Monday, January 31, 2011

New Playground in Shiloh

The playground is in the back of our house, behind the shul, synagogue.  It's convenient for children to play, near the door to the downstairs women's section.  It has a special flooring to make it safe.  I hear kids playing there a lot.  I can no longer see everything going on from my merpeset, terrace, but I don't have kids that age, and my grandkids don't come often. 

It was built as a project by David Rubin's Shiloh Children's Fund.

Only In Israel, Seen At An IFL Football Game

I go to Kraft Stadium
These are from the recent game when they, the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions, defeated the Gush Etzion Rebels.  And yes, the guy with the dog is my husband.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kissing The Door Post....

... on the way to the bus.

Yes, even in the bus station, each platform has a door and each door has a mezzuzah.

Best Part of Watching Football


Yes, Big Blue Jerusalem Lions won the game, defeated the Gush Etzion Rebels


There's nothing like a wedding, and each wedding is so different.

I always enjoy the variety of clothes we see at weddings.  A recent one was very different in a sense.  The "other side" had little girls dressed in styles I felt were "too old" for me.  But maybe I'm the problem.  Maybe I dress "too young." 

When my daughter got married I wore an outfit based of royal blue.  It wasn't your typical "mother of the bride," but I think it worked.  Here in Israel there rarely are "color themes."  Friends whose kids have married in the states sometimes go crazy trying to please the bride and her strict color demands.  I'm glad things are easier here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Drip Drop, Was That A Leak Waking Me Up?

This morning, before the sun could be seen, at least the room was still totally dark, I woke up hearing drip drop.  Did one of us not quite close the faucet in the middle of the night?  Anything's possible.  It hasn't been cold enough to have to leave a faucet dripping to prevent pipes and whatever from freezing.  The plumbing here is the only really sub-standard thing about this house.

I tried to check the time.  There was no reason to get up too early on Shabbat.  On regular days (and remember that Sunday here is Day One of the Week) I turn on the computer at 5am, sometimes even earlier.  On Shabbat, it's not on the menu.

It sort of looked like 6am on my watch.  Of course, if the watch says 6am, it's really 5:48 or even a minute earlier.  I'm one of those...  Our clocks are always kept a bit fast, ahead of real time.

So I got up; six is a good time on Shabbat to get up.  That way I can get my water and coffee drinking done and "eliminated," so I won't have to use the shul's WC or 00 during prayers.

Oh, yes, about that drip... it wasn't from the en suite 00, it was from the outside drain pipe.  It had rained last night, thank G-d.  This has been not only a too dry winter, but according to local agriculturalists, it hasn't been cold enough.  Many plants, including some grown-for-export flowers need the cold, ditto for some fruit.  I know that in many other parts of the world, it was colder and wetter than usual, but here it hasn't been.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shabbat, In Just A Few Hours!

I don't know how much time I'll have to post or do anything on the computer today.  It is Friday, and yesterday was very busy.  I managd to cook the chicken and meatballs early in the morning.  Then I went to work in Yafiz.  After that I attended the most fantastic winning game, American tackle football in Israel, the Jerusalem Lions "Big Blue" slaughtered the Gush Etzion Rebels, B"H, in Jerusalem's Kraft Stadium, 40-16.

The atmosphere at the game was unbelievable.  So much cheering and love.  The team ran to the fans as tribute after the game.

Here's the legendary Diaspora Yeshiva Band for some of their great music to get you/me in the mood for Shabbat and energize me for all the work I have to do today.  Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where's Our Winter?

Yesterday it rained a bit on the way home.  The media here has been predicting lots of rain for this week, but I don't see it.  I dump all the water I can in the garden and house plants.  We've been having gorgeous winter skies, but then they turn blue, as if it was summer.  This summer will be very tough, since we haven't had good rain for a long, long time.  We need double rains for the next few years; average rainfall isn't enough.

Let these gorgeous sky views bring us lots of rain.  This is a Jewish leap year with an extra month before summer.  G-d willing it'll be very wet and rainy.

And please remember that sunny days are awful and wet ones are gorgeous!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thank G-d For Good People

My mind had been trying to figure out the muddle of how to get from Matan to the bus station and still make my bus.  Before buses had been banned from the main road, Jaffa Street, I had just enough time.  So the extra time it now takes makes it too long.  Of course I could catch the bus at a different stop...

Then my friend who lives well to the south east of us said that she'd be driving home after classes and could drop me off at Hizme, the exit/checkpoint.  So I got off, took one of those signs and waited for a ride, and waited and waited.  Finally someone said that she was going to Ofra, 2/3 of the way home.  I got in.  At Ofra, I waited just a bit and some guy said he was going to Shiloh.  It ended up that he was really going to one of the small communities east of Shvut Rachel.  He insisted on taking me all the way home, just to be nice.

Yes, people are nice and good and helpful... Thank G-d!

Praying at Tel Shiloh

I just publicized the women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh.

You're also invited.  Read all about it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My NS25 "Dinner"

The other night, I walked a lot, and I also had too much time and not enough money for a proper dinner.  I finally came in from the cold...

...for a...

... Yes for this sandwich.

