Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amazing Chanukah Video and Song From Matisyahu

It's a miracle!

Water-Saving Meatloaf

Nu, you must be wondering what water has to do with meatloaf.  It's not an ingredient in a standard meatloaf, certainly not in my recipe!

Simple!  Washing dishes uses up a lot of water, so the fewer dishes you have to wash the less water you're going to use.  There is a dangerous drought here in the HolyLand.

So, how is this meatloaf, which I served last Shabbat when we had guests, water-saving?

Simple, it was mixed, baked and served in the same pretty, oven-proof baking pan.  It's a very easy, no fuss recipe.  Warning: I never measure, because it really doesn't matter.  This version is perfect for celiacs and low-carb dieters, since there's neither matzah meal nor bread crumbs.

Mix all this in your baking pan:
  • 500 grams or about a pound of chopped meat, poultry or combination. (Of course you can make more or less depending on your pan)
  • chopped up onion
  • a couple of spoons of tomato paste, to taste* (but don't taste the raw meat.  To taste* means what your family likes)
  • an egg
  • any other spices like garlic, parsley, oregano etc, to taste*
Bake in a hotter than for cake oven until it looks ready, brown on top and concentrated in center away from the edges.

Monday, November 29, 2010

That's What A Mother Does

I've been working hard to get a good "working relationship" trust between me and the kid I tutor.  Today during the "small talk" part of the lesson I told him how I go to watch my son play tackle football, even though I don't enjoy the game and feel sick everytime I see him in one of those pile-ups or whatever they're called.

"That's what a mother does." I told him.  "Would your mother go to see you play a sport she didn't like, just because you're playing."
"Yes," he replied.
Being a mother sometimes is a lot tougher than watching your baby play tackle football.  When that same football player was two weeks old he had a very serious infection, osteomeilitis.  To be cured he had to get antibiotics IV for six weeks, so we (my baby and I) "moved into" Shaare Tzedek Hospital for that time.  All sorts of people helped out, taking care of my other kids and also watching him so I could get home daily for a few hours.  I don't even know most of them, since a neighbor did all the organizing and I had made one condition:
"Nobody from Shiloh should go to the hospital to be with him.  There's enough to do at home.  It's bad enough that I have to be away."
A good friend, from Jerusalem, took a double shift every week.  A neighbor who then taught in Pardes and told them the story of the great חסד chessed happening.  One of his students insisted on volunteering, too.  The nurses were amazed when this young man with a pony tail showed up and then admitted that he had never ever held a baby before and really hadn't the vaguest idea what to do.  They taught him.

Why am I suddenly writing this?  That's because when I was waiting for tonight's bus I saw someone whose baby has very recently been hospitalized in serious condition.  I went over to speak to her and all the old memories came flooding out as if it had just happened last week, or even yesterday.  I was shaking and close to tears even worse than all those years ago.

Yes, that, too is what a mother does...

Trolley -Jerusalem Lightrail- Spotted in Kiryat Moshe-Beit HaKerem

Sign of the future. Someday this will be routine, cars and trains traveling the same roads...

What will Jerusalem be like in another year or so or less when the lightrail runs on schedule full of passengers? Will there be fewer private cars in the streets? That's what the lobbyests boasted when marketing the trains. Having a private car is like an addiction for many. They won't give them up so quickly.
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Why Not Read and Listen...?

There's always something to read and listen to on the internet.  Sitting here in the den at the computer isn't quite like curling up on the couch with a book, magazine or newspaper, but...

Michael sent me a notice that after multiple health issues, he's putting out the Gantseh Megillah again.

When I'm checking the blogs, internet etc I listen to shiurim from Matan.  Some are free.  Others you have to pay for.  I'm taking three Matan courses in the Jerusalem branch every Wednesday.  The level of Women's Torah learning is the highest ever.  The women who give Tanach (Bible) classes in English also teach in Hebrew, which shows that the level in Matan is the same in both languages.  As part of the Al HaPerek course, an interactive, self-study Bible Course, I've heard Hebrew classes, and they aren't any more intellectually stimulating than the English ones.

Not all Torah-committed women are willing to keep to the traditional roles.  Risa blogs about it.

Chaviva's visiting Israel, but I don't think we'll manage a f2f.

Heshy has been blogging about marriage (comments are gross) and now I think his problem is that he's mixing with the wrong type of women, wrong for him at least.

Parenting isn't always easy.  New teaching methods make math in mamaland quite a challenge.

This year's drought seems even worse than the previous ones.  The Rabbinate has declared special prayers and a fast today.  Why hasn't the entire Jewish World at least added prayers?

On with my day...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Search of the 00 WC

Last week when walking in Jerusalem one evening, I realized that finding a 00 WC would be a good idea, or I'd have to take a bus to my destination, even though I had time for a walk.  Suddenly I realized/remembered that the Mamilla Mall was just ahead and they had "facilities."  So, I went in.

I'd been to the Mamilla Mall before and certainly knew where the 00 WC was, but it wasn't. I walked up and down the "street" between the stores... yes, starting to panic.  I finally asked for help and was told that it was in the "Gap," yes the branch of the American store.

It's like a mall within the mall with a number of tempting stores, tempting for those with both time and money.  I followed the signs and found this one:
The toilets are locked
You must go up a floor
Our apologies
So, I went up.

There I was greeted by another sign:
The toilets are locked
Temporarily for cleaning
Our Apologies
Nu, this wasn't good, so I went back to the first one, and then back again. Maybe the cleaning was finished.  Nope.

Then a worker pointed to another sign:
Toilets W.C.
Floor -2

Finally, I was greeted by the least comfortable toilet seat ever designed:

I kid you not.  Yes, it's a rectangular seat.  It must have been invented by a man!

The Trolley's in Pisgat Zeev

Jerusalem's lightrail can be found on practice runs throughout its route.

Here it is in Pisgat Ze'ev last Tuesday.  I noticed the lightrail moving after leaving the Pisgat Ze'ev Mall, after finally buying the baby an outfit her mother and sisters approved of.  I got it in a Golf Infant store.  It's amazing that although it's a chain, each store has such a different selection.  I had bought the original and rejected one in the Malcha Mall.  The saleswoman in Talpiyot told me that the outfit I had gotten was from their Rosh Hashanna "collection."  That's why I couldn't find the "tights" in the size I wanted and got larger ones. My friend and I measured them against "smaller" bottoms and realized that because they were made to stretch, they wouldn't look too big on the baby.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An Even Better Salad Deal for A Great Lunch!

Not long ago, I blogged about the best lunch deal, a ns20- salad at the Israel Center.

Last week my friend and I, who had found a reasonable lunch on Emek Refaim, met again, though this time in the Talpiyot industrial/commercial area. We went to the Achim Yisrael shopping mall so I could try one more place for the perfect baby outfit. And of course, we had to eat lunch. My friend was certain that we'd do better out of the mall. And we did!

At "Habba," we were able to choose from a great variety of foods until the container was pretty full. It also came with a fresh roll, since Habba is a bakery. We didn't eat our rolls, but I took them home for my husband and froze them. And the price for these delicious and filling salads were all of NS20 each!
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A Little of This and A Little of That

Shabbat was nice, a Bar Mitzvah in the shul, nice shiur nashim, mostly good news... 

I can hear the Man of La Mancha song, "A Little Gossip," from the album we had when I was a kid.  After I wrote the post's title I decided that I must post the song.  All I found was this guy's audition.  I wonder if he got the role.

A couple of reminders.  My blogrolls are missing some of my all time favovorite blogs here on me-ander and even more on Shiloh Musings.  If you have any suggestions of active blogs, please let me know in the comments.  Thanks!  It's especially important to list those that list me.

If relevant, please participate in the poll here on me-ander.  Thanks

What one doesn't do for one's kids...

Many of us have kids who are our "opposites."  I was terrified of dogs, cats, birds etc as a kids.  I still freak out around birds and hate having them fly around over my head, but I trained myself out of my dog and cat phobias.  I also have a fear of heights, especially when it comes to walking down anything less stable than stairs with railings.  My older son is my total opposite.  He's totally confident and loving with all animals and can hike, trek, climb up and down without fear.

He's studying to be a "dog psychologist," "family therapist including the dog" or "dog whisperer."  It's a real profession, more than just a dog trainer.  Yesterday before Shabbat he asked me if we still had our World Book.  He remembers the pages with all the dog breeds and hasn't found anything comparable online.  So when I finish my usual Saturday night post-Shabbat computer stuff, I'm going to scan the dog article and send it to him.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chanuka's Next Week!

I'll start with a nice catchy little Chanukah tune from lady-light's blog.

That should get you in the mood.

We had better stock up on olive oil.  I light olive oil, and my husband likes his traditional candles.  I find that it's better to use good eating quality oil, not any of those "for lighting/burning" bargain oils.  Whenver we've bought some, they turned out to be terrible disappointments, black, smelly smokey disappointments.  The "thrifty" water on the bottom techique isn't good either.  First of all, what's the point when water doesn't burn, so it doesn't add to burning time.  But most serious is that water and olive oil have different chemical characteristics, and the boiling water because of the heat of the burning oil sometimes causes the glass cup to explode which can be very dangerous.  And then you must replace the glass cup, because you need maximum on the last night.  Another lighting tip is that you use a candle for the shammas when the lights are oil.  That's because you can't light directly from an oil light.  I guess that people who grew up with oil lights know this, but we didn't grow up with oil, so I discovered it the hard way.

Next week, I'll bli neder blog low carbohydrate latke recipes.  Stay tuned and keep checking in.

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach
Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Never Thought I'd Be Able To Say This:

I no longer look fat from the back.  What do you think?

Exactly two years ago, I weighed at least thirty pounds or about fifteen kilo more, and I was obese.  A photo of my back had looked very different.  I certainly wouldn't have posted it on my blogs.

Recently I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for awhile:
"I didn't recognize you at first!  You've lost so much weight.  Your face has changed."
Music to me ears...  And I must admit that each time I see this picture I don't recognize it as me.  Of course I know it's me.  Only I have a skirt like that.  A neighbor pasted the sticker onto my backpack and took the picture with my camera.  But still, I look at it in shock:
"Who is she?  I don't look like that.  Do I?"

It's Not Thanksgiving If It's Not At Aunt Pauline's...

These are pictures from my old album, the photo album I made when I was in the Sixth Grade or younger.  I took the pictures.  They were taken with whatever cheap, simple camera a little kid, or even an ordinary family, would have had in the middle-late 1950's.  Those with "good eyes" will see that I still take similar pictures in terms of simple composition.  I do like to photograph anything and everything wherever I am.

But this is about Thanksgiving and family...

The lower-most picture was taken on Thanksgiving decades before many of you were born.

But for me it's only Thanksgiving if we're at Aunt Pauline's tiny one bedroom apartment.

We've only "celebrated" Thanksgiving once since our aliyah in 1970.  A neighbor decided to organize a large dinner together.  It was great fun, but it wasn't Thanksgiving for me, at least.

Aunt Pauline was one of my mother's four older sisters, the third of the three daughters my grandmother had with her first husband.  My grandmother was a poor widow with three daughters when she married my widowed grandfather who had two sons, who were the same ages as her younger daughters.  Together they had four more children, three girls and a boy, not in that order.  My mother is second to youngest.  Only she and her younger sister are still alive.  You can see many of the same people in the group pictures in this blog's banner.  Also, Aunt Florence from Far Rockaway is in the uppermost picture here and in the table picture in the banner.

All of Aunt Pauline's apartment was as crowded as this kitchen scene.  Food was also eaten in the bedroom.  For me food wasn't the focus of these Thanksgiving get-togethers.  I loved observing my older cousins, watching and listening to them.  Everyone talked at once, and they were all very funny, at least the ones who could be heard over the roar of people.  I think that's pretty normal for large families.  We'd finish each other's sentences and have simultaneous multiple conversations; at least that's how I remember it. And it wasn't considered rude.

We didn't sit around a formal dinner table.  I don't even know if she had one.  My aunt was a single-parent (divorced) and raised her daughter alone.  She wasn't the only single parent in the clan, but the others were widowed.  Yes, quite a large number of my cousins only had one parent by the time they finished high school and some were much, much younger when a parent passed away.

My aunts and uncles did their best to help their siblings and nieces and nephews out.  My father, who had a business as a CPA, hired a couple of my older cousins every year at tax season.  He was a surrogate father as best as he could be.  One followed him and became an accountant, too.

When I became religious and wouldn't eat traif, I'd eat someplace kosher first and then go to Aunt Pauline's.  One year Aunt Sadie, who lived at the time a short walk from Aunt Pauline, took me to the East Midwood Jewish Center's kitchen where we ate a delicious meal.  Aunt Sadie (Finkelstein) was the secretary to Rabbi Halpern and also did work for the caterer, which was why we were welcomed to the best food in the shul kitchen.  She appears in the table picture in the banner and is standing in the kitchen picture.  The following year I brought my husband (we were engaged at the time) and we first went to Aunt Rosie and Uncle Joe's apartment to eat.  Aunt Rosie and Uncle Joe are sitting at the table in the banner picture and she's also one of the children in the banner.

Then my husband and I got married, made aliyah and Thanksgiving wasn't on our calendar.  A few years later, Aunt Pauline's daughter began hosting the event in her large suburban home.  I understand that fewer people came, though there was plenty of room.  Most of my cousins have had to spend Thanksgiving with in-laws or moved too far away.  Now, if I'm not mistaken, the third generation, one of Aunt Pauline's granddaughters, has taken over hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner.

Here in Israel, we thank G-d all the time.  I live a different life, but just look at the banner of this blog and you'll see that I do miss those days and all the family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Maybe It's The Plastic Surgery...

Jennifer Grey is missing something, besides PATRICK SWAYZE, who was the partner who brought out the best, more than just the dancing. Here are some of her very recent winning "Dancing With The Stars" dances. Afterwards, I'll show you her very best, from "Dirty Dancing."

I can't find the embedded link to the whole thing. So click here.  Following is an excerpt.

From what I can see, her face is all stiff and puffed up from surgeries.  In Dirty Dancing it wasn't just the great dancing, it was the acting, too.  Her face was amazingly expressive.  Now she looks like a cartoon animation.  And there's no chemistry between her and her partner.

If I look my age, fine.  I'd rather look old with a living face than look like someone pasted plastic on my neck.

Some of You May Not Like This

But some others may find it hysterical.  Watch at your own risk, or don't watch at all.  I won't be offended.  It's the Saturday Night Live SNL TSA Skit.   Hat tip Heshy Fried of Frum Satire.

The latest American travel security regulations have made it unsafe to send children on planes alone.  What if the kid doesn't want the whole body scan/x-ray

The United States is a very peculiar country.  They think it's immoral to "profile" and check out people in "certain categories," but they have no problem sending their security staff to "feel up" security pat down passengers.

Israeli security personnel, and that includes those wandering incognito, are taught how to "look through" people wandering and waiting in the airport and other public places.

When I'm in New York, I always get a kick seeing those military guards, dressed in jungle camouflage, guarding Penn Station.

Photography's For Me, Because I Won't Compete With G-d

I may have mentioned this before.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist, but whatever I tried to draw or paint, no matter what the medium, it looked awful.  Nothing I made ever came out the way I had envisioned in my mind.  So, I gave up on "art."  About ten to twenty plus years ago I did a lot of needlepoint and even designed some simple ones for the family and house.  No great shakes as art, but they kept my hands busy when that was what I needed.

Over the years I've made a discovery.  Nothing is as beautiful as G-d's creations.  Photography preserves them...

And I Had Thought It Would Be So Easy...

Last week my daughter mentioned that she'd like the baby to have something new and special to "wear at her party."  She asked that I do the shopping and she'd pay, since I have the time sans money.

What fun!  What could be better than shopping for a frilly little baby outfit?  Jerusalem is full of baby clothes stores, I could see all those shop windows I generally avoid because they're too tempting.  Now would be my chance to go in and get something really special.

In the end, I thought I was in an episode of Twilight Zone.  Most of the stores had disappeared or no longer had infant sections.  And when I found baby clothes, they all looked like pyjamas.  And I had orders to get "something that looks like a dress, not pyjamas!"  I even tried the "chain stores," which  had the most boring selections, davka, each branch a different selection.  And I even went into a fancy store where I had gotten something special for the eldest.

After going through all of downtown Jerusalem and the Malcha Mall I found what I considered an adorable outfit.  On my way home, my daughter met the bus in Ofra and I handed her the package through the backdoor.  Then my phone rang:
"You got the wrong size and the colors aren't flattering."
"Oops!  I knew I should have had more to eat and drink.  But those were the only colors they were selling, pale pink and weak brown."
So the next day (yesterday) I went to Jerusalem via Ofra and picked up the outfit.  I visited more branches of "Golf Infant" and found a different outfit, davka, in the Pisgat Ze'ev Mall. On my way home, again I passed the package through the backdoor in Ofra.  Then the phone rang:
"This one is much better, thanks!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just Follow Me!

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned that I'm tutoring a kid in Gilo, which has necesitated my getting to know an entirely new neighborhood in Jerusalem.  It also means that I've gotten to know buses and various routes, by bus, to the CBS Central Bus Station and home.

Last night I was finally getting on bus #1 of the trip, the #71, when I heard:
"Does this bus go to the Central Bus Station?"
"No, wait for the #31."
Never one to leave mistakes uncorrected.  I turnd to the woman and said:
"Just follow me."
She did and we proceded to spend the entire almost one hour trip becoming instant best friends.  By the time we got off at the bus staion, after changing buses on King George Street, we learned a lot about each other.  But we didn't learn each other's names.  She was happy  that I had helped her get to the bus station, and I was glad not to have traveled myself, all alone.  I doubt if I'll ever see her again, but I enjoyed seeing my new knowledge help another person, we did have a pleasant ride together.

It was certainly more fun than sitting alone in a car.

The Best Lunch Deal in Jerusalem

OK, I must warn you that the place is simple with a very limited menu, but its menu suits my needs.  They serve a ns20 salad, which you can see here. It comes with bread or crackers, but I declined that, because I'm on a low carbohydrate diet.   For ns21 they give a nice, simple but generous sandwich.

I'm talking about the small cafeteria downstairs in the Israel Center
22 Keren Hayesod, Jerusalem
Tel.: (02) 5667787
Fax: (02) 5617432
E-mail: israelcenter@ou.org

And hours, too, are limited.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Poll Time! What's your hair-covering of choice?

I've set up my first "blogger" poll.

Ladies, this is for you!  That is if you cover your hair...

What type of hair-covering to you use?

The poll is in the upper left sidebar.

And before I go off to finally eat some dinner...
Today when I went to Gilo to tutor I saw that my student (male and 7th grade) had cut his very long hair to chin length.  I asked him why and he said that he felt ready for a change.  I told him that because I cover my hair I can give myself a completely new look every day by choosing a different sort of hat or scarf etc.  Maybe I imagined it, but I think it showed him a very different side to women's hair-covering.  BTW, he's not from a strictly religious home.  I don't know if he has any female relatives who cover their hair and how familiar he is with it.

Losing Their Home

These poor innocent living creatures have lost their home in Shiloh!

Houses are being built where they had been living.  Well, should we cry about it?  I'd take human rights over animal rights any day!

Bad News

It didn't rain.  I had been hoping and praying that yesterday's demonstration would reward us with a few hours of rain, but it didn't.

In all honesty, I can't put a happy face on our present situation, not the political one, nor our water, or lack of it.  I don't see any public  or private admission or recognition by Israel politicians, media etc.  After a few weeks with the fan turned off, I had to turn it back on again.  Yes, it's that hot.  Hot as Hell, I must admit.

Here are a few seconds of Israeli singer, Ariel Zilber, at yesterday's demonstration.  From the look of the sky, you'd think it July or August.

Zilber is one of the growing list of Israeli entertainers to become Torah observant in recent years.  He is also unabashedly Right, pro-Jews in the Land of Israel and was a big anti-Disengagement activist.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Do I Really Smell Rain?

Here in the Holy Land, where G-d is just a "local call" we're more "attached," connected to G-d/nature.  I always think of that when we have our "first rains."  There's a special "odor."  Yes, you can smell the rain arriving.

There may be a scientific reason for it.  Could it be the meeting of humidity and dust?  A chemical reaction?

Back to today, is it just wishful thinking?  Or is it related to Murphy's Law?  I am planning two round-trips to Jerusalem and back.  So, davka, why today?  But we're suffering a horrendous drought, and modern life is awfully water-wasting.  For some inexplicable reason, the government isn't even broadcasting their water-saving information ads on television.

First Rains are usually dangerous times, lots more car accidents, because the rain on the road combines badly with the oils and dust making it very difficult to control cars.  So, we must not only pray for rain, we must pray for safe traveling, G-d willing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Turban Is Just a Well-Wrapped Oversized Tichel

Ladies, it's now more fashionable to wear a tichel (scarf) than a sheitel (wig) or fancy hat.  If you don't believe me, read it in the New York Times

For some strange reason Simone S. Oliver, the Times writer, just refers to turbans as "historically been associated with Arab dress" and is ignorant of the fact that there are Torah observant Jewish women who use fashionably tied scarves to cover their hair for religious reasons.  She's also very wrong in saying:
"And if you use hats to hide uncooperative hair... the turban is not a smart choice."
Believe me; the turban is great for hiding hair!  You just have to know how to pin your hair, but you need to do that if you're wearing a wig and some hats.  A turban is more flexible than a wig or hat, so if you have long hair it's no problem.  I've seen many women use their long hair to add shape to the turban.  And yes, I know that bli neder, no promises/vows/oaths, I must do a photo post about hair covering including scarves and turbans.

During my heavy years I preferred how I looked in hats, but recently, since I have lost weight, I started wearing tichels (scarves) again, and then I began playing with the oversized, long scarves, wrapping them around my head.  The result is a turban.  I've gotten lots of compliments when wearing them.  There's an important practical aspect; they are easy to pack, taking up almost no space and don't need a protective box.  They need less care than a wig, and you can buy many for what a good hat or wig cost.  You can tie them different ways to make different impressions, styles etc.  Some people wear multiple scarves wound around in the most amazing ways.  You can use any fabric or combination; it doesn't have to be a bought scarf.  A pin can be added for extra accent, making it more "hat-like."

