Monday, December 22, 2008

the funny-looking cup

We had some non-jewish friends visit from England recently. After one came out of our bathroom, she asked, "what is the funny cup with two handles all about? We've seen them everywhere here." It was then I realized that most people have no clue how OJ's live literally according to the Bible. G-d says, the Rabbis explain, We do. Simple as that. (well, not always simple, but at least it follows, logically) So, when G-d commanded us to Wash our hands before we eat a meal and after we go to the bathroom, we believe he meant it. The question becomes HOW? I've seen many people wash their hands in public restrooms (or not...ewwww!) and everyone has a different way of handling it, that's for certain. So, we have a set way of doing it that has been around for centuries, that way, everyone is equally clean! That's what the cup is for. Just in case you've never seen one, this is what they look like:
Some are fancy:

Some are not so fancy: They all have two handles, one for each hand! This washing process is also called Netilat Yadiaim (Hebrew for washing hands). When you wash after going to the bathroom, you wash with soap first (like normal folks should) Then you hold the filled cup with the handles facing you in your left hand and pour the water on your hands alternately 3 times (3 on each hand). Then you can dry your hands off and say the blessing after leaving the bathroom. When you are getting ready to eat a meal (with bread) you fill the cup, but pour 3 times on your right, then 3 times on your left. After this you say a blessing for washing hands (Blessed are you L-rd our G-d king of the universe who has given us the commandments and commanded us to wash hands) and then silently go back to wherever you're eating and say the blessing for bread and have your meal.
What to do if there's no wash cup? Just wash your hands and put them under the running water the correct way. Or find a drinking cup or other vessel and do it that way. It's better to wash in some way than not at all.
Now you know! Feel free to ask for clarifications!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On going back to America

Life as an ex-pat isn't easy. In fact, it's darn hard a lot of the time. Don't get the wrong idea, I love living in Israel, am glad we emigrated here and are raising our Kid(s) here, but sometimes you simply long for the familiar. Like Wal-mart, Target, Safeway (or any real grocery store), Starbucks, etc. And it's hard to be separated from all of your family. Most people who move here have at least some family, but we really have none, and it's been an uphill battle to build a support system here. I still don't have a good babysitter in walking distance. My best option just got engaged, so she's off in la-la land for a while.
But we are going back to the US for a visit in one week. I'm going a bit berserk thinking about traveling in my 3rd trimester with a one year old (Thank G-d the Rabbi is coming!) but I'm really excited just to be "home" with my family for a while. I know it's just a different set of difficulties in America (no kosher meat, or Jewish Milk, having to drive again, instead of walk everywhere, etc.) but at least I will be dealing with people in my native language (and hopefully theirs). And everything is so cheap there (except Jewish stuff, which is very cheap here) that we will be testing the limits of our suitcase allowance with shoes, clothes, Ziplock bags, crystal light, sponges, kitchen knives, high-threadcount sheets (220 is really high here), and anything else I can think of that is really expensive or unobtainable in Israel, but cheap in the US. In exchange I will be bringing Olives, Pomegranate products, Za'atar (Israeli spice), scarves, etc. for family and friends.
So, here's to the exchange of consumer goods, but also to the joy of having 4 generations living on the farm again (however briefly), my daughter being charming to all our friends, getting to feel my BFF's baby kick her tummy, because it will probably be a while until I get to meet him in person, hugging my other BFF because she's going through a tough time and Skype just doesn't cut it, watching my parents play with my daughter, their first grandchild, going as a family to the aquarium for the first time, and everything else. Oh, and if you believe in Prayer, think of us as we drive across the country in Early January with our one-year-old who's longest car trip to date has been 2 hours. Yeah, we're nuts.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

smells like Hanukkah...

So this will be my third Hanukkah in Israel. When you live in the states as a Jew, you get inundated with Christmas stuff, with only the obligatory equal-access Hanukkah decor (usually on a tree, ironically enough).
In Israel I see nary a light, santa, reindeer or hear a carol, unless I go near the Christian Quarter of the Old city, since people here are mostly Jews, Muslim, or Secular. But Hanukkah? oh yes!! 9-branched candelabras are everywhere, convenient oil/gel inserts in the proper number on every corner, and in every Makolet (corner market) there are boxes of fresh Sugnafiot (jelly donuts). And if you live close to the Shuk (like i do!) you can walk down the lanes of stalls and admire rows and rows of still-hot sweet treats, and even a few places frying up latkes. It smells like heaven! Even though I've got every excuse to fulfill my cravings, I try not to buy any until the week before the holiday, or I'll get worn out on them, even the caramel ones that I have dreams about! Last year, my DH brought them to me in the hospital after I had our daughter! But smelling all the goodness is calorie and guilt free! and sometimes I go a few blocks out of my way just to walk down the bakery row and inhale the sweet smell of Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More HP Magic...

I believe the world can be a better place. In Judaism it's called Tikkun Olam, healing the world. We believe that by doing what G-d told us in the Torah, the world will run the way it's supposed to. No Strife.

I try to do my part. I want to raise Mentchedick kids (good human beings). I make sure not only I give charity every day, but also my daughter and husband. We have people over for meals, and put them up for the night if they need a place to be for Shabbat. I know we've had hundreds in our home for a meal in the last 3.5 years (since we were married).

But more than that, I try to be polite in a less-than-polite culture (Israelis are rude!). Sometimes it means I wait longer, get ignored, or get pushed in a crowd, but I think that's OK. I also never answer back with sarcastic remarks when we are in a non-Jewish area of the USA and I'm getting asked for the thousandth time if I'm Amish, if I have cancer (I cover my hair with a scarf), if we're Jewish, if I can speak Jewish (Hebrew or Yiddish?) to them, bless their kids, whatever. Because I know these questions are other people's way of trying to understand me and also make the world a better place. And I appreciate that.

It's know!

So, Moosh in Indy is part of the greatest thing ever. The HP magic giveaway. Wow, HP and Windows Live are giving away something like 200 computers. It's like Christmas, except Jews don't do Christmas. So, it's more like Hanukkah for me.
I can't imagine what it would be like to actually win. The truth is, my Dear Husband has an awesome laptop that he uses for work. not. We bought this laptop used, on E-bay, for $150 when we were poor newlyweds and had to have something. And we were grateful for it.


But as time has gone on, it has become less adequate. I could help my husband try to support our family with a nicer laptop, as he does video and photo editing work. I have lots of video editing experience, but no computer to do it on but his, which he needs most of the time. My contribution to the family income is sewing. I currently use my computer to market my clothing alteration and repair business online. So, between those two things, We'd probably keep whichever computer had the biggest hard drive, because Video eats up space like a termite on holiday. We'd also probably keep the printer so I could start making posters for the sewing on my own at home instead of outsourcing it. The fact that it prints pictures is a big bonus. We've not had a printer since moving and having our first kid. So of the hundreds of pictures I've taken of our first child, how many have I printed? None. That would change!

Times are very hard where I live in Israel. I know times are hard everywhere, but in a country where 1/3 of the children live below the national poverty line (families of 4 who make less than 4200 Shekels a month, about $1,050) hard times hit even harder. I know families who literally live on eggs, milk, and bread, because those are government subsidized and it's what they can afford. Many nights Scrambled egg sandwiches are our complete dinner as well. It's cheap protein, and nourishing, and that's all it needs to be. Clearly, we're not totally destitute (we still have internet) but it's some lean times in our house (we have stopped riding the bus anywhere we can feasibly walk).

But this isn't just about me. We've only got one kid and one on the way. Jake and Sarah have 5. One sweet newborn Yair (pronounced yah-ear). Jake has a small business working as a Schlepper, a mover. He doesn't have a big moving truck, just the family van, and most of the time he does all the carrying himself. He used to have a good sales job here in Israel for an American company, which gave them a laptop they could use, but then he was laid off. So, he sucked it up and made a business moving stuff. And when he can't get work moving stuff, he cleans houses, something usually done (in this country) by illegal immigrants and women. Different culture. But he does it because he's got 5 kids and a wife at home who think he's the world's greatest dad. And he's in the top 10 as far as I'm concerned. You should see the multi-level tree house in their yard that he built with salvaged scraps. They totally would get a laptop and a copy of Kung-fu Panda, because, HELLO, 5 kids!

Then there's Rabbi Gold. Old guy living in the Old City of Jerusalem. His vision is to have a school for Old Guys like himself to learn in. They learn Hebrew and scriptures and in general find some purpose for their lives at a time that purpose is somewhat lacking. He's struggling and needs to improve his website so people that come to learn with him for a short time can keep up after they leave. His very old computer is totally inadequate for handling large amounts of audio and video files. He's such a great teacher, he has a few young guys around that could help him with the computer stuff, but they get frustrated trying to make a computer do things it just wasn't meant to do. Computer to him as well!

I also kind of know a guy names Shmuel. I've never met him personally. He runs a charity that donates computers (that he has built from scraps) to needy families and charities. I'm not certain, but I bet he also is working with some old rigged-up computer that he built from cast-off pieces. To support his family he does computer consulting, and makes up the difference with a garden on his porch. But he still donates countless hours to building and distributing computers to those in need, because it's his vision that kids will be able to do their homework at home, disabled people will have a link to the outside world (Israel is NOT handicap accessible in most places), and charities will have the technology they need to continue their good works.

I could tell you a dozen stories like this. The irony of a country where 40% of the people wo are employed work in the Technology sector, and yet people use computers that are 5, 10, 15 years old does not escape me. If one of these folks declines a computer I could find 6 people to fill their place.

The truth is, I don't NEED a new computer. (I can and will use a new computer if I get one, but I won't die if I don't get it.) I NEED food, shelter, and clothing for myself and my family. Those things I have. For now. And I trust that G-d will continue to provide them for me through whatever means he chooses. I probably won't enter each and every one of the other contests. But it really would be a miracle for these other people to get a computer for their needs, and I've always liked the idea of being part of a miracle. And Hanukkah is about Miracles of provision when it seems like there's not enough to go around. That's kind of how things feel in Israel right now. Not enough to go around, no matter how you stretch.

It's not 8 days of burning from one days worth of oil, but in it's way just as much a sign of G-d providing for those in need.

(the last night of Hanukkah last year)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wedding in an apartment...

I finally went to the perfect wedding yesterday! The Chuppa (ceremony) was called for 2 PM, but it got going at 2:30. Nobody cared. there were exactly 10 men, including my DH the photographer, 5 women including the bride and 4 kids. It was in an apartment, and we all had a home cooked lunch after. One neighbor brought a cake. Did I mention the Kallah/Bride was the grandmother of most of the kids there (except mine)? And the Chatan/groom is about 60? no? Well, it was the sweetest wedding I've ever been to, and I hope they have many joyful years together. No muss, no fuss, just happy married people and candy throwing kids. The way a wedding should be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I can't believe how much I neglect this blog. People still read it though, so here's something new to look at.
Did you know we have a ZOO in Jerusalem? Seriously. It's built into one of the valleys outside the main city, and it's pretty darn awesome, for Israel. Shevy had her first trip there yesterday and was captivated by it all, and not scared in the petting zoo, like many of the kids are. Go my kid! do I get a mommy prize because she didn't freak when the goats nibbled her toes? OK, maybe not.
Here are the highlights:

Monkeys fail to impress her. She was more interested in the cigarette butts on the ground.

She liked the fish in the Tiger exhibit quite a bit. This means a trip to the Seattle Aquarium in January!
The goats totally cleaned all the crumbs from the stroller, and from her clothes.

We both liked the leopard. Her dad loves the big cats, so we couldn't neglect them!
But it turns out the Bears were her favorite. I thought she was going to pull herself over the fence to get at them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can't you just get a Rabbi to bless this?

Kosher. the basic were covered by Frum Meets World really well. I, too, am amazed by the idea that most non-Jews have about what Kosher means. As someone who didn't grow up with the whole kosher food thing, it's much simpler than it looks from the outside.
The questions I hear most often vary by source. From OJ's I mostly get things like, "Does Treif (non-kosher food) taste good?" (no, it tastes awful, that's why all the Gentiles eat it, duh.) "do you miss certain foods?" (yes, like Clam Chowder and Taco Bell)
From the gentiles, it's more like "Can you eat at my house?" (not really, but thank you for asking. How about a bottle of water or a coke?) "Can't you just get a Rabbi to bless this and make it kosher?" (if only it was that easy...)
What about you? Do you have a burning question about what is or isn't kosher? No question is stupid except the one that goes unasked...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What's them strings hangin' out, Rabbi?

So one of my regular reads, Casey ( wrote about Mormon undergarments, and it made me think of the number of times my DH has been asked about his "garment". So, here I am to de-mystify the underwear of the Orthodox man (at least kind of).
All OJ's wear a 4 cornered garment of some kind with strings/tassels/friendship-bracelet-looking-things attached to each corner. Here's a picture:

The main part is called a Tallit Katan, and the strings are called tzit-tzit. The cloth can be anything other than linen. My husband prefers traditional wool, but many men wear t-shirt like material or even the kind of nylon net that football jerzees are made from. The strings are made from tightly wound wool. Some people wear all white, some add in a blue string. All white is most common, the blue thing is kind of controversial, but too big of an argument to get into here. The strings are tied in a prescribed manner, which differs by community. As the garment is holy, it is not worn next to the skin, but over a t-shirt, or completely outside your regular clothes. Also, most men pull the strings to hang outside their pants if their shirt is tucked in, as having the strings (which are tied in a way that numerically represents the Holy Name) by your underwear isn't the best idea.
All that being said, the garment itself is believed to have given rise to the rumor that OJ's can't see each other in *ahem* intimate moments. The idea of trying to reproduce through a hole in a sheet is kind of funny to me, but when gentiles see this big piece of fabric with a hole in the middle (hello, it looks like a poncho!) hanging from the laundry line of their Jewish neighbors, I guess there was some speculation. Actually, the opposite is true. Nothing can be in the way, not even socks. So there you go. Mystery solved.

I'm thinking about doing a series of these, so if you've always wondered something about Jews, send me an email or leave a comment and I'll try to address it. I know you all have questions...I see the way folks in America look at us in the grocery store....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

All the sickos...

Who show up here after googling "wifeadv-ntures" can just go away! Ick, ick ICK! Don't google it yourself, friends, just trust me it's not nice content.

a little batty

I was hanging out laundry the other night, enjoying the relatively cool summer night, when I saw something swooping in my general direction. It was a bat. Not a big one, just a lil' guy. I actually like bats. They're secretive and make the best of the least-favorable hunting times. I know, they have rabies and all that, but as long as they're not in my house, what's the harm?
So, I tilted my head back for a minute and let them swoop around me out on the laundry porch. And I felt pretty peaceful and in tune with the world around me. Just because there were bats, and I wasn't scared of them.

PS-I hang my laundry out at night to avoid it getting faded from the strong Jerusalem sun. just FYI.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Better than Bubbe's Matza Balls

I've been meaning to do this post for ages, but I really wanted to do it with photos, so you all had to wait until my camera finally arrived. This is the full recipe for my famous matza ball soup. If you want to learn ONLY matza balls, skip to the end.

