Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Negative Space, 52 Frames Photo Challenge

I'm not very good at setting up, planning a shot, for photographing. I'm just not visually detail oriented enough and not enough of a perfectionist. So I try to find readymade scenes that fit the bill. For this past week's 52 Frames Negative Space, I found myself drawn to the sky and this local Shiloh scene.

The silhouette effect was natural, not photoshopped. All I did was to crop it so the trees formed a bowl-like lower frame. No doubt that there is some fancy name for it.

Here's a version that has less color, but I didn't like it at all in greys.

Here are some uncropped "rejects."

And more taken on a sunnier day.

Monday, June 29, 2015

No Clouds Now, HH on A Damaged Mirror

No clouds this morning!

Yael of A Damaged Mirror is back in the business hosting Havel Havelim and has done a great job as usual. We're all glad to have her back with us. Please check out the HH. Visit the various posts, comment and share. I'm sure you'll find plenty to read and think about.

Havel Havelim is the long-running weekly international  Jewish and Israeli blog carnival. It was founded by Soccer Dad, who no longer blogs, and today we coordinate it on our facebook page. I'll be hosting next week, and you're invited to join our friendly internet community. If you'd like to host, please let me know; I can help you out, coach you through it. And if you have a post from this week (your own or something great you've read) you'd like included, please send me the link, shilohmuse@gmail.com, before Shabbat your time, thanks.

Please remember that you don't have to be a blogger to read, comment and share HAVEL HAVELIM!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Effluents? Guess My Vocabulary isn't Good

I noticed this sign in Jerusalem near a decorative fountain.

It bothered me. I guess I'm stupid. I wasn't familiar with the word "effluents," though I could easily guess the meaning, the intention of the sign. The colors of the sign, red and white indicate dangers, and the rest of the words do, too. It is clear that the water in the fountain is polluted or poisoned. That's obvious.

Like way back when, during my days as an EFL English Teacher, here I was stuck like many students, understanding only some of the words in a text. We used to be told to tell our students to guess the missing/incomprensible/unknown word. The experts insisted that the technique helps, and I would insist that it only helps with a certain higher level of students. My lower level and remedial would misinterpret the messages/texts and come up with incorrect ideas. And the wordier the texts the harder it would be.

I took a course to help lower level students to understand reading comprehension passages, and the first step we taught them was to step back and look. That's why I I considered the colors here so important. They mean danger. And the word danger also appears in the text. The problem is that the word water doesn't, though hopefully someone weak in English would know what "drinking" means.

For me the message was clear:
Don't drink the water! Dangerous!
Could it be poisonous or polluted? I had to look up the mystery word out of curiosity.

flowing out or forth.
something that flows out or forth; outflow;effluence.
a stream flowing out of a lake, reservoir, etc.
sewage that has been treated in a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
sewage or other liquid waste that is discharged into a body of water, etc.
liquid discharged as waste, as from an industrial plant or sewage works
radioactive waste released from a nuclear power station
a stream that flows out of another body of water

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Newest Kitchen Gadget

When I was in New York a few months ago, I not only bought that wonderful, low-tech 1-cup coffee filter in Zabar's, I bought new poultry shears aka kitchen scissors. I guess that Zabar's has more in the store than on their internet site, because I can't find either there. but I did find the poultry shears on Amazon.

I had seen my friend use them for easy chicken-cutting, yes the same one who has the coffee filter. These shears, unlike a pair I had been given a couple of decades-plus ago, seemed so easy to use and clean.


It took me awhile to get the gumption up to use them. That's why I'm just writing about them now.

They seem to have some other gadgets attached, but I'm not quite sure what. Also since they are used on raw poultry I don't think it's healthy to use them for other things. We don't have a dishwasher of the electric type, just human.  They may not get as clean as they should be.

This was definitely a good purchase. I'm glad I got it, because I buy whole chickens which cost less than those cut up in quarters or more.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Making My Famous Classic 1, 2, 3 Cookies Sans Scale

Traditional Jewish memorial
Yartzeit candle
Tuesday, when I was sms/negotiating/planning my dinner out with son #1 on my mother's second yartzeit, Jewish anniversary of death, I reminded him that his birthday is in a week. He replied:
"Make me cookies."
Now I knew exactly what cookies he was referring to. They are simple 1, 2, 3 Cookies. The basic ingredients are measured on a food scale and must be in the right weight proportions (I always multiply by two or three,) such as:

  • 100 grams sugar (dark brown is best, gives great flavor)
  • 200 grams margarine
  • 300 grams flour (whole-wheat gives great flavor)
  • however much flavorings as you want, such as cinnamon, chocolate chips, sprinkles etc
Or you can measure with ounces:
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 8 oz margarine
  • 12 oz flour
I highly suggest that you base the recipe on the weight/size of a stick of margarine wherever you live. In Israel they are 200 grams with 50 gram markings, if I'm not mistaken. 

When my kids, especially the boys, were little, I'm make the cookies very frequently and almost always had a tin or two of cookies. This son and his best friend loved them so much that he taught his friend's mother how to make them, and she still serves them. In their house the cookies are named after my son.  

Now, to be honest, I hadn't made those cookies in many, many years, and I don't even have a food scale anymore. I didn't even have most of the ingredients ready for use or in the house. The dark brown sugar was frozen solid and I had no oats to make that version which he had specifically requested. And I haven't bought margarine for many years. I bake my cakes and cook with oil.

So I told him that I'd make them next week. But right after that I realized that my husband had left the house before giving me cash which I needed, so I called him and asked him to wait at the bus stop and ran down the hill. That meant that I'd be passing the grocery store. So after getting the cash I zipped in and bought all the missing ingredients and then got to work on my son's early pre-birthday surprise.

Melt margarine in strong/heavy pot on low flame; turn off flame before fully melted. Mix all of the dry ingredients together, and then add margarine. 

chocolate chip
Since the dry ingredients, flour and sugar, were all in full bgs, I was able to estimate the percentage I had to pour into the bowl. I do have a pretty good "eye" for those things. The bags of sugar and flour here are a kilo, which is 1,000 grams, so 200 would be less than a quarter of the bag and 600 would be over half. 

It worked fine for me, though not everyone has my talent. 

oatmeal-  *substitute one third of the four with  regular
oats, not instant
The batter is spoon mixed, and if it's a bit too dry, you can always add a bit of oil and/or an egg. It (the cookies) keeps better without eggs.

When the batter is mixable, moister than a crumb topping, spread it on a baking pan lined with baking paper and pat down well.

Bake in a medium oven until it smells like "baked cookies" and the color has changed. If you've discovered after they are ready and cooled that they are still soft, then return them to the oven and bake another ten minutes.

Cut immediately after taking out of the oven when still hot. They will harden as they cool.

They were perfect!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Great Deal for a Satisfying Meat Meal

There are all sorts of options if you need to eat out in Jerusalem and don't want to spend a lot. A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I were looking for a good dinner which wouldn't cost much, but would satisfy. We were in the center of town and peeked into a few places. Finally we settled on Hakatzavim, הקצבים "The Butchers." It's on Agripas Street between the Machane Yehuda open market and King George Street. My friend had read a review and thought we'd get a good meal, so we went in.

You can buy either a simple pita or laffa meat sandwich or have a full sit down meal at a proper table. Of course there is a difference in the price. Sitting at a table downstairs cost more, but you get lots of salads and a plate.

Each of their pita sandwiches has two skewer portions of meat grilled to order and as much of their fresh and tasty salads as can fit in, according to your choice. I ordered liver, and it was delicious. The price was under ns30, which is much less than I would have paid for an ordinary tuna salad in any of the dairy restaurants. You can get a tuna sandwich for about ns10 less, but it's not as filling.

And we didn't have to wander around eating our dinner, which was priced as "take out." We had planned on walking a lot afterwards at the Light Festival in Jerusalem's Old City, so we needed to sit down. At Hakatzavim, הקצבים "The Butchers" there are a couple a tables near the door just for diners/customers like ourselves.

The food was fresh, scrumptious and the price was right.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Piano Recital, Proud Savta (Granny)

Now, here in Israel, it's the end of the school year, and there are all sorts of parties to go to. Because of my work schedule I can't get to them all, but I did save the day of granddaughter #2's Piano Recital.

The teacher is an old friend, who is an experienced teacher and really cares about the students. She holds the annual recital in her house, which was packed with proud parents, grandparents and siblings.

The basic program is a solo and duet, four hands, as it's called. In the cases of the weakest (newest) and strongest (some were totally amazing) players, the teacher played together with the student. But for the rest of them, including my granddaughter, two students played together.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Mother, Two Years After...

Shirley Shankman Spiegelman, 1925-2013

Tonight, the 7th of Tammuz, is the 2nd Yartzeit (anniversary of death) of my mother, Shirley Shankman Spiegelman, שפרה בת אברהם וחיה רייזיה Shifra bat (daughter of) Avraham and Chaya Raizia.  She was born on May 14, 1925 and passed away 88 years and a month later. In some families, that may not seem like a very long life, but she lived longer than any of her siblings (all 8 of them including a younger sister) and over two decades longer than her parents.

My mother was stunning, a great beauty and stayed gorgeous, without any plastic surgery and minimal make-up all her life. She had three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren at the time of her death. Since then, another great-granddaughter was born who is named after her. She and my father were married for 65 years.

Besides being a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and and devoted aunt to all her nieces and nephews, my mother loved the theater and performed in many amateur productions in the Fresh Meadows and Great Neck Community Theaters for decades.

My mother could have been called a SAHM stay at home mom, except for the fact that she didn't stay home much. As long as she was home to give us meals, she considered herself "non-working."

Besides her acting hobby, there wasn't an organization she joined that she didn't end up with a major leadership role. She always ended up president, or chairman or secretary, whether a synagogue group, like the Sisterhood, or the PTA, National Conference of Jewish Women or PNAI. As a young child I learned how to fold in order to help her fold notices we put in the mailboxes in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY. When people wanted to get something done, they called my mother and asked her to join the group.

She lived almost her entire life in New York, but when she reached the stage that she couldn't run the house any more, she and my father moved to Arizona near my sister. It was only when she thought of my children and grandchildren when she said it had been a mistake and they should have moved to Israel.

As you can imagine, she was a tough act to follow. May her memory be a blessing for all!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Best Price Imaginable for a Filling Meal and It's Meat!

I'm a firm believer in eating good healthy meals. It sure helps me function. But I really can't afford to spend too much, so I'm Always looking for ways of eating well for as little as possible. I've also found that eating a filling healthy meal is a great way to keep your weight down. If you don't eat enough, you'll be hungry and want to nosh. 

I've made it a principle to bring a meal to work, so I don't have to buy anything, and I never buy myself snacks.

With my recent schedule of sleeping out in Jerusalem on Tuesday night, studying in Matan Wednesday morning and then working night shift that night, makes it hard to find the right filling and economic meals. I can't pack food (lunch and dinner) on Tuesday for Wednesday. I've blogged about the various things I've done on Wednesdays, like Two Meals for the Price of One!, Great Salad Deal in Jerusalem and Quiet Lunch Escape in the Center of Jerusalem.

Last week I tried something different. I bought a simple cottage cheese near the bus station which I ate for lunch, and then for dinner I ate near work. Actually, I ate at work, where I usually eat my food brought from home. Friends from work have been recommending the בורגר השקמה Burger Hashikma, which is the Rami Levi "fast food" meat place. You can get a variety of meat plus chumus, techina and salad in a pita for under ns20. Yes, that means a real meat meal/sandwich for the price or less than it costs to buy a tuna or cheese sandwich in Jerusalem!

I bought the Jerusalem Mixed Grill for all of ns16! It's the bargain of the century as far as I'm concerned. It was tasty, too. Service was friendly, and I have no complaints at all about it.

So, if you're in the area and need a meal, give it a try! I presume the other branches charge about the same. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wonderful Debut Havel Havelim on Enjoying the Bible Online and Some Blogging Thoughts

Thank you, Marcia, for hosting such an inspiring Father's Day Havel Havalim. I'll never forget how daunting my first few were for me.

Be sure to visit, comment and share this week's Havel Havelim. There are lots of blog posts on Marcia's Havel Havelim which are totally new to me, so I can't wait to check them out, and I recommend that all my readers do, too.

Havel Havelim is the long running international Jewish and Israeli blog carnival which includes posts on a very wide variety of topics. We keep organized on our facebook page, where you can get information about who's hosting and even volunteer yourself.

Blogging isn't dead!

There are many of us who blog. A blog is an active and dynamic internet site, like a magazine. Each blogger, some blogs are staffed  by more than one, runs it differently depending on the reason for blogging. I keep up two blogs, on which I write almost daily. That's because I love writing and never quite figured out how to get people to pay me for my articles. On my blogs I'm the boss and editor in chief.  Shiloh Musings is a more political and serious blog, while this one contains a greater variety of posts from personal to kosher food to just about anything I feel like. There are a few other writers who have blogging rights on my blogs. I wish they'd post more often. Besides that I do have blogging rights on the Jerusalem Post and Arutz 7. The Jewish Press has permission to post whatever they like from my blogs.

So, again, please check out this week's Havel Havelim.

You don't have to be a blogger to read, comment and share Havel Havelim!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fun Time with a Grandaughter

Every week or two I do some "babysitting," though it's not real babysitting anymore. The older kids are old enough to take care of the youngest who's the only one not old enough to be on her own. So my "job" is just to pick her up from gan, preschool, bring her home and make them all some lunch.

The youngest had her dance class that afternoon.

And afterwards she wanted to play in the playground.

I had to bribe her with a trip to the grocers for ice cream so she'd go home. Yes, that's something my kids would never request, but I'm now a savta, a grandma and the rules are different for me.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Revisiting MODERN, the Meat Restaurant in the Israel Museum

Not all that long ago I ended up going twice to the perfect Meat restaurant in the Israel Museum MODERN. I had been there once before in the winter.

It was the location of my birthday parties this year. I first went with some friends and then with one of my children. The food is delicious and creative, even when they prepare something as "ordinary" as an Israeli "Jerusalem Mixed Grill."

One thing I love about it is the pleasant music, which stays in the background and doesn't overpower the conversations around the tables. I really appreciate it. Also the tables are comfortably spread apart so you don't feel like you're in a crowded lunchroom. It is one of the most pleasant places I've ever eaten in, and prices aren't out of sight.

Yes, I definitely recommend going there for a meal, even if you don't have time to enter the Israel Museum. Their menu changes with the seasons. You don't have to pay museum admission to enter. you just have to go through security. Museum parking is free, and there are frequent buses from various parts of the city.

Ruppin Rd. 11
Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Phone: 02-6480862, fax: 02-6480863
Hours of Operation:
LUNCH - Sunday to Thursday 12:00 - 17.00
DINNER- 12.00 - -23.00 for dinner

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chodesh Tammuz Tov! Please Join Us!!

G-d willing on the 1st of Tammuz, 5775, this Thursday the 18th of June, 8:30am we will gather at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh for Women's Prayers.

Rosh Chodesh is traditionally a women's holiday according to Chazal, our sages.

For the past decade or so, I have been going to the site of the Biblical Tabernacle here in Shiloh to pray the Rosh Chodesh, beginning of the Jewish Month, Prayers. 

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh Rosh Chodesh Tammuz

Thursday June 18, 2015

1st of Tammuz, 5775, 8:30am

Tour of Tel Shiloh

Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson

Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים ראש חודש תמוז בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה

יום ה' 18-6  א' תמוז, תשע"ה 8:30

יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל

כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Please save the date, publicize it and join us.
Please mark it on your calendar and make arrangements to come. Also, whether you can come or not, please let friends and family know about it, thanks.

You're welcome to join our facebook page.

Mark your calendar, and join us. For more information, please contact me at shilohmuse@gmail.com with "Rosh Chodesh at Tel Shiloh" as subject, thanks.

You can visit the holy site anytime. Guided tours can be arranged through the Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh office. Email visit@telshilo.org.il or phone 02-994-4019.