Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Passover Coffee Treat

A very close friend brought me a treat for Passover, good American coffee.

Starbucks, Medium House Blend

Without a few mugs of it this morning I wouldn't be functioning at all!

I perked some up in my rather off-center aluminum percolator, added sugar and milk. And then my eyes opened and my mind started to function.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm Not as Anonymous as I Had Thought...

I'm pretty much a nobody, OK, maybe not in the Jewish blogging world. But there really are many people who consider my husband the "celebrity" and expect me to play "Pat Nixon."

This year, when we found that all of our kids had "other plans" for the seder, and none were going to spend it with us, I knew that the time had come for us to somehow either get invited or find a few friends in similar positions and do the seder together. Stage one for this was for me and my husband to answer "dunno," or:
"This year we haven't a clue."
I guess it sort of sounded like a euphemism for:
"We're hoping that we'll be invited by someone."
And in the end a "someone" actually did invite us. Actually a few "someones" by the time Passover had rolled around. It was my husband who landed the winning invitation, and I kept telling people that I didn't know the people. But it ended up that our host and I had been acquainted almost half a century ago. That's even before my husband had met him, and even before I had met my husband. We had a wonderful time there and hope that we were good guests, well-behaved.

Our trip home ended up being more complicated than planned, because we ended up missing the bus by a few seconds and had to tremp. I got the first ride, which took me to Ofra. From there I got a ride to the Shiloh Junction. And from there another ride to the Shiloh-Shvut Rachel Junction, and there I ended up waiting and waiting. I reached the point when I had decided that if one more car passes me without stopping, I'm just going to walk straight up, and believe me it it straight up, to my house. So I zipped up my coat to be ready to march.  It was cold. And just then a car turned and stopped. I didn't know the person, but he almost stammered my name. He used to read my blogs.

He was on his way to see a neighbor of mine and  very happy to take me home.

It seems that I'm a bit more well-know than I had thought.

Monday, April 14, 2014

That "Sponja Gedoila," Pre-Passover Custom

For many, many years it would annoy me that although the house was clean of chametz, the forbidden leavened foods in time for the ceremonial bedikat chametz, when the head of the house checks and finds "planted" chametz, the house would just be a dirty mess. I didn't grow up with this part of Jewish Law. My mother made sure the kitchen was clean of chametz, but not the  rest of the house and my father didn't do any searching followed around by giggling children.

A number of years ago, after about  fifteen years of marriage, if I remember correctly, my husband was in miluim, army reserves and I did some of my Passover shopping in Jerusalem with a neighbor. He told me about his wife's family custom, the "Sponja Gedoila," which she grew up with being from a family that had been in Jerusalem for many generations.

Just before bedikat chametz she washes the floors of the entire house. And ever since, I do it. too. This isn't a thorough cleaning, which had just been done recently. I just quickly go over all of the floors with a damp cloth, Israeli style. In Israel most floors can be cleaned like that. If your home is carpeted, then you'd do a quick run with the vacuum cleaner and wash the toilet and kitchen floors.

And then I sit in my favorite corner of the couch while my husband does the ritual inspection.

Have a Healthy Chag Kasher v'Sameach all of you!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Covered, and Not With Contac Paper, Passover Update

For decades we would spend a fortune on contac paper to cover almost anything when getting the house kitchen ready for Passover. A few years ago I decided that enough was enough, and I'd buy some heavy oil cloth, plastic tablecloth "material" and cut it to size.

So that's what I did, and not only did it cost a fraction of what I used to spend, the pieces  are so wide I needed only one of the sheets I bought and the other became a table cloth. After using it for the week, I launder it, since it does get pretty yucky by the sinks.

For the past couple of years, I've said, that it's time to replace it. "Last year for these pieces."  But then I pack them away and set them up again, like now.  I used to have leftover contact paper which I used on the "peninsula," but that's all finished. I think I used aluminum foil last year. But this year I decided to cut up an old plastic Passover tablecloth.

