Thursday, February 25, 2021

Perfectly Filling and Tasty Vegetable Soup


I discovered how to make vegetable soups decades ago, and to be perfectly honest now two are ever exactly the same. That's why I'm not very specific about quantities. I don't measure, though I do have a very good eye for quantities. I instantly know how much to put in a pot. You may have to experiment, but on the whole, especially if you're using dried beans, barley, lentils or peas, remember that they swell. So they should only cover the bottom of the pot. 


lentils, pearl barley and split peas
fresh garlic
coarse salt, coarse black pepper and dehydrated parsley


  1. Put the lentils, pearl barley and split peas in the pot, and check for small stones or anything that shouldn't be there.
  2. Pour boiling water and cover. Wait at least a couple of hours.
  3. Cut all the vegetables, and add them to the pot. 
  4. Add a couple of spoons of vegetable oil, whichever you like for cooking.
  5. Start cooking, and add boiling water, not too close to the top of the pot. Two-thirds full is good, usually.
  6. Add the seasoning.
  7. Heat to a boil, and then lower flame to simmer. 
  8. Simmer for at least an hour.
That's it. Enjoy!

PS You can add other vegetables, seasoning etc.

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Lonely Ayil, A Book Review

I was overjoyed to be offered a review copy of The Lonely Ayil by Rochell Weisfogel. It's a wonderful story for children about community and caring. 

To borrow a phrase "You don't have to be Jewish..." to enjoy the story, its messages and read it to your kids, grandkids, students etc. There's a glossary in the end of the book which explains all the terms. 

The values taught within the narrative are universal. 

Nowadays, when people are donating kidneys, even to total strangers, you can read The Lonely Ayil to explain to your children that there are parts of the body that can be shared, donated to others more in need. 

There's also the siyate d'Shmaya, hand of Gd aspect, when the ayil, a ram, finds itself in the perfect place and perfect time to help others. 

Today when we're all "locked down" or more restricted than we'd like to be, it's very easy to identify with the lonely ayil. 

The Lonely Ayil is not a nonsense fairy tale. Once you buy it and read it to your young, and not so young children, I'm sure that you, too will find a lovely story and the perfect vehicle for discussions.

The Lonely Ayil can be ordered in various formats from Amazon.

Product details

  • Publisher : Page Publishing, Inc. (October 31, 2017)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 34 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1641382694
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1641382694

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The World's Easiest Chocolate Icing


Cupcake Iced and Decorated With Chocolate Icing

I was trying to think of an easy and enjoyable activity for my younger grandchildren when it occurred to me that they could decorate some cupcakes I had baked.

This "icing recipe" is so simple, it can hardly be called a recipe. The "hardest" thing was adding bittersweet chocolate to the Friday shopping list.


    bittersweet chocolate

    a little cooking oil

    spoon of sugar

    colored sprinkles or whatever


    melt all ingredients together either in pan on low heat, or in microwave


    spoon on cake/cupcake

    Optional: sprinkle with colored sprinkles, coconut flakes or "whatever"

Let cool and enjoy

Now tell me the truth. Isn't this 

The World's Easiest Chocolate Icing

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

SHEVET Imperial Stout, Great Strong Beer

The gift package I received from SHEVET Beer included their new Imperial Stout, and I'm a very happy camper. 

Imperial Stout is a very full flavor, tasty rich beer. The hops are coated with a chocolaty taste, and you can see it's dark brown, almost black. 

Imperial Stout was brewed as a "small batch" specially to sell this winter, and I hope they brew lots more for next winter. I'm sure people will be looking to buy it. If you like a nice strong, tasty beer buy some before it's sold out. At this point you can still order from SHEVET.

It's a good thing I'll be going to bed soon, since it's 8.5% alcohol.

