Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Coffee Talk Ladies and our Face 2 Face.

בס''ד
This is just a short blog to tell you about our get together we had last night.

About 4 or 5 years ago, several early risers would greet each other every morning with a good morning wish and shared a virtual cup of coffee. And so ‘The Coffee Talk ladies’ Facebook group was born. The idea was conceived by Chaya  O………… Thank-you Chaya for your terrific idea.

We are a private group of 36 ladies, mostly olim who have been in Israel from anywhere from a couple of years to 45 years.

On our page we have discussions. We discuss everything from women’s issues, to recipes, to politics to religious matters. We share family photos, post links to important shuirim, articles and blogs. We have several excellent bloggers. 

Our group is a real sisterhood. When someone needs tehillim or prayers said, they post the name and know tehillim and prayers will be said. 

Today, the women from Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Beer Sheva, Ramat Gan, [Netivot and Ma’agalim locals] travelled to the Southern city of Netivot.

Most of the women who joined this group were strangers but it didn’t take long before we became ‘friends’. A suggestion was made to meet Face 2 Face. 

Our first meeting was brunch in Yerushalayim. We have also met in Shilo, the home of the Mishkan, and to show support to the south with all the rockets and missiles being fired, the ladies came to Netivot for lunch. We have been to Netanya and this time again in Netivot. 

Part of the group met at the home of Esther R......., who accompanied the ladies to the grave site of the Baba Sali, who was the leading Moroccan Sephardi Rabbi and Kabbalist, where the women said Tehillim.  

We then all met up at a cafe for supper.  It was very nice seeing everyone again and catching up. The time passed quickly, our Face 2 Face was over and a wonderful time was had by all.  

To the ladies who couldn't make our gathering, we missed you and hope to see you next time.
___________________________
As a side note, I would like to tell you about my newest blog / newsletter Patchy’s World, featuring pet information, interesting articles, photos and much more. If you have a chance, have a look and feel free to comment and share.  Patchy's World!

That's all for now.

Miriam   

Monday, July 13, 2015

Avenging The Slaughter of the Innocent.

בס''ד
In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, my grandson Gilad and his classmates will embark on their emotional eight day trip to Poland to tour the concentration camps and visit the cities and ghettos where Jews lived and were slaughtered by the Nazis.

The boys have been well prepared. Last year in their Shoah [Holocaust] studies they visited *Yad Vashem, meet survivors, and learnt all about the atrocities before and during World War II. 

*Yad Vashem (Hebrew: יָד וַשֵׁם) is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, established in 1953 through the Yad Vashem Law passed by the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

Yad Vashem is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest.. The memorial consists of a 180-dunam (18.0 ha; 44.5-acre) complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites such as the Children's Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance. 

Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center.
Yad Vashem

Once in Poland, the boys protected by Israeli security agents, have been instructed to be proud Jews. They were told to wear their kipot with pride and those who keep their tzitzit out should continue to do so.

Their first stop will be Treblinka. [Treblinka  was an extermination camp, built by the Nazis, located near the village of  Treblinka north-east of Warsaw in what is now the Masovian Voivodeship. The camp operated between 23 July 1942 and 19 October 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, the most deadly phase of the Final Solution]
Treblinka

Shabbat will be spent in Lodz, which is the third-largest city in Poland. Located in the central part of the country, Prior to World War II Lodz’s Jewish community numbered around 233,000 and accounted for one-third of the city's total population.

It was easy to distinguish between non-Jew and Jew because on November 16, 1939 the nazi’s had ordered Jews to wear an armband on their right arm. The armband was the precursor to the yellow Star of David badge which was soon to follow on December 12, 1939.

The community was entirely wiped out in the Shoah. By the end of the war, the city and its environs had lost approximately 420,000 of its pre-war inhabitants, including approximately 300,000 Polish Jews 120,000 other Poles.
Lodz  

Their last stop will be in Auschwitz. Auschwitz concentration camp  was a network of German nazi concentration  and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by nazi Germany during World War II. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz 111-Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), and 45 satellite camps.
Auschwitz

My great-grandparents and my husband’s mother’s parents and other family members on both sides of our family were murdered during pogroms between WW1 and WW2. Their crime..they were Jews.

Gilad and our older grandson Yoni, who visited the camps about 6 years ago, are avenging the murder of the innocent. Both boys are ben Torah and they are telling the Nazis we won, you lost. We live in Eretz Yisrael.

