Saturday, November 29, 2008

14 million people in Mumbai and they find the Chabad house

Mumbai (Marathi: मुंबई, Mumbaī, IPA:[ˈmum.bəi] (help·info)), formerly Bombay (Hindi: बॉम्बे, Bambai, IPA: [bɒm'beɪ]), is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India. With a population of 13,662,885, it is the most populous city proper in the world. (From Wikipedia).

A city of almost 14 million people with a handful of Jews. Somehow they managed to find the proverbial needle in the haystack.

They targeted hotels, bus stops, train stations and one house on the outskirts of the city.

They targeted Jews.

My heart goes out to the people of Mumbai, who are calling this their 9/11. I am sorry that such evil exists in our world. And of course my thoughts are with the families of those who died because they were Jews: Rabbi Gabriel and Rivka Holtzberg, Bentzion Chroman, Rabbi Leibish Teitlebaum, and Yocheved Orpaz.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Shabbat starts in half an hour

...and I've been following the crisis in Mumbai all day, hoping and praying it would end before the day is over. I've been hopping between Ynet and Twitter, which has people sending feeds every few seconds from ground zero. Amazing how we get our news these days.

The latest news is that commandos have stormed the Chabad House and after hours of fighting, have secured the building. There are reports of five dead hostages, and I am praying that this is misinformation. I don't know if I will find out before Shabbat starts, but I continue to hope and pray for the safe return of the hostages.

In the meantime, I have read that India has said it will not negotiate with terrorists. India will not negotiate with terrorists.

May Shabbat bring us the peace we yearn for.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for, thinking of

I try to be thankful for what I have every single day, but Thanksgiving brings back so many memories and flavors. We had a very special dinner with our friends Pearl and Marta, and soon we're off to watch the kids in their Bnei Akiva performances for Chodesh Irgun.

But please join me in praying for Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and the many other Jews being held hostage by Muslim terrorists in Mumbai, India. May they be released soon and return home to their families safe and sound.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

7 Facts about me....weird and otherwise

I was tagged by Hadassahsabo to do this. I'm supposed to tag 7 other bloggers for them to do it, but most of my favorite bloggers have been tagged (some more than once!). I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you want to do it on your blog or not; if you do, let me know and I'll put up a link.

I think there are probably more than 7 weird things about me (my kids would vouch for this), but here goes:

1. When I graduated from nursery school my mother sewed me a red dress with little black doggies on it. I was so excited about this dress until I got to school and saw all the other kids wearing white, lacy, frilly jobs. But in the pictures I definitely stood out.

2. Pizza is my favorite food in the whole world. I even love bad pizza. I have eaten cold pizza for breakfast and enjoyed it. The best kosher pizza in the world is made at Netanya's on Ave J in Brooklyn. Nothing comes close. But I keep looking.

3. I put ketchup in my chicken soup. Everyone thinks this is weird. Even my mother, who I could swear I copied this habit from when I was little.

4. I sing. Especially songs of my youth. Songs like American Pie and Yesterday and by Barry Manilow and Billy Joel. Ask my kids. They hate it.

5. I enjoy my job, but am not passionate about it. I wish I could make money doing something I adore. (Anyone wanna pay me to blog?)

6. Isaac calls me "Doom and Gloom". I worry. Alot. About all kinds of things, important and not.

7. I am an insomniac. See #6.

8. (I know it's supposed to be 7 things; but I wanted to end on a high note).
In spite of my nickname, I still have faith in humanity, and try to view life with humor and faith.

What don't I know about you?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kosher Cooking Carnival #35-procrastinator's edition

I have noone to blame but myself. After all, Batya did ask me to host way-back-when at the First Jewish Blogger's Convention. At the time, I said sure, thinking "November? NOVEMBER? I've got plenty of time to deal with that." And then she sent me a polite e-mail asking me what day I would put up the carnival. I chose November 23, still a month away.

Then the submissions started coming in. I put them in a "KCC" folder without even a glance.

And here it is November 22, 10:55 PM and I'm about to start putting this carnival together. Will it be an all-nighter? Probably. But as I said, I have noone to blame but myself.

So here goes. I hope it's coherent.

Did you know we're at the midpoint between Sukkot and Chanukah? Risa noticed, and has a special way to mark the occasion.