There are people of my generation and older who absolutely hate tichels however they're tied, because they're reminded of Aunt Jemima.

I'd like your opinion about turbans, whether you cover your hair or not.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Despite the Drought

This plant, I think it's a crocus, appears every winter after a rain or two. If there's lots of rain, they are larger and more plentiful. We, here in Israel have been suffering a very serious drought. The Bible and Chazal, our Sages, tell us that the amount of rain we receive is dependent on how we keep G-d's commandmants, how we treasure our Holy Land. The lack of suffient rain is a sign of G-d's displeasure. This tiny pathetic looking plant shows that something is lacking.

May we merit bountiful rain and may our gardens be full of these special plants every year early winter, in the right season.
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Priorities, Why We Left The IBA Party Early

On Shiloh Musings, I just blogged about the IBA 20th Anniversary/Birthday Party.  We (my husband and I) left early after asking Steve Liebowitz how he could schedule the party the same exact time as a Jerusalem Lions home game.  He understood and just asked that we stay for his opening speech which we did.  In it he thanked anyone and everyone (apologizing for any name he missed) who has/had been involved with the IBA news.  He especially thanked the outside experts, such as my husband, who appear gratis, without getting financially compensated for their time and efforts.

We hurried over to Kraft Stadium, in nearby Sacher Park, arriving early in the second quarter, to watch our son's IFL Jerusalem Lions beat the Tel Aviv Pioneers..

There's always a great "very Israeli" variety of people at the games.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

William and Kate, An Ordinary Couple?

When Prince William's parents got engaged the world was all gaga over the idea that Great Britain's thirty-plus heir to the throne had found himself, Diana Spencer, a beautiful, seemingly innocent bride.  Prince Charles' parents were modern enough to give him some choice and not use his marriage as some sort of royal diplomatic alliance.  But they weren't modern enough to encourage him to marry the woman he was truly in love with,  Camilla.

One of the courses I'm taking in Matan is Megillat Ester by Atara Snowbell.  We've been discussing the life of the women in King Achashverosh's "harem."  It's important to take ourselves out of modern norms to understand what life was like then.  Being chosen as a possible queen or consort for the king was a one-way ticket.  The women were captured, enslaved and kept well-oiled, perphumed and  "ready" just in case they'd be called for an "audition" in the king's bed.  There were hundreds or more competing.  Some were never called.  If they were lucky, they may find themselves pregnant by the king, but most would never have children.

"Normal" lives?  No way, and don't forget that the twentieth century "nuclear family" didn't exist even for the non-royals.

Until a few decades ago, many of European royalty lived in a way totally different from "ordinary people."  I'll never forget a movie shown at a visit to a British museum.  (We lived there in the middle 1970's.)  It was supposed to show how "ordinary" and "family-minded" the British Royal Family was.  We saw Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and their four children having a barbeque.  The kids looked totally confused and you could hear one of the little boys asking what the serving implements were.  It was very obvious that this was staged and badly rehearsed.

Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have been more exposed to "ordinary life," but it's not the life my kids know.  Don't forget that the princes are very wealthy and their social peers are the same.

Do they get together for barbeques?  I don't know.

I wish them luck. Living in a fishbowl isn't easy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cashing In, Frozen Foods

Months ago, I cooked extra a few times and froze the food.  I'm talking about kugels, meatloaf and chicken.  Tomorrow I have too much planned, and tomorrow is Thursday, and Thursday is my for-Shabbat cooking day.

So, this week I'm going to cash it in and defrost.  That also means that I don't have to buy more meat/poultry, since I won't be cooking anything "new."  Friday I can do my usual vegetable cooking.

And then after Chanuka, which is really soon, I have to do my usual pre-Passover inventory and see what there is waiting to be cooked/eaten, whatever.

When the house was full of kids and the freezer and pantry smaller, I could start going into pre-Pesach mode around Purim.  But now we're only two in the house, and now we're both on diets, so I have to figure out what to do with all the food.

This year there's an Adar Bet, so there's more time...

Meet The Blogs

I'm trying to reconstruct/make a new blogroll.  When Risa and I (more of Risa's work than mine) redid/changed the Model T template to a new modern blogger's dream, my old blogroll got lost.  It's not the end of the world.  Things do disappear when you move to a new home.  Don't they?  And quite a few of those old blogs haven't functioned in years.  Some of the links were taken over by porn sites and virus factories, so I was afraid to check them out.  I've quickly added a few blogs to my new list, and if your blog was left out, just send me a note/comment with the link, so I can add it.  Of course, I'd appreciate being on your blogroll, common courtesy, nu...

I like this new set-up which shows if there's anything new on the blogs, making it easier to know when to visit.  Sometimes when I feel the need to visit new blogs, I go to other blogs and check their lists.  Now you can go to mine.  If you don't know who's worth visiting, I hope this  "getting to know..." post helps.  I'm not including everyone.  Obviously, I recommend checking out thse blogs, or they wouldn't have had been added to my new blogroll!

Let's start with Risa who wrote about seeing the musical JUDGE! – Song of Devora in Gush Etzion.  The person whom we must thank for establishing the theater company is Sharon Katz of Voices Magazine.  I just re-added her blog to my list.

Chaviva and I haven't f2f'ed yet, but I hope we get the chance soon, since she and her husband will be in Israel for a visit.

I have met Life in Israel's Rafi, both in his home town of RBA and mine, Shiloh.  I'd love to meet rickismom of Beneath the Wings.

Shimshonit's blog is updated infrequently, but when it is, it's a treat to read the post.  Our Shiputzim is another made in Israel blog about life in Israel, not what you'd read in the New York Times.

