Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Look at That Old Lady," The Kid Was Referring to Me!

Today, as I was taking a walk around the neighborhood, a rather ordinary Shabbat activity, I passed a neighbor who was with some visiting kids.  And then I heard a little boy say:

"Look at That Old Lady."

He was referring to me!  My friend cracked up.  I smiled and  said:

"That's how I get seats in the bus."

It's true.  If I looked much younger I wouldn't have people offering me their seats.  I like being offered seats.  I really do appreciate it.  I work pretty hard, stay busy.  And sometimes I do need to sit down.  Standing is hard.

It's a "dog's life."  Isn't it?

That looks comfy...

Friday, December 30, 2011

We Won! *And Some More "Day in the Life of... Me"

It's Friday morning, and I have a lot to do, (so I won't blog the post in my head about how crazy yesterday* was.  At least that's what I had thought. Read on!  That post refused to stay put.  It's "writing itself!"  It was a very long, full day with surprises, good and bad.  One of the unpleasant surprises, learning that I had paid for the wrong thing on my RavKav got me very upset.  I'm going to have to make a special trip to Jerusalem to attempt to have the money credited to "bus rides."  And my Jerusalem kids were too busy to hang out with me before the game, IFL Jerusalem Big Blue Lions vs Sabres. 

So I wandered around Center1 and the "mall" next to it for a while.  (For those in the "need" with time, the WC there is free, unlike the bus station.)  And for one of those G-D is GOOD, siyata d'Shmaya stories, I ended up meeting a friend who had been waiting hours for her daughter. When her daughter finally called telling her where to meet, she needed my help to carry her things there.  G-d put me there just to help her, no doubt in my mind.

After I left my friend with her daughter, I took a very long, round about route to Kraft Stadium for the football game.  It's a five minute walk, but I had over two hours to waste.  And all this was after a full shift at work.

Instead of just going straight to Kraft, how long can one sit on those cement bleachers--the games take two and a half hours-- I walked down Jaffa Street, sitting down at one point to eat the dinner I had packed for myself the day before, turned on King George and then went in circles around Nachlaot, finally arriving at Kraft in time to see the completion of a different game which had been stopped seconds before it had ended.  The Sabres beat the Rebels, so they had quite a warm-up before confronting the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions.

In between "games," I managed to get my husband to pose with the father of Big Blue's, top player Binyamin Schultz.  At half-time I spoke to Binyamin's mother.  This is no "little league," so there aren't all that many parents in the bleachers watching.  I sat with another mother who gave me a ride right afterwards, so I could catch the 10:30 bus.

The atmosphere at the games is getting more carnival-like.  The other team brought some "cheerleaders" who weren't dressed for Jerusalem and didn't have a chance when trying to out-shout us.  The Lions had a lion!

IFL Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions won 56 vs 22!

It really was a good, well-played game.  Refuah shleimah to the injured.

And now, back to my Friday chores...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Slow Progress, A Walker's Jerusalem

Since I now study once a week in Matan, I've gotten to know the trendy German Colony, Emek Refaim neighborhood of Jerusalem.  That part of Jerusalem, from Talpiyot, Bakaa, to Rechaviya, Sha'are Chesed and Talbiya, to town, Nachla'ot, and further are made for walking.  There are all these paths connecting streets etc.  When we made aliyah, in 1970, very few people had cars.  Buses were frequent; stops were close to each other and people walked.

When the old trains stopped running, the tracks became a walking path. 

They were rocky and weed-filled, a nice adventure or short-cut.  Last year a section was "gussied up" and made into a park/bicycle path of sorts.

It has been taking a long time to fix up the next section, the one which may cut a minute off of my walk.

It's not that I mind the minute's walk, I just like the idea of getting to know more ways of getting to Matan.  Rashbag Street is in between the tracks and the street I've been taking.  It's nice to have some variety.  Bli neder, I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The "Sorry It's Late" Tevet Kosher Cooking Carnival

According to Israeli time, I'm already a day late to present this Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh Tevet edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival, but for some of you it's still evening of the "right day."

The Kosher Cooking Carnival is a monthly blog carnival I began quite a few years ago already after a recipe blog carnival rejected my post, because the edition's theme had been ham/pork. I don't think that carnival still exists, but we're doing fine, B"H. It's a real Chanukah story. The weak against the strong. The Jewish People are thriving with an independent country and those Ancient Greeks are just Ancient History.   Next month's edition, Rosh Chodesh Shvat, January 25, will be hosted by This American Bite.  You can submit your post about any aspect of Kosher Food and Kosher Cooking via blog carnival, and if you'd like to host an edition or have a question to ask, please just contact me.  There is also a facebook page, which you can join if you "do" facebook.

Now for the show!

anything kosher!

Lisa Rose presents How to Stock a Healthy Kosher Pantry (and Kitchen) posted at Real Food Digest.

Emily Segal presents African Peanut Soup posted at Triumph Wellness, saying, "A luscious Peanutty Twist on standard Orange Soup! Soup is parve so good for Shabbat too."

Emily Segal presents Non-dairy Baked Nut Cheese posted at Triumph Wellness, saying, "Finally a sliceable "cheese" for the lactose-intolerant and for meaty-meals! This beauty is made with 4 simple ingredients, no soy, nothing artificial, all yum."


Yosefa Huber presents Israeli Treats: Crembo, Sufganiot, and lots of chocolate posted at Cooking Outside the Box, saying, "A look at three of Israel's seasonal goodies."

Ben-Yehudah presents Carnival Of Krembos #1 posted at Esser Agaroth.

diet food

Batya presents "Potted Vegetables," Always a Hit and Diet Friendly, Too posted at me-ander, saying, "and good for everyone, not just dieters"

Kris presents How Many Calories in an Apple? posted at Kris Health Blog, saying, "How many calories in an apple? Almost all the calories in apples come from carbohydrates, mainly the simple sugars glucose and fructose."

Every day meals

Jay3fer presents (Ancient) Egyptian Feast! posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "The quickest way to a homeschooler's heart is through his or her stomach... and it also happens to be the most delicious way to learn history!"

rutimizrachi presents Breakfast at Chez Mizrachi posted at Ki Yachol Nuchal!, saying, "Kale, kale, the gang's all here! (If you can't be punny once in a while, you're not grandparent material.)"

This American Bite presents Gluten Free Corn Bread posted at This American Bite.

Batya presents Frying Pan "Lentil Stew" posted at me-ander.

Yosef presents Smokey Chipotle 15 Bean Veggie Burgers posted at This American Bite, saying, "Even though the nine-days are far from upon us, this is a dish I am going to be sure to repeat over and over again! If you're looking for a filling, meat-free dish for dinner, these smokey chipotle 15-bean burgers are the solution."

Ilana-Davita presents My Latest Favorite | Ilana-Davita posted at Ilana-Davita.


Batya presents Coffee Out KOSHER, Keep it Simple and Don't Get Comfortable posted at me-ander.

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

Batya presents Baking Challah, Really Easy, So Simple. Anyone Can Do It posted at me-ander.

Mirjam Weiss presents Chanuka, oh Hannukkah posted at Miriyummy.

danielle presents Gingerbread Dreidels posted at Baleboosteh - A Day In The Life.....

Leora Wenger presents Create Salad Dressing with Olive Oil - Chanukah in Highland Park posted at Here in HP, saying, "Happy Chanukah! Have an oily, delicious, healthful salad"

Tali Simon presents Vanilla-glazed cinnamon spice donuts posted at More Quiche, Please, saying, "These donuts are deliciously accented with fall spices, making them the perfect throwback to autumn before we head full-force into winter. Perfect for Chanukah...or any day you need a donut!"

danielle presents A Simple and Delicious Latke Recipe posted at Baleboosteh - A Day In The Life.....

Restaurant or Cookbook Reviews

Batya presents "Hayo, Haya," Those Were The Days posted at me-ander.

PS Yes, I'm included in third person, because I've used the BC instacarnival, just spicing it up with some pictures.  It's that easy to host an edition of KCC, so don't be scared to volunteer.  I'll coach you through it.
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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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wintery Chanukah, 5772

This year's Chanukah is definitely winter.  It has been cold and rainy, along with some warmish/dry days.  Today I'll be going down the hill to Tel Shiloh for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.  I hope to blog about that tomorrow or some time in the future.  I have so much planned for the next few days, and I must post the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival.  OK, it'll probably be delayed a day.  Please forgive me.

In the meantime...

The weather hasn't stopped tourists from coming to Shiloh.  Look at United Tours rumbling down the street.

New housing in the horizon.

Winter sky, B"H, thank G-d for the rain!

Monday, December 26, 2011

10 Agaroth's Mesirat Nefesh Havel Havelim Plus

It's one thing to commit, promise to produce an edition of Havel Havelim, or any other internet project when you have a computer plus internet in the comfort of your home, but Ya'aqov of Esser Agaroth doesn't have that luxury.  To produce his latest Havel Havelim, he had to hire a friendly computer in the CBS Egged's Jerusalem Central Bus Station's Internet Cafe.  This really was a true act of Mesirat Nefesh, self-sacrifice for the international jblog Jewish Blogging Community.  Please thank him by visiting and commenting and sharing his hard work.  And, even better, if you'll offer to host an edition of Havel Havelim.

Chanukah is the holiday of Mesirat Nefesh,  isn't it?

It seems that many jbloggers have forgotten about Havel Havelim or don't know about it, so I'm going to take this opportunity to add a few posts from blogs on my sidebar.  Please visit them, too.  And please participate in HH by offering to host, sending your links, joining the facebook page, reading and publicizing it.  Thanks

Read about Hashgacha Pratit in the blog across the street.  Life in the married lane shops with kids and survives.  Read her tactics.  Bat Aliyah thanks Hashem.  Ilana-Davita reviews Jewish Ethics and Social Justice.  And finally, some of my thoughts about Chaunkah, the price of freedom and independence.  And I hope you read Ya'aqov's Carnival of Krembos #1.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Not Doing My Share

For illustration, neighbors'
mother, no relation to me.
Ever since my mother decided that she'd rather be near my sister in Arizona, the total burden of taking care of my parents is now my sister's.  As some of you may remember, my father did live with us for almost a year, in our house.  That was a very different experience.

There really isn't much I can do half-way around the world.  Yes, it is about half-way, because there's a ten hour time difference.

When I discuss the situation with friends, I keep hearing that no matter how close everyone lives, the responsibilities, burden always fall unevenly between siblings.  It's not fair of course, but that's what happens.  And when there are thousands of miles in between and legal and cultural differences it's even more difficult to share.

Yes, life isn't fair.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chanukah, Passed the Half-Way Mark

The eight days of the Chanukah always seem to speed by after day three.  The first couple of days start slowly, and then, suddenly we've lit five candles already.  How could it be?

That means that tomorrow night's the sixth, leaving us only two more days after that.

We do have lots more planned. A couple of parties to keep us lively, another night at work and then the Begin Prize Ceremony. And after that I must figure out how to get my weight down.

I can dance to this Chanukah song by Avraham Rosenblum, formerly of the Diaspora Yeshiva Band.

It's new to youtube. When I watched, I wondered how Rosenblum still looked so young. Then I read his note about it. It's from a 1996 TV show as part of a multicultural holiday program he had appeared in.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Public Lighting, Chanukah, Sha'ar Binyamin, Israel

Last night I worked night shift at Yafiz, Rami Levi, Sha'ar Binyamin.  Considering that there's a synagogue in Rami Levi, discount supermarket, and they frequently announce that Mincha or Ma'ariv (Arvit), afternoon or night prayers, I was hoping/expecting a very nice public Chanukah Candle Lighting. 

I generally light candles (actually tiny oil pots) myself at home.  Many, many years ago I learned that women are also obligated to light the Chanukah "lights," so we've always had a wide variety and great number of Chanukiyot, Chanukah menorahs.  My husband prefers candles, and I light olive oil.

By the entrance to the Rami Levi-Yafiz area of Sha'ar Binyamin, there's now a large Chanukiyah.  Since I was stationed working in the outer part of Yafiz, I noticed a worker starting to light it.  There was no announcement.  Maybe they're afraid that the Jewish employees would desert their stations en masse.  I whipped out my camera when running over and managed to film most of it.

Here's the Chanukiyah lit for night #3.

Many of my fellow workers were disappointed to have missed it. Later on I was called to see the Chabad lighting just outside of the security gate to Rami Levi.

Even though I saw/heard the lights lit twice, I still felt I had to light at home.  If I hadn't been sleeping in my own home, I would have felt it sufficient to have heard the public lightings/brachot.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

True Gift of Chanukah, Dry Bones is Right, Again

We live fifteen minutes from the grandkids.  It makes it easy to see them for short visits.  That's nothing like what my children and parents and in-laws experienced.  First night of Chanukah we had nothing to do, so we treated ourselves and visited. 

I helped the grandkids make Sufganiyot.  We all lit the chanukiyah (menora) together.  B"H, that's what life should be.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not The Dreidel Song, Celebrating Chanukah Singing

Here are a couple of Chanukah songs for today.  Not a dreidel in sight.  Neither are new, but they're classics just the same.  I can't imagine my grandkids ever knowing songs like these. Sing along just the same.

It's ironic that the Greeks may have been in control here thousands of years ago, but today those Ancient Greeks are gone from the world, but we're still around. And today we Jews rule!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrating Chanukah By Visiting Some Blog Friends

I really wish I could easily beam myself, or have everyone beam themselves to a Chanukah party here in Shiloh, to all the people I know both in real life and just through their blog persona.  Tonight we light the first Chanukah Candle of the year.  Most of you are probably busy with your friends and families; at least I hope so.

Last night at work at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binymain one of my fellow workers gave out some sufganiyot, those Israeli jelly doughnuts, the traditional Chanukah food here.  Because everyone kept claiming they were surprisingly good, I tried a bite, and they weren't worth it.  But one bite was all I needed.  Actually, I had been hungry, and after that I wasn't.

So, let's start with food at Real Food Holidays Blog Carnival – Hanukkah 2011.  And here's some food for thought from Tzvee's Talmudic Blog.

As usual Dry Bones pictures it just right.  This golden oldie cartoon gives the message of Chanukah.

The Baleboosteh is back to blogging with a vengeance.  There's a post everyday recently.  Read about her Hanukkah preparations.

Leora's dreidels are perfect to illustrate this post.  Don't you agree?  I'm sure that many of my friends in Efrat did their gift shopping at the fair that Sharon blogged about.

Hadassa posted this video on making potato latkesI must admit that I don't do it that way.  I don't soak the potatoes, and I can't remember the last time I had them "hand-grated."  Also to cut down on carbohydrates, use celeriac, the root of the strong celery.

Rafi's Life in Israel posted about the "Kotel" in New York.  The Maccabees must be rolling in their graves.

Here are some menu ideas from Jennifer in MamaLand.  Shirat Devorah wishes us all a Chanukah Sameach, as does Seraphic Secrets.

On a completely different note, Mother in Israel blogged about how all this modern technology has made shiva, mourning and comforting the mourner different.

Chag Urim Sameach
May You Have an Enlightened Chanukah

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Best Type of Shopping

I call it shopping with "fake" money or buying things for "free."

Sounds good, doesn't it?  How could anyone imagine anything better?  Free shopping.  That's better than collecting coupons form the newspapers or magazines.

During my high school teaching days I became a member of the "Irgun Morim," Teacher's Union, and we get a special "charge card" filled with a bit of money to be used only in certain stores (chains to be found all over the country.)  Also, my husband gets a type of "gift certificate" for holidays and his birthday, also good in certain stores.

Especially now, with money rather "tight" I use them to buy gifts and other items.  Of course, if I used them for food they'd be gone immediately.

Not all chains accept them and the list changes from year to year.  Hamashbir, Israel's big department store accepts them, which is convenient, especially for wedding gifts.  I'm sure I had bought things with them in Office Depot, so I went to the one in Malcha Mall yesterday.  My friend helped me pick out all sorts of things I needed.  We really spent a lot of time on it.  At the cash register, I was surprised when they refused the Irgun Morim one, so I pulled out the second type. That, too, was refused.  So I dumped everything and left.  I'm sure it wasn't pleasant for the staff, but I had no choice. 

My friend and I checked the hard to read list on the coupons and double-checked that Home Center was listed.  We went right next door to Home Center and found some of the exact same products for less money.  That's right, less.  And then we found some other things I had needed.  Within a very short time I bought almost everything on my list at very reasonable prices.  All I couldn't find were colored pens.  They let me pay with the Irgun Morim card and I managed to fit it all in my backpack.  Then I found some simple colored pens in Graphos.  They wouldn't take my "fake money," but considering that it would only cost me ns10, I paid cash. 

I hope to remember not to bother even walking into Office Depot.  That's right, even if they're on next year's lists.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back From The "Dead"

I'm so excited!  I just discovered that one of my all-time favorite jbloggers has blogged again!  I have been in touch with her on facebook, so I know what's new with the family and all.  She and her husband had been extremely involved in the Jewish blog scene when we were all starting to establish ourselves as a special niche in the great world of blogging.

I'm referring to the one and only Baleboosteh.  Here's her post (click) in which she tells us all what's new with the family and some thoughts about blogging.

Bagel Blogger's artwork
Hakarat HaTov, giving recognition for the good someone has done...
It was the Baleboosteh and her husband who took my "hint" about the need for a picture blog carnival to showcase the fantastic pictures some jbloggers had been submitting to Havel Havelim.  They established JPIX.  Now it's run by Leora.  They were also very supportive of the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

Welcome back, Baleboosteh, we've missed you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Potted Vegetables," Always a Hit and Diet Friendly, Too

I don't think I've ever blogged my simple, basic vegetable recipe that gets cooked on a stove top.  It's really easy to make.  The key to its success is a good pot, preferably stainless steel and heavy, and of course with a cover.  It doesn't pay to get a light, cheap pot.  The food won't cook as well.

I'm going to just write what I brought to neighbors we were invited to on Erev Shabbat, Friday Night.  You can add many more vegetables.  Quantities are also very flexible.  This isn't a chemistry experiment.  It's only food.
  • onion
  • garlic
  • carrots (smaller pieces than the squash/zuchini)
  • squash/zuchini
  • fresh pumpkin
  • oil
  • coarse pepper
Cut up the vegetables and put them in pot in the order listed; cover.  There's a reason for this. 
  • The onion and garlic should cook first to impart the special flavor to all the vegetables.
  • It takes longer for carrots to cook than squash, so they should be closer to the flames/heat.
Keep the flame/heat low.  And don't add water.  The vegetables have a large percentage of water, and if you cook them properly, that water will be released. 

When the vegetables are starting to get soft, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a heavy towel.  Leave for at least ten minutes, so the cooking will be completed.  Stir and serve.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Fun and Simple Chanukah Game for The Entire Family

A number of years ago, I adapted a classic children's game of my youth, "pin the tail on the donkey" and made "pin the candle on the chanukiya."

We don't play it every year, but we've played it many times.  It does help when you have just the right amount of people attending the Chanukah party, but since you have to make your own pinning poster, you can be creative and flexible or use teams.

To make things more fun, creative and participatory, I've had the kids decorate all of the "candles."  That gives them something extra to do.  There's always a time at these family (or community) get-togethers when you want to keep the kids busy.

Yes, it's time to plan your Chanukah events.  We're making progress, B"H, on ours.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Matisyahu's Beard Shaving, Does The Beard Make The Jew?



Here's his first official message about his decision to shave off his beard:


This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter.

No more Chassidic reggae superstar.

Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.

Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.

- Matisyahu

In all honesty, one doesn't need the chassidic garb and look to be a true Torah observant Jew.  I'm not one of those who considers chareidim and chassidim to be more authentic, religious and Torah observant than those of us who consider/label ourselves דתי dati religious, or Orthodox by Jewish American terminology.

Most of us are lucky; the main audience for our religious transformations and observances are just G-d and a few close friends and family.  That can be problematic enough.  But for a celebrity, who had davka been marketed as "Chassidic reggae superstar," there's absolutely no privacy.  Matisyahu runs a very serious professional risk by changing his unique and successful image.  Will his voice be enough to keep him a "superstar" without the added "gimmicks" of the full beard, flying payot and long coat?

Judaism recognizes the fact that we're never spiritually static.  That's why we're supposed to be in constant teshuva, repentance and introspection.

It would be easy to be nasty, cynical and sarcastic about Matisyahu's new look, but I'd rather not be.  Obviously he's a thinking person who has a lot to deal with.  His dialogues with G-d are painfully public.  May G-d give him and his family the strength and wisdom to cope.

Here's a video interview, post-shave.  hat tip Frum Satire

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busy Family

Gone are the days when all my kids lived at home and I could just decide what we were going to do and when.  For the past few days, we've been trying to find one night, just one night during the eight day Chanukah holiday when we're all free and can celebrate together.

I want to see my kids (at least the Israeli ones) and all my grandkids together for a fun night.

Emails are flying fast and furious trying to figure out what to do and when.

Should we just pick any day even not Chanukah?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I My Not Be Ready For Chanukah Yet, But...

Everyday there seems to be another Chanukah song/performance/video up on youtube to watch and share around.  I must admit that some just seem "the same."  I found the Macabeats boring, but I love the scenery in the Light Up the Night - Fountainheads Hanukkah, Ein Prat Academy, Israel.

The music may be boring, because almost all of those I've seen have an element of "electric music," which I absolutely hate. My nature is kinesthetic, former (once one always one to be exact) dancer, and my body just doesn't react well to the much too regular mechanical "beat." I don't feel the energy I feel when all of the instrumentals come from live people.

ps Am I the only one who is turned off by those sounds?

Monday, December 12, 2011

No More Free Ride!

I've been blogging about the Jerusalem Trolley aka Light Rail for quite a while.  My first attempt to pay was a comic disaster.  But since then, very luckily, I learned how to flash my Rav-Kav card at the "paying machine," which is very lucky for me.  Most of my subsequent trips included inspections.

The inspectors are usually very nice and explain how it all works to the puzzled passengers.

The next challenge will be learning new Jerusalem bus routes, most probably as of January 1, 2012.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Coffee Out KOSHER, Keep it Simple and Don't Get Comfortable

As longtime readers and facebook friends know well, I love my coffee.  For health "preservation" reasons, I generally restrict my coffee drinking to early morning before leaving home, but there are times when I do have to, or allow myself to, drink coffee out.  Here in Israel finding a kosher place isn't a major problem, but since coffee is my antidote to jetlag when abroad, I have to think more than twice before ordering.

The OU posted a simple to follow guide to buying/drinking coffee when there isn't a kosher coffee place available.  Simply put, just keep the coffee simple, not the fancy flavored ones, and don't sit down to drink.  Take your disposable cup out with you.

The article is bilingual; there's a Hebrew version on the bottom.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Green

Growing up in New York, seasonal colors were very different from what I see here in Israel, the HolyLand.  The summer was very green, decorated with flowers.  Then in the fall, some leaves changed color and fell.  Winter could be white and green and brown.

About twenty years ago I took a course to improve my Hebrew.  We were forced to read Hebrew, poems, literature and newspaper articles.  The teacher mocked the old Hebrew poems she gave us to read.  She pointed out that they were based on European climate and had nothing to do with the realities in our part of the world.

I think the poem mentioned summer's green and blooming flowers.  In the days that poem was written, Israelis didn't waste precious water on summer flowers and grass.  It's winter when we see green covering the ground, after it rains a few times.

The grass/weeds are getting longer.  Soon the bulbs will bloom.  The rain is a blessing, even though it can be annoying at times...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Learning Something New, To Be a Video News Photographer

I don't know if I'll really make a living from it, but our regional council announced that it was offering a "photography course," and I signed up.  I had absolutely no idea what it was aiming to teach, but since it was a night I don't work, and I'm always taking pictures, and there was a neighbor who could drive me, I signed up.  Oops, that's quite a convoluted sentence. Sorry

It ends up that there's a newish news agency Tatzpit that wants "raw material" from hashetach, the field, and they figured that people like me can contribute.  It ends up that they want more video than stills, so we're getting a few hours of training.

I have learned some tips; so it's not a waste.  There's still a session or two until the course is finished. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

You're Not Going To Believe This One, Totally True and Happened to Me!

