Wednesday, August 31, 2011

4 Weeks to Countdown, 3 Day Rosh Hashannah Kosher Cooking Carnival

I'm sure that I'm not the only one starting to freak out or more rationally calculate what and how to prepare for the upcoming three day Rosh Hashannah.  For Israelis, it's the only threee three 3 day possibility when Shabbat comes immediately after the two day Rosh Hashannah holiday.  In chutz la'aretz, out of the Holy Land this can happen with many of the holidays.  We in Israel get twenty-three hour break from Thursday night time until Shabbat candlelighting to prepare for Shabbat when it happens Succot, Simchat Torah or Passover.  In recent years I've tried to complete most of that for Shabbat cooking in advance, at least the meat/poultry.  Since I don't like to reheat vegetables, I save those for the "last minute."

This edition of KCC includes seasonal recipes, mostly summer from the Northern Hemisphere.  I'd appreciate that next month's, which will G-d willing be posted at the end of Elul, September 25 at Cooking Outside the Box, will include lots of your hints, tricks and TNT techniques so the Holidays will be spiritually refreshing, rather than stressfully culinary.  Please send your posts/links via blog carnival.  And if you'd like to host an edition of KCC, please contact me.

Please share, blog about, send out the link etc of this Kosher Cooking Carnival and of course visit the various posts/sites included.

Sorry, but I'm utilizing the very convenient "insta-carnival" short-cut for this edition. To save more time, I'm leaving my posts in the "third person."  I've tried to delete all of the spam and spice it up with some of your pictures.

anything kosher!

Leora Wenger presents Pickled Tomatoes | Here in Highland Park posted at Here in HP, saying, "I am trying to encourage everyone to try making fermented foods because they are so healthy. This is the easiest recipe of all. And delicious, too."

Mirjam Weiss presents Bloggers? Day Out ? Gush Etzion ? July 2011 posted at Miriyummy.

Mirjam Weiss presents Bloggers? Day Out ? Gush Etzion Winery ? July 2011 posted at Miriyummy.

Rivki presents Why gating the kitchen is great idea, or, the day I took my stove apart posted at Life in the Married Lane..., saying, "The story of what happened when I tried to kasher my stove with a curious toddler at home."

Batya presents Went Out To "Pick Some Candy" posted at me-ander.

My husband sent me this link he found,  Kosher recipe sharing goes virtual.

economical use of left-overs

Devo K presents Taking stock posted at In the middle, on the right.

Every day meals

Batya presents And Now a Healthy Chocoate Spread posted at me-ander.

David Dicker presents Israeli Salad | V. posted at V., saying, "This Israeli salad has a bit of a kick to it for those that like a little spice in their food."

Mrs. S. presents Waffling around posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress, saying, "Thanks for doing this!" My pleasure; maybe you'd like to host one. 

Batya presents Musakka, However You Spell it and Make it, It's a Hit! posted at me-ander.

Mirjam Weiss presents Fish on the Beach posted at Miriyummy.

Emily Segal presents Black Bean Quinoa Enchiladas posted at Triumph Wellness, saying, "These parve enchiladas are dairy and egg-free too! But packed with flavor and fiber. A great vegetarian dish the whole family will love!"

Ilana-Davita presents Panzanella (Italian Summer Salad) posted at Ilana-Davita.

Sarah's View presents [sweet or savory?] farmer's market fare posted at sarah's view, saying, "fresh veggies from the farmers market. easy recipe that can be made for meat, dairy or parve meals."

Batya presents "Bake and Serve" Turkey Wings With Eggplant posted at me-ander.

Batya presents Yet Another Musakka posted at me-ander.

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

David Dicker presents Cauliflower Kugel | V. posted at V., saying, "This is a perfect dish for vegetarians trying to keep Kosher and it even keeps with Passover rules as well. I make it every year and it has always been a hit!"

Hadassah Sabo Milner presents Quick and Kosher - My Debut posted at In the Pink.
See Hadassa in the video:

Thanks again for participating!

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.

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Lots of KCC Work Today

It's Rosh Chodesh Elul and time to post the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival.  No, sorry, it's far from ready.  Actually, it was supposed to be up yesterday, but when I scheduled it I had no idea that I wouldn't have a free second by the computer.  It was just one of those super-busy days.  Well, I have this morning, G-d willing.  Let's just see how much I can squeeze into a few hours.

If you'd like to host one, please contact me.  And to contribute a link about any aspect* of kosher food, use the handy blog carnival form.