I had this tuna-bagel sandwich at Cup 'O' Joe.  The simple tuna was with black olives and sun-dried tomatoes.  It cost me NS25 including the tip.  I read and relaxed.  It was comfortable there.  If the budget had allowed I would have happily had a "proper" meal.  I knew that I'd be able to have coffee at Matan, so it didn't pay to buy any.

And yes, even though I don't eat carbohydrates, like the bagel, there are times when it's best.  I walked a lot that night.  We must be flexible, but we shouldn't look for exuses to break the diet.

ps the sandwich was tasty, though it could have used some lettuce or cucumbers.

Pill Case Confusion

I was walking (or was it up) down Jerusalem's Rechov Strauss (Street) and noticed this pill case for those who need medications four times a day.  When my very elderly father was living with us, my daughter set up weekly medication boxes for him.  There were morning ones and after dinner ones.  When he needed at other times of the day, they were kept in other containers/bags or I'd have to remember which to pick out of the box.  Once I left the "pre-breakfast pills" in a bag in the kitchen and caught him eating one:
"This candy tastes awful."
Yes, he thought it was a bag of sweets.  So, the next morning I didn't give one to him.  He survived that, and I stayed calm knowing very well that there were many more medication foul-ups when he was living with my mother.  Some days he took twice and others not at all, and she would vary which meds to take for herself, too.  One of the basic services we (my sister and I) felt most necessary for them in the old age home was that they receive their meds.  The deal is that the "home" does the ordering and gives each the correct medicine and dosage at the right time.

Now, have you found what I consider very peculiar about the pill box?  Look carefully at the labels.  Nu...?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jerusalem Bus Revolution

Nu?  Revolution it is, isn't it?  No more buses on most of Jerusalem's Rechov Yaffo, Jaffa Street.  Now they go behind the Jerusalem Municipality, then on Rechov Neviim, then up to Agrippas then .....

... to the bus station.  Yes, you can still find buses on that end of Rechov Yaffo.

For old-timers like me, it's funny, because we remember the hysteria when buses, cars, trucks, taxis etc were banned from Ben Yehuda Street.  This new change will make life very difficult for those who have problems walking, because there are long distances from stop to stop and no stops near the Zion Square part of downtown.  No doubt that it will just make more and more people shop in the malls and large shopping areas in other parts of Jerusalem.

... And I Walked...

Walking is the least expensive and probably the most convenient way of exercising. 

Yesterday I did an early shift at Yafiz and then went to Jerusalem.  I caught a bus at Sha'ar Binyamin, got off at the Shmuel Hanavi/Ramat Eshkol stop and walked to town.  It's really not far, no different from walking from the Central Bus Station, maybe a mile or even less.  If anyone has an accurate read on it, please let me know.

I was exhausted, so I popped over to HaGov and rested while the boss and workers got it ready to open for the night.  Then, since none of my kids were available to have dinner with me, I began walking to Matan.  There was another of our monthly Bible classes as part of Al HaPerek.  On the way I stopped off at the "Cup of Joe's" on the corner of Jabotinsky.  I ordered a tuna bagel sandwich.  Yes, I know that all that bread/carbohydrates isn't good for my weight, but the price was relatively good, and I had been walking...  I took my time and read while I ate, which one can do when dining alone.  Then I continued walking to Matan, which is a nice walk, much more than a mile or a couple of kilometers.

Once I got there, I sat in the Beit Medrash, library with a couple of friends and we prepared for the class/lecture.  Shani Taragin gave a fantastic summary plus of the first eight chapters in Shoftim, Judges.  It took me a few minutes to get used to her rapid-fire delivery.  What Shani said in an hour would have taken anyone else at least an hour and a half.  The shiur (class) was in Hebrew.  Previously I had only heard her in English.  I really enjoyed it.  Those who weren't there really missed a fantastic experience.

Afterwards I rushed to catch the #18 to the bus station.  Due to all the mess and reported delays I decided to wait on Sderot Eshkol (Blvd.) instead of braving the winding new route via behind the Jerusalem Municipality Complex, Neviim (Prophets) Street, Agrippas etc.  which easily doubles the trip.  So I got off someplace on Neviim, walked to Strauss and pretty much reversed my earlier route.  I ended up with over a half hour to wait for the 10:30pm bus home.  If I had been in a rush, I could have taken a bus on Strauss, but I knew I had time and felt like walking. And of course once I got to Shiloh, I had to walk all the way up the hill, another almost kilometer home.

ps I hope I burned all the bagel calories plus!

HH's Jack Saved The Day

Apparently Frume Sarah wasn't well enough to host this week's Havel Havelim, and Jack graciously hosted instead.  A weekly blog carnival doesn't offer too much posting flexibility.  If you're a couple of days late, you end up too close to the next one.

Check in and read all the posts Jack included.  Thanks Jack

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photobucket Woes

On the whole, I'm very pleased with photobucket as a free online photo-storing/sharing etc service.  But recently it sometimes, like this morning, keeps on fouling up the "big e," explorer, and I have to restart and then re-sign into everything all over again, a major annoying time-waster.

I can't use picasa anymore, since they demand money, claiming that I've blogged/stored/shared their maximum for the free deal.  I used to use flickr, but stopped for the same reason.  They had a ridiculously low maximum, and I haven't returned.

I understand that there are many more companies to try.  If I spend, it must be for one that has great deals for printing photobooks.  The time has probably come to start with those books instead of printing photos and then putting them in albums.  I'm sure my parents would enjoy cute albums rather than the photos.

Please send me (via comments) your recommendations, especially those which ship internationally for very reasonable fees, or even free.  My parents are in AZ, USA, and we're here in Israel.  I have absolutely no idea how these things  work, but since I've learned to blog, before most, I guess I can learn almost anything.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where Was Everybody? Maybe I Got the Time Wrong...

We had a guest for Shabbat, another stranger we had never met before.  It eneded up being a nice Shabbat; I hope she agrees.

Our regional council provides a free bus to Jerusalem about an hour after Shabbat is over.  That seemed to be the best way for our guest to travel from Shiloh.  So I walked her down the hill.  I've done this before and I always find the bus stop full.  This time it was totally empty.  No sign of anybody.  In our weekly newsletter it was written that the time had changed from 6:30pm to 7pm.  Where was everyone.  I was starting to panic.  OK, there is an Egged bus a bit later, but we had walked the more than half kilometer, at least a quarter of the mile down.  Did she want to walk up and then down again?

Suddenly, she called to me:
I turned around and saw a couple a dozen people, men, women and children trudging down the hill to the bus stop.  There were cars letting people off and suddenly there were people coming from where I had just been facing.

Yes, I guess we were early.  Better than late!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Maybe She Looked Better in Person. Michelle Obama is No Jackie Kennedy

A friend of mine was very upset with the outfit she got for one of her kid's weddings.
"The fabric was too shiny, so the pictures of me look awful."
That's what I though of when I saw that picture of Michelle Obama in her highly praised red dress.

Photographed, she looks monstrous.  I don't understand all the praise.  So maybe she looked better in person.  I don't think it's  a fabric that photographs well, especially with all the flounce and details.  She looks like a red and black Jackson Pollock canvas on which extra paint spilled.

There are other fabrics which can be problematic.  I once ran into a photographer friend who was in a panic.  Pictures from a wedding he had just photographed were shocking. The mother of the bride or groom wore an outfit from a fabric that became sheer when photographed with a flash.  You could see more than she would ever want to show.

Jackie Kennedy knew how to choose elegant clothes that photographed well.  What a difference...

Housework Routine Getting Harder

Routine is the keyword here.  I have no routine.  Each week I'll probably work on different days, different shifts.  The good news about this is the flexibility.  I no longer have to miss weddings etc because of work.  Teachers may have "long vacations," but we can't take them at our convenienc.  I found that very difficult at times.  When I took the job at Yafiz, because its a large store with many workers, I was told that I could have a different work schedule each week.  That is as long as it suits the store's needs.

The difficulty is that I no longer have a housework schedule.  I can't always cook the same day and time for Shabbat.  I can't count on doing laundry the same days of the week and know when I'll be home.  There will even be weeks when I have to work on a Friday.  I don't know how I'll manage, but I'll have to.  I'll pretend that I'm watching my son in a football final. 

And work isn't the only thing that varies from week to week.  We're invited to various events, and we have kids and grandkids and friends etc.  So I can get pretty busy and suddenly discover, like this week, that I should have done a few washes.  I'm low on some clothes etc.  We also have too much food leftover from this last week.  Some of that can be eaten today or "recycled."

Most important, I ought to admit to you that I've always hated housework.  I'm just not much of a baleboosteh.  Cooking's OK, creative, but the cleaning part is a drag.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Can't Eat "Just One."

I was really good this year about TU B'Shvat fruit.  I really tried hard to avoid it.  I love all those dried fruit and nuts.  It doesn't matter that most really have nothing to do with TU b"Shvat.  Once I start eating them I can't stop.

Yesterday, my husband gave me a few dates from the staff party.  They filled me up and were so good, but that was it.  I didn't go to the party, nor did I have access to the serving dishes.

But then he brought home the "holiday gift," a glass jar filled with all sorts of dried fruit, nuts and sugared dried fruit, including that sugary sharp ginger.  I've already eaten much too much and I want more.  I shouldn't be hungry.  I had enough dinner and even had some pecans for dessert.

I didn't even take a walk today...  ....tomorrow...

All The Children Married...

Last night we were at a wedding, a beautiful joyous wedding, B"H, bli eyin haraa.  Within a few short months, all of my friend's children got married.  Nowadays, more and more of my friends are reaching that amazing (for me) milestone.  All of their children are married.  Some even have grandchildren from all of their kids.

Not everyone is so blessed.  Pray and help, if you can.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Haunted Simcha (Joyous Event)

This past Shabbat, as usual, I was the first one in the Ezrat Nashim, Ladies Section of our synagogue.  There was to be a Bar Mitzvah that morning.  I felt the Bar Mitzvah boy's mother there with me, looking happy and healthy, the way I remember her from the days we'd swim and take long walks together.

She died just over a year ago.  The Bar Mitzvah boy is her youngest child.

She stayed with me until her sisters came in; then I no longer felt her with me.  She had been waiting to sit with them and her daughters, who came in a bit later.  They sat in the front row, where my seat is.  The custom is to leave the front row for those celebrating special events.  After the prayers, I asked them to put my siddur (prayer book) in my box.  They apologized for taking my seat.  I insisted that I was happy to give it, because that way I felt like I had been part of the simcha.

L'ilui nishmata
May her soul be elevated

Fenced In Playgrounds for All Ages

There are two new playgrounds in the neighborhood, and they're both getting fences.  The adult exercise one, which is like going to Curves, one of the "circuit" workout places, is much more private than before.  I got there a couple of times this week.

And a new playground is being put up between my house and the local shul (synagogue.)  Kids were having a good time on Shabbat, even though it's not yet complete.

Anything that promotes, facilitates healthy outdoor activities is good.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

TU B'Shvat, Not This Year

I decided not to go to the big TU B'Shvat seder.  Too tired and wanted to avoid all the fruit, wine and calories.  I hope to avoid all that stuff.  I love fruit.

What have you done to celebrate?

Trying To Keep The Weight Off

This low carbohydrate food pyramid is very similar to the way I've been eating the past two plus years.  The only real difference is that I don't eat cheese.  I have milk with my coffee in the morning, and I don't eat any other dairy.  I even stopped eating goats yogurt a couple of months ago.  Sometimes I snack on a few nuts instead for extra protein energy.

I also eat about three portions of fruit per day, possibly more than illustrated here.  By eating enough fats in your protein, shun the 0% and skimmed dairy products if you eat dairy-but don't eat yellow cheese often or at all, you'll feel satisfied and less susceptible to food cravings and subsequent binges.  They're caused by incorrect, unbalanced eating.

Yes, once you find the best balance of vegetables, protein and fruit for your individual needs, you won't be tempted by all the forbidden foods, and if you take a bite, they won't even taste all that good.  Any food, even well-known as healthy like brown rice and multi-whole grain breads, which you can't stop eating, should never be eaten.  I can't eat just one slice of bread, but I'm perfectly satisfied when I don't eat even a crumb of bread.  Yes, those meals are better for me than if I ate one of those standard "balanced" one slice diets.

I find cooked vegetables most filling and satisfying.  Yesterday the lunch I took to work (in a good plastic container) was a generous portion of cooked (in a bit of oil, covered frying pan) onion, carrot and squash.  On top of that was a generous spoon of sesame paste and some fresh salad.  That kept me going all afternoon.  I made it the night before.  Yes, it does take longer to prepare than my husband's sandwiches, but if I ate his sandwiches I'd gain weight.  He's losing weight by eating limited sandwiches, a yogurt and fruit at work.  No more cake and cookies for him.

Good luck if you're trying to lose weight!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Food Experiment.

Our intrepid Shabbat guest arrived after all the food had been cooked, so he had no idea what was on the table to eat.  Cooked, this looked like Passover food, carrots and potatoes.  Actually, what I made is good for Passover, but there are no potatoes in it, making it a great low-carbohydrate, dietetic side-dish.

I cooked up some onion, carrots and celeriac, the root of those strong-flavored celery stalks.  My husband likes the green in his soup, but then we're left with the roots, which make a great veggie treat, especially if you want to reduce calories and carbohydrates.  Great for diabetics.  And healthy for everyone.

Any "Only In Israel" Picture: Caption This X2

The place to snap pictures yesterday in Jerusalem was at the String Bridge with the high flying, climbing demonstration.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Weather, Nothing to Do About It

Today I hung out the wash to dry in the sun, and then I went to Jerusalem,
Yes, thank G-d it rained.  So it rained on the laundry.  We need rain.  When I came home I hung it in the livingroom.

Now the electricity keeps going off, so I'll make this quick.

Can't complain, we need rain.

Keep smiling

The Fun of Living Here in Israel, A Jewish Country

On Shabbat I got a real kick out of reading JJ Gross's Jerusalem Post opinion piece.  Although we're supposed to keep the daily mundane, out of Shabbat, I just knew that I'd have to blog about it.  It's not all that חול chole mundane, because it does praise life in the Land/State of Israel.

Gross, still an עולה חדש oleh chadash, new immigrant, enjoys seeing so many obviously religious Jews in the arts, playing in symphonies etc here in Israel.  He compares it to the American Jewish world he just recently left in which such a thing is unknown.  The financial pressures of living a Jewish life in America make it necessary to choose safe and high income professions.

We're in Israel over forty years already.  When we first came, we'd see the 1960's-'70's style Bnai Akiva type of Israeli religious guy wearing a middle-sized hand-crocheted kippah and droopy needs a trim mustache driving a bus and think, "only in Israel."  Today the "kippah-tichel ceiling" has been seriously cracked and opened.  Today's religious bus driver frequently sports a full beard and black cloth kippah, looking more chareidi than Bnai Akiva.  Gross is right about religious Jews, with all the trimmings Jews, male and female, in the arts, music, media etc.

You'll see religious married women wearing hats, scarves and wigs in the highest courts of the land, not just as secretaries, but as lawyers and judges.  And you'll also find religiously dressed women as high-ranking IDF officers, yes in skirts and hats as part of their uniforms.

It's easy to find gorgeous designer clothes which are perfectly tziniyusik modest here in Israel.  Maybe not every branch of Dorin Frankfurt, Hagara, Isha Isha, Ronit Takko etc. shows them, but they're included in the designs and they can add fabric where necessary.

I really enjoy seeing the temporary beards for religious reasons on men in politics, media etc.  It's totally acceptable here in Israel.

Please, I agree that things are far from perfect here, but there is constant improvement.  There's more confidence among the Torah-observant in publically following mitzvot, and yes it sometimes makes the non- (or anti-) observant nervous.  Demographically, we're reproducing (having more kids) in greater numbers which can easily be seen in the school registration statistics.

Let's start this week looking at the good that is happening here, and if I get soaked in the rain, I'll have to smile, too. 

Shavua Tov u'Mevorach
Have a Good and Blessed Week

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Do Prefer F2F, Do You?

Granted that I spend a ridiculous amount of time here on the computer, but in my ideal world I'd see more people in person.  I don't use the email/internet option on my cellphone.  I rarely text, since if I'm using my cellphone, I'd rather talk.

I may be in the minority, or maybe it's just my age.  Lot's of people are more dependent on their technology, communication tools than I am.

Shabbat is so wonderful.  Just f2f, no phones, computers, tv etc.    I see people, talk to them etc.  I also go to synagogue and pray with a congregation, instead of at home or all sorts of strange places.  The strange places is because I've taken on the Mincha, afternoon prayer, and I frequently find myself praying in the bus, or at a park bench or some strange corner, trying not to look too peculiar.  Actually in Israel, in Jerusalem many people will easily understand what I'm doing.

On Shabbat I see my friends at a class.  This class, the "shiur nashim," women's Torah lesson, is the longest running Torah Class in Shiloh, 29 years.  Two of us have been from the beginning.  Others are much newer and we're always hoping for more participants.

So, back to the topic.  Any chance we can f2f?

Do you Quinoa?

I've pretty much replaced fish with quinoa for lunch.  I cook it up in the same giant covered frying pan with the same sort of cut up onion, carrot and squash as I used to cook my fish.  I really can't afford the sort of fish I like, and quinoa suits my budget.  The nutrition experts claim that quinoa's extremely healthy.  There haven't been the negative revelations like those about tofu.

I cook it by sautéing the vegetables, then adding the quinoa and then some boiling water.  After a few minutes I leave it covered, not only with the frying pan cover, also with a towel to keep the heat in and prevent burning.

I just hope it doesn't have too many carbohydrates for me.  I eat eggs as my protein for breakfast and poultry for dinner.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Birthright, Taglit, Valuable Program

This past week, I rushed into Jerusalem one day to meet my cousin's daughter.  I hadn't seen her since she was a little girl, and she didn't remember ever seeing me before, though she does remember my parents.  Of all the cousins' kids who could qualify for the special Birthright trip, she's only the second to take advantage of it.  (She's not in this picture of Birthright kids walking in Jerusalem, but it's her group.)

I was very excited to get to see her.  When I first looked at her itinerary, I had thought that we'd have the evening together, but there's almost no flexibility nor free time.  She couldn't meet us for dinner at HaGov, so I quickly (as quickly as I could) got to Jerusalem's restaurant road, Emek Refaim Street and sat near her when she had lunch.  Luckily she also inherited the fast talking on multiple topics gene, so we got a lot of ground covered in thirty minutes.

When I was a little girl I used to love listening to and observing my older cousins from that side of the family.  It was better than a TV show.  Actually, on the other side of the family there are just two "older cousins," and I'm one of them.  We didn't put on shows at all, but we're still very close.

Birthright is a great opportunity, because most American Jews never make it to Israel, so coming on a greatly subsidized trip in one's twenties, when their future is unfolding is fantastic.  My kids were disappointed that they didn't see their cousin, but everyone was busy with inflexible programs.  If we had been able to have dinner with her, she would have met more of the family.

G-d willing she's be back and more cousins will come, and maybe some will even make Israel their home.

Always Something to Read in The Gantseh Megillah

Due to the editor's bad health the monthly edition has been coming out less frequently than every month, so it's a real treat to present to you the latest Gantseh Megillah!

Enjoy and Refuah Shleimah, A Complete Recovery to Michael!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Time, No Pictures

I did take my camera, but somehow I just didn't feel like taking any pictures at tonight's local elections.  Yes, I usually do take pictures and post them, but I just didn't feel like it tonight.

Elections were held in the library, which is in the same building as the supermarket, green-grocer, clothing-toy store and it'll soon have our clinic, Kupat Cholim Leumit.

I was very comfortably seated in an office chair behind the desk.  Over a quarter of the eligible voters voted.  There was a nice atmosphere.  I wasn't chairman, very happily passed the honor and responsibility over to someone else.  He did a great job.  The committee worked well together.

I love being part of the elections, because I get to see neighbors.  Nothing can be better than that.

Good luck to one and all and Shabbat Shalom.

That Absolutely Gorgeous Winter Shiloh Sky, Sunrise...

I wasn't the only one taking pictures yesterday morning.  As the morning progresses, the colors lighten.  The first picture was taken from my house and the others from the bus stop.

The sky was beckoning, reminding us that G-d is the greatest creator of beauty, and photography is a way of praising and thanking Him.  So, I'll just let the photos speak for themselves.

Have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Jerusalem Moment, Captured By My Camera

Caption this!

I couldn't resist the picture, took it quickly, hope I was discreet.

What Do You Pack For Lunch?

Actually, when I go to Matan, I pack breakfast.  I make it the night before, my usual morning omelet, plus some salad, fruit and nuts.  And I also take a thermos of hot coffee and a bottle of water.  I stopped eating yogurts.  That generally holds me until I get home mid-afternoon.

When I went to work in Yafiz for the first time, I brought cooked vegetables, salad and tuna, plus an apple.  Yesterday, when I went to Jerusalem to help my daughter with the baby at work, I made a lunch favorite, cooked vegetables with quinoa.  I have a couple of good plastic containers, which have, bli eyin haraa, proven leak-proof.  I still give it an extra wrapping of clear plastic and then pack the dirty napkins in it when empty to sop up any liquid.

My husband is on a different diet regime. I generally make him two sandwiches on diet bread or one on regular or Shabbat challah, plus fruit and yogurt when he's out until dinner.

When I pack enough food I save money and am not tempted to buy/eat things which put on weight.

Any other tricks?  I'd appreciate input.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not Quite A Professional, But...

A while ago I volunteered to translate the Honenu news-ticker into English for their English site.  I only started last week.  At this point I'm far from professional.  Actually, sometimes my little articles sound absolutely awful, embarrassingly so.

I get around to it a few times a week, not daily.  Sorry

But I'm trying, and I really consider Honenu an extremely valuable organization.  Check the site to find out more.

Fencing In The Playground

There has been all sorts of work on the adult-exercise playground near my house.  A couple of months ago outdoor exercise "machines" were installed.  Now we can do circuits, like Curves, for free in the park.  What held many of us back was the total lack of privacy.  Next time I take a picture from the street, you'll see a brown wooden (or faux wood, haven't gotten close yet) wall.

I'm looking forward to getting a good work-out so near to home.

Monday, January 10, 2011

BEING A MOTHER... One of those lovely stories floating around the internet

(both men & women, sons & daughters - need to read this)


After 17 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She
said, 'I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.'
* * *
The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been alone for 20 years,
but the demands of my work and my two boys had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.
* * *
That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.
* * *
'What's wrong, aren't you well,' she asked? 
* * *
My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.
* * *
'I thought it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,' I responded. 'Just the two of us.' She thought about it for a moment, and then said, 'I would like that very much.'
* * *
That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last birthday on November 19th.
* * *
She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. 'I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,' she said, as she got into that new white van.  'They can't wait to hear about our date'.
* * *
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. 'It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,' she said. 'Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor,' I responded.
* * *
During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation- -nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.
* * *
As we arrived at her house later, she said,  'I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me  invite you.' I agreed.
* * *
'How was your dinner date?' asked my wife when I got home.  'Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,' I answered.
* * *
A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.
* * *
Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said:  'I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife.  You will never know what that night meant for me.  I love you, son.'
* * *
At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: 'I LOVE YOU' and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till 'some other time.'
* * *
Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby..... somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, 'normal' is history.
* * *
Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ... somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.
* * *
Somebody said being a mother is boring ..... somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.
* * *
Somebody said if you're a'good' mother, your child will 'turn out good'....  somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.
* * *
Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother.... somebody never helped a fourth grader
with his math.
* * *
Somebody said you can't love the second child as much as you love the first .... somebody doesn't  have two children.
* * *
Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery....  somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten ... or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp.'
* * *
Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married....somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.
* * *
Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home.... somebody never had grandchildren.
* * *
Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her....  somebody isn't a mother.

Pass this along to all the 'mothers' in your life and to everyone who ever had a mother. This isn't just about being a mother; it's about appreciating the people in your life while you have them.... no matter who that person is.

PalYam, Illegal Immigrant Ship Volunteer, Hero's Granddaughter in Israel on Birthright!

My uncle's granddaughter, my cousin's daughter has finally made it to Israel.  She's the first of her specific branch of the family.

The Birthright Taglit Program doesn't give the participants much in terms of free time.  It's intensely scheduled and very restricted.  A different cousin's daughter was on it a few years ago and we never got to see her.

This week's Birthright participant is my Uncle Izzy's granddaughter.  Uncle Izzy was known as "the doctor" on the ships which brought illegal immigrants during the pre-state struggle.  According to family legend, Uncle Izzy was on the Exodus, most probably because it's the only ship the family ever heard of.  We're not a Zionist family.  I'm the only Israeli Zionist and only Torah-Jew who emerged from that typical Brooklyn, NY Jewish family.

Most of Uncle Izzy's stories died with him.  His two sons weren't told any and his granddaughters even less.  I once asked Uncle Izzy if he had been on the Exodus.  His answer really shook me up:
"No, but if I had, it may have turned out differently."
After Yitzchak Rabin's assassination his response shocked those who heard him:
"He was nice, but I couldn't stand his wife."
So, G-d willing, I'll see the granddaughter tonight and try to fill her in on her very special heritage.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Finally, The Grand Announcement: I'm Working at....

Yafiz יפיז, the Rami Levi Clothing &Shoes for The Entire Family Store, in Sha'ar Binyamin!

I spent today getting to know the store and G-d willing next week I'll get three shifts of work.  Everyone was nice and helpful.  I stayed busy but made sure to eat and drink etc.  I had an "easy shift," first thing Sunday morning when there are few customers and lots of "housekeeping," cleaning, straightening, consolidating and putting out new stock.

I was given a jacket with the logo to wear over my clothes, so customers can see that I work there.  A couple of friends stopped in to shop and were surprised and happy to see me. Everyone wished me luck.

Over the years, in between my gym teaching and English teaching I did work at a couple of clothing stores, much smaller ones.  The advantage of working in a larger one is the flexibility in scheduling.  As a teacher I was forced to miss weddings and other important events.  Working in a small store is also restrictive when there's only one handling a shift.

G-d willing this should be good.  The clothes are very tempting...  drop in and see!

What A Way To Start The Day...

This is a big day for me.  I'll be starting a new job, details post-debut, bli eyen haraa, not to tempt the evil eye...

Nu, so what went wrong?

Just before 6am, after photobucket and explorer had one of their "problems," and I pressed "restart," poof!  Yes, poof, it all went black, my entire neighborhood.  Being winter, the sun wasn't yet shining, and being winter, Baruch HaShem, thank G-d, there were clouds in the dark sky.

Yes, no electricity.  I peered through the cold windows to check if there was any sign of electricity in neighboring homes.  It was dark, so I knew that it wasn't personal, not a failure of our home system.

So, I carefully felt around where I light Shabbat candles for candles and matches and set myself up on the diningroom table with three lit candles and a book to read.

And then the electricity returned, so here I am. 

Well, that took care of the problem:

What should I blog about this morning?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

While I Was Waiting...

While I was waiting at Tzomet (Junction) Yarkon, I took this picture.

It was pretty early on a winter's morning.  I was waiting for a bus or ride to get to Ariel, or miraculously even closer to home.  Finally a bus came, and I got the grand tour of the city of Ariel.  Finally we arrived at the last stop, the university.  I was sure that I'd be stuck there for a while, but miraculously the #148 Shiloh bus came within a minute, as if it had been waiting for me.  Of course it took ages, going all the way to Tzomet Tapuach (Apple Junction) and then into Eli and Shvut Rachel before it got to Shiloh.  But G-d was good to me.  As soon as I got out of the bus a neighbor offered me a ride to my house, so I was able to drop off my bag before going back down to Tel Shiloh for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.

הודו לה' כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו
Hodu l'Hashem ki tov, ki li'olam chasdo
O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Double-Parked in Parking Lot

This happened in a Hod Hasharon mall parking lot.

This car was left with the motor running and a little kid inside.  It blocked off at least three cars.  There were plenty of empty parking spots just a little further away from the entrance.  When we exited, we couldn't get out.  The kid tried calling his father, but the father didn't come.  I took this picture and told the kid that I'd be posting it on the internet.

Then the kid ran into the store, or whereever and brought his father out.  Then they left.  I really wanted to take my keys and scratch the car, but my hosts didn't like that idea.  I wish I could report the driver to the police.  Well, I told the kid I'd post it, and I don't like lying.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Finally Winter, KCC #62, Shvat Sameach!

We're a few years behind in the rain department, so even when we have a month of "average rainfall" it's far from enough.  We're already into the Jewish Month of Shvat when we're supposed to start enjoying the new fruits.  I don't know how fertile the orchards are this year, since winter started very late.  But we do have an extra month, Adar B, so G-d willing by Pesach, we'll have fruit and rain.

Yes, this is the sixty-second Kosher Cooking Carnival.  That's quite amazing by my reckonning.  I had no idea that my "revenge" against a recipe carnival that had rejected my recipe one month, because their theme was ham, would be such a success.
See how KCC has grown!
123456789101112131415161718,192021KCC Meta Carnival22232425262728,293031323334353637383940414243,444546, 47, 4849505152,  53,  54555657, 58, 59, 60 and 61.

Next month Mrs. S. will host it on Our Shiputzim. Send your kosher food posts via blog carnival.  Anything concerning kosher food, Jewish Law, family and Jewish ethnic traditions, kosher restaurant and cookbook reviews and recipes, too, of course.  If you'd like to host an edition of KCC, please contact me.

Here goes, visit all of the blogs and pass the links around:

Sharon A presents A Taste of Chanukah; The Real Jerusalem Streets posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets's Blog, saying, "After eight days of lights and oil, what next?"

leah aharoni presents Fabulous Fast Fruity Dessert posted at Ingathered.

anything kosher!

Leora presents Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies posted at Cooking 4 Shabbat - never the same thing twice, saying, "Easy, yummy cookies"

Jay3fer presents Today’s Project: Whole Lotta Bread! posted at Adventures in BreadLand, saying, "It's like Purim in July... baking up a whole lotta bread to send to non-Jewish relatives lets me be thoughtful, bake bread, PLUS side-step the whole holiday shopping mishegos!"

mominisrael presents To Tofu or Not to Tofu: Tasty Substitutes for Dairy or Meat posted at Cooking Manager, saying, "A popular guest post by Leah Goodman of Trilcat."

Mrs. S. presents The moment of truth posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress, saying, "Thanks for all your amazing efforts!"

Batya presents Yummy! Middle-East Flavored Coffee posted at me-anderYes, that's me!  And I had a great pot of coffee at Cup of Joe's.  Some days I have a rather mixed menu, good and bad.  Honestly, I don't like the facy restaurants which are skimpy in their vegetable portions.


Avital Pinnick presents World?s Most Delicate Lemon Squares posted at This and That.

Jay3fer presents Making Marshmallows! posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "On the Scale of Potchkedik, I’d say the process was about an 11 out of 10. Was it worth it? Maybe!"

