Thursday, May 31, 2018

End of School Year Celebration

Yesterday afternoon, even the Ulpanat Ofra Girls High School hosted a festive end of year party for the participants of the senior citizens program I attend and our families. Most of us had some of our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren in attendance, too. My daughter and grandchildren in Ofra came, too.

In the formal ceremony I was one of the speakers. I told everyone how much fun it is to be old. We get discounts, people give us seats in buses, we get paid not to work and we can attend the wonderful program in Ofra.

It was through that program that my "story" was put on the multiple history program of the Diaspora Museum.

I've made some new friends and really enjoy the classes. Gd willing I'll sign up again next year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Recycling, Donating Old Scarves

Apparently, I'm not the only one with a houseful of things I no longer need/use but can't bear to throw them out. At least I found a solution for my old scarves, the ones I no longer wear. Some are in perfect condition, but they're old fashioned, a bit frayed or faded. Not even the clothing gmachs, the special low-price charity stores would be interested in them.

A couple of years ago, I found a place that does want old scarves. Those ladies at the Kotel, the Western Wall, who offer women a cover-up. Yesterday I met a group of friends for one of our periodic f2f get-togethers, this time in Jerusalem's Old City. Beforehand, I reminded them that they could donate tichels, scarves at the Kotel. So a few of us brought bags full of them, all styles and colors. They were received with great thanks and enthusiasm, and within a short time, we could see visitors wearing some.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Public Bus Travel Update, Easier Than I Thought

For the first time in ages, last Friday I traveled via the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. The last time I had taken a bus from there, I just had to say "senior" when I bought my ticket from the driver. I remember being "insulted" that he didn't claim I looked too young or at least ask for identification.

Now since I heard that I'd have to put money into my RavKav bus/train card and use it to pay, like a prepaid credit card, I was nervous. I had never done that before. Friends told me that it was the only way I could get the senior discount.
I'm lucky that I know Hebrew, because so many of the signs were Hebrew only, but the machine does have an English option. I went to a clerk; I prefer people. I asked him to put ns100 into my card, which he did. Of course I paid. I used a credit card.

The RavKav is personal. It has my Identity number and a photo of me. You only get a discount if you have a personal one, and you're old enough, or handicapped, of course.

Tourists pay full-fare. Actually a few years ago when I was in the states and took the train from New York to Philadelphia, I was told that my US passport didn't qualify me for senior discount. I needed a special American card. Later on in the visit my friend and I went to the special office to get one, and they still wouldn't give me. They said that I needed something other than a passport. And I'm an American citizen...

Apparently, here in Israel, if you're qualified for a discount, the sum you deposit in your card is doubled automatically. When you pay a fare, the "full fare" is subtracted from the card. But it's really the half fare, because as in my case the ns100 became ns200.

Not only was I able to use my RavKav to pay for the bus to Ashdod, but in Ashdod the local bus driver accepted it for payment to the hotel.

The only English signs I found in the bus station told people about the special bus to Ben-Gurion Airport and the bus to Tel Aviv. Information about depositing money in your RavKav was only in Hebrew. The powers there figure that anyone who's Israeli enough to have a RavKav must know Hebrew.

And if you need English explanations, I hope this blog post helped you.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Newly Decorated "Tunnel"

Last night, when my husband and I got off of the bus that had taken us from Ashdod to Jerusalem, I wondered how we were going to cross the road from Binyanei Ha'uma to the area of the bus station. My plan was to use the time before our bus to Shiloh to make a "pit stop" in the CBS, Central Bus Station. In order to cross that wide, busy street, we'd have to walk quite a distance to either the right or the left.

I hadn't gone through the tunnel underneath for years. It's really ugly, smelly and unpleasant in many ways. But he insisted that would be the best way to go.

As soon as we got down there, I was in shock!  Not only had it been cleaned up quite a bit, but it has been painted in a very attractive way. Abstract is perfect there. Flowers would have looked silly.

What do you think?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Summer's Back, So Is Cold Brew Coffee

You can see the "frost" on my stainsless
steel French Press
Yesterday morning I had my first cold brew coffee of the season:

hot summer weather
finally cold brew coffee
a pleasure to drink

I discovered it a couple of years ago, and now I make it in the summer. It's easiest done in a French Press.

