Monday, October 31, 2011

American Bite's First Kosher Cooking Carnival

Yosef of American Bite has hosted his first Kosher Cooking Carnival, the first of many I hope.  Take a look at the yummy links, and please share the links and the KCC.  I'm sure you'll find plenty of very good recipes and stories.

I'll be hosting the next one here at me-ander, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, Sunday, November 27, G-d willing.  If you'd like to host one, please let me know. To participate, send in your link of any post that is connected to kosher food and kosher cooking via blog carnival.  The Kosher Cooking Carnival is more than just a collection of recipes.

Thanks, again to Yosef!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

American Football Season in Israel

I guess you're not too surprised to know that when my family goes to a football game, they don't compromise.  There's neither "touch" nor "flag" football for my kids.  They go for the real thing, tackle football.  We were at a pre-season game Thursday night at Kraft Stadium, Jerusalem. 

I didn't take too many pictures, actually, no stills of my son playing or any that shows him all suited up.  There was a big crowd at the game.  We beat the Hammers 14 vs 12, great suspense at the end.

My camera's flash works best on video.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Suddenly Winter

Yesterday, I barely needed a very light jacket over summer clothes when I went down to Tel Shiloh in the morning, which I'll, bli neder, blog about soonish.  I was even able to go out without a jacket, later in the day when got rid of the recycling plasticI was amazed to see that the "box" is even fuller.  It's almost to the top.

This morning when I went to shul I was warm enough in a good linen jacket.  That was also what I wore when I went to a class early afternoon, but it was chilly when we walked home.  So, later in the afternoon when I took my walk, I had to put on my winter coat!  Usually the day gets warmer, but not today.

Even Thursday night wasn't all that cold.  We went to the IFL Jerusalem Lions tackle football game, and I didn't freeze.  I was wearing two light jackets, my work one and my "other one."

What type of winter will we have?  I really do need some more winter clothes, but I don't have the money to buy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Making Money?

I'm just one of those people who doesn't really know how to make money.  Even my jobs.  I end up with low-paying ones, which is difficult.  And I never really planned my post-work life, pensions, very seriously.

I've tried marketing myself as a Diet Coach.  I end up sabotaging that by giving too much advice for free.

All I get from my blogs are free books to review which is nice, but doesn't pay the grocer.  Is it possible to make money from blogging?  Experts talk about the chances being dependent on the number of people who visit the blogs.  Well, I'm not there.  There just aren't enough of you.

My husband sent me a like about a job I'd never get, tasting for Haagen Dazs.  And if I did get a job like that, my weight would triple.  I just don't have the metabolism for it.  I treat myself to their mint ice cream when in the states; I don't got there too often.

I have some ads on my blogs, which I should really remove, since I haven't gotten any money from them for over a year or longer.

Sorry to sound like a kvetch.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Best Thing About Life Post-Menopause

No doubt, quite a few people won't be interested in this post.  I guess the males haven't even bothered to look, and many of you female followers are more into babies than thinking of menopause.  I doubt if I gave it much thought all those decades ago.

Well, I must tell you something very important that you might not know.  And those who didn't know that side of me probably think that I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.  I used to be an awfully mean, easy to anger person.  That was for many reasons; one being the result of emotional abuse, a condition I only heard of close to middle-age.

A lot of you ladies, and the hardy men who are still reading, probably can guess the other reasons...


Many of us are controlled by our hormones, which, in a younger than me female, fluctuates in cycles.  They can make us moody and mean and worse.  Why do I say worse?  That's because at times we really have no control over our reactions to things.

Even before my hormones began to depart I started to try to correct/change my behavior.  At least, as per the Jewish Laws of Teshuva, Repentance, stage one was to recognize that I had a problem, a very serious one.  My angry, hysterical reactions to all sorts of things over most of my life did a lot of damage to me and others.

I hadn't realized how much I had changed until the other night.  I was dressed in nice, new for me clothes, attending a social event, when a neighbor splattered a ton of reddish salad dressing all over my light-colored wool jacket and pale beige cotton skirt.  I looked at the damage and felt nothing.  No uncontrollable wave of anger surged through my system.  I told her that it was OK, only clothes.  She was so grateful.  I tried to explain that "the new me" had been reacting.  The "old me" would have killed her. 

I told her that I have been working on changing myself for a very long time.

Another neighbor "tasted" the dressing, gave me laundering instructions and sent me home to change and wash it immediately.  I was so mellow, that I would have just sat there all dirty.  After putting the skirt in the washing machine and spot-cleaning the jacket, I returned to the party in different clothes.

Ladies, being post-menopause is something to look forward to!  I like the "new me."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Small World

These things actually happen quite a bit.  All by chance a number of friends from my past, people I knew from YU Seminars 45 years ago and from my Stern College class and other friends for decades are registered for the same classes I take at Matan.  Today was the first day for the classes I'm taking.  A newer friend, only over ten years of friendship just joined us.  Someone came over to her to say that she looks familiar.  I then mentioned that they both live in Jerusalem, so maybe they have something in common.
The woman told my friend what street she lives on.
"I used to live on that street."
"Maybe you both shopped in the same supermarket," I offered.
For some reason they both gave me a funny look.  They continued talking and discovered that they had actually lived in the same building.  It's one of the larger buildings where not everyone actually knows each other.  Now they're studying together...

This sort of thing happens all the time here.

Growing Interest...

... in recycling in Shiloh.

I usually have my camera strapped on, so I can photograph whatever catches my eye.  I trust it'll be emptied out next time I get there.  We also have containers for paper and cardboard.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You're Also Invited to Tel Shiloh

I rarely cross-post, that's posting the same on both Shiloh Musings and me-ander.  But I think that the reminder about Friday's Women's Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Prayers at Tel Shiloh also suits readers here.

G-d willing, this Friday, October 28, 30th of Tishrei we'll be at Tel Shiloh for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers. 

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
Friday, October 28, 2011
Shiur Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש חשון בתל שילה
יום ו' 28-10 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Tel Shiloh is open for visitors, tourists and pilgrims on weekdays. For more information email or call 02-994-4019.

Reminds Me of New York

OK, I admit that it has been many long decades since I've walked though New York woods and forests, so maybe there's something a bit דפוק dafook, distorted or peculiar in the way my mind works here.  But everytime I walk up the hill to home on the sidewalk across from the grocers, mikvah, and Sephardi synagogue these pine trees make me think that I'm back in the woods in New York.

I'd understand if some of you think me daft and may even tell me that the trees aren't even related.  But I can't control where my mind wanders.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Until 120," Good or Bad?

There's a popular blessing in Hebrew:
עד מאה עשרים
ad me'ah esrim
until 120

That's to bless someone with a full life, longer than King David's seventy (70) years. 

Old age isn't always a blessing, certainly for those without enough money to make it safe and comfortable.  It isn't easy when suddenly, why does it always seem so sudden?, the strong independent parents can no longer care for themselves.

Last night I had a ride home with someone who suddenly, very suddenly because of an "age-caused" car accident has to take care of parents.  One of the things is that many continue driving yes, legally, when they shouldn't be.  Their reaction and judgment are faulty.

Many elderly are "offended" when they're retested before being able to renew their drivers license, but it seems that those precautions aren't enough.  I have a friend who discovered that her father had continued driving even when he was functionally blind.  Her mother would tell him when to slow, stop and turn.  Finally "the kids" made them give up the car.

My favorite episode of "Everyone Loves Raymond" is the one in which they discover that his father, Frank, shouldn't be driving.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

First HH of the Year, 5772, at The Rebbitzin's Husband

Havel Havelim #335 is brought to you by top blogging rabbi aka The Rebbetzin's Husband.  This edition is dedicated to the return home of Gilad Shalit, the pros and cons of the deal, plus lots of other posts from the very broad jblogging world.

It's highly recommended that you read and share it and click the links and read them, too.

Have a wonderful and healthy year full of only good things!

Caption This! I've Been Saving it For A "Full Audience"

Either I took it from the livingroom window or I ran to the door.  I can't remember, but I do know who it is.  Let's see what you can come up with.  Fill the comments with your captions and stories.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

That Immigrant Mentality

I'm in Israel over forty years already, and I'll always be an immigrant.  My accent gives me away at the very first syllable.  And there's something about my way of thinking...  My neighborhood is a real mix of people, Jews from all over the world, and looking around shul, there's just something different in the way many of the immigrants, even the most veteran like myself, dress or move, compared to those who have spent their lives in Israel.  Sometimes it's our body language or the way we wear our sneakers. 

What do you think?

There are veteran immigrant families whose children have only, or mostly, married other children of immigrants.

There's something in our sense of humor, too.  I can't watch Israeli "cultural" talk shows on TV.  I find them totally stupid.  Or maybe I'm the stupid one.  It's not that I find American shows interesting either.  I live in a different world.

I find it rather ironic that Jewish immigrants to the United States played a large part in the early days of the film industry.  Seraphic Secrets writes about some of the early films.  Though those Jews tried to be "real Americans" they did produce some films with Jewish story lines.

In recent years some of Israel's most successful films have shown the Jewish side to life in Israel, like  Ushpizin and Yossi Cedar's recent Footnote.

American sports have been getting more and more popular in Israel, like tackle football, yes, you may remember that one of my sons plays on Big Blue Jerusalem Lions.  Most of the players are Israeli born and raised just like he is.

I can't get rid of my "immigrant mentality."   There are certainly other American things I would prefer Israelis to bring here, rather than tackle football.

Did I ever tell you about when I used to sell bagel sandwiches in Jerusalem?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Bit of Normalicy for Gilad Shalit

I'd recommend long sleeves. 

I don't know the original source of the picture, since I got it from a facebook friend, but I'm surprised that Gilad Shalit is out in the sun in short sleeves.  I'm glad that he has the energy and "drive" (internal/emotional strength) to go out on his bike so soon after his release.

Generally it takes a while for people to get used to the feeling of the sun after being indoors for a period of time.  One of my sons was seriously injured after being hit by a small truck.  He spent two weeks in Hadassa Ein Kerem Hospital and then was transferred to Alyn Pediatric Orthopedic Hospital for another two weeks.  Only in Alyn could his bed be wheeled outside to the natural sunlight.  The first time we took him out, he screamed from pain.  The "raw" sun on his skin really hurt him after only two weeks indoors.  I don't remember how long it took for his body to get used to the sun.

PS my feelings about the potentially dangerous agreement for Gilad Shalit's release have nothing to do with my wishes for his good health and return to normal life.

They Deserve It! מגיעה להם

Transliterated, the title "They Deserve It! מגיעה להם" is "Magui'ah lahem!"

Those who are being referred to can't read this right now, according to Jewish Law."  They're still in the midst of their third "three day yonitff" marathon of holiday restrictions and eating in a row.  For three consecutive weeks they have a two day Jewish Holiday immediately followed by Shabbat.

In Israel, we only had one, Rosh HaShannah.  Rosh HaShannah is our only two-day Holiday.  It's also the only Jewish Holiday to fall on the beginning of a Jewish Month.  Most other holidays are in the middle of the Jewish month, at the time of the full moon. 

The Jewish Calendar is lunar with periodic adjustments, when an extra month is added late winter, so spring and Passover will be ontime according to the sun.  Jewish Holidays are also connected to agriculture and nature.

In Biblical times, we only started the month after the new moon was spotted rising in the sky.  It took a couple of days for the news to get out to the entire Jewish world.  Remember that there were no telephones, internet or even telegraphs at the time.  So, even in the tiny Land of Israel, not everyone knew that Rosh Hashannah, the New Year was beginning on day one. 

Even today with our fixed calendar, all Jews are required to celebrate two days of Rosh Hashannah. That's why we had a three day holiday marathon two weeks ago.  But this week and last, between Succot/Simchat Torah and Shabbat, we have a "day off."

That's why you'll see me, Bat Aliyah, Carl, Ya'aqov, my husband and the other jbloggers based in Israel blogging and fbing away without any problems, while Hadassa, Leora, Frum Satire and many others are still in HolyDay restriction mode.

Last night, I went with my Simchat Torah guests to see the grandkids for a bit, and then I took the bus back home.  It was a nice treat, and I couldn't have done it if we weren't in Israel.  Also, instead of a large festive meal last night I just had some fruit and cottage cheese.  And now, instead of sitting in shul I'm here at home about to hang the wash.  Tonight's Shabbat, and I'll be ready to enjoy it.

Talk in our shul mentioned how glad people here are to have this "day off" and how Jews in chutz la'Aretz have a tough time with three three day Holiday-Shabbat weekends.
"They Deserve It! Magui'ah lahem! מגיעה להם" everyone said. "They should move to Israel, make aliyah!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

First Time Quince Fruit Compote

I've made compote many times with whatever fruit is available to me, but I've never made one with quinces.  Actually, until my neighbor gave me some from her garden, that fruit was totally unknown to me.

A quince is a funny fruit that looks like a fuzzy apple the color of a pear with a strange perfumy smell.  But don't let that keep you away from them, especially if you get them for free like I did.

I know that some people don't like my recipes, since I (almost) never give very exact instructions, measurements, time etc.  In most cases, you really don't need to obsess over "exact" anything.  Here's the bowl of fruit I cut up for the compote.

I guess you can see that there is a peach, a few types of apples and some quinces.  After doing a bit of an internet search, I discovered that I should be careful to peel, core and slice the quinces.  I did pretty much the same to the other fruit, except that I left their peels on.

I then put all the fruit slices in a pot with water, cinnamon and a squirt of vanilla.  Then I cooked/stewed it on a low flame, covered, until all the fruit was soft.  Don't cover with water or you'll dilute the flavor.  Just over half-way up the fruit should be enough.

It was a great hit with me and my guests.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Celebrating More than Simchat Torah

Ruti Mizrachi posted a wonderful photo-essay showing great scenes from their 4 plus years in Israel.  We're in Israeli ten times as long, which means that we're here longer than some of my readers are alive.  and talking about "alive," I thank G-d for saving me from danger.  I survived an Arab terror attack over fifteen years ago

We're only alive, because G-d wants us to be.  During the days we're given, we should try to fill them with as many mitzvot as we can.  The woman murdered in my terror attack had been sick with cancer.  She had just visited a mikubal rabbi who told her that she "wouldn't suffer."  She then called family in great relief, and a very short time later she was dead, murdered.  Sorry, I had been planning an upbeat post, but with all the Gilad Shalit circus going on and the release/pardon of  1,027 convicted Arab terrorists, my mind is having trouble focusing on joy.

In a few hours, we'll be ushering in the final Jewish Holiday in our hectic fall schedule, Simchat Torah.  In Israel we have a twenty-three hour break between Simchat Torah and Shabbat in order to catch our breaths and top-up the shopping, cleaning, cooking etc.  In chutz l'Aretz, out of the HolyLand, there's another three day holiday marathon, 2 days Holiday + 1 day Shabbat.  I'm sure that Hadassa isn't the only one just burnt-out from all the shopping, cooking preparations etc.

I'm glad that I spent one of my days off a few weeks ago to cook up a storm of chicken, musaka, meatballs etc.  They were frozen immediately, so all I have to do is choose what to thaw and make the side dishes, like my extra delicious, easy to make fancy vegetables.

OK, I've wasted spent enough time blogging.  There's still lots of work to be done before candle-lighting this afternoon before the sun begins to set.

Chag Sameach!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Ambulance, A Bus and A Car

No, this isn't the punchline to a joke, nor is it a joke genre, such as "a priest, a rabbi and a minister."  They are the three types of vehicles in the order I rode in them to get home from work last night, Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin to Shiloh.

Earlier yesterday, I had sent a note to our yishuv list asking people if they could give me a "tremp," ride to or from work.  About an hour before I finished  a neighbor called asking if I'd be ready to leave in a bout a half an hour, since they'd be passing on their way home from Jerusalem.  Since we were a bit short-handed, due to the Succot holiday, I had to turn down their generous offer.  I had no idea how I'd get home.  Sometimes I find a ride (or rides) very quickly, but sometimes I find myself waiting a very long time.

So when we finished up and signed out, I whipped out my trusty sign and began flashing it at the customers leaving Rami Levi.  No go.  After a few minutes, I was feeling rather depressed.  I was hoping that it wouldn't be a longer night, since I was very tired.  Then someone who needed a ride to Ofra told me to wait someplace closer to the store, since a ride would be leaving soon. 

Four of us got into an ambulance which had gone shopping to pick up non-medical supplies at Rami Levi.  We exchanged "ambulance riding stories."  At Ofra, I waited longer.  Finally, a "school bus" on its way to Eli stopped and let me in.  I got off at the Shiloh Junction.

I didn't have to wait very long until a ride to Shvut Rachel came by.  Davka, she had been at Rami Levi, but since I hadn't bothered searching the store before waiting, I didn't see her.  She took me into Shiloh and then I schlepped up hill all the way home.  I hope that burned lots of calories, especially since I had a very heavy bag on my back.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Business as Usual

Working in a store, Yafiz, that is part of a large discount supermarket chain, means that I have to go to work during the week of Succot, during Chol Hamo'ed.  Of course, as this is Israel and the Rami Levi Discount Supermarket is very strictly kosher, it's closed on Shabbat and Holidays, but people have to eat and restock, so work goes on as usual on the other days.

Many people take advantage of school vacation to bring their kids in to buy clothes and have them try on to see what fits.  We're also restocking with winter clothes.  It's a very busy time for us.  It takes a lot of self-control for me to keep from shopping.

If you're passing Sha'ar Binyamin, drop by and look for me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shake That Lulav!

There have been some really great Succot videos this year.  So far, this one is my favorite.  And it's an extra treat to put a face to someone I only know from emailing....

PS I probably love it because it's the music of my youth. Of course, nobody sang those lyrics all those decades ago.

The Succah Mezuzah, HH #334

To Kiss a Mezuzah came through again with a very timely Havel Havelim.  Susan B. has certainly been doing more than her share to keep the oldest Jewish blog carnival afloat.  Visit and thank her and of course share it and the posts.

"House Gifts," What Do You Bring When Invited for a Meal?

Here in Shiloh, we're part of a Shabbat/Holiday social scene.  There are various neighbors, couples and singles we have over.  Some also host us.  There are no hard and fast rules about what to bring, though it is expected that the guest comes with something, either wine or food.  Some guests have shown up before Shabbat/Holiday with flowers, too, which are very welcome.

Among those of us who cook, upon being invited, we usually ask if we should bring a portion of the meal.  Sometimes the reply is very specific, and sometimes we're told:

"Bring whatever you want."

We used to bring wines, but since not everyone drinks wine, and both my husband and I eat a lot of vegetables, I usually bake a tray full of delicious, healthy, low calorie vegetables.  For eating at home I make them in a nice-looking "bake and serve" pyrex or pottery, but when I'm bringing it to neighbors, I bake in a disposable aluminum pan.  We then carry it on a large baking pan, after learning the hard way how easy those trays are to spill and leak on clothing.

Yesterday, we brought baked vegetables to add to our neighbors' super-delicious lunch and then later in the afternoon, we brought a simple compote of apples, peaches and cinnamon (no sugar) to another neighbor.  The trick to keeping the vegetables naturally sweet is to add minimal water.

Sometimes the meals almost seem like a "pot-luck" event, but that's part of the fun of having such wonderful neighbors.

PS This post is in the Real Foods Succot Festival.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Caption This Tableau

It's a good thing my camera is always ready to shoot.  When my friend and I were walking the other day we saw crowds of people.  Not being the type to stop and join, we kept going and walked right by the center of attention.  I whipped out my camera, of course, and shot this.

How would you caption it?  What's the story according to your imagination?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free "Entertainment" During Succot, and a Rant

In Israel, school has been on vacation and will be for longer.  It's Succot, and many schools started the year early in order to give the teachers and students an extra-long vacation from before Yom Kippur until after Simchat Torah.  This may be great for a few types of families.
  1. If you have oodles of money and don't need to work.  You can leave home, travel and have a real great long vacation.
  2. If you make enough money to pay for childcare, special "camps," etc. so that you can go to work and know that your kids are all being safely supervised.
  3. Both parents are teachers, so they can be with their children, instead of teaching others.
Otherwise this extra-long vacation is a nightmare.  How does one go to work as a professional with their kids or constantly on the phone checking up etc?  Summer vacation just ended a few weeks ago, and all official/paid days off have been used up.