Coming to Israel? Confused about kashrut over here? Have no fear, Ben-Yehudah explains it in Esser Agaroth: Kashruth Certification Guide posted at Esser Agaroth. (Of course, you may want to consult your own Rabbi as well.)

You think all there is to eat in Israel is falafel or shwarma? Not quite. Ahuva Goldstand presents The top five Jerusalem foods you've never eaten - Jerusalem Metro Blog - posted at Jerusalemite blog.

Lady-Light tells us about Soup posted at Tikkun Olam. Soup, to her, is not just an "every day meal." It is warmth, it is home, it is FAMILY!

Speaking of soup, Elisson is MENTAL FOR LENTILS posted at Blog d'Elisson.

Well, by now we all know that Batya's husband won the waffle maker at the convention. Finally we get to see it in use over here. She gives us a recipe here.

Growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the New York City Marathon was a big deal because the runners would burst through our neighborhood as they sprinted down Bedford Avenue. Everyone would be out to cheer them on and hand them orange slices and cups of water. Here is some advice on keeping kosher if you are a marathon runner. (I doubt that's something I'll ever have to worry about).

Apparently, Frum Satire ate his way through Kosherfest 2008. Stephen reports on this in KosherFest 2008 - COR (14159265), KosherFest 2008 - Shannon Road and KosherFest 2008 - Get HEALTHY AMERICA posted at KosherCookingCarnival.

Phyllis tells us about a unique restaurant in Closed on Shabbat....not just my blog! posted at Ima on (and off) the Bima: Jewish Parenting & Living from a MamaRabbi.

What would I do without Mom? It's never to early to start planning next year's menu. And if you want to use your microwave for more than just heating food up, Mom tells you how here and here.

What's the difference between eating lunch and doing lunch? Batya tells us!

Fiona King presents 100 Must-Have Sites for Vegans, Vegetarians and Locavores posted at Culinary School Guide.

Isn't that a gorgeous picture? Leora presents Mabul Cake posted at Here in HP.

My friend Ilana-Davita gives us tomatoes and scones. I've tried some of Ilana-Davita's recipes before; she is a great cook!

Batya does something shocking. Check it out here.

Ahuva introduces us to the man behind the famed Jerusalem Marzipan Rugalech. I actually just saw the guy taking out a tray of rugalech when I was at the shuk in Jerusalem last week.

Check out this chicken recipe that was inspired by a chef writing in an Israeli newspaper. I paired it with Ilana-Davita's lemon stuffing, and they couldn't get enough!

I guess it's not going to be an all-nighter after all. Before I leave I want to introduce you to two great Jewish foodie blogs. Both have beautiful pictures, recipes and all kinds of advice when it comes to food. I found the first, the Jew and the Carrot through my friend CK, and the second, Israeli Kitchen, through the aforementioned Mom.

Thank you to Batya for founding and managing the Kosher Cooking Carnivals. Thank you to my long-standing computer/internet for dummies teacher for teaching me how to upload a picture from one to blog to another.

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

Two more things: spell check is not working on Blogger, so feel free to comment with spelling corrections. And, happy birthday to my brother, who probably is not reading this.

12:58 AM. Now that wasn't bad at all.

G'night, and happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 17, 2008

(Re)-learning something new everyday...

My brain is exploding.

One of the direct results of making Aliyah is that I am attending school again. Sixth, Seventh and tenth grade. In Hebrew. Yay.

Did you know that...

...the rise of chassidism is a result of a spiritual and financial crisis amongst the Eastern European Jews of the 17th century?

...David Hamelech (King David) was a pretty aggressive guy (which is why he didn't get to build the Beit Hamikdash)? He was really mad at that nasty fellow Naval HaCarmeli and was going to wipe him out when he met Naval's wife Avigayil who convinced him it was beneath the future King to destroy Naval's household. Avigayil later became one of David's wives, after G-d himself smote the evil Naval.

..before Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) was annointed King, his step-brother Adoniyahu tried to steal the kingship? When David found out about this, he took care of it. Shlomo later had his hit man, Binayahu Ben Yehoyoda take care of Adoniyahu.

...after Bar Kochba's rebellion, surviving Jews fled to the Galil because they knew they could live on the agriculture there and that also they could hide from the Romans in the numerous caves.

...that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions in Hebrew is the same as in English? But that my kids no longer no how to say "numerator" and "denominator" in their mother tongue?

I'm also learning about the circulatory system. Digestive system is up next. When I was in tenth grade, I couldn't wait to learn about the reproductive system with my bio teacher, Mr. Zeidner, who we thought was hot. Wonder if it will be as fun this time.

Add all of this to my nightly awakenings at 4 a.m. (and not being able to fall back asleep), everything else that needs to get done and you can see why Baila's feelin' just a bit cranky.

I need a vacation. Or maybe SuperRaizy's solution will work for me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too. Tired. To. Post.

That was the title I had in my head last night, but I was so tired, I couldn't even do that. Now it's early morning the kids are about to get up and I'm trying to squeeze this in:

Haveil Havalim is up at West Bank Mama's. As always lots of interesting posts.

And don't forget I'm hosting the Kosher Cooking Carnival, which should be up and running by Sunday, November 23rd. Anything having to do with the word "kosher" is appropriate for submission--and please people, I'm kinda desperate.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I tell you why I'm so tired.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tastes like chicken**

I am hosting November's Kosher Cooking Carnival (submit, people! By November 23!), so I figured I better include my own food post to submit.

Before Rosh Hashannah, I found a recipe for chicken in the Yediot Achronot. It looked good, so I made sure to have or buy all the ingredients. When it came to actually cooking the bird, the given recipe looked way to complicated, so I whittled it down to this:


olive oil
black pepper
crushed garlic cloves

Make a mixture out of the olive oil and spices, and smear the mixture all over the chicken (inside and out). Bake at about 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and smear honey inside and out the chicken. Put the chicken back in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Chicken should be golden brown.

I saw this recipe over at Ilana Davita's place and immediately thought of it when I went to make my chicken. The lemon stuffing is the perfect foil for the honey on the chicken.

I've served this several times to different guests and it's been a big hit. It passes my criteria for recipes, because it's REALLY EASY and barely uses any dishes. Go ahead and try it. B'teavon (hearty appetite)!

**Since my trivia contests (see the end of this post) are so popular, I decided to use the title of this post for another triva question: In what movie was the line "tastes like chicken", uttered? Bonus points if you can name the character who said it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If you live in Modi'in, you may want to lock your doors. Just for tonight.

Well, Isaac sure has been a happy camper. A few months after we moved here, there was a call for citizens of Modiin to join the "Mishmar Ezrachi". Literal translation: "Citizen's Watch", or volunteer police force. This stuff is right up my husband's ally. He went to a course (which included target practise) and once a month goes out with his partner ("Starsky") for four hours of patrol or checking cars at roadblocks. He carries a gun, which is a bit scary for me (especially since the [real] police officer handing it to him for the first time said, "You see this gun? You better not use it.").

Anyway, Isaac, always Mr. Friendly and Popular (I swear the man could talk to a tree; and the tree would answer him) was asked to be in charge of coordinating this program. He was so happy about it; I burst his bubble by telling him this was one of those pain-in-the-butt jobs, where he will schedule people and they will call to cancel and he'll have to scramble to find a replacement. Which is exactly what has been happening, but Isaac doesn't seem to mind. He gets to go to lots of target practises, and he got this very cool uniform:

Anyway, Starsky and Hutch are out on patrol tonight, protecting Gotham City from the forces of evil. Although I laugh, they take their job pretty seriously, and I really am proud of Isaac for becoming involved in this.

He always did want to be a policeman when he grew up.


*****NEW TOPIC*****

Local elections were held yesterday. I am ashamed to say I did not vote, really because I had no idea what any of the candidates were all about. I should have made it my business to find out, but I've just been to overwhelmed with the logistics of life and family lately.

A guy named Chaim Beebis won and will be Modiin's mayor for the next four [I think] years. Maybe he'll choose a deputy mayor by the name of Butthead and then we'll have Beebis and Butthead running the city. [Bah dum pum!--but I can't take credit for that, it came from my friend AB].

Although, I know nothing about the guys running for mayor in my city, I did follow the mayoral election in Jerusalem and am very pleased that Nir Barkat won. Good news for our capital.

Finally, I'm sure you all know that Israel will be having national elections in February, and I will be sure to vote then. Unfortunately, the choices are not exactly overwhelming, but I just had a brilliant idea: maybe John McCain could come here and run for Prime Minister! He'd be a shoo-in!

