Sunday, April 30, 2017

Waking Up to #morningcoffeehaiku

Start the day with coffee! It wakes up the mind and as well as the body. Doesn't it? Is that why I've become a fan of writing haikus as I sip my morning coffee? Here are a few recent ones illustrated along with the dawn, morning sun and last of the night sky. 

Slept all through the night
No substitute for coffee
Drinking it right now

Very sunny day
Great, strong powerful coffee
Soon Shabbat Shalom

Rosh Chodesh Iyar
Toast the new month with coffee
Blessings to us all

Up much too early
Jerusalem sun not up
But coffee is good

morning star shining
hot, strong delicious coffee 
long busy day planned

Found a coffee mug
Or is it really soup bowl?
Coffee tastes perfect

unexpected clouds
not at all what envisioned 
at least coffee's great

Can't live sans coffee
It's the sunlight of liquids
and includes water

Nice friendly coffee
Perfect Jerusalem day
Just so much to do

first mug new coffee
perfectly post Passover
dawn of new flavor

Coffee reflections
Almost end of Passover
Enjoy to last drop

Pesach morning star
Or is it a satellite?
Who cares? Coffee's good!

still very dark night
but up and want my coffee
things planned for today

Today's pearl grey sky
goes so well with hot coffee
Coffee perks up day

Today's pearl grey sky
goes so well with hot coffee
Coffee perks up day

need that strong coffee
got up before the alarm

coffee mug forty
still looks nice and modern
in strong morning sun

Six days a week, not including Jewish Holidays, I post haikus about coffee and dawn on Facebook. They are illustrated with photos I take daily. Join me for a nice strong cup of morning coffee haikus!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A New Israeli "News" Site

I guess you know that I've been blogging for years and am among the few who has been consistent at it for well over a decade. Besides my two "independent" blogs, my posts/articles appear on Arutz 7 and the Jewish Press. There was a time I also blogged on the Jerusalem Post, but it just didn't seem worth my while. I don't think that anyone ever commented or read my posts. I was also one of the very first to blog on Times of Israel, but I left them because of their chutzpadik demands.

Since I don't get paid for blogging, I generally just write on this blog and Shiloh Musings and then copy some posts to Arutz 7. The Jewish Press has permission to copy whatever they want of mine.

The new site is called "Israel Blogger," and you can find my posts here/click.

It's basically an "online news magazine" written by bloggers. This is definitely a good idea, since we've needed an easy to access forum for those who appreciate bloggers and see us as legitimate journalists.

Israel Blogger is a lot more than a collection of op-eds. These are the topics planned:
Of course, since it has just begun, there aren't too many articles yet, but give us a bit of time, and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading it. You may even find it better than most news sites. Tell me what you think. OK!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Treating Ourselves at Piccolino

Tuesday night was the start of Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the Jewish Month of)  Iyar, and my friend and I had made a dinner date. Especially since Rosh Chodesh is traditionally known as the "Women's Holiday," we decided that we needed a treat. And when it comes to a treat, a very special meal, there's absolutely nothing like Piccolino.

Just to make sure we'd get a table, we called in advance, though maybe due to the late hour, there was room. They have seating indoors, including private rooms for groups and events, outside in the closed area, and there were also people sitting outside closer to the live music. We heard the music fine in the closed area, which no doubt will be opened up when summer starts, and evenings are warmer.

The waitress suggested we begin our meal with something new. We didn't catch the name of it, but we ate it all up. There were cheese and vegetables baked in a very delicate dough, served with a small salad. It's just the thing to nosh on when waiting for soup.

We chose two different soups, and we were both very happy with our choices. My friend ordered their very popular Minestrone Soup, while I took the "Soup of the Day" which was Zucchini. And it was amazing. Usually I'm a bit nervous about ordering soups, since some restaurants over-salt theirs. But this Zucchini soup was perfection. I could taste the very delicate flavor of the zucchini and finished every last drop.

We also ordered different main courses. My friend had the Risotto, which was so filling she couldn't finish it. But there's a good chance, that she was already pretty full from the soup and starter. It's a full meal on its own with all the vegetables, rice and cheese.

I also chose Italian. I had their Eggplant Parmesan, which although is listed as a First Course, is really a full meal, especially if you'd already eaten as much as I had. This, too, I finished to the last drop. The tomato sauce was fantastic, and I finished that, too.

And of course, being that we were in Piccolino to be spoiled and celebrate Rosh Chodesh Iyar, we had dessert. I think that the waitress called it a "Brownie."

It was all worth it, even though I'll have to work hard to knock off the weight gain.

