Thursday, August 29, 2019

"Where's The Beer?" Jerusalem Beer Festival 2019

Doug taking notes
Last night, as I wandered around the Jerusalem Beer Festival with my beer maiven and mentor, Doug Greener, sampling the latest Israeli commercial craft beer creations, I began to feel confused. Are all of these new "beers" beer?

In previous Jerusalem Beer Festivals, the dominant taste was the "hops" some with various flavorings. Last night, granted that we were, davka, going for new beers, the word we all used the most to describe the beers was "fruity." The cherry beer pictured above, looked and tasted more like cherry soda.

oats and wheat
We tasted a very unusual "date beer," which could be made for Passover, since there's nothing in the ingredients of the forbidden chametz. I suggested to the beermaker that he markets it as a Biblical drink, since there's a good chance that dates had been used way back when, as an alternative for grapes.

After awhile and lots of sample drinks of the new versions of craft beer, all I wanted to say was:
"Where's The Beer?"
Most of the beers we drank were pleasant tasting and rather fruity. The IPAs had a nice kick. But contrary to other years, the dominant taste of hops was missing. Can it be beer sans hops or tasting more fruity than anything else?

Many of the beers we sampled, and I trust Doug to write a more detailed report, were closer to flavored fizzy wines and fruit-flavored sodas. I didn't taste the blonde beers, since I don't usually enjoy them.

Besides the smaller craft beer companies, some of the larger Israeli beers were at the fair as were some foreign ones. They served more of the classic bitter beer. I guess that the small craft brewers have found it better not to compete with those big successful companies. Craft beer brewers look for a different niche/customer.

I suggest you try for yourself. The Jerusalem Beer Festival 2019 is open tonight, too. Opens at 6pm in Independence Park, Gan Haatzmaut. Even if you don't like beer, maybe you'll davka like the beers that don't taste all that much like beer. Some people go to the Jerusalem Beer Festival just for the music and party atmosphere. There's all sorts of food for sale from a variety of food trucks.

Your opinions are welcome in the comments.

Just one more thing about flavored beer. There may be kashrut problems concerning manufactured flavoring ingredients in the various beers. If you have any questions, ask the brewer. Many I saw and met last night appear Torah/kashrut observant, but ingredients are more questionable out of Israel. The owners may not even understand your questions about kashrut.

At least the whiskey didn't pretend to be beer.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Looks Dangerous To Me, Slip-Sliding Around

When I was walking in Jerusalem last week, I noticed a new "attraction" in the First Station. They set up some sort of "play area." OK, but this "play area" is a synthetic surface, kept wet, and the kids are supposed to run around, play ball, fall and slide.

It makes me very nervous.

I'm glad that my sons are too old, my older grandson too timid and the younger ones too young. Or am I just nuts?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Giant Jug in Israel Museum Found in Shiloh

If you wander through the Israel Museum, as I sometimes do, you'll find this enormous jug in the Archaeology Department. Shiloh, yes, where I live, is more than just a vibrant town. There's a fascinating archaeological and tourist site, which is nicely maintained and always adding new and high tech exhibits.

Shiloh is the Biblical Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for almost four hundred 400 years. Shiloh was the spiritual and administrative capital of the Jewish People before King David ruled from Jerusalem. It was in Shiloh where Hannah prayed for a son.

In addition to seeing the jug in the Israel Museum, you can go to Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, and see its original location. The site is open to visitors Sunday-Friday. For more information: Phone: 02-5789111, Fax: 02-9948011,

You can get to Shiloh by car or public transportation, Egged Taavura buses 461 and 463.

Shiloh is more than just another archaeological site. It's one of the Jewish People's holiest places, and many people come here to pray. For well over a decade I've been inviting women to join me on Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month, which is traditionally known as a Women's Holiday.

Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers, Ellul, Sunday 1st of Ellul, 5779, September 1, 2019 at 8:30am, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. For more information email me, subject: Rosh Chodesh.

תפילת נשים בראש חודש אלול תהיה יום א', א' באלול, ,8:30 1-9-2019 בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה. לפרטים נוספים , subject: Rosh Chodesh.
This is where the jug was found almost forty years ago.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mid-August Blog Carnival

If you're home hiding from the heat, or just tired of all the usual summer reading, try some blogs. They're free and certainly varied enough not to bore you. Curl up on your couch, or pull up a chair, swing on a hammock, stay busy on the bus, train, plane or bed. Wherever you're sitting or lying down enjoy reading some blog posts.

As my norm, I'm just listing titles. Read, comment, share and tell me which is your favorite. If you have any blogs to recommend, don't be shy. I'm always interested in adding to my blog rolls.

Please remember that I'm not responsible for the content of blog posts, other than my own.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Optimistic People
Dancing Through Life
The Lost Kitchen, A Book Review
Finding Valuable History under Jerusalem Streets
Time for Rabbi Lau to Dig Up Momma
I Can’t Be Antisemitic Because My Conspiracy Theories Paint Jews As Super-Smart (satire-maybe)
August beer festivals
Memories, Soviet Aliyah to Shiloh
10 reasons why it is easy to be a vegan in Israel
Easy Filling Vegetable Lentil Soup
Getting Carried Away
The Writings of Ahava Emunah Lange: Happy New Year
Chodesh Ellul Tov, 5779, September 1, 2019
The Solution to BDS and Growing Antisemitism is Counter-Intuitive
Lieberman signs a vote-sharing deal with Gantz and Lapid's party
A Matter of Origin
Dance Festival Flyer 1964

Which was your favorite? Tell me which and why in the comments, thanks.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

BIGA, Ariel, Great Food and Service

Last week I blogged about my trip to check out the new mall across from the Ariel University.   It's only a few minutes from Shiloh and right near the bus stop/trampiada to a from Shiloh. I was with a couple of friends, and we had lunch out together in BIGA, a kosher dairy restaurant/bakery chain.

The mall has a couple of levels, and there are stairs and an elevator to get from one to another. BIGA is on top with a nice terrace, though my friends and I ate inside.

The menu was interesting, even though it's a chain. I had a delicious lentil salad and tried the bread, so I could review it...

My friends tried other dishes, and we were all very happy with our selections. Another good thing was that the staff was very accommodating when we requested that they lower the volume of the music.
I was the youngest in the group, and most of us are at the stage where hearing conversation can be difficult when there's too much background noise. We made a point to sit in a quiet corner.

The BIGA Bakery is very popular. My friends also stocked up on their bread. I saw that they also have a selection of gluten free breads.  I couldn't find the opening hours, but the telephone number is 03-7721779‬, and it's on 2 Moriah Street, Ariel, across from the Ariel University.

We all agreed that BIGA is the best restaurant in Ariel. I just hope it keeps up its standards.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #31, Good Deal in "Supersol Deal," Givat Shaul

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #30#29#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.

One night after attending a funeral in Har Hamenuchot Givat Shaul, I needed a WC 00 ASAP. Actually there are public toilets at the cemetery, but since I had a ride out, and the public transportation is infrequent at best...

My companion and I found ourselves on the main drag of Givat Shaul, by all the stores, offices and restaurants. We walked quite a distance looking for a restaurant open for dinner besides a public toilet. The usually bustling street looked more like Brigadoon as the mist covers before its long hibernation.

Getting rather desperate, I entered open the branch of Supersol Deal, since I have discovered that all the supermarkets in Jerusalem have public toilets. Most are hidden, like this one is, in the back storage area. Even though there were a few signs, I asked an employee, since I didn't want to waste time.

As I approached the welcome facilities, I saw a worker washing the floor. He asked that I wait until he finished, so I wouldn't slip on the wet floor.

The fact that the area smelled clean helped me wait patiently. I was happy to see that the public toilet, which no doubt is for the staff as well as the public, had paper and soap. It was in better shape than many restaurant loos.

I told the worker that I'd be writing it up and giving them high marks.

I did feel a bit guilty about using the facilities without purchasing anything. Unlike many (or most) restaurants, never has a supermarket told me that their restrooms are for paying customers only, nor do they charge an entrance fee.

If you have any locations, recommendations, warnings concerning public toilets, please let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Lost Kitchen, A Book Review

Miriam Green, author of The Lost Kitchen
and I finally met in person
Last week while waiting for one of the classes to begin at Herzog College's amazing Tanach/Bible Yemei Iyun, I heard my name called. It was Miriam Green, fellow blogger and facebook friend. We finally got to meet in person f2f. I've been a fan of Miriam's blog The Lost Kitchen for the longest time. First of all it's a well-written honest blog. It's posted weekly and follows the saga of Miriam's mother's life with Alzheimer’s. Each post is accompanied by a recipe.

Alzheimer’s and/or one (or more) of the more difficult to diagnose/name dementias dominated both my parents' final years, so I'm neither objective nor inexperienced when it comes to the topic.

The Lost Kitchen is a brilliant way of titling the blog, book and Miriam's mother, Naomi. One of the first skills many people lose is caring for themselves, knowing what to shop for, remembering to turn off the stove, prepare food and even remembering to eat.

Green's book opens with her mother's diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. I was really spooked by the fact that her mother was younger than I am now. We're spared the difficult period before that made them suspect that something was very wrong and getting worse. The focus of The Lost Kitchen is how Jack, her father, and Miriam deal with the constant deterioration, challenges and dilemmas of Naomi's Alzheimer’s. Miriam's original idea was to write a cookbook chronicling Jack's unplanned introduction to cooking and the recipes he has adopted for himself as cook.

Even though I'm a loyal follower of the The Lost Kitchen blog, I found reading the book to be a new experience. I wasn't bored. The Lost Kitchen book isn't a simple compilation of the blog. Besides recipes, there are poems. If you like the blog, you'll love the book. And if you've never read the blog you'll find the book a wonderful loving memoir following the gradual loss of a loving mother.

The Lost Kitchen begins after the diagnosis, when Jack is still able to care for Naomi.  At first he manages with Miriam's weekly visits, but then as the Alzheimer’s gets worse, it's clear he needs more help and then even more. Their story is honestly and sensitively told by Miriam.