Leora's blog life in New Jersey is very different from Robert's in California and Soccer Dad's in Baltimore.

Please visit them all and tell them I sent you, of course.

That's just a taste of what I read.  The list is under construction...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm A Super-Klutz in Comparison

I've always loved to dance.  My specialties are/were Modern and Israeli Folk Dance.  I first started taking dancing lessons when I was three from Mrs. Sullivan who lived a few blocks away.  That was in Bayside, NY.  I studied with her for four years, two years "Rhythm," then a year of tap and a year of ballet.  Ballet wasn't my thing.  I don't know why I wasn't signed on to continue there, but about a year after I stopped I started Hebrew School.  That was three days a week including Sunday.  That's where I started learning Israeli Folk Dance; some I remember to this day.  Later on I took more Modern and Creative Dance, plus some choreography and "movement."

I've also taught dance and exercise and the forerunner of Aerobic exercise.  I never went beyond the "ballet" I learned as a six year old.  It doesn't suit my body, even when my body was much younger, flexible and thinner than it is now. 

I'm glad my mother didn't push me into ballet.  I would have hated dancing, because I would have been awful at it.  But I can still watch it, especially this amazingly athletic, gymnastic version of Swan Lake, which a friend sent to me.

Blocking The Bus Stop, Isn't It A Crime?

I know that Israel has traffic cops.  I was once caught and fined for jaywalking.  And recently we were in a tremp when the driver was ticketed for holding his phone to his ear (yes, a phone call) when driving.  And I know of people who've had to pay fines to rescue their cars after towing and all sorts of other illegal use and potentially dangerous driving of their vehicles.

One of my pet peeves is being forced to walk on the road, by the traffic, because cars are parked on the sidewalks.  In Israel, it's illegal to park at bus stops.  So, why was this #18 bus stop totally full of vehicles?

I guess what I really should have done was to take a picture from the rear showing all the numbers and send it to the police.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'd Like a Vest With All Those Pockets

Early in the summer, when my elder son and I took my father to my mother in Arizona, I was jealous of how easily my son could put the passports and other documents in his pants pockets.  It's so easy to have everything easily available and safely on the body.  I do wear pouches, rather than having a bag or two on straps.

I kept talking about getting myself some photographers or hunters vests or jackets in New York, but when I saw the prices there, I changed my mind.  I wasn't going to spend $80-  or more for something I rarely need.

Then the other day I saw these vests in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda market, only ns50, which is about $13-  I hope they're still on sale before my next visit to the states.

It's Faster to Walk in Jerusalem

Last Tuesday night, the night before my Matan studies, I slept in Jerusalem. By road it is pretty complicated to get to the Emek Refaim area where I planned on having breakfast, but by foot, it was a pretty easy walk.

Even though I must admit that I got a bit lost. Nothing serious. I just considered it more calorie burning and the extra walking also helped to speed up my metabolism. I found what I was looking for and had the time for the extra streets.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010


I'm not a twenty or a teen
It's quite a while since I have been
One of those yet I can't wait
To see the amazing stuff I can create!

by Tirtza

Yes!  Tirtza has won a free copy of Kosher by Design Teens & 20-Somethings: cooking for the next generation by Susie Fishbein.    Mazal tov!!

It's a wonderful book, and I'm sure you'll enjoy using it at home.

Those of you who didn't win can buy it discounted. My readers receive a 10% discount on Teens and 20-Somethings and free shipping (in Cont. U.S.) on their entire ArtScroll order when they enter the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout. Please click here and fill in the coupon code KBDBLOG to get the discount.

Nefesh B'Nefesh, The Chanukah Aliyah Song!

It's never too late to make aliyah, but why wait?

Contact Nefesh B'Nefesh ASAP!
Israel: Beit Ofer - 5 Nahum Hefzadi • Jerusalem, 95484 Israel • Tel: 02-659-5800

North America: 50 Eisenhower Drive • Paramus, NJ 07652 • Tel: 1-866-4-ALIYAH

United Kingdom: JNF House: Spring Villa Park • Edgware, Middx HA8 7ED, UK • Tel: 0800-075-7200

JPIX, Perfect Pre-Chanukah Present for JBloggers

Robin, Around the Island, the kitchen one, not Long Island, has hosted her very first JPIX Jewish Blog Picture Carnival!

There are some great picture posts linked.  Take a look and send my regards...

Dieting for Two

For the past two years, I've been blogging about my eating changes aka Public Diet which has resulted in a net loss of about fifteen (15)  kilo or over thirty pounds, 30 lbs.  There's nothing extreme in how I eat, and technically I'm still "overweight," though no longer obese.  Even though I've been the same weight for over a year, I'm still stopped by friends and neighbors gushing oodles of compliments.  I now dress like an always slim person which is probably why people think that I've lost more weight.

What do I mean by an "always slim person?"  Before I got fat, I wore fitted clothes, except when pregnant.  And after all five births I left the hospital (a couple of days after giving birth) in regular clothes, belted waists.  That's the real me. 
After those belted clothes no longer fit I began changing my wardrobe into a fat lady one, hiding my body under large tunics and sweaters.  They weren't tight, so I didn't feel like I had outgrown them, but the bulk actually made me look even heavier.  I've been gradually replacing my wardrobe, and bartering with a neighbor who paid me back by taking in some of my best clothes.  I must be doing something right, because I still get compliments, even though I've been the same basic weight for over a year.

OK, now, back to the title.  What do I mean by "dieting for two?"  I've done some diet coaching and am always looking for clients.  Now I have a new one, my husband.  He was told by his doctor to lose some weight, sent to a dietician and then handed me the instructions.  It's not the same food plan I'm on, but I market myself as a diet coach who can make any diet doable.

A diabetic friend (male) spent a Shabbat with us recently, just after my husband got those orders.  He said that I must take charge.  "Men can't follow diets without major help."  His sister-in-law does that for his brother, and it works.  So, now I pack my husband's food and snacks before he leaves for work, and he calls me to ask what he can eat when there's nothing prepared.

We still have another couple of weeks before the first "weigh-in" at the dietician's office.  To be continued...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Running? It's Not About Age

Whenever I see articles like this one, about elderly people (even older than me) still running and doing all sorts of athletic stuff, I have to catch myself from feeling guilty. 

How can these people run better than I did decades ago?  Is something wrong with me?  I don't run.  I was never good at running.  I walk.  I play (exercise) in the pool when it's open.  I used to dance, but now I have to "guard" my knees.

Running just isn't me.  I tried, really.

In my mid-30's when my youngest was in infant I joined some friends for a jog every night.  They jogged; I ran, and they were still faster than me.  They made it look effortless.  I struggled and I suffered.  I had never before in my life experienced so much pain, back pain, knee pain, but I persevered. 

For over four years, religiously I ran six days/nights every week.  I didn't run on Shabbat, but after Shabbat and after breaking fasts on some water and fruit, I'd be out there pounding that pavement.  I finally stopped when I visited my parents in New York and didn't have any place to run.  The running/jogging didn't suit the visit.  I was there with my two young sons.  I couldn't just disappear.  When I got back home to Shiloh, Israel, I just never resumed running.  It was a relief.

I understand that running/jogging is easy for some people; they don't suffer constant pain or injury.  I'm not telling them to stop, but we're all different.  I'm no lazy, wimpy couch potato; I'm just "allergic" to running.  Just like I could never have a "model's figure," no matter how much weight I lose,  I'll never run a marathon.

Do you want to meet me for a walk around the neighborhood?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Reminds Me of My Youth

thanks to Max for the cartoon

I was a teen in the 1960's.  When my public school peers were attracted by drugs and other such things, I was turned on by Torah via NCSY National Conference of Synagogue Youth of the OU.

My parents were stumped.  What was wrong with me?  I wasn't like anyone else's kids.  Today, what I did would be familiar.  Most Jewish communities and clans have seen the phenomena.  It may not be as common as marrying non-Jews, but it's not as from Mars like rare and unheard of as it was in 1965.

Today's term for people like me, BT-baal teshuva, was unknown then.  The same goes for FFB-frum from birth. 

When I was growing up, I thought that all Jews were like myself.  We ate all foods and in all restaurants.  I didn't know that there was a Shabbat.  If I went to shul, I wore extra nice clothes, but I didn't know that there were restrictions.  We walked, because it was a distance we always walked, but I must have realized driving wasn't allowed, because the shul parking lot was closed.  Only when I was thirteen and we moved to Great Neck was I exposed to an Orthodox synagogue, because that's the one we ended up joining.  No, not from ideology, Great Neck Synagogue's Rabbi Wolf was very welcoming even to people who could barely pay a symbolic amount as dues.

Yes, the rest is history...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Women's Hair Covering, Lots to Say

For whatever reasons, one of the most controversal and frequently ignored mitzvot is married women's hair covering/tying.  I blogged my feelings on both this blog and Shiloh Musings as a comment on Just Call Me Chaviva's post.  A popular "halacha" blog also covered the subject recently.  "A friend" sent me a summary to be blogged here.  I'll follow it with a comment of my own.

Hirhurim Hair Wars
The summary is going to be as follows: each part will be given a summary of a few sentences followed by a summary of the comments. Please be aware that the comments section on the Hirhurim blog is often much longer than the original post.
1. Part I opens by mentioning that hair covering has taken on more than just a halachic meaning and introduces a halachic discourse between R. Michael J. Broyde and R. Eli Shulman. Links are given to articles by both rabbis. Several years ago the blogger, R. Gil, thoroughly examined R. Broyde’s opinion and disagreed with it. Currently he doesn’t have the stamina (his word) to examine R. Broyde’s new writings and is leaving the matter to the two scholars.
Comments: Eleven comments discuss sources given, ask questions and mention more sources.
2. Part II is two letters sent in response to R. Broyde’s article, one from Mr. David Keter and the second from Rabbi Yehuda Herzl Henkin. Mr. Keter’s letter centers around a halachic response to a personal question. Many well known rabbis, gedolim, including R. Elazar Shach, are mentioned and quoted. R. Henkin disagrees with R. Broyde, but values his discussions of halachic matters.
Comments: Fifty comments rather heatedly discuss the matter. One of the biggest issues is who is Mr. David Keter and is his letter reliable? Another big issue is the value and reliability of relating stories in general.
No links are given in Part II other than back to Part I and forward to Part III
3. Part III: R. Meir Tzvi Bergman, the son-in-law of R. Elazar Shach, responds to Mr. Keter’s letter. R. Bergman’s letter is in Hebrew only. IMHO a summary is not appropriate as the letter itself isn’t long and touches on many important points. (In other words, I don’t want to screw up a rabbi’s points.)
Comments: Twenty five comments argue the points in R. Bergman’s letter, Mr. Keter’s letter and R. Gil’s choice of posting Mr. Keter’s letter, the validity of which many people have questioned. R. Gil responds several times.
I find all these "rabbinic" arguments rather amusing.  Married women's hair-covering is done by women exclusively, and in the early and mid-twentieth century it was very rarely being done at all in North America.  External manifistations of religiosity, like tziniyut, modesty and married women's hair-covering were rejected.  Outside of immigrant Jewish neighborhoods, few men would wear kippot in public.  The kippah was in the pocket or the men wore "caps."  Most Jews, regardless of religiosity, wanted to look as American as possible. 

When the Lubovitch Rebbe arrived in the states, he was horrified to see how few women covered their hair and decided to convince married women to keep that mitzvah.  His marketing campaign was very clever, nothing like the what's summarized above.  The Rebbe correctly understood that there would only be an improvement if women could be convinced of the fun and attractiveness of the mitzvah.  No doubt that otherwise Torah-observant men of the time had been very ambivalent about that mitzvah or their wives would have kept it meticulously.  So the Rebbe had to find a way for the women to convince their husbands of it.

Wigs were the perfect solution.  All a woman needed was a wig or two, since wigs:
  • like natural hair, could match any outfit
  • didn't make a woman stand out in a crowd
  • could make a woman feel attractive
  • make a woman more attractive to her husband; (don't forget that most men don't want their wives to look peculiar in public)
The mitzvah of married women's hair-covering is not to make her look plain or ugly.  It's absurd to think that G-d wants a situation where a man is to see his wife as unattractive in public.  That's not a Jewish marital relationship.  It's because the halachic (Jewish Law) status of her hair changes with marriage.  A married woman's hair becomes "something special," private, between her and her husband.  

The tied or covered hair is a signal to the rest of the world that she's "taken," married.  Think of the old New York City taxis with the little flag that would indicate if the driver was looking for customers or not.  For many rabbis, the rationale against wigs is because they can't "see the flag."  Wigs look too natural.  But if it's between wearing a wig or not covering hair at all, the wig wins.  We're human, not angels.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Been A Bit Busy

Yesterday, my daughter had to visit her work place for a meeting, and I tagged along as babysitter.  For some reason, I suddenly felt that I had forgotten something.  I became convinced that the sources I had "copy/pasted" for my Al HaPerek group hadn't been sent right.  Early in the morning I got a note that I had send an empty letter, no file.  I panicked.  So, my daughter arranged that I could use a computer, which is how I commented and posted without obeying the laws of English capitalization, becaue it's hard to type correctly with one hand, especially after almost fifty years of proper, though not always accurate touch-typing.  I was relieved to discover that I had sent out the correct file.

After that (babysitting in the law office) I made my way to my eldest daughter's place to rest up before... going to my baby's surprise party at the best kosher sports bar & grill in Jerusalem.  As I walked to the bus stop, I realized that I was starving, and I had better find some food.  I decided that the best deal would be a felafel, even though it's served on pita and has felafel balls, more carbohydrates than I eat in a week.  I rationalized that I'd been walking a lot, and I couldn't afford anything else.  I ate in the veteran (across the street from the original location) Shalom Felefel.

Then I got to my daughter's place, rested, relaxed and dressed for the party.  I had a late dinner at HaGov.  I ordered their Chicken Salad.  This is nothing like the American chicken salad I remember from my youth in mid-twentieth century America, which looked like tuna salad.  This HaGov meal is great!  It's normally served with bread, so I requested that they serve it sans bread.

Then this morning, after sleeping at my daughter's place, I had my Matan classes, and I needed breakfast. I quickly checked prices after walking to Emek Refaim and decided that Holy Bagel had the best deal.

It was OK, not great, but I didn't want too much food.  I had half the bagel, because the egg was served on it.  I had been thinking of not touching it.  I was curious, since I'm a bit of a bagel maven.  It was too soft and fluffy.  The crust looked genuine, but this wasn't the bagel of my youth or The Bagel House, where I had once worked.  A little trivia, Holy Bagel owners bought The Bagel House and after getting some experience, changed the name.  The salads were fine, but the omelet wasn't made from two eggs.  A premade egg "mush" was measured and poured.  It's a bit salty.  This technique must be popular in fast food places.  I requested a large coffee instead of juice and small coffee and I think I paid extra.  Even worse, I asked how much an extra coffee would cost me, like refilling the coffee cup, a popular breakfast special.  The guy said it would cost me another ns10.  Much too much money, so I didn't get any.  I needed another large coffee, but I couldn't afford to buy it.  If I had wanted to pay ns45 or more for breakfast I would have gone to a better place.  Including tip, I spent ns40, less than anything else on the street.  I didn't need the jam and cheeses the restaurants offered with the eggs omelet and salad.  If you're looking for the cheapest, the meal is fine.  Most other places were close to ns50 and more with the tip.

I had a great time in Matan studying and made the bus that goes up to my house.

As soon as I got on the bus, I realized what I had really forgotten, my keys.  They weren't in my bag.  Never dull...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

1 hand typing

b"h all's well
just holding my baby granddaughter in my left hand in my daughter's office while she's at a meeting

Nu, For This I Made Aliyah

My parents always wondered what happened with me, their America failure who not only rejected "America first" and accepted ancient Jewish Laws and restrictions but moved to Israel with my husband immediately after our wedding.  So, nu, how did my Shiloh born and bred son become a tackle football player?  I don't know.  My father and brother didn't even watch the game, although many cousins on my mother's side were/are great fans and even played.

He davka plays in Jerusalem where games have their very unique atmosphere.
There's a carnival atmosphere as you can imagine.  Some young, attractive women displayed this sign.  No, that's not my son mentioned in the sign, but the team, Big Blue is his.

Here I am with the "latest member of the family."  I must blog about how she, seriously injured, searched Jerusalem for the most sympathetic and handsome young man and chose my other son, greeting him at his door one morning.  So, of course, he took her for medical care and allowed her to adopt him.

AFI's Kraft stadium is all set up for the media, very impressive.  And did I mention the most important thing?