*A few ideas...
  • customs
  • recipes
  • holiday tips, like how to prepare for those "3 day Jewish Holidays" like we're having this year
  • Halacha, Jewish Law
  • kosher food anecdotes
  • restaurant and cookbook reviews
  • yes, anything kosher!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review Dilemma

I've been getting books to review, as you can see on the left side bar.  When I write the reviews I try to find nice things to say.  I've never had a problem until now.  I accepted a book I thought would be more on the spiritual, theological, emotional, psychological side of something.  Instead it was full of faux or incorrect "history."

It's really hard to think of what to write, besides criticism of the book.  I don't know if the publicist wants such honesty.  He may never send me another book!  I do have a nice supply of books I still haven't reviewed.  This one has me stuck.

Of course, I don't get paid for writing the reviews.  I just get the books for free.  I've given some away as gifts, after being very honest with the recipients explaining that they are complementary books I've reviewed which I'm sure they'll like.  I gave my sister-in-law all of the new cookbooks.  She loves cooking from recipes, so they were the perfect gifts for her when we visited this summer.  I gave a single woman   I Only Want to Get Married Once by Chana Levitan after first asking her if she'd be interested.

Now I'm stuck.  I'd appreciate your input.  Thanks

Monday, August 29, 2011

Converts to Judaism?

There's a "film" a friend posted on facebook listing many of famous converts to Judaism.  I truly wonder how many lived the rest of their lives as actual Jews, following the mitzvot, commandments etc or was it just a convenience for marriage.

I know many sincere Torah observant converts and also some who began their lives as Torah-observant Jews but later on had "second thoughts." These lists make me wonder.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caption This! Couldn't Resist The Shot...

Please "comment" your caption, thanks.

ps can the verb "comment" be used like this?  What do you think?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We All Have Some Cooking "Flops"

It wasn't a complete disaster, just disappointing.  It seemed like a good idea to stuff the chicken with eggplant and cook it up with veggies.

As you can see, it looked nice, all dressed with squash, mustard and catsup, but I probably overcooked it.  I went against one of my big cooking rules.  I did overcook the veggies.  Eggplant and chicken need different cooking times, so by the time I trusted the chicken to be finished--and it was rehated before Shabbat and on the platta (hot plate) for another couple of hours--yuck!  I don't like overcooked food.

Our guest liked it, or at least she was very polite.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Jerusalem Trolley, As Crowded as The NYC Subway at Rush Hour

The other night, after a family dinner at HaGov, it was a good thing that I gave myself enough time to walk to the bus station.  The light rail stations were full of crowds, yes, very crowded in that direction.  Considering that the train ride in Jerusalem is still free, it's fun and a nice way to spend time, sort of.  I don't like crowds.  The trains were so packed, it was dangerously obscene.  No doubt, it won't be as bad once they charge for the trip.

You can follow me here:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Those Glenn Beck Posts...

Some of my Glenn Beck posts on Shiloh Musings have gotten tons of comments.  They're mostly arguments trying to justify attending Beck's Israel events.  I didn't go to any of them.  I get my courage from Jewish sources.

I've been following the rabbis on Jewish-Israel and our local Shiloh Rabbi Elchanan Bin-Nun on this. It's terribly rude and inappropriate for mostly nameless readers commenting on my blog to tell me what I should do or to go to another rabbi for advice.

As my husband would tell you, nobody can change my mind about anything.  And yes, that includes him.

Yet Another Musakka

Simply put, a "musakka" is a layered vegetable which includes eggplant.  Every couple of weeks I make a new version.  One of the reasons I like it is because it's a "bake and serve."  You make it in a baking pan which can be put on the table.  Every housewares store, and many supermarkets, have a large selection of such pans.  You can also make it in disposable aluminum pans or the "cardboard" ones that are microwave proof.

The musakka pictured above is a simple recipe, which I made up spontaneously, layering eggplant and chopped turkey with onions and tomato paste.  You can flavor it with garlic and other spices.  There's no "right and wrong."

Be creative and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Jerusalem Light Rail, Still an Attraction

I did write about my first trip on the new Jerusalem trolley, aka lightrail.  It's still a novelty and will remain one for a while.  There are even more pictures and videos in my camera which I have yet to download onto the computer.  I hope you won't be sick of seeing them before I finish.

The train goes through Jewish and Arab neighborhoods making it much easier for Arabs to get to Jewish stores and also easier for them to get to work.  Many Arabs work in Jewish businesses in Jerusalem.  When I was on the train yesterday I noticed Arab kids using the train to go just a couple of stops within their neighborhood of Beit Chanina.

But the pictures here were taken in downtown Jerusalem.  The trains are most crowded there.  I don't know if it empties out by the Bus Station or the Kiryat Moshe stop after the bridge.  And no, I haven't gone on the bridge yet.

Earthquake in NY?