Here are the pictures. Now I must get some sleep.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting Ready for Passover, A Couple of Things

I just want to throw out a couple of ideas.

Persian Rice for Pesach
One is about the big Ashkenaz-Sephardi divide over kitniyot. I blogged it on Shiloh Musings and highly suggest that you read about it. I had debated on whether or not to blog about it here, since this is the "food blog," but I decided that the issue is more than food, so it's on Shiloh Musings. Please read, comment and share, thanks.

My second short topic is an easy to use and effective reminder for counting the omer, aka a sefira reminder. The first time I actually got through the entire 49 days of counting was when I had a free sms cellphone reminder buzzing me every night. I've also signed up for a large number of email reminders over the years. But in recent years I found the simplest solution was just to program my phone to send me a personal "sefira alert/alarm/reminder." Of course this doesn't help us with the hardest night of the week, Friday night or the Eve of the last night of Passover. That's when my phone is off and not with me.

Now to get ready for Shabbat, Pesach and a big football game.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Skipping Rooms as I Clean for Passover

First of all, I'm also "skipping blogs" this morning, since I must leave the computer and start serious Passover cleaning in the kitchen.  Since Jewish Israel's Ellen has posted a very important article (or teaser for the complete one) on my Shiloh Musings about Lincoln Square Synagogue's giving a dangerous missionary a platform to speak to Jews, I'll let that suffice for this morning's post.

Since I don't have much help at home, and Passover is very soon, and I work at a job that does not take vacation before Passover to help the staff. Actually, since it's a clothing store, our workload and work hours are much longer and harder than usual, I'm working more before Passover. I also really want to go to the ISRAEL BOWL VII // Tel Aviv Pioneers vs. Jerusalem Lions on Friday. I need your prayers to get home safely before Shabbat.

So, even though there are rooms in this "empty nest" house that haven't been thoroughly cleaned, I've started the kitchen. We don't eat in the bedrooms. At most I have to find places for chametz pans that have been sleeping on beds. Five out of six "spare beds" have been cleared. No chametz enters the den, which looks like a storeroom.

Closet number one #1 was covered last night.

Here I come with rags, cleaners and rubber gloves!

So, kitchen, I know your number!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doing Dishes by Candlelight

The other night there were some strange electric outages. Strange, because there was no wind, rain, cold or heat to put strain of any sort on the system. It was a warm, spring night. We needed to neither heat nor cool the house. I was tired after a long day of work, Pesach cleaning and shooting pictures at a neighbor's Bat Mitzvah.

The darkness continued minute after minute. I needed to wash the dishes. The sink was overflowing. So I took a candle and set it up by the sink. I really couldn't see much, but since I also wash by feel, even though I do wear gloves when doing the dishes, I just began scrubbing. I figured that if any were still dirty the next day I could just return them to the sink.

So I did the dishes, and in the end they were all clean. The electricity returned. I have no idea what the cause was of the outage.

All that remains to clean up is the candle.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

52 Frames "Body Part," Nobody Got It

This week's theme, or "challenge" as I call it on 52 Frames was "Body Parts."

I had an idea, the more I thought about it the better I liked it.

I had to take lots of pictures, and I was upset that they were all imperfect. Finally one had the elements, although the background is awful. And since I had to leave for work soon, I submitted it.

There were a few comments. Most were completely off. They just didn't get it. One person got it partially. Nu, let's see if you guys can really understand what I had wanted to say...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saying Goodbye to 50 Year Old Sweatshirts

Nowadays it's hard to find anything as strong and warm as my old 100% cotton sweatshirts, which I've held onto for almost forty years. I got them from NCSY and YU Seminars.  Here's a picture of me wearing one to high School.

This is a seminar sweatshirt decorated with SSSJ Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry buttons. In all honesty I must admit that this picture, and the sweatshirt, is probably only forty-eight (maybe 47, but not younger than that) years old, not fifty.  But when something is so close to half a century old, you can round it off, even if you're a CPA's daughter.

