Sunday, February 16, 2020

Threading a Needle, Quite a Challenge at My Age

I can't remember the last time I threaded a needle to do some mending/sewing, but last night I had to take the plunge. The hem of my all purpose black skirt was history.

The skirt had been bought a number of years ago in a 2nd hand store and is of a fabric made to last forever. I used to joke about that, but the proof is that it has outlasted the thread and ribbon of the hem. Yes, it was that well-made. Since the hem fabric was literally falling down and "flapping," I could no longer ignore it and wear the skirt unmended/unhemmed. Last night I bit the bullet and pulled out black thread plus needle from my dusty old sewing box.

very tiny hole in the needle, but it was the needle in the spool of black thread
In my younger days, pre-reading glasses, meaning decades ago, threading even the most delicate needle was totally effortless for me. But then things began to change. To thread a needle, you need excellent vision and very reliable fine motor skills. Considering how very minute the hole in a needle actually is, this isn't easy at all.

My first attempts to thread the needle were far from successful. Having once been an expert in it, I still remembered a very simple trick. Cut the thread with sharp scissors, so there aren't any extra threads at the end. Since I noticed a little willowy thing, I cut. Actually I needed to try from both ends of the thread before succeeding.

Then I had to remember the hemming stitch. I don't know how long my new hem will last, because the entire skirt needs to be re-hemmed. Either I need to fold over, baste and hem, or I need to sew some thin ribbon all around the edge of the skirt and hem that. But, in the meantime, I can wear the skirt without looking worse than shabby.

It's a relief to know that I haven't totally lost my touch. I used to really sew. But to tell you the truth. Mending was never a favorite task. It's just not creative and interesting enough for me. It's like housework, which I avoid at all costs.

Monday, February 10, 2020

"Little Women," The New Movie Deserved More Than One Oscar

For the month of March, just a coincidence, my local Shiloh book club has decided on the classic Little Women. This past Tuesday we rushed to see the new movie version in Cinema City, Jerusalem, taking advantage of the special NS10 senior discount ticket. I had started this post a few days ago, before the Academy Awards. My friends and I were totally blown away from the movie. It was amazing, especially the way Greta Gerwig adapted Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women to the screen. It's beyond my comprehension how she didn't get an Oscar for that category. Just the Costumes won the coveted prize.

I've been rereading Little Women, after a break of over half a century. Since it's a very old classic, you can get it for free e-reading. To be honest you don't need a special e-reader/kindle. I use my phone and don't even need an app.

Back to the movie Little Women. It mixes times and sequences, which may be confusing, but the truth is that it makes sense. Jo is the main character, and she thinks a lot. Her thoughts and memories of the past are an important part of the movie. Actually, that whole package is the movie.

There's a color-schemed clue to put you on track for the era, past versus present. Jo's, or is it Alcott's, memories are bathed in sepia, while the movie's "now" is brighter and bluish.

All the aesthetics were stunningly perfect, yes, the costumes, too, of course. We were spellbound. On the whole the acting was perfect, but although Amy (Florence Pugh) could almost pull off looking younger than her sisters, her voice jarred. She has a mature woman's voice which was rather distracting when she was supposed to be young. Also, Timothée Chalamet, playing Laurie, wasn't consistent. Granted it's harder for a man to simultaneously play a teen and a grown man convincingly, but Chalamet, even at his best, was unconvincing.

With those exceptions, every other actor in main and minor roles was excellent and totally convincing. Little Women is definitely worth seeing. This version is like no other before it. I'd recommend reading the book beforehand if you can. Otherwise be prepared for a unique journey. Get into the head of the young writer, Jo, obviously based on Alcott herself. Everyone in the audience seemed mesmerized. And if you're in a book club, like I am, choose the book and see the movie together. The adaptation is totally brilliant.

Cinema City, Jerusalem

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Brigadoon in The Bible Land

Having grown up on classical musicals, mostly in movie media, these winter morning mists in the mountains surrounding Shiloh remind me of Brigadoon, an all-time favorite of mine.

Considering that so much of Ancient Jewish History took place in this very location, and in the past forty plus years, we've turned an empty wilderness into vibrant cities and communities, there must be a connection. It's obvious that the curse of Brigadoon has become a blessing.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Rosh Chodesh Adar- Save The Date

I'm trying to give you enough notice before our next Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

Rosh Chodesh Adar, Gd willing, Tuesday February 25, 8:30am
ראש חודש אדר, בע"ה יום ג' 25/2 ב8:30

For more information contact:, subject: Rosh Chodesh.

Shiloh is a traditional place for Jewish Prayer, thousands of years, since the days of the Bible. Chana prayed in Shiloh for a son and then sent her beloved son Samuel to Shiloh to train for leadership of the Jewish People.

Ancient Shiloh is a well-known archeological site with an ongoing dig and various attractions for all ages to enjoy.

Visitors come from all over the world to see the wonders of Biblical Shiloh. You can hire a private guide or just follow the signs. For more information contact Phone: 02-5789122, The site is open on weekdays. There's also a gift shop, and snack bar.
Our women's prayer group sings Hallel out loud and prays the other prayers silently and individually.

The month of Shvat has just begun, but I like to plan in advance.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

#morningcoffeehaiku Into The New Decade

Whether home or away, I still begin most days with a #morningcoffeehaiku posted on facebook. I find the simplicity of the 5, 7, 5 syllable structure of haikus just perfect to galvanize my brain as I wake up and drink my morning coffee, after water, usually with slices of lemon and ginger.

I must admit that after many years of writing these haikus, I may get repetitive in the phrases and even complete lines included in these mini-poems. Please forgive me. And there's also a limit as to what I can photograph, the dawn, darkness, coffee mugs and various coffeemaking apparatus.

Following is a selection of recent #morningcoffeehaikus. For more, search on Facebook, where I've made both a page and a group titled #morningcoffeehaiku. You're invited to join and follow.

dark cold early morn'
saved by great strong hot coffee
starting week grateful

tired, not enough sleep
post-Shabbat syndrome, plus pool
coffee must kick in

got up too early
sun's oversleeping, not me
love drinking coffee

exquisite sunrise
though dark winter clouds invade
while I drink coffee

Need good hot coffee
Winter in Jerusalem's
not for the wimpy

dull, grey cloudy morn'
looking forward to sunshine
cheered by good coffee

Instantly COFFEE
Perfectly hot on cold day
In Jerusalem

sparkling ice raindrops
drinking hot coffee to warm
very winter day

woke up to bad news
but sun still shines so brightly
need sweeter coffee

Hot coffee "still life"
In Holy Jerusalem
Need caffeine to wake

exhausted this morn'
Rosh Chodesh before Shabbat
last night my team won

desp'rate for coffee
fun, friends and beer aren't sleep
sun's still shining bright

much too early but...
coffee preceding sunrise
soon Shabbat plus more

pastel colored dawn
I need strong coffee today
Where's the orange sun?

pretty new kettle
spectacular orange dawn
great start to new week

Chodesh Tov, New Month
Joyful Ladies' Holiday
drink coffee and smile😍

Monday, January 20, 2020

Experience Van Gogh in Herzliya

Today I went to the most amazing Van Gogh state of the art experiential exhibit at the Herzliya Marina, Van Gogh Exhibition, Arena Mall, Herzliya January - April 2020.

This isn't your usual museum art exhibit, nor was it in a museum. We saw images and illusions, not real paintings. Actually, I don't even know how to properly describe the experience. Yes, it was more an experience than a classic art exhibit.

The explanations were in Hebrew and Russian. The very friendly helpful staff assisted me and some of my friends, and of course other visitors to the exhibit, in downloading and using Google Translate. I learned how to aim my phone on Russian text and then see a translation on my phone screen. To be perfectly honest, it was rather hard to read it. I guess that's what dyslexics have to suffer through. My illustration/screen shot to the left was among the "clearest" of the translations. White on black is far from my favorite, but there were much better things to come.

We entered a large room with all sorts of chairs and lounges. On the floor, walls and ceilings of this room were the most amazing projections. I can't really describe them. Vincent Van Gogh's most famous paintings were not only projected, but they morphed and moved as if alive. Look at the videos and photos.

Once we were pretty sure we had experienced the "whole show," we continued to the next part. There were desks, crayons and "coloring book pages" of some of Van Gogh's most iconic paintings. We felt tempted to sit and color in the artwork, but curiosity drew us away.

We found ourselves experiencing a surreal virtual reality.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a 360 degree experience in the universe of one of the greatest geniuses of the last century.
Perched on stools, we were helped into hi-tech masks which blanked out the room we were in and substituted something otherworldly. We felt we were traveling, even though we could feel the floor when we let our feet down. The trip felt so realistic, we held onto the stool, so we wouldn't fall off. Somehow we entered Van Gogh's village. This was a 360 degree experience. Look up, down and around, and we weren't in Herzliya by the Marina. We saw a small European village from about a hundred and fifty years ago.

My description doesn't do the Van Gogh Exhibit justice. You must experience it yourself. The entrance fee is high, but there are ways to get discounts. Enjoy, and tell me what you thought of it.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Winter Blues...

I love sunrises. They cheer me up. Way back when... I remember sitting by a view of the sunrise nursing my first children. Our Jerusalem apartment's bedroom faced east looking over most of Jerusalem. It was spellbinding.

A few years later when we moved to Shiloh, I picked a building plot on the eastern side of the neighborhood. We have enormous windows in the living room and dining room facing east. Stunning sunrises greet me spring and summer when I get up.

But now we're mid-winter. It's so hard to get up to darkness. Gd willing soon the days will be longer, and morning will start earlier. In the meantime...

Monday, January 13, 2020

Harvey's Smokehouse, Must Return

Last week, after attending Rothschild and Sons, I went with friends to Harvey's Smokehouse. Even though it was very windy and rainy outside, they did their best to warm us up. We were very lucky to get a perfect table without reservations. I guess Gd knew we needed a good meal.

Harvey's Smokehouse is a Bar & Grill · Barbecue Restaurant · American Style Meat Restaurant, strictly kosher, of course. It's on 7 Ben-Shetach Street, a couple of minutes' walk from Zion Square, 02-624-6444, opens 12 noon, Sunday-Thursday.

Because of the hour, we didn't order a real complete meat meal, their specialty. That's one of the reasons I must return.

I started with beer and was very happy that they offer on tap Shapiro's Israeli craft beer. There was a choice between Shapiro's IPA and Wheat beers. Since I wasn't sure which I wanted, I was brought both to taste. The wheat was pale and anemic both in looks and taste, but the Shapiro IPA didn't disappoint at all. My only mistake was getting a "third" rather than a "half."

One of my dinner companions ordered a fruity cocktail, which I tasted. It was absolutely perfect, too.

My companions ordered a couple of servings of meat chili, onion rings and one "cole slaw." I was offered tastes of them all. The chili and onion rings were fantastic, but I was so disappointed to see red cabbage masquerading as cole slaw I just couldn't touch any. Maybe it's the New Yorker in me, but when I hear cole slaw I expect to see white (green) cabbage and carrots. Anything else is sacrilegious, an abomination. The only one of us who tasted it insisted that the dressing was genuine, but then again, he wasn't raised in New York.
I ordered a salad that had bits of grilled chicken breast and their own "bacon bits." It was labeled as having "ranch dressing," but all I tasted was mayonnaise, and I don't like mayonnaise. When I mentioned this to the waiter, he quickly took away my plate and replaced it with a new salad, sans the guilty mayonnaise. There were simple dressings on the side, which were perfect.

We had been tempted by the lamb chops and other grilled meat, but having shared two portions each of the chili and onion rings, besides the big salad, we barely had room for a bit of dessert, chocolate mousse and apple pie for sharing.

Our driver perked himself up with some coffee, and then we drove back to Shiloh after a totally enjoyable evening in Jerusalem. Great food and company. I can't ask for more. But I really do want to return to Harvey's Smokehouse and try their meat, lamb... I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.