Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Joyous Wedding

We were privileged to be invited to a beautiful joyous wedding, which was held last night in Jerusalem. I got to see so many good friends, which was a bonus. Thank Gd.  May the young couple be blessed with good health, lots of wonderful healthy children, long life and a super-sized sense of humor, Gd willing.

Monday, February 26, 2018

French Roast, #morningcoffeehaiku

Another coffee post for your drinking pleasure.

First the review of the French Roast which I bought at "You Need Coffee." It cost a bit more than the Colombian I had gotten there, but it does have a bit more flavor and aroma. Considering that I haven't liked any of the Columbian coffee bought ground in Israel, I hope I remember not to buy it any more in any coffee place. The French Roast was worth the extra money.

And now for a few more of my recent #morningcoffeehaiku collection/writings. They are posted most weekdays (non-Jewish Sabbath) on facebook.

winter rain returns
hot coffee to warm me up
thank Gd for the gifts

white winter morning
no snow, just very pale sky
choose to be happy

early, dark outside
French Roast, nice strong aroma
busy day today

Hot morning coffee
Now in cold Jerusalem
Family warms me

perked the new coffee
sadly too subtle for me
sun burst into sky

keeping coffee hot
on a cold winter morning
lots of plans today

Chodesh Tov, Dear Friends
May Adar bring joy to all
l'Chaim, coffee

hot instant coffee
busy day leaving early
blessed rain falling

cinnamon coffee
trying to add spice to life
when sky is dull grey

perked coffee fills air
let the caffein fill my brain
substitute for sleep

vanilla coffee
hot, strong perked to perfection
cool winter morning

coffee stock dwindling
soon back to perking daily
at least there's sunrise

steaming perked coffee
spectacular winter sky
must unfog my brain

I hope you like them even if you don't drink coffee or you read them at times other than dawn.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The "Underground Museum," Jerusalem

Cross-posted on Shiloh Musings. For the entire article please click here.

A couple of weeks ago, the senior citizen "vattimkim," program I attend every week had a field trip to Jerusalem. I already blogged about our visit to the Jerusalem Municipality complex at Safra Square where we saw their amazing scale model of some of the city.

Just behind Safra Square is what's known as Migrash Harusim, the Russian Compound, in which there's a police station, jail and the jail that the British used when they were occupying the Land of Israel, during the Mandate.

There has been a museum there dedicated to the Jewish prisoners who had been arrested, held and executed by the British before the declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.

For the entire article please click here.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Mosaic Havdala Tray

After making too many useless abstract " It's all in the journey" mosaics, it finally hit me that mosaics is a great craft medium for Judaica.

What do you think of our new Havdala Tray?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Unthinkable: Day Without Phone, Oops!

I must admit that I was very lucky. Somehow, my phone slipped out of my pocket yesterday as I was getting out of a neighbor's car. Part of my borderline OCD is that I check for my phone frequently, especially after leaving the house or a car etc. It's not even something I think about.

My friend and I got to Ofra, got out of the tremp, and... yes, the phone wasn't on me. We immediately called it from my friend's phone. No ringing, no vibrating, no phone.  I looked on the street we had crossed, no phone lying there waiting for me to rescue it. We didn't remember seeing anyone walking just after us who could have taken it.

Next, I called my husband and requested a few things:

  • notify the kids that I'd be incommunicado for the day
  • contact the neighbor (or his wife)) who had given us the ride
  • contact our son who has the number of the kitchen contractor that I'd be incommunicado for the day
And then we went off to class, the senior citizen program we attend in the Ofra Girls High School, aka Ulpanat Ofra. My friend was very impressed at my calm attitude considering that I can get hysterical too easily. Luckily I still carry my camera on me and was able to photograph our activities.

Throughout the morning I did make lots more calls on my friend's phone until I knew for sure that mine was being well cared for. And about eight hours after leaving the phone in the car, I picked it up from my neighbor. 

All in all, I'm rather proud of myself for getting through the day with a smile on my face.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

New Watch!

I'm probably more surprised than you are that I bought a new watch. I went into the Hadar Mall in Talpiyot today with a friend, during our break in Matan.  I went from store to store asking if they have watches. No, I didn't go into any fancy jewelry stores. We decided that I'm better off with another inexpensive one.

