Monday, September 30, 2013

Debut Havel Havelim on Damaged Mirror

Please read and the wonderful debut Havel Havelim on Damaged Mirror.  And of course read and share the various posts included in it.  I'm so happy that the Havel Havelim, international Jewish blogging community is still alive and growing.

Havel Havelim is the weekly Jewish and Israeli blog carnival that floats around the internet from blog to blog.  Each blogger adds his/her own blogging personality and posts.  We coordinate/communicate on our facebook page.  You can submit your posts, and any others you think would be relevant via blog carnival.  If you'd like to host an edition, please let me know, thanks.

There's also a monthly Jewish blog carnival that specializes in various aspects of kosher food, the Kosher Cooking Carnival.  It also has a facebook page and an account with blog carnival for submitting links. If you'd like to host an edition, please let me know, thanks.

Enjoy, enjoy everyone!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Sweet Taste of Summer

Well over twenty years ago a neighbor (actually neighbors) helped us plant our little vineyard by the entrance to our storage room. One neighbor did the shopping and choosing the grape vines, and another helped or did most of the actual planting.  During the first few years they were watered, and since then besides periodic, less an annual trimming/pruning, all do is enjoy G-d's generosity, the most delicious grapes imaginable.  Of course, being that I don't treat them with any sort of chemicals they are 100% totally organic.  And since they aren't irrigated besides the rain, they have an enviable concentrated sweetness.

Our grapes ripen pretty late in the summer, so we must be patient before eating, noshing and harvesting.  There aren't enough left to really harvest and feast off of, but if you look carefully, you'll find these natural, gift from G-d candies.

Thanks to G-d for His generosity and blessings.

Have a wonderful, fulfilling, inspiring and healthy week.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

"If I Was a Rich Man..." So Much to Buy in Jerusalem

Let's window shop together.  It's all I can afford.  What's your favorite?

Jerusalem was once a poor border town city.  That's not an oxymoron.  That was the situation for Israel's capital from Israel's Independence until two day into the 1967 Six Days War.  Now forty-six years after the war, it's hard to believe.  The downtown area I photographed here is less than a kilometer (0.62 miles) from that border.  The furthest I photographed from the old border was just a kilometer or so.  Some of the stores are just a few meters from what was covered by barbed wire and guarded, not that the soldiers could protect civilians from Jordanian sniper fire.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Eating Out in Ramat Eshkol

A couple of weeks ago I met a friend in the Ramat Eshkol Shopping Center for lunch.  Since I got there early, I was assigned the task of finding a good place to eat at.

I wandered up and down the shopping center, which is a long street of stores, banks and a full variety of food places.  As it was the tail end of summer, I found the idea of purchasing a grill, but that wasn't my assignment.  I needed a reasonably priced dairy restaurant.

Jerusalem Kosher News
So I settled on Sam's which offered me a meal, the breakfast, at about ns10 less than most places.  I quickly bagged the bagel to take home to freeze, and I found the rest of the meal perfectly satisfying.

Sam Bagel's Bakery15 ParanRamat Eshkol Shopping CenterDairy02-581-3388Badatz Mehadrin  Rav Rubin

The above information is from Mehadrin Restaurant site, since I couldn't find a site run by "Sam."

The photos are all mine, Copyright(C)BatyaMedad, unless indicated otherwise.  Please give proper credit if you use them, thanks.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wisdom With a Dash of Humor

This is another book review. 

A Bit of Wit, A World of Wisdom by Yehoshua Kurland, Gefen Publishing House has sitting here by the computer for a few weeks waiting to be reviewed.  I've been telling the agents who send me books, or had let me take from their stand at the Jerusalem International Book Fair that I can't promise to be quick with the reviews.  So, now, since Simchat Torah has ended, just a couple of hours ago, it's the proverbial אחרי החגים acharay hachaggim, after the Holidays when all good Israelis promise things will eventually get done.  Just like the custom to start building the succah mitzvah after Yom Kippur, I'll start the post-Holiday time keeping a promise, which is a mitzvah, too.

