Monday, March 25, 2013

Erev Pesach 5773 Report

The chametz has been burned; the haircuts have been given; and the charoset (aka the chumus of Pesach) has been made.

Now the only thing left to do is eat our standard Erev Pesach lunch (hint: Kashla”P potato chips are certain to play a prominent role), set the table for the Seder, and then take naps.

But first, YZG and I want to thank the wonderful Shiputzim kids for their incredible help this past week.

They cleaned, cooked, baked, ran errands, peeled mounds and mounds of potatoes, and mostly (seeing as how we’re talking the week before Pesach and all), washed and dried a never-ending stream of dishes.

Thanks, guys! We love you!

But what makes the Shiputzim kids’ help particularly remarkable and appreciated is that they managed to accomplish so much in spite of the fact that they recently expanded this year’s List of Justifications Perfectly Understandable Reasons For Getting Out of Pesach Preparations.

As always, the list included the annual pre-Pesach youth group outing (i.e. the Masa Pesach, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you), studying for the bagruyot, and various and sundry yimei iyun (“study days” or day-long seminars – i.e. a chance for the teachers to cram several weeks’ worth of uncovered material into a few hours).

But this year, the talented Shiputzim kids were able to come up with two more creative ways to avoid working legitimate excuses to be elsewhere: sherut leumi and army service


On a related note, Our Favorite Bat Sherut had the honor of being the first one to use our brand new Pesach electric hand mixer (our old one is now, um, functioning-challenged…) when she whipped up a batch of these yummy cookies:




Non-Gebrochts Chocolate Chip Cookies

Slightly adapted from here.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (The original recipe called for 2 cups of white sugar, but next time, we hope to try it this way.)
  • 2 envelopes vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 grams very finely ground almonds
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 package chocolate chips


Cream sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla sugar with the oil. Beat in the eggs. Add the almonds and the potato starch and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix through.

Put the batter in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and form small balls out of the dough. Place the balls on a baking-paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Yield: 72 cookies (The original recipe indicated that it yielded only about 45 cookies, but apparently, we made much smaller cookies.)

!חג כשר ושמח

The entire Our Shiputzim staff wishes our readers a joyous and kosher Pesach.

May we all be privileged to eat in rebuilt Yerushalayim from the zevachim and from the pesachim, speedily and in our days. Amen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Maccabeats: Les Misérables

Here’s the Maccabeats’ brand new Pesach video, based on “Les Misérables”:

Happy cleaning!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

City of the Patriarchs

Recently, one of the Shiputzim daughters had the privilege of going on a school trip to Kever Rachel and Hevron. </reason #2467 for making aliyah>

YZG  went along and graciously offered to take some blogworthy pictures.

As always, please click on the photos for a much better view:

IMG_1188Me’arat HaMachpeilah (the Cave of the Patriarchs)

IMG_1201For some 700 years, the Moslems forbade the Jews from going beyond what was then the seventh step leading up to Me’arat HaMachpeilah’s eastern entrance. Today, many Jews continue to daven at this spot, because as the sign beautifully explains, the site “has been hallowed by the prayers and tears of countless generations.”

IMG_1266One of the shuls inside Me’arat HaMachpeilah

IMG_1269The sign reads, “Tziyun Kever Avraham Avinu” (“The Patriarch Avraham’s Grave Marker”) – although the actual burial place is probably not under this spot.

IMG_122919th century Torah scrolls in Hevron’s Beit Knesset Avraham Avinu. The shul, now B”H rebuilt, was destroyed during the infamous Arab pogrom of 1929, but these Torah scrolls were miraculously saved.

IMG_1241Inside the Beit Hadassah Museum

IMG_1251Another view from the Beit Hadassah Museum

IMG_1260A third view from inside the museum

Thank you, YZG*, for these pictures!

When was the last time you were in Hevron?


* Coincidentally, this is not the first time that YZG’s impressions of Hevron appeared on this blog. Long time readers may recall that thirty years ago, YZG visited Hevron when he came on a high school trip to Israel and kept a journal. :-)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Assorted Blogbits

In lieu of a full-length post, here are several items of interest or note:

1) In a beautiful dvar Torah he delivered at a bar mitzvah this past Shabbat, YZG said that R’ Tzadok of Lublin explained that simchah (joy) is about optimism and our hope for the future. (For instance, the simchah of Adar is connected to the fact that Nissan – the month of Geulah (Redemption) - is right around the corner.) And on a related note, JPost has a wonderful piece about Israelis' rosy outlook on life.

2) The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Esser Agaroth for including my post about religious soldiers and today's IDF.

3) Tis the season to, er, dust off the Our Shiputzim General Theory of Pesach Preparations. (IMNSHO, the best part of this plan is that there’s very little actual cleaning involved… :-))

4) Speaking of Pesach, a few years ago I observed that life in Bnei Brak continues to resemble the Haggadah. But as Rafi G. reports, Bnei Brak’s mayor thinks that it’s time for a change.

5) In an amazing take on the mitzvah of bikur cholim, students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance flash-waltzed Tchaikovsky's “Waltz of the Flowers” at Yerushalayim’s Hadassah Hospital:

6) And finally, did you know that Our Shiputzim updates are available on Facebook? Simply head on over to the Our Shiputzim FB page and click “Like.”

!בשורות טובות