Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Apple Strudel Muffins

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 cup white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 1/2 cups chopped apples

* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tehina Cookies (egg free)

Thanks to Israeli Kitchen for this recipe.

Tehina Cookies yield: about 3 dozen cookies

200 grams soft margarine
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup tehina. If there’s a layer of oil floating on top of the jar, stir in back in.
2 cups plus 4 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
option 1: 2 Tbsp. pine nuts and powdered sugar
option 2: cinnamon and sugar (this is what I used)

Preheat the oven to 160 C - 325 F.

1. Cream the margarine and the sugar together.

2. Add the vanilla and the tehina and blend again.

3. Combine the flour and the baking powder; add to the tehina mixture.

4. Form balls the size of walnuts and place them on a baking sheet protected with baking paper. The dough is dry and crumbly, so squeeze it together to make the balls.

If adding the optional pine nuts, do it like this: form one cookie ball; take 2 or 3 pine nuts into your left palm, and with your right hand, press the ball onto them. Reverse it onto the baking sheet. If the ball crumbles slightly, just squeeze it back into shape with your fingertips.

If coating with cinnamon and sugar, roll the slightly flattened balls in the mixture and place on the sheet before baking.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Do not bake longer. The cookies need a little moisture to retain their shape and not crumble.

Cool the baking tray on a rack, and don’t touch the cookies for at least 5 minutes. If they’re handled while hot, they will fall apart.

Dust with powdered sugar if you wish, when they’re cool. Hide a few for yourself before you offer them to family and friends.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Now this sounds like a cool place!

Read all about the water buffalo dairy in Israel over at Israeli Kitchen.

Wish I'd known about this place when we had a car... this sounds like a cool place!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The Kosher Cooking Carnival is up at Leora's and she's got my chocolate turtle cheesecake recipe listed among a few dozen other delectable recipes and food-related posts. Take a look!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The One More Mitzvah Project

A fellow blogger who tragically lost her almost 5 month old daughter is putting out a request.

We are sitting Shivah for our daughter, Adelle Shayna, who passed away Motzei Shabbos. My Shiny baby was a Tzaddikess whose little life was totally connected to HaShem. We learn that the Shechina is present at birth and death and in the 145 days in between those events, Shiny's every action was motivated by the Will of G-d. We're so very blessed to have been a part of that. I've gotten a lot of emails and comments on my own LJ from people promising to take on another Mitzvah in her Zchus. I'm posting here because I want more. Call me greedy if you want but I'm asking you all to please do one more Mitzvah in the merit of Adelle Shayna Bas Yael Davida and Mordechai Eliah.
It has been such a great comfort and given me such strength to see this happening. If you could please comment and tell me if and what you're doing in her merit, I would be greatly appreciative. Amazing things are happening. My father has been putting on Tefillin the last four days and before that he hadn't done it in 40 years. Please help us do more amazing things.

Non-Jews can also participate by looking into/keeping the Seven laws of Noah (the Noahide laws).

In addition, to help spread the word, I've started a Facebook group, so please feel free to join One More Mitzvah l'Shem Adelle Shayna Project

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recipe, as requested

The info in italics are my changes (these are my own variations which I find helpful since I live in Israel and can't readily find some ingredients or don't feel like paying 3-4 shekels more per container).

Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake

Graham cracker crust in a springform pan
1 14 oz. bag caramels (1 container dulche de leche spread)
1 5 oz can evaporated milk (omit if using spread)
1 cup chopped pecans
2 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened (750 grams of gvinah levanah, 5% or higher)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 6 oz. pkg semi-sweet chocolate pieces, melted
1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, melt caramels with milk over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour over crust. Top with pecans.

Soften the dulche de leche spread by placing the container in a bowl of hot water. Pour over crust. Top with pecans.

Combine cream cheese and sugar, mixing on medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in chocolate and extract.

Pour over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.

(In the photo 2 posts down, I made a chocolate ganache and poured that over the cheesecake then topped with chopped, roasted pecans and then well, globs of the caramel cream (dulche de leche) around the edge)

Chill and serve.

Now driving is Assur?

R' Chaim Kanievsky OK'S Expulsion Of Yeshiva Students
Dec 16, 2008

Jerusalem, Israel -- Recently, a Yeshiva in the Givat Shaul area of Yerushalayim expelled around ten students that received their drivers licenses. The Yeshiva was attempting to stop students from applying for their licenses, and asked Israel's licensing office for the names of the students from their Yeshiva who had recently received their driving certification.

The Rosh Yeshiva visited R' Chaim Kanievsky for advice on how to deal with these students. Sources say that R' Kanievsky told the head of the yeshiva that, "A person who categorizes himself as a Ben Torah should not have a license, which takes him out of this category."

R' Kanievsky added that R' Shach had already said decades ago that this practice should not be allowed, because aside for the dangers involved, it takes people away from learning Torah, . Therefore, he said, despite his anguish over the issue, the students should be expelled from the yeshiva.

The Rosh Yeshiva asked about an additional boy who had also gotten his license only because his father was disabled, and getting around was difficult. R' Chaim Kanievsky responded that that student could be kept in the Yeshiva, but advised him to cancel his license anyway.

So Hatzalah and ZAKA and driving to shul and Beit Medrash and driving to do Bikur Cholim and Menachem Avel are now taking away from learning Torah? What about heading towards putting in to practice what one learns in the Torah?

Not for those dieting...

Last night I went to a bridal shower. I made a chocolate turtle cheesecake... my piping skills leave something to be desired (it would also help if I had been using a real piping bag instead of a baggy with the corner snipped off)... but man, was it yummy!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Israeli parents be aware, change in vaccination!

From a friend of mine:

I was at tipat chalav with my son this morning.

Consider yourselves informed...the new MMR vaccine (12 month, and booster in grade 1) is now an MMRV vaccine and INCLUDES THE CHICKEN POX VACCINE!

I was able to decline the V, and they do still give the plain MMR, on request.

For those of you who are interested in the chicken pox vaccine on its own, I was told that if I change my mind he can still get it, so I would assume that it is now included in the sal.

You know, I don't get it. There's enough controversy surrounding vaccinations in general and the MMR specifically, why do something so asinine as to make it even MORE of an issue?

Win a free Ergo Carrier

Win a Free Organic Embroidered Ergo Baby Carrier Hands Free System from Along for the Ride

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Old Navy Fail

Apparently myn laws didn't bother reading what it said before buying it for their 18 month old grandson.

And obviously no one at Old Navy bothered reading it either...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Around the neighborhood

Down the street from us is a very interesting yard. There's this metal scarecrow wearing a raincoat and these guys:

For some reason whenever I see this I'm reminded of the Banana Splits Adventure Hour.

There's a stuffed animal towards the back driving the hovercraft and some sort of hedgehog masthead at the front... Don't know what the Cyrillic says.

Further down the street begins the parks. Ariel has 3 sections of park that runs along the center of pretty much 2/3rds of the town. The one nearest us is 'the river park', although technically there's no river. It's a series of man-made fountains, falls and pools. The center section park has benches, grassy areas and a playground and the final section just has benches and grass.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

JPIX is up

Kol haKavod to Leora for putting together the latest addition of JPIX - the Sukkot edition.

I'm still not brave enough (or comfortable enough with my editing skills) to offer to host a carnival.

Maybe someday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Delectiv - FAIL

It's a good thing my date was such pleasant company because man, did the food suck.

I went to to try and find a couple places for us to go. One of the places was a deli called Delicative and based on this glowing review we went.

You'll notice there's no date on when the review was submitted. Because from what we saw, it's a very old review.

I won't get into the aesthetic differences (menu listed meat and a price instead of 'named' sandwiches, no Dr. Brown's) but complain about the food itself and how it seems many Israelis in the food industry expect us to be idiots.

For the record, Zach and I each ordered a beef hot dog and then he had a deli meat type sliced goose breast and I had the corned beef.

The overall fails with this place was the bread, their sandwich making ability, lack of side dishes and WAY overpriced.

The bread: For both the hot dogs and the sandwiches we had a choice of mass-produced commercial baguette or... well, that was it.

For the hot dogs, the baguette was 3 inches too long and for the 'foot long' dogs available (chicken or veal), they're about 3 inches too short. So for the regular beef dogs we ordered, there was just WAY too much bread and it's totally the wrong consistency. They would be better off buying Angel's 'Bingo Buns', which is a very good Israeli version of standard white bread type hot dog buns. You want something that won't get in the way of having to put some effort into biting through the hot dog. If you have to fight first the bread and then the dog, the dog will end up sliding back and you're left with a mouthful of bread.

And for the sandwich... the classic deli sandwich should be served on rye. Which isn't commercially available here, but the standard sliced bread is a reasonable substitution (I don't like carroway seeds or pumpernickle so the lack of either of those things wasn't missed by me). The purpose of the bread in a deli sandwich is so you don't get the deli mustard all over your fingers and to give you something uniform to hold because you SHOULD have about 6 inches or so of thinly sliced meat (and we'll get to what I actually got in a bit).

Sandwich making ability... or actually, it's their lack of ability. First of all, what is with the Israeli fascination with putting everything into these stupid baguettes? I should not be able to order Chinese food in a baguette. A baguette is NOT club bread. And it should NOT be my only option.

And why must they stuff everything between the bread? This isn't pita or a lafa and I'm not ordering falfel or shawarma at the local stand.

So we ordered our hot dogs. To their credit they DID have deli mustard and the sauerkraut was in a warmer. However.. The young woman cuts open the too big baguette, squeezes on the mustard, spoons on the sauerkraut and then... slices the hot dog lengthwise and puts it between the baguette. I suppose this is their way of making sure I don't end up with that annoying 3 inches of beefless bread.

As a Noo Yawkah, I was horrified. And eating it was a disaster. With the baguette too long and too wide for me to get a bite of hot dog, sauerkraut and mustard all at once my meal turned into alternating bites of baguette with beef and baguette with sauerkraut and mustard.

We should have walked out after the disappointing hot dogs (which we had to pay for as soon as we got it even though we were planning on ordering sandwiches next). But we didn't.

So on to the sandwiches. You can't even call these hero or sub sandwiches because again, the bread is all wrong. The crust is way too chewy for it to be a good sandwich bread because everything inside ends up sliding out the back end.

I ordered corned beef. The guy cuts open a baguette and asks me... oh the horror... if I want HUMMUS with it.

Umm.. no. I want deli mustard. That goes on... I asked for cole slaw and that gets slapped into the V of the bread. And then FIVE measly slices of corned beef.

Let me explain something to you about this place. Their deli and hot dogs are from a Kibbutz called Tirat Tzvi which is pretty much the only company that makes commercially available beef deli and beef hot dogs. I can get all this at the deli counter of my local supermarket. Hell, I could have gotten all this at the supermarket 20 meters away from this place with the proper breads and side dishes. And it would have cost me less.

Oh, and there was no sign of a french fry, the only cole slaw was now making my bread soggy and mustard runny and I didn't notice any pickles in the 'toppings' bar. AND, they refused to honor the eluna 10% off coupon. The guy behind the counter said he has no idea what this is, we should talk to the owner who of course, is not there.

I did email eluna, btw and told them about the coupon thing and that they need to have all their reviews time stamped because it seems to me good old Arthur was there when it was owned by an ex-Noo Yawkah who knew his stuff but has since sold it to Israelis who wouldn't know what lean Romanian pastrami was if it bit them on the ass.

A photo essay

From 3:45 until about 4, my son must be on the window bench (and the window and screen must be open) so he can watch the school buses come by, stop in front of our house and spew out half a dozen kids.

I'm worried he's going to end up the neighborhood crazy man who stands by the window with a notepad and pen in hand, writing down the goings on on the street and calling the police every half an hour to report a suspicious looking cat.

Is that a diesel engine I hear?

Buh! Buh!

No more bus?

But are you SURE?

I'll keep watch just in case.

Longing to see the buses...


Only 12 days left and Leah is under 200 votes behind!

If you haven't voted yet, PLEASE do so!

If you have voted, please get the word out!! Come on people!

ETA: Click on Evelyn from MA. Her daughter Leah was too young to nominate herself so her mom is doing it on her behalf.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...


So far the Mega near me in Ariel is on a major fail for me.

Monday I was pleasantly surprised to see a tray of sugar topped jelly donuts, each sporting a curl of jelly on the snowy white top and... chocolate frosted with sprinkles!

So I bought one and when I got home, bit into it (should I have said a Shehechiyanu?), heard the satisfying crunch of the fried outer crust, felt my teeth cut into the chewy, doughy inside and then pulled away. Ok, maybe the custard is on the other side.

Well, I finished the donut without ever finding the custard.

When I went to the Mega the next day they had half a tray of sugar topped with the swirl of jelly and sugar topped without a swirl. I asked the woman at the bakery counter and she confirmed that the non swirled had no filling. So I bought one with a swirl.

Quivering with anticipation when I got home, I bit into the sugary dough, expecting jelly to squeeze out the other end.

Nothing. When I got to the middle of the donut, where the swirl was, I noticed a thin injection of jelly into the dough where the swirl was... And that was all the jelly the donut had.

Hopefully the donut making will improve with experience...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mac and Cheese

What can I say. Chalk it up to pregnancy cravings. Or watching Iron Chef America - Battle Cheddar... but suddenly, I NEEDED Mac and Cheese.

I put out a call in my other blog and used the first of the two mac & cheese recipes I was given. I also seemed to have inspired friends on my other blog and on Facebook to make mac & cheese...

Baked Mac & Cheese

4 c. cooked elbow macaroni, drained
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
4 T. butter, cut into pieces
1/2 t. salt and pepper, each
1 c. milk
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while it is still hot, add the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Top with additional cheese, if desired. May be frozen for up to 6 months; just make sure it's completely cool before you freeze. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chol haMoed, Day 1

Despite getting off to a wet, gray start, the day did actually pick up quite nicely. The kids and I ventured over to Petach Tikvah and after lunching at Kenyon haGadol, we crossed the street and had some fun at the gorgeous, huge playground.

Oh, so you want to see some of my KIDS enjoying themselves...

If the baby hadn't been disturbed by his sisters and some random little girl, I think he would have easily spent an hour squatting in front of that abacus.

The place is amazing. It's huge so even though there were a lot of kids, it was never crowded. There's a wonderful balance of toddler to well, as you can see from the climbing rope 'tree', even adults found what to do there.

The only minus, which is an issue I have with just about every Israeli playground I've been to - not enough shade over the equipment. Maybe I'm spoiled. Growing up in Brooklyn, where so many of the trees are well over 100 years old, it's something I grew up expecting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A nice Jewish girl

Vote for Evelyn, Leah and YALDAH magazine!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A medieval Rosh Hashana menu

Last Chanukah, I cooked for our annual SCA 8th Night event which was held in the Old City of Jaffa. When trying to come up with a Rosh Hashana menu, I realized most of the recipes I had used for this feast would be more than suitable for a Rosh Hashana meal or two. The two main courses had dried fruits, honey, wine and spices such as cinnamon.

The first course was Viaunde of Cypress Ryalle (chicken in sweet sauce), Rapes in Potage and a Mince Tarte.

The second course consisted of A Roste (Beef Roast with Crisps), Soldier's Cous cous, Isfanakh Mutajjan and A Tarte of Strawberries.

Don't worry, here are most of the recipes.

A Roste - Beef Roast with Crisps

4 TB Or more butter or oil for searing meat
5 lb. Beef roast tied with butcher's cord
1/2 c Flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Dried sweet basil; crushed
1/2 tsp. Dried rosemary; crushed
1/4 tsp. Thyme
1 c Dates; pits removed, cut in halves
1 c Dried figs; stems removed, -cut in strips
1/2 c Dried apple rings; cut in halves
2 TB Brown sugar or honey
1 1/2 c Beef stock
1 c Flour
1 ea. Egg
2/3 c Milk (will use soy milk of course)
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. (scant) baking powder
1/4 c Chopped fresh parsley; crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In Dutch oven or cast-iron pot (either having tight covers) melt the butter. Dredge the roast with the mixture of flour, cinnamon, and salt, and thoroughly sear in the heated butter, browning all sides. Mix basil, rosemary, and thyme. Mix spices with combined dates, figs, and apples. Arrange spiced fruits around the meat. Sprinkle sugar or drizzle honey on fruits. Carefully pour on beef stock around the edges of the pot so as to avoid 'flooding' any food surfaces. Cover tightly. Bake at 350 degrees F for 3 hours, or until tender. Remove from oven to cool for 30 minutes. Increase oven heat to 450 degrees F. Prepare a very thick batter by vigorously stirring all batter ingredients except parsley. Add extra flour if necessary. Add chopped parsley to the batter. Pour batter over the roast allowing the excess to trickle down into the gravy. Return meat to hot oven (450 degrees F) for 5 to 10 minutes so that coating browns nicely. Cut the roast in its dough jacket. Serve the 'crisps' which formed in the juices, along with the gravy and fruit.

Viaunde of Cypress Ryalle (chicken in sweet sauce)
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teasp. each ground cloves, mace and ginger
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup currants

Boil the wine and sugar together for ten minutes or until it thickens and clings to the spoon. Add honey, spices, almonds and currants and cook for an additional five minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, coating well. Chill well; serve cold.

