Showing posts from November, 2011

Working Early Tomorrow

Last day of November, 2011. Unbelievable: where did the time go? (Onward, actually.).  I was just texted by my director (I teach at a preschool) that a teacher will be out tomorrow, and I am needed in the morning.  Last year I worked full-time, but this year I am semi-retired, and work half-time, in the afternoons.
So there goeth my post for the last day of NaBloPoMo November.  No pithy tomes, no deep insights, no spiritual salavations (nor salvations, neither)--just ending the month not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Because I am exhausted and have to get to bed. Have to take care of babies and toddlers and I need my armor (translation: REST).   I promise I'll make up for it tomorrow...well, maybe not tomorrow...

 Lailah tov*! 

*lailah tov: Hebrew for 'good night.'

*Copyright alert: No infringement of any text or graphic copyright is ever intended on this blog. If you own the copyright to any original image or document used for the creation of the graphi…

From the International Chabad Shluchim Convention in New York

Despite what some people say about Chabad, and what flaws it may have as a religious movement (nobody's perfect), the Chabad/Lubavitch movement has done the most of all Jewish religious movements to transform Judaism all over the globe*.

As Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says, if a Jew is lost, anywhere in the world, Chabad will find him.

*...all over the globe: a clip from the opening ceremony of the International Chabad Shluchim Convention, 2011.

New Israeli App will...Keep You Awake

We all know you shouldn't drive while talking on the phone, or rather, you shouldn't talk on the phone while driving (I wear my hands free bluetooth earpiece when I drive, just in case), and certainly not text, right?
But what about if you're dead tired, and you have to drive somewhere? What would help keep you awake and prevent you from dozing off at the wheel, when your mother-in-law isn't sitting next to you jabbering away in the passenger seat (and why is it always the "mother-in-law," not the father-in-law?)?

In a story I first saw on Arutz Sheva and then on the website where the article was first published, NoCamels ( camels?), the answer to the above question, is the new, Israeli designed Drivia app, that's what.  It shouts trivia questions at you while you're driving, forcing you to answer and stay awake (or go crazy), hence the name, "Drivia" - a combo of drive, and trivia.

Leave it to the Jews - we won't kill you, we'l…

Explosion in Isfahan, Iran

The Jerusalem Post is reporting a "mysterious explosion" in the city of Isfahan, Iran's third largest city, in which there is a nuclear reactor and other sites where uranium is being enriched for reactor fuel. 
"In the afternoon, there was a noise like an explosion, but we don't have any information from security forces on the source of the noise," Gholamreza Ansari was quoted as saying.

The Mehr news agency said other unidentified Iranian news media had reported that the blast took place at a petrol station at a town near Isfahan city.

Isfahan is home to nuclear experimental reactors, and also a uranium enrichment facility for producing nuclear fuel.
CNN has satellite photos of the damage done (did I hear somebody say that Iran claims that it was a 'gas station', not a nuclear facility...?)

 Remember the deceptively sophisticated computer virus called the Stuxnet virus?  It was discovered (by geeks at Symantec, I believe) that this virus was a di…

Flash Mob*, Jerusalem Style

My D. H. saw this first on Facebook, then went to Janglo , where it was posted from.
I wonder how long they practiced for this.  Choreography is exciting, and they're really well coordinated.  Go to their website, Hora Jerusalem (I'm linking the English one), and everyone--learn to dance!!

*what's Hebrew for, "flash mob?"  It can't be...פלאש מוב ...?

What the "Black" Really Means in "Black Friday"

The shopping day after Thanksgiving has come to be known as "Black Friday," referring to retailers getting back 'into the black' financially after offering huge discounts to shoppers as loss leaders, and opening their doors at 5:00 a.m. or even earlier.  Thanksgiving, the day before Black Friday, stores were closed, as they are on Christmas.  For many stores, such as large supermarket chains, these two holidays are the only ones during which they are closed.

This year, I was surprised and a bit dismayed to see that many stores began their 'Black Friday' sales on Thursday--Thanksgiving day.  And they were open for business, business and the bottom-line coming first, ahead of giving thanks and celebrating with family.

I was curious to find out whether in this weak economy, retailers did as well as expected on Black Friday, so as soon as Shabbat was over, I headed over to my PC to see the stats.  Instead, I discovered another year of violence, stolen purchases a…

Get-Together with Friends

Had a lovely dinner with friends (fourth year in a row), with all the traditional dishes: smoked turkey (in apple wood) with green beans, sweet potato and carrot side dish, stuffing, cranberry-orange sauce (my D. H. made that one), and pumpkin and pecan pies for dessert.  I'm stuffed.  After dinner we played the hilarious game of Beyond Balderdash, which is the sequel to the original Balderdash, in which you think up creative word definitions and try to bluff the other players.  It can border on the hysterical.

We actually lost track of time, and played for several hours.  I haven't laughed so hard in ages.  Sometimes, it's really therapeutic to get together with friends, and totally unwind.  I think we should do this once a week; ok, maybe once a month--certainly not wait until next Thanksgiving!

I mean, try making up a definition for, say, this one: dactylomegaly.  Or how about graywacke?  First make it up, and then click on the link.  No cheating, now!

Haveil Havalim #340-is LIVE...

...And I forgot to submit a post...again.  Lo nora (translation: nisht geferlach).  Read it anyway, it's got some interesting posts worth reading.  So here it is, sans my blog, at Esser Agoroth, called The Krembo Edition.

(For those of you not in-the-know, this is an Israeli Krembo):

  Talk about junk food...and did you know this factiod?--they are wrapped by hand, not by automated machine.  Strange, in the land of hi-tech.  It puts lots of people to work, though.

Thanksgiving Thoughts and Memories

I was trying to figure out what to write about the holiday of Thanksgiving, when I decided to revisit the posts I had written on this subject in the last four years. These posts brought back memories, good ones, and terrible ones; and changed my mood from happy, to somber.

In 2007, I wrote about our family tradition of making homemade pizza on Thanksgiving day, and having a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings (except for the green beans; we rarely made green beans, I don't know why; 'cause I love 'em) Friday night, for the first Shabbat meal.

In 2008, Pakistani terrorists murdered 164 people in the Indian city of Mumbai, including torturing and murdering Rabbi Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivka Holtzberg in Nariman House, the Chabad Jewish Center there.  Rebbetzin Holtzberg was six months pregnant.

As we have not learned the lessons from this attack, and evil still exists in the world and is called by many other names but its true one, I have decided, upon this Thanksgivin…

Finally, a Voice in the Wilderness

My loyal readers know how I feel about Judaism (love it), and how I feel about the Haredi* distortion of Judaism with their sexist attitudes (hate it).  I have written often (a sampling being here, here, and in my previous post from yesterday) about the radicalization of halacha (Jewish law), and the terrible situations on some Israeli buses, with the verbal, emotional and sometimes even physical abuse of women who dare not to sit "in their place" at the back of the bus.  Shades of anti Black-American segregation from the sixties...

I had also complained (that's what an armchair activist does, complain) that I had not heard any voices speaking up from the Orthodox, or better--Ultra-Orthodox sector about these abuses.  Had not heard, until now (hat tip to Primum Non Nocere for alerting us to this article). Rav Haim Amsalem, a Haredi (or Chareidi, if you will) Rabbi, has now expressed his view of the fanatic, perverted discrimination against women that is going on in Israe…

Kosher Cameras? What is the Haredi World Coming To?

A friend of mine posted an ad on Facebook which really confused me.  Apparently some "gedolim" (yeah, right) decided that most cameras aren't "kosher," because they are capable of...taking videos?

I don't have a clue what that means.  My friend suggested--wryly--that these cameras probably don't take pictures of women's faces...

What is 'unkosher' about videos? Is this what Haredi Judaism is coming to?  I'm worried that some Ba'alei Teshuva and some gerim might actually believe this.

You can look at it in a very badly Google-translated blog, here.  (The original blog is in Hebrew, here.).

Parenting Should Require a Course, and a License

I was discussing parenting with my younger son, who has two toddlers, a three-year old and a two-year old.  He is discovering that's it's no picnic, raising children, especially when one or more is headstrong and leans towards...tantrums!  Let's face it, good parenting is very hard.  It has been said that one needs to take a driving course and earn a license to drive a car, but any person can be a parent, and there's no instruction manual that comes with the kid!

Even a well-meaning, kind parent can become so frustrated with a screaming, tantrum-throwing child that he or she runs out of patience.  But one of the worst things to do is to scream back at the child or show intense anger--that just compounds the problem.  Most of the time, if it's a young, say, two-year old toddler who is "acting out" it is because he or she becomes frustrated at not being able to express himself/herself verbally.  Often, it's best to hold the child lovingly but firmly, an…

Kabbalah and Chassidut: A Powerful Combination

For my women readers in Israel, here is a series of shiurim which should really interest you:  Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman is beginning classes on the fundamentals of Kabbalah and Chassidism, to be held in Jerusalem starting November 22nd.
The Fundamental Concepts of Kabbalah and Chassidut for Women will be held in the Katamon neighborhood in Jerusalem at the Shir Chadash shul, the first class being this Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

To get a feel for Rabbi Trugman's teachings, watch and listen to his latest shiur on the parsha we just read this Shabbat, Chayei Sarah.  See all his shiurim on the parshiot on the Trugmans' blog.

He also composes music and plays the dulcimer.  You can listen to his music on the Ohr Chadash website.

Rebbetzin Rachel Trugman, aside from being a wonderful human being with a heart of gold, is a teacher in her own right, creating innovative programs for women, and is also a family therapist with a private practice.

Love is a Fire in Your Heart Wedding Hall

My niece is getting married this March, and I am so happy for her--she has found someone whom everyone says is a great guy (including my daughter, Toodles, who now lives in New York who has met him and has gone out with the two of them several times).  We actually are planning on attending: I only have one sister and one niece, and I want to celebrate her big day with them.

So (le-havdil) I came across this lovely wedding story on the news, and couldn't resist posting it.  What are gifts? Food? Cake? Flowers? What's important is, you and the love of your life have a story to tell to your children and grandchildren for years to come:

(photo by Nicholas Augustus  /  The Canadian Press via AP)
There are wedding disasters, and then there are wedding disasters. In the first (and more typical) category, a bride or groom might botch the wedding vows or flub a dance move. But in the DEFCON 1 category, the entire wedding venue — including the food, cake, decor…

Not a Reader, Not a Leader

Boy, was I wrong about Herman Cain; and I am extremely upset about it.  I was so enthused when he first hit the news media.  Here was an unconventional, energetic non-politician come up from humble beginnings (his parents were a domestic and a farmer turned barber), earned himself a Bachelor's in mathematics and a Master's in computer science and went on to become a successful, wealthy businessman.  It was a breath of fresh air coming after seasoned politicians, same-old-same-old.  It was a hope that the "American Dream" was still alive--that a person of poor beginnings could achieve academic and career success, and still be a "mench."

And then, accusations of sexual misconduct towards females in the workplace, from the time when Cain was president of the Restaurant Association--accusations which he fielded very badly, at first denying any knowledge of the accusers or of the incidents, claiming the allegations were lies.  It was disclosed that the accusers …

Advocate for Tolerance: of Muslims and Jews

Pamela in her blog Atlas Shrugs wrote about a new reality show on The Learning Channel about an All-American Muslim family.  She noted that Alyssa Rosenberg, culture reporter for advocates watching the show to counter "Islamophobia," because the show depicts ordinary Muslim-American just trying to live their lives and 'balance their faith' with being American.  When was the last time you saw a reality show depicting an Orthodox Jewish family, 'just trying to balance their faith and nationality' living in the United States?
I read Ms. Rosenberg's post. In my opinion,  The lady doth protest too much, methinks.  

Funny how I never hear anyone speak up so eloquently for tolerance of Jews.  The poor Muslims are maligned, but all turn a blind eye antisemitism and racism towards the Jews.  So I commented on her post, with the views that I've stated ad nauseum in this blog, Tikkun Olam.  Here it is, reproduced below.

You're concerned abou…

Politics in Total Disarray

*this post was begun two hours before midnight on Nov. 14th; therefore it covers the 14th and the 15th. I have spoken.

America is in deep trouble.  We have few viable candidates for president, neither Republican nor Democrat.

On the Democratic side, our current President in my opinion pays lip service to supporting Israel's need for 'security' as he rails against building "settlements".  He is no lover of Netanyahu*, as evidenced by his little conversation with French President Sarkozy with the mike he didn't think was open (*but we sort of knew that before, didn't we, when Bibi visited the White House and was publicly snubbed by Obama); he embraces Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan instead, who has been bad-mouthing Israel and supporting Hamas and Hezbollah, with nary a word from our illustrious President, even though the aforementioned groups are on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations --more his type, I guess.

And on the other side of the…

MarHeshvan: A Month of Great Significance.

I've written on this blog about the Jewish month of MarHeshvan several times, the most recent being this past November first,  where I mentioned the double-entendre meaning of the prefix "mar", originally referring to droplets of water, Heshvan being the first month of the rainy season in Israel, and for which we pray for rain in the preceding month of Tishrei.  Later on, the month of Heshvan's prefix "mar" took on its sardonic second meaning of 'bitter', it coming right after a month laden with holidays, it being a bare-bones month of...nothing.*

Today I came across an article about the significance of this month, but projected into the future.  According to tradition, the dedication of the third Bet HaMikdash (Holy Temple) will occur in the month of MarHeshvan.  Watch and listen to this video about the sweetness of the month of MarHeshvan.

But (smugly), I knew this all along.  After all, three of my four grandchildren in Israel are Heshvan babies.…

Windy Shabbat

My friend Ethel is staying over by us for Shabbat.  We walked to shul today (a tad late...) in a blowing wind, that the meteorologists said could increase up to 40 mph.  Leaves were blowing in our faces, our heads were down, leaning into the wind.  Fun. 

But the temperature was over 60 degrees, on November 12th.  Imagine.  And everyone gasps when I say I live in D-----.  "It's really cold there in the winter, right?", they ask. Our winters here are actually quite varied; sometimes they are extremely cold, for a period of time. And then, after a week or two--if that long--we suddenly have mild 45-65 degree days.  When it snows, generally in several days the snow is gone--not so much even melted, but sublimates into air.  Just plain evaporates.  It's really nice, living in a dry climate. Not like the East Coast where I grew up, where New York snow in biting cold, wet winters turns into muddy, filthy slush and lasts for weeks. 

The only complaint I have is that I have t…


No more daylight savings time--back to mountain standard, now with 2.5 hours left to run around like chickens without heads before candlelighting, facing the first early Shabbat of the season (they don't call it "short Fridays" for nothing).  We got little to no sleep last night because of 1) my cold, and insomnia, and 2) my D. H.'s extremely painful tooth--he was on antibiotics and hydrocodone since 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.

So I figured, what the hey--I'm already UP at 3:54 a.m., might as well call Israel.  So I called my older son (who just had the baby) to find out how his wife was: there had been a complication, the doctors found a blood clot in her fallopian tube, and she was in the hospital.  He said she was on medication and blood thinners, the doctors were monitoring her, and she will have to be hospitalized for a few more days, over Shabbat for sure, and also probably Sunday.  He himself had gotten little to no sleep the night before, being up with the…

Controversial, but Food for Thought

Just came across a guest post by Shoshanna Jaskoll on Life in Israel which is an eye-opener.  It opens a discussion on the attitude of religious and ultra-religious men towards women, from the extension of the prohibition to hear a woman singing while a man is davening the "Shma," to a general prohibition of women singing, period, including zemirot Shabbat (no sexual intent or content whatsoever) in a mixed group.  From condemning women for not being "tzni'us" enough to threatening to expose those women who dress in burkas; also disallowing photographs and ads depicting women (even of those modestly dressed) and essentially removing them from the "public sphere."

