Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dairy substitute

Over the weekend, SZ shared the following story and graciously agreed to let me post it here on Our Shiputzim:

The custom in SZ’s company - as is the case in many Israeli workplaces – is that when one has a birthday, one bakes or buys a birthday cake for one’s colleagues.

Thus, when one of SZ’s coworkers recently celebrated his birthday, he brought in a cake.

Then, in deference to the religiously-observant employees in the department, he thoughtfully placed a small sign - in both Hebrew and English - next to the cake, which read:

כשר – חלבי

Kosher – Lactic

Four words: translation software strikes again…


P.S. Speaking of cake, the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is available here. Special thanks to This American Bite for including my two-tone brownies post.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Zocheir Habrit

As some of you know, we spent this past Shabbat in the beautiful northern Shomron.

Special thanks to our gracious hosts – longtime Our Shiputzim readers - for their incredible hospitality! We really had a great time!

On the way there, we ran into some wonderfully wet winter weather (try saying that five times fast…) and even had the privilege of reciting the brachah (blessing) on seeing a rainbow.

As always, feel free to click on the pictures for a closer view:

DSC00010DSC00014 DSC00013 בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, זוֹכֵר הַבְּרִית וְנֶאֱמַן בִּבְרִיתוֹ וְקַיָּם בְּמַאֲמָרוֹ.

Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who remembers the covenant and is faithful to His covenant and fulfills His word.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Minchah PSA

Reason #7112 for making aliyah:

Starting today (Rosh Chodesh Shvat 5772), there will be a daily minyan for Minchah – 15 minutes before sh’kiyah (sunset) - at every gas station along Kvish 6 (the Trans-Israel Highway).

For more information about this great initiative, do a search for “תפילה בשש” on Facebook.

!חודש טוב ומבורך


P.S. Speaking of Facebook, don’t forget to “Like” the Our Shiputzim FB page, in order to receive Our Shiputzim updates.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Heblish: The Accent

It’s one of the biggest controversies to rock the close-knit Heblish academic community.

Namely: Is there such a thing as a Heblish accent?

Indeed, every Heblish journal of record has published countless articles on this topic, and at every Heblish scholarly conference, numerous lecturers have weighed in on the subject.

(What? Try and name ONE Heblish journal that has NOT delved into the topic… :-))

Why is this even an issue?

Well, to paraphrase Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, it’s just that all Anglo parents are sure their Israeli offspring have flawless American accents, and most American grandparents, at one time or another, have complained that their Israeli grandchildren frequently lapse into unintelligible Heblish.

So you do the math…


Please note that I’m not talking about kids who speak English with thick Israeli accents. You know, the type who can’t help but roll their R’s and say “dis” or “zis” instead of “this”.

Rather, I’m referring to a certain subtle inflection which indicates that although a person speaks English fluently, s/he has Anglo parents and was raised in Israel.

My personal feeling is that not only does this telltale inflection exist, but – despite their Anglo parents’ protestations to the contrary – no Heblish speaker is immune.

Except for the Shiputzim kids, of course. Because did I mention that they all boast flawless American accents?


What’s your take on this extremely pressing and important issue?


P.S. The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Risa for including my Top 10 Signs That Your Klitah Is Complete post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to tell if you’ve finally become an Israeli

The Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

The Top 10 Ways You Know Your Klitah* Is Complete

(10) Your American relatives mention that their kids’ school has a strictly-enforced “no-nit policy,” and you assume they must be joking.

(9) Your husband has been to at least one wedding without a jacket or tie, and you had no problem with his attire.

(8) You know what everything on the school supplies list means.

(7) You casually call your children’s teachers at home, and you don’t feel guilty about it.

(6) When one of the aforementioned teachers announces to the class, on the first day of school, that she prefers “10-shurot notebooks” - even though the list said “14-shurot notebooks”  (see item #8) - you don’t panic or immediately run out to the store. Instead, you politely ask (see item #7) if you can keep the 14-shurot “because of the expense of replacing them.” And when the teacher answers your question with a question and inquires if you think your child can handle the 14-shurot, you blithely reply in the affirmative – even if you haven’t the slightest idea if this is actually true…

(5) You can barely remember the days when you used to talk about things like shalosheudes” and “yontif.

(4) Not only do your kids speak fluent Heblish, but so do you…

(3) You see stunning photos of gorgeous autumn foliage and pristine snow-covered lawns, and all you can think about is how grateful you are that you no longer have to worry about raking leaves or shoveling your driveway.

(2) During winter trips abroad (i.e. to chutz laAretz or chu”l, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you), you wonder why all the homes you visit are ridiculously and uncomfortably overheated.

(1) You have discovered that when all else fails in sticky social situations – you know, the kind your Israeli offspring refer to as MAH zeh fadichah! – there is absolutely no statute of limitations on skillfully playing the powerful New Oleh Card…


What would you add to this list?


*Klitah (קליטה) – Literally, “absorption.” Refers to the process of adjusting, adapting and acclimating to Israeli society.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Moshe: Take 2

Last year, in honor of Parshat Shmot, I posted Shimi Tavori’s classic songMoshe” - winner of the Mizrachi Song Festival and an old family favorite.

