Showing posts from January, 2013

The Truth About Yair Lapid: An Empty Celebrity

My son did not vote for him, but when he read Yair Lapid's (of Yesh Atid) platform, he thought it sounded reasonable.
'There is a future' The Hebrew Yesh Atid means 'There is a future.' The party's platform is decidedly domestic: Reforming government, seeking affordable housing, improving a "failing" education system, and the biggest hot-button issue, putting an end to the exemption from mandatory military service for ultra-Orthodox Jews who have traditionally been legally allowed to avoid military service in order pursue religious study.  I agree with much of this as well.  Housing in Israel is out of sight: I don't know how the average Israeli can afford to live comfortably--not excessively, but comfortably. I agree that most Hareidi young men should be required to serve in the Israeli army, but that only the most learned, or geniuses--iluim, if you will, can have that exemption to learn Torah.  I think there's a need for that as well.


Iranian Nuclear Facility Bombed?

UPDATE: Arlene Kushner wrote about this (hat tip, Daled Amos). Chances are, well, you know. Remember Stuxnet...?

Why have I not heard more about this story  published on YNet on January 26th:
WND, an American news website affiliated with the Right, reported Friday that a mysterious explosion has destroyed a significant portion of Iran's Fordo nuclear facility – considered Tehran's most fortified facility.The website alleged that Hamidreza Zakeri, formerly with the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Intelligence and National Security, confirmed that the facility was hit, but the report has not been corroborated by any Western source. I checked back at World Net Daily, a right-wing website, and this is among what I found:
Sabotage! Key Iranian nuclear facility hit?
Source: Explosion destroys much of underground installationPublished: 6 days ago
byReza Kahlili
An explosion deep within Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility has destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 24…

A Quiet Tu Bishvat

My D.H. and I had a quiet Tu Bishvat (New Year for the Trees, on the 15th of the month of Shevat), just the two of us, at home.  We had invited friends but they politely declined, admonishing me to rest--and they were right.  However, the two of us didn't want to forgo a seder, so we decided to hold our own private little Tu Bishvat seder Friday night.  Just the two of us.

My D.H. made roast chicken stuffed with oranges and clemantinas (clementines), which we had with side dishes of couscous, butternut squash and a special salad consisting of avocado, rimon seeds (pomegranates), grapefruit, clemantinas, and slivered almonds (I might have left something out).  We conducted the Kabbalistic seder around the Shabbat seudah, starting with wine--this time, white wine, according to the standard Tu Bishvat seder where one begins with white wine and gradually reddens the wine until the last, fourth glass is all red, symbolizing the changing seasons.

We read the various p'sukim (verses…

Another Israel/San Diego Connection

In addition to that of my daughter, San Diego, California has another Israel connection: Israel is helping desalinate San Diego's water supply

As many of us know, water is a most precious natural resource in the Middle East, and in past years there has been a fairly severe drought, in Israel and other countries in the region, due to lower rainfall.  This winter with its powerful storms of a couple of weeks ago, which brought snow to the higher elevations (I heard from friends who visited me on Shabbat that approximately 6 inches fell in Efrat, where they and my son and his family live) and pounding rain to central Israel, including flooding in Tel Aviv, has gone a long way to ease that drought, and raise the level of the largest body of fresh water in Israel, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), almost to it's high water mark.

The Middle East is not the only region with severe water problems.  I never expected, however,  that one of those areas would be San Diego:
The greater San D…

Condoning Barbarism Perpetuates It

Well, enough about me.  It's a little late, but here Pat Condell wishes everyone a Happy New Year.  You think we'll still need this video next year?  G-d help us...

Don't Eat to Live, Part II

As I began two posts ago, I am on a very interesting diet, interesting in that it shows how incredible our bodies are and how they were created to function.  Because I am taking a blood-thinning drug orally, as well as injecting myself twice daily with another blood-thinning drug until the oral becomes therapeutic (medicaleze for 'starts to work'), I have to limit my intake of vitamin K, vitamin E, and a host of herbal substances, including ginger and garlic.

I love salads, and was trying to lose weight by increasing my intake of dark green leafy vegetables. So now, dark green leafy vegetables--and almost everything in between--are not exactly verboten, but have to be eaten consistently.  Take avocados, for example: lower on the list (see below) but still on it; whenever we have them in the house, I eat one, sometimes two a day.  Then days go by and we haven't bought any, so I don't eat any.  NOT a good plan when you're trying to raise your INR to 2-3, when the pre…

Kvelling with Pride

Not continuing yesterday's post yet, because a short time ago my daughter posted photos of herself speaking at the Federation event in San Diego.  Remember, the JDC (who funds Federations) paid for her trip to the States to speak at their Board in New York to be an advocate for disability awareness and accessibility.  When I saw these pictures, I knew I had to share them with my readers.