At each camp, Kaddish will be said and the names of slaughtered remembered. 

A cousin of mine found the names of her family members murdered in the Shoah through a search through the archives of Yad Vashem. Gilad will have their names remember in kaddish and tehillim.

Returning to Israel, their emotional trips ends at the Kotel in Yerushayalim. The boys will daven, sing, dance and understand the privilege they have living in our Jewish homeland.

Am Yisrael Chai! 

That’s all for now.
Feel free to comment and share
Miriam   

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Wonderful 'Settlers' of the Negev...

בס''ד

The Golden Age or The Third Generation are fancy titles referring to anyone over 60. In plain language senior citizens.

Becoming a Golden Ager is a very special Bracha.  It is not something we should take for granted. Being able to see our children grown-up, becoming parents themselves and living productive lives brings joy to our hearts. 

And grandchildren and great-grandchildren….the joy is a blog all by itself. 

Being over 60, I was invited to join our moetza, Sdot Negev [regional council] seniors group. The group offers friendships, creative activities, jewelry making, ceramics, painting, music, Torah shiurim and outings. There is an exercise class, two delicious meals are served and door to door mini bus service.

I have always been interested in ceramics and jewelry making and so I decided to give it a try. And so bright and early yesterday morning at 8:15 the mini bus picked me up and I was on my way.

Arriving at the moadon [community building], I was greeted by Shira a very sweet counselor who showed me around. When Shira introduced me to some of the women who had already arrived and told them that I speak English, immediately one lady said, I want to learn English, then another and another.  

I joined the table of ladies and we spoke a little about ourselves, me murdering Hebrew and they breaking their teeth to speak English. Somehow, we understood each other. 

Coffee and then breakfast was served and the other staff who co-ordinate this program came to introduce themselves and say hello to me. Everyone was so very warm and friendly. I felt very comfortable.

As I looked around the room, I felt in awe. Here were the real settlers of the Negev.

Sitting with me were men and women who were born in Israel many, many years before the modern state was recognized. Others were olim from Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Egypt. They left their birth home, most being kicked out by cruel arab governments who stole their land and property and they traveled by boat  and settled in Eretz Yisrael.

There any many heroic and terrifying stories of how these brave people escaped with just the clothes on their back.

Our early government’s history of receiving these olim is not a nice story. The treatment they received by the elites was shameful. They were treated as second class citizens and sent to live in a barren and desolate area known as the Negev.

The olim brought with them their traditions, their food, their music, their Rabbanim and above all, their love for Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish homeland. They raised families. Having ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen children was not unusual. Everyone had their chores.

They went about settling the land. Not having the modern farming tools that we have today, they worked with their hands from sunrise to sunset. They plowed and planted fields, started kibbutzim and moshavim. They built homes, cheders  [religious schools], schools, Beit Knessets [synagogues]. They became businessmen and tradesmen. They welcomed guests with a warm Shalom Aleichem, a kiss on the cheeks, and food. 

With a Bracha from Hashem, the settlers of the Negev did the impossible. They settled the Negev, this dry sandy, barren, desolate land was blooming. Green, green land with fields and fields of wheat and vegetables as far as the eye can see. The sweet smells of fruit orchards and flower gardens permeate the air. 

From small farming communities, developmental towns and cities were built. People from other areas of Israel were moving to the Negev.

As I look around at all the seniors in the room I have the utmost respect for them and want to say thank-you. Thank-you for your hard work in settling our land.  The Negev has been my families home for the past 10 years.. Thank-you for making the Negev a wonderful place to call home.

That’s all for now.
Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam                 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Growing Older Together....

בס''ד

Siman Tov u Mazal Tov u Mazal Tov Vesiman Tov Yehe lanu.…
 
Today, the 17th of Sivan, Avraham and I are celebrating our 48th wedding anniversary. The secular date is June 25, three weeks after the six day war in Eretz Yisrael. Our Rabbi told my parents that if Israel was still at war on our wedding day, he wouldn’t allow any music.  We could only have the chuppah and the dinner. 

We were the first chatan and Kallah to be married in the new sanctuary at the Young Israel of Chomedey,an orthodox shul in Chomedey, a suburb of Montreal.












Our wedding was a real ‘fairytale’ wedding. The shul was decorated with gorgeous flowers and candles lining the aisles.