I'm feeling my brain becoming incoherent, so I'll sign off. But not before I mention that Haveil Havalim 190 is up and running. It's hosted by Jewlicious, which is quite a nice blog. Have fun reading.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day off. Here's what I did.

--I woke up at 5:30 a.m. (always do, not because I want to).
--Showered and dressed (quickie morning prayers).
--Got kids up and out.
--Threw a load of laundry in.
--Ate corn flakes while reading Obama's acceptance and McCain's concession speeches. (Wept a bit; I'm such a sucker for American patriotism).
--Put up the chicken soup; prepared the matzoh ball batter.
--Cleaned my bathroom.
--Unpacked a box (from our lift of last year; don't ask).
--Put the laundry on the drying thingie; threw in another load.
--Threw the matzoh balls into the boiling water.
--Cleaned my desk (basically moved papers and bills from one part of the desk to another; must start to go paperless).
--Went to the Iriyah (town hall) to take care of some stuff.
--Went to pharmacy to pick up some meds.
--Dr's appointment.
--Went to the bank (for a withdrawal, what else?)
--Dry cleaners.
--Supermarket, to pick up a few items I forgot at yesterday's big shopping.
--Home. Lunch. Moved laundry to dryer (towels get the electric one) and folded other laundry.
--Made several phone calls (school, doctors, yelling at the Jerusalem Post).
--Read two chapters of Orli's science book, in Hebrew so that I could help her prepare for a test that's coming up soon.
chicken with peppers and onions.
broccoli kugel.
marble cake (not this recipe, even though it looks amazing).
--(In between the cooking), watched an episode of Top Design with Liat and Orli. We just enjoy that stuff.
--Cleaned the kitchen.
--Did not cook dinner; Thursday is usually "Fend for yourself night". And they did.
--Blogged (actually am blogging as we speak).

(Disbursed throughout the day were various conversations with daughters and husband).

The thing of it is, I know that this is a fairly typical day for many of us. Crazy, isn't it?

What did you do today?

PS I am not exaggerating--I really did do everyone of these things. Here's some of the evidence:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

They thought it couldn't be done (title 1), and will it be Barack or John? (title 2)

Fellow computer addicts, listen up. I have been away from my computer for 48 hours. I know, I can hardly believe it myself, but it can be done.

It wasn't a conscious decision not to turn the thing on. I just came home from work yesterday exhausted. I'm pretty sure I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I have been feeling down for no apparent reason. I looked at the computer and just didn't want to deal. The fact that I was reading this also made me not want to crack open the laptop. This is just one of those books you can't put down--great plot line, strong characters and a fascinating historical setting. I also managed to go on a vigorous walk with Ozzy and a friend, then went to bed at 10:30 and woke up feeling pretty darn good.

Hmm. Maybe I should do this more often.

Next topic.

I don't usually get political on this blog, but I do read and discuss this stuff alot. My friend N called me from America a couple of hours ago; she was torn about who to vote for and said she wanted my insight. I was touched and flattered that she thought enough of my opinion to call me. She was really torn about who to vote for, saying that her neighborhood (my old neck of the woods, the Five Towns was going with McCain, but that she wasn't so sure. She had several good reasons for her feeling. I told her what I thought. I didn't try to convince her either way and don't know what she decided. She probably doesn't know yet herself, and won't know until she pulls that lever.

I was so happy that she was putting so much thought into it and not just conforming. I hate to be cynical, but with the electoral college system of electing a US president, New York State is pretty much a shoo-in for Obama, regardless of who N votes for. Still she felt her vote was crucial and talked about the privilege of voting as a Jew and as a woman.

I'm pretty intrigued about who the new president will be. I know what the polls are saying, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was an upset. I think that whomever it is has much to look forward to. America will spend the next couple of years recovering from the current economic mess. The new president, be it Obama or McCain, will get, or take credit for this recovery (whether he deserves it or not).

I'm signing off now. When I wake up, we'll know who America's new leader is. Either way, the next four years should be very interesting.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"If it's a carnival, how come there are no games?"*

The Election Edition of Haveil Havalim is up. Go check it out.

And Leora has JPix up at her place.

Finally, Batya has the Kosher Cooking Carnival over in her neck of the woods.

I'm hosting KCC this month. I'll be putting it up on November 23, so make sure to post and submit something kosher about cooking; or something like that. Or anything related to Jewish food and eating. Just submit something. Please.

*Thanks to Leora's son for contributing this quote.