Isfanakh Mutajjan

1 lb spinach
1 T sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t coriander
1/2 t cinnamon

Boil spinach in salted water about 2 minutes.
Take spinach, cut off the lower roots, and wash: then boil lightly in salt and water, and dry. Refine sesame-oil, drop in the spinach, and stir until fragrant. Chop up a little garlic, and add. Sprinkle with fine-ground cumin, dry coriander, and cinnamon.

Rapes in Pottage [or Carrots or Parsnips]

1 lb turnips, carrots, or parsnips (I made a mix of carrots and turnips)
2 c chicken broth
1/2 lb onions
6 threads saffron
3/4 t salt
powder douce: 2 t sugar, 3/8 t cinnamon, 3/8 t ginger

Wash, peel, and quarter turnips (or cut into eighths if they are large), cover with boiling water and parboil for 15 minutes. If you are using carrots or parsnips, clean them and cut them up into large bite-sized pieces and parboil 10 minutes. Mince onions. Drain turnips, carrots, or parsnips, and put them with onions and chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Crush saffron into about 1 t of the broth and add seasonings to pottage. Cook another 15-20 minutes, until turnips or carrots are soft to a fork and some of the liquid is boiled down.

Soldier's Cous cous
2 c. cous cous
1 can veggie broth + 1 canful water
4 T. butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 t. salt
In a large pot with a good lid, bring the broth and water to a boil. Stir in the cous cous, and clap on the lid. Let sit off the heat until all the water is absorbed. Stir in the butter and sprinkle heavily with cinnamon.
Fluff with a fork to keep from being gloppy. Serves 6-8 generously.

And here are most of the Pesky family at the event. Our son is wearing my husband's colors and his tabard is my husband's SCA coat of arms - blue shofarot on a field of yellow with a diagonal blue band. The blue weird line across the top of the tabard signifies inheriting male heir.

Yeah, we're medieval geeks, what can I say?

Friday, September 12, 2008

An opinion piece

The Jewish blogs are burning the bytes with reports and opinions about Rabbi BenTzion Twerski's resignation from Dov Hikind's task force to investigate the abuse problems in Yeshivot, shuls, camps, etc.

For links to the various articles and for other blogger opinions, follow these links when you have a spare hour or so:

Wolfish Musings
Rabbi Horowitz, Part I
Rabbi Horowitz, Part II
Life of Rubin
Gil Student
Zach Kessin
Hershel Tzig
Back of the Hill
Failed Messiah
Rabbi Harry Maryles

In my opinion, Hikind went about this the wrong way. See, he didn't use any of the popular key words that seems to get much of the Jewish community up in arms and demanding action.

He didn't use the word 'crisis'. He didn't use the word 'tznius'.

See, if Mr. Hikind had said 'we're setting up a task force to deal with the tznius crisis in our schools, camps and shuls', he would have had Jerusalem and Lakewood and Monsey plastered with Kol Korehs supporting his valiant effort.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Potty Talk

Whenever I'm out and about on my own with NS and I need to use a bathroom, I head straight for the wheelchair accessible bathrooms because I can push the stroller right in and not have to worry about it being stolen with packages aboard. And of course there's the benefit of not having to take NS out of the stroller.

The times I have had to use the regular stalls, well when NS was smaller, I'd put him in the wrap and do my business. When he got bigger I'd sit him on the floor with paper towels or TP underneath him. When he was standing, he'd walk around the stall and I'd pray he wouldn't discover the small trash can. I'd also have to keep an eye out under the door to make sure the wheels of the carriage didn't move.

At the central bus station, it is now impossible for anyone in a wheelchair or with a stroller to use the bathrooms.

It used to be that up on the 3rd floor, where the departure gates are, were pay bathrooms at either end. Accessible only via turnstile. Tiny one.

Then all the way down on -1 were the free bathrooms and the wheelchair accessible one. Whether it was unlocked, clean and stocked with TP was always hit or miss.

Well now the bathrooms on -1 are being renovated and will have a turnstile added and will become pay toilets. I have my doubts as to whether the turnstile they had there will be big enough for a wheelchair or stroller.

Until those open, they've opened new bathrooms on the 2nd floor. The entrance to which brings new meaning to the word moronitude.

Pay toilets. Ok, I can understand. Turnstile is too small for wheelchair or stroller. But there's a guard sitting right there, in front of a locked door which can give one access to the bathrooms.

Only he doesn't have a key. One of the cleaning people does so you need to go track her down.

