Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Night to Remeber and a Day for Packing

Last year Tish B'Av was crazy. Our lift was packed during the day as we prepared for Aliyah a couple of days later. There was the huge propane plant explosion that shook our building even though it was 3 km away. In the evening we went to a quick Eicha reading and then had some of the best friends in the world help with packing. In the morning I went to a quick davening to be home for the movers. This year would be different.

Tish B'Av night we went to our shul for Eicha reading. Our Rabbi is away as his father is very ill. He gave a shiur via Skype. Eicha was nice considering we wish we didn't have to read it. Our original plan was to finally go to the Southern Wall Excavations during Tish B'Av afternoon. We decided there was something meaningful to be their Tish B'Av night. After Shul we got in the car and headed to Jerusalem.

Traffic around the old city was extremly busy. There were traffic cops everywhere watching traffic. It would have been nice if they did some directing as well. There is a great indoor parking lot at Mamilla. Due to getting stuck in the wrong lane, I approached the street needing to make a right turn instead of coming from the other side and making a left. The police had blocked off the right turn so I had to loop around from the other side. The intersection where the road was closed was a nightmare. A bunch of cars made illegal U turns. Eventually the third one caught the attention of police and got yelled at. It was fortunate for me as it blocked traffic allowing me to get out of the lane I was stuck in. We finally made it to the left hand turn lane into the parking lot. The police blocked me from making the turn a few times in order to allow busses through. After waiting patiently a car pulled around me to attempt to cut me off to make the turn. When I honked at him, it got the police attention and they finally allowed me to go through.

As we came down the stairs to Kotel, there was a group of 3 girls with the slogan "Donate to have the Beit HaMikdash built now!" The girls loved Channah as we stopped to explain that it was tzedakah if she wanted to give. They eventually gave her a sticker, which she took and wandered off. We gave for her and headed on our way. All 3 of them had a big wave for her when we passed them again when we were leaving.

The Kotel was very different from other times I have been there. Tearing Kriyah at the Kotel on Tish B'Av brings a whole new meaning to the day. Lots of people spend the night and had matresses and pillows laid out all over the place. As it is customary to sit on the floor many people use the Kotel as something to lean on. Even the security gaurds were sitting on low chairs. I took a walk from end to end along the wall and back and could not find a single spot. Eventually I just said a prayer standing back and then leaned over someone to touch the wall.

Tish B'Av morning was like the good old days at the Village Shul. A bunch of Kiynot were selected and there was a lenghty explanation before each one by different members of the shul. There were interesting insights plus they sang Kinot 31 (Beseti Mitzraim, Beseti Yerushalyim) to the tune I love. Shul ended just before noon. It was then time to go home for 6 straight hours of packing. I hate packing on Tish B'Av and I don't plan on doing it again next year.

Mincha, shiur Maariv brought an easy fast to an end. We didn't do kiddush levanah in order to do it Motzei Shabbat. The move made it a little hard to stay focused on the day. Channah was not as heart broken this time. She told me she didn't think Mashiach was coming so fast. When I asked her why, she told me "Some kids in my Ketanah just don't get it." Hopefully next year we will celebrate Tish B'Av with a BBQ at the Bet Hamikdash with no packing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

AT&T SocialNet is Launched

I started my current job just under 5 months ago. I am a QA Tester for cell phone software. It is completly different than any of the jobs I have had in the past. The job is a great fit for me, plus I have the bonus of 'having' to use Facebook and Twitter at work.

Today AT&T officially launched AT&T Social Net This is the main program I have been working on. It combines Facebook, Twitter, RSS and MySpace into one application on your phone. The program is completly free, although it is not recommended to be used without an unlimited data plan.

It is really cool, to see a project that I have put so much hard work into finally in the market place. I just keep thinking how cool it is that a problem I noticed and was fixed could effect the user experience of millions of people.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New apartment- unpainted (channahs room)

the room

the aron

New apartment- unpainted (master bedroom)

Walk in closet part 1



reverse view

ensuite. Toilet is behind me.


MAster bedroom. Yeah I know. Carpet. wtf?

