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On Friday, Vote Yes

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Missing in Action

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So, as a brand new iPhone owner I really should blog more. The last few weeks have been crazy busy! Let me try to remember when I last blogged… Oh yeah, the elections that didn’t end with the results I had hoped for. Let me just stop there. Even though Bibi is, in my opinion, far from the besz thing for this country, he was elected by the people. And that itself is something that needs to be respected.

 

 The week before the elections my oldest daughter got married in Prague,  Czech Republic. It was a sweet and short wedding, with kids taking their job seriously. It was a great trip. We even joined a free walkong tour and the kids did wonderfully on the nearly three hour activity. Judy was carried on Kevin’s shoulders for part of it and walked part of it. The other kids walked the whole time! We stopped at the Bake Shop about halfway through, and I offered the kids some super expensive treats… And they turned me down. That was a first.

Judy turned two, and in the almost two weeks her vocabulary has grown like crazy. So has her curiosity and her independence. The great thing is that there is always someone around to keep an eye on her and only intervene if absolutely necessary. She is starting to play with other kids, and entertains herself surprisingly well for chunks of time. 

Getting back, it has been super busy. Between work, medical appointments, and homeschool I have very little free time. In fact most of our homeschool teaching is done by Kevin’s mom and the Open University. We decided to keep the littles in school for next year, too. They thrive there and are in a mostly Hebrew environment, so there is no reason to change that. 

In my limited free time we caught up on American Idol. I actually enjoy this season, though I wasn’t exactly impressed with most of the 80s week performances. I especially disliked Joey’s awful rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and Jax’s Bon Jovi attempt. Clarke, on the other hand, was great. Nick was the best! I generally thought that the soundtrack of my childhood was trampled on. I know Boy George’s voice is not what it used to be, but he was still the best in the group performance of Karma Chameleon. Which, by the way, is one of my favourite songs from that decade. 

http://youtu.be/xvqlA41mxzY

Another thing I realized is that I must have a Jewdar. I’m not even kidding. We have been binge watching Salem. There are two characters I especially love: Cotton and Isaac. Part of the reason for that is that I find the two actors, Seth Gabel and Iddo Goldberg incredibly hot. After googling them it turns out that the former is a Jew from Florida and the latter is Israeli-British. 

Mentioning Salem, we need to do some Salem Witch Trial and English phonology and phonetics projects with the kids, lest they believe that Cotton Mather was against witch trials snd Increase Mather was sctive in them. Plus back then Brits spoke like Americans. So yes. I have a week of furlough, we can work on those.

Passover is fast approaching. We are mostly done with cleanong and preparing for eight days of unleavened bread. This is usually. Challenging week for me, because I don’t like matzah, but this year Kevin found some great recipes with it.

While cleaning is mostly done I was dreading all the cookibg for the Seder. Some of my friends suggested to just take it easy and serve a simple salad or sandwiches or something equally simple, but that is the equivalent of a simple salad and sandwiches for Christmas dinner. Luckily my awesome stepmom invited us to Seder! It is partly catered, so everyone wins.

We as a family also decided to spend the days of the counting of the Omer–the seven weeks between the Seder and Shavuot–eating vegetarian, at least till Lag B’Omer. No, not eating vegetarians, just following a meatless diet. We are drawing inspiration from Indian cuisine as well as Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.

I have finally decided to try filet crochet. 

 

The Day After The Elections

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Americans seem to be excited that Bibi, once again, won the Israeli elections. I am way less excited about that. You see, like other Tel Avivians I didn’t vote for him. Tel Aviv voted Zionist Camp. Of course, once again, it shows how Tel Aviv is its own little bubble. As Ynet columnists wrote, we are kinda disconnected from the rest of the country. Apparently the other areas that voted for the left are Gaza brodering communities, who have lost trust in Bibi and his potential coalition partners.

Now not all hope is lost for us, secular, two-state solution supporting, civil marriage wanting Israelis. My vote is one of the more than 200 thousand votes that haven’t been counted.

The Encounter

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There is this man I work with. He is beautiful. He looks awesome in uniform, and he has the most handsome face. His huge brown eyes and long black eyelashes are beautiful. His hair is cut perfectly, and he somehow manages to keep just enough facial hair that our supervisors believe it is a 5 o’clock shadow… at 7 a.m. He has sparkles in his eyes and the cutest dimples. He has a distance runner’s physique. He is absolutely “my type”.

To make things even better, he is gay. He is just as attracted to me as I am to him.

The other day I was restocking paper towels in the shower, and we ran into each other. He was wearing only a towel, and he walked up to me to grab a few paper towels. His skin smelled like spring. I could feel his breath on my neck as he reached over to the supply cart.

What happened next?

Nothing. He grabbed the box of paper towels, put them in their place, and went on to dress up. I finished stocking the bathroom and went back to work.

Contrary to popular belief, gay men don’t engage in sexual acts with every other gay person they find attractive. He and I are both living in committed relationships, and just like most heterosexual couples, we don’t cheat on our partners.

Also contrary to popular belief, men have self control regardless of what someone else wears or doesn’t wear. Because, you know, humans, not animals.

…Because My Kid

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Overheard at my house:

Kevin: What should we make Dad for his birthday dinner?
Ezra: Rainbow trout! Rainbow is dad’s favourite colour! 2014-02-14 16.34.21

The Community and Disability

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It was a hot Friday evening in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area when a very special minyan gathered. A young man called up to read the Torah struggled sounding out syllables, and occasionally looked at his father for help with long words. Lecha Dodi was painfully out of tune. Well, it was mostly in tune, but in several different tunes as participants sang their most familiar versions. The next Torah reading also took a long time as someone read the portion quietly phrase by phrase and the middle aged woman called up to the Torah was repeating after them. Sometimes the chazzan's prayers lacked response from most of the people.

It was a joyful occasion, and a lovely dinner was shared by everyone afterwards, as participants, many of them having various degrees of developmental and other disabilities mingled, and caregivers and friends fellowshipped. My niece was flirting with a young man, like other 18-year-old girls would. Things were so normal.

A few days later I was asked where I had been for kabbalat Shabbat, and after telling my co-worker, a special education teacher by profession, she said, “They are awful, they segregate the disabled!”

For a second I was surprised. Just look at how inclusive congregations are of the disabled. Everything that happened on that Shabbat eve is normally out of reach for most participants. I experience it with my very progressive and flexible congregation, despite their best efforts to include me. I am counted in the minyan–unlike many people with developmental disabilities–, and I am generally involved in some degree in the lay affairs of our synagogue, but it has been over two years since I was last called up to the Torah. During kiddush hardly anyone even tries to talk to me. It's as if I was invisible. No one doubts my membership in my congregation–I am a male over 13, born to a Jewish mother, and I pay my annual membership fees–but the ways I can participate in liturgy and the general activity of the congregation are limited.

Unfortunately this problem is not unique to my shul, or my religion. Growing up I have attended Sunday School and religious ed classes with a boy, who was easily ten years older than the rest of our class. He had a developmental disability, and our parish leaders decided that though he was an older teen/young adult, he would be happy with the first and second graders preparing for first communion. Let me tell you, he wasn't. It was evident even to seven-year-old me.

Years later, in a much more centrally and uniformly governed LDS world our ward had several children with special needs. There was a special needs Primary class, but involving them in other Primary activities seemed to be an afterthought, a last minute invite. Most of the Teachers in that class were about as clueless about the varied and sometimes severe special needs as any random person off the street. Sometimes the mothers of these kids were called to teach that class, which, to be honest, was just as supportive of the families as telling them to stay home from Sunday School/Relief Society would have been.

As a theology student I worked together with some friends, who were majoring in special education, in trying to write a paper about how 14 denominations in Budapest catered to their disabled members. Then we found out that usually those churches that actually had some kind of special needs ministry in their parishes/ congregations mostly had people with no training in special needs or special education work in those ministries. It became even more shocking when we realized some of those churches actually provided professional public services to people with disabilities! Their everyday work in education and social (re)habilitation in usually segregated settings didn't translate to the seemingly integrated religious community setting.

Even people with the best intentions seem to exclude people with disabilities. People, who learnt not to talk to parents and caregivers but to address the person directly, often still infantilize people with disabilities. It shows greatly in some conversations I have overheard in the past. It also shows in activities planned to “include” disabled parishoners or members. Not being viewed as an adult is frustrating for grown ups of any intellectual level. Constantly being treated like a child because other adults are too embarrassed to admit not understanding everything, or simply are lacking the patience or interest to interact is widening the gap between disabled believers and the rest of the church.

