Monday, February 28, 2011

Your Bagel With Cream Cheese and Lox, Is It Kosher?

A lot of Ashkenaz (European) Jews think that the Sefardi-Eidot Mizrach (North African) Jews have an easier time with kashrut restrictions.  Here in Israel, where a lot of the caterers seem to be Sfardim, too frequently we find meat and fish mixed on the serving plates, served with the same utensil, forbidden by Ashkenaz rabbis.  On Passover, we have more restrictions not only about kitniyot (legumes) but even the covering of kitchen surfaces.

This Jerusalem Post article reminds me of the true story of one of the first American-style bagel places in Jerusalem, Beit HaBagel, The Bagel House.  It was owned by a friend of ours, and I even worked there for about six months, another story.  Today it's owned by others and called Holy Bagel.

Beit HaBagel was always kosher, of course.  One of the first things an owner has to do when applying for kashrut certification is to submit the basic menu.  He was horrified to find it rejected as traif.  The menu was just like all of your standard kosher bagel places in New York, with the addition of bourekas to cater to Israeli tastes and the nearby Moniyot Beit Shemesh taxi drivers.

"What's traif about it?"
"It's forbidden to eat fish and dairy together."
"That's impossible.  Bagels with cream cheese and lox are served in all the Orthodox shuls in America!"
Well, what's the story?  The Mashgiach, kashrut supervisor was Moroccan, and according to the Moroccan psak, Torah opinion, you may mix your meat and fish, but it's forbidden to mix your fish and dairy.  Beit HaBagel's owner, David Oberman, had to bring other strictly Torah-observant rabbis to talk to the one who had been assigned to supervise the restaurant-bakery.  Eventually, the kashrut supervisor agreed to permit cream cheese and lox to be served and gave it his approval as a strictly kosher restaurant.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Next Week Rosh Chodesh Adar II, Wow, It's Almost Purim!

No, the people in the picture aren't part of my prayer group.  Click the following link to discover who they are.

You're also invited to Tel Shiloh for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers, and if you're not a woman, then please pass the invitation onto some.  And if you're a woman you can also pass it on to more and more women, and you really are very sincerely invited.  I usually walk around snapping pictures admiring the view, saying over and over:
"This is gorgeous.  Tel Shiloh is definitely the most gorgous place there ever was."
I don't dare brag so much about my grandchildren.

There's only one Tel Shiloh...

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Adar II
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אדר ב' בתל שילה
יום א' 6-3
יהיה דבר תורה קצר
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

What Do People Think Shiloh Is?

On Shabbat a neighbor's guest recognized me from over thirty years ago.  We had lived in the same neighborhood, though probably had never spoken to each other.  She was here apparently for the first time  for a family simchah joyous event.  She's religous and has lived in Israel for decades, so we're not talking about a first-time alienated from Jewish life tourist.

She asked me if I drive here at night.
"We don't have a car."
"Then how do you manage?  I saw that the supermarket is miles away."  Apparently she was referring the the Rami Levi she passed in Sha'ar Binyamin.
"We have two green grocers, an enormous supermarket-size grocery store, so well-run that both Eli and Ofra begged the owner to run theirs.  So, it's a chain of three stores.  We also have a clothing/toy store, two clinics and a local school to the Eighth Grade."
"Do you have any other synagogues?"
"Yes, in this building there's also a Yemenite minyan.  Down the street there's a "chassidishe" minyan, where people like to start later, and they always have a big kiddush.  There's the yeshiva, and a bit down the hill there's the Eidot Mizrach North African Sefardic synagogue.  And in the middle there's the famous Mishkan Tabernacle shul."
She was also surprised when I said that we're a half hour from Petach Tikva; actually, she was shocked.
"I guess I'll have to look at a map when I get home."
She had asked if young couples move to Shiloh, and I had replied that we're very conveniently located in the center of the country.  Considering that we're just under half an hour to the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood of Jerusalem and a half hour to Tzomet (Junction) Yarkon, Petach Tikva-Hod Hasharon, it's clear that Shiloh isn't just a distant suburb of Jerusalem.  Shiloh is a very convenient and pleasant place to live.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Light Music, The Concert

Can  brag, please?

My granddaughter played in the concert.  Yes, here's a picture of the kids who performed. And, yes, this is the event where I saw an old friend for the first time in almost twenty years, because his grandson also studies with the same teacher.

And while the adults were enjoying the music, younger siblings were busy with other activities.

Friday, February 25, 2011

B"H, The Rain Has Given Us a Beautiful Spring

I'll start with the post-rain winter flower which, as a wild flower, the crocus blooms in some of the strangest places.  It's also cultivated.

Sorry, but botany, naming all the flowers, is not one of my talents.  I just enjoy them and photograph them for your viewing pleasure.

I'll end with this almond blossom on the shekaydiya, which I photographed in Ofra.  The other flowers are all from my Shiloh neighborhood.

Please remember that without sufficient G-d-given rain our Land wouldn't be blooming.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It Is Working, So Let's Party!

A Couple of hours ago, I wanted to blog on this blog and it didn't respond to my keyboard clicks.  So I did a couple of other things, and here I am blogging from another computer.  I'm gad that I didn't panic.

That's a good reason to post some photos from a recent "Hachnasat Sefer Torah," ceremony to bring a new Torah Scroll into our synagogue. 

Enjoy; just perfect while getting ready for Shabbat:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Small Teaching Job

I got some calls from another community that wants to open a "study program" for its teens.  They heard from ? that I'm the one to teach English.  It'll be once a week and I'm going to have to set up an income tax arrangement to make sure I don't overpay.  I've never done that before. 

I'm very excited about that sort of teaching job.  So now I must start the preparations and make sure I know about any changes in the bagrut.  I haven't taught for a few years, but my favorite jobs were always tutoring, finding out what knowledge is lacking and helping the kids learn how to do well on tests.

G-d willing it will be good for all.

Singing About NCSY

This kid is really good.

In my NCSY days a number of bands got their start and early exposure playing at events, and a number of songs made their debuts when they were taught to us.  In my days all of our correspondence was snail mail.  Now NCSY is online.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One of Those Great Stories

A number of years ago when I was working in a children's clothing store in Jerusalem's Center 1 my pocketbook was stolen.  That morning I had gotten to work when the store was already open.  There was a lot of business, and I guess I put my bag down and began dealing with the customers.  When things quieted down, I went for my bag, and it was gone.  Yes, obviously someone had stolen it.  I had keys to the store and home and my wallet and money and Identity Card, etc.

I just couldn't deal with it.  That wasn't the first time for me.

Only a few months after a neighbor had been murdered, when I was in a store I must have put down my wallet, which had all sorts of identification, and I never found it.  That time I don't think I went to the police.  I just got a new Identity Card. 

I couldn't go through all that a second time. But since it happened at work, I reported it to the police and had a special document attesting to the fact that my ID was stolen to get another.  But I just kept on procrastinating.

Months later all of a sudden one day I got a postcard from the Lost & Found of the Tel Aviv Bus Station that something of mine had been found.  So, I went to Tel Aviv, found the Lost & Found and discovered that only the cash, bills, had been taken.  My Identity Card was still there, even a heavy bag of coins, which added up to a nice amount of money. 

Apparently, there was a drug addict stealing bags from workers in Center 1, because not long after, my co-worker's bag was stolen out of the closed closet she had carefully put it in.  And then the pocketbook of the woman in the store across from us was stolen.  Both of them had many more irreplaceable things in their bags than I had.  I was the only one to get my bag back.

This story from the New York Times is much, much better than mine.

Back To Basics, Diving, Reading, Dancing etc... For Success

As an English Teacher, I have found myself, too many times, confronting students of all ages who are missing the most basic reading skills.  They can't find their way among the vowels, the keys to reading and writing and understanding written English.  I have a very easy way to teach it, which is one of the reasons I can't teach in schools.  It's not the conventional way.

Almost a half a century ago when learning Creative Dance and Choreography with Laura Foreman in some Long Island community center, I was introduced to Labanotation, a way of recording basic dance movements.  And then a couple of years later I studied Israeli Folk Dance, Leadership and Choreography with Fred Berk.  He also broke down each movement and step in a dance.  His Israeli Folk Dance albums included small booklets with instructions how to dance the included dances.  His approach made it possible for everybody to dance, not only those gifted/talented with superior dance intuition.  Most "teachers" simply say:
"Copy what I'm doing.  Just do it."
But Fred broke down every step into the musical notes, counting out the 4/4 beat, including telling us when to pause.  As a gym teacher, I used this technique explaining to my students that they can dance with their minds in control, rather than guessing. 

During the same period of time, my two years in Stern College, I was learning Israeli Folk Dance with Fred.  I also learned dance movement, with Allan Wayne, who emphasized proper alignment of the body when dancing.

Now, what got me onto this long tangent?  It's the New York Times article about the lengendary Olympic diving champion Louganis, who is now coaching.  And what's the secret technique behind Louganis's great success?  It's mastering basic movements,  just like the way I was taught to dance and I teach reading.

Too much of modern, from mid-twentieth century on, education is:
  • "Feel good," don't criticize and correct the kids too much
  • Forget about details and grammar.
  • Guesswork over exactitude.
And we all know the results, mediocrity at best.  Sport is no different than science, and successful sport is a science. So is dancing.  There are fewer injuries when it's done correctly and the body is properly prepared.  And the same for the "three r's,  reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic.

Now, back to my household chores...

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Store is Like a Playing Field

As you must know by now, if you're a regular here,  I work in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, which is the Rami Levi clothing for the whole family store, and on of my sons plays IFL Football.  I was also the "temporary girls gym teacher" for thirteen years.  And yes, in case you're wondering, that's the longest I've worked at any job or profession.

I have worked at a number of stores over the years, and now I'm back again.  Here's a listing; I may have left something out:
  • American department store, the A&S which used to be at the junction of Northern Blvd., Community Drive and East Shore Road, Manhasset, NY.
  • local green grocers
  • children's clothing store in Center 1, Jerusalem
  • bagel bakery, restaurant
  • local hat and clothing store
And I've worked at other things, besides teaching Creative Dance, Women's Exercise, P.E. and then EFL English.

Yes, I've done a lot and worked in many places.  Some of the stores were so small, I was on my own.

Now I'm about to collapse.  It's time for me to go to bed.

