Wednesday, August 31, 2016

School Excitement, First Grade!

One of my grandchildren I starting school, the First Grade this week. I'm glad I got to the pre-school year ceremony in Ofra.  Here are some photos.










As you can see, the fathers are blessing the children. May they enjoy and learn and flourish.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Windows, Not Just for Looking Through

This week's 52Frames challenge was Windows, no, not the computer kind. The photo I sent in wasn't the one I had planned. It was taken as an afterthought just as I got to my house. And then when I looked at all those windows I had photographed, I decided that I liked it the best, after a bit of simple photo-editing of course.

"Window Unadorned"
This is actually my laundry room window, a photo I shot while approaching my house after taking all sorts of "window shots" in the neighborhood. To say that it was unplanned would be a complete understatement. Of course, davka, the window I had envisioned as my "Window" was the least photogenic of all, and this unkempt window with leaves reflected and "live" has the most "charisma."
That's "art." Isn't it?

Camera: Canon Canon IXUS 145
Shutter: 1/125th of a second
Aperture: f/4
ISO: 200
Location: Shiloh, Israel
I really should have called it "Window Uncleaned." Getting a shot like this one is all in the timing and angle, considering the reflections on the side of the house, north, which rarely gets much sunlight.

And this one was my second choice. I almost submitted it, but then I did a bit more tweaking on the laundryroom one. As you may have guessed from the decoration on top, it's in our neighborhood synagogue, Noam Yonatan in Ramat Shmuel, Shiloh. It also wasn't the one I had been planning.


Here's the one I had planned. I can see it from my regular seat in the synagogue. The "ש" letter "shin" really looks pretty "in person," but it's too narrow and skinny a window to be suitably photogenic when displayed on the computer screen.


Did I choose wrong? I'd love your opinion thanks.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Who Died?

The other day, on the bus going home from Jerusalem, traffic was suddenly stopped when dozens of chareidi men marched across the street together. 






They were quiet and orderly, except for the simple fact that they didn't stop at the red light to let vehicular traffic go by. We'd all seen these phenomena before. They must have had been off to a funeral, so you could hear the expected question wandering around the bus:
"Who Died?" 
I never heard an answer.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Next Week Rosh Chodesh Elul!

Yes, in barely a week we will celebrate Rosh Chodesh Elul, and that means that in about five weeks, yes, just five 5 weeks it will be Rosh Hashanah!! And a week after that's over, it's Yom Kippur!

Yes, it's Teshuva, Repentance season. That's a time of prayer and reflection, so how about joining our group and praying in Holy Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh, the same place where the Biblical Chana prayed. It was in Shiloh where the Mishkan, The Tabernacle stood for 369 years as the central place for prayer for the Jewish People, yes, the holiest place until King David made his Capital in Jerusalem.

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma
Tel Shiloh Rosh Chodesh Elul
Sunday September 4, 2016
1st of Elul, 5776, 8:30am
Hallel and Musaf for Rosh Chodesh
Tour of Tel Shiloh
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors

תפילת נשים ראש חודש אלול
בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום א' 3/9  א' אלול, תשע"ו 8:30
הלל ומוסף לראש חודש
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות


Today, besides the popular and vibrant Jewish community in Shiloh, there is an archaeological site which you can visit, Ancient Shiloh. For more information call 02-994-4019.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Burkini? Big Deal! You Don't Have to Be Muslim!!


I couldn't find a head to toe picture of me in my bathing suit, but as you can probably guess from this selfie here, it's more burkini than any classic tank, blouson, skirted, one or two-piece held up by skinny straps. Actually I do wear a two piece bathingsuit, but the top has a high neck, and the sleeves go past my elbow. Most of the time I wear it with a swim-skirt past my knees, that has sewn in shorts. The running joke is that I'm dressed up for a fancy outing. It really doesn't look like a bathing suit. And I guess you may be surprised that I wear it to female only swimming time in our local pool.

No, I'm not some sort of overmodest repressed nut-case. And I'm not Muslim.