You will need:
Heavy stock pot
Large bowl
Sieve that fits inside bowl

1 lb chicken parts (bones, wings, necks, whatever)
2 large onions
4 medium carrots
1 small bunch celery
handful of parsley
Hawaj (soup spice, a mixture of turmeric, cumin, and black pepper)

Place the pot on med-high flame. Once warm, add chicken parts and cook until brown on all sides
While chicken is browning, roughly chop onions.Add onions to pot once chicken is lightly browned. Cook until onions are limp and bottom of pot has a nice dark brown glaze.

Chop up carrots roughly and add to pot.Add Hawaj (I use 2 Tablespoons, you may want to use less until you know how much you like the flavor) and salt (to taste, about 3 T) to pot.

Now add water to the pot, until it is nearly full (the amount will depend on your pot). Then chop parsley and Celery (including the leaves) and drop into pot.
Lower heat and let simmer for several hours, up to 10 hours. The longer it goes, the better. I average about 6 hours. Keep adding water as necessary.
Later, your soup will look like this:

Not so yummy looking, but trust me it will taste wonderful! Put the strainer inside the bowl and pour the contents of the pot into the strainer. scrape the sides of the pot to get the gunk off.Pour the broth back into the pot and bring it back up to a gentle boil. Now is the time to add any veggies, barley, rice, noodles, whatever to the soup. My husband is a purist, so no veggies for us. Oh well.

Now, get ready to make the matza balls!!!

Matza balls-
Small bowl
mixing fork
2 eggs
1 T Oil (any kind)
1/2 c matza meal
1 tsp baking powder

Crack the eggs into the bowl and add oil. beat it...just beat it...
Put the matza Meal in and the baking soda. Beat...oh wait, no, just mix it all until just combined.
Put it aside for 15 minutes. In the fridge, if you're unusually worried about salmonella, but the counter works fine for me. Now, get ready to form balls by wetting your hands. take 1 Tbl or more of the mixture (depending on the size you want them) roll it into a soft ball (no perfection needed) and slide it into the boiling broth.Repeat until you run out of batter. Never, ever boil your matza balls in water. bland city. it also works best if you are going to serve them in the next hour or so after you make them. keeps them from being too mushy.

Now, sit down and enjoy your soup. It cures many ailments and keeps kids happy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

wordless tuesday...sort of

I thought I'd put up a few recent photos of Shevy. A friend was here over the weekend and took these lovely shots. soon, I'll have a camera again and won't be in a photo wasteland any longer.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Birthday Update

Because it's my Birthday today, I thought I'd do 7 things you may not know about me as I was born on 7/7/78. I was going to do 30 (as that's how old I am now, ACK!) but my attention span is too short for that.
Without further ado:
1. I have worked A LOT of different jobs. In Chronological order: Thousand Trails bathroom cleaner, After school care worker, Nanny, Chef at assisted living home, Taco Bell, Subway, Sears, ASB secretary (paid position), Pea Tenderometer operator (not joking), Carrot QC, Admitting at a hospital, Nanny again, Balloon artist, Camp videographer, After/before school enrichment teacher, Summer intern for UGM at-risk program, Preschool Admin, Videographer again, Kmart Checker, then photomat operator, Children's activities coordinator, Janitor, High school teacher, Hebrew language teacher, and now, seamstress. wow, I'm tired.

2. I am the only Jew I know who grew up on a Christmas tree farm.

3. I am late a lot, but I hate being late. it stresses me out, but stuff always happens to make me late, especially now with the baby. argh.

4. Someday I'll write about it in more detail, but I had a curse. Boys who liked me fell horribly ill (6 that I know of), guys who proposed ended up dead (fortunately only 2). My DH is in perfect health, by the way.

5. I loved performing in Opera and Musical Theater. I still sing selections for my daughter, although singing for mixed company is out for Jewish Modesty reasons. I just might audition for one of the all-women for-women groups here in J'lem. when I have spare time. ha.

6. I didn't hit puberty until I was 14. then I went up 4 cup sizes in one summer. Talk about an embarrassing return to school. you should have heard the rumors fly...

7. I have a sad, sad addiction to Mt. Dew. I know it's AWFUL for me, and nearly impossible to get here, but I still manage somehow. If anyone feels like being an enabler, they can mail me some!

My thanks to all those who commented and emailed to see if I'm OK. I;m feeling better, but they still haven't figured out why I fainted so much. I've got an appointment to go over my Med history with an American Doc next week and get orders for all the tests, so I'll keep you all posted as to the results. Meanwhile I'll post my Matza ball soup recipe sometime this week, which will cure you of anything!

Monday, June 30, 2008

the one where I end up in the hospital.

Health care in Israel is different than you think it is. It is universal, but not in that scary, everyone gets horrid care kind of way. We actually have excellent doctors and facilities, considering that the country is only 60 years old. Little did I know last week that I would be testing the extent of those facilities.
I went to the Beach on Tuesday. It was a women's only beach in the Tel-Aviv area a gorgeous day to swim in the Med. Shevy and I came home tired but happy. Half way through the night I got up to go to the bathroom. As I sat down to take care of things I felt nauseated and dizzy; not a feeling I am unfamiliar with, as I am prone to fainting. The next thing I know I'm flat out on the bathroom floor (ick) wondering what happened. After calling out to my DH, waking the baby, and hosing myself off in the tub, my DH decides I'm dehydrated and runs up to the 24 market to get me some gatorade. Meanwhile, I puke my guts up onto some dirty laundry piled next to my bed. (I always notice how dirty the house is when I'm sick and can't do anything about it.) Despite my mom's voice in my head warning me not to eat or drink for an hour after throwing up (mom doesn't say puke) the DH convinces me to drink some gatorade. About an hour later I throw up again, fortunately this time into a large bowl. An hour later DH is also throwing up and also having to run to the bathroom every hour, so we figure we both have some virus and decide to just let it run it's course. Then Shevy starts having leaky diapers, and being other than her normally happy self. By this time it's afternoon on Wednesday, so we decide to take her into the clinic. While there, the Doc is very concerned about the bump on my head (I'm pretty sure I hit it on the door when I passed out) While she's examining me, I lose consciousness again, and throw up again. She freaks out and orders me to be admitted to the ER. We get a taxi to the big Hospital (Haddassa Ein Kerem) which also has a mall attached--another story--and after going a little nuts they send a Medical explorer to come take my blood. He provides me with a running commentary of his incompetence (failed to insert a Heprin lock, just barely got the blood they needed after 4 sticks) and I promptly pass out again. So they admit me to the trauma unit, the Doc gives me the *worst* Hep. lock IV I've ever had (docs usually suck at basic procedures, by the way. get a nurse to do it) and they start pumping me full of unwarmed saline. I hate that feeling. So, they CT me and X-ray me and take more blood and 12 hours and 4 bags of saline later have no idea why I passed out (not surprised) but want to keep me in the Hospital for a week to run tests to find out why I faint. I have a 7-month-old at home so I say No way, which really annoys the Israeli Doc, who is used to being obeyed like a god. I know all the tests he wants to run can be done outpatient and my DH has had the baby *alone* for 12 hours and is going nuts with what to do. So I check myself out of the hospital AMA (against Medical advice) and take a taxi home, where my daughter nearly turned herself inside out with delight at seeing me after us being separated for the longest time since I gave birth to her. That's all I have the time or energy to type right now. I need a nap. maybe next time I'll write about the Drunk Ethopian in the ER or the poor lady with Fibromyalgia and 2 broken wrists.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The best bread in Israel.

Or anywhere else for that matter. When We were dating, my husband made this bread, which was yards better than any Challah I'd ever made or tasted, but he refused to give me the recipe until we were married. Now I make the bread, and I can give the recipe out, and you don't even have to marry me to get it. The best part about this Challah is that it is moist and dense rather than bland and fluffy like many Challah recipes. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. If you'd rather I made it, stop by my house any Friday night.