Nowhere do I see any religious and ultra-religious male indignation, however, towards men who emotionally and even sometimes physically assault women who dare to do the dastardly deed of sitting in the front in buses not officially designated as "Haredi" (ultra-religious) buses.  Obv…

Looking Forward to Shabbat

This week has been a bit difficult because I came down with a cold at the beginning of the week.  Not sick, mind you, but a cold: sniffling, runny nose, tired--you know the deal.  The last time I was sick, I was really sick, with head cold, fever of 101 degrees (F), aches.  Was in bed, and didn't work for about a week.  It happened during the chagim, so our school was closed for the Yom Tovim.  I missed the first two days of the week, Monday and Tuesday, and part of Wednesday (Wed. night was the chag).  My D. H. did all - and I mean all - of the work, including the cooking. Thank G-d his hobby is cooking, or we would have starved (or eaten tuna fish out of cans for the seudah).

What I have now is nothing compared to that, and I'm in a great mood throughout, because of my son and daughter-in-law's new baby, Yael.  So I'm going to work feeling sick, but high! 
Nevertheless, I am looking forward to Shabbat.  We are having an elderly friend stay over, and guests are comin…

Are You Politically Constipated?

Time to welcome Pat Condell again for slapping the world's face with the unmitigated truth as eruditely as always.

Haveil Havalim #336-The Jewish Blog Carnival is Up!

I haven't even visited, let alone submitted anything to the Jewish Blog Carnival, Haveil Havalim, in a dog's age (-and of course now we have to ask that question, "how old is a dog, anyway?"), so it's time.
You can read the most interesting posts which went online this past Sunday here, at the Velveteen Rabbi's blog.  I think I stopped submitting posts around number 236, maybe even earlier.  And this one is number 336.  A whole lifetime has passed by.

There was a post there which really touched me, about a mother's eternal worrying about her children, from a depth of love that is unimaginable.  It reflects exactly how I feel, and am.  We mothers ought to unionize!

NaBloPoMo!! (Nothing New to Write About!)

Well, here it is--already the (blogger looks at watch) seventh (7th) day of November, and I've posted about everything important in my life: family, Israel,Judaism.  And now there's nothing left!!
What am I gonna do?  I have to post because...I signed up for "NaBloPoMo," or National Blog Posting Month, and I am supposed to post something (anything) every day, for gosh sakes.  I just knew it would happen: blank stare.  No ideas.  Dried up.  But it's only the seventh.  I thought I'd run outa ideas on, say, the fifteenth, at least--middle of the month.  No dice.

Oh well ( "oh well?" That is soooo lame).  Going to eat something (stomach rumbling away), leave a bit early to pick up a book and DVDs from our local library, and go to work.

What I really want to do to Israel and Florida!! Donations gratefully accepted...

*Copyright alert: No infringement of any text or graphic copyright is ever intended on this blog. If you own the copy…

Baby Has a Name-Another Strong Biblical Woman!

Just found out today my new granddaughter's name.  It is the name of a strong, brave Eishet Chayil from the Torah, as is her older sister's.

Big sister's name is Naomi, of Ruth and Naomi fame--remember Naomi--meaning beautiful, pleasant, or delightful--was such a good, loving human being that her daughter-in-law, Ruth, did not want to leave her after Naomi's sons and husband died.  She loved G-d, and after her personal tragedies, returned to her people with Ruth, who accepted Judaism and the G-d of the Jewish people.  Encouraged by her mother-in-law, she later became Boaz's wife, from whom the future King David would descend.

Naomi's new little sister's name is Yael.  Yael, who is written about in the book of Shoftim (Judges), was the brave woman who dared go out of her tent, using her beauty and feminine wiles to lure the evil Canaanite general Sisera who was attacking her people, into her tent, getting him drowsy with warm milk, covering and then killing …

Muslim Former Anti-Semite Turns Zionist-Where Are the Jews?

Over recent years there have been several Arabs, both Muslims and Christian Arabs originating from various countries such as Lebanon and Egypt and even from Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank), who have become prominent in the news because of their about-face from their initial hatred and condemnation, to absolute support of Israel and the Jewish People.

Names which come to mind, and some about whom I've written before in this blog include Brigitte Gabriel, Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish and recently Mosab Hassan Yousef of Son of Hamas fame, who grew up in Ramallah and whose father was a founding leader of Hamas.

Some of these brave individuals have renounced Islam and converted to Christianity, while others have kept their faith but condemned Islam's lies, obfuscation of the issues and unequivocal hatred of and blame of Israel for all the problems in the Middle East.

I have just learned of another such hero, a Muslim, who has reversed the anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist ide…

New Granddaughter Born Today!!

I have some wonderful news--grandchild number seven (כן ירבו), a girl, was born today to my son and daughter-in-law in Gedera!!  A Shabbat baby, she weighed in at 3.38 kilo, about  7.45 lbs!

We saw the message indicator on our phone flashing red and were on shpilkes waiting for Shabbat to end so we could run upstairs to the computer, access our VoIP account (no more landlines) and listen to the message, which we knew was coming, because we spoke to our son erev Shabbat and his wife was already at the hospital in Petach Tikva!

Here is a first photo, of Rambo holding her new little niece. They both of them look good, Baruch Hashem!

May there be many, many more healthy and happy babies!  There is nothing as important as family...

RSD/CRPS Awareness Month

November is CRPS/RSD Awareness month.  From my daughter's RSD Awareness Facebook page (please visit, be a fan, spread the word!):
Someone I Love Has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)...November is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Awareness Month...Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by severe and relentless pain that affects between 200,000 and 1.2 million Americans & over 5 million worldwide. CRPS was first documented in the United States during the Civil War. It was named Causalgia due to the intense burning pain suffered by soldiers long after the pain from the healed wound should have diminished. The name has changed many times over the years, but, regrettably there is still no cure. Nor, is there an effect treatment for all patients with the condition.

Here is a reproduction of one of my daughter…

Update on my Daughter...

Haven't written for a while about my daughter and her ongoing disease, CRPS (formerly called by its first acronym, RSD), so it's about time.  If you've read my older posts on this subject, you will remember that she was admitted at the beginning of August to a private hospital in Tel-Aviv called Re'ut (in English meaning "friendship"), a rehab hospital.  She received various therapies there, including physical and occupational, for her painful, non-functioning legs. These included mirror imaging therapies, Graded Motor Imagery and others.

At one point, when she heard that the hospital couldn't have her be an inpatient indefinitely, she told her physical therapist to give her crutches--that she would force herself to stand up and walk, through the pain.  Her therapist said she was totally not ready for crutches, but she found her a special walker (I wrote about this in a previous post) which would support 85-90% of her body weight, and my daughter used it …

A Drasha for Parshat Lech-Lecha-and Hassidic Niggun, Too

Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, of Ohr Chadash gives regular shiurim (Torah lessons) on the Torah and Jewish mysticism.  Here is one shiur on the Torah portion to be read this Shabbat, with a little niggun (musical tune, often Chassidic) thrown in to set the mood.  You can also check it out on Radio Free Nachlaot.

Why not visit his and his wife's, the Rebbetzin Rachel's, blog called New Horizons, which has wonderful insights into the Torah, Jewish traditions, the Jewish calendar, prayer and mysticism?  For the month of Heshvan, or Mar-Heshvan--just feast your SOUL.

(You'll find so much more meaning there, than here):

Makes perfect sense.

*Copyright alert: No infringement of any text or graphic copyright is ever intended on this blog. If you own the copyright to any original image or document used for the creation of the graphics or information on this site, please contact the blog administrator with all pertinent info so that proper credit can be given.…

So Sad, but True--Except for the Orthodox

First November NabloPoMo* post.  Let's see how consistent I can be here (don't hold your breath).

I just read an article entitled America's Holy Haunted Houses, about how most synagogues empty out after the "Chagim" or High Holidays are over.  The Jewish month in which we are now, called by its Babylonian name, "Heshvan," is sometimes called "Mar-Heshvan," 'mar' being another word for  'tipat mayim,' or a drop of water,because the prayer for rain is said on the last holiday in Tishrei called Shmini Atzeret--but it also means 'bitter,' some say because of the fact that this month contains no holidays, coming after the extremely holiday-laden and holy month of Tishrei.

But this, below, is not the case with my shul*, or any Orthodox shul, where people come to pray because they are observant, devout, and serious about Judaism as part of their everyday lives. They come to shul to daven, or pray, at least once a day (Judaism…