Saturday, August 31, 2013


This week will be a marathon of shopping and cooking. I  cheated and did a lot of the shopping over the past month so that the bill didn't floor me all at once, but there is still a lot to deal with . I hope that if I do most of the shopping tomorrow morning, I'll avoid the crowds that may be flooding the supermarkets later in the week but, on the other hand, 15,000 other housewives in Tzfat may have the same idea. Nothing else to do about it except to take a deep breath and get started. 

I took a week of from Shabbat guests and had a quiet Shabbat with my younger two kids, who were the only ones that were home.

Hagai was home from the army so I planned a meat meal. Then thursday night he said that maybe he'd be going back for Shabbat and would be able to come home for Rosh Hashana, so I kept the meat in the freezer and made some veggie delights for myself and my daughter (she's vegetarian and I don't much care). Friday morning, just as he was getting ready to return to base, he got a call from his friend with whom he was supposed to switch who said that, never mind, there would be no switch.

The meat got defrosted (and cooked, about an hour before shabbat) and there will be one less guest at home for Rosh Hashana.

Speaking of Rosh Hashana....i'm not a great shul-goer and prefer to do most of my praying on my own, but I do get annoyed with the kvetchers. This time I actually took a few minutes to respond to one.  Don't know why I bother but it got a few "likes" on Facebook so I guess that someone else feels the same way.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Healthy Living -- Try, Try Again

I'm trying to eat healthier (more healthily?) and reduce calories so when my daughter told me that my new favorite snack, popcorn, was high in calories (not including the oils used to pop it or the butter that some people smear over it) I panicked. Luckily we live in the day of the Internet so I googled it and found that the nutritionist for the Today show gave it a clean bill of health. Whew. I make popcorn a few times every week and use olive oil to pop it and then sprinkle brewers yeast over it so it really is pretty yummy and relatively low-fat (I don't have a microwave so I'm stuck with the old-fashioned popper method). 

I also have to mention that, since I've started to use brewers yeast (just sprinkling it on popcorn...what else is there?) my nails have strengthened and don't tear every time I glance their way. Brewers yeast is supposed to be high in vitamin B12 -- maybe there's something to it?
I also adapted a fruit shake to the seasonal fruits and made myself one this morning. Aside from the time that it takes to peel the fruit and get everything in there, it's nice and filling and very energizing. 
 Since my daughter said "yuck" and no one else is going to give me any props for this, I might as well share my hard work
  • 2 apples
  • 2 mangos
  • 3 bananas
  • tehina
  • yogurt
  • low-fat milk
  • flax seed
  • pomegranate seeds (yes, I spent the time opening a pomegranate and peeling off the seeds, but the combination of sweet fruits and tangy pomegranate seeds was worth it).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Laurie the Fundraiser

I've taken on a new project, trying to fundraise for a friend who is recovering from cancer. She's actually recovering from the treatment that she's undergone -- chemo -- which, if you asked me, has caused more problems than the cancer itself. if I ever had to make such a decision, I'm not sure that I'd go for the chemo.

anyway, her son and his wife have come from the States to help her and they need some money to get started, so I'm trying to find some funds.

Have learned a few things about fundraising:
1. I'm not very good at it
2. You have to find your leads and contact the people individually and follow up and, most of the time (in this town anyway) actually, physically go and GET the money
3. It's not an easy process
4. If everyone gives a little, you have something to work with
5. As my former boss once said, if you want to get something done, ask someone who's busy. Well, I'm busy and I would so much rather just give some money rather than add this task to my list of things to do.

In other news from the homefront, the cat hadn't come in for a few days...she was laying outside and by the second day it was clear that she wasn't just lounging around. So off to the vet who gave her several shots and handed me some anti-biotic pills to give her each morning. 200 shekels but she is better. Have you ever given a struggling cat anti-biotic pills? Orally? I have the bite on my finger to prove that it's a challenge, and we're only on the 2nd of five pills.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Epileptic Dog

Mica arrived in our house in 2008, just after my son and his girlfriend got engaged. They found her huddled under some trees in a local park and begged us to keep her "just until they got married."

Well, the wedding was in August 2009 and Mica has never even been near Kiryat Ono, the small suburb of Tel Aviv where they live now. First of all, they both work crazy hours and secondly, well, we wouldn't be very happy to give her up.

Mica is probably one of the most laid-back, gentle creatures that God ever made but she does have her quirks. For one thing, you can tell that she was abused...every time I get the broom out to sweep the floor she slinks off under a bed or in some other hiding spot.

As mentioned, she's extremely patient and gentle but she DOES NOT LIKE men in black hats. Doesn't matter what kind....there's something about the haredi male population that spooks her and although she'd never bite, she does give a frightening "woof" that would scare just about anyone.

One of her most unusual peculiararities is that she is, evidently, epileptic and prone to periodic epileptic fits. When a fit is coming on she'll huddle in some small corner somewhere or, if she can, snuggle up to someone and wait for the episode to begin. Each episode lasts for about 10-15 minutes during which she completely loses control of her muscles and withers on the floor, scratching madly (which, as you can well imagine, is a drag when you're sleeping and wake to hear the noises under your bed).

Then the episode passes and she shakes her head and goes on with life.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday Night in Safed

I made it to shul this Shabbat. If the truth be told, my attendance was limited because the shul that I like to go to is one of the Carlebach shuls and by the time everyone else is heading home for Friday night dinner, they're just starting to roll....I had guests coming and I didn't want them to come home and find a locked gate. But I did get to go for a little while.

Summary of the congregants -- mostly dati (modern Orthodox), some black hats and wigs (Ultra Orthodox), streimels (Hassidim) and a smattering of shorts and tank tops (secular). Two of the people brought their dogs which sat relatively well-behaved on the sidelines.

Name me one place that you'd see that in New York. Or Detroit. Or....well...anywhere.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Props to Safed Peeps

Ah, the wedding. As previous mentioned, a middle-aged Dutch couple stayed at my guestroom last week and mentioned that they had never had a Jewish wedding.  Other people in the community got energized and last night I attended one of the most beautiful ceremonies ever.

The bureaucrats whisked through all the paperwork details in four days and by this evening everything was ready. 

Don't forget, everything was pretty-much  donated. The chuppa took place in the courtyard of the Ari Sepharadi synagogue. Meir Glazer of Shvil HaLev came and played guitar, using the sound equipment of Simply Tsfat. Ya'akov and Miriam Drori of Tzfat's House of Love and Prayer organized the entire chuppa and Ya'akov served as the rabbi. Susan Zehavi of Art Colony Inn prepared the food. Jody Sugar of A Jewish Calendar came to be the official photographer.

Just to give you an idea of the type of effort that went into this event, here's a summary of some of yesterday's Facebook postings

VERY IMPORTANT!! I'm helping plan a last minute wedding for a wonderful couple from Holland. The wedding is tonight but some things fell threw and we have no ketubah!!! Are there any sofers here of does anyone have a number that i can call to have a ketubah written up by 6pm tonight... HUGE MITZVAH!! will obviously pay.

Yes, living in Safed can be trying at time, but sometimes I'm just so proud to be part of this community.