Avraham, my father a”H, my father-in-law a”H, the best man and the little ring bearer wore tails and top hats and white gloves. [Avraham couldn’t wait to toss the hat and gloves] 

We had 10 ushers who wore white dinner jackets and kipot. My dear friend Selma was my maid of honour. Wearing a green gown and long while gloves she was beautiful.














Being the only daughter, I was the princess of the family and my parents spared no expense for my special day. Everything had to be perfect. My mother a”H made sure the food, the table settings, the music, the pictures, just everything was the way she ordered it.

It was an evening never to be forgotten.

Only many years later did I realize that one of the reasons for my ‘fairytale’ wedding was because my mother never got over the fact that her special day was not like the way she dreamt it would be because of another war.

My father was a front line soldier in the Canadian army and received a surprise order that he was being deployed to Europe in 72 hours. This was 7 days before their wedding date, a week after Tish B’Av.   My father tried to convince his commander to allow him to remain in Canada until after the wedding, but the army said no. They told him to get married before he was deployed.

The family was frantic because it was the 9 days when you can’t have weddings.  My Zeidi called the family Rav who sent the chatan and Kallah and their parents to see the Chief Rav of Montreal for a ruling.

The Rav said that since there was a wedding date set and my father was being sent to war before this date, they should be married the next day before sunset [which was was Friday] and he would do the ceremony.

The Rav said they could only have their parents and a minyan present. He told my mother that she could not wear a wedding gown or take any pictures. The Shabbat meal would be the sheva bracha. 

And so my parents were married Friday afternoon 2 days before Tish B’Av. My father was deployed the next day for two and half years.

A couple of days before her original wedding date, the store where she bought her wedding gown called to ask why she hadn’t come to pick up her dress.  She told them to give it to a needy bride. She never wanted to see the dress again.

Our 48 years have been filled with wonderful and not so wonderful memories.  We have been blessed with three great children, 2 super sons-in-law and thirteen precious grandchildren. 

We now have a married granddaughter and grandsons who served and are serving in the IDF. We are living our dream in Eretz Yisrael and thankful to be growing older together surrounded by our loving family. 

Please enjoy!
Video Siman Tov u Mazal-Tov

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment.
Miriam               

Sunday, May 31, 2015

We're Home and Living Our Dream!

בס''ד

Part 1: The Decision 

Making Aliyah is a major decision, one that cannot be made on ‘one leg’.

Today, May 31st we are celebrating our 21st year in Israel. And what an exciting twenty-one years it has been!

From the moment that we stepped off the EL AL plane and took our first steps on Israeli soil, we felt that we arrived home to new beginnings.

My husband and I had talked about making Aliyah for years. We visited the Aliyah office of The Jewish Agency and spoke several times to different Shaliachim. There always seemed to be a reason or maybe an excuse why this year was not right. 

Time passed quickly, after high school, our oldest daughter came to Israel to study in a religious seminary. She planned to stay for one year and then return to Toronto to go to university. This was not meant to be. 

Our younger daughter followed two years later. Both girls fell in love with the country and decided that they didn’t want to come back to Canada. Israel was going to be their home.

The girls met their Israeli husbands. We made two weddings in Israel and they settled down. By the time our third grandchild was born, my husband and I knew that our place was in Israel. 

Once the decision was made to make Aliyah, the process went very quickly. We filled out our application in December and left Canada in May. Our son, who was going to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in Elul, wanted his Aliya at the Kotel.  His wish came true. 

Part 2  Patience is a Virtue

Living in Israel as new olim is an experience in its self. We were warned that the bureaucracy would be unbelievable. It was, but we took it in stride. Our first experience with bureaucracy was at the Passport Control Office at the airport.

As new Olim, we needed to receive a Tudat Olah.  The clerk typed up our information, but instead of writing country of origin Canada, she wrote country of origin Soviet Union. When we pointed out her mistake, she refused to correct it, but instead told us that we had to go to the interior ministry office in Jerusalem. We later found out that a plane load of Russian Jews had landed a couple of hours earlier and the clerk was just used to typing Soviet Union.

Coming from Canada, we exchanged our large hi-rise apartment in Hamilton for a small 55 meter two bedroom Kibbutz house in Gush Etzion, near Jerusalem. Our daughters and sons-in law surprised us by cleaning and furnishing the house with kibbutz furniture so that we wouldn't walk into an empty house. 