Dealing with Alzheimer’s seems to be a growing genre as people live longer, and their bodies outlive their cognitive abilities. I reviewed My Mom My Hero by Lisa Hirsch a few years ago, which was written by a childhood friend. Last I heard, her mother is still alive.

I recommend reading The Lost Kitchen, whether you've had to deal with a loved one's Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia or not. After a half a century in Israel, I sometimes forget that there's a whole other world out there in other countries, and life can be very different. The Lost Kitchen is also a Jewish Israeli story, because the assistance, facilities, society and health care system are probably specific to Israel. Of course the family dynamics and dementia itself, no matter what the specific diagnosis are international. Dementia can happen to anyone, anyplace and any age, due to all sorts of causes.

Miriam Green has written a valuable and unique book, a universal story. As a bonus you get a cookbook, which is valuable on its own. Unlike many cookbooks, this one has easy to follow recipes, without too many exotic, hard to find ingredients. The poems add a gentle touch. Yes, if I haven't been clear, I highly recommend buying The Lost Kitchen for yourself or as a gift for others.

Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Black Opal Books (May 4, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1644370816
  • ISBN-13: 978-1644370810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Easy Filling Vegetable Lentil Soup

Why do I post so many Vegetable Soup recipes/posts?

That's because, they're all a bit different, and I never follow an exact recipe!

Yesterday afternoon, while observing the Tisha B'Av fast, an important event on the Jewish Calendar, I realized that I had better start preparations for my fast-breaking vegetable soup. Since I wanted a nice hearty soup with lentils and brown rice, it needed time.

Ingredients- Quantities aren't holy, just recommendations:
1/3 cup brown rice (I used round brown)
1/3 cup orange lentils
1/3 cup brown lentils
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots cut
1 large squash cut
1/2 sweet potato (you can use a whole one) cut
pinch plus of coarse salt
coarse black pepper
1/4 cup dehydrated dill
vegetable oil
boiling water

Step #1
Check the rice and lentils. Add to a large pot, pour in boiling water to cover plus, cover and leave for at least an hour.
Step #2
An hour or more before you want to serve the soup, add the rest of the ingredients. Water should not reach more than a couple of inches from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame to simmer. Cook covered.
Step #3
Stir periodically. You may have to add a bit more water. Turn off heat when the lentils and rice are nice and soft. Keep covered until serving. Yes, that's it. Very easy and simple to make. You can add other vegetables, seasonings etc. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

New Mall in Ariel Near The University

For months, OK ever since I noticed the construction, I've been impatiently awaiting the opening of the new mall in Ariel. It's right across from the Ariel University and a minute from  where we catch rides and buses to Shiloh and nearby communities. The Rami Levi Mall, which is at the other end of Ariel, is very inconvenient for me, since I don't have a car.

This new Ariel mall has a gas station, a supermarket (Supersol Deal,) quite a few restaurants, a bookstore, clothing and accessory stores and best of all a FOX home, which is a big favorite of mine. The only thing I didn't see was a children's clothing store. The clothing stores in the mall all seem to cater to adults only. Like the Rami Levy Mall at the other end of Ariel, this "mall" is open. In that way it resembles "shopping centers" of my childhood, except for the fact that it's two stories tall and has an elevator. Rami Levy's also has an escalator.

I was in the new Ariel mall yesterday with a couple of friends. We ate lunch, and Gd willing I'll review the restaurant in a couple of days.

I can imagine myself tremping to the new Ariel mall just for fun.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Simple and Relatively Frugal Salmon Prepared in Advance

Over the years, especially as we're now empty-nesters, I've gotten out of the habit of daily cooking. Also, I'm frequently too busy, or out of the house when my husband needs to eat dinner. So, when I cook for Shabbat, I cook for the week. This week it's more complicated. It's the "Nine Days," when our tradition is to refrain from eating meat/poultry. That means that most of the leftover Shabbat food went to the freezer. We're on a limited budget, so frugal shopping and cooking are necessary, but fish isn't cheap. And cheeses aren't all that inexpensive, either. Also, I limit my carbohydrates. After trying the less expensive fish, I've discovered that buying a large fillet of salmon is most practical. Frugal salmon is not an oxymoron.

Generally, I don't cook it all at the same time. Honestly, I can't even put the whole piece of salmon fillet in the oven without cutting off a bit. When I want just a serving or two of salmon, I take it out to very slightly thaw. Then I cut off what I need with a heavy/sturdy knife. It ends up costing less than half of what I'd pay for a package of pre-cut salmon.

On Sunday I saw that the remaining salmon was about a week's worth. I sliced it into serving sized pieces, placed them on a large baking dish, seasoned and baked. Every night we've been having salmon, which we love, heated up with whatever side dishes.

I've also used these large salmon fillets for serving lots of guests, also cutting into serving size pieces in advance, then cooking/baking.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Harvest! Grapes

Grapes have ripened already. It's a bit early, but we've had really hot weather since May. These are my favorites. Since we have such sweet grapes in our vineyard garden, I almost never buy grapes. I can wait until ours are ripe for the picking. Harvest has begun!