Saturday, September 30, 2006

minor things, and death

More trouble from yahoo. Now the letters only go out after trying a few times. I started sending my lists via gmail and I use the gmail option to automatically forward my mail to yahoo. That way I don't have to check gmail all the time. I'll just go in periodically to archive and delete.

About deleting, I didn't delete my Cousin Mickey's email after he passed away, but now I keep getting these notices about "permanent" or "fatal" problems with the address. It's so depressing to think that I ought to "erase" the address. He was lost to me for decades, and finally we found each other and developed very close ties.

It's very hard to deal with death, especially of people I hardly see. I used to buy gifts for all sorts of relatives every time I'd go to the states. I had these very complete lists and spend weeks, if not months, trying to get everyone something special. I remember that the first few visits after my Aunt Sadie died, I kept looking for gifts for her.

Being so far away and therefore not being able to attend the funeral or Shiva (mourning week) make it extremely difficult to absorb the reality of death in the family. Actually I find it easier to miss the joyous occasions, than the sad ones.

Friday, September 29, 2006

We don't want the food to burn...

Here are a couple of quick recipes:


Don't waste a pot on your left-over noodles if you have a microwave!
  • Take a bowl or casserole dish large enough for the noodles, plus a drop
  • chop up some onion (and garlic optional)
  • put in bowl
  • add either tomato sauce or
  • tomato paste, oil and a bit of water
  • zap it for a minute or less depending on your microwave
  • mix
  • add the noodles and mix again
  • zap again, and
  • SERVE!
  • ps cooked vegetables or finely chopped or frozen peas, etc may be added to make it even better



  • use a good quality covered pan/pot (good pots are worth their weight in gold and will outlast your kitchen!)
  • start with a cut onion, garlic if you have, sliced carrots--any shape, then squash or any vegetables you want or have available, fresh or frozen,
  • optional and yummy are hot dogs, soy or meat, or cooked meat or poultry or fish, or some cooked/canned beans
  • add some oil, cover and cook
  • Keep checking so they don't burn
  • when cooked, add either tomato sauce, (which can be home-made on the spot by adding tomato paste, onion, garlic, oregano and oil)
  • or soy or tamari sauce (Chinese style)
  • then more water (you can add boiling water, so it will be ready more quickly)
  • when it's boiling add the rice noodles, thick or fine
  • cover, of course
  • after 2 minutes of cooking turn off flame
  • and let sit at least 5 more minutes
  • while you're making a salad or setting the table


Tons to do!

Yes I do
have tons to do!

It's Friday, and the house is a mess, and I have to get ready to tutor and go to the clinic and get ready for Shabbat and we have our niece coming and she'll stay for Yom Kippur, too. And on Shabbat we're hosting the annual Shabbat Shuva Shiur by Rabbi Dov Berkovits, since the neighbor who usually does it won't be home. And married dd plus family are coming for Yom Kippur, and the house really is a mess. Remember that this year Yom Kippur starts less than 24 hours after Shabbat ends. So at least I cooked enough chicken for the pre-fast meal when I cooked for Shabbat. But still there's tons to do!!

Last night we had Sunday night's basketball game, since last Sunday night was just after Rosh Hashannah, and there was no way we could get out. No surprise, that just three of us got to the court last night. We figured that since we were already there, we may as well spend 10 minutes shooting the hoops, but... once we got started practicing we found it so worthwhile and enjoyable that we continued until our usual closing time. Practicing is important and we don't have too much time for it usually.

Also, there has been trouble with blogger. Posts just don't go up quickly the past couple of days. I hope it's not because they're angry that I haven't signed up for the "beta." I don't want to since it involves, requires, more spies, which they call "cookies."

So, don't panic if you don't hear from me.

Shabbat Shalom
and Gmar Chatima Tovah

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another "fine line"

Is it elderly abuse when the elderly are still made to be fully responsible for his/her sickly spouse, handicapped child, or an old house, car, etc?

Many of those I know, especially the 80 plus group, find the multiple responsibilities much too stressful, and we all know that stress is one of the main factors that badly affects health.

It's very common for people to stay in their homes as long as they feel themselves capable, and once they feel it's too much for them, moving is also too much for them, so they just struggle to stay in the old home. The trick seems to be to move to a smaller, low-upkeep, home or apartment when we're still "young, strong and energetic." It takes enormous strength, both emotional and physical, to move, so most people try to delay it for as long as possible.

If they wait too long, it becomes impossible, especially if there's no family to help them, meaning: to take charge.

For many elderly, their main occupation is taking medications, ordering or buying them and going to the doctor. Getting around gets more difficult, since even if they are legally allowed to drive, it's not that simple. Besides the strength needed for the driving itself, there's also the upkeep on the car which can become as overwhelming as having the roof or heating system repaired on their homes.

There's something I've seen with many elderly couples. The healthier of the two, the one who has taken on the majority of the burdens and responsibilities, desperately wants to move, either to a small apartment or one of those nice "protected" homes for the "independent elderly," but the weaker one strongly opposes.

How much of this is the responsibility of the children, the middle-aged "sandwiches," like myself?

Drinking on the Plane

Airline and security experts are still debating whether or not to ease the restrictions on liquids passengers may bring on airplanes.

I remember the days when one just couldn't get enough to drink, even water. One flight I took, with young kids yet, even ran out of water. It was a nightmare.