My sweatshirts made their way to Israel with us in 1970, and for most of the years, they hibernated peacefully in my closet. A few years ago I began sleeping in them on cold winter nights.  And now they really look their age:

So I decided, in a fit of Passover cleaning, considering that the tears exposed my shoulders to the cold making them pretty useless, to retire them. I actually threw them out.  I'm very proud of myself.

My old flybaby buddies should be proud of me...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Havel Havalim in Aliyah Land

Tzivia has posted a wonderful Havel Havelim, just thing for this week. Take a look at all the blog posts, comment and share. There are some wonderful posts.

It's decorated with flowering fruit trees, just perfect for the beginning of Chodesh (the Jewish Month of) Nissan when we're supposed to say Birkat Ilanot,  a special blessing on seeing two flowering fruit trees. We have a wonderful custom every first Shabbat in Nissan. Neighbors who have a lot of fruit trees invite all of us to their backyard for the blessing and a big sit-down kiddush.

Blog carnival has been "down" for quite a bit already. I don't know if it'll be back. That means that our communications are via our facebook page and emails to me, shilohmuse at gmail dot com. From previous experience I know that many Jewish bloggers read and post less during the season of now until after Passover, so I'll play it by ear. If someone wants to host for any which, either or both of the next two weeks, please let me and the facebook group know. Otherwise I'll do what I can to host at some point when/if I have time. So if you've posted or read something that suits Havel Havelim, the long-running international Jewish bloggers carnival, please send me the link, thanks.

There's also the monthly Kosher Cooking Carnival, which I also coordinate.  It also has a facebook page and the same problem with blog carnival.

Shavua Tov
Have a wonderful, safe and healthy week!

PS May G-d help the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions to a safe and uninjured victory this coming Friday.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another Win for the Lions, B"H!

It took overtime, but it was worth it. The Jerusalem Lions defeated the Ramat Hasharon Hammers in a close, nail-biter of a game. I went there and back via Jerusalem with parents of another player, and I got back home well before Shabbat, B"H.

Here are a few pictures. I took (some with my camera and others with the phone) all but the ones I'm in.

Now, since the final, championship game is Friday afternoon, I'll need a real miracle to get home on time before Shabbat.  And also, please don't forget to pray for an injury-less game. We want to win, and we want our boys strong, uninjured and healthy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Siyate d'Shmaya, G-d's Hand, Amazing How Things Work Out

Siyate d'Shmaya is a wonderful principle. So many stories are told of people were upset at missing a flight, and then the flight crashed. And there were some more minor examples, like what happened to me this week.

I had been planning on spending Tuesday night with a friend in Jerusalem and then going with her to Matan on Wednesday morning. Actually I had a lot planned for Tuesday. It was Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and I was expecting three woman over Monday night so they could join the Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma Tel Shiloh Tuesday morning.

I still had a few things to do for their sleeping arrangements when I went to work Tuesday early afternoon, so I was very lucky that a neighbor called to say he'd be apssing by Sha'ar Binyamin and would take me home. He got there early; I mentioned it to the "evening manager," who told me to leave early. So I did and was able to finish.

We had a wonderful morning at the Tel Shiloh.

I had been planning/hoping to get some cleaning done in the afternoon, but my daughter called saying that she needed me to babysit the younger kids.  That's lots more fun than cleaning.

While packing to go to Jerusalem after babysitting I called my friend, but she said that it wouldn't work out after all.  So it seemed like I'd get something done after babysitting.

After babysitting I made it home and then got a message reminding me that there would be our weekly T'hillim, Psalms at a neighbor in a different neighborhood. So I quickly went there. Then after getting home and sitting down to dinner, I got a call that I was needed as a photographer, emergency.

One of the women who had slept over was making a large festive event in her son's community of Shvut Rachel, and they didn't have anyone to take important family photos. I hadn't planned on going, since I'm still in the year of mourning for my mother. But this was a very needed "job," responsibility. I wasn't there to eat and listen to the music.

