Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shana tova

Helloooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

I have to get back to the kitchen (we seem to have had a honey cake emergency), but I told one of our most loyal readers that I would try and post a picture of the hardware for the upstairs bathroom before R”H.

So, here goes:


As you can see, we went with metal (we wanted to match the handles of the cabinet under the sink), and yes, that is the new bathroom cabinet (sans the baseboard, which we’re still waiting for).

And on that note, the entire Our Shiputzim staff wishes all our readers a:

כתיבה וחתימה טובה

May תשסט be a good, sweet,

happy, healthy and peaceful

new year!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wonders never cease…

Helloooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

Well, whaddaya know? The carpenter paid us a surprise visit today and finally managed to finish AMG’s closet.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Don’t believe me? Well, here, go ahead, see for yourself:


Note that the two leftmost doors are shallower than the rest – so that the door can be opened, as shown in this picture:


Here’s what it looks like on the inside:


But if you think this means that you won’t have to suffer through any more carpenter posts, well, all I can say is: I’m sorry, but not so fast.

You see, he still has to come back and finish the bathroom cabinet. (It’s actually basically done; he just has to add a row of tiles to the bottom.)

But in the meantime, we’re glad that the closet is B”H finally completed…

And on that note, we wish all our readers a

Shabbat Shalom

from the entire Our Shiputzim staff.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tzav Rishon

Hellooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

Well, forget about all that talk about how our klitah (absorption) is complete and how we’re tentatively dipping our toes into the shallow end of “Acculturation”.

You see, there’s nothing like having one’s son receive his tzav rishon (initial army call-up) to bring one back to one of the earlier stages of aliyah.

Yes, that’s right. The Chief of Photography’s tzav rishon recently arrived in the mail.

Of course, it will I”YH still be a couple of years before he’s actually inducted. Apparently, the tzav rishon simply means that he has to report for a day of testing and initial screening (as well as a good deal of sitting around and waiting, according to our family’s official military expert - known to long-time readers of this blog as the commenter named “Be All You Can Be”.)

Nevertheless, this is still a rather significant milestone in the Shiputzim family’s klitah process. In fact, none of us are quite sure what to make of it. I guess we all need some time to sort out our thoughts and feelings on the subject…


Meanwhile, back on the renovations front, the carpenter actually showed up for several hours last Thursday. In other words, when he said on Wednesday that he would be back “tomorrow”, he actually meant it for a change! (No, he wasn’t really turning over a new leaf – as evidenced by the fact that we haven’t seen him since then…)

And finally, in completely unrelated news, we picked up all the hardware for the upstairs bathroom. I will B”N post pictures as soon as everything is installed.


Have a good evening from the entire Our Shiputzim staff!

Kosher Cooking Carnival

The latest edition of KCC (the “Kosher Cooking Carnival”) can be found here.

Thanks to Isramom for including my tzimmes post.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Aliyah memories: Eliraz Boy edition

Helloooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

This post will be the first installment of a new – and hopefully recurrent – series:

A look back at our first year in Israel

One day, soon after starting gan, OOOC (one of our children)* came home and told me some story about a boy named “Eliraz Boy.”

Eliraz Boy?” I asked. “That’s an… er, unusual name.”

Well, that’s his name,” OOOC insisted. “Eliraz Boy. He’s in my gan.”

He?” I wondered. “But isn’t Eliraz a girl’s name?”

The next day, when I picked OOOC up from gan, OOOC pointed to one of the girls and announced, “Imma, see that boy over there? He’s Eliraz Boy.”

But she looks like a girl,” I said.

Yes, I know,” OOOC replied. “But the gannenets always call her Eliraz Boy.”

And then it hit me.

As you may have guessed, the gannenets were saying אלירז בואי [“Eliraz, bo’ee” - “Eliraz, come here (fem.)”]….


* This story was posted with OOOC’s full permission.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tzimmes on my mind

Shavua tov, Our Shiputzim fans!

Since I seem to have been [temporarily?] usurped as the official family tzimmes maker (Who, me? Bitter? What gives you that idea?smile_regular), I figure I might as well blog about tzimmes in lieu of actually making it.

Several tzimmes-related notes:

1. This recipe is my version of my mother’s tzimmes recipe, which is, in turn, based on her mother’s – i.e. my grandmother a”h - tzimmes recipe.

2. As a fervent adherent of the “simpler and easier are better” school of cooking, I skip the traditional step of slow-cooking the tzimmes on the stovetop before baking. Instead, I just put all the ingredients in a heavy disposable pan and let the whole thing bake and bake and bake…

3. IMHO, tzimmes is one of those rare dishes which tastes better the more it’s reheated. So, I like to make the tzimmes a day or two before Rosh Hashanah and then reheat it for several hours before eating.

4. One could perhaps add sweet potatoes to the recipe. But for Rosh Hashanah, I like to stick to carrots exclusively.

5. I don’t really have exact (or even approximate) amounts for any of the ingredients. I add most of the ingredients (except for the carrots) “to taste” and adjust the flavor as the tzimmes bakes.


  • Enough carrots to fill a disposable pan
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • Hot water
  • Lemon juice
  • Potato starch or flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Salt


Peel carrots and slice thin in a food processor. Put the carrot slices in the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Bake covered at 375 degrees for several hours until carrots are very soft. Stir occasionally, and correct the taste as needed.


!שנה טובה ומתוקה

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The carpenter chronicles

Hellooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

Yesterday, one of our favorite commenters asked:

“What about the carpenter did he come back…”

Funny you should ask, YAT, because you see, the carpenter actually came for a couple of hours on Sunday. And yes, as our long-time readers may have guessed, when he was leaving, he claimed that he was coming “tomorrow”. Understandably, we took that to mean that we would be seeing him some time next week or so.

Thus, you can imagine our surprise when he came for another few hours this evening.

But lest you think that he was turning over a new leaf, let me reassure you that on his way out, he once again announced that he would be back… all together now… “tomorrow”!

Feel free to leave a comment with your bet as to the date of the carpenter’s next appearance.

In completely unrelated news, we finally ordered some of the hardware (towel hooks, toilet paper holder, etc.) for the upstairs bathroom.

Now, I realize that some of you have been waiting with bated breath to learn if we went with metal or plastic. Moreover, I’m sure that others will want to know what color we chose and even what the fixtures look like.

But the thing is – if I tell you now, I’ll have nothing to blog about a different time. And besides, it has become something of an Our Shiputzim tradition to milk boring, trivial and inconsequential announcements for way, way, way more than their worth.

And so, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to wait for a future episode for all these fascinating details.

In the meantime, we wish you a good night from the entire Our Shiputzim staff!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Havel Havelim

Havel Havelim is a weekly Jewish blog carnival. The newest edition can be found here or here.

Thank you to Batya for including my “Heblish-English dictionary” post.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Was that a flying pig I just saw?

Shavua tov, Our Shiputzim fans!

Now, lest you mistakenly thought that the title refers to the return of the carpenter, let me quickly dissuade you of that notion. As previously reported, he has not been here since last Sunday.

Fortunately for our readers, however, I happened to be speaking to YCT the other night, and I was provided with a good deal of blog fodder despite the lack of progress on the renovations front.

To wit:

1) YCT gave me a compliment.

Yes, you read that correctly.

During our discussion, reference was made to a certain individual, and YCT noted that the woman in question - who is just about my age – looks like she is several years older than me.

When I called him on the fact that he had just complimented me for the time in our lives, he tried to lessen the impact. He observed that people at his advanced age make comments like that routinely and that he was just quoting RCT anyway.

But his wavering did not fool me, and I told him that I was going to have to blog about this noteworthy occasion.

2) An indication of charedi-ness?

Recently, I called a certain tourist attraction to make reservations. Among other questions, the woman on the phone asked if we are charedi or chiloni. Slightly taken aback – my American roots were showing, I guess – I said simply, “neither.”

“Okay, so then you’re dati leumi,” she replied and moved on to the next question.

Afterwards, YZG said that I should have asked what the nafka mina was and then decided if we were better off being charedi or chiloni.

Anyway, during our recent conversation, I told YCT about this whole story – including YZG’s reaction.

YCT, in turn, said that using the phrase “nafka mina” automatically labels me as charedi.

I, however, disagreed. I pointed out that charedi women do not use the phrase “nafka mina”. In fact, I said, charedi women don’t even know what this phrase means.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on this – or any other – subject.

And that’s about it for now.

Good night from the entire Our Shiputzim staff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A people house has things like… stairs

Helloooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

As our long time readers will no doubt recall, I ruined the dramatic impact of the kablan’s exit in this post by noting that he was going to come back at some point:

“To touch up the paint in the downstairs bathroom.”

Well, yesterday turned out to be the big day.

The kablan scraped off the paint where it had cracked, spackled, and then put on two coats of paint. Instead of posting a picture, I refer you to this post. The walls now look exactly as they did then. (Hopefully, this time they’ll continue to look like they do now…)

Meanwhile, while he was here, the kablan put the leftover steps up on the wall as shelves:


As you can see in the above picture, there’s actually one more step sitting on top of the bookshelf below. That fourth step – or shelf, if you will – was meant to be the top step and is therefore not as deep as the other steps. So, if we want to put it up on the wall, we need to get different brackets.

And that’s about it for now.

Have a good night from the entire Our Shiputzim staff.

P.S. In case you were wondering - no, the carpenter did not come today, but there’s always “tomorrow”…

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Invoking Vizzini

Hellooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

Today was rather… well, odd. Sadly, we went to a funeral in the afternoon. But then we came home, got changed, and went to a wedding. Needless to say, the juxtaposition of the two events was somewhat unsettling, to say the least.

In renovation news, although the carpenter did not arrive today, he actually showed up for a few hours yesterday.

Care to see what he accomplished? (Like you have a choice…*) Then follow me.

As you may be able to see in the following picture, the left hand side of the closet is somewhat shallower than the rest – to enable one to open the door to the room.


The white thing in the lower right corner of the picture is supposed to be the bathroom cabinet.

When is the carpenter going to come back and finish the closet – to say nothing of installing the aforementioned bathroom cabinet? That remains to be seen. Of course, as is his wont, the carpenter told us that he’s coming “tomorrow”, but if I may paraphrase: He keeps using that word; I do not think it means what he thinks it means…

And that’s about it for now.

Tune it next time when rumor has it our-neighbor-formerly-known-as-the-kablan may be paying us a visit in a professional capacity. You won’t want to miss it!

Have a good night from the entire Our Shiputzim staff.


* No choice short of skipping the rest of this post, of course, but I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do that!smile_regular

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Heblish-English Dictionary

Helloooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

Those of us raising kids here in Israel are very familiar with that obscure yet utterly charming language known as “Heblish”.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this particular language is its vast number of dialects. In fact, every American-Israeli household boasts its own unique version.

Therefore, as a public service, I am pleased to announce the upcoming release of the First Edition of the Our Shiputzim Heblish-English Dictionary.

Here are some sample entries:

I’m in metach: Hebrew source – אני במתח . English definition - I’m in suspense. Common usage - “I can’t go to sleep right now. I only have two more chapters left of this book, and I’m in metach.”

I had a mazal: Hebrew source – היה לי מזל. English definition – I was lucky. Common usage - “I know I left for school twenty minutes late this morning. But I had a mazal; the teacher came even later than me!”

The that: Hebrew source – הזה. English definition – That thing or the thingamajig. Common usage - “I put the book down on the that.”

To marry with: Hebrew source – להתחתן עם. English definition – To marry. Common usage - “He is going to marry with her.”

To livater: Hebrew source – לוותר. English definition – To give in; to concede. Common usage - “Fine, he can go first; I’m willing to livater.” (Note: This phrase – like many other infinitives – is often “conjugated.” For example, in the past tense, one would say, “I livater’ed.” Similarly, in future tense, one would say, “I will livater.”)

Feel free to share some of your own examples in the comment section.

Friday, September 5, 2008

You know your klitah is complete when…

… You make sheva brachot, and you’re okay with the fact that no one knows exactly how many people are coming until all the guests arrive.

Caveat: We co-hosted the sheva brachot in question with four other couples, and the sheva brachot were held in someone else’s backyard. I admit that I might not have been as blasé if the affair was being held here in TRLEOTB (the real life equivalent of this blog).

BTW, in completely unrelated news, the carpenter did NOT show up this week. He assures us that he’s coming on Sunday I”YH….

Shabbat Shalom from the entire Our Shiputzim staff!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tuesday. Definitely Tuesday

Helloooo, Our Shiputzim fans!

We begin today’s post by noting that we have reached another milestone: This is our 100th post. Not bad for a blog that was meant to last for only three weeks.*

In other news, everyone seems to have had a good first day (B”AH) at their respective educational institutions. (Specific details are available off-line from the Our Shiputzim information department.)

And turning to AMG’s closet, we have…. nothing.

Yesterday, the carpenter assured YZG that he’s going to call on Tuesday I”YH and then come on Wednesday. (Contact the Our Shiputzim bookmaker to lay your bets on the likelihood of this actually happening.)

Meanwhile, YZG and his talented team of assistants put up blinds in the boys’ room, as you can see here:


It’s hard to say which is more exciting – these window blinds or the attic light bulbs from this post. Feel free to weigh in on this issue in the comment section. YAT, I would really love to hear your opinion in particular.

And that’s about it for now.

See you next time on another enthralling episode of “Our Shiputzim”.


* As our long-time readers will no doubt recall, the kablan initially told us that the renovations would take three weeks – at the most. Since we never took him at his word, we weren’t disappointed when the three weeks dragged into… well, let’s just say that they dragged into more than three weeks, and leave it at that.