Showing posts from July, 2010

Motzai Shabbat, and an Ending

(nablopomo, day the last: 31)

I am feeling very strange this motzei Shabbat.  Again, we had a pleasant Shabbat, with friends, in our beautiful setting here, right outside of our townhome.  It was a very hot day: in the 90s, but actually felt even hotter, as there was no cloud cover at all.

I had been sitting outside with my friend's mother (who lives with her, and is also a friend)--in the 90 degree sun; we were trying to get in our daily dose of vitamin D, but I think we over did it.  After twenty minutes or so, I felt as if I was going to melt, and we called it quits.  This was after 1:00 p.m. but before lunch (seudah sheniyah).  Believe it or not, my D. H. comes home late from shul, (Chabad) and I myself haven't been going to shul lately, enjoying my peace and quiet alone in the house, davening or reading the parsha. Or a book. Or the Wall Street Journal.

Good thing I didn't go today.  I would have had heatstroke, chas ve-shalom.  My D.H. came home barely walking, it w…

Turns Out Gaza is...Just Fine, Thank You, If You're Hamas.

(nablopomo day 30)

What humanitarian crisis? What lack of material goods? What poverty and starvation? I'm certain that is going on, but it is not caused by the Israeli embargo.  It is caused by the current rulers of Gaza, Hamas, and their extremely uneven distribution of goods, services and money.  Gaza is now Hamastan, folks.

Here is a current example of what is going on in Gaza, told to us by none other than Ashraf Abu al-Houl, an Egyptian journalist (what? you've never heard of him? How about Tom Gross. Heard of him?), who was surprised to discover (GASP!) that Gaza is rich with abundant goods at low prices.  Wow. Who woulda thunk it.

If you'd like, you can even buy Zionist clothes (-and who wouldn't want to be seen wearing those?) at really affordable prices, in the new luxury mall. Then, after you bought all your cool Jew-clothes, go cool off at a water park.

Oh, but wait--although "supply is greater than demand," you may not be able to partake of the…

Obsession with Israel: A Psychologist's Dream

(nablopomo day 29)

How often have I written about this phenomenon? Too often. The phenomenon that Israel is always to blame for something.  Anything it does is subject to critism, blame or a negative outcry: *Operation Oferet Yetzuka in Gaza was condemned by much of the world and a report on the war was later created by Judge Richard Goldstone and his "fact-finding" U. N. Commission, painting a very negative picture of Israel's alleged 'crimes against humanity' in the war, which were for the most part, proven false.

Recently at the end of May, there was the incident with the Turkish "Gaza Aid Flotilla."  Israel was severely condemned by most of the world at that time for killing nine people on the ship Mavi Marmara, after being attacked while boarding it.  Did you hear much that month about hundreds of people being murdered in Darfur, perhaps? I don't remember reading about that.

Everything, including retaliation against terrorist attacks and suici…

Haveil Havalim - Forgot Again!

I think I'm getting senile (G-d forbid).  I forgot again to post the link to the latest Haveil Havalim*, the weekly Jewish Blog Carnival.  Here it is, on Jewish Boston.  Read to your heart's content.
(*As far as I know, they don't have numbers anymore. Everyone forgot the sequence.)

Remember Daniel in the Lion's Den?

(nablopomo day 28. again.)

I posted about this very brave young man at the beginning of last month , here.  There is now a follow-up interview with him, billed as "the sequel" - stating why he decided to do what he did.  *Am Yisrael Chai!

*Am Yisrael Chai: the people of Israel live!

Israelis are Happier!

(nablopomo day 28)

According to a new Gallup Poll, Israelis are happier than. . .their American counterparts!  Forbes Magazine published a Gallup Poll which surveyed the 'happiness quotient' of populations of various countries. The answers had a "life evaluation score" with the highest score being the happiest.

Israel came in at number 8, tied with Canada, Australia and Switzerland.  The United States came in 14th. Note that most of the African countries come in dead last: the lowest third of the scale, indicating the least happiest.  I have reprinted the table in part here, below, through number 26.