In the stores that had watches, I didn't see any I liked. One had some childrens plastic digital watches. The price was right, NS30, but they looked awful. And I didn't want a digital watch. A digital watch must be "read," while the old fashioned watch face just needs a glance. I don't even need numbers.

Finally we walked into an inexpensive jewelry/accessory store which had a nice selection of watches for only NS49.90.  That's probably less than $14 including tax. I picked one out.

The name of the store, a chain I presume, is TOPTEN ACCESSORIES, and when I went to pay, the salesgirl saisd that it only cost NS29.90, as does most all the necklaces. So, I bought myself a necklace, too. That is only about $8-  Yes, that's it. It cost less than the price of a watch battery. No complaints there, and she said that if it stops, they'll replace the batter for free.

Of course, I wonder how long it will last...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Watch Saga: Clock for Shabbat

Last Shabbat, just as my husband said that he was going off to shul, my cheap NS40 watch, which was well under a year old, died. I looked at it to check the time and saw that the "second hand" wasn't moving anymore.

I'm very grateful that it was working when I woke up, since otherwise I wouldn't have known if it was a time to get out of bed or not. We no longer have a wall clock in the livingroom, since after that one died, I decided that we wouldn't get a new one until we did the kitchen and got new lighting fixtures for the livingroom.

I could manage fine without a watch until Shabbat afternoon, so when we came back from lunch at a neighbor, I asked my husband to leave his watch with me. I woke him when he needed to get up, and then his watch stayed with me most of the time until Shabbat was out.

This week I need to get a watch before Shabbat, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. There's no place to get a reliable watch here in Shiloh. I bought the NS40 one in a toy store. Yesterday I was in Pisgat Zeev with my and granddaughter, and even though we walked around stores and a section of the mall, I didn't see any watches. Sunday I had been in Jerusalem for the NCSY Ben Zakkai Reception, but it was too cold, dark and windy to walk around the Center of town to shop.

Today I'm arriving in Jerusalem too late to shop in town, unless I got to a mall, Center 1, Hadar or a quick walk from Matan during my break on Wednesday. The watch stores people have been recommending aren't in those places. So, if you have any recommendations for those places, please let me know, thanks.

Getting rather desperate, I began to search for clocks in the house. Yesterday I found an old battery powered clock, and I even found working AA batteries. I will have to tape the back shut for Shabbat, since the batteries fall out otherwise. But since on weekdays I have my phone as clock, that can give me a bit more time to search.

I don't know if I really want to get another junky, cheap watch sans guarantee. This is going to be my third watch in less than three years. Cheap is starting to look more and more expensive.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fun Phone Photos

Last night on the Jerusalem lightrail I took this picture. I'm not quite sure what the app is, but it seems to be connected to facebook, photo "story." Everytime I use it it gives me different options. This is a sort of kaleidoscope view of the cabin in the train where the driver/engineer sits. IMHO, it's great. I was "focusing" on the trilingual plus icons sign asking passengers in the front seats to be quiet, since noise/talking disturbs the driver.

This morning I had taken too many pictures of the morning sky for my #morningcoffeehaiku. So, I decided to take the least interesting one and use one of the "effects" of that "story" app.

When I clicked it, I hadn't the vaguest idea what would happen. This is it!  I just couldn't resist adding the "Good morning, בוקר טוב" to it.

What do you think?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jerusalem, Looking for Our Old Home

Last week the "Senior Citizen" program in Ulpanat Ofra I go to on Thursdays had a trip to Jerusalem. Gd willing I'll write more about it on a different day. For me, the highlight was seeing the model of Jerusalem which is used by the committee that approves new building projects and changes on existing buildings. We all circled around the model trying to identify neighborhoods and buildings. Some members of the group were excited to find their old homes. I searched for our old apartment in Bayit Vigan and then was told that the neighborhood wasn't included in the model. I found other places I know well and where some of my children live, but it was disappointing. Actually a very large amount of Jerusalem isn't part of the model. Jerusalem is so much bigger. They would need a number of models and large halls to accommodate today's Jerusalem, even so miniaturized. It really would be a fantastic project to construct.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Where Have The Wild Flowers Gone?

Tel Shiloh used to be covered with gorgeous colorful wild flowers this time of year.
But a few years ago the administrator decided it was too wasteful to have to send gardeners to clean the paths from winter weeds. They used weed-killer which couldn't distinguish between weeds and legally protected wildflowers. So now it is so rare to see anything other than the almond trees blooming.

Friday, February 16, 2018

"You Need Coffee" Review Colombian

 Ever since it has opened, I've wanted to get ground coffee from "You Need Coffee." I love the name. It now has two stores both on Jaffa Road, Jerusalem, one near the Municipality and the other across from the shuq. This week I finally bought myself some ground coffee from there, three different ones.

I really must make it clear that I only buy the least expensive coffees available. NS10 for 100 grams of coffee is high enough a price, as far as I'm concerned. I try to always buy the strongest smelling of the least expensive.

Yesterday morning I opened the Colombian coffee. First of all, it was properly ground for the French Press. No powder. But although the beans seemed to have a nice aroma in the shop, it didn't fill my kitchen with even a faint scent. Maybe that's why it's one of the least expensive they sell. In terms of flavor and aroma, nothing here seems to be on the level of the packaged American ground coffee. What can I say, other than that I love the American packaged coffee. Its flavor beats pretty much everything I've bought in Israel.

Unlike every other place I've bought freshly ground coffee here in Israel, at the least the packaging in You Need Coffee is excellent. The other coffees I bought are safely stored.  I'm looking forward to trying them, too.

The staff was friendly and really seems to care about the coffee and customers. Gd willing, I'll be back.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jewish Books, Jewish Literature, a Carnival

This is my first turn at hosting the Jewish Book Carnival, which appears monthly. It's a collection of links to posts about Jewish books and Jewish Literature. In some cases the posts are book reviews of Jewish books, while others are about Jewish literature or authors.

A number of bloggers sent me links. Please visit, comment and share, thanks.

Over on My Machberet, Erika Dreifus routinely curates pre-Shabbat Jewish-lit links. Here's one recent post, which includes a link to Erika's own article on the AJL Fiction Award for Tablet magazine.

Heidi Rabinowitz interviews Antonio Iturbe, author of THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ. This book won the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Teen Readers Category. Antonio Iturbe on the 2018 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour

New English Review has Jewish Memories and Visions: A Review of Two Books.

Deborah Kalb interviews a wide variety of authors on her blog, deborahkalbbooks.blogspot.comHere's a recent interview with Dara Horn about her new novel, ETERNAL LIFE.

SYLVIA ROUSS wrote Lessons I’ve Learned from 25 Years in Children’s Publishing.

Barbara Bietz blogs about Almost A Minyan by Lori Kline, including interviewing the author.

On Sasson Magazine, the new site for alt-frum writers and authors, Rivka Levy shares 10 tips on how authors can continue to enjoy writing even when they aren't earning a lot of money, or getting a lot of kudos for their work.

I reviewed the fictionalized history of Rabbi Akiva by Yochi Brandes, The Orchard.

I highly recommend that anyone who is interested in Jewish Literature or reviews Jewish books should get involved in this blog carnival.

The purposes of the Jewish Book Carnival are:

  • To build community among bloggers who feature Jewish books on their blogs 

  • To promote Jewish reading, and fields supporting this reading such as publishing and library services

  • For more information, email carnival@jewishlibraries.org. Those willing to host a Jewish Book Carnival can contact the above email address.

    Next month's Jewish Book Carnival will be hosted by The Whole Megillah. Please send in your link and blurb to  barbarakrasner@att.net, with "Jewish Book Carnival" as the subject, by March 10, 2018, thanks.

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    Goat Yogurt Givat Olam

    Yes I am finally eating the second new for me goat yogurt I had bought in Zamora. Givat Olam is amazing sweet and smooth tasting yogurt. I only buy plain yogurt.

    It is organic and from the Shomron.

    Baile Rochel on Children's Health

    A couple of decades ago, a health food magazine was published in Israel. It accepted a few of my humorous Baile Rochel style articles for publication. Here is one of them:

    What do you think?

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    Fat, Fat Go Away

    I guess that my diet saga will never truly end. I have very slowly gotten off about five kilo, 11 pounds after they had been vanished in a rather successful diet a few years ago. But I know well that they can return in an instant. Because it has happened.

    Walking has helped. I've raised my weekly step count. That is until the flu stopped me. But at least I didn't gain weight with the flu. I still haven't returned to my pre-flu walking.

