Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blame Me For The Stormy Weather!

I'm a mother, a Jewish mother, so I'm used to being blamed for everything.

When I planned my visit to the states for late January, early February, I had two things in mind.

  1. not missing any of my Matan classes
  2. enjoying warm weather, ok, warmer than in Shiloh and Jerusalem
That's why I'm away this week, when it's intercession in Matan. And since everyone has been telling me for years decades how warm it is in Phoenix in the winter and my friend bragged about spring weather in Atlanta in the winter, I just couldn't wait   

You may have heard the news   Phoenix just had about 5 days of sold rain.  Yes I was there for it and Atlanta had a thunder storm.

Well, the storm here is over and we're going shopping.  How bad can I be?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Water Isn't Just Water

Years Decades ago, when my kids were little they'd complain non-stop about the water when we visited New York.  They said that the water tasted awful.  They also complained about the dairy products, especially the cottage cheese.  And they complained about the taste of the fruit.  One of my sons hated the smell of the air-conditioning and we'd have to put some sun screen on his upper lip to mask the odor.

I guess that I was still American in tastes so those things didn't bother me.

But now in recent years, I just can't stand the taste of the flat, sans minerals water I'm served in the states.  A number of years ago we spent a fortune getting a fancy water filter for drinking water, which made the water taste American.  I didn't like it and felt it bad for my gums, unless that was just my imagination.

The only thing I like to drink when in the states, and now I'm in Arizona, is good mountain spring mineral water.  It's worth spending the money and buying bottles of it.  If I have to choose between buying coffee or buying water, I'll buy water.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Slowly, Slowly

Time doesn't stand still.

I'm in Arizona, visiting my parents and sister and her family.

Each visit shows change.  My niece and nephew are growing up, showing more independence every visit, and my parents are getting older and less and less independent.  Now they really aren't capable of doing much on their own.  They feed themselves, but neither can prepare food.  The still converse, but not always fully on topic.

My father still walks and proudly struts as best he can down the long corridors.

I, and my children, wonder how long I and my husband will be independent, walking, working, cooking, cleaning...

It's the way of the world, human nature.  May G-d give us all the strength to deal with all He throws at us.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Boots and Winter Coat, Perfectly Dressed for Phoenix, AZ

Yes, I'm perfectly serious.  Although, everyone has always told me that "it doesn't rain in Phoenix in the winter," I got good use of my heavy winter coat and boots so far.

When I landed Thursday morning it was raining.  Friday was mostly cloudy with rain.  I must admit that my second walk to the stores near my parents was sans coat, but by the time my sister picked me up and took me to the generous hosts from the Young Israel of Phoenix, it was raining again.   And it rained all Shabbat and now mid-morning on Sunday, it's not dry nor sunny.

I got gypped!

I had been hoping for "vacation weather."

There still are a few more days to the visit. Now, if this is instead of Atlanta's possible ice storms or snow which can totally paralyze the city, I will happily accept it.  My friend in Atlanta  also promised me good weather, and I'd rather take Phoenix rain that Atlanta snow and ice.

Friday, January 25, 2013

From Afar

Right now I'm in Arizona and should really get some sleep.

Next morning...
It was a long trip, door to door, 25 hours from my home to the facility where my parents are.  That included a ride from a neighbor to the Rosh Ha'ayin train station, two trains, two planes, interspersed with an unpleasant foolish experience, and then a taxi ride.

Being it's my first time visiting AZ in the winter, I discovered that it does rain here.  Usually the weather is terribly hot.  Everyone had told me that it's warm, dry and pleasant here in the winter, but I had been warned by the internet search I did that it does rain, as many rain days as in Jerusalem.   When we landed I could see that it had been raining.  Surprise!

For Shabbat, I'm being hosted by a family in the Young Israel of Phoenix.  I  don't know them but will in a few hours. Thank G-d for the warm Jewish soul that exists all over the world.

