Friday, June 29, 2012

Euphonic Friday: Mizmor L’David Edition

Disappearing from one’s blog for a week or so and then abruptly returning with a lame excuse about how real life got in the way of blogging is considered to be a classic faux pas.

Thus, since far be it from me to ignore blogging social conventions, I won’t subject you to any sort of apology (sincere or otherwise…) for my absence.

Instead, I’ll simply share Ehud Banai’s beautiful rendition of “Mizmor L’David” in a tacit hope that you’ll forgive me for the sporadic nature of my posts…

Open-mouthed smile

!שבת שלום ומבורך

Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome home!

As I’m sure you’re aware, good military advisors are hard to come by these days.

This may explain why Our Shiputzim is – to the best of my knowledge – one of the very, very few J-blogs out there to have a military advisor on staff.

But this also explains why the past year has been rather, um, challenging for the Our Shiputzim team.

Because, you see, in a move which should be viewed as a cautionary tale for other bloggers looking to hire their own military advisors, Be-All-You-Can-Be and his family spent the past twelve months abroad (i.e. in chu”l, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) - no doubt on a top-secret mission pertaining to this blog...

And so, I’m thrilled to announce that the Be-All-You-Can-Be family returned home to Israel last week, thus proving all the naysayers wrong and showing that, with enough willpower, “rak l’shanah” can actually be done. (Insert: Requisite joke about the Israelis in the elevator…)

Open-mouthed smile

Bruchim haba’im, guys! We’re so glad that you’re back!


P.S. The latest JPiX carnival is available here. Special thanks to Leora for including our chol hamoed visit to the Israel Museum.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stick ‘em up

Israeli schoolkids tend to mark the passing seasons with new recess pastimes.

For instance, as spring gives way to summer, Israeli boys - with a final, loving glance – put their prized collections of marbles (aka gulot, for the Hebraically-oriented among you) away on the shelf.

Because now it’s time for… apricot pits. (Here in our neighborhood, they’re known as gogo’im, but apparently, they go by other names elsewhere. What are they called in your community?)

Yes, apricot pits.

As is always the case this time of year, elementary school boys across the country spend all their free time kneeling in the dust as they flick, roll, and toss gogo’im. (The objective and precise rules of the game continue to elude me. Please consult your local authority for details.)

<interesting cultural note> This is one of those charming and ironic anachronisms of Israeli life: Seeing as the Tzena (the Austerity period of the 1950’s) has B”H been over for some time, one would assume that most parents can now afford to purchase store-bought marbles – as evidenced by the fact that the boys play with them all winter. And yet, every summer like clockwork, the kids ditch the real thing in favor of the poor man’s ersatz substitute… </note>

Meanwhile, over on the girls’ side of a certain school yard, stickers (i.e. madbeikot  - not to be confused with stickerim, which generally refer to bumper stickers specifically) are currently the latest craze – especially in the younger grades.

Unlike gogo’im, which, let’s face it, are kind of dull to look at, madbeikot come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, and varieties.

Thus, the Our Shiputzim Editorial Board is very proud to present:

The Official Stickers Lexicon

Note: For full accuracy and authenticity, try deliberately mispronouncing each of the following in mileil (i.e. with the accent on the first syllable) instead of in the grammatically-correct milra (i.e. with the accent on the final syllable).

Pushtim: Classic, flat stickers. From the word pashut (פשוט) – i.e simple or plain.

Badim: Soft, almost fabric-like stickers. From the word bad (בד) – i.e. cloth or material.

Boltim: Puffy stickers. From the word boleit (בולט) – i.e. protrude.
According to my sources, boltim can be divided into 3 subcategories:

  • Kariyot: Regular puffy stickers. From the word karit (כרית) – i.e. pillow or cushion.
  • Klickim: Puffy stickers that make a “clicking” sound when one squeezes them.
  • Gulot: Small, rounded stickers that resemble, in the words of one expert, “half a marble.” From the word gulah (גולה) – i.e. marble (see above).

What do the girls do with their stickers?

Well, whether it’s during recess or after school, they can be found poring over each other’s sticker books as they engage in the time-honored ritual known as “trading” in English and “switching” in Heblish


Have gogo’im and madbeikot made their annual appearance in your neighborhood yet?


P.S. The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is available here. Special thanks to Northern Lights for including my ganache-covered brownies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hitna’ari Revisited

About a month ago, in honor of Yom Yerushalayim, I posted Udi Davidi’s haunting “Hitna’ari.” (The song is reposted below.)