Today on the better airlines, like El Al and Continental, which I've been on, getting enough liquid isn't a problem. But I understand that the budget airlines charge for everything. Another problem is finding something to drink in the airports without having to pay a fortune or without having to pay at all. Some airports have water fountains. Fine in theory, but it's hard to drink enough from them to prevent dehydration, especially for children, the elderly and those with back problems. And considering that today's security checks mandate that we arrive two to three hours before scheduled take-off, that's a long time for many.

Another "liquid" many people like to take on the plane is skin moisturizer. All the beauty experts stress that the plane's dry air is bad for one's skin.

As we all know, determined terrorists can find their way around any regulation. So it's only the innocent passenger who will really be inconvenienced. I'm glad that making the regulations isn't my job.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Change in Ownership

The most veteran, the Mercedes-Benz of blog carnivals, The Carnival of the Vanities is in new hands.

Silflay Hraka presented a dilemma concerning what sort of posts are suitable. He labeled some, which he doesn't want, as "commercial." I recently ran into the same problem with Kosher Cooking Carnival, as someone sent me a post praising a product. My feeling is not to post it, since there is no intrinsically "kosher" connection. It's not like "instant kneidelach" or "best booze now has a hechsher."

I wish Kehaar luck with "vanities." I know how hard it is to do these carnivals. I also wonder why I spend so much time blogging, when a very high percentage of visitors arrive only by chance.

Google sent me!

Dancing Rebbe

Yitz, who guest-blogs on Shiloh Musings, wrote this great post on the Dancing Rebbe.

Being the kinesthetic type, I must admit that I danced my way to yiddishkeit. I don't know if anyone who knew me then reads my blog, but if so, please tell people that I was once the first one on the dance floor and the last one off. I know that it's hard to believe when you look at me now.

When I took a "coaching" course, we did a little test to see if we were visual, verbal or kinesthetic. I was the only one surprised that my results showed very strong kinesthetic tendencies. I thought I was more verbal. It could also be that in Israel, where I have to function in a language I haven't fully mastered, my visual and verbal abilities are forced to take more minor roles.

Kinesthetic people "feel" colors and sounds. Certain music can make me "annoyed." Then I suddenly realize that the annoying music is on, so if I turn it off, I can calm down. I also like to play with colors, not for visual aesthetics, but for attention-grabbing and feelings.

I wonder if there's a connection between my "almost hyper" type of personality and the kinesthetic. Hyper-sensitivity to multiple stimuli and easily distracted...

A couple of Reminders

Yes, that's a picture from an Od Avihu Chai March from Shiloh to Jerusalem. It's not from last year, since last year, post-Disengagement, the kids left the Israeli flags at the cemetery.

Join the Od Avihu Chai March to Jerusalem, on Succot, Thursday, October 12. For details call Orit 0545-649-140. It's possible to join us at any part of the route, even when we're approaching the Old City Walls of Jerusalem and then sing and dance with us to the Kotel!

And for reminder #2
The one an only Kosher Cooking Carnival, the post-Holiday edition! Please send me links to posts about kosher food:
  • traditions
  • anecdotes
  • recipes
  • restaurant and cookbook reviews
  • halachik issues
  • pictures
  • menus
  • picnic ideas
  • food to take on a hike, like the Od Avihu Chai March to Jerusalem!

Either via Blog Carnival or send the link to shilohmuse at yahoo dot com.


Winter's approaching

In Israel, the rain is only in the winter, so no only temperature signifies seasons. It's the humidity, too.

On Monday, after the funeral, it suddenly rained. Chazal, our sages, say that it rains after the death of a tzaddik, holy person, to show that the heavens are crying. I told it to one of the grandson's who was traveling home with us, and it comforted him.

Yes, it rained in a number of places in Israel on Monday.

Then, yesterday, it took much longer than the week before for the laundry to dry. Rain clouds also passed over the house. It's much more humid than before.

Winter's on its way.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Carnivalling Again

Read all about it!
BOMS #148 is posted!

Men in Aprons
Carnival of Recipes #110

So whatever your favor or flavor, you'll find plenty to read in this week's carnivals!

To Pray, Lehitpallel, to Judge Oneself

In conversations and in various blog posts, people are yearning to get better "kavanna" in their prayers. "Kavanna" means "intention," or spiritual depth. We just finished our two-day Rosh Hashannah holiday, the Jewish "new year." We spent it praying and feasting.

I don't like the focus some put on the food. Even though we live only a minute's walk from the synagogue, I don't leave the "services" to rush home periodically to make sure all will be ready when we return. That would be a distraction from my "kavannah." Our Ezrat Nashim, Women's seating area, is quiet. There's no reason to talk, not like down where the men sit and have important things to discuss, like who will get which honors. We don't discuss fashion, either. Our minds aren't focused on new clothes and neighborhood gossip. There's an additional section downstairs with room for baby-carriages and playing toddlers. Yes, some may consider us a bit old and stodgy, but many of us enjoy the lack of distractions. It's hard enough to pray properly.

What does it mean to "pray properly?" Good question. Let's get back to the Hebrew, להתפלל. As I tell my students, first let's look at the most superficial, how the word looks. It's a combination of two parts, the root, פלל, and the prefix, הת, which shows that the verb is "reflexive," meaning: A reflexive verb is a verb whose agent performs an action that is directed at itself. It characteristically takes a reflexive pronoun as its object.

Now, what is פלל?
פלל verb (Hithpael imperfect 3fs): “pray, intercede”

How did the reflective of that become "converted" into "praying to G-d?"

Being a reflective verb means that the burden is on us, not G-d. Looking at it linguistically, does it mean that we're actually supposed to pray to ourselves? This reminds me of the crucial scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy discovers that she, herself, has had the power to return to Kansas all along.

Many years ago at an NCSY National Convention (probably 1967) I heard a lecture about the verb and concept להתפלל. I'm not sure who gave it but the general message has stayed with me all these years.

We were told that פלל means to judge, so להתפלל means to judge ourselves. True prayer in the Jewish sense is a very intense self-reflection. Due to that shiur, lesson, I became more and more convinced that one can only pray properly in a language one understands. If the words in the siddur, prayerbook, are just meaningless gibberish, who can we use them as the inspiration, spring-board to judge ourselves?

Yes, we do need the standard siddur prayers to pray properly. Without them we will tend to just concentrate on our narrow self-interests. It would be like when I conduct my own exercise sessions. I find myself having a great time, but it's only when I've attended a class taught by someone else when I realize that I haven't challenged my weakest muscles at all. The siddur has evolved over the centuries and includes a wide variety of prayers for each Holiday and event. While we can add personal things, it's best not to delete.

It's impossible for anyone to hold a high level of concentration, reflection for every word and prayer, especially for two days in a row. The tunes of the Chazzan or Baal Tefilah, the one who conducts the prayers, frequently reach parts of our souls too deep for the words alone. Modern teaching methods stress the importance of utilizing all of the senses, and that is what we get when the dovening (praying) is good.

Many also stress the importance of a "makom kavua," regular place to pray in. For many even moving one seat over can causunnecessaryry distractions of disorientation. It's interesting that mourners customarily sit in a different seat until their period of mourning is over. It's to provide a kinestetic reminder of how temporary the material life is.

Rosh Hashannah is preceded by the month of Ellul, the month especially devoted to Tshuvarepentancece. This intensifies through Rosh Hashannah and culminates on Yom Kippur.

Tshuva should be the result of להתפלל, praying. Because if we reflect on ourselves, we will find something that needs improvement. Those feelings and conclusions are communicated to G-d in our prayers.

May G-d forgive us for all sins.
Gmar Chatima Tovah

Monday, September 25, 2006

What a way to start the year

I usually like to laze around on a fast day, but somehow today didn't quite work out as planned.
  • I had my exercise class, since there wasn't an alternative day, even though I was fasting. We did suitable exercises. I felt ok afterwards.
  • Then I tutored, since the student couldn't make it on our usual Friday morning because of Rosh Hashannah...
  • Then, finally, I began to relax, and then the beeper went off...

We have an emergency beeper. Usually there's nothing special things like:

Puppet Show starting in five minutes in Shvut
Rachel-- Don't miss it!

But, as usual, I jumped up anyway to read it. It was an announcement that my neighbor's father passed away. The ceremony and cemetery were in Haifa, but since I really had nothing of value to do, I decided to go. Correct: we don't have a car. How was I supposed to get there?

I called one neighbor, but the line was busy. so I tried another neighbor, who almost didn't answer. I gave him the news, and he said that he'd think about it. I waited. About 15 minutes later, he called back that we were going, but needed a few minutes to get ready. Ditto, so did I.

We found the cemetery, and we even found the funeral. It was good that we went. We even took some elderly relatives back to their apartment in Tel Aviv, because doing one mitzvah brings you to more. Baruch Hashem.

that fine line...

How much water must we drink? Tough question, especially as today is a fast day. If we don't drink enough water, we can dehydrate or just feel awful and it will take longer to recover.

if we drink too much water before fasting, we'll be up all night, "relieving ourselves" of what seems to be more than the "intake," and then...
we'll end up feeling even worse.

Any tricks to recommend?

Special Food for Rosh Hashannah

Rosh Hashannah is beginning to rival Pesach (Passover) as the most food-oriented holiday in Judaism, the most culinary religion of all.

When I was growing up, I only knew of the honey for dipping apples; though I don't remember ever having any apples dipped in honey.

This year, though I filled the honey jar with honey, we didn't use it. The honey was hard, so my husband decided to sprinkle sugar on the challah, which freaked out our guests who were sure they were getting highly salted challah, while pointing anxiously at the honey jar. And the good news, was that the few granules of sugar contain far fewer calories than honey! I guess he'll just have to buy some runny honey, since we honey our challah until Simchat Torah, the end of the holiday season.

And now for the fruits...

We always have "new" fruit on the second night of Rosh Hashannah for the
Shehechiyanu Blessing, which is said the first time you eat a fruit of the season, or the first time you wear something new. It is also said on special infrequent religious experiences, such as a father at the circumcision of his son.

Rosh Hashannah is the only two day holiday. Jewish communities abroad (not in the Holy Land) celebrate all of the holidays as two days, but the second day has a different status. Rosh Hashannah is two consecutive separate days. Yes, it's strange, and I'm not competent to go into details of why.

Since we have to say the Shehechiyanu blessing both days, we look for other reasons on the second. That's when some people make a point of wearing new clothes, and it's also very common to have a "new fruit, " one which hadn't yet been eaten during the season.

We generally have pomegranates and clementinot, a citric fruit, which you can see in "Blondie, the fruit head." I've been making fruit "heads" for Rosh Hashannah since I was a vegetarian for 25 years.

