Monday, April 30, 2012

Life's A "Magic Mystery Tour"

Yesterday was one of those well-planned days that didn't quite go as planned, but no complaints.  I really think life is a "magic mystery tour" planned by G-d with secret and surprising itineraries.  It's up to us how we react to the unexpected.  We can kvetch and rant or just hold onto our hats and let it take us to wherever...

Yesterday I held onto my hat with a big smile, like some kid in an amusement park.  When you have no control over things, it's so much better just to enjoy, like dance improvisation, my most favorite part of Creative Dance, at least the way I used to teach it.

I'm not going to go into details about all my plans and how they didn't quite pan out, but by deciding that whatever happened was the best possible result I had a great time, really.

To give you a taste, I had planned my day to suit two rides from neighbors, one to Jerusalem and one back home to Shiloh.  Since the ride to Jerusalem left later than expected I managed to do my nails and other important chores.  And since the way I had planned to get to the ride home couldn't work out, I had to figure out another spot to meet her.  I decided on the bus stop in Pisgat Zeev, near the traffic lights.  I got there a bit early and while I was trying to let her know where to find me, suddenly my daughter pulled up on her way home to Ofra.  We had a fantastic unplanned visit.  Then when I got off at Ofra, I saw a young (almost everyone is younger than I am) neighbor waiting for a ride, too.  She greeted me with:

"I hope you'll bring us luck."

And a second later a ride came that dropped us off at the main Shiloh Junction.  A second after that another ride came that dropped us off at the Shvut Rachel-Shiloh Junction where a number of people were waiting and the winds were blowing. 

"Let's walk," she suggested; so we did.
We talked, catching up on family news, the entire way from Ofra until we parted company at the Shiloh Park.  I hardly took a dozen steps up the hill when another ride came and took me home. 

That certainly wasn't the day I had planned, but it was great.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Debut Havel Havelim, No Crisis

Yocheved Golani has taken the plunge and has joined the list of Havel Havelim hosts.  This is the first time she has hosted a blog carnival, and she has done a fine job. Please visit and share.

Havel Havelim is a weekly round-up of blog posts about Israel and/or Judaism.  For more information about hosting etc check out our facebook page.  Next week's host blog will be  Beneath the Wings.

HH isn't the only jblog carnival.  The Kosher Cooking Carnival comes out monthly. It includes posts about all aspect of kosher food and kosher cooking.  Next month's edition, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, May 22 will be hosted by Ilana-Davita.  Please send your links via blog carnival.  If you'd like to host an edition, please contact me.  KCC also has a facebook page.

There's a third jblog carnival, JPIX, which comes out a few times a year.  Send in your links via blog carnival.  The next edition will be hosted by its coordinator, Leora of HP.  And JPIX also has a facebook page.

And if you still don't know what I'm talking about.  Blog carnivals are like magazines, and the hosts are the editors.  Enjoy

Special Delicious Bonus

On Israeli Independence Day, Yom Ha'Atzma'ut,  we visited family and feasted on all of the delicious food prepared by all.  Though I must say that I controlled myself and didn't have the irresistible Yemenite pittot brought from that side of our very varied family.   After the cooked food, we treated ourselves to bags of fruit, which we're still enjoying.  This year's blessed rain caused a great harvest, thank G-d!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Real Life

Do you think this is a "real life" blog?  It's meant to be one.  This is about me and what I do and my life and all.  I guess it's pretty boring, because real life is pretty boring.  Here and there some unexpected for good and bad things do happen, but on the whole,  it's really a bore, rather dull.

You could say that life is like a hollyhock.  It has its ups and downs.  Sometimes the flowers are so tall and impressive and sometimes they're awfully stunted looking like these.  And some of the posts here are popular and others have barely been glanced at.

Sorry to bore you...

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Gift of Sleep

I think I wrote a few months ago that for just the very first time in my very long life (I get senior discounts, so I'm not being sarcastic) I slept through my alarm.    It has happened a couple of times recently.  For me that's a very traumatic failure.

Yesterday I set the alarm to wake me up at 5am this morning, so I could leave for work around 7am.  At some point I found myself waking up but didn't hear the alarm.  I figured it was early, but after a few minutes or more I decided to check.

I let out a scream; it was almost 6:30.  How was I going to get out safely at a time that would make it feasible to catch a ride and get to work on time?

Contrary to my normal morning routine, I was a hysterical nervous wreck and couldn't find everything.  It took me so long, but I still somehow got out around 7:15 after even eating breakfast, showering dovening etc.  I took my coffee in the Thermos, since I figured that I'd be totally incompetent sans the magic potion.

I waited for a ride, took one to the next "stop" and waited there, since cars from Shvut Rachel stop there, too.  Within a few minutes a ride came.  The driver didn't really want to drop me off on the road by Sha'ar Binyamin, but he had mercy and agreed.  No, I didn't argue with him; I just stood there looking old and pathetic.

On the way it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I hadn't slept through the alarm.  Maybe I hadn't reformatted the alarm setting on my phone.  I had cancelled Friday before the last day of Passover, so it wouldn't disturb everyone.  I checked, and I was right, so I reformatted it to go off on Fridays.

So, what must be the message of this story?

G-d decided that I needed more sleep.  I got to work on time without any problems, even though I had left home late.  And I survived even without my usual leisurely water and coffee and computer time.

That hour and a half of sleep was a gift from G-d, a very valuable one for sure, Baruch Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thanking G-d for Israeli Independence

Here are a few pictures I took last night at the main Shiloh shul during the Yom Ha'atzma'ut Independence Day Prayers:

In Shiloh we pray Hallel with a bracha/blessing on Israeli Independence Day.  The main synagogue fills to capacity for the nighttime prayers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

National and Public Mourning

It's Israel's Memorial Day today.  I think that every Jewish child growing up in Israel understands what it means in a way that I never understood about American Memorial Day.  First of all, it's connected to Independence Day to make it very clear that only due to the sacrifices of those killed in our wars and terror attacks do we have a State of Israel.

That's a very important lesson.  We must pay for our independence as a state.  This isn't some fuzzy, drug induced "Imagine..."  John Lennon got it all wrong, and all of those who praise that song aren't really listening.  If there's "Nothing to kill or die for," there's nothing to live for either.

I'm proud to be living in a country that reminds us all of the time that our lives here came at a great expense.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Sipping From the Nile

I enjoyed reading Sipping From the Nile by Jean Naggar even though I couldn't keep track of her various relatives, all very fascinating people with long histories and connections. 

I kept thinking that the book really needed some family trees and charts; I only discovered that it does have them when I finished the book.  They are at the end, instead of the beginning.  I would have found the author's stories easier to follow if I had checked the family trees as I read.

Naggar really tells the story of her family, all of the various branches and their lives and histories in Egypt.  In the mid-1950's when life for Jews, even the wealthiest and most connected in Egypt becomes impossibly difficult they are forced to find a way to leave and start anew.

Sipping From the Nile is the second such memoir I've read in recent months.  When I was in the states, I was lent a copy of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World by Lucette Lagnado, which although takes place at the same time and has some similarities is a very different story.  I wonder if the two authors know each other.

Both Naggar and Lagnado grew up in large Cairo homes ruled by grandmothers and other elderly relatives.  And both their mothers could only expect to run their homes when their own mother-in-law is unable.  That is the custom in many parts of the world where multi-generational families/clans live together.  From the perspective of their later lives in America, they feel sorry for their mothers whose roles are very different from those of a modern American wife and mother.  But in the reality of that time in Egypt, in the upper class, the early married years were when the wives learned, were trained, in how to run their homes according to custom.  Naggar's mother also had to contend with an older and powerful spinster sister-in-law.

Just like many times in Jewish History, wealthy comfortable and well-connected Jews have trouble predicting that it's time to leave their familiar home.  This happened in Germany and the rest of Europe in the 1930's, Spain in the late 1400's etc.  History mavens can add more examples in the comments

Many of us are warning that even the United States, where both Naggar and Lagnado found refuge may not be the safest place for Jews in the future.  In terms of finances, the USA is no longer a sure bet and the savvy are looking elsewhere for financial opportunities.

Another common thread in both books is how the families deal with the illegality of transferring money out of Egypt when they are planning their moves.  Both have trunks full of new clothes sewn for them to take to where in their new lives and new homes.  The biggest difference is that while Loulou Lagnado's family transport the trunks from home to ever-shrinking apartments, they never open the trunks nor wear their elegant Cairo clothes, Jean Naggar's family does.

By the time Lagnado's once powerful father makes it out of Egypt, he is already too old and sick to remake their lives in any semblance of their former one.  In contrast, Naggar's clan reclaims their international upper-class standing in both Europe and America.

 Sipping From the Nile by Jean Naggar is a story of survival.  It's a very powerful book.  No doubt that wherever they could have gone to, they would have succeeded.  Some families are like that.  Yes, I do recommend reading the book, actually reading both for the contrast and hope to read Lagnado's second book, The Arrogant Years: One Girl's Search for Her Lost Youth, from Cairo to Brooklyn which concentrates on her mother's story.  And when you do read Sipping From the Nile be sure to remember that you can keep checking the family trees at the end of the book to keep track of all the family ties.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blog Visiting, Be Friendly

I haven't done this for awhile, but it's needed.  I don't like to commit to a Havel Havelim, and I do host Kosher Cooking Carnival when there are no other volunteers.  There are so many fantastic blogs out there; maybe you missed something...

So here are a few suggestions.  Of course, please read, comment, share and tell them I sent you!  Enjoy!

Last night a non-blogger friend who reads blogs and I were talking.  She said:

And whoever thinks that all this computer stuff is only for the young doesn't know what's happening.  Yaakov Kirschen, Dry Bones is even older than I am and he handles all the technology just fine.

Dry Bones

Sunday, April 22, 2012

KCC for Iyyar, Israeli Independence Day!

This month's Kosher cooking Carnival is an Adventure in Mama-Land.  Jennifer gave it a Winnie the Pooh theme.  As you can see, the illustrations are adorable.  Please visit and share and comment.

You're invited to participate in KCC by sending in links about kosher cooking and food, all aspects.  Send here, please.  And use the same if you'd like to host an edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival which is scheduled monthly on Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month.

Please join our facebook page for more information, thanks.

Marina's Debut Havel Havelim!

Presenting the very first Havel Havelim on A Letter from Israel by Marina.  It's highly recommended that you visit, share and comment on all the posts included.  She did a great job.

Later on today, G-d willing, Jennifer will be posting the next Kosher Cooking Carnival, making this  a big day on the jblogging calendar.

Both carnivals have their facebook pages which are worth joining.  Please do so you'll be easily updated on how to participate.

Havel Havelim facebook page is here, and the Kosher Cooking Carnival is here.

And don't forget JPIX!

Bloggers, you should know that hosting and participating in the carnivals are good ways to give your blogs more exposure.

Chodesh Tov!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chodesh Tov! A New Month!

The Jewish Calendar is based on the moon, and you may have noticed that the moon is a sliver in the sky tonight, as it will be tomorrow, too and then gradually get larger.  Just like how our days start at night when the sun goes down and darkness takes over, the new moons/months also start in the dark.

For the past few years, I've made it a point to go to Tel Shiloh, the location of Biblical Shiloh, just barely two kilometers from my house, just over a mile, and pray there.  For close to four hundred years, Shiloh was THE LOCATION FOR JEWISH PRAYER.  The precursor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was the Mishkan Tabernacle in Shiloh. 

Shiloh is a holy place.  Join us if you can.

The Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh

Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:30am

Shiur Torah, Short Tour & Torah Lesson

Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים ראש חודש אייר בתל שילה

יום א' 22-4 8:30

יהיו סיור ודבר תורה קצרים

נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

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

Friday, April 20, 2012

Caption This!