  • I'm a religious Jew who adheres to the Jews Laws of Modesty, and wearing this sort of bathing suit, swimsuit as some call them now, means that I can walk around in public, from house to pool without a robe or having to change my clothes/cover up.
  • Another reason is health. I'm high risk for skin cancer, and besides slathering sunscreen on my neck, face etc, the shirt covers me well.
  • When I swim in our outdoor pool at night, I wear my swimming shorts and a top like this. At night the covering protects me from the cool breezes which used to make night swimming just too uncomfortable. At night I wear a heavy robe to go to and from my house and pool to both cover up and keep warm.
  • The "modest swimsuit" also makes it possible to swim when there's a male lifeguard and the rare occasion when I am at a "mixed swim." The special swimsuit fabrics provide more modest cover up and better protection from the sun, than a wet T-shirt.
Honestly, I don't see how wearing modest swimwear could be considered a security, moral or cultural problem. On this I'm with the Muslims!! The French are nuts!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Café Café" in Ra'anana Mall

Is it just in Israel where every mall seems to have the same stores, and after a while you wonder where you are? That's how I felt the other day, when I went with my cousins to the Ra'anana Mall, or was it a mall in Ra'anana. Does the city have more than one? Way back when, over twenty years ago, when I was attempting a career selling advertising, I found trying to sell at a mall was awful, since almost all the stores were branches of chains, and they all gave the same response:
"Speak to our main office. We don't do the advertising."
When we went in and looked for a place to eat, we almost went to the Gregg's, but since we always go to the Gregg's in the Sharonim Mall at Tzomet Yarkon (Junction,) I wanted something else. Why travel and go to the same chain? So we walked a little further and found a Café Café, another of those chains which has branches all over Israel. I've had rather mixed experiences at them. Usually the food is good, and the service is non-existent. In Center 1, Jerusalem, the staff is notorious for incompetence. When serving groups, some people finish eating before others are served, and I'm not talking about the first one just having a cup of coffee.

But we figured we'd give it a try any how. It was much emptier than the Gregg's and we got a fantastic large round table, with upholstered chairs for six, though we were just three.


There were plenty of English language menus which helped some of us choose easily. We checked the selection before taking a table. Usually, the wait staff really nudges while we're still choosing, but in Café Café they gave us time to choose, or so we thought, until we got impatient waiting and had to try to signal one.

Szechuan Salmon Salad, NS59, less for members of their "club," moadon.

I ordered the Szechuan Salmon Salad, which was very tasty. My lunch companions had the Haloumi (cheese) Salad and the Szechuan Salmon Pasta, if I remember correctly. We all finished every drop and found the food tasty. We just drank (tap) water with our meals. Even though we were three, they brought us the water in glasses, not a pitcher. Even when we asked for more water, remember that it's summer and drinking water is necessary, the waitress just brought three more glasses.

As long as you're not in a real rush, this is a nice pleasant place to eat. It seemed that every time we, or diners at other tables, needed a waiter, we'd have to try hard to find one. They weren't on the ball, checking what people are up to and need. Yes, the Café Café is dairy and strictly kosher, Mehadrin. I'm not sorry we went there.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sign of Fall

חצב Chatzav,Drimia
This strange long plant is called חצב Chatzav,Drimia. It's a sign that summer is actually ending. It heralds fall, autumn. It's nice to know that in my very undeveloped/uncultivated garden I have signs of the seasons growing naturally.

So, if you're still finding it to hot look for these plants. They will remind you that summer is soon to be over, and then you can complain about the cold...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Panic Last Night on Way Home!

No, it wasn't a security problem, thank Gd.

With an eye on the road, at the Ofra Junction, I had checked my phone and saw that I needed to update Whatsapp. Considering the rather anorexic memory capabilities of my phone, I generally ignore these "update" requests, except for Whatsapp. So much of my communications with people, family, friends, work, travel/tremps etc are via that amazing and free application.

I never update the apps that Samsung built into the phone, even the ones I use. The reason that I have no memory in it for what I want/need is that the memory is wasted on apps I never use.

So there I was, after 9:30pm, on the corner, with my eyes scanning every vehicle and checking my phone, too. Of course, even though I had deleted a bunch of messages, I was told that there was insufficient memory to update. OK, no choice I had to delete moe apps. All that was left were WalkLogger, our "sick fund" and facebook messenger.

There was no real choice. I had to delete/uninstall something, and the Walklogger was not it. Since I almost never use the sick fund one, that had to go, and since the fb one can get annoying, and it's possible to get messages directly on facebook, that, too had to go.

