Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fine Arts Friday: Shmuel I Edition

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for maternal boasting. Proceed at your own risk.

In lieu of an unconvincing apology or even a lame excuse for my prolonged blogging absence - and with your permission, of course - I think I’ll just jump right back in. Here goes:

A certain Shiputzim daughter had to make a diorama for her Navi class this week and decided to focus on the following psukim from Sefer Shmuel I:

“וַיַעֲשׂוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים כֵּן וַיִקְחוּ שְׁתֵּי פָרוֹת עָלוֹת וַיַאַסְרוּם בָּעֲגָלָה וְאֶת בְּנֵיהֶם כָּלוּ בַבָּיִת. וַיָשִׂמוּ אֶת אֲרוֹן ה’ אֶל הָעֲגָלָה וְאֵת הָאַרְגַז וְאֵת עַכְבְּרֵי הַזָהָב…”

“And the men did so, and they took two lactating cows and hitched them to the wagon; and they confined their calves in the house. And they placed the Ark of Hashem on the wagon, and the box and the golden mice…”
(Shmuel I 6:10-11)

As always, please feel free to click on the pictures for a much better view:IMG_5836IMG_5840IMG_5841IMG_5844IMG_5845

My favorite parts are the golden mice in the box and also the Kruvim on top of the Aron.

And yes, cows DO seem to appear in many projects here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog). Why do you ask?

Winking smile

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taking a stand

Every few years, without fail, there comes a point during Chodesh Irgun when the typical Anglo parent decides that he or she is fed up and isn’t going to take it anymore.

Helpless in the face of paint-splattered clothes, late nights, and kvetchy kids, said Anglo parent finally declares that it’s time to take a stand.

After all, online griping or even commiserating with other beleaguered parents in real life only goes so far.

Unfortunately, however, seeing as we don’t live between the covers of a melodramatic Gothic novel, locking the kids in their rooms and forbidding them from participating in Chodesh Irgun isn’t really an option. And given the current political climate, neither is demanding that the Education Ministry, the Knesset, or even the Supreme Court outlaw the entire endeavor.

But one is determined not to give up without some sort of fight, and so one makes a tiny, insignificant gesture that fools no one but oneself.

For instance, as one’s beloved offspring head out to the snif (the inevitably rickety caravan or lean-to that serves as the youth group’s headquarters) to “paint walls,” “rehearse,” or whatever it is that they’re calling it these days, one demands, “Call me when you get there! And don’t forget to take your umbrella!

If all goes according to plan, the offspring in question obligingly groan and hopefully even roll their eyes before shrugging and doing as they’ve been told.

Ha! Take THAT, Chodesh Irgun!” one secretly exults.

Of course, since it’s been raining rather steadily all week, and since making a phone call isn’t a big deal, deep down one is well aware that the kids would have taken the phones and umbrellas with them anyway.

But then again, during Chodesh Irgun, even the most meaningless parental “victory” is as good as it’s going to get…

Open-mouthed smile

!שבוע טוב ומזל טוב לשבט החדש

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Much ado about nothing

To read the international press over the past few days, or to listen to the ranting and raving of certain members of Israel’s political and chattering classes is to be told that liberal Western values - democracy, equality, civil rights, nondiscrimination, and so on – have come under attack.

Over and over, the self-styled protectors of all that is good and noble intone that any version of the proposed law to define Israel as the Jewish national homeland is a despicable piece of legislation being shoved down Israel’s collective throats by racist and fascist right-wingers.

But as Haviv Rettig Gur demonstrates in his excellent analysis, the reality is very, very different. And in fact, what is actually going on is far more disturbing:

“Ministers shouting untruths about a constitution-altering bill at the cabinet table and then proudly leaking news of their bickering; an attorney general lecturing ministers against approving private member bills on constitutional matters, without mentioning that that was precisely how previous constitutional revolutions, ones with which he more readily agreed, had been passed; centrist legislation that is transmuted through sheer political posturing and media ignorance into a far-right proposal...”

If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to read the whole thing.

May we soon be privileged to witness besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Euphonic Friday: Yearning For Hashem’s Salvation Edition

In light of recent events, the conclusion of Yaakov Avinu’s blessing to his son Dan in Parshat Vayechi perfectly encapsulates Am Yisrael’s collective mood – especially here in Eretz Yisrael:

לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִיתִי ה’.

“For Your salvation I yearn, Hashem!”
(Breishit 49:18)

Shlomo Katz recently released a hauntingly beautiful rendition of this pasuk:

From Shlomo Katz’s new “Likrat Shabbat” album

שבת שלום וחודש טוב!

Shabbat shalom, and may the coming week and month be filled with besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

It’s the dark flip side of living in a small, remarkably interconnected country.

It’s the sobering, solemn fact that nearly every terror attack is bound to affect someone separated from you by a mere degree or two of separation.

And as the number of victims of a specific terror attack increases, the likelihood that you have a personal connection with the victims and/or their families increases as well.

Because each and every victim encompasses an entire world, and the holy victims HY”D of the shocking massacre in Har Nof were no exceptions.

The four Torah scholars, who died al kiddush Hashem, and the heroic Druze police officer, who gave his life for Am Yisrael, were husbands, fathers, grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and cousins.

They each left behind beautiful families and close-knit communities, neighbors and friends, coworkers and fellow congregants.

In this particular case, we know the brother and parents of one victim very well, and sadly, we also have direct and indirect ties to several of the other victims.

ה’ יקום דמם ויהי זכרם ברוך.

May Hashem avenge their blood; may their memories be blessed; and may their dear families be consoled among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vegetarian Vegetable Quiche

In the wake of the three-day Rosh Hashanah weekend and bored – as we all were - by our usual yom tov fare, the Studentit graciously offered to make something “different” as a side dish for lunch on the first day of Succot.

Here’s what she came up with:


Vegetarian Vegetable Quiche with No-Roll Oil-Based Crust
The filling recipe comes from YZG’s aunt, and the crust recipe is adapted from here.
Yield: Two quiches.

Filling Ingredients

  • 800 grams mixed frozen vegetables – Cooked and drained
  • ½ cup water – Reserved from the vegetables
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 1½ TBSP flour
  • Salt, pepper, and spices to taste (the original recipe calls for 2 heaping TBSP onion soup mix)

Crust Ingredients
Yields two crusts.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 TBSP water


Prepare the two crusts: Mix half of the dry ingredients together in each of two lightly-oiled pie pans. Make wells in both centers, and add half the oil and half the water to each pan. Mix the ingredients together and form a ball in each pan. Flatten and press against the pans to form crusts. If you want to be fancy, you can flute the edges with your fingers or with a fork.

Combine the cooked vegetables, the reserved cooking water, the eggs, the mayo, the oil, the flour, and the spices in a large bowl.

Pour half the mixture into each crust. Bake the two quiches at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes (or until the crust is golden brown).



Sunday, October 19, 2014

National Parks: Castel Edition

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for other people’s vacation pictures and videos. Proceed at your own risk.

And so, the succah is put away; the younger kids have gone back to school; and we’ve reached that elusive time of year known here in Israel as אחרי החגים (literally, “after the holidays”).

B”H we had a wonderful Succot. We spent time with family and friends and enjoyed various activities and outings – including, as promised, a repeat visit to the Circus Festival and, of course, the requisite trip to one of our beautiful country’s many national parks.

This time our destination was the Castel (aka Har Ma’oz (“Stronghold Mountain”) for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you).

Originally a Roman-era fortress known as Castellum, it was subsequently renovated by the Byzantines, who called it Castellum Belvoir and appreciated its proximity to similar fortresses in the area (such as Ein Chemed and others).

Soaring above and dominating Route 1 (the main highway leading up to Yerushalayim), the Castel was the site of a key battle during the War of Independence. Many brave men and women gave their lives during the heavy fighting.

At one point, the situation became so desperate that the Palmach company commander and his deputy famously ordered the privates to retreat – shielded by their commanders, who remained behind and continued fighting.

When the war finally ended, the newly-formed IDF dug a number of bunkers and communication trenches around the Castel, which overlooked what was then the Jordanian border.

And now, without further ado, the threatened promised pictures: (As always, please feel free to click on the pictures for a much better view.)

First, the traditional view of the price list… to show how much money we WOULD have saved, if we hadn’t allowed our National Parks membership to lapse:


Looking up at the fortress:


Inside one of the tunnels:


The view from the top:


And finally, a video showing a walk through one of the communication trenches:

חורף טוב, בריא וגשום!

Have a wonderful, healthy, and rainy winter!


P.S. The latest HH blog carnival is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including my Reasons 3721 and 3722 for making aliyah.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The circus is coming

Moadim l’simchah!

If you’re looking for a fun chol hamoed activity, you might want to consider going to the annual Circus Festival in Modiin.

I mean, not only is there free admission to many (but not all) of the performances, but since we enjoyed the festival last year and are thinking about going back again this year, there’s a very good chance that you may get to see the Shiputzim family – live and in person. (If you do, please be sure to come over and say hello!)

All of which is a fancy way of saying that instead of apologizing for not getting around to posting the following pictures from Succot 5774, I’m going to pretend that I deliberately CHOSE to wait an entire year to share them with you.

You, in turn, are welcome to pretend that you believe me…


As always, please feel free to click on the pictures for a much better view.

IMG_2953A circus performer walks on the tightrope…

IMG_2957…And also rides his bike

IMG_2963Just hangin’ around

IMG_2979Three performers dangle high above the crowds.

IMG_2981The audience

See here for details about this year’s festival.

!מועדים לשמחה