Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'd Trust Him

As you must know, I have to hitchhike. It's the only way for me to get to and from work.

Since I've been made to understand that many drivers prefer silence, I just enter the car with a thank you and only ask minimal things.

Today, I was feeling pretty depressed when I saw the crowd waiting to leave Beit El. Of course, not everybody was intending to go in my direction, but there were a lot of kids. And there were no rides northeast, none at all.

Finally, this dinky old car pulled up; the driver didn't look any better. He said:

"One to Tapuach!" (Tapuach is north of Shiloh)

I asked the crowd if anyone was going north of Shiloh, and they all backed away. So I got in.

We got to talking. It ends up that he has a business. He's an exterminator. He even has other people working for him. He said that he's very careful, since the material he uses is poison, dangerous. What I found most encouraging is that he said that it's better to live with some ants than use his services. Only if you really can't function and the ants are in everything should one have their home treated.

I like that. As safe as today's materials are, they are still poisons.

Very Educating

The latest Carnival of Education is on the most attractive blog I've ever seen, What it's like on the inside.

There are some really great posts, so I suggest you take a look. And really, the blog is special looking.

need more exercise

I really do. Since my knees aren't in great shape, my walking is more restricted and I have to be careful about everything I do. So, obviously, I exercise less though I need more and more. Our local pool won't be open for a while. That means back to Neve Yaakov and schlepping all the stuff and then with all the stuff going to teach and falling asleep when I need to be awake, but if I don't go the the pool I get even weaker...

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Putting Things Together

Sometimes I surprise even myself.

When I was putting things away for Passover I dropped one of the dishdrainers. Now this is quite a dishdrainer. About nine years ago when I went to New York, I noticed it at my husband's aunt and uncle's house. They had just spent the value of my house redoing their kitchen and what did I go crazy about, their dishdrainer!

I had been looking for a new one (actually a pair--meat and dairy.) It's a nice big double-decker, lots of room for lots of dishes and pots, perfect for people who don't have a dishwasher.

They showed me the catalogue and I went pale at the $60- price. So they bought me two. Yes, at that price it includes a draining board.

Well, one broke. I couldn't find screws on the floor and packed it away, figuring I'd bring it to a metalworker who fixes things. So, last night I took it out and took a good look at the one which didn't break. There were no screws; the pieces just went into each other. So, by copying the complete one, I assembled the broken one, and yes, I fixed it!

Rosh Chodesh Iyyar At Tel Shiloh

We're continuing with our custom of celebrating Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month, at Tel Shiloh.

Rosh Chodesh is known as the "women's holiday," and Tel Shiloh is the perfect place to celebrate the spiritual strength of women. It was at Shiloh where Chana prayed for a son who would work for G-d and transform the troubled, tribal nation into a united kingdom. Her son, Shmuel (Samuel) anointed the first two Jewish Kings, Saul and David. We, too, pray for a leader, who like Shmuel will act only for the good of the Jewish People.

G-d willing, we will meet on the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, Monday, May 5, at 9:45am at the Gallery Cafe` and then we'll walk around the Tel until we stop for our prayers, said privately.

Tel Shiloh is popular with tourists from all over the world.
The Mishkan, Tabernacle, served as the spiritual center for the Jewish Tribal Nation for 369 years. We can still sense the Shechina and Ketoret, G-d's presence.

The Tel is open to tourists and "pilgrims" any time except Shabbat and Jewish Holidays. It is also possible to arrange for groups and family events. For more information call 02-994-4019.

Vacation's Over

Yesterday I went back to work after a two and a half week, almost three, Passover vacation. There was the week before the holiday to clean, then the actual holiday itself, and because I only work three days a week, Mon., Tues, and Wed., it felt closer to three.

We now have larger, roomier box/closet/lockers for each of us in the Teachers Room. Our Irgun Morim, teachers union sent the schools gifts. Now everything fits better. Mine is full of all sorts of things.

I actually forgot to bring my crocheting, but I did have enough to do, so I didn't go crazy during my breaks and waiting times.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Take A Bite Of Post-Pesach Havel Havelim!

Dan of presents Haveil Havalim #163, the latest of the premier JBlogging Carnival.

And while we're talking about jblog carnivals, don't forget the Kosher Cooking Carnival. Send me all of your posts about Kosher food, Passover food, menus, traditions, halachik issues, cookbooks, restaurants and even recipes! I don't limit the amount of posts per blogger. Please send them via the carnival submission form.


No Beating Passover Cookies

True, Passover is over, and you probably don't want to think about cooking with matzah meal, especially the baking. I must admit that I haven't baked kosher for Passover cakes for years and never baked cookies, even though I bought a special oven for Passover quite a few years ago.

I realized that the effort of beating those egg whites, gently folding all the ingredients and keeping the house calm--no banging!-- while waiting for the delicate mixtures to bake weren't worth it. That's because, even without help, I could eat one of those effort-filled cakes in minutes, if not seconds. Also, we can now buy a very large variety of Kosher for Passover cakes, loved by most of my family. I'm the holdout, and I'm the one who shouldn't eat them any way.

Nu, so why does this post advertise "No Beating Passover Cookies?" Simply, because you'll be getting a recipe. I visited my neighbor to return the insulated bag she lent us to schlepp the food to Jerusalem, and she gave us some delicious "Chocolate Chip Kosher for Passover Cookies." Of course, I could have said "no" and refused to sample them, but I was curious. She had them stored in the freezer, meaning they don't sit around on the counter, and they freeze well. You don't need a mixer, since they don't require beaten egg whites.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1+1/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. potato starch
½ tsp. bk. Powder
½ tsp. bk. Soda
1+1/2 c. matza meal
1 pkg vanilla sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c. oil
Juice of one orange
Stir in chocolate chips
Refrigerate a while
Bake until sides are golden for approximately 15 minutes at 350°F (a hotter oven will cause the cookies to spread too much)
Makes about 80 cookies

The original source of the recipe is unknown.
Enjoy, but in moderation! Why do all the good things have calories? Next, I have to get her recipe for those coconut-chocolate yummies....

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How Can I Fold Laundry Sans TV?

I may have forgotten to tell you.

Our TV died, at least I think it did. A few days before Passover, suddenly the electricity "went" and when it "returned," the TV was lightless. No little red light and no little green, and it didn't respond to any of the tickles and whatever which usually revive it.

I need entertainment when folding the laundry, and a blank screen just doesn't cut it.

Post-Passover Feasting

Good Neighbors

Moroccan Jewry has its own Holiday right after, Pesach, Mimuna, (spelling?)
Traditionally, it's an "open house." Israeli politicians take advantage and "do the rounds," showing up at as many as they can get to. Olmert's latest "The gov't knows how to care for Israel's security" were said at one of his Mimouna stops.
All sorts of delicious, calorie-laden treats are served.
The most important is the mouflatta (spelling?) It's a fine "crepe," thin pancake, like for wrapping blintzes, spread with butter and honey. In recent years my neighbor has taken to making individualized brachot (blessings,) as he does the spreading.

Can Johnny's Granddaughter Read?

It seems like there are still always complaints about education, at least in America. In my day (the 1950's,) a scandalous book came out Why Johnny Can't Read.

It said that the reason for the problems many American children have reading is davka the modern teaching methods, memorizing words--rather than phonetics. In the last half a century, the "experts" have been unwilling to admit their mistakes and try all sorts of "combination methods." They insist that their method is good, even though results aren't.

Unfortunately, Israeli educators imitate every failed method, and even Hebrew, a totally phonetic language, has been taught non-phonetically in many schools for over 25 years. My 3rd daughter was lucky, because she was in the last year to learn the old way. When I tried warning the principal and teachers here, they ignored me. I wasn't a "real" teacher, and I had no pedagogic status or credentials.

It wasn't until a few "crops" of boys, who had learned the "new way," reached Bar Mitzvah and problems, remember this is Israel where Hebrew is the native tongue, learning how to read the Torah, when the authorities finally began to admit that "maybe something's wrong with the new method."

In today's schools, discipline and routine aren't what they once were, combining with innovative, rather than tried and true teaching methods, and the fact that kids (and teachers) sleep much less than pre-VCR/DVD and "open until midnight" malls and supermarkets "conspire" to make it very difficult to learn to their full potential.

I did my best to protect my kids from the "experts," and now I worry about my grandchildren.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

You Probably Think I'm Just A Kvetch

I know that I kevetch plenty about cleaning for Pesach, and now I'm going to tell you the truth. I hate putting everything back even more.

All through that last day of chag (holiday) all I can think of is the dishes and mess and cleaning and drying and bagging. B"H, at least my husband does the heavy work, but I'm soaking from all the dishwater.

I think it's time to go to the neighbors' for their Maimona celebrations and all that yummy stuff, mufletta with butter and honey...

OK, B"H, Thank G-d, I'm not a Moroccan housewife.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Left-Over Matzah?

Do you need some good crunchy ideas? If you're anything like us, we end up throwing out old matzah every year cleaning for Pesach.

Applesauce, So Easy, It's Like Cheating

The other day I made applesauce to serve with "Savta Brei," our family Passover specialty. I used to make fresh, raw applesauce in the blender, before making the "potato mush" for the Savta Brei, but then my friend taught me her trick. It's so simply delicious!

  • peel and cut up some apples
  • put them in a pot with
  • some water, not a lot
  • sugar (brown's best)
  • and cinnamon
  • cook until soft
  • let cool a bit
  • then mash with a "potato masher"

That's it!

My 6 month old grandson ate some, and he's not used to food at all; my daughter has to go back to work next week, and we hope that he won't starve himself at the babysitter's like his sisters used to do.

After they left, I had some with cottage cheese, and then in the morning I finished it off with yogurt. And that means that I'll have to prepare more today, since they're coming over again.

5 Omer, Walked Twice

It's not as "good" as it sounds. That's all I did all day besides eating, reading, blogging, cooking.

Yes, I took two walks. Both with my "walking buddy." Walk #1 was around the neighborhood almost twice and then down to the super-grocery. What's larger than a local grocers and smaller than a "real" supermarket? Actually, it's larger than the original "supermarkets" in Jerusalem, but Shiloh has two "green grocers," so he doesn't see fruits and vegetables. Then later on, after cooking and nightfall, we walked again.

I can't handle this early dry summer. I guess we'll have to get air-conditioners, which also heat the house. I just don't function most of the year, either from the heat or cold.

Now I have to get the house ready for Shabbat and my married daughter and her family. The baby is "starting to" crawl, so the floor must be cleared and clean. No matter how large the blanket I put on the floor, they always go after the "real thing."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Family History

It's funny, at least to me, that my kids are more attached to all sorts of "things" in the house than I am. All these "things" are part of their memories. I don't have the same feelings for "things" in my parents' home and never did.

When I look at my Passover closets I see a whole history of the almost 40 years we're married. At this point, I can't remember exactly when we got everything, but it's close.

Here's a dairy closet, above.

First we must honor the cups we bought Passover, 1971, in the SuperSol on Agron Street. We were living not far, in the Maon Betar, Old City Jerusalem. The plastic dishes were bought in NY, I think in the A&S (I think that's the name of the department store which used to be in the shopping center at the junction of Northern Blvd., Community Drive, Long Island.) It didn't cost much, since it was a display set and missing a couple of dinner plates. The soft orange cups, if I'm not mistaken, were bought in Bayit V'Gan, Jerusalem, for Passover, 1978, after we got back from England. I had to get lots of things, since we had a mob, including 3 kids of our own and 2 of my cousin's. Soft plastic were just right for the little ones. The UPP mugs were given out at the summer ETAI convention a few years ago. I think they were only for presenters, and I managed to get a few.

The blue and white dishes above and below are all meat.

The Corelle on the left may have had been brought to us by my parents or in-laws. We bought the white set on the right, one year when we had lots of guests. I think I bought the blue plastic that year we had a mob.

The heavy "china" and the large bowl were bought our very first Passover, 1971, in what was "Schwartz" department store on the corner of Ben Yehuda St., Jerusalem. The "china" tray with the tree was bought in London, either Passover, 1976 or 1977. The blue plastic cups are of the same vintage as the orange dairy ones. And I remember winning those funny wine glasses as a door prize at some synagogue event as a teen. They st in my parents' storage space until I was ready to take possession.

Since Passover is only one week a year, everything seems so new.

Feeling Lazy

Lazy and hungry, and I shouldn't eat/nosh. Well, it is the last day of chol hamoed, and I haven't had one of those matzah and butter meals yet, so maybe I can. I did take a walk today with my friend, and it's probably better to get the craving out of my system. and I probably won't like it, since we just have regular matzah, not the shmura which is whole wheat, so maybe...

And then I'll cook for Shabbat...

Omer-4, Last Full Day...

Yes, today's the last full day of Chol HaMoed (check the comment by leora--thanks m'dear!) Passover, and I don't know what to do. Of course, there's food to cook for Shabbat/Last Day Passover, and I have to clean up. My married daughter and grandchildren were over yesterday (and my cousin and her husband,) and yes, the place is a mess.

Weather forecasters claim that the heat has abated a bit or more, but the house is now hot from the previous days' heat. I think I'm a bit dehydrated.

Yesterday, I didn't leave the house at all, expect to wave goodbye.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yes, Passover Vacation

I don't have all that much time to write now, since I'm expecting visitors. Here's Rafi G's report: "Touring Eretz Yisrael: Chol Hamoed: Day 2"

And here are a few pictures from yesterday.

3-Omer, Been Busy

Bli neder, (not a vow--remember), photos to follow.

Yesterday my friend and I took a long walk, down the valley to Shvut Rachel and then along the road to Shiloh. Later we went to Jerusalem. The plan was to cool off in the mall and then go to the filming of Tuesday Night-Live. But then I got a call that we were having dinner with relatives in from the states.

In between I was visited by Rafi G. and family, who had decided to see what Shiloh has to offer. I hope they had a good time. The day before, another blog friend--one who comments, Hadassa DeYoung, drove over with her family to visit. Baruch Hashem, lots of people, and it's only today when there will be a big event at Tel Shiloh.

So I went to Jerusalem with my friends and to the mall with them, but then I went off the the Inbal Hotel to see family. We ate at the hotel, in their Sofia Restaurant. It's a dairy restaurant and we had fish and dessert, oh, yes, some salad too.

Today, we're expecting other relatives to visit. So, I'll spellcheck this and then off to the kitchen, with a detour to shower etc.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Letters Prove What?

The "letters" I'm referring to are in words, actually the font chosen by the candidates, or more precisely their staff. How many candidates really look at the signs, letters, buttons, t-shirts and say:

"I don't like the font. Maybe you can come up with something more: classic, modern, unique etc?"
I used to work in advertising and I don't remember my clients ever noticing the font at all. I did and would sometimes drive the graphic artists nuts. As a teacher, I make a big deal out of how the test should look, what font etc. As a blogger, I also like to play with the fonts and sizes and colors.

I guess news is quite slow, and that's why the New York Times has an article about John McCain's choice of font. Now, honestly, do you think he deals with such picayune details? I don't.

A few years ago, I decided to have my silver candlesticks repaired. My grandmother had given them to me when I got married, so they meant something. At the silver shop, the saleswoman explained that they couldn't be repaired. They were made differently from European or Israeli ones. So I wondered if I should buy new ones. I felt awful. How could I replace my grandmother's gift? So I called up my cousin, who got married when I did and lives in Israel, too. Her answer surprised me. "Grandma didn't pick them out. Don't worry. She wouldn't care."

Honestly, I don't think McCain pays attention to such minor details as fonts, but I liked the article, because I pay attention to fonts.

The font makes the candidate, right!?

Long Distance

I can't do much to help my parents long distance. That's the reality of it. If they want real help, they'd have to move here. A doctor even recommended it, when they were here six months ago for a big family simcha (joyous event.)

My mother fell and broke her arm at my cousin's daughter's house when there for the 2nd seder.

Pray for a refuah shleimah, a full and speedy recovery for Shifra bat Chaya Raisia.

Thank You

Monday, April 21, 2008

2-Omer, No "Guests?"

My friend and I emailed about the Passover seder. Although we both like having a full house with lots of guests, this year, somehow neither of us had any outside guests. It felt strange. Sometimes the talk among Jews is:
"How many people are you having for the seder?"
For years we had all the kids and lots of guests, and then things changed. Suddenly, not all the kids could come, and it got harder to find guests. This year we realized that the only way to spend the seder with at least some of our kids was for us to go to them, and that's what we did.
Honestly, it was great. My friend emailed that they really enjoyed making the seder truly meaningful for their young son. I replied:
Sometimes we get too bogged down trying to make others feel welcome and we forget our own kids.
It doesn't matter how old your children are. They're still our kids. And our kids can be our guests, even if we're visiting them.

Just Before Passover in Jerusalem

We were in the Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem for Shabbat Hagadol-First Day Pesach, which gave us the chance to see things from a very different vantage point. It was also a chance to shop for fancier cakes than usual. Actually, I prefer the simple Passover cakes my husband picks up in our local Shiloh store. That's because they're awful, not tempting at all, which means that I can ignore thm, except for the macaroons...

The Israeli Bakery chain, English Cake, had the most delicious, tempting and sugar-laden (except for a special selection of cakes they marketed as "without added sugar) cakes, cookies, pastries etc. I bought a ton of them to bring to my son's. They offered a dispay as "samples" wiht tiny spoons, like the good ice cream places.

Next year, yes, I say this every year, I must ask someone to get me the American cake mixes, which I can bake in my Pesach oven. Please, remind me!!

Since we had Shabbat before Passover started, some of the bakeries, like Marzipan, baked and sold chamtez until a very short time before Shabbat. Then the workers cleaned and hosed down the store and locked it up for the weeklong holiday.

The fact that I "turned my kitchen" early and cooked and froze the food meant that I came into the HolyDay and Shabbat more relazed than usual. I wouldn't dare make a vow to do it every year, but I do see the point in trying it. I know that there are people who manage to switch the kitchen back and forth during the the time leading up to Pesach, so they don't have all the cooking pressure at the last minute.

This is the only freezer I have, so I can't prepare for the whole week, but maybe I can try to be more organized. Maybe "organized" is the wrong word. Next year is a year away. Maybe if I start the cooking with enough time, I could oven-cook the chicken and then clean out the oven for the kugels. I've never cooked meat in the oven, since I don't have time to clean it properly. Please remend me for next year.

If you have any good ideas, please let me know in comments.

Thanks, enjoy!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1-Omer Before I go to sleep...

Just a quick note before I go to sleep.

I'll, G-d willing, write more tomorrow, more details. But for now, we were in Jerusalem, at our son's in Nachlaot and Jerusalem daughter joined. And of course there was interesting food and I cooked too much and ate much too much. I shouldn't have bought all those cakes at Englishcake.

To give you of an idea of what I ate at the seder:
I ate the saltwater egg and the chicken soup with kneidlach and the beef and the kugels and vegetables and the salad and the three ritual matzot and the lettuce and horseradish and charoset and two cups of wine and two cups of juice, or I wouldn't have made it down the stairs...

Now, good night!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wishing You...

... a wonderful, happy, healthy and kosher Passover.

This year is easier in some ways. We have Shabbat to relax before the Passover Seder. In a modern kitchen, there are the fridge and freezer to store all the prepared food. We can begin the Seder fully rested.

Remember that the Seder is the story, not the food, besides the ritual food, of course. If everyone eats the required quantities they shouldn't be hungry for much else, especially late at night. At least that's what I keep telling my family--not that they listen. We spent a few years at my sister-in-law's and she cooks up a storm. Amazing how much we ate.

Maybe that's why you're not supposed to eat a heavy meal the afternoon before the Seder...

I'll be back blogging in a few days, with my report!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Kasher V'Sameach
Have a Peaceful Shabbat and a Kosher and Happy Passover

Stay Healthy!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Perfect Way To Escape

From the Pre-Passover chaos, take a gander at the latest Gantseh Megillah!


PS And if you're already into Pesach, you can still read it. It's not chametz!!

Pesach Pictured

I always love redecorating my kitchen with contac paper. I took this picture when the job was almost complete. Ironically, when I bought that particular paper, I didn't like it, but it looks much better on the marble than I had expected. I used some old ugly faux "pink marble" on the "peninsula," so I won't be tempted to leave it on until next Passover.

Once I had gotten the "covering" complete, I began cooking. Last night I cooked some chicken, beef and the soup stock. They're all in the freezer now, so they'll be frozen when we take the food to Jerusalem.

Did I tell you that we'd be "camping out" at our son's. He can't take off from his security job. He and I will, G-d willing, finish off the cooking Friday at his place. Today, all I have left to do, besides cleaning and laundry, is the
geffilte fish.

I also have to clear away the chametz table, so it matches the rest of the house.

As you can see, the kitchen is all ready Pesachdik.

It certainly didn't take me long to clutter it up!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Changed--Sort Of--But No Strong Coffee

Just when I need good strong coffee.
If we had a computer like this, we'd have to put it away for Pesach.

We didn't have any help, so my husband and I flipped the kitchen chametz to Pesach last night, by ourselves. It's not quite finished. Surfaces aren't done. Sinks aren't ready. One closet isn't done either. I need a vacation. Also my bedroom wasn't touched. I have two more days of course. I have to go shopping, here in Shiloh, for minor things like sugar, matzah meal, matzah, milk, more eggs, spices, coarse salt, onions.

My hands feel like sandpaper.

My head feels like it's encased in a heavy sock.

The air outside is still white. Not good, though better than in the cities, which have more pollution. It's like G-d is beating his carpet in the Heavens.

I also have to cook. I wish there was a restaurant here where I could go out and buy one of those great "Israeli Breakfasts:"

  • two eggs, however you like 'em

  • whole wheat roll

  • juice of your choice

  • a cup of coffee

  • a variety of cheeses

  • fresh green salad

  • tuna and avocado in season

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nu? Where's The Applause?

Final installment of the fridge saga. See parts 1 and 2.

Yes, don't you see? I did it, and I did it very quickly. The only really difficult thing was the bottom drawers and shelf. After I put the bottom shelf in, I had to take it out and put in the big drawer. No real surprise, since it really all had to be done int the same order reversed as taking it out. And I had to remove one of the door shelves to get another shelf in, but then I put it back no problem.

Cleaning can be dangerous, so be careful.

Quite A Challenge

Yes, this is it the "naked" refrigerator, stripped of its inner shelves. It was delivered, fully equipped, so this is going to be quite a challenge.

And, yes, this pile of plastic is the collection of shelves. I just hope that I can reassemble the innards of the fridge.

I know that my baby could do it, but he's in New York. I'm sure my older son could do it, but he's working and living in Jerusalem. I have just under an hour before I go to T'hillim (Psalms.) If I don't make any progress, I'll plead with my friends to find me help. I'm sure King David had different things in mind when he wrote them.

I Feel Stupid

My present, the "new" refrigerator, is my third one. Each one has been different from its predecessor.

I treat my appliances with tender, loving care so they won't break. I've heard so many stories of people cleaning their appliances to death, taking things apart, which shouldn't be touched and drenching delicate electrical systems until they drown.

I wouldn't dare do such things to my appliances. Sometimes it makes it difficult to clean for Pesach; though my surfaces are always clean and covered.

Today, as I was gently moving something on the freezer door shelf, the shelf moved. Wow! Did that mean that I could actually take it out?

Very carefully, I tried. Yes, the shelf can easily be removed for cleaning, so I did. Then, as you can see in the pictures, I took out all the shelves in the fridge door.

I did the scrubbing after taking the picture.

Everything must be dry by now. So, time to return to the kitchen, put the shelves back in and attack--oh, so gently-- the fridge itself!!

Are We Going To Find Bargains In New York?

The United States Dollar has been sinking in relation to the Israeli shekel, so I figured that it may be a good idea to shop a bit more than usual during our upcoming visit to New York.

I generally find that the prices aren't that great compared to Israel, unless it's a real sale. But now, apparently, at least according to this New York Times article, many more stores are going bankrupt. So, either we'll find some bargains, or we'll have trouble finding stores to shop in.

It wasn't that long ago that Manhasset, Long Island's "Miracle Mile" looked like a ghost town. So many stores, including the department stores of my youth, had gone belly up. During recent visits, the long shopping street was booming, every building full of busy stores. Maybe they didn't have the same names I remember, but I don't have the same name either!


For days I've been trying to find someone to help me "flip" the kitchen, move the stuff from closet to closet so it'll be all ready for Passover. I kept saying I wanted to finish that today. So far, no takers, neither for love or for money, but...


Last year we almost used up all the shelving paper, and I had forgotten to remind my husband to buy more. This morning before he went to work I had him take down the paltry remnants. Now, if I find someone to help, it can't be until my husband returns with the paper.

Is Murphy going to rule?

Some good news.
I've been saving crackers and an enormous supply of dried fruit, hoping that the Pre-Pesach Camp would come by collecting goodies. They just did. So if some more kids come, I'll take out the frozen cupcakes and pittot, which I want to get rid of. I already gave a neighbor the frozen batzeik alim, puff pastry dough.

Off to work I go.
Fridge, beware!

It's your turn!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Escaping The House

I just had to get out around dusk. I had been home all day cleaning. Yes, I did take a break or two on the computer. It's not against the law, right.

We're still having the peculiar weather. The sky goes from black to grey. There wasn't any gorgeous sunset to photograph.

People are throwing all sorts of things out. This cat looked very possessive and proud perched on that couch. It was like she was trying to stare me away. She needed have bothered. I certainly wasn't interested in her couch.

At this other garbage "frog," there was something for puss 'n boots.

Yesterday I was in Jerusalem. At one point I found myself waiting by the parking lot near Binyan Clal on Agrippas Street. Yes, when I wait, I get bored, so I took out the camera.

I've been waiting to hear from a young enterprising businessman who is sending his friends to clean. I need some help.

With A Little Help From A Friend

I was wondering if it would be safe for my nails to try another attempt on the remaining contac paper. If I covered it with a new layer, I'd just be postponing the inevitable, but I couldn't get the paper off. I didn't want to try chemical; they would corrode the floor and be bad for my skin and nails, even with rubber gloves. They'd probably corrode the gloves, too.

Then today, during my pre-lunch break I spoke to a friend. She knows lots of tricks, especially from her Jewish fly baby group. Actually, that's how I originally knew her. She told me to try a hair dryer.

The hair dryer heated the glue, and most came off. There were a few more pieces, which I got off by pouring some boiling water. So, that's how to get off contac paper, hair dryer heat and boiling water.

Now back to the laundry room.

What a Coincidence

G-d's doing a strange kind of "Pesach cleaning." It should have had been enough that last night I caught someone I knew from way back when on TV, but then today, a little while ago I got a phone call. It was from someone else I knew from the same time and place. Someone who was once a very good friend. We were still in touch during our early years here in Israel.

We hadn't been in contact for decades. And as we were talking about what our kids are doing and where, we discovered that we have married children in the same yishuv and grandchildren who are in the same pre-schools.

Sefira Reminder

So far, I've only found the OU Sefira Reminder. Strangely, I had to do a search from their site. They don't have a large
I find that pretty peculiar. I'm also wary about the fact that it's only set, at least so far, for the American time zones.
It's disappointing that the sefira reminders I've used in the past don't automatically send out sign-up reminders or automatically sign us up.
I'd appreciate more options, including Israeli cellphone ones.
Now to the kitchen....

Familiar Face

I wasn't really paying attention to the TV, and then I realized that a "lantzman" was being featured. A mutual friend had once told me that Jeff Gabbay was involved in producing socks that didn't need to be washed and prevented/cured all sorts of skin problems on the feet.

And suddenly, there he was on TV touting his
special fabric, which now is more than just army socks.

His big announcement was that finally a hospital would be using blankets made out of the fabric as an experiment to see if the fabric would reduce the incidence of hospital infections.

Sticky Problem

This isn't some creative modern art project. This is a very sticky problem. It's the downside of one of my favorite Passover "techniques" and annual attempts at redecorating.

Have you guessed?

Stubborn contac paper!

I like using contac paper on the counters and this "peninsula" table. I frequently leave the sticky stuff on this table for most of the year, since the cream-colored formica shows the scars of its age without shame. As you can see, last year's contac paper is still stubbornly holding on.

I could have done the fridge with all the time and energy I've wasted on the removal of this awful contac paper. At least this year I bought paper I find truly ugly, so I won't be as tempted to allow it to remain.

Happy cleaning!

PS Just a reminder. Please send me all of your kosher food (including Pesach preparation) links for the next Kosher Cooking Carnival. Remember that KCC isn't just a recipe carnival. It includes kosher food traditions, holiday foods, halachik articles, cookbook and restaurant reviews, anecdotes and, of course, kosher recipes! If you post or see anything concerning kosher food, please send via the carnival submission form.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dance Along With...

I just need the right music to clean to. Once I put the right music on, I can do anything, anything at all.

What's your favourite cleaning music?

One year I bought a CD of Carmen. It's like killing the Chametz, with "toreador!"


I helped my daughter with the kids today, not to clean. I had to watch them when she took care of some things. The baby slept, and the girls were busy drawing and sticking stickers on their pictures. Originally, I thought we'd take a walk, but the air was awful, dry and dusty, and since we were in Jerusalem, probably polluted, too.

The Passover cleaning will wait.

Lots of Good Things in the JBlogging World

Certainly worth more than Esser Agaroth! Ya'aqov has done a great job on the pre-Pesach Havel Havelim! The next one is after Pesach and there's definitely two weeks' worth of readng here.

Ya'aqov, thanks so much. Have a Chag Kasher V'Sameach!!

PS Did you get a waffle?

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I just got back from a very confusing shiur, Torah class, about what we're to do and not do next Shabbat which is immediately before Passover.

Rav Elchanan Bin-Nun is the Chief Rabbi of Shiloh, and there are Jews from every ethnic group here in Shiloh. He had to cover it all.

The topic that interests me the most concerns the "menu." Rav Elchanan doesn't agree with the idea that you can breakup the morning meal by a technicality to make two meals to cover Seudat Shlishit, the third Shabbat meal. The Third Meal is supposed to be later in the day. The bottom line is that we must have it without grains, matzah of any sort or cake or kneidelach. I can serve my potato or vegetable kugel with meat or fish and cheese, avocado, too. It's a good protein; don't forget eggs.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Olive Oil

During Passover, many Ashkenaz Jews don't use any kitniyot/legumes, including the everyday soy oil. For many of us, olive oil is the oil used for salads, cooking etc. So I was very happy to see this short article about the benefits of olive oil.
Personally, I'm not willing to try most of the other non-kitniyot oils on the market, like cotton seed oil. There are great debates over the safety of making food out of cotton seeds, since cotton isn't grown as a food crop.
Olive oil is one of our most ancient foods, also used medicinally, so I feel safer with it. And I also love the flavor!

