Friday, January 31, 2014

Trying to Catch Up, Chodesh Tov, Adar Alef, May it be Full of Joy and Rain

Chodesh Tov everyone.  It's Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef, which really should be called Sh'vat Bet...

The Jewish Calendar, in olden, Biblical days wasn't pre-planned.  Everyone would watch the night sky to see the moon fading and getting smaller. There were experts on a mountain near today's Kochav Hashachar in the southern Jordan Valley who could spot the very beginning of the new moon.  Then they'd send signals out to the rest of the Land of Israel and the new lunar month would begin.  At this time of the year they'd have to make a quick decision about whether or not there should be two months of Adar.  In a year like this when not enough rain fell, they'd hope for an extra month of winter and declare this new moon Adar Alef. All of the regular Adar birthdays, yartzeits and the Purim Holiday would be pushed off to the Second Adar.  Only birthday and yartzeits that originally occurred in an Adar Alef are commemorated in Alef.

I'm not home at the present, so I didn't make it to Tel Shiloh to doven with my friends.

But since it's the end of the week there still is a Havel Havelimm, this week on A Jewish Israel. Please check it out and all of the included links.  Comment and share, thanks.  Updated Havel Havelim news can be found on our facebook page.  Send your links via blog carnival. Hosts welcome, thanks.

The Jet-lag Dilemma

I'm tired.  I barely slept on last night's red eye to Miami.
I need sleep, but it's too early.  I'm afraid that I'll wake up too early.

I must keep myself going just another short while.

I try to fight jetlag by forcing myself to behave as if I'm not jetlagged, but since I didn't sleep last night..  I'm just too tired.

G-d willing tomorrow I'll blog.

Tomorrow is day one of Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef.  May I function...  I'm tired of being tired.

Good night.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


It's that time again. Batya is off to Arizona and she's asked me to say a few words to the me-ander crowd. Since the weather today was so nice David and I decided to meet for lunch and then buy some fruits, vegetables, meat and other stuff at the shuk - Machane Yehuda open market. Batya goes there often as well and has written about it before. 
Since it's a bad idea to go shopping on an empty stomach we went to eat first and shop later. 

David and I met at a recently opened establishment called Haba Tratoria. It's right at the entrance to the shuk. It used to be a bakery selling the usual bread, rolls, cookies and other standard fare. But its location is so central and visible they turned it into a really upscale dairy restaurant. It is tastefully decorated very bright and cheerful. Everything is very coordinated and with lots of pretty accessories and serving dishes. Definitely not old style shuk
David had fish and chips and he reported that everything was tasty. I was more adventurous (and less hungry) and had an appetizer of three cheese balls served over caramelized onions (oops, forgot to write down the name of the cheese. It was delicious and not the kind of food I'm likely to whip up in my kitchen.  The prices are standard for a cafe and the portions are not large. 

Another bright new upscale store I noticed today is this housewares store which sells expensive pots and pans and other specialty item for cooking mavens. The man said he would give me a discount because they just opened. I really don't need anything right now and I also don't have anyplace to keep more stuff in my kitchen, but it's good to know where to go just in case.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Found It!

I have these old reading glasses, which I had made almost twenty years ago.  At the time I was working at some office job that lasted barely two weeks.  I had been asked by the boss there to run his office.  I was unemployed so willing to try almost anything. One thing I could never do well was to obey orders.  You can't be a sort of secretary if you won't do as you're told.  I also didn't have any experience with what then was modern "window" computers.

I remember that I got the glasses then. And also at that time, my friend's eldest grandson was born, and he's old enough to be drafted, so the glasses are that old.

Even though my eyes aren't the same, the glasses still work, make it possible for me to read the computer screen.  Of course it does no harm that computer screens have grown a bit...

A few years ago I lent the glasses to someone visiting, and they broke. At least the frame did. The person was very apologetic, but I said that the glasses are too old to get upset over.  I brought them back to the optician who told me that I'd need a jeweler, only a very experienced jeweler.  And he recommended two in Jerusalem.  Neither my husband nor I could ever find one of them in.  So I went to a neighbor who is not only a jeweler, but he's a handyman and can fix all sorts of things.  Yes, he fixed the glasses.  But of late, one of the lenses pops out.

It popped out a few days ago. I looked and looked on the floor of the den.  I looked at various times of the day hoping that with different light it would show up.  I had pretty much given up.  Maybe it rolled under something.  Then  this evening when I came into the den to use the computer, I looked around again, especially under the desk.  I saw a slight round "lighter" area.  I tried to feel around there but couldn't reach it.

Finally I got something that could go there, and there was the lens. I stuck it back in the frame and cleaned them up. Good as new, at least until it falls out again...

Such a Pretty Store

I've been shopping for gifts to bring to the states all over.  Some I've bought from neighbors, but I don't want to give an details about those until they are given out.  I have to make sure there's some suspense.

For one of the hosts I ended up going to my favorite gift shop, an old one in Jerusalem, Gans  It's a treasure trove of gorgeous things.

The store in downtown Jerusalem, 8 Rivlin Street, 10 AM-7 PM Sunday through Thursday, 10 AM-2 PM on Fridays.  Customers who buy in the store can join their "Customer fan club."  The staff is wonderful, friendly and very helpful.  Please tell them that I sent you.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Knowing NBN Bone Zion Winners!

It's always nice when you discover that people you've known for years are prize winners.

Nefesh B'Nefesh has established a prize for veteran olim, Bone Zion , and I know at least two of them.

I've been studying in Matan for a number of years, so I know the founder Director Malke Bina.

Actually I first heard of her way back when in Bayit Vegan.  We were both young mothers at the time, and I had heard that she was giving shiurim, Torah classes.  I remember seeing her in the street and her being pointed out to me, though I couldn't go to those classes.  Life was different then when I was busy taking care of my children who were young.  Everything in its time.  Now I don't need to find a babysitter, so I can do what I couldn't do thirty or forty years ago.  And now my week revolves around the Matan classes I take. One of my daughters had also studied in Matan, though full-time, for a year before starting her career.  When I reached the point in life when I could study, she told me that I must go to Matan, I'd love it, and she's right.

Another of the Prize winners is Dry Bones aka Yaakov Kirschen.

I don't remember how we first met f2f, but we did know each other somehow by the time he started blogging his cartoons.

Here we are at the First International Jewish Bloggers Conference
I certainly wish them and all the other winners the best and good health to continue their great work.

Monday, January 20, 2014

More Adventures in The Arts

A few months ago I fell in love with beading after spending a couple of hours beading with friends.  I'd love to set up a beading corner in "the boys' room" and make jewelry to give as gifts. So far I haven't done it, but I'm dreaming.

Now I have another art medium to enjoy, mosaics!

I did a project the other night at our Shiloh Celebrating 36 Party.  Honestly, I had never, ever, ever, ever done this sort of art.  The aim of the evening was for us to produce signs with our names to put up on our homes.

First we had to choose our colors from the variety of ceramic tiles provided.  The letters had been ordered according to which families signed up. Over one hundred of the three hundred plus families in Shiloh participaed. We were told to set up our picture on the wooden board.  That meant somehow cutting breaking them into pieces that would be arranged "artistically" around the letters of our name.

Those with long names of more than seven letters got bigger boards and had much more to do. I couldn't get the clipper to cut, so I just banged with the hammer, very therapeutically.  One should never waste opportunities, and I wasn't the only one.  The noise was like a platoon taking down a large cement building with large hammers.

We were told to plan our sign on the board, take it off, spread the glue/cement  and then reproduce the work of art on the wet cement.  I decided that there was an easier way. I planned/designed it on the table.  If I had wanted it really perfects and detailed, I would have traced the size of the board, but I'm not that sort of artist.  Also, I do have a good knack for judging size and volume.  I ended up taking just the amount of tiles I needed to fill the board, even though I have zero experience.

Finalizing/setting the pieces on the board proved a bit more complicated than it should have been when the non-artistic part of the program got underway and they turned off the lights to show a film about our outgoing Mazkir, Town Manager.  Luckily one of my neighbors set up her smartphone to light things up a bit, but the final product didn't quite turn out the way I had wanted it to look.

But I did have a good time.  Now how are we supposed to hang it up?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Ten Commandments' Havel Havelim, Parshat Yitro

Cross-posted on Shiloh Musings

Havel Havelim is the veteran weekly Jewish blog carnival.  It floats from blog to blog coordinated on our facebook page.  You can submit your articles via blog carnival. Next week and the following week it will be hosted by  A Jewish Israel.  Please share, link, read, comment and join our community.

On this Shabbat, Parshat Yitro, we read the Ten Commandments.  It's customary for everyone to stand while it's being read, as we stood at Mount Sinai all those thousands of years ago, when in the greatest sound and light show ever, G-d proclaimed the basis of Judaism.  I'm going to stick to my recent custom of not identifying the blog, but I'm making a special Parshat Shavua Category.

Preparing for God

And here are the rest of the posts.  Please read, enjoy and share, thanks:
Write Kids' Books! Make dreams come true.: Interview with author / illustrator Ann D. Koffsky.
Selling boutique beer: Mission Impossible?
Moshe Ya'alon, A Pawn or Player?
J Street's Pro is a No
Picture of the Day
Yitro vs. John Kerry – Advice vs. “Advice”
Yair Lapid vs. Israel's Chief Rabbis: Any Bets?
The religious thing
Two lives touched by the same nightmare
Tu B’Shvat, Jerusalem Transitions
Seder tu b'Shvat
36 Years of Renewed Jewish Life in Ancient Shiloh
Don't Call Me Shirley
“Palestinians” Really Do Need to be Treated like Human Beings
Write Kids' Books! Make dreams come true.: Interview with author / illustrator Ann D. Koffsky
deMOCKratic Free Speech in Israel gets Chipped Away Even Further
Today's Google Doodle - Chaim Nachman Bialik
Jewish Israel updates and announcements
Same Old Arab Rhetoric Needs an Authentically Jewish Response!
My Glorious Washing Station and Why You Should All Be Envious

Ariel Arik Sharon Memorial Section
And What are The Jewish Bloggers Saying about The Late Ariel (Arik) Sharon?
Warrior: Ariel Sharon, 1928 – 2014
That Surprisingly Small and Quiet Funeral Just Proves That Sharon's Sons and Loyalists Don't Comprehend The Sin of Disengagement
Assessing Ariel Sharon's Life
Ariel Sharon's Funeral
If Arik Had Been Healthy...
Moshiach ben Yosef and Sharon in Torah Code

In case you're not yet familiar with it, there's a fourth Jewish blog carnival.  It's monthly and focuses on reviews of Jewish books.  Here's the latest at  Needle in the Bookstack.

And don't forget that the Adar Aleph  Kosher Cooking Carnival will be hosted by  Foodiscovery  for the first time.  So please get your links to her via blog carnival.  We also coordinate on facebook.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of jewish-israel blog carnival aka havel havelim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

What a Waste... To Save Unused Things

I hate being a "pack rat," but just the thought of going through everything to reduce the mess and clutter....

Not long ago I was in a home visiting, not a large home, but the home of a very large family.  I've always wondered how so many people could fit into that house...  Yet, when I went in it seemed so empty and spacious.

My house is now the home of just me and my husband.  All of our kids, married or not, have moved out ages ago.  They moved out, but they all left lots of things, possessions.  Two of the three children's bedrooms have been rearranged so far, and what they didn't take have been stored in the attic. Every few years somebody does a search for something, not always finding what they want but usually throwing out something.  During the big blizzard I offered shoes to a neighbor whose shoes were soaked.

But honestly, I can't blame my kids.  My husband and I have the biggest mess/collection of things including clothes we should either throw out or give away.

Back to that friend who manages to keep a large family in a small home with comfort...  The other day we were talking about shopping and giving and receiving.  She said that she's always receiving clothes from others, and she's always passing things to others, too.  There's nothing extra, unnecessary in her house.  They have everything they need and nothing they don't.

If it's toys that aren't played with, she gives it away to a preschool, play center or someone who will appreciate it. It doesn't matter that in a few months, maybe one of her younger kids will use it.  She trusts that if it'll be needed later on, it'll somehow come back.  She's right and I'm wrong.

There was a time when we all fit in this house, my husband, five kids and I, and we always had room for guests.  Now it's a hassle to get even one bedroom of the three "empty ones" ready for guests.

I should start with the clothes and the books I used for teaching English.  I haven't had a student for months. Also the curriculum keeps changing so that even though English is English, some of the books are out of date.

I stopped saving "light reading" books years ago.  When a "borrow" from a friend, I always ask for "disposable books," those I can just get rid of after reading.  And when I get books to review, I give them away after reviewing them. My sister-in-law gets all of the cookbooks. She doesn't mind that my gifts to her didn't cost me anything. Other books are given to neighbors and the coordinator of "senior citizen" activities. She has instructions to do whatever with them, read and then offer to the group, which has a lot of English speakers.  It's nice to give gifts that don't cost money. They are my donation to that local group.  Having "book swaps" is a nice way to clean up and also get what you want.

It's a waste to keep unused things.  There's always someone who can make use of it.

Making myself an example of clearing out unneeded things would be the best gift for my family.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First attempt at posting from Galaxy II Plus

On the road to Malcha at 8am.  No traffic in our direction, but it was packed and slow in the other.

I had to rescue this picture post from my blog while on the computer. The tiny screen is hard to navigate.  I kept hitting the wrong spots and thought that I lost the photo.  I'm glad it was still here, even though my original title hit the dust somewhere.  When I saw that I was getting into trouble with it, I just closed down the page and did my rescue work now on the old PC.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Seder tu b'Shvat


I just did a drop of simple editing here, which was awfully hard on my Galaxy II.  I guess I should invest in a simple stylus to hit the correct spots on the screen.  I know/heard that the camera on the phone isn't all that great, but considering the lighting in the room, I can't complain about how these pictures came out.

Wonderful Tremping, With a Little Help From My Friends

The sky may have had been cloudy today, but good people found me and I got home pretty easily, Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d.   Or did I find them...

People always wonder how I travel.  OK, sometimes by bus.  And sometimes by rides and sometimes a combination.  And Baruch Hashem, I make it home.

Today after working, I went into Rami Levy to do just a bit of shopping.  Really, not much at all.  I had only four things, but it was one of those Murphy events.  The cashier was about to switch. She first had to finish with the previous customer, count her money and then let the next one take her chair. And I had to wait.  I was getting nervous, not because I didn't have a ride, but because I was afraid that my ride was going to leave before I checked out the four measly items I had decided to buy.

I had noticed a friend on the next line.  She lives in Ofra and travels by car.  She said/signalled that she'd drive me to there, half way home.  She paid, and I was still waiting. But luckily she had wanted to buy something next door n Yafiz.  I was still waiting.   Finally I checked out and found her wagon.  It all worked out. We left together.

On the road I spotted the 148 which goes to Shiloh.  We passed it, and I told her, so she dropped me off in Ofra near the bus stop.

After a few minutes the bus came and just as I as searching for my carfare, I saw a neighbor of mine get out. Now, why should she be getting off in Ofra when she lives in Shiloh?  Ahh hah!  She must have left her car in Shiloh and maybe she'd be driving home, so I called to her  and asked.

Yes, I had a ride up to my streets!  Wonderful!!

Always surprises....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Last week I took a different route to the Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem old age home where my friend has been living this past decade.  We used to live in Bayit Vegan and saw the Shalom Hotel going up from our apartment on Rechov Bayit Vegan.  I haven't been back to that building, but last week I walked from Sha'are Tzedek to my friend's apartment on Rechov Uziel.

The first building there, which now looks absolutely awful is a building I used to visit.

That's where the mikvah (ritual bath) was.  Even then in the early to late 1970's when they built a new fancier and more modern one on Rechov Sha'arei Torah (is my memory correct?) the building wasn't kept up. There was an old lady who ran the mikvah on her own.  I don't think she ever smiled. We'd wait in a small crowded waiting room until there was a bath free.  It was the type of place we'd rush through preparations in order to leave as quickly as possible.

I remember the lines and wait at the new one being much longer.  After moving to Shiloh, I once had to "dunk" there before a wedding, and it took absolutely ages.

My only good memory of going to that old mikvah was that on the way I'd pass some fragrant bushes. The flowers put me in just the right mood and helped make up for the unpleasant old mikvah.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Havel Havelim on Esser Agaroth and Calling For Galaxy II Plus Tips

As some of you must know by now, I've finally jumped in to the world of the smartphone and I'm barely treading water near the edge of the lake.  First I was going to write pond, then I decided that a pond is too small and shallow, then I though of a pool, but a pool is too easy to get out of with sides to be grabbed and ladders.  This smartphone is a giant lake, like that freezing Lake Sebago in Maine I remember from some camp I worked at when I was fifteen.  I babysat my neighbor's daughter since she (the mother) was head of waterfront. You can do almost anything with a smartphone, and I haven't quite caught on sufficiently besides the usual cellphone stuff plus checking email.  A few years ago, one of my sons showed me his new smartphone and said:
"Here's my laptop."
I know that it can do most anything a computer can do, but I just haven't yet figured it out.  I don't have the most advanced, just the Galaxy II Plus, highly recommended by others.  Suggestions will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

And now to the main course of this post, Havel Havelim very ably hosted by Esser Agaroth. Havel Havelim is one of the most veteran blog carnivals in the universe.  It's a weekly collection of blog posts by Jewish and Israeli bloggers concerning Israel and Jewish issues, ideas etc.  Check it out, read and share, thanks.

We coordinate who's hosting etc on our facebook page.  You can also email me (shilohmuse at gmail dot com) if you're interested in taking on a week, which is a good way to promote your blog.  Blog posts can be submitted via blog carnival though you have to sign up with them first.  It's easy and of course free.  Blog carnival also provides the host with a very helpful "sample carnival" including all the links and basic text, which the host can then edit. Hosts, of course, can and should add more posts.

There's also a monthly Jewish blog carnival, Kosher Cooking Carnival which I coordinate.  It also has a facebook page and blog carnival account.

I suggest getting in the habit of sending in your links to the carnivals immediately after posting something special, so you don't forget to do it. Enjoy reading and blogging.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tried and Failed

New saga going on here.  Now that I'm the owner of a smartphone I see how stupid I am.

Last night I had to ask a neighbor who recently bought an even more primitive Samsung how to turn mine off.  When my son gave me a quick tutorial on my Galaxy II Plus, he probably showed me, but there was so much new data to absorb it was beyond my abilities/limited memory.

In a week and a half I'll be flying to the states and I want to be able to blog from the phone when I'm there.  I don't expect my stubby fingers to type much, but I'd like to be able to blog pictures or even videos as a travelogue when I'm there.  So far I've had zero luck in getting the smartphone to cooperate.  I know that people do it, so I guess I'm just not smart enough yet.  Yes, "yet."

Just because I'm not sufficiently "intuitive" to figure out how to do it doesn't mean that I can't learn. If there's anyone out there who can help me, I'm grateful.  And if there's anyone whose phone number I need to have in the phone, please send it to me, because I need to reenter almost all of my phone numbers. Thanks for your patience, cooperation and tolerance.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Visiting One's Past

Over the years decades lots of people have entered our home as guests. Some were just for a few minutes or hours and others became like part of the family with a relationship lasting for years. It's so strange to think of it now when my husband and I rattle alone around this junk-filled house that was once so filled with our kids and guests.

