Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sing Along... "The Wheels on the Bus"

This week's 52Frames asked us to photograph the, and for some peculiar reason I kept hearing in my head.  So I snuck round some buses at Sha'ar Binyamin and came up with this one.

"Wheels on the Bus" 
Yes, these are wheels on t h e bus. Sing along:

Of course afterwards I had much better ideas. I had also thought of using boots for "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'."

But I decided that they looked pretty lame, too. So I went with the wheels which weren't going round and round... And I didn't skip a week!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wow! Three out of Six, So People Agree With Me

As you must know by now,  I post my Shiloh Musings blog posts on Arutz 7. And Arutz 7 always lists their six most popular blog posts. I'm usually on that exalted list. Sometimes Frequently I have two out of the six, and sometimes I find three of my posts among the six. And today is one of those days!!

Popular Posts

Why don't you read them and tell me what you think? Thanks.

Not All Phone Pedometers Count The Same

Most probably this can be said about pedometers in general. It's up to the user to program in the length of our stride, but recently I've discovered a discrepancy even as to the distance different phones claim people walk.

As you know, if you're a reader of this blog, I have a Galaxy II and use the WalkLogger app. Twice I've been walking with people who have iphones, which has its own pedometer app, and each time we discovered that the iphone credits the walker with lots more steps and distance than mine. A couple of weeks ago I was with my friend for dinner, and afterwards we both checked our phone pedometers and amazingly they both said 4,300. I had taken a couple of nice walks and she had been pretty sedentary that day, which did seem either strange or that we incorrectly perceived our exercise and walking.

We then walked around Cinema City, Jerusalem where the restaurant was. And then we compared numbers again. She had reached an impressive 5,000, while my app only gave me 4,500. We had been together and walked the exact same distance and have the same basic height and stride. I've held my phone while walking to check that it counts my paces correctly, which it does.

Have others noticed such discrepancies?

At least it's good to know that I take many more steps than are registered on the phone.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Enjoy: Flashmob in Zion Square, Jerusalem

Before Purim I was looking for something enjoyable to post, one of those funny youtubes, but I didn't see anything. Or I guess none of my facebook friends had posted anything I was tagged in nor did I see anything good by chance. But, since it's still the month of Adar, when we're still supposed to be cheerful, I finally found one. The Mekor Chaim Yeshiva ended a bicycle trip to Zion Square, downtown Jerusalem, with a large cheery well choreographed show in memory of  Eliav Gelman, Z"L.


Published on Mar 22, 2016
לאחר מסע אופניים לזכר בוגרנו אליאב גלמן ז"ל, הגענו למרכז העיר בירושלים שם הפתענו את העוברים והשבים בפלאשמוב המסורתי, בהובלת השמיניסטים - מחזור כ"ח.

אדיר / מקהלת הישיבה בויס | Adir / The Yeshiva Boys Choir

עריכת וידאו: ינון ויסמן
צילום: חנניה שטראוס, בארי אייזן וינון ויסמן
סאונד: אלדד שוסהיים ויהודה כהן
כוריאוגרפיה: טל יוסף לנגזם, דוד סגל, שריה קרקובר, איתן אנגלרד, מרדכי עדי, שחר מורל ודביר גלסר
תמיכה נפשית: הרב אושר, הרב גילעד, אליסף נכטיילר ובניה קירשנבוים
א. שלט: אורי אברבוך
ארנב: אשי לואיס
פו הדב: נעם דביר

Monday, March 28, 2016

Nature Photography Challenge

Just over a week ago, on facebook, I discovered that I had been "nominated to do" a "Nature Photography Challenge." Here's a copy of the text from today my final day:
Day #7 the final photo of this meme/challengeI was nominated to do a Nature Photography Challenge by Karyn Stiefel Blass . I will post a nature photo each day for 7 days and nominate a new friend each day. Today is Day 7 for me, and today I nominate -! (And time can be taken off for things that mess up one's challenge response schedule, as I've already done. Just get the seven pictures and nominations in.)Just post a nature photo, past or present, for the next 7 days. You can copy and paste this text and tag me in your post (or not, whatever you choose). Just change the day and the person you are nominating.
The toughest part was finding people to nominate, seven, one for each day. At first I asked those active in photography, but then I discovered that this meme/challenge had been going on for ages, and they had done it or just didn't have time.  After that I tried nominating friends who may not consider themselves great photographers, but I was curious as to what they'd photograph.

And here are the photos I chose:

Day #1
Day #2

Day #3
Day #4
Day #5

Day #6
Day #7

If you'd like to continue this challenge please do! It was nice to do, but I'm glad I'm finished.

Which is your favorite photo?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ye Olde Computer Fading

Yes, those are tweezers and emery boards here for those times when I'm waiting for the slow computer to activate. 

Bli eyin haraa, to prevent the "evil eye," I must say that the computer PC I use is quite a few years old. I don't really remember when we got it, but some parts are much older than the tower which is the newest part. And I think we got that about six years ago. The mouse and keyboard are much, much older if I'm not mistaken, and a friend brought us this old boxy screen that had been dumped by someone who had bought a "fancy" screen, also at least about six years ago when our previous one needed to be replaced, or something like that.

I know that it looks disgusting, but the equipment wouldn't survive a soaping.
B"H, it seems that I'm pretty gentle with appliances, machinery and stuff lasts longer than for many others. I like to credit it to the fact that I don't clean them much. Cleaning, soap, water etc damage stuff. I don't take apart anything that is more complicated than my percolator or French Press. When cleaning for Passover, if a shelf doesn't easily slip out, it stays in. I don't need a screwdriver for cleaning. I don't use the screws as plates or forks.

But nothing lasts forever, and I keep getting these nasty notices on the screen, when it's working, that I don't have enough memory in my computer. Yes, for the modern world my computer is a sprightly dinosaur. What I've been doing is to go through the pictures and delete what seems unnecessary to save. That placates it for a bit until the nudge nudges again.

All of the keys on the keyboard are whole, bli eyin haraa, though the more frequently used ones, lie "e" and "t" are low like someone shrunk and short from osteoporosis.

For the past few weeks, or months already, the screen begins to convulse, like some minor epileptic fit. Even worse, periodically the screen goes black. I finally discovered that some well-placed taps or slaps can wake it up, but no doubt pretty soon it will just die and need to be replaced.

I guess the time has come to contact the neighbor who set this one up. He hasn't had to make a house call all the years since we've had it, so I should be happy, and I am. For many years we had a very nice computer maven named Bram, but he passed away and we were forced to find someone new. Nobody and nothing can live forever and that includes computers and the experts who care for them.

The really big problem as I remember is that the minute you replace one thing with even a slightly upgraded one, you suddenly have to upgrade, that means buy and replace lots of other parts to the computer. So, we're not talking just one small purchase/change. It's as if by doing a hip transplant you find your elbows, knees etc being switched, too.

PS I didn't plan this post as a "Baile Rochel," but it has the same rhythm, so I guess it is one.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Eaks!!! It's Inventory Time!!!! #2

I know that the freezer still looks pretty full, but I did take out a lot of stuff this past week, since it was Purim.

There aren't too many Shabbatot from now until Passover, so I really won't have to cook and shop all that much. As you can see, there's plenty waiting to be consumed and cooked.

And if you compare today's situation with the way it was on  FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2016 you'd see that I have used some stuff up. OK and there are some new things too....

I just checked the calendar and counted. I didn't want to trust my head and calculations. There are three more Shabbatot. And since the Passover Seder will be on a Friday night, we can start the heavy kitchen stuff and switching right after that third Shabbat.  It would be easier if I knew what we will be doing for the Seder, but that's another story....

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dumb Smart Phone and Computer, Stumped by Clock Change

(Image Source: Daylight Saving Time @ ejabs)

Last night while most of us were sound asleep 2am became 3am as Israel began to follow Daylight Savings Time and moved up the clock an hour. I used to be able to trust my phone and computer to reset itself by some magic connection, but for the longest time my computer is too dumb, or my memory is faulty. Maybe it had never been trustworthy about the clock...

For sure, in the past when we were with one of the big (and outrageously expensive) cellphone service providers the time changed without our having to even think about it. So, my only complaint about the Golan company is that it's a bit autistic about time. Maybe it's not autistic, because those with autism are pretty OCD about those things.

A few months ago, before Israel went off of DLS, my phone did, and it was quite an effort on my part to realize that I had to set it manually. Then at some point during the winter I returned it to automatic. Considering that I couldn't afford to get up late today, last night I again changed the settings and the time and gave it the new Daylight Savings Time and got up on time. Yes, I'm tired but I need to get a lot done today. It's also Shushan Purim, which requires a fourth Megillah reading and Mishloach Manot and a Meal and it's also Friday so there's Shabbat to prepare for etc.

But I checked the phone today to see if it was smart enough to reset automatically; it wasn't. And I also reset the time on the computer, because I discovered that on Facebook times of events are calculated according to the computer's time and not the actual scheduled time.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Purim and the Mishloach Manot

This morning I've been busy getting all the Mishloach Manot, those special food packages we give to friends, family and neighbors on Purim. I did the cooking/baking yesterday and last night and the night before.

Yes, that's me in a Purim wig!

I hope people like what I've prepared. Not everyone gets everything, but there are two types of vegetable soup, cookies, challah, wine, juice, beer and miscellaneous that I receive and then give away again. A lot of food gets redistributed, sort of and lehavdil,  like the classic "hot potato" song game.

What's your favorite to give and receive?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Must Admit...

Now, I'm going to be perfectly honest and say something that some people may find shocking. I hate fast days. On the Jewish Calendar we have just too many. And for me one is too many, too.

On a fast day we can't eat or drink, unless we have some medical condition that requires it for life-saving reasons. And thank Gd, I'm healthy.

I'm just a terribly lazy kvetch without my food and drink, especially water and coffee in the morning.

And today is a fast day. Fast days go so slowly... It's Ta'anit Ester, the Fast of Esther which leads into the Holiday of Purim.

I quite often cook on fast days. I love to break the fast on vegetable soup, so I make some. Today I'll make a lot of it, because I'm giving containers and jars of it as Mishloach Manot, the food gifts one is commanded to give on Purim to friends.

So, that's my rant for the day. Sorry...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Chair for 52Frames

I found this week's 52Frames "Chair" Challenge much more difficult than expected, but luckily a good friend stepped in to pose.

""In This Chair You're Never Alone""
Jerusalem Cinema City has a bunch of benches with built in partners. One of my friends was willing to pose for me there. 
"A true friend encourages us, comforts us, supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Read more at:

Camera: Canon Canon IXUS 145
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Here are some other Chair pictures I took, but decided that "In This Chair You're Never Alone" was better.

And here I am in the same chair.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Local Democracy in Action!

And not for the first time... actually this is getting close to the 30th time I've been involved in local elections. OK at least about twenty-five times in various guises. Our way of electing the local Shiloh council aka המזכירות Hamazkirut has changed over the decades.

This is my favorite and only (in recent years) voluntary position, ועדת קלפי Va'adat Kalpi, the Election Board. It's a time restricted job lasting about twenty-one 21 days, barring the need for an extension, and gives me the enjoyable experience of meeting and greeting lots of neighbors of all ages and neighborhoods. Sometimes the process leading up to elections, the nominating, is quick and easy, and other years it causes lots of aggravation. When we have questions, we contact a government office, since the committee is subservient to that government department.

Davka, this year I had thought that I had been "retired" from the position and responsibility when a committee headed by someone I had trained last year was appointed. But, for reasons never clear to me, that committee disbanded without holding elections, and I was asked to volunteer yet again. All the committee had succeeded in doing was to prepare and decorate this gorgeous ballot box.

Will I run the elections next year? I don't know.

PS Thanks to all the committee members and volunteers who helped us!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Miriam Peretz, An Inspiration!!

Miriam's Song
Last night I finished reading one of the most amazing books I've ever read, Miriam's Song--The Story of Miriam Peretz by Smadar Shir.

I'm not a fan of the genre of bereaved parents memoirs. I couldn't finish Noa Lev's book, most probably because I know her; we had been in YU Seminars and Stern College together when teens and have a close mutual friend. It was just too painful, but when I was offered a review copy of Peretz's book, I decided to give it a try.

And I am so glad that I accepted Miriam's Song. I learned so much from it. I know lots, much too many bereaved parents and family members. Each one reacts very differently to such a horrific loss. And I also know others who have buried more than one child.
The story of Miriam Peretz' s life – the story of a mother and a homeland; of love for the Land of Israel, the State of Israel, and the Jewish people; and of the victory of spirit and faith.
1st Lieutenant Uriel Peretz, commander of a Golani Brigade Special Forces unit, dreamed of becoming the first Moroccan chief of staff of the IDF. But his mother Miriam sensed that her oldest son would not leave Lebanon safely. On the day he was drafted, she became a woman waiting for news of disaster.
In November 1998, Uriel was fatally wounded by an explosive device planted by Hezbollah terrorists. He was 22. Miriam transformed the pain over his death into education and volunteer service. She began to visit schools and military bases, talking about her son’s leadership vision. 
Tragically, in March 2010 Miriam was forced to face another test. Her second son, Major Eliraz Peretz, was killed in an exchange of fire in the Gaza Strip. He died almost twelve years after he had eulogized his older brother: “Sometimes we pay a price for doing the right thing. The price of life.” Eliraz, who was 32, left behind a wife and four children, including a baby just two months old.
Overnight, the mother who lost two sons – as well as her husband, whose heart
couldn’t bear the death of his oldest son – became a symbol of grief and of strength.
One of the reasons that I was able to get through reading Peretz's book is that she comes from such a different world. Her religious and family background is so different from mine that I was able to easily remove myself from her story. Miriam Peretz was born in Morocco and made aliyah with her very Moroccan Jewish parents to a hut in southern Israel. Although she is a peer age-wise, her childhood and family customs were totally different. Peretz was raised in a family of strong religious faith and Jewish observance. They were always grateful for their opportunities, even if others would consider their living conditions and financial situation horrendous. Peretz was the child who, despite great difficulties, succeeded in propelling herself and her children into the mainstream of Israeli society and IDF.

I must admit that I am envious of the faith that Peretz and her husband had succeeded in transferring to their six children. Over the decades, over half a century since I so enthusiastically and sincerely took on Torah Judaism, due to the influence and inspiration of NCSY, I realize that there's an enormous aspect of Torah living that I hadn't been exposed to and therefore I couldn't pass it on to my children. And our lives have been lacking in the very foundations of faith that Peretz and her late husband Eliezer, Z"L, so lovingly breathed, blessed and imparted to theirs.

Miriam Peretz is seen throughout the world as a woman of strength who had overcome terrible pain and loss, but in her book she admits to us that there are days she couldn't get up, get out of bed or get dressed. She couldn't cook or speak. She is human.

Another thing I liked about the book is that each of her surviving children wrote a chapter. Yes, Miriam's Song--The Story of Miriam Peretz  is like the Biblical Miriam's song; it is not a solo. The Biblical Miriam, sister of Moshe, led the women in song, and Miriam Peretz has led her children to the same tune she sings.

Yes, I highly recommend reading  Miriam's Song--The Story of Miriam Peretz.

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Gefen Publishing House (February 15, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9652298352
  • ISBN-13: 978-9652298355

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Last Chance to Use Up Last Year's Matzah!

There's a custom not to eat matzah or matzah products/foods for a month before Passover, and since Purim is a month before Passover, and Purim is in a few days...

I checked the matzah box, which lives from year to year, and it's changed from year to year, on a shelf between the kitchen and dining area. There were only six pieces left, so I made my husband two matzah breis. One was for Seudat Shlishit, the third Shabbat meal, and the other he'll take to work for lunch tomorrow.

Over the year, I gradually try to use up the matzah by making matzah brei, and I must admit that this almost empty giant box shows that we've done a good job this year. Israeli matzah comes in 2 1/2 kilo, that's over five 5 pounds boxes. They are boxes, and I say that because there used to be paper wrapping which got holey very quickly.

