Monday, February 28, 2011

The Day We Wish Never Happened

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Gabriela Galit. She leaves behind parents and an older sister who loved her very, very much.

For most of us it takes a life time, our Gabi was able to fulfil her purpose in life before she was born. She has been a source of love and inspiration. She taught us that even the impossible can be come true, for both good and bad.

We loved our Gabi very much and will always remember her.

Extra thanks to all the special people, who were there to be with us today in our time of crisis. Rachel will be in the hospital for a few more days. Visitors are greatly appreciated.

Rachel & Jason

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Channah in the old stroller

Stroller Shopping

When Channah was little we had 2 strollers.  The Graco Metrolight that we used the vast majority of the time, and a small umbrella stroller that we used when we wanted something really small and convienient.  By the time we left the umbrella stroller was falling apart, and since Channah did not use a stroller anymore anyway we just tossed it.

We brought the regular one intending to put it away in case we needed it again- and so we did.   The problem is that the old one is build for Toronto- oversized tires and a huge wheel base perfect for snow.  Large and heavy to stand up to wind.  Folds long and flat to fit well in a trunk.  Nice and stable for on buses.  The problem is all of those "features" turn into drawbacks when you live in a country where everything is tiny and narrow, and snow is not a regularly occurring phenomenon.  Not to mention that you can not keep strollers open on buses here, so I really needed something that would collapse very quickly and easily while holding a baby in the other hand.

So I started looking.  A few weeks ago I went to a Dr. Baby store and found one I thought I liked.  Umbrella fold, nice high handles for Jason.  Lightweight.  I came home and showed it to him on the website, and while I was on the site started looking at some other options and found another one I wanted to look at.

The end of season sale is on now so last year's models are currently on sale, and there was 150 shekel off the price of the one I liked, so Jason and I decided to go over after an appointment today to take a look.  We also looked at the other one.  It had every single feature of our old stroller- good canopy, decent sized basket, almost full recline, parent tray, kid tray/toy, good wheels etc, but is roughly 1/3 the size and only half the weight.  Oh, it also can still hold Channah should we so desire (so can the old one, but this one hold roughly 5 kilo more).  It also has some  removable pieces so that if we need to make it even smaller for a small car or whatnot, it reduces to roughly half the size of the old stroller.  It has a huge all season canopy that comes right down to the front bar to block both sun and wind.

We bought it on the spot.  This is the one that will iy'H be coming with us on our next trip to Toronto.

Oh, did I mention it is bright, eye piercing apple green?  At least we are not likely to lose it by accident.

Presenting the Dr. Baby Paris.

Also has a 3 year bumper to bumper REPLACEMENT warentee (so if it goes back we leave the store with another stroller and are not left strollerless) good across the country.

Old and new side by side for a size comparison 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little updates

Firstly- as of last night this baby is officially more patient than it's older sister was.  This pregnancy is now longer than the last one was and every day is twice the bracha it was until now!

Secondly- here the school kids dress up for purim katan during adar aleph.  Channah's class had to dress up as opposites.  Here she is as day and night.  She originally also had a sun crown to go with her moon belt but it was too scratchy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentines

I may not celebrate valentines day, but this day will always be the most special one on the calendar. It is the day I became an eema. The first time I saw Channah she was tiny and connected to more things than I could count. I could not touch her or hold her- but there was a valentines for mommy in her incubator. Best present I ever got. I kept it in her baby book.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Investigating Kashrut Properly

One of the drawbacks to life in RBS is there are elements of the community that want to be frummer than everyone else. If that makes them happy, then it generally doesn't bother me. The problem is in RBS these elements tend not to be satisfied with "improving" themselves and want to make their chumras public policy. In RBS B (home of such embarrassing groups as the Neturei Karta and the Burka Babes) the trend is to use Tzniut as the vehicle for attack.

In RBS A there has been an Anglo shul that has been the lightning rod of controversy by handling community issues the "Daas Torah" way. Over the past 6 months they have hosted a number of special shiurim designed on increasing "awareness" of the level of kashrut. As an offshoot there have been two major kashrut scandals. When the dust settles it became clear that there was never anything problems with the kashrut of the food. A little more care and due deligence would have prevented setting off the Kashrut Alarm.

Over the past week, I conducted a kashrut investigation of my own. The Keurig website had explicitly stated that Twinings K-Cups were not Kosher. The Twinings web page stated that all of their products sold in the United States and Canada were certified kosher by the London Beth Din with a link to their website. As we sell to schools, shuls and businesses in the Jewish community, providing in correct kosher information would be really bad.

If I followed the models practised locally, we would have notified all of our customers that Twinings wasn't kosher and pulled the kosher information off our website. Instead, I contacted Keurig, Twinings and the London Beth Din. Keurig repeated the Kosher information on their website and said I should take it up with Twinings. The London Beth Din said they would investigate and I never heard from them again. Twinings initially provided their London Beth Din Kosher information. They then told me that they had contacted Keurig and they had accepted their OU certification and the website would be corrected. The Keurig website now lists their Twinings tea as being certified by the OU.

When money and halacha are mixed together, it is very easy for things to get complicated. One time, when our Rabbi was asked to check out a particular restaurant he found certain things that set of warning bells. Rav Goldstein (who is a big local Posek) told him that while there were valid concerns, halchically it would not be permitted to say that the restaurant was not kosher. Unless there is a blatant kashrut violation, time and care need to be taken to get all the facts correct before making public proclamations. In this particular case Twinings was able to reestablish themselves on equal footing with the other 4 tea manufacturers without the mass panic of customers who would falsely think their brewers had been used for a non-kosher product.

Thursday, February 3, 2011