Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lucky Soldiers, Gush Etzion's Pina Chama

My amazing friend Sharon of Voices Magazine just blogged about her volunteering in the Gush Etzion's Pina Chama.  She works her shifts with Jill, who used to be my boss when I worked in advertising.  Small world, since I now write for Voices.

Even though I live far from Efrat/Gush Etzion, I'm familiar with their Pina Chama.  One of my favorite "only in Israel" stories is about it.  I don't know if I've blogged this before, but it's easier to blog it again than to search for a link.

My sons both served in the IDF as combat soldiers.  One of them found himself drinking coffee, eating cake and talking to the nice lady in the Gush Etzion Pina Chama.  Suddenly he said:
"My mother has friends in Efrat."
"Who's your mother."
"Batya Medad."
"I know her."
So, I got an email from her telling me that she she just met my lovely son.  And to make it even more interesting, in recent years, my son has become a friend of her son.

Trying to "Do It All"

Many people call me "energetic," but they don't see me when I'm "refueling."  And even fewer see me when I'm "all out" riding on "empty."

Last night I was so tired, I thought that I was getting jet-lagged.  I must have the right food and sleep.  I'm not young, so my energy reserves are always pretty low.

Sunday night at work, Yafiz-clothing for the entire family, Sha'ar Binyamin, we started a major winter clothes sale* just under an hour before closing.  It was like running a sprint at the end of a marathon.  And yesterday, I couldn't sleep late or even until my usual early time.  I had to get up extra early to make it to a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel of a fellow workers son.  From there I went to an elderly friend at the other end of Jerusalem for lunch.  I noticed that I had just missed the bus that goes straight to her place, so I tried catching up with it by taking the train.  But when I got off the train, the bus was already leaving the stop and I had to walk all the way from Yad Sarah to the Shalom Hotel.  At least I didn't see the next bus pass me.

From there I rushed back to work for another late and very intense shift.  On the bus to work I reset my alarm to the latest ever, and after I turned it off, I fell asleep for another bit.  At work I made a point of eating my fruit and the dinner I had prepared the day before, so I wouldn't go into a stupor of exhaustion. B"H, my friend's bracha/blessing for safe and quick ride/s home came true.

Trying to "do it all" is good, but do it wisely.  I really try, because recovering is harder.

*If you're in the area, it's highly recommended that you shop in Yafiz for our winter clothes sale.  Buy for next winter and some of the outfits are suitable for all year long, certainly springtime.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mazal Tov Havel Havelim

Rickismom at Beneath the Wings is a first-time host of Havel Havelim, but she's not a first-time grandmother. Double MAZAL TOV!

Enjoy the selection.  She didn't get the instacarnival, so it's short but very interesting and varied.

Next week's HH is to be hosted by Eric of  The Israel Situation.  Please send your links to the form he made up.  For more Havel Havelim news join our facebook page.  We're looking for more hosts.  I keep up to date Havel Havelim and Kosher Cooking Carnival information on the top left sidebar of both this blog and Shiloh Musings.  Please check it out and join the "party."

Have a wonderful day!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jewish Month of Sh'vat, Pre-Spring, TU B'Shvat

Leora wrote asking me for a TU B'Shvat article. 

When we lived in Bayit V'Gan, Jerusalem there was a large, old sh'kaydia almond tree in the empty lot by our apartment.  Every TU B'Shvat the gannim, nursery schools would march over and sing to it.  Then a few months before we moved to Shiloh building began in the lot and the tree was destroyed.  The entire neighborhood gathered to cry.  It was one of the signs that our time in Jerusalem was up.

When we first moved to Shiloh I said (in my head) that I needed to plant a shkaydia almond tree by the house, but I never did it.  Read how G-d made that plan come true.  Yes, the punchline has been revealed.

This is nothing like the gorgeous tree that used to flower near our apartment, but it does have its beauty, and it's a gift from G-d.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Very Winter, Thawing's Not Easy

For many years we had a cat, so I never could leave anything out to thaw or cool, because it would just become "cat food."  I had to refrigerate bread, cake etc, since it could go moldy in a closet and our cat was very clever.  She could open all sorts of doors.

I'd put the frozen chicken in the fridge in the beginning of the week and pray and hope that it would be thawed out by Thursday for cooking.  It has been quite a few years, over a decade since our last cat died, and I still think twice before putting meat/chicken out to thaw.  Of course I keep the windows locked so no strays can make themselves at home.

Usually leaving the chicken on the counter, on a metal baking tray overnight does the trick, but it's winter.  I don't heat the house 24 hours a day.  Sometimes the chicken is still frozen solid in the morning, so I have to get creative:

An hour or so on the radiator helped, B"H. 

There's nothing like one of these electric, gas-filled? radiators.  I keep it on a timer.  I surround it with clotheslines.  And they don't need deliveries of neft, kerosene.  Nor do they need dry wood.  And they don't soot up the house either.

I wish I could wear them on my feet like snowshoes....

Friday, January 27, 2012

International KCC at This American Bite!

Just in time for Shabbat, the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is at This American Bite, but it's an international affair of kosher food for all.  Click and check it out and visit all the blogs included this month and then share them far and wide.  Actually it has been "live," online since yesterday my time, but I didn't have time to announce it.

Next month, Adar, late February, the Kosher Cooking Carnival will be hosted by Cooking Outside the Box, and we're looking for a volunteer for Nissan, around March 25, and other months.  Please contact me or join our facebook group.  You can send in your links for the Adar KCC nonrecipe@gmail.com with KCC as subject or via facebook or blog carnival, which doesn't work as well as it used to, but I still send the instacarnivals to the hosts.

Shabbat Shalom and Enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Only in Israel, From The Blog Across The Street and Other Local Blogs

I'm not the only blogger in the neighborhood.  Of course, as you must know, my husband blogs, too.  And besides him, directly across the street is Ester who posts in honor of Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month.  For Shvat she posted one of those "only in Israel" stories which you'll certainly enjoy.

The following Dry Bones suits Ester's post:

A bit further east after Ester's house there's another blogger, Yael of Shvut Rachel.  She blogs in Hebrew and recently posted a how-to recipe for easy chicken on youtube.  Most of it is clear from the action.  I'll just let you know that she makes the bread crumbs out of cornflakes and the "creamy-looking stuff" is mayonnaise.

Enjoy them all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Delicious, Colorful, Healthy and Easy to Make Vegetables

When I saw that nice big red cabbage at Rami Levi I just had to buy it.  I cooked it with:
  • onion
  • carrot
  • fresh ginger
  • small apple
  • bit of oil to saute it all
  • of course the cabbage
  • freshly squeezed orange juice
Add the cabbage and juice last, when the carrots start getting soft.  Cook in a large covered frying pan or good, heavy covered pot.  Exact quantities don't exist.  This isn't a chemistry formula.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Most Frightening "Tremping" Experience

OK, except for the times I've wondered if I'm going to be stuck forever waiting for a ride, in the cold, rain, sun or late at night, the following story is really the most frightening I can remember after just over thirty years "in the business" of waiting for rides aka tremping...

It happened last night.
After got out of my friend's car at the Ofra Junction, she gave me her blessing, which has always worked, nudging G-d to give me a "speedy and safe ride home."  Within in less than a minute I was crowded into the backseat, next to a baby in her/his safety seat, with my three bags securing me well.  I was relieved that I had gotten my right foot in with rest of me.

The young mother driving left me off at the Shiloh Junction, but before I managed to cross the street to where I had to wait, I realized that I wasn't alone.  A "teenage" white dog was there, too, sniffing at my one of my bags, the thermal bag with the chickens inside.  Fresh, whole, kosher chickens are among the products Rami Levi purposely keeps selling at low prices, so I've been buying them there for the past few months.  I've saved us a lot of money by doing that.

Well, the dog kept sniffing, and I was trying to cross the street without showing panic or exciting the dog.  I even called out a bit, hoping that there were soldiers hiding, which is sometimes the case.  I wanted someone to shoot the dog.

The street had never seemed so wide, nor had never taken so long to cross.  I still had a long way to go, especially at the "relaxed--don't frighten the dog" pace I was going, when a pick-up truck turned into the road to Shiloh from the south.  I wanted to get into that truck ASAP.   At first it stopped, then it began moving, stopped again and even backed up a bit.  Thank G-d he waited for me! 

After I got in, the driver said that he had noticed me and realized that I was in trouble, so he waited.  And thank G-d and this unknown person going to Shvut Rachel, I made it home safe and sound.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Frosty Dawn

I took this shot a cold, frosty Wednesday morning last week.  Frosty was all I could think of.  I was waiting for a ride to Jerusalem.  Usually the early morning sky here is Shiloh is gorgeous, and to be perfectly honest, just to the right of the frost, there was some color.

Yes, I must be honest and not leave you with the impression that G-d had given us a colorless sky.

And I never got a "ride;" I had to take the bus after waiting a half hour in the freezing cold.  I shouldn't complain, because the bus did get me in to Jerusalem safe and sound.  There are times, like when I finish work at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin late at night when there is no bus option and I really, desperately need those "tremps."  So, if G-d is limiting the miracle rides (aka tremps,) let me have them when I really have no other option.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Risa's New Banner and Havel Havelim

I was just about to blog about this great new vegetable dish I invented on Friday, when I figured that it would be a good idea to see what my friends had blogged.  And there, right on top, was Isramom aka Risa's blog announcing the latest Havel Havelim and new blog banner.

So, just click on over to Isramom and check out all the posts from blogs far and wide.  For instructions on how to contribute to the next edition check out our facebook Havel Havelim page.  HH comes out every Sunday on a different blog.  Next week's Havel Havelim will be Beneath the Wings.  If you don't have facebook, you can still contribute a link by using the old blog carnival form or send it to me and I'll pass it on to the hostess.

So the vegetable recipes will have to wait until I blog again, G-d willing....  In the meantime you can feast your eyes on Risa's Havel Havelim.  Please read, visit, comment and share.

And have a wonderful week one and all!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Lively Discussion," Does That Mean It Was a Good Shiur/Class?

Since I began pretty serious, for me, Bible studies* in Matan last year, I've volunteered to give classes to my neighborhood women's "study group," the weekly Shabbat שיעור נשים Shiur Nashim,  Women's Torah Class.  You can still count the times on one hand, but the number is growing.  I gave a class today.

I don't consider myself very knowledgeable.  Even though I've taken classes for years, until recently it wasn't very systematic, and I didn't have enough knowledge to "connect the dots."  I don't lecture.  One reason is that I don't know enough, and enough is that it can too easily get boring.  I hate to admit it, but I've fallen asleep at too many classes.  So, my method is involving everyone in discussion. 

I do throw out facts and read texts, or make my friends read in better Hebrew, but I don't insist that only my answer is the right one.  The class wasn't too long.  One of the women even expressed disappointment that it was over too soon.

I guess that means that I passed, Baruch Hashem, thank G-d!

*three courses, one morning a week

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rami Levi Stores, Not Just Cheap Chicken and Cabbage

This is cross-posted on Shiloh Musings

As you know, I work in Yafiz, which is the chain of clothing stores owned by the Rami Levi discount supermarket chainMy store is located in Sha'ar Binyamin, the shopping center (like those built in the USA suburbs during the 1950's) just northeast of Jerusalem, in the Mateh Binyamin, Benjamin Regional Council.

Yesterday just before signing out from work and going into the supermarket for a few items, the buzz was that Pnina Rosenblum, Israel's rags to riches cosmetics industrialist and politician was expected in the supermarket.

My husband would tell you that I rarely admit I'm wrong (maybe because I'm usually right) but when it comes to Rosenblum, I must admit that I was wrong.  When I first began seeing pictures of her at all sorts of events, I'd call her the bimbo.  In the end she has proven to be anything but.  She's a blond, but bimbo she isn't.

I had never noticed, but apparently the Pnina Rosenblum cosmetics, soaps etc are marketed in the Rami Levi store. 

I could hear her complimenting the managers on the display.  Now, our branch of Rami Levi, like most discount supermarkets, isn't a fancy place.  It also doesn't sell high end items.  Rosenblum's products and general philosophy match Rami Levi's.  When she decided to go into politics, she didn't choose an elitist Leftist ideology and party.  Today she's an active member of the Likud and even served as a Likud MK for a short time.

Rosenblum didn't enter the supermarket with an entourage of aides and photographers. That impressed me.  I took these pictures from "discrete" distances using the zoom. 

Seconds after putting away my camera, she came right up to me, as if offering a good shot, but I didn't take it.

The most humorous part of this visit was overhearing the other customers talking about her.  Many hadn't a clue as to who she is and why she was there.  One person explained to another that she's a Likud politician and was flabbergasted when told that she's a cosmetics industrialist.

As I've mentioned frequently, "timing is in the Hand (Power) of G-d, Siyata D'Shmaya.  Yesterday was certainly an example.  Why else would I have ended up working that day, and shopping at exactly that time?  And the icing on the cake was that just as I got on line to pay, I saw my next door neighbor on the next line, and yes, he took me home.  Thank G-d, G-d is Great!

Shabbat Shalom to Everyone

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three "Bad Things," Kappora!

There's a "legend" of sorts that bad news comes in three's.  Something in my mind connects this with the post I wrote last night about my husband's visit to the emergency ward

It's rare for me to break things, but yesterday three relatively minor things broke:
  • my thermos, which I fill with hot delicious (less expensive and much better than buying ready-made) coffee
  • a pen which I found leaking in my bag, dirtying my yoman, pocket diary/schedule
  • the metal tab for pulling the zipper on my good backpack
About the thermos, it had been one of those amazing free give-aways with instant coffee one Pesach time.  I knew that I had another one (from the same sort of source) in a closet, found it immediately and quickly made another pot of coffee.  Yes, of course it broke when it was full of steaming vanilla flavored (from good vanilla extract, not the fake flavored junk) percolated Turkish coffee with milk and sugar.

Kappora!  There's a Jewish concept that something material like the things that broke can be atonement, instead of human lives and illnesses.  I used to be the most hysterical person about anything breaking.  Not long ago I mentioned to one of my kids that we're probably rare in that we have the same drinking glasses for close to forty years, and she said that's because everyone always lived in terror of breaking anything, because I'd get so angry.  Now, I see it all differently.  Priorities, let the material things go and keep us all safe, sound and healthy!  Kappora!

May this be a refuah shleimah for Natalie Netany) bat Chaya Rasia

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Some Things Get Better

My husband blogged about his recent visit to the emergency ward.   When I got there this morning, (trekker son was with him when he was admitted last night) I came with all the food I'd need for myself for the day.  OK, I must admit that the food had been prepared to take to Matan for my morning of Bible study.  I even had a full thermos of coffee. 

My husband had spent the night at Sha'are Tzekek, a hospital I had once known very well.

My youngest was in the hospital for a very long six weeks when he was a tiny baby.  I lost a lot of weight during that time, because I didn't have a way of getting food most of the time.  The visitors snack bar shut down early afternoon, and even though my son as a patient could have gotten formula, I the cow nursing mother got nothing to keep up my strength and milk supply.

A few years ago, when my parents were here for their last visit together, my father needed a check-up in the Emergency Room.  I was amazed that some charity fund kept passing out sandwiches and pastries.  This was for people just spending a few hours in the hospital.  What an improvement over that time all those years ago when I barely ate for six weeks, and I was producing milk for my baby.

And this morning, someone made the rounds with food for the patients and visitors. Things really have changed.  Yes, they have gotten better.

PS for years I've heard about the amazing Shabbat meals in Israeli hospitals offered to those staying with patients.  Nothing like that was available way back then.  I had to get food from friends or eat almost nothing.  And in case you're wondering, no, I'd rather not have the need to ever sample any of that wonderful food. 

Refuah Shleimah, A Complete Healing to all in need.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Real Me

When my blogs suddenly show a large surge in readers, it's usually because Rafi, Life in Israel has included a post in his "Interesting Posts series.  Rafi reads a lot of blogs and gives a good variety of posts for those of us who are less friendly or ambitious.

Tonight I looked at his latest selection, #348 and began reading Modern Uberdox, Secret identities and blogging.

As you must know, I blog under my real name and even use pictures of myself.  Those of the family are more discrete except for those in public life, like my husband, who also blogs as part of his identity, not hiding much.

Here's my comment to the post:
When I started me-ander.blogspot.com, I had also planned to hide my identity, but I just couldn't write what I wouldn't say under my real name. So shilohmusings.blogspot.com is more political and me-ander less so. They are different sides of the same me. Rarely I write something that could go on either blog.
Many of the bloggers I follow also blog under their own identities, although a large percentage of those who comment don't reveal their identities. What do you think?

Another Advantage of Always Having My Camera on Me, Caption This!

I should have taken two shots of this scene, since the part I left out was even stranger than the picture I'm showing you.

My Canon A620, a bit of an antique by today's standards, is too large to be discrete.  It's smaller than those big impressive professional cameras, but it's not a simple pocket camera either.  I was afraid of disturbing that guy in the window.

So, nu, how would you caption it?  Tell me in the comments, please, thanks.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Havel Havelim and My Coffee

Good morning!  Usually I post about Havel Havelim some time on Sunday, but due to my attending an Al HaPerek lecture on Elisha and Eliyahu at  Matan last night and the major time difference between Denver and Shiloh, Israel, I just saw Chaviva's Havel Havelim as my coffee percked.  So, I'm sipping and reading and blogging her very inclusive and attractive HH right now.

It's never too late to read and share Havel Havelim and all the great posts included in it.  Next week it'll be hosted by Risa at Isramom.  You can contribute links by mailing them to her.  News updates about HH can be found on our facebook page.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Talking in Shul...

Chaviva, who is probably working on the latest Havel Havelim as I type this on my keyboard-- so please keep checking her blog so you'll be the first to see it-- wrote about one of her pet peeves, talking in shul (synagogue services.)

We are supposed to "talk" in shul, but we're only supposed to "talk" to G-d. That's what prayer is.  If you ask a rabbi the straight question of whether it's important to understand the prayers or mumble gibberish, you'll be told that you should understand what you're saying.  So if you take that question one step further and ask if you should pray from translation in order to understand the prayers, and have an easier time staying focused on them, most rabbis will tell you to use a bilingual siddur, prayerbook.

Just like the children who disturb in class and are discovered to have some learning problem that makes it hard to follow the teacher, many people who talk non-stop in shul just can't relate to the prayers.  Honestly, it's better to bring a good translation and come for a shorter time.

Prayers time isn't "social" time, and if you talk, you make it harder for others to concentrate.  If you're bringing young children, make sure they have quiet toys with them, not something that will disturb others.  And when the kids get bored, go out.

Our neighborhood Shiloh shul started Junior Congregation and has had a special Children's Kiddush for years already.  There is also a playground behind the shul near the ramp to the "extra" women's section for wheelchairs and baby carriages.

There's nothing educational in taking a young kid to shul where he screams:
"I wanna go home!"

Small spiritual doses are better than tiring the patience of all.  If you want a more social experience, join the crew who sets up the kiddush while the rest of us pray.  I did that when my kids were young.  Now I'm the nasty old lady who shushes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Most Winter Days, I'd Like to Just Hibernate

I can really relate to the animals that spend the winter warmly hibernating, hiding from the cold and hiding from the food they would have to use to try to heat themselves up.  This winter is cold!  Don't let that blue sky fool you!

Thursday, dry and sunny

You can tell by the green that it's winter, but you'll have trust me about the temperature.  OK, maybe not everyone suffers from the cold as much as I do, but I do suffer.  My feet are numb.  I can't take walks most days, because the ground is so cold.  And I eat more, because I'm cold and hungry and cold and cold and freezing and keep hoping the food will warm me up.

For a few hours of the day, the sun does heat the house a bit.

We've had some sun showers recently.  Can you see the glistening rain?  I hope so.

Friday rain

I walked out during the drizzle to take that shot.  And do you know what frequently accompanies sun showers?

Rainbow, Friday afternoon before Shabbat

Yes, rainbows.  Rainbows are pretty, but you shouldn't think of them as "love letters" from G-d.  They are more like warnings that we should remember G-d's power to punish us.

The meteorologists had predicted rain from Wednesday until Shabbat. It did start raining on Wed, but then on Thursday after the Bibi-Barak team sent in their troops to Mitzpe Avichai to throw people out of their homes and destroy the property, the sun dried up all the rain clouds to punish us all.  We're one people, for good and for bad.

That Friday rainbow was a warning.

Now, how did I get politics onto this blog? Sometimes the posts write themselves.  All I had planned was a rant/kvetch about the cold.  I'm still cold!

Friday, January 13, 2012

G-d is Good!

I should make a series on this topic...

People frequently ask me how I get back home to Shiloh from work in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, when I have night shift.  Sha'ar Binyamin is a "shopping center" off of the "highway" that connects Jerusalem, Maale Adumim, Jericho,  Jordan Valley and the Benjamin and Samaria districts.  Its location is very central, as I hear from the various Jewish and Arab customers, but I can't wait for a ride home on the main road, and by the time I finish working buses don't enter. 

The store closes at 9:30pm, and then we straighten up for an average of twenty-thirty minutes before we're allowed to sign out and go home.

That means that I can't start looking for a ride among the Rami Levi customers until close to 10pm, when the store is emptying out.  The supermarket staff is very cooperative in helping us find rides to Shiloh, Ofra, Beit El, Kochav Yaakov, Adam etc.  But it can be stressful not knowing how or when we'll get home.  Some places have more of a chance for rides, because more neighbors shop in Rami Levi.  Davka, Shiloh is the most difficult, because fewer neighbors make a point of shopping there at night or making a special trip, since we're the furthest away.

There's a Jewish concept of Siyata d'Shmaya,  the Hand of G-d, and I describe my transportation system as that.  Twice in recent weeks, I saw the same neighbor checking out when I signed out after finishing my shift.  He even lives in my neighborhood, so he doesn't have to go out of his way to help me.  I don't just trust such Siyata d'Shmaya.  I usually send out an email to the Shiloh list asking that if anyone will be there or passing on the way home after 9:30pm that they give me a call.  A few times, that has helped. 

Yesterday when I was already working I suddenly realized that I hadn't sent out the email request, and I had no way of doing it from work.  I called my husband who luckily was still in his office, so he sent it out.

Just after we closed the store and started straightening up I got a call from an unfamiliar number.  They were neighbors who had just passed the Chizme checkpoint and wanted to know if they could pick me up.  I received permission to leave, grabbed my stuff, not even putting on my jacket, signed out and reached the security at the entrance to Shaar Binyamin just as they pulled in.

Yes, G-d is good, and He gave me wonderful neighbors!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Life in Israel," The View From Here

Bat Aliyah, a much more recent olah immigrant than myself, just posted a long list of the things she finds most special about living here in Israel, Eretz Yisrael, the HolyLand.  We're different generations and made aliyah decades apart.  The America I left is nothing like it is today or a decade ago.  My husband and I got married in June, 1970, and docked at Haifa Port as olim chadashim, new immigrants early September, 1970, before Rosh Hashanah.

I had to google to find this picture of myself in Maon Betar, Old City Jerusalem, 1970
That was over forty-one years ago, which is ancient history for many.  At that time, pre-internet, cell phones, fax etc, there was an enormous difference between daily life in Israel and most of the "Western world."  When we went on shlichut to do youth work in London, we discovered that some things in London were even more primitive than in Israel.  Living there (London) would have had been much harder straight from NY.  Hot and cold water came out of separate faucets, and refrigerators were the size of washing machines for example.  The Golders Green furnished apartment didn't even have a washing machine.  A couple of times a week I'd schlepp all of the clothes to a laundromat, and that included the diapers after our third daughter was born.

Back to Israel...
I can't imagine living any place else.  I don't feel "at home" in the states.

Some of my favorite things about living here:
  • being able to ask a salesperson in a housewares store instructions about what get "tovelled," (mikvah-dipped)
  • the public/school/work holidays are Jewish ones
  • Hebrew idioms are Biblical or based on Jewish Law
  • there's an inescapable feeling of solidarity
  • streets names, from the Bible, Jewish History, Land of Israel, Modern Jewish heroes and most exciting... people I've actually known.
  • unshaven men on TV, in important public positions etc because it's sefira or the "3 Weeks" or they're in shloshim (first 30 days of mourning a close relative)
  • men and women working in all types of jobs wearing religious hair-coverings
  • knowing that the rain is a blessing from G-d
And what are yours?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Me, A Feminist?

My good friend and peer, what's a few weeks after all these decades, Risa of Isramom, is tweaking her blog a bit.  She promises a new banner and changed the description. 

In the post announcing this, she wrote about the first word in that description, "feminist" and titled the post "Feminism."

I've always had this thing, negative about feminism.  I guess that's because the feminists of my youth tried to be faux men, OK, not quite in the "dykish" sense, but in their goals in life.  For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to get married and have children.  I never even thought about the next stage, being a grandmother. 

When I first heard about feminism, I got the impression that they thought it a waste of time, energy, talents.  That's a large reason for the fact that the birthrate is so low for the 1970's in America.  There should have been another baby boom when us boomers hit our twenties, but it never happened.  Many postponed maternity until it just couldn't physically happen, or they were lucky to have only one child.  And then they joined the "supermom, we can do it all" club.  In the 1970's I became a young mother and was in Israel, where having babies has always been pretty popular.

Despite my original plans, I ended up working, too.  And I ended up at times sounding like a "feminist."

Has "Feminism" has changed or have I or both?

Risa's description of Feminism fits what I consider women's rights as human beings.  Does that make me a feminist?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When I'm Walking...

Since I can't afford to join a fitness club, I must find the best and cheapest possible way to keep my muscles at least as tight as they are.  I must admit that I've lost my swim-season look.  The best deal when it comes to exercise is walking, so I walk.

Our neighborhood is pretty flat for the top of a mountain, and the general circuit is over a kilometer, about a mile.  That's how I end up taking all sorts of pictures like my "caption this" series.  I also take pictures of the building going on here in Shiloh as I walk around.

Recently I've begun listening to shiurim, Torah/Bible classes on my new toy, the Q3 my husband was given by some Korean diplomat.  Matan has all sorts of classes online for free, which I enjoy.

Some neighbors have very professional, well-planned and cared-for gardens.  Few have horrendous overgrown messes, like mine.  And some people have... well, how would you caption this?

Monday, January 09, 2012

What Can You Do With One of Those Mini-Pumpkins, aka Butternut Squash?

Too bad I didn't photograph it before cutting this "mini-pumpkin" in half.  But I think you can easily imagine what it looked like.  Like all pumpkins and related vegetables, uncut they last for months.  I honestly don't remember when I bought it, but it had to have been many months ago.

In Hebrew it's called a דלורית and the Hebrew wikipedea gives its latin name as  Cucurbita moschata. It's also known as a butternut squash.

Recently my husband noticed it and was afraid it would spoil before I'd get around to feeling "inspired."  Inspired I was last Friday when cooking for Shabbat.

As you can see from the picture, I split it in half and took out the seeds. Then I chopped up some cabbage, onion and tomato.

I added the chopped vegetables, plus some oil to the "indentations" in the squash.  Then I covered and baked it all until it seemed ready.

It's easy to make and very impressive, colorful, healthy etc.  You can stuff it with chopped meat or top with grated cheese.  There are innumerable ways of preparing the squash or similar vegetables.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Squeezing Myself Back Into HH Hosting

According to Ya'aqov, this must be #342 of Havel Havelim.  Just doing a quick calculation; it seems like this veteran weekly blog carnival must be about ten years old by now.  It was started by Soccer Dad who hung up his blogging mitts a few years ago.  He passed the buck,  the baton, the torch whatever on to Jack who has been lost in his random thoughts of late. 

Next week's Havel Havelim will be hosted by Chaviva.  To send her a link click here

So the bottom line is that HH is rather rudderless at present, but you can't hold a good blog carnival down...

Here's the spiel:
Havel Havelim is the most veteran of the jblogger carnivals and probably one of the longest running blog carnivals there is. Blog carnivals are like "floating" internet magazines. They float from blog to blog, like "floating crap games," l'havdil.

Havel Havelim, the international jblog carnival, was established by Soccer Dad, and is now run by Jack. The term “Havel Havelim” is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon, who built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other “excesses” and finally realized that it was nothing but norishkeit, “havel” or in English “vanities.” I think that King Solomon and his father King David were the original "bloggers." The books they wrote, when you take them chapter by chapter, can easily be described as blog posts. The stones they used to write on made them last, so that we can read them now. I doubt if today's technology will preserve our words for so long.

There are two other jblogger carnivals, the Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX which showcase everything about kosher food and picture posts with Jewish themes. If you're interested in hosting a KCC, please contact me, for JPIX Leora and for HH Jack.
Blog carnival has been limping along, and now for months.  It hasn't been sending out the links to the hosts, but carnival owners can still access the instacarnival, so I still recommend sending them your posts and to be double safe also join the facebook page and find out who's the next host, and then message or email the host.  And who's the next host?  Good question.  But don't let that stop you from sending us links.  Just put hh in the "subject."  I'll post a PS when I get more more news.

And now on with the show!

Let's start with the good news!  A מזל טוב mazal tov to Heshy Frum Satire Fried, who just got engaged!

LadyLight reviews Rabbi Trugman's (of Ohr Chadash) new commentary on the Torah, Orchard of Delights and really enjoyed it.
Shari blogs about her feelings living here in Israel, truth behind the headlines.
Sharon shows us security walls.  Some are even pretty!
Shoshanah complains about difficulties for handicapped olim.  If anyone can help, contact her in the comments.  She also helps needy kallot; read all about it.
Ricki's mom gives us a very important reminderHighly recommended
Read about Miriam's winter gardening.
Susan gives good advice re: antibiotics and the importance of consulting with a pharmacist.
Here's something serious from Jenifer about kids growing up.
West Bank Mama predicts war in Gaza.
It's summer time in Baleboostehland.
Miriyummy blogs about knitting not cooking this time.
Rafi G. lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh, so if you want to know what's happening from a first person perspective, check out his Life in Israel.
Here's a little halacha lesson from Leora and her new Mayor, Gary Minkoff.
I've been trying to make sense out of the new Jerusalem bus routes which aim to get force travelers to take the lightrail.
Seraphic Secret and I both blogged about turbans.  I prefer them, wrapped scarves and kerchiefs, to other hair-covering options.
Love of the Land is a good source for pro-Land of Israel articles.  Here's one by Naftali Bennett.
Elder of Ziyon tells the truth about the fake refugees of 1948.
Ruti hits the perfect note in her article about kol isha, the sound of women's voices.
How's this for a tongue twister? "Risa's red mailbox in Rechovot"
Ima 2 Seven writes of the problem in Nachlaot.
doc writes about a serious problem, choosing a guardian for her child.
Frume Sarah writes about an organization that gives a break to families who have a special needs child, Refua V’Chayim.
Paula writes about Shabbat.  I can't imagine a life without it, even though I wasn't raised with it at all.
The multi-lingual Ilana-Davita gives advice about learning a language.
Shelly's goal is Ahavat Chinan.
Our Shiputzim blogged food while fasting.
Read Pesky's history lesson.
I blogged about how healthy laughter is and the Rebbetzin's Husband wrote about the importance of 8 hugs a day.
My husband criticizes Daniel Kurtzer's policy towards Israel.  He also sees improvement in American policy.
Hadassa's kids are growing up, but she still posted about babyproofing.  Is that a hint?
The bima ima seems too busy reading to blog.
Shirat Devorah bakes challah in memory of her sister.

And let the show go on.  Please share this far and wide and visit all the blogs and comment etc. Thanks to all of you.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Trying to Make Sense of the New Jerusalem Bus Routes

From what I've been led to understand, part of the deal (spelled OLMERT?) cooked up for the Jerusalem Lightrail was the elimination of any "competing" bus routes.  That means that if bus and train go on the same road, like we now have on Sderot Herzl (Blvd.) between Mt. Herzl and Kiryat Moshe-Jaffa Street Junction, the buses will be eliminated.  In a short-sighted way, it may make sense. Why have two modes of public transportation on the very same road? 

Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with Jerusalem, you should know that the entire distance isn't more than about a mile, kilometer plus.  I've walked it many times; it doesn't take long.  It's the middle of the trip to many places for many people.  That means that if you get on the train from a "feeder bus" you're going to have to get off the train and then take another bus, if not more, to your destination. 

The more vehicles one must take to get to one's destination the more difficult, physically and emotionally etc the trip becomes.  Why else are people very willing to pay extra money for non-stop flights? Think about it!  For the elderly, those schlepping babies and young kids, packages etc, this new set-up is a nightmare.

Besides all those points I mentioned, there's the challenge of figuring out new and better ways to get places bypassing the train altogether.  I couldn't make much sense out of the ads in In Jerusalem, so I waited for the new Jerusalem bus route maps to be published on the internet.  That's right; click here, and try to figure it out and then remember the changes.

I promised an elderly friend I'd help her with this.  Wish us luck!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Jerusalem Scene, Caption This

As I was walking through Jerusalem, downtown, "center" I just couldn't resist shooting this.  How would you caption it?

Shabbat Shalom everybody...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Simple, Healthy, Low Calorie, Low Carbohydrate Vegetable Soup

Today, like on many Jewish fast days, I cooked soup.  I find vegetable soup to be the best way of breaking a fast.  Many of you know that I have a popular vegetable soup I've been making for ages.  But today, I felt like making something else. 

Since the least expensive vegetables in Rami Levi discount supermarks are carrots and white cabbage, they were the main ingredients. 

Following are the ingredients.  Sorry, but I don't give exact quantities.
  • a handful, plus of white beans
  • an onion
  • garlic
  • 4 cut carrots
  • half cabbage, cut in small pieces
  • a couple of ripe tomatoes, cut in small pieces or use tomato paste or even catsup.
  • some oil and lots of water
  • I seasoned with coarse pepper and sweet paprika, salt optional
First you have to start cooking the beans.  If you have a long time, then just leave them soaking in boiling water for a few hours; cover the pot.  If you're in a rush, boil them on the stove for ten minutes, and then cover the pot with a heavy towel for at least an hour, preferably two.  Next pour out the water from the beans and add fresh boiling water. 
  • Start cooking the beans again. 
  • add the oinion, garlic and carrots
  • add a couple of spoons of oil
  • when the carrots are getting soft, add the cabbage and tomato
  • season
  • cook covered another half hour
That's it.  I love it!  I've been eating bowl after bowl all night.

I Had Dreamt That...

I decided to go back to sleep after the alarm went off.  Well, it's fast day today, 10th of Tevet, which means that there's no coffee, water, food etc to help me wake up.  The past couple of days I had done a lot of walking.  Yesterday I walked form Shmuel Hanavi to Matan on Rashbag, via town.  And the day before I walked to the Israel Museum, also from Shmuel Hanavi after doing some errands in "Jerusalem Center."

I had planned to take advantage of today's predicted winter sun and do laundry.  I knew I must get up and put in a wash.  I dreamt that I had done it, twice actually, but when I finally forced myself up and 8am the sun was shining and the washing machine empty.

Yes, the first thing I did was... turn on the computer, and then I gathered lots of dirty laundry and started wash #1.  And now...

So now I ought to take a break from this norishkeit and get on with my day!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

You Don't Need a Hat Box...

I cover my hair for religious reasons.  According to Jewish Law, a married woman is supposed to have her hair covered.  There are all sorts of ways to do it and rabbinic opinions as to how.  And like with many of our Laws and customs, there are those who are convinced that it's a Law to be ignored.  In this picture I'm wearing a very simple flowered scarf.  I've had that scarf for twenty years.  It's rare for a hat to stay "stylish" and wearable for so many years. 

The purple scarf on the dummy in the upper picture can be wrapped like this white one.

Simple soft hats can also be dressy and easy to pack.  I really like the mitzvah of covering my hair.  It definitely is in the running to be my favorite of all mitzvot, G-d given commandments.

With a simple change in hair-covering, we can totally change our looks.  It's a lot healthier than hair dye.

Here I am with my friend Sharon Katz, after one of her performances.
For those who'd like to try scarves but "doesn't know how," there are some great instructionals on youtube. Some are for Jewish Women, some for Muslim women and others for women who have lost their hair due to illness and chemo treatments.

No doubt that there's nothing more exotic or glamorous that a turban, and you don't even have to be Jewish.

Low-Carb Latkes, Veggie Burgers

These "Low-Carb Latkes, Veggie Burgers" don't have to be reserved for Chanukah.  They can be served any time at all, even Passover or no special occasion.

*I used the food processor shredder on:
  • carrots
  • oinions
  • celeriac
  • squash
  • and one little potato
Then I mixed it with a couple of eggs, added salt and pepper and then a bit of matzah meal.

I shaped them into "patties" as you can see, dribbled a bit of oil on each, and then baked them in a medium oven until ready, cooked on both sides and inside, too.

Those at the Chanukah Party who are trying to keep their weight down were very happy with them.

*There's no such thing as exact measurements, sorry.  Choose the veggies you want, and you can add others, plus cooked/soft beans or lentils, and you need enough eggs to mix it and enough matzah meal to shape them.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

How Far Did I Walk?

Today I walked a lot, an awful lot.  Since I didn't have any shifts, and I'm angry with Egged, Jerusalem, I am reducing my bus expenses whenever possible.  Today I visited my daughter in the Israel Museum. If you haven't been there recently, you're missing a great treat.

But before I write more about the museum, this is the route I walked:
  • Shmuel Hanavi to Strauss,
  • down Strauss to Yaffo
  • Yaffo to the Erroca eye glass place on Ben Yehuda
  • Ben Yehuda to Mordechai Ben Hillel
  • Ben Hillel to King George
  • a few stores up King George to the "Ullman-Emanuel Opticians," which has a new sign on top
  • from that optician to the WC in the Horse Garden
  • Horse Garden/Park to Betzalel and all the way up over the bridge past the Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court past all the old Government Office Buildings
  • to the Israel Museum
Then, no surprise, I walked around the museum.  There are all sorts of films and benches, so I did sit a bit.  The Design Wing has nice stuff.  If you haven't been there recently, there is so much to see.

And then I walked to the Central Bus Station.

Did I walk enough today?  How far did I walk?

Too Bad I Don't Write Fiction...

Sometimes I think that it would be better for me as a "writer" if I could write fiction.  There's a bigger market; I think.  Nobody wants to pay me for my opinions, but if I could spin a tale...

Walking around the neighborhood, I spied this, shot it and thought that it would make a nice "caption this" photo.

But maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe I should be forcing myself to invent a past to the scene.  As an English Teacher I've given assignments like that.  "Make up a story" about one of these pictures.  I never make up stories.

What do you think?

Monday, January 02, 2012

I Want Those Hats!

Age shouldn't be a factor when choosing clothes, except I'd say for little kids being dressed Lolita-like.

One of my close friends sent me this film.  She has a great sense of style.  Recently I've had to assemble outfits out of clothes I've "received," since I don't have the money to buy new clothes.  It's a challenge.  I love the way some of the women in the film dress, most especially their hats!

Practicing Before Getting Back into the HH Saddle

It has been almost two years since I've hosted a Havel Havelim, so I'm just warming up, practicing. 

Havel Havelim is the Jewish Blog Carnival. What's a "blog carnival?"  I like to describe it like a floating internet magazine.  HH is one of the oldest blog carnivals still traveling the international internet.  It was established/started by Soccer Dad who no longer blogs.  Then Jack took it over, and now it's sort of floundering, so Esser Agaroth's Ya'aqov and I are trying to get it back on track.  That's why he started a Havel Havelim facebook page, which you can join.  Our big question will be how to submit your links so they'll be included in Havel Havelim.  I hope we'll get control of the blog carnival account, so the weekly host can receive the list from them.  So, in the interim, I'm requesting that you send your link to bc and fb message or email the upcoming week's host.  The info will be on the previous HH and on the fb page.  Since I'm coming out of "retirement" for next week, please email me.

So, enough with all the prelude, on with the show!  And don't forget to visit, comment etc all the blog posts included and share this post far and wide. Thanks!

I'm dreading fouling up all sorts of sign-ins because I just got used to 2011 and now it's 2012, but Chavi's happy that she's starting a new year.  The Baleboosteh, the mother of all those gems is raising wonderful children.

Read about Risa's lovely Friday in Rechovot.  I sympathize with Ricki; I can't imagine having to sleep with that thing on my head.

Israel has no peace, not even a cease-fire with its neighbors. Subscribe to QassamCount.

The Elder of Ziyon takes on Ilan Grapel.

Leora's Shepherd's Pie is very different from the one my trekker son and I used to make.  I guess I hadn't blogged about it, but we made one with chopped meat and potatoes and other veggies.

Pesky brings up a good point about the negative side of Jews only coming to Israel when dead, especially when there's no family here. What's the point?

More on the Bet Shemesh and RBS situation by Rafi, who actually lives there.  I wrote about mixed seating on me-ander and what I think of those who are fixated with little girls on Shiloh Musings.

NO, this isn't a Havel Havelim.  It's just a practice to get ready for next week.  Please visit the blogs included and share this around, thanks.