That "light" beginning suits Kurland's book.  It's a no pressure Jewish message/teaching/self-help book.  There are short chapters; each opens with a joke relevant to the theme. Some of the jokes are pretty well-known, but it doesn't really detract from the book.  This isn't a book of heavy, deep learning.  The messages are very accessible and easy to follow. 

A Bit of Wit, A World of Wisdom is a good book to give as a gift for someone who needs cheering up.  It's not preachy.  The book would also be helpful for someone who must do a bit of public speaking and needs ideas.  It can also be read from at the table or event as a Dvar Torah, a Torah message.

There's a lot of wisdom and helpful words in A Bit of Wit, A World of Wisdom all very nicely served, with a spoon full of honey and pleasant smile. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Since You Shop on Passover and Succot Chol HaMoed, We Work

Some people, who are obviously used to those wonderful jobs with generous paid Jewish Holiday vacations, act so surprised that I've been working almost straight through Succot. 

In Israel the schools made a "bridge" from Yom Kippur to the end of Succot/Simchat Torah giving the children and teachers a two week break.  For the teachers it's a paid vacation.  They (I was once a teacher, too) get paid by the month, whether they teach or not, whether there's a vacation or cancelled lesson for whatever reason.

Parents of the students who don't have the same vacation schedule are forced to either take unpaid vacation or pay babysitters or "camps" so their young kids won't be left alone.  And sometimes they take their kids to work.

I work in a low paying job with bare minimum benefits and almost no paid vacation days.  Chol Hamo'ed (the "interim" days of)  Passover and Succot are busy days at work, because shopping for clothes is a necessary and productive activity for families.  That's especially because the Jewish Holidays are season changers.  Passover is the beginning of spring/summer and Succot is the beginning for fall/winter. 

So it's good news/bad news that I've been working.  Good news is that I'm getting paid, and bad news is that I don't have many opportunities to enjoy the holiday.

I'm not writing this for sympathy, but it is important for those who get paid vacations to realize how lucky they are.  And when they go to places, like stores, the bank, the museum, a bus etc.  please be especially appreciative to the people who make it possible, those who are working while you're on vacation.

Amazing Modern Gadgets

We never took up the internet/smartphone option on our cellular telephones.  My husband and I have the small, ordinary ones that are capable of allowing internet etc, but we "opted out."  I prefer old fashioned human contact, although I do email, blog, facebook etc plenty on the computer in the house.  When I'm out of the house I prefer people.  I really can't stand it when I see people looking at their screens when there are people to talk to, or especially when they are in conversation with me.  It's rude.

A good friend, who although she has one of the apple phones with all sorts of built in gadgets (and also knows how to ignore it when in conversation) showed me one of the more surprising little inventions it includes.

Her finger tip is orange, because the pulse (and possibly the blood pressure too) is being "read" by the phone. It's spooky.

When my sister-in-law was here from the states for my son's wedding she made a lot of use of the new ipad her kids had given her for Mother's Day.  One amazing feature was the "video calls" it could make to matching appliances/gadgets.  When I mentioned that I needed a nice bag for the wedding, she called her son, instructed him to go to her closet and find a bag to bring for my use at the wedding.  No, he didn't go with the house's cordless phone. He had his "gadget" which has a built-in camera, so we could see the bags.  That's how I chose the bag I borrowed to use at the wedding, from Jerusalem to Westchester, NY.  And then he brought it along to Israel...

My phone is still a phone, plus an alarm clock.  It does have a camera, but there's no way to use the pictures or transfer them, since I'm not online.

But I must admit that I'll get one of those, not one of the more expensive models, next time.  It just makes more sense.  My digital camera is "ancient" and will have to be replaced any time now.  Many of these smartphones have cameras that do more than my old camera.  The only thing it doesn't have is a viewfinder, which I'll miss.  I need to have my reading glasses on to see details in the camera's screen.  But to be honest, around the same time I upgrade to a smartphone, I'll have upgraded my glasses to multi-focal or bifocal.

By the time I get one, I'll probably still be behind the times...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting Ready for The Rain

Most of us were caught totally by surprise when it rained on Shabbat Chol Hamoed Succot. At least those of us who are shomrei Shabbat hadn't a clue that there was going to be a downpour in the HolyLand.