    I caught the pedometer stop count davka at such a crazy number.
    The hardest thing is to get a nicer looking body. I lost a bit of weight, but I am still very overweight and growing older. OK good news that I'm still alive. Thank Gd

    Monday, February 12, 2018

    Nearby "Farm"

    Yesterday I was walking around my neighborhood, and I was surprised to see these "barnyard animals" literally a few meters from my house in Shiloh.

    Who would have thought?

    On occasion I had heard a young dog barking, but I had never seen the dog before. The neighbors use the goat milk for food and organic free range eggs, too.

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    My Fighter Pilot Story- Memories

    Since Shabbat, I guess, because I first saw news of it after we did havdala, the news here has been full of the fantastic flying skills of an Israeli fighter pilot.WATCH: POLICE SECURE REMAINS OF ISRAELI JET THAT WAS SHOT DOWNhttp://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/WATCH-Police-secure-remains-of-Israeli-jet-that-was-shot-down-542205

    This brings me back to one of the most surprising experiences I've ever survived. It happened during the 1991 Gulf War, when as a reaction to US President Bush The Elder's threats to Iraq, Iraq bombed/attacked Israel. To this day, I can't figure out how we became the target instead of the United States of America. 
    The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial and naval bombardment on 17 January 1991, continuing for five weeks. This was followed by a ground assault on 24 February. This was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, who liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The coalition ceased its advance and declared a ceasefire 100 hours after the ground campaign started. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and areas on Saudi Arabia's border. Iraq launched Scud missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia and against Israel.
    Those of us who were living in Israel at the time were frequently woken in the middle of the night by sirens to alert us of possibly approaching enemy missiles. And we then would have to run into a shelter or whatever room in the house had been prepared as a "safe room."

    The military experts insisted that there was a chance that chemical weapons would be launched at us and gave very complicated instructions on how to properly seal the room. I must admit that I didn't follow it exactly. We, davka, chose our bedroom because it has an ensuite bathroom. I wasn't frightened enough to equip the room with the recommended buckets. When a siren went off, the kids would just pile into our room, and we'd all sleep, somehow, together.

    It didn't take long to discover that Shiloh wasn't a target. Suddenly Shiloh filled with friends and family of neighbors looking for a safe place to stay. Tel Aviv and its suburbs sustained damage, and miraculously there was nobody in Israel killed by a direct hit, if my memory is correct. But when one of those missiles hit a base with American soldiers, about two dozen of them were killed. That's how dangerous those missile potentially were.

    My husband and I had been invited by Herut, Great Britain to be the honorary guests and speakers at their big weekend convention in Bournemouth, scheduled long before, about three weeks into the war. Since it was quiet in Shiloh, we didn't change our plans. Our oldest daughter scheduled vacation from her National Service in Kiryat Shemoneh to stay home while we were away, and we went off on an all expenses covered vacation to England for a few days.

    During that war, only El Al was flying in and out of Israel. Ben Gurion Airport was smaller than it is today, and since there was virtually no incoming tourism to Israel and so few flights, things were pretty quiet. It really was a treat for us to get away, even though we didn't think that we were escaping a war.

    The flight began on schedule with the usual instructions and buckling in. Then the plane began to move and then ascend into the sky. Suddenly it took a very sharp turn. Never before or after that did I experience such an ascent. Apparently the pilot noticed a missile coming at us and took avoidance action saving us all, Baruch Hashem, thank The Good Lord.

    At that time, pretty much all El Al pilots were trained in the Israeli Air Force as fighter pilots.

    Saturday, February 10, 2018

    Bye, Bye Books

    It may have been years since I have looked at any of the books here, mostly cookbooks and natural health books.

    In my new kitchen, Gd willing, these shelves will be recycled and doored to hold percolator, French press, mugs and other thins I use daily.

    If anyone wants some books, now is the time to come and take or arrange delivery.

    Friday, February 09, 2018

    New Trees

    We received notification that there were trees for the taking, so I sent my husband to take a couple. The announcement said that there were evergreens and fruit trees. I didn't specify what to take. When I saw which he got, two evergreens, then I decided where they should go. And then he planted them, as you can see in the pictures. 

    I just have to water them. It's a good thing that I bought a second long hose. So now one is set up at one tree and the other at the second one. The tree I planted a few days ago had died immediately, but our tree maivin, who also makes wine out of our grapes, said it wouldn't survive.

    Gd willing, updates to follow.