Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pitka tava

IMG_2162Seen earlier this week on Kvish 6 (the Trans-Israel Highway), the electronic sign reads: “Happy Succot from the Derech Eretz Company [the operators of Kvish 6].”

I’ve never been a big fan of, um, sweet sweet potato kugels, which are often prepared with things like canned pineapple, brown sugar, maple syrup, or even (shudder) marshmallows. (Seriously?? Marshmallows??)

So I was thrilled when a number of years ago, I found a recipe for something called “Savory Sweet Potato Kugel” in the paper:

IMG_1212Savory Sweet Potato Kugel

Adapted from the Jerusalem Post, this recipe is admittedly a bit more of a potchke than, say, lukshen kugel or even potato kugel but, IMHO, well-worth the effort. (Please feel free to stop by and have a taste if you should find yourself near TRLEOOB* over Simchat Torah...)


  • 2 to 2.5 kg sweet potatoes (i.e. batatot, for the Hebraically-oriented among you) - scrubbed and unpeeled
  • Oil (I use canola)
  • 5-6 large onions - chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic - chopped finely (the original recipe called for ground ginger instead)
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Bread crumbs


Put the unpeeled sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about half an hour or until tender. Drain and let cool.

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, sauté the onions in the oil. When they’re translucent, add the garlic, and continue sautéing until the onions are golden brown.

Peel sweet potatoes and mash using a potato masher. Add onion and garlic mixture, eggs, salt and pepper.

Place mixture in an oiled 9x13 pan. Smooth mixture and sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

!חג שמח


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A new name for an old city?

Shavua tov and mo’adim l’simchah!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that visiting the Kotel and its environs on Chol Hamo’ed is all about bumping into everyone you know. (In other words, it’s kind of like Facebook for the non-online crowd… :-))

Or, as we say here in TRLEOOB*, it’s all about getting points. (Confused? Go ahead and reread the Points post. I’ll wait…)

But what many people don’t realize is that in recent years, these fleeting encounters with one’s acquaintances have undergone a subtle change.

You see, in the not-so-distant past, the conversation was usually limited to a quick, “Hi! How are you? It’s so nice to see you!” – followed, perhaps, by a brief recap of what the two parties had been doing since their last meeting (which probably took place during the previous Chol Hamo’ed…).

However, keen observer of Israeli cultural norms that I am that I pretend to be, I’ve noticed that nowadays, after the initial pleasantries are exchanged, an additional question is inevitably asked: 

“Where’d ya park?”

Which brings me to the following announcement which appeared in Friday’s newspaper: (Click on the picture for a closer view. Toby, this one’s for you…)

scanJer2Yes, that DOES say the “Old Town” [sic]. And yes, it WAS the municipality which produced this notice…

BTW, if you happen to see us (and our Heblish-speaking kids…) on Chol Hamo’ed– near the Kotel, at a national park, or elsewhere – please be sure to come over and say hello.

We really could use the points



*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chag samei’ach!

IMG_2075Our aravot tree, as it looked yesterday, before any of the branches were cut.

And now for my annual pre-Succot offer: Please feel free to stop by TRLEOOB* between now and candlelighting if you still need aravot. BA”H, there are plenty left…

!חג שמח

May you and your families have a wonderful and joyous Succot!


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Come back to me

Veteran olim are aware that with a little bit of luck, you can find Heblish wherever you look.

For instance, not too long ago, I called a certain office - only to discover that they were closed.

But not to worry.

They had voice mail.

With a message in two (2) languages, no less.

And that’s not all.

Because to my delight – but to the detriment of the office’s professional reputation – the employee who recorded the message was not QUITE as proficient in English as s/he may have thought.

In fact, I would classify him/her as one of those Israelis who mistakenly believe that they’re speaking English when they’re actually speaking Heblish instead.

Here’s why:

The Hebrew part of the message came first, and then the English instructed:

“Please leave a message, and we will come back to you.”

And, thus, the nameless employee behind the voice earned his/her 15 minutes of fame as the unwitting neologist who coined the newest Our Shiputzim Heblish-English Dictionary entry:

Come back to you: Hebrew source נחזור אליך. English definition – Get back to you. Sample usage – See above.

Well done, Nameless Employee!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shanah tovah

Shavua tov and shanah tovah!*

Thanks to the amazing Shiputzim kids [including the CTO, who came home after the fast (schlepping his giant laundry-stuffed backpack, of course) - just in time to help out], our succah was up by 9:00 last night. </obnoxious boasting>

Meanwhile, after a [not exactly] strenuous three months weeks of school, most yeshiva high schools and ulpanot across the country started their Succot vacations this morning. {rubs hands gleefully at the thought of willing, er, well, at least, able slave labor}

All this is to say that now’s the perfect time to sit back and read the latest Haveil Havalim, available here. Special thanks to Chaviva for including my “you say klassair, I say tikiyah” post.


*My apologies to those of you who came here last week looking for my usual brilliant insights insignificant drivel. I had a whole pre-YK post written… in my head, but time constraints prevented me from getting around to typing it up. I guess you’ll just have to wait until Erev Yom Kippur 5772 IY”H to read it… :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A binder by any other name

New oleh parents often face numerous hurdles as they slowly learn to navigate Israel’s education system, and these challenges are only exacerbated by the fact that every. single. teacher – yes, even within the same school! – insists on using different terminology.

Take, for instance, gym class.

In Hebrew, it’s alternatively referred to as hitamlut (התעמלות - literally, exercise or gymnastics), sport (ספורט – literally, sports), or chinuch gufani (חינוך גופני - physical education).

And science class isn’t too much better.

I still recall how one of the Shiputzim kids, who was then in first grade, came home confused, because the homeroom teacher called it mada’im (מדעים – literally, sciences) while the science teacher called it teva (טבע – literally, nature).

But the classic example has got to be the ubiquitous plastic binder:IMG_2031

A mainstay of Israeli school supply lists, it’s used as a cover for papers, projects, and reports and – in the younger grades - also as a simple folder.

What’s the Hebrew word for “binder,” you ask?

Ay, there’s the rub.

Because over the years, the Shiputzim kids’ assorted teachers have used all of the following:

  • Klassair (קלסר - from the French “classeur,” meaning, IINM, file or binder)
  • Klassair shakuf (קלסר שקוף - transparent klassair)
  • Klassair chatzi-shakuf (קלסר חצי-שקוף semitransparent klassair)
  • Klassair tzivoni (קלסר צבעוני – colored klassair)
  • Tikiyah (תיקייה – file or folder)
  • Tikiyah shkufah (תיקייה שקופה – transparent tikiyah)
  • Tikiyah chatzi-shkufah (תיקייה חצי-שקופה – semitransparent tikiyah)
  • Tikiyah tzivonit (תיקייה צבעונית – colored tikiyah)
  • Shkafkefet (שקפקפת – from the word shakuf, i.e. transparent)

And so, I turn to you, Mr. Education Minister*, in the name of new – and not so new – olim across the country.

Just as you decreed that school uniforms would be the norm, maybe now’s the time to introduce uniform standards for pedagogical terminology?

I’m just saying…


Which terms do your children’s teachers prefer?


*What?? He MIGHT be a devoted Our Shiputzim reader. It could happen… ;-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tzom Gedaliah

Shavua tov and shanah tovah!

With less than an hour and a half left to go of the fast here in TRLEOOB* (but who’s counting…), now’s the perfect time to check out the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival here.

Special thanks to Batya for including my chopped liver post.

.צום קל ומועיל לכולם

Have an easy and meaningful fast.


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rosh Hashanah 5771



תהא שנת עליה ארצה

(Tehei Shnat Aliyah Artzah)

May 5771 be a year of aliyah to Eretz Yisrael.

Due to a number of factors – mainly, that we’re B”AH blessed to have many of our immediate relatives living here in Israel – the Shiputzim family has not yet had the privilege of attending a Nefesh B’Nefesh welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport.

Of course, many Israelis go even when they aren’t personally acquainted with any of the arriving olim, and we certainly could’ve done so as well.

But it’s not quite the same as waiting to greet a specific oleh.

And so I turn to you, our dear family and friends [real-life and virtual] in the Diaspora.

Here’s the plan:

You make aliyah during 5771, and we, the denizens of TRLEOOB(=the real life equivalent of our blog), will come meet you at the airport with a great, big, colorful sign in tow.

Yes, it really IS that simple!

So, what do you say? Do we have a deal?

Or, as we say in the Heblish, did we close*?


May you have a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous, and sweet new year.

לשנה טובה תכתבו ותחתמו

!לאלתר לחיים טובים ולשלום


* To close: Hebrew source לסגור. English definition – To finalize an agreement or a decision. Sample usage – “After waiting all year to decide, he finally closed on a certain yeshiva one week before the zman started.”

Monday, September 6, 2010

Around the J-Blogosphere

Several pre-Rosh Hashanah items of note:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fauna Friday: Chicken Edition

Two weeks ago, I noted this blog’s popularity among both the reptilian and amphibian sets.

Well, it seems that they’ve told some of their fine feathered friends, because now look what showed up at TRLEOOB*:

IMG_2036 “Who ya callin’ chicken??”

And lest you think that it’s simply a coincidence that all these animals keep coming to a blogger’s home specifically and that there’s no way any type of fowl (domesticated or otherwise) could possibly be an Our Shiputzim fan, allow me to introduce Exhibit B:

IMG_2058As you can see in the above picture, soon after the bird made its highly unexpected appearance (and thereby put a whole new spin on the term “free range”), it headed towards a dead tree stump.

Why is this significant, you ask?

Good question!

The answer is that the stump is what’s left of the tree we were forced to cut down about a year and a half ago.

Apparently, our avian visitor - clearly a longtime reader - remembered that post and decided to stop by in order to see the stump for itself…


And in other news, I just thought of a great idea for a main course on Shabbat



!שבת שלום ומבורך


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog