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7 Quick Takes, NOT on a Friday (CW39ish)

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— 1 —

Shana Tova, my dear readers! It is finally 5775! As you all know, I am not keeping kosher, but I made a resolution to avoid (knowingly) eating pork and non-kosher seafood for 5774. It was a long, long year. Quite literally: this was one of the longest a Jewish calendar year could be, with a leap month. In the beginning it was difficult, but got easier as the year progressed. A reliable supply of turkey bacon and coconut oil made things a lot easier.

— 2 —

Rosh Hashanah is often called the Jewish new year. I have explained two year ago that we have three other new year celebrations as well. Rosh Hashanah marks the “anniversary” of Adam’s creation. Please don’t take that very seriously from my mouth: I’m an evolutionist, and I firmly believe that if G-d exists and He chose to reveal how the world was created to someone in our time rather than to some semi-nomadic Bronze age shepherds, we’d get a very different impression of creation than the two differing accounts in Genesis.

Now back to Rosh Hashanah. In our congregation the new lay leadership takes over on the first morning of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the holiday that is two days long both in the Diaspora and in Israel, and there was alsways doubt when the new year, with the new leadership begins. It doesn’t help that Jewish days overlap for about an hour, thus the years as well. I was part of the leadership in 5773 and 5774, but I didn’t “run” for a position in 5775, because of a conflict of interest: Kevin is now hired by the lay leadership of our congregation. I was quite surprised that I was still nominated… to the women’s committe. Talk about gender equality! 🙂 I didn’t get the position, but I am volunteering to assist the lady who was actually elected. I worked with her the past two years as she was in charge of our internal audits.

— 3 —

I just signed up for Kindle Unlimited because they offer a 30 day trial, and unlimited access to over 700,000 Kindle books for $9.99 per month. and I can read these books on my Kindle, my iPad, iPod, Android Phone, and my laptop. The free app is available here (and if you sign up for it, I get a bounty): Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices but even if I didn’t, I’d highly recommend it. While my preferred way to read e-books is still my Kindle Paperwhite (available for $119) I love that my various devices synchronise where I am in a book, and I can easily switch between them with the app.

In the past 24 hours since signing up I found several books to use for homeschool, and yeah, not having access to a huge English language library, this is just plain awesome for us. If I read one book per month, then I’m already doing great for my money.

— 4 —

Back to Rosh Hashanah. Kevin’s brother’s family came to TA from Jerusalem for the long holiday weekend. It is always nice to see them. Adding their four kids to our crowd means no extra work, and our kids love each other. Having them over involved special holiday activities, like explaining fractions to our niece, and then today reinforcing the same lesson using oranges and apples. Then we ate all the oranges and apples. Isn’t homeschool awesome?

While my BaIL (brother-almost-in-law) was here, the details about the visit of two of their siblings over winter-no-not-Christmas-we-are-very-PC-but-it-happens-to-be-between-Christmas-and-New-Year’s vacation. We are excited, as they will arrive with their spouses and combined 5 kids on December 21, and leave only on December 28. This year Chanukah ends on December 24, so they will be here for the second half of our kids’ Chanukah break. They will split time between TA and Jerusalem, with a big Christmas celebration in Jerusalem. We were invited for that, but we politely declined, and I think all sides feel some relief about that!

— 5 —

I’m absolutely amazed by the versatility of my slow cooker.

I love dried vegetable mixes, but I don’t like the amount of salt that the commercially sold ones generally have. Some of those seem to have more salt than the Dead Sea! A friend shared how she makes her own mixes, using her oven. Now oven drying vegetables would be too hot here now, so she suggested I try my slow cooker… and it worked! It might not be as brightly coloured as the stuff bought at the store, but they taste really good and they rehydrate well. I use the ground one in my home made ramen, or when I cook pasta, for some additional flavour.

2014-09-27 18.54.16 HDR

— 6 —

On the crunchy parent theme: after trying everything I could to get rid of dandruff, Jill gave me the solution: weekly or biweekly coconut oil treatment. It seriously works. I love it. Of course it comes back, so I have to do it again, but I am currently very excited to have my scalp under control. Plus my kids’ hair loves coconut oil. Another trick for awesome hair, from a less crunchy source, is drinking diet meal replacement shakes for a snack/making popsicles from them. The one we prefer is loaded with vitamins and minerals and it works wonders on our skin, hair and nails. Also the one we prefer is not sold through an MLM and costs about $10 for a box of twenty meal replacement shakes, that we stretch into 40 snacks.