I had just gotten back home to Shiloh from a family dinner at HaGov in Jerusalem and turned on the computer to check emails while drinking my water when I saw headlines about an earthquake on the USA's east coast.  When I saw the warnings about subway travel I quickly called my NY daughter:
"Where are you?"
"I'm in Texas."
"I read about the earthquake."
"Don't worry. I'm fine, far away from it."
"Is everyone ok?"
She has job that demands a lot of travel, so I wasn't surprised that she wasn't in her midtown NYC office when the quake hit.

Is it my imagination that there have been a lot of earthquakes the past few years?

No doubt the earthquke will make a good variation on the back to school composition:
"What did you do during summer vacation?"
Instead the students will have to write:
"Where were you during the earthquake?" 
 And a good teacher would add:
"And how did you feel?"

PS I just wonder if NYC has earthquake-proof requirements in its building codes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Your Thoughts....

Before I "blog it," most probably on Shiloh Musings, I'd like to ask your opinion.  Please comment here if you have one.

As you know, I sell clothes in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin.  And as you also must know, there are many Arab customers.  Basically, there are two different types of Arabs buying in the store.  One group lives in Israel, or more accurately Eretz Yisrael, The Land of Israel and the other group of Arabs who shop in Yafiz are tourists or Arab businessmen.  Some live in Jordan and others further away, like Europe and the United States.

I've given a lot of thought about it.  The Arab customers are extremely polite and sometimes surprisingly enthusiastic, as if this is the treat of a lifetime.  It's almost like the foreign tourists who are bussed to "outlet malls" in America.  My gut feeling is that this is more than just a chance to find a financial bargain.

What do you think?

Read The Labels on Food

I documented how I lost over 15 kilo, 30+ pounds a couple of years ago, and I have kept it off.  I've been eating less and less processed foods.  I don't buy dried fruit, cereals, yogurts etc.  I only buy tomato paste that is no more than cooked up tomatoes.  I do all the flavoring when I cook with it.

One of the big shockers for me was discovering that my "plain yogurt" was chock full of salts and other additives.

I had substituted plain, unroasted, unsalted nuts for the yogurt as a snack, but when stopping with that I got another kilo, couple of pounds off.

I eat large quantities and pretty frequently, but I don't eat much in carbohydrates and grains.  Recently I tried a different protein, black beans.  I cooked up a couple of handfuls (for a week's supply) and add some to vegetables for one meal a day.  Breakfast is a two-egg vegetable omelet and the other meal is a full carb-less meal with animal protein, poultry, beef or fish.

If you buy a lot of processed foods, for yourself or the family, this little "what has less/more sugar?" guide may help you.  Honestly, I didn't know all the answers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jerusalem News, The Trolley Comes to Town

Yesterday was day three for public (and free) rides on the new and modern Jerusalem lightrail train service.  Since I had a date at HaGov with my Bible study partners in Matan's Al HaPerek course, I took advantage of the trolley.  I got off the bus at the top of Ramat Eshkol, near French Hill and the road to Mount Scopus.  I crossed the street and waited for the train at the Ammunition Hill stop.  At that point I could still get a seat, unlike many passengers who had to stand.  The ride is very smooth.  On the way back, which I took with a friend all the way to the last/first stop in Pisgat Zeev, we stood part of the way.  It was  more comfortable than standing in a bus.

Most of the passengers were religious, actually chareidi, families with lots of children.  There are two reasons for that.  One is very simple.  The bus goes through chareidi neighborhoods.  The second is that a free train ride is great entertainment for the kids during school vacation.  There were many other families, non-religious, too, on the lightrail.  Others, like myself and friend, were happy because of the convenience.  The train took us to and from where we needed to be.

Following are pictures and movies I took yesterday:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Velveteen Havel Havelim

The "Velveteen Rabbi" is this week's host for Havel Havelim.  She starts it off by mentioning that it has been five six (my mistake) years since she had last hosted one.  It makes me wonder how long it has been since my last one.  I'm afraid to check.  I did post the most recent JPIX, and next week's--eeks! is it really next week?!-- Kosher Cooking Carnival will be here, G-d willing.  If you'd like to host one, please let me know.  And you cans submit a post to KCC by clicking this blog carnival form.

Back to HH- the Velveteen rabbi did a great job.  Visit and share it and read the posts!

Have a great week!


Today's Sunday
On Sunday, the pool is open for women (18+) at 7:30-9:00am.
At 8am this Sunday, today, there's a visit to the grave, here in the Shiloh Cemetery, of the young man killed just over a week ago.
I kept trying to figure out how to be in two places at once.
Should I go to the pool early, leave after a short time, rush to the cemetery and then rush back to the pool?
It seemed like a good idea, except for the fact that it would be rather insane, stressful x2 and requiring keeping on a wet bathing suit, and it's not like I have a car to help with the traveling/logistics.
Stress isn't good.  It's worse than having a short time in the pool.  It would require two great "rushes."
So, do I just go to the pool first for a short time and then show up at the cemetery wet and probably late?
Or should I go to the cemetery with all my pool gear and swim afterwards?
As you can see from the "time posted," I've decided to take the last option listed.
First honor the dead and then try to "preserve" my body.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Bake and Serve" Turkey Wings With Eggplant

The picture tells it all basically.  You can see what I put layered in my trusty baking pan.
  • turkey wings
  • eggplant
  • onion
  • tomato paste, some catsup and spices
  • oil and water, so it won't dry up and burn
All this was baked.  I covered it with aluminum foil half-way through.  Sorry, I don't know how long I baked it.  I was in a terrible rush to finish and make sure it was cool enough to be stored in the fridge, since I had to go to work.

And now, in case you're one of my facebook friends who knew I had been experimenting, the verdict.  How did it taste?  Well, my husband and I both liked it.  I served it with more vegetables.  It was very filling and great if you're on a low carbohydrate and/or low calorie diet.  But it's not a "diet food."  Choose whatever side dish you like and can eat.  I'm sure it would taste great with honeyed sweet potatoes, but you won't find that as my side dish.  One of those I do serve is sweet potatoes baked with pumpkin.  Lots of orange veggies, so it's delicious and healthy, too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jewish "Burqa Lady" at Sha'ar Binyamin

A Mother in Israel has written a lot about the recent phenomenon of Jewish women adopting the Muslim mode of dress, the long black burqa cape, scarves draped around head, neck and even in some cases masks that barely allow the woman to see where she's going.

I work in the Yafiz clothing store in Sha'ar Binyamin, just north of Jerusalem, on the road to the Benjamin and Samaria Jewish communities.  Many, many Arabs shop in the store.  A customer is a customer, and my job is to sell clothing to all. 

The other day I quickly scanned the people looking at the clothes for sale.  From the clothing they wore, I could make out a religious Jewish woman of about my age, a preteen Jewish boy (also religious) and a Muslim woman.  Suddenly I realized that the "Muslim woman" was speaking Israeli Hebrew to the boy who apparently was her son.  And when helping them, I realized that the older woman was her mother, the grandmother of the boy.

Why had I thought the younger woman was Muslim?  She was wearing a long, black cape and black scarves covering her hair and neck.  NO, I didn't take her picture.

That was the first time I had seen a Jewish woman who dresses like that.  There's another woman who lives not far away who drapes scarves around her neck and head, Arab-style, but she wears "regular" clothes.  Considering how susceptible the neck is to skin cancer and early wrinkling, I can understand why it's good to cover it in the daytime outdoors.

FYI, what distinguishes between a young Arab in a burqa long cape and a Jew?
Many of the young Arab women wear make-up and tight jeans, while the Jewish women shun make-up and wear bulky full skirts under their burqas.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting to Know Neighbors Better

As many of you know, I sometimes help at homes "sitting shiva," mourning according to Jewish Law.  The mourner is forbidden to do anything for him/herself, like preparing food and cleaning up.  This is extremely hard for some people.  Ahh hah!  I just realized that the "this" isn't clear.  Does it mean helping at a mourner's home or being the mourner and restricted, forced to just sit and be served?

Actually, both can be difficult.  The logistics can be complicated when you're trying to help and don't know how the kitchen is set up.  A kosher kitchen is easier when there are some labels to indicate what's dairy, meat and parve.  It's best if a "non-sitting shiva" relative or close friend gives a quick tour or if there are written instructions. 

The family in mourning is the take charge type, and they ended up giving me a lot of tips, like showing me a spare fridge full of bottled drinks.  There were about a dozen family members of the "first degree" actually sitting shiva and some of their spouses were also extremely helpful.  A son-in-law willingly threw out the heavy bag of garbage.  A daughter-in-law worked with me and told me that I needn't worry when my shift was over.  She'd take full responsibility.  Davka, her mother was the first to do a great "chesed" for me and take care of my youngest, so I could visit the older ones, when he was hospitalized at the age of two weeks.

Even though I've known the family for thirty years, I was surprised, amazed and extremely impressed at the inner dynamics.

Why don't we make more efforts to be involved with friends and neighbors during ordinary times?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There's A Limit

Just over an hour ago, when I was waiting for my dinner to heat up, I began wondering about that woman, just a few months younger than myself, who had gotten all this publicity last week when she started swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.  Last I had heard she had just started.  Then my week got too busy and I never heard if she succeeded or not.

So, I just checked with ol' google.  I typed in:
"62 year old woman swims cuba florida"
Then I scrolled down the list of links and finally read:
"Diana Nyad Unable To Finish Cuba to Florida Swim: 'It's Over'"
Diana Nyad, the 61-year old woman who attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage, was forced to abandon the quest halfway between her starting and end points...

From the article it seems like she was at peace with her failure.  Just getting that far is quite an accomplishment.  Dying would defeat the purpose of it, the goal. 

Nyad and I are of the same generation.  As a generation, we've seen our parents as being much more youthful than our grandparents ever were.  We were warned "not to trust anyone over thirty," so it seems important to try to function as if we're 29 forever.  That's a decade younger than Jack Benny's eternal age. 

Sometimes I think my kids are older than I am.

We have to be thankful for every day we're alive and functioning.  But we don't have to try to compete or keep up with the person we once were.  Each day is a new day, and we must rework the challenges to fit.

Not Kosher for Jews

In places where kosher meat is available, Muslims eat it.  Apparently their religious leaders consider shechita, kosher slaughter to be sufficiently close to their own to make it Halal.  In New York, I spotted a Halal street cart selling meat meals for those who want food according to Muslim Law.

I had planned on posting this, but forgot.  Headscarves for women are sold just next to it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer's Almost Over

I know there are places in the Northern Hemisphere no longer on summer vacation.  They start it much earlier, June rather than July, so the kids, and teachers, must go back to school in August, not September.

In Israel, most summer camps are only for a month.  Working mothers and some fathers, too, who have young kids really suffer figuring out how to keep their kids safely cared for, while not blowing their salaries plus.  Not all parents are teachers who have vacation when their kids do.   I have no doubt that if Israel adopts Sunday as a day off, it will turn out to be a weekly August day for many.

Some of the people I work with are having a nightmare of a time.  The salary we get isn't enough to pay for childcare and end up with enough money to make working a financially sound investment of time and energy.  As an older woman, my salary is "pure gravy," of the cheaper variety.

My daughter isn't a teacher either and the logistics of how to care for the kids gets complicated.

In the Jewish Calendar, we're now in the second half of Av, humidity is increasing, and G-d willing we'll have a blessed and rainy winter.  There are night and morning mists.  Sometimes faux rain clouds cover the sun even until mid-morning.  May it not be just a tease.  May we deserve G-d's blessings.

We will G-d willing celebrate Women's Rosh Chodesh  (the first of the Jewish Month of) Elul Prayers on August 30 at Tel Shiloh with a special program at 8:30am.  Details to follow.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Non-Halachik (Following Torah Law) Jewish Culture, Society

I don't know why the Table writer,  Allison Hoffman, finds it so peculiar that the secular Russian (FSU) immigrants to the United States consider themselves strongly Jewish as they eat shellfish on the TV reality show, Russian Dolls.  I grew up in a similar world of strong Jewish identity far removed from Halacha, Torah Jewish Law.

Most of my grandparents and half of my great-grandparents left a pre-Soviet Union "Russia" early in the Twentieth Century.  Most of them remained strongly in the Torah observant camp, keeping kashrut, Shabbat and the Jewish Holidays, but my American-born parents shed those restrictions completely while never hiding their Jewish identity.

In the world I was raised you didn't have to eat Levi's Rye Bread to be Jewish.  You could be Jewish eating shrimp in the local Chinese restaurant.

It seemed that most of my friends in the amazingly homogeneous post-WWII veterans garden apartment development Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, were the same.  Over 90% of the residents were Jewish and I never saw a succah, but we didn't have Christmas trees either, except for the very small number of Christian neighbors.

In many of the refrigerators you'd find kosher meat next to the bacon.  Why kosher meat?  It taste better, or better quality we were told.

The mostly Orthodox teachers in the Conservative Hebrew School of Oakland Jewish Center were instructed not to confront or condemn us for our forbidden life-style and overwhelming ignorance.  When we had parties a few of us would be sent with money to a nearby supermarket to buy candies and treats.  Then the teachers would go through the bags sorting traif from kosher, serve us the kosher and then go back to the supermarket to return the forbidden.  We were aware of this but hadn't a clue as to criteria.  This was in the late1950's and early 1960's.  I graduated the five year Hebrew School in 1962, the year my family moved to Great Neck.

No doubt that here in Israel on our very Arab-oriented satellite tv package, I'll never get to see Russian Dolls, but I may understand some of it better than the Tablet writer.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Kiss Havel Havelim #325

A wonderful Havel Havelim #325 is hosted by To Kiss a Mezzuzah.  Check it out; it's wonderful.  Please visist the included links, too.

And to remind you that there are other jblog carnivals, floating internet magazines.  Here are the latest JPIX and Kosher Cooking Carnival.  I'll be hosting the next KCC here on Rosh Chodesh Elul.  Please send in your posts/links.  If you'd like to host one, then please contact me, thanks.