The other night at work at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, a young woman came up to me:

"You look familiar."
I looked at her.  She didn't look at all familiar, but recognizing people isn't one of my talents.  And being my age, with a handful of kids and having worked at so many places, I've been in contact with more people than even the most brilliant could ever remember.

"Are you ---'s mother?"
"Yes, where did you know her from?"
--- is forty years old, so she, too, has lived "many lives," gone to various schools etc.  She is of the first graduating class of the Beit El elementary school, so I guessed that could be their common history.

"We went to gan (nursery school) together."

Well, that daughter only went to gan  in Israel one year, when she was three years old.  The following year we went on shlichut  to London and worked to promote the Betar Zionist Youth Organization.  Do the math.  Yes, that means that she saw the young, mid-twenties me, in today's senior discount me!  That's something!  Even if she had some visual memories of how I looked after we came back to Bayit v'Gan, Jerusalem from London, you must remember that we're in Shiloh for thirty years already. 

How can anyone connect those two images?  I'm fatter, and I've aged!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Getting Ready for Chanukah With Aish's "Jewish Rock of Ages"

The lead singer is Chanan Elias whose performance reminds me of his unforgettable "Rocking the Boat" (Guys and Dolls) I saw close to ten years ago in Jerusalem.  He was as good as or better than Stubby Kaye in the movie.

Here's another Chanuka special.

I guess it's time to make plans for Chanuka and figure out what to buy the kiddies...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Who Says Tech Stuff is Only For The Young? I Figured Out Two New Contraptions in One Week!!

Since the kids no longer live with us, I'm the resident techie in the house, but I generally avoid trying something new. 

Decades ago, I used to have a rule before using any new appliance, whether blender, stove etc to always thoroughly read all instructions, warnings and more.  I wouldn't turn anything on until I could pass a test.  In recent years, I've stopped doing it.  I rarely even glance at the instruction sheets.  There are three basic reasons. 
  • One is that I no longer understand what's written in those booklets or multi-lingual, when lucky, sheets of paper.
  • Two is that many high-tech things have "menus" that pop up displaying what to do, or the buttons on the machines are pretty simple, simpler than the written instructions.
  • Three is that machines are so complicated there's no way to memorize what to do.  It's best to just "guess" and get used to it.  I think it's called being an "intuitive" user, using intuition, rather than actual knowledge.
I've had a collection of appliances to "plug in" and get to know.  They've been sitting around collecting dust.  We haven't watched a DVD for ages, ever since ours died, so we bought one in the duty free at the airport late June on our way to NY.  There's also a new modem and a second-hand printer/fax/scanner.  A couple of weeks ago, my husband was given one of those "media-listening devices" by someone after he led them on a tour.  I claimed it as mine, since he had one which he got as a present for his 60th. 

As I wrote, they were all gathering dust, that is until I began trying to figure out the Q3.  I couldn't use the instructions, because they were in Korean only and couldn't find any on the internet, but I was determined.  Yes, I succeeded!  I can now listen to my Matan shiurim, all the free ones.

And encouraged by that success, I plugged in the DVD and must admit that it took just a few minutes.

There's more here waiting for me, but I have to go now.

Hah! Watch out kiddies!  I'm not dead yet!!!

Landtsmen and Great Music

There's a "game" called "Jewish Geography," in which strangers, neighbors etc. discover that they have some place in common.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered by chance (of course) that a young man who owns or runs a business that supplies to Yafiz grew up near my childhood home, Bayside, NY, though a full generation later.  It has created a bond between us.  Davka, also because of that neighborhood, I am also a landtsman with someone who married our son-in-law's cousin.  Yes, the new landtsman knows him, too.

At the NGO Monitor's book-launching this week at the Begin Center, we were treated to some great music, because Prof. Alan Dershowitz and Bernie Marinbach are landtsmen.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Being a Good Law-Abiding Citizen, Paying for The Jerusalem Light-Rail

Last week I rode the Jerusalem Light-Rail for the last time for free.  Announcements were flashed that the free ride was ending, and from December 1, 2011, we'd have to pay.  Newspaper articles told that there would be assistants/guides to help us learn how to "insert" our "Rav-Kav" cards and fine those who hadn't paid the fare.