But apparently, since then, YouTube removed the song, and so by special request from TSG, here’s another version of the same song from the same song festival:

Although the picture is definitely grainier than last year’s version, the advantage of this one is that it has the Hebrew lyrics.

And I still stand by what I wrote last year:

“…[T]his video cracks me up.

“After all, the sight of girls shimmying [Ed. note: No pun intended… :-)] incongruously to a song about the Burning Bush, Matan Torah, and other highlights of Moshe Rabbeinus life is very, very funny…”


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fauna Friday: Frog Edition

In general, I try to hold on to the few remaining shreds of my semi-anonymous status.

But nevertheless, every so often, I’ve willingly divulged a number of personal details.

For instance, I readily admit that back in high school, I was NOT voted, “Most likely to blog about various reptiles and amphibians…”


Which is very ironic, of course, considering the fact that there are few (if any) J-bloggers who’ve written more posts about said creatures than I have.

After all, four – yes, four!!! – lizards (namely, a chameleon, an agama, a skink, and a gecko), a tortoise, and even a toad have all slunk/crawled/crept their way on to this blog.

And as if that’s not enough, they’re about to be joined by yet another amphibian friend.

Which one, you ask? Here’s a hint… :-)

In honor of Sefer Shmot (which we’ll IY”H begin reading this coming Shabbat), here are some shots of the frog (i.e. צפרדע – tzfarde’a, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) which decided to, er, hop over for a brief visit during our recent Chanukah weekend in Avnei Eitan.

Note that when I say “decided,” I obviously mean that it was gently encouraged to come in out of the rain by several members of the extended Shiputzim family. (No, not me…).

As always, feel free to click on the pictures for a closer view. (Although I can’t imagine why you’d want to…)

IMG_6451IMG_6453I assume I don’t need to tell you that it isn’t my hand in the second picture?


!שבת שלום ומבורך

Monday, January 9, 2012

Around the J-Blogosphere

Several items of note from around the J-Blogosphere:

1) Both Ruti and Treppenwitz have fair, balanced, and levelheaded takes on the issue of religious soldiers being forced to listen to women singing in the IDF.

2) Jameel shares a fascinating historical find. Scholars believe that once it’s authenticated, the find will likely rival the Cairo Geniza in terms of its significance.

3) The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including my bar mitzvah menu post.

4) Leora reports that her town (or, rather, her borough) has a new mayor.

5) Mimi cooks up the perfect winter soup.

6) Laura presents three mouthwatering pastry dough recipes: one, two, and three.

And finally – achronah achronah chavivah:

7) Ilana-Davita lists a number of excellent tips for learning a new language.

In theory, these suggestions apply to any language. But, IMHO, there’s one exception, which is bad news for Anglos.

Because if you want to learn Heblish, you have only two options: Either consult your Israeli offspring or keep reading the Our Shiputzim blog…


Thursday, January 5, 2012

As the fast ebbs away

It’s a fast day today (there’s about twenty minutes left to go, but who’s counting…), and you know what that means.

That’s right! It means that it’s time for a food-related post – especially since I just realized that I never got around to posting the menu from the bar mitzvah.

Here, then, is the Friday night menu:

  • Appetizer: Sweet and sour meatballs; couscous.
  • Main course: Brisket; schnitzel; potato kugel; mushroom rice; lettuce salad; health salad; corn salad.
  • Dessert: Assorted cookies, bars, and squares; taiglach*; tea and coffee.

Not really coincidentally, many of the aforementioned baked goods have appeared on the blog, such as:

IMG_5897Black and white cookies and cinnamon swirl cookies

IMG_5894 Chocolate swirl blondies (and also Torah-shaped cookies and more black and white cookies)

But there were plenty of new recipes as well. For instance:

IMG_5896 Two tone brownies (and also chocolate chip cookies)

Two Tone Brownies

Adapted from a recipe my mother copied from a magazine (?) many years ago


  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 TBSP cocoa
  • 4 tsp canola oil (for the chocolate layer)


Beat 2/3 cup of oil and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla and flour. Mix batter, and pour half in a baking-paper-lined 9x13 pan.

Add cocoa and 4 teaspoons of oil to the remaining batter, and mix through. Pour chocolate batter over the white batter in the pan. If you like, you can use a knife to create a marble pattern.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done. IMG_5869 - Copy


Have an easy and meaningful fast!


*B”N, I  plan on writing a post about taiglach – as soon as I get the recipe… </not so subtle hint :-) >


Monday, January 2, 2012

Mazal tov: States edition

The entire editorial board and writing staff extend a very special mazal tov to our military advisor and wind turbine expert, Be All You Can Be, who recently visited his 47th US state and thus now holds the official Our Shiputzim record for Greatest Number of States Visited!

We also extend our deepest sympathies to ASCAR (=a so-called anonymous reader), whose longtime record of 46 states has just been ignobly shattered…

<brief explanation for the newer readers> The extended Shiputzim family is – to put it mildly – highly competitive. Other examples include how many Facebook friends we have; how many people we bump into ; and our out-of-town credentials</explanation>

In any event, I should note that sadly, here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), none of us are even in the running for the States Competition.

For instance, I have a mere 30 states under my belt. A score which is, at most, respectable.

However, the good news is that at least I’m way ahead of YZG, who clocks in at a measly 21…


How many US states have you visited?