Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There's No "One Way" To Make Hamentaschen

Pre-internet, when I'd want to check a recipe, I'd take down a bunch of cookbooks, check for what I wanted in the indexes and then compare the various recipes.  Now you can quickly do it on google.  The multitude and variety of recipes for the same basic food gave me the confidence to be creative in cooking and baking.  If the experts didn't agree on how to make a chocolate cake, sometimes even offering very different versions in one cookbook, that means that there's no "one way."  My version is just as authentic/legitimate than anybody else's.

So if you'd like some more suggestions on how to make Hamenatschen, those triangular-shaped filled cookies many Jews eat on Purim, then check out Miriam's post which includes eight very unique and different hamantashen recipes.

Finally, I Did It!

I've had lots of "firsts" recently, and one of them was praying in the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Section of the Synagogue in the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.  I was pleased to see another woman already deep in her prayers when I walked in.

The wall separating the men's a women's section is just short the ceiling, so if you're looking for a synagogue to say Kaddish, The Prayer for Mourners, you can hear the men.  Whoever is in charge has made an effort to make it "useful" and "comfortable," providing a table, chairs and the right books for prayers.

A man did open the door and looked surprised to see us.  Maybe it's because he wanted to put something in this box, for geniza.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Slaying Dragons! Getting Back Into The "Black"

I'm trying to improve our financial situation.  Of course, as you know, there are two things that I must do:
  • make/earn more money
  • spend less
Making more money would be nice, but I've been a failure at marketing myself in the big earning way.  I still haven't hit it big as a diet coach, and blogging doesn't pay much, actually nothing. Even Yafiz pays more.  I don't have the physical and emotional energy to teach classes.  I'm still working on "my book" or two of them, but one must eat in the interim, and there's never any guarantee that they'll ever get published and make money.

I really can't cut down much more on personal expenses.  Food and my studies are all I spend on myself.  I've finally started taking care of trying to get my Israeli "old age pension."  That should almost double my contribution to the family budget.

Going over our expenses, I discovered that an outrageously high amount of money was going to our internet provider, Netvision.  Everyone said that it's really hard to switch. They use all sorts of excuses and legal weapons to keep us paying.  This afternoon, after sending my husband to babysit for the grandkids, I made "the call."

In the me vs Netvision, I've achieved a minor victory. First of all, I called, which was quite an emotional hurdle. The clerks were nice, all 15 or so, as they passed me like a hot potato. Finally I got someone who stayed with the job. She discovered, after I gave her all sorts of "codes" and proof that I have the right to talk business, that we're paying a fortune for two new accounts.

That made no sense to me.  Why should we have new accounts?  We're two "post-middle-aged" bloggers who just want some internet to keep us connected to the world.  The clerk agreed.  She said that she'd cancel those new accounts and investigate how we got them by "listening to the recording of the sale."  She promised to solve the mystery within 72 hours.

Then I went off to join my husband babysitting.

And then when I got back home, we had Internet, but.... more Netvision mail.

As long as the internet continues, and the monthly expenditure drops, I can live with that, because both my husband and I use gmail, too. Of course, I still don't know what the new price will be. 

As The Car Slowly Reversed in My Direction, I Wondered if...

Most of you just can't imagine what it's like to travel the way I do, "tremping," hitchhiking.  We don't have a car, and I do take buses when they come going in my direction, but there are times when the quickest and safest way is to trust G-d's siyata d'Shmaya, Power/Hand of G-d Transportation System.  That's what tremping actually is. 

Of course, I have to beware and not invite trouble.  The staff at Rami Levi is very helpful when it comes to finding me a ride after night shift.  One of the managers freaks out at the thought of us being "stranded" in Sha'ar Binyamin.  He tries to get us on our way, to either the Ma'avar Michmas gas station or to Ofra, as quickly as possible, so he can consider his job done.  I appreciate it.

The other night I had a ride to Ofra and waited at the corner on the main road.  I wait there, because the guard just inside the entrance can see me.  I wasn't waiting all that long when a car passed by going north, then stopped, then slowly reversed.  It didn't go as far as to when I was standing, and according to my safety norm, I didn't want to go too far from the corner.  I waited and wondered and waited, it could have been a neighbor or a terrorist, until...

Suddenly the door of the car opened, and a women stuck her head out and turned in my direction:

"What are you doing?  Come here quickly already!"

It was a neighbor, and they took me home, safe and sound, thank G-d!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bima Ima's "Happy Adar Havel Havelim"

This week's Havel Havelim, the Jewish blog round-up, a floating magazine of blog posts about Jewish and Israeli issues/topics is hosted by the bima ima. There's lots to read from all over, all opinions plus.

So, please give it a visit and then read as many posts as you can.  Share, of course, too.  And if you're a blogger, why don't you also send in a post.  Next week's Havel Havelim will be hosted by Paula, of the very popular A Soldier's Mother.  Mail your links to her.

And if you haven't yet taken a look the Adar Kosher Cooking Carnival is posted on Cooking Outside the Box.  For next month's edition, please send me your posts, thanks. And use the same address to volunteer to host one.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lunch to Go! Dinner, Too, And Good for Dieters!

A few weeks ago, I realized that we had an enormous amount of matzah left over from last Passover.  The minor comfort is that it's not the much more expensive shmura matzah, just the regular one.   It comes in a box with so many inner packages, that an "empty nest" couple, like me and my husband, have no chance of finishing it all over the holiday.  It's not the price of shmura but it is money spent and if it's not eaten, it's money thrown out when we really don't have a grush/cent to spare.

I started making my husband matza brei, yes, just like during Passover.  It's very easy and filling and conforms to his diet restrictions, since he's allowed bread.

And since this week he has some evening events and no time (and money) to buy dinner, I took some chicken, sliced it and made him chicken sandwiches with sliced tomatoes. 

My weight losing menu is very different.  I take sautéed vegetables to work.  For protein I usually add a spoon of sesame paste.  It's delicious and filling.  It keeps me going for hours.

The key to keeping the weight off is to be prepared with the right foods.  It's not that I'm an "organized person."  I just adopted a routine that works.  When you're feeling satisfied, after eating a good meal, you're less tempted by things you shouldn't be eating or buying.  Believe me, I am not one of those people with strong will-power, but I found ways of conquering temptation.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's "That" Time of The Year, Again, Food Inventory

Pre-Passover food inventory time.  The good news is that we hardly buy anything.  The bad news  is that however much we're saving, it won't be enough to cover Passover expenses.

Here's the freezer, already emptying out.  I didn't need to buy chicken this week.  I won't buy any until I've cooked all I have.

You may have noticed that I don't have manufactured "frozen food," nor do I have frozen vegetables.  Everything is natural and fresh in my house.

This is the only freezer we have.  We don't have a separate one.  This fridge's freezer is the largest I've ever had, too, and it stays colder than all of the others.  I don't have to defrost it.  Even the one it replaced needed defrosting, something some of you may not have ever even have done.  I sure don't miss that chore.

Any tips?

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Sensible?" Be Sensible and Study in Israel!

I get all sorts of links to all sorts of Jewish Papers via email.  Most I don't even read, barely skim the headlines and delete.  I really don't have all that much reading time.  This morning, over my Mid-eastern coffee, I saw an article in "The Jewish Star" that got me curious, "Next Year in Tel Aviv." It's by a regular columnist there, Miriam Bradman Abrahams, who calls her column "Miriam's Musings," obvious to me that there must be a connection to my Shiloh Musings, which I've been writing for many years.

Like many committed Jews living in Chutz l'Aretz, out of the HolyLand, she has harbored dreams of living here.  In her article she writes that she had wanted to, but...
"...didn’t want to return to Brooklyn. I informed my parents I wanted to move there immediately, but was sensibly told I could go after graduating from Brooklyn College."
Honestly, what's so sensible about that? If you want to live in Israel, you need Hebrew and Israeli training. The younger one gets it, the easier it is to be absorbed in Israeli society. Israel also has perfectly good world-class universities which cost less than American ones. OK, for a girl in Brooklyn, living at home, that's a price that's hard to beat at the time she was studying. But most Jewish kids have to pay much more than the reduced or free tuition for new immigrants available in Israel.

The truth is that parents giving that advice aren't stupid.  They know that the longer they can keep their kids nearby out of Israel the less of a chance that the child will make aliyah, move to Israel.  Another myth is that you should stay abroad to save money.  The Israeli economy is stronger than most, especially the American one, today.  Healthcare is universal here, and you don't have all of the expensive tuition fees.  And back to universities, most American graduates are burdened with loans to pay back before getting on with their lives.  You won't have them in Israel.

Studying in Israel is like landing on one of the special shortcuts in CandyLand.  Yes, be "sensible."

PS To Miriam,
Please don't wait until you're in your nineties to make aliyah.  At least encourage your children to study here and build their lives here.  It'll make it easier for you in the long run. 
Good Luck
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

KCC "Outside The Box"

Yosefa is the Kosher Cooking Carnival hostess with the mostest. There are lots of great recipes and articles in this month's Kosher Cooking Carnival.

I'll be hosting the next one, G-d willing, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, March 23.  If you'd like to host one, please let me know.  And if you would like to give your blog more exposure, then hosting KCC is a very good way.  Look at my left sidebar to see which of my posts hare the most viewed and you'll see that hosting blog carnivals is worth it.  It's not all that much work.  I'll help you if you need it. 

Contact me either email or facebook to send in your posts.  KCC is more than just recipes.  All sorts of articles about kosher food, cooking, Jewish Law, cookbook and restaurant reviews are welcome. We have a facebook page you're welcome to join. 

As Winter Turns Into Spring

Thank G-d, we in the HolyLand, Israel, have been enjoying a real winter.  A real winter includes rain and cold. That's why we have these scenes.

When my vinyard starts showing signs of green leaves peeking out, then we'll know that spring is really here.

Chodesh Adar Tov!  Marbim BaSimcha!

It's a holiday today, Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month of Adar, when joy increases!  Don't you feel it in the air?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Double Rosh Chodesh Adar

Just a reminder to spread the word to women to join us in Rosh Chodesh Prayers.

The Rosh Chodesh Adar Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Friday, February 24, 2012 8:30am
Shiur Torah, Short Tour & Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים ראש חודש אדר בתל שילה
יום ו' 24-2 8:30
יהיו סיור ודבר תורה קצרים
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

You're welcome to join our facebook page. Tel Shiloh is open to visitors daily. Tours can be arranged through the office. Email or phone 02-994-4019.

Party Madness? Caption This!

And who can guess where this is from?  Add more than just a "caption," thanks.

It's always useful to go armed with a camera.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Typical of What?" I Asked, But No Reply

I was dressed in my usual, scarf/turban (sounds more fashionable/exotic,) winter coat, over-sized "fanny pack," sunglasses, large earphones for listening to some Bible classes and my backpack falling off my shoulders.  It's such a pain to keep adjusting them for each jacket. And I was walking on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street when some kids stopped me.
"We're doing a project.  Would you mind posing for a picture.  We need to photograph typical Israelis."
So, I replied in the affirmative and then added:
"Typical of what?" 
They didn't answer, just shot the picture, and that was that.  But it got me thinking.  Is my picture going to appear in some Purim joke?  Maybe I won't be recognizable?

Caption These! Two For The Price of One!!

A feast for the eyes and mind. 

Here are two pictures from my wanderings around the neighborhood.  How would you caption them?  I'm just calling them #1 and #2.  Please write your ideas, captions, short stories, etc. in the comment box.  Thanks



Monday, February 20, 2012

HH at To Kiss a Mezuzzah!

Susan is back to hosting Havel Havelim and has done a great job.  Take a look, visit the posts and share!  Next week the Bima Ima will be hosting.   Submit your posts by clicking this.

Havel Havelim is a round up of blog posts from all over the world about Jewish topics and Israel.  For ongoing information and information about participation, please join our facebook page.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

We Can't Complain. We Can't Complain! We Can't Complain!!

Yes, I'm talking about the weather, the rain.  As much as we may hate those rainy days, we won't survive without them. 

Day after day without seeing the sun does get depressing.  And it also means that I must use up more electricity (money) for heating water and the house.  I also don't get to take walks and exercise.

At work, we've sold a lot of umbrellas and boots.  People keep coming in for winter clothes, which is on sale.  There's hardly anything left compared to last year.

God has given us a full winter this year so far.  It started on time, for the first time in a long time. Of course people are complaining and surprised.  I remember when winter would start during Succot, and we'd have to eat indoors, since the s'chach (succah roof) isn't made to provide much protection, except from the sun.

The rain is good for us, though periodically, we must have a break, even if we don't see the sunshine.  Now, if I can just ask G-d  to make that break when I'm walking down to the bus stop...

I'm going to end this with a request.  In the comments, please write some really great thing about the rain.  I'm going to start with:

#1- Oranges and other citrus fruit are sweetest after strong, especially early, rains.  This year, the oranges have been sweeter than they had been for many years.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

May Sound "Tinny," But Looks Gorgeous! A Short Jerusalem Walk Through Mamilla Mall, Musical Art

I wonder if anyone will look at this post. The title just isn't very attractive/catchy.

A few weeks ago I ended up walking through the Mamilla Mall. At this point, I just can't remember why I was there. But the reason isn't really important. The pictures are gorgeous, and I'm pretty sure I haven't yet posted them. Of course, if you are a facebook friend you may have seen them, because I use facebook for my blogging pictures.

Whenever I'm at the Mamilla Mall, which is right near Jaffa Gate, Old City, Jerusalem, I think of our first year in Israel.  We were living in the Old City, in the Maon Betar.  We walked Mamilla Street, the original one, to shop.  We did most of our shopping in Super Sol on Agron, which is the continuation of the street after it meets King David Street.  When we didn't need much more than milk and cheese we'd shop in Levi's makolet grocery store on Mamilla.  It was this tiny old-fashioned neighborhood grocer across from the dilapidated buildings that were destroyed in order to make the upscale shopping mall/street.  The building where Levi's store was no longer exists. It was replaced by those super-expensive apartments, referred to as ghost-owned, since most are empty a good part of the year.  The owners use them as vacation homes, instead of hotels.

The people who had lived and worked on the street when it was used as target practice by the Jordanians when they illegally held Eastern Jerusalem, 1948-67, were rehoused, "urban renewal," into instant slums in other neighborhoods.  But that's another story more suitable for Shiloh Musings...

I wonder if people who used to live there in those quaint old buildings with the gorgeous windows come back with their children and grandchildren and tell them what it was like way back when....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rainy Bar Mitzvah at The Kotel, Western Wall, Jerusalem

A few weeks ago I was invited to a Monday morning Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel.  For those who don't know, a Bar Mitzvah where/when the boy can read from the Torah, or at least say the blessings, can be done on any day of the week when the Torah is read. They are Shabbat, Monday, Thursday, Rosh Chodesh (beginning of Jewish Month) and most Jewish Holidays.

My youngest son is also a winter baby, and one of the reasons that we didn't do a "Kotel ceremony" for him was because we feared the rainy weather would make it difficult to stand outside etc.

Things have changed at the Kotel.  Now there's an indoor space further into the Kotel area that had been "undeveloped" when he was thirteen.  I followed a passage way to the Ezrat Nashim,  Women's Section.

I had no idea what to expect. 

And then I entered.  There were a few groups of women, each following a different Bar Mitzvah by watching through the windows and listening via earphones.  Yes, very high-tech, I was surprised.  My friend, mother of the boy, said they had reserved the spot, because space is very limited. 

There are comfortable seats and siddurim (prayerbooks) and Chumashim (Bibles) for those who don't bring from home.  I could follow what was going on, but my camera doesn't have a strong enough flash to photograph the Kotel and men.

Afterwards, my friend and her family set up a table with all sorts of goodies in a protected from the rain place. 

There were "holes" you could look down and see how deep the Kotel goes.

Of course, there were no complaints about the rain.  We need every drop.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach to all of you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shabbat, What Do We Eat?

My husband and I have both lost weight in recent years.  First I managed to change my way of eating and shed 15 kilo, over thirty pounds, and then he was put on a diet, which I implement (plan and prepare meals, including what to take to work etc.)  He lost even more weight than I did.  So now we're still above our "wedding weights," but neither of us are obese, and many of our peers are amazed that we are "normal" weights.  Normal means a bit overweight, but we can buy regular clothes and don't strike others as being fat.

One thing you should know is that we still eat a lot.  It's just that we restrict carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  That leaves us with lots and lots of salad and cooked vegetables.  And we both eat more fruit than we did when obese.

I was never one to serve gravies and sauces, so eliminating them from the table wasn't relevant.  They are a source of extra fat and starch.  That even includes Israeli staples like chumus and techina.  Unless I have a vegetarian guest who needs those for protein, I don't serve them with meals.

Since the protein part of the meal, fish, poultry, beef, etc contains the most fat, I don't give a choice.  There's only one protein at each meal.  It would be either chicken or meatloaf or beef etc.  When you give a variety, people take more. 

The same goes for the carbohydrate/starch of which my husband is allowed one serving, and I don't eat any, except for the challah (festive bread) which I only eat Shabbat and Holidays.

We fill and refill our plates with vegetables and salad.  I dress my salad very simply with some olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon.  That's it. No salt either. My cooking method is very easy.  I bring vegetables like these as house gifts when we're invited out for a meal.

For dessert I serve fruit.  Only rarely do I bake cakes, but I do bake or stew apples and other fruits.

Leora had asked me to write about Shabbat, so I wrote this.  And since Shabbat isn't just about eating, I must add that I'm a regular at the most veteran, longest lasting,  Torah Class in Shiloh.  We've been meeting every Shabbat for thirty years already.  It's the Shiur Nashim,  Women's Class.  I've hosted it and even led it on occasion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Finally Figured It Out!!!

You may have noticed that both of my blogs, Shiloh Musings and this one, have something new, a new "page tab" on top, under the banner.  It's "JBlog Carnival News."  Instead of lengthening the news on the sidebar, I'll be putting all the news about where Havel Havelim, Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX are/have been/will be hosted and how to contribute to them.

I'll probably keep the bare minimum on my sidebar, just the latest edition and where to send in a link. 

For a few months already, ever since I helped a neighbor set up her blog, I've been trying to figure out how to use the "pages" option.  Risa of Isramom did a lot of the work on my blogs to get them transferred to these new templates.  She's more expert than I am.  To make it all much more complicated, blogger changed the "dashboard," and things are done very differently now.

Now I know what to do, at least until they change -upgrade- it all again.  All of this to keep my senior mind sharp, constantly learning and trying to figure things out.

And to save you the job of clicking today, here's the news:

Havel Havelim-To host either contact me or check out our facebook page
Jan. 22 Havel Havelim by Isramom. Jan. 29 HH Beneath the Wings. Feb. 5 HH Israel Situation. Feb. 12 HH Esser Agaroth Feb. 19 HH To Kiss a Mezzuzah to submit post info on fb

Kosher Cooking Carnival-To host contact me
Sh'vat Kosher Cooking Carnival is at This American Bite. Adar KCC will be at Cooking Outside the Box. Submit your links to

JPIX-To host contact
March 12 at Ilana-Davita send to

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Easy Way to Deal With (Cook) Whole Chickens

Ever since I began buying those bargain whole chickens from Rami Levi, I found that my preparation time had increased much too much. At Rami Levi, cutting those bargain chickens into serving pieces cost a lot of money, making the chickens too expensive to be considered a real bargain.  I have some sharp knives inherited from my mother-in-law's kitchen, so that part of cutting wasn't the problem.  It still takes a long time and makes a big mess.

A few weeks ago, I tried a new technique.

As you can see, I just opened them up from one side,  aka butterfly, which is actually the way they come because of pre-sale cleaning and kashering.  It's always easier to carve the chicken after cooking.  This picture was taken just before the chickens made it into the oven. 

You can also make a faux stuffed chicken by putting various vegetables and "stuffing" under the chickens inside the empty space.  It may not be as impressive, but it can taste great and is easy to prepare and serve.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Strange Lingo

As you most of you know I work in Yafiz-Clothing for The Entire Family, in Sha'ar Binyamin, a shopping center north of Jerusalem.  I almost called it a "suburban" shopping center, but considering that nobody lives very close to it, at least by Israeli standards, it's more rural.  Shaar Binyamin is rather small by American standards and doesn't have a single department store.  But it does have a Rami Levi discount supermarket.  Yafiz is part of that mega-business.

We have customers of all ages, nationalities/ethnic groups and religions. And the same goes for employees.  As I've written before, it's a very strange, unexpected and possibly unusual Israeli phenomena.

Now why did I start in that mood?

I'm almost ready to start again...

Now from a slightly different angle...

Although my work-life connects me to very atypical variety of people, Jews, Arabs, Christian volunteers from Israel and all over the world, I guess that my blogging is pretty "sectarian."  My family and community life is very Torah Jewish Zionist.  I like to pride myself for writing simple articles, but a friend from work, told me that she had an awful time trying to figure out what I had written about.  She even tried some translation help and got no where.  Suddenly I knew what article she had been trying to understand.

"It was about jblogs and jbloggers, right.  Those words aren't in any dictionary.  I doubt if blog carnival or Havel Havelim are either.  That was in my previous blog post.  No wonder my blog isn't all that popular.  I write posts that few people can understand and relate to. 

So I explained that jblogs are blogs by jbloggers, Jews who blog, about Jewish or Israeli topics.  I'll try to explain what a blog carnival is.  Giving these explanations isn't easy.  I tried to explain KCC and JPIX, too.  I guess I speak/write in strange codes, strange lingo to those who aren't involved.

I also write about Jewish issues, holiday,  etc.  That's who and what I am.

Sorry if I bore you.  But then again, if you find this boring, you wouldn't be here.

HH Post TU B'Shvat and "Post-BC"

As winter here in the HolyLand comes to a close, those of us jbloggers who still treasure Havel Havelim, Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX have to deal with the fact that blog carnival, the free service that had been facilitating all sorts of blog carnivals, no longer functions fully.  For the past few weeks, we've been looking for new ways of sending and collecting posts for the carnivals.  I know that there's lots of action on the jblogging front, but fewer and fewer bloggers are sending in posts.  Now we've been using facebook and not all jbloggers facebook.

Enough of the introduction.  Esser Agaroth is one of those who has been contributing in all ways, and here's his latest Havel Havelim.  Just CLICK HERE.  It may not be as large as in former times, but it's just as interesting.  Check out the posts, comment and share.  And send in your posts, if you're a blogger (or anything you may think relevant) to Susan (via facebook messages) of To Kiss of Mezzuzah who is hosting next week's edition.

I've been trying to keep HH, KCC and JPIX news on my blogs, on the upper left sidebars.  I hope to get the info on inner pages, too.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yummy, Filling Tuna Salad

A few weeks ago, when I needed to find a nice place for an early dinner with my niece and nephew in Jerusalem, I noticed something called "Bleaker Street" near Zion Square.  It had a nice selection of "business lunches" served until 5pm and we were going to meet just before five.  It does pay to have an early dinner.  At least I was hungry for dinner.  They just wanted a snack.

The "business meal" included a free soup, perfect for the chilly winter day.  If I remember correctly, they had onion soup and I had the mushroom.  Both soups were excellent, not filled with fattening fillers of oil (fake cream) or starches.

