Monday, December 28, 2020

Awaiting Replacement from SHEVET Beer

When I was in Ariel not long ago I ended up shopping in the liquor store near the Rami Levy. I was actually in the market for some whiskey on sale, which I bought. In order to get the special sale price I had to join their "club." Of course, since I've been mentored by the beer maven Doug Greener, I had to check out their Israeli craft beer selection, too.

Following the recommendation of the rather amused young man manning the cash register, I went for the special sale/deal of two SHEVET beers. I was impressed by the "collar" showing that they had won prizes. This Wee Laddie | Scottish Ale 5.5%  had been awarded the Bronze Medal (3rd prize) in the 2020 London Beer Competition. I figured that if anyone knows beer, it's the Brits. 

Yes, the percentage of liquid beer to foam was pretty pathetic, and I had to keep waiting until I could pour more and for it to liquify. Then I'd pour more and wait yet again and again.

Apparently there was a problem with the bottle I had bought, and they've promised me a replacement. I'll blog again after receiving it.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Torah Tanach Bible Commentary, Tale of Two Robes, Joseph and Samuel

Friends and others who have learned Torah Tanach Bible with me over the years, or has it already been decades, know that I tend to notice what others don't. Rarely a teacher much more scholarly than myself will say that one of the sages chazal wrote something similar, but usually my "inspirations" are met with various forms of incredulity. I guess my mind works very differently from most. And I wasn't raised on the usual "sipurei Torah," Torah stories a mishmash of drash commentaries frequently far removed from the pshat actual text of the Torah Tanach Bible. 

Recent Torah Portions of the Week, Parshat Shavua, have mentioned the special coat that Jacob gave his favorite son Josef, the first born of his favorite wife, Rachel. This coat caused terrible jealousy among Josef's ten older brothers, and Josef had no clue as how to lower the tension. Actually, neither did Jacob. That coat became a symbol of the hatred between the brothers, and it was brought all bloodied to Jacob after the older brothers sold Josef to Egyptian merchants.

Compare that robe, the one Jacob gave Josef and the one (actually many) Hannah gave Samuel. Jacob gave one that didn't "fit" causing problems, while Hannah gave Samuel, whom she had sent to "study" with Eli the High Priest in Shiloh, a new one each year to suit his "size."

I picture Hannah teaching her precious son each year when she visited him in Shiloh. Not only was each new robe the correct size for Samuel, but her instructions suited his age and development. That's how Samuel became the great leader, Samuel the Prophet, who was privileged to anoint the first two kings of the Jewish Nations, Saul and David. 

Food for thought. What do you think?

Monday, December 14, 2020

Perfect Visit to Tel Shiloh

 Today my husband and I took visitors to Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. I was happy to see lots of tourists there, Israelis, Jewish. There was a time when most of the tourists were Christian visitors from abroad. Now after close to a year living under the threat of COVID19 aka Coronavirus, foreign tourists don't come to Israel. Nobody wants to waste two weeks of a vacation in quarantine. Besides that, those who administer Shiloh Hakeduma have been working hard to bring more Israelis to see our local Biblical archeological site. From the buses and cars in the parking lot, it's clear that they are succeeding.

Today's Shiloh and the Biblical Shiloh are one and the same. It's where the Mishkan, Tabernacle -the forerunner of the Holy Temple- stood for close to four hundred years. Shiloh is where Chana prayed for a son and then was the location she took her son, Samuel to for his education. Shiloh Hakeduma is a wonderful place to spend the day.

Before you see some of today's photos, here's contact information: Phone: 02-5789122,

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Alexander Green aka IPA Definitely Great Beer


I must admit that I bought the Alexander beers, because they were among the less expensive of the Israeli craft in one of the local supermarkets. Unlike the Jerusalem store where I had gotten my Shapiro Beers, in this store each brand was a different price. I'm glad that I have found a source for good craft beer at a decent price not far from home. And now I have two "favorite" brewers who are large enough to sell to supermarkets and specialty stores.