— 7 —

I can’t believe it’s Saturday evening and I have no idea what to write for #7. So… Music video time!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

How to Spend Shelter Time Well

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After being woken up by Code Red alarms at night, the next one came during my lunch time. We were ordered to stay in the shelters for an undetermined period, and because I had a late lunch break to start with and I was hungry, this is what happened:

2014-08-20 12.14.47a slice of pizza, a cup of apple juice, and a good book. I had just bought Steiner Kristóf’s book on iTunes ten minutes before the alarm, so I spent the next 30 minutes starting to read it. I had bought his first book when it came out, and I loved it. Unfortunately the other day I left it at Cofix (the place with the NIS 5 coffee and sandwiches–that’s like $1.45 for US folks) and when my sister called they said they couldn’t find it. Luckily, Kevin is in Budapest, and he found the book sold by one online shop. He ordered it, and he was told that it would be there by Thursday. Then an hour later he got a call that they were out of it, and the book is out of print, and sorry. 🙁 Kevin had bought the two other books as well, but he told me, “Go ahead, buy them in e-book, because it will be a while before the kids are finished with them.” So I bought the only one I haven’t read, and now I’m spending my shelter time becoming a reader again.

Something Other Than God – Another Not-Really-A-Review

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I have mentioned before that Jennifer Fulwiler, the host of 7 Quick Takes Friday wrote a book about her conversion story. It is titled Something Other Than God, and it is totally not about something other than God. It is about Jennifer’s conversion story, brilliantry written, with just the right amount of humour to make it enjoyable for a non-believer like me. This post is about the book, but it’s also not about this book, but more like my relationship with it.

As some of you know, I took the exact opposite journey as Jennifer Fulwiler did: From Catholicism and other brands of Christianity to a very pleasant state of non-G-d-believing-humanist-Jewishness. I always have to wonder what would inspire someone to choose to limit their world view rather than expand it.

One of the first things that struck me in the author’s journey is an existential crisis she experienced as an atheist. And this is where I started to not being able to relate. For me, not believing in a god (most of the time) or in an afterlife (ever) doesn’t seem bleak or awful. We are part of an eternal cycle, where our goal is to leave the world a bit better than it was when we arrived, to enjoy life and help others to enjoy it as well, and to raise the next generation and advance our species as much as we can, each to his or her best ability. When we die, unlike those fossils so wonderfully described in the book, we will dissolve into something that will keep the living organizations nurished–if we are lucky, we become stardust eventually. There is nothing awful about the nothing that follows this life if we realize that we’ll live on in our children, or if we don’t have any, we’ll live on in the community we shaped with our presence.

I had to take two bigger breaks in reading the book fairly early on. One was when the author described her post-partum experiences, and the road to her discovery that she could no longer be an atheist. I realized that the sense of self importance (we, our children and ouselves just cannot become nothing, we must matter in the eternal scheme of things, no, it just can’t be that my fate and my child’s fate is the same as any other living thing’s on this planet) is behind the conversion of every single former atheist I know–and she is no exception. I had to stop here first, because I expected something… more. I also expected something more logical.

The second stop came a few pages later when quoting Moreland about something that is both historically and theologically questionalbe. It started with referring to Jesus as a rabbi, and escalated from there. But after that, putting on my “I won’t freak out at every inaccuracy Christianity has been promoting” hat, I could proceed.

On page 25 the author described her fellow college students:

To be at the library and see students talking about Jesus like he was sitting next to them, then notice their advanced physics and biomedical engineering books stacked on the table, was to be reminded that the truth about life was bad enough that it could drive even intelligent people to a state of delusional insanity.

Fulwiler, Jennifer ( ). Something Other Than God (Kindle Locations 365-367). . Kindle Edition.

