Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bagel Café Breakfast, Also Lunch

I have some good friends I meet regularly for all sorts of enjoyable activities. Yesterday's plan was a festive breakfast "out."

We decided that the most convenient location would be the Hadar Mall in Talpiyot. The big problem was to choose which of the many restaurants there. Until just a few months ago, there wasn't much choice, but now they've opened what could be called a third "food court" by the main entrance of the building on Pierre Koenig Street.

Choosing where to eat wasn't easy with so many restaurants. I checked out some via the internet, and we ended up at the Bagel Café, which has a nice large section by the front door.

There's a rather daunting, large selection of food to choose from, special breakfasts and the regular menu. At first glance, it's not cheap, but then I realized that I could "kill two birds with one stone." Since many of the breakfast choices contain too much food, which is why my friends weren't interested, I ordered the Israeli Breakfast.

The above photo doesn't even show all the food served to me. There was also a cookie, which I should have trashed. In the right hand upper corner of the above picture you can see a bit of a bagel. The first thing I did was to make myself a sandwich, tuna, salad and some cream cheese. That was put aside, later packed for my lunch. The remaining food was delicious, filling and kept me going until I got home after 3pm. All I ate, just before a 12 noon class in Matan, was an apple and cup of water. So, even though I spent more than I had hoped for breakfast, I really got two filling meals from it.

The wait staff was polite, but not all that professional. First of all, they should have asked me if I wanted to start or end with my coffee. They started by bringing me coffee and the cookie. The cookie wasn't worth the calories, and I'm sorry I ate it. And my carrot juice wasn't brought with the rest of the food, besides the fact that it should have had been served, or offered, first. I had to remind the staff that it was part of the breakfast. One of my friends had very clearly requested that she get a salad without any tomatoes. But the salad had tomatoes, so she sent it back.

The food was much better than a recent lunch I had at the Emek Refaim branch. Maybe it was the processed fish, we had eaten that had an awful salty aftertaste. This time I ate none of that.

We were all happy with our breakfasts. It was a nice treat.

Bagel Café
Hadar Talpiot Mall, Jerusalem
Sun-Thu 6:30- 23:00
Friday 6:30 -14:00
One Hour After Shabbat Till 23:00

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

How Time Flies, Rosh Chodesh Adar I Next Week

The other night, I looked at the sky and saw the moon. It was just a half circle, and we know what that means. There's only a week left of Shevat. Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef is a week away. This year is a Jewish Leap Year, meaning that we have two months of Adar, an "extra" month of winter before the late winter holiday of Purim.

The Jewish Calendar is a totally brilliant combination of lunar and solar calendars. The solar calendar divides the year into four basic seasons, while the lunar calendar follows the cycles of the moon. There are twelve plus a bit of those lunar cycles in the 365 day solar calendar. That causes seasonal chaos. If, like the muslims, you strictly follow the lunar calendar, not only will your holidays move from season to season, but you'll find yourself "older" than your solar calendar birthday-mates.

Since Judaism is intrinsically connected to living in the Land of Israel, our Jewish Holidays must fall in the correct season. So, unlike Islam, Judaism found a way to celebrate holidays at the right time. It's one of those simple proofs that This Land is Ours, not theirs. There's a carefully calculated formula which adds periodic days to specific months, so there are thirty 30 instead of twenty-nine 20, and some years an additional Adar, winter month, is added, so that Pesach, Passover will be in the spring.

Before our sages compiled/computed pre-computers a set calendar, I guess the decision for an extra Adar was made in the years when the almond trees had no flowers on TU B'Shvat, or something rather similar.

So, even though next Rosh Chodesh is Adar, we aren't supposed to party to prepare for Purim yet. There's another month to wait.

Ladies, please join us at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, for Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.

30th of Shevat, 5779, Tuesday 5-02-2019, 8:30am.

כולן מוזמנות, תפילת נשים, ראש אדר א' , ל' שבט, יום ג' ,5/02/2019 , 8:30, בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
We sing Hallel out loud, but the rest of the prayers are said silently and as individuals. There will be a tour of the Tel and Divrei Torah, Gd willing, in both Hebrew and English. If you'd like more information, please contact me with "Rosh Chodesh Prayers" as subject.

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, is a recognized Israeli tourist and archaeological site. Archeologists agree, that Shiloh is the Shiloh of the Bible, where Chana prayed for a son. Later, when her son Samuel had been weaned, she took him back to Shiloh, so he could be educated by Eli, the High Priest.

The archaeological site of Shiloh Hakeduma is open on weekdays, offers guides and special activities for the entire family. For more information, contact them directly at, 02-5789111.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Our New High Tech Door, Worth The Money

When we renovated our kitchen last summer, we also decided to change the door going to the mirpeset, balcony/terrace.

It was wood with a glass window, and after over thirty years being exposed to the worst of the wind, rain and strong sun, the time had come to replace it. Draughts and rain snuck through, and if I tried to clean the window panes, it was clear that they were very loose.

A few years ago, when I had first been concerned that the lower section was about to separate forever, my son-in-law insisted he could fix/replace that part. That repair didn't solve all the problems, just one. But when the door became so warped that the lock mechanism was misaligned, and keys broke, I lost all patience with it.

The time had arrived to get a new door, something that would upgrade our home. My daughter highly recommended in internal blind, inside the double panes of special insulating glass. Considering how much we were spending on the kitchen, I didn't think it was wise to go "cheap" on the door.

For years I'd been drooling over a door of new, modern materials, neither wood nor aluminum. I wanted top notch insulation. It has always been important to me. I had planned and built the house according to the principles of passive solar heating, and it is as well insulated as was possible to build at that time.

Basically, we had a choice between ordering from an American company via a friend of ours, who is their agent here, or buying from a more local company headquartered in nearby Sha'ar Binyamin. And we know the owners of that company, also. The deciding point was that the American company didn't have a possibility for internal blinds. So, I called Chaim Briskin of Hi-Tech Windows in Sha'ar Binyamin, 02-656-5575, email

I chose what I wanted when visiting their showroom factory, and then later on, they came to my house to measure and take a look at the doorway. Not only did we get a door with a large glass window that has the inner blinds, but we also ordered a simple screen door. By having a screen door, we figured that we can save money in the summer, especially in the evenings, by being able to keep the door open and the screen closed. That way we wouldn't need to use the airconditioner for cooling all that much.

Since the door didn't arrive until the weather had cooled, we can't say how much it will help in the summer. But we're overjoyed at how the door is increasing our winter quality of life. No longer are we suffering from the cold draughts that had plagued our dining area.

It's also a great savings in heating costs. The heater goes off frequently, since heat isn't being lost. During the previous winter, the heater never seemed to go off.

When we built the house, custom designed and built, we ordered double windows. The inner window frames are wood, and the outer ones are aluminum. The planning was rather primitive by today's standards, but despite the numerous imperfections cold stays out.

I firmly believe that it's worth investing in the best possible insulated doors and windows, and today you can get top notch doors and windows from Hi-Tech Windows. I recommend them for all of your window and door needs. You'll save on heating and cooling, especially if you don't skimp on screens. They work all over the country, not just around here.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Japan-Japan, Do Japanese Really Eat That Sort of Food? Restaurant Review

The other night, I went with a friend to the Derech Hevron branch of the "Japanese style" chain of kosher restaurants, Japan-Japan. I'd heard about their restaurants from friends who like the food, especially since there's a branch in nearby Ariel, in the Rami Levy Mall.

I was hungry, since it had been a very long day in the middle of a busy week. As I understood, traditional Japanese food is served separated to show off color, texture etc. But in all honesty, I had never eaten in a Japanese restaurant or been served Japanese cuisine.

The Beit Hanatziv branch of Japan-Japan, 101 Derech Hebron is very attractive, and it wasn't too noisy. Noise can be an awful problem for me. The staff was attentive, and we got our hitech menus set up in English.

There was a large choice of foods on the menu, though most seemed pretty similar to my untrained eye. I decided to choose a cooked main dish, rather than a salad, hoping that there would be enough vegetables in it. We thought it rather funny that although the menu was on a tablet, the waiter had to write our order on a pad with a broken pen, that he had to replace.

Before our food arrived we were served complementary "chasers," which were appreciated, giving our dinner out a festive aura.

My doubts about the authenticity of the food started pretty quickly with our first course of chicken wings, which my friend and I shared. They had been given a Japanese sounding name, but were really just Asian style "buffalo wings" with jam, "soy sauce" and sesame seeds. I did enjoy the small lightly pickled salad on the side. It helped cut the sweetness of the sauce used on the wings. And since "buffalo wings" are a "finger food," we were given lots of napkins and wipes.

For a main course, I chose the Asian Mix which had both beef and chicken, while my friend chose something just with beef. When we were served them, it seemed to me that the waiter had mixed them up. So, we asked again, and were told that we had been given the correct dishes. It didn't take long for us to discover that our guesses had been correct, so we switched them. Yes, as you can see, both main courses are the same color. A careful look revealed the chicken and eggplant in mine. The advantage of this mistake was that we got to taste both, and the sauces were very similar. The sauces totally overpowered the vegetables, both color and taste-wise. But I must say that there was plenty of meat and chicken, and the beef was very tasty.

Neither of us were interested in trying their sushi. If we had been guests of the restaurant, our experience would have been different, no doubt.  But I'm just an ordinary customer. The staff and management hadn't a clue that I'd be reviewing it.

The meal was filling, and not only was Japan-Japan full of seated diners, we could see that they do an amazing takeout business. Bags of cooked food kept leaving the kitchen area, both taken by customers and special delivery staff.

Neither the Japan-Japan site, nor facebook page seem to function in English. But, as I had mentioned earlier, they have an English menu and the staff seemed capable of serving English speaking customers.

We decided to pass on dessert; I couldn't bear the thought of more sugar. Later on we had some fresh fruit, which was perfect.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Our TU B'Shvat Seder and Memories

Most Jews, and even many non-Jews, know about the Pesach/Passover Seder, where we are commanded to eat matzah, that dry tasteless cracker like bread and drink four cups of wine. But there's another seder, which has been gaining in popularity, the TU B'Shvat Seder. For a Jewish religious ceremony, it's rather new, only a few hundred years or so.

Growing up in American in the 1950s, we got bags of dried fruit and nuts to commemorate TU B'Shvat at the Oakland Jewish Center Hebrew School. Friends and neighbors from all over the world, a bit younger and older than myself, have similar memories. We were told that the raisins, figs, almonds and bokser, dried carob pods were from Israel, and on TU B'Shvat we opened our brown paper gift bags to eat them together.

In Israel, when we lived in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem, the preschools would walk to the large almond tree near our building and serenade it singing השקדיה פורחת Hashkaydia Porachat, The Almond Tree is Blooming. We'd have to send various fruit with our young daughters which would be made into a large large fruit salad. That was all the TU B'Shvat celebration I knew of.

After we moved to Shiloh, we began hearing about and being invited to various TU B'Shvat s'derim, which seemed to vary from year to year and host to host. The most memorable one, which was attended by lots of olim chadashim, new immigrants from the USSR and "adopting families." This TU B'Shvat seder included drinking four cups of wine, beginning with white wine and ending with a dark red wine.

I highly doubt that we've ever been to two TU B'Shvat s'darim that used the same text/instructions. Last night we went to our daughter's family in Ofra, and it was totally different from any other. There was barely a mention of wine. If I understood correctly, this one emphasized the seven species of grain and fruit grown naturally here in the Land of Israel. It was accompanied by a delicious meat meal.

The Seder TU B'Shvat we used was very "child friendly," and the younger grandchildren there really participated it. Our grandson kept quizzing us with tree related riddles he had heard. Some were solved with general knowledge, while others were more like puns.

Since the celebration of TU B'Shvat is very flexible, there's a way to commemorate the day that suits all. Following are a few links to help you:

The Tu B’Shvat Revolution
Kabbalistic Tu B'shvat Seder
Tu B’Shevat: Basics
ABCs of Tu B’Shvat

Friday, January 18, 2019

AC Care Tips for Dummies Like Us

I still have no doubt that we're among the very last in Israel's cold mountainous region to have gone modern and gotten an airconditioner for heating. Since we never replace anything while they still function, even poorly, it took us a pretty long time to make the splurge. This is the first full winter we've had it.

On the whole I really love heating the livingroom, plus kitchen and dining area with this airconditioner. The big bonus is that I can set up the folding clothes driers and get the clothes perfectly dry, too.

We hardly used it in the summer for cooling. One reason is that the heat doesn't bother me all that much, and the other is that we renovated the kitchen and had the fridge plugged into that socket, while the work was done.

We've tried to remember to clean the filters, though it's hard to know just how often...

