Friday, October 31, 2014

Rain, Can't Complain, but....

Here in this precious part of the world, our rain season is short, barely half the year, and of course it doesn't rain every day, though most of us would be happy if it rained every night leaving us with sunny days....

Not enough rain is bad for the crops, the gardens and keeping the streets and solar water heaters clean. But too much daytime rain is depressing, keeping us indoors. The plants need a certain amount of sun, and for those of us who dry our clothes in the sun outside, insufficient sunshine wreaks havoc with our laundering.

Part of our prayers is praying for rain, but we don't pray all year. Here in Israel we start two weeks after the end of Succot, and that's when it suddenly rained.

I heard some familiar sounds from outside, and it was rain! Thank the Good Lrd for your mercy. May we deserve and be blessed with rain, the right quantities and timing. May it be a blessing and not a curse.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Card Game," The Perils of Public Transportation

It was no game of Solitaire, certainly not Free Cell or my favorite computer card game Spider Solitaire. We're not taking about those sorts of cards. The card that had me running all over the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

The RavKav looks like such a cheery fun card in this picture. But today, it caused me much stress and aggravation. Early in the day it was fine. When I took the train and buses it worked, but I knew that there were few rides left within Jerusalem and none between Jerusalem (or Sha'ar Binyamin)-Shiloh. So I needed to fill it. I like to fill the Jerusalem trips in the City-Pass office in Binyan Clal and the Shiloh trips in the bus station. (That's a subject for another post.)

from a different day, but
there are always lines
My friend convinced me to try the machines by the train and promised to help. I had a bad experience trying to pay that way once, which is why I don't use them. We succeeded in putting 20 trips into the card. After that I took my nephew to lunch, introduced him to kubbehs- a north-African delicacy, did some shopping in Machane Yehuda and then walked to the bus station.

At the bus station I purposely chose a clerk who didn't look familiar because I've had too many bad experiences with some nasty ones. I told her what I wanted, paid and then... a red light kept going on when she tried to put the "trips" into the card, instead of the green light.
"Sorry, but something is wrong with your card."
"How could that be. I just put in 20 rides for inside Jerusalem."
"Yes, but now I can't work it. You need to go to the "Superbus" office near #1. Don't worry, he'll take care of it, and then you don't have to wait on line."
So I went to that office, opened the door and saw some guy behind a desk eating.
"Lady, I'm on a break. Come back at 2pm."  
It was then  1:30.
"But I'll miss my bus."
"So, what? It's my break. Can't you see?"
"You can go to hell," I replied. That's not what I'd normally say, but I always put down my fork/food when a customer needs me at work.
Then I ran back to the clerk, pushed my way to the front and told her that he was eating and wouldn't see me. She quickly made a phone call.
"Go to Reuven by #22. He's expecting you and will help."
Well, I pushed my way and the guy guarding the door listened, called to Reuven who said I should go to a different clerk. She tested my card and said it was fine. When I explained the problem, she said to go to Eyal at #17.  So I went there, and they said that he had gone home. Yes, I went back to the clerk. She couldn't understand why Reuven didn't help me. Luckily someone who seemed to be the supervisor was there. He heard the story and then took me back to Reuven who made me smile into the camera for a new card.

Then I took the new card back to the clerk who transferred the Shiloh-Jerusalem rides I had just bought to it, but she couldn't transfer the internal Jerusalem rides. Hopefully, that card will still work in Jerusalem, if not I have to go to the City-Pass office.

By 2pm I was waiting for the bus home, which came a couple of minutes later. But the story isn't over. I put the card on the bus's "card reader," and red-light went on. I almost had a nervous breakdown. There was no time to run back to the clerk. The driver told me to wait, when he heard that I had just loaded it. I took a front seat and waited. After we started the trip home to Shiloh, we tried the card again, and it did work, B"H.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Picturing Things Differently, Memories of Being the Girls Gym Teacher

Yesterday I ended up walking around Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh three times. I may still be a bit dehydrated...and bli neder I'll write more about it at a later date.

First I took my nephew around. He had never been in Shiloh before, and I don't know how familiar he is with archaeological sites. I tried to give a basic, history background of the place. I'm not the greatest tour guide. I'm more into ideas, concepts, historical lessons than numbers, like "duh" is my answer to:
"How many years ago was the Tabernacle destroyed?"
For me Shiloh is more than just a very special historical/ Biblical site and a crucial part of Jewish History. I know that many of the impressive finds don't have any holiness, but I still got a kick out of this...

PS when I was the girls' gym teacher I used pillars like these for games, like "Musical Chairs." But even I thought using them as kitchen work-space a bit surprising. I guess they've lasted so long that coffee won't stain them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Shiloh, Door on Jewish History, via 52 Frames

This week's theme/challenge on 52 Frames, the facebook photography group was doors/windows. I took a bunch of pictures of your usual doors and windows, but nothing seemed special. That's it until Rosh Chodesh Marchesvan, the first of the Jewish Month of Marcheshvan when I was with my friends for Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. I noticed the partially reconstructed doorways in the archaeological finds.

Yes, the door on Jewish History!

One of the most important things we must teach/explain is that there has been a Jewish Nation for thousands of years here in this corner of the Middle East, and it actually began in Shiloh. Shiloh was the first capital of the Jewish Nation, prior to the time of the Kings. For three-hundred-sixty-nine years Shiloh was the religious and administrative Capital of the Jewish Nation. We were ruled by the Kohenim, priestly tribe, which was stationed/based in Shiloh where the Mishkan, Tabernacle had stood. It was the forerunner of the Holy Temples, Har Habayit, Temple Mount, Jerusalem.

Photography isn't just about taking pretty pictures.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Shabbat, Without it I Couldn't Survive

I must thank my good friend Esther Revivo for this. She posted a lovely "gratitude" piece on facebook and gave me permission to repost it here:
"Short gratitude post for today: I am eternally grateful for having Shabbat a part of my life. It grounds me and is the center of my enter week. I spend the whole week gearing up for it- baking ahead of time; buying, preparing and freezing special foods for Shabbat. It is a warm, wonderful spiritual family day when my family is cut off from the media and everything digital. I feel my soul, spirit, mental and physical strength energized and connection to G-d renewed.Having lived the first 15 years of my life in a home without Shabbat observance, I never take this for granted. I love living in Israel where Shabbat is part of the national consciousness and I'm not considered strange for my actions. Thank you Hashem for this precious gift!"
Like Esther, I, too, wasn't raised with any familiarity to a traditional, Torah Jewish Shabbat. After close to half a century keeping Shabbat according to Torah Judaism aka Orthodox Judaism, I just can't imagine surviving life without it.

Shabbat is a chance to breathe. Sometimes it is a drop stressful getting everything done beforehand, before we light the Shabbat Candles and usher in the peacefulness. All the food must be cooked, light-switches set, floors cleaned, laundry washed. Only someone, like a doctor or police or in the military etc., may find him/herself disturbed on Shabbat.

Once you adjust to the cycle, getting everything ready on time isn't all that complicated.

We pray, we eat, we stay pretty close to home and we rest  physically, mentally, emotionally. We recharge our batteries to help us cope with the following week.

Thank G-d for giving us Shabbat!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Return to Gingi, Hadar Mall, Talpiyot, Jerusalem

Last week, my friend and I, with little time to do our usual menu/price survey before eating lunch, decided to return to "Steakiyat Ginji," at the Talpiyot Hadar Mall, Jerusalem, because we had really enjoyed the meal we had there a few months ago.

We even ordered exactly the same thing as before. The price of ns39 for freshly broiled (according to halacha, Jewish Law) liver and unlimited salads, the best salads we've ever eaten, is a bargain for sure. We didn't even glance at the basket of pittot this time, because we weren't even tempted. We were too busy drooling over the salads to be bothered with the bread.

The waiter first served us the liver with "french fries," because we had forgotten to mention we didn't want potatoes. When we apologetically said that we needed a substitution, he quickly offered to bring our liver with fresh salad. No muss, no fuss, unlike other restaurants.

I don't usually review the same restaurant more than once, but my experience at Steakiyat Ginji סטיקיית ג'נג'י was so good, they do deserve a second blog post. As a restaurant reviewer I should have ordered something else, but since I never prepare liver, and I almost never have the opportunity to eat it, that was what I ordered. My friend was of the same mind as me about it.

I highly recommend the restaurant. I believe that it's a chain, so if you're familiar with other branches, please give information in the comments, thanks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

First Joint Jewish Blog Carnival, HH-KCC of 5775

cross-posted on Shiloh Musings
It ends up that I'm hosting both the Kosher Cooking Carnival for the Jewish Month of Cheshvan and the Havel Havelim for the week of Noach, so they are being combined.

I'd like to remind you to please remember to send in more links, best with a sentence describing the post. And also please volunteer to host. And most important is to share the carnivals, read, comment and share the included posts, too, thanks.

Remember, you don't have to be blogger to read and comment and share blog posts! Enjoy and Shavua Tov to all!
The Kosher Cooking Carnival is a monthly blog carnival about kosher food, kosher cooking, anything to do with kosher food. I started it many years ago when a post of mine was rejected by a food/recipe carnival that wanted to restrict that edition to ham. Like many if not all of the ancient enemies of the Jewish People, that blog carnival no longer exists, but we're still cooking!
Nowadays KCC is organized on our facebook page. You can sign up to host or find out who's hosting there. Or just write to me shilohmuse at gmail dot com. The editions generally appear around Rosh Chodesh, which is the first day of the Jewish Month. The Kosher Cooking Carnival is more than just a recipe carnival. It includes posts about all aspects of kashrut, what makes food kosher, custom, recipes and also cookbook and restaurant reviews, kosher of course.
Please check out the posts, read, comment and of course share them and this blog round-up.
Havel Havelim is the weekly international Jewish blog carnival that has been appearing well over a decade. It was begun by Soccer Dad who no longer blogs. He coordinated it for quite a while. Now we use our facebook page to coordinate and publicize it. That's where we sign up to host an edition (Hint! Hint!) and see the latest news. Join the page and become part of the community.
Mrs. S. Vegetarian Vegetable Quiche
Our Shiputzim aka Mrs. S. National Parks: Castel Edition
Ruth Making Etrog jam (recipe with commentary)
Sharon at Voices, To Live as a Jew, please pray for a refuah shleimah Yemima bat Sara
Yocheved Medication Safety: Part 3 of "Talk About Your Medicines" month
Leora Chicken, Rice, Salsa in a Pot
Tablet Magazine The Half-Mexican, Half-Japanese Chef Who Built a Career in Kosher Cooking
Ben-Tzion, Challah Bake aka Adventures of a Chief Rabbi: Female Pride and Asado Supreme.
And Parshat Noach by Ben-Tzion, Perfidious Friends
Varda Epstein, Chaya Zissel Braun And The End of Worlds
This ongoing war Imagine if the NYTimes knew how to sincerely apologize
Gail Winston Gaza War Diary: Thurs. Oct. 23 DAY 109 3 Am
Lady Light Israel's Universal Purpose
Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan
Doug Food and beer pairing for Rosh Hashana: Beer and prakas (What's that?)
Tzivia Hashem's Amazing World: three terrific science / nature books for Jewish kids
Frugal and Kosher Vegan Black Bean Crumbles (Ground Beef Substitute)
And some of my recent posts, food, politics, whatever...
Better and Simpler than the Finest Sorbet
Aliyah Time! Hebrew is The Key to Success!
The Shabbat Food Warmer Cooks!
Color-Coded Shemitta Guides in Osher Ad
Chodesh Tov! Lesson From Biblical Shiloh, Prayer and Human Nature
Fizzy, Italian Kosher Wine
Shandy Tasting

It just gets Crazier and Crazier

Just a reminder to please visit the blogs, comment, share thanks.
You don't have to be a blogger to be part of our blogging community.
Please share this blog carnival to all, thanks.

Friday, October 24, 2014

First of the New Generation, A Milestone, Mazal Tov!

On my father's side of the family, I'm one of the oldest cousins. I'm all of six months younger than my older cousin. We both live in Israel, which is another story... And our oldest grandchildren, both girls, are about the same age difference.

Last night the clan celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of my cousin's granddaughter, which was a gorgeous, glorious and festive event, as it should be.

It's funny to think of the two of us as the  "alte kokus," the elderly ones of the clan, but we are. Yes, it's true that my father is still alive, but he's in Arizona, and a good portion of the family is here in Israel, including all of the youngest generation. They were all at the party, which is quite amazing when you think of it. Also half the generation of our kids were there including my nephew visiting from abroad. He got to meet cousins he didn't know at all, which was a real bonus.

Mazal Tov to all! We should enjoy good health and many more smachot, joyous occasions together.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Color-Coded Shemitta Guides in Osher Ad, אושר עד

My friend and I were in the Hadar Mall, Talpiyot, Jerusalem yesterday and checked out the new, Osher Ad, אושר עד giant discount  supermarket. Since we didn't have a shopping cart, we just bought an item or two but were impressed with the color-coding of the signs in the fruit and veggie department to easily indicate the origins and shemitta status of the food items.

Arab lettuce, non-Jewish

green/fresh garlic
from chu"l, abroad
dla'at, pumpkin
6th year

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kosher Food Bloggers, Yoo-hoo!...

Nu, yoo-hoo, waky wake...
Water's boiling, shriek!
Hey, you...

It's time to send in links for the next Kosher Cooking Carnival, which I plan to post, G-d willing, bli neder, some time after this Shabbat, since Friday and Shabbat are Rosh Chodesh Marsheshvan.

The Kosher Cooking Carnival is the monthly blog carnival centered on all aspects of kosher food and kosher cooking, halacha (that's Jewish Law,) traditions, cookbook and restaurant reviews, kosher food news/updates and recipes, too, of course! Anything as long as it's kosher!

I started the blog carnival when a recipe of mine was rejected from a general recipe blog carnival, because the week's theme was ham. Nu, we're still putting together our kosher food carnival, and they're history...

Nowadays, we organize and make announcements, such as who's hosting, volunteer to host, etc. on our facebook page. Please send in your post from this month of Tishrei, or any you think would make a good contribution to the kosher food blog carnival to me at shilohmuse at gmail dot com, thanks. And, of course, please share this information, thanks.

PS You don't have to be a blogger to love, read, comment, share the Kosher Cooking Carnival!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Friend is Making a Movie

A neighbor of ours has been mentioning a movie he's involved with for the past few weeks or so. A mutual friend, former Hollywood guy, who has written some great books, such as Tevye in the Promised Land, and had, for a few enjoyable years, lived across the street with his family, the one and only Tzvi Fishman is making a movie! It's called  "Stories of Rebbe Nachman,"  and he's raising a bit of money to finish it off and get out to the public. Maybe you'd like to help.

To raise money, he's using

Watch the  trailer.

Here's the official explanation.
"Stories of Rebbe Nachman" will be a fun and inspiring, feature film based on four of Rebbe Nachman's wonderful, faith-filled, fairy tale-like fables. The film will be a powerful beacon of light in our dark and despairing world. The famous Hasidic master, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, taught that stories can bring healing to the soul. While most people tell stories to children to put them to sleep, Rebbe Nachman told his stories to wake people up! Filled with many deep messages of faith, trust in God, and the importance of always being happy, these universal stories are for people of all ages. It is well known that after reading one of these stories many many people have returned to the Torah. Too religious, you say? Well, we believe that Jews all over the world are waiting to be awakened through the joy and inspiration that this entertaining film will bring. And you can make it happen! We have already privately raised $150,000 toward our budget of $180,000, so we only need another $30,000 to make this film a reality. The Jewish People have an important message for the world, and a movie of these inspiring stories has the power to light up the universe. With faith in our enterprise, we are beginning to film of August 10, 2014. As Rebbe Nachman taught, “The whole world is a narrow bridge and the important thing is not to be afraid.”Thank you for joining me on this fun and revolutionary journey! for more...

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Landscape," One of the Most Beautiful 52 Frames Albums Ever!

Here's my photo from the Landscape album of 52 Frames

Landscape, after taking tons of pictures, cropping too many, I went through them and picked this. Those wires make my eyes follow to the place the Biblical Tabernacle rested as a center of Jewish worship, yes, here in Shiloh, for 369 years.

Ironically, when I first went through the many photos I had taken for the week's theme/challenge, "Landscape," I didn't even consider this one. I cropped a whole bunch of others, trying to get something special, but none had any real magic. So I googled "landscape photography" to get some ideas, some inspiration. Then I went over all the pictures again, and this one really resonated. So, without even cropping it, I chose it.  None of the others was even a close second.

What do you think of it?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winter Weather Laundry Dilemma

Yes, now it's אחרי החגים acharay hachaggim "after the Holidays," and after the Jewish Holidays in Israel means that there may be rain.
14-22°Today October 19
Occasional Rain 
That's today's forecast. It means that it may or not rain. Experience shows that it'll rain when the wash is hanging and be dry when there's none outside. It's the Murphy's Law of Landry.

For those of us who like to dry our wash, especially large sheets, tablecloths etc. outdoors, we're very dependent on the sunshine.

I just did my more scientific study by checking the sky.

to the west

to the east

and to the west, again
Experience says that it's the west that predicts the rain. Rain clouds come from the west, but things can move/change quickly here.

I did manage to do four, or was it five, washes on Friday before Shabbat, so I'm not under pressure for clean laundry.

12-21°Monday October 20
Local Rain 
12-22°Tuesday October 21
Partly Cloudy 

Considering the forecast on Arutz 7 for the next few days, maybe I should wait.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Latest Havel Havelim

The latest Havel Havelim is on Shiloh Musings.

There's a great variety of posts here. Please read, comment and share, of course.

Remember, you don't have to be blogger to read and comment and share blog posts! Enjoy and Shavua Tov to all!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Macro Photography, 52 Frames

This week's photography challenge for 52 frames was "macro." Many people in the facebook group have fancy cameras, equipment and lenses, but not me.

I took my photo with my simple, toy-like red Canon IXUS 145. It has a wonderful feature, which I call automatic function/setting/shooting mode search. Looking at the screen, I can see the icons of various settings as the camera checks out what will take a better picture. That's how my small gold earring came out looking so nice and clear and detailed.

Here are a few other photos I thought weren't as good.

Yes, I just went through my jewelry box.

What do you think? Did I choose the right one to submit to the group?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Shabbat Food Warmer Cooks!

This post may make absolutely no sense to someone who doesn't "keep Shabbat" in the Orthodox Jewish way. Sorry. But if you have one of these electric food warmers, then you still may find this post useful. 

A food warmer/platta is a low heat electric surface which is not usually meant for cooking. It comes in handy when you need to keep food nice and warm, but don't want a flame underneath. It's safe for ceramics and other materials which will explode on a cooking flame. A friend of mine, who's a potter, instructs people buying her clay dishes not to put them directly on a hot surface. They can take the heat if the heating or cooking surface starts off cold.

On Shabbat we're not supposed to cook, so if we heat up food to serve at a Shabbat meal we can't do it on a direct heat surface. I have a collection of metal objects like that round one in the picture which goes on the "platta," heater. The water stays all the time, since it already boiled up before Shabbat, before I put it on there.

There are many people who put the cold food directly on the platta on Shabbat insisting that the heater doesn't get hot enough to cook and/or that the metal surface is the "extra layer" between the heating elements and the pot.

On Simchat Torah, a holiday when it's permitted to cook, I put most of the pots and baking dishes directly on the platta. Today and last night when I took them off they were boiling/bubbling. That proves that the heating elements are hot/strong enough to cook, so I firmly believe that we must use something between the pot and the platta.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Such Goodness חסד "Chessed" From Others, Only in Israel Tremping Stories

Do stories like these happen anyplace else?

I consider it "only in Israel," because where else is hitchhiking so prevalent? Tremping is what we call hitchhiking here in Israel. It's most prevalent in rural and semi-rural/suburban-type areas such as Judea, Samaria, the Golan and Jordan Valley. That's because of two factors:

  • Public transportation isn't sufficient in terms of frequency and time efficiency. Sometimes it can take half a day to get from point a to point b by bus, while a direct ride is only fifteen minutes. And some communities aren't serviced at all by public transportation.
  • Not everyone has a private car, and if a family does, it can't service everyone in the family.
There used to be signs at the
Jerusalem "city line." 
The culture of giving and accepting rides from friends, neighbors and even total strangers is part of Israeli culture where I live in Shiloh. We have never had a car. My husband mostly takes buses to and from his part-time job in Jerusalem. He is also the type that doesn't mind waiting. I work part-time in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, and study once a week in Jerusalem. I wouldn't survive without the tremps I get from friends, neighbors and strangers which supplement the buses, which I do take, too.

In theory I could use just buses to commute to work, but especially since I sometimes finish late at night,  my schedule doesn't match the bus schedule and I find waiting for buses less efficient than waiting for rides I combine those forms of transportation.

The חסד chessed, goodness of others is amazing. Not long ago, during the recent Jewish Holiday season,  I did a big shopping in the Rami Levy Discount Supermarket before signing in for my night shift, with the hope that I'd find a neighbor to take my stuff home to be picked up later by my husband. A neighbor took the bags and left them by my door since she had to leave home again before my husband expected to be home. I was very relieved, because Yafiz, where I work didn't have the space for those bags, and it's much easier to tremp home sans shopping bags, especially after 9:30pm. 

After finishing that long pre-Holiday shift I waited by the Rami Levy exit for a ride/tremp and suddenly I saw that same neighbor. She had come to look for me, since she didn't have my phone number. She had finished with her evening plans and was passing by, so she stopped into Sha'ar Binyamin to look for me. Such a wonderful neighbor. 

And the other night, again after a long late night shift, I caught a ride with someone I didn't know at Ofra, which is halfway home. He dropped my off at the Shiloh Junction. I put on my reflector-vest and suddenly noticed that he had u-turned. He decided not to leave me on the corner. He took me all the way home.

People are wonderful and G-d is Great!

I have a lot to be thankful for!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shemitta is Now Getting Real

These are now the price signs in the Rami Levy Vegetable Department:

And this is the important part:

The tomatoes and other vegetables on sale in Rami Levy now need to be cared for. Peelings and garbage shouldn't be just dumped.

The Sha'ar Binyamin branch of Rami Levy sells "Otzar Beit Din" vegetables. Even though we've been here for decades, I don't feel qualified to give detailed instruction about what this means. I'd appreciate learned and clear comments, thanks.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Wolf Within...

There's something I must admit to you. As a book reviewer I find myself reading books I would never in a million years have bought or picked up to read if they hadn't been offered to me for review, and A Wolf in the Soul by Ira T. Berkowitz is definitely one in that category.

Mystical, mythical, fantasy and science fiction genres aren't my favorites. But, like the proverbial Jewish joke, I do take advantage of whatever is offered for free. That's even how I began the diet that helped me lose fifteen 15 kilo (over thirty 30 pounds) a number of years ago. Bli eyin haraa, not to tempt the evil eye, but the weight has been kept off, and sometimes I've been surprised at how much I enjoyed or couldn't put down books I've read for review. A Wolf in the Soul is one of those.

Trust me when I say that a book about a werewolf is one of the last books I'd take, even if totally desperate for reading material. So nobody was more surprised than myself when I found it hard to put down. It wasn't that I felt obligated to finish it as quickly as possible to get it out of the house. There are quite a few books that never made it as book reviews. I stopped reading after the first few pages. Or I read them and couldn't find anything positive to say, so I just said nothing. I wouldn't waste my time on a totally negative review, but I have posted mixed ones.

So, I hope you're curious about what I could have liked about a werewolf book. There was an honesty in the character; it is a first person narrative. As peculiar as the wolf transformation was to me, the emotions he reveals are very real. The family dynamics and human relations depicted in the book are realistic.

I don't know if I fully understood what the author, Ira T. Berkowitz (and I didn't succeed in finding out more about him) wanted to bring across to the reader, but I believe it to be connected to the power of our individual free will. Our free will, controls us, which means that we have ultimate control over ourselves. We have control over our faith in G-d and our relationships with other people.

The bottom line here is that, yes, I do recommend the book,  A Wolf in the Soul, for yourself and as a gift. It's a book about a personal struggle. The end doesn't wrap up the story into a neat package, which brings a realism fiction rarely offers. You can take the book's conclusion and begin a whole new book, which, no doubt, would be equally enthralling. Is there a "part two" in the works? I don't know, since I couldn't contact the author.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fizzy, Italian Kosher Wine

One of our Shabbat Chol Hamoed guests brought us a new for my family wine.

It's davka, Italian and fizzy, Bartenura.

Some family members fell in love with the sapphire blue bottle, and one of my grandchildren considered it a tasty sweet soda. I guess we have to keep an eye out for that one.

The bottle's color is very much like the "Hebron blue glass" which is probably still produced and sold in Hebron and Bethlehem. I remember stores full of glass jugs of a similar color in the days before "peace" when Jews could safely and freely walk around those cities. There were tourist glass shops in Bethlehem right next to Kever Rachel. Now the area around Kever Rachel is literally an armed camp, with thick walls and lots of guards and soldiers. Sorry, but I hadn't planned on getting into politics here. I just wanted to blog about the fizzy wine.

Back to the wine. I had first tasted it in Phoenix, AZ, when spending Shabbat there. Honestly, it tasted better in Phoenix than in Shiloh. Maybe because here in Shiloh we have such a wonderful selection of great kosher Israeli wines at reasonable prices, yes, including fizzy ones.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weather's Changing. Winter is Very Soon

I've been seeing the weather change, even if it's just by the richer sunrises, decorated by clouds and more attractive "textures" than in the simpler summer sunrises.

The sky changes so quickly.

On Friday, just before Shabbat came in there was such strong powerful thunder and lightening, too. And yes, it also rained a bit. The thunder and lightening went into Shabbat, but the rain wasn't all that much, and we were able to eat in the succah, which was nice.

Neighbors lost their electricity, and they had to go to get help to turn it back on. There is a family that takes care of their elderly parents, who have full-time help from non-Jews. So in special cases like what happened to my neighbors one of the non-Jews did a "Shabbos goy" mitzvah.  Other neighbors discovered that the lightening had damaged their phone lines. But of course they only discovered it after Shabbat.

Will we have a "real winter" this year?  We do need rain, G-d willing.

Friday, October 10, 2014

One of My Favorite Unique Things About Israel! aka "Only in Israel"

There's something very unique and Jewish about some Israeli architecture:

The merpesot or balconies/terraces are placed to give each apartment the potential for a kosher succah. Granted that this isn't a building requirement and doesn't exist in every building built, but it is found in quite a few.

Sometimes there is an overlapping, so that not all of the succah is actually kosher. In those cases, women and children who aren't required by Jewish Law to be in the succah are relegated to sit in the covered "non-kosher" section. That's acceptable for those who have no real choice. When we lived in Jerusalem, I ate in succot like those.

At least everyone is at the same table.

Here in Shiloh, we can build large succot with room for all.

Chag Sameach, Have a wonderful joyous holiday!