Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting down with Heblish

The millions of hundreds of dozens of two zero Heblish fans around the world are no doubt wondering why so much time has elapsed since the release of the previous excerpt from the Official Our Shiputzim Heblish-English Dictionary.

Well, you see, the thing is that serving as the J-Blogosphere’s self-proclaimed foremost Heblish lexicographer isn’t as easy as it seems.

I mean, first of all, there are the well-documented occupational hazards – such as becoming inured to Heblish and even allowing Heblishisms to creep into one’s own speech.

But the real problem is that every so often, even a linguistic expert (soi-disant or otherwise) is unable to provide an accurate definition for a particular word or expression.

And needless to say, without definitions, it’s rather hard to compile a dictionary (especially a virtual one).

For instance, longtime readers will recall that I had the same issue with “being stuck” - a phrase which epitomizes adolescent angst and whose English equivalent continues to escape me. (Your suggestions are still welcome.)

Which brings me to the following unfinished dictionary entry:

Go down from…: Hebrew source  …ירד מ. English definition – ???? Sample usage – “Although he’s always insisted that Plan A’s the only way to go, he went down from it and is now looking into Plan B.”

I suppose a very loose translation would be “give up on,” but IMHO, that doesn’t really have the same connotation as the Heblish (or the Hebrew original, for that matter).

However, after spending much time and effort about five minutes trying to come up with an exact definition, I’ve gone down from it and now simply use the Heblish instead.

P.S. To the Shiputzim kids: Please ignore that last paragraph, okay?


Hat tip: Malke, who inspired this post

Friday, August 27, 2010

What am I, chopped liver?

Updated: I originally forgot to list matzah in the ingredient list below.

Years ago, ACAAC (=a certain allegedly anonymous commenter) and one of his coworkers used to have a running lunchtime joke.

Occasionally, one of the entrees at their workplace’s cafeteria </reason #89744 for making aliyah: kosher cafeterias at work> was liver steak.

Inevitably, the coworker would point to the liver and ask for some “heavy”. (Liver in Hebrew is כבד (kaved), which is also the word for – you guessed it - “heavy.”)

To which ACAAC would respond:

“That’s not heavy. That’s my brother…”


An excellent source of iron (I admit to major liver cravings when I was pregnant), chopped liver is nevertheless not something you’d want to have every day something you wish was healthy enough to have every day…

But IMNSHO, it works perfectly as a delicious yom tov treat.

IMG_1365 (2)Chopped Liver


  • 4-5 large onions, chopped
  • Oil (I use canola)
  • ½ kilo broiled chicken liver (Gratuitous aliyah plug: Pre-broiled liver is readily available throughout Israel. </reason #89745 for making aliyah>)
  • 3 hardboiled eggs, peeled
  • (updated) 1 matzah, broken up
  • [(optional) Dash of cinnamon (Although this is our family’s [no-longer] secret ingredient, I prefer to omit it.)]
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Sauté onion in oil until golden brown. Add liver and heat through. Remove from heat and pour liver, onions, and oil into a meat grinder or [fleishig] food processor. (I use the latter.) Add remaining ingredients, and process until desired consistency is achieved.

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Season’s greetings

In honor of MAGwho’s the only one of the Shiputzim kids to start school this week – here’s the annual school supplies photo:IMG_1683

Note that in what can only be described as a highly unorthodox break with tradition, this picture (click on it for a closer view) was shot outside – rather than on the living room rug.

And on a related note, kol hakavod and thank you to the Resident Ulpanistit for singlehandedly taking inventory, compiling lists, covering books, and labeling everything!

The Our Shiputzim Editorial Board extends its best wishes to all our younger readers* for a productive, happy, healthy, and fruitful school year.


* And to the parents of said younger readers, we say: Let the celebrations begin…


Monday, August 23, 2010

Around the J-Blogosphere

Several items of interest:

1) Rafi G. discusses the amazing heroes who bravely blew the shofar at the Kotel during the British Mandate.

2) A Mother in Israel shares some cooking ideas for the upcoming “three-day” Rosh Hashanah. (Hint for new olim: Try and get your shopping done way in advance. Nothing says “zoo” like your neighborhood makolet (grocery store) or supermarket on erev a 3-day yom tov in Israel… :-))

3) The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Ruti for including a trip to Tel Chatzor.

4) The latest JPIX is available here. Special thanks to Toby for including a view of a Modiin playground.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fauna Friday: Tortoise Edition

Apparently, this blog is very popular among amphibians and reptiles.

After all, why else would they regularly visit TRLEOOB*? Obviously, they’re all eager to be featured on Our Shiputzim…

Our most recent reptilian guest was a tortoise – i.e. a tzav for the Hebraically-oriented among you:

IMG_1965 (2) The tortoise had a blotch of what appeared to be white paint on its back. (In all likelihood, it had crawled through a construction site at some point…)

The Shiputzim kids fed their temporary pet:

IMG_1980 Lettuce - The reptilian equivalent of Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies… :-)

And then the young naturalists picked the tortoise up for a closer look:

IMG_1968 (2) IMG_1978

Where was I during this impromptu nature lesson?

Long-time readers will have correctly guessed that I was inside, enjoying the air-conditioning, thankyouverymuch…


!שבת שלום ומבורך


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

National Parks: Tel Chatzor Edition

IMG_1845As any Israeli tour guide could tell you, Tel Chatzor is one of the country’s largest and richest archeological sites.

Boasting remains from the Canaanite (see Yehoshua 11:1-12) and Israelite (see, for example, Melachim I 9:15) periods, Tel Chatzor was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, and since then, visitors from around the globe have flocked to this national park in the Chula Valley.

IMG_1855Asian tourists brave the hot sun as they admire the famous “Solomonic Gate”.

IMG_1840 The view from the entrance to Tel Chatzor National Park

Yet, to the surprise of, well, no one, Tel Chatzor’s many claims to fame are unlikely to appeal to most teenagers.

In fact, during the Shiputzim family’s recent visit, the adolescent contingent opted to stay in the car while the adults and the younger kids took a perfunctory look around the excavations. (I assume a dynamic tour guide would be able to bring the dusty stones to life, but we were there on our own.)

Which naturally begs the question: Why did we bother stopping at Tel Chatzor at all (excuse my Heblish)? And, more to the point, why am I blogging about this national park?!

The answer to these questions should be obvious to those who recall that about a year ago, we became members of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. (We recently renewed our membership for a second year.)

You see, after having spent the morning rafting/kayaking down the Yarden, we were looking for a place to stop for lunch when we hit upon Tel Chatzor.

It fulfilled all our requirements: It was shady and clean and had nice picnic tables.

Most people, however, wouldn’t think of using Tel Chatzor as a glorified picnic spot.

Because, if nothing else, once they’d paid the entrance fee, they’d probably want to spend a bit more time at the site:IMG_1839But since admission was free for us, we had no qualms about eating lunch, quickly checking out the historic ruins, and then immediately heading out.

And thus, as far as I – as a blogger - am concerned, this park’s main significance is that it gave us the chance to flash our membership card FTBW (for the blogging win)…


Monday, August 16, 2010

Around the J-Blogosphere

Several items of interest:

1. Over at the Muqata, JoeSettler recommends visiting the newly-renovated Israel Museum.

2. Rabbi Stewart Weiss has a beautiful op-ed entitled Castles in the Air.

3. Miriyummy tastes smoked tuna and has pictures to prove it. (As you may recall, I discussed this unique Israeli delicacy last year.)

4. The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Soccer Dad for including my so-called American post.

Have a great week!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and… lettuce?

Have you purchased your children’s school uniform shirts yet?

If so, you may have been surprised to come across the oddly-named chultzah Amerika’it (חולצה אמריקאית).

Literally, an “American shirt,” the term refers to what’s popularly known in the States as a baseball shirt (i.e. a t-shirt with raglan sleeves).

Veteran olim will no doubt recognize this as yet another instance of the Israeli predilection for referring to some of the most unlikely things as “American”.

Other classic examples include:

  • Mivchan Amerika’i (מבחן אמריקאי) - multiple choice test
  • Vafel Amerika’i (ופל אמריקאי) - waffle
  • Glidah Amerika’it (גלידה אמריקאית) - soft ice cream
  • Chassah Amerika’it (חסה אמריקאית) - iceberg lettuce

But before my fellow Anglos and I start making fun of this admittedly-amusing tendency, we should perhaps recall all the times we naively dined on delicacies such as “French” toast, “English” muffins, or "Israeli" couscous


Please leave your own examples of so-called “American” items and products in the comment section.

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don’t forget

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Apparently, this is the credo of the National Roads Authority’s translation department.

You see, earlier this week, the Shiputzim family spotted two road signs on one of Israel’s northern highways.

Each of the signs was more than blogworthy in its own right.

But the two signs together – situated, as they were, less than a kilometer apart - well, all I can say is that they would’ve warmed Emerson’s transcendental heart…

IMG_1858IMG_1859To remind or not to remind – that is the question…



And in other J-Blogosphere news:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Like money in the bank

As promised (and at the risk of sounding like a travelogue and boring you all to tears), here’s another idea for a free and air-conditioned family outing: the Bank of Israel.

The state-of-the-art visitors center focuses on the history of money in general and Israel’s currency in particular and also discusses the Bank of Israel’s various and assorted functions.

In addition to a number of display cases, the tour includes two (count ‘em!) movies, and the knowledgeable tour guide has a wealth (pun intended) of fascinating information to share.

IMG_1710 One of the display cases

IMG_1705Interactive computer games – undoubtedly, the most popular part of the tour

IMG_1777 At the end of the tour, each participant receives a little bag with 3000 NIS-worth of shredded bills.

One final note: As I’ve noted elsewhere, YZG and I are always on the lookout for new and creative ways to raise the KQ (the kvetching quotient), because we do so enjoy adolescent grumbling. </sarcasm>

And thus we were naturally quite pleased when the KQ soared in the day or two preceding the outing.

However, our gratification was premature, because on the way home, certain teenagers of our acquaintance were heard admitting that overall, the tour was fairly “interesting” and “much better” than expected…



Hat tip: Toby who recommended this tour in the comment section to my post about a different bank

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A better place to visit during the summer

Many of you rightly observed that although Har HaZeitim sounds like a fascinating place to visit, it may not be the ideal destination during hot, er, climatically-challenged weeks like this one.

And so, the Our Shiputzim Tourism Department has taken the liberty of suggesting an indoor summertime activity: a tour of Better Place’s visitors center in Pi Glilot.

Better Place (I know I’m not the only one who wants to say “the Better Place” or “a Better Place”… :-)) is the company founded by Shai Agassi which is working to build an electric vehicle network throughout Israel.

The tour includes a movie (aka a “multimedia presentation” in tourist-site-speak) during which the audience sits on refurbished seats from used cars; demonstrations of the company’s cutting-edge technologies; and the chance to test drive an electric car.

IMG_1691 The visitors center is located in a converted water tank.

IMG_1689 One of the cars

YZG wryly noted that the 1½-hour tour is basically a long infomercial for the company.

And he has a point.

But since the visitor center was air-conditioned, the kids had fun, and, best of all, admission was free, we didn’t mind selling our souls to crass commercialism listening to their sales pitch…


Coming up: A recommendation for another free and climate-controlled vacation activity.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Har HaZeitim

Meshulam, a friend of the Shiputzim family, recently took a tour of Yerushalayim’s Har HaZeitim cemetery and graciously agreed to share his impressions:

A Tour of Har HaZeitim

A guest post by Meshulam*

(July 28, 2010 / 17 Menachem Av 5770) - Today I had the privilege of touring the ancient and historic Jewish cemetery on Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives).

The truth is that I was fairly nervous about the trip and about wandering around there, and I had no idea how to go about it.

But then I discovered the “Har HaZeitim Information Center” located at the site (near the Church of the Gethsemane), which is part of the Ir David National Park. They offer their services to would-be visitors to the mountain.

Although their primary focus is rehabilitating the cemetery (which was destroyed and desecrated by the Jordanians between 1948-1967) and mapping out the graves (there are somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 headstones…), they also offer guided tours of the site, and I was impressed by their courteousness and willingness to help.

So, when I wanted to set up a private tour, I emailed them a list of approximately 30 burial sites which I wished to visit, and they arranged a customized tour for me around my list (at a rate of 60 NIS/hour).

Of course, in the end, we visited many more graves of people whom I didn’t even know were buried there.

The tour included tons of explanations, and it was obvious that the guide knew the site’s history and the stories behind the tombstones and the people inside out.

It was truly spellbinding and lasted about three hours.

We saw the burial sites of important rabbis – such as:

In addition, we saw the gravesites of:

Each and every one of them was an extraordinary individual with a remarkable and intriguing life story.

It also turns out that the security situation isn’t really bad. There are about five security vehicles which constantly patrol the area as well as a police van, security cameras, etc.

Moreover, the Maale Zeitim neighborhood – home to some sixty families – is located nearby.

In short, I highly recommend a tour of the site.

I now realize that it’s not as “far away” as it may seem (or least as I used to think…)

Have a wonderful vacation!


Thank you, Meshulam, for this fascinating post!


* The Hebrew-to-English translator who translated Meshulam’s post (and also this letter) has asked me to announce that she’s available for translation work. For more information, please contact me at OurShiputzim at gmail dot com, and I’ll gladly forward all serious inquiries to her.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What’s the rush?

Some of you may have thought I was exaggerating when I reported that many Israeli yeshiva high school seniors don’t make up their minds about their future plans until the very last minute.

Well, consider the following exchange, which took place here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog) on Shabbat:

The CTO: {mentions that one of his former classmates is visiting our community}

Me: {casually} Oh? That’s nice. What’s he doing this coming year?

The CTO: {nonchalantly} He hasn’t decided yet.

Me: {flabbergasted} Um, isn’t Rosh Chodesh next week?!

The CTO: {shrugs} It’s not like he doesn’t know at all! I mean, he HAS narrowed it down to a few choices…


!שבוע טוב

Have a wonderful week!


The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Eric for including my take on shopping in Israel – aka everyone’s favorite game show, Name Thaaaat Country!