Our then three year old grandson, Yoni, drew a ‘welcome home’ picture that was hanging on the front door.  At first, it was a little difficult living in a small house. We were always under each other’s feet, but after a few days we found our own space.

Although, we didn’t join the kibbutz, they invited us to use their facilities. We ate lunch in the communal dining room and used the kibbutz laundry service. The novelty of just throwing the laundry into the correct baskets and picking it up the next day, clean and pressed was exciting.

Our older daughter and son-in-law are kibbutz members. This is why we chose the kibbutz as our first Israeli home.  

Celebrating Shabbat in the communal dining room was an experience. Singing together Shalom Aleichem and many other Shabbat songs, the sounds of young children laughing and running around, made the Shabbat meal a true kibbutz experience. 

Each family had its own table. There was a rotation system and every Shabbat several members took turns setting the tables, serving and cleaning up. 

As our young grandchildren became a little older, it was not unusual for them to bang on our door early Shabbat morning, looking for chocolate milk and Shabbat cake. For some reason, the milk and cake tasted better in Saba and Safta’s house than theirs.

Part 3  Fitting In.............

Learning to speak Hebrew was another experience. We joined an ulpan for new olim in Jerusalem and went everyday for a few months. My husband learnt to speak very quickly, I didn’t.  Even today, I speak in English whenever possible. Israelis love to speak English. After three months in school, our son was speaking Hebrew like a native. 

Israel is rich in Jewish history.  You can tour and visit many places that are mentioned in the Torah. Israel has the bluest sky and its national flower, Callanit is a beautiful red wild flower. 

Israelis love to drink mud [Turkish coffee], their favorite expression, no matter the situation is “yehieh beseder”  [ it will be okay] and politics is definitely the topic of choice. All Israelis have an opinion on how to run the government and everyone is a backseat General in the army.    

The country comes together, left, right day, when the siren rings on Yom Hashoah [Holocaust remembrance and Yom Hazikron  [Memorial day for our soldiers and innocent victims of terrorism]. 

Cars and buses stop in the middle of the street. Drivers and passengers get out of their vehicles, pedestrians stop walking, everyone stands silently remembering the price the Jewish people have had to pay.  It is a breathtaking sight to see. 

On Israel Independence day,Yom Ha’atzmaut, we fly our Israeli flag with pride and enjoy the traditional bar b’ que. 

Today we live on a wonderful yishuv not far from Netivot and Beer Sheva in the south. 

On our yishuv and in many other yishuvim and cities in Israel, ten or fifteen minutes before Shabbat, beautiful Shabbat music is played over the loudspeakers. 

For my family, living in Israel is an honor and privilege. We are living in our Jewish homeland and full filling our dreams.

Come Home!
Until next time feel free to comment and share.
Miriam                

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Part 2..Understanding Why??????????????

בס''ד

Last Thursday was four weeks since my heart attack and having a stent inserted into one of the arteries. This link gives an excellent explanation as to what is a stent.

https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300452.pdf

Feeling stronger and able to sit at the computer for a few minutes, I have started my research as to what happened to me......the whys...

I have many questions and still need many answers. The American Heart Association and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation have been a great source of information.
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Conditions_UCM_001087_SubHomePage.jsp

http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3483933/k.CD67/Stroke.htm

In Israel we have the Israel Heart Society. Both their webpage and Facebook page are full of information but because they are only in Hebrew, it takes a lot of time to translate. http://www.israel-heart.org.il/

Actually, I contacted them by e-mail this morning saying that we have many English speaking olim and since heart disease affects every age group, having an English site would be very useful. .

I'm experiencing many stages in my recovery. So far, each stage has been very important on the road to recovery.

Stage 1: from the day after the heart attack, I felt great and told my doctor that I was bored and wanted to go home. This euphoric feeling lasted five days.

My heart was in shock and didn't realize it was sick. By day six life was changing.

Stage 2: It was the last day of Pesach and I was home. I was exhausted and all I wanted was my bed. My bedroom was dark and when my husband wanted to open the trisim [blinds] to bring in some light, I told him I like the dark. When Avraham suggested that I come and sit in the living room I told him I didn't want to. I think my bedroom was a security blanket.

Stage 3:  the demons invaded my brain...I was so afraid that if I moved the wrong way or just did anything, I would have another heart attack. The dreams were terrifying. Panic and tears were my constant companion. 


I’m still a little afraid to stay alone… Hopefully this too will pass. I was told by a professional, that all I am feeling is very normal.