Another confession, I had no idea what Alexander had meant by "green," but I really liked the beer. So, no surprise, I consulted my beer mentor, Doug Greener the beer maven who informed me that Alexander Green is an IPA first produced by them before Israeli craft brewers were using the term. That shouldn't have surprised me, because I do like a good IPA, but I'm not professional enough to recognize them by taste. Maybe now I will be...

OK onto the beer, enough introduction-

As you can see, the beer pours to a gorgeous golden brown and just enough, but not too much foamy head. There's a clean, pure hop aroma and taste making it the perfect beer for us purists. I'm looking forward to sampling more of Alexander's craft beers.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

How Would I Survive Without Crocheting?


I've been having so much fun crocheting. I've discovered a whole new world of creativity. Besides the potholders, hotplates and bags, I've made a  bunch of  "mask holders," too. I have two packages, of 50 masks each, tied into this one. Our disposable mask supply had needed some organizing. I bought myself two pretty colors for the same price as the pale blue. My husband is sticking with the blue and doesn't want a crocheted holder

Crocheting is just mindless enough not to interfere with my concentration when listening to classes. By keeping my hands busy, it actually helps me concentrate. I'd also be happy crocheting while watching tv or movies on DVD/tv. The only thing that stops me is the expense of the yarn. I'd finish of a batch too quickly. And then there's the other problem. Not all that many people are really interested in my creations. Recently I gave one to a young woman who volunteers as an emergency medic and needed a nice special bag to carry her phone on Shabbat.

No doubt that I'll find more people who appreciate them, Gd willing. In the meantime, I'm having fun.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Shapiro's Oatmeal Stout Beer, Nice, Dark and Tasty

I like a nice dark, but not too sweet, beer. So a few weeks ago when I found Shapiro's Barista Beer in a liquor store on Agrippas Street, on the border of Machane Yehuda, I mentioned that to one of the staff. Taking into account that I had made it clear that Shapiro Beer is a favorite of mine, he recommended their oatmeal stout.

Shapiro's Oatmeal Stout may be the same dark brown as those cheap dark/black beers sold in Israel inexpensively in the soda selection, but the taste is definitely a world apart. 

Shapiro's Oatmeal Stout is rich and satisfying, perfect way to end a chilly day.

While writing this post, I decided to check out my report about the Stout Beer Tasting I had participated in almost four years ago under the tutelage of Doug Greener, my beer maven.  That evening I discovered that I liked stouts, so I was curious about how Shapiro's ranked. To my great surprise, it wasn't in the running. That seemed strange, because according to Shapiro's site, they've been in business since 2011, though I have no idea how long they've offered their oatmeal stout. I guess it's time for Doug to offer another tasting session to try out what the Israeli craft breweries are now offering as stout.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

STORY TIME Continues on My Facebook Live

Months ago, at the beginning of these corona/COVID restrictions I began reading a children's book on my facebook live every weekday afternoon.

Sometimes I'm amazed at the people tuning in to watch. Some are total strangers, and some are close family. Generally I read at 4pm Israeli time which is 9am New York time. I must admit that I'm rereading books, a suggestion of my sister.

If you're on facebook, you're welcome to join.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Alexander's AMBRÉE Beer, Nice Full Flavor

Last week when I explored the local shopping center/industrial zone, I discovered that the Super Menachem supermarket has an interesting selection of Israeli craft beers. So, of course, I bought some,  a couple of Alexander beers. Tonight I decided to try the Alexander Ambrée.

The Alexander Ambrée has a nice warm orangy color and a very foamy head. I enjoyed the rich flavor. In English it would be called an amber beer, but the Alexander brewery apparently prefer the French word. But no matter how you spell or pronounce it, this is a very tasty beer. I'm glad I chose it.

I'm adding Alexander Ambrée to my list of favorite Israeli craft beers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #33, New Public Toilets Downtown

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #32,  #31#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.

I was happily surprised to discover a new prefabricated public toilet building on Rechov Yaffo near Kikar Davidka. That area has long been in need of a WC 00 or whatever you want to call it.

Though I wasn't in need of the facilities, this intrepid journalist bravely opened the door to the "ladies room." After I recovered from the strong smell of urine plus, I quickly surveyed and photographed it.

Thankfully, there was lots of soap in the dispenser, and I could even see toilet paper. Obviously, whoever is supposed to be cleaning it should arrive to work more frequently and with sanitizing detergent. But if one is in need of such facilities, soap and toilet paper are definite necessities. 

I was rather surprised and upset to see that the handicapped stall is part of the men's room. If a woman is in need, she'd have to have someone with her to make sure no urinal or man is there. There should have been a third door, special for the handicapped stall.
It's possible that placing the handicapped in the men's section was because the area of land is too small for a larger prefabricated public toilet. If that is the case, then I'd have preferred a "unisex" public toilet like the one in the First Station. Men and women use it, and there's a handicapped stall. Of course there isn't a urinal, which shouldn't be a problem, since homes don't have them.

Again, I'd like to thank the Jerusalem Municipality for adding these public toilets to an area of downtown Jerusalem, which had been needing them.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know, thanks.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Still More Stories To Tell About Our Early Days In Israel 50 Years Since Aliyah

I've written a bit about our early days in Israel on Shiloh Musings, since it's already fifty 50 years since our aliyah. There's lots more to tell. That first year in Israel was quite a year. We arrived by boat as newlyweds and finished the year as parents of an adorable baby girl.

Davka, our neighbors, even our closest friends in Shiloh, know almost nothing about that first year. It was a full decade before we moved to Shiloh. The one person we knew then in the Old City of Jerusalem, yes that's where we lived most of the first year, passed away a few years ago. That's one of the reasons I offered to tell our story to the senior citizen club, Adarta. Even though it's for our age, we generally don't go to the meetings. When we celebrated our fiftieth 50th wedding anniversary I realized that only two other couples have been married longer than we have. And as olim immigrants who had made aliyah as a married couple, we hold that record as having done it longer ago than any other.

I gave the talk in both Hebrew and English, translating for myself. The most frightening part was being without my mask, but all the audience wore masks and kept distant. 

Many in the audience want to hear more of my stories, so maybe I'll speak again to them.

Photos by Linda Fairman

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Shapiro's Barista Beer- WOW!

Way back when... could it only have been just over a year ago... in the days when summer nights were made for enjoyable beer festivals, I attended a beer festival in Jerusalem and complained about the latest Israeli craft beers. The big thing was "flavored beers," and the artificial flavoring plus beer just didn't work. I wrote Where's The Beer?" Jerusalem Beer Festival 2019. One of the worst was a "cherry beer" that tasted worse than a children's antibiotic.

That experience put me off of flavored beers, however...

When the beer maven, Doug Greener blogged about coffee-flavored beer... I began to crave it, coffee beer that is. One of the companies making coffee beer is my favorite, Shapiro, and  I just had to buy some. But how was I going to buy it? The country was in corona COVID lockdown! There was no way I could justify traveling by bus to Jerusalem for Barista Beer. And since it's a "limited edition," no guarantee I'd even find any.

What could I do? I bided my time.

Finally it became legal to travel to further than your closest stores to shop for food. I had also used up almost all of my jersey yarn for crocheting projects. 

Siyate d'Shmaya, Hand of Gd, beer and yarn stores are in the same neighborhood, so off I went to Jerusalem today.

At the very first liquor store I passed, there it was... calling me. How'd it know? I bought a six pack, three barista, two IPA and one stout. That's because I hadn't found an open yarn store, so I wasn't schlepping. An added bonus was that since I bought six they could safely pack them in a special carton. And Baruch Hashem, thank Gd the carton fit into my backpack. And then while rushing to catch the lightrail to my bus I found a store with the yarn that was selling by "orders" outside their door with immediate "delivery." So I had lots to schlepp, but I bought what I needed.

Now, no doubt you want to know how the Barista coffee beer tastes. 

Simply put, coffee and hops make a great shidduch, match. There's no artificial taste in Shapiro's Barista coffee beer. Shapiro uses a pale ale, not my favorite beer, but when it's paired with cold brew coffee, it's a hit. The coffee gives the pale ale more flavor and body. Drinking it I didn't feel like I was drinking a flavored beer. There's something more natural; the flavors blend nicely. 