A number of readers wondered how this song is connected to Yom Yerushalayim, and so I turned to the Official Our Shiputzim Hebrew-English Translator* for help.

At first, she was extremely reluctant to tackle this song, because she insists that translating poetry isn’t really her thing.

Nevertheless, she finally agreed to try, but only on one condition – namely, that you, dear readers, use the comment section to point out any and all corrections, suggestions, recommendations, omissions, or additions.

And so, without further ado, here’s her translation:


(The beautiful Hebrew lyrics are available here, and the song itself appears below.)

Your face is weary with sweat and tears.
Your garments are covered with the dust of the road.
And you trudge mutely, collecting the shards,
The fragments of your life, scattered among the sands.

Shake yourself from the dust; rise up!
Don your garments of glory, My people.
By the hand of Yishai’s son, the Bethlemite,
Draw near to My soul; redeem it.

Your eyes attest to a sleepless night.
Your heart cries, “Mother Earth!”
And you trudge mutely among the dunes,
Uncertain that the wandering will ever end.

Shake yourself…

Wake up, for your light has come; rise up and shine,
For your wandering was not for naught,
For the eternal nation once again returns to the sands,
To the shards it left behind in its pain.
Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears,
For there is reward for your deed.
The sons return and break the silence,
Which permeated your being and your heart.

Shake yourself… (x2)


And here’s the song, so you can listen while you read the translation:

Nu, so what did you think? The translator* asked that I remind you that your comments are most appreciated.


*Special thanks to the Official Our Shiputzim Hebrew-English translator for providing the above translation. Please note that she’s available for translation work. For more information, contact me at OurShiputzim at gmail dot com, and I’ll gladly forward all serious inquiries to her.

Monday, June 11, 2012


In honor of YZG, who graduated from college 25 years ago BA”H, the Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

The Top 10 Reasons You Didn’t Go To Your 25th College Reunion

10) You made aliyah, but the reunion was held in the Old Country.

9) You didn’t want to be stuck (excuse my Heblish).

8) Not only would you have had to speak to people you don’t remember…

7) …But you would’ve had to pretend to remember them.

6) One word: Fadichah!

5) There was a reason you weren’t friends with many of these people back in college…

4) Did I mention that you would’ve been stuck?

3) You would’ve run out of awkward small talk within five minutes. Ten, if your wife would’ve been there to help you…

2) Although you’re still firmly ensconced in your early twenties, all of your former classmates are apparently now middle-aged.

1) Pictures of the reunion were posted on Facebook. Which means that there’s a slight chance (and I’m not saying that this would’ve actually happened, but it IS theoretically possible) that complete strangers - say, to pick a totally random example, a former classmate and his wife, who didn’t go to the reunion (see reason #10 above) – would’ve compared the pictures to your yearbook and mistakenly assumed that you’re now middle-aged too…


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Waiting period

It’s an age-old question:

How soon after Pesach may one resume baking chametz brownies?

Immediately? Not until after Lag BaOmer? Well into the summer? Rosh Hashanah?

After all, in many households – TRLEOOB* included – brownies are considered to be a Pesach staple. (B”N, I’ll try to post the Shiputzim family’s favorite Pesach brownie recipe in Nissan IY”H.)

Naturally, this means that by the end of Pesach, no one wants to even LOOK at another brownie.

<brief aside> Have you ever met anyone who did NOT insist that their Pesach brownies “taste even BETTER than chametz” [sic]? And yet for some reason, once that last Pesach dish is put away, no one bothers with their flourless dessert recipes anymore… :-) </aside>

My personal take is that Shavuot is an ideal time to bring brownies back into the baking fold.

But if that seems brazenly early for you, why not consider making brownies with a twist? Say, for instance, brownies with ganache?

Admittedly, healthy or dietetic, they aren’t – what with the evil pareve cream and all (see recipe below) - but hey, if it means that your family can start indulging in these classic chocolate treats sooner, one could easily make a case that calories and chemicals are a small price to pay. Don’t you agree?


IMG_7195Ganache-Covered Brownies

Based on my friend E.’s brownie recipe and adapted from here.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1½ cups flour


  • ½ container pareve cream
  • 250 grams semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (we used a combination of the two)


Mix brownie ingredients together by hand and pour into a baking-paper-lined  9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done. Let cool in pan.

Melt parve whip and chocolate together in the microwave. Pour the ganache over the brownies in the pan and spread. Refrigerate.



*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog