Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The oleh’s folly

Back in the 20th century – i.e. in the pre-NBN era - the oleh rights were structured such that it made financial sense to ship all of one’s household electrical appliances from one’s country of origin.

Typically, this usually involved a shopping trip to one of the numerous 220-volt appliance stores located on New York’s Lower East Side, where one could purchase everything one needed… and, inevitably, also an appliance or two that one didn’t.

After all, when purchasing that many big-ticket items at once, it was very easy to get carried away.

And, so, before you knew it, you found yourself buying something which you never owned before, but which you were sure you were going to use all the time in Israel.

Which explains our sewing machine, another family’s shortwave radio, and a third’s bread machine…


Which pre-aliyah purchase is currently collecting dust in your storage room, crawlspace, or attic (i.e. machsan, boidem, or aliyat-gag - for the Hebraically-oriented among you)?

While the owners of the aforementioned shortwave radio have never even pretended that they’re ever going to use it, I still maintain (to YZG’s great amusement) that someday, I’ll find the time to figure out how to work our sewing machine. {ignores YZG’s snickers in the background}

And the bread machine?

Several years ago, its owners graciously loaned it to us, and they’re always glad to hear that the Shiputzim kids enjoy using it to bake delicious loaves of bread:

IMG_4196Our our relatives’ machine yields two small loaves, and one can use different recipes for each one.

Bread Machine Bread

Adapted from the manual which came with our our relatives’ machine

French Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1¾ tsp dry yeast

Whole Wheat Bread

  • 2½ TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ TBSP canola oil
  • 7/8 cup water
  • 1 tsp dry yeast


Dump ingredients into bread machine, and then follow your bread machine’s instructions.



  1. At our pre-aliyah shopping trip, my then-husband insisted on buying a karaoke machine. We lived in Israel for 3 years without an air conditioner or a clothes dryer, but a karaoke machine? Yup, that we had.

  2. We didnt but anything but we did bring some stupid things like lamps and other stuff that have finally made it to the dumpster.....

    Would you be willing to loan out that sewing machine.. I may have an upcoming creative teenager who would enjoy it?


  3. The bread looks delicious. I had two bread machines (maybe 3), they all one by one broke, so I learned to make bread the "old-fashioned" way.

    So what does one do with shortwave radio in these days of hi-speed internet?

  4. I also don't think we bought or brought any innecessary appliances, but we definitely made other errors of judgment, such as shlepping this huge, ornate mirror from our American bedroom set which has absolutely no place here. We also eventually dumped it, still wrapped in the shipping packaging. Oh well, you make such a big, unkown move, you're bound to make some mistakes.

  5. In 1983 I made aliya as a single and ended up married a Brit that same year. We were entitled to three lifts from either country. The furniture came from the States and the electrical appliances came from England, which also ran on 220 so we didn't need any converters. We didn't buy anything outlandish, we had a very boring aliya. But when my mom died in 2009 and I went back to New York to clean out her apartment I insisted on bringing back her Singer sewing machine with me. I don't sew, and the electricity is all wrong, but it's a beautiful piece of furniture with a lot of memories and sentimental value. And who knows, maybe one day it will give me the impetus to learn to sew...

  6. I had a bread machine too but didn't like how the propeller damaged the bread but I enjoyed the smell in the morning! Now I am back to handmade bread but sometimes regret how easy it was with a machine.

  7. We brought a cool gadget that we found at Radio Shack that made appropriately toned beeps when one dialed numbers, since the ones in Israel were still monotone at the time. That way, if some automated telephone system wanted you to press 5, you could hold the gadget up to the phone and press 5. It seemed like a really brilliant idea at the time, and something that we would absolutely need... I think we got rid of it while cleaning out the machsan a couple of years ago :)

  8. How about a knitting machine!! (My parents brought) Also a lawn mower, which I actually would like to have now.

  9. Raizy - Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! :-)

    RCT - made it to the dumpster
    That's one of the great things about doing shiputzim. It forces you to clean out your storage room...

    Leora - The bread looks delicious.
    It's especially good with butter!

    Malke - Before we made aliyah, we knew that the headboard from our bedroom set wouldn't fit, but for some reason, we decided to bring it anyway. And it's been sitting in one of the kids' rooms ever since... :-)

    Miriyummy - And who knows, maybe one day it will give me the impetus to learn to sew.
    We can learn together! :-)

    Ilana-Davita - Not only is it really easy to use, but the kids have fun doing so!

    Toby - Great story! (We actually used to have a gadget like that in the States.)

    Keren - How about a knitting machine!!
    That's almost as good as a karaoke machine! :-) Did anyone ever use it?

  10. In the pre-pre-NBN times we could buy sans tax from any place, so I didn't have that problem. But when we returned from Shlichut I brought a yogurt maker, which never made yogurt in my house. At one point, at least 10 years later, I gave it to a neighbor who had goats for milk. She used it.

  11. Batya -- my parents used to have a yogurt maker in New York. It was called "Leave A Glass of Sour Milk on the Counter." My husband has a yogurt maker that he brought with him when he made aliya from England. It's in the machsan. I look at it every time I go in there, and in my kitchen full of toys I have no desire for that one.

  12. Batya - I didn't even know there WAS such a thing as a yogurt maker... :-)

    Miriyummy - "Leave A Glass of Sour Milk on the Counter"
    LOL! :-)


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