A few weeks ago, I began to notice that periodically the AC would stop, and the little screen would say "HI." After it didn't go back on, within what I considered soon enough, I did an "experiment." I pulled out the plug and then after a couple of minutes, plugged it in and it worked. Then that happened on Shabbat when it's forbidden to play with the plug. So, I waited and eventually it went back on.

So, on the other day, in the midst of the cold stormy weather, when my husband reported that it had stopped and showed "HI," I told him not to worry, even though the AC had been making lots of noise, sounding like a hovering helicopter. Then he reported that only cold air was coming out. So I told him to pull the plug, and he turned it off. A bit later, we cleaned the filter. It was the filthiest I had ever found it. Actually, for the first time it really looked like it needed a cleaning. But I was afraid to turn the AC back on.

The following morning, since we had paid for extra  service, I called Tadiran and told the woman who answered about what had transpired.
"Did you clean the filter?"
"Yes, we just did."
"So, turn it on."
"Really? I had been afraid to."
"No need to be afraid. Tell me if it heats up. It may take a few minutes. And don't worry about the HI. It just means that the AC is defrosting itself."
That's it, thank Gd. Now I know two new things about our AC.
  1. HI means the air-conditioner's defrosting, so allow it to continue.
  2. If the motor begins making a lot of noise, turn it off and clean the filter.
I hope that helps others. I'd hate to think that we're the dumbest of all.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Snow, Just a Puff of Wishful Thinking

For the past few days, the Israeli media was full of supposed "pre-snow" warnings. You'd think we were in for a major blizzard. The "snowplow" workers, salters, media yappers etc were all put on "snow alert" at who know how many times their normal salary to be ready for the deluge of white to blanket the roads, lawns and more.

last night's hail on the steps to my house
To my experienced, though untrained mind, the forecasts weren't predicting snow, just winds and hail. And to be perfectly honest, that's what we really got. The round little ice balls you can see in the picture on the right are hail, not snow. For snow the temperature must be an actual freezing minus, not a few degrees more, or just "wind chill factor" or "feels like."

It's that "chaos" of winds, when it feels much colder than it actually is, that cause/form hail. Hail, like you can see in the photo, are ice balls. Yes, those ice balls on roads can be very dangerous, more dangerous than dry snowflakes, which if not piled high, quickly melt under hot moving cars and their wide tires.

Between the strong winds and hail, being on the roads last night wasn't a good idea for small cars especially. And I ended up missing my granddaughter's performance in Ofra, which had me very upset and disappointed.

late last night

early this morning
This year's winter isn't over yet, and considering that some of our deepest and most long-lasting snows have fallen in the month of Adar, even around Purim, we still have a chance. Not that I want it to snow. I'd rather continue with rainy nights and sunny days.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Appetite in Flux, Suddenly Needing Carbs

About a decade ago, I radically changed my eating habits, reducing carbs and grains drastically. The result was a fifteen 15 kilo, thirty 30 pound weight loss, which, I've pretty much kept off all this time. The key was to increase cooked vegetables, especially, squash, cabbage and carrots. I found them most satisfying. I made this change, which I tried not to call a "diet," because diets are temporary and I knew that the weight would pile back on with interest if I reverted back to my old eating habits.

At the time, we weren't at all in a good place financially, so I also had to find low cost foods. That's when I discovered that a couple of spoons of sesame paste, the stuff you use to make techina at home, is a fantastic and filling low-cost protein. It also keeps well for meals to go, when paired with cooked vegetables. That was my "take to work meal," sauteed onion, carrot and squash topped with sesame paste.

Recently, maybe because I have fewer scheduled things to do this year, I've begun to crave carbohydrates. I still stay away from pasta, which has always been a "control" problem with me. When I need something quick and easy to "fill" me, I take oats, not the super instant, and just add some boiling water and cover, until they are edible. I don't add anything to it, no milk, sugar, cinnamon nada. And shockingly, I've even started buying/eating the rice crackers, though I had always considered them terribly addictive. When I eat them, I follow the rule of never eating from a package. I set up a plate and only take out one or two at a time. When I need a very filling snack, I'll spread some of my sesame paste on a couple of them.

The most difficult thing in recent months, or longer, is that I can't find a breakfast that satisfies me. No matter what I prepare, whether it's a muesli of oats, goat yogurt and fruit, or an omelette with lots of vegetables, I want something more.

I used to eat the same exact breakfast pretty much every day for years, and now that just doesn't work for me. Maybe I just have to schedule in variety and have my breakfast suit pre-breakfast activities and also where I am. I usually sleep out once a week.

The Diet Saga is never over. For those of us who have been obese, or very overweight, keeping control of our weight is a lifetime sentence/job.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

American Football in Israel, Lions in The Lead

After last Thursday night's nail-biter of a game, the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions defeated its only real competitor, Petach Tikva Troopers, 27:20 and is now the only undefeated team in IFL American Football in Israel.

I braved the cold, wearing woolen socks under my Timberland boots, plus my newly crocheted Lions' colors scarf, which I had only finally completed on the bus traveling to the game.

American football isn't an easy game. First of all, the players are encumbered by restricting shoulder pads, and their vision is restricted by the helmet. When it's windy, even the most perfectly tossed pass can be moved off target by the wind.

The past few seasons, watching the game has been a bit easier for me, since my son is head coach. Of course, I still worry about the players on the field, since the only way an offense player can be stopped from scoring a touchdown is when an opposing defense player tackles, meaning jumps on top of him. And frequently, there's a pileup of players on the player holding the ball. So, I used to be happy that my son was a defense player and more frequently on top, or in the middle, rather than underneath. Of course, the better the offense player is, the more chance he'll be tackled. And the more he's tackled, the more he can be injured. That's the truth, though it can hurt in more ways than one.

Gd willing fair games and refuah shleimah, complete recovery to the injured.

Yaala Big Blue! Let's have another championship season, Gd willing.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Yippee Me, I Assembled Wheels on New Heater

American style central heating/cooling is very rare in Israel. It certainly wasn't anything we planned when designing and building our house, thirty-five plus years ago. To be honest, a good part of the year we need neither. That's especially since I chose to build on the east of the neighborhood, used some principles of passive solar heating, besides investing in double walls and windows.

Because of the way the house had been designed and built it has always been relatively easy to heat and cool, but in recent years, when I've spent a lot of time sitting in the den at the computer, I've needed heat in winter. I began using old electric radiators, which had been on their "last legs." Finally I really needed a new heater for the den. Buying one seemed so complicated. We don't have a car, and carrying one onto buses is beyond my capabilities.

I asked a neighbor to take me down to the Shiloh Industrial Zone, where there's a big store that sells all sorts of household/building machinery and supplies. We bought some of the new kitchen tiles there, too. I bought a garden hose, clothesline and a few other items in the past. Yes, they sell electric radiators but didn't have the small size I wanted for the den.

I've been kvetching about the cold den on facebook, and a different neighbor told me to go to the nearby grocery store. I took his advice and bought a small electric radiator. I waited outside until someone came by who could take me and my precious purchases home.

Then I excitedly removed the radiator from the box and discovered that we'd have to assemble the wheels. The instructions were sans a diagram. There was just a simple sentence telling us to "use the included screws."

Duh!? There weren't any ordinary screws there. There were just two pieces of metal with wheels on each and two curved metal things with a sort of screw at one end. When I came home from the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions exciting tough win against Petach Tikva, I had been hoping that the radiator would be ready for use, but it wasn't.

I examined all the parts and turned the heater over. Then I figured out where one of the two-wheel pieces went, but not how to attach it. When I come back from games and other exciting events, I'm a bit (OK very) hyper. I tried to relax at the computer, but my mind was spinning in lots of directions. Before going to sleep, after 1am, I decided to take a good look at what we had. I figured out where the second wheel piece went but not how to attach it at all. Then I looks at those curved metal things, convinced they had some purpose.

Suddenly, I realized that they were to be hooked around the radiator and put through holes in the wheel pieces. And that little butterfly was to tighten, screw it in.

Yes, I was right, and as tired as I was I couldn't wait until morning to get the heater all assembled.

I'm very proud to say that I did it, and I didn't even cheat by googling for instructions.

Afterwards, I was so excited that I needed a sleeping pill or I never would have succeeded in falling asleep.

Look! Here's the radiator heater heating the den. Thank Gd for gifting me with a bit of mechanical talent.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Getting Old: Ginger Lemon Water, Healthy? Prevent Constipation

Sometimes I feel like I'm counting the days to my next birthday. It's a biggie. What is really on my mind is the health deterioration many people experience between my upcoming birthday,  a new decade, and the following one.

