minutes.

Here's a delicious, tempting picture of Soccer Dad's
potato kugel; maybe if enough people ask, he'll post the recipe for next month's Kosher Cooking Carnival. And you can start posting your recipes and food stories, too.

The Kosher Cooking Carnival appears monthly, after the third Thursday of the month. For the seventh KCC, you can send your links directly to Sadie at Or just remember to routinely send me all of your food links, whenever you post something that could be in the Kosher Cooking Carnival. Either send 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...

BOMS and get ready for KCC#6

BOMS is definitely worth reading, and those illustrations are a blast!

And now I must transfer KCC#6 from "word" to blogger, so G-d willing, soon, before I go "tremping" to Beit El and my darling students...

so keep checking in....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

good news/bad news

Yes, I'm already back from the meeting. That's the good news, the bad is that I'm hungry. And the good is that English shouldn't be losing hours. And the bad is that I missed basketball. And the good is that I was driven all the way home, to my door.

and I challenge you to good news/bad news
I won't name anyone, but let's see who does it. Just notify me by comment if you've good news/bad news.

just to be safe

Recently we had some guests, foreign students we hosted for the weekend. We hadn't done it for a while, since many programs forbid the kids to go to our neighborhood. They claim that Shiloh is dangerous. Not us locals, of course. We're laid back, law abiding Jews.

The problem is that there are Arab terrorists. Yes, there are Arab terrorists all over the world and terrorism is an international problem. But it's much easier to say that only the yishuvim in my neck of the woods are dangerous.

They don't let inconvenient facts like that there are car accidents and terror attacks in Tel Aviv make them keep the kids far from there. It's all part of the "deligitimazation" of the "settlers." The kids told us that they had an activity with Arab kids to get to know them, but not "settler" kids.

At least the ones who came here had a good time and arrived back to their group on time and safely.

Carnivals... Yes

belated is better than never,
especially for this
of its name
Carnival of the Mundane!

Let's show some dignity
it's number seventy
for Havel Havelim!

So even though
I know
there's so much more to do
than blog and read and write to you

I never get bored
playing this keyboard
even when
there's no freecell

not fair!

It's really not fair! I have to miss basketball to go to a staff meeting. Ladies basketball here is all of one hour a week. From what I'm told it is an important meeting. I'll arm myself with the three hats I'm trying to finish crocheting. After I finish them, I have one planned for myself. I already bought the yarn. I just need time, and I know that I had better finish the others first.

Trying to find the bright side of things.

No Way!

It's really hard to believe that Israel's score in Eurovision was just four points! It may not have been our best entry, or the best all around, but it was better than most of those I saw and heard.

Just like most of last night's entries, it was more "American" than European. There was very little musically that could help one guess where the songs originated. That's especially since rules were changed to allow any language, rather than restrict language to the official country's language.

At times it sounded like an American competition, with lots of American folk and the "gospel" style Israel presented, including the performers, who were most "Black Hebrews." OK, I guess the Israeli "music establishment" deserved the low score for sending such a "non-Israeli" singing group.

Also, if I'm not mistaken, the song was originally sung more like a ballad, which had reminded me of two-time winner Johnnie Logan of Ireland.

Next year Israel will either wait it out or have to go through the preliminary rounds. I suggest they stop looking for "gimmicks" and either forget the whole thing or present real Hebrew music.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Jerusalem Day prayer

I must thank Ya'aqov Ben-Yehuda for posting the special "Al HaNissim" for Jerusalem Day, which will be next week.
Here it is, as copied from his blog:


Yom Yerushalayim 5766
Here is the nusah of the Al HaNissim addition for birkath hamzon (Grace After Meals) and shmonah esrei (Amidah Prayer) on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). This segment of Nusah Eress Yisrael was adopted from the "Siddur HaMiqdash." Yom Yerushalayim commemorates the reunification of the City of Jerusalem, including the entire Old City, during the "Six Day War" in the year 5727 (1967).
This year, Yom Yerushalayim falls on Thursday night/Friday day, May 25/26

."על הנסים" ליום ירושליםנוסח ארץ ישראל וְעַל הַנִּסִּים, הַגְּבוּרוֹת, הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת, הַמִּלְחָמוֹת וְהַפְּדוּת שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ עִמָּנוּ וְעִם אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה: בִּימֵי חֵירוּתֵנוּ בְּקוּם עַמֵּי עֲרָב כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל הַיּוֹשְׁבִים בָּטַח בְּאַרְצָם, אָמְרוּ: לְכוּ וְנֵכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלא יִזָכֵר שֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד: וְאַתָּה בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים עָמַדְתָּ לָהֶם בְּעֵת צָרָתָם, נָתַתָּ בָּהֶם עז וּגְבוּרָה. בְּשִׁשָּׁה יָמִים הֵנִיסוּ אֶת צִבְאוֹת עֲרָב לְכָל רוּח. רְדָפוּם וְהִכְנִיעוּם. בְּדָלְקָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם בָּאוּ בָּנֶיךָ אֶל חֶבְלֵי אֶרֶץ נִרְחָבִים בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לְאַבְרָהָם, יִצְחָק, וְיַעֲקב, וְעָלוּ לִיְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ, וּלְחַצְרוֹת קָדְשֶׁךָ בִּתְרוּעָה, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁגְּאַלְתָּנוּ וַהֲבֵאתָנוּ אֶל מְקוֹם מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ כָּךְ הָשֵׁב שְׁכִינָתְךָ לְצִיּוֹן עִירֶךָ, וּמִזְבֵּחַ חָדָשׁ בְּצִיּוֹן תָּכִין וּבַעֲבוֹדַת בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ נִשְׂמַח כֻּלָּנוּ. וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיּוֹת, וְנוֹדֶה לְשִׁמְךָ לָנֶצַחוְעַל כֻּלָּם.../ וְעַל הַכָּל...
For more information on Nusah Eress Yisrael, you may contact Rabbi David Bar-Hayim directly at:
Please also visit his website: Torah Light
Chag Sameach

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Brown Sugar Crisis!

I've been baking with brown sugar for decades. There was a time when I combined white sugar with molasses. But in recent years, I've been using a brown sugar that comes in bags; it has large granules, contrary to a different brand of brown sugar which comes in a plastic container. The type in the container has very small sugar granules and an extremely strong molasses smell and taste. There's a big difference in the cakes and cookies if I use the sugar from the container.

Recently, I've been having problems finding the bagged sugar in my local store. I tried adding white sugar to the brown from the jar, but it doesn't help.

Any advice?


I must get back to the kitchen, lots to do before the boys and guests arrive.

My husband is entertaining some journalists. I'm not invited, since I refuse to play Pat Nixon.

all spiffed up

The boys have been busy spiffing things up here. They even did some much needed gardening. They borrowed a neighbors "stick" mower to knock down the weeds "as high as an elephant's eye" and even trimmed my "instant garden," plants that grow as quickly as Jack's beans, to make them look almost like hedges.

The "kids' bathroom" was attacked with acid cleaners to try to take out the stains. OK, at least my son wore rubber gloves.

Yes, we're expecting guests. One is the daughter of some people who were very generous to the boys when they went touring around the Grand Canyon over a year ago. I don't know the family, but if this is how the boys prepare for them, I'd like guests like these more often!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bell Park Gardens, again

Suddenly lots of people are checking out Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, again.

I grew up there, at least until I was 13. It was a wonderful place then and I hope it still is. For me it didn't matter that the apartments were small and the closets minute. I didn't have all that much.

There were lots of places to play outside, which is all that kids need.

I'm just curious, so please let me know via the comments, why you're reading this.


Time flies

Yes, it's that time already, time for the final reminders for the next, the 6th, Kosher Cooking Carnival.

Here are the previous ones, the 5th, the 4th, the 3rd, the 2nd and the 1st.

So, please send me the links to your recipes, the more the merrier. I don't limit the amount from each blogger. So if you've already posted one, you can submit again.

We're not limited to recipes. I'd like to hear about
  • food traditions
  • restaurant and cookbook reviews
  • even related health issues, as long as it's tied to kashrut
  • anything, as long as it's kosher!

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...


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why my aliyah?

This is a response to Westbankmama's request to add my story.

This summer will be 36 years, double חי meaning twice "chai," life (18 in gematria), since we boarded the boat and "sailed" to Israel.

In Hebrew it's called: לעלות ארצה to ascend to the Land. The concept predates the modern founding of the State of Israel. There were always Jews in the Holy Land, but until just over a hundred years ago, they didn't exhibit "nationalism." That was the very important contribution of Zionism, the "nationalism."

Now for the story...
Not only didn't I grow up in a religious home, even when I first began learning about Orthodox Judaism, I never heard anything about aliyah, neither the term or the general idea. It wasn't included in the NCSY program in those days, even though it was a theme at one of the national conventions. I remember a phrase in the program booklet, written or at least edited by Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, which quoted the mishneh that "it's better to live amongst evil men in Eretz Yisrael, than among righteousmen abroad."

But nobody spoke of aliyah.

Somehow I did hear about it. It could have been from Dennis Lipkin, one of the Jewish activists in my high school (Great Neck North), and it also could have been from the late Leah Weiner, Z"L, who taught me Israeli folk dancing in NCSY. It was probably some combination of the two.

Dennis dragged a bunch of us to the Betar Manhattan Moadon in the fall of 1966, and that became our regular Sunday activity. We became Zionists, the elite of the activists. The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, (SSSJ,) and my NCSY activities, even though I was a national officer at the time, weren't enough.

It all seemed so right. I never felt that America was a good fit. America was a strongly Christian country at the time, even in New York. They gave us rights, and the schools is Jewish neighborhoods were closed Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, but it was more pragmatic than religious. Too many teachers requested or demanded the days off.

As I became more Orthodox, more observant, the Zionism was another mitzvah to add. And that's how I explained it to my parents:
"Just like I eat kosher and keep Shabbat, I'm going to move to Israel."

I knew that a reason like that could not be debated, at least by them. And if anyone tried to say that "lots of religious people stay in New York," I had a very simple reply:
"They're sinning."

That's not New York, C.S.I.

A few years ago, C.S.I., the original Las Vegas, began being shown on Israel's channel one. We became great fans of it. Not only for our viewing pleasure, but the plots and pictures were frequently "clean" enough for me to show to my students. There was an advantage to them, since they weren't too long, and I could deal with all the literature stuff, like plot, character, setting, conflict, suspense, etc.

Then we began seeing the Miami one. Not as good, and certainly nothing that could be brought to the classroom. Those teenage boys I teach would love it, but I'd be fired for sure. Not only the immodestly dressed (or undressed) females, but the plots usually involve things I'm not supposed to be teaching them the vocabulary for.

Even worse, the Las Vegas plots began going in the same direction. Or more accurately, they seemed rather interchangeable, like they were written for "CSI," and only later was it decided which city.

But we kept watching, since there isn't much else on the one channel we receive. Then they added the "New York" C.S.I. I added those quotation marks, because trust me! That's not New York!!!

I was born and raised in New York and I visit periodically, OK three times in the past year; though that frequently is rare. If I say "that's not New York" you can trust me. There are TV shows which portray NY, like the "Law and Order" series, all of them. People look and sound like they're in NY. The energy is NY. They don't need phony tourist shots to pretend it's NY.

In one of the first CSI "NY" episodes they showed a view of the Empire State Building, lit up and backed by a starry sky. My son caught it and said: "There's too much light in NY even at night to see stars like that." He's right, of course, and not because he's my son.

We're not on the "front line" of TV here, so I don't know if the show is still rolling, or it was hooked off, like the old vaudeville days.

Maybe the awful plots, direction, cinematography etc wouldn't bother me so much if the locale was Seattle or Detroit, far from the east coast. I hope you'll tell me that the show is finished with. Or maybe someone can guess which city it should be in.



You don't have to be a teacher to enjoy the Teaching Carnival!

That's it for now, if you spy me on any other carnivals which I haven't mentioned, please let me know via the comments. And don't forget to send me your posts for Kosher Cooking Carnival, details in the sidebar!

too much to do

It's Wednesday, and I should be in the pool, enjoying working those muscles and then in the sauna and steamroom, but here I am, home, with the third wash in the machine, haunted by dirty floor, which is still covered with toys from last weekend.

There really is too much to do here, and I also must pay a shiva (condolence) call to my neighbor, the second Chana widowed in the space of a week.

I'll have to do my stretching at the clothes line, hanging the wet wash and taking in the dry. And I'll carry home the shopping instead of exercising in the water.

And who knows what other surprises await...

Yes it is past my bedtime!

I'm all off schedule.
Last night I got back at 2am and decided to sleep late today, something I never expected would ever happen. Usually I'm up super-early regardless. But I did sleep, barely getting out of bed at 10!
Now, I'm awake and must force myself to sleep.
We partied tonight. Daughter #3 turned 30.
Had a fancy family meal at the David's Citadel Hotel. It was delicious and everyone enjoyed it.

Good night!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Thanks for the adventure!"

"Thanks for the adventure!"
was what I said to my neighbor last night as she got out of the car.

I was trying to find just the right words after the wedding. It had all started off rather routine.

A couple of months ago our neighbors' son got engaged, a wonderful, normal life cycle event. All agreed. Then we got the wedding invitation, and I started looking for a ride to the wedding. We don't have a car. It's only when we have to get to one of those out of the way places when I feel the lack. I really hate the grind, that yes, embarrassing, demeaning, requesting, begging almost. Sometimes I'm really lucky, run into someone by chance, mentioning in a very light, undemanding way, that I'm just wondering how I'm going to get to a certain wedding. And then, without any effort at all, I'm invited to join them in their car, which has plenty of room for us, and they enjoy our company, so...

With the popularity of emails and the fact that our community has a "yahoo group," it is now a little easier. I type and send a bi-lingual request, and sometimes I get a very welcome offer.

For last night's wedding I tried every method and asked everyone I could, and it looked like I was going to sit it out at home. Finally, the day before I received an email about a ride and I quickly informed other searching neighbors, since we carless have to stick together. I was told that they weren't sure if they'd be leaving from Jerusalem or Shiloh, but it didn't matter, since I had to go to work, and I could just bring my clothes and make-up and go from there to Jerusalem.

Yesterday morning some of my students came to Shiloh for a special lesson, which I gave in a building near my house. When it was over I told them to wait while I ran home for a minute to photocopy something for them. With my hands full of papers, a pitcher and a bowl of cookies, suddenly my cell phone rang. I had to put everything on the path to answer it, not very dignified. A neighbor asked if I wanted to share a "taxi." I told him I wasn't sure and would call him back.

I went home, finished with my students and started the phone calls. Time was running short, and I had to pack for work and include the clothes and make-up, but first I had to ascertain where the ride was leaving from. They said it would be from Shiloh, which was great, but the only problem was that we'd be leaving a bit late. Then suddenly I got a call from work that my classes were cancelled. So it really paid to leave from home.

So I checked up about the taxi and told that neighbor that maybe some others would be interested. Then I got a call from another neighbor that one of their passengers cancelled, and I could go with them and they were to be leaving an hour before the first offer. So I agreed to that and left messages for the original ride to cancel and told the neighbor who ordered the taxi that a place was free.

That was the easy part, and we had a wonderful trip to the wedding, which was beautiful.

Going home was easier; there were lots more rides, and some of those who had arrived with us took earlier rides home. Finally, the wedding was over, and yes, we had stayed until the very end.

It always seems shorter, going home. We hadn't yet reached Jerusalem when we pulled into a 24 hour gas station, but up to the air pump. I began paying attention to the couple in the front seat who were discussing some strange shaking in the car. They were afraid to go any further. The car was full. A young family from Ofra was in the middle seat, so we were a total of eight.

How were we to get home? It was after midnight. Towing was arranged, but that didn't help us. After numerous phone calls, the young couple managed to reach the photographer from Beit El who had just enough room for them. And then we reached the parents of the groom who had room for three and the groom's sister who could squeeze in one plus a child. So by some great miracle nobody was left, though two of us had checked out a taxi, which was less money than we had suspected.

Yes, it all worked out. And once we got home I had to find the right thing to say to the neighbor who had offered me the ride, which turned out to be an "adventure."

Monday, May 15, 2006

and carnivals

Spring is here and fall on the other side of the world, but we all live in the same cyber world. So enjoy the carnivals, Havel Havelim and BOMS.

And don't be shy, you, too can participate especially if you eat, and who doesn't?! You don't have to be Jewish to contribute to the Kosher Cooking Carnival, as long as the food is kosher! Just send your links to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com or via the reminder on the sidebar. And while you're looking, you may find lots of other great carnivals to read and contribute to.


I do all my "basic cooking" once a week. I'm referring to the meat and poultry cooking. My family has no problem re-heating food, thank G-d.

It started when the kids got older, weren't home all that much, and I began working later and commuting. Before then, I always tried to cook enough for Shabbat so that there would be enough for one or two meals during the week. But once I wasn't home when my husband arrived, I had to come up with a new cooking routine.

I generally do my meat/poultry cooking on Thursday and the side-dishes on Friday. My husband and the kids, if they're home, take from all the left-overs and eat them for dinner. They just add a fresh salad if they're in the mood.

Since I resumed eating meat and poultry after 25 years of vegetarianism I utilize my left-overs differently. In order to reduce carbohydrates, I take a portion of cooked chicken and add freshly sliced squash and onion in large quantities. With the addition of some oil, I cook it up and eat it with some nice fresh salad. I find it very filling and don't mind having the same thing every night.

It's also possible to freeze the cooked chicken in one-portion packages and prepare the same way. Just take into account that the chicken will need to defrost, so it's possible to add the vegetables after that.

This way you still have healthy home-cooked meals without lengthy daily preparation time. For those who aren't restricting their carbohydrates, you can cook the slow-cooking ones like rice up in advance and then add when re-heating. Or carbs like potatoes and sweet potatoes can be cooked like my squash. There are other quick-cooking carbs like cracked wheat and some pastas; though you may have to add some more liquid for them. It can all be done in one pot or in the microwave. Personally I avoid the microwave and prefer re-heating and cooking in pots on the stove.

So many people find the daily food preparation too time-consuming or a bore, so this should help.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What's the message?

There's a reason for everything, so what's the reason for this?

I can remember only two women widowed while living here in Shiloh, over the years.

Suddenly, in less than a week, two neighbors were widowed; both of their names are Chana. One of the dead husbands was a driver, on the roads all the time in a regular, non-bullet-proof, vehicle, and the other was a veterinarian. The veterinarian was killed on the road in an accident and the driver died in the hospital of cancer.

HaMakom y'Nachem

Muli's Funeral

Muli's Funeral will be at 4pm in Shiloh,
starting at the Mishkan Shiloh Synagogue.


Shmuel "Muli" Hofbauer, z"l
Muli passed away last night
one of the unsung pioneers
of settlement
our return
to our historic home.
Muli and Chana
among Shiloh's first seven
Seven families
like the seven tribes
Joshua brought to Shiloh
after an earlier exile.
Muli's alert eyes and cheerful smile
graced our roads
for many years
He will be missed

double allergies

This year's "extra" rainfall, after our typically dry summer seemed to have had begun, may be the cause of more allergy symptoms in many sufferers. Today I called my Sunday walking partners who reported that their allergies are keeping them home.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

wasting time

I'm spending much too much time on the computer, especially answering and deleting letters. It used to take just a few minutes, but now, hours a day.

Dishes await, and I'm tired, and I have so much else to do.

I've gotten lots of mail about the musing I wrote about the Israeli army and exemptions.


Friday, May 12, 2006

blogging bio

The one and only Soccer Dad has challenged his fellow bloggers to reminisce about our blogging history.

A few years ago, after some local youths were murdered in a series of terrorist attacks, I wrote a few lines about my feelings and sent them out to friends. At the end of this, you'll find the very first one.

It was a very hard year for us, and there were more Arab terror attacks and more murder. Periodically I wrote what I called my "musings" and sent them out. The mailing list grew, and people would tell me I ought to have a site for them. Then various friends suggested blogs, so my husband and I began to look into it, and we started our blogging careers.

The first one I was Shiloh Musings , and at first I only posted that specific genre; later on I relaxed the format into what you find there today. Afterwards I started me-ander and the muse's pics and Blog Free! . It's hard to imagine life without blogging.

Soccer Dad introduced me to carnivals via Havel Havelim. And of course I began my own Kosher Cooking Carnival, hint, hint, send a link!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Paying a Shiva (Condolence) Call

This morning some friends and I paid a shiva call. We hadn't actually planned on it, and it's not the first time we were spontaneous in that way. There are only four of us in my Thursday walking group. It's one of those "mobile chats," or negative calorie "coffee clatches," social gatherings, only we don't stay still.

This morning we found ourselves not far from a house in mourning, and we decided to go in for a few minutes, even though we really didn't know the people.

In Judaism, it's a mitzvah, a commandment, to comfort the mourner. There are specific norms, rules in how one behaves in the home of a mourner.

Mourning by Jewish Law is for parents, siblings, spouse and children.

First of all, it's not a social occasion, and the mourner, as "host," is not required to provide food for the visitor. The mourner is not to get up and prepare or bring anything for the visitor. Friends or "non-mourning" relatives are usually "on duty" to help. Here in Shiloh, people take turns helping out in a house of mourning, especially when the entire family is required to mourn. In those cases, neighbors organize a duty rota to cover help, food and shopping, when necessary, and if there are young children in the mourning household, laundry will be done for them by neighbors.

Ashkenazim, European Jews, traditionally don't serve anything, though it's common to have something to drink if the person has come a distance. Sfaradim, North African Jews, have the opposite custom. It is important to hear brachot, blessings, so they provide food for the visitors, and some have nightly feasts.

Conversation is to be initiated by the mourner, so if the mourner doesn't feel like talking or is busy talking to others, it's possible to find oneself leaving without having said a word. As one leaves one says to the mourners:
May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Ha-Makom y'nachem et'chem b'toch sha'ar aveilei Tzion v'Yerushalayim

Sometimes it can be awkward. I once knew the child of someone who had died. He seemed very uncomfortable that I was visiting, so I went into another room where the spouse of the dead person was sitting. That person didn't know me at all, and I didn't know the dead person, nor anyone else in the room. So I listened an nodded politely and was glad to leave.

Another time, when terrorists has murdered a number of people, including some I had known, and the families were all sitting shiva at the same time in different places. One of the days I helped in one house and then took a ride to another. When I was there I found a ride that would be passing the Shiloh Junction in order to go home. But actually they were going to visit the family of another victim of the same attack. I didn't know those people, and those in the car didn't know them either, but they considered it important to visit. I went along, and it was important, and we had a very special conversation with the mourners. And I was glad I went, even though I hadn't planned on it, and I had been so sure that it would be a mistake.

I consider the Jewish Laws of Mourning to be the best way to cope with death. There is a gradual return, taking up to a year, to "ordinary living." There are special laws for prior to the funeral, the first seven days, month and year.

Mourners aren't to deal with material things; at the funeral, the mourner's clothing is ripped, and the mourner must wear that ripped shirt (which can be pinned for modesty's sake) for the entire shiva week, except for Shabbat. After the death of a parent, wearing new clothes is forbidden for an entire year.

"HaMakom yinachem..." "May G-d comfort..."