Our moetza Sdot Negev, installed an emergency panic button machine in our house that contacts a doctor immediately.

Stage 4: this is where I am now. I'm getting stronger and trying to function normally. I still get tired but I'm able to cope better. I have to learn how to pace myself. This is a very difficult skill for me.

My son goes with me for short walks and I try to go a little further each time. I can see my progress daily and have given myself a goal for complete recovery…

I’m sure there are many more stages for me to face before I am totally back to myself.

Next week I have my first post heart attack ultrasound at Soroka. I will then know how my heart is healing.

Writing about my experiences is very therapeutic. It helps me emotionally to deal day to day. Thank-you for reading my words. 

At the end of May, I am going to join a new online support chat group in English, for women in my age group who have heart disease. The moderator is a cardiologist.  From what I understand, the group is made up of 35 women from America and Israel. I’m looking forward to this.

That’s all for now. Please feel free to comment and share.

Miriam               

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hashem Had Other Plans...........

בס''ד
Life holds many surprises and my surprise came on Thursday, April 2nd, a day before liel seder [seder night]. 

I hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days earlier and the doctor said I had bronchitis. During the night I was choking so badly, I went back to the doctor Thursday morning even though I didn't really have time. I still had a couple of small jobs to finish before I could start cooking for Pesach.

Well Hashem had other plans for me.

The doctor told the nurse to do a cardiogram and check my blood pressure. 

After checking the results he told me that he was calling an ambulance and sending me to Soroka Hospital.

Would you believe that I argued with him that I didn't want to go.....

The nurse said that I didn't have a choice and called the ambulance.

In the ambulance I had terrible chest pain. The driver put on the siren.

From Netivot it takes about 30 minutes normal driving to the hospital. The ambulance took about 15 minutes.

I must start by saying the care I received in Soroka was superb. The doctors and nurses were professional and showed much kindness.

Since my Hebrew is very limited, the staff went out of their way to speak English. 

Avraham called our children. Our chayal grandson was in Beer Sheva on his way home. He came to the hospital and stayed until his parent's came to the hospital.

In the emergency room I had a very serious heart attack. I was admitted to the cardiac ICU. 

At that point life was a blur. The next thing I knew, I was transferred to the cardiac catheterization room for a stent to be inserted. The procedure took 50 minutes but it seemed forever.

Back to my room in the ICU, the nurses did everything possible to make me comfortable including speaking English. 

So much for my plans for the day. By now it was late and Avraham was exhausted. He had to go home. Pesach was the next day and he had to finish the house, do laundry and make chraine.

Friday was a nightmare in my house. Hashem gave Avraham and Eli-Chaim the strength to finish everything. Devorah sent them delicious food.

My daughter Naomi asked the doctor for permission to make a little seder for me in my hospital room. He said sure.

When Hashem plans, He plans everything. Naomi heard about an apartment near the hospital from someone on her kibbutz in the Gush and was able to rent the apartment for Shabbat.The girls who live in the apartment are students and had gone home for Pesach. One of the girls lives in my Yishuv and she was able to get the key when she drove Avraham home. Hashem's Hand at work.

Baruch Hashem Naomi, Eliezer and their five sons spent Shabbat with me and gave me a beautiful Seder and Shabbat.

When I saw the doctor Sunday morning I thanked him for giving Naomi permission for the seder.  He said to me, “for sure your children making you a seder was better medicine than anything I am giving you”.. 

Four days later I came home.  The doctor told me that I have a new birthday, April 2nd. Hashem granted me the Bracha of life.

My family has been fantastic. Naomi filled the freezer with a variety of delicious fleishic meals. Devorah made us soups, kugels, cakes and basically whatever I asked her for. Yesterday, Hagai bar b'qued a variety of meat for us for supper and another meal for freezing.. Devorah also has been handling all my appointments. So many phone calls to make. Eli-Chaim has been at my beck and call.

Avraham has been fabulous and has become the "chief cook and bottle washer" handling everything from laundry to washing the house and everything in between. 

The most surprising friend in my house is my sweet 4 legged friend Patches. She has attached herself to my hip. Since I came home she has not let me of her sight. She lies quietly in my bed next to me. When I go to the bathroom or take a shower she parks herself outside the door.

Last week I had a doctor's appointment. Eli-Chaim told me she looked out the window and cried all the time I was gone. He couldn't distract her. When I came home she jumped on me as if I was gone for a year.

