Tuesday, October 31, 2006


There's apparently a new fun activity for young men in Meah Shearim/Geula. When I was here after high school, some girls complained of being sprayed with tear gas if more than two were congregated in any one area. This was done by the "Tzinus Patrol." Raise your hand if you remember this.

Now, the next generation has resorted to throwing buckets of bleach on congregating girls in Meah Shearim/Geula. I guess said girls will have to ask for new clothes, or else stop supporting such a neighborhood.

I am completely disgusted. By the way, I find Kiryat Sefer to be an open-minded Yeshivish neighborhood.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Internet Rut

I am totally in an internet rut. Every day it is the same thing. CHeck my email. Check sports scores and stories. Look at a few blogs. Maybe take a look at my pathetic fantasy football team. Check my email again. Repeat cycle.

Anyone have any cool web sites or something to do online that is interesting, stimulating, and changes frequently.

And don't suggests blogs. I think I am just about blogged out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lesson learned

I thought my daughter might be lucky. I had no reason for thinking that, but she is very cute and little, and it seems that lucky things are usually cute and little.

And with the Tigers losing 5-4 in the ninth, it was clewar that my boys were not the lucky charms I thought they might be when I woke them up to watch the game.

So I woke up my baby, and brought her down to watch the game.

The Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and the game was over.

So now I know.

My little baby daughter is not a good luck charm for the Tigers.

Maybe next time I'll wake up Veev instead.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Aunt Roofie

Many years ago, my grandparents and almost all their brothers stopped speaking. Whether the reasons were money-related, intermarriage related, or some stupidity is irrelevant to me. I can't imagine being so angry at one of my siblings that we cease to communicate. I once had a fight with one of my sisters. It lasted two weeks and then we were fine. Better than ever. Your family is your foundation. They know you better than anyone. They share the same memories as you. They love you unconditionally.

So now. One of my Grandma's brothers lived in Florida, about an hour north of their winter apartment. It always struck me as odd that they lived so close without seeing each other. On a visit to see my grandparents one winter, my mother called him. A later winter, I called. I went with my Grandma to the flea market close to his house and he met me there. We walked around a bit and talked, but my Grandma had disappeared. They weren't speaking.

They reconciled and saw each other in the recent winters that my grandparents were in Florida. They re-formed a strong relationship with his wife also. Aunt Ruthie was the glue, she was a saint. My dad and aunt always had good feelings for her, even my grandparents did. She danced as part of a troupe in her condo village, she had lots of friends, and she always made everybody feel at ease. Last year when my great-uncle died, we were all in Israel for a family wedding. Ruthie didn't call my Grandma to tell her because she didn't want to ruin the Simcha. My Grandma tore Kriyah before she even unpacked.

My grandparents went to Florida this past Sunday for their usual five months and called Ruthie to say Hi and to try to see her while my dad was still in town. They called for two days with no answer. Finally they called Ruthie's brother to see what was up. He said "You're too late." My dad said, "How late?" She died last week, the funeral was in New York on Friday. My family lives in New Jersey. No one had been called.

Apparently, although my grandparents and their relatives reconciled, none had been forgiven by the next generation.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I don't know if you have ever tried this delicacy. I know I never have, or I would have definitely remembered it. To Israeli children, it's the winter's answer to icepops. Israeli parents don't let their children have icepops from Succos until Pesach beacuse it's too "cold".

Here's how it went down. My four-year-old daughter had a birthday party and there received many parting gifts: a play camera, a bag of bisli, a chocolate bar, a lolipop, a tiny doll with a little crib, and two Krembos. My little child doesn't like to try new things, which is why she won't touch Bamba or Bissli. I can live without her eating all those chemicals anyway, but no Krembo? How's she ever going to fit in to Israeli society?

For all those out there who have no idea what a Krembo is, I will attempt to describe the two (yes, both) that I ate. It's a cookie/sweet cracker, topped with fake Pareve whipped cream, and the whole thing is covered completely with a layer of hard chocolate. It's right disgusting, and yet, I can't walk away from it. I might have seen something similar at a wedding, and that one was probably better. But Krembos are here, and in abundance.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Full Circle

One of the interesting things about living in Modiin is that there are people from every part of my life living here. A boy I grew up with, a friend of my sister's, together with his wife had us over for lunch today. Their kids are cute and one looks just like him when he was her age. Our kids got along great and it was a good time. His grandmother is in Israel right now so I got to see her, and I have always been a big fan of hers. She's a nicer version of my own grandmother. :)

The funniest part of the day was when I was remeniscing with my friend about times past. My family had been over at his family's house one Shabbos afternoon when I was about 6. The kids all went upstairs to the boys' room. He told us there were spiders in the closet of his attic bedroom. We went screaming downstairs, terrified, as he and his brother laughed and laughed.

Today, 26 years later, he didn't remember, but apologized.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

For Air

Happy Birthday, Dear,
I remember when you were 21
We have had so many more
And that one was so much fun.

There was cologne you are still using
Dinner at "Loogie's", too
Boxers and a quick change
And Miss Saigon for me and you.

This year will be different
We are not in the USA
Your first Israeli paycheck
Next week is on its way.

So this your present, Dear,
I hope you have enjoyed
Let's all give a shout-out
To our favorite birthday boy!!!


Love always,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In The News

For those of you in Detroit, check out Neil Rubin's article in the Detroit News.

For the rest of you, click here

Be a WHAT?

On Israeli radio stations there is an ad for the lottery. It's called, "Be a Winner."

But in an Israeli accent it's "Be a Wiener." Makes me laugh.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

L'Bracha V'Lo L'Klala

Shmini Atzeret never meant much to me. It was the Yizkor day, the un-fun day, the serious time before the party day. This year it was combined for the first time in my life - the ungood and the supergood (Thank you, George Orwell).

I have never davened for rain before either. This year I told my kids on the way home from Shul that this year Tefilat Geshem really is important to us. Those mountains we hiked through during Chol HaMoed? They need rivers running through them. The water in the shower? It has to come from somewhere. I reminded them that we are now living in a desert, and that every drop of rain is a Bracha from Hashem. And it starts now.

The very next day we woke up to find that rain had fallen. And it continued to fall in spurts for the rest of the day, as if it was reminding itself how it worked last year.

When we came downstairs in the morning, the floor directly under the air conditioner had a puddle on it. Air had left it on in the morning when he went to work, and I thought it might be leaking. The area rug was a little wet, so I lifed it up to dry over the couch and threw some towels down. We left shortly afterwards for Jerusalem, and I accidentally left the air conditioner on. When we came home at dinner time, the puddle was now a flood covering the entire living room area and half the dining room. I called the landlord and told them the air conditioner was faulty, and he told me I should never leave it on when I'm not in the house. Thanks.

He called back and suggested I check the hole where they dug to connect the air conditioner to the outside unit. It happened to be showering at that moment so, when I looked there, I could see a small rivulet of water running into our home from the wall. I told to Baal Habayit to make it stop ASAP, and he said he'd send someone in the morning. I did more "sponga" out the porch door, and attached a disposable bowl to wall to catch the water.

When Air came home, it took about two hours to clean up and to take all the stuff of the upstairs porch we've been storing there, too.

The funny thing is, I kept repeating over and over again, "Baruch Hashem. This is good for us. What a Bracha." Such a different perspective.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How sweep it is

Game four was the closest. The walk off homer made it the most satisfying.

Tie Game

It's the bottom of the seventh, and the Tigers are tied with the A's, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to tie it up at 3-3 in the sixth.

3-0 series lead.

I can smell the burning police car already.

Go Tigers

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


When I was 14, my class had a freshman Shabbaton in Lakewood. We witnessed, first hand, the life of the Kollel couple in a black-hat community. For most of us, it was a first-time experience being so close. I stayed with two friends at the home of a lovely family and it was truly unforgettable.

Also in their home for Shabbos was Laurie, a public school kid, a year older than we, who was exploring her roots and slowly becoming a Ba'alat Teshuva. Our hosts were in the process of being Mekarev her, and we were supposed to assist them. They wanted her to consider our girls high school (not a Bais Yaakov) as a possibility for the coming year, so she was there to see what it was all about. We exaggerated stories to impress Laurie, as she was so much more worldly and experienced than we, but we quickly became friends, staying up much of Friday night and hanging out. I remember stale popcorn.

The next year Laya joined our school as a Junior. She was already more Frum than we were and only wore long skirts by then (unlike me). She became friends with the most pious girls in her class and continued to learn all she could about Judaism. I remember a teacher commenting about her that once she learned a Halacha, it was done. She kept it. No Lashon Hara? Okie dokie. Hatzenah Lechet? No problem. A rule was a rule. Blind faith.

Laya outgrew our school and decided to go to seminary in Israel early admissions so she could really grab onto Yiddishkeit properly, and absorb as much as she could. But the US troops entered Saudi Arabia that summer and it was looking too scary for her secular parents to send her into a war zone. So they allowed her to go to Manchester's Bais Yaakov seminary where it was safer. Laya loved it there and was learning everything she could.

On November 5th, there was a national celebration in England, complete with fireworks. Being the curious person she was, Laya leaned on her second-story window to see them and enjoy. Unfortunately, the window gave way and Laya fell the 20 feet to the ground. She suffered internal bleeding and was rushed to the hospital. There was not a lot that could be done and, eight hours later, after saying Shema for the last time, Laya claimed her spot right next to the Kiseh Shel Maalah.

Her 16th Yartzeit is next month.

I have been inspired by Laya for more than half my life.

A Whole World

In America, we're raised to believe that the whole world revolves around America.

There is the US, and then there used to be those evil russian bastards but now there is just those pathetic russian bastards, there are French bastards, and then there is Europe, which is just some place where they like to burn shuls and kill jews.

And so now that I am living in Israel and working in an international company with offices around the world, there is a need for me to readjust my thinking. Because the telecom industry that I work in exists in all those places that are way beyond my radar. Like Australia. And Brazil. And India. And the previously mentioned places in the paragraph.

I just sat through a phone conference with people in England, France, and Israel, and I am finding that I have to adjust my view of the world to fit into my new global reality.

People who talk funny need to be listened to, because if I just think, wow, what a funny accent that guy has, I will miss what he is saying. And if I translate Telecom SA internally to mean San Antonio's phone system, I am not going to realize that they are talking about South Africa's largest phone system.

So it is an adjustment, one that I did not consider I would need to make when we flew east over the Atlantic.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Sweetest Victory

If you haven't seen it yet, you have to watch the Tiger's celebrate after beating the Yankees. I have never seen a baseball team get that involved with the fans in a post game celebration. You can watch it on MLB.com, under highlights.

It shows pure joy from both the players and the fans, and reminds us why we watch the games.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Big Mistake...Big, Huge"

Yesterday, while Air was still at work, I took the kids to Yerushalayim to see a real-live Arba Minim sale. Forgot the fact that it was totally lost on them since their Daddy has bought his set every Motzei Yom Kippur since forever, and they've slept throught its purchase. So they don't know the difference anyway.

We went to the land of everything Jewish, Me'ah Shearim, where I thought we'd all go through the tent together and purchase what we needed for the boys. There was only one flaw in my thinking. I wasn't allowed in because I'm a girl. I spent the first five minutes there just being outraged. I let the kids walk in there themselves, and they came out after 2 minutes. We ended up buying for them on the street. They chose their own Lulavim and Etrogim, so that was fun.

Here's where it got hairy.

We were going through some decorations tables trying to find the most outrageously gaudy cellophane we could find, when some black-hatted, curly payis wearing men started yelling. We looked over to find out what the deal was, and the Bnei Akiva type kids were yelling back. Apparently it's sorta taboo for boys and girls to sell items at the same table. And maybe for girls to sell at all in Me'ah Shearim. The girl was visibly shaken and scared. I don't know what she was scared of. Tear gas? I told her she did nothing wrong, not to worry, and she should go get herself some ice cream and she's feel better. I also told her that just because someone looks the part doesn't mean he's covered the very important Sugya of Kavod Habriyot.

The men were clearly cowards unable to control their "bidness" in the presence of a teenage salesgirl. I mean, aren't there more important things to worry about? Like the Tigers in the playoffs. OY.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Working In Israel

I had a number of jobs before making Aliyah. Some were great, some were not. But even in the best jobs, there were always things that made me feel like an outsider. Like not being able to go out with my co-workers on Friday night, or eating with them when they went out to lunch. Always needing someone to cover for me when we were up against a deadline and it was Friday night, or just covering my regular workload on those short Friday afternoons.

I haven't been at my new job long enough to know if I like the work yet, but I am in love with the office culture.

My team eats lunch together in the kosher dining room, and instead of people asking me what Yom Kippur was, all my coworkers wished each other a Tzom Kal (easy fast). No one thinks it is odd that I walk out of my office and go downstairs in the middle of the afternoon to daven mincha at the company minyan. And even though the company I work for is officially an english-speaking company, it is nice to hear people walking through the halls speaking hebrew, listing things as Aleph and Bet, instead of A and B.

Culturally, this job is everything I could have asked for from an Israeli company. Hopefully, the work will be as fulfilling as well.

Is it Nerves or my Daily Morning Milky

I have lost 10 pounds since our arrival to Israel. I don't know what it is, but, YIPPEE. Today I closed ALL the bottons of a top shirt that I used to wear open in Detroit.