This year we ended up eating the pomegranate the first night, since we were at friends. Then one of our guests (first lunch) brought us fresh figs, which were delicious, so I couldn't wait and ate them immediately. So we ended up eating the horrid clementina, which won't get sweet until the first rain, but that's another story...

Have a wonderful year.

Gmar Chatima Tovah!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's the new year!

It's the new year, according to the Jewish calendar. There are those who say that however you start the year, what you do on Rosh Hashannah will project/predict the rest of it. Well, if that's the case, I'll be gaining weight. I ate too much. One of the "treats" I bought to serve for dessert was a coconut "sorbet," which is the creamiest parve (non-dairy/non-meat) anything I've ever had. "Rich's" fake creams make me nauseous, this stuff, just made me hungry for more!

Besides eating, or should I start this differently....
We didn't do all our eating at home. We were invited out for two of the four meals, and we had a different guest at each of the two we ate at home. So I guess that means that we'll have an "even" sort of social life. That seems good.

None of our kids were home, which isn't something new. I guess we have to stop "waiting for them." The tendency is to see "who's coming" and then make plans. Then sometimes it's too late to invite others.

On the whole, it really was a lovely holiday. The dovening (prayers) was very pleasant. I hope G-d is satisfied, too. The Rosh Hashannah prayers ask G-d to accept our "Tshuva," repentance as a nation.

Shannah Tovah
Gmar Chatmah Tovah

Friday, September 22, 2006

Blondes Have More Fun!

Wouldn't you rather be a "head" than a "tail?"

Have a wonderful year!

Shannah Tovah!

Chag Sameach!
Gmar Chatimah Tovah!

The Magic of Tshuva

Here's my latest article from VOICES Magazine:

The Magic of Tshuva

Judaism is the only religion that enables all members to perform magic. Yes, it's true. We all have the ability, and even the obligation, to reinvent ourselves.

We start our lives as blank slates, as pure and clean as snow that falls in the unpolluted countryside. Then we live our lives as humans do. Sometimes we make mistakes; we sin. And if we realize what he have done is wrong, and we apologize to man and G-d, in accordance and suited to the sort of sin, we can wipe our slate clean and that's tshuva. No matter how serious the sin, there is a path we can take to become new people.

I guess that's why one of my "rabbi neighbors" told me that I was incorrect when I had said that it seems to me that G-d is hardening Olmert's heart, like He did to Pharaoh. "No, you can't compare Olmert to a goy," he corrected me.

We had that conversation at the communal "Seudat Hodayah" in Shiloh for all of our soldiers who came back safely from the War Without a Name. Actually, I call it the "Spin War," since everyone "spins," interprets it differently according to his or her personal agenda.

When it comes to tshuva, Yom Hakippurim gets all the publicity, but in actuality everyday can be Yom Kippur. Reflection and repentance aren't restricted to one day a year. As individuals we're obligated to see every day as an opportunity to repent. We never know when our last chance will be. Right?

Imagine what life would be if everyone lived as if it was our last day on earth. For those who value the material over the spiritual, there would never be any saving or health worries. Why save money, or eat healthy food if there may not be a tomorrow? What's the point? Living every day as your last according to this philosophy is actually to be hoping for death as soon as possible. The future is ignored, and the birthrate drops. A recent edition of Newsweek Magazine featured the rising percentage of successful people who made a conscious decision not to have children. Their money is spent on themselves without worrying about others. If they suddenly find themselves without the good health to support themselves, how will they survive when nothing has been invested for the future?

John Lennon's song "Imagine" talks of a world where there's nothing to die for. Think about it. If there's nothing to die for, then what is there to live for?

Spiritual people would look at every second as an opportunity and responsibility to keep one's soul clean of sins. We can't count on repenting tomorrow, if there may not be one. We're not like the Catholics who believe that man is "born in sin," which is his "natural state." The Catholics save their sins to report to their priests periodically in "Confession," and that's how they wipe their slates clean. They don't have direct contact with G-d.

According to our sages, sin leads to sin and mitzvot to mitzvot. Once we realize that we need to repent, we must do it quickly, before the sins increase. Think of the sins as yeast dough, fermenting and growing, and on the other had the life of mitzvot is also like yeast dough. It can rise, expand and fill our being. We're capable of both, and the choice is ours.

Shannah Tovah and Gmar Chatimah Tovah!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Vegetables & Meatballs

I haven't really posted a recipe for a while. It's not like I don't cook. It's just that my cooking is very simple.

Today I did something just a bit different. A neighbor is sick, and I was asked to send over a meal. It always seems easier to have a meal that needs few containers. For some reason I thought of chopped meat. And of course it must be healthy, so with vegetables.

Here's what I did:

  • first I put some cloves of garlic in a pot
  • then chunks of onion, cut larger than usual
  • thickly sliced carrots
  • pieces of squash (zucchini-type), double the size of the carrot pieces, since they take less time to cook
  • soy oil and I started to sautee it all
  • a can of tomatoes; actually I had been planning canned tomatoes, but there wasn't any in the pantry
  • some water to thin it

While it was coming to a boil I...

  • took a pound of chopped meat (actually a beef-chicken combo they sell here)
  • added an egg
  • and a diced onion
  • some matzah meal to "hold"

By then the vegetables were boiling, so I "dropped," double-spoon method, "balls" into the stew. When I finished that I decided that it needed pepper and threw in 4 little black peppers. I stirred it a couple of times. Forty-five minutes later it smelled ready.

