Friday, June 29, 2018

Was In Old City, but Didn't Doven at Kotel

I may have mentioned this before. I'm not a great fan of the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Contrary to popular misconception, it's not a remaining wall of the Holy Temple, sic, there were two plus, nor is it "the  holiest spot in the world for Jews.

The Kotel is the remains of a very sturdy retaining wall of the Temple Mount, which is where the Holy Temples had stood before destroyed by anti-Jewish invaders.

I think of the Kotel as an old outdoor synagogue, which conveniently has an Ezrat Nashim, women's section. The holiness is derived more from the fact that it has been a place of Jewish Prayer for so long. One doesn't need to ritually purify oneself before going to pray there, which is the preferred requirement for entering Har Habayit, the Temple Mount.

What do you think about it?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Doors and Doorways in Jerusalem's Old City and Mount Zion

Early this week I met visiting family, and we hiked around Jerusalem's Old City and the downtown area. I walked a record 21,681 steps that day. They walked even more! I'm happy to say that there was no pain or aching the following days. I wish I could say that I lost weight, but I didn't, sigh.

For one of the guests, this was a first time visit to Israel. And for another we were on old stomping ground decades later.

I must say that considering all of the complaints people like to make about the upkeep, cleanliness of Jerusalem, the administration of the Old City, Jewish Quarter does a good job. I mentioned that in my recent Pishers Guide #29 about the WC near the Kotel.

As you can see from the photos in this post, there are some very interesting doors and doorways to admire. We, a small group of women, felt very safe and comfortable walking around.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Power Coffeeworks Passionate About Coffee

 A few days ago I finally made it to Power Coffeeworks to see what they could offer me for French Press and Cold Brew coffee. The visit started off on the right foot, since they were roasting coffee beans just as I walked in. It smelled soooo good.

That was the first time I ever found coffee beans being roasted in a coffee place. I don't know where the other coffee places do their roasting, but I was reassured to see that in Power Coffeeworks it's done on site. For that alone, I will return to Power Coffeeworks when I need ground coffee.

The shorter the time the roasted beans are stored, the fresher and better the coffee.

When I told the person in charge what I needed the coffee for, French Press and Cold Brew, I could see that he was passionate about coffee. To be honest, we argued about the best way to cold brew the coffee. I've been doing it in my French Press most of the time, and he insisted that a simpler way makes better coffee. Just put the water and coffee into a jar and use a simple paper filter or tea filter/strainer.

There is a nice selection of coffees to choose from. I chose Ethiopian and their dark house blend and decided to start with the Ethiopian. So, that evening I did my usual cold brew prep in the French Press. The following morning I had a wonderful cup, ok cups, of nice strong coffee. It kept me going for very long day of studies and lots of walking. By the time I got home that night, the last thing I wanted to do was to wash out the French Press, so I made the simplified version for the following day.

I just put the ground coffee and water into an ordinary glass jar, gave it all a stir, covered and put it into the fridge. The following morning I took out an old tea strainer, placed it over a glass and poured coffee in. Then I added my usual sugar and milk.

Since cleaning the simple strainer is a lot easier than cleaning out a French Press and its strainer/plunger, I'll stick with this method. The ground coffee was coarse enough, so that it didn't go through the strainer. The cold brew coffee was perfect.

It's clear that Power Coffeeworks has an excellent coffee-grinder. And as long as you have a simple tea strainer you can easily prepare cold brew coffee.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Deja Vu, Music on Mount Zion

Yesterday I was wandering around Jerusalem's Old City with visiting family. We found ourselves wandering around Mount Zion and suddenly heard music. It wasn't the great sound of the old iconic irreplaceable Diaspora Yeshiva Band, but it was nice.

I had last visited the yeshiva with Ruby Harris, their violinist, and we visited Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, ZaTz"L. Yesterday I didn't find anyone I knew, but I was glad to hear music. King David's Jerusalem should be filled with song.

Monday, June 25, 2018

What are You Reading?

Besides the books for my local book club, A Man Called Ove is for the next meeting & I've already read it, I love reading Michael Connelly and Daniel Silva books.

Here's the one I'm reading now:

What are you reading?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Wonderful Week שבוע טוב Blogging Less

I wish you all a Wonderful Week שבוע טוב

Thank Gd I have another wonderful busy week planned, and I will probably blog a bit less than usual. All good, B"H, thank Gd. I may just send off picture posts with a bit of writing. I hope nobody minds, or actually I hope you do. I hope you miss my posts.

Enjoy in good health all there is.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Soccer Madness

As you readers know, I go to football, American Football games here in Israel. That's because my son is very involved, first as a player and now as head coach of the two times champions Jerusalem Big Blue Lions. But for most Israelis the sport is soccer.

So it shouldn't have surprised me to see a giant screen up in Music Square, near Piccolino, so that the patrons of the various restaurants could watch the Mondial while eating.

I guess that's why we had no problem getting a table inside, sans reservations, for dinner the other night in Piccolino.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Mangos, Yum

Early yesterday morning, when I was in a Jerusalem supermarket looking for fruit to have with my goat yogurt for breakfast in Matan I noticed these mangos. I felt them, and they were soft, ripe, edible. To be perfectly honest there was something a bit suspicious about them. They seemed a bit too ripe, a bit too soft in some places and colorful to be fruit of the new season.

My guess is that they had been in cold storage over the winter, but I bought one anyway.  It tasted great!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Five Years

Shirley Shankman Spiegelman
Today was five years since my mother passed away.

I was away last night and not sure I'd be able to light a candle for her, so I asked my husband to do it at home for me. But later I did light one and drank a l'chaim to her life.

She was beautiful, charming and intelligent. Acting and dancing were among her hobbies. She loved Broadway musicals, band we had many of the albums and listened to them enough for me to still be able to sing some of the great songs from shows like South Pacific, Oklahoma!, The King and I and Mary Martin's Peter Pan.

My mother was lots more than a wannabe actress. Since my father supported the family, she didn't need to work for a living. Besides taking care of us, she was an active member of lots of local organizations, PTA, synagogue Sisterhood and others. She almost always ended up as chairman or president. It was rare for her to have a lesser position. One of her final voluntary positions was chairman of the local PNAI chapter. She even allowed my father's name to be put in for treasurer, even though it meant, considering his condition at the time, that she'd have to do the work for that role, too.

My mother's parents both emigrated from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. They were both widowed with a total of five children when they married and had another four together. My mother was the second to youngest. My parents built a successful life together. In many ways I've always considered them to be a generation of mythical giants.

Monday, June 18, 2018

New Mind-Boggling Photo-Editing Technique

It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, I barely knew more than cropping as a my repertoire of photo-editing. Now, besides "lightening," sharpening, turning the photo into black and white, etc. I've discovered that you can change its shape.

I thought people in 52Frames were kidding when they said that I could change the perspective of a picture. I could make a distorted one into a perfect square or rectangle. Someone told me that I could do it with Snapseed, an app I have on my phone for editing. They were right. I did fix the photo with the Perspective Tool.

I'll show you what I mean with a photo that was really distorted. I turned this one...

into... this.  Until I did it, I  couldn't believe such a thing could be done.

It's like magic. Isn't it?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Well-Used World Book Encyclopedia

My parents bought us World Book Encyclopedia in around 1960, the first edition that had the human body with a special layered plastic section. I loved going through the volumes. And for a number of years, they also ordered the supplements. World Book was readable and accessible even for younger kids.

So, when not long after we returned to Israel from shlichut in London, a salesgirl showed up (1977 or 1978) selling World Book, I grabbed the opportunity. I even joined the sales team a few years later but had trouble countering people's
"...but it's so expensive."
So, I didn't last long nor sold much.

My kids grew up with World Book. I would tell them to use it for school projects and research even when they couldn't read much or any English. During the period of time we had new immigrants from the USSR over for Shabbat meals, our trusty World Book proved very helpful in explaining and illustrating. I even remember being shown the breed of dogs one liked from the Dog section of the encyclopedia.

In recent years it hasn't been opened much. I was thinking of just giving it to the kids and even letting them cut it up for projects, but then...

As we were talking on Shabbat with guests, there was a bit of a debate about some location in Israel. We're Sabbath observers, so no computers or smartphones can be used, and I needed the answer ASAP. So, I went to the shelf and pulled out the World Book Atlas. Alas, the map of Israel wasn't large and detailed enough. So, I got out the "I volume," found Israel and checked the map there. My proof was easy to show everyone.

It looks like in this retirees' home, the World Book isn't retiring yet.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Michmoret, Heavenly Fish in the Shuq

The other day my friend and I decided to have a nice early dinner together. She asked me for suggestions, and I told her about Michmoret. It's an excellent fish restaurant in the Machane Yehuda Open Market. I always take a table inside, since I find the shuq much too noisy. This time the piped music was a bit too loud for my taste, so I asked them to lower the volume a bit, which was done immediately.

There's a choice of fish for NS75 or NS85, depending on which fish you order. And there's a choice of side dishes, either vegetables or french fries. If you want a fresh salad, as a side dish, it cost a bit more. This cost much less than a fish meal in any of the popular dairy restaurants.

You start the meal with a variety of Israeli salads and freshly baked bread. The salads are replenished and taste delicious. The wait staff was extremely polite, and although Michmoret's a small restaurant, we weren't rushed out.

I had the Denis, which was perfectly cooked. My friend and I just drank water, although Michmoret has a very well-stocked bar.

Michmoret's on 7 Ha-Tut Street, just off of Agripas Street, Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, Israel, telephone 972 -2-579-4847.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Shells... She Sells Seashells...

When we were at Ashdod, I went to the beach and couldn't resist picking up some shells.

Ever since then the old Shari Lewis song has been playing in my head:

I can't get a proper recording of it to share here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Living it Up in Retirement, New Life

As many of you must know by now, I'm retired, and I'm having great fun. For the very first time in my life I'm enjoying "school." I'm studying in two different places, Matan and the senior citizens program in Ofra.

One of the extra enjoyable "bonuses" in the Ofra program is our interaction with the students. We study in the girls high school. I like to say that we're a three generation family in the school, since two of my daughters are graduates, I have granddaughters studying there and now, so am I.

Today we heard a presentation by girls studying graphic arts about how they designed the logo for our program.

It has an "eye-catching" wise owl look, which really grabs attention and honors our wisdom. The large Hebrew writing says:
מועד ג
moed gimel (3)
"third chance*"
Followed by:
כיתת וותיקים
kitat vattikim
senior citizens class
The girls chose the gold color for the phrase "golden age," which as you know is one of the euphemisms for the elderly.

We had a wonderful time looking at the graphics exhibit about the special programs in the high school of which ours is one.

*moed is a testing time, and usually there are two, moed alef (1) and moed bet (2.) A euphemism for post-retirement is the "third" stage of life, which is alluded to in the logo's moed gimel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Diet Dilemma: Will Water Exercise Get Weight Off?

After dropping to the lowest weight I had been for a couple of years, due to a few factors, including a Jewish eating Holiday and a weekend in a hotel, a few of those annoying kilo returned.

Last summer, although I exercised a lot in the pool, no weight left. If anything חבר הביא חבר chaver hevi chaver, a friend brought a friend, and I weighed more at the end of the summer than in the beginning.

So, I'm back struggling, trying to eat less, walk more and also tone my muscles in the water. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see a better number on the scale, B"H. It's a struggle for sure.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #29, Kotel WC, Prayer Come True

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See  #28#27,  #26,  #25,  #24,  #23#22#21,#20#19#18#17#16,  #15a#15,  #14#13#12#11#10#9,  #8#7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

To say that I was "pleasantly surprised" at the state and setup of the public toilets near the Kotel, Western Wall would be quite an under exaggeration. Over the decades the situation has changed from non-existent to "hold it in," to "you must be joking," but now they get top rating.

As I blogged here and here, last week I was in the Old City with my senior citizen class for a tour of the Kotel Tunnels. Convenient and usable public toilets are especially necessary for those of us of a certain generation, and time was allocated for "toilet breaks."

At first I was rather nervous about what we'd discover in the WC near the entrance to the Kotel Tunnels, which is near the Men's side of the Kotel. But I was overjoyed to discover that it was clean and had staff on hand.

There are also lots of stalls, and as you can see from the icons on the right, there's a baby area and handicapped stalls, too.

My only suggestion, not even a complaint, is that there should also be lower signs outside indicating which entrances are for men and women. Some of the elderly couldn't look up easily and entered the wrong door.  See the uppermost photo.

These WCs are also the official ones for the Kotel Tunnels, besides the Kotel itself. It's a real pleasure to have some good news to report.