For more background/information about this great beer read what my beer maven Doug Greener has to say in Israel Brews and Views

Monday, February 15, 2021

Let's Hear Something Good, Life Under COVID Corona

Watching a class on Zoom
Last night I participated in a wonderful Zoom Family Reunion with lots of cousins from my mother's side. My branch of the clan is the only one in Israel, besides one cousin's granddaughter presently on a year's program. The rest are now spread all over the United States. Not all even live as Jews anymore, but we're all family. This was the second time we've done one of these Zoom Reunions, and considering logistics, finances etc., there's no way so many cousins could ever get together f2f, face-to-face. Zooming is easier.

That's why I decided to write about the "blessings," good things that we are now able to enjoy because of COVID corona. And of course all of these can be continued once it's safer to socialize and travel. I have no doubt that all of us can think of at least one thing that has gotten better. You're all invited to add your 2¢ two cents or more in the comments.

  • ZOOM- I had never heard of Zoom before the first COVID Corona lockdown, and now I Zoom daily. All sorts of classes, meetings and reunions are done via Zoom. 
  • video calls- Video calls have replaced f2f face to face socializing, too. You can't get as many people/participants on most of the apps, whether telephone, facetime or WhatsApp, but they generally don't need an additional application and can be done on most smartphones.
  • no traveling- Now that we're not traveling, my study group and I meet daily, instead of weekly. During this past year, we've learned more than five times the amount of material we could have learned if we had still been learning barely once a week in Jerusalem.
  • seeing the world on a screen- There are many people taking virtual tours, instead of packing up, spending a lot of money on flights, hotels etc. Even when they send in a "tip/payment" to the guide, it's a tiny fraction of what real travel costs, and a lot less exhausting.
  • attending classes or events that once would have been too far to get to- As this year's Matan program began via Zoom, one woman in the audience happily announced that she had always wanted to attend lectures by the teacher, but distance had made it impossible. Now she's overjoyed to be able to attend without the need to travel.
  • masks and general health- Many people, including yours truly, have noticed that we've gotten through the winter without the usual colds and flu. Masks and social  distancing have kept us healthy. Not only do they protect against COVID corona, but hospitals and medical authorities are reporting much fewer flu and other winter illnesses. Asians, who've been wearing masks routinely for years, have been proven right. Here in Israel, at least, the price of masks has dropped considerably. 
  • less money saved on weddings and entertaining- The cost of weddings and other "event" entertaining had gotten outrageously high. Keeping up with the Cohen's pushed people into spending more than they had. Now that it's forbidden to attend large events, downsizing is the rule. The new added expense is "live streaming," so your guest can attend without paying for their food.
What would you add to my list?

Monday, February 08, 2021

Join Us Rosh Chodesh Adar


For thousands of years Jewish women have come to Shiloh to pray to Gd. Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the New Month, is the traditional holiday for women, so I've been inviting women to join me at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh to pray together. Especially now when our lives have been so challenged by COVID corona, we need to be together and pray.

Shiloh Hakeduma is the same location as Biblical Shiloh, where the Mishkan Tabernacle stood for almost four hundred years and Hannah prayed for a son who would rescue the Jewish People from the chaos of the Time of Judges, Samuel The Prophet.

Today there's a wonderful archeological park in Tel Shiloh with all sorts of attractions for all ages to learn from and enjoy. For more information 02-5789122 and

Wednesday, February 03, 2021




SHEVET Beer very kindly sent me a small selection of their beers to sample. I decided to start with their IPA, and I'm glad I did. It's good, fruity with a strong taste of hops. IPA is what I consider a "real beer." SHEVET's IPA has a nice rich flavor and gorgeous color. 

As you can see on the bottle, it's 5.2% alcohol, and according to their site, it's a new one for them. 

This may sound shocking, almost sacrilegious, to some people, but I'd be happy to drink beer during our Shabbat meals instead of wine. A good beer is just as festive for me as wine. I sometimes have a bad reaction to the sulfur in wines, and beers don't pose such dangers. A good IPA is very similar to a nice white wine in my opinion. Sometimes when I'm making morning kiddush on my own, it's on beer. OK, now you know my little secret.

What more can I say?