Patches has proven herself to be a loyal friend.

Today is three weeks since my heart attack. Baruch Hashem I am getting stronger every day, but I still get tired very easily.

I want to thank everyone for your tefilla and good wishes. I am so touched about the amount of inquiries.  May HaKadosh Baruch Hu grant each of you many Brachot.

We are now in the Hebrew month of Iyar which is known as the month of healing. Iyar is an acronym for "I am G-d your healer" Exodus 15:26. May all who are sick have a refua shelaima.

Until next time........
Please feel free to comment and share.

Shabbat Shalom!

Miriam            

Monday, February 16, 2015

Just My Two Cents...

בס''ד
I am by any means not a political blogger. I usually blog about family, health matters, recipes, special activities and day to day happenings, but the constant reading about all the terrorism happening to Jews worldwide, I just had to post my two cents.

First thing I want to make clear is that men and women who do terror attacks anywhere are not freedom fighters or insurgents, they are TERRORISTS. Plain and simple!

Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal, the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.

Merriam-Webster

Being anti-Israel and saying I have nothing against Jews, it is Israel I don’t like is being anti-Semitic, and anti-semitism is alive and well, flourishing around the world at an all time high. Anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism

The Anti-Defamation League has posted a very lengthy list of terror attacks to Jews and Jewish institutions around the world from A to Z.

Their Global Anti-Semitism Selected Incidents Around the World in 2014 lists attacks in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, New Zealand.
  
ADL terror list

We are only at the end of February and already there have been several serious terror attacks against Jews in Paris, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen and this is just the tip of the iceberg. This morning Israel National News web site posted this terrifying video. Have a look!  

Israel Nation News Arutz 7 

To put it bluntly, Jews are not safe anywhere in the world.

Yidden come home! Israel is our G-d given land. Out of the ashes of the holocaust The State of Israel was declared in the United Nations and recognized as the Jewish homeland. 

I know you are thinking “what about all the terror attacks in Israel over the years and what about all the thousands of missiles fired at Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah.  Isn't that terror”? And the answer is yes. I know this fact first hand living 9kms. from Gaza and being on the receiving end of many Grad missiles. 

But I still say… you are still safer in Israel than anywhere else.

I would like to tell you this little story about our experiences with anti-semitism. 

Twenty-one years ago, my family and I lived in a hi-rise apartment building in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

One morning, my then 11 year old son opened our front door to leave to go to school and promptly stepped into a puddle of rotten eggs that had been dumped on the carpet at our front door. Scribbled on the door and walls were swastikas. 

We called the police and building janitor who called the building manager who notified the owner of the building, a holocaust survivor.  

Photos were taken, and the carpet and walls were cleaned. Four days later, [a day after Rosh Hashana] swastikas were once again plastered all over the walls and on our front door in bold black paint ‘die jew’.

Once again we called the police and more photos were taken. The building manager once again had everything cleaned up. He then set up a security camera in the hallway fixed at our apartment.

My son was very scared. He told the police that he was afraid that someone would come in the middle of the night and kill us. The police were terrific. They had their hate crime officer speak to my son. 

The police told us that the sign ‘die jew’ was a death threat that they were taking seriously. We told the police that Yom Kippur was in a couple of days and we were afraid of trouble.

They agreed to give us protection. On Yom Kippur, every 15 minutes a patrol car passed our building, we were given a direct phone number if we needed help and the police checked our apartment door several times during the day and night.

As far as I know, no one was ever caught or prosecuted.

It was our family’s dream to make Aliyah. Our two married daughters and three grandchildren were already living in Israel. We had one excuse after another why this year wasn't the right time to make Aliyah.

Our experience with anti-semitism gave us the kick we needed to make our dream come true. Seven months later, May 1994 we arrived home.

Making Aliyah and living in Israel [with all the mishagus [nonsense] that goes on here] was the smartest decision we ever made.

That’s all for now. Feel free to share and comment.

Miriam    

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nothing Like a Hot Bowl of Soup!

בס''ד
This time of year, when the evenings are cold, come supper time, there is nothing my husband and I like better than to start our meal with a hot thick bowl of soup.

Hot soup warms the body and soul. Takes away any chills and sets the stage for the rest of the meal. No food can comfort you like homemade soup. You can use up leftovers or combine fresh ingredients to make a variety of fabulous soups.