The other day my husband had an interview with the BBC.  The house was a mess. He knew the routine.
"Yes, don't bring them in.  I'll deal with them outside."
It was a rare day for me to be home.  I was dressed like a slob in in old sweatshirt and indiscript skirt.  Long gone were the days I'd dress up and put on make-up for some reporters.  I barely had time to clean up, certainly none to "play Pat Nixon."  I was busy in the house when my husband suddenly came back.
"Someone wants to see you."
Luckily my husband hadn't brought the guy in. It was the photographer who had remembered sleeping over one time when he was accompanying a gimmicky reporter who had decided to ride a donkey through the Holy Land.  He wanted to thank me and say hello.

Not long ago, one of those who had spent a lot of time in our house when he was studying in Shiloh came with his family.

I took them around Shiloh HaKeduma at Tel Shiloh.  It was strange for him, since it had changed so much since he had last been there, but for his family it was their first time.

I'm not good at visiting my past.  I always feel very award.  I'm glad that other people don't have that problem.  I really do like it when my past comes to visit.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Learning How To Use A Smartphone

Yes, yesterday I bought a smartphone.  Of course I came up with a very basic problem.  My fingers are just too fat to hit the right letters.  I've been watching everyone else (except my husband, but he'll get one in a few weeks) both older and younger than me tapping and swiping like pros.  It's a Galaxy II Plus.  In the end I bought it at Bug, which is a computer whatever chain.  There are branches all over, and they also have reps signing people up for Golan cellphone service, which we have, too.

The same son who taught me how to use my digital camera, the old, trusty Canon 620, helped me get started on my smartphone. He didn't like my choice in rings, but I tried to explain that it must be loud an annoying for me to hear it.  He has promised, or was it threatened, to download a nice Beatles song.  The problem with that will be that I'll sing along instead of answering.

And talking about answering the phone... that he didn't show me.  I figured out how to make calls without any real problem and even guessed what to press to activate the number I had just dialed and then to end the call.  But when I told my husband I needed to find out if it really rings and call me I couldn't' figure out how to answer it.  I kept tapping of course, which is wrong.  When I got home I tried to unwind on the computer a bit and asked my facebook friends and followers.  Luckily one managed to give me enough hints which helped.

Since the guys in the store hadn't hours to send all the numbers to my phone via bluetooth or whatever, now I need everyone to call me so I can add their numbers easily.  If you have my number, then I need you to call and identify yourself, ok?  Thanks!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Learning New Ways Around Jerusalem

After years of traveling weekly from Shiloh to Matan by public transportation, tremps, walking etc at dawn, schlepping my breakfast and a thermos of delicious perked coffee,  plus books etc I now have a new way. A neighbor is studying once a week, davka the same day, in Malcha and has to be there just before I do.  So instead of waking at 4am and leaving home just after 6am hoping for a ride before the 6:35 bus, I get up at 4:30 with time to eat a warm breakfast at home and leave with him at 7am.

By the time we leave the sun is shining, and I'm not stressed out wondering how and when I'll arrive.  A small disadvantage or a "good news-bad news" is that I don't have the time I used to for a long fitness walk before class. The advantage is that I'm much more awake during class with the extra sleep and relaxing ride.

The only difficulty was figuring out the best bus route from where he drops me off to Matan.  Suddenly I have to travel via the San Martin-Pat area, which I never knew at all before.

At Malcha I catch the #6 bus and take it about three stops to Golomb, if I got that right.  I just know that it's the first stop after some very impressive tunnel.  Last week when I did it for the first time, I  asked absolutely everyone I could find what they recommended from the minute I got to the Malcha bus stop until I got off the #6A.  And from the same place I can catch the #18 which goes pretty close to Matan or the #4 which requires a good five or more minute walk.

The only real quirk about this is that the #18, which I rushed to beat to the stop, first takes a long "ride around the block" before stopping to take me to Matan.

Last week I spotted it after its little detour.  But at least I had time to photograph the view from the bus stop.

After I got off, I decided to walk through the gorgeous alley ways to Matan. They are among the hidden beauties of Jerusalem.