Now, if I had gone to Jerusalem as planned I wouldn't have been able to take the pictures, nor join my friends for T'hillim. Right?  That's Siyate d'Shmaya.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Trick, She Has Discovered Speed

 We have a daredevil in the makings.

When I was taking my three and a half 3 1/2 year old granddaughter home the other day she began telling me about a new "thrill" she liked. I didn't quite understand the description. It was something about how on her tricycle she lift her feet and "wheeeee..."

So when we got home she got me to drag the thing down the stairs to the sidewalk. She quickly sped up the street, and then...

"Wheeeee..." she raced down, lifting her legs, letting the decline increase the speed. I could barely keep up with her.  May G-d watch over her.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nissan, I'll Need a Miracle to be Ready for Passover Kosher Cooking Carnival

Yesterday was Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and I just don't feel ready for Pesach.  I just pulled out a ton of stuff from my freezer and will have to block off a section to sell via our local rabbi. There's no way I can finish everything and I can't afford to get rid of it either. We're going to have a strange menu for Shabbat, and I'll cook to freeze food for Friday night of Shabbat Hagadol. I'll just serve it all on disposables. At least we're invited out for that Shabbat lunch.

Now, that was a strange introduction to this month's Kosher Cooking Carnival. This Jewish month is Nisan, meaning miracle, and I really feel that it'll take a miracle for me to feel ready for the Holiday. Since my "minhag," custom isn't to clean at night... and I'm still awake, I'm going to post a quick issue of KCC. Usually I recommend sending your links via blog carnival, but bc hasn't been functioning of late. So if that situation continues check out who's hosting via our facebook page. You can always check with me if you want to host or submit a link.

Frum Satire only found seven for his 10 craziest kosher for Passover products.  Please send him ideas. No doubt that pretty much everyone can come up with some suggestions.

Check out Yosefa's What's in my Fridge for Pesach.

Doug is now "Guest Curator of Artisanal Beer" and he also blogged about  Strange partners for new beers.

Pragmatic Attic posted a recipe for Prune Danish Braid (use up your leftover lekvar), and of course you can make it any other time of the year, except Passover. She also posted Paula Wolfert’s Pan Roasted Cauliflower.
Quinoa with Squash, Leeks, and Sage is from Challah Maidel, but it's not challah.

My friend, fellow blogger and fellow football mom, ok אמא Eema, Ruti. sent me this post LOOKING FORWARD TO PESACH……? A DIFFERENT APPROACH.

Olah Chadasha, new immigrant to Israel, Tzivia is Getting “back” to normal… On baking in Israel!

Israeli mothers still bake at home. Look at these luscious cakes brought to my grandson's מסיבת סידור Siddur Party.

My freezer has emptied out a big since I blogged this.

Does anyone know the name of this Miami kosher restaurant?  I took pictures and sort of blogged a review, but for some stupid reason, I forgot to mark down its name...

I reviewed a very interesting diet book, A Doable Diet, The Life-Transforming Diet, Based on Maimonides. And of course, the diet is 100% kosher and suitable advice is given for Shabbat and the Chaggim.

Wishing you all a wonderful and healthy Passover. Please visit the posts, comment and share. Also, of course, share this blog carnival far and wide.

Chodesh Nissan Tov!

More Advantages in Wearing Multifocal Eyeglasses

All those years I had reading glasses hanging from my neck I stayed away from most necklaces. For all practical purposes my eyeglasses were my necklace, no matter how "ratty" the chain/ribbon was. I could wear a small necklace, but the reading glasses competed with them.

Now my neck/chest is free to decorate with a variety of necklaces.  Take a look!

So, ladies, have no fear of multifocals. There are great style, fashion advantages.  One thing to remember is that you must get frames you like, since the frames are jewelry no less expensive than jewels. And they are changed less frequently than earrings. So don't compromise on comfort and beauty.