Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today is Tali's birthday

Tali turns 12 today, on the secular calendar. My second child, my lovely sweet Tali who is always so concerned about the people and the world around her. She will be a bat-mitzvah soon, and is ready for it.

12 years ago we also celebrated a leap year. As I was in labor, Isaac said, ever so sweetly, "Can't you hold out till the 29th? It would be fun to have a leap year child."

What I answered is unprintable on a family-friendly blog.

Mazal Tov, Tali. I love you.

(But I told you not to read my blog!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Haveil Havalim #155

HH #155- The Falling Asleep At My Computer Edition is up at Jack's place. My head is spinning with all the links. Go check it out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


On Friday there was a country-wide caravan down to Sderot. People from all over the country were encouraged to drive down to Sderot and do their regular weekly shopping in the beleaguered town. The point was to support the people of Sderot, both financially and emotionally.

I went.

Sderot is located in a beautiful part of Israel. The recent rains have forged lush green landscapes dotted with red kalaniyot. At Kibbutz Yad Mordecai, convoys from countless cities converged to create a huge traffic jam into the town.

"We will not abandon Sderot"

It's a beautiful, clean town, with neat homes and apartment buildings. On this day, there were people everywhere. There was an upbeat atmosphere. It is not a tourist town, and we were encouraged to make our everyday purchases there. People filled their carts in the supermarkets, ate in the cafes and restaurants and soaked in the atmosphere.

There were no politics here. No right or left, chiloni or dati. Just Jews supporting Jews.

"Sderot is in our hearts"

I walked around, absorbing it all. I was so proud of these people, proud of myself that I could even consider participating in this event.

"Peretz Center thanks [its visitors] for your support of the city" (They are thanking ME???)

One of the last stops we made was in a take-out place, where I met Ronit. She was so thankful for us coming in to her store. I asked her how she was doing, and she spoke to us for a long time. She said, (and I'm paraphrasing) "I am a Bat Sderot--a daughter of Sderot--I was born here, and my father (she gestured to him) was one of the founders of this town. I will never leave this place; it is my home and I won't be driven out. But it is difficult. Many have left, not only because they are afraid, but because they can't make a living here. We own a beautiful catering hall, and there have been no smachot (parties) there for the past five years. I now work in a factory to support my family. I used to have faith in my government, in the army, but no longer. They have abandoned us. But when people like you come, we know that the people are with us, and that you care. And that fills me with hope...."

As I walked around the city, I heard singing, and the strains of an accordian coming from a restaurant. I went inside to find an old-fashioned kumsitz going on.

They clapped their hands and danced and sang,

"VeHa--eekar, Lo Lefakhed klal"--"And the main thing is not to fear at all".

That just slew me. Look at their faces--to feel the utter presence of joy in that place was such a priviledge for me. Because that is really the only word that can describe that day in Sderot: Simcha--joy.

When I was trying to arrange a ride down to Sderot, someone asked me why I even wanted to go. I was astounded by this question. It's been a hard six months for us, adjusting to this new life of ours. There have been times I have questioned the sanity of our decision. But on Friday, I remembered a feeling that I used to have in America that I no longer have: I used to feel that those people are there in the land intended for us experiencing all kinds of things that I am not a part of. I felt that I was sitting on the periphery of our nation's history. Now I hear about kassams falling daily on the people of Sderot. Most of the time I go about my business and try not to think about it, because really what could I do? But on Friday I had the opportunity, for a few short hours to be there with those people. I got to go home, but Ronit still has to run to her shelter umpteen times a day. How could I not go? This day was not about me going to help them. This day helped me. It gave me chizuk to know that I am no longer sitting on the sidelines of history. It taught my children something huge.

This day brought me pure, simple, unadulterated Simcha.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I HATE the metric system

I joined a gym.

Those of you who know me from my Cedarhurst days know that I was a very unactive member of Club Central for years. That place sure did get its money's worth out of me. But this gym is different, because it has an indoor and outdoor pool and will be our (much more expensive) "North Woodmere Park Town Pool" come hot weather. It has chugim (activities) for the kids. Liat and Tali are taking a Spinning Chug, and Orli and I swim while they do that. So I am hopeful that the whole family will actually use this gym.

Today I got on the treadmill for the first time in, I don't know, 8 months. (And I wasn't consistently exercising 8 months ago either). I went with a friend and the two of us starting walking. I can tell she's pushing herself harder than me, but I figure I should go easy, I don't want to give myself a heart attack or anything. Then she begins to run, and no way am I going to do that. But I'm feeling pretty good. I'm doing 4.5, and I don't feel like I'm even working all that hard. I'm thinking to myself, hey, maybe I'm not in as bad shape as I thought...I'm just about to knock it up to 4.7 or 4.8, when Tammy says sweetly, "You know that's in kilometers,not miles, right?" The stricken look I must have given her made her laugh so hard she almost fell off her machine (which would have served her right!)

I guess I am in as bad shape as I thought.

This gym also has a spa. For signing up, I get a free treatment. A hot stone massage is sounding pretty good to me right about now.

השקדיה פורחת

The "almond tree is blooming"--a sign that Spring is just about here. Normally, the almond tree blooms on or about Tu B'shvat (hence the famous song), but this year the flowers appeared a bit later, because of the leap year (there are two Adars this year). These photos were shot last week, when the weather was indeed Spring-like. This week it went back to cold and rainy, but with Winters like this one, my winter jacket will last for 30 years!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

עידכון--An Update*

My sister is coming today!!!!!

It's a surprise for the kids--they are going to be mad! (I'm making friends with non-American anglos, can you tell?) She is coming in for a long weekend, so we have lots of fun things planned, including a visit to the Ramle Shuk, the Kotel, and on Monday we are going to the Hermon. Hopefully pictures will follow.

There is lots going on here. Lots of buzz about Olmert invading Gaza. I hope he knows what he's doing, but don't have much faith. Also talk about Shas leaving the coalition, which would collapse the government which would mean new elections. I'm starting to know more about the politics around here (I wouldn't say understand it, because who really does?). I was probably better off not. Sigh.

But in the meantime, as my friend Gila says, I try to pretend I live in a normal country.

I'll be back when Tzirl leaves.

Shabbat Shalom!

*"eedkun"--from the verb לעדכן-to update, derived from עד כאן (till here). Pretty cool word, huh?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Haveil Havalim: Edition 153

Welcome to the 153rd edition of Haval Haveilim,the Jewish/Israel blog carnival. Jack has assured me that there is no need to be clever, so I won't even bother trying.

It was a busy week. First we had Super Sunday, and wishes came true for the New York Giants (and for Jack.) Then came Super Tuesday where Hillary and Obama battled it out for the democrats and McCain and what's-their-names fought for the Republican spot.

Sandwiched in between, of course, was the first terror attack Israel has seen in a year (not that there haven't been many attempts) in the Negev town of Dimona. Treppenwitz is filled with melancholy as he and his colleagues react to news of Dimona in And so it begins again. Robert J. Avrech knows there is no such thing as Moderate Terrorists posted at Seraphic Secret. Yitzchak Goodman demonstrates the irony of BBC pronounces suicide attacks on Israel "rare" posted at Judeopundit. Finally, Gila undoubtedly knows what she is talking about as she posts about the attack.


Sammy Benoit tells us why he thinks the WINOGRAD REPORT IS A SHAM posted at YID With LID. He also feels Olmert: you will never wipe off that yellow stain.

Yael tells us about the unique way an Israeli art therapist is helping the children of Sderot deal with their fears.

Mottel reports on the final leg of his birthright (Israel) trip in Mottel in the Holy VI -Zion to Enlighten Me posted at Letters of Thought. There are some beautiful pictures--note how he ended the post.

The Big Falafel tell us about the top six bargains in Israel.

Soccer Dad remembers the Kiddush Hashem Ilan Ramon made on the anniversary of Israel's first and only astronaut's death on the Columbia space shuttle disaster.

LEL presents We Should Oppose Kosovo Independence posted at Fiery Spirited Zionist.

Baka Diary gets frustrated with Lines in the Holy Land.

Batya tells us about her very special Beit Knesset in Tabernacle Building posted at Shiloh Musings.

Ben-Yehudah presents Yo"Sh's New [Sham] Local Radio Station posted at Esser Agaroth. Rahel talks about another radio station at Is There a New Radio Station in Town? posted at Elms in the Yard.

Eric presents a discussion of the new Hamas economic independence plan, and why Israel should support it. (And why it won't work.) in The Hamas Economic Independence Plan... posted at The Israel Situation.

Gila describes the after effects of being in a suicide bombing in her conversation with her Hadassah opthamologist.


Frume Sarah encourages everyone to Rock the Vote.

Robert J. Avrech has an interesting lunch date in Hollywood Kool-Aid posted at Seraphic Secret.

Dov Bear doesn't feel sorry for Mitt Romney at all.


Katrina talks about what her Judaism means to her in Conservadoxy and its Discontents posted at Conservadox & Single.

Mother in israel must have worked for hours translating an article from Hebrew about a Rabanit in Ramat Beit Shemesh and her followers. She presents A Mother in Israel: hyper-tzniut posted at A Mother in Israel. This is a fascinating read; this link takes you to the entire series about a disturbing new trend in Israel.

Mottel presents Our Rebbe may be the Messiah, but Eli Soble who are you? posted at Letters of Thought.

A Simple Jew acknowledges Who really runs the show at Guest Posting By A Man At The Bus Stop - My Neighborhood posted at A Simple Jew.

Shira Salamone questions if anyone is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to minhagim/traditions in No opinion posted at ON THE FRINGE—AL TZITZIT.

Frumhouse wonders about the Ayin Horah Ladies posted at Little Frumhouse on the Prairie.

Elms in the Yard comments on an unusual piece of history at her workplace. Read about it at Irony behind Glass.


Carl in Jerusalem talks about the rampant anti-semitism one can find on the 'net (without looking to hard) in The Jawa Report: New Video - "The Path To The Final Solution" posted at The Jawa Report.


Leora Wenger presents Mastering Alef posted at Here in HP. She writes that she couldn't find a specific category for language or Hebrew. I refer her to the Hebrew Language Detective who gives us the origin of the word diwan.


Bad for Shidduchim goes out for some date watching.

Frum Satire wonders about tipping.

Come Running presents What Women Deserve posted at These Dreams of Who????.

Jack wants to know what your favorite romantic movie of all time is at Top 10 Romantic Movie Moments posted at Random thoughts- Do they have meaning?.


Aidel Maidel becomes creative and makes pizza with her kids.

Over at Psychotoddler, you can watch the PT as he DOESN'T AGE for his kid's Siddur plays. Then you can see what living in the middle of America is like in the winter. PT, don't feel bad about enjoying your snow day!

Batya presents Siyata D'Shmaya and Lunch Bargain posted at me-ander. She also shows us her challah braiding technique in "Chanukat Ha-Kitchen".

Rabbi Cause davka gives us his opinion in The Dreaded Davkanik posted at Rabbi without a cause.

Barbara presents EXODUS & THE AFTERMATH OF PERSONAL TRAUMA posted at BARBARA'S TCHATZKAHS. She also tackles another difficult subject in Let Them Talk: The Mitzvah to Speak Lashon Hara.

Orthonomics cautions against financial infidelity.


Batya presents Blogging a Carnival posted at me-ander. As a first-time host[ess], her tips were invaluable. I know that Jack is always on the hunt for volunteers to host HH. It's not difficult, but it does take time. If you have the time, do it. It's fun and you'll learn alot--and shouldn't we all share this, since we all benefit from it?

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using the carnival submission form Past posts and future hosts can be found on blog carnival index page.

Have a Shavua Tov--a great week!

Technorati tags: Haveil Havalim, blog carnival

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today I was a...

"Shenkin Jew".

And it was fun. A friend and I went shopping on Nachlat Binyamin for material for our daughters' bat mitzvah dresses. Both their bat mitzvahs fall around Purim time and both want to be princesses. Anyway, we spent the day shopping and looking at all the crafts. We ate at Agvania, which is the BEST pizza shop in Israel, hands down. It was a beautiful day, and the crowds were out. Strolling. Shopping. Drinking latte.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I suppose I want to give you a flavor of some of the feelings behind the politics over here. There are those who are highly critical of Tel Aviv Jews, feeling that they live in their little bubble and and are either anti-settler ("they bring it on themselves or just make more trouble for the rest of us"), or completely apathetic. And I'm sure there are plenty of people like that and they are not limited to Tel Aviv. But I'm equally sure there are many Jews from all points of the political spectrum who care deeply about this country and what happens to fellow Jews everywhere. They understand that Jews living everywhere in this land benefits the rest of us. And let's remember that Tel-Aviv is not immune, and has, to our sorrow seen many terror attacks.

In light of Dimona, security forces were out in full yesterday, and that was appreciated. It was great being Jewish in a Jewish city, listening to our language being spoken and enjoying the sunshine.

With G-d's help we'll have many more days like it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hey, Dimona

By now you've all heard about the pigua (terror attack) in Dimona. One women was murdered, and many others were injured. Apparently two suicide bombers entered the mall on a beautiful spring-like day when many citizens were out and about. More devastation was prevented by highly trained Kobi Mor, who shot a second terrorist in the head as he was reportedly reaching for the detonating device.

Mor, commander of special anti-smuggling unit Magen, which operates on the Egyptian border, said he heard about the attack on his police radio. "I did a U-turn and went straight for Dimona", he told reporters. "When I arrived at the scene I was told that there was a terrorist with an explosive belt that was still alive. I fired four shots at him and thought I'd killed him, but then I saw him lifting his hand again".

"I came out from my cover, about 15 meters away, and shot him in the head.", Supt. Mor said.

Policeman Kobi Mor moments before shooting the second suicide bomber on Monday. (From

The border between Egypt and Gaza has been breached, and it was originally assumed that the terrorist came from Egypt. I just saw some updated reports that they may have come from the Hebron area. Either way its pretty scary.

Al Aksa has claimed responsibility for the attack. For those of you who can't keep track of the terrorists they are a part of Fatah, our current peace partners.

This is the first attack since January, 2007, and the first time the Negev city of Dimona has been hit. Dimona is a remote town, but if terrorists can get over there, there is no reason to believe they can't get anywhere else in this country.

And let's not forget there is something very special in the Dimona area: Israel's nuclear reactor.

G-d Have Mercy.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I'm Hosting Haveil Havalim #153 this week..

Go on over to Jack's to check out HH#152 The Patriots Must Did Lose Edition. Haveil Havalim is a blog carnival, linking you to the best, or at least the most recent posts of the Jewish and Israeli blogosphere.

Jack has recently taken over the helm from Soccer Dad and is doing an admirable job. I'll be hosting the next edition on February 10th. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 8th. Send submissions to my e-mail, or to blog carnival, using their carnival submission form.

Any and all topics within the realm of Judaism and Israel are welcome, including, but not limited to politics, religion, culture, Torah, History, Israel, and of course the Superbowl.

Now I have a purpose in reading all these blogs.