My main course was the tuna salad.  Rare for me, I couldn't finish it.  I asked for the left-overs to be packed along with the rolls that nobody ate.  My husband got the remaining food as his lunch the next day.  The three of us couldn't finish it all and only the salad, two soups and four large rolls (no extra charge) had been served.

I hope to return to eat there, since it was a good deal and very tasty.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Danger of Flying Glass

A couple of weeks ago we had a neighbor for the Friday night Shabbat meal.  She commented that she no longer uses the glass holders we use, because one of hers exploded.

"Nothing like that ever happened to me," I responded.

On Shabbat, as happens on occasion, two of the candles stopped burning, so I lit them later in the week.  One was very stubborn and it took a few matches to get it burning again.  And of course pieces of matches stayed burning with the candle.

You can see the pictures so you're not surprised that suddenly one of the glass cups broke very loudly.

Nobody was sitting there or nearby, and we don't have little kids or dogs or cats crawling around, so thank G-d nobody was injured.  It was a weekday and I was home alone.  It could have been the burning flame from the match that caused it, but I have dropped matches in before without any problems.  Or after years of use the glass weakened and cracked, but too fine for me to notice.

I had trouble with exploding glass cups a number of years ago on Chanukah when I used to use oil over water.  I stopped that and only burn the oil without raising the level with water.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Goofed It , I Guess

Never say never.

I never intentionally leave wash out when it may rain and I'm not home. That is pretty true.  For some strange (read: stressed-out) feeling I miss-timed/judged things yesterday.  When I was home, the weather was "spring," meaning dry.  I did a wash and hung it out.  Then I had to rush to work, so I only took in one thing.  Of course, a la Murphy's Law, I waited about twenty minutes for the bus, so I could have taken it all in and done some other chores, too, but... other days the bus came just as I made it to the bus stop--same time.

And when I got home from work, I didn't have the energy to go out in the cold and dark to take it  in.  It was so very dry, who could think of rain?  And what did I hear in the morning as I woke up? Yes, rain.

It has been raining on and off all morning, and I even put a wash in the machine which will probably have to be hung in the house, not the nicest way to decorate.

Call that my kvetch of the day.  Sorry

And of course, there are some of you who just can't imagine living sans clothes dryers.  We do have one, a small inefficient one, just as bad as my washing machine which doesn't do a great spin.  But I must admit that the slow spin is much better for my clothes.  I can launder almost anything without destroying it.  That's a money saver for sure.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Food Labeling, Important for Parties, Guests and Selling

A few weeks ago, I was at a party in which these cookies were served.  I was overjoyed to see the very clear and noticeable "dairy" label.

By looking at them, you wouldn't have any idea that they are dairy.  There are many reasons that people should be warned about dairy and other ingredients.  One is allergies.  More and more people are discovering that their bodies just can't handle dairy, wheat, peanuts, other nuts, types of fish, nightshade vegetables, which includes paprika etc.  Chaviva's blog frequently posts about gluten-free food among a large variety of topics.  Food restrictions aren't just the concern of the "natural health" club.

Jewish Law for bids the cooking/eating of dairy and meat/poultry products together and requires a long waiting time after meat/poultry before eating dairy.  Hidden dairy is a real problem.  That's why many Torah observant Jews don't use any dairy in baking besides for a cheese cake.  Breads are supposed to be non-dairy, too, because dairy breads look exactly like their parve, non-dairy/meat versions.  In many countries in which milk/butter in those products are the norm, one has to be extra careful to check even when there's kosher certification.  Dairy can be kosher, but it's forbidden with or after meat/poultry meals.

A few years ago when my kids planned my husband's 60th birthday at a dairy restaurant, they specifically chose "grilled vegetables" to be part of the menu for the lactose intolerant (sensitive/allergic to dairy) guests.  When the party was over I was told by the management that I could take the left-over food home, since it was a buffet.  Most of the food was obviously dairy, and I asked if the grilled vegetables were baked in a dairy or parve oven. 

"They're not parve at all," I was told.  "The secret ingredient for their delicious taste is that we sprinkle some yellow cheese on before baking."


For health and religious reasons, we should never take anything for granted and should always do our utmost to investigate what's in the food we're being served.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A TU B'Shvat "Caption This!" Plus

I actually took the photo a few weeks ago.  Yes, another example of why it's so important to always be "armed" with my camera.

I'm blogging TU B'Shvat more than actually celebrating it in the more conventional or modern sense.  I blogged it yesterday, too. Last night I was working and couldn't attend the neighborhood TU B'Shvat Seder. 

I had totally forgotten about it when I submitted my "work possibilities" to my boss.  We were so busy the entire shift, I barely had time to eat the minimum I need to function.  The others in the shift let me leave before all the straightening up was done, because a neighbor offered to take me home, and it was already the time we usually finish.  People are still coming in to buy at the great prices of the end of winter sale, although we still have winter weather.

One of the big changes in Israel is that today the stores, especially the chains, run real sales.  Our top "name brands,"  aka המותגים hamutaggim are three for the price of one, and the other winter clothes are NS5 for the second item.  That's Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, in case you're interested.

My TU B'Shvat celebration plans were to "gorge" on dried fruit with my friend as she drove me to Ofra on the way home.  We picked up a small package for NS9.90 at Rami Levi, just enough for two fruit-lovers.  I wanted to treat her, since she gives me rides whenever we work together, but since I went with a neighbor she told me to take it.  I ate some when I got home and will bring the rest to Matan to share with my study partner.

And what have you been doing to celebrate TU B'Shvat?

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

TU B'Shvat, What to Do and What It's About

In some ways TU B'Shvat is my favorite holiday.  I love fruit of all kinds.  So, why did I agree to work tonight, on TU B'Shvat, when I could have have been attending my neighborhood celebration?  Good question.  I'll have to make up for it by blogging.

First, let's start with Dry Bones classic, from the year we moved to Shiloh.  Actually TU B'Shvat, 1981, was my first visit to Shiloh.  I went with some good friends and our daughters, all the same ages to check it out as a potential place to live.  We planted trees near the old industrial zone, near Tel Shiloh.  Few of those trees survived, since water was at a premium at the time, being trucked in much too infrequently. 

That TU B'Shvat 31 years ago, we met a few Shiloh families and I decided that Shiloh was the place for us.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made, Baruch HaShem, thank G-d.

Check out Leora's TU B'Shvat post, a round-up of articles and reflections on the holiday.  Also read Shirat Devorah's comprehensive 7 species post.

And some TU B'Shvat food for thought from Ya'aqov about dried fruit.  As much as I love dried fruit, I must admit that he's totally on target here.  Read and comment, thanks.

Please don't forget that TU B'Shvat, like all other Jewish Holidays pertaining to the Land, weather and agriculture, are actually reminders of the centrality of the HolyLand for the Jewish People.  This isn't about general ecology; it's celebrating the Land G-d Gave to the Jewish People, ארץ ישראל Erertz Yisrael, The Land of Israel.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Reflecting, Lucky Shot

There are times I feel that G-d has aimed my camera and planned the shot.  This one is an example.

At some time in the future, G-d willing, bli neder, I'll post more from that visit to the Kotel in Jerusalem's Old City.  I walked from the center of town, having a couple of hours to kill and nothing to do.  So I figured that it would be a good idea to go, even though I knew I'd be there soon for a Bar Mitzvah.  But a Bar Mitzvah isn't the same as just being alone at the Kotel, with G-d and my prayers.  That day was just perfect.  I took the path I've always taken, except for the year we lived in the Old City.  I love walking on the road in the inside of the walls.  You can just keep focusing on Har HaBayit, The Temple Mount.

Sometimes I need the "solitary" experience to feel attached to G-d.  It's funny, but I don't remember much else about that day or why I had that free time.  I'm glad that I have the pictures on which to build memories...