I had been out with my youngest granddaughter.  We had taken shelter from the sudden strong winds and were in a nearby playground with a doll (and carriage,) who lives in my house and was introduced to people by the "scene stealer" as her tinok, baby.  Suddenly it began to drizzle lightly.  A little while later it stopped and we went inside.  About an hour after that there was a serious downpour.

It usually rains when the temperature is much colder.  In Israel we don't usually have the right clothes for warm rain.  We don't even have a word for "raincoats."  I've been having trouble trying to sell the adorable windbreaker/rain jackets for kids we have stocked in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin. Davka, this year we do have some to sell for kids.

Aren't they cute?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sukkah Contest: Which is Mine?

Let's see if you can guess which of these various sukkot is mine.  Write your anwer in the comments and give a reason if you can. Locals, please don't cheat, thanks.

















Yes, our sukkah is some place here among all these in Shiloh. Have fun.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sukkah Improvement

We had most of our Israeli progeny over for Shabbat.  The kiddies decided to jazz up our sukkah and add a few more decorations. 

Some of the pictures the kids brought got wet during the Succot drizzle we had last night, but as you can see, our sukkah has more life to it now with homemade decorations by the grandkids. 

Thank G-d the grandkids are much more talented in all this arts & crafts stuff than I am.  For a pretty sukkah I have to rely on the Jewish Calendar pictures, Rosh Hashannah cards and store-bought stuff.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Raining on Succot? So, Which Calendar is Most Accurate, Jewish or Secular?

16-26°Today September 21
Local Rain 
16-26°Sunday September 22
Local Rain 
17-27°Monday September 23
Partly Cloudy 
16-25°Tuesday September 24
Local Rain 
(Arutz 7 weather forecast, Shiloh weather is most like Ariel)
It's certainly not unheard of for there to be rain during Sukkot in Israel.  It happens every few years.  I remember years of real storms and cold weather.  But nobody really expected that to happen this year, because this is the earliest that the Tishrei, autumn holidays, such as Succot and Rosh Hashanah can ever come out.  The last time we celebrated them early in September was 1899, over a hundred years ago. 

The seasons are supposed to be according to the solar calendar, not the lunar cycle on which the Jewish is based.

But it really doesn't surprise me, because I like to think that since our G-d made the world and gave us the Torah, Judaism, He also arranged the sun, moon and our calendar to coincide.

The Jewish Calendar is a brilliant invention that combines the lunar and solar cycles.  This year we'll have an added month to keep our holidays in the correct seasons.  The Muslim Calendar only goes according to the lunar cycle, and since there are fewer days in the twelve month lunar calendar, their holidays travel around from season to season.  Lunar months make more sense as months than the secular solar 28-31 days months.  I like the idea that I can see what part of the month we're in according to the shape of the moon.

Phases of the moon
G-d willing we'll have lots of rain at the right time, a blessing and not a curse.  I hope that the solar panels that heat my water have gotten a good cleaning and will work more efficiently.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Easy Succot Supply Shopping, The "Arba Minim," 4 Species

At Sha'ar Binymin, just outside of Rami Levy's giant discount supermarket, which also includes a synagogue for convenient praying...

Here in Shiloh a number of neighbors bring in supplies of lulav, etrog etc to sell. I'm so used to the fact that the "arba minim" are as easy to buy as milk and eggs.  I was going to write "challah" as one of the things that are easy to find in stores, but I really want people who aren't in Israel to understand that in most Jewish neighborhoods in Israel these "specialty items" are standard fare.  I know there are some wonderful Jewish communities abroad in which challah is not something you can buy from a store.  You have to bake it yourself.

Israel is a very small country, so if these holiday items aren't in a local shopping area, generally you don't have to travel more than twenty minutes or less to find some.  My husband used to enjoy going to the big arba minim markets in Jerusalem to get in the mood and pick up his four species, but now he buys from some neighbors, the same neighbors every year.  Other neighbors bring in the large palm branches to be used as s'chach to cover the sukkah.  A few days before Succot they drop off the amount ordered in front of each house. 

Baruch Hashem, this is a Jewish country.  It's felt most of all during the Jewish Holidays.

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom