Sunday, September 20, 2009


"Why did you make chicken? Nobody likes chicken except for you."
"You need to move the furniture in the living room around. The room looks disgusting"
"Did you wash your hands before you made the food?
"Who washed these dishes?
"Are these sheets clean?"
"You could easily fix the enamel on the bathtub with a special paint".
"There's so much wasted space here. I'll show you how to rearrange the furniture"
"Did you put the vegetarian hamburgers on grill first, or after the meat ones?"
"Who are the guests?"
"Why do you let the dogs on the furniture?"
"You're always complaining that you have so much to do. Anyone could spend a little time and
paint the room".
"I hate when you put the dog's food in the kitchen".
"If you'd just listen to me, I could help you make better use of the space in the house. We only
need to get rid of these shelves, this bed, this cabinent ....."
"Don't use the plastic dishes for the first course. I'll show you how to serve it."
"Don't you ever clean the stains off these dishes?"
"Why do you.....?"
"How could you....."
"I hate when you....."
"You don't know how to......"
"You don't know the right way to......"

Thanks for asking. It was a wonderful holiday with the family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Erev Rosh Hashana

1. Shop
2. Bake baked goods (including b'day cake for Ariel and Hagai)
3. get tofu for veggies
4. drinks
5. Bake chicken
6. cube meat and cut vegetables for meat dish.
7. grill red peppers for same
8. make potato puff mixture for same
9. cut potatos, sweet potatos, and apples for tzimmis. Season and bake
10. Challah dough
11. molassas cookies (since no one eats honey cake here)
12. rice (sauteed onions and carrots, mixed with cooked rice, olive oil and chopped nuts...yum)
13. Tabouli fixings
14. clean floor -- hasn't been washed all week, yuck, Mica sheds a LOT
15. Simanim (symbols) for the table: apples and honey, dates, gourd, carrots, beets, cabbage, fish,.....
16. green beans with sauteed (fresh!) mushrooms and onions. Yum.
17. make lasagne (meal for the veggie crowd)
18. make salmon (well, not COMPLETELY veggie)
19. bake burekkas
20 wine and grape juice
22. bake challahs
23. second lunch -- barbque? Thundershowers are expected. Prepare alternate.....meat ball sauce, to be ready if necessary.
24. phone Safta, brothers, Jerusalem relatives, grandparents
25. make beds for visiting kids and their spouses/guests
26. floor in Hagai's room
27. salads: egg, avocado, vegetable, humos
28. last minute shopping -- milk, etc
29. Candles
30. Toilet paper, cut
31. electrical appliances set for Shabbat settings
32. a nap?
33. SHANA TOVA TO ALL, especially anyone who has never thought about this before -- you know who you are (and so do I).

Rosh Hashana in Tzfat

Rosh Hashana is tomorrow night, and the amount of shopping, cooking and cleaning that still needs to be done is staggering. One daughter is bringing her roommate (and the roommate's father) and another daughter may be bringing a friend as well. And, of course, my son is coming with his wife! I also invited some neighbors and friends for a few of the meals, so between everything, there's quite a bit to do. But it's such a happy time, and there's always such a feeling of renewal in the air at this time of the year (and satisfaction that I did manage to reach some of my goals from last Rosh Hashana -- my kids might not think so, but I do believe that I've yelled less) that I'm in a great mood.

While I work, there's a guy walking up and down the street outside, saying Tehillim (Psalms). And many of the beggers that I try to give a couple of shekels to every time I walk down the main street have given me new years blessings -- one guy goes on and on, and insists that I say "amen" after each part of the blessing. Passing these people in the street and engaging in conversation with them humbles you in a way that a check to your local charity doesn't -- you're forced to come face-to-face with the people who, for whatever reason, haven't "made it", even minimally, in today's society.

There's been a debate going on our local discussion board . It was set off by a letter from a local mother whose son was told by a neighbor that her (the neighbor's) children would no longer be able to play with this child because he was not religious.

Aside from the ethical question of the neighbor confronting an 8-year-old to tell him to stay away from her precious children, the question has unleashed a storm of controversy. Those who support the mother say that a parent must do whatever possible to bring up their child to keep Torah and mitzvot, including keeping the child away from improper influences.

The opposing view, of which I count myself a member, says that if a family feels that their education is strong enough, they shouldn't have to ban their kids from play from anyone who is different. Secondly, it's important for all of us, children included, to realize that there are different ways of looking at the world, and to respect and honor people who see things differently.

The dialogue between the two sides has brought on its share of secular-bashing and haredi-bashing, which is unfortunate, because it takes the discussion into a space where each side feels its back against the wall.

Reminds me of the story of the messiah coming to earth, and being tossed out of synagogue after synagogue because his head-covering was never the right one for the synagogue in which he was visiting. Finally, he left -- mankind wasn't ready for him.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

If You Will It.......

Theodore Herzel famously said, when talking about creating a Jewish homeland, "if you will it, it is not a dream" (or something like that....I get fuzzy about these things).

I'm sure that that's not true 100% of the time, but I noticed that it worked for me, when I was faced with a dead bird in my yard the other day.

I have to back up and say that of all the things that I find to be difficult to deal with, dead anythings is at the head of the list. I can happily grab the biggest and hairiest spider and toss it out the door without a second thought. I won't kill it though because then I'd have to deal with a Big Hairy DEAD Spider, which gives me the creeps.

I managed to bury our dogs when they died, but in general, I stay away from anything that's not alive. That's why, when I noticed a dead bird (a big raven, not a little thing either) laying between the bushes 2 days ago, I just thought "I'll deal with this later". And when later turned out to be nighttime, and I couldn't see the thing and realized that it would take another day, I wasn't disappointed.

But throughout those two days, I kept imaging scooping up the bird with a shovel and putting it into a box, and then taking the box up to the garbage can. Over and over, the image played on my mind. So when the time actually came for me to do the deed, I wasn't as flipped out as I had been, and managed to send the bird onto its final resting place (the garbage can.....I'm not a saint). Now, maybe I can image a full-to-bursting bank account?

Rumor has it that Madonna, who was playing concerts in Tel Aviv this week, is expected in Tzfat. I'm playing it cool......she'd certainly want to stop in at the Tourist Info center, right?