Tuesday, August 30, 2022

We Attended Evyatar Banai's Humongous Outdoor Concert in Jerusalem

Yes, here we are sitting with thousands and thousands of people

 See, I'm not exaggerating at all. Sultan's Pool, near Jerusalem's Old City is quite an impressive venue.

Evyatar Banai performed with three guest artists, and I have no doubt that Aviv Geffen was the highlight for most of the audience. It was quite an extravaganza. 

We were sitting in the VIP section in front. Why? Well that's a story.

Both of us, my husband and I, had totally ignored the ads about the concert which was sponsored by Mateh Binyamin, our regional council -a sort of cross between a county and American-style state. So to put it mildly, we hadn't planned on attending. 

So, how did we end up going, and davka with seats in the VIP section?

Barely 24 hours before the concert, my husband received a message from what we'll call the Public Relations Department of Mateh Binyamin offering us a pair of complementary tickets including an invitation to the preconcert reception. For decades we've been the volunteer "meeters and greeters" welcoming journalists, dignitaries and a wide variety of other visitors including groups. I'm no longer on their "speed-dial," though my husband still gets calls. Over the years we've gotten preholiday gifts, which is how I got that "beer glass" I drink cold brew coffee from. It even came with special beer, which was a real treat for me.

Rather obviously, just like the classic Jewish Joke, as soon as we heard that we'd been offered free tickets, we happily accepted them and attended the concert. To be perfectly honest, until I heard them live, Banai, Geffen and two other popular singers, I don't think I've even listened to their music, though I had heard of them. 

I must say that the Evyatar Banai & Friends concert in such a venue was great fun. Until I turned around to photograph what was behind me, I had no idea how humongous it was, even though we had walked down from the top. Beware that the steps are dangerous, because they aren't marked with reflective or white tape. I didn't want to leave the way we came; it was terrifying to think of going up those black unmarked steps. Luckily there was a lower exit, no steps. I think that we could have entered that way too, if we had come with the other VIPs.

There was an intimacy in sitting so close to the stage and not seeing the rest of the audience. It was great fun. We left a bit early so we could catch a bus home. Lovely evening. I'm so glad we had been invited.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Book Review: "100 Life Lessons..."

100 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So You Don’t Have To by Rosally Saltsman is a wonderful serious but light book. Now, that does sound like a contradiction... But, I really enjoyed reading it and got a lot out of it, too.

It's hard to pigeonhole 100 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So You Don’t Have To into a standard genre. Even though the word "lessons" appears in the title, it's not your usual self-help book, though it does encourage the reader to take things more easily and not panic. It'll all work out. 

Saltsman uses examples of events and situations from her life in each "lesson." She reveals a lot about herself, her short marriage,  her son, her becoming religious and that she lives in Israel. We really get to know and admire her, even if our lives are a bit different. 

Yes, it's almost a memoir. But it's not a memoir. It's a series of 100 Life Lessons. 

In the chapter titled "Who Knows?" Saltsman reminisces about how when she was a student in Brandeis University only when she wanted to join a "Jewish Choir" she discovered that although there were other choirs for students to join, davka, the Jewish university didn't have a "Jewish Choir." She had managed to get the ball rolling to establish one, but for financial reasons, the following year she transferred out to McGill in Montreal, so she wasn't there to participate or even know what happened to her idea. She only discovered that Brandeis actually established a "Jewish Choir"  a number of years later, when she visited there and saw a poster advertising a performance. The lesson here is that you don't know what influence you've had on others. Sometimes you may never even find out. I really liked that.

Another important lesson is titled "Ricki's List." Saltsman tells about her friend Ricki who wrote a list of all the things she had to do before taking a vacation. As happens to many of us, Ricki didn't manage to do everything on her list. Unlike many of us, she happily -without any additional stress- enjoyed her vacation and then, after returning home completed all that was on her list. Apropos to the previous paragraph, I wonder if Ricki realized how this impressed Saltsman until she read  100 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So You Don’t Have To.

I'll end with the lesson "Let It Rain," where Saltsman writes of dancing in the rain, rather than complaining about getting wet. Here in Israel, we're reminded that the quantity of rain each winter, yes  - it only rains in the winter, depends on how satisfied Gd is with our -the Jewish People's- behavior. Rain is a blessing. Gd willing we'll have a wonderful wet winter.

100 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So You Don’t Have To can be ordered on Amazon (click) if you want a kindle version.  For a hard copy (softcover) $21.50/NIS70 (including S&H) or Digital format $4.99/NIS16 through Paypal recipient - rosally_s@yahoo.com. Or on Lulu - print to order: click: 100 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So You Don’t Have To.

I highly recommend 100 Life Lessons I’ve Learned So You Don’t Have To for yourself and anyone else you care about.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #35 Pleasant Surprise at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. Your input is very welcome, thanks.

See  #34,  #33#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.

Early this afternoon, after a roundabout walk through the Romema neighborhood to order accessories and furnishings for our major bathroom/showers plus renovations, I calculated that I had plenty of time for the "loo," aka WC or public toilets quickly entered the "side/secondary entrance" of the Central Bus Station. If you're coming from the direction of Sarei Yisrael Street or Machane Yehuda Market, it's the first door you reach, and it takes you to the floor with the "food court," lots of small restaurants and Israeli style fast food places.

It had been years since I entered through that doorway, but I needed to get out of the sun and had no idea what was new in terms of the building's loos. In recent years management has been fixing them up, but I definitely don't remember one near that door. 

Good news! After passing those shoes for sale, I looked up on the right and saw the sign with the very welcome icon, which you can see higher up on the page.

I checked for a machine that takes entrance money, since the public toilets in the bus station had always cost a bit. No sign of one. Very tentatively, I pushed the revolving door, and it moved freely, so I entered for free. Men to the left and women to the right, no foul odor. There was a cleaning crew and even toilet paper (not grade A) and soap. I didn't take any photos, since there were too many people around.

Glad to share the good news.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Red Lentil Mushroom Vegetable Soup

This Red Lentil Mushroom Vegetable Soup tastes unbelievably good, and I could say that I just threw a few things together. 

I served this soup to break the Tisha B'Av Fast on a very hot summer day. It was absolutely perfect and required relatively little cooking. I didn't measure all the ingredients, and one can be flexible and creative. It isn't some sort of chemistry formula.

You can see almost all of the ingredients here.


  • about half a cup of orange lentils (more can be used)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium squash
  • fresh garlic
  • a can of mushroom pieces
  • dehydrated parsley, fresh would be great
  • a spoon or so of vegetable oil
  • a bit of coarse salt and pepper
  • put the lentils in the pot and cover plus with boiling water. Leave covered for an hour or more
  • dice up the vegetables, including garlic, then add to lentils, 
  • put in pot with the mushrooms and liquid from can 
  • top with the oil and some more water and parsley
  • bring to boil, add salt and pepper, then simmer
  • 40 minutes cooking time, unless you decide to add carrots or any other root vegetable you want in the soup. They take longer to cook.
That's it! ENJOY

Friday, August 05, 2022

Swimming's Medicinal, Therapeutic and More, So...

... in recent years our local swimming pool has been open during the 9 Days, though restricted to adults.

The 9 Days, which falls during the heat of the summer (in the northern hemisphere) is a period of mourning in the Jewish Calendar. We mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Holy Temples. The period of annual mourning is actually Three Weeks, from the daytime Fast of the 17th of Tamuz until the 25 hour Fast of the 9th of Av.

Just a few decades ago the idea of swimming, even for health reasons, during the 9 Days would be unthinkable for Torah Observant Jews, but nowadays it's the norm for many of us who regularly swim or do water exercise. Until a few years ago, our local Shiloh swimming pool was closed during that time of the year, but then one of the neighbors explained to the rabbi that, at least for adults, it wasn't a matter of fun and games. He then agreed that the pool could open, but adults only. So now we have special hours each day, separate male/female as is our custom.

Not everyone who normally swims in the pool takes advantage of the new psak/decision, but there are many who are very grateful for the chance to exercise in the water daily. Yes, I'm one of them.