Friday, November 30, 2018

Real Life, Never Dull

Rather than duplicate what I wrote on Shiloh Musings, or rewriting it in another way, I suggest that you just read "Learning to be Late and Accepting Blessings."

Shabbat Shalom uMevorach
Have a Wonderful and Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pro-Pockets and Fanny Pack

A lot of people recognize me by my silhouette. On weekdays I almost always have a "pouch" or  "Fanny Pack" on. Few women's clothes come designed with pockets, and the pockets are rarely large enough to safely store one's smartphone.

Even when I'm home I buckle up my small Fanny Pack, so I can have my phone cum pedometer on me. And when out of the house, my keys are in a pocket or the pouch. The other day when visiting a  Jerusalem public toilet, I spotted these on a counter.

I hope that the owner rushed back quickly for them. There was no guard or person who could be considered responsible at the building for me to hand them over.

A few years ago, I spotted an expensive ring on the edge of the sink outside of "restroom" at a "food court." I took it to the closest food place and asked the worker where there was a nearby security office. He told me to ask a young religious (Jewish) woman eating at a nearby table if the ring was hers. He guessed correctly. Orthodox Jews ritually wash their hands before eating bread. For this "washing" one must take off rings. Many rings get lost when the owner leaves them by the sink instead of putting in a pocket or mouth.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Visit f2f to Beersheva

photo by Yocheved Golani,
Over the past few years, I've blogged about a group of friends I have who communicate on Facebook, secret group, and get together f2f periodically in all sorts of locations. This time we decided to visit Beersheva, since quite a few of our members live there or nearby.

At this Beersheva f2f, besides a couple of locals, we came from Netivot, Netanya, Maale Adumim and Shiloh. Yes, that shows you how spread out we are over the country. I traveled from Jerusalem by bus with my friend from Maale Adumim after spending the previous night in Jerusalem to enjoy some of my progeny.

photo by Yocheved Golani,

BTW, about the public toilets in the Beersheva Central Bus Station, the "pay a shekel" entrance didn't work well, and many, including yours truly, squeezed through with a friend, not to cheat, but because it only opened every two sh'kallim. 

The 470 express, which had a bare minimum of stops, was a great way to travel from Jerusalem to Beersheva and back. As a "senior" it only cost me a total of ns20 for a day's trip including buses in Beersheva.

We met in the older part of Beersheva in the Allenby Park, near the old "mosque," municipality building and British Commonwealth ANZAC Cemetery. One of our friends gave us a fascinating overview of the history of Beersheva and the two old buildings we faced. Then we entered the nearby British ANZAC Cemetery and placed stones on the one Jewish grave there.

Then we squeezed into a car and drove to the "Grand Kenyon" Shopping Mall and had a very pleasant late lunch together. A few of us then shared a cab to the bus and train stations, which are conveniently side by side. Following are a few photos taken in Beersheva.

photo by Yocheved Golani,

Thankful that there has been rain so far this winter, but we were also very happy that it was dry during our visit to Beersheva. Except for the fact that some of us looked like crazy old bag-ladies, schlepping our coats, pocketbooks and additional bags, it really was perfect weather for a walking tour.

On the bus back to Jerusalem, my friend and I succeeded in charging our phones via the overhead outlets. It's one of those modern conveniences one needs nowadays. We are so dependent on electrical communication devices. The outlets didn't work on the bus going to Beersheva, so we were very relieved to discover that these did work. She had an extra long cord, but mine was just minimally the right length. It wasn't all that comfortable to use it and keep my phone safe. If I find myself traveling a lot on such buses, I'll have to buy a longer cord.

Photos included here were taken by me, except for those identified as by

Sunday, November 25, 2018

#morningcoffeehaiku Continues

In recent months, I no longer blog daily, though I still blog very frequently. For quite a few years I was blogging daily on both of my blogs, except for Jewish Holidays that lasted more than a day. I can say that, because on the "regular" calendar, there'd be a new post each day, even though nothing was blogged on "Jewish day" which doesn't overlap. Jewish days start at nightfall and end at dusk. Even when I wasn't near a computer, I'd preblog, having the publication timed for the next day, sometimes even more. I did that both on this blog and Shiloh Musings.