The only difficult part is remembering to prepare it the night before.

A good stir after adding cold water to the ground coffee and another stir after taking it from the fridge a few hours later are the most "complicated" parts of the process.

Then you use your French plunger, just like hot coffee, but the flavor is better, at least IMHO. Even in the winter I don't like my coffee very hot. I really do enjoy this great way of drinking cold coffee, and there aren't any ice cubes to dilute/weaken the flavor.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bye, Bye Cafe Rimon

For as long as I remember Jerusalem, going on forty-nine 49 years, there has always been a restaurant, or two, called "Rimon" just off of Zion Square on Lunz Street. And I've had some wonderful meals there. So when a friend and I were looking for a place to meet for lunch yesterday, The Rimon was an easy and popular decision.

I had been looking forward to ordering their "Business Lunch," and my friend expected to have their breakfast she loved, even though we were meeting after 1:30. We had ordered these things many times at that hour.

When I didn't see the business lunch on the menu, I just figured that the waiter had forgotten to give the extra sheet to us. And my friend was concerned that nothing was on the menu about breakfast being "served all day."

The waiter was friendly and charming, but that didn't help, since he had bad news for us. Both the attractive business lunch menu and breakfast all day are history in the Rimon. We had a very tough time finding something to order in the newly revamped menu. My friend ordered the "Crispy Salmon," and she told the waiter that they should leave out the spicy mayonnaise. One bite and she was in pain from the spices. They forgot, but at least the waiter offered to replace it and give her one without spicy mayonnaise. She liked the salmon and gave me a small piece. I found it awfully oily.

I wasn't happy with any of the salad options, and I didn't want to spend more for a fish meal. Many of the so-called salads were really sandwiches, or based on bread. And there were too many ingredients, which usually means too much oil and salt. Finally I chose the Asian Salad, even though it's based on pasta. At least it had some nice cooked vegetables. If you're wondering what that white stuff is on the right, you should be. I think they called it "rice sheets," or something like that. It looks a bit like thin Styrofoam, and it has less flavor than paper. Yes, it was that awful.

We were enjoying talking, but I needed to leave, and they hadn't given us our bill yet. I suggested we just walk out. They probably wouldn't have noticed. But instead we finally got the waiter's attention and asked for it. Then it took ages until they gave me my change.

Before leaving I went up to the WC, public toilet, and they were in awful shape. Luckily I noticed that there wasn't any toilet paper before closing the door, so I took paper towels. A woman came up right after me, and she complained too. Then we began discussing the new menu. We agreed that everything in the Rimon had gone downhill except the prices.

I won't be back.

Bye, Bye Cafe Rimon

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

All You Need is Watermelon

This past Sunday was the Shavuot holiday here in Israel. Out of Israel aka Chu"L, it's a two day holiday, so was Sunday and Monday. On Shavuot we celebrate that Gd gave us the Torah, and we spend time learning Torah subjects.

Some people even learn all night. There were years when I learned a good part of the night, but didn't this year. For over twenty years, on Shavuot afternoon we've been hosting a class in English by my neighbor, Rabbi Dov Berkovits.

I serve watermelon. I used to also serve pretzels, but since the pretzels were mostly eaten by me, I eliminated them from the menu. This year a neighbor brought some cheesecake, too.  It was just too delicious, as was the watermelon. Of course the watermelon I bought was much too big, but it's a perfect juicy one.

When watermelons are this good, it's criminal not to eat them. I don't want to know about the calories and sugar in them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Another Mug of #morningcoffeehaiku

I've been haikuing most mornings for quite awhile now as #morningcoffeehaiku. Please join if you wish. And following are some recent ones:

made coffee too strong
hope it wakes me up real well
really must hydrate

shiny new French Press
unbreakable finally
dawn of great new age
need that perked coffee
must get more get up and go
sleep's never enough

slept but much too tired
sun and coffee very strong
exciting day planned

Coffee, wake me up!
Rosh Chodesh Women's Prayer Group
summer coming soon

need lots of coffee
very strong to wake me up
coffee's a winner

finally Friday
filtered coffee, sunny day
need my Shabbat rest

Summer really here?
enough winter already
still drink coffee hot

yellow windy morn
not a poet's "spring" vision
really need coffee

always need coffee
even when up before ring
revs up the engine

sun peeking through clouds
strong coffee perking on stove
ten lives lost in flood

super sunny morn
drinking super strong coffee
super busy day

Water then coffee
Quiet in Jerusalem
Later the siren

up before alarm
cheerful glorious sunrise
now for my coffee

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sparkling New French Press!