Matzah Brei Recipe (serves 1 or 2, depending on whom)

  • 2 pieces of Israeli matzah, which is a bit 1/3 smaller than American I think
  • 2 eggs (3 if you're using the larger American matzah)
  • medium size bowl
  • 1/2 cup of water, though I've never really measured
  • oil for frying
  • covered frying pan
  • break the matzah into the bowl
  • add water
  • add eggs
  • mix and let sit for at least 10 minutes
  • heat oil in frying pan
  • add matzah mush, spread out on hot oil
  • cover, then lower flame
  • when it looks solid, flip over to cook the other side
  • turn off heat after 3-5 minutes
  • wait another 5 minutes before serving
  • "travels well" if wrapped in foil and cooled in fridge. 
Most people like it served with something sweet, like jam or honey or spreading cheese or cut fruit.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ice Skating in Cinema City, Jerusalem, and Memories

I must admit that although ice skating was once a favorite winter pastime for me, and the evening I was in Cinema City, Jerusalem, I was with an old skating buddy, we didn't skate. But I did take a few pictures. I haven't been on skates of any sort for well over twenty years, and I wasn't dressed for skating nor psyched up for the adventure.

The last time I had skates on they were roller skates. I don't remember the exact year, but it was probably around 1990 or just before. That's when I was still the girls Gym Teacher here in Shiloh, and at the summer training session for gym teachers in Israel, we were surprised with a treat. Well, for me it was a treat. I was in the minority about that. They had brought in a skate rental company, and we had a few hours skating in the huge gymnasium.

Well, not everyone could skate. My generation of those raised in Israel rarely had a pair of skates per kid. Many of the gym teachers had never properly skated in their lives. Those raised in the time of the "Tzena," serious poverty and food rationing in the early days of the State of Israel didn't grow up skating the way I had. It was common for a family to have one pair of skates, if any, for all their kids to share. So many grew up scooting on a skate rather than properly skating. Growing up in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY, with all the internal sidewalks and paths and when the large parking lots were empty during the days, we had lots of place to safely skate. And in the winter we went to ice skating rinks. There were even times when the "traffic circle" nearby froze over and we could safely ice skate in BPG.

So the funny thing was that although I wasn't a great athlete, nor did I ever during the 13 years I taught, get certified/qualified as a gym teacher, suddenly people were coming over offering me more jobs.

I haven't skated since.

Here are some photos from Ice Skating in Cinema City:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

And Who Reads THIS BLOG?

Yesterday on my other blog Shiloh Musings I asked that question.
Shiloh Musings: Who Reads This Blog?
I got some interesting replies, so this morning when I was glancing at the statistics for this blog, "A Jewish Grandmother," I noticed how many non-English speaking countries are among my top fans and how, again, blog readers Great Britain don't seem to like my blogs.

Here's the week's numbers:

Pageviews by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
South Korea

And here's the month's numbers:

Pageviews by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
South Korea

I find this very interesting. And it's rather incomprehensible to think that I have more readers in South Korea than in Britain or even Canada? Can anyone explain this for me? What do you think? For those of you in those non-English speaking countries, how did you get to my blog? What do you enjoy about it? Actually I'd like to ask all of you readers those questions:

  • How did you get to my blog? 
  • What do you enjoy about it?
Thanks, I'd really appreciate feedback.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

52Frames, "Rule of Thirds"

For 52Frames this week the challenge was "Rule of Thirds," which in simple terms means that the focal point of the photo has to be off-center, asymmetric. My general tendency, even seen photos I took as a child under the age of ten, is to compose symmetric pictures. Here's the photo I sent in this week.

"From Biblical Times"
This jug/container is modeled after the three thousand (3,000) year old giant storage jugs that had been found in the archaeological site of Biblical Shiloh, a few minutes walk from my Shiloh home. The remains of raisins and wheat have been found in those containers at the site. Some of the containers/jugs are on display in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Camera: Canon Canon IXUS 145
Location: Shiloh, Israel

And here are the two I almost sent:

All of these photos have been cropped a bit to emphasize the proper ratio of thirds, but no other photo-editing was done. And the other three were all taken in Jerusalem.

Did I choose well? What do you think?