Her long, three-month trip to the States is drawing to a close. Thank G-d, she was with us here at home for the entire month of November, and then on and off with us in Florida for our family Bar-Mitzvah.  Where did the time go? 

She returns to Israel this week, back to her little Tel-Aviv apartment, hopefully not waterlogged from last week's storm.  Back to fighting for good health care, for doctors willing to help her and give her new therapies, for her Kupah  (HMO) to pay for those therapies, for her lawsuit to finally be settled (who knows how long it will take), for Bituach Leumi (Nationa…

Dont' Eat, in Order to Live

Three days ago I was found to have a pulmonary embolus, which actually penetrated my left lung and caused a pulmonary infarction. That means that living lung tissue began to die. Luckily, it was caught in time, totally by accident--I went to the ER on Thursday thinking I had pulled muscle while working out, or perhaps torn a ligament or even, heaven forbid, cracked a rib.  That is the kind of pain I was in after an hour and a half of very light cardio, and doing various exercises which were geared to my age and limitations, which at the time I thought was only arthritis, being overweight and out-of-shape.

Turns out something else was going on, which I had no clue about at the time. A couple of hours after coming home from the gym, I felt a sharp pain in my left rib-cage area.  The rest is history.

My life has now changed.  I am on a blood-thinnning drug, and until it becomes therapeutic I have to inject myself with a blood-thinning agent in a syringe.

And to add insult to injury, it&#…

Don't Feel Like Posting

Well Shabbat didn't turn out the way I thought.  The post below is so cheery and airy. I don't feel like that now.  Friday night was a bad one, I reacted badly to Dilaudid (narcotic analgesic for my pain), and was nauseous and vomiting the rest of the night.  Was awake much of the night because of this, and so slept most of the day Shabbat.

I have DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis--which turned into a pulmonary embolism.  

The doctor deemed me 'stable' (little do they know) enough to discharge me last night.  Could have posted, but didn't even think of it.

Truth is, didn't do anything today, just stayed in bed long enough until I had to give myself the Enoxaparin injection.  I will have to do this twice daily, every 12 hours, as close to the exact time as possible.  In addition I am taking Coumadin once a day.  Until the Coumadin becomes therapeutic I need those supplementary injections. I gave myself the first one Saturday night at the hospital, under supervision,…

Shabbat is Gonna Be Different

I have ordered all my meals for Shabbat, this morning, from the only kosher retaurant/catering/deli in town.  Had my "airline food" breakfast of rubbery omelette (yum) with potatoes, o.j. and coffee, and a chef salad from the Deli for lunch.
Will be getting my hot food a little after 4 pm, or just before 'candle-lighting.' I use that term loosely, as when I asked if I could light candles in my room (tongue in cheek: wanted to see their reaction) while hooked up to oxygen (not to mention IV drip and heart telemetry monitor), they said, uh, no.
So my D.H. is lighting for me at home, and I will be doing the following activities on Shabbat, not in any definite order (bli neder):
1) davening (D.H. brought my siddur and a chumash)
2) Making kiddush (grape juice today. I'm a good girl)
3) Making hamotzi and eating roast chicken, couscous and vegie.  And oh, also chicken soup with matzah ball--if they got my order right.
4) Daven, and
5) Read, read, read. 
6) Sleep
7) …

The Best Laid Plans of Mice, Men, and Me...

My plan for today was to go to work, and post a new post when I got home, then go to the classical mandolin concert (playing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra) at the JCC, for which my D. H. bought tickets on Monday.
Instead, I am in the ER waiting to be transported to my room in the Hospital, where I will be sojourning for 3-5 days, over Shabbat. The reason being, after being in excruciating pain yesterday and slightly less-so today, I decided to check it out.  I have a pulmonary embolism in my left lung, probably 'flung up' (the doctor's words) from my leg through my heart until it found a place to rest in my lung. I've already had X Rays, a CT scan and an Ultra Sound.  My attending ER doc was kind enough to hustle me a laptop before they whisk me up to my room  So although I signed up for NaBloPoMo, this may be the only post you get for a few days (you're probably jumping for joy--no extra emails to delete).

You know what they say: Man Plans and G-d Laughs.  …

Kosher Supervision: How Much is Politics?

My D.H. just sent me an article about the kashrut questions on Hebrew National hot dogs and salami.  They themselves say they're kosher, but the hechsher, Triangle-K (Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag is Rav Hamachshir) is not accepted in the Haredi or Hassidic community and as a result, we don't use it.