Reflecting on my new French Press, because unlike the others, which were mostly glass and one small plastic one, this new one is stainless steel, yes, UNBREAKABLE

Over the years, ole Murphy's Law seems to have a special category for French Presses, which generally have a glass carafe. The more you like that French Press, the better the plunger/filter and more suitable its size, the more quickly the carafe will shatter.

After my 1.5 liter French Press, with the fantastically made plunger/filter shattered, my fault entirely, I pulled out the too small "6 cup" with the awful bent plunger/filter that always allowed coffee grounds to invade my mugs and spoil my mornings. I had no choice. Around once a week, I'd perk Israeli Elite Turkish coffee in my classic stove-top stainless steel peculator.

Rumor got to me that it's possible to buy an unbreakable stainless steel French Press. I asked in some Israeli stores, but nobody sold them. So I went "modern" and checked on the internet. I found a few on Amazon, but I don't buy online.

Now that I had a solution, I patiently awaited my savior. My good friend who has been supplying me with American coffee has an Amazon account. She finally came for a visit.  We put in the order, and I paid her to cover costs. At first we were going to have it delivered to one of my Jerusalem kids, but that would double the price. Instead it was delivered to her home, and last week I was able to pick it up in Jerusalem.

This morning I had my first coffee from my new AMORA stainless steel French Press! What a pleasure to use. And the coffee was great. It'll be such a relief not to worry about breaking, thank Gd.

Finished Counting Omer 5778, 2018

Now that the Shavuot Holiday is over, so too is the count. I used this page to help remind me on Shabbat, when my phone is off. Actually, I only succeeded in counting the omer once I had a cell phone to remind me.

What's your trick or tip?

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Visit to The Diaspora Museum.

Actually the museum is now called The Museum of the Jewish People, Beit Hatfutsot, but that's too much a mouthful for a title. And most people still think of it by its old name. I went there as a field trip with the senior citizens program I attend in the Ofra Girls High School. We were hosted by the museum, since we "veterans" have our stories on their oral history site. You can see my story here, ממחול בניו יורק לתפילה בתל שילה From Dancing in New York to Praying in Tel Shiloh.  Sorry, but it's in Hebrew. I must find out how to get an English version up on its English page.

We had a wonderful time yesterday, and they even picked us up and dropped us off in Shiloh, since Shiloh's on the way to Ramat Aviv, where the museum is located. I'd love to go back to the museum some time. I hadn't been there since it opened forty years ago. It's definitely recommended for family visits with kids. There was none of the "shhh, shhh, don't make noise" which makes taking kids to museums so difficult. We were told to talk about what the exhibits mean to us and how we feel connected.

Here are some pictures:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lots of Jewish Books

It seems like the last of the genre of Jewish blog carnivals is the Jewish Book Carnival. I'm involved with it and davka hosted the most recent one, May, 2018.

The carnival consists of all sorts of blog posts about Jewish books and authors, not just book reviews. If you'd like more information or would like to host an edition email

Check out the latest  Jewish Book Carnival.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Salad Could be a Meal

This salad could be a complete meal, if you're trying to cut down on carbohydrates. The seeds have protein. It can also be a side dish, served with any sort of meal.

The ingredients:
shredded raw beet
pumpkin seeds
fresh parsley

The dressing:
olive oil
freshly squeezed lemon juice

This colorful and tasty salad was my contribution to our book club's pot luck dinner meeting. This month we read Rebecca. I find that the best way to make sure that there's something low carb at the meal is to bring it myself.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Summer Soon, Pool to Open

When we see work being done on the local swimming pool, we know that summer is almost here.

It's summer, whether weather is ready or not when the pool opens. The pool season is very short, just three months. Gd willing the air will heat up in time.

I love our local pool; it's just a short walk from my house. I go as often as I can.