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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:

IMG_5371

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

Directions

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).

IMG_5370

!בתאבון

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:

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Looking up at the fortress:

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Inside one of the tunnels:

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The view from the top:

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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…

Smile

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reasons #3721 and #3722 for making aliyah

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for overt “I-made-aliyah-and-therefore-I’m-so-great” smugness. Proceed at your own risk.

In a hopeless attempt at making it up to you for the long weeks months years that I’ve been shamelessly neglecting this blog, I present not one but TWO (count ‘em! two!) reasons for making aliyah.

The first is fairly prosaic; the second approaches the sublime.

1) Reason #3721 for making aliyah

9:26 PM – Israel time – Motzai Yom Kippur 5775.

At that exact moment, our dear friends and family back in the States were nearing the end of the Yom Kippur Musaf service with visions of, well, just about anything edible, really, dancing in their heads, as Hamlet-like, they were mentally running through their options. (“To go home or NOT to go home during the break – THAT is the question…”)

Meanwhile, half a world away, here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), we had not only returned from shul after Maariv, made havdalah, enjoyed a delicious break-fast meal (potato soup and lasagna, thank you for asking), and put up our beautiful succah by that time, but we had even managed to post photographic evidence of said completed succah on the extended Shiputzim family’s WhatsApp group – thereby confirming our victory in the highly-competitive “Who Can Get Their Succah Up First” competition.

2) Reason #3722 for making aliyah

One word: Shmitah.

B”H, this is the third shmitah year since we made aliyah, which means that once again, we have the truly incredible privilege of partaking of peyrot shviit (shmitah produce).

For example, last night’s supper included this:

IMG_5349A package of otzar beit din lettuce from Otzar HaAretz

20141006_141516A close-up of the Otzar HaAretz label

IMG_5361Our custom-decorated shmitah receptacle

“וְהָיְתָה שַׁבַּת הָאָרֶץ לָכֶם לְאָכְלָה לְךָ וּלְעַבְדְּךָ וְלַאֲמָתֶךָ וְלִשְׂכִירְךָ וּלְתוֹשָׁבְךָ הַגָּרִים עִמָּךְ. וְלִבְהֶמְתְּךָ וְלַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצֶךָ תִּהְיֶה כָל תְּבוּאָתָהּ לֶאֱכֹל.”

“And the Shabbat of the land shall be yours to eat, for you and for your servant and for your maidservant, and for your hired worker and for your resident who live with you. And for your animal and for the beast that is in your land: all its produce shall be to eat.”
(Vayikra 25:6-7)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Euphonic Friday: Erev Yom Kippur 5775 Edition

Yitzchak Meir’s incredibly beautiful rendition of R’ Shlomo Carlebach’s “HaNeshamah Lach” (from the Slichot prayer):

[Full disclosure (i.e. gilu’i na’ot for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) - Last year, on Rosh Hashanah 5774, we had the privilege of davening in the shul where Yitzchak Meir was the ba’al tefilah.]

!גמר חתימה טובה

May we all be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a wonderful, sweet, happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful new year!

Monday, September 29, 2014

For the sake of Tzion

A short while ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the United Nation’s General Assembly and concluded his excellent speech with a pasuk from Sefer Yeshaya:

“לְמַעַן צִיּוֹן לֹא אֶחֱשֶׁה וּלְמַעַן יְרוּשָׁלִַם לֹא אֶשְׁקוֹט עַד יֵצֵא כַנֹּגַהּ צִדְקָהּ וִישׁוּעָתָהּ כְּלַפִּיד יִבְעָר.”

“For the sake of Tzion, I will not be silent, and for the sake of Yerushalayim I will not be still; until her righteousness emanates like brilliance, and her salvation blazes like a torch.”
(Yeshaya 62:1)

For those of you who missed it, here’s Part I of the speech:

Part II:

Part III:

May 5775 be a year of besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael.