Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Top 10 Signs You’re Living in the Corona Era

The Top 10 Signs You’re Living in the Corona Era

10) You notice that the Ministry of Unwritten Regulations has apparently decreed that every ad – whether in print (in one of the very few publications that are still being distributed) or online - must contain either a picture of a mask or an illustration of a coronavirus. Bonus points if the virus resembles a cuddly cartoon character.

9) Another day, another 17 “davening at home” jokes.

8) Shabbat feels like you’re in a Jane Austen novel. Everyone is dressed up in elegant clothes; there is nowhere to go; you meet the exact same people at every meal; and after dinner, you retire to the modern day equivalent of the drawing room, where you all sit around and talk and read. And if you get really bored, you can always take a turn about the room…

7)Where/how are you doing your Pesach grocery shopping?” is the new “where will you be/who is coming to you for the Seder this year?

6) Even your two-year-old grandchildren have been using Zoom to get together with the other kids from their ma'on (daycare center).

5) You’ve lost track of how many times someone has quoted all or at least part of the pasuk:
לֵךְ עַמִּי בֹּא בַחֲדָרֶיךָ וּסְגֹר דלתיך בַּעֲדֶךָ חֲבִי כִמְעַט רֶגַע עַד יעבור זָעַם
(“Go, My nation, come into your chambers and close your door behind you; hide for a brief moment, until the wrath shall pass.” --Yishaya 26:20)

4) Over the past week alone, you’ve attended a bat mitzvah, a hanachat tefilin, a baby naming, and several weddings, and not one of the other guests noticed or cared that you were wearing pajamas and slippers the entire time.

3) You have trouble remembering that only 3-4 weeks ago(!!), you had never even heard of terms like social distancing and flattening the curve.

2) You go outside to your backyard for a breath of fresh air, and your next door neighbor greets you from HER yard. As the two of you stand there catching up, separated by a wall and significantly more than two meters of space, you get to pretend that you’re Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor from “Home Improvement” chatting with Wilson over the fence. 

1) After shamelessly neglecting your blog for years and years, you’re suddenly inspired to sit down and write a post.


Wishing you and your families only good health, and may we all soon be privileged to share besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation).

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Book Review: “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada”

While slowly adjusting to our new coronavirus-induced reality, and with nothing else to do and nowhere to go, many Israeli households are turning their attention to Pesach and its attendant preparations.

TRLEOOB (=The Real Life Equivalent of Our Blog), which way back in less unsettled times – i.e. two days ago! – was very much on its way to becoming an empty nest, but which, thanks to the latest batch of restrictions, is now once again the home base for a significant portion of the Shiputzim family, is certainly no exception.

But Pesach preparations aren’t limited to cleaning. They can also involve getting a new haggadah.

When I first received a review copy of “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada,” my initial reaction was: THIS is exactly the haggadah that YZG and I had looked for over the years but had never managed to find!

Because while there are literally countless haggadot out there for adults, and plenty haggadot designed for younger kids, we always had trouble finding an appropriate haggadah for older tweens and teens.

We wanted a haggadah that was interesting and entertaining without being childish, simplistic, or condescending to the reader.

We weren’t looking for a “babysitter” that would distract the reader from the Seder itself but rather for a haggadah that would encourage the reader to engage with the text and also with the proceedings.

In short, we hoped to find a haggadah that would enhance the Seder experience for older kids, but unfortunately, as noted, such a haggadah didn’t seem to be readily available – until now.

Like other Koren releases, “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada” is beautifully designed; includes an excellent, accessible translation; and is filled with wonderful, appropriate, and colorful illustrations.

The haggadah is obviously written with today’s kids in mind and is unapologetically Zionistic. In addition, every page contains questions for discussion, suggestions for experiential activities, and intriguing thoughts and stories.

Together, all of these features allow the reader to be an active participant at the Seder.

In conclusion, I highly recommend “The Koren Magerman Youth Haggada” and only wish that it was available several years ago!

May the coming days bring besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation) for Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael.

Note: I was not paid to review this book, but I did receive a review copy from Koren Publishers.