Last week, working at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, we felt it.  After some unsupervised kids knocked down some very pretty baby clothes I told a father off. 

"There are Jewish Laws concerning how to act in a store.  You're not permitted to waste a worker's time nor damage merchandise.  I'm not here to be your children's gannenet, nursery school teacher!"

I don't mind when a customer makes a mess on the shelf looking for something to buy.  The store isn't a museum.  Our goal is to sell our merchandise. 

But I do get angry when kids run around, or do drag races with the shopping carts and knock clothes onto the floor and leave it there.  I also don't want to have to clean the spilled ice cream or try to clean the clothes from dirty, sticky, chocolate coated hands touching what they just wanted to touch or what they ran/rolled over.

For free entertainment, ride the Jerusalem lightrail!  Yes, it's still free.

The route goes from Pisgat Ze'ev to Mount Herzl.  You can get on and off numerous times.  And did I say that it's free?  There's lots to see on the way.  In Pisgat Ze'ev, there's a nice mall.  Buy some food or anything else you need there.  Just be prepared that the route then takes you to some neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, inhabited almost entirely by Arabs.

After that, you get to French Hill/Ramat Eshkol. Take the train to Ammunition Hill, Givat HaTachmoshet to the 1967 Six Days War Museum.

The train, then, continues towards downtown Jerusalem with a stop by the Municipality complex, near Jaffa Gate of the Old City.  The route continues the entire length of Jaffa Road.  You can get on and off.  Shop and eat in the various stores and restaurants.  When my husband took the grandkids out, they went to Heichel HaGvura, the Museum of the War of Independence Underground Fighters, in Migrash HaRusim, near Zion Square.

You can shop in the Machane Yehuda Market.  After "floating," (it's a smooth ride) through "town," the train gets to the Central Bus Station and then goes on the "string bridge" to Mount Herzl, where there's also a museum.

If your kids are old enough, you can turn this into a really fun and educational project.
  • Have them sketch or photograph what they've seen.
  • Have them write and research the various sites.
  • They can follow and mark a road map.
  • Please leave more ideas in comments...
School vacation doesn't have to mean aimless anarchy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Succot, Some "Pros and Cons"

Why is Succot the Holiday of Joy? 
  • Unlike Passover, I don't have to scrub the whole house beforehand, change the dishes, etc.
  • Since we eat in a frequently crowded succah, we can simplify meals.
  • In my family, succah building is a man's job.  And I cheerfully thank G-d for making me as He wished.
What do I find difficult about Succot?
  • It's bee season
  • and we eat in succot, which are magnets to bees, and I fear getting stung, since I get awful infections from them.
  • The truth is that Succot is the transition between summer-no rain and winter-yes rain.  That means that we may find ourselves rained out of the succah or that wind will blow the sechach,  special roof off of the succah, making it pasool, forbidden to use as a succah until repaired.  That means that just when we've invited guests to the succah, we'll suddenly have to get the house ready for entertaining.  This could be a problem if your only table and chairs are sopping wet out in the succah.
What can you add to the pros and cons of Succot?

To help you think, here's a Succot song, Harachaman Hu by SoulFarm

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Succot, Sprouting and Preparing in Jerusalem

Thanks, Dry Bones
When I came back from work, I found my son and husband finishing off rebuilding our succah.  Pictures of that will follow, G-d willing.  But here are some pictures I took when in Jerusalem this week.  I got out of my ride at Shmuel HaNavi and walked all the way to Rechavia via Geula.  This is what I saw:

Bli neder, G-d willing, more to come.

Chag Sameach
A Wonderful, Happy and Healthy Succot Holiday to All

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grilled Chicken Livers, Marvelous at Marvad

A couple of weeks ago, a friend invited me out to dinner.  We ate at the Emek Refaim, Jerusalem branch of Marvad Haksamim.  We ate there for two reasons.  One was that it was close to Matan, where we were scheduled to attend an Al HaPerek event, and second was because she had a coupon.

Decades ago, there was only one Marvad Haksmim, and it was legendary.  Then various "independent" branches opened; each one was different.  From what I understand, that's still the situation, so this review only covers the Emek Refaim restaurant.

At my friend's recommendation I ordered the chicken livers.  Because of kashrut, all livers must be grilled.  Blood and fat drip out into the fire, so there are probably fewer calories than the charts indicate.

I took side dishes of cole slaw, which was not American style, and fresh green salad, Israeli style.  My usual restaurant "meat" meal is chicken salad, broiled chicken breasts served on fresh salad.  Since I live on a low carbohydrate diet, I'm always on the look-out for suitable dishes, especially those I don't make at home.

Marvad's chicken liver was delicious.  Service was good, and I'm glad that my friend recommended it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

From a Few Friendly Blogs

Here's a short "round-up" of posts from other blogs.  I do it too infrequently.  It's a chance for you to read what I read.