So, last night, when I got out of my ride at French Hill, Givat HaMivtar, I was all prepared to pay. With my trusty money-filled card I boarded the train.

Yes, you guessed it. It didn't fit in the slot. I tried all sorts of methods and angles and nothing worked, nothing at all. Was I going to be fined/ticketed?

Of course, this being Israel, I quickly got help.

Could it be that he hadn't paid? My unofficial helper didn't know what to do either.

Finally, at the next stop, I saw people entering and paying.

You just have to flash your card's symbol at the machine's symbol and it "clicks" as paid.

After I sat down across from a young woman, I mentioned how complicated the paying is until you're shown what to do.

"Pay? You don't have to pay. Isn't the train free?"

Call me a fri'yer, sucker, but I did pay. I wonder how many other train passengers still don't have their "Rav-Kav" cards and won't get them until they're caught... by the phantom staff that's supposed to be assisting and policing.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Bit of Blog Visiting, Shavua Tov, Have a Great Week!

No, this isn't Havel Havelim, it's just my stroll through the jblogger lane...
Please be sure to visit all the blogs and send my regards...

photo by Mason Resnick
The one and only Cosmic X blogged from Jerusalem about the antisemitic attacks in HP, NJLeora reported straight from Highland Park about it. *more in comments

ECI via Carl, don't believe Obama.  His pretty speeches about helping Israel are just empty words. The truth is the opposite.

A bit of poetic justice, I'd say.  Elder of Ziyon writes that Carlos Latuff is now being threatened by the Muslims.

I hope you're working up an appetite; here's what Jennifer in MamaLand planned on serving this Shabbat.

And if you like winter parties, contact Lady-Light, since she has lots of birthdays coming up.

There are other ways of keeping busy; ask the Bima Ima who not only is a mother of four, but she...

When I think "busy," I always think of my dear friend Sharon Katz who actually found some time to see me last week and give me a very impressive fantastic present, which is already hanging on my wall!  Sharon blogs and also edits/produces Voices Magazine.

Not long ago, Yaakov, creator of Dry Bones, mentioned that he was going to China.  Read about his new project.

Chaviva is of my youngest kids' generation, but her question about "ten years ago" or "when you were a senior in high school" is a question we can all answer, sort of.  I answered it on facebook:
I became a Zionist, and here I am. I also worked hard to become more religious, ditto. And (don't forget that I'm very old) there was the 6 Days War and I decided that it was important to live in the live in the liberated Jewish Lands, and I'm in Shiloh.

Not to blow my own horn, but since not all of you read my other blog, Shiloh Musings, I'd like to link my latest article about Tel Shiloh.  Many of us don't get turned on by praying at tombs and graves.  Shiloh is a Holy Place and has been for thousands of years.  It predates Jerusalem.  The Mishkan was here for almost four hundred years; that was before The Holy Temple was built.

Not too many people can keep up with Rafi, the runner and blogger.  Could one of his secrets for this energy be Shabbat?

Shavua Tov!
Have a Wonderful Week!!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Taking A Walk, Lots of Pictures

I don't get to walk enough recently.  I do have some mornings at home, but I'm usually too tired or too busy or both.  The other day it just felt like the right day to walk, the right thing to do.  But I didn't just feel like walking around the neighborhood.  That gets boring.  I do it a lot.  I wanted to walk across the street, keep going and walk to Shvut Rachel.  It's actually very close.  There's a road connecting us, but it's not paved.  There's a cute little caravan neighborhood with mostly small and young families there.

So, I called a friend who said she could walk with me, and we walked to Shvut Rachel and back.  Here are a few pictures.

Yes, the benches are a nice touch, but I doubt if there's much to watch in the basketball court.

Some of the gardens are very impressive, especially considering that caravans are considered temporary housing.  It certainly looks much nicer than my garden, and I'm not being modest.

This little street seems very well cared-for.

G-d willing with time and more rain, it will be full of wild flowers.

Always expect the "unexpected."
When we got back, we noticed that there was some gafitti in the "sports complex."