Shvuat Tov!
Have a wonderful week!

Bad News Travels Fast

A terrible tragic accident caused a death in the area on Friday.  Unfortunately, the community affected is too experienced and "professional" in handling and organizing all the logistics.  The support and technical "systems" went into high gear before Shabbat.  Everyone who could rallied around to help and support.

After Shabbat there was a funeral.  Masses and masses of people arrived to bid farewell.  Israeli funerals are extremely large, especially in small, close-knit communities.  The math doesn't make sense.  But the phenomenon is very common.  It doesn't matter if it is day or night, going to a funeral is considered necessary here.

People are volunteering to care, cook and shop for the mourning family.

HaMakom yenachem....
May G-d comfort the mourners...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

TU (15th) b'Av, The Jewish Matchmaking Holiday

In recent years, the Biblical Holiday of TU b'Av has gotten very popular.  It was originally celebrated here in the Valley of Shiloh as grapes were ripe for eating and the best was collected and brought to the Priests in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  The single women would dress in white and dance in the valley among the vines for the young men to choose wives from among them, without knowing who was rich and from which tribe.

Now matchmaking and romance are becoming popular on TU b'Av.  The Makor Rishon newspaper's magazine "Motzash" made a list of the 100 best of the eligible singles, fifty guys and fifty gals.  And... one the the guys is a son of mine!

Now, isn't that something.  Of course, you can guess what I would really prefer... G-d willing...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Went Out To "Pick Some Candy"

"Pick candy?"  Did you honestly think that I made a mistake in language?  Who/how can you "pick candy?"  Nu, how can it be? 

That's right.  Look at the pictures. 

We most probably have the ugliest, worst-cared for garden in all of Shiloh, but this is
the season when we have these sweet delicious dark grapes that taste better than candy, especially to someone who doesn't eat candy and isn't even tempted because... I can go out and pick some!

G-d is good!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Doing The Granny Thing

Last week I mentioned to my daughter that she and the kids should come over on her day off, today, and go to the pool.  It ended up that she didn't have a day off today, so her husband came over with the kids.  He watched the baby and I took the three big ones to our pool.  Actually there are two pools, a deep one and a wading one.

I didn't think I could handle all the kids in the deep pool, since they're not swimmers.  We started in the wading pool which got them in the mood.  The plan was that the big ones would take turns watching the third while I took one at a time to the deep pool.  Ok it's not all that deep, but still as I said they're not swimmers.

Somehow we all ended up in the deep pool.  The almost four year old held onto me and the big ones used the long "bananas" to keep themselves up.  The eldest is really ready for real swimming, fearless and enjoys the water.  The second was in the least complaining of the cold.  And I jumped around with the third hanging onto me.  He wasn't terrified, but not confident. He didn't ask to leave the water.  It's a good sign.  Next year should be better.  I hope the kids will have swimming lessons next year.

Afterwards we went to my house.  My son-in-law showered them while I made lunch for all of them.  I hope we get to do this again before pool season ends.

Facebook, Where Are You?

Strangely, I first posted this on Shiloh Musings, not here.  I'll add some other post post-coffee.  I guess I really need a cup!

First it was my phone.  No dial tone, but yes, internet.  Now, this morning facebook isn't "answering."  Last night I "wrote in my status" something like "it was late and since nobody had commented on my blogs, I'd just go to sleep and not blog."  Well, I guess blogger got its revenge.  Now facebook is down, so even though I still haven't gotten comments to yesterday's posts, I'm blogging.

That sounds pretty pathetic, doesn't it?

Well, I haven't gotten desperate enough to check in on twitter.  I have my posts go up there automatically for all the other "twits," or is it "tweets" to read.

I'm waiting for my coffee to "perc."  That's the type of word of wisdom I write on facebook and if I got the right proportion between coffee and water in the percolator.  I'm going to copy this onto word to spellcheck.  OK, maybe I'll try the blogger one.  I haven't for months.  Then it didn't work.  And it still doesn't!

Today, I have more laundry to do. I don't launder during the 9 days, which are really 9 and a half or 3/4.  I can also finally go to the pool.  Ten days missing the pool in the hot summer is suffering.  Our pool is a two minute walk from the house, just far enough so we don't hear any noise.  And the grandkids may be coming for a "swim," too.

It's also Thursday, so I have cooking to do.  And I have to do my Matan Al HaPerek sources for my study group.

So, as you can see, I have plenty to do if facebook insists on ignoring me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The G-d Project

Chaviva has asked me to blog about the G-d Project.  Well, since I'm no expert, the best is to click and find out what it's about.