West Bank Mama asks a good question.  Who's your hero?  And then she tells you/us why the late Steve Jobs isn't hers.  I've also been astounded at the media hype about him.

As a "BT," I hate that term, I feel more in common with friends who are gerei tzedek, righteous converts, than those raised frum or just plain Jews who live however.  Recently, I told a convert friend that in some ways I'm "jealous," because she, as a convert, was taught so much, and I, even after over forty-five 45 years of trying to be Torah observant feel that I'm an ignoramus.  In the blogging world, I'm frequently drawn to blogs or posts like this one by You're Not Crazy, which I found on Rafi's latest Interesting Posts.

My first teaching job in Israel was as a Creative Dance Teacher.  I was probably one of the very first in Jerusalem to call myself that in the very late 1970's.  From the age of three until I was about twenty, I took some sort of dance class every single year.  For five years, until I graduated and we moved away (same year,) I also went to Hebrew School two afternoons and Sunday mornings at the Oakland Jewish Center, Bayside, NY.  In my spare time, my friends and I had lots of freedom, living in a neighborhood that was so safe that it seems like a dream.  My children rarely went to any chugim, extra-curricula activities.  There were two good reasons for that.  One was that when they were growing up, there wasn't much of a choice, and secondly, we didn't have the budget for them.  My kids had the freedom to create their own activities, which they and their friends did.  Mother in Israel wonders if today's children go to too many chugim.

Our Shiputzim explains why Israeli kids aren't in school this week.  I wonder who's taking care of them.  It's very expensive for many families.  Not all parents are teachers on the same schedule as their kids.

Bat Aliyah's Yom Kippur experiences are very sad.  She may enjoy my shul better.  It's not that most Ezrat Nashim, women's section seats have better views of the "action" in the men's section, but the women sing and sing loudly.  It does make a difference.  And we all try to help each other navigate the unfamiliar and much too varied Machzorim, Holiday Prayerbooks.  I so miss the days of my youth when nobody had a private personal prayerbook and page numbers were announced, either verbally or with a sign that allowed the numbers to change as needed.

Voices' Sharon confesses, kapora.  Nobody tells a better story than Sharon!

Heshy rants in about cooking wine, mevushal versus the real thing.

And finally, acharon, acharon chaviv, saving the best for last, Isramom's short and to the point eulogy of Rabbi Chanan Porat.  As a political observer most of my life, I must say that Chanan Porat's changes in party affiliation were always done in the most principled way.  When he decided that one party more suited his ideals and ideology than another, he also resigned his Knesset seat, unlike every other Israeli politician I can think of.  He didn't use that position as a "dowry" to get join another party.

For those who understand spoken Hebrew, here's a short informal shiur (lesson) Rabbi Porat gave to some of Shiloh's most veteran citizens soon before his death, when they paid him a special visit.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Signs of Succot, The Next Holiday

It's traditional to start building succot after breaking the Yom Kippur fast, and last night, when I was walking around my neighborhood I did see and hear lots of neighbors busy building their succot.  Since we live in a rather rural/suburban-style community, it's no problem to build a private succah or two.  Yes, there are quite a few families that build two succot, one for eating in and the other as a bedroom.

The following pictures were actually taken last week, before Yom Kippur in both Jerusalem and Shiloh.  G-d willing, more to follow.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Post-Fast Problem

I've never heard of anyone else who suffers from this.

If I eat certain food foods after fasting, my mouth burns, hurts.  It started one summer in New York, when we were visiting.  After the Tisha B'Av fast, I drank orange juice and I was in awful pain.  The inside of my mouth and my tongue were "on fire."  Since then I have the same sensation if I have fresh fruit soon after breaking the fast.  I must have cooked food for the first few hours.  I do feel better, perfectly normal, the next morning.

So, tonight, after the Yom Kippur fast, after drinking some water, I had vegetable soup and apple compote and some sesame paste.  I'm still hungry, so I'll heat up the rest of the soup.  Yes, I know that I'm on a low carbohydrate diet, and the soup has lentils and peas, but it's good after a fast.  And the soup needs to be finished before it goes "bad."

Friday, October 07, 2011

Havel Havelim Debuts at Liberty's Spirit

I wish to welcome Liberty's Spirit to the very exclusive group of Havel Havelim hosts.  If you're not familiar with Liberty's Spirit, I suggest that you get to know it.  There are some very thought-provoking posts on it.

As a long-time HH contributor and past (ancient history) hostess, I'd like to thank Libert's Spirit for the excellent Havel Havelim.

Please share it around, read the posts etc.

And, since I probably won't be posting until some time after Yom Kippur, צום קל tzom kal, have an easy fast.  גמר חתימה טובה gmar chatimah tovah, and may "inscribe you in the Book of Life."

שנה טובה
Shanah Tovah
Have a Wonderful Year!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Getting Ready for Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the greatest day of the Jewish Year. It's Shabbat without earthly pleasures, a taste of the Next World when we're more like the angels.

Yom Kippur is the only Jewish Holiday without food, so instead of cooking, get yourself ready spiritually.

Hat tip: Carl, also for this introduction:

This ought to get you in the mood for Yom Kippur....
It's the prayer of U'Nesane Tokef (And we will give effect to the day's sanctity) with an emphasis on the second half (on Rosh HaShanna it will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur it will be sealed) and some events that happened in the last year.

And now for a favorite of mine, the Leonard Cohen version, "Who by Fire." This one includes a very shofar-like saxophone solo.

I'll end with Dudu Fisher who performed on Broadway, but never on a Shabbat, and then returned home to Israel, nothing like The Jazz Singer. My grandchildren love his Jewish-themed DVD's and know all the words.

Tzom Kal, an easy fast and Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Waking Up in Kfar Adumim

Last week I attended the Matan Al HaPerek siyum, end of the year program on Sunday night. 

And then on Monday morning I had to be in Talpiyot for my courses in Pardes.  Since I couldn't find a place to stay in Jerusalem, I went home with a friend who studies with me in Matan and also had to be in Jerusalem the following morning.  I slept in Kfar Adumim which is southeast of Shiloh and northeast of Jerusalem.  The topography, as you can see in the pictures, is different from that in Shiloh, as is the weather.  It's more like desert, much drier.

Here are some pictures I took early in the morning before we returned to Jerusalem.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Flu "Shot," Yes or No?

I've never had the flu vaccine.   I can't remember the last vaccine I've ever had.  As a kid I got all they were giving. 
This isn't my school, but it could have been.

I'm the generation that was used to try out every version of the polio vaccine.  We were lined up in the gymnasium, class by class, as a school nurse or whoever stuck the needle in our arms.  Most of us were rather stoic, but there was always someone who cried.  Later on we got it on sugar cubes and then another version.  As an adult I'd joke that if I got one more drop of that virus, I'd be sick with polio.  So when there was a polio scare about twenty-five years ago here, even though I was still in the "danger" age group, the doctor agreed that I didn't need an additional dose of vaccine.

Back to the flu shot.  I've never had it, the shot that is.  But I do get a bad cold, la grippe, which could be the flu.  The problem with that vaccine is that the virus that causes the flu is constantly changing, and the vaccine sometimes isn't equipped to make us immune to the flu of the year.  Flu shots must be up to date, not like my wardrobe.  Nu, any advice?  What are you doing? 

PS when my father was living with us, he got all the vaccines, flu, pneumonia etc. and was healthier than all of us!

My Super Simple TNT Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

I served this on Rosh Hashannah, after it had been frozen for a short while. It was a great success. Our guest loved it.

Very Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
  • tomato paste or concentrate
  • cut up onion
  • garlic either fresh or whatever's in the closet/pantry
  • oregano
  • oil, any type (I've always cooked with plain ordinary Israeli soy oil except on Passover, when I use olive oil)
  • boiling water
  • put water up to boil
  • start sautéing the onion (and fresh garlic) add tomato paste and some boiling water to get the right sauce consistency add the oregano (and dried garlic powder)
  • let it simmer for a few minutes
Yes, that's it! If you want you can add salt, but I don't. You can also add other vegetables, like mushrooms, carrots, celery. Whatever you want. This is the basis for meatballs and all sorts of foods you want to serve with tomato sauce. It's really so simple to make. I don't understand why people buy the ready-made.

The Meatballs
While the tomato sauce is cooking up I make the meatballs, usually out of ground turkey.  You can use ground beef, chicken or any combination --and if you want something totally different, "Italian Geffilte Fish," use ground fish instead--
  • about a pound (500 grams)
  • an egg,
  • a diced onion,
  • spices, garlic, oragano etc.
  • matza meal (you can use bread crumbs or flour or nothing)
And then take a large pot:
  • Mix it until it is evenly distributed
  • By then the sauce should be boiling
  • "Double-spoon" (for health reasons I avoid touching raw meat whenever possible) drop the "balls" into the sauce.
  • Then lower the flame to simmer and let it all cook for about an hour.
It can be multiplied, and it freezes really well.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Shiloh News and Memories

On Shiloh Musings, I blogged about a neighbor who had passed away a few years ago, Yehudit.  You may want to read her story.

I also announced the next Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh.

This time I'm giving you plenty of notice.  The next Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh will be on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan:
Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan
Friday, October 28, 2011
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש חשון בתל שילה
יום ו' 28-10 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Tel Shiloh is open to visitors year round.  For more information check here, email or call 02-994-4019.

The First HH of the Year!

Ya'aqov ended, and Ya'aqov began...
Yes, 5772's first Havel Havalim is to be found at Esser Agaroth.  Ya'aqov has pulled a double-header of sorts, since he had also hosted the previous one, just a few days ago. 

Thank you, Ya'aqov!  You're definitely top joblogger, and you have been for quite a while.

Ya'aqov's standards haven't dropped.  HH #332 presents an excellent edition, worth lots more than ten agaroth, which are worth lots more than 2 cents.  As the American economy continues to sink in relation to the Israeli one, will Ya'aqov change the name of his blog?

Please share it around, check out the links, share them, too. Send in your own posts to the next edition, and you can also host.    And remember that there are two other jblog carnivals, Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIXMore details here.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Just a couple of hours and then the best vegetable soup....

This is a fast day on the Jewish Calendar.  OK, not everyone fasts on Tzom Gedalya, but I do.  Davka, today's fast is even easier to be "excused" from because it isn't the real day.  Yesterday, 3rd of Tishrei, is the real date, but it was Shabbat.  I have no excuse not to fast.  Pregnancy and breast-feeding are ancient history.  My "baby" is almost 28 years old.  And thank G-d I'm still in good enough health to be fasting.  There are all sorts of medical conditions that not only exempt people from fasting, it requires/demands eating and even fully eating.  I'm not there, thank G-d.

If I had gone to work today, I would have ended up eating, at least early.

I'm at home, being lazy, so there was something really great to do.... make vegetable soup.  I probably should have done some cooking for the upcoming holidays, but... I just couldn't think of dealing with food again.  We just had three days of eating:

2 days of Rosh Hashannah
+ 1 day of Shabbat
= a lot of food and little exercise

I make a really great TNT vegetable soup.  It's easy to make and very flexible.  This time I used:
  • dried peas
  • lentils
  • onions
  • carrots
  • lots of water, some preboiled to make cooking quicker
  • and I'll probably add a small sweet potato
  • I sauteed the vegetables in a bit of oil
  • and soon before it's all finished I'll add the salt, pepper and other spices.
Soon I'll combine the peas and lentils  with the vegetables in a large pot, in which I have been sauteing the vegetables.  This time I used the food processor to cut them.  It makes it quicker cooking and really is easy.  The downside is washing out the food processor.

OK, I do have more to do.  If you try my recipe, please let me know in the comments.

Now To Get Ready for Yom Kippur

This year's, 5772, upcoming Yom Kippur will be on Shabbat.  All that means is that there's a bit of tweaking the prayers to accommodate.

Physical Preparations:
For those who fast on the "minor" fasts, we're having a rehearsal today, Tzom, The Fast of Gedalia.  Today's fast is a short one, just from the first rays of sun until night.  Many of us felt so stuffed by the time we finished all the Rosh Hashannah and Shabbat gorging eating that we're grateful for the opportunity requirement not to eat.  Remember that Jewish fast also forbid drinking.  That means, no water, no coffee etc.

My brother sent me a youtube that gives some instructions on how to prepare your body for fasting and recommendations on what to eat when the fast is over.  I disagree with the post-fast suggestions.  I've found that juices and some fresh fruit make my mouth burn painfully.  I prefer breaking the fast on water and vegetable soup or fruit compote.

Spiritual Preparations:
Yom Kippur isn't just about starving oneself for G-d.  It's about repentance.  The goal isn't to do an extreme diet make-over.  We're supposed to be working on our spiritual selves.  And we were supposed to get started on it over a month ago, in Elul.  I'm reading The First Ten Days, A down to earth guide to the Days of Awe based on the Sefirot, by Yaacov Haber, and will, G-d willing, review it.  And as I've mentioned on Shiloh Musings, I've been studying Teshuva in Pardes with Rabbi Reuven Grodner.

The truth is that Judaism isn't just about food.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

First Post of The New Jewish Year, 5772

Honestly, I don't remember exactly when, but sometime during the twenty-five years I only ate vegetarian, I realized that our Rosh Hashannah table needed a "head." My husband and kids never asked for a sheep's head or even a fish head, but I wanted to show that we would be "heads and not tails," so I started the tradition of making a "fruit head." 

This year's "head" now looks a bit "jaundiced" and got some strange reactions.  His nickname is "aged hippie."  He looked fine when I took his picture, in this Rosh Hashannah holiday tableau.  His mouth has shrunk; his hair soon lost its sparkle and began to droop, which gave him his name.

Even though I tried not to cook and serve too much food, I do feel stuffed.  We only had four out of five "heavy" meals, and my "heavy" meals are light/lite compared to most.  I only serve one type of animal protein.  There's no such thing as both fish and meat/poultry at the same meal.  Except for the first, all the night meals were just easy to make geffilte fish, salad and vegetables. That included Seudat Shlishit, the last meal on Shabbat.  I served chicken for three meals and quick and easy meatballs for one.  I also served chicken soup, which my husband makes, but I didn't eat any.

I ended up baking cakes.  One cake was pretty much finished the first night, and another was started by a guest the second day.  The rest of that cake was donated to the Shabbat kiddush at shul, and the other two cakes are in the freezer.  My cakes are easier to bake than choosing which to buy in the supermarket or bakery.  And since I froze a couple, I'm set for a while, since we're not cake eaters, at least not since we began reducing weight.  For Rosh Hashannah I make Applesauce Cake.  I substitute applesauce for some of the liquid, reduce the sugar a bit and add cinnamon.
I don't know if I've ever heard the original of the song "One Day," but it seems to be a very popular one for spoofing, etc.  Latma has a very thoughtful version:
"One Day..."

If you don't know, the star of Latma, who sings here, was actually a singer before he began acting on Latma. One thing for sure is that he's extremely talented.