Saturday, January 31, 2009

You will not believe what I answered when Liat asked me what was for dinner the other day

"Hamburgers, Be'ezrat Hashem".

Which sent Isaac and her into peels of laughter as we drove home from work.

I looked at them both, with one eyebrow raised. (Well, I can't do the one-eyebrow-raise, but if I could, that would have been the expression on my face).

"What exactly is so funny about hamburgers?"

They looked at each other through the rear-view mirror and again starting laughing.

"It's not the hamburgers, mommy, it's the be'ezrat Hashem".

Yeah, well. In recent years I've been pretty into the "Baruch Hashem [Thank G-d]" and "Be'ezrat Hashem [with G-d's Help]" thing. But I usually used those words in regard to health (I never take that for granted) and for future plans (as in Be'ezrat Hashem the kids'll go to camp this summer). I guess it struck Isaac and Liat funny that I used it in regard to a dinner that was a couple of hours away. They think I'm totally being influenced by the charedi environment where I work. And they're probably not wrong. I've realized over there that you can't answer the question "how are you?" without saying "fine, Baruch Hashem". G-d permeates every sentence they speak.

What my charedi co-workers don't realize, but my family does, is that I also have a tendency to use foul language. I've always tried not to use that language in front of the kids, but as they get older, it does slip out more. It's something I should work on, I know, but it can be so satisfying in certain situations (such as when you drop the pot of chicken soup all over the floor or when someone cuts you off on the road). Oddly, sometimes I find myself using both foul language and Baruch Hashem in almost the same sentence....

Sigh. You all probably think so much less of me now.

(BTW, my friend Gila has also written about her tendency to use those words (the Be'ezrat Hashem, not the foul language). I'd link up to the exact post, but like me, she doesn't index her posts).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses* or , thoughts on middle aging

I went to the eye doctor today. What a nice guy. It was my first check-up since making Aliyah. At my last appointment (right before we moved) the doctor said that my vision could use correcting, but that I was fine without glasses.

Well apparently in 18 months, things have gone downhill, because at today's appointment, the doctor wondered out loud how I was managing to drive at night. Yikes.

Then he proceeded to tell me that I have dry eyeballs. That's due to allergies, very likely to Ozzy the wonder dog. (My kids have already informed me that if they have to make a choice they're just not sure who they'd pick. I'm not to worried; Ozzy can't drive them to the mall.)

Actually, I have no thoughts at all on middle aging. Just turn up the volume on the TV, please. I can't hear it.

*To his credit, Isaac says this isn't true.


My friend SuperRaizy, is hosting the Superhero edition of Haveil Havalim this week and my other friend Ilana-Davita is hosting the Kosher Cooking Carnival. It's good to have friends in high places.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hey, I don't make the news; I just report it*

On my way home from work today I heard Reshet Bet reporting that Muammar Qaddafi has proposed a one-state solution, saying that it would be virtually impossible to manage two divided states. He proposed that the new state be called "Isratine".

Of course, I snickered at this: the Palestinians would never go for this--they'd want the state to be called "Palestael".

The radio quoted the source as the New York Times, so I decided to check it out. It turns out that Qaddafi himself wrote the op-ed piece for the Times. Who knew the man could write English? That in it of itself was a surprise. And this excerpt in particular was interesting to me:

The basis for the modern State of Israel is the persecution of the Jewish people, which is undeniable. The Jews have been held captive, massacred, disadvantaged in every possible fashion by the Egyptians, the Romans, the English, the Russians, the Babylonians, the Canaanites and, most recently, the Germans under Hitler. The Jewish people want and deserve their homeland.

Huh? And then there's this:

A two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point.

What's gotten into Qaddafi? What's next, Ahmani-should-be-dead coming to pray at the Kotel?

Look, let's not crazy here. The article, though well-written, is inherently flawed. The basis of our state is not our persecution, but rather our Right of Return to a land that we were exiled from. Most of the article's one-state premise is based on solving the Palestinian "refugee" problem, by absorbing them into Isratine; there goes the Jewish state.

But wow, I'm still scratching my head over Mr. Qaddafi.

Would you want this man to lead your country?

*I've always wanted to say that line.


West Bank Mama is doing a round-up of posts on the war by olim. She says:

Here and there I read posts by olim chadashim (new immigrants to Israel) about their feelings during the war - some expressing their ambivalence about being here in Israel but not really “taking part” in the war.

I want to do a roundup of posts on this topic. Whether or not you have been living here in Israel for three months or thirty years - please send me your posts about how you felt during the last three weeks.

Go here to submit your post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome, Mr. President, and good luck

So we now have a 44th president of the United States. Of course this is a historic moment, as is being pointed out everywhere. It's a big deal to have a black president, and Barack is indeed a charismatic person. He probably has a chance at being a great president. Time will tell.

I'm about to say something extremely unpopular. I'll say it quickly and then I'm going to hide somewhere until it's safe to come out again, maybe in a couple of weeks. I know it has become very cool to totally trash President Bush, even amongst the people who once supported him.

Say what you will, but I personally believe this: this was a man who always stood by his convictions. He believed in what he was doing and in a strong America.

May America stay strong under Obama's watch. I wish him success.

But now for what's really important:

Which designer is Michelle wearing to the inaugural ball?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A very special birthday, and my 200th post

Please join me in wishing my favorite dog, Ozzy, a happy 3rd birthday. Since in dog years he's finally legal, he's planned a big bash at a local bar where he and his buddies will get rip-roaring drunk. He deserves it. After all, it's a dog's life. (But he's not getting the keys to the car.)

I guess he's also taking up smoking. Sigh. Well, he's under lots of stress lately, what with a war going on and all.

And, yes, I've reached a milestone of sorts: my 200th post. I was going to ponder yet again, what blogging has done for me, but that stuff is boring and Shabbat is starting soon.

But in honor of the occasion here are the links to some of my own personal favorite posts:

I smell a rat, or how much I love my car (I really do).

Uh-oh, which reminds I have to go on a diet.

Gratitude, because I'll never forget.

These pictures are not for the weak of heart, where my friend NW almost called the PETA people on me.

It's my first war and I'll cry if I want to, my most recent post.

Enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Please, G-d, help them find him before it's to late

Where is Gilad?

Apparently a rumor went around this afternoon that Gilad Shalit has been found. To everyone's sorrow it was indeed just a rumor.

There is talk of a cease-fire. I pray that Israel negotiates that with strength, and doesn't accept some ridiculous deal because of world pressure and anti-semitism. And I hope that one of the provisions is the release of Gilad.

This graffiti was sprawled on a giant-armored tractor called a "D9". Their job is to go in and clear the path for the incoming troops. Translation: Gilad, we are on our way to you ([from] Adi and Dudu). (I got this from Jameel, who got it from Rafi G.'s Life in Israel).

May Gilad and all our other soldiers in captivity be brought home swiftly and safely!

UPDATE (in response to a comment from Leora):

She wrote: I posted a ReTweet of Rafi's post this morning (he is just learning Twitter), and I got this tweet in return:
"so the israeli soldiers want to rescue ONE dead soldier so they kill 300 kids? #gaza".

I know this is preaching to the chior, but (duh) Israel did not send in the IDF to rescue Gilad. It is ludicrous to even think that. Do I need to even say this? The IDF went into Gaza because for the past eight years Hamas has been lobbing missiles into Israel, killing and maiming, and terrorizing our Southern cities. That the world thinks that we do not have the right to defend and protect ourselves boggles the mind. And guess what world? You're just going to have live with that, much as it irritates you.

I doubt that rescuing Gilad was a primary military objective (although if he was MY father, husband or son, I'd want it to be), but while our soldiers are there, you can bet they are thinking of him and hoping to find him. Maybe some are even actively looking for him.

And that would be okeey-dokeey with me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Here's who I've been sleeping with lately

I know it's a terribly unflattering picture, but I couldn't help going for the (very) cheap laugh.

And L-rd knows, I could use a laugh what with all the anti-semitic venom being spewed everywhere. I'm not even going to bother linking to those videos and pictures because they are all over the web. If you've missed them, you either live under a rock or are purposely avoiding them.

What it boils down to is this: the world can barely tolerate a down-trodden, beaten-up, emaciated Jew with a number on his arm. But what they really abhor is a Jew defending himself.

That's really what this is all about.


Go see Jack for Haveil Havalim 200 and all his Gaza war round-ups.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's my first war and I'll cry if I want to

Ever since this conflict started, 11 days ago, people (from the states, mostly) have been calling to ask how I'm doing, what I think. Friends call to ask my opinion whether they should come on a planned vacation or send their children. My mother called me after the stabbing in Modi'in Ilit, always confusing that city with my own. It's funny to be on the other side. It's funny for people to now worry about me and my family rather than the other way around. It's strange to think, that in the past I always felt on the periphery of the history of our people, and now I am here. Not quite ground zero, but I wouldn't call it the periphery either.

Since this war started 11 days ago my mind has been a jumble of thoughts and a swirl of emotion. I feel so many things.

Do I feel afraid? Most of the time I don't. I got a bit nervous when I bumped into a friend at the supermarket who was shopping for her "mamad" (safe room). I freaked out when Jameel reported that Hamas does have rockets with a range of 60 kilometers, putting Modi'in in striking distance. Perhaps my mamad does need to be stocked. But overall, day-to-day, no, I don't feel afraid.

I do feel conflicted about the kids. So far they are taking in all of this with aplomb. Not much has changed in their day-to-day routine, but they are aware of the war. Will there be a point when I will fear for their lives? How will I react if such a time comes? How much am I willing to risk? I don't know the answer to that question, and I pray I never have to find out.

I am angry. I am angry that our government waited so long to respond to the rocket attacks that Hamas was able to smuggle in so many weapons and to build so many tunnels to hide in. That they had time to prepare Gaza City as one big booby-trap for our soldiers. I am angry that they hide in their hospitals, in their mosques, in their schools and in their people's homes, forcing my army to make difficult choices. I am angry that they use their children as shields. I am angry that Roseanne Barr, whose show I used to watch, called Israel a nazi-state and compared the conflict to the US army putting down Los Angeles gangs. Except that those gangs, whatever their crimes, have not been launching rockets and missiles at US cities for the past eight years.

I am frustrated that the world calls us "aggressors" "occupiers" "nazis" and "an apartheid state". We accepted the 1947 partition plan, a two-state solution. We accepted the Oslo Accords. We handed over Gaza on a silver platter. We showed "restraint" as our southern cities have been blasted over and over again. For what? For murderous neighbors who have no intentions of "co-existence". They don't want a two-state solution, no matter how many concessions Israel is willing to make for peace. Hamas (and their West Bank cousins, I might add) have made it clear: they want the total destruction of Israel. Why doesn't the world see all of this?

I feel helpless and guilty. There are almost a million people in close rocket range. Some of these people have left their homes for 'safer' places; most have not and are trying to lead somewhat normal lives in the face of huge obstacles. Their kids are not in school; many of the adults continue to work. They run to their shelters countless times a day. What kind of life is that? How do you get over the trauma?

I feel tired. I awaken in the deep, deep night. I look at Isaac, who is blessed with the ability to sleep through anything and then I begin to wonder, and to wander. I peek in on my kids, and listen to their breathing. I wander the hallway and tell myself to stay away from the computer. I find the dog and bring him to bed to snuggle with. And I wait for sleep to return and my mind drifts to brown boots, green uniforms and boys and girls and tanks and bombs and M-16s and F-14s and Barak and Olmert and Livni and red berets and Golani trees. And I pray in the deep, deep night for Hashem to protect them and to give their mothers and fathers strength that I don't think I could ever have. And then my mind strays to my own friends and their sons, some serving now, some about to serve, some to serve in two or four or seven years.

And in the deep night, I sometimes feel hopeless: it will never end, I think. There will always be tanks and young men and women and sacrifices and horror and tears.

And I feel sad. For Dvir, and Yoni and Dagan and Nitai and Yusef and Alexander, and the many others I fear will join this list. For their families who will commemorate Yom HaZicaron (Memorial Day) every single day for the rest of their lives. For children without fathers and children never born, for widows and for grief and for the why does it have to be this way, and for how long will it have to be this way.

And finally, I feel proud. Proud of an army made up of young men and women who know they have to defend their people and their land and who are ready and able and willing to do it. Proud of a government finally, finally allowing our army to do their job. Proud of an army that sends warning pamphlets to its enemies to warn civilians of impending attacks. Proud of an army capable of compassion. Proud of reservists called up and responding to the call, in spite of the way the last war was fought. Proud of a nation that 60 years ago was in tatters and swore, "Never again". Proud that all of you have a place, an anchor, a home to return to when you choose to do so. Proud to be a Jewish nation in a Jewish land.

Proud to be here.

Israeli soldiers killed in action today:

Dagan Vartman
Yehonotan Netanel
Nitai Stern
Yusef Mu'uadi
Alexander Mashevitsky

May their families be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion.



Haveil Havalim is up at Ima Bima.

Jack is doing an amazing round-up series of various bloggers posting about the war. He also has media links.

Israellycool is liveblogging the war.

And of couse, you gotta go to the Muqata for the latest.

Don't these guys work?

Sunday, January 4, 2009


The first casualty of this war; Please Hashem, let it be the last.

This is IDF First Sergent, Dvir Emanualuf from Givat Ze'ev, near Jerusalem, who gave his life defending his country and protecting his people.

?מי כעמך ישראל

Who is like Your nation, Israel?

May Dvir's family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ground Incursion began a few hours ago

Please join me in this Prayer for the Welfare of our Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces:

May He who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers
of the Israel Defense Forces who keep guard over our country and cities of
our Lord from the border with Lebanon to the Egyptian desert and from the
Mediterranean Sea to the approach to the Arava, be they on land, air or sea.

May the Almighty deliver us our enemies who arise against us, may the Holy
One, blessed be He, preserve them and save them from all sorrow and peril,
from danger and ill.

May He send blessing and success in all their endeavors, may He deliver to
them those who hate us and crown them with salvation and victory, so that
the saying may be fulfilled through them, "For the Lord, your God, who walks
with you and to fight your enemies for you and to save you", and let us say,

Copied and pasted from Jameel, natch. His blog has the most up-to-date, informative coverage of this war.