From Near and Far, It’s Back to Jerusalem

I found another new (to me) Israeli pop star that sings both rhythmic songs to get your feet moving and haunting melodies that touch your heart. His name is Idan Reichel, and he has fused Israeli/Hebrew songs with sounds from other cultures, especially African.

This is another thing I love about living in Israel – the fact that Jewish music here is not just klezmer (as much as I enjoy that too!).  Our country welcomes Jews from everywhere in the world, and their cultures add to the delicious mix.

Here his band sings about going back to Jerusalem. Enjoy! (The main singer is Sergio Braams, Idan Reichel is on keyboard).

Gmar Chatima Tova

I want to wish my readers a Gmar Chatima Tova (you should be sealed in the Book of Life) and an easy fast tomorrow, Yom Kippur.

Who Wants To Come To A Picnic?

The Jbloggers picnic has been set up for Monday afternoon of Chol HaMoed. Go on over to Coffee and Chemo and vote for which park in Jerusalem it will be held….Hope to see all of you!

Herbivores and Carnivores

When I became an observant Jew, I needed to learn many things. The holidays in my childhood home consisted of Chanukah and Pesach. Rosh HaShana was a day to suffer sit through synagogue and then come home to watch tv. So our home was lacking both the traditional holiday meal and the simanim (“symbolic foods”). After becoming observant and setting up my own home, I needed to learn about the simanim and their significance.

In addition to cooking the holiday meal, I loved putting apples and honey, dates, carrots, and a pomegranate on the table. The fish head was a bigger problem, though. I was a bit squeamish about it, and sometimes I would solve the problem by taking a slice of gefilta fish and making a smiley face on it with carrots and a pepper slice. My boys would sometimes gently tease me about this fake-out.

This year I had my revenge!

The first night’s meal went well. We had a vegetarian guest, so I lept at the chance to leave the fish head off the “menu”.

The second evening was not in my control, though. We were invited out for the evening meal, and we enjoyed the simanim that usually grace our table. I then said to my host, “you also don’t put a fish head on your Rosh HaShana table?” He answered me with a big smile and a “just you wait….”

He then proceeded to bring out both a plate of gefilta fish slices and another plate with five or six fish heads, all stuffed with the same tasty mixture.

The westbankfamily all took slices, and our hosts took the fish heads to eat. The adults were sitting at one corner of the table, and my sons sat next to me, with our host’s lovely daughters sitting opposite them.

Now my boys are not quite the uncouth savages I sometimes make them out to be, and they know how to behave at the table.  They know that different people have different tastes in food, and they don’t discuss this.  But they have not yet attained the sophistication of adults, and they did not school their faces into neutrality. I glanced to my left and had to restrain myself from laughing out loud, as I took in their shocked looks. They couldn’t help by being a bit appalled at the scene of four nice girls, all attired in pastel colors and lace, digging into their fish heads with unconcealed relish. I thought one of my boys was going to faint when one of the girls turned to her sister and asked her for the eye!

I turned to my friend and told her that “my boys seem to think your girls are pretty tough!” She appreciated the joke.

Afterwards one of my boys said to me, in a backhanded apology at past teasing, that I didn’t really need to put all of the simanim on the table. One evening with fish heads was enough!

Batya Has The Post-Convention Issue of Havel-Havalim

Batya has this week’s edition of Havel-Havalim, with quite a few post convention posts….

Music to My Ears

Before I became an observant Jew, I viewed religion as something that belonged in the synagogue, but not in everyday life. Discovering that Jewish law pertained to every aspect of my life was beautiful, but admitadly somewhat overwhelming at first.  At some point I got used to it, and realized that I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Coming to Israel for the first time and seeing how Yiddishkeit permeated all of life here made the decision to make aliyah much more compelling. I still find it wonderful – and the little things can make my day.