New York - Handbook For Erev Pesach That Falls on Shabbos

Please see the attached PDF file. It was written in memory of Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum Z"L.

Of course, if you have your own rabbi to ask, you should, but this does give some important halachot, and it's in writing. Click the pdf above.

Shabbat Shalom
Thanks to ah

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This is not my favorite season.
I hate cleaning.
I even hate cleaning for Passover, and I'm a very Torah-observant Jew.
It's bad enough in America, a bit of vacuuming etc. But when I got to Israel and discovered that people move all the furniture and scrub the floor with a scrub brush. And many people paint their houses, every year. OK, I should correct that. The big houses are not always painted, but small apartments are or used to be. People used cheap white paint. Every piece of furniture was moved from room to room.
They also took out every single book, opened them and banged them. The whole neighborhood sounded like some pre-school drum lesson.
Also every closet was emptied, all the clothes, and then they were strung out to air and then refolded. I have enough trouble keeping up with the laundry. Once as a teen I decided to go through my closet at the beginning of summer vacation. I emptied it on my bed, and it was a good thing that my bother and sister were in sleep away camp for eight weeks. It took me that long to finish going through the closet; I needed the extra bedroom for sleeping.
I don't know if people, in apartments still do it, but my neighbors in Bayit V'Gan used to scrub their floors every night. All the chairs went on the tables. Everything off the floor.
Most people's homes look better on ordinary days than mine does for Pesach. The important things are always clean in my house, like the clothes and dishes.
I remember when I worked in the day care center for babies up to 3 years of age. I was the cook. During the four years I cooked there, there were no stomach virus epidemics. I introduced the concept of covered containers for storing food. I kid you not. It was considered revolutionary. I labeled the shelves to show where everything went, so it would be easy for workers to put things away, and the other workers and I wouldn't have to waste time looking for everything.
There was someone who sometimes worked there. She looked down on me, bragging that her house was so clean you could eat off the floor. Then one day I was in the kitchen when she took a spoon out of the drawer to get sugar for teach. She wiped it with her grimy hands and then attempted to put the spoon in the sugar. I told her that she had dirtied the spoon with her hands. Maybe in her house, you could eat off the floor, but in mine the plates and cutlery were cleaner!

The First Closet

That's always the first closet ready for Passover. Actually, that's why it has newspaper and not my usual nice clean paper. The shelving paper hasn't been found, taken down or even looked for yet.

The canned goods in the closet have been in the house for "ages." I checked and they all say KP, Kosher for Passover. And my husband bought some cakes already.

I've also scrubbed the floor by/under the stove. I'm just doing basic cleaning in the rooms nobody lives in.

Yesterday I bought contac paper. I like using it on all of the counters. I bought the paper in a store in Pisgat Zeev, when I had a bit of time between the pool and going to work.

I went to the store which had once advertised with me in the days when I worked in advertising. I'm pretty loyal to my old clients/customers, or whatever they're called. After he measured out the paper, he said he'd give me the whole thing, since only a drop was left. While he was putting my credit card through the whatever, I mentioned that he had once advertised with me and that's why I was there. I like to be loyal. All of a sudden he took the receipt I was supposed to sign and told me to just go. I didn't have to pay.

Some days have such wonderful surprises.

Why Will This Passover Seder Be Different From Others?

Actually, there are a number of reasons. I'll just write about one right now. I'll have some new clothes. Usually, I don't. Some people make a point of having something new to say "Shehechiyanu." That's a rare case for me.

But this year is different. It's not that I've gone shopping for new clothes. I buy things on sale, when/if I come across clothes that fit of the right price which I need, or will need.

It just ends up that there are a few things waiting in the closet. They needed the right hat. So I bought ribbon-yarn, but I didn't end up crocheting with them. Then this week, my neighbor, who owns the best and most veteran hat store in Netanya, had a "hat bazaar" in his home. He does it about twice a year. I went down and took the pictures posted on Yesterday. I found a hat my daughter may like for the wedding we have in the states early July, or just because it's her style. I tried not to buy anything for myself, but one hat, just one, cried to me to try me on. And I did and I bought it, and it matches the clothes which have been waiting in the closet, so, I have new clothes to wear on Pesach.