Sunday, September 29, 2019

Rosh Hashanah Fruit Head 5780

This 5780 year's "may you be a head, not a tail" looks a bit like a 1960's hippy. In 5779 I celebrated my 70th birthday, and I guess I'm still partying. The "crown" is the security bracelet from the very first United States 4th of July Celebration in Jerusalem.

May 5780 be filled with joy, health and wonderful surprises for all.

Don't let Holiday preparations stress you out. Take the easy path, so you can enjoy yourself. Love to all, and Gd willing see you next year...

Friday, September 27, 2019

How are You Preparing for Rosh Hashannah?

We've done shopping, since we must eat festive meals on Rosh Hashannah. And we have freshly picked pomegranates, too.

And for the second time ever, I've attempted to cook lamb. I managed to cut the leg of lamb into two giant pieces, without harming myself. I seasoned and wrapped them in foil. Then I baked them in a hot oven until the entire house smelled "lamby" and fat escaped the wrapping.

My favorite pre-Rosh Hashanah activity is going to Tefilat Chana, Hannah's Prayer at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

I joined women, young and old, praying and enjoying the scenery. Of course, for me it was especially easy to get there, since I live in Shiloh.

The main speaker, and only guest speaker this year, was Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, who was super inspiring as usual. The musical entertainment was the Yonina Duo, a very talented young couple, who encouraged everyone to sing along.

There were stands selling jewelry, clothes, food and Judaica. Also, besides the usual public toilets, there were enough of the "portable chemical" ones, so there weren't long lines at all.

Shiloh Hakeduma, a recognized archaeological site, is open all year, except for Shabbat and Jewish Holidays. There are always special activities on Chanukah and the Intermediate Days of Succot and Passover. I highly recommend visiting. There are attractions for all ages.

Monday, September 23, 2019

I Took The Plunge and Joined the Pool in Ariel

For two years I've been a member of the "Ariel Pool Whatsapp" group neighbors of mine have set up to offer and look for rides to the pool in the Ariel sports center.

And for two solid years I just couldn't get myself to sign up and become a member.

Every summer I take out a membership and go the the pool here in Shiloh, which is just across the street and down a path. The only complaint I have is that the season is much too short. Three months just aren't enough.

In recent years I've really noticed that my body deteriorates much too quickly and too much during the nine months the pool is closed. Each year, it's worse and never quite recovers as well as the previous year. Staying fit at my age is a full time job. Walking is great, but there are benefits from water exercise that can't be achieved any other way.

I must admit that I'm not a "swimmer." I don't swim laps. I've developed my own, unique water "movement" or "stroke" that I can do over and over, even in designated swimming lanes. I also exercise/dance in the water. I wear flexible "swimming gloves," which increase the efforts of my arms and shoulders.

The Ariel Sports Center is like a spa, with jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, fitness room full of "machines" and treadmills. In addition there are classes, pilates, feldenkrais and yoga. The entire building seems to be nice and clean.

Even after just three visits, I'm feeling better. The Shiloh Pool has been closed for three weeks. I needed the exercise. And while in Ariel, I can also take care of shopping errands. So, it's a win-win, Baruch Hashem.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Has Anyone Ever Heard of Seventynine S/9 Shoe Company?

I've needed new summer sneakers for a long time. Not only are my two pairs old, but they are full of holes. The fabric just doesn't last long,l even if the soles are still good. And then even worse, one pair began causing strange foot pain. Yes, it was time to buy new shoes.

I need light flexible shoes and over the years had bought quite a few pair of Sketchers. And I had bought my shoes in the states when visiting my parents. They've been dead for a few years already, so not only were my shoes old, but I needed to find shoes in Israel. In the states I had done well in outlet stores, buying good brands at fantastic prices. It certainly never bothered me that the style was "old."

This summer I'd been checking out shoe stores. And I was waiting for sales. Apparently I missed the big sale this week on Election Day, but I wouldn't have traded the enjoyable visits I had with children and grandchildren for discounted shoes, even two pairs for the price of one.

Rather desperate for new shoes, yesterday I went to the Sketchers store in Jerusalem and was horrified to see that their "sale" was half price for the second pair. I didn't really want to buy two pairs, especially at the prices offered.

Since I'm in the Hamashbir discount "club," and they have good/name brands I went there. After checking out the women's department and the sports shoes, I finally found the "bargains." I tried on shoes that seemed attractive and comfortable at a price I was willing to pay, and they were discounted, too. I just had never heard of the brand,  Seventynine S/9. Have you? I checked online, and there's nothing about the company at all, just stores/sites where you can buy them. They are made in China, no surprise.

I ended up buying two pairs at a total price which was less than one pair of the least expensive in Sketchers. Actually, I wore one pair out of the store and found them comfortable, even after my evening walk. But as you can see, they already look soiled. That's not the end of the world. I'm sure they can be cleaned pretty easily with wipes, if I want.

The fabric stretches, like stretch jeans/denim. As long as the elastic (in the heel) doesn't give out quickly, that's an advantage. Ever since shoe uppers became synthetic, rather than genuine leather, many people, including yours truly, have found that problematic.

Even though the sale price of shoes here in Israel is higher than the discounted ones in the states, I still saved a lot of money. My day's transportation Shiloh-Metropolitan Jerusalem Unlimited only cost me NS13.50, less than $4- instead of close to one thousand dollars for roundtrip travel to the USA, even more when you add all the other expenses a trip to the states includes. Because my feet are sensitive, I must try on shoes, so I can't imagine buying online. BTW when I googled these shoes the price was more than I had paid. I had discovered the same thing when I checked prices for the perfume I like versus the discounted price I paid in Hamashbir.

If there's anything newsworthy about the shoes, I'll blog again on the topic. I'm still curious about reports if you have any.

Happy Walking and Happy Shopping

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

I Voted for The Second Time.... This Year

I was excited to see that there were three instead of the usual two voting stations in Shiloh this time. That's the "good news."

And for "better news" or Gd forbid "bad news," we're waiting.

I'm not a fortune teller. I can't predict what will be. I can just pray that it will be good for the State of Israel and the Jewish People.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Frugal Adventure to Beit Shemesh, Plus: Pishers' Guide to Beit Shemesh #1

The other day I met with some friends in Beit Shemesh, or to be more exact, we met at a Beit Shemesh mall. To be honest I've been in Beit Shemesh for a wedding, Shabbat Bar Mitzvah and maybe something else, but even after this little adventure, I still don't think that I know Beit Shemesh.

Over twenty years ago, when some real estate developers began marketing Beit Shemesh, they kept insisting that it's right near Jerusalem. I think they claimed it was something like seventeen minutes away. The truth is that it may be that from the border of Jerusalem, on the highway until the turnoff to Beit Shemesh, when driving in the middle of the night without traffic it may be '"seventeen minutes." But at 11am, in a fast bus on the highway, no traffic, to the first stop at the Beit Shemesh Junction, which has three malls but no residential buildings I could find, it took about thirty-three minutes from Jerusalem Central Bus Station.

Our plan was to meet for lunch in the Bleecker Street Bakery. My friends and I came from all over the country, Kedumim, Shiloh, Netivot, Beersheva and quite a few points in between.

I was happy to discover that I could buy a one day unlimited bus pass, Metropolitan Jerusalem West, senior citizen rate NS13.50 (just over $3-) when I got on my bus in Shiloh, and it would include Beit Shemesh. As I had written, I'm not familiar with Beit Shemesh. To be honest I began to panic when I got off the bus, even though it was the correct stop. I didn't expect to see three malls nearby. Nobody had warned me.

Since I was early, I decided to case out mall #1, and thank Gd I found Bleecker Street Bakery. My friends and I chose Bleecker Street Bakery, because it had a breakfast special which could be ordered all day. The food was delicious. Everyone was happy with their selections.

Pishers' Guide to Beit Shemesh #1

I couldn't resist the opportunity to check out the WC, 00, Restroom or just call it the Public Toilets of Beit Shemesh. One shouldn't need WAZE to find a WC. I'm from the "old world" of reading signs. Well, in this Rami Levy Mall, trying to follow the signs was like getting lost in a maze. So, I used the old standby, the closest supermarket. Yes, I walked into the Rami Levy Supermarket.  

Just a few steps into the store I spotted the easy to recognize icons for the Public Toilets and followed the signs. My experiences with Rami Levy's WCs have been pretty good, and these didn't disappoint.

The public toilets were clean and stocked with paper and soap. My friends who had found the mall's WC admitted that it was "lacking."

I had a lovely time with my friends, who requested "no pictures" on the blog.

Monday, September 09, 2019

New Health Food Store in Ariel Grinds Coffee

When I went to Ariel yesterday for a "lunch date" in BIGA in the new mall across from Ariel University, I spotted a nice big, clean, orderly attractive Health Food Store. Of course I walked in to check it out. I bagged some raw nuts, good prices, and then I spotted... 

coffee beans, priced less than I've seen in Jerusalem
"Do you grind the coffee beans?" I asked the staff.
"Yes, of course," she answered.
I took a look at the selection, about four different kinds of beans. I chose the strongest flavor they had. They weighed the beans, subtracted the weight of the plastic containers*, asked me how fine or coarse I needed the coffee and then went to their coffee grinder to grind for me.

There are a lot of products, and I hope people shop there. For me it's a great location, since I can get to and from that part of Ariel very easily. The owner and staff were nice and helpful, too. And the nuts, which I bought, taste nice and fresh.

Here are photos to give you an idea. The Health Food Store is on the lower level of the shopping center. There are elevators in the building.

*Actually, I had to request it, explaining that it was the normal procedure, and when they saw how much the two containers weighed, they understood.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Shakespeare, Not For The Sedentary

Officially, it's called Theater in the Rough. The audience follows the actors around the park. Each scene is acted in a different location.

Measure for Measure was the second play I saw from this amazing theater group. Last summer I watched/followed their Hamlet around Bloomfield Park, behind the King David Hotel, Jerusalem.

Theater in the Rough puts on one of Shakespeare's plays each summer. They begin their productions late afternoon, and by the time the last act begins, it's already dark.

Young and old, tourists, Israelis, sabras, olim chadashim and vatikim make up the audience. Some viewers carry chairs, others sit on the ground, stand or climb onto the "props." You may notice some of the children who are almost part of the scenery.

I must admit that I was sometimes distracted by the "little dramas" by "extras" that unintentionally added to the show. Bloomfield is a public park, and it isn't closed to the public during Shakespeare.

My friends and I attended the last performance of the season, and we could see that there was nothing tired or jaded about it. The actors seemed to be having a blast. They didn't seem tired; neither did the audience.

Production crew was very impressive. Many of the actors were playing multiple roles and had to change costumes constantly.

It's important to remember that the actors are amateurs. Not only that, but technically entrance is free. This year the recommended contribution/donation was NS35. They also sold T-shirts with the names of the plays Theater in The Rough have presented.

Theater in the Rough have a facebook page here click. If you'd like to get involved, email

I have no idea which play will be next year. They'll make the announcement early summer and will open for auditions. Whether you hope to be part of the production or just in the audience, you're bound to have a wonderful time.

See you next summer.