New apartment- unpainted (hallway and non-master rooms)

Double wide, mirrored doors linen closet. In an Israeli apaartment. Nope. Not joking.

bathroom and laundry room. Yes it is being cleaned and painted. Yes that curtain is going to go.


studio. Will be the same colour as the salon

mirpeset (off the living room)- note the succah support structure :)


built in shelves in the laundry room

New apartment- unpainted (public spaces)

The living room, dining room, entrance way and kitchen. Will be a light taupy creamy colour- except the wall with the air conditioner which will be a dark, rich brown.


reverse view- the wall with the door will be the dark brown one.

kitchen side one. Fridge goes next to the oven on the right. Note the built in spice shelves, cabinets to the ceiling, and toaster garage above the oven. Yes I know the sinks are tiny. Can't win them all.


kitchen side 2 and front door. Table will hold microwave so Channah can reach. I have pot
drawers!



hallway to bedrooms

Gratuitous cuteness


And, as she is 5, we need to also include grumpy, frustrated, exhausted Channah. Just so we can share this lovely pleasure!

A fantastic resource for those thinking of visiting our lovely country

I have been led to a website that is a fantastic resource for anyone thinking of coming to visit Israel. Things to do, places to stay, restaurants. They will even help plan itineraries.

http://www.govisitisrael.com/

Just for reference, this is what it has on Beit Shemesh- ask anyone local- takes more time to read this than to do anytihng around here so far as we knew!

City: Beit Shemesh

Region: Central / Jerusalem Area

Location:
Beit Shemesh is located in the Jerusalem region at the start of the Judean Hills. Beit Shemesh is located 30km/20miles west of Jerusalem.

Driving Directions to Beit Shemesh:
Beit Shemesh is approximately 10 kilometers from hi-way 1 (Shar Hagay exit). Travel hiway 38 until you reach Beit Shemesh.

Cities/Town Close By: Bet Guvrin, Beitar Illit, Jerusalem, Kibbutz Tzora, Latrun area, Modiin,Yishi

Population: approximately 75,000

Landscape:
rolling hills

Modern Day:
Beit Shemesh was established in 1950 as a "development town primarily for new immigrants. Today Beit Shemesh is a thriving city with many modern conveniences and modes of public transportation (bus, train, taxi). Modern day Beit Shemesh was named after the Biblical Beth-shemesh.

Biblical History:
Beit Shemesh is referenced in the book of Joshua (21,6) and the book of Samuel (6,12).

Beit Shemesh can be traced back over three thousand years to the times of Yehoshua. Excavations near Beit Shemesh show the existence of a Hyksos and later a Canaanite town dating back to the 18th century B.C.

In the 13th century Joshua took the town (Joshua 21,16). In the 11th century the Philistines defeated the Israelites in a battle and captured the Ark of the Covenant; but its possession brought them bad luck and they were forced to return the Ark to the Israelites. The cart carrying the Ark, drawn by two Oxen, passed through Beth-shemesh (Samuel I 6,12) and then continued to Qiryat Yearim, near Abu Ghosh. About 800 B.C. there was a battle between King Amaziah of Judah and King Jehoash of Israel (2 Kings 14,11).

Near by Parks/Forests: Brittish Park, Beit Guvrin National Park, Ein Hemed National Park, Castel National Park, Eshtaol Forest, Gilo Forest, Herodium (Herodion) National Park, Jerusalem Forest, Latrun area, Martyrs Forest, Peace Forest, Presidents Forest, Sataf, Stalactite caves, Sorek-Salmon Ridge, U.S. Independence Park, Yishi Forest, Park Begin near Mevo Beitar

Modern Day History Sites: Harel/Burma Road, Netiv HaLamed Hei, Har Yaale, Nes Harim etc

Caves: Stalactite caves, Bat caves, Twin caves, Bar Kochba caves, Beit Guvrin National Park, Ukbah caves, Luzit caves

Biblical Sites/Tels: Tel Bet Shemesh, Emek Haela, Tel Azaka, Tel Yarmut, Tel Shocho, Kever Dan, Kever Shimshon

Shopping Malls: BIG Center

Museums: None

Theaters/Perfomance Centers:
Beit Shemesh Conservatory

Festivals: Festival Beit Shemesh is the largest Jewish Rock and Soul Music Festival in Israel (October). The Three day festival includes daily activities for the Family, including Nature hikes, Bicycle Trails, Children's workshops, Arts and Crafts fair, Judaica, Painting, Sculpture exhibitions, Druse Hospitality tents, Jeep rides, Food vendors etc.

Things to Do:
Hiking, Biking, Discovery, Archeological Digs

Dining:
click here

Lodging: Bed and breakfast apartment, apartment rentals, local kibbutz lodging

Off the Beaten Trail

Tel Yarmut - read here

Tel Safit / Gath Archaeological Park- read here

Derech Burma West - read here

Nes Harim - read here

Seriously, go check it out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Add

Attention Chattanim! Make your Kallah's happy while playing with a blowtorch!

Ok, I like it.

A sort of but not exactly electrifying day...

We were away visiting friends in Modiin elite for shabbat. we had a great time, and by the time we got home and finished winding down last night it was well after midnight. We did not really even start thinking of going to bed until around 2. Now it may not necessarily sound like the worst thing in the world when you live in chutz la'aretz, but clearly you are forgetting that Sunday is a workday here. On top of not falling asleep right away, I was also up around 4 am becuase I was having really wierd dreams. First I dreamed that mom and abba had informed us they were having another baby and it's name was going to be Shiraq with a silent q that is pronounced George, then another one where I was friends with a lion that was stalking me.

Yes I know. I have wierd dreams. Moving on. Suffice it to say that when the alarm clock rand this morning I was seriously not interested in listening to it. Somehow I managed to drag myself out of bed, get dressed and get Channah down to her carpool for camp. I came back upstairs, turned on the fan as today was set to be another scortcher, and colapsed into my bed for what I hoped would be a really long sleep. The plan was to do a bunch of work and packing when I woke up.

About 45 minutes later I woke up broiling. The fans were off. Ok, no problem, I went to check the fuse box. Hmmm, everything was fine there. Yeah, long story short, the chashmal (electric) company had cut our power! Seems they had gotten the Sunday of our move slightly confused and shut it off at 9:30 this morning. Ok, they will turn it back on somewhere between 2 and 6 pm. did I mention there is a service charge for this?

So it was hot. I was exhausted and very, very cranky. None of my power tools will work (you try setting the stone on the *inside* of a ring with no power tools and no air conditioning! I lasted about 15 seconds before giving up). Packing with schvitz running down your back is incredibly unplesant. I shut the tris in our room, soaked my hair, and grabbed a book (our room seems to stay the coolest most of the time).

Channah got home from camp and let me tell you with no fan and no a/c she was no happier than I was. In fact, since she refused to wet her hair she was worse!

So I was trying to figure out what to do with a grouchy, sticky, hot five year old. I decided to let her go to the makolet to get a popsickle. I could not go anywhere as I was waiting for chashmal people to show up. So for the first time I sent her alone. I send her to the makolet just down the block that has no streets to cross. I gave her 20 shekel, told her ot get me a cold diet coke and pick a treat for herself.

She was SUPER excited! She went running out the door with her little money pouch. She came back about 10 seconds later. Wait, Ima- where is it again? What am I getting?

A glass a milk, a crust a bread and a stick ug buttah

Wait, scratch that :)

Ok so we went over the whole thing again. Seh was pretty sure she had it now. I reminded her to come right home after, an so she took her little pink polka dot pouch and off she went.

About 10 minutes later I hear the door slam.

"Hey Chan. How was it?" (expecting a bouncy and excited 5 year old).

"Terrible. They had no candy."

Wait, what? They have a whole wall of candy. And a huge thing of ice cream and popsicles.

"They only had donuts and I did not know if I was allowed a donut and I do not know how to say donut".

Oy. She had gone to the felafel place. I knew that becuase they had an add campaign running about selling American style donuts.

Ok, so we worked out that she did not see the makolet (next door to the felafel place and lots of stuff out in front of it) and so she went to the felafel place that had soda, got the diet coke, but then was upset there was no treat for her- jsut felafel and donuts! So I asked her if, now that she knew where she was supposed to go she wanted to try again. As both places had air conditioning and we still did not she was game.

But she wanted to know if she could have the donut. I told her sure. The next question "How do I say donut?". She was a little surprised to learn that "donut" would work just fine. she left and came back about 10 minutes later happy as a clam (are clams really that happy?) with my change and her donut.

We did osme sorting of old shoes and clothes and then the chashmal finally came back on so I got a bunch of work done before my piano student showed up. I have another ring seminar student hopefully starting tomorrow so I had some stuff to get ready for that as well. We actualy went out to dinner (mmmm aroma salads and ice chocolate milk!) and raced home so I could finish the work stuff before clients came to pick up their items.

So my day really only started at 4 o clock. I managed to get everything done that I wanted to that I had budgeted a whole day for. I did NOT get any normal packing done- but lets face it. Have I ever moved with enough notice for it to not always be last minute? I just did not want this move to think it was special...

In other news, Congrats Gasners on getting your stuff. does that mean we can come for shabbat now? Actually, b'h we are good for I think the next 2 weeks around the move- I love our friends and neighbours around here!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New stuff in the studio

I have started a small side project where I am running a seminar for chattanim to make their own wedding rings. It is 2 sessions, the first they learn and practice basic metalsmithing skills on copper or brass, and in the 2nd, they work on pre-purchased gold to actually make their own wedding rings.

I only just started running the program and so far have had some success. The students seem to really enjoy it, and because they are so in to it, I really enjoy teaching the class.

Hopefully it will turn into a nice side stream, and I hope to add some different jewelery making classes in the near future.

For pictures and a little of what people are saying about the new program please visit

http://www.phony-art.com/weddingringseminar.htm

I am a good idiot :)

I just got told I was an idiot for taking channah away from family and moving to Israel. Frankly, I would rather be my kind of idiot than one who makes statements like that without knowing any more information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My kid is awesome!

Channah just saved her spazzing out eema from a ginormous, icky, eema eating spider. My kid is awesome.

By the way. Do you know when you Google "Israeli spider" you get some really nasty anti-Israel propaganda? Who knew?

Monday, July 20, 2009

He is the egg man.

We have a guy who delivers eggs to our door on random nights of the week. The problem with this is two fold. 1) I have way more eggs than I know what to do with as I do not need 30 every week and 2) I have yet to pay the guy since he just leaves them and goes without knocking or anything.

anyone have any good recipies for a lot of eggs? I think we are at 90 now.

Random this and that.

Channah floated today all by herself for like, well.. at least 1 and a half seconds! Truthfully, the fact that her teacher is helping her get over being terrified of water is way more important to me than any actual skills she learns. She is standing in chin high water on her own, dunking, blowing bubbles with her entire face in the water, and will tentatively hold a flutter board or water noodle and float/kick. Whether she "swims" or not I totally think we have gotten our money's worth. Two weeks ago this child would not get in to water more than knee deep withough strangling the nearest adult.

In other news we are all well on the road to being healthy again! My voice is still gone, and we are all still coughing but we are back to our normal routines and scheduals. Thank Goodness!

Finally, my webhost switch went over with lots and lots of hitches, but everything finally seems to be working properly.

Now if only we would actually get started on packing and the fact we are moving in 2 weeks we might be in business...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yes, No, Yes

Yes the riots in Beit Shemesh are reasonably near us- in that "other" ramah.

No we are not in any sort of danger at all.

Yes we are affected in small ways like being unwilling to go to the post office and more importantly Channah can not go to camp as she would need to drive through the rock throwing jackasses to get there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Random Messages

1) Good luck tomorrow Deb.

2) Mazel Tov Karen and Morrie! Wishing you long happy and healthy lives together and thanks for giving us a great excuse to start searching for a good travel agent (yes we know it might be a ways off but it never hurts to start looking! Let us know when you have a date so we can be really organized!)

3) Tzeitzchem leShalom and Bruchin Habaim to the newist family members on the aliya bandwagon! To the Gasners- coming to the end of our first year, I can tell you it is a huge and very worthwhile challaenge and we are thrilled to have you joining us on this side of the ocean. MAy the rest of our family be so smart!

4) To all the new readers we have picked up i nthe last few weeks- Hi!

Sickos

We are all sick. Coughing, sneezing, fever of 39*C (roughly 102*F for all you non-metric people), achey, cranky, miserable sick. Channah stayed home from camp yesterday and might today (and I guess swimming lessons but we will see how she is doing when she wakes up). Even Jason is taking a sick day (unheard of for him! When you have a job that pays you play on facebook and twitter, who needs sick days?). I am behind on my work. We are moving in 2 weeks and I have not started packing. This is not good.

Swimming Swimming

We started giving Channah swimming lessons this summer. Got her a gorgeous new bathing suit (thanks Deb) that was big enough to fit 4 of her into so we are using this hand-me -down one for now with it just so happens she LOVES so we are good in any case.

She is taking lessons in a backyard pool about a 15 minute walk away and I am really thrilled with the class and the teacher. 6 girls, roughly the same age, the teacher, and an assistant.

Anyhow, so we decided to take her swimming on Friday sio she could practice. There is a pool about a 15-20 minute drive from here. It is mixed swimming, but I wore a t shirt and a skirt made of swimsuit material. It actually worked out really well.

They had a full sized pool and and a little kiddie pool that we let her go into once she finished "practicing" with Jason and I. All in all it was a great day- except for the fact Jason got a nasty sunburn (which is funny as he was the only one of us wearing any sunscreen).

Since I can't post a pic in the Aunty Deborah Bathing suit, I will post one in the aunty Deborah terry dress that makes awesome throw on top of a bathing suit for the bus ride home after swimming lessons or ice cream after a family day at the pool dress.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bet Shemesh's Newest Gemach

Gemachim are great because they allow people to share stuff they don't necessarily have a current use for. It also gives people an opportunity to stretch their finances by not needing to buy every single thing they need. This can be especially helpful for controlling the costs of weddings, bar mitzvahs and baby stuff related costs. It is the true meaning of Jews looking out for one another put into action.

The local phone directory "Shemeshphone" has more than 100 categories listed under Gemachim. The listings themselves take up 14 pages. Items covered include basics; clothing, food, loans, cell phones, chairs, baby stuff, chick peas, laundry detergent etc... They also include things that are a little more unusual; snake catching, roof rack, lost objects, emergency auto repair, table cloths, wigs, vacum cleaners, clocks, ladders, DVD players etc.... My favourite is still the השבת אבידה - ילדים Lost Children Gemach. We have 5 of them for all of Bet Shemesh.

I always thought the list was very thorough and complete. Then I saw this sign in our building.



Yes, the sign is for an ice cream gemach. Not only do I live in a city where ice cream is considered an essential service but it is being run out of the building we are moving to next month. I love this country!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Absorbing Israeli Culture

It has been approximately been a year since we finalized the decision to move to Israel. It is amazing how much Israeli culture we have absorbed in the last almost 11 months.

I noticed today that I have a tendency to put the noun before the adjective when writing sentences in English.

I was looking at some flyers for summer camps. One advertised that it was run by 13 year olds. Starting age for running a camp is usually 11. What caught me off gaurd was they each had 4 (yes four) years of experience.

As we have a spare guest room we had guests staying with us for a really fancy Auf Ruf one building down the hill. We were told they were a family of 4 until they showed up with 3 kids. Turned out she was within a week of her due date. When they did not return by 11:30pm we concluded they were not coming back. Then I went outside and heard that they were singing Shiur HaMalot. 20 minutes later I went outside and heard them finishing the end of benching. They returned 12:15 am.

I still have moments where I can't believe I actually live here and how much I love it.

Today I am an adult.

We just bought a washing machine. A new one. A front loader.

I am ridiculously super excited.

It is also the first time ever we did not just buy the absolute cheapest bare minimum we could get away with and actually got a decent machine that we wanted (within reason obviously). I feel like I am growing up too fast...

In other news, for sale. One washinng machine. contemporaries with my mom.

The Sound of Silence

So I have posted a number of times about the local email list and how it can have its moments. Two days ago someoen posted asking whether there was anyone else planning ot go up to a free Simon and Garfunkel tribute concert at the Hertzaliya marina.