And sometimes the hurt caused by that gap can best be reduced in a setting where participants can be themselves. A minyan where everyone gets the chance to do what they can't in their “real” congregation. And sometimes those people who think that those less perfect than them should not be given the same responsibilities and opportunities should visit these occasions, because they will see something new. They will see confident adults, who, given the time, opportunity, and accomodations they need can lead and share. And maybe then they will need these special occasions a little less when as they are seen as who they really are.

 

Go, Make, Teach, Baptize?

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16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20 is also known among Christians as the Great Comission. The resurrected Jesus sends out his apostles to make disciples, baptize them and teach them. In that order. For some reason, however, it seems that somehow that order has been messed up in many of those Christian churches that practice believer’s baptism. From time to time I see friends undergoing lengthy doctrinal trainings before they are allowed to be baptized and become members of their church. Several times I have seen new believers give up on being being baptized, because life interferes with the times their classes are scheduled. And then there are those churches who make someone pass an exam before being allowed to be baptized.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

I know someone, well, more than one someone, who have children, who have placed their faith and trust in God, and yet, they cannot be baptized and become members of their church. They have intellectual disbilities, and while they are true disciples of Christ, understanding the most important concept of Christianity better than many with degrees in theology, they might never be able to understand the finer points of doctrine.  Their hearts know it, but they are not considered to be ready for baptism.

 …and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

For years I studied theology in college. I had gone to Catholic school, I had served as an LDS missionary. I have read thousands of pages on various doctrines, theologies and apologetics of various Christian denominations. I can answer questions in Sunday School. I can recite prayers, and I’m pretty damn good at proving everything and its opposite using the Bible. I am pretty good at following rules of a religion, and being a contributing member of the religious community. I am the type who is very welcome in formation classes, and I’m praised for my preparedness and knowledge. The thing is, I can’t remember a time when I actually believed any of the things I was taught at any church: I’ll never know with my heart or my (possibly existing) soul what I might know on an intellectual level. I’ll never be a disciple, regardless of what I’ve been taught to observe in the past nearly 33 years.

Baptism is the starting point of a journey, not a destination. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to go, make disciples, let them sit through three months of formation classes, and then baptize them. To be completely honest, nowhere in the Bible does it say that baptism is limited to the able bodied, able minded. That is an Old Testament concept regarding priests performing sacrifices in the Temple.

 So go, make, baptize and teach.

Five for the Weekend – Politics, Blogging, Nimoy

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1. After deciding that I didn’t like the magazine style of my blog, but I liked the style overall, I decided to switch back to the classic blog view. It’s not as if I have ads or something to make everyone click one more time, and it was actually annoying. At least I found it annoying! I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused by the previous layout. I kinda miss the layout I had before this one, but I also like the colours of this one. Oh well.

2. Thursday was my grandson’s birthday. We took some cupcakes and games to gan, and everyone had fun. Birthdaypartygate mom still doesn’t like me, but the drama is over, Baruch Hashem. Of course the kids enjoyed sweets and veggie sticks. They are kids. :)

3. I can’t believe low the United States of America really is sinking these days. I’m really looking forward to law suits of people being mistaken as gay and being discriminated against. I am also looking forward to the people who actually claim religious freedom laws to deny service to assholes. I am seriously shocked. Land of the free, I see. Land of the backward, more like it.

4. Also Netanyahu? I am seriously pissed off at him. I have so far refrained from talking bad about our current (and hopefully soon ex-)PM, but in addition to the mess he is dragging us into with the USA, he now suddenly says that haredi draft dodgers should no longer face criminal sanctions? Why, exactly? Oh, I seem he is shopping for ultraorthodox votes. Of course they should face criminal sanctuions, like every other draft dodger. If I can do it, so can able bodied ultraorthodox men, who receive every accomodation they can think of from the army. I really, really hope that in 16 days we vote Bibi as far away from the government as possible.

5. Leonard Nimoy. So many thoughts, so many memories. I saw him once at a convention, and I have listened to his narration at the San Diego Planetarium again and again as a kid. I loved Spock, and I loved that wonderful friendship Spock and Kirk developed, the humanity he brought aboard the Enterprise with his half alien role… I loved how he embraced Spock and his influence his whole life, and while doing so much more than being Spock, he never denied Spock. I loved his passion for Yiddish, and his work to advance it. He lived long, and we prospered because of him being in our world.

May his memory be a blessing.

Five For The Weekend

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I know, I know. I fail at blogging these days! Well, I have good excuses…

1. We celebrated my grandson’s 4th birthday yesterday, and we had about two dozen little kids run around the house: most of his classmates, cousins, playground friends. Everyone had fun, we destroyed a small country’s yearly pizza production, and I believe Legos are hiding at the most random spots of the house. The torture of walking over them was so worth that stormy afternoon of fun we had!