Yes, of course I recommend Piccolino. That's why I return when I want a nice dairy meal in Jerusalem with delicious food, unbeatable ambiance and great service. You definitely get your money's worth. And their prices are comparable to the chains. You can get a very reasonably priced meal, with far superior food.

12 Yoel Moshe Solomon Street, in Music Square, Nachalat Shiva, Jerusalem
Reservations: Call 02-6244186
Sunday to Thursday 10:00-24:00, The kitchen is open until 23:00
Friday and before Jewish holidays from 9:00-15:00, The kitchen is open until 14:00
Saturday from an hour after Shabbat ends until Midnight, The kitchen is open until 23:00

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #16, Iconic Location-- Nauseating WC

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #15,  #14#13#12#11#10#9,  #8#7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

Depending on how long one has known Jerusalem, the store/spot/location on the corner of Jaffa Street and King George has different identities. For me, and many other old-timers, it's the Weill Shoe Store where I'd bought numerous pairs of shoes for myself until the old couple decided to retire and close it.

For many others, the horrific Arab terrorist attack on Sbarro restaurant, which had taken over the convenient and central Jerusalem location, quickly erased the Weill couple from their collective memories. After that, Sbarro, hoping for better luck, moved their shop down the street and then ended up closing their Jerusalem operations. The large Neeman Bakery chain took over the iconic location, and I've bought many sandwiches and salads there, since the prices are relatively good. I davka went there this week, since the nearby "Coney Island*" was closed.

I must admit that I've been to the WC in that Cafe Neeman many times and never found it satisfactory. But this week it was so awful that I fled. The urine smell was powerful, and not for the first time did I wonder how people could eat a meal in that upper area right next to it.

I did search for another place to buy my salad, but there was nothing else for NS25 or less. It bothered me to buy food in a place that didn't have soap in the WC. So, if I get some sort of food poisoning in the next couple of days...

*I understand from my sources that Coney Island is opening a new branch on Emek Refaim.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Tomorrow!!

Yes, tomorrow is the first day of the Jewish Month of Iyar, Rosh Chodesh. And women will be gathering in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh for traditional Rosh Chodesh Prayers. It's a wonderful opportunity, and I hope you'll join us.

 Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh

Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, 5777 
Thursday April 27, 2017 
1st of Iyyar, 5777, 8:30am 
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh 
Tour of Tel Shiloh 
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson 
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors. 

תפילת נשים ראש חודש איירבשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ה' 27-4-2017
א' אייר, תשע"ז 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Please mark it in your calendar/diary/event planner so you can join us, Gd willing.

If you have more questions about it, please contact me with "Rosh Chodesh" as subject. Our women's dovening isn't a version of male synagogue prayers. We sing Hallel out loud and then doven Musaf individually.

You can visit Shiloh Hakeduma all weekdays. For more information call 02-994-4019.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

East of Shiloh

I was going to call this post "Great Tremps Home," but then I changed my mind. Yesterday I did make totally fantastic time tremping, aka hitchhiking home from Kochav Hashachar which is southeast of Shiloh.

Today it seems so unbelievable that for years I had never been on the road between Shvut Rachel and the Alon Road, which is a very picturesque way of traveling through the Jordan Valley and to Beit She'an and further north and lots of communities to the south. It's also an alternative road towards Jerusalem.

From my house I can see Shvut Rachel to the east, and to the east of that, both north and south, there are more Jewish communities. It's government land that had never been developed, so it's available for new Jewish towns. The new Amona is slated to be in that general area, too. At present there are about 150 families in the various Jewish communities. They are considered part of the Shiloh Bloc of yishuvim, aka Gush Shiloh. Because the road, though paved, is barely one lane, there's no public transportation. The only buses that go there are the school buses to and from Shiloh.

Yesterday when I finished teaching in Yeshiva Tichonit Ahavat Chaim at 1:15, I rushed out to tremp, hitchhike home and quickly got a ride to the junction of Hakida and Achiya. I waited there just long enough to photograph in all directions with both my phone and camera.

And then I got a ride to the Shiloh-Shvut Rachel Junction, and immediately after getting out of the car another took me to my neighborhood. The whole trip from Teachers Room to right near my house took barely half an hour. So I certainly have no complaints. Some days and directions are easier and quicker than others. It's all in the Hand of Gd. And this is Gd's Land for sure. When you celebrate Jerusalem Day, include the celebration of the liberation of Judea and Samaria, too.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Oops! How Can I Fix This?

For the very first time I opened a bottle of wine with a corkscrew. That's the good news. The bad news is that the cork is stuck in the opener/corkscrew.

I'd appreciate suggestions. And even better, if you live nearby, please come and help, thanks.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Some Changes, Hope it Helps

Nothing to worry about. That green thing snaking around my front garden is an old-fashioned hose for watering the garden. It was bought ages ago and hadn't been used for years. I was surprised to discover that there don't seem to be no leaks. The gardener who had worked on our little vineyard, and is also the vintner of the wine made from our grapes, has been after me to water it during the dry summer months.

And since I've also invested money in getting the rose bushes separated from the grapevines in front of the house, I started watering them, too. I  hope that the water and the fertilizer the gardener had added will give us more and more beautiful roses.

We're also planning on planting bushes around the back of our property as a "fence," and it occurred to me that since we'll both be home a lot more in the future, it really doesn't pay to invest in a "watering system." There's no reason we shouldn't just use the hose. We can buy one for the other side of the house.

For a very long time, I didn't pay much attention to the garden, but now it's time for change. What do you think?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers Chapter 1 in Macro

cross-posted in Shiloh Musings

Pirkei Avot, generally translated as Ethics of the Fathers begins with:
1. Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. (Chabad)
That's to show or remind us that Jewish Law is derived from Gd and has been passed on from generation to generation of Jews.

Yes, that's the message to the Jewish People.  But what about individuals, especially those who have returned to Torah Judaism after a generation or more of our family didn't observer mitzvot? Or what about the convert who has no family customs/memories to follow?

In my family I was considered a "rebel" when I became Torah observant, since my parents, and even some of my grandparents had thrown off the "yoke" of Torah. I didn't grow up with any strong religious memories or family customs. And sometimes I feel the alack.

The other day I was with a couple of friends. Besides me, there was a convert and one from a long unbroken line of Torah observant Jews. The convert and I spoke about things we had asked rabbis, while the one from the unbroken line admitted that she never had.

And I replied that many of the questions we asked the rabbi were simple halachik, Jewish Law questions, because for those of us who have no family customs to go by and no family to ask, it makes more sense to ask the rabbi.

Sometimes when you look for the answer yourself, you get more confused or end up getting it all wrong.

This reminds me of a game we played as kids. We'd pass around a "message." The first one would whisper something in the ear of the next child, who would whisper to the next, on and on, and the last one had to say it outloud. Most frequently, the message would be so garbled it bore no resemblance to the original.

In Judaism, that's why we still have copies of the Torah text and learn it all and the Mishna and Talmud on a regular basis. It's just too easy to get off track and distort things. And there's the tradition to learn Pirkei Avot every year after Passover. And Pirkei Avot reminds us that there's an unbroken chain from Moshe who heard from Gd when he and the Jewish People were on their way to the Holy Land after escaping slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lovely Meal in Talpiyot, Jerusalem

Yesterday my friend and I unexpectedly found ourselves searching for a nice, but not expensive, lunch menu in the Baka/Talpiyot neighborhood. We didn't want meat, but we also didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount on a salad. After walking around for quite a while in the hot sun, we decided to escape to the Achim Yisrael Mall, on Yad Harutzim Street and Hatnufa Streets, which although doesn't have too many food options, ended up having the perfect little dairy restaurant.

It's one flight up and surrounded by various stores. They seemed to have nice coffee and cakes, but that wasn't what we were after at all. There was also a Kashrut certificate, which I'm sorry I didn't photograph. I couldn't find an internet site for them, but their phone number is 02-6725491, as you can see on their card above.

Before taking a look at the menu and ordering we walked around to see what people were eating, and we were very impressed. Though we still didn't know the prices.

There is quite an extensive menu for a place so small. In the end we ordered from the list of specials and split them between us. We ordered their Salmon Plate, NS60, and Beet Patties, NS30. While they prepared  or assembled our meal, we were served some delicious salads on the prettiest of plates.

We were given small glass plates, so we could share easily. Then the meal arrived.

First the beet patties. Later I mentioned to the staff that they should have come with either sour cream or a white cheese, and the reply was that if we had requested it, they would have given it.

We were so hungry when the salmon came that we had already divided it and begun eating before I remembered to photograph it. It also came with nice side salads.

Everything was fresh and delicious. We found it to be a very pleasant and satisfying meal.

As you can see, this excellent little "restaurant" is surrounded by stores of all sorts including a lovely hat store, as seen above. Many of the stores are "outlets" with discount prices. So even though Achim Yisrael isn't one of the fancier malls with the big name chains, you can do very well shopping there. 

The restaurant and the mall are highly recommended. Enjoy!