Yes, you probably guess it. I suddenly realized that I had deleted Whatsapp Messenger instead of the fb one. Since I wouldn't survive without Whatsapp, I quickly sent out a couple of sms's to ask people to re-invite me. And I wondered what would happen to the Whatsapp groups I had started and am sole administrator. Had they just vanished?

If you know me well, you know that patience and waiting aren't my strong points. I went into google and searched for Whatsapp. I found it and managed to re-install it. All this, while waiting for the bus or tremp. As part of the "re-installation," I had a one-time offer to rescue all of my old files and contacts and groups. By then, if I remember correctly, I was already in a ride home, and a section of the route has no internet/wifi etc. I was terrified that I'd lose it all.

Baruch Hashem, I got home safely, quickly and have my Whatsapp back!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Silhouette and Stranger for 52Frames

52Frames's "challenge" for last week was the toughest yet for me, and I even mulled over the option of breaking my streak and just not doing it. But since I'm not a quitter and knew it was just something I must get over, I buckled down and did my best.

What was so hard for me? Honestly, it didn't involve equipment or conditions that are impossible. It's not even that far from what I do, very well actually, at work. We had to ask a stranger for permission to take his/her picture, "Portrait of a Stranger." I had chickened out when I was in Jerusalem earlier in the week and therefore decided that Kenes Shiloh was the place. I had planned on asking an attendee, but somehow they looked too serious and "unfriendly." I just had to get over that phobia and stop making excuses!!! Finally, I decided on whom to ask, and did it! Here she is:

"The Archeologist"
During the tour part of the Shiloh Conference at Ancient Shiloh, our guide pointed to a young woman who had found a number of artifacts while working at the archaeological "digs" at Tel Shiloh. Afterwards I walked over to her and asked if I could take her picture for a "photography group." She tried to tell me that she wasn't very photogenic, but I told her to look around at the much more elderly, much less attractive, people in attendance. Convinced, she agreed, but just wanted to choose the shot.
Her name is Tehilla, and she has been working at the archaeological site of Tel Shiloh.
She has a lovely smile and is very photogenic!

Camera: Canon Canon IXUS 145
Shutter: 1/125th of a second
Aperture: f/3.5
ISO: 800
Location: Shiloh, Israel

Critique: SHRED AWAY! I feel no pain.
This photo qualifies for the "Extra Credit" challenge: "Tell Their Story"
This week's challenge was completely different. Nothing is less personal than the vague outlines of a Silhouette. I took a number of photographs in a few locations, but I ended up deciding on this one:

"Silhouette Fenced In"
Here in Shiloh, the first sign of pool season is when the fence around the pool area gets covered by this green canvas/fabric. The swimmers, especially the females expect/demand privacy. That's why, in the morning, looking eastwards into the swimming pool all you see in Silhouette is the fence and some plants. 

Camera: Samsung GT-I9105P
Shutter: 1/500th of a second
Aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 100 and below
Location: Shiloh, Israel
Here are some of the "rejects." Did I choose incorrectly?








Monday, August 22, 2016

Hacked! Don't Know Exactly How

My Website Has Been Hacked! Now What?
The instructions are for Wordpress, not Blogger
I guess that one of the reasons I had trouble falling asleep Saturday night was that when I checked in on my blogs, email etc after Shabbat I had a shock. Someone had gotten into my Shiloh Musings blog, and could have done the same on this, and posted a "message" with link. I was terrified. Would I be able to retake control of my blogs and email?

Shiloh Musings
I managed to delete the post and then change my password. And as soon as I changed it on the computer, the phone announced that I would have to do it there, too. So, I changed it. Now I must remember the new password... Also, a cousin messaged me that he had gotten one of those "hack/virus" messages from my email.

Yes, I feel violated, freaked out totally!

And since I was able to change my password, it meant that the hacker didn't have mine. He/she/it or whoever may have gotten into my account on a "device" I had used to check email/blog while not at home. Many of us who travel without a laptop, tablet or really powerful phone, find ourselves taking advantage of offers to use other people's computers, or hotel lobby computers, and sometimes we either don't properly sign out/log off or a lurking virus takes hold when we're happily reading and writing.

I also took off a few people I had as "administrators" on my blogs. They can still blog, but they cannot make changes.

