Sunday, May 24, 2015

Involved With Lots of English Shavuot Learning in Shiloh

yes, the title is almost a tongue-twister...

This Shavuot, not only did we host our usual afternoon Shavuot Shiur, (class,) given in English by our neighbor Rabbi Dov Berkovits, but my husband and I both gave shiurim the night before. A neighbor in Shiloh just a few years felt the need for some English Shavuot Night classes, especially for women, and while encouraging her to do it I volunteered to teach.

The evening opened with a talk by my husband for both men and women, which was well attended. Then everyone treated themselves to the delicious cheesecakes and fruit salads my neighbor served. When the men left, sadly some of the women left with their husbands, I then gave two short original (totally my own ideas) shiurim to the women who stayed. After that I used the Matan Al Haperek study guides on Megillat Ruth. It would be nice if I could get a few neighbors to also sign up, so that I could do the weekly learning in Shiloh as well as with the friends I have been studying with. That way I could get more out of the studies, and things would stick better in my head. And in all honesty, I find the Al Haperek program wonderful. I am finally beginning to get a grasp of Tanach, Bible. My plan is to G-d willing sign up for the second round of studies in just over a year. It's a six year program, and we are finishing the fifth year soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Wonderful Day in the Israel Museum

The other day I went to the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. It's a favorite place of mine. There are some new exhibits opened of late. Actually I had been there the week before, but since l didn't have much time, my friends and I had only seen one of the new exhibits.

This time I made a point of going through their "Fiftieth Birthday" exhibit. On display were all sorts of things you'd find in Israel fifty years ago. I had been told that I'd find a Hazorea bookshelf just like the one we have in our house. And yes, I did.

I bought ours forty-four years ago for our Bayit V'Gan apartment. They were still selling the same model in 1977, because we bought another section when we returned from shlichut in London. Ours are still in use, though in worse shape than the one in the museum collection.

There was some massive youth event the day I was there. My guess is that children who participate in art programs in various community centers from all over the country came for a fun day of activities. That's why you'll see so many children in the photos.

I'd rather let the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2 Pet Peeves From Your Friendly Saleslady

As you must know by now, I've been working as an ordinary saleswoman in Yafiz, Sha'ar Binyamin, a medium-sized "clothing for the entire family store" for well over four years.

In the past I worked in stores, even in New York before I got married. But this is the first job like this since cellphones became the norm for all to carry around.

And that is "pet peeve" number one:

Please don't walk into a store shouting or even talking loudly on the phone.
It happens too often that people are in  the middle of a conversation that has nothing to do with what to buy in the store. I know that, because I can hear every word. More often than not, the telephone-talker drowns out the actual customers and staff. We can't work because of the noise. The atmosphere in the store becomes very unpleasant and is dominated by rudeness. And no doubt many of you will mention that it is also a problem when the sales staff is too busy with their own phone-calls to pay attention to customers. I agree. Now that it's the norm for people to have their cellphones with them 24/7, we all have to learn when to keep them quiet.

Please ask; don't just search through the shelves and stock.
When we, the salespeople are serious when we ask if we can help. And even if nobody offered assistance, please don't be shy, ask. We can save you time. We can help you find what you want or save you from uselessly searching. Frequently, people waste time and energy looking for what doesn't exist.
"I want this style shirt in a men's medium."
"Sorry, this is a children's model, and it only goes to size 16."
That conversation frequently is heard after the frustrated customer has made a total mess of the shirts on the shelf. And if you are in one of those stores that has awful staff, then you can take the initiative and ask for help. Hint: many labels have the "size range" printed, which is one of the ways that we salespeople know what sizes can be found.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Soooon.... G-d Willing

Yes, the local Shiloh Swimming Pool is due to open in a couple of weeks. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Great Serving Idea!

A few weeks ago, I visited a friend who was hosting a small gathering in her house. As usual her home was arranged beautifully with lots of tempting food. But what grabbed my eye was this very unique way of presenting apples.

There really wasn't enough room on the table by the time all the food was served for a "proper" fruit bow.  Putting the apples in the large heavy glass vase was totally brilliant!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Great "Golden Age" Activities Here in Shiloh

Bringing my father on aliyah to Israel
Some of you may remember that we had my father living with us here in Shiloh for almost a year five plus years ago. The plan had been to also get my mother to Israel and set them up with suitable help in a place near a good senior citizens center or in one of those residential places suitable for a combination of "independent and assisted living." But in the end my mother wanted to be near my sister, though was sorry that she was so far from most of her grandchildren and all of the great-grandchildren.

During that year my father was with us, I hosted a weekly "movie night," (actually late afternoon,) for English speakers. Most of the participants were between my age and his. It was very popular.

A couple of years after he left, a new "middle-aged plus" couple moved to Shiloh, and she was looking for a project, so our "social/activity" coordinator suggested that she develop a program for Shiloh's elderly, a growing population. There's quite a challenge considering that few of the elderly are fully comfortable in Hebrew, so there must be translation into English and Russian. And now there's a couple from France that moved in with their daughter. They try to translate into French for each other.

One of the weekly activities is an ulpan to help improve their Hebrew. And another is an exercise class by a professional yoga/aerobics teacher. They also bring in lecturers, show films and have lots of other programs. They meet twice a week. I'm sometimes asked to help with translating to and from English. I do it when I can.

Not all the participants are elderly, and not all the participants are immigrants. Too bad we didn't have these activities when my father was living with us. He would have loved to go, and it's an easy walk from our house.

And to be honest, I did get quite a workout at the exercise class. Maybe I should go more often!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What's Hidden in Your Simple Tomato Paste?

We generally by the same brand of concentrated tomato paste (the 28% variety) all the time. When I first discovered it, it just had tomatoes and nothing else. But every once in a while there an unpleasant surprise.

I've been checking various brands, and they all have lots of added junk. This new one has 8% garbage (sugars and who knows what else) in it. And the warning that it "May contain celery, mustard, sesame, eggs, soy and sulphite." really ruins my appetite.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Delicious New Coffee

This morning I made the first brew of the last of my stash of "Eight O'Clock" coffees, which I had bought in New York over two months ago. It's Colombian Peaks.

As you can see, I used the French Press and added milk. I also added sugar. According to the icon on the package it's a "medium flavor," which was the same as my previous  Caramel Macchiato, but this is real coffee taste. The Caramel Macchiato tasted strongly flavored. After a couple of weeks or less the novelty of the special flavor had long worn off, and I'm glad that Colombian Peaks has none of that artificial taste.

In some ways its flavor is similar to percolated Elite Turkish coffee which I never get tired of. The aroma is a great wake-up call.

I'll also have to try it in my little cup filter and percolator to give a full report.

Have a great day. Coffee is really the best way to start one!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quiet Lunch Escape in the Center of Jerusalem

As you know, I'm always on the quest for a low-cost worthwhile lunch in Jerusalem. I've tried out many of the ns5 places. They are fine if you don't need the nutrition of a "real meal." The rolls are large enough, but sometimes there's barely a dessertspoon (smaller than a teaspoon) of tuna in the sandwich, and I'm not always in the mood for eating on the sidewalk or in motion.

One solution I've used a few times has been the "two meals for the price of one"  ns25 large tuna salad which comes with a roll from the Neeman on the corner of King George and Jaffa Streets. I eat about 2/3 the salad for lunch and then take the roll and the rest of the salad to work for my dinner. Yesterday I was not in the mood for that. I also didn't want any "too big" sandwich for ns18 or so. I decided to have their sandwich and coffee deal for ns20. The roll was large enough, and from what I could see, there was the equivalent of about ten ns5 sandwiches of tuna if not more.

When I asked where to wash my hands, I was sent "upstairs." There I discovered a quiet place, much nicer than the few tables on the street overlooking the busy corner, which one shares with pigeons and strangers.

Tired, I sat at the table closest to the sink, which was by the 00 WC's. The downside was the strong smell of urine. Apparently they don't clean there often enough. Next time I'll just pick a different table.

I definitely did need that escape from the hustle and bustle of the street. The ready-made whole-wheat tuna sandwich was full and tasty and just the right size. The coffee was good, too. I don't usually drink coffee in the middle of the day, but I did feel the need and had a long day of work still ahead of me. It did end up to be a good choice, because I functioned well for hours after eating that meal.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Just One Week to Rosh Chodesh Sivan!!

Even though there was once of those annoying muddy spring drizzles yesterday, summer is rapidly approaching. Next week is Rosh Chodesh Sivan, and I hope to see lots of women from all over praying together at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.

It really is perfect weather for our praying at the site of the Biblical Mishkan, Tabernacle, the exact location of Chana/Hannah's successful prayers for a son. She didn't ask G-d for a son just to fulfill her maternal longings. Chana asked for a son whom she'd educate to be a leader of the Jewish People to take us out of the selfish anarchy which characterized the days of Judges.

Yes, according to the Jewish Religion and Biblical History, true leadership and change were from the women. And since Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish Month, is traditionally a women's holiday, I've combined it all by inviting women to pray together at Shiloh Hakeduma.

Women's Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh Rosh Chodesh Sivan
Tuesday May 19, 2015
1st of Sivan, 5775, 8:30am
Tour of Tel Shiloh
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים ראש חודש סיון בשילה הקדומה, תל שילה
יום ג' 19-5  א' סיון, תשע"ה 8:30
יהיה דבר תורה קצר וסיור בתל
כדאי לבוא ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Please save the date, publicize it and join us.
Please mark it on your calendar and make arrangements to come. Also, whether you can come or not, please let friends and family know about it, thanks.

You're welcome to join our facebook page.

Mark your calendar, and join us. For more information, please contact me at with "Rosh Chodesh at Tel Shiloh" as subject, thanks.

You can visit the holy site anytime. Guided tours can be arranged through the Shiloh HaKeduma, Ancient Shiloh office. Email or phone 02-994-4019.

So, please join us!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Newest Granddaughter and My Mother's Gifts

Mother's Day

My mother holding me when I was about a year old in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, New York.

We never celebrated Mother's Day in our house, most probably because my mother's birthday was May 14, which is around Mother's Day, and my parents weren't very big on celebrating even our birthdays.

It's almost two years now since my mother, Shirley Shankman Spiegelman, passed away, and there's already a great-granddaughter of hers named after her. Her middle name is Li-Shir (sing to me,) and she and her parents visited the other day.

I really got a kick watching her play with the same toys my mother had bought my eldest over forty years ago. All my children had played with these classic wooden blocks. All sorts of kids who visited my house have played with them, too. And now so have all the grandchildren, may there be many more, G-d willing.

No doubt that my mother enjoys watching her namesake from Olam Haba, the Next World.