Wealth also figures in the results: generally, the richer the country, the happier its inhabitants. However, riches do not explain it all.  The United Arab Emirates, wealthy as they are, came in at number 20, and Saudi Arabia, at 58.

There is a very telling comment in the comments section, on why Israelis are happier than other populations.  I took the liberty of reprin…

Murphy's Law Squared, uh, to the 15th

(nablopomo day 28)

Everyone is aware of Murphy's Law, right? - "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
However, are you familiar with MURPHY'S OTHER 15 LAWS...?

No? Well, never fear--I am posting them here for your enlightenment, so that your lives will improve immediately.  Here they are:


1. Light travels faster than sound, this is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

2. A fine is a tax for doing something wrong, a tax is a fine for doing well!

3. He, who laughs last, thinks slowest.

4. A day without sunshine is like, well, night.

5. Change is inevitable,  except from a vending machine.

6. Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

7. Nothing is foolproof to a suffiently talented fool.

8. The 50-50 rule: anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

9. It is said that if you line all the cars in the world end-to-end, someone woul…

IDF Should Crack Down on Draft-Dodgers

(nablopomo day 27)

“there is no reason that my daughters are required to do national service and someone else’s aren’t.”
Those were the words of  Brig.-Gen. Orna Barbivai, who is only one of three women in Israel to hold such a high rank in the IDF.  She stated that because of "demographic challenges" and lower immigration, the Israel Defense Forces should start cracking down on draft-dodgers.  She was partially referring to the ultra-Orthodox who receive a religious exemption from serving in the armed forces, and have twice the birth rate of the regular population, or higher.

The ultra-Orthodox receive an exemption in order to study Torah, which is fine, for scholars--but it is now out of all proportion.  Even those who do not have an inclination nor an aptitude for studying and learning Torah get this exemption.  Initially, it was a reaction to the decimation of Judaism in Eastern Europe because of the Holocaust, when six million men, women and children were brutally murde…

All Israeli 18-Year Olds Should Serve

(nablopomo day 26)

It seems that at long last, there is an official call for every Israeli teen, including the ultra-Orthodox or Hareidim, to serve to help defend the state of Israel.  Chief of Staff of the IDF (Israel Defense Force) Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi said recently that all youth eighteen years old should serve Israel in some capacity, if not in the Israeli armed forces, then in the police, firefighters, Magen David Adom (the Israeli Red Cross) or in Zaka.

He said that they should follow the current Sherut Le'umi, or national service model, which is that those youngsters--young men as well as young women--who do not want to bear arms for religious reasons, or are not able to join the armed forces after high school, would be required to do at least a year or two of "national service" in another capacity.  Examples of this service could be volunteering in hospitals, working with disadvantaged youth, aiding the elderly,assisting in special education, internal secu…

Tu b'Av

(nablopomo day 25)

Tu b'Av, or the fifteenth of Av, is a minor Jewish holiday which this year falls tomorrow, on the 26th of July.  It has ancient and modern origins.  In the era of the 2nd Temple (Beit HaMikdash ha-Sheni) it was a day of matchmaking, for single women to be married.  This was before the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.

After the fall of the Temple, the holiday drifted into obscurity and went unobserved for centuries.  Now, with the resurrection of the State of Israel, it has popped back into popularity and is now sort of the Jewish Valentine's Day.  It is seen as chag ha-ahavah, or the "holiday of love."

During the days of the Beit HaMikdash, there were religious customs associated with it.  For one thing, the Talmud and Mishna state that it was a joyous holiday, where the young unmarried women would go out into the fields dressed in white (so as not to distinguish between rich and poor), and dance and sing in the vineyards.  The young unmarried …

A Social Shabbat

(nablopomo day 24)

I am posting today for yesterday, which was Shabbat, and which I explained in a previous post, here--why it is difficult for me to post Nablopomo (National Blog Posting Month) daily, for Shabbat, as I am not permitted, as an observant Jew, to use electrical devices or even write or type on the Sabbath, as they are mundane, workaday devices and activities and also related to the prohibition of creating fire (or a spark) on this day.

Saturday night I was too exhausted to post, because we had a very full, "social" day yesterday.  It started Friday night with a lovely first festive meal outside in the beautiful, cooler night air, a joint seudah with our friends and neighbors, right in front of their front door, on the grass.  It was wonderful (although their young daughter didn't agree with her parents about what time is bedtime.  So she stayed up, first with us; and then, just UP).

During the day, after davening (praying in synagogue, for you uninitiated)…

Shabbat Nachamu

(nablopomo day 23)

The Shabbat after Tisha b'Av is called Shabbat of Consolation, or Shabbat Nachamu, because of the passage which is read from the Haftarah, the prophetic portion read each Shabbat right after the Torah portion.

This week's portion is from the prophet Yishayahu (Isaiah) comforting the people after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash:
נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ, עַמִּי--יֹאמַר, אֱלֹהֵיכֶם. 1 Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. ב  דַּבְּרוּ עַל-לֵב יְרוּשָׁלִַם, וְקִרְאוּ אֵלֶיהָ--כִּי מָלְאָה צְבָאָהּ, כִּי נִרְצָה עֲו‍ֹנָהּ:  כִּי לָקְחָה מִיַּד יְהוָה, כִּפְלַיִם בְּכָל-חַטֹּאתֶיהָ.  {ס} 2 Bid Jerusalem take heart, and proclaim unto her, that her time of service is accomplished, that her guilt is paid off; that she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. {S}ג  קוֹל קוֹרֵא--בַּמִּדְבָּר, פַּנּוּ דֶּרֶךְ יְהוָה; יַשְּׁרוּ, בָּעֲרָבָה, מְסִלָּה, לֵאלֹהֵינוּ. 3 Hark! one calleth: 'Clear ye in the wilderness the w…

Daniel Schorr Dead at 93

(nablopomo day 23)

Our alarm clock and radio is set to automatically turn on to NPR (National Public Radio) early every morning, including weekends.  Even though that radio station is biased against Israel and is pro-Palestinian, it still was, for me, the most if not only intelligent radio station on the airwaves.  I looked forward every week to hearing long-time reporter Daniel Schorr's analysis of U. S. and world events, just before our radio shut itself off at 7:30 a.m.

We will no longer be hearing that weekly interview.  Daniel Schorr, son of Russian Jewish immigrants and former Watergate reporter who, for tough reporting while working for CBS managed to get himself on president Nixon's "enemies" list,  has died today.  He was ninety-three years old.  We will miss his weekly erudite analyses, which he gave on National Public Radio, incredibly almost up to the time of his death.

Barch Dayan ha-Emet.

For True Floridians: The Sunshine State

(nablopomo day 22)

(Got this in an email from my eldest. Which is why I don't live here
(thank you, M.)

Finally, a  true map of Florida that explains this weird, but  wonderful state. Those of you who live in Florida will  recognize it, and those who don’t have been warned  !!!

You  know you're a Floridian if....

Socks are  only for bowling.

You never use an umbrella  because you know the rain will be over in five  minutes.

A good parking place has nothing  to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with  shade.

Your winter coat is made  of denim.

You can tell the difference  between fire ant bites and mosquito  bites.
You're younger than  thirty but some of your friends are over  65.

Anything under 70 degrees is  chilly.

You've driven through Yeehaw  Junction.

You know that no other grocery  store can compare to Publix.

Every  other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004-2005.  

You  know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth wakin…

Humanitarian Crisis - in New Gaza Mall?

(nablopomo day 21)

Look at this "nice, new mall" which just opened in Gaza.  It looks like any new, modern mall with stores laden with merchandise.  So where is this "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, where there is "no concrete to build anything because Israel isn't letting anything in?"
(hat tip, my friend M. in Israel)

Baloney. As usual, they are lying through their teeth (it's an Arab mentality thing.  Go to my labels and read everything I've written about "Arabs."), because it suits their purposes.  It's an Arab custom.

Read whatTom Gross has to say about it. Aside from not having any discretionary funds, by the looks of these pics, I would love to shop in a mall like that.  Wouldn't be able to eat in their food court, though; doubt if they'd have any kosher food emporia. . .

See the whole story and all the photos here.

 Happy shopping!

Remembering Gush Katif on Tisha b'Av

(nablopomo day 20)

How can we hope to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash if we are not allowed to build in all the land?  This is a reminder of the terrible mistake the Israeli government and the army made the day after Tisha b'Av, 2005.  Their entire attitude was wrong.  Jews do not expel Jews.  Jews fight for their land, and conquer swamps, diseases, and poverty--and build a holy civilization and life.

At the very end, the sign in Hebrew reads: "We will remember, and we will return.  Gush Katif."

A Tefilah for the IDF, and Amazing Israel - for Tisha b'Av

(nablopomo day 19)
(Thank you again to Arlene Kushner for the links to these videos.)

A prayer for our wonderful Israel Defense Forces, the IDF.  May G-d protect them.

"For it is the Lord your G-d who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you."

And now, for the Jewish People, chosen by G-d, and their accomplishments in their Alt Neu land.

The Power of G-d - in Our Hands on Tisha b'Av

(nablopomo day 19)

The lesson of Tisha b'Av (the 9th of Av) which starts tonight, applies to us today, in our times: the power is with us, and us alone--to be strong, to fight for and thus create a better future for ourselves as a nation of Jews in our ancient/new land, the State of Israel.  The power of Hashem is in our hands.  We just have to believe in ourselves, and act on that belief.

 Some say that we should just 'get over' this bit about mourning the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash for two thousand years, and 'move on.' I disagree: we should continue to remember, and to mourn--but that is not where it should end.  We should not merely be 'ghetto Jews' and cry about our fate, but get up and fight, and do something about it to change it. 

Let's actively work to get the Temple Mount back into it's rightful hands: ours.  This is long overdue, from the time we took Jerusalem back in the Six-Day War of 1967. At that time we could also have taken…

My Weekly Haveil Havalim Notice

(nablopomo day 18)

The latest Jewish Blog Carnival, Haveil Havalilm # I-can't-remember, is up now at Ima2Seven, and very nicely done, too.
Go get your cup o' Joe, sit down on your comfy computer chair, and read!

The Origins of Hava Nagila

(nablopomo day 17. and 18.)

Bet you'll never guess from where that popular song called "Hava Nagila," known to Jews and non-Jews alike, originated.  It is an ethnic staple, played at weddings, bar and bat-mitzvahs and parties across the world, sung and danced to by everyone, regardless of race or religion.

It featured in the early days of Jewish Palestine, before the declaration of the State of Israel, and evokes the early halutzim, or pioneers--who drained the swamps, tilled the land and built a country.

But not many people know that Hava Nagila, meaning "let us rejoice," is Hassidic in origin (hat tip, my D.H.).  It was, in the eighteenth century, a niggun (a wordless melody) of the Sadigorer Hassidim from the town of Sadigora in what is now the Ukraine, the home of the Rizhiner Rebbe,
Reb Yisroel Friedman (1798-1850).

The song was transcribed by musicologist Avraham Tzvi Idelsohn, who arranged it into four parts and added lyrics:

Hava nagila, hava nagila    …

"Only Israel. . ."

(nablopomo day 16)

After that value-debased video and parody which I previously posted, I am returning to good, Jewish values.  This video below is not so new (I had seen it previously on a blog, don't remember which one, or I would have linked it), but it expresses, in a civilized, dignified manner, what is wrong with the world's attitude towards Israel.  It also expresses Israel's goodness, which can be attributed to the high morals and ethics of Judaism as taught us in the Torah, written and oral, which even if unbeknownst to them, have also been embraced by so-called 'secular' Jews.
I want you to understand something.  There are unfortunately, many corrupt Jews, some even outwardly "religious."  I do not, nor would anyone with intelligence call these driminals "religious."
In my book, they have missed the whole point of piety, and whatever religion they "practice" is just that: an outward show of religiosity, for mar'eet ayin.…

Israeli Soldiers Should Dance to THIS

(nablopomo day 15) 

(2 Warnings: 1. un-tzniusdikeh* video: watch at your own risk.
                   2. some might consider this inappropriate for the nine days. watch. or not.)

First saw the video of the Israeli soldiers (on The Muqata) dancing in the middle of a patrol, to the song Tik Tok.  Not bad. Them's got rhythm, as they say (it's hard to dance with an M-16).  
My son told me that he (and apparently, all of Israel) likes this song.  At first, I didn't.  Still don't like the lyrics (I mean, what sort of role model is that, anyway?)--but the tune and beat are catchy.

So I found another one; much, much better lyrics.  Tells it like it is.  Same tune, same beat.  Those soldiers should dance to this (hey Michal, you listening?)

Cool, huh?

*un-tzniusdikeh: immodest

Home Again

(nablopomo day 14)

Left early this morning for a flight home.  The flight was good, we arrived a little early--made up for taking off fifteen minutes late--and I was exhausted.  Took an hour-and-a-half nap at 3:00 p.m.!

The leave-taking was hard, as it always is for me.  Hugging and kissing the kids--grand and regular--and saying I love them and will miss them is difficult ("goodbyes" are not one of my strong points).  I told my grandkids that we will write letters to each other and send pictures.

My middle daughter always calls me when she walks the dog, so I expect to hear from her soon. My eldest will be too busy working to call, but that's who she is: she is always running.  Maybe she is running from something as well as to something; but running she is, to work, to take her grandma places (shopping, lunch, doctor's appointment, etc.), to take the kids back and forth from camp (and during the winter, school), shopping, photo shoots, etc.

Too tired to do anything…

KCC #56 is Up and Cookin'

Go to the latest KCC (Kosher Cooking Carnival) and savour the delicious articles on Beneath the Wings.  Then go into your kitchen and cook up a storm!

Tuesday Activities...Last, Bittersweet...

(nablopomo day 13)

Today, Tuesday, is my last day here, on this surprise-gift vacation-visit to my children and grandchildren.  Actually, I have much more family here than merely them; I also have my D. H.'s family here: his mom, sister and brother-in-law, and his brother-in-law's sister and husband with whom we are close, as well.

But because nobody knew I was coming (-if they had, they would've baked a cake. But you're too young to remember that song...), both my sister-in-law and her family and my sister-in-law's sister-in-law, whom I am also close with ('cause she reads my blog. Just kidding: 'cause she's a great person, and just happens to be a relative, relatively speaking. But she does read my blog. I think. She'd better.) were not here.

My D.H.'s sister and fam were on a cruise to Alaska, believe it or not. Why couldn't I be on a cruise to Alaska?  That is actually one of our dreams for after we win THE BIG ONE on Powerball or Mega M…

Monday Activities (Second verse, same as the first)

(nablopomo day 12)

I should have said, 'second verse, same as the first, only MORE so!'  Today, my grandson took a day off from day camp at the Y, to go with his Savta to an extraordinary place called Wannado City. After training as a fireman, riding in a fire engine and putting out a building on fire with real water (it's amazing; that building fire was put out again and again, and it kept catching fire over and over again), my grandson re-trained in a new career and learned how to prevent ticks and fleas on dogs and cats.

The veterinary training culminated in an 'operation' where my grandson held the endoscope which explored a very sick 'doggie's' tummy to find the key that he swallowed.  I swear I thought that dog was real at first (his 'chest' rose and fell in breathing motion); poor thing didn't know kids from 2-13 were working on him with their grubby hands...

Last but not least, he decided to be a dentist, and 'trained' for th…

Sunday Activities

(nablopomo day 11)

What did we do today? Oh, yes: we went to a nine-year old's birthday party.  The nine-year old is the son of the daughter of a very old friend.  My friend, who now has Parkinson's Disease and other ailments, and although she can walk with difficulty, needs to be in a wheelchair most of the time. It was good to see old friends, but difficult to see and understand the deterioration.  Her husband, also a close friend, passed away years ago.  I find that I am very aware these days of the passage of time.  My children are grown and getting older, my grandchildren aren't babies anymore (well, the ones here, at least), and I fear that rheumatoid arthritis is at my door, or rather. my hands and knees. 

All enjoyed the party, and the pizza and the cakes, and the raw vegies and dip.  I enjoyed the...vegies...(nothing  kosher).  Then we went to a friend of my eldest, and spent hours there, the kids swimmimg in their pool and playing, and we watching the World Cup …

Basking in Family, Seeing Friends

(nablopomo day 10)

Had a wonderful Shabbat with family on the beach, walked a mile on the broad-walk to shul--blisters to prove it! And when we got there, they had already finished davening--talk about fast!  Later, on a walk, saw a GIANT crab (anyway, it looked giganto to me), walking sideways as they do, searching for a big toe to grab.  Almost grabbed my son-in-law's (he was actually egging it on!)

Getting ready to get picked up by friends whom I haven't seen since the last time I was here a year ago,  in a few minutes, so posting mainly for Nablopomo.  Enjoy your Saturday night!

Received a Gift: an Unexpected Visit to Family!

(nabloppmo day 9)

I am writing this post erev Shabbat* from sunny south_______, where I am (suddenly!) here visiting two of my kids, my son-in-law, and three of my grandkids.  This is a last-minute gift from someone (thank you, D.!) who has a heart of gold.  So on 3 days notice I packed, called old friends to see if we can get together, and--arrived today, around 4:00 p.m. local time.  It is a very, very short visit: five full days, two half-days of travel.  Better a short visit, than no visit, I say.  I will get to see my mom-in-law whom I haven't seen in at least a year and who is approaching her 89th birthday (ad me'ah ve-esrim shanah*), and although these two daughters came with the grandkids for Pesach*, I was pretty sick then with a bout of bronchitis, didn't go with them to the mountains on their sledding trip on chol ha-mo'ed*, and didn't have much energy for anything (let alone "making Pesach," which my husband did almost entirely by himself. Suf…

Maybe We Should Drill?

(nablopomo day 8)

Why are we still dependent on Arab oil? According to the USGS (hat tip Hezbos), we have vast potential oil reserves of our own--possibly billions of barrels worth!  Our economy is in shambles, jobs are scarce and more are being depleted weekly--companies are still laying people off, closing positions and curtailing spending.

Wouldn't it make sense to begin drilling right here in the United States? An expanded oil industry would create many more jobs and boost the economy.  At the same time, we could be exploring alternative energy sources and increasing research and development.  And last but certainly not least, we wouldn't be filling OPEC coffers with money which could be fueling terrorists.

A Disturbing Assessment of President Obama

(nablopomo day 7)

In the following interview, professor Richard L. Rubenstein expounds upon the political views and agenda of President Barack Hussein Obama (hat tip Rafi G.), whom he calls "the most radical American president ever."

In 2009 Dr. Rubenstein wrote Jihad and Genocide, in which he asked the question, should we take the Islamists seriously when they call for the genocide of the Jews?  The answer, after his analysis, is "yes." Prominent Muslim thinkers, he says, mean what they say and say what they mean.  Their view is that "world peace" will come only after a global Islamic conquest.  Islam, he writes in this book, has to compensate for its past military and political humiliations, from the 16th century onward through the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel.  They are looking to take over the world (in many countries insidiously, through proliferation of their Islamic culture) and recreate an Islamic empire, such as there was in the height of their …

Haveil Havalim #274... up and running here, at The Rebbetzin's Husband.  Juicy articles for your perusal.  Don't just salivate--go, READ!

Fireworks Fotos From the Fourth

(nablopomo day 6)

This might be my only post for today, as I've got to get ready: flying out on Thursday to see my two daughters and grandkids, in that other state.

So meanwhile, enjoy some of our pics from our Fourth of July trip.

July 4th Day Trip, Part II

(nablopomo day 5)

Funny, a day after our day trip to that mountain town to see fireworks, I am still tired.  Traveling with a bunch of people (as opposed to a group of bananas) including two inquisitive, active kids with minds of their own and a baby who needs almost constant attention--let alone the parents--is exhausting work.  And lots of FUN!

But it shows me how my energy level has dropped since I was. . .thirty!  Believe it or not, the friends we went with are around that age.  You might consider it strange, but I get along with all age groups.  Another good friend of mine is 79 (as you probably surmised, my age is somewhere between those two friends'...go ahead, start guessing...).   I can't help comparing my situation when I was that age, to my friend's: when I was thirty, I had just had another child, making our number 2.  Our friends (TheShreimels) already have three!

Do you remember what is was like to travel with kids? Multiples of them?  You need a truck, nay-…

July 4th Day Trip, Part I

(nablopomo day 4)

We got home after midnight (my excuse for a late Nablopomo!) so there was no way I could post before the day was over.  We and our good friends and neighbors, the shtreimels*, went with their three kids under five to a town two and a half hours away northwest, to have a two-meal picnic and see fireworks.

The kids were great, the company was wonderful, the meals were yummy, and the fireworks were nice, too--over the lake.

Will write more tomorrow (bli neder), because I am too pooped to peep.  Hope you all had a happy family day on the Fourth, and remembered why America was once--and still could be--a great country.

*shtreimel: a type of large, round fur hat attached to black velvet center skullcap which married men of certain Hassidic sects wear.

Shabbat Mashgichim

(nablopomo day 3)

We just arrived home after 3 shifts as mashgichim (kosher supervisors) at an assisted living facility here.  I say three, because we had to be there Friday at 2 p.m. (at least, my D. H. had to; I came later).  We stayed overnight in the mashgichim apartment, had ourselves a nice Friday night Shabbat dinner (we brought our blech) after D.H. locked up the freezers, coolers and kitchens (there are three: milchig, fleishig, and in the middle separating the two, a pareve, baking kitchen).

Shabbat in the summer is lo-oooooong, ending after 9:15 p.m., so it is a bit hard: we have to walk up three flights of stairs to check each of three pantries and dining rooms, check the silverware to make sure it's the right kind for the coming meal--either fleishig or milchig--and make sure everything is just so.

D. H. did most of the supervising, because my legs were not in great shape (I used to do this hashgacha myself, years ago).  So I stayed in the apartment most of the day, …

Jerusalem: From Time Immemorial, and Forever

I'd like to end the week, and go into Shabbat with this excellent and powerful video, made in 1969 by Stanley Goldfoot.  Shabbat shalom.

The Emperor Has No Clothes: Hareidim Exposed

(nablopomo day 2) 

Why is it so hard for people to be honest about what they see?  Why are we Jews afraid to admit that there is a serious, serious problem with Hareidi* Judaism?

We experienced this ourselves, in our own family, when our daughter (Rambo) first went to Israel in 2004.  She was fifteen years old, and had completed her first year in high school here in the States. For her next three years of high school, she was in Israel, on the Na'aleh program, first attending high school at Kvutzat Yavneh. 

One of their first class trips to Jerusalem took them to the Me'ah She'arim neighborhood, an old  ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in the north-central part of the city.  The class was small, consisting of 7 or 8 girls and 3 boys.  Although it was a modern-religious school, they knew where they were going and were dressed modestly, wearing long skirts and long or three-quarter length sleeves, and walked through the neighborhood quietly and respectfully.

Suddenly, for no ap…

Nablopomo for July: Somebody SAVE Me...

(nablopomo day 1. I must be insane.)

Gosh, I'm doing this again.  Thirty days in June weren't enough for me, so I'm going for July.  Am attempting to post daily, this time for thirty-one days, but to be honest, I'm skeptical.  I don't know if I will be able to succeed in doing this.  I probably am saying this because right now, I am extremely tired.  It's after nine p.m. and we haven't eaten supper yet...but we are having beer-butt chicken, so I am...psyched!  (-more on this at a later date.  Maybe.).

The Nablopomo theme for July is "Saved." I can relate to this theme, because I save everything.  I am the original bag lady, without the bags.  Except for saving old newspapers--and I think I do have a couple or three of those--I am a pack rat.  My D. H. wants to simplify, pare things down to just what we need (not what we think we need, what we actually need), and I view my life as a museum.

An example? Here's one: our eldest is almost at the b…