According to food historians, soup is considered one of the first fast foods. The history of soup is as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, food was seen as something that both the rich and poor homemaker could prepare to nurture their family.

Among the earliest soups recorded was a recipe that combined peas, lentils and beans for a quick and easy meal. 

In Parsha Toldot [Bereshit] [Genesis 25:33] we read that on the day of the funeral of Avraham Avinu, his grandson Yaacov was cooking red lentil stew [soup], [the traditional mourner's meal]for his father Yitzchak who was mourning Avraham. Esau, [Yaacov’s twin brother] had been hunting all day came back was so hungry that he agreed to sell his birthright to Yaacov (his rights as the firstborn] for a bowl of red lentil stew and bread.

Soups traditionally are classified into two main groups: clear soups and thick soups. Whatever type of soup you are eating, savor the flavor and enjoy its taste.

My husband and I have our favorite soups and I would to share some soup recipes with you.

*Note: all vegetables and legumes must be checked for infestation and washed before using.

All soups are pareve [neutral]. The vegetable soup and the spicy red lentil soup can be made fleshik [meat] by browning either turkey, chicken or beef pieces and then adding the vegetables and following the rest of the recipe.  

If you prefer a dairy soup, you can add grated cheese before serving to the vegetable soup, spicy red lentil soup and the mushroom and barley soup.

Hearty Thick Vegetable Soup 
A complete meal in a bowl. 
2 or 3 large carrots
2 onions
2 celery stalks
1 medium size kohlrabi
2 white potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 large zucchini
¼ cup green pea
¼ cup yellow pea
¼ cup red lentils
¼ cup kasha
1 package baking powder [about 3 teaspoons] optional
salt and pepper

-Dice all the vegetable and combine with legumes in a large pot filled with cold water and bring to a boil.
-skim off foam.
-add baking powder [to cut cooking time] optional 
-salt and pepper to taste.
-Cook on medium low heat until veggies are soft and legumes are melted. appr. 1 ½ / 2 hours.
*note: When finished add up to 1 ½ cups boiled water to replace liquid boiled away. Stir well. 

If you would like to make this soup a complete meal, serve with dumplings. 

Dumplings make just before serving
1 ½ cups flour
1 package baking powder
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup of soup liquid
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric 
-Combine flour baking powder and oil and mix well. 
-add seasonings
Bring soup to boil
-using 2 spoons, dip spoons into hot soup and then spoon off mixture
-repeat to dip spoons each time before mixture.
-cover and cook 10 / 12 minutes. ENJOY!

Green Lentil Soup
Easy soup to make. 
2/3 cup green lentils [that were soaked for 1 hour]
2 large onions cut in circles
salt
pepper
garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric 
2 tablespoon soya sauce.

-Bring lentils to a boil and then simmer until cooked. approx. ½ / ¾ hour.
-While lentils are cooking
-fry onion until slightly brown
-add salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
-turmeric and soya sauce. Stir well.
-When lentils are soft add seasoned fried onions and enough boiled water to fill soup pot.
-Make a couple of hours before serving time to have to best taste.
-Reboil before serving. ENJOY! 

Spicy Red Lentil Soup
Simple soup to make and so yummy!.
1 medium onion
3 carrots
2 / 3 white potatoes
1 cup red lentils [soaked for 1 hour]
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon hot paprika [if you like really hot add 1 teaspoon]
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper

-Combine all the ingredients including the seasoning in a large pot.  
-Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer for 45 minutes or until all the vegetables and lentils are soft.
-add more boiled water if necessary. ENJOY!

Mushroom and Barley Soup [our favorite]
¾ cup barley
2 cans mushrooms or equivalent fresh 
2 or 3 onions diced
salt
pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric 
2 tablespoons soya sauce [optional]

-Add barley to a pot filled with boiling water. Continue boiling for 3 minutes and then simmer until soft. [about 30 minutes]
 -Fry mushrooms and onions
-season with turmeric, salt and pepper to taste.
-When barley is soft add to fried onions and mushroom mixture and mix well.
-Fill pot with water and bring to a boil.
-season with soya sauce.[optional]
-simmer for 20 minutes with or without the soya sauce. ENJOY!

*This soup is also better when it is allowed to ‘sit’ for a couple of hours. Goes great with garlic bread or pita and hummus.

Enjoy the recipes and share them with your friends.
Until next time
Miriam