Today at work, some other workers asked me if I'd be collapsing when I got home.  That's because they can see how hard I work.  I look at the entire store and if nobody is covering an area, then I'm there.  It reminds me of how my football player son keeps an eye on the field.  He plays defense and must keep an eye on the ball the other players and guess where the ball will go and who will catch it.

In the store, I try to connect the potential customer to a product and get them to the cashier.  It is like a game.  I enjoy it.

Old Friends, Still Young

Last night I went to the Luchins-Leff tribute at the Israel Center.  It was billed/publicized differently for different crowds.  For those of us in the NCSY Ben Zakkai Honor Society, it was the first Ben Zakkai "event," desserts and not a dinner,  the honorees being David and Vivian Luchins and Rabbi Zeev and Rivka Leff.  It was then advertised rather differently in Torah Tidbits opening it to the general public.

Luckily I got there early, as did some friends from my time, including someone I knew from my days at Stern College and had neither seen nor spoke to in the over forty years since I finished my sophomore year.  Yes, I'm a drop-out.

The donation for attending was rather steep, but considering that a "discretionary fund" was used to fly me in a few years ago when I was finally inducted into the honor society, and I am in touch with the Luchins and owe so much to NCSY, I felt it necessary to attend.  I'm not sorry that I attended, but I wish that I had made a dinner date with other NCSY friends/attendees to have more time to be together.  We really ought to plan something with more "schmooze" time.

For those of us who live and work in Israel we didn't have the time to stay for schmoozing after the program.  I rushed out without even saying goodbye to anyone, B"H, caught the #4 bus to Ramat Eshkol, walked a very rainy couple of blocks to my bus stop and then caught the bus home to Shiloh.  There was a lull in the rain when I got there, so the walk up the hill to my house wasn't difficult.

We had been asked to find the "year in Israel kids" and invite them for Shabbat and Holidays.  I didn't have time, so if any of you are in that category, please give me a call.  There are lots of NCSY alumni in Shiloh.

On with my day....

PS re: the title-
Just behind me I heard the young voice of someone saying "...NCSY ages ago."  I took a look and saw someone so young, she must be younger than my youngest child.  I mentioned it to my friends/peers.  Someone said that it's funny, to that kid her NCSY years were ages ago, while we don't accept ourselves as old.  "It can't be that long ago..."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beautiful Rain

Here in Israel, during this time of the year, a rainy day is a gorgeous one. So, here are some beautiful winter pictures, nice and wet for your viewing pleasure.

Rain is a blessing.  At most we get rain, a gift from G-d, about five months a year.  In the Bible it's written that we'll only get rain when we keep the Mitzvot, The G-d Given Commandments.  So we can't take our water for granted.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Justin Bieber is Not Jewish, and a Strange Statement From His Staff

Not having been a teen for almost half a century, I can't understand the viral celebrity of this Justin Bieber.  I kept reading references to his being Jewish, but apparently that's because of his Jewish Manager, Scooter Braun.  His Christian mother is the dominant spiritual force in the family

Even NCSY is making a fuss about him.  There's a very strange line in their article:
“I’m planning to join a family seder during our tour, and Justin asked to share the experience. Justin, because of his Christian heritage, has a strong interest in the land of Israel”. (emphasis mine) complete article here
Now, why should his interest in the "land of Israel" be due to "his Christian heritage?" The Land of Israel is Jewish.  For anyone else to identify with it is "identity theft."

Figuring that I must be one of the only people who had never heard him sing, I searched for a youtube video from this year and found a few:

I'm not all that impressed, ordinary voice and professionally packaged, no more, no less. Also, he still looks very young for a boy who is sixteen. I taught high school boys for eleven years and developed a pretty good eye for judging ages. Will he accept his masculinity when it arrives, or will he develop a Michael Jackson complex?

Shabbat Shalom in case I don't get back to blogging before Shabbat.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

No Need For A Burger in The Burger Bar

A few weeks ago, I went out with an old friend, yes, an adventure.  We finished our adventure over dinner at a better than expected restaurant in Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood.  Yes, the Burger Bar.

I ordered a chicken salad.

It's kosher; the food's tasty and the staff was all excited when I took their picture.

I didn't pay, so I don't know/remember the prices.

Kashrut Question...?

I'm sure that I've learned that kosher food is supposed to stay supervised at all times.  Non-Jews are not to be alone with the food.  Food isn't supposed to be transported without supervision.

That's what I kept wondering as these two Arab men walked by speaking Arabic to each other.  I have no idea to where they were taking these unbaked pastries.  I didn't have the time to follow them, but considering that I was walking through Jerusalem's Geula neighborhood the food was supposed to be kosher.

Input welcome, thanks

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For Me It's Home

I usually just blog about my Rosh Chodesh, first of Jewish Month, visits to Tel Shiloh on Shiloh Musings, but some of you don't read that blog.

To me there's something very "unJewish" in praying to dead bodies, even holy rabbis and Biblical figures. I can't see why one should go to Uman or even Kever Rachel. I know that some of you are already getting upset at what I've just written. I've done the "grave tour" here in Israel and have been to Kever Rachel more times than I can count. I've seen mobs of people fighting to get into the buses to Kever Rachel and began to wonder why they don't go the Shiloh instead.

That's how I got the idea to call for Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh on Rosh Chodesh. For the past few years I post simple blog announcements like here, also email and facebook notices, inviting women to pray together at Shiloh, where Biblical Chana prayed for a son who would rescue the Jewish People from the sin and anarchy of the days of Judges. Ancient Shiloh has been in Israeli hands since the 1967 Six Days War, and there has been a Jewish community since Shvat, 1978. We moved here (to Shiloh) during Ellul, late summer, 1981. There's a tourist center at Tel Shiloh, so you're not restricted to my Rosh Chodesh events. Email: and if you'd like to get on my list email me. The next Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh on Rosh Chodesh will be:

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Adar II
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אדר ב' בתל שילה
יום א' 6-3
יהיה דבר תורה קצר
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

The people here in the picture weren't at Tel Shiloh for my prayer group.  They were just tourists we found when we went to pray.  As you can see, the drizzle didn't faze them a single bit.  They just wandered around armed with umbrellas.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Can Call It The Encore

Today was a double triple treat for me.  Not only did I get to see my grandkids and hear my eldest perform playing the chalilit recorder, but I got to see the friend who introduced me to the concept of Zionism, making aliyah, moving to Israel as a Jew's most important decision.

Yes, after watching and listening with all the other proud parents and grandparents, I realized that a familiar voice was calling me by my English name.  Over a year ago, we discovered that we have children and grandchildren on the same yishuv, small town in Samaria.  Since then, the kids have become friends, but I hadn't seen my old friend and mentor for about eighteen years.

Just one of those amazing Jewish geography stories.

The Gantseh Megillah, Not The Purim Megillah

Michael's back in the saddle putting out the monthly Gantseh Megillah.  Funny, how I have no idea how I joined the "staff."  Every month he chooses one of my not very pc musings about life and politics.  My perspective and life style are very different from the rest of the writers included and probably most of the readers.

Nu, are you curious?  That's a good reason to check it out.  I'm sure you'll find something you enjoy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Call Me "The Bus Usher"

An usher tells people where to sit, and I've been doing that on buses recently. 

Just tonight for instance.  We, (my husband and I,) picked up our bus by the "white faux Calder" where French Hill and Ramat Eshkol meet, down the road from Mt. Scopus, across from Ammunition Hill.  It's one of the last stops in Jerusalem and sometimes the bus is very full, even over-full.  When we got in, the bus seemed full except in the front.  That's because out of the two first double seats on each side, three had only one man each.  So that means that out of the eight seats, three were empty.  Now, by the time I took that in, we were moving, and I had no desire to walk in a moving bus, especially when there were empty seats.  So I spoke out loud to prepare the fellas and give them a chance to play musical chairs if they considered it unacceptable to sit next to a female. 
"There are three empty seats, because three men are sitting alone.  One, two, three."  I pointed when I saw their confused looks.
OK, I needed to sit down and I did next to the man who seemed the thinnest.  There have been times when for other couples or when the woman didn't want to sit next to a man, I've asked that two men sit together to free the seat.

Last week, the last seat was next to a woman who had dozed off and was half in the second seat.  A young woman was standing there, seatless, so I tapped the dozing woman on the shoulder and gently told her that someone needed to sit.  She thanked me and happily made room.

And then at the last Jerusalem stop, another couple got in; they looked older than me and my husband.  The woman began walking to the back of the bus to find a seat, but a young girl got up and gave her one.  The husband took a while, standing as he paid.  Then he looked into the bus for a seat and started to walk.  As he passed me, I told him that there weren't any, and he should sit in the front row.  There was no reason why the young man should be alone.  So he sat down.

There are times when we just need to say what needs to be said.

To TV or Not To Watch?

Years and years decades ago we kept our home free of television.  I don't think our kids were bored or deprived.  When the older ones were little, I was a very full-time SAHM stay at home mom, imma, who enjoyed keeping my kids busy and well-entertained.

I'd play games and LP records all the time when we weren't outside.  The girls* didn't go to gan, nursery, pre-school until they were three, which was considered rather old for our Bayit V'Gan, Jerusalem neighborhood.  Everyday we'd go to the local grocery store and the playgrounds at least once.  We had a few friends who kept a similar schedule.  Life revolved around hanging the wash, shopping, playing and visiting.

Periodically we had TV's, including the two years on shlichut in London.  At some point television became a regular member of the household.  Maybe it was because the kids spent too much time watching it at the neighbors.

TV is pleasant entertainment for me today, but I really credit the lack of television for better pre-school intellectual development in my kids.  That personalized one on one stimulation can't be done when the screen beckons.  And I certainly read less when the TV is on, but once you have it, it's hard to keep it off, even when there's nothing really worth watching.  Our TV is in the livingroom, and our living room is one big open kitchen/diningroom/livingroom. 

If you really want to restrict TV time, it's best to have it in a room you rarely enter, but that's a luxury many don't have.  Space is at a premium.

*The boys were raised in Shiloh.  The older one was a month and a half when we moved to Shiloh and our youngest was born when we already lived here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trying To Keep My Feet Warm

Last night I could barely fall asleep, because my feet were too cold, so I just put up water for the hot water bottle.  I plan on warming up the bottom of the bed.  Yes, of course I wear heavy socks to sleep in.

I've heard about special warming inserts to put in shoes.  That would be a good thing to get.  Yes, I have a problem with my feet.  They get cold.  So do my fingers.  I have to take care at work, because some of the store isn't completely indoors.  I like working in the outside part, because I get to help people more.  Indoors there are more salespeople.  There's always something to straighten, though it's hard to believe that I spend so much time folding clothes.  I'm not very good at it.  I prefer helping customers find just the perfect item items to buy.  The people aspect of the job is the most fun.