This morning I went outside to hang up my laundry, and I heard the shofar (rams horn) blow. At first I thought that one of the minyanim (prayers with a quoram of ten men) had ended, where throughout the Hebrew month of Elul the services end with a shofar blast, but I quickly rejected that idea. The timing wasn’t right.

Then I realized that it was my neighbor.  He blows the shofar every year on Rosh HaShana (and does a great job!) and was getting in some practice time before going to his hi-tech job.

What a lovely way to start my day!

The Second Blogger’s Convention

I attended the second Blogger’s Convention yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

First, I met Rutimizrachi for lunch before the convention. We had a chance to get to know one another, and compared notes on raising a family of “just “boys. I felt like I found a soul sister when she described how you know whether to intervene when your kids are doing what they always do – fight. “If the puppy on the bottom is as happy as the puppy on the top, then you don’t need to do anything.” Another mother who gets it!

I attended the presentation on defending Israel, given by Ashley Perry, Carl and Jameel, and I found it very interesting.  The “question” session was typically Jewish – which means that the person supposedly asking a question really took to floor to present his own opinion, with an anemic, “how do you feel about that?” tacked on at the end. The first “questioner” did make a good point, though, that the government and foreign ministries have spent too much time defending and not asserting our rights. Ron Dermer took up this point later in his speech.

David Bogner gave us some good tips on how to improve our blogs, and then we went to the more social part of the program. I was very happy to meet Baila, RivkA, IsraMom and A Soldier’s Mother in person. I also met some bloggers that I haven’t read (yet) Doubletapper and the Sandman.

Benjie (or is it Boingie?) gave a hilarious performance. Ron Dermer spoke well, emphasizing that we need to “widen the lens” on the Middle East conflict to show that our fight is bigger than just the Palestinian/Israeli problem.

Kudos to the organizers who kept things moving along, and for choosing a beautiful venue (this is the first time I’ve been to Beit Avi Chai and it is impressive).

Mark Rothenberg, Victim on Flight 93

Mark Rothenberg was a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was on flight 93, and, according to one report, was knifed as the terrorists approached the cockpit of the plane to take it over.

According to this biography, published in the Post Gazette, he was an outgoing businessman and a devoted son and father. He grew up in Brooklyn, where his father ran a glass manufacturing business, and he took over the business after college.  Later he sold the business and started a new one. He was an outgoing person who worked very hard and was attached to his family, “living on the phone” with his wife, daughters, and mother.

A scholarship in his memory is being given to children of 9/11 victims by his alma mater, the Franklin and Marshall College.

I can’t help but reflect that his story is so typically Jewish. He was a successful businessman with strong family ties, both to his parents and to his children. We will never know the real story about what happened on the flight, as the details are sketchy, but I can’t help thinking that with his recognizably Jewish name, and his outgoing personality, that it wasn’t a coincidence that he was one of the first victims on the plane.

His memory should be a blessing, both to his family and to us all.

Havel-Havalim Is Up

HH is up at Joshuapundit. Go on over and enjoy the Jewish blogosphere!

Netanyahu Has Learned Something From Sharon

I think Netanyahu has learned quite a bit in the past few years, and has turned into a cagey politician (he was always glib – now he has learned some cunning.) Deciding to approve building in Judea and Samaria before freezing it sounds like something out of the twilight zone, but that is exactly what he has done.

On the other hand, it sounds like something Arik Sharon would have done. Do what you have to do to save your political skin, and just spin it in the press to make it sound logical.

I am all for it, though. The bottom line is that it sticks a finger in the eye to the left-wing, who harp on and on about what is “legal”, completely ignoring the fact that the only thing that separates an “illegal” outpost to a “legal settlement” is the signature of the Defense Minister, which is a political position. If Moshe Yaalon had been appointed the Defense Minister, than the outposts would have been legalized already.

The bulldozers are working up a storm in my yishuv, and they are building in two separate areas. (As I have written before, we have permits to build another 150 homes). I wish the same blessing to all of the other yishuvim (including the “baby ones”)!

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