Challah (mix it up on Thursday night!)
4 1/2 C warmish hot water
1 1/2 c sugar
7 tsp yeast
7 egg yolks
¾ c oil (olive is best, but any kind works)
4 Tb Salt
5 Lb flour
1 egg
3 Tb sesame or poppy seeds.

In a large bowl mix the water and sugar, then add the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add egg yolks, oil, sugar, and salt and mix thoroughly. Slowly begin adding flour, mixing completely each time. After a while it will be impossible to stir, so turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading in the rest of the flour (it all has to go in for halachic reasons. If you find the dough is too dry, add more water.) Put dough ball into LARGE (really large) oiled bowl or pot, cover with plastic wrap (spray the top of the dough ball with pam or oil to keep it from sticking) and let rise overnight in a warm place, or at least 6 hours. The longer it rises, the better the flavor, punch it down a few times if you need to. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, separate challah with a bracha, and burn the portion. Cut the dough into the desired number of loaves (I make 12 loaves, but they are small. It makes 6 large loaves nicely), then cut the loaf section into 6 pieces and braid. (If you want to learn this, it is explained in the Spice and Spirit cookbook. It takes some practice to be fast at it, but the result is worth the effort.) Place braided loaves onflat pans lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm spot for 40-60 minutes, until the loaves have approximately doubled in size (if you are pressed for time, you can put the loaves in to bake right away, but they won’t be as pretty or soft). Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375. Take the last whole egg and beat it with a little water to make an egg wash. Use a brush to coat each loaf with the egg wash, the sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, or both. Place pans in the oven for about 35 minutes, until the tops are light brown and when you tap on the top of a loaf it is hollow sounding. If you have to use 2 racks because it is a small
oven, switch the pans from top to bottom to ensure even cooking. The secret to nice challah is to not over-cook it. Trust me. People prefer things slightly underdone, whether they realize it or not.

There's the big secret. It was worth marrying the guy just to get this fantastic recipe! If I get requests for them I'll put up some other Shabbat food. We make killer Matza Ball soup in this house.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I know it's been a long time...

...But I've been busy. We had to move. not out of Jerusalem, but to a different part. And then there was Passover. that took up a LOT of time. And I have a 6-month-old. In case you didn't know, they are the biggest time-suck ever. More than the internet, blogging, and wii combined! (not that I have a wii, I've just heard and I really want one. Too bad we don't have a TV) Oh, and I run 2 businesses, one sewing, and one making balloons. And I was in Ulpan (Hebrew Language school) but then I quit because I was becoming a maniac and pulling out my hair, and I decided something had to go, and it WASN'T going to be the kid (although it is tempting). But who could get rid of such a cutie, right?
So I quit Ulpan, we moved and my life has calmed down a bit. I'm even sewing for fun sometimes. Now there's a novelty!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008


I used to love grocery shopping.
The planning, wandering the aisles deciding what I could do with new things I saw, loading all my newest goodies into the pantry.
Now I put it off.
a lot.
Here's why: it sucks in this country. I don't have a car, so I am forced to shop at the ONE store that will deliver to my neighborhood. They often don't have what I am looking for. And if they do, it is likely more expensive than the last time I bought it. (yes, prices here are going up THAT FAST!) Then, at the checkout, I wish my groceries a fond farewell, possibly never to be seen again. When the delivery gets to my house, if I'm lucky it's before midnight, I have to check to see if its all there. if it's not, guess who has to call neighbors to see if my stuff got in with theirs? yeah, not the store, it's definitely not their fault.

Can you see why I would put this off?
But all I really have in the fridge right now is hummus and some dubious-looking carrots.
That ain't gonna make the rabbi happy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Balloons etc.

So, besides being a Rebitzin (rabbi's wife) I'm also a balloon artist. Not a very serious one, mind you, but I've been involved with the latex world for about 10 years. In America, that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee and that's about it. Here in Israel, its a BIG deal. There are maybe 10 other people who do balloons on any kind of grand scale. (more than doggies and swords) in the WHOLE country. So, last Tuesday I bravely ventured out from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv where I met up with 2 other balloon guys and then drove to a place just outside Netanya. There ended up being 6 of us there, which was great fun. I wondered if it was going to be weird as I am the only one who was even remotely religious, but my fears were unfounded, as we could all relate on the balloon level. We all riffed on the theme of a coral reef, which was one guy's project for a photo shoot the next day. This was the result:

Cool, right? I made some of the coral and some of the bubbles. Seriously, most of the work is by a guy named Ori Livney. Google him, he's got some really cool videos and stuff available on the web, and he does amazing things with balloons. The other people who worked on this are Keren Friedman, Asi Cohen, Mishel Something-or-other, and Ori's SO Michal.

I also had a friend over last week to learn my mad bread-making skillz. She did this with minimal intervention from me:Good job, Nadine! Perfect Challot are the sign of an accomplished Jewish woman!
If you want the best Challah recipe ever, email me and I will send it your way.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Photo contest winner, that's me!

So, because my daughter is a first child there are already an unholy number of pictures of her. Some of these are better than others. I have a hard time deleting bad ones. How could I possibly delete my precious baby, even when she looks stupid in a picture?

See! even in bad pictures she is adorable! you actually want me to delete this? Cretin!

Ummm, Yeah. Don't judge me.

Anyway, the upside of this plethora of pictures is that every so often you get a gem. The following is a perfect example:

Yes, I know we have a huge cat. That is an 11 pound kid next to him. He weighs more than the kid, for now. But, oh the cuteness! i can has cuddles? I know it makes your ovaries do a little jump to look at these kinds of things. Maybe I should make a LOLcat out of it and submit it to one of my fave sites,
Just one more dose of cute before I go:

How can you stand the cuteness? Give her whatever she wants! And what she wants is for you to please comment. We see on google analytics that you're reading, so leave me a note while you're at it.

The Rabbi's Wife

Sunday, January 27, 2008

SHOCK and Awwwww!

I realized a few days ago that I am not getting enough calories into my system. For a new mommy feeding her baby, this is a serious issue. The problem really is that I got so used to NOT eating during the pregnancy, it's hard to get back into the habit of eating. So, I drink a lot. Not THAT kind of drinking (well, it was a holiday last week, boy 4 glasses of wine for Tu' b'shevat is a LOT!) But really I drink lots of milk, yogurt, juice, etc. The real confession is that I also drink a lot of SHOCK. If you've never been to Israel, you can't appreciate that last statement at all. SHOCK is a brand of chocolate milk here, and everyone drinks it, even infants in their bottles (not my infant, but most kids). It is sooo yummy, they must put crack in it, because I literally crave it daily. And I thought cravings ended in the delivery room...
So the Awwwww part of the title is how cute my kid is, despite my poor nutritive habits. My Aunt sent money to buy her some things and I went to the mall that is near my house to my favorite baby boutique, Yaldootee (lit. Childish). There are two types of kid's clothes here. Super-cheap throw away clothes and boutique-adorable-but-too-expensive clothes. I believe firmly in the statement that "Cheap is expensive" so I shop at the nice places so the clothes will last through my child-bearing years. But this time I got lucky, because all the clothes were 50% off! woo hoo!
So I got a little bit of this:
Because it totally makes her look like the "Roaming Gnome" when she's in the carrier with the hood up

And this because it's warm and purple, which my mother declared when she first saw her was "her color" and it has been ever since.

These pants for sleeping in (BTW doesn't she totally look like Karate Kid in this Picture? I never planned that)

These pants, because, dang, I have a total soft spot for printed courderoy and I loved the color scheme
and, finally, this because every baby needs a velour track suit, right? (this one was too small. we returned it for a bigger size)

Yep, I got me one cute, photogenic kid.