I hope that Chavi will comment with more details.  Here's what she sent me:

A Web Space Devoted to Mini-Documentaries on Jews, G-d, and Spirituality.
A project of and sponsored by the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund, TheG-d  Project is a social media platform dedicated to Jewish questions about God and spirituality. The website serves as a free, online, evolving documentary and tool for Jewish learning. Our goal is nothing less than to help Jewish people talk about God and spirituality in an open, honest way.
The heart of the project is a series of mini-documentaries interviewing Jews across North America and Europe with different backgrounds, affiliations, and lifestyles in order to discover how people live and believe Jewishly in the post-modern world.
The G-d Project is uploading a video a week right now, but all videos will be officially dropped onto the site on September 12, 2011.
We know you’ll have questions, and we hope these will answer them. For more FAQs, please check out the website or shoot us an email.
Why do we spell God as G-d in our project title?
God in Jewish tradition has had many names: G-d, HaShem, Adonai, and so on. Therefore, calling this website The G-d Project reflects the Jewish identity of the The G-d Project experience. Additionally, having the space in the middle of G-d is an artistic statement: that  the God concept is different for all people, and that we “fill in the blank” with our own ideas about what God is and how we experience God in our lives.
How can I submit my own video to The G-d Project?
There are two ways that you can be highlighted in The G-d Project. The first would be for our producer/director to come to your area and actually film you and your community. We  are always taking inquiries from communities that are interested in participating in the project. Our travel budget is limited, but if we are able to get enough synagogues, non-profits, schools, or community centers in your area interested in the project, then we will work with you to schedule your filming and fly to your area. To invite The G-d Project to your community, simply email us ( ).
Also, you can submit your storytelling video online at  We can assist you via email, phone and/or Skype to help make this process easier  or you.
PunkTorah, founded by Executive Director Patrick Aleph in 2009, is a Jewish non-profit  that develops web-based tools to enhance Jewish life and promote independent Jewish  spirituality.
PunkTorah’s other projects include the web-based independent minyan OneShul, the Jewish
food website NewKosher, the Community Siddur series of crowd-sourced liturgy and the flagship project, the  blog .

The Granddaughters

Yes, Baruch Hashem, thanks to G-d, they are growing up.  The little one is getting more mobile.

And the big ones are supplementing my too infrequent English lessons with DVD's from the states.

They watched this new one (from my sister) numerous times to work on their letters and basic reading.  When it comes to my grandchildren the term EFL doesn't mean English as a Foreign Language, it means English as a Familiar Language. 

They certainly aren't on the level of "English speakers," but they have absorbed the sounds, cadence and some words and phrases.  They also know colors and numbers.  Very importantly, they are developing listening skills to accurately guess what is being said instead of tuning out.

Children are capable of learning many languages if exposed to them in natural settings.  Sadly, this is rare in the modern world.  "Experts" in the last century advised parents that it was best to first learn one language well before exposing children to others.  The truth is that in multi-lingual societies children successfully learn multiple languages very easily.  This isn't because their genetically more gifted, it's because it's expected of them.  When their grandchildren are educated in the modern one-language world, they have just as much trouble learning other languages later as those not descended from multi-linguals.

Do your kids and grandkids a favor by giving them the opportunity to expand their minds in many languages.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Touring As A Jew

There's more to Jewish touring than looking for kosher food.  Actually, you don't have to be a strictly Torah observant Jew to do the Jewish thing when touring, traveling etc.  I saw this picture in Tablet and just had to post it:

The artist, Sarah Lazarovic, calls it "Semiteseeing," a play on siteseeing.  My family neither looked for Jewish sites, nor kosher food.  Our few trips were as Americans.  Once I became religious, a search for kosher food became a priority.

I haven't been very adventurous with my traveling.  I guess I've missed out in a way.

Another 9th of Av Movie

Yishai Fleisher's Tisha b'Av Movie

Monday, August 08, 2011

Permitted 9th of Av Activities

Arutz 7 has a listing of activities in various locations, Israel and abroad.
"Tonight We Do Not Learn Torah": 9th of Av Programs,  Rav Kook said unconditional love among Jews can bring Redemption: Programs for Tisha B'Av in Israel and US reflect that concept.

This year I'm home in Israel, for the first time in a few years. I hope to go to Jerusalem tomorrow with neighbors for a special program. There's a real choice there. I'll go to whichever my neighbors decide, G-d willing.

In the afternoon there are a few subject-permitted Torah classes here in the neighborhood.

Tzom Kal, an easy fast, and may we celebrate our Redemption, the Moshiach's arrival, G-d willing!