I don't remember when or why I started my #morningcoffeehaiku routine, but besides Shabbat, Jewish holidays and fast days I update it on facebook daily. I can easily do it from my phone, too, so I don't need a computer. Besides the simple 5-7-5 haiku, I post a picture of my coffee and sometimes the morning sky.

Following are a few recent ones.

super full day planned
tomorrow busier too
winter sunshine cheers

thankful for the rain
cleanses, hydrates, gives us life
need for coffee, too

grey winter morning
coffee, hot, strong and cheery
many plans today

In Jerusalem
After night living it up

perfect sunrise view
blends perfectly with coffee
wonderful day all

warm winter morning
must decide how to fill day
shop for Chanuka?

bright winter morning
planning wash, mosaics, plus
enjoying Gd's gifts

sky prettier from south
What happened to the sunrise?
coffee's still perfect

only in Israel 
hot war, theatre and coffee
may Gd protect us

sunshine broke through clouds
heralding amazing day
coffee cup-by-cup

very early morn
traveling to do errands
no sign of the sun

Coffee company
Nice Jerusalem morning
Family visit

mysterious sky
won't tell us if it will rain
coffee's always good

strong coffee needed
woke up feeling very tired
not rested at all

Coffee so welcome
Energizes completely
Blessings, good health, all

freezing cold morning
hot coffee and golden sunrise
winter has begun

Friday, November 23, 2018

New Glasses, Been Too Long

I finally got new glasses, and I shouldn't have taken so long about it, since my old ones were very crooked. Not only did they make me look like some nutty, eccentric old lady, but since they're multi-focal and turn into sunglasses, neurologically bad for me.

As has been my custom for probably close to ten years, I went to Michlelet Hadassa, the Hadassa College. It's located in the center of Jerusalem, a few minutes' walk from Zion Square.

You've all heard the saying "time is money," and that's a reason I go there for prescription glasses rather than to a private store.

The vision exam is very time consuming in Michlelet Hadassa, the Hadassa College, because you're examined by both a student and a teacher. Sometimes that necessitates repeating the whole process. In their optician shop, where you choose your frames, you also deal with a student and a professional. It's like bringing along your entire family. Everyone has an opinion and advice. I helped a woman by reminding her to notice some decoration on the side of the frames. Most people only pay attention to the front view. I ended up hating the decoration on the side of my old glasses; I felt it looked cheap. But I hadn't noticed it when I chose them. The woman was very grateful and didn't take those frames.

To be honest, I wasn't crazy about the selection available, though I loved the prices. At NS150 for my new frames, barely $40 or even less, I found frames that were fine, though not my dream ones. Lenses also cost less than in the stores. Quality is good, as is service.

About the service...
For the very first time since getting prescription glasses, a good twenty plus years, I didn't have a "wow, now I can see so much better" reaction when putting the new ones on. It was the opposite, especially for reading.

I immediately complained/reported it. The staff was very attentive and understanding. They didn't say that I'd adjust. They took back the glasses and told me to make an appointment with a "professor." At the reception desk, they told me to return later in the evening, which I did. The senior teacher re-examined me and found a couple of problems with the prescription.

A week later, I got a call that the new glasses were ready. They are better, but I was still unsure. The woman, not a student, in the optician shop told me that because my old glasses were crooked, I should give myself a few more days, up to two weeks, to try them out.

They seem OK. I wore them all day yesterday without any problems. Now my old computer reading glasses don't seem so great. They had been perfect before I got my new glasses. I may just go to a neighborhood optician to get new lenses in those frames, since it's just a matter of getting relatively simple lenses. I'll see what she charges, of course. Getting old isn't cheap.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Fish in The Shuq

Grilled Trout in Michmoret מכמרת, fantastic
 A couple of nights ago I went to Jerusalem's nighttime restaurant and bar/pub hotspot, none other than Machane Yehuda, the "market." It used to be an open-air market, but over the past decade or more, it has been renovated and covered to help it compete with the discount supermarkets. Today's shuq isn't the shuq of old in so many ways.

As day fades into night, and the leftover produce is packed away, out come the tables. Instead of hearing the sellers calling out bargain prices, there's music blasting. And there's an amazing variety of food places, from ice cream to steak to fish. My companion and I knew exactly what we wanted, fish at Michmoret. They keep the prices down with a simple fixed menu. For ns80 each, we started with a table full of Israeli salads and very tempting wholewheat bread. Then the fish arrived. I had ordered the trout, and we both had it with vegetables, not chips, which is the other choice. Everything was perfectly prepared, delicious! I cleaned the plate. We sat inside, where it was relatively quiet. It was truly a perfect meal. Then we walked around the shuq a bit before going home.

Michmoret is also open lunchtime. There's a variety of beers, wines and other drinks, if you want them along with your meal. It's located at 7 Hatut Street, close to Agrippas Street, so there are buses that go there and the lightrail on Yaffo Street. If you're in the center of Jerusalem, you can easily walk to Michmoret. Phone 02-579-4847.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"Passport Control" Book Review

Passport Control by Gila Green is an amazing book with lots of plot twists and mystery. It tells the story of a Canadian Jew, Miriam Gil, who comes to Haifa University to study. She gets involved with many unexpected people and events. Passport Control is fiction, but to be honest, it's clear that everything Green writes about is a real possibility.
Miriam Gil knows little about Israel. Her father won’t talk about his life there or the brother he left behind when he came to Canada. Hurt and angry when he tells her to move out to make room for his new girlfriend, she enrolls in an Israeli university. She falls in love with Guy, a former combat soldier who dreams of peace. Miriam is caught off guard when her visa and passport application are rejected on the grounds that she’s suspected of being a Syrian Christian. In rapid order, the university boots her out, her one friend is killed in a brawl, and Miriam is accused of murder by Israeli police. Despite troubling revelations about her father’s past, Miriam must reconcile with him if she is to prove her innocence, reclaim her life, and hang on to her new found love.
I've been in Israel for close to half a century, and nothing surprises me. Even though I've never studied in an Israeli university, I can see how a naive Canadian student can find herself in the situations that Green places Miriam Gil. There is a lot of material about the Israel of a few decades ago, which is so different from Modern high tech Israel.

Reading Passport Control is a good way to learn about what Israel was once like. I highly recommend the book and truly enjoyed reading it. It's suitable for older teens and adults.

Some things have changed so much in recent years, but I think that nowadays there's even more contact between Jews and Arabs, especially in Israeli universities. Foreigners would most probably be shocked at how much integration there really is.
Gila Green is an Israel-based Canadian author from Ottawa. Her father is a Yemenite-Israeli immigrant to Canada and her mother is a third generation Canadian. She has lived in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Johannesburg, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. She works as a freelance writer, editor and online creative writing instructor, as well as an EFL college lecturer. Gila is the author of Passport Control, White Zion (a novel in stories forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press 2019), No Entry (forthcoming from Stormbird Press, 2019) and King of the Class. Her stories have been nominated for seven international awards and have been published in two dozen magazines and anthologies including: The Fiddlehead,, Jewish Fiction, Fiction Magazine, Many Mountains Moving, The Dalhousie Review and The Saranac Review. Gila writes often about racism, alienation, dislocation, war, family relationships, pre-State Israel, modern Israel, and more recently about a murderous poaching ring in South Africa's Kruger Park. Gila is the proud mother of five children.
You can order a print or kindle version from Amazon:
  • Paperback: 357 pages
  • Publisher: S & H Publishing, Incorporated (August 19, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 163320054X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1633200548

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Avihail Cafe, Near Malcha, But Not in The Mall

Last week, my friend and I wanted to have dinner together before going to see Hidden-The Secret Jews of Spain. I "consulted" with facebook friends to find a restaurant not far from the theater. A number of people suggested the Avihail Cafe, which is in Malcha, but not in the Mall.

Avihail Cafe ended up being perfect for many ways. Besides being Kosher Mehadrin, we were able to completely avoid the traffic jams by Teddy Stadium, where there was a big game at the same time. The only problem with the location is the lack of a parking lot, or we just couldn't find one. After driving around a bit, we found a spot down the street. There are bus stops right outside the restaurant.

The food was good. My friend had what's called "Toast," which in Israel is a version of American Grilled Cheese. It came with a salad, that they assembled to order. I had the Pea Soup, which tasted homemade, though a bit salty to my "no salt, please" taste.

