Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rosh Chodesh Elul

In honor of Rosh Chodesh Elul (and dedicated to אבי מורי, my father, who would sing this song to me when I was little), here’s R’ Shlomo Carlebach singing “Borchi Nafshi” (Tehillim 104) – which is recited on Rosh Chodesh:

!חודש טוב ומבורך

P.S. The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including my waffle post.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Herzl’s address

114 years ago today, on 1 Elul 5657 (August 29, 1897), the First Zionist Congress opened in Basel, Switzerland.

The Congress was convened by Theodor Herzl, who delivered the opening address.

Here are a few translated* excerpts from his speech:

“…And in this period - which is, by and large, extremely inspiring – we see and feel ourselves surrounded everywhere by the ancient hatred. Anti-Semitism is its modern name…

“Modern, enlightened Judaism – which had left the ghetto, which had been weaned off petty trade – was stabbed in the heart. We can say this today in complete serenity, without arousing suspicions that we are attempting to play on our opponents’ tear ducts. Our conscience is clear.

“From time immemorial, the world has had faulty, distorted and slanted information about us. The sense of affiliation and collaboration – of which we have been so frequently and so acrimoniously accused – was in the process of disappearing, when we were beset by anti-Semitism...

“One can say that we have returned home. Zionism is a return to Judaism, even before a return to the Land of the Jews…

“Zionism has already managed to achieve something amazing, which was previously considered to be nearly impossible: the strong bond between Judaism’s most modern elements and most conservative. Inasmuch as this matter has occurred – without the need for either side to make unseemly concessions or emotional sacrifices – it is further proof, if further proof was necessary, of the fact that the Jews are a nation. This type of union is only possible against the background of a nation...

“Such a large popular movement will inevitably be attacked from many sides. Hence, the Congress will also concentrate on the spiritual means of reviving and fostering Jewish national consciousness…

“We have no intention of compromising on even the slightest bit of the culture which we have acquired for ourselves. Instead, we intend to continue to expand this culture…

“This movement must become greater, if it is to exist at all. A nation can only help itself. And if it cannot do so, no one should help it. But we Zionists wish to inspire the nation to self-help…

“Open dialogue and loyal conduct are needed in order to gain the confidence of the government with which we must negotiate about large-scale Jewish settlement…

There is only one matter which must be accepted as an inviolable law: the agreement must be based on our recognized legal rights and not merely on benevolent sufferance. We have had more than enough experience with toleration and a conditional Judaism-of-patronage…”

After the Congress ended, Herzl famously recorded in his diary: “In Basel, I founded the Jewish State.

!חודש טוב ומבורך


*The above translation is courtesy of the Official Our Shiputzim Hebrew-English translator. Please note that she’s available for translation work. For more information, contact me at OurShiputzim at gmail dot com, and I’ll gladly forward all serious inquiries to her.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Season finale

…And so ends yet another successful (according to all accounts) “early Shabbat” season.

But first, before I get ahead of myself, a bit of background for the uninitiated:

As I noted elsewhere, here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), we’re huge fans of starting Shabbat early on summer Friday afternoons, and in addition, YZG has been serving as the gabbai of our local early minyan for many years now. (Check out my original early Shabbat post for further details.)

</bit of background>

Apparently, many (myself included) were somewhat surprised that the season was ending already. After all, we won’t be changing the clock for a while.

But, as YZG explained, it’s a psychological thing.

You see, on a typical week, our community’s early Shabbat minyan boasts about 50-75 congregants.

In fact, some people even walk over from other neighborhoods, where they don’t have their own early minyan.

However, as soon as minchah dips below 5:30 PM, attendance drops dramatically.

Even many regulars, who never miss a single week throughout the entire summer, feel that 5:25 (which is when minchah would have been this coming Shabbat) is simply too early for them.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post and the fact that this past Shabbat was the early Shabbat minyan’s season finale.

When did/will your community’s early Shabbat minyan go on winter hiatus?

P.S. The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Ima2Seven for including my Ein Afek post.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

National Parks: Ein Afek Edition

Here in TRLEOOB*, we (and when I say “we,” I naturally mean YZG and the kids, and not so much me…) have been busy spackling and painting the LR/DR.

(By a show of hands, anyone interested in an “Our Shiputzim” post on the topic - complete with, er, FASCINATING pictures of wet paint drying?… Anyone?… Anyone?… Bueller?)

But in between all that physical labor and toil, we’ve managed to squeeze in some fun – including swimming, picnics (see, for example, last week’s outing to Palmachim Beach), and various and sundry tiyulim.

