Thursday, October 31, 2013

It May Not Be Autumn in New England, But...

The tree does look interesting.

Please don't tell me it's sick.

This tree does lose its leaves every year.  We don't have the cold here in Israel for the leaves to turn the colors they do in other climates.  Years ago I took a Hebrew improvement course, and the teacher gave us Hebrew poems to learn.  One thing that stayed in my mind was that she said that the Early modern Hebrew poets wrote about nature and seasons as if they were still in Europe.  Ever since, I've been much more aware and careful about my observations and descriptions.

This tree is for real. Those colors are the colors of the leaves this week.  And, yes, the tree is here in Shiloh.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

And Caption This, or At Least Comment, Thanks

In all honesty, I had no idea the photograph would turn out like this.  I was in a rush, shot and ran.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What a Waste!

I love fresh figs.  It's one of the foods I only discovered living in Israel.  In New York figs were dry and old. Yes, they were sweet, too.  I've always loved dried fruit, but I never knew that you could eat figs fresh and juicy.  When we were new to Israel the only way to buy them was from Arab women.  Yes, that's what we'd do, OK, on rare occasions.

Since my daughter moved to Ofra ten years ago, I discovered that there are a lot of fig trees on the way to her house.  When I walk by them I check for ripeness and pick and eat them when in season.  Most of the time they are too hard.  The few ripe ones I eat are absolutely delicious. That season has just ended.  Last time I walked by the ground and path were littered with over-ripe, dirty figs.  The few that remained on the trees were inedible.

I wanted to cry.  It's not fair.  What a waste.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Babysitting the Grandkids

When I was teaching, I had a very regular schedule, and I was able to commit to one or sometimes even two times a week as babysitter for my grandchildren.  Now, my schedule is very different and it just doesn't work out that way.  I do try to get over, even for a short visit every week.

I work and study and find myself busy with various projects.  But nothing is more important than the kiddies.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wonderful Posts in Damaged Mirror's Havel Havelim

The latest Havel Havelim is on Yael's Damaged Mirrorr, a very special blog.

I wish to thank her for doing such an amazing job.  I highly recommend visiting the posts and sharing them and her HH, too, of course.

Havel Havelim is the weekly Jewish Israel blog carnival, which floats around the internet.  We organize it on our facebook page.  Links can be sent via blog carnival.  The host can add whatever other posts he or she feels will contribute to the quality of the blog carnival.

Havel Havelim isn't the only Jewish Blog Carnival.  There's also the Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX.  KCC is organized on our facebook page; links can be sent via blog carnival.  The Kosher Cooking Carnival includes blog posts submitted by bloggers and other chosen by the host.  If you'd like to host an edition, please let me know shilohmuse at gmail dot com.  It seems that I'm hosting the next of both. Maybe I'll somehow combine them.

JPIX is coordinated by Leora, and all information about it can be found byclicking here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Great Deal on a Tuna Salad at Cafe` Hillel Express

A couple of weeks ago I met a friend in the Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem for lunch.  The most convenient place for us to go to for lunch was the Hadar Mall, since she had been to a lecture in the new (at least for me) offices and hall of AACI, which is just across the street.  We walked around the mall a bit until we found what we hoped was the quietest place to sit, and that's how we chose in which restaurant to eat.  Neither of us has great hearing, and we wanted to have a nice chat.  The Cafe` Hillel Express seemed relatively quiet.  It also has an outdoor eating area, where you hear passing cars and seemed a lot more popular than the small indoor set up.

There's a counter where you order, and the food is brought to wherever you're sitting. And there is also a take-out option for even less money.  If I'm not mistaken the small Israeli salad, mostly cucumbers and tomatoes, cut into small pieces was just NS30.  The addition of some tuna added just NS5 to the bill. From what I understand, the Cafe` Hillel Express menu has some less expensive options than their restaurant menu.

It was served with rolls, butter and salad dressing.  They were very accommodating when I requested olive oil.  My tuna salad was filling and delicious.  I took the rolls home, which I frequently do when eating out.  They're in the freezer and my husband will be given them as a lunch treat.

Yes, I do recommend this pleasant restaurant.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two Tremps and a Bus

Two Tremps and a Bus, yes, I agree.  It sounds like the name of a bad movie.  That's how I travel. That's especially how I go to work and come back home.  This morning it was exactly that.  I finally caught a ride going to Beit El.  I didn't need to go to Beit El, so I said that I'd get off at Ofra.

Just as we were passing the road to Ma'ale Levona I saw an Egged bus, #477 (Elon Moreh to Jerusalem)  ahead of us.  I hoped I'd catch it at Ofra.  We passed it, and I saw it enter Ofra just as I was getting off on the main road.  I debated whether or not to run into Ofra to catch it.

Just as I was about to try to run across the road and into Ofra to catch the bus, a car pulled up and the driver said he was going to Jerusalem and agreed to drop me off at Sha'ar Binyamin. A few minutes later he said that he'd go into Kochav Ya'akov for a minute on the way, so I asked to get off at the Ma'avar Michmash stop aka the gas station.

I waited there a few minutes, getting impatient.  Then suddenly, what should come by but... the very same 477 I'd been following. I paid my fair and traveled all of a kilometer to work.

The strangest thing is that no matter when within a ten minute range I leave the house, I end up arriving at the same time to work.

Slip on Some Slippers

My feet are easily cold.  I need to sleep in socks and wear warm shoes and slippers.

Yes, these are some of the selection we're selling at Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 5 Shekel Food Place, Review #1

As promised, here's a review of the new five shekel food place near Jerusalem's Central Bus Station.   A friend wrote it:
Not anything to really get excited over.  The salad was crisp and fresh, but about as small as you would expect for only 5 shekels.  It had lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a carrot curl -- attractive as well as crisp and fresh.  There was only one kind of salad dressing, which was rather nondescript -- I think it was supposed to be thousand island.  I didn't get a sandwich, as they were all pre-made and wrapped, and I couldn't tell what else besides the tuna.  I also ordered an iced vanilla  which was awful.  It didn't taste live vanilla, wasn't at all sweet, it didn't even taste like milk.  More like iced, ice.
The biggest drawback was that all the seating was outside and there were half a dozen smokers clustered between us and the door to the tachana mercazit*.  That was so unpleasant that we just sort of gobbled our salads and left quickly.
G-d willing I'll get more reviews for you.  I hope to sample the salad and ice cafe sometime soon.  I still think it's a good deal.  Now we must also see if prices go down inside the bus station.  Nowadays with the reduced security checks, people with time can rush out to save money and buy coffee, pastries and sandwich for just ns5.

*bus station

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Grammar Question: Media, Singular or Plural

I'm usually a rather conservative and fanatic stickler when it comes to grammar. That's in my native English and the Hebrew I've been struggling to learn for close to half a century.  When slang is based on incorrect usage I boycott it.

It takes all of my self-control to keep from visibly cringing when someone replies "I'm (feeling) good"  to the question "how are you?"  Good is an adjective.  To describe yourself as "good," means that you're stating that you're a "good" person, honest etc. The proper grammatical answer is "I'm (feeling) well."  Well is an adverb and describes how you're feeling.

Recently someone who reads my articles asked me to correct the verb in a sentence with the word "media."  I used the word, and use  it frequently, as a collective noun, so the verb (present tense) was singular.  He suggested that it be plural. I'm usually very grateful when people catch my typos, but I see/used the word media to represent a group.  In Israel, it's very common to write about the media as one power.
The Israeli media has an agenda and isn't embarrassed to push it.
By writing in this way about the media, the implication is that the various Israeli media are in cahoots. It's the use of the word "various" to describe media makes it necessary to use the plural verb afterwards.

Just to be safe, I checked with Professor Google.
noun: media; plural noun: media; noun: the media
  1. 1.
    the main means of mass communication (television, radio, and newspapers) regarded collectively.
    "their demands were publicized by the media"
  2. 2.
    plural form of medium.

Here's another definition, Business dictionary:
1. Communication channels through which news, entertainment, educationdata, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapersmagazines, TV, radio, billboardsdirect mailtelephone, fax, and internet. Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singular verb, depending on the sense intended.
Read more:
What do you think?  I'm curious.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Esser Agarth's Full Moon Havel Havelim

It's the middle of the Jewish Month of Cheshvan, and this week's Havel Havelim, the veteran Jewish blog carnival, a round-up of blog posts on Jewish and Israeli topics from all over the world, can be found on Esser Agaroth.  Esser Agaroth always does a great job, and this time is no exception.  Please visit and share Havel Havelim and the various posts included in it.

Getting involved with Havel Havelim and other blog carnivals is a great way of publicizing your own blog. We're a modern community that uses the internet to communicate ideas.  We keep in contact and volunteer to host on our facebook page, and links can be sent to the host via blog carnival.

 If there are any problems with blog carnival just contact me with your links, shilohmuse at gmail dot com.

There are two other Jewish blog carnivals, Kosher Cooking Carnival and JPIX.

 KCC is organized on our facebook page; links can be sent via blog carnival.  The Kosher Cooking Carnival includes blog posts submitted by bloggers and other chosen by the host.  If you'd like to host an edition, please let me know shilohmuse at gmail dot com.  Next month's host is Culinart

JPIX is coordinated by Leora, and all information about it can be found by clicking here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

5 Shekel Food Made it to Jerusalem!

One of the big news items for Israeli noshers, meaning almost the entire population of the country, has been an everything for five shekel food place in Tel Aviv to bring down the prices of simple take-out food  such as coffee and pizza.  I'm not sure that the five shekel place I found in the entrance to the Jerusalem Centraal Bus Station is from the same businessman, Avi Cohen of Cofix, because this is strictly kosher and called פשוט טעים Pashut Taim, Simply Tasty.  None of the Cofix articles I found mentions kashrut, but the kosher market in Jerusalem is much larger than in Tel Aviv.

פשוט טעים Pashut Taim, Simply Tasty has a simply wonderful menu, coffee, salad, pizza, sandwiches soft drinks, pastries and even ice cafe.

In all honesty, at that price it hardly pays to brown bag it, if you're going to be in the area.  Now I must admit that I never got to sample any of their items.  I was going to treat myself to an ice cafe, but when I ordered one, I was told that the machine had just been refilled and it would take another ten to fifteen minutes until it was really icy.  I didn't have the time to wait.  But I could see all of the satisfied customers who had ordered other items.  Since I had just completed dental work, I couldn't eat one of their salads and thought that ice cafe would be a nice safe, even if calorie-laden, choice.

No doubt I'll be back there to buy.  If you spot any branches in other parts of the city or country, please let me know in the comments, thanks.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

RAIN!! Really!

Friday morning I posted about our lack of rain, the dryness we've had this month of Marcheshvan.  Like many, I've been getting worried.  Then it rained a bit.  When I went out to throw out the recyclables I found it pretty wet and took these pictures.

The report was for light, scattered rain, so even though the sky looked pretty threatening I figured we were finished for the day and packed my bag to go away for Shabbat.

Foolish me.  I should have trusted the sky.  Davka when we were walking down to catch the bus it poured and poured and poured.

NO, I'm not complaining, just stating facts and posting pictures.  Thank the Good Lord for the rain!

Shavua Tov
Have a wonderful week

Friday, October 18, 2013

We're in the Middle of the Jewish Month of Cheshvan. Where's the Rain?

When my friends and I were at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh on Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the Jewish Month of) Cheshvan it seemed so certain that G-d would be giving us lots of rain this month.

We were very happy that the sky wasn't summer pure blue.

Since then, there have been clouds, but no rain.

And even though we did get a strong, quick "first rain" during Succot, less than a month ago, I only noticed one of the crocus flowers which usually herald winter.

Jerusalem Autumn Crocus (Colchicum hierosolymitanum) blooms gorgeous large purple flowers before growing its leaves.  Jerusalem Insider's Guide

I usually see many of these during this season here in Shiloh, but so far I haven't.  Finally, when I visited my grandkids in Ofra I spotted this near their home.

The meteorologists are predicting rain for Shabbat and much colder weather than we've had so far. I'll have to let you know after Shabbat.  And I have to remember to close some of the windows we've left open since the summer.  We've passed the date when a sunny day can be called a nice day.  Now, the only truly nice days are wet.  Of course we do need some dry sunny ones in between, but without rain we're in trouble.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A "Spiritual Ladies Room" at The Jerusalem Central Bus Station aka Egged

When the new Jerusalem CBS aka Central Bus Station opened, it proudly announced that there was a synagogue.  I see the synagogue in use most of the day for those travelers who have the time to "catch" a minyon, prayer with a quorum of ten men.  Some men just like to sit there and study sacred texts while waiting for their bus.  That's all well and good, but when I wanted a place to doven Mincha, the afternoon prayer, or say T'hillim, Psalms, I discovered that there wasn't an Ezrat Nashim, Women's section.

Apparently I wasn't the only one complaining, and after awhile I discovered that they designated a small room or closet nearby as Ezrat Nashim.  Even though there's no window or visible air vents, I prefer dovening there instead of the waiting area when I have the time.

It seemed to be well cared for during my most recent visit.

It looks better than at the previous visit.  I don't know who actually is responsible for its upkeep, so I'm using this blog post to thank them/him/her.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Strolling Through Jerusalem, New and Old Parks

I remember when the Liberty Bell Park was a new park.  It's still very attractive and has a WC aka public toilets open from 7am until 7pm.

From the Liberty Bell Park, walk up Emek Refaim Street until you get to Pierre Koenig where you'll find a path to the new train track park on the old tracks.  The only wheels you'll find now are bicycles and baby carriages.

There are also fitness playgrounds for children of "all ages," including adults who enjoy staying in shape.

Think of it as a pedestrian and cyclist street.  The views are gorgeous, too.

Isn't it more fun to walk than ride?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Just Switched to Google Chrome, B"H, What an Improvement!!

For the past week or more, I've been suffering from slowdowns and delays using this computer.  I finally realized that the other computer in the house is fine, so it can't be our internet connection.  And what is was the big difference?  The other one has been using Google chrome, while this one was still with windows explorer.

So, I did the obvious intelligent thing.  I installed Google chrome.  I quickly sent out an SOS to Facebook and a neighbor speedily replied with the link.

And now, B"H, my computer is working like a teenager on speed, totally hyper.  I feel like I've been reborn. And it's free, of course.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jerusalem Lightrail, Handicapped Accessible

I shot this picture a few weeks ago on the Jerusalem lightrail.

Not only is there room for wheelchairs and motorized vehicles like this, but the person photographed was even able to enter with minimal assistance. To make things even easier for the handicapped, At the train stop it's indicated where to wait for the handicapped seating areas, where there is more room for wheelchairs and vehicles like these. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Can't Complain, A Confession

Not long ago I would have been hysterically complaining about all of the inconveniences of last week's water problems, and I would have stewed inwardly seriously affecting my health and blood pressure about the high expenses involved.  But looking at the big picture and following the bima ima's never dull saga about her son Superman Sam has really reminded me of how precarious life is and refocused my priorities.

I used to have total hysteria about missing a bus or being late to something.  The breaking of a glass would be like a death, a major tragedy.  I was a terrible mother because of it.  I'd get hysterically angry over the most minor mistakes.  Everything was a Greek tragedy.  OK, yes, that's how I was raised, but it has taken me much too long to realize that I had to stop the cycle.  My kids had already left the house before I learned that I had damaged them.

I'm still learning how to smile and take things easily.  People say I've changed.  It has taken me years and years.

Judaism's concept of teshuva, repentance is a technique of constant change, correction, renewal.  With every breath we can do better, G-d willing.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Coffee Corner and Water Update

When we were without water, I found going into the kitchen too depressing, especially coffee time in the morning.  Instead of simply being able to use my giant glass mug twice for coffee, I had to keep returning with the smaller disposable hot cup.  My large glass French Press makes enough for two full giant mugs, with room for milk and some sugar of course.  So I set up a little "coffee corner" by my seat in the den near the computer.

And if you haven't yet heard the news....

Our main water pipes got replaced on Friday early afternoon.  We now, bli eyin haraa and of course BARUCH HASHEM, have water in the house via the faucets, rather than schlepped in bottles.

What's most amazing is that I managed to do everything necessary for Shabbat, all the cooking, cleaning etc on Friday, mostly after the pipes were replaced, and I unprecedentedly finished early.  I couldn't do any Shabbat preparation on Thursday. In the end we event had much beloved guests.

Miracles do happen!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Never Dull is It? Remember Priorities, Please

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a strange wetness near our front stairs aka the stoop.  I figured that there were leaks in the faucet and irrigation hose.  Well, I was right about a leak, but wrong about the location.  It took over a week until our plumber could come and, after checking out everything, discovered that the leak was in the main pipe bringing water to our house.  So we've had the water turned off most of the time recently as he can't work in the jungle-like mud and vegetation growing there.

The repairs aren't yet finished.  We've been using mostly disposables and cooking methods that require little dishwashing.  I'll blog more about it when, G-d willing it's all repaired.  And yes, it's not going to be cheap, but at least we'll no longer pay for "lost" water.

This is not a month we'll be saving money, since my regular readers know I've been to the dentist.

And then just to keep things interesting, yesterday at work, I felt something a bit "strange" with my distance glasses.  It seemed like a lens was "loose."  Within a few minutes it popped out, but Baruch Hashem it was in easy view right in front of me.  That's much better than the time a few years ago when a lens in my reading glasses somehow disappeared when I was shopping at Rami Levy.  That one was never found, but since the glasses had been only about six months old, and I had them in the shop a couple of weeks earlier for a different repair I didn't have to pay for a new lens.  So next week, before my dentist appointment, I'll have to go to downtown Jerusalem to the optician to have the glasses fixed.

If you're wondering why I sound pretty calm about these problems, inconveniences, expenses etc.  I must tell you that it's easy to put it all in perspective when following the bima Ima's saga on Superman Sam.  She has the right to rant; I don't.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May you have a peaceful and blessed Shabbat

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Touring Close to Home

During Succot we went touring.  It felt in some ways like a different world, because we were in Tel Aviv.  But the truth is that by car, Tel Aviv is just over an hour away from Shiloh or even closer if there's no traffic.  In some ways it feels very different, but it isn't all that different.  And no surprise that we met neighbors who live about ten doors away and doven at the same shul at one of the sites.  We went to two places, the first was the "old Jaffa train station."  The set-up is similar to what was done in Jerusalem; the Tel Aviv site was fixed up first.

One Family had a very moving exhibit about victims of Arab terror and their families.  Yes, it was awfully depressing.

The overall atmosphere at the train station was fun and carnival.


Fun for all ages, including free 10 minute massages to promote "alternative medicine in Kupat Cholim Clalit.

Our next stop was the Tel Aviv Boardwalk.  And the sea was mesmerizing.

One of these "creative Judaism," or Judaism for the not fully-observant groups had a big succah and lots of scheduled activities.

There definitely was a carnival atmosphere.

And an indoor shuk, market.

I must admit that it's certainly convenient living in a small country. There's so much to see and short distances to travel here in Israel.