Thursday, October 31, 2019

Drumming Up Fun in Katamon

The other day just after I picked up one of my young grandchildren from day care, I got a message from my daughter-in-law that there was going to be a "musical activity" for children in a park near their home.

I had just walked a few minutes in the wrong direction when I decided to go. That meant I'd be walking up hill pushing the stroller, wearing my backpack. Once I clarified the location, I consulted with Google Maps, which warned me that it would be a half hour walk. Yes, the shortest route was uphill. But should that frighten this intrepid savta (grandmother)? Gd forbid!

With both hands firmly on the stroller, the toddler who refused to wear a jacket "NO!" sitting and observing, my phone in my fanny pack loudly broadcasting Google Maps' directions, "turn left," then "take the second exit on the roundabout..." I must have looked like quite a nutty old lady.

Finally, after over half an hour of trekking through hilly Jerusalem, consulting with my daughter-in-law for the exact location I found the "musical activity" in a lovely park hidden away behind a grocery store and parking lot. Lots of children and parents, probably grandparents too, were sitting mesmerized watching the show.

I skillfully wheeled my grandchild next to the front row to get a birds eye view and hear the music and explanations. I covered him up with his jacket and blanket, no refusals this time. Within seconds someone gave me a chair, so I could sit, too.

We enjoyed the show, even though we had missed most of it. The "musical activity"  was perfectly geared to young children and didn't seem to bore the adults with them.

When it was over, a short walk to my son's apartment. The fun of grannyhood.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Israel's Great Public Transport Deals, Especially for "Seniors"

Israeli Public Transportation is getting better and better in most ways. There are special discount tickets which give unlimited transportation within various districts at amazingly low prices, especially for senior citizens like myself. Today I met some friends in Gedera, which isn't near Shiloh at all. It's on the way to Ashdod, southeast of Tel Aviv.

Before leaving home I studied the map of travel discounts carefully, as did a friend who was joining me. We had already traveled cheaply to Beit Shemesh. The one day unlimited ticket to Beit Shemesh was the same as the one I use traveling to Jerusalem. The only thing I needed to tell the driver was to make sure it said Jerusalem Metropolitan West. The cost for the day was NS13.50. That's about $3.50. For someone too young for the senior discount, the price is about double.

Gedera is further than Beit Shemesh. The code name for us to get the discount fare to Gedera is Jerusalem-Gush Day. The fare was a bit more, just NS16, about $4.50. Unlike my Shiloh buses, these intercity buses are pretty reliable. The buses also had outlets to charge your phone. OK you need a long cord, too.

This district is humongous. It covers from Netanya in the north until Ashdod in the south, Jerusalem, of course, and all of Samaria and everything in between, Kfar Saba, Petach Tikva, Tel Aviv, Rechovot, Modiin and more.

The buses were clean; drivers and passengers polite.

It was a long day, and I am exhausted, but I just had to tell you about these great travel bargains. Frugal Israel is getting better.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

First Documented Camouflage. Guess!

Sometimes my mind goes in strange directions. Actually, it's rare when it follows directions or thinks conventionally.  Does that surprise you?

Today at a Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week class as we talked about the sudden self-consciousness of Adam and Eve after sinning. They quickly fashioned clothing out of leaves, so they wouldn't be noticed in Gan Eden, The Garden of Eden.

Isn't that called CAMOUFLAGE?

וַתִּפָּקַ֙חְנָה֙ עֵינֵ֣י שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּ֣דְע֔וּ כִּ֥י עֵֽירֻמִּ֖ם הֵ֑ם וַֽיִּתְפְּרוּ֙ עֲלֵ֣ה תְאֵנָ֔ה וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם חֲגֹרֹֽת׃
Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they perceived that they were naked; and they sewed together fig leaves and made themselves loincloths.

וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־ק֨וֹל יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהִ֛ים מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּגָּ֖ן לְר֣וּחַ הַיּ֑וֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם וְאִשְׁתּ֗וֹ מִפְּנֵי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּת֖וֹךְ עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃
They heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day; and the man and his wife hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, 5780, Perfect Weather Forecast

Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Tel Shiloh

Perfect outdoor dovening weather is forecast for Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, Tuesday, October 29, 2019, the 30th of Tishrei, 5780.

Of course Gd can decide to surprise us...

We never know what we'll discover...

Our plan is to meet at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh at 8:30 in the morning and pray together. The "silent" prayers are prayed silently, and Hallel is sung out loud together. If you'd like more information, email me with "Rosh Chodesh" as subject.

תפילת נשים בראש חודש מרחשון תש"פ
יום ג' 29-10-2019 ל' תשרי 8:30 בבוקר
שילה הקדומה, תל שילה
כולן מוזמנות
פרטים נוספים subject: ראש חודש

Shiloh is the same Shiloh as appears in the Bible. It's where the Mishkan, Tabernacle was located for close to four hundred years. Shiloh is where the Biblical Chana prayed for a son who would be dedicated to work for the Jewish People in Shiloh.

Today Shiloh is a beautiful and well developed archaeological site. There's lots to see and do for visitors of all ages. For more information contact Shiloh Hakeduma is open weekdays and has special activities on Jewish Holidays. For more information click.

Join us for Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan Prayers!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Easy Entertaining Tips

Our entire clan came to our humble succah for a Friday, that's just before Shabbat lunch. Our succah isn't all that large. I don't think we all managed to fit inside at once, even with an extra table and all the chairs set up.

The kids decided on the menu. They'd bring bagels*, and I'd provide the trimmings, salad, cheeses, chummus, techina remember that this is Israel and the rest of the trimmings. One daughter decided to bring pancake mixture, ready to pour, and even her own frying pans, as if I don't have any. But the advantage to that was that she washed them and took them home, so I didn't find them in the sink afterwards. 

Yes, of course, I served on disposable plates etc. Emptying the local reservoir of water isn't good for the environment either. To make things easier for the food fussies, I sliced the fresh vegetables and served them in small individual bowls. Everyone was able to take only what they wanted and assemble their own salads. And we had the food "buffet" inside, since there wasn't room on the tables in the succah. My still referred to as the new kitchen has a convenient counter near the dining room table. Both were needed for the buffet. Yes, there was that much food.

Lots and cheese and spreads were leftover, along with just half a bagel. And the kids were very good in helping to clean up before going to their various homes. But one of the "toddler boys" left his calling card...

I hope the next "family event" will be soon and wonder who's hosting. We take turns.

*technically, they were rolls, not real bagels. Real bagels are pretty much impossible to find nowadays, sigh...

Friday, October 11, 2019

Challah Baking Tips, New Yeast and Distract Yourself

At least from the looks of it, yesterday's challah batch was stupendous. There was no real difference in the recipe I used. Actually, I was more than relieved that they rose so stupendously.

My previous couple of batches could be described as "flat as pittot." I used the same basic ingredients. There was one big change. I threw out the old yeast and bought a smaller package. I bake challah with dehydrated yeast. In the past, it had stayed "active" for months, even over a year. I'd buy the 500 gram package, store in a glass jar in the pantry, and I'd always have good yeast. That's true until it isn't. So, I dumped what remained and this time bought a smaller package.

In addition, I made sure that I had time to spare when preparing the dough. I let myself get distracted in the den on the computer during the various rising times. I let the dough almost  spill out of the gigantic bowl. Patience and keeping busy with other chores certainly helped.

By the time these challot/rolls had finished baking, they had risen so much you had to tear them apart. Honestly, I was extremely relieved to see the finished product.  I had begun to fear that I had lost my touch.

Timing is so important when baking with yeast dough. If you leave it too long to rise, it can fall, too. No doubt that baking with yeast dough is a lot like life. We need both patience and common sense. It's all in the ingredients and the timing.

Enjoy in Good Health

Chag Sameach v'Shabbat Shalom
Have a Joyful Holiday & Sabbath

Monday, October 07, 2019

Succah Up Early

Yesterday one of our sons came by to help my husband put up the succah. First I treated him to a nice meal, soup, chicken and all the trimmings. Then they got to work.

As you probably notice, the decorations sort of survived the year in the storage room. So we really don't have too much else to do.

I even cleaned the plastic chairs, since we had a pre-Yom Kippur Shiur, class, in the house afterwards. And then I gave the leftover cake and some watermelon to the lovely young yeshiva student who taught us.

Baruch Hashem, thank Gd...

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Tasty and Simple 21st Century Tzimmes

Tzimmes is a very traditional holiday food for Ashkenaz (European) Jews. There are still families who make it is a "one pot meal" with beef. That combination is from the days when most meals were thick soups or stews. Today's affluence has enabled the development of multiple-pot meals. Even in the half century I've been married, menus and cooking has gotten much more complicated. There are many more pots in the sink than a couple of decades ago, even though we are fewer people at the table. No doubt my grandmothers would find my tzimmes a bit strange, though familiar.

Ingredients (exact quantities aren't necessary)
1 larger or 2 medium carrots
1 medium sweet potato
piece of dlaat, pumpkin or similar preferable orange-colored squash 4"x4" or 10cm by 10cm
1 large apple
handful of raisins
handful of prunes
cinnamon to taste
approx 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
optional- a few slices of ginger root
2T vegetable oil
water up to 1/3 height of vegetables in pot
bit of coarse salt and black pepper to taste

  1. slice carrots thick
  2. cut other vegetables into large bite-sized pieces
  3. place in pot, carrots first, then dried fruit and then the rest
  4. top with sugar and cinnamon
  5. add oil, water and cover
  6. bring to a boil, then simmer until soft
  7. add salt and pepper when cooking
Tasty with meat, poultry fish or add tofu or beans as a vegetarian meal.