Sunday, August 30, 2009

The camping post, at last

Here's the deal on camping: it's fun. Really.

But two nights would have to be my maximum.

When you go to a hotel, even if it's a dive, all you do is put down your bags and you're ready to go.

Not so with camping. There's alot more involved.

First you have to find a "good spot". [Not so easy when half the Israeli population is camping with you]. A good spot, in my limited experience would be one that is shady (and not just in the afternoon, as we discovered ours was. Oh well. Live and learn); not to far from where the car is parked; not to far from the bathrooms; not to close to the bathrooms, for fairly obvious reasons; and a place where you have nice neighbors who have lots of equipment [but that's totally luck].

Once you have found the spot, you leave a kid (preferably your own) there to "save" it; and the rest of you start dragging tents, sleeping bags, coolers, and various overpriced "necessities" that your husband concluded are must haves to the spot.

Then you have to pitch the tent. Orli and Isaac did this, with some help from Tali. Orli was kind of mad that she wasn't photographd working and that Tali seems to get all the credit in this picture, but here, on my blog, I am giving credit where it's due: Orli was the big tent-pitcher.

Once the tent is pitched, you have to shlep the air mattresses to the car, because you realize that you need to turn the car on to use the pump. Once you have the air mattresses blown up you need to listen to your kids ask why they don't get air mattresses and when you ignore them, you have to hear them mutter something about "old people" under their breath.

After all the equipment is organized, it's about 7 PM and everyone is starving. The master chef of the mangal, or barbeque, begins to do his thing and about 45 minutes later you sit down to an absolutely scrumptious meal that you didn't cook! Then you have to clean up after yourselves.

After that you have to decide whether you are going to use the showers that about 7,000 other people have used before you. (I voted no; everyone else did shower. I figured a nice swim in the morning would take care of any foul body odor emanating from me).

Then you go to sleep. So to speak. You listen to all the conversations around you. You watch your 12-old-daughter struggle as you are struggling to sleep and are thankful that she is awake at 3 AM to take a walk to the bathroom with you.

You "wake up" in the morning to the sun beating down on you and to the dawning realization that your spot isn't as good as you thought it was going to be.

Then you begin the day's activities. Breakfast takes place on a picnic bench in a river and is cold, courtesy of said river that you kept the milk and yogurt in. You go for that swim and then hike in another river and picnic and laugh and splash and push each other in. And laugh. You go for a ride to Metulla and look down on your country and wonder at the beauty of it and marvel at the people living a stone's throw from the enemy. You close your eyes and listen to the silence and you wish for peace.

And then you go back for more amazing barbeque and maybe a better night's sleep.

The next day, you do everything you did when you first arrived, only in reverse. And go for another hike in water and then rafting. And you laugh some more.

You marvel at your kids, how they are right there, working alongside you to get things done. How everything would have been much more work without them. At how much fun they can be.

And you look forward to the next time you can do this. It's so much better than a divey hotel.

But only for two nights. That's my maximum.

For more of Summer Stock Sunday, check out Robin at Around the Island.

Haveil Havalim is up at West Bank Mama's!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sheepish about my groveling....and a nomination

I must admit, I churned out the previous post in haste, the minute I read the e-mail from Stephen Leavitt of Webads. I so badly wanted to be on that NBN flight for so many reasons. And I thank SuperRaizy for immediatedly responding and nominating me.

Since I wrote that post I've read several nominations including West Bank Mama for Soccer Dad, RutiMizrachi for Bat Aliyah, and SerandEz for Bad4Shidduchim. And I think all of them deserve to go for the reasons given--plus, I just like the way the way they write. (Funny. None of these bloggers are on my blogroll--not because I don't read them. I do. Just not regularly and I don't comment. There are so many of us in the Jewish Blogosphere that I find it impossible to get to everyone, all the time.)

Speaking of my blogroll, I think (almost) all of those bloggers should go; some of the examples:

Gila should go because she was/is a Victim of Terror (how do I put that darn copyright symbol in anyway?) She's her own person, with strong views and opinions that may not always necessarily be PC but are honestly expressed.

Mom should go because, well, she just takes such good care of all us, and her advice is so sensible. Plus she's been living here for years, and if I recall correctly, her first few months in Israel were very difficult; I think the NBN experience would be a bit of "tikkun" for that.

Ruti should be picked because her emunah and passion about living here are so inspiring to me. If I could, I would meet her for coffee every week to get a personal dose of that. Since I can't, I settle for her beautifully written blog, but I'm looking forward to seeing her at the convention and we'll set a date then, okay Ruti?

SuperRaizy, and Leora and Ilana-Davita should be on that flight because, well, mostly because I feel like they have become friends. And their blogs are witty, and entertaining and intelligent and informative, and they all love their people and their land with a passion. But mostly because I want to meet them in person.

I'd love to nominate all of you and so many more, but time limits me so please forgive me; I'm just going to nominate one blogger.

My first thought when I saw the original e-mail was to nominate Ezzie of SerandEz. He just seems like such an intelligent guy with a good head on his shoulders. His blog is prolific and varied. I also feel like maybe, maybe, maybe he is thinking about Aliyah (maybe--don't think he's ever said so outright, just a feeling I have and I could be totally wrong) and if he is, well the NBN thing could have an impact. But then, I realized he probably couldn't take the time off because he just started a new job. (I'm thinking maybe I know way to much about people because of these blogs.) And he himself has said on his blog that he couldn't be at the convention due to a wedding. So, Ezzie, hopefully next year the timing will be better.

And so (drumroll, please) I give my official nomination to Jack. Because I love that he voluntarily manages of Haveil Havalim every week. He doesn't have to do this, but he sees something important in the Jewish Blogosphere, as do I. I think having Jack travel to Israel on the NBN flight would be an excellent way of acknowledging the work he does.

By the way, since the winner is going to be announced on or after September 3rd, Israeli bloggers would likely have to leave on a Saturday night flight, arrive in NY Sunday morning and then come right back with the flight on Monday morning. Wouldn't even have to bring a change of clothing.

That's crazy, but if I won, all my passports are ready and waiting.

(And I promise, the camping posts are coming!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Okay, bloggers and friends, and bloggerfriends help me out here

I just got this e-mail from Stephen Leavitt of WebAds, LLC (WebAds, LLC is one of the major sponsors of the upcoming Jewish Bloggers Convention):

Send your fellow blogger on a free round-trip visit to Israel!

Now’s your chance to select a Jewish blogger who will be flying on the Nefesh B’Nefesh charter Aliyah flight on Monday, September 7, 2009 and attend the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention.

Nominate your fellow blogger with the "Send a Friend" form on the website and with a post on your blog, and be sure to read the terms and conditions on the site to make sure your entry qualifies.

If you want to try to get on the flight, get a fellow blogger to nominate you.

The terms are simple:

To nominate a fellow blogger, you must be registered to attend the convention
(in person or online).
The nominated blogger can be located in Israel or the U.S.
You must post on your blog who you nominated and why
(and obviously send us the information too).
The blogger you nominate does not need to be registered to attend the convention.
The nominated blogger must have a Jewish blog
(i.e. about Jews, Judaism, Israel, etc.).
The blogger who flies in will be linked up with an Oleh/Olah/Family, and must write a series of posts about that experience.
If you want to win, you must find a fellow blogger to nominate you.
You can nominate more than one blogger (but don’t go overboard).
All nominations must be in by Thursday, September 3, 2009.
The NBN flight to Israel is on Monday, Sept. 7, 2009.

So I need at least one of you to nominate me, if you think I should be the one to go. (The more, the merrier).

Two years ago my family and I arrived in Israel on the same NBN flight--the last one of the summer. I was in shell-shock. We had just come off a really tough time with Liat being so ill that year. I was numb throughout the flight and have since said, I wish I could do it again without all the "baggage"--so to speak. This would be my chance.

So to review, if you want to nominate me, go to the website, put me down, and then go to your blog and let 'em know why. (And if you want me to write my own nomination, let me know).

To be fair, I'd be happy to nominate any of you--just let me know you want to go and I'm there for you.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Contrasts in Jerusalem

Today, a symbol of American consumerism, the Gap, had its grand opening in the Mamilla Mall. Their marketing campaign "Hello, Jerusalem", featuring those perfect babies, slightly scruffy,yet sexy men, and long-as-string-bean women has been plastered all over Israel. The Mamilla, itself a symbol of wealth and acquisition, opened about two years ago just outside the Jaffo Gate of the Old City. It originally was one of the first neighborhoods in Jerusalem to develop outside its walls, and until relatively recently was considered to be a poor part of the city. Admittedly, since the mall has opened, parking the car right outside the Gate has been a pleasure, as has the walk through the mall to the Kotel. Tourists love the Mamilla, and I assume spend lots of money there in the restaurants and stores. Still there is something about the outright materialism that bothers me. I can pretty much promise that I won't be a Gap shopper and needless to say, we ignored the big event.

Today, the girls, my sister, who is visiting from New York, and yours truly visited a Jerusalem soup kitchen to help them serve lunch. This particular branch of Meir Panim feeds about 400 people daily.

My brain was a jumble of thoughts for the two hours (which flew by) that I was there:


When we arrived at the kitchen, a line had already formed outside the locked door. I saw a worker in the kitchen and told him we were there and ready to help. He smiled and guided us through the crowd. As he unlocked the door, a woman behind me declared, in Spanish, "Who does she think she is, cutting the line?" Later on, I passed her table and asked her, in Spanish, if everything was okay. She asked if she could have some potatoes instead of rice. "Of course, with pleasure", I told her with my most charming smile. Later on, when she left, she sought me out. "Muchas gracias", she told me, and I saw an apology in her eyes.


A middle-aged man walked in, with four children; two little ones and two teen-age girls. He made sure his children received portions before he did and patiently made sure the little ones ate as much as they could. He didn't see me watching him, but the combination of weariness and love I saw in his face made me cry.

"Mommy, are you crying?" Orli doesn't ever miss a trick, does she? My kids laugh at me for being such a softy; they know I cry at movies, books, TV commercials, Dear Abby columns...Today, though, Orli understood why.


A man, who appeared to be mentally handicapped, indicated that he needed me. I came over and he told me, "Tell these women to stop!" I glanced over at the next table, where three elderly women were chatting. "THEY'RE TALKING!", he said. One of the women raised her eyebrow at me. "It's okay", I said to the women, and to the man I asked, "Would you like more chicken?" He beamed at me, held out his plate, his complaint apparently forgotten.


A Chinese woman walked in, looked at the food, and pointed to the fish. She seemed rather well dressed, with a nice pocketbook and sunglasses dangling from her shirt. As I brought her the meal, she asked, "How much?" It was a bit difficult explaining to her that this was a soup kitchen--she couldn't understand English. When she finally figured out what I was saying, she was very embarrassed. I told her it was fine, she could give a small donation when she was done. Which she did, after hurriedly finishing her meal.


The woman organizing us was a powerhouse. She knew her customers intimately. "That woman doesn't like shnitzel, give her the roasted chicken." (Later, she said to me, you and I have food preferences, why shouldn't these people have choices as well?). When a 7-foot man walked in, she instructed us to give him a double portion and to be generous if he asks for more. For a charedi man, she noted that he would eat upstairs because he doesn't want to eat in mixed company. A blind man was escorted to his seat and given personal service. When another woman walked in, I was told to give her the soft fish and mashed potatoes--without teeth it is difficult for her to chew on anything else. I noticed that as she greeted people, she touched them--a pat on the shoulder, a hug, a grasp of the hand. How often are these people touched--hugged and kissed and loved? Some of them seemed so...lonely.


Meir Panim serves everyone; religious and not, charedim, the elderly, the young, the handicapped, the lonely. No questions are asked; if you come in you will get a nutritious meal, and you will get respect. A nutritious meal and respect. Sometimes I forget that there are people in this world who don't have these basic necesseties that I take for granted. At least for today, after being there, I thank G-d for the bounty that is my life.

If you want information about volunteering for this soup kitchen (very conveniently located by the Central Bus Station of Jerusalem), contact me via e-mail and I'll be happy to forward you the pertinent information. This is a great thing to do if you're visiting Israel, but for those of us living in Israel, the organization could really use us when the tourists go home, during the school year.


Haveil Havalim is up at Esser Agaroth.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's coming, it's coming

I am dying to post about our "vacation" up North and exactly what I think of camping out, but--suffice it to say that I am still recovering and am to tired to do it. Tomorrow we are going to Haifa to see the sites there and Tuesday we are volunteering at a soup kitchen in Jerusalem.

I do have LOTS to say--I'll try to get to it within the next few days. In the meantime, here's a preview picture to hold you over:

I'll be back soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And we're off...

From the time my kids were little, Isaac and I took them on road trips every summer. This was partially in part to explore America, or at least the beauty of the Northeast coast. But also, I wanted to create some memories for my kids. When I was a kid, we couldn't afford vacations per se. We didn't have a car, so road trips were out of the question. Still, I have fond memories of traveling the D train to Coney Island, where we would ride the Wonder Wheel, and drive my mom nuts for more rides. I have memories of stale matzoh and hard-boiled eggs, of swinging back and forth around the poles on the subway (again driving my mother nuts). These trips weren't easy for my mother (my father sometimes joined us, but often not, also a distinct memory). We were four, then 5, rather wild rambunctious kids and I think we drove her nuts alot.