As I pass from middle age into being more "elderly," I have no doubt that my genetic gifts will play larger parts in my health and function. I examine my blood pressure and blood/urine test results to try to guess which parent's genes dominate the "cards I've been dealt." My parents both ended their lives suffering from dementia, though totally different kinds.

There are medical professionals who agree that our genes give a simple "expiration date" for our health and functioning. Of course, it's possible to ruin our bodies, so they deteriorate more quickly. And there are accidents/injuries, environmental dangers and certain cancers beyond our control. It's also possible, though much more difficult, to stretch and optimize our life potential to stay functioning longer and more vibrantly than our genes and family history predict.

From my condition today, bli eyin haraa-not to tempt the Evil Eye, Gd dealt me some pretty good cards. Nobody can honestly call me a "health nut," though I do eat simpler, fresher and healthier foods than most people. The truth is that there are numerous and contradicting definitions of "healthy food." After trying a number of versions, including twenty-five years being a vegetarian and a couple of short tries as vegan and raw food, I now eat a rather balanced, ordinary carnivore diet, on some days rather low in carbohydrates, but I do eat irresistible desserts at least once a week.

Over the years, one thing gets agreement by most or all medical professionals. We have to prevent constipation. Or more simply put:
The "garbage" must be removed daily and best before you eat new food.
Apparently retaining the "garbage*," as I'll call it can slowly poison the system, besides physical/mechanical damage to the affected organs.

My simple prevention is drinking enough water, before bedtime and first thing in the morning. To make the water more palatable and add some vitamins, I add fresh lemon slices and fresh ginger.

To keep the ginger root from going bad, it's stored in the freezer. When I'm home, every night before going to bed I drink two giant mugs of lemon-ginger water and the same first thing in the morning. Afterwards I drink my coffee. And if you're wondering, I rarely wake up to use the bathroom more than once and sometimes not at all.

This works for me. It's also a big reason why I'm on the computer early in the morning. You need a relaxed time after waking for your body to function, get into gear. The necessary relaxation before rushing out is similar to what I recommend to young mothers who are trying to increase their milk. Just the other day, I spoke to a first-time mother, who said that she didn't produce enough milk. I told her to sit in a comfortable chair, put up her feet and either read a good book or watch movies, whatever relaxes.

Besides insufficient water, a big cause of constipation is rushing out of the house soon after waking. My early morning time, drinking lemon-ginger water, answering emails, reacting to facebook messages and blogging is a favorite time of my day. It both energizes and relaxes me. That's not a contradiction. Stressed energy isn't healthy in the long run.

I suggest increasing your water consumption. If you really don't drink any, and teas don't count, then start gradually. Tell me how you're doing. Good luck, and stay healthy. A certain amount of your health is in your control.


Monday, January 07, 2019

Rosh Chodesh Shevat, Wet, Cold and Sunny, Onward to Adar

The cold wind kept most of the regulars home on Rosh Chodesh Shevat, but two of us braved the raw wind and enjoyed the crisp sunny morning at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. The sky was blue and clear, but it was very obvious that it had rained hard overnight.

Baruch Hashem, it has been a relatively wet winter, just as it should be, and the farmers say that the cold is also very important for some of the fruit. So far, we haven't had any snow in Shiloh and neighboring Eli, but there have been reports of light snow in Beit El and Gush Etzion.

It was clear to me that Gd had the sun shine this morning so that we could go to the Holy location of the Biblical Tabernacle, Mishkan, in Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. Gd willing our prayers caught the express straight to Gd.

For well over a decade, I've been inviting women to join me on Rosh Chodesh to pray together in the very same location where the Biblical Chana prayed.

Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, site of the Mishkan, Holy Tabernacle will be on the 30th of Shevat, 5779, Tuesday 5-02-2019, 8:30am.

כולן מוזמנות, תפילת נשים, ראש אדר א' , ל' שבט, יום ג' ,5/02/2019 , 8:30, בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה

We sing Hallel out loud, but the rest of the prayers are said silently and as individuals. There will be a tour of the Tel and Divrei Torah, Gd willing, in both Hebrew and English. If you'd like more information, please contact me with "Rosh Chodesh Prayers" as subject.

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, is a recognized Israeli tourist and archaeological site. It's open on weekdays, offers guides and special activities for the entire family. For more information, contact them directly at, 02-5789111.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Mixing Fact and Fiction

Last night I reviewed Arise and Shine by Tzvi Fishman on my blog Shiloh Musings, a book I coined a Forrest Gump historical fiction novel. Arise and Shine is part of a series of books by Fishman which follows the lives and adventures of  Shalom Aleichem's iconic Tevye character. Fishman has Tevye and most of his family coming to the Promised Land after being banished from their home in Anatevka.

The novel takes place after World War One, and one of the important subplots concerns the internal politics of the giants of the Zionist Movement. Fishman creates realistic characters out of true historic figures, many who had still been alive when I became a Zionist and my husband and I made aliyah. Yes, we knew some of them in real life, though they were a generation or two older than us.

Many of our friends in the Betar Zionist Youth Movement knew them, too. Betar is the youth movement connected to Jabotinsky, Trumpeldor and the Zionist Revisionists, who had been marginalized by the more politically "adept" Labor Zionists.

While the Labor Zionists idealized socialism, kibbutzim, The Haganah and Palmach, Jabotinsky's Revisionists promoted free enterprise and founded the Etzel and its breakaway freedom fighters Lechi aka Stern Gang. All in their ways claimed to be doing everything in their power to establish a Jewish State in Mandated Palestine.

Considering all of the groups and factions there had been fighting the British and each other in those very early pre-State of Israel, I have no doubt that that we all found ourselves imagining which group we would have joined, if we had lived in those exciting and historically significant times. And many of us now very grownup young Zionists continue dreaming and wondering. That could be the seeds of many more books in the genre of Forrest Gump historical fiction. Where would you have been?

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Coconut Milk "Ice Cream"

The other day I bought myself some coconut milk/liquid to use in coffee, with the hope that reducing cow milk would make my cold better. There was one minor though crucial problem. I just couldn't stand the taste. The coconut milk was creamy and sweet, no need to add any sugar at all, but it totally overwhelmed my very strong French Press coffee bought in Power Coffeeworks.

The coconut milk cost too much money to waste/dump, so I needed to figure out something useful to do with it. Since I remembered from a previous purchase of the "milk" that you can freeze it and make a sort of ice cream, that's what I did. I decided to combine the coconut milk with a couple of perfectly ripe bananas, chocolate chips and some of my coffee and then mix them up in the food processor.

I used the plastic "dough hook blade," hoping that the bananas would get a bit mashed, but the chocolate chips would stay whole.

To thicken the mixture, I added some coconut flakes. I let it whirl until the most of the bananas were mashed. Then I poured the mixture into a plastic container and put it in the freezer.

I plan on serving it Friday night for Shabbat dinner dessert. Coffee liquor will be offered as a topping. If I had some chocolate liquor that would be good, too. I'll look for that in the grocers today, Gd willing I should remember.

Gd willing, bli neder, I'll report on the success of this ice cream after Shabbat.

I highly suggest using coconut milk/liquid for vegan,  parve, non-dairy dairy-like, lactose free desserts. It is much better and far healthier than the totally synthetic factory-made stuff most people use. So many times I've felt sick after eating tempting desserts people have made with Rich's*. Many of the same people who won't let soybean oil in their houses, insisting it's unhealthy and cook with canola oil instead, have no compunction about serving desserts made with the soybean oil based Rich's.

* non-dairy whipped topping based on soybean oil. Wikipedia 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Finally Figured out a Way to Carry My Backpack Without Killing My Shoulder

For the past few months, I've been finding it harder and more painful to walk around with my backpack. My right shoulder which I had injured over fifteen years ago, when I used to play basketball, had started acting up.  I loosen the straps so they'd easily go over my heavy winter coat, but it didn't help enough.

They the other day, I glanced at the backpack and noticed the elastic straps that go across the chest to keep the bag stable. Maybe that would help. So yesterday when I put the heavy backpack on my back, I "buckled" those, too.

And, yes, it was much more comfortable. I felt fine walking with it, B"H, thank Gd.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Playgrounds in Shiloh

This morning when my friends and I took a walk, we decided on a new route. We went to the "Techelet Neighborhood" and saw the new playgrounds being set up. It's a young neighborhood with lots of families with children, so they really need such facilities.

I kept thinking that some of my grandchildren would love the wall climbing.