Mirjam Weiss presents Green-Eyed Monster posted at Miriyummy.

Mirjam Weiss presents Fifteen Minutes of Fame posted at Miriyummy.

Mirjam Weiss presents Old Country posted at Miriyummy.

Jay3fer presents Crazy Goyim and their Fruit posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "When is a fruit not a fruit? When it's in a tub of candied, mixed fruit!"

diet food

The best diet food is just being prepared.  I got over 15 kilo, over thirty pounds off a coupe of years ago, and now I'm helping my husband.

Every day meals

The fun of soup is sometimes making a quick one for a cold day when fasting.
Devo K presents Corn Chowder posted at In the middle, on the right.


Sharon A presents Fire and Flames; The Real Jerusalem Streets posted at The Real Jerusalem Streets's Blog, saying, "Chanukah is not just food!"

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

Emily Tammam presents Sourdough Sfenz for Hanukkah posted at Susu and Sourdough.

Leora presents How can you start preparing for Shabbat without Challa? posted at Cooking 4 Shabbat - never the same thing twice, saying, "Great Challa every time!"

Jay3fer presents Like Purim in December! posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "Gifts of food can bring family - Jewish and non-Jewish together."

Restaurant or Cookbook Reviews

jaclyn presents The 8 Bites of Hanukkah posted at Extraordinary Eats.

traditional food

Avital Pinnick presents Another “Cooking in the Office” Video: Israeli Salad « This and That posted at This and That, saying, "Video (in English) of my officemate, a professional cook, making an Israeli salad."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
kosher cooking carnival-kcc
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page

Technorati tags:

, .

KCC Will Be A Little Late

I haven't even started it. 

The next Kosher Cooking Carnival is scheduled to be here on me-ander.  I didn't do it in advance, and I wasn't home yesterday.  I have to do it today.

Last night I was at a beautiful wedding.  Another of our friends now has closed the circle.  All of their children are married.  That's wonderful; they should all be blessed.

Yesterday morning I did my usual studying in Matan.  And today, I got back in time to pray at Tel Shiloh with my friends.  It's Rosh Chodesh Shvat.

I wasn't near a computer from yesterday before 6am until just a few minutes ago.

So KCC fans, I haven't forgotten.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Walking Adventure in Jerusalem

Last week I met a visiting cousin-in-law for lunch on Jerusalem's trendy Emek Refaim Street.  We ate at "Joy," an excellent meat restaurant, but we didn't have meat.  We had fish and a delicious blended orange soup.  Everything was very tasty, but the vegetable portion was rather stingy.  I could have eaten five times the amount.  I should have ordered a side salad, because I used my "salad option" of the "business lunch" on the soup.  It was a cold day.  Even though I knew I'd be treated, I didn't feel right ordering something extra.  We shared a high quality sorbet for dessert.  Actually, we ordered identical meals.

After lunch we did a little shopping on the street and then tried wandering in the direction of her hotel, the Inbal which is on the end of Jabotinsky Street.

We wandered and wandered, sort of going in circles.  We passed these birds in a schoolyard.  By then we were lost and eventually asked directions.

We eventually made it to the hotel and discovered that she could have bought the stuff she had gotten in some Emek Refaim stores, just a block up from the hotel on Jabotinsky.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Diet Trick

Be prepared!

That's the most important thing.  Don't let yourself get hungry.

I've kept the weight off for over a year, and now I'm helping my husband lose weight.  Tomorrow's a busy day, so I've already packed our food.  The hardest thing is remembering to take the bags out of the fridge in the morning.

It's routine.

One question I haven't asked concering work conditions at my new job to be, G-d willing, is about food breaks.  The shift is six hours, so I'll have to eat in the middle and at the end.  Just another challenge.

Gifts From Abroad

When I was a little girl, my aunt and uncle spent a few long periods of time living in Europe.  I'll never forget the fancy postcard from Spain.  There was a Spanish dancer sewn into it. 

What made me think of this?  There's an article in the New York Times about gifts parents who travel a lot should give to their kids. 

We don't travel for work, but I do go to the states at least once a year to see my parents.  I try to bring something home for everyone, and I also have to bring something to my parents, sister and her family.  One year I brought a lot of t-shirts and hats from the Tel Shiloh Coffee Shop.  You can't buy those any place else.  My sons and son-in-law usually get t-shirts from the states; that's easy.

I've gotten some great classic toys for my grandchildren like pot holder weaving looms, modern plastic versions of the ones I had as a little girl and like my mother bought my daughters when they were young.

Recently my NY daughter brought me some great skirts which had belonged to my husband's aunt.  They're not the most modern, but they are classics, fantastic quality and fit.

But my all-time favorite gift was from former MK Naomi Blumental.  My husband worked for her one year, and she surprised us by bringing me a gift from abroad, Amarige Perfume by Givenchy.  It has become my only perfume.  It's not cheap, but it's the only one I use, every single day.  My stock is running low, since the last one I got was small, small enough to take on the plane through security.  I usually buy a bottle in New York, on Broadway, in one of those Indian perfume stores which offer the best prices.

There was a time when luggage allowances were more generous and fewer products were available in Israel, so visitors brought everything from toilet paper to coffee and catsup.  Now there's no need for every day stuff.  I'm sure that some of you would disagree with me.  Don't be shy.