I loved the juxtaposition of all the things. That's one of the reasons I think it's important to always be armed with my camera.

Nu, what story would you tell about the picture?

Add your caption in the comments, thanks.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Bus Stop- Good News vs Bad News

We (the Mate Binyamin/Shomron) bus travellers have a new bus stop.  It is good news for some, but the reason for it is bad news.  In order to alleviate the crowded departure area in Jerusalem's Central Bus Station, some of our buses will only be leaving from this new stop.  It's about a kilometer from the bus station, so if someone goes to the Egged CBS, they either have to take a long walk or another bus to catch the bus.  Yes, of course that means that they'll miss the bus they had planned on taking.

It's across from the "Ganei Geula" housing development, by the corner of Yermiyahu and Bar Ilan, near Shamgar.  Maybe the pictures will help you figure out where it is:

It's not a pleasant place to wait, nor is there enough room when two or three buses arrive at once.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jerusalem Skyline

Construction and that string bridge.  Yes, isn't that so typical of the Jerusalem skyline?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bilingual Kids and Parenting

There's a nice little article in the Forward about a couple's attempt to raise their daughter bilingual in English and Hebrew.  Here's my experience with bilingualism:

Our kids are all bilingual.  I've always spoken to them in English.  We live in Israel, and my eldest only learned Hebrew when she was three and went to gan, that's nursery school.  I was sure that she had picked up some Hebrew by osmosis, just hearing some around.  But she didn't.  Her only lasting memories of that first year was a feeling of incomprehension.  By the end of the year, she actually was fluent in Hebrew as was her younger sister. 

They were completely bilingual when we went off on shlichut to London at ages two and four.  Then they lost it.  Their Hebrew that is.  My husband was supposed to speak to them in Hebrew, but he couldn't/didn't.  My Hebrew wasn't as good, and I never knew all the great little Hebrew songs one sings to little kids. I know them in English. 

Two years later, when we returned to Israel, neither girl remembered much Hebrew even though they had gone to a Jewish school which was supposed to teach them some Hebrew.  It didn't take them all that long to catch up.  In no time they seemed comfortable and fluent in both languages.  The younger children heard both Hebrew and English and were never at a disadvantage at school.

There were times when their spoken English seemed to disappear, but I spoke to someone who had been raised bilingual in the states.  His family used Hebrew at home, while the outside life was in English.  That's mirror image of what we were doing.  He told me that he had gone through a stage when he hardly spoke Hebrew, but then it came back, so I shouldn't worry. 

And that's what happened.  When my kids wanted their English to be good they found the words.

Over the years I've seen lots of articles that say that being raised with more than one language is good for the mind's development, and it makes it easier to learn additional languages.  I'm glad I've given my children the gift of English without having to learn it as a foreign language.

Signs of Life

Spring and Fall are very short seasons here in Israel.  One day it's wintry cold, then it's too hot and dry, then we need coats and sweaters and then it's hot until suddenly, the sweaters haven't been worn for a week or more.  Now, we're at the tail end of the cycle I think.  Of course there have been years with strong rainfall and even storms after Passover, even after Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day which is about two weeks after the end of Passover.

You can tell when spring is here by the flora.  This year, my rather pathetic stunted apple tree even shows signs of life.

Whether or not apples will grow from it is still a mystery, but there are leaves and a blossom or two.

Here are a couple more impressive trees and plants growing in my Shiloh neighborhood:

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Matzah HH, KCC News and More!

Susan of To Kiss a Mezuzah posted Havel Havelim #355.  Since not all of the regular participants posted over Passover, it's a bit thin, like a matzah, but it's definitely worth reading.  Next week's HH will be at  Marina-A Letter From Israel; submit articles here, thanks.  For ongoing information about Havel Havelim, please join our facebook page.

And next week, Rosh Chodesh Iyyar will also herald the next Kosher Cooking Carnival which will be at Adventures in Mama Land; send posts to Jennifer.  If you'd like to host one, please contact me  and join our facebook page, too.

Since I've mentioned Rosh Chodesh, I'd like to invite you to Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh, too.

The Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh

Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:30am

Shiur Torah, Short Tour & Torah Lesson

Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים ראש חודש אייר בתל שילה

יום א' 22-4 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 Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh office. Email or phone 02-994-4019.

Tel Shiloh has new paths and is more accessible for those who have trouble walking.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

National Laundry Day

I used to write humorous articles under the name of "Baile Rochel."  They were published in "CounterPoint" a pro-Jews in Land of Israel newspaper that came out a number of times about twenty-five years ago, edited by Rochel Katsman and my husband.  It was Rochel who encouraged me in writing for it, and who knows if I would be writing today if it weren't for her.  After I started blogging I wrote of few more Baile Rochel articles which can be found in the Baile Rochel tab on me-ander.

A few years ago, I wrote Thank G-d I'm Not a Washing Machine!, because it was one of those days on the Jewish Calendar when most of us Torah observant housefraus are busy washing laundry, because it had been forbidden the previous week or more.  We're not supposed to do more than the most urgent laundry, such as diapers, (when my kids were babies they wore cloth diapers,) during Chol HaMoed, the in between days of Succot and Passover and also during the days leading up to Tisha, (the 9th of) b'Av.  So, today is the spring version of that "holiday."  The sky just doesn't look right.  It looks like we're going to have one of those post-Pesach dust storms, which is very common here in the HolyLand.

These seasonal sandstorms are the reason I think it's unseasonal to wash windows before Passover.  I didn't know about sandstorms before I became Israeli.  They just don't have them on Long Island, New York.

If I had known in advance about the sandstorm I would have had made different plans for today.  I'll just do two washes and take them in quickly to reduce the sand.  And I'll hang as much as possible in the house.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Mountain Out of a Mole Hill, Herodian

This Passover, we went south.  We joined my cousin and her husband for a road trip to Herodian and Gush Etzion.  Three years ago I toured Herodian with my Matan touring course and remember learning that the reason Herodian stands out so clearly in view is that Herod's massive palace was built on a man-made mountain.

From Herodian you can see Jerusalem and lots of nearby yishuvim in the distance.  It's hard to imagine how many thousands of workers and how long it must have taken to build it all.  And think of the complex technical, engineering planning.  It was all done in the head, no computers and no easy way to carry around and distribute the instructions and plans.

Like at Tel Shiloh, Shiloh HaKeduma-Ancient Shiloh, there was a Biblically inspired play, with clever references to ancient history, trivia and current affairs.

They were also set-up for crafts, though nobody was participating when we were there.

We were in Herodian in the morning, and I'm sure it was more crowded in the afternoon.  Actually, if we had arrived any later, we would have had to have parked far from the entrance, and there's no shuttle.  You have to walk a lot at Herodian, which is neither shady nor green.  I'm used to the park-like Tel Shiloh.

We found it interesting, but there isn't much to do at Herodian.  It's easier to make a day of it at Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh.  At Tel Shiloh there's a coffee shop-craft store, and during the holidays many more activities are available.  Also the WC's and picnic facilities are within the tourist area.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's More Than Just Selling Clothes

I trust that it's known that I work in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, the clothing for the entire family store that is part of the Rami Levi chain/business. 

Even though I'm just a part-time worker, many customers feel they know me and expect to see me when they come to shop.  It's amazing how many customers I know from other parts of my life.  One of the true bonuses of the job is seeing people, new and old friends and helping them to find just what they need in the store.

Last night a young many rushed in, calling to me as he passed:

"They were just perfect.  I'm here to buy more."

For the life of me I couldn't remember who he was or what he had bought, but he obviously remembered me.  As soon as I could I went to look for him and I saw him next to the women's cotton shirts.  I immediately remembered the story.  He had come in a few days before looking for something for his wife to wear in the hospital while awaiting the birth of their child, or possibly a multiple birth.  I hadn't asked for more details than that.  She didn't want to live in pyjamas, so he had been sent to get some comfortable tops.  Of course, he couldn't describe her size and I had the feeling that he had never bought her clothes before.

I'm glad he returned happy and wished them all good health.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wishing for Something Special

When I was growing up, chickens were always bought "whole," and there were a few favorite parts, the drumstick and the wishbone.  For a family of five, there aren't enough drumsticks, and there are fewer wishbones.

Whoever found themselves with a wishbone could do the wishbone wish with a partner.  The wishbone is that two-pronged bone in the picture.  Two of us would each hold an end of the bone, make a wish and then break it.

Whoever found him/herself holding the larger piece "would have her/his wish come true."  At least, that was the legend we were raised with.  I have no memory of what I used to wish for.

It's funny that although I've been buying whole chickens from Rami Levi (great low prices) for months, just this week, during Pesach, did I find a wishbone on my plate.  There was nobody else at home, so I couldn't share it for a wish.

Usually, I carve up the chicken well before cooking it in the oven. But for Passover, there's no meat oven, and I cook it whole in a pot on the stove.  As soon as I saw that wishbone my plate, all those childhood memories flooded my mind.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Why Is This Passover Different From Most Other Passovers?

A quiz for you, or a חידון as they say in Hebrew.

Nu?  Do you know the answer or think you do?  Please answer in the comments.

This isn't a hint, just a mess, sorry.

Simple Shade, It's Summer Already!

This year, for the first time in a long time, we had a full winter of rain. It continued raining almost until Passover.  I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to dry the laundry outside on my days off, but then suddenly the rain ceased.  And when my son showed up for the seder, among the other repairs and chores he did for us, he put up the shade over the merpeset, balcony/terrace.  I had asked him to buy it a few years ago.  It's some black fabric that lets in air and keeps out the harsh sun.  Having it up, easily hung on the succah supports-which he also rebuilt a half a year ago, makes the merpeset  a heavenly place on a hot, sunny summer's day.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Suddenly Summer, Soon Iyyar

Here in Israel we've gone from winter to summer in just a matter of days.  I got my son to put up the shade on the merpeset, terrace/balcony.  And I'm certain that these lovely flowers, photographed at Tel Shiloh, on the Eve of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, just over two weeks ago have already dried out.

Most probably the natural greenery at Tel Shiloh will already be drying out on Rosh Chodesh Iyyar when we meet there for Women's Prayers.

The Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Sunday, April 22, 2012 8:30am
Shiur Torah, Short Tour & Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים ראש חודש אייר בתל שילה
יום א' 22-4 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 שילה הקדומה Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh office. Email  or phone 02-994-4019. There are special activities for the entire family this Passover week, Sunday-Wednesday, 8am-6pm.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Recycling in Shiloh, Garbage Sorting

Garbage collection is different all over the world.  When my father was living with us, he'd ask about the big green "frogs," as they're referred to in Hebrew, scattered around our Shiloh neighborhood.  I'd explain that they're for garbage.  During the time he lived with us, we also got a large receptacle in the neighborhood for plastics, the first recycling location in Shiloh.

He was used to each house having a number of "garbage cans." Each garbage can, color-coded, was for a different type of garbage.  There was one for paper and plastic and one for everything else.  Since there were raccoons and cats or whatever that were attracted to the garbage, my parents had to be very careful how they closed the cans.  There were special spring locks the animals couldn't open.  The problem was that my elderly parents also had trouble with them, too. 

They also had to remember the garbage pickup schedule and remember to have the correct bin in the front of the house or it wouldn't get emptied.

Our garbage routine is easier.  The containers are in central locations, so we don't have to store the garbage and move around large bins.

Not long ago, paper and carton recycling containers were put near the plastic one.  And now some neighbors set up large bags for tin and metal to be recycled.

Can you guess who had just dumped those coffee tins?

Friday, April 06, 2012

Thank G-d, Baruch Hashem, G-d is Great!!

I have so much to thank G-d for.  Don't you?

Yes, I know it's easy to complain.  It's probably easier to complain than it is to see the good.  Black is more effective for covering than white.

Now, does this picture make you happy or do you feel that it's a lot of nerve that the neighbors are cluttering the sidewalk instead of keeping their garbage in their homes?

I must tell you something.  This mess proved how merciful G-d is.  I'm the type who's pretty good about keeping track of things, all sorts of things.  Sometimes I foul up.  OK, I admit that I'm human, far from perfect.

The other day I walked down the hill to the local grocers.  I put my cell phone, keys, camera and picket diary (yoman) in my pockets.  I didn't buy all that much, so I divided my purchases into two bags and began carrying them all back home.  On the way, a neighbor gave me a ride.

Later on in the day I couldn't find my yoman. I checked every place possible in the house and my pockets.

Over the next few days we asked at the grocers but didn't see the car in which I had been driven home.  I kept reciting "kappora," like a mantra.  This should be instead of something more serious, instead of death, injury or illness.  "It's just a yoman; isn't it?"  And I started teaching myself how to use the "appointment/reminder" application on my cell phone.

Busy with my Passover cleaning I couldn't bother the neighbors about my missing yoman.  Then I took a short walk and I passed a few neighbors cleaning cars, including that one.  I doubled back and decided to ask.

"By chance did you find a yoman in the car?"
"Could this be it?" And she showed me an empty plastic yoman cover.
"Yes, but where's the inside?"

How's that for timing?  G-d is great!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Two Most Important Cleaning Tools

  • A long-handled scrubbing brush and
  • Rubber gloves
I don't spray.  I don't want the poisons in the air.  I don't want to breathe them or have them touch my skin or get into my eyes or lungs.  A long-handled scrubbing brush will get the cleaning solutions to the surfaces much more effectively than a spay,.

Whether you're cleaning for "fun," health, routine or the Passover Holiday, make sure you have good quality rubber gloves, large enough so they can be removed easily (a trick is to add a bit of talcum or baby powder) and strong enough to withstand the strong chemicals.  It's sure better to let the gloves take the punishment instead of your skin.

Stay safe and keep your family safe, too.

Passover Message

As usual, before Passover, all sorts of Jewish groups put out a "youtube," song/dance about Pesach, just like is done before all the major holidays.  Some are really good. This year I was not turned on by any of the usual ones touted as best. 

That is except for one which isn't usually in the running for religious-themed skits.  And in a sense it isn't religious.  It's not about cleaning or Egypt or slavery or Exodus.  I'm referring to the great rousing song that Latma has written:


Latma's usual star נעם יעקובסון Noam Jacobson is really a singer and an excellent one, too.  This song  shows off his talents.

Don't forget that Passover is about freedom, freedom from foreign mind control, foreign values and foreign culture.  It's about getting our priorities straight. 

I know for sure that I did lots of things totally wrong when raising my kids.  I was always so insecure about my Jewish knowledge and observance that I didn't raise my children with Judaism as joy and simcha.  There's no way I can make up for it.  I'm glad that my grandchildren are being raised differently.

Enjoy the Passover Holiday in good health.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Pre-Passover Pictures

My house, ok-the kitchen, is almost ready for Passover.  Last night my husband and I pulled down and up all the dishes, pots etc, so the kitchen closets are done.  Th is morning I was able to perc my coffee in the Pesach Percolator, a simple aluminium stove-top one.  The coffee comes out strong and hot, which is all that counts.

Today, I'll send him off with bread banished from the freezer. 

There's not much to eat here.

There's still more to cover.

At least I put back all the fridge shelves. 

And now on with my day.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

One of My Food Fans

That's right.  Every few days I deliver all sorts of left-overs and plate scrapings.  When I visit empty-handed he's so disappointed.  I hate throwing things out, so this arrangement is very convenient.

I used to try "mulching," but I stopped saving the veggie stuff, too much of a mess and bugs.  We do have recycling here in Shiloh for plastic, paper and cardboard/cartons.