Good night!

Waking Up to Matisyahu on Letterman

And a good morning to you, too. An fb-plus friend, or friend on more than fb or a f2f-fb friend had it up, and it just seemed perfect to post here to start the day prior to drinking coffee. I'm writing this as I drink Brazilian coffee this morning.  Maybe I should have made something stronger, but the flavor is good.   I wonder if the Turkish has all that much more caffeine...

It doesn't seem possible to get an accurate reading on the amount of caffeine in different types of coffee and preparation methods. So I'll just enjoy. The Brazilian coffee has a very smooth flavor, or maybe I got it just right this morning in terms of how much coffee and sugar to cook up...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Festive Meals, Menu Please

I do all my own cooking, except that over ten years ago, the kids decided that my husband should make the weekly chicken soup.

Oops!  I've started this in the middle.  Let's start again...

As a Torah-observant Jew, I serve festive meals weekly.  Many traditional Jews, less strict than I also have at least one festive family or with friends or community meal on Shabbat, the Sabbath.  I've heard this described as "a couple of Thanksgiving dinners each week."

Technically, there are three meals, or are supposed to be three meals.  Our Sabbath starts at night.  I light Shabbat candles and my husband goes to shul, synagogue.  I could go if I want to, but I love that quiet time after the hectic rush to get everything ready.  I pray at home and finish with all the last minute stuff, like setting the table and making the fresh salad.  I like the salad made just before eating.  And what else do I serve on Friday night?
  • chicken soup, which my husband makes
  • challah, our festive bread
  • fancy, but easy to make, baked vegetables
  • one or two, sautéed vegetable dishes
  • a protein, poultry or beef or combination
  • a carbohydrate, rice or potatoes or something else
  • large fresh, raw salad
Sometimes I experiment combining the protein with vegetables, or like this very different meatloaf.

We finish the meal with tea.  My husband and I are both trying to keep weight off, so we don't eat cake.  I sometimes have baked apples, amazingly simple applesauce or compote.

Shabbat lunch, which we sometimes eat as early as 10:30am, is very similar.  Just delete the soup.  During the late winter months, we serve artichokes as a first course.  I put up everything to heat on an electric hotplate before I leave for shul, and I make the salad just before we sit down.

And each meal begins with the ritual Kiddush over wine or grape juice, and then we usually have some wine during the meal.

Yes, that's it.  I serve very simple, but ample meals.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oy, When and How Should We Buy The Tickets?

We're going to have to go to the states in a few months for family reasons.  Decades ago, we'd get those tickets as presents from our parents, who were willing to pay anything to see the grandchildren.  Those were the days when you got "real printed tickets," not the print your own e-tickets of today.  Ticket delivery was always a hassle, but we neither paid nor chose the airline.

Now, my in-laws are buried here in the Shiloh Cemetery, my parents are in a senior citizens place in Arizona, and I have to get out there.  It's no longer a simple non-stop El Al flight to JFK Airport, as I had done for a decade.  Going to AZ is much more complicated, expensive and requires that I deal with lots of confusing options.  And I also have to be in New York for about a week or so, so it's not just a trip to Arizona.

Should I just go to some travel agent, use either the El Al or American Airlines frequent flyer clubs or do an internet search for the cheapest travel deal?  The latest news is that it's very complicated to find a reliable cheap deal on the internet.  Yes, and another option would be to learn how to use credit card points.  I feel like a total imbecile.  Maybe I am.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Advice, Re: Picture Posting, Please, Thanks

I keep hitting max (don't get the wrong idea, so) maximum on the free versions of picture-storing/hosting sites, or whatever they're called.  I can't use:
  • flicka Is that the name?
  • picasa
  • and now photobucket
So I need some more ideas/sites.  That's why you haven't seen many new pictures here or Shiloh Musings recently.  I also need to take the plunge about having picture/photo books instead of the old fashioned pictures in albums.  Do they ship here?  or just to the states?  Are there places I can have it done reasonably here in Israel?

And now, I really must get to bed, so good night.

Real Food? Cut the Fake Vitamins and Minerals Out of Your Basics

As you can see in the previous post, I really did go to town on the juicer.  I keep expecting to turn orange since after making more carrot juice than the crowd wanted to drink, I drank it myself, along with more fresh apple juice than I should have.  I've upset some of my friends by telling them that their "juice diet" isn't natural. 
"Juicing is processing, too."
It is.  I look at the mush that comes out of the juicer, wondering what can be cooked with it.  But I was at a party, and compared to all the other food, the unsweetened freshly squeezed juice was the best act in town.

I have fits when trying to buy other basics like, cottage cheese and tomato paste.  I don't want extra calcium in my dairy products nor glucose and salt in my tomato paste nor all sorts of artificial vitamins in the cereals.  And natural full, or partial fat dairy products has the vitamins. They are eliminated with the fat making them harder to digest.

I was disappointed that the New York Times article about "real food" doesn't mention this.  I have a sneaking suspicion that scientists will someday reveal that many of the vitamin and mineral additives to basic foods, especially for kids, are the causes of serious medical problems.  It's better to play outside than have artificial vitamin D in food and walk to school or a friend's house to strengthen bones, rather than have all that extra unabsorbable calcium.

Fresh fruit and raw salad are best for Vitamins, A, D etc. 

All those fake eggs, oxymoron fat free half & half etc should be banned.   I'll never forget my father's explanation on why he doesn't like mayonnaise:
"Read the ingredients."
Yes, that's just it.  Start reading the ingredients.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Here are a couple of pictures from last night's party.

photos by Miriam Feyga Bunimovich

Yes, I'm glad I went, even though today I've been terribly tired.

All Juiced Up

Last night I manned womaned the juice bar at the Shiloh Women's Party.  The party is an annual event, but I must admit that last night was the first time I've ever attended it.  It used to be that every year I had something else to do that very night. 

This year, I didn't plan on going.  Why change my "custom?"

Then last Friday, Rosh Chodesh Adar I*, one of my newer neighbors went with me to Tel Shiloh to pray, and she insisted that I must go to the party.  She was right.  In a sense I had gotten myself into a rut of sorts about those parties. 

I called the organizer and volunteered to help.  Just attending isn't my thing.  I found myself making fresh, natural juice.  There were two juicers going.  One was apple juice and the other carrot juice.  I did the carrot juice.  Here and there I sampled some of both.  And when the program started, there was a lot of carrot juice left over.  And how could I just leave it to spoil?  It's much healthier just minutes after being juiced.  So, of course I drank a few cups.  Well, the cups were small.  I also ate a few dates.

There was also lots of foods, salads, soups etc, which I never ate.  Before leaving the house I had eaten dinner.  I made a nice serving of techina which I ate with an artichoke.  I wanted to make sure that I had a good portion of protein in me to prevent temptation from ruling.

It was a great party; I'm glad that I went.

*Join us Rosh Chodesh Adar II on Sunday, March 6, 9:30 at Tel Shiloh, for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Coffee Bargain? When Good Coffee is On Sale

The other day, I saw Brazilian coffee on sale at Rami Levi, near the Yafiz where I work.  It's an Elite Coffee, the brand that makes the Turkish coffee I like.  The price was very reasonable, so I bought some.  This morning, since I figured I could always make myself some Turkish if it's awful, I made it.  Yes, that's pretty risky, two mornings in a row.

Various coffees have different flavors, and that's without anything artificial added in.  I like a coffee you can smell as soon as you open the bag or jar.  Yes, I like strong coffee.  I've walked into coffee shops asking for something to counteract jetlag and been disappointed when the worker replied with a blank stare.

Oh, yes, about that Brazilian coffee... a weaker than Turkish aroma entered the room as I opened it.  Yes, that's an acceptable start.  I cooked it up with sugar in a pot, as is my standard low-tech method.  It doesn't taste like Turkish, because it's Brazilian, but it definitely is coffee, a bit gentler but tasty.  So, when I'm next at work, if the special is still on, I'll buy more.

Have a great day!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings

One of my younger friends has been marrying off her kids.  In some families it seems so easy.  Tonight was one of the weddings.  Lots of young families, all looking so happy.  In this crowd hardly anyone is single after the age of twenty.

Weddings aren't cheap.  A friend who's marrying off the fourth or fifth of about eight, said that prices have gone up tremendously.  When they made their first wedding, they were able to "make a deal" with the caterer to simplify the meal and save a lot of money.  Now the caterers refuse to "down-grade" their "style" and look G-d forbid cheap.

All and all, at this point, I'd prefer those problems...


There Are No Bargains When It Comes To Good Coffee

Another disappointment...
Last week I decided to try/buy the much cheaper package of the mid-eastern with cardamom coffee I saw at Rami Levi's.  The package is white with mostly green decorations and lettering.  Don't buy it.

I must stick with the Elite Turkish Coffee with Cardamom.  I'll have to have this new stuff join the fake mocca when I clean out the pantry before Passover.  The question is which plants should get them as fertilizer.  We have grapes, sterile lemon, need to be pruned roses, a pathetic apple tree, hardy rhizome irises, a giant olive tree and many other plants that would prefer to be cared for, not abused.  I wonder which would prefer the faux coffee.  Suggestions would be welcome; I wouldn't want to kill any of my plants.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

An Adventure With A Lantzman

Today I had an adventure with a Lantzman.

Some of you may ask what is a lantzman.  It's someone מאותו הכפר me'oto hakfar from the same town.  Actually, I didn't know him from there way back when, but he was in my sister's class, and he was a friend of my brother, and his parents and mine were friends.  And his sister was in my brother's class and I even sort of taught his brother one summer, when I was the assistant in the synagogue's nursery school summer camp.

I only met him when he came to Israel and looked me up.

Some of you may have heard of him or heard him play one of the stringed instruments he played with the Diaspora Yeshiva Band, and some of you may have heard him more recently, since he still plays  gigs all over the states.

Nu, you're probably curious as to what adventure could we have experienced together.  He is visiting from the states, rented a car and picked me up at Yafiz at the end of my work day.  We then drove to Jerusalem and went to Mount Zion, his old home, and met with the legendary Rabbi Goldstein of the Diaspora Yeshiva.  Rabbi Goldstein took us on a grand tour.  G-d willing, photos will follow at some point.

KCC By Mrs. S.