I'll cook up a carb, cut up a salad, and I'll bring it over later in the afternoon.

New Year's Wishes

All that glitters isn't gold
Be neither blinded nor distracted
by fancy phrases
and empty promises

Redemption isn't from

the UN, US

or any earthly being

Yisrael, Yisrael, Batach B'Hashem

ישראל ישראל בטח ב...

People of Israel, Trust in G-d

Wishing you and rewarding, wonderful year of

health, happiness and true peace.

and for the past year in pictures,

you don't need to understand Hebrew

Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all that glisters, gold.

[Thomas Gray (1716-1771), British poet. Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes (l. 40-42). . . Gray's English Poems; Original and Translated from the Norse and the Welsh [Thomas Gray]. D. C. Tovey, ed. (1922) Reprint Services.]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Educating Through Cooking

Just think about it! How many educational concepts, subjects, can be taught via cooking! Yes! In all seriousness.

I was trying to figure out how to connect the very latest and super-fantastic Carnival of Education with my own little"baby," the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

So, here's the challenge, a kosher recipe that can be used to teach something to kids! Then you can submit it to both carnivals, via Blog Carnival. Conservative Cat no longer provides the service, due to all sorts of reasons.

Besides the "challenge," you can send me, and please do, links to any post about:
  • kosher food
  • pictures of kosher meals
  • kosher restaurants
  • kosher cookbooks
  • kosher food traditions
  • Jewish Law concerning food, etc...

Or you can mail them to me at shilohmuse at yahoo dot com

Have a very delicious and educational New Year! (according to the Jewish Calendar)

ps The cake was delicious!

Yahoo! Oh, no!

Please, don't think of me as a kvetch, always complaining, but I've been having a very bad time with Yahoo! today.

I do most, the vast majority of my emailing from Yahoo! and on the whole I like it, or I did. They seem to have halved, or worse, the permitted bcc number. I send out "mass" mailings of specific articles or reminder notices. My lists were well within the permitted "at once." My largest mailings are of the "musings," and the recipients--most of whom personally requested that they be added--are divided into four lists.

I presume that Yahoo! did it to make it harder to spam from its mail service. But I'm not a spammer. I do have a gmail account, with the same name, shilohmuse at gmail dot com, but it's harder to run "lists" from there.

If they wanted to change things, they should notify us.

Also, it's very hard to compare my four lists to see if people are on more than one.

Something must be done, at least by me to make it easier to send out my articles.

I'm very tired; didnt' sleep last night. You "regulars" should know that.

last bit of view

My kids think we ought to have made a fuss when someone started building and blocking our last bit of view.

Yes, what you're seeing is true. Someone is building a house in Shiloh. There are others adding rooms.

Honestly, I prefer neighbors and community growth to my convenient view. I'd hate to think of stagnation and death for the neighborhood. Also, our house blocked the view of another. Also, I'm glad our hill isn't so steep that each house has an unblocked view. Those streets have lots of steps.

We'll still have a gorgeous sunrise, and that's certainly worth waking up early for.

What am I doing at this hour of the night?

One thing. I'm not jet-lagged. I've been home a month and a half already. I was sleeping fine. But then somehow this week, the last couple of nights I haven't been sleeping well. Not good.

I should be exhausted, as I didn't sleep well yesterday, and I taught from 1:45 until 7:15 and then we had a two hour staff meeting. I ate a junky "supper" at the meeting, which included too much cake. I don't usually have cake during the week, certainly not at night. Could I have suddenly developed a "sugar high?"

It's not like I'm all that energetic during the day. Today, I goofed off on the computer, did a wash, had some lunch, washed dishes, went down early to pay a shiva call, and then I went to where I get picked up to go to work.

Tonight I had trouble again trying to post a picture on blogger. And I tried again when I turned the computer back on. Still no success.

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth blogging. Most people visit the blogs by chance via google. But I find writing very relaxing. What if I spent this time and energy writing a book? Would that be better? I also must find a quicker and more efficient way of answering all the email.

I just had some oatmeal. Hopefully the heavy starch will put me to sleep. Tomorrow I'll have to work off the calories, and also the cake calories. There's no lack of calories to burn off. Maybe somebody wants to help?

You're not going to believe this! After writing what I did about blogging pictures, I tried this one, and it's right here before your eyes! This is the place where I had my hair cut a few weeks ago. Honestly, I'm not all that happy with the cut. Friends who saw it at the pool told me they thought it was great. But it doesn't quite do what I need it to do. My hair does not stay easily hidden.

Actually, it's kind of weird. My hair sometimes returns to the shape it kept--should I tell you how many years ago? OK, 45 years ago, and I have pictures to prove it, to me at least, since nobody really sees my hair. Lots of people discover texture changes as they get older, since grey hair is sometimes wiry and more stubborn. So I guess I ought to be happy. It's a strange sort of deja vu to see myself like that again. And that's the shape I always hated. I couldn't wait until my mother would stop dragging me to have my hair cut. Once we moved to Great Neck from Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, she got too busy, and I could finally let my hair grow.

I like covering my hair. It makes life easier, but not when the hair keeps peeking out without warning at the most inopportune times.

It's really too late; I'll have to try to fall asleep again.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Strange Effects

I guess I still have a lot to learn about my camera. Some of last night's pictures came out with some very strange effects.