I was so excited about the beer I drank it as soon as it cooled. Barista is great after a busy day, and I'll try some on Shabbat morning, too. Yes, it's definitely recommended.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Crocheted Bags, My Latest Hobby, Update

I've been having great fun crocheting. These are my latest bags. 

The bag with the yellow and pink, lower right even has a crocheted button. It wasn't hard to do, but now I can't find the youtube I got the instructions from. 

Crocheting the bags is amazingly, yes, surprisingly easy. No, I don't use a pattern. I crochet, but I know nothing about the theory, the technique or names of stitches. I crochet by intuition aka guess-work.

I really enjoy crocheting with jersey yarn, about 95% cotton. Before I made the bags, I crocheted potholders and small rugs. The bags are much easier. Many times I had to rip out lots of stitches when making the potholders and rugs. Round crocheting is much more complicated. Too much increase and it's floppy, worse than pizza dough badly tossed. And if you don't increase enough you're stuck with a bowl rather than a plate.

The base of the bag is sort of an oval, and after that just crochet without ever needing to increase or decrease the stitches. You just have to be careful to switch colors in the same basic spot on a side. 

Finally I found an easy solution to the "button problem." A couple of years ago, when I bough all sorts of beads to bead necklaces with my granddaughters, I bought some large beads. I sewed one onto the bag and then added a "hook."

Crocheting is so relaxing. And it keeps me from eating.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Aliyah- With All Your Heart, With All Your Soul...

I just had to write this. What do you think?

I just have to get this off my chest.

It's really driving me crazy when I hear/read advice to soon to be arriving olim about what to bring, what they must have from the "old country" when living here.

People treat me like I'm nuts for saying they should try what's here in Israel, and they may even like it better.

Honestly, what's the point in moving to a new country if you want to eat the same foods, cook with the same spices, get the same medications, set up your house to look like you're in Monsey, the Five Towns or New Jersey?

Where's your sense of adventure?

should be like a proper purification in the mikvah, all orifices open, accepting, cleansed

Think of the Sh'ma Prayer:
"...with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might..."

like a marriage, you must change yourself for it to be successful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Pre-Lockdown Escape to Sha'ar Binyamin

I've really been a good girl, staying close to home and not inviting people over. It gets embarrassing at times, since some of my neighbors really need the invitations to socialize. I try to keep inviting friends to walk with me, but...

Sometimes even I need an escape. So a friend and I went to Sha'ar Binyamin a nearby shopping area, which can be easily reached by bus. We went two days before the latest lockdown began. She needed to take care of and get a few things. I just needed an escape.

Stop number one was the Hapisga dry cleaners, where my friend dropped something off. It was two minutes' walk from the bus stop.

Then we wandered around the smallish "Baba Mall" and bought some disposable items. I got a size of storage containers which I needed.

In the chumus place, we had something to drink. I decided to go for a beer, since it was a celebration of sorts. Even now, two weeks later, I haven't a clue when I'll be able to travel again.

My friend bought a few accessories in a nice clothing shop. We also peeked into the phone store and lots of other places.

Afterwards we walked up to the other stores in Sha'ar Binyamin. I was hoping to buy more jersey yarn, but the selection was awful. 

Instead of walking up and down the streets of Shiloh, it was great to walk someplace else.

Then before getting on the bus home, we went to the Shifon Bakery which had just moved to new premises, directly across from the bus stops. I bought my husband a honey cake, but in the end just a couple of hours before lockdown, one of our sons came with his family for a quick pre-lockdown visit. They gave us a cake baked by our talented daughter-in-law which tasted much better than the store-bought one.

Yes, trying to survive corona COVID in more ways than one.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The New Jewish Year 5781 Has Begun, So Far Amazing

Happy 5781
Here's my Be a HEAD not a Tail

On one hand I must admit that Rosh Hashana was awfully depressing. I miss having guests and being hosted. I remember the days when our dining room extended into the living room with multiple tables, all the family plus guests. And then we'd be hosted by neighbors for other holiday meals.

This year my husband and I ate by ourselves, alone, just the two of us. Our children had their own holiday meals. We'll be eating leftovers for the next few days, and I'll try not to think of way back when...

It has been months and months since I've entered the local shul, which is literally in our backyard. I stopped staying for the entire prayer service about a year or more ago when I found the the cold drafts too uncomfortable. I even bought a hooded coat that makes me look like Darth Vardar in powder blue. I decided to give up on the "window wars," preferring not to fight with anyone. 

We had to sign up for the limited seats for this Rosh Hashana, so I took the plunge. Then a neighbor, who knows me well, said:

"You'll be miserable and leave immediately. The new regulations require open windows."

So I decided to try something new. There's an outdoor minyan almost directly across from my house. I set up a chair just outside the door, and that became my private "Ezrat Nashim," Women's Section. Since it's well in my property, I didn't even need to wear a mask. I could hear most everything, thank Gd.

Even better, I heard lots of shofar blowing. The early minyan a bit further way must have blown shofar outside, since I heard theirs. And of course I heard the park one. And I heard from our synagogue, the Yemenite minyan and when someone blew for neighbors across the street.

The neighborhood was live with the sounds of shofar blowing!

The multitude of prayer groups all over was so much better and more spiritual than sitting in a packed synagogue.

Actually, once the government allowed limited numbers to pray in the synagogue, my husband returned and sits in his regular spot. The synagogue is much emptier than it used to be. Many neighbors now pray in parks and backyards, so as long as the ones who prefer the shul building spread out, it's considered "safe."

During our family Pre-Rosh Hashanah zoom, I had been asked to give a blessing to all the clan. I found myself saying:
"Be thankful for what you have."
This may not have been what anyone expected; the usual blessing is for health. But I wonder if this whole corona COVID life change/challenge/pandemic has been to shake us up. Maybe Gd wants us to look and what we have and be grateful/thankful. Suddenly we're so limited/restricted, and we must learn to accept and welcome it. 

There's an expression:
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Right now, unless you're a scientist working on a cure or vaccine for corona COVID, you're best off trying to make lemonade. I've also been crocheting. 

What sort of lemonade have you been making?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Shiloh's 2020 Pool Season, Lifesaver

Yes, this year's Shiloh pool season was a lifesaver for sure. It's not that the life guards reported to me that they had to jump into the water to actually rescue anyone, but for many of us the pool kept us feeling alive this hot summer.

Even though Shiloh has had a swimming pool for decades, because of the corona virus/covid there was no guarantee that it would open. The truth is that opening was delayed and only happened because of behind the scenes pressure by some dedicated swimmers.

One of the public venues the government had declared as dangerous contagion areas was swimming pools, both indoors and outdoors. 

When the official corona "danger" status of outdoor pools was removed, the process of opening the Shiloh pool sped up to an Olympic sprint. In a fraction of the time it usually takes, our pool manager had the pool full and the landscape all gussied up for a shortened though much welcomed pool season.

Unfortunately, after a very short time the government reneged, and the pool had to close. But just over a week later, the government changed its mind, and again the pool was full of water and happy swimmers.

Many people hired the pool grounds for "corona-safe" events, even weddings, since there's space enough for maximum permitted attendees in different sections. When the official season was over the manager took advantage of the water-filled pool and offered post-season women's swim time each morning. We paid per swim, and enough women showed up to cover the extra expenses. 

2020 has been a long, hot stressful summer, and not all communities in Israel opened their public swimming pools. Regulations were complicated and changing. Also, local officials didn't want to be responsible for a rise in corona/covid victims. As one of those with the highest attendance rates at the pool, morning hours only, I'm really happy that Shiloh's local government decided to take the plunge and get our pool open. It really saved me this summer.

Gd willing there will be a longer and less stressful season next year. Our dream is to find the financial backing to build around the pool and make it an all year swimming pool, with the Help of Gd. 

Our thanks to the local council and all the pool staff and especially to Gd Almighty who kept us happy, splashing and healthy all summer.