We sat in the enclosed area, and it was very pleasant, not noisy and a comfortable temperature. I would definitely recommend Avihail Cafe if you'd like a nice dairy or fish meal in that part of Jerusalem, but not in Malcha Mall.

More information:
02-6782979 /
כתובת: הדישון 21, מלחה ירושלים
21 Hadishon Street, Malcha, Jerusalem

Hours שעות פתיחה:
8:00-23:00 או עד אחרון הלקוחות, or until the last customer leaves
שישי- מ8:00 עד שעה לפני כניסת שבת Friday from 8am until an hour before Shabbat
מוצ״ש- שעה לאחר צאת השבת ועד חצות או עד אחרון הלקוחות
Opens an hour after Shabbat and closes when the last customer leaves

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Impressive, Easy Stuffed Vegetables

 One of the best and easiest dishes to prepare, if you want something "impressive," healthy and even limited in serving size is Stuffed Vegetables.

There was some chopped meat (about half a kilo, or over a pound) in the freezer I wanted to use, and I saw that some of the peppers in the fridge were getting soft, so I made a "shidduch."

I mixed the thawed meat with chopped onion, an egg, the "inside" of a couple of round squashes, about a half a cup of canned diced tomatoes and some garlic.

Then I filled/stuffed the waiting vegetables. I dabbed more diced tomatoes on top, added a bit of water and oil, covered it with foil and baked it in a hot oven. I considered it "ready" when the top looked cooked and there was liquid boiling on the bottom.

It was a great success and popular with everyone at the table.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Jerusalem Lions Start Season With Big Win 46-0

Here's one of the touchdowns:

Last night was the first game of the IFL season, and the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions  totally overpowered the Tel Aviv Pioneers, their opponents in the championships a year and  a half ago. That was a legendary game, which belongs in the genre of sports movies. After trailing for the first three quarters, the Lions awoke with a roar and managed to tie Tel Aviv six 6 seconds before the end of the game. Then in overtime the Lions won their first championship in close to a decade.

The Lions we saw last night played like they did in that fourth quarter of the 2017 championship game. They didn't relax for a minute. Tel Aviv seemed to be missing their great star players from two seasons ago. The league doesn't give out programs that list the players, and the new Kraft Family Stadium's much larger playing field, makes it hard for my aging eyes to read all the names and numbers on the uniforms. So it was hard to know who was on the field.

Tel Aviv played much better than the score indicates. They had some bad luck, such as when halftime came just when they were on their line and close to scoring.

The Jerusalem Lions team consists of some of the most veteran players in the IFL, plus much younger ones. The future looks good, Gd willing.

Gd must love football, because He decreed no rain during and right before the game. The needed winter rain didn't resume until we got home.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You Have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Elvis in Zion Square, Evening in Jerusalem

Now that we're no longer on Daylight Savings Time, and winter has finally arrived here in the Holy Land, afternoons quickly turn to nighttime. The day, full of light, is so short and sometimes non-existent, since Gd has been blessing us with rain.

A couple of days ago, I had an appointment near Zion Square, which decades ago had been the social and commercial hub of Jerusalem. I was happy to see it full of people. The people were mostly foreign students from the various yeshivot and seminaries. And best of all, there was music, Elvis Presley of all people. Listen.

A minute's walk away was this shop selling drums and other musical instruments. I miss the sound of real drums, Ringo Starr, and the energy he and others added. Nowadays too many bands and "instrumentals" that "accompany" singing and dancing substitute computerized banging for a real human drummer. I can hear the difference. There's an excitement/emotion in human drumming, which does not exist in the machine ones.

Today's music is too artificial/electric.

And no modern, weatherproof mall is as much fun as real streets and stores. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"How to Make Challot" in Pictures

You can get a more detailed challah recipe here/click.

Challah Baking Tip:
And a new "kneading technique" for those who knead by hand. Call a friend, talk via "speaker" while kneading and you'll find you can knead forever.
homemade challah

homemade challah

homemade challah

homemade challah

homemade challah
hafrashat challah, mitzvah

homemade challah
hafrashat challah, mitzvah

homemade challah

homemade challah