Sometimes I'm wrong

I was so sure that the kotel would be empty. Boy, was I wrong.
I'll have to tell you all about it later, probably on Shiloh Musings, so check in.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Family Life + Havel Havelim

Two carnivals, both great, but very different!

Take a gander at the variety of posts in both Havel Havelim and Carnival of Family Life. I'm very thankful that they included posts of mine. It's nice to be in such good company.

Good night for now, and I hope that the problems I've been having recently posting pictures with blogger will cease. I've wasted a lot of time the past few days and lost sleep, since I've stayed up later trying... just one more time. And you guys are deprived of all the great pictures I have...

No, I'm not going to try again. I really do need my sleep.

High School Football--Big Time

High School football is legendary in America, but only recently has it hit live and prime time (see color photo.) I wonder how that sort of exposure would have affected the famous Titans of 1971, as seen in the black and white picture.

Empty-Nested Rosh Hashannah

picture credit
This year none of our kids will be home for Rosh Hashannah, and I've been pretty slow about getting guests. Not too many, so far.

The boys are in the states. Married daughter will be with "the other side," and the two other girls made their own plans.

I remember the years when our table held a minimum of a dozen, and a couple of extra tables extended through the living room.

Yes, that's life. Four more days to find guests.

Does this mean we'll have a quiet year? I'm praying for the "good" type of "excitement."

Shannah Tovah
Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Countdown's and Update

This is cross-posted on Shiloh Musings.

It's less than one week to Rosh HaShannah, the "Jewish New Year." We don't celebrate it like they do in Times Square and all sorts of parties when the secular (actually Christian) year changes. First there's a month of reflection, then a two day holdiay of prayer, including hearing the "shofar," a ram's horn, blown in a soul-searching pattern.

Rosh HaShannah isn't the end of the holiday season, because a week after it's over, on the 10th of the Jewish month of Tishrei, is Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment, when G-d, judges what rewards or punishment we will receive, whether we are to live or die. And then a half a week later we begin the week long holiday of Succot, when we are reminded how temporary our material possessions are, since we are commanded to live in "booths." As that holiday ends, we celebrate, Simchat Torah and finish the annual cycle when we read the Torah.

Yes, it's the busiest time of the year in the Jewish Calendar.

Three years ago, just before Rosh HaShannah, a tragedy happened to a Shiloh family. Their son was killed in a badly planned army action. Ever since, each Succot, Moshe Keinan, the bereaved father of Avihu, leads a march to Jerusalem. This year it will take place, G-d willing, the 5th Day of Chol Hamoed, October 12. To meet up with us and march along, contact Orit for details, 0545-649-140.

Wasting Time

Just as I was wasting this Sunday morning, my friend rhg sent me The Daffodil Principle .

There really are so many things I must do today. Remember that in Israel, Sunday isn't "Sunday." It's the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, "Yom Rishon," as we say in Hebrew. So, I ought to hang out the wash! And if you haven't yet, please read the story I linked to you in the first sentence.

  • wash hung!

Now for a story, a saga of my new watch, which is mine no longer.

I don't think I had it for long, maybe a year, maximum a year and a half. I bought it chol hamoed, the "intermediate days" of either Succot or Pesach, when I was on my way to have a "family dinner" at a restaurant on Emek Refaim with my sister-in-law's family.

Very few stores were open in town. Jerusalem's a "traditional" city, Jewish tradition, and many shop owners close for the full holiday week. So I went into the first watch store I found open. I bought a watch, with a metal "chain" band, to give my wrist air, since it's a sweat-spot for me. It was nice and seemed like a good deal, but the chain broke in less than a month, and luckily I found the watch. I brought it back to the store. They were nice gave me a different watch in exchange.

That watch was fine, and sometimes I could even see the time without reading glasses, depending on the lighting, of course. It had a different problem. It periodically opened and fell off, but miraculously, I would find it.

That is until last Wednesday. I know that I was wearing it. I checked the time just before starting the hike from Machane Yehuda Market to the Central Bus Station. Then about half way to my destination I checked the time, and no watch. There wasn't enough time for me to backtrack. I didn't find it in any of the pockets on my pouch.

I just hope that the finder enjoys it. The battery was changed recently. I relinquish possession.

Since my cell phone had the wrong time, I adjusted it, but as I was trying to figure it out, I ended up changing the "face," and now I have a real clock with hands to look at. So I don't need my reading glasses to tell time on the phone, but it does mean that I need the phone on when teaching. So I'll have to apologize to my students and remember to set "vibrate."

And now I had better use my remaining time wisely, since there's almost not enough left to make up another quiz for the darlings.

So, have a wonderful day, don't waste time, and do something to change the world, like the daffodil story.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hi, there!

Sometimes, I'm really amazed at the number of visitors I get on the blogs, especially this one. Some of you are "regulars" who pop in to see what's new with my life, like I visit your blogs. That's our cyber social life. Some of us have met via the "carnivals, like" Carnival of the Mundane, which is neither mundane nor boring. Hint! Hint! Take a peek!

Periodically, there's a large increase in visitors, and they mostly go to my Biblical posts. So I presume that there are people taking, could it be online?, Bible courses, and they're supposed to google for information. They get my "words of wisdom." I hope they don't find my posts disappointing. But they never leave comments.

I try leaving comments when possible. I'm really curious about whether or not they've learned from my posts. So, please don't be shy.

And while I'm mentioning nice things to read on the internet, please take a look at The Gantseh Megillah.

Friday, September 15, 2006

There's No Business Like Show Business!

