Thursday, December 29, 2011

Heading to the Great Indoors

Let me guess. When you blog about this place, the post will begin: ‘Admittedly, it wasn’t a national park, but we had a very nice time anyway.’ Yes?” YCT (who’s always been like a brother to me) asked rhetorically.

And, as you can see, he was right…


But I’m getting ahead of myself…

After a beautiful Shabbat Chanukah in Avnei Eitan, the original plan was to spend this past Sunday at Gamla (seeing as how it’s a national park and all…).

But the weekend’s wonderfully wet and windy winter weather (try saying that five times fast…) meant that we had to scramble to find an indoor attraction instead. (Actually, this was the third year in a row that we tried – unsuccessfully – to get to Gamla. Indeed, as far as the extended Shiputzim family is concerned, Gamla has become the Holy Grail of Chanukah trips… :-))

Ice skating in Maalot was one option, but we had all been there two years ago (in lieu of Gamla…), and the family members who were doing the driving were reluctant to brave the dense fogs.

And so, in keeping with the whole Chanukah theme, a visit to a boutique olive oil plant in Katzrin was the answer:

IMG_6500The sign reads: “Beit HaBad Shel HaGolan – Katzrin” (“The Golan Olive Press – Katzrin”)

ACSC (=a certain Shiputzim child) – who, just before Chanukah, went on a school trip to Neot Kedumim and got to see how olive oil was produced during the time of the Second Beit HaMikdash – especially enjoyed learning how the process works today:

IMG_6508 The large tanks where the olive oil is stored

After watching the requisite movie (I believe that by law, all tourist attractions must include some sort of audio/visual presentation…) and seeing the machinery, visitors get to taste the different types of olive oil and also sample the various cosmetic products produced from the olives.

IMG_6487 Tasting the different types of olive oil

IMG_6461 Supposedly, the factory’s basalt structure was modeled after an ancient synagogue.

What are some of your favorite indoor attractions in the North?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Avnei Eitan Redux

We interrupt your completely unscheduled blog hiatus to bring you the following post.


Seeing as tonight is Zot Chanukah – i.e. the last night of Chanukah – I figured I should first share some Chanukah pictures before posting more about the bar mitzvah.

And so, without further ado, here are some shots from our amazing weekend in Avnei Eitan, a beautiful moshav in the southern Golan Heights.

In case you’re wondering why the name “Avnei Eitan” sounds familiar, it’s because two years ago, we also spent Shabbat Chanukah in Avnei Eitan.

In fact, this year, we even stayed in the exact. same. tzimmer as last time*:

IMG_6272 The tzimmer’s exterior

IMG_6273 The living room

IMG_6327 Lighting the Chanukah candles, as seen from outside

Please feel free to click on the pictures for a closer look, and for more pictures from Avnei Eitan, be sure to check out my original Avnei Eitan post.


And with that, we will [hopefully] NOT be returning you to your completely unscheduled blog hiatus…



* Actually, it wasn’t really such a coincidence that we returned to the same tzimmer. As it so happens, the owner and I went to elementary school together… </further proof that Israel is a tiny country>

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Chanukah!

I’m not really back to blogging yet, but I wanted to quickly touch base in order to thank you for all the wonderful comments and emails about the bar mitzvah and to wish you a happy Chanukah!

B”H, the bar mitzvah weekend was beautiful; we all had a great time; and <maternal boasting> the bar mitzvah boy did an amazing job BA”H. </boasting>

As soon as things calm down a bit, I’ll B”N try and post a few details about the menu etc. and maybe even a recipe or two.

But in the meantime – and in order to combine this post’s two themes (i.e. the bar mitzvah and Chanukah) – here are a few pictures to show you what we used to decorate the tables on Motza”Sh (=Saturday night):IMG_6001IMG_6003

IMG_5280!חג אורים שמח

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bar mitzvah

I first posted the following song back in August, in honor of our family’s aliyah bar mitzvah.

As you may recall, it features one of the Shiputzim kids (but not the current bar mitzvah boy), who recorded the song for his/her grandparents in the States about a year or so after we made aliyah.