Now I must get myself moving off this stool.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"One Pot Meal," Baked

I didn't have much time when cooking last week for Shabbat, so I took out my large trusty bake and serve pan, filled it with:
  • cut chicken
  • dalorit, a mini-pumpkin
  • squash
  • onions
  • fresh garlic
And I baked it all until ready.  It was absolutely delicious.  We also had a guest who agreed that it was just the type of food he likes, too.  You can add different vegetables, of course.  I even served it from the pan.

We had side dishes, salad, rice and another vegetable dish with carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Worst Soup Ever!

Regulars here will remember that not so long ago, I blogged that a friend and I had to call over a waitress and return some "Lentil" soup in Bleeker Square Dairy Restaurant, Zion Square, Jerusalem, that was dangerously spoiled.  They then served us the dullest faux Onion soup that had ever come out of a bag.  It had a few pieces of onion floating in pale thickening whatever.  Since I had previously eaten good meals there, including fantastic soups, I gave it another try, with a different friend.

We ordered their business lunch, a great deal for ns49, since it includes a soup, juice and a main course.  I had decided to go back to their Tuna salad, which I had liked at a previous visit there.  The "soup of the day" was Pea soup, which we both were looking forward to.

Yes, the soup looked lovely.  You can see the pieces of carrot.  I couldn't wait to eat it.  We both hungrily and enthusiastically filled our soup spoon and ate that first mouthful of soup.
"Pepper, it's full of pepper!!"
"Too much salt!"
"My mouth hurts!"
"I'm leaving!!!"
"Waitress, this is inedible!!!!"
"We're going!!!"
My friend was out more quickly than I could run.  The waitress begged me to stay and talk to the manager.  He quickly offered a different soup, onion soup.
"But I've eaten your onion soup and it's just some thickener."
"This is a new improved version," and he quickly gave me a small cup to sample. 
But he didn't give me some water to clean my mouth from the salt, so nothing at that point could taste good and my friend refused to even return to try it.

We ended up eating at the Rimon Dairy Cafe` which wasn't bad, though we didn't get any free soup with our business lunch.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pre-Election Havel Havelim

Another week, another Havel Havelim...  It's hosted by Ya'aqov on Esser Agaroth.

Havel Havelim is the weekly blog carnival, round-up of Jewish and Israeli blogs from all over the world.  It has been going on for over ten years, if I'm not mistaken.  Many of the early bloggers who participated, like its founder Soccer Dad, no longer blog, which is sad in a way, but there are new jbloggers.

Blogging is still going strong, since it's a great way to use the internet. It's as if we all own, right and edit our own magazine or newspaper.  We can focus on any topic we want, news, health, recipes and more.  Besides this blog, I have Shiloh Musings.

Back to Havel Havelim...
It's like a floating internet magazine, hosted by different bloggers each week.  We coordinate the schedule on facebook.

There's also another Jewish Blog Carnival, the Kosher Cooking Carnival, which I coordinate, also on facebook.  It's monthly.

You don't have to be a blogger to read and share and comment on the posts in the Jewish blog carnivals.  So please visit and share, thanks.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Very Winter...

Judaism is a very agricultural religion, and living in a home in the center of the Jewish Land, Shiloh, I feel very connected to nature and seasons.  I had never noticed them, besides the obvious temperature changes and differences in precipitation when I was growing up in suburban New York.

It's mid-January in the goyish calendar and early Shevat in the Jewish Calendar.

grape vines, empty of leaves and fruit

Just a few short months ago, late summer, we feasted on the grapes.

My two and a half year old granddaughter has been taught to sing השקידיה פורחת  "Hashkeidiyah porachat," "the almond tree is blooming" to celebrate TU B'Shvat, but...
I don't think this almond tree will be ready in time.

Maybe because this tree gets very little sun, it's usually blooming a month late.  Yes, we see flowers on it around Purim, which is a month after TU B'Shvat.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Nice Meal Out With My "Study Group" Friends

I'm part of a group of five who study the Matan TaNaCh Bible Course, Al HaPerek together.  This is the third year of the course, and our group changes a bit from year to year.  Some of us have been together studying from the beginning and others joined last year and this one, too.  What's really a bonus is that all but one of the group have been friends of mine for many, many years, but they hadn't known each other.  And now we are all friends, united by our love of the Bible.

One day last week we met up for dinner before going to a shiur, class in Matan on the book we're now studying, Yermiyahu, Jeremiah.  One of the group chose to eat at Masaryk, one of the dairy restaurants on Emek Refa'im Street, Jerusalem.

A couple of us started with their "orange soup," a very popular vegetable soup made with orange vegetables, such as carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato.  Everyone makes it slightly differently, of course, and theirs was delicious.

One friend had their quiche, (I don't remember which filling.)  It came with a salad, and she said that it was a good meal.  We all had different main courses, and nobody had any complaints.

I ordered one of their salads.  I think they called it their "antipasti salad."  It had grilled and fresh vegetables topped with that cheese restaurants serve too often for my taste.  I would have had been happier with more salad and less cheese, but it did taste good.

We had no complaints.  The service and food were fine.  And those who ate the bread were happy they did; it tasted that good.  I was glad that I had the self-control to stay away from the bread.  I felt fully satisfied after the soup and salad.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sort of "Sacrilegious" To Say "Good Game" When Lost?

I guess my football player son and many others won't agree about this, but even though our team lost, it was a good game.  At least up in the stands/bleachers there was a nice atmosphere.

People enjoyed the food that was for sale and the surprisingly good football skills on the field.

Yes, win or lose, there's a mutual admiration society between fans and players.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The "New Me"

Can you see what's new? 

The glasses are my new distance glasses.  I just got them yesterday. Just about a month ago, when I went to watch my son play tackle football in IFL Kraft Stadium I suddenly found it very difficult to find him on the field, read the players' names and numbers.  And then a short while after that I had to ask someone which number bus was approaching.

It was confirmed by the eye doctor and then at the prescription test at the optician.

I was told to wait re:bifocals, or multifocals.  At this stage I should use the distance from afternoon on all the time.  I had really wanted different frames but decided to get cheaper ones.  I hope I didn't make a mistake.  My new stronger reading lenses were put in the old frames. 

It's going to be a challenge to juggle all the eyeglasses including the sunglasses which  I wear all year round, except in the rain and nighttime outdoors.  There's a pretty good chance that next year, and I was instructed to get checked every year, not every two years, I'll have to invest heavy money in multifocals which turn into sunglasses in the bright sun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ancient Buildings Sure Last Longer...

Or do you have a better caption?

I took this picture at Shiloh HaKedumah, Ancient Shiloh at Tel Shiloh last Friday when I was there to pray Erev, on the Eve of Rosh Chodesh Shevat.  You can still see some remains of the snow, but it was the pre-snow wind storm that damaged the work tents and knocked over the chemical/portable toilets set up for the workers who dig and sort at the busy archaeological site.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Post-Snow Sh'vat, But Winter's Not Over

In the Jewish world it's another month already, Shvat or Shevat or Sh'vat שבט.  We're in the heart of winter but it's the time of the year when we can already see the signs of spring.  In less than two weeks it's the Holiday of TU B'Shvat, the 15th of Shvat when the early fruit trees begin to bloom.

After over forty years here in Israel, I wouldn't quite put away my snow equipment, since we have had snow on Purim, which is over a month from now.

Here are some pictures from my walk to the Tel Shiloh on Rosh Chodesh Shvat.  I ended up going alone, but it was very nice and there were other people there for an event.  Before I show you the pictures, please mark Rosh Chodesh Adar in your calendar, ladies.  G-d willing we'll have a large group to pray at Tel Shiloh then.

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Adar
Monday, February 11, 2013
1 Adar 5773 8:30am
Tour of Tel & Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אדר בתל שילה

יום ב' 11-2 א' אדר תשע"ג 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות
And don't forget that the Tel Shiloh, aka Shiloh HaKedumah is open for visitors six days a week.  For information call 02-994-4019.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nothing "Cheap" About Frugal & Kosher's KCC

Chodesh Shvat Tov!

The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is hosted by the Frugal and Kosher site.

Being winter, there are a few soups and lots of desserts among the posts included.  Be sure to check them out.

I started the Kosher Cooking Carnival as a reaction to having a recipe of mine rejected by a recipe carnival, because that edition had the theme, pork.  I figured that there was a need and desire by all of us kosher cooking bloggers for our very own kosher blog carnival.  And, bli eyen haraa, we've been going strong monthly ever since.

Next month's KCC will be hosted by Adventures in Mamaland.  You can send in your links, anything concerning kosher cooking from traditions, tips, recipes, halacha (Jewish Law,) cookbook and restaurant reviews via blog carnival or emailing: Jay3fer "at" gmail "dot" com.  You're also invited to join our facebook group, and if you want to host an edition, which appears each Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month, contact me, thanks.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


You're probably wondering what this picture has to do with Bingo, right?

So, I'll tell you. 

On the first night of Chanukah, which was a Saturday night, we (the workers of the Sha'ar Binyamin branch of Yafiz)  had a staff party at which we played games and there were prizes.  I was about the last to win a prize.  We had been playing Bingo, and when I called out

I was given these bright pink legwarmers!

They came in very handy during the cold spell we've been having, B"H

Havel Havelim Makes Aliyah

Yes, this week Havel Havelim is on Bat Aliyah.  Rivkah did a great job including some of her own personal favorite blogs.  That's what we're supposed to do wheon hosting.  You're certainly welcome to join our  facebook page  where you can volunteer to host an addition or find out who's hosting.  Next week's  HH will be hosted by Esser Agaroth; click to send in your post from this week on topics concerning Israel and Judaism. 

Many times new bloggers ask me how to increase their blog's visitors/stats, and one of the best ways is to get involved in participating and hosting blog carnivals, such as Havel Havelim. 

If you sometimes blog about kosher food, any aspect, halacha (Jewish Law,) customs, recipes, cookbook or restaurant reviews, you are invited to send you posts to the montly Kosher Cooking Carnival.  We also have a facebook page.  Hosts are also welcome; contact me for details, thanks.  Stay tuned.  Some time today the Shvat edition will be posted on Frugal and Kosher.

Enjoy!  Have a wonderful week!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

...That Was Easy...

The title's a "spoiler;" sorry.

This morning, when I chose my earrings, I had a feeling that it may be a dumb move to wear the pair I wanted, because they sometimes open.  And winter with scarves, high collars and all make opening  even more possible.  But, I just wanted them.  I like the color with the sweater and tichel I had chosen.

Of course, you guessed it.  After going to shul, (synagogue,) being at kiddush (post-prayer nosh,) walking to the yeshiva for another kiddush, then walking half  a kilometer to a neighbor for lunch, I took off my coat and scarf and suddenly noticed... yes, one of the earrings was gone.

So, I shook out my scarf and coat and jacket and tried to discretely feel inside my sweater to see if it had somehow gotten caught "close to home."  Zero, nothing.  Oh, well.

My hostess was concerned, but I now believe that we must never get too hysterical about things like that.

Yes, if it's lost, it should be instead of a life or health or something really important.

But I anyhow planned to send a "Lost, maybe you've seen" notice to our local email list with a picture.

And then later on after walking home, checking the to see if my wayward earring was waiting on the way... A while after arriving home I felt something sort of sharp sticking into me in my sweater.  Yes, you guessed... the earring.

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Can Dream; Can't I?

That's our swimming pool, בריכת שחיה שילה Breichat S'chi'ah Shiloh, Shiloh Swimming Pool.

It's surrounded by snow as you can see.  G-d willing in a few months, the grass will be green, the "walls" will be up and the pool will be full of legally chlorinated water for our swimming safety and pleasure.

In the meantime, I'm dreaming...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow in Shiloh! #1 Before The Sun is Shining

I took these pictures before the sun was lighting the sky.  And G-d willing, I'll take more later.  I had to open the door to take most of the pictures.  It's freezing cold outside.  What sacrifices I make for blogging, gevalt.  SMS messages were already sent out that school's cancelled and people shouldn't drive around.

More to come, bli neder, but I don't promise to go far.  I may not even leave the house.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Winds Whistle and The Soup's Cooking

Even though my house is pretty well insulated, double walls and double windows, I can still feel that it's cold and windy outside.  And yes, cold enough for the hail and sleet to stick a bit, even a couple of hours later when I took a walk.  A rare move for me, I even took the forecasts seriously and didn't travel in to Jerusalem for my Bible classes in Matan.  I guess it was a smart move, because the second class was canceled, when the Jerusalem Municipality announced that schools were closing early.  And bus service was very irregular.

PM at Israel Police traffic control center 
Photo: GPO / Kobi Gideon
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu made a very public inspection of "headquarters," since he's running for office.

Almost everyone will agree that the best food on a cold, windy day is hot soup, so I made yet another version of vegetable soup.  And  I found just the right movie to watch when cooking, Julia and Julie.  But please don't expect this recipe to be anything French or fancy!  It's a new version of my "Two Pot Vegetable Soup."

  • a cup brown lentils
  • large onion in small pieces
  • a few carrots, cut
  • garlic
  • tomato concentrate/past
  • oil
  • cabbage, cut
  • water
Instructions, by Illustrations

Let the lentils soak in boiling water, covered, before cooking.  Then boil them, and it won't take long.

Saute onions, carrots and garlic in oil.
Add some tomato concentrate/paste
Then add the cooked lentils to the vegetables along with boiling water.

Add the cabbage, more boiling water if needed, plus your salt and pepper
Let it all cook on a low flame for about half an hour.

G-d's Gifts, By The Bucketful, B"H

This may seem a bit crazy for those of you who live in climates and locations where water is always plentiful and can be taken for granted.  But Israel is a totally different story when it comes to water.  We have very little natural water for normal use, and it only rains less than half the year.  Traditional agriculture, Biblical and Jewish, revolve around trees and vines, not vegetables. 

This coming Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the Jewish Month of) Shvat, when we celebrate Jewish agriculture, primarily the "Seven Species."
Deuteronomy 8:8 tells us that Israel was "a land of wheat, barley, grapevines, figs, and pomegranates; a land of oil olives and date honey."
The seven species are:
  • Wheat (chitah in Hebrew)
  • Barley (se'orah in Hebrew)
  • Grapes (gefen in Hebrew), usually consumed as wine
  • Figs (te'enah in Hebrew)
  • Pomegranates (rimon in Hebrew)
  • Olives (zayit in Hebrew), usually consumed in oil form
  • Dates (tamar or d'vash in Hebrew)
In addition, since this is the HolyLand, and G-d controls the rain, there are spiritual criteria He demands from us.  It's written in the Bible that we won't get enough rain if we sin.  Also, rain can be both a blessing and a curse if at the wrong time and place.

Our headlines in the papers, TV and internet news sites revolve around how many centimeters the Kinneret rose this week or month or day and how much rain, and what percentage versus an "average year" have fallen etc.  Insufficient rain and a major part of our economy will collapse, agriculture.  And you can't tell tourists to limit their showers to 30 seconds per day either.

So, here are some recent rain pictures taken while traveling to and from Shiloh, Jerusalem and Sha'ar Binyamin.

without electricity, security gate had to be operated manually

Venice-like canal in Shvut Rachel

Venice-like canal in Shvut Rachel

I wonder what the Arabs are doing in the mountains to cause this "white flooding."

I'm glad I'm not the driver.

Nachal Shiloh filling up.

Nachal Shiloh filling up.