You pay your shekel, turn the stile and she opens the door for you.

Where you discover there are no stalls in the ladies room big enough or designated as wheelchair accessible. And it's not in a separate room.

So I had to take NS out of the carriage, bring him in with me and hope no one walked off with my stroller. I finished my business, washed my hands, got NS back into the stroller and headed for the door.

Which was locked... from both inside and out apparently (fire hazard, anyone?). The worker by the men's room was a total idiot by telling my I was stuck or I had to fold the carriage up and carry it, the baby and my packages through the turnstile.

I found the woman with the key and she let me out.

Moronitude, I tell ya.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Spiritual Baking

This might sound silly to some of you, but I actually had a rather meaningful, therapeutic Challah baking session today.

Since getting the book The Secret of Challah I've really been trying to put more meaning into each step of the process of Challah making.

The sifting of the flour, adding the ingredients (although I don't take it as far as some I've read about who sing and dance as they go, reciting Psalms and such), the mixing... I use this time to.. well, as Lt. Lenina Huxley said, "enhance my calm".

And after this week, I really needed it.

Apparently more than I thought because as I looked down into this huge bowl of dough I totally lost it. For about 5 minutes I stood there bawling my eyes out as I released the stress of the past few weeks. When I finally calmed down enough, I said the blessing for the 'taking of the challah', pulled off a piece and began punching the dough down.

I divided the dough into 6 parts, each one to be divided into strands for braiding. The first one, as I rolled the strands, was dedicated to just thanking God for everything.

The second was dedicated to asking God to help people I know realize their dream of becoming parents either for the first time or again. Two strands were dedicated to two specific couples I know and the other two were dedicated to the anonymous members of the various boards and forums.

The third and fourth were dedicated to those who needed healing - physical, mental, emotional.

The fifth was dedicated to my children.

And the final one was for my husband and myself.

I wonder if it will taste different this week...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Reisheet Chag HaGez is a sheep shearing festival celebrated in biblical times, traditionally done in the spring (usually Issru Chag Shavuot). A portion was then tithed to the Kohanim, as it is written in Dvarim, 18:4 "The first-fruits of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, shall you give him (the Kohanim and Leviim)".

Maale Levona was the first place to resurrect this ancient celebration and this year the Kohain who received the portion of the fleece was haRav Dov Bigon, founder and Rosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir. Towards the end of the slide show, the other man standing next to him is Rav Yair Shachor, Rav of Maale Levona.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chag haGez - Fiber Arts Festival!

“Chag HaGez” in Maale Levona*
Tuesday, July 1, 2007
28 Sivan 5768

Starting at 16:00

Sheep Shearing
Children Activities
Pony Rides
Refreshments for sale
Arts and Crafts for sale
New this year – Kite flying, cheese making and a drumming circle!

Musical performance by the Nataf Brothers

For more info or to reserve a spot on the bus please call Mina Brody at 052-6070384 before June 29th.

Chag Sameach!

Maale Levona will be hosting residents from Sderot and Netzarim.

* Chag HaGez is a sheep shearing festival celebrated in biblical times, traditionally done in the spring. A portion was then tithed to the Kohanim, as it is written in Dvarim, 18:4 " The first-fruits of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, shall you give him (the Kohanim and Leviim)".

Maale Levona was the first place to resurrect this ancient celebration and a Kohain will be given a portion of the fleece.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Line of Sand

Tuesday morning I came downstairs to see dozens of large black ants moving their anthill from somewhere outside to somewhere inside. After spraying the ants with insecticide, I poured a line of talcum powder by my front door which stopped any more from coming in that way.

I love the 'committee meeting' going on in the right-hand side of the photo... It's like they're trying to decide what to do now...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Birthday Boy

Someone had his first birthday yesterday...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rite of Passage

Just days shy of his first birthday, NS has his first taste of Bamba (and his first taste of anything peanut).

Half an hour

View North-East...
Half an hour later, the view towards the south-east.

I have to say that particular cloud was really cool....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Yom haZikaron - Memorial Day

As the siren sounded, we took two minutes to remember our fallen heroes and those who fell victim to terror.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Not sure what they're called but I imagine they're Israel's version of the Blue Angels.

Tonight marks the beginning of Memorial Day for the IDF's fallen soldiers and then Wednesday night marks the beginning of Israel's 60th Independence Day.

These planes are either for memorial services or for celebratory happenings in Jerusalem.

Today I caught them practicing.