That's for sure at over $100- for a ticket to a Broadway show! I haven't been to one for years, even though I love the theater, really! Even the discount tickets are outrageous on my travel budget.

To reduce temptation, my summer recent visits have coincided with part of the Three Weeks, when it's forbidden, by Jewish Law, to see a live show.

Here in Israel, I've managed to see most of the productions of the Raise Your Spirits Summer Stock Company. There's another one opening soon, and I hope to see the show.

There's no people like show people
They smile when they are low
Even with a turkey that you know will fold
You may be stranded out in the cold
Still you wouldn't trade it for a sack o' gold
Let's go on with the show
Let's go on with the show!
The show!
The show!

Booming Religion

This Newsweek article discusses Baby Boomers and religion. As a "boomer," I find it very peculiar to be discussed as if a topic in anthropology.

We were raised in the fifties, a very materialistic time. Religion was a matter of edifices, large impressive buildings. That was considered success. Spiritualism was unknown. As children we were ordered to attend "religious functions" because our parents forced us, because we "had to." Salvation was to come from material success.

Once we entered our teens, our antennas became expert in detecting hypocrisy. In general, the process of gaining religion began with rejection of materialism and "proper behavior." Some used drugs to facilitate the banishment of inhibitions and propriety. For some that gave them a hint of spirituality.

For some of us, our spiritual needs didn't require artificial means. When I was introduced to Torah Judaism, via NCSY, I was "hooked." It has been my life-style for over 40 years.

Shabbat Shalom
Shannah Tovah
Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Thursday, September 14, 2006

KCC has grown up--double digits!

For the 10th Kosher Cooking Carnival, meander to elf's Apikorsus Online! Yes, it's a strange blog name to host a carnival dedicated to kosher food, but she's actually a kosher food expert!

The eleventh will, G-d willing, be here, so please send me links to anything you've posted about food, as long as it's kosher, of course.
  • recipes
  • traditions
  • pictures
  • cookbook and restaurant reviews
  • tips
  • halachik questions and controversies
  • menus
  • anecdotes

The Kosher Cooking Carnival appears monthly, after the third Thursday of the month. Please be sure to announce the carnival in your blogs; that way everyone gets more visitors. You can also routinely send me all of your food links. Also, if you see anything that could be in the Kosher Cooking Carnival, please send me the link. Either send to shilohmuse at gmail 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...

I hope to, bli neder, post the next Kosher Cooking Carnival just after Simchat Torah. And since it will come out just before the United States' Thanksgiving Holiday, if you have any suitable menu and turkey suggestions, please post. Thanks!

Shabbat Shalom

Shannah Tovah and Gmar Chatimah Tovah!

Perfect Timing

We're in Chodesh Elul, the Jewish month of Elul, the count-down before Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. We're supposed to be evaluating our behavior and lives to see our weaknesses and faults, to try to repent.

A fellow-blogger, Pragmatician, posted an excellent post, SIMCHA CHESSED. He described a situation we've all been in. It's when you're at a simcha and don't know anyone else. Everyone else seems to be related to each other or old friends, and they ignore you. If you're lucky, someone will make a point to speak to you and try to involve you in conversations.

I've been that "odd one out," but I must admit that I'm not the one to befriend the one who doesn't know anyone else. I guess that must be something I have to to correct the next time.

Shannah Tovah
Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

another couple

No, not that kind of couple!

True, you know I've been promoting all sorts of blogging carnivals which feature my posts, so now I'll tell you about another couple... of carnivals.

First is the first, the very first blog carnival ever, which just posted its 208th edition, the one and only, Carnival of the Vanities!

And next, is the 84th edition of the Carnival of Education! There's certainly lots to learn there!



Aretha Franklin isn't the only one who wants Respect!

In order for me to succeed in teaching those teenage boys, I need some, too. Last Sunday night, on the court, in the middle of our basketball game after I scored, I mentioned that I thought that my students would behave better if they knew that I could throw actually throw the ball into the basket. But there wasn't anyone around who could tell them.

A few years earlier, some students handed me a basketball near the hoop in the courtyard near the school building. Miraculously, my first try made it in. But those kids graduated a few years ago, so my prowess is unknown.

I teach in an all-boys high school, and this year was begun with a two-day school trip. This was no "look through the windows of the bus ride." They take real hikes to show who's tough. It seems like the teachers (the male teachers, since we ladies are exempt/not invited) did a great job, since the kids were ready to study when they returned.

I've been trying to get to know my students, since most are new to me. And they also have to get to know who and what I am. My job is harder, since I think many of them have been warned about my peculiarities, while nobody has told me things I should know about the "darlings."

While I was teaching one of my classes, my jaw began to bother me. One of my students noticed strange movements in my mouth:
"Mrs. Teacher, do you have a candy in your mouth?"
"No. I got hit by a basketball on my chin and it knocked my jaw a bit."
"Basketball? Mrs. Teacher, do you play basketball?"
"Do you play well?"

They gave me a "look." It meant, if you're playing at your age, then you must be at least "not bad." The "respect" seemed to increase.

I just hope they don't want me to demonstrate my skills.


Summer vacation is over, but it's still boiling hot outside and dehydration is an unwanted side-effect. I need a swim. The heated pool in Neve Yaakov is the only place I have, so I must get ready.

  • last year's ride took a morning job
  • they increased the prices
  • they eliminated discounts

but it's the only game in town for me, so I'll check in later in the day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The three color photos are from this summer, and the black and white from the Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, site, where I grew up, that Gary found for me. I could be one of those kids buying ice cream from Joe!

That was summer for us. We looked forward to Joe or "Good Humor" to come around. Joe was actually a neighbor, and his daughter was in my class. Another summer treat was when a "ride," like from an amusement park came trucked in for a half hour or so.

photo credit: hi joe

Those rides were very different from what you see in the pictures I took "the last Tuesday of summer vacation in Shiloh's "Central Park."

Everything was different "way back when." I'm pretty sure that, in the 1950's, the grown-ups at Rockefeller Plaza wouldn't have walked around in such "informal attire."

Well, now it's back to work for me, a full day, so I had better plan those lessons.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I am being realistic!

I certainly don't expect to be as fit and energetic as I once was or all the young people in the pictures which I have been trying to post, but apparently, there's trouble with blogger.

... I have resumed my exercise class with Chaninat Hashem, a neighbor who teaches women's classes here. I took her class two years ago, but somehow last year I never got my act together to register.

It's horrifying to discover how "unfit" I've become. Just this morning, she gave an exercise which I once did so well... but I was the worst in the group, and there's even someone older than me! Yes, flab and inflexibility can happen to anyone!

Luckily I remembered the lessons I took from Allan Wayne (Cohen) when I was in university. He corrected "mistakes" in dancers. Those two years with him made it impossible for me to accept instruction from anyone else for 35 years, until I tried Chaninat Hashem's class. He stressed proper alignment, the relationship between the shoulders and pelvis, and doing the exercise properly, even if it looks like you're doing nothing! With time you'll be able to do it better without endangering your body.

Evne though I'm not as fit as I once was, I'm no cripple, B"H. How many people really are as fit, strong and energetic as theyd like to be?

I'm trying to put together a nice varied exercise regime.
  • Sunday night= basketball
  • Monday morning= exercise class
  • Wed. morning= swimming (ok exercise in the water), even though they raised the price at the Neve Yaakov pool and won't be giving discounts.

and I need something else, too.

I'm starting to doze off, but I did have a busy day, since after the class, I traveled to Beit El to teach. B"H, went well. Then I took the kids' school bus to Ofra to take my granddaughters from teh baby-sitter and watch them for awhile.

I'll just do spell check so you won't think me a total retard.

Great job, Gary!

Usually I wait until there's more than one carnival, but Gary did such a great job on this BOMS...

The truth is that he found a picture of Bell Park Gardens, the place I grew up! So you really must take a look at it and while you're at it, check out the links, etc.

Thanks, Gary!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What's new?

a sort of hode-podge, like this "Still life on Walls"

First of all, I'm featured in a new internet magazine, The ETNI Rag, run by ETNI-English Teachers Network of Israel. And guess what I wrote about! Blogging!! What else?!

Here's another "something new,"

CN Publications
Newsletters in the public interest

and of course, being that it's Sunday...

there's...Havel Havelim by Soccer Dad, himself, who has just increased his "home team" by one new beloved member! MAZAL TOV!!

Enjoy all of these!

Why carry on.... luggage?

I was very lucky that my last flight was just before the new "carry-on luggage regulations." These new rules are making it very difficult for many travelers.

Until those new rules were instated, some airlines even encouraged packing light and taking it all in the cabin. When I went to New York for the weekend to attend a wedding in March, I only took one small, carry-on bag. So I was very happy to see a special "express" line for check-in. This was at El Al, Ben Gurion Airport, Israel.

My packing system is to have my "most important clothes," a few changes of underwear and special gifts or large valuables in the carry-on, which is put in the high storage space by gracious helpers, since I don't have the height and strength to attempt it. I don't touch the bag until after landing. Strapped to my body in various other bags, belts and pouches are my money, documents, crocheting, a book to read, toothbrush, toothpaste and other valuables. The big problem is putting down the food tray, since there's so much bulk on me, I look like I'm pregnant with triplets.

So, in terms of my flying needs, I could handle flying without carry-ons. The big problem is the paranoid syndrome, aka Murphy's Law, which states:
The more valuable and irreplaceable something is or needed soon after landing, the better the chance that the luggage it's in will disappear.
I was taught that by some very wise neighbors, whose experience when they flew in for a son's wedding scarred us all for life. Yes, you guessed it. The "just perfect" dress she had gotten for the wedding flew someplace else and missed the festivities.

So, what security system and luggage regulations do I recommend? It's hard to say. Maybe more dogs for sniffing, but there could never be enough. Will we have to unpack our bags in public again? I hope not.

The truth is that unfortunately, the terrorists will just look for new methods, and we'll be inconvenienced for nothing.

I didn't feel it!

I guess she was right!

When I walked into shul, just after 8am, Shabbat morning, my friend asked me:
"Did you feel the earthquake?"
"Noooo, nothing."
"I was sitting here, and my seat moved." (synagogue balcony, Ezrat Nashim, ladies' section)
We don't chat during the dovening (prayers,) so that was the end of the conversation. I had forgotten all about it until I saw this morning's news. The epicenter was in nearby Ma'aleh Ephraim, in the Jordan Valley.

Experts say that Israel is on one of those dangerous "faults." In recent years there have been quite a few small earthquakes, of which some I've even felt.

Considering the political and military situation in the region, we can easily say that the surface of the earth is no more stable than the "inside." Who knows what plans G-d has for us?

Wikipedia map