The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival has been prepared by Mrs. S. at Our Shiputzim.  She has done a great job offering the best of the kosher cooking posts of the last month.  I highly recommend that you visit and taste what's served.  And if you're not familiar with her blog, then there's even more reason to stop by.

Next month's KCC is at Miriyummy and to send to send in your posts, click blog carnival and fill in the form.  It's very easy.  And if you're interested in hosting a Kosher Cooking Carnival, please contact me.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Romantic? Hah!

Would someone like to tell me why most (at least it seems like most) of our electric problems come on a Friday when I'm getting ready for Shabbat?

According to Jewish Law, we're not supposed to be dealing with electricity on Shabbat, nor cooking, changing switches, lighting matches etc on Shabbat, that's the twenty-five hours from before Friday sunset until at least three stars are visable in one glance Saturday night.

Friday afternoon, suddenly most of our electricity went.  Why did I write "went?"  I hate euphemisms.  But in this case, when the fuses were fine and I couldn't figure out why the TV didn't work, the den computer did, the bedroom lights didn't, the outside light did, but none of the kitchen appliances were working including the oven and refrigerator, so, I'd say "went" is a pretty accurrate verb.  A nearby neighbor called in a panic saying that they thought that all their electricity was out.  And they were expecting grandchildren for Shabbat.

I called our electrician, the only electrician this house knows.  He worked with the contractor who built the house and visits when it needs repairs.  So, as soon as I explained the awful mess, he said:
"It's from the three-fase wiring.  Not all the fases work.  Call the Electric Company."
We reported to the customer report number, and the electrician called his contacts.  A crew was on its way, but of course nobody knew how long it would take.

Luckily I had baked most of my vegetable treats.  I'd have to finish off on the gas stove top, food, water etc.  I had already gone that road  a couple of months earlier.  Everything was fine except for the fact that I didn't want to open the fridge.  Then my neighbor came in for some dog food, table scraps.  I started apologizing saying that I didn't want to open the fridge when it suddenly occurred to me that I had to open it to lock the light off.  It's a good thing she came or I may have forgotten to do it and then we'd really be in trouble.  Sammy got his food and I prepared the fridge.  And I also asked if I could bring the baked veggies to her fridge. She had full electricity.  We did that.

Did I tell you that I was expecting guests?

Yes, four guests.  To make a long story short.  They loved the candle-light dinner.  I did a good job keeping the food hot.  Everyone had a great time.  They all took food home to their functioning refrigerators.

And we went to bed early.  Later at night, as we slept, the electricity came back.  This morning I ran off to some of the neighbors to bring home the food we needed for lunch, and now I'll get the rest of it.

I'm become quite an expert in coping with these "incidents" or "situations."

B"H, it worked out OK.

Have a nice uneventful week full of wonderful things.

Friday, February 04, 2011

G-d Plans, Please Pray

I guess you can add this to your collection of "only in Israel" stories, most probably because there probably isn't another place in the world at this time when a grandmother well into middle-age tremps or hitchhikes...

Yesterday after I finished and signed out from work at Yafiz, I went to the Sha'ar Binyamin (it's a nice-sized shopping center with a Kupat Cholim Le'umit Clinic and office building) bus stop to wait for a bus or ride to Jerusalem.  My son was playing in a football game, and as a good mother (I should hope) I was on my way to watch him and cheer for him and his team.

After a reasonable amount of time a young woman stopped and said that she was going to Jerusalem.  I was the only one who needed that direction and got in.  After we rode a few minutes I asked where she was going, she told me that she had been referred to an immediate medical appointment with a specialist in the center of town.  I told her that the location was perfect for my plans.  I had hoped to buy a wedding gift before the game.  And I wished her that whatever the problem it would turn out well.

As we traveled she said that she was very nervous and not feeling well and wondered if it had been wise to take a trempistit passenger.  She offered to drop me off in Pisgat Zeev, so I could take a bus.  I told her that if she doesn't feel comfortable driving she should park the car in Pisgat Zeev and take a cab, but she was afraid that she'd be late and get there after the doctor left.

In the end we continued together and discussed the best way of going to her destination, considering how the lightrail has made a mess of downtown Jerusalem.  As a confirmed pedestrian and passenger, I generally don't pay too much attention to exit signs and other drivers navigation tools,so I kept hoping that I knew the directions.  To keep up her confidence and mood, I kept pointing out that all the greenlights we reached must be signs from G-d that she'll be OK.

I was worried that she was going to be alone when seeing the specialist, but she said that her sister would be with her, since she couldn't reach her husband.

I helped her navigate to the street where the doctor was, and even she saw the Hand of G-d in that she got a parking spot where one is never free.

I asked for her name (plus mother's name) to pray for her and told her that I'd be praying at Tel Shiloh today.  Please add her name to your Refuah Shleimah, Complete Recovery list if you have one, or just say a special prayer.  I have no idea who she is, but it's clear she needs our prayers.

Malka Yehudit bat Chana Rut

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom
Have a Good Month and a Peaceful Shabbat

Thursday, February 03, 2011

"Have You Ever Tried To Control A Class?"

Pretty much every time I work at Yafiz, I run into an old friend or someone I've known from the many, various things I've done over the years.  Some are rather shocked to discover that I'm working in a clothing store.  It's no secret that salespeople make much less money than teachers whose salaries are calculated according to education degrees, experience etc.  I also rather quickly made it up in the  world of EFL teachers in Israel, giving popular workshops at ETAI national and international conventions.

One former neighbor looked at me in total shock:
"Isn't it hard?"
All I could reply was the truth:
"Have you ever tried to control a class?"
That's right.  Like many teachers, including the store manager, I find it worthwhile to put away the lesson planner and use marking pens to mark prices rather than tests.  I may not get paid for summer vacation or that long Passover Holiday, but I no longer have to prepare lessons, mark papers/tests/compositions, go to parent and pedagogy meetings, etc.  My schedule is flexible, so I can attend weddings and my granddaughter's chalilit, recorder recital.

Yes, I do work hard.  I have no set breaks, because you can't walk out on a customer in the middle of serving him/her.  Yafiz experiences waves of business and quiet like most stores.  Serving customers is our #1 priority, after that we are constantly arranging and rearranging and adding to the stock of clothes.  No two days are the same.  Actually, I like that.

And because of my schedule's flexibility and the fact that I'm only working part-time, I can still tutor students of all ages in English.  And I can still do diet coaching and photography, too. 

It's Thursday, so on with my day....

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Only In Israel Are There Bus Drivers So Great

Rickismom tells a great happy ending story about her daughter who was helped by some Israeli bus drivers.  It brings me back to something that happened to one of my duaghters almost twenty-five years ago.  We've been in Shiloh almost thirty years.

Our youngest daughter must have been between ten or a bit older.  It was in the middle of a very rainy winter.  Her friend's parents had invited her to a special birthday they were making for their daughter and insisted that she come.  They live in Maale Levona, which is just west of Shiloh.  At that time the bus passed the Maale Levona junction; only a few went in.  The parents promised that they'd pick her up at the junction.  It was a very rainy night.  When my daughter got off the bus, the driver asked her what she was going to do, because he was worried.  He waited there for a while and then told her to get in; he'd drive her to their house, which he did. 

Apparently the parents had been so busy with their other guests that they had forgotten to pick her up and were surprised when the bus stopped at their house.

Facebook Taking Over and Photobucket Problem

Facebook is taking over a larger and larger portion of my computer time.  I'm beginning to enjoy it.  It's a nice combination of email and blogging.  I have things set up so that my blogs also get posted to facebook, and sometimes there are a lot of comments there and not on blogger.  Generally different people comment on the different media.

I enjoy all the multi-directional "conversations" going on, too.  It's more open than email, though you can have private correspondance as messages.  I set it up with my photobucket account, but now I think that was a problem, so I have to figure out how to detach them.

Photobucket has announced that I'm reaching maximum for the month, just as February has begun, for the free account.  If I pass it, there will be a freeze, sanctions.  So, no more photos to upload on photobucket.  That once happened with Flicka and recently with Picassa.  So, my dear friends, followers and random readers, what other free programs can you recommend?


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Trying to Communicate When There's No Common Language

I've blogged that there are quite a few Arabs who shop in Yafiz.  With most I can communicate in either Hebrew or English, plus a bit of pantomime.  Last night, I ended up trying to explain the "half off the second (or less expensive) item" discount with another medium of communication.

I finally grabbed a piece of paper I found and started writing:
100+80 (80X1/2 =40) =140
100+100 (100X1/2 =50) =150
And yes, after that they caught on to what I had been trying to communicate.  I explained to one of my young fellow sales people that I had been a remedial teacher.  I honestly believe that those talents, skills and experience really help me with some of the customers.

When one method doesn't work, I try another.  I did that when teaching EFL to small groups.  As long as there is basic intelligence there will be a method that suits.  Today's teaching, at least here in Israel, is based on the very expensive and rigid workbook.  The "experts" claim that it's good that the children can progress at their own pace, but there is very little real teaching.  Not everyone's mind suits those workbooks.  Some people need to hear the concepts and facts repeated in different ways orally, and workbook learning is not oral.  Workbook teaching isn't flexible either.  I would have been a total failure and trouble-maker in today's classroom.

I learn best with discussion.  I use that when I give my Tanach, Bible classes to my friends.  If any of my grandchildren are like me, they're in trouble.

Baby Safety

My kids were born in the days when babies slept on their stomachs in carriages and cribs.  You could still buy a nice large bucket of a baby carriage or pram as the British call them.  Since my babies were very active, I had "zip a babes*" set up in the carriage, then stroller and another in the high chair.  My kids stood early.  "Number three" was crawling with belly up by five  (or was it four and a half) months and standing straight and short in the high chair which she rocked with a vengeance.

My babies moved all over the crib before they had common sense, so bumpers kept them safe.  These weren't pillowy soft padded ones.  They were foam coated with some wipeable plastic.  No one could suffocate because of them.

The cribs had moveable mattresses, so that tiny infants were higher up, easier on my postnatal back to reach.  As the kids quickly got more mobile, turning over, sitting, standing I had to keep lowering the mattress.  Of course the challenge was lowering it before the baby could topple out.  Maybe that's why some (or all) newer cribs don't have that option.

American product safety laws and parent guidelines are always changing.  I personally think that there should be a healthy dose of common sense besides all the technical guess-work and statistics.

*I guess zip-a-babe is out of business.   The device I did find seems to have a similar usage.