We had not been planning on it, but hey, now that you have mentioned it, that sounds like fun! So we decided to be spontaneous (a day in advance) and booked a sitter. Jason decided he could skip the shul meeting (when he looked at it logically happy wife way more useful than happy shul in the long run).

Anyhow, so we grabbed pizza for dinner (quick, easy and leftovers for lunches) fed Channah before the sitter got here and were ready to leave right when we wanted to be. We are enjoying this whole having use of a car thing. We grabbed the ipod and some cruddy speakers and were off.

We got to within 5km of where we wanted to be before we hit traffic, then got off the highway to head the wrong direction. concert started at 8- we got to the marina around 5 after and spent 15 minute or more lookign for parking. Got to the concert around 8:30.

First thing to know is that the marina is gorgeous! It is not just a bazillion boats like most of the ones I have seen. This has a boarwalk, a big mall, lots of cafes and restaraunts (many kosher, none mehadrin that we saw- bit there is a mehadrin ice cream option). Nice arcade :)

The concert stage was set up at the bottom end of the marina. There is a huge open concrete area that had loads and loads of keter* chairs. Every seat, I would guess about 400 (but we all know I am terrible at this game) was taken. People were on the ground, on the docks, even sitting on the fences. Staff were bringing out more and more chairs. Forget any sort of fire safety or anything like that. Moving any direction was by special request only.

Jason and I found seats on the dock that were not bad until someoen stood right in front of us. By the time the show was partway over though and some people had left so we were able to just move to normal seats about 2/3 of the way back.

The concert itself was wonderful. It was a Simon & Garfunkel tribute band and they were really good. I guess the part thatamused me most was that it had never occoured to me the patter, and even some parts of the songs, was in Hebrew. It was actually really nice ot be comfortable enough in both languages to understand jokes that went back and forth and what not. On the other hand, it is wierd to hear some of my favourite lines of music sounding remarkably less familiar.

We wandered around the marina for a bit after. Checked out thebooths of "Made in Israel" crafts set up along the water's edge. Nope. Did not buy anything. It was really nice. Oh, bought some marshmellow bananas in honour of making abba want to come back to visit... (hamayvin yavin).

*Keter is sort of like rubbermaid but way, way better. They make pretty much everything under the sun. We have lots of odds and ends that are keter. I doubt there is a home in the country with no keter stuff.

Too many yellow flags

We decided to pass on the car we were looking at. Just too much about it felt wrong even though everything looked right.

Back to square one.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Old is old

Looked at a car tonight. It is older than some of my piano students.

+ not much trouble with rust in this country
+ not likely to be stolen
+ decent sized trunk
+ in our budget
+ has passed emissions testing for the year
+ huge trunk. will hold hockey equipment

- odometers go up that high?
- need to go into Jerusalem to see the actual one we are looking at and not a "similar one on the lot"
- guarantee? What's that?
- not sure why it is going as cheaply as it is considering other similar ones with much higher mileage are more
- smallish back seat- okay with one extra person or a couple of kids in a carpool. Two adults plus Channah would be very snuggly

Further random thoughts

This started as a reply to a comment elseware, but it started turning into a whole megillah so I decided to give it it's own post.

For a long time Jason and I were much further right leaning than we are now. We realized after a time that the only thing "wearing the uniform" meant was that we were trying to force fit ourselves into a slot that was not the right shape.

I do not believe in segregation a group diferentials because of outer casings. After a time I refused to dress as if I did.

I one heard, from a female Reform rabbi, there when it all boilds down to it, there are only 2 types of Jews. Those who take their Judaism seriously and attempt to do what they believe is right in the eyes of Hashem, and those who don't.

I think it can be extended to encompass all of humanity but changing it to "there are only 2 types of people in this world. Those who look to make it a better place, and those who don't.

Those who believe that Hashem/life is restrictive and is looking to make life hard and unenjoyable for everyone- that the only goal is to get through with "top marks" for yourself and screw everyone else. Those are the ones who I believe have no true understanding of what Judaism is. I firmly believe that Hashem wants us all to be individuals within the great framework he has given us. I also think that framework does include things that each of us are "over" on in some way. I have gay friends who would give you the shirt off their backs if you were in need. I know a woman who would never be caught outside the shower without her sheitle. Her kids are dressed in perfect matching outfits everywhere she goes. Her husbands hat is always perfectly brushed. And I also know she has absolutely zero decency in how she treats her hired help. I see people who are "completely shomer torah and mitzvot" who cheat the government out of every penny they can. It is not for me or anyone else in this world to judge who is a "bigger sinner".

People can accomplish the most amazing things when they build bridges rather than dig trenches.

Further random thoughts

This started as a reply to a comment elseware, but it started turning into a whole megillah so I decided to give it it's own post.

For a long time Jason and I were much further right leaning than we are now. We realized after a time that the only thing "wearing the uniform" meant was that we were trying to force fit ourselves into a slot that was not the right shape.

I do not believe in segregation a group diferentials because of outer casings. After a time I refused to dress as if I did.

I one heard, from a female Reform rabbi, there when it all boilds down to it, there are only 2 types of Jews. Those who take their Judaism seriously and attempt to do what they believe is right in the eyes of Hashem, and those who don't.

I think it can be extended to encompass all of humanity but changing it to "there are only 2 types of people in this world. Those who look to make it a better place, and those who don't.

Those who believe that Hashem/life is restrictive and is looking to make life hard and unenjoyable for everyone- that the only goal is to get through with "top marks" for yourself and screw everyone else. Those are the ones who I believe have no true understanding of what Judaism is. I firmly believe that Hashem wants us all to be individuals within the great framework he has given us. I also think that framework does include things that each of us are "over" on in some way. I have gay friends who would give you the shirt off their backs if you were in need. I know a woman who would never be caught outside the shower without her sheitle. Her kids are dressed in perfect matching outfits everywhere she goes. Her husbands hat is always perfectly brushed. And I also know she has absolutely zero decency in how she treats her hired help. I see people who are "completely shomer torah and mitzvot" who cheat the government out of every penny they can. It is not for me or anyone else in this world to judge who is a "bigger sinner".

People can accomplish the most amazing things when they build bridges rather than dig trenches.

Is moshiach here yet? Of course not.

There are times where the place I live terrifies me.

Not because every day we are inching closer to a war with Iran. I can deal with that. I made my peace about moving to a country constantly on the brink of war before getting on the airplane- anyone who tells you they did not contemplate the issue in one way or another while weighing the aliya options is lying. That sort of fear comes part and parcel with Israel citizenship.

No, what scared the living daylights out of me is, shall we say, certain "darker" members of our society- and in no way am I referring to skin colour.

This morning I got up, got dressed, remembered I had to go to the post office, then got dressed again. The local post office is "there". There were no one will look me in the eye and God only knows what will happen if I enter dressed in sandals.

I live right in the heart of one of the craziest areas of the country where Hareidi and Dati Leumi and Chiloni and all sorts of other fairly meaningless classifications of people clash regularly. I live in an area known to be so insane that Chareidim from other areas think that ours are loony. Granted that, for the most part, the "crazies" are few and far between and live "down there"- but they are still around and that 1 or 2% are vocal enough to being a bad rep for the rest of the community.

This morning I came home from the post office to find my mail box stuffed with tznius patrol sort of stuff. A full colour, gloosy pamphlet that included diagrams to show me exactly what was, and what was not acceptable. A recent change at my health care facility- public owned and open to everyone who pays membership, is now informing people who need appointments that they must come in "appropriate attire". Thanks maccabi. If I have a kitchen accident I will be sure to take the time to put on socks before I rush over.

But it is not just here that things are getting out of hand. These few darker elements of an overal good society are becomeing more extreme and more violent on a quickly increasing scale. I do not understand how anyone, anywhere, can justify the riots taking place in Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh.

Is being mechalel shabbat by driving against the rules set forth by the Torah and masorah? Yes. Should I do my best to make sure that if there is soemthing I can do to lesson the levels of those being mechalel shabbat in this world? Maybe. Should I do it with violense so I can make sure that my position is clear and that there is no way on God's Earth that such a thing can be allowed to continue? No way in Hell!

I am not sure where this is going. I am just frusterated with the sickening perversions of a faith I hold true and the way it is being portrayed to people- and not only to outsiders! I am just as easily influenced to be "anti" as any non believer out there.

The whole thing saddens and disgusts me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th time's the charm

Jason finally managed to get his temporary license- on his 4th try to the misrad harishui! Temporary is good until January- and supposedly he will *likely* get the real one before then (but that is open to some debate- he still might need to renew the temporary) and we think it is good until 2018- but we are nto sure abotu that.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A car :) (temporarily)

Thanks to friends who got a new old car we are able to use their old old car for a few weeks until they sell it. This is a perfect time of year for this and will make the summer much more enjoyable. We are just starting to look into buying our own really old car- but as we are not desperate we can wait until we find the perfect deal on a little old POS.

I cried because she had no shoes

Lor and I decided to take the kids to do something fun so we packed everyone in to her car and went off to Modiin to Eretz Nehaderet- and indoor playground sort of thing. We got there in decent time and figured there was about an hour for the kids to play before we had to get back on the road to come home. The kids took off their shoes, put them into cubbies and went off to play. They ran, they climbed, they jumped, they bounced, they slid and they rode the mini train until we told them it was time to get ready to go.

Channah ran back to where her shoes were- only there were not shoes there. She came back to tell us her shoes were gone. Lor was going over that way anyway so she sort of rolled her eyes and said she was going to go look. she came back. "Rach? The shoes really are not there."

So of course I did the eye roll thing and went over. Surprise surprise no shoes.

So I looked all over the place. Under jackets, on climbing areas. No shoes.

It seems someone had walked off with Channah's sandals! 200 shekel down the drain. Do you know how hard it is to find shoes for a kid with a long but AAA width foot?

So I went to ask the guy at the door if there was anywhere else it could be (lost and found? a different shoe cubbie) "Not my responsability he sais. When I try to ask if I can leave contact information and a description in case it turns up he just keeps repeating "not our responsability". Gee thanks buddy.

Eventually I found a staff member willing to humour me and pretend to take the information and my card with my number on it.

I suspect they will never get a 2nd thought from anyone but me.

So we drove back to Beit Shemesh with her barefoot. Once she understood that I was not angry at her (she had put them where she was supposed to!) she took the whole tihng like a trooper. We took her to two different shoe stores locally to try to find shoes, but not a single pair would fit. I have been told about one more local place to try so we will likely go Friday- if that does not work out I am going ot take her back to Jerusalem to where we got the first pair.

Grr...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Avatiach avatiach a a-vatiach..

In honour of Channah's first day of camp being "Yom Watermelon", I figured I would post what I have learned about this heavy hitter of a summer fruit.

Nothing quite says summer like watermelon does it? Seriously, around here you know summer is coming because every makolet is full of green orbs and little old ladies asking you to lift them into their carts. It is all good though since you can then ask them how the heck to know if it is a good one.


I have had lots of little old bubbies give me lots of answers. It should smell sweet. If should have a little give to the shell (who knew watermelons had a shell? Are we cross breeding them with eggs now?) They should have no smell becuase if they do it means they are over ripe. The crust (yes, she said crust) should be hard and firm.

Yeah. Helpful huh?

So I googled for help. What I have learned.

  • Look at the bottom of the melon for a yellow or cream patch that was directly on the soil while it was growing. If it is green or white it was nto sitting long enough and is likely not yet ripe.
  • The outside should be firm and DULL green. If it is light looking or bright it is not a good sign.
  • If you tap it it should sound like your hand is sort of bouncing off it- not hollow and not like hitting concrete.
  • It should be heavy realtive to its size.
  • Doo not buy watermelon that was refridgerated. It goes bad much quicker.
  • Watermelon does not ripen once it has been picked so do not get a pre-ripe one and hope it will mature in your kitchen.
To store your watermelon, keep it in a cool dry place, but only put it in the fridge about 12 hours before you want to serve it. Refridgeration has been shown to make them go bad a lot faster. Try to wash your emlon before you cut it so as not to get the germs from the skin into the actual fruit. (I know, who am I kidding right?)