It's Not Enough to "Win"

This is a wonderful little film for Tisha b'Av, 9th of Av about unity from

Summer Dryness at Tel Shiloh

Since I began going to Tel Shiloh for Rosh Chodesh (beginning of lunar Jewish Month) prayers, I've become more and more aware of nature, the seasons.  Most people water their gardens, so you don't see the colors fade and change the way you do at Tel Shiloh. The midsummer's Rosh Chodesh Av is the driest of all.  By mid Av, there's a nightly mist to prepare the land for rain.

Here are some of the pictures I took just over a week ago:

Next Rosh Chodesh will be Elul; please join us.

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Elul
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Shiur Torah, Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אלול בתל שילה
יום ג' 30-1 8:30
יהיה שיעור תורה
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Of course, you can visit Tel Shiloh, the actual Biblical location any weekday for touring and prayers. For more information, contact or call 02-994-4019.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Pre-Fast, Preparing for a 25 Hour Tisha B'Av Starvation/Fast

I've been told that I should have had been drinking all today, since in just under 24 hours the fast begins.  But I haven't been drinking all day.  That could be a reason I'm suddenly tired and making typos galore.

Musakka, However You Spell it and Make it, It's a Hit!

Since musakka isn't an English word, it can be spelled all different ways.
The name comes from the Arabic: مسقعة‎ musaqqaʿa 'chilled'.[2][3] This name is used in Turkish (musakka), Greek (μουσακάς), and the South Slavic languages (musaka/мусака). Other languages call it simply "eggplant casserole" (e.g. Hungarian rakott padlizsán).
And it can also be prepared innumerable ways.  I'm pretty new to cooking/baking it, but consider me an enthusiastic convert.  This one just has a layer of light green squash (I think they call it Mexican squash in Arizona,) a layer of eggplant, then chopped (ground) turkey or chicken flavored with tomato paste, an egg, onions and spices, and on top is another layer of eggplant as you can see.  I dribbled a bit of oil on that top layer, because I didn't want it to dry out in the oven.  I baked it uncovered, then covered in a hot oven until it "seemed" done.

A great advantage of musakka is that it's baked and served in the same pan.  It also includes both vegetables and animal protein.  You can make it "meatier" or more "vegetarian," low fat.  For a very simple meal, just serve with a fresh salad.  Since I eat a high proportion of vegetables at each meal, I served it with another vegetable dish plus the salad.  (That's how I've kept the weight off, since I lost over thirty pounds -15 kilo- a couple of years ago.)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Phone No, Internet Yes

I guess the title isn't very clear.  For some reason, we have internet but no phone line.  Considering that we get the internet from the phone...  I shouldn't rock the boat and complain. 

We do have cell phones... and email and...

Friday, August 05, 2011

Working on Friday

Yes, today I have to go to work.  I guess that one of the reasons I'm not enthused by the idea that Sunday's are being proposed as a "day off" is because I know that it'll just be another shopping day, like it is in the states now.  So the poor schlubbs working low wages in stores will have more complicated lives.

My kids are all grown, so I don't have to figure out what to do with them when there isn't school.  Most of us working in Yafiz are either older or younger than that stage.  One of the hard-working full-time workers is a single-mother who had to take her kids in the other day. Salary does not cover the expense of a babysitter.

Yesterday I didn't get all the cooking done.  I was tired,  ok and lazy.  I only looked for guests this week for Shabbat lunch.  Friday night, we eat so late, and I'll need the sleep.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, August 04, 2011

JPIX, Feast Your Eyes

I think I've used this technique before as a JPIX host.  I'm just going to post pictures from the various posts/links submitted to the blog carnival.  This is an internet blog carnival about pictures.  It shouldn't matter who the photographer is or on which blog they're posted.  My aim is to have you "click the pic" and visit the blog post, which doesn't work, so there's a list on the bottom of this. 
Leaving a comment when you visit would be nice, too.

Before we get started to just to remind you that Leora has taken charge of JPIX interms of scheduling hosts.  So, if you'd like to host one, please contact her.  And if you'd like to submit a link, click here.  Thanks.

So, now on with the show!

I hope that I didn't miss anyone's post.
Happy viewing and "shooting."

Here's the list:
Cosmic X in Jerusalem: Givat Shaul II
כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאד
Cosmic X in Jerusalem: Givat Shaul VI: The View From Rabbi Pinchas Kehati Street
5711 Kvarim Trip -- Dnepropetrovsk - chossid -
A Sacred Earth Odyssey - chossid -
Busy Day in NY - chossid -
Birthday Parade in Edison
RPRY in Salute to Israel Parade 2011 | Here in Highland Park
Bradley Beach Shul | Here in Highland Park
Photo Essay: Colors of Israel
Jerusalem Day, 2011
Yom HaAtzma’ut 5771
and a few of mine from Shiloh Musings and me-ander