Which brings me to our recent trip to the Ein Afek Nature Reserve.

The day began with a visit to Rosh HaNikrah. (Watch this space for more details about that portion of our trip, but in the meantime, you can check out Leora’s gorgeous photos of the site.)

And then, after consulting our Israel Nature and Parks Authority guide, we headed on over to Ein Afek.

Located near Kiryat Bialik (not too far from Acco) and home to assorted flora and fauna, Ein Afek encompasses the upper section of Nachal Na’aman and the springs, pools, lake, and stream which flow into it.

The lovely park also includes Biblical-era ruins (see Yehoshua 19:30, which states that Afek was part of Shevet Asher’s nachalah), a Crusader fortress/mill with a rooftop scenic overlook, a picnic area, a movie about Ein Afek’s history and wildlife, and a pretty walking trail over and around the water canals and lake.

First – as always - the requisite shot of the price list, to show how much money we saved as a result of our National Parks Authority membership:


Next, the Crusader mill:IMG_0081 

A view from the rooftop:IMG_0111

The so-called “floating bridge”:IMG_0099 IMG_0094Please feel free to click on the pictures for a better view.

How are you spending the final days of summer?


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Besurot tovot

Those seeking up-to-the-minute, accurate reporting of the day’s events in southern Israel should check out Jameel and friends’ excellent live coverage.

May we soon be privileged to enjoy besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) as well as the fulfillment of the navi’s words from this week’s haftarah:

כִּי נִחַם ה’ צִיּוֹן, נִחַם כָּל חָרְבֹתֶיהָ, וַיָּשֶׂם מִדְבָּרָהּ כְּעֵדֶן, וְעַרְבָתָהּ כְּגַן ה’; שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה יִמָּצֵא בָהּ, תּוֹדָה וְקוֹל זִמְרָה.

“For Hashem will console Tzion, He will console all her ruins, and He will make her wilderness like Eden and her wasteland like the garden of Hashem; joy and happiness will be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of song.” (Yeshayah 51:3)

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

National Parks: Palmachim Beach Edition

Located not too far from IKEA (you can stop there on the way), Palmachim Beach is, I believe, Israel’s newest national park.

It’s not that the beach itself is new, of course. (In fact, YZG and I have pictures of ourselves there as newlyweds over twenty years ago.)

It’s just that the Israel Nature and Parks Authority only assumed control of the beach – which had been part of a private concession - over the past year.

Which is great for two reasons:

1) The Parks Authority is slowly working to clean and upgrade the beach. The facilities have already improved, and now there are bathrooms and picnic tables. (Neither existed when we were there last summer.)

2) But more importantly, now that Palmachim Beach is a national park, I have an excuse to blog about it…


First, the traditional shot of the price list - to show how much money we saved as a result of our National Parks Authority membership. (Actually, this time, we only saved 5 NIS. Even members have to pay 15 NIS for parking.)


In order to avoid the crowds, we like to arrive at about 5-6 PM, when most people have left or are starting to leave.

This gives us time for some splashing around in the water and perhaps even time for kite flying, before enjoying a picnic supper as we watch the sunset.

Here’s a view from the parking lot as we arrived:IMG_4627 

The setting sun:


And a later view from the parking lot:

IMG_4691As always, please click on the pictures for a better view. 

Which beaches have you been to this summer?


P.S. The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Susan B. for including my most recent Heblish post.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Aliyah Memories: 13 years later

This week marks the 13th anniversary BA”H of our aliyah, or to put it in blogspeak, our “aliyah bar mitzvah.”

In honor of the occasion, here’s one of the Shiputzim kids singing a bar mitzvah song:

I should explain that the young singer recorded the song to send to his/her grandparents in the States – about a year or so after we made aliyah.

And on a related note, less than three months after we arrived in Israel, a different one of the Shiputzim kids dictated the following email for the same American grandparents:

November 9, 1998

Dear Bubby and Zaidy,

I'm learning about aleph in gan.

I know some Hebrew words. Like I know "bayit," and I also know "eich korim lach?" That means: what's your name? And I also know "geshem," and I also know "at rotzah lesachek?" That means: do you want to play?

Let me tell you about my gan - what order it goes in.

First, we play a little bit. Then, we daven. Then, Morah talks. [Ed. note - “Morah” literally means “teacher,” but in Israel, the gannenet is never referred to as “Morah.”] Then, sometimes, we eat lunch first, and sometimes, also we first play a game.

Then, we go back to reekooz without our chair. “Reekooz” means circle time. Then after we do reekooz, we go to eat lunch. [Ed. note – Actually, they ate “aruchat esser” – literally, the “ten o’clock meal” – not lunch.]

Then after, all the boys go outside to play in the sandbox. The girls stay inside and play with the dolls.

Then when all the boys come in, then we go to do our projects. How projects is called is “yetzeerah,” and I also know that already.

After, if it takes too long, we go to get our knapsacks. What knapsacks are called is “teek,” and I also know that already. Then we go to sit on our chairs in reekooz.

Then after we sit down, we sing songs and then we go home. First we learn a little before we sing songs. After we sing songs, we go home.

I have to go to sleep now. Good night.



Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Heblish: As The Laundry Spins Edition

Now that Load #4 out of a million (but who’s counting…) is in the washing machine, doing its thing, it’s the perfect time to survey some of the latest Heblishisms emanating from around the J-Blogosphere:

From A Mother in Israel:

  • Jump from on: Hebrew source לקפוץ מעל. English definition – To jump over. Sample usage - “I’m going to jump from on you.”

From Safra-knit:

  • Go up to the head: Hebrew source עלה בראש. English definition – Have an idea. Sample usage - “The idea went up to my head to go visit my friend.”

From Rafi G.:

  • Do chayim: Hebrew source לעשות חיים. English definition – To have a great time; to live it up. Sample usage - “We went swimming and did chayim in the swimming pool.”

From Malke:

  • There are and there are: Hebrew source יש ויש. English definition – Some are one way, and some are the other. Sample usage - “The teacher asked if our class uses crayons or markers, and we told her, ‘there are and there are.’”Open-mouthed

Thanks, everyone, and please keep all those excellent Heblish submissions coming!


Previous Heblish editions are available here: Heblish I, Heblish II, Heblish III, Heblish IV, Heblish V, Heblish VI, Heblish VII, Heblish VIII, Heblish IX, Heblish X, Heblish XI, Heblish XII, Heblish XIII, Heblish XIV, Heblish XV, Heblish XVI, and Heblish XVII.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Counteracting the meraglim III

The past two years, I referred to my pre-Tisha B’Av posts as “antidotes to the meraglim.” (See here and also here.) In that spirit, I present yet another amazing aspect of life in our beautiful Land:

Living in Israel means being surrounded by our nation’s history.

But not in a dry, dusty way. Israel isn’t a theme park or a museum. It isn’t Colonial Williamsburg.

Rather, here in Israel, Jewish history comes to life with every step we take.

And thus, most Israeli schoolchildren can tell you the Biblical, Talmudic, and Zionist history of their hometowns.

They know in which shevet’s nachalah the area was located and which ancient miracles took place at the spot.

They know what happened there during the time of the Mishnah and the Gemara.

They know the site’s significance to the pre-State era, the War of Independence, the Six Day War, and beyond.

Because here in Eretz Yisrael, we have front row seats on Jewish history.

In fact, we’re more than mere spectators.

Living here means that we’ll IY”H be privileged to play major roles in the next chapter of our nation’s history – including rejoicing and celebrating when Tisha B’Av is transformed into a joyous festival, speedily and in our days.

יה”ר שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, אמן.

Have an easy and meaningful fast.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Around the J-Blogosphere

Several items of note:

1) The latest JPIX is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including my Yom HaAtzma’ut 5771 pictures.

2) Pragmatic Attic has a great collection of menu ideas for the Nine Days.

3) Yosefa made a protective cookbook cover.

4) Ilana-Davita reviewed a new Rosh Hashanah machzor.

בברכת מהרה יבנה המקדש

!ושבת שלום ומבורך

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waffling around

Looking for a way to feed your family during the Nine Days?

How about… waffles?


All you need is one (or, in our case, two) of these:


And a good recipe:

My Father’s Waffle Recipe

Note: For best results, prepare only a single recipe at a time. When the entire Shiputzim family is home, we usually end up making about 3-4 separate recipes per meal.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder (i.e. one envelope for my Israeli readers)
  • scant ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • ¼ cup oil


Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs, and add milk and oil. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients, and mix.

Pour 1 cup of batter (we use a soup ladle’s worth) into machine. Bake each waffle for 5 minutes on the highest setting. (YMMV, depending on your specific waffle maker.)

IMG_4342 IMG_4349 IMG_4347



P.S. For more Nine Day menu ideas, check out the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival here. Special thanks to Jennifer in Mama-Land for including my bread machine recipes.