For obvious reasons, I decided to repost it today:

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In lieu of original content

Seeing as the entire Our Shiputzim writing staff is off preparing for the upcoming bar mitzvah IY”H, I figured I’d share a handful of posts which you may have missed the first time around:

!בשמחות אצל כולנו


P.S. Our Shiputzim updates are now available on Facebook. Simply head on over to the Our Shiputzim FB page and click “Like”.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Mizbei’ach

{cue: TV announcer voice}

The challenge: Help your daughter build a model of the Mizbei’ach (the Altar in the Mishkan/Beit HaMikdash) for school, when:

  1. The teacher only gave the class three days to complete the assignment.
  2. You are IY”H making a bar mitzvah in less than two weeks.
  3. Your family’s Klei Beit HaMikdash bar was previously set extremely high by ESG’s gorgeous model of the Mizbach HaKtoret.

Can it be done?

</announcer voice>

I admit that I had serious doubts. As I told ACSD (=a certain Shiputzim daughter), I didn’t even know where to begin.

But,” I added brightly, albeit rather skeptically. “Maybe Abba will have some ideas.

And B”H, Abba (aka “YZG” aka “Mr. S.”) did.

In fact, as soon as he heard about ACSD’s assignment, YZG started thinking, and within a few minutes, TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog) had been transformed into a scene straight out of MacGyver.

First, YZG and ACSD headed upstairs to scrounge around the attic.

They reappeared shortly thereafter, armed with an odd assortment of empty shoeboxes, old doorstops, aluminum foil, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, scotch tape, rubber bands, cardboard, toothpicks, recycled plastic containers, and more, and immediately got to work…

I’m sure you’ll agree that the result is pretty amazing:

IMG_5823IMG_5825 If you click on the pictures for a closer view, you’ll be able to see some of ACSD’s handwritten labels, which identify each part of the Mizbei’ach.

Beautiful job, ACSD (and YZG)!

May we all be privileged to witness the fulfillment of the words of the daily Amidah prayer, speedily and in our days:

“…וְהָשֵׁב אֶת הָעֲבוֹדָה לִדְבִיר בֵּיתֶךָ, וְאִשֵּׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּתְפִלָּתָם בְּאַהֲבָה תְקַבֵּל בְּרָצוֹן, וּתְהִי לְרָצוֹן תָּמִיד עֲבוֹדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ.”

“…And restore the service to the Inner Sanctuary of Your House. And accept the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayer, with love and favor. And may the service of Israel, Your nation, always be favorable to You.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

J-Blogosphere notes

Several items of interest from around the J-Blogosphere:

1) Rabbi Stewart Weiss shares his thoughts after his recent visit to Prague.

2) A Mother in Israel has an amusing list of Hebrew bloopers made by new (and not so new!) olim. [As I noted in a comment, back when I was studying here in Israel after high school, I told an interviewer that I was going to be working with mechashaifim (wizards/sorcerers) instead of machshaivim (computers)… :-)]

3) Leora discusses a frightening incident which took place in her community last week.

4) Rafi G. reports that the government raised the threshold for applying customs on goods ordered via the Internet.

5) Toby presents another great collection of misspelled and mistranslated signs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two weeks to go

Here’s what’s been going on in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog) lately:

1) On Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Kislev, I happened to be doing some shopping. (Did I mention that we’re IY”H making a bar mitzvah in a few weeks?)

At the first store, I was trying to figure out if a certain item was machine-washable or not, and so I asked the seemingly-secular saleswoman about the fabric content.

But before I had a chance to explain why I was asking, she immediately responded, “Don’t worry. It’s not shatnez. There’s no wool in it…

And as I was leaving, she wished me a “chodesh tov” – as did the dreadlocked cashier in the next store.

Five words: Reason #3721 for making aliyah…

2) Have you ever dreamed of writing a guest post for one of the J-Blogosphere’s biggest, most important, most influential, and most widely-read blogs?

Well, I can’t help you there, but as per reader Faith/Emuna’s excellent suggestion, I am offering you the chance to write a guest post for this blog.


If you’re interested, please email me at OurShiputzim at gmail dot com.

3) The other day, YCT (who’s always been like a brother to me) asked me over the phone why I hadn’t written a post about the “extremely cool and sophisticated” – okay, maybe those weren’t his EXACT words… :-) - Access database I designed and used for each of the Shiputzim kids’ bar/bat mitzvahs.

BTW, if you’re making a simchah and would like a copy of the database’s schema, I’d be more than happy to send it to you. It works for bar and bat mitzvahs and, with a bit of minor tweaking, could be easily adapted for weddings as well. </offer you can’t refuse>

In response, I explained to YCT that the reason I haven’t blogged about my database is that I don’t like to show off.

I can see that,” he replied, clearly much struck by what I had said. “Because, after all, referring to one of your own posts as ‘history in the making’ is the absolute height of modesty and humility…


!שבת שלום ומבורך