I put a movie on repeat in one of the downstairs room, and we had various activities elsewhere in the basement, with the assistance of the kids’ imaginations and my older kids. We initially planned it as a drop off party, giving parents the gift of three free hours on a Friday, but because of the weather most of them decided to stay. We had coffee, cookies, a grown up movie, and adult conversation available for them. We ended up going over two hours over the originally planned time. We lit Shabbat candles and had kiddush together, and just generally had a good time.

2. We are wasting a lot of time watching American Idol. I used to watch it way back, then tried again for season 12, but it was a big disappointment. I missed season 13 (which I now regret. Harry!) and started watching season 14 again. As mentioned earlier, I LOOOOOOVE the judges. And this year I really like about 20 of the top 24. I think Mark is my favourite, and Tyanna from the girls. I also like Trevor and Daniel and Quentin and Rayvon and Adam from the guys a lot, and Jax and Joey and Shi from the girls.

3. I just remembered that I bought the album this song is from with my birthday money for my 14th birthday while we were visiting my brother at college in Utah. I can’t beleive it was 19 years ago!

I loved Star Turtle. We have a turtle called Harry, by the way. Most people think it’s after Harry Potter, but really it’s after Mr. Connick. Our turtle is less musical than his namesake, but he enjoys walking around on the piano’s keyboard. Currently this song is playing, and the fire is on…

4. …because it’s actually cold enough for that. The last few days have been stormy, and there is snow in several areas of the country. Kevin went with some of the kids for a snow ball fight near the capital. They enjoyed it. I don’t mind the rain and storms, being Irish and all. We spend today inside, enjoying the cozyness of our home. I am still not very happy with all the tile we have on the main floor (since we turned the other levels into living areas, those have laminated wood floors), but our house really feels like a home. I am sitting on the couch with a kid (or four), watching Ice Age, enjoying the warmth of a blanket my girls and I made from leftover yarn. Yes, home is not perfect. But we have pizza.

5. OK, I can’t resist posting another song. I love the original, I love the cover involving Ran Danker, but I love this the most.

Charity shopping for Kenya

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Those who know me know that I love charity shopping. My favourite place in all of Cork to get mugs, shirts and holiday cards is the Enable Ireland charity shop. If anyone ever stayed at my aunt’s B&B, they will remember the missmatched tea sets at the communal kitchenette that is set out every day at tea time. Those are all from that shop.

Through a community I participate online I found a wonderful online shop that sells creations made by women (and maybe men?) in Kenya and are sold both locally and online. I fell in love with this bag, and I want to order it for my daughter’s birthday. But they are also selling various other ornaments and dolls, too!

This is a Christian charity, working long term in Kenya (which is 83% Christian). In addition to selling crafts made by locals, they offer child sponsorships as well. Please consider checking out Jacaranda Community.

 

 

Five for the Weekend – Week 6

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1. Yes, I missed week 5. I was abroad, and there were too many things to do and too little time. It was also the beginning of birthdaypartygate, and all I could have posted at that time was rants at anti vaxers. And rants about governments. And rants about elections. And generally just rants. I like to save those for Facebook and my poor friends.

2. On Thursday the former Chief Rabbi of Hungary, József Schweitzer passed away. I was not going to go to synagogue yesterday, but I decided to do it, to be among those reciting the kaddish for him. I always enjoyed his lectures and classes that he taught for various schools and organizations, and I really, really looked up to him. He will be missed by many. May his memory be a blessing.

3. My kids discovered Frozen. Their aunt gave them a DVD while I was away, and now… Nothing. Based on everyone’s description of Let It Go taking their lives over, I fully expected my girls going crazy over Frozen. Didn’t happen.Yeah, Shiri likes to watch it once every few days. Watching is an exaggeration: she puts it on in the girls’ bedroom for background noise to do homework, or read, or draw, or something. Oh, and there is a new Elsa sticker on her sticker door. I have to admit, some of those tunes are catchy.

4. You know what other tunes are catchy? Ivri Lider’s new album! I had pre-ordered it, and it finally became available for download this week. Can you guess what I’ve been listening to?

I am so happy for this album. Some songs are already permanently logged in my brain. Now if only Mr. Skaat hurried up with his new album!

5. Guess what I got? I got some awesome patterns from my friend Shellie from PlanetJune! She bought me the complete cat set of patterns. I’m starting to make a rainbow cat. Of course the yarn is not the correct weight, so we shall see what happens. Planet June has awesome patterns! I haven’t crocheted much since a problem with my wrist a few weeks ago, so I will need some time to get back into practice!

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70 Years Since Liberation – International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2015

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When talking with my grandma about what happened 70 years ago today, she usually mentions two things: how lucky she was to be left behind and how young some of the Soviet soldiers were. Nothing else. She tells us about life in the ghetto, life in the camp, but never talks about liberation without prompting, and then only says these two things.

70 years ago today the Auschwitz death camp was liberated, and since 2001 January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Let us remember the millions, whose only crime was being Jewish, Roma, LGBTQ, disabled, or politically disagreeing with the Nazi regime. Let us remember those, who had no one left to remember them. Let us remember those branches broken off of family trees that would have blossomed. Every holiday dinner we gather around the table we feel the absence of those cousins, who were never born.

Never again.

Five for the Weekend – Week 4

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1. I started to think about making a button/graphic/logo for this feature of my blog, but currently I’m too lazy to do so. And addicted to Bitstrips, so I live out my creativity with that. I don’t even know what to include in one, other than a big 5. Oh well. Life takes priority.

2. I, once again fell in love with American Idol. Of course my primary reason for that is the three judges. I missed last season, so I didn’t know Harry Connick, Jr. joined the show, because I was so disappointed in season 12. Now I think JLo is cute (and beautiful), Harry is hot (he has the Jewish looks and Catholic charm’s perfect mix), and Keith is also just awesome (and hot, too. But Harry is hotter.) I believe that half of the show is the judges, 2/3 in the casting episodes. If they work together well, that is half a win. I also like the contestants who got their tickets already. There were only two or three that I didn’t really care about, and I do think some of them will be eliminated in the next round.

3. As a side effect of watching AI again, I managed to spend most of the $$ I was saving for Ivri Lider’s new album on songs by Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban on iTunes. You know that Harry has a wonderful recording of O Holy Night? And his album Star Turtle was one of the first CD’s I bought with my own money? And that he was so cute in Memphis Belle? And that he is just awesome? I’m seriously fanboying him here. Listening to his CDs 20 and 25 inspired one of my kids to continue with piano, taking jazz after he had had enough of classical.

4. Just registering Yonah for his semester abroad this weekend. It involves $5 Starbucks tumblers, eating at a pirate themed restaurant, getting overpriced chocolate and sleeping on the floor. It is lovely. I feel like a college student hanging out with him and his boyfriend. Sometimes it is fun to feel ten years younger.

5.This coming week we will be remembering the liberation of the Auschwitz concentrationwpid-Photo-2014.03.21.-903.jpg camp on its 70th anniversary. It will have been 70 years since part of my family finding freedom again. It was 70 years this summer since so many others of my family were murdered at the same place. And soon after it will be 70 years since the last Shoah death in my family. 70 years means that the survivors are now aging, and there are fewer and fewer of them. The memory lives on in their children and grandchildren. It is important to talk about what happened, because we can only build on their experiences to prevent it ever happening again. And we need to learn from it–all of us.

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Five for the Weekend – Week 3

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Hello everyone, I hope you all had a good week! I promise there will be less seriousness and politics in this week’s post than last week’s.

1. On Wednesday there was a national strike for high school students. It was because annual field trips were to be canceled as teachers wouldn’t accompany students if they can be sued if students get hurt. My homeschooled high schoolers joined in solidarity, and ended up using the time to paint the little girls’ bedroom. Win-win if you ask me.

2. Does anyone else have daughters (and some sons) with crazy hair? Two of my girls have crazy African hair, a third a massive Jewfro–crazy curly but a lot softer than the other girls’ hair, and the little one has very fine, wavy golden hair, that is also crazy in a completely different way. One of the problems for us has been hair bands. We lost a bunch of them to scissors as they got so tangled in curls that we had no other way to remove. We lost even more when they slipped out of my youngest daughter’s hair, and yet more when they just broke as the older girls tried to stretch them enough to go around their ponytails one more time–so they’d actually stay in place and not slip out. I was about ready to start convincing my kids that very short hair is trendy when I accidentally ran into some Scünci no slip grips that are made of silicone. Our lives were changed. They are so much more flexible than other hair bands, almost like household rubber bands, and they don’t slip out of their hair, but they don’t get stuck either… We love them. Doing their hair is more fun this way, and way, way less frustrating.

3. Mentioning the girls, we will have some friends over for the afternoon and we are making bath bombs again! I bought several nice cheap ice cube trays at IKEA to make pretty ones instead of the white blobs from our first attempt. Some of the girls live in apartments without tubs, so we are going to increase salt content a bit to create nice footbath bombs: all you need for that is a washbasin and some hot water… and our lovely little bombs. Knowing the girls, they will have a whole beauty salon set up in our dining room by the time I get home… My sister has given the older girls her nail polish collection as she switched to some more sophisticated form of nail painting. Don’t ask me what, I have no idea.

4. On March 17 there will be elections in Israel. this will be the first time for two of my kids to vote! I know I said less politics in this post, but I find the deep political analysis over dinner fascinating. So far the only thing everyone agrees on is that it’s time for Netanyahu to go. Some of the events of the past week only have only cemented that in my mind. Should I wear green to the polls?

5. That reminds me, in our homeschool group one of the moms decided I should teach a course about Ireland. I’m not sure it is a very good idea.

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When Something Goes Right: Bath Bombs KosherKola Style

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The last several months have been vers stressful for me. One of the things that I used for relaxation is an occasional bath. My girls have introduced me to the blessings of bath bombs. It’s like a mini hot tub in my very regular bath tub.

2015-01-11 12.52.46For the longest time Bella was trying to find a recipe for home made bath bombs, but most of them called for cream of tartare. The problem is, I have no idea what it really is or where to get it. Luckily, some of our friends in Hungary and Russia came to our rescue with a very simple and lovely recipe.

What do we need?

1 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of citric acid (powder form)
1/2 cup of corn starch
2 tablespoons of Epsom Salt/Dead Sea Salt (or your favourite bath salt)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil (I used hydrogenated coconut oil as it’s solid at room temperature)
Optional: 30 drops of essential oils, a few drops of food colouring.

After mixing the solid ingredients I added the melted coconut oil and the essential oils. If making this for kids, I’d skip the essential oils all together. I am also in favour of using basic ones from your local herb store or even Whole Foods: they are cheaper than overpriced MLM oils like Young Living or doTerra, and no one will claim that your bath bomb will heal everything from third dregree burns to cancer to the common cold, but they will smell nice. I also made our first batch with 4 tablesboons of coconut oil for extra nutrition for my skin during the winter. Normally three tablespoons should be enough.

After mixing all the ingredients together you have two options: put them in some mold (I recommend cheap silicone ice cube trays in various shapes from IKEA) or, as we did, try to make bath bomb sized balls. They are not as pretty, but it is a fun sensory activity for the kids (and dad).  Let them stand in a cool/cold, dry place for a day. Store them in an air tight container, or individually wrapped.2015-01-11 11.36.03

By adding a few drops of food colouring, various shades of the bath bombs can be achieved. Make sure you keep it light, otherwise the bombs might stain your skin or the bath tub. Other decorative elements can be added. Bella added some sugar pearls to hers. I have heard adding lavender flowers, but that requires a filter for the drain.

These bath bombs are easy to make and even little ones can help with them… and enjoy them in their baths. For someone who hates lotion like me the coconut oil is a great solution for dry skin problems. As a side effect the bath bombs in the water help with the elimination of dandruffif you give yourself an underwater scalp massage.

Five for the Weekend – Week 2

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Welcome back! How was your week?

1. For the longest time I refused to change my FB profile pic to say Je suis Charlie. The reason for that refusal is I just don’t identify with what Charlie Hebdo stands for. Their satire is racist, Anti-semitic, homophobic and generally Xenophobic in addition to being Islamophobic.  They make fun of rape victims, Boko Haram victims, etc. What they do is tasteless and often personally offensive to me. I agree with the criticism they have received over the years, and I really don’t mind them being called out on being awful.

However, since the attack, several posts, articles, tweets came to my attention where the authors are upset about the grief, mourning and outrage, and voice their opinion that fee speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism. These articles, posts and tweets imply that murdering twelve people is an acceptable form of criticism. Unfortunately most of these opinions come from the very group that Charlie Hebdo painted as barbaric, vicious, undesirable people, and they only reinforce that image. I know that at least some of the people posting these do not support mass murder, however, their writing does not reflect that.

Then there are those who whine that now everyone is so upset about freedom of speech, and no one was upset about that when Pro-Palestinian demonstrations (in reality most of these in France turned into violent Anti-Semitic mob attacks on non-Israeli French Jews) were banned. Equating violence with freedom of speech, once again, shows the violent side of a religion that is commonly viewed as the whole religion by westerners. Some of them, and their supporters, happily blame Israel for the murder of the journalists and police.

On the other hand: Moderate Muslims often fail to speak up in condemnation of the murder of teh Jews while they do condemn the murder of these twelve people.

While I don’t agree with the content Charlie Hebdo published, murder is never an appropriate response. Freedom of speech involves things that are offensive to you, to me, to someone else, being published. Those, who think it’s okay force me to say: Je suis Charlie, אני שארלי .

2. It is never okay to attack your peaceful Muslim neighbours for what happened in Paris, and that includes the hostages taken at a kosher shop. Just because jihadists target us, Islam is not exclusively about jihad. Of course, just reading the comments by “moderate” Muslims on the news regarding this most recent attack shows that many Muslims do support violence against Jews. Not even Israel, just local Jews. But then there are people like Ahmed Merabet, the policeman who was killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack, whose faith had been ridiculed by the magazine, and he still gave his life to protect the right of the magazine to do so. He is a face of Islam, too. There are those, who speak up against the violence. Not in their name. Not in their religion’s name.

3. The other day Itai made a comment how he has lost some of the respect he had for one of Israel’s very talented music stars because he had not served in the Army. While I might have mumbled something about we don’t know his motivation and there are many reasons for avoiding conscription, I was very proud of Itai. He is one of those handful Israelis who has a very legitimate option not to serve, but he is already looking forward to doing so.

4. On Wednesday I developed an intense dislike towards the universe.

There was a training organized in Jerusalem on Wednesday, but there was also a weather alert. It has been storming and raining in my area, and snowing in Jerusalem. We were fully expecting the training to be cancelled, but since the alert never came, we ended up going anyway. Let me tell you, being able to drive pretty well in bad weather is useless when no one else on the roads can do the same. We finally made it to Jerusalem, and twenty minutes after the training was supposed to start, with every single person registered for it coming from outside of the capital already present, we were told that the instructor couldn’t make it over from the other edge of Jerusalem, so training would be rescheduled.

At this point the highway home was already closed, it was snowing heavily, and we were stuck in traffic. We were told that we could try Highway 1, police were still letting trough some traffic. By the time we got there, they didn’t. We kinda gave up on getting home, but luckily the highways opened and we are finally on our way home. Thanks to a stupid training that was canceled, I spent 7 hours stuck in a car.

Only in Israel are rocket attacks an inconvenience but an inch of snow paralyzes the country!

5. Wow, this post has become a lot longer and a lot more serious than I originally intended it to become. I guess the world just does that every once in a while. And my last point will not be much lighter either. It’s amazing and scaring to me how anti science the American religious right is. It amazes me that those who so condemn the “culture of death” are willing to see people go without access to healthcare and die from preventable and easily treatable diseases, such as dental problems causing sepsis, because of financial reasons. It’s frightening that they don’t only opt to forego real medicine in favour of essential oils (usually overpriced MLM products) and are willing to allow their kids with treatable cancer to opt out of chemotherapy for some quackery that has not been able to produce any controlled study to prove its effectiveness. It is always frightening when I think of how the same folks value the parents’ rights so high that they eliminate the children’s rights completely. The fact that CPS cannot get involved in case of educational neglect in Texas makes me sick. Parents can not teach their kids, not send them to school, not provide any kind of education, raising an illiterate litter of kids without consequences… And these people will vote. They will vote for likeminded politicians. And they think the USA is the greatest country. I just can’t understand.

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The Saint Generator

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Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary created a Saint’s Name Generator. You click a button, the another, and then it gives you a random saint. People like to use it for picking a patron saint for the new year. She has a lot of saints and beatified people uploaded, with info on their patronage and feast day, and links to bios on various Catholic sites.

Because I love to learn more about religion and that includes saints, I decided to give it a try, and this is what I got:

Gee, even random result generators know I’m Jewish.

 

 

 

Five for the Weekend – Week 1

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1. One of my goals for the new year is to blog more intentionally, or at least, more regularly. Last year I decided to stick to posting a 7 Quick Takes post every Friday (or Saturday the latest) and I actually did it for 30+ weeks.  Often I found myself trying to come up with more things to post about, and I realized that 7 things were too much for me if I wanted to blog during the week as well–and even when I only posted once a week I was filling my quick takes with random things. Plus, it seemed, most everyone participating in that link up was a Catholic (or maybe Lutheran) stay-at-home mother, with some Catholic men thrown in the mix. While I do enjoy reading some of their blogs, I think they didn’t like reading mine very much. That said, make sure you check out that link up!

So to give myself the opportunity for regularity, I decided to create my own weekly link up. One of my hopes is to also inspire some of my friends to write more regularly. So every Friday, before Shabbat comes in, I will post the link up, with my post. It will remain open for linking up till Monday midnight Tel Aviv time. I hope some of you will join me in this new blog adventure. And in case you don’t have 5 things you want to share? Change the number in your post title!

2. 2014 ended at work for me, with some nice sparkling cider, M&M’s cookies, and fish sticks sandwiches. Fish sticks make great sandwiches with some mayo and cheese. Not a traditional New Year’s food, but this is what was available. We had some unplanned things come up, with Itamar getting influenza and being hospitalized for the past several days. Fortunately he is feeling a lot better already, and he will be coming home tomorrow hopefully. When that happens, we will start our 2015 with the family traditions of playing cards and eating mini meat balls and building with Legos.

3. I found the perfect Lego DUPLO set for myself! Build your own burger!

2014-12-21 17.00.39Actually I didn’t find the set, but some friends did. Since then I might or might not have ordered it for Judy for her birthday.

I love hamburgers. I love making them. I always look for various combinations to try in my burgers. One of our favourites involves a sunny side up egg, another some mushrooms, yet another some thinly sliced duck livers. Food can be an adventure, even when it’s “just” comfort food.

Now this video features both a hamburger and Harel Skaat.

4. When it comes to toys, though, I was in toy shopping heaven the other day.

 

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While these Me to You teddy bears are very overpriced, they are a family favourite for us. My teddy bear, in particular, is one of my favourites. Back many years ago, when I was a child, I got The Big Teddy Bear Book from my older brother for Christmas one year. My kids still cherish it. We have a great assortment of teddy bears in our home, and just recently when Noah moved to his own apartment (shared by roommates), one of the few things he took with him was the teddy bear he got from Kevin when he moved in with us. That teddy bear also served three years in the army with him!

There is something special in the less than perfect teddies we all love. They share a piece of our personalities, and definitely share more than one adventure!

5. I started writing again! 2014 proved to be a difficult year, and the second half of it added a lot of stress to my life. Finances were one thing, the aftermath of war another, ups and downs with Itamar’s health, work, etc. The stress really contributed to a drop in my productivity, both in writing and crafts. The last few days I started writing again, and I only need to type it all up to add to my slowly growing collection of stories. New pens and notebooks help me be creative.

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Blessed Sára Salkaházi

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I still wonder, how come she wasn’t recognized earlier? I have posted about her before, and I still don’t understand how Edith Stein, murdered for being a Jew, can be so well known as a martyr of the Roman Catholic faith (erm… no, she wasn’t killed for being Catholic, though that doesn’t reduce her merits as a Catholic religious or saint) and no one knows about Blessed Sára, whowas driven to sacrifice by her Catholic faith.

Today is her feast day. Let’s remember her today, and those she saved and those she died trying to save.

70 years.

The Twice-a-Year People

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One of the things that never fails around Christmas is people complaining. The same is true for Easter. Or, if said people are Jewish, around the High Holy Days and then Pesach.

They complain about the lack of parking space, complete strangers taking their usual seats, the crowd, the noise… In short, they complain about the people who only come to Church or synagogue twice a year. For some reason they appear to be an incovenience to the ‘regulars’. Jokes are made about them on Facebook, weird nicknames are given to them, and blog posts how to avoid them are posted.

Inevitably someone mentions that these people should attend regularly and contribute regularly. But why would they want to go somewhere regularly where they are clearly not wanted? The regular attendees’ attitude, the thinly veiled frowns, the loud complaints about seats and parking places don’t go unnoticed by those twice-a-year people. Prominent Chatolic bloggers admitting going to a different Mass to avoid the people who only come twice a year speak volumes to those who are considering to return to their faith, but are treated as an inconvenience.

So please, before you complain about the visitors at this year’s Christmas services, just think about all the people who would be ready to fill the pews every week if you gave them just a smile, helped them get around and thought of them just as much a part of the Church or the children of Israel as yourself.

 

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