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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Schizophrenic Israelis

Well, you know that I had to spell check that one, eh?

There are a number of times during the year that I'm sure that the Jewish religion actively promotes schizophrenia. We have so many sad and/or somber holidays or rememberance days, followed immediately by days of wild rejoicing. The current month, to my mind, encapsulates the phenomena. First you have Pesach with seven (eight for all you out-of-towners)days of "there's nothing to eat in this house" (depressing, especially if you're the person responsible for stocking the kitchen and keeping the fridge full) together with massive meals and fun. Less than a week later comes Holocaust Rememberance Day when the air waves are full of reminders of that horrible time and nightmares are the order of the day. The following week is Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, another day of sadness and reflection on the young men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country (and us). And then, bang, Israel Independence day....fireworks, music, celebration, barbques, swimming, fun......it's kind of hard to get a handle on what you're supposed to be feeling on any particular day.

Yesterday morning, Memorial Day, I was walking by the cemetery in the morning. In Tzfat, the military cemetery sits directly next to the Old Jewish Cemetery with its ancient graves of Jewish rabbis, sages and kabbalists. Soldiers were already getting ready for the eleven o'clock memorial ceremony when thousands of locals come to stand with the families of the fallen soldiers and terror victims. The soldiers were setting out ice chests with hundreds of bottles of water which were to be handed out for free to the people who came to the ceremony. Tell me, is there any other country in the world that acts like such a Jewish mother? Not only water....they had bags of chocolate milk (in Israel, milk comes in plastic bags, and chocolate milk comes in little half-liter bags so that you can bit off the tip and suck the chocolate milk out). The soldiers set up right next to the entrance to the cemetery to make sure that everyone drinks enough. With all due respect to the combat soldiers, the pilots, the men and women who risk their lives for our country -- THAT's my army.

Last night was quiet, but today we went down below the city to an area with a natural spring to barbque with some neighbors. In a typical Israeli scene, the revelers next to us were a group of Chabad young men who coralled some of the secular boys who came to dip in the spring to offer them a chance to put on tefillin. Most of the boys actually agreed, and by the time we left, the Chabad boys and the secular boys were sitting together sharing a "L'chayim" (translation: a drink)

Saturday, April 03, 2010

End-of-Pesach-Musings

I am SO ready to not hear anymore "isn't there anything to eat around here?"

I wonder whether kids whose families don't eat gebroichts (matza or matza meal mixed with anything) on Pesach are just better behaved, more tolerant or better eaters than my kids. Or, maybe they simply starve for the week.

Best photo moment of the week was seeing an Arab vendor eating a matza sandwich at the shuk (open air market)on Wednesday.

This one week holiday probably doubled my monthly expenditures. In addition to food, we did some shopping, some entertainment, a bit of travel and new sandals and clothes. I should leave this blog alone and go write some articles and make some $$$.

A spritz of vinager+water in the ear of a dog who looks like she's developing an ear infection can prevent the infection from developing. Phew...I do NOT need a vet bill now.

Last batch of matza brei this morning! Thanks to my British cousins for teaching me that you can eat it with salt instead of sugar....much better.

Barbque tomorrow for lunch! I'm off kitchen-duty!

Have been invited out for coffee with my almost-14-year-old to celebrate my birthday.