Granted, the meat from Hebrew National is not glatt. But read this, and tell me why it should not be considered kosher?  Non-glatt meat is still kosher, although some would say, not to the highest standards, which they consider that glatt, is.  "Non Glatt" means that there was some question about the meat, a mark on the lungs, and the lungs are blown up and inspected even more thoroughly. "Glatt" means smooth (in Hebrew, halak), or, no marks on it, so the meat passes through without the extra inspection of the blown-up lungs.  It seems to me, that the doubly-inspected meat--if it is not rejected because a moom, or blemish, was found on it which would disqualify it as kosh…

"It's Raining Rain, Not Missiles!"

"Be careful what you wish for." We always pray for rain in the autumn, because rain is the lifeforce of Israel from Biblical times. The recent past has been more drought than rain, and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) has been very low for several years now.  I don't know, however, whether this is too much of a good thing, or not.  In the south of the country, my son and his family, on the way to a sheva brachot in Ashdod from the Gush area, turned back because of the severe weather.  Parts of Tel Aviv have flooded.  It's main highway, the Ayalon (along the diverted Ayalon riverbed) was closed for hours.

A video here shows how fast the water is moving and how high. 

My daughter's apartment is just south of here. Downhill.

(And no, there is no separate swimming for men and women on the Ayalon. Or mixed, for that matter.)

The Times of Israel reported that:
Israel has experienced heavy rains and wind since the weekend, with flooding and felled trees reported from the…

Cannabis in Canaan

My daughter, known to you as Rambo, has a debilitating disease.  She developed this disease as a complication of a car accident, hit in her left leg by a poor--and typical, I might add--Israeli driver.  She has RSD/CRPS (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), a neuropathic condition for which there is yet no known cure.  RSD is a chronic pain condition: she is in constant pain, which she tries to control by taking daily medications. In addition to her other meds she is also on a transdermal Fentanyl patch which she places on her arm and changes every three days.

Our daughter generally is not able to eat much, as there are gastronomic side effects to her disease.  She never knows what each day will bring: often, she is nauseous for no apparent reason (the reason is RSD), and without having eaten anything, she will vomit up stomach bile.

Marijuana would probably help my daughter control her pain. Marijuana could give her energy, and appetite as well.  I truly …

Moses Led the Jews to...Shale Oil

In addition to the natural gas deposits found offshore in various places in the Mediterranean, Israel also has apparently huge shale oil deposits, which with the rising prices of conventional oil have recently become profitable to extract.  Some say the yield of shale oil could be as high as 250 billion barrels, comparable to that of Saudi Arabia.

These deposits were found in the Shfela area, near Emek haElah (The Elah Valley), where King David found his round stones and defeated the giant Goliath.  Extracting these deposits often require methods, such as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), which may impact the environment--it's very controversial in the United States at this time, especially because the chemicals used in this process could contaminate ground water.  The beauty of the Israeli deposits is, that there is a deep separation between the shale and the aquifer by "200 meters of impermeable rock."  Dr. Harold Vinegar of Israel Energy Initiative speaks h…

It's All About Energy...

Haven't heard anything lately about Israel's natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean lately.  Last I read (from June, 2012) Noble/Delek was given the go-ahead to develop the Noa North Gas Field offshore near Ashkelon.  Supposedly, gas is now flowing from it.  Could Israel be the next Energy Giant, fulfilling its own energy needs and exporting energy to nations around the globe?

That would change the Middle-East dynamic, wouldn't it (well, January's theme is energy, isn't it?)

Annexing Judea and Samaria: That Energizes Me

The theme for today for NaBloPoMo is, 'at what time of the day do I have the most energy or feel the most productive?'  Well ("never begin a sentence with 'well'"), since I went to bed very late yesterday--Scrabble and Words with Friends can do that to you--I am not energetic today nor am I productive (read: my D. H. is preparing for Shabbat; he loves to cook, so no problemo).  Wait, I did carry the laundry which I did yesterday all the way up the stairs (3 flights) to the bedroom, where it now sits, crumpled up and unfolded, in a heap on the bed.  It's ok--mainly underwear, nobody sees it.

But generally, it's during the morning hours that I have more energy.  When I was a teenager--hard to remember that far back--I thought I was a "night person." that was probably baloney.  I just did what every other teenager does, stay up late either to study, or party.  Actually, I wasn't a party person, so the latter does not apply to moi. Seriously…

I Agree with UCI

In going through my blog post list, I found this video which I had intended to post in September, after the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.  I must have forgotten about it and it remained as a draft.

It's never too late to remind ourselves of what is going on in the world, and how terrorism rears its ugly head again and again.  And it's never too late to remember what our policies and responses should be to an attack such as this.