I don't think I've clicked any dangerous sites, but one doesn't really know. Sometimes there are viruses lurking in news, pictures and lyrics sites that google lists when we search for something. (Porn sites are notorious for facilitating virus invasions, but, B"H, that's not my interest.) I am so relieved that I succeeded in changing my password and hope that locked the evil one out. The person who set up my computer put in the free AVast virus catcher. I guess it's not effective enough, unless, as I am guessing, that the problem came from a different device, not my home computer.

PS The article I found with the illustration above said I should also clean up my "history" and "cookies," which I did which has now gotten me totally messed up, since I must relog into absolutely everything. And to do it, I have to remember all my passwords...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Eggplant Accordion


I served this all baked, of course, Friday night, and my guests were very impressed. It really is easy to make. As you can see I sliced an eggplant (on aluminum foil) not quite through. And then between the slices I placed thin slices of tomato, onion and garlic. Then I dribbled a bit of oil, and after that I wrapped it up well in foil and baked until soft.

Honestly, that was it. It was that simple.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cold Coffee Update AOK for Strict Sabbath Observers


I've blogged about my successes and raves about Cold Brew Coffee, so easily prepared at home. But as great as it is, I still had trouble with it on Shabbat. I can't use the French Press filter/plunger on Shabbat, so using that entire apparatus is then problematic.

So, since I have really enjoyed having cold coffee on Shabbat, I decided to do something else entirely. A few hours before Shabbat, I made myself a nice big batch of perked coffee, using the Israeli Elite Turkish in my stove top percolator. Then when it cooled sufficiently, I poured it into a glass jar, actually  two, one large and one small, since I made that much. And then this Shabbat I just poured it into my mug, added the usual milk and sugar, and had great coffee!

Friday, August 19, 2016

No Carb Lasagna

OK, I admit that it sounds a bit like an oxymoron, since we all know that lasagna is basically a pasta dish in which you layer the large pasta pieces with anything from vegetables to meat. But the main course I made for tomorrow's lunch, aka Shabbat morning, sticks to the layering, but instead of pasta, I used vegetables. You can also consider this a version of moussaka.

So, for the simple instructions, I simply layered the bottom of the baking pan with eggplant. Then I added the chopped meat mixed with tomato paste, chopped onion, garlic and an egg (for easier mixing.) Then I topped it off with squash.


Yes, it's that simple. I baked it until you can see the meat leaving the sides of the pan and smelling great. This heats very easily and can also be frozen.


This is really easy to make, and as you see, with a bake and serve pan, I'm saving on dishwashing, muss and fuss.

This can be called a fancy meatloaf, too. It's all in the labeling...

Meat for Meatloaf, Moussaka, Lasagna etc:
Can be doubled, tripled, halved etc, of course.

  • about a pound and a third- I used 600 gram- chopped meat
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup tomato concentrate  (of course you can use fresh, but I was in a rush)
  • generous sprinkling of  granulated garlic (of course you can use fresh, but I was in a rush)
Yes, it's that simple, very healthy and always delicious. Beef is tastier than ground chicken IMHO, but some people prefer chicken. If you can get ground turkey, that's good too. 

I don't buy packaged ground meat, of any type. I watch the guy grinding it in the machine, since the packaged usually has additives and junk.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Day With The Grandkids

Yesterday I spent the day with most of my grandkids going to museums in Jerusalem. The older ones spent the entire day in the Israel Museum with their aunt, my eldest. And for a few hours I took a couple of younger ones to the Bloomfield Science Museum, which they had enjoyed last year. It's a short walk from there. It was a good choice. They loved it and specifically looked for the exhibits and sections they remembered from the earlier visit. This time they had more confidence and knew how to get to "play" with the exhibits and games. It was good that the teen and preteen stayed at the Israel Museum. I saw other kids their age looking as bored and miserable as they had been last year when I had them all in that children's museum.

Here are a few photos, specifically chosen as not to make the kids recognizable.










Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Favorite Timewaster? Mine's Spider Solitaire

credit
OK, now you know the truth. I waste time on a card game, a computer card game. Granted, I just use the game that is on the computer and I don't go into any of the game sites. I certainly don't gamble nor sign up up for anything that isn't on my computer. But still I find it very addicting and relaxing. And it can sure waste time.

I used to play Freecell, but now I find it too easy. Spider Solitaire is more of a challenge for the mind. Growing up, the Spiegelman family card game, for generations, was Casino. My father could play and win even into dementia.

So, nu, what's your timewaster? Eating doesn't count, and I don't want to hear that you clean your house...