In any case, I wanted to create memories for my kids, so every year we would get in the car and go away for two or three days. We went to the Jersey Shore, Montauk, Long Island, Lake George, the Shenandoah Valley, New Hampshire among other places. Those trips were fun and I hope that my kids will always have memories beyond the "STOP LOOKING AT ME!" and "YOU HAD THE WINDOW LAST" variety.

I look at the girls and I think that the era of family road trips will end before I know it. Liat is going into 11th grade, and is already talking about life beyond high school and--G-d help me--driving lessons. I try not to dwell on that fact to much, because if there is one thing that I've learned it's that you've got to live life in the moment and enjoy it while it's happening. But somewhere, tucked in the back of my mind I know the number of family road trips left is dwindling.

Tomorrow we leave for the Golan. The plan is to make a quick stop in Tsfat (or not. We are notorious for leaving way after the designated time. Trust me on that--It happens every. single. trip.) and then head up to Chorshat Tal where we will pitch our tents, barbeque, swim, play cards (sign of the times: our kids are teaching me how to play poker) and bond. That is, if they haven't killed each other in the back seat.

We've done rugged vacations before, but we've never actually camped out. I'm really the Five-Star-Hotel-Type, but my wallet isn't, so camping it is. I'm sure I'm hoping it's as much fun as everyone says it is.

And thank G-d for our portable DVD player.

I'll be back soon, hopefully with some good pictures.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer time activities: Bat Yam Beach and Yaffo

I found I have become a beach person here in Israel. In America we had the fabulous Long Beach and Lido Beach less than 30 minutes away, but I hated all the dirt that came home after a day at the beach. For some reason, I've embraced the beach here. It's beautiful. It's cheap. The kids adore it. Since we've come to Israel, we've hit many different beaches. We all have our favorites, but the truth is they are all great. The glittering Mediterranean is gorgeous, blue-green, and warm. The breezes that come off the shore as I sit in my favorite beach chair with an ice cold bottle of water or Diet Coke are delicious--natural air conditioning. And did I mention it was cheap?

Recently we went to the Bat Yam Beach for the first time. Bat Yam is one of those coastline cities that is rapidly changing. On the shore you see shabby old apartment buildings side-by-side with new luxury towers. Bat Yam is right up the coast from Tel-Aviv and I wonder if it will be long before the hotels start springing up.

There is some kind of legend surrounding this stone. Something about a princess being saved. Is that why it's marked with an Israeli flag? Not sure.

The sun starts to set, the lifeguards announce they are going home and my kids can't bring themselves to get out of the water.

The sun is just about gone and my kids (and lots of others) still won't leave. Needless to say, we got home very, very late that night.

On Friday, I managed to finish getting ready for Shabbat with enough time for an excursion. We decided to visit the coastal town/ancient port of Yaffo. Yaffo is a city mentioned in the Tanach, the bible. I'm to tired to get into a history lesson right now, but Yaffo used to be an important port city during the days of Ancient Israel. (Trivia question: What prophet left for a famous journey from the Port of Yaffo?)

It was a lovely afternoon. (G-d, I must be getting old, using the word lovely.)

The famous Clocktower greets you as you enter the area. It was built in 1906 as a gift to a sultan.

The sign clearly says "No Swimming".

View of the Mediterranean, with Tel-Aviv in the background.

Entrance into the old city.

And finally, some scenes in the old city:

For more Summer Stock photos, visit Robin at Around the Island.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Second Annual Jewish Blogger's Convention

I hadn't thought there was going to be a repeat performance, since I hadn't heard anything, but low and behold the Second Annual Jewish Blogger's Convention will be taking place on September 13. This year it's practically a whole day's event, with different "workshops" and then the convention afterwards. I've already registered. Have you?

The thing about the workshops is that you have to make a choice between "monetizing your blog"--using your blog and other social media outlets to promote yourself, or listening to some really great bloggers. I want to do both! That's a really tough choice to make...

But noone has to choose at the convention and I was thrilled to see that Benji is going to perform. That should be fun.

I had a great time at last year's convention, and wrote about it here, here, and here. At the time I wrote a list of suggestions for this year's event, which I'll repeat in case any of the planners are listening:

1. I think most bloggers wanted more "meet and greet" time.
2. Bibi was a fun surprise, but he spoke way to long. [Is he the best we've got for Prime Minister? Sigh.] I personally wanted to hear more from the panelists, and from Frum Satire--whose comedy routine brought a chuckle or two.
3. The panelists should probably have had more direction in what they were going to speak about. It was all quite vague and general. Any tips they gave about increasing traffic were pretty basic stuff, even for a computer illiterate like me.
4. I personally would have liked to have more interaction with the bloggers who were participating via the web.
5. A waffle maker for a raffle? The only one hoping to win was Jameel (who still owes a bunch of us some waffles).
6. Food was good, but we definitely needed Russian dressing for the turkey.

This year there is a charge of 50 shekel for the event. Last year the event was free, and I hope they're not charging because I might have stupidly said out loud, "Wow, this is a nice spread....and it's free!!" I don't mind paying the money, I'm sure it doesn't cover the cost of organizing such an event, but please don't forget the Russian dressing!

So which one of you are attending?

And Modi'in bloggers: can I hitch a ride with any of you (I'd be happy to split the gas)? I don't think my clunker car can do those Jerusalem hills anymore.

Click here to register for the convention.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Haveil Havalim #229, Modi'in Edition

Please read all the way to the bottom for a special new category, exclusive to my blog.

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs — a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It’s hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term Haveil Havalim, which means Vanity of Vanities, is from Kohelet, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other excesses and realized that it was nothing but hevel, or in English, vanity.

I'm going to start with a post that doesn't quite fit into any category. It is an extremely important post and I'm putting it at the top so that everyone will see it...In it, Westbankmama talks about about domestic violence in the religious community and where women (in Israel) can turn to if they need help. Read it at A Place to Hide, A Place to Heal: A Battered Women?s Shelter for Orthodox Jews posted at West Bank Mama.

Modi'in Bloggers

Recently, I decided to create a separate section of bloggers that live in Modi'in on my blogroll. I've never met any of these bloggers--for all I know they live next door to me--but I thought it'd be a fun thing to do. And I'm going to feature them (us!) here at the top of this post. Hey, when you host HH, you can do whatever you want. Anyhoo, Modi'in has recently celebrated a special birthday, and I for one, am proud of my city, even though we haven't been able to drink the water here since yesterday.

To my surprise, I got a separate note from a blogger I didn't know blogged from Modi'in. He asks, "Do I get any special treatment for being a fellow-Modi'in native???...hope to meet sometime. Jerus Bloggers Conv?" [More on the convention in an upcoming post]. I'm looking forward to that--maybe we can carpool to the convention with the other Modi'in bloggers. In the meantime, he presents Religion and State in Israel - August 3, 2009 (Section 1) posted at Religion and State in Israel.

This blog just makes me laugh. Your kid need a backpack for school? See how Gila handles it in Attack of the backpack.

Israel W. gives us some tips for job-hunting in Israel at his blog. He's entered his post in a contest at Jobmob, so if you click on over there, you can help him out. I hear there are iced coffees for all his fellow Modi'in bloggers if he wins. Heck, maybe he'll treat the whole Jewish blogosphere.

And Mazal Tov on to Emah S. on the not-so-recent birth of her baby girl. She seems to be back on the blog scene. Will she keep it up?


Ben-Yehudah asks Let's Be Honest. How Many Of Them Do You Think Are Jewish? posted at Esser Agaroth. He also presents Festival HaMiqdash - The Temple Festival (Updated) posted at Esser Agaroth.

Lion of Zion asks Has Israel Failed As An Or la-Goyyim? posted at Lion of Zion.

Joel Katz presents a weekly review of media coverage on issues of religion and state in Israel on his blog in Religion and State in Israel - August 3, 2009 (Section 2) posted at Religion and State in Israel.

Benji gets serious and talks about racism, cultural differences in America vs Israel in Racism, Americans and Israelis, the Worst World in the English Language, and When Can I Start Posting Funny Stuff Again? posted at What War Zone???

What happens when your kid attends the Israeli version of camp "machaneh"? Mrs. S. tells us what to expect at Our Shiputzim: A Satorial Scenario. (Sorry for the oversight, Mrs. S!)

Have you heard about what happened when Kristin Davis (who played Charlotte in the Sex in the City TV show and movie) became a spokesman for Ahava products? Yisrael Medad tells us in Women to Sacrifice Their Beauty for "Palestinians" posted at My Right Word

This blog is always on the pulse of what is current in Israel, be it culture, politics or whatever. Harry presents An animated Israel posted at ISRAELITY.

My friend Rutimizrachi revels in her fellow Jews returning home in 238 more reasons for dancing on Tu B'Av posted at Ki Yachol Nuchal!. Friends of ours were on that flight and we are thrilled they have decided to come home.

Uh-oh. Jameel tells us that the FEDS (yup, from the IRS) have arrived in Israel.

Batya presents The New York Times Comes To Shiloh posted at Shiloh Musings.


A Mother in Israel has Laundry and Cooking Tips for Large Families.

Batya decides to use discretion in Back With The Veil posted at me-ander.

This sounds like fun (NOT.) Frum N' Flipping presents The Mating Ritual posted at Frum N' Flipping

Rabbi Neil Fleischmann writes in a free associative, personal post about - among other things - why he disagrees with the fellow blogger who claims "no-one cares what you had for lunch." He's liked to thank his subconcious for helping the piece come together. Read all about it here in For Me, A Taste Of Heaven posted at NY's Funniest Rabbi.

Jack presents Too Lijit To Quit & The Nigerian Email Scammer posted at Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?. I need to look into this Lijit thing.

Mazal Tov to Robert J. Avrech, of Seraphic Secret and family on the wedding of Offspring #3. You can see great photos here , here, here and here.


Now, here's a funny Tu B'av video....can Benji get a date? Why not see in It's Almost Tu B'av....Now Where the Hell are My Heels? posted at What War Zone???.


Lady-Light wants to know Where Was Obama Really Born? posted at Tikkun Olam. She's not the only one who's curious.


How machmir [stringent in your religious behavior] are you? Mottel tells us that I for One Am Not a Machmir posted at Letters of Thought.

There's nothing more important than building a Jewish Home--that's what Batya notes in Dreaming of A Wedding For... posted at Shiloh Musings.

Naomi Rosenblatt gives us a a quick list of recommended Jewish books on love, sex, and relationships, in honor of Tu B'Av. Plus, a cute take on the history of Tu B'Av and its modern reincarnation in “I Wonder, Wonder Who Wrote The Book of Love?”: Jewish Books on Love and Relationships, in Honor of Tu B'Av posted at Jewish Publication Society Blog.

More about love: Rabbi Neil submits 3 poems along with backstory including an excerpt from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. He presents And Yet.* posted at NY's Funniest Rabbi.

This is a new blog I've never seen before, but I was touched by this post. In it David tells us how he is trying to ingrain Judaism into his home and into his children's hearts. Read it at Super Secret Sabbath Soda posted at Double Triangle: Jewish Food, Life & Community.

Lady-Light presents Perceptions of the Jews by Renowned Gentiles posted at Tikkun Olam.

I was so proud of myself. I finished the last link by 3 a.m. and thought, well, that's that. I can get almost 4 hours of sleep tonight. I went to sleep, satisfied.

And then I awoke to check my e-mails. First one blogger who asked why I hadn't included her submission. And then another. Yet another. What happened? Must be the Carnival people--their site is always having problems. Okay, I said, I'll update the post. And then yet another blogger e-mailed me. I contacted Jack, who suggested I check my spam filter. Well, duh. There you all were, over 30 submissions.

Funny thing is, I thought there were very few submissions this time. But I figured people were probably on vacation. The thought occurred to me that maybe you guys don't like me (self-esteem issues left over from high school sometimes rear their ugly heads). But, no I was wrong. And thus was created a new category for Haveil Havalim. Please accept my apologies. It won't happen again next time I host.

Bloggers Whose Submissions Went Straight to Spam

Eli brings us up to date on Roseanne's latest shenanigans at Barr bakes cookies and her reputation posted at Mypanim's Weblog.

So now if you live in Jerusalem you are considered a "settler" [dirty word that that is]. See what Eric has to say in AP Anti-Israel Bias in Pro-Israel Story posted at The Israel Situation.

This is weird. How come another one of LOZ's post got through filter, but this one didn't? Anyway, he presents presents Jr Mourns the Bet Hamikdash posted at Lion of Zion.

Yitzchak Goodman presents Guardian: Ayatollah in trouble, Zionist entity hampering Obama from finishing him off posted at Judeopundit.

This week's Torah poem explores the imagery of Ekev in a new way, as commentary on the landscape of the human heart. Rachel Barenblat presents This week's portion: not by bread posted at Velveteen Rabbi.

In his Jerusalem Post "Green-Lined" blog, Yisrael Medad continues his windmill-tilting of the pro-"Palestinian" bias of the US Consulate in Jerusalem. Yisrael Medad presents | BlogCentral | Green-Lined | And where were you born? Pt. II posted at Green-Lined. He also dares to take on the famous and influential Robert D. Kaplan in Well, Now I Am Losing My Patience. Finally, he recalls a passionate defender of Israel, the late Sidney Zion in Sidney Zion, In Memoriam posted at My Right Word.

TRS presents It's been a long time coming, and it ain't ending too soon either posted at The Real Shliach.

Soccer Dad presents Next year in jerusalem posted at Soccer Dad.

This picture is being posted and circulated as well it should be. Here's a bit of background on the man behind the poster, presented by Risa in 5 Words + 1 picture says it all! posted at Isramom.

Here's another powerful article about spouse abuse. David Morris presents Made in Hell posted at Tzedek-Tzedek.

Rena Chernin presents Surviving Ulpan Boot Camp and Good Medicine posted at Sweet Home Yerushalayim.

SeminaryToScientist presents Covering Your Hair in the Hospital posted at Seminary to Scientist.

Mordechai Torczyner presents My first JACS meeting posted at The Rebbetzin's Husband.

Toby presents her funny signs at Airport fun, S-XL posted at A Time of the Signs.

Gee. I wonder if the president will write back. Ariel Ben Yochanan presents An open letter to President Hussein Obama by Ariel Ben Yochanan posted at The Torah Revolution.

Rickismom presents My Parents and the Plaster Figurines posted at Beneath the Wings.

Mrs. S., whose last name doesn't begin with the letter S, presents Nitkatnu hadorot posted at Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress.

Harry presents Legendary rock bassist chooses Jerusalem stone and Ugandan Jews posted at ISRAELITY. Well, at least one of your submissions got in on the first try.

Lubavitch presents Manali Diary 3: Chabad Rabbis Continue To Search For Missing Israeli posted at Chabad-Lubavitch news site.

See what Jennifer Singer is counting down to at Beginnings posted at 48 Days - Jennifer's RH Countdown.

This is very scary to me, with close family still living in that country. The CJN presents Venezuela turning into anti-Semitic playground posted at Heebonics.

David A.M. Wilensky presents As the fringe gets longer, the convresation gets wider posted at The Reform Shuckle.

Phyllis is very proud of her brother. And so am I. See why at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting: I ♥ Israel...a Tu B'Av Post posted at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting. And she also tells us what she really accomplished this summer in Best Laid Plans Go Awry.

Shira presents Women to the Left, Men to the Right !!! posted at Shearim.

A Simple Jew presents One Boring Summer Day - A Story From My Past posted at A Simple Jew.

Israel presents Sabra Album Take 6 – Marketing Edition posted at The Weisser's Journey to Israel.

And of course, fitting for the אחרון אחרון חביב [save the best for last] post, are Jacob Richman's pictures of the most recent planeload of new olim from America to Israel. It's at Good News from Israel: Welcome Home to the New Olim (and 322 pictures) posted at Good News from Israel. Welcome home! (I know of at least one blogger on that flight).

Thanks, spammers and non-spammers alike, who submitted to the Modi'in edition of Haveil Havalim. We've arrived at the end. Actually, I could go on forever, linking you to to a million posts from all over the Jewish Blogosphere but it's 2:45 a.m. here in Israel. And as you know, SUNDAY IS A REGULAR DAY IN THIS COUNTRY, meaning that I have to get up for work in a couple of hours.

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

Have a great week!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monty, the big black dog

Remember the old Clifford books? My kids used to love those. Well, for the past few days we have been privileged to host my friend Ilana's dog, Monty. Monty is a playmate of Ozzy (the wonder dog) and to say the least he is....larger than life. Every Friday night, Ilana picks me up and we join our dogless friend Tammy in the park and watch the dogs completely ignore each other.

I know. You're thinking, how big can the dog be? Surely not as big as Clifford. Sigh. I wish you wouldn't doubt me. Take a look:

Now, while Ilana has been galivanting up North doing much of nothing, I've been busy taking care of her pooch. I did not ask her permission to post photographs on the blog, but Monty himself gave his okay:

He's actually quite excited to be the topic of a blog post.

When Ilana and I go walking with the dogs, we get stopped every five minutes. The reaction ranges from "Eizeh chamud" [how cute] to "OMG, that dog is freaking huge" or "Is that a bear?". Ilana takes it all in stride. It's to bad she's not single, because that dog is a real babe magnet. Meanwhile, poor Ozzy, the most beautiful dog in the world, gets totally ignored and me and him both feel like wallflowers. Sniff.

When Monty came over on Sunday, he lay on the floor ("New carpet?" asked my neighbor) for, like, 28 hours. Dogs really get depressed when their owners abandon leave them for a few days. I tried to cheer him up, but he wouldn't have any of it. Ozzy totally ignored him, and, opportunistic hound that he is, ate all of Monty's food. By Monday afternoon, it was apparent that Monty had changed his direction of thought: Well, this is stupid, mourning those people who are out living-it-up and leave me behind. These humans are just as much fun. He started eating and drinking and enjoying our attention. Anytime one of us would coochy-coo with Monty, Ozzy would trot on over anxiously to get his share of love and belly-scratching. Totally jealous. Totally amusing.

And when it was bedtime, I swear, Ozzy would give one last disdainful glance at Monty as if to say, Hah. I get to sleep with them. That'll show you who's king around this place.

Tonight, Monty goes home. I'll bet he'll miss us. But he shouldn't worry. Ozzy'll be making a return visit when we go up North in two weeks.

If you think it was easy getting this shot, think again.

Taking care of some business:

Haveil Havalim is up at Frum Satire.

Mazal Tov to my friend Mazi and her husband, Eli on the marriage of their son, Etan to Tamar. I am so sad to not be participating in this special day, but am so happy for everyone. Mazi, I miss you terribly.

And, אחרון, אחרון חביב--saving the best for last: Happy birthday to Isaac. Not getting older (well, maybe a little), getting better....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mazal Tov!

It's come to my attention that Modi'in has just celebrated a very special birthday. Modi'in has turned 13 this July and I for one would like to wish it a Mazal Tov. (But no presents; you get enough from me in Arnona [property taxes]).

It seems that the first resident of Modi'in, Gadi Mizrachi, moved into his apartment on Emek Hachula in July of 1996. He moved in to an apartment that wasn't completely ready and had no electricity or water, (but I imagine he never had trouble finding a parking spot). Mr. Mizrachi also has the honor of opening up the first business in the city, a stationary store. The first supermarket store came one month later (by which time the city's population had already increased over 100 fold). When Mr. Mizrachi moved in, the area where we live was still a mountain.

A bit of history: It was Moshe Dayan, in 1963, in his role as Minister of Agriculture that first toyed with the idea of re-establishing the native land of the Chashmonaim (who revolted against the Greeks in the famous Chanukah story) and turning it into a modern city called "Modi'in", named after the nearby ancient city of Modi'in described in the Talmud. It took 30 years until the cornerstone of the city was laid.

Modi'in is centrally located, midway between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. It is a planned city, designed by famous architect Moshe Safdie. In noting the hills and valleys of the area, Mr. Safdie decided to place the parks, schools, shopping centers in the valleys, and have the residential areas rise up on either side. Apparently, city planners also had the resident's health in mind: some of these hills are killers.

What I love about living in this city is watching it grow before my eyes. One day I'll see a pile of rubble and the next day a new supermarket rises (down the block from me!). Since we've arrived, the two train stations (12 minutes to Ben Gurion Airport, 17 minutes to Tel Aviv) and much to my daughters' delight, the MALL, have been opened. A town pool is coming soon, according to rumor. New highways, roads, traffic circles are constantly being finished, which sometimes makes for some amusing (or maybe not) roadtrips. I love driving down to the new Menachem Begin Blvd. in the new Moriah neighborhood, at the end of Modi'in. It feels like the end of the world. It is a complete construction zone, yet some of the buidlings are ready and you see signs of life there: cars in driveways, laundry hanging out, toys on the porches. And I look over at the next hill and wonder when that will be filled with homes and buildings.

I'm a newbie here. I have friends who have been here ten or eleven years, when the city was mostly hills and rocks. They speak very fondly of those early years, but I know that Modi'in is still a city in its infancy (okay in its teenage years, but you get what I'm saying). Someday in the distant future, I will also remember what the city was like way-back-when and how it has flourished. I am glad that I came when I did, in time to watch it grow.

Mazal tov to my new city. May you continue to grow and prosper!
The entrance to Modi'in