So I am posting this now, almost four months after it happened.  To remind us of what we should have done, how we should have responded, and of whom we have in the White House,  who didn't respond and act how he should have.  There will be a 'next time.' What will we do then?

No More Twiggy for Israel-But Should It Be Legislated?

I saw a strange article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, stating that Israel will be banning models who are too thin and have a BMI of 18.5 or less from appearing on the modeling runway and in the Israeli media (meant for Israeli consumption).  We all know that young girls today--mainly in the secular, but many in the Orthodox world as well--are bombarded with images of extremely thin actresses and models who have become role models for how a girl should look.  This has contributed to malnutrition, poor self-images, anorexia and other eating disorders.

This law was enacted in March, 2012, but is just now going into effect.

I would not go as far as Ronn Torrosian does, in saying, " Israel, a light unto the nations again--" le-havdil, as they say--but an important point has been made, that girls should have better role models than deathly skinny actresses and models.  This model below looks as if she is a concentration camp inmate, starving to death.

On the other hand, is…

Energized by my Grandson's Bar-Mitzvah

My oldest grandson's Bar-Mitzvah was a truly special event.  He is a wonderful boy.  He is loving.  He is kind.  He has a sense of humor.  And he has Down Syndrome.  My eldest daughter is a wonderful mother, who raised him to be the kind, loving young man he is today.  He has a wonderful Rabbi and Rebbetzin, who understand his situation, and show him love and kindness, gently moving him forward in Judaism, in small steps, so that he can feel the accomplishments; all the time, gently.

The 'theme' for today's NaBloPoMo (which, in case you haven't a clue to what that word is, stands for "National Blog Posting Month" by BlogHer) is, "Which daily tasks take up the most of your energy (does getting out of bed count?)?"

So I am posting instead, what energizes me the most: being with the people I love. 

Here are some photos of the milestone of Yaakov Yehoshua's Bar-Mitzvah.  Obviously, we can't show you photos of the Shabbat service when he was…

Kiruv in the 21st Century

Just saw this on Rafi's blog.  Bet you didn't know BATMAN was Jewish?  Just leave it to Chabad...

(My energy seems to be returning...)

From Whence My Energy?

The theme for January's NaBloPoMo is "Energy."  Today's question is, 'from where does one draw one's energy?'

I noticed that I had signed up for November's NaBloPoMo, and only posted once.  Cheater. Failure. Drummed out.  I did not do it on purpose.  I just forgot.  Better said, I 'lost my energy.'  It takes energy to write.  To formulate thoughts into words, and then to transfer them to our twenty-first century's version of "paper."  I didn't have any. I'll try to do better in January...

From where does my energy come?  Lately, I have not had much.  It's an effort to get out of bed in the mornings.  I guess it comes from family, and you'd think I'd be full of energy--we just had a huge family gathering for a simcha.  But this gathering also brought the past, into the present.  So, my energy was drained again.

Another source of my energy used to be Judaism, Israel, and Hebrew.  I'm kind of in a waning peri…

Returning to Self-Discipline in the New Year

As I mentioned in my last post, Not one single entry did I publish during the month of December, although the previous post was started on December 24th, the day we returned from our Florida trip (I guess that counts for something, right?).

 I am changing this laziness on my part, at least, for the month of January, in the year 2013.  2013.  It's so strange to type this number; it took me many months to finally realize it was 2012, and to write down the correct year when I wrote the date.  Now, all of a sudden, it seems--I have to get used to a different number!  Wasn't it just yesterday...? (Actually, it was!).

"New Year's" is a secular event, for me--although I did go to a friend's New Year's Eve party.  I use the term "party" loosely, because it was a non-raucous get-together of old friends and acquaintances, at the home of a dear friend.  There was some music (I don't even remember what genre ) playing in the background, and delicious mi…

Sorting Out Priorities

(I wrote this the day we returned from Florida, December f24th, 2012. I just published it today, 1 January 2013).

It has been over a month since I have posted on this blog. So many things have happened.  We just yesterday returned from our "vacation" to Florida, for our biggest family event since my eldest daughter's wedding.  My only sister, my niece and her new husband, also flew down from New York for this event.  What was the occasion? Our eldest grandson, who has Down Syndrome, became a Bar-Mitzvah.  But this was only the tail end of the entire three months of family activities.

First, I don't even remember if I wrote about my daughter's visit to the States.  I might have mentioned it in a previous post, but now, let me elaborate: my daughter was invited by the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) to speak at their board meeting in New York.  They bought her ticket to the States, with a return to Israel in January, in their kindness, allowing her to visit her…