Sunday, July 5, 2015

As you can see, I've changed the name...

I may still tweak it a bit, but I'm going with the Jewish Grandmother theme.

I cropped an old picture of some of my grandkids as a banner. It's sufficiently old not to be very recognizable.

That will change too. And yes, I changed the colors to match the photo.

What do you think?

Parshat Balak- Combined Havel Havelim and Kosher Cooking Carnival

Cross-posted on Shiloh Musings

I couldn't think of a clever title for this combined Havel Havelim and Kosher Cooking Carnival, besides the fact that they are all "postponed."

  • Yesterday, Shabbat was the 17th of Tammuz, but since we don't fast, except for Yom Kippur, on Shabbat, the fast was postponed  until today.

  • I usually post my Havel Havelim, the international Jewish blog carnival on Saturday night after Shabbat, but that, too was postponed until today.

  • I really had planned on posting a Kosher Cooking Carnival for Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, and that has obviously been postponed, since it's now closer to Av than to Tammuz, so this combines the two months.

  • So, I hope you don't mind that lazy summer's day, when I'm not working and not eating I've decided to produce another joint HH and KCC.

    Havel Havelim is the long-running weekly international Jewish blog carnival, which had been started many years ago (by modern internet standards) by Soccer Dad, who no longer blogs. It floats from blog to blog, and we keep it organized on our facebook page. If you'd like to host one, please let us know, and it's yours! I'm always willing to help newbies. Hosting isn't hard and it's a good way to get your blog better known and know others.

    The Kosher Cooking Carnival is  the monthly (in theory--appearing on or around Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month,) blog carnival I began a number of years ago on the specific topic of kosher food. It can include posts about every aspect from Halacha, Jewish Law, to recipes, customs, kosher cookbooks and restaurants. You can also volunteer to host an edition; we also have a facebook page.

    To guarantee your post's inclusion in one of the blog carnivals, please send me the link, with a short blurb describing it, to and ither HH or KCC as subject, thanks. If there will be a different host, I'll just forward it. Since Havel Havelim is weekly, please send the link before Shabbat your time, thanks. I not only include links sent to me, but I also look for others.

    Remember, that you don't have to be a blogger to read, comment and share the posts on Havel Havelim or the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

    And now, on with the show!

    not even the clock works

    Ruti, "Where everybody knows your name" #5: La Boca! Ruti and the Coach's favorite place to celebrate and have a good meal.

    Marcia, last week's HH hostess, There may be no school but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't discuss the Torah with your kids.
    Enjoying the Bible Online offers innovative fun activities, questions, and discussion guidelines related to God forbidding the children of Israel to use a sword while building an altar (in the book of Exodus) in  "Does it Matter How We Get to the End Product?"

    Not even the clock works in the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, The Death of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station

    Ben-Tzion Spitz, Perilous Roads.  Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations. -Oliver Goldsmith

    Real Jerusalem Streets, latest mail news, Please Wait a Minute Mr. Postman
    Israellycool, Temple Mount, Must Watch: Dome of the Rock Power Washing

    Doug, the Israeli Beer maivin, New beers at Zman Amiti and Jerusalem Beer Festival update.
    My blog name change, I Want Your Opinion, Thanks! Seriously, please let me know your opinion, thanks.
    There will be more to buy in Sha'ar Binyamin! Lots of Building in Sha'ar Binyamin!
    Help Mama Bla Blah in her struggle against the drug company: TESARO pharmaceutical - Will Watch Me Die. Refuah Shleimah!!
    Elder of Ziyon, 07/03 Links Pt2: Netanyahu: UNHRC cares nothing for human rights; Flotilla Brought Hate, Not Aid

    Mystical Paths,

    A View from Tiberius

    Some great food deals. You don't have to spend a lot for a filling and healthy meal out:

    • Best Deal for a Tuna Salad in Jerusalem

    • Great Deal for a Satisfying Meat Meal

    • Best Price Imaginable for a Filling Meal and It's Meat!

    • Revisiting two favorite Jerusalem restaurants, Piccolino and Modern.
      For Israelis and Jews all over the world, July 4 has special significance, Rescue At Entebbe: An Anniversary of Freedom

      The Kosher Spoon, SPICED CHICKPEAS, looks like a good idea especially with the Nine Days coming up.
      Esser Agaroth, What's the Significance of July 4th Falling on 17 Tammuz this Year?

      Malachi Rosenfeld, HaYa"D, links from Shemittah Rediscovered and photos I took at the prayer vigil at the sight of the murder and on the funeral A Soldier's Mother.
      This ongoing war, 03-Jul-15: Misery, terrorism and money-making: a cynics' guide:One factor beyond all others ensures that the Palestinian Arab cause manages to sustain its momentum nearly seventy years after the UN decision to split the compact British-occupied territory of Palestine/Eretz Yisrael into two countries: the existence of UNRWA.
      My easiest cookie recipe, Making My Famous Classic 1, 2, 3 Cookies Sans Scale
      My husband's blog, Amazing Occupation Or, A Question That Has Been Occupying My Mind
      The Lid, Refuting Hillary's Ridiculous Claim- She Will NOT Be Better For Israel Than Obama: Here's Proof
      My Fruity Chicken, actually very easy to make!
      Tzvee My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Column for July 2015: Holocaust Conceit
      Mazaltov and many more to Jordana!!! Aliyaversary
      Chopping Wood,Democracy and the Jewish State: Slomiansky v. Gal-On - Who Needs a Constitution when You've Got the Tanach?
      The Lost Kitchen, Bras and Babka
      Walk Through the Parsha, Balak
      My good friend Miriam writes The Wonderful 'Settlers' of the Negev...
      al tishali oti's joy
      Tzivia Welcome to Chu”l, and have a nice stay!
      Sha'i Ben Tekoa Islam As An Excuse
      Jerusalem Macrolovers WHY FAST??
      Today, the 18th of Tammuz, fasting the postponed 17th of Tammuz fast, when we all mourn the loss of our Holy Temple and the Rosenfeld family of Kochav Hashachar, and their loved ones all over, mourns their precious son Malachi Moshe HaYa"D.

      We aren't giving up. We aren't finished. We aren't history. We have a future. G-d willing we will be truly sovereign and rebuild our Holy Temple in our Holy City of Jerusalem, and the days of mourning will be turned into days of festivity and worship of G-d, and all of those in the Next World will return to us in joy together!

      Saturday, July 4, 2015

      I Want Your Opinion, Thanks!

      As I blogged the other day, for years already I've felt the need to change the name of this blog. The name doesn't really bring in readers nor give even a hint of what type of posts you'll find here.

      I'll have to stop using this gorgeous picture as my banner, but I can set it up on the bottom of the blog, rather than the top. 
      This blog, as opposed to Shiloh Musings is not political, though it is serious. I used to actually post my satire here, which I wrote by the name of Baile Rochel, which is my real Jewish name. I include more about the family, recipes, restaurant reviews and, yes, of course only kosher. There's more about ordinary life in Israel, more specifically in Shiloh.

      I don't plan on changing the content of the blog at all, just its name.

      Here are names I'm thinking of for this blog:

      • Everything but the kitchen sink
      • Thanks
      • me, unique and eccentric
      • IMHO...
      • According to This Jewish Grandmother...
      I'd appreciate your vote for one of the names, thanks. Yes, please vote in the comments or in the poll on the sidebar. Thank you!

      The Death of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station

      I used to love the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, because it was a lot more than just a bus stop. It was/is a small mall, with buses and a synagogue (that even had a room for women to doven or say Tihillim (psalms,) shops and food places of all sorts. It used to be pleasant enough as a mall just to go in to shop or eat.

      I had heard all the reports about the high levels of air pollution and the fact that it hadn't been planned well, but that was more a danger to those who worked there, who spent hours there day after day. For the traveler or shopper there was always less danger.

      But just under a year ago we, travelers to and from Judea and Samaria were totally banished from there. OK, we can go and take a bus to Sderot or Tel Aviv, but we can't take a bus to Shiloh or Tel Tzion.

      A few weeks ago, I had some free time and decided to walk in. I must say that I was shocked. Even though the bus station is relatively new, it looked like a dump.

      Not even the clock works! A bus station should have clocks, working clocks, all over, in every direction.

      And this electric board that used to give me information about buses to all over the country is dead. How could there be no basic maintenance in a building as important as the Jerusalem Central Bus Station?

      In its heyday, when all the platforms were being used by a number of lines, the area on the right of this picture would have been lit up with information about the schedules. Now it's dark.

      Fewer bus lines means fewer passenger which means fewer customers for the stores meaning that it gets harder to rent them out.

      The CBS as the signs call it, looked dark and dreary. Maybe it had no future...

      Friday, July 3, 2015

      I Want Your Opinion-- Should I Change The Name of this Blog?

      For the longest time I've been thinking that this blog has the wrong name. I didn't quite understand the importance of a name for a blog when I started it. Remember that this blog and Shiloh Musings are among the oldest Jewish blogs still getting daily posts in the world. Actually, besides my husband's, I don't know of any other blogs as veteran as mine.

      Since I didn't have a very clear idea of what I'd be posting here other than the fact that it wouldn't be political, I thought of "Meanderings" as a name but blogger said that the name had already be snagged. I then tried "meander," but if I remember correctly, that was also taken. So I just stuck the hyphen between the two syllables and invented "me-ander." It says nothing, therefore it doesn't draw any readers on google search. There was a time when the search engines were less sophisticated, and I'd find that people got to my blog by searching for "anderwear," sic.

      I almost changed it a few years ago to something like:
      • thanks
      • grateful
      • miscellaneous 
      I'm just wondering. What do you think? Do you have an idea for a name that would bring me more readers?

      Honestly, I'd really appreciate your opinion, so please don't be shy about voicing it in the comments and even suggesting a name that would draw readers. Thanks!!!

      Thursday, July 2, 2015

      Best Deal for a Tuna Salad in Jerusalem

      You'd think from all my restaurant reviews that I eat out all the time. Actually it isn't so. When I need to get something to eat, I do look for real food and low prices. And I have been spending Tuesday nights in Jerusalem a lot, to make it easier to get to my Matan class early Wednesday morning. But it's now summer, so I don't have the class until after the Jewish Holidays in the fall.

      A few weeks ago, I was in Jerusalem on a Tuesday night and couldn't find a dinner partner. Since I was in Machane Yehuda to get some fruit, I passed the Angel Cafe Bakery on Jaffa Street and noticed the menu posted outside. 

      They offered a Tuna Salad for ns19.90 if I remember correctly. It was a bit smaller than the ns24.90 at the Ne'eman a few blocks away on the corner of King George and Jaffa. I discovered that it didn't come with a roll, meaning that you paid less and got less, but that was perfect. I didn't need extra salad, and I didn't need a roll at all.

      It was tasty and fresh and the perfect size. To make things even better, there were a few tables available for sitting, so I had a very pleasant dinner.

      I'm sure that it wouldn't cost much to buy a roll if you want one, but I was very happy not to have one. Yes, definitely recommended. They said that they had just recently begun selling ready-made salads. Enjoy!

      Wednesday, July 1, 2015

      Eggs and Veggies, Easy, Healthy Meal

      The other day, since I hadn't eaten my usual onion omelette for breakfast I decided to allocate my daily two eggs for my dinner at work protein. I cooked them over lots of sauteed vegetables, which I made in my usual large, covered frying pan.

      There's great flexibility in this sort of recipe, and if you don't have fresh vegetables, you can use frozen ones.

      • onion
      • garlic
      • tomato
      • squash
      • mushroom
      • eggs
      • a bit of oil for the sauteeing and to help the body absorb the vitamins from the vegetables

      I always cook on a low flame and cover it. Generally, I turn off the flame just before it's "ready" and let it complete cooking from the heat in the pan.

      This makes an amazingly filling meal and has absolutely no carbohydrates at all. I find that cooked vegetables fill me up better than anything else. This is a very healthy meal.

      This can be served any time of the day and travels well. Add salt, pepper and any herbs you like. I cool it well in the freezer before taking it to work with me.

      Tuesday, June 30, 2015

      Negative Space, 52 Frames Photo Challenge

      I'm not very good at setting up, planning a shot, for photographing. I'm just not visually detail oriented enough and not enough of a perfectionist. So I try to find readymade scenes that fit the bill. For this past week's 52 Frames Negative Space, I found myself drawn to the sky and this local Shiloh scene.

      The silhouette effect was natural, not photoshopped. All I did was to crop it so the trees formed a bowl-like lower frame. No doubt that there is some fancy name for it.

      Here's a version that has less color, but I didn't like it at all in greys.

      Here are some uncropped "rejects."

      And more taken on a sunnier day.

      Monday, June 29, 2015

      No Clouds Now, HH on A Damaged Mirror

      No clouds this morning!

      Yael of A Damaged Mirror is back in the business hosting Havel Havelim and has done a great job as usual. We're all glad to have her back with us. Please check out the HH. Visit the various posts, comment and share. I'm sure you'll find plenty to read and think about.

      Havel Havelim is the long-running weekly international  Jewish and Israeli blog carnival. It was founded by Soccer Dad, who no longer blogs, and today we coordinate it on our facebook page. I'll be hosting next week, and you're invited to join our friendly internet community. If you'd like to host, please let me know; I can help you out, coach you through it. And if you have a post from this week (your own or something great you've read) you'd like included, please send me the link,, before Shabbat your time, thanks.

      Please remember that you don't have to be a blogger to read, comment and share HAVEL HAVELIM!

      Sunday, June 28, 2015

      Effluents? Guess My Vocabulary isn't Good

      I noticed this sign in Jerusalem near a decorative fountain.

      It bothered me. I guess I'm stupid. I wasn't familiar with the word "effluents," though I could easily guess the meaning, the intention of the sign. The colors of the sign, red and white indicate dangers, and the rest of the words do, too. It is clear that the water in the fountain is polluted or poisoned. That's obvious.

      Like way back when, during my days as an EFL English Teacher, here I was stuck like many students, understanding only some of the words in a text. We used to be told to tell our students to guess the missing/incomprensible/unknown word. The experts insisted that the technique helps, and I would insist that it only helps with a certain higher level of students. My lower level and remedial would misinterpret the messages/texts and come up with incorrect ideas. And the wordier the texts the harder it would be.

      I took a course to help lower level students to understand reading comprehension passages, and the first step we taught them was to step back and look. That's why I I considered the colors here so important. They mean danger. And the word danger also appears in the text. The problem is that the word water doesn't, though hopefully someone weak in English would know what "drinking" means.

      For me the message was clear:
      Don't drink the water! Dangerous!
      Could it be poisonous or polluted? I had to look up the mystery word out of curiosity.

      flowing out or forth.
      something that flows out or forth; outflow;effluence.
      a stream flowing out of a lake, reservoir, etc.
      sewage that has been treated in a septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
      sewage or other liquid waste that is discharged into a body of water, etc.
      liquid discharged as waste, as from an industrial plant or sewage works
      radioactive waste released from a nuclear power station
      a stream that flows out of another body of water

      Saturday, June 27, 2015

      My Newest Kitchen Gadget

      When I was in New York a few months ago, I not only bought that wonderful, low-tech 1-cup coffee filter in Zabar's, I bought new poultry shears aka kitchen scissors. I guess that Zabar's has more in the store than on their internet site, because I can't find either there. but I did find the poultry shears on Amazon.

      I had seen my friend use them for easy chicken-cutting, yes the same one who has the coffee filter. These shears, unlike a pair I had been given a couple of decades-plus ago, seemed so easy to use and clean.


      It took me awhile to get the gumption up to use them. That's why I'm just writing about them now.

      They seem to have some other gadgets attached, but I'm not quite sure what. Also since they are used on raw poultry I don't think it's healthy to use them for other things. We don't have a dishwasher of the electric type, just human.  They may not get as clean as they should be.

      This was definitely a good purchase. I'm glad I got it, because I buy whole chickens which cost less than those cut up in quarters or more.

      Friday, June 26, 2015

      Making My Famous Classic 1, 2, 3 Cookies Sans Scale

      Traditional Jewish memorial
      Yartzeit candle
      Tuesday, when I was sms/negotiating/planning my dinner out with son #1 on my mother's second yartzeit, Jewish anniversary of death, I reminded him that his birthday is in a week. He replied:
      "Make me cookies."
      Now I knew exactly what cookies he was referring to. They are simple 1, 2, 3 Cookies. The basic ingredients are measured on a food scale and must be in the right weight proportions (I always multiply by two or three,) such as:

      • 100 grams sugar (dark brown is best, gives great flavor)
      • 200 grams margarine
      • 300 grams flour (whole-wheat gives great flavor)
      • however much flavorings as you want, such as cinnamon, chocolate chips, sprinkles etc
      Or you can measure with ounces:
      • 4 oz sugar
      • 8 oz margarine
      • 12 oz flour
      I highly suggest that you base the recipe on the weight/size of a stick of margarine wherever you live. In Israel they are 200 grams with 50 gram markings, if I'm not mistaken. 

      When my kids, especially the boys, were little, I'm make the cookies very frequently and almost always had a tin or two of cookies. This son and his best friend loved them so much that he taught his friend's mother how to make them, and she still serves them. In their house the cookies are named after my son.  

      Now, to be honest, I hadn't made those cookies in many, many years, and I don't even have a food scale anymore. I didn't even have most of the ingredients ready for use or in the house. The dark brown sugar was frozen solid and I had no oats to make that version which he had specifically requested. And I haven't bought margarine for many years. I bake my cakes and cook with oil.

      So I told him that I'd make them next week. But right after that I realized that my husband had left the house before giving me cash which I needed, so I called him and asked him to wait at the bus stop and ran down the hill. That meant that I'd be passing the grocery store. So after getting the cash I zipped in and bought all the missing ingredients and then got to work on my son's early pre-birthday surprise.

      Melt margarine in strong/heavy pot on low flame; turn off flame before fully melted. Mix all of the dry ingredients together, and then add margarine. 

      chocolate chip
      Since the dry ingredients, flour and sugar, were all in full bgs, I was able to estimate the percentage I had to pour into the bowl. I do have a pretty good "eye" for those things. The bags of sugar and flour here are a kilo, which is 1,000 grams, so 200 would be less than a quarter of the bag and 600 would be over half. 

      It worked fine for me, though not everyone has my talent. 

      oatmeal-  *substitute one third of the four with  regular
      oats, not instant
      The batter is spoon mixed, and if it's a bit too dry, you can always add a bit of oil and/or an egg. It (the cookies) keeps better without eggs.

      When the batter is mixable, moister than a crumb topping, spread it on a baking pan lined with baking paper and pat down well.

      Bake in a medium oven until it smells like "baked cookies" and the color has changed. If you've discovered after they are ready and cooled that they are still soft, then return them to the oven and bake another ten minutes.

      Cut immediately after taking out of the oven when still hot. They will harden as they cool.

      They were perfect!!!

      Thursday, June 25, 2015

      Great Deal for a Satisfying Meat Meal

      There are all sorts of options if you need to eat out in Jerusalem and don't want to spend a lot. A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I were looking for a good dinner which wouldn't cost much, but would satisfy. We were in the center of town and peeked into a few places. Finally we settled on Hakatzavim, הקצבים "The Butchers." It's on Agripas Street between the Machane Yehuda open market and King George Street. My friend had read a review and thought we'd get a good meal, so we went in.

      You can buy either a simple pita or laffa meat sandwich or have a full sit down meal at a proper table. Of course there is a difference in the price. Sitting at a table downstairs cost more, but you get lots of salads and a plate.

      Each of their pita sandwiches has two skewer portions of meat grilled to order and as much of their fresh and tasty salads as can fit in, according to your choice. I ordered liver, and it was delicious. The price was under ns30, which is much less than I would have paid for an ordinary tuna salad in any of the dairy restaurants. You can get a tuna sandwich for about ns10 less, but it's not as filling.

      And we didn't have to wander around eating our dinner, which was priced as "take out." We had planned on walking a lot afterwards at the Light Festival in Jerusalem's Old City, so we needed to sit down. At Hakatzavim, הקצבים "The Butchers" there are a couple a tables near the door just for diners/customers like ourselves.

      The food was fresh, scrumptious and the price was right.

      Wednesday, June 24, 2015

      Piano Recital, Proud Savta (Granny)

      Now, here in Israel, it's the end of the school year, and there are all sorts of parties to go to. Because of my work schedule I can't get to them all, but I did save the day of granddaughter #2's Piano Recital.

      The teacher is an old friend, who is an experienced teacher and really cares about the students. She holds the annual recital in her house, which was packed with proud parents, grandparents and siblings.

      The basic program is a solo and duet, four hands, as it's called. In the cases of the weakest (newest) and strongest (some were totally amazing) players, the teacher played together with the student. But for the rest of them, including my granddaughter, two students played together.

      Tuesday, June 23, 2015

      My Mother, Two Years After...

      Shirley Shankman Spiegelman, 1925-2013

      Tonight, the 7th of Tammuz, is the 2nd Yartzeit (anniversary of death) of my mother, Shirley Shankman Spiegelman, שפרה בת אברהם וחיה רייזיה Shifra bat (daughter of) Avraham and Chaya Raizia.  She was born on May 14, 1925 and passed away 88 years and a month later. In some families, that may not seem like a very long life, but she lived longer than any of her siblings (all 8 of them including a younger sister) and over two decades longer than her parents.

      My mother was stunning, a great beauty and stayed gorgeous, without any plastic surgery and minimal make-up all her life. She had three children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren at the time of her death. Since then, another great-granddaughter was born who is named after her. She and my father were married for 65 years.

      Besides being a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and and devoted aunt to all her nieces and nephews, my mother loved the theater and performed in many amateur productions in the Fresh Meadows and Great Neck Community Theaters for decades.

      My mother could have been called a SAHM stay at home mom, except for the fact that she didn't stay home much. As long as she was home to give us meals, she considered herself "non-working."

      Besides her acting hobby, there wasn't an organization she joined that she didn't end up with a major leadership role. She always ended up president, or chairman or secretary, whether a synagogue group, like the Sisterhood, or the PTA, National Conference of Jewish Women or PNAI. As a young child I learned how to fold in order to help her fold notices we put in the mailboxes in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, NY. When people wanted to get something done, they called my mother and asked her to join the group.

      She lived almost her entire life in New York, but when she reached the stage that she couldn't run the house any more, she and my father moved to Arizona near my sister. It was only when she thought of my children and grandchildren when she said it had been a mistake and they should have moved to Israel.

      As you can imagine, she was a tough act to follow. May her memory be a blessing for all!