For the rest of the book I had very similar feelings about the author herself: I was sometimes horrified that her percieved truth through her personal values could drive her to a state of delusional insanity. I realized that I could relate to her story even less than I expected–but at the same time I really enjoyed reading about it.

There were some unintentionally funny parts, like about the failure rate of contraception, when, erm, yeah, I’m an NFP is sooooo reliable baby. So are the three kids after me. There are some parts that i found I could relate to, though never have had the exact same experience–her writing about an uncle who died way too young or when faced with the challenges of growing their family.

I rarely run into books by BNBs (big name bloggers) where the style of the blogger translates well into book writing. In Jennifer Fulwilers case this happened, seemingly effortlessly. From her blog posts we know that it wasn’t all that effortless as it seems. It was entertaining, and I guess, for Christian readers, it must be uplifting.

I recommended the book to several Catholic friends, three of whom actually bought it, and two of them absolutely loved it. My non-Catholic mother-would-be-in-law-if-Israel-had-same-sex-marriage read it in one afternoon. My very Catholic cousin in Ireland thinks this book would be a wonderful evangelization tool. Two of my happily atheist friends read the book on my couch and strongly disagree with that: this book uses arguements and references most of us have encountered before, and those of us who are comfortable with our role in the universe will be unmoved by these. However, they are perfect to strengthen one’s already existing faith and bury doubts.

All in all, I’d recommend this book for cradle Catholics who wonder how someone would come to join their faith, to converts who want to nod along to the shared experiences, to believers and non-believers who want to read a good and frank biography of a young family finding their path to their percieved truth.

7 Quick Takes – 18

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— 1 —

I’m so excited! I finally got my iPod! It had an adventureous journey from California to me, with a detour in Jerusalem for about a week, but it’s finally here! Between my new phone and the new iPod, I’m so mobile and communication enabled. 😀 It has been a great week, talking to people easily (well, typing for them and they read), and not having to drag my iPad along. I just love it. 😀

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— 2 —

Can you see what’s on the screen? It’s our 7 Quick Takes host’s new book! I was going to wait to get it, but Amazon paid me, and I had enough gift certificates to buy Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found Itby Jennifer Fulwiler. She also wrote a little e-book, so I’m busy reading.

Why do I want to read a very Catholic book by a very Catholic writer? Jennifer Fulwiler took the exact opposite route to find her happiness from me: she went from atheism to Catholicism, while I found my escape from Catholicism (and Christianity in general) to my current existence as a non-believing Jew very liberating. So I want to read her story. I hope to make a big pitcher of lemonade tomorrow (Thursday) and just read away. I have read through the acknowledgements, and I already enjoyed picking out the bloggers I follow(ed).

— 3 —

My other Amazon purchase this week was this:

2014-05-01 08.09.39

The first few chapters of SOTG reminded me of needing to find my copy of Carl Sagan’s CosmosOf course I couldn’t find it, so for less than $6 I bought the e-Book, and I now know what we will do for the remainder of the school year.

Cosmos, along with some of Stephen Hawking’s books, was one of those wonderful readings in my life that helped me realize that what I felt and thought to be real was not that peculiar an idea at all, that there were others, who thought like me, and there were those, who had the science to back it up.

— 4 —

I was suddenly struck by inspiration the last couple of days, so I didn’t only post about Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), but I wrote two crafty posts about the successful attempt with cold porcelain and making hard chocolate shells for ice cream. With the last topic the idea of making home made Krembo came up. Now I just need marshmallow cream and I could make some. After all, the upcoming week’s planned projects include making peanutbutter cups, where I make my own peanutbutter as well, and maybe we’ll  make some hazelnut-chocolate spread as well. Yeah, I’ve taken up making my own Nutella substitute. It’s not that I’m some super dad, it simply takes 20 minutes from start to finish to make two large jars, and it’s cheaper, and possibly healthier when made at home.

— 5 —

It’s May! In a couple of days my teens will be home from Europe. Some will sit the Bagrut. Some have recitals. The Eurovision Song Contest is next week. And in less than three weeks Kevin and I will be in Rome. I am getting very excited about it! Summer is absolutely in the air. It will be such a busy month!

— 6 —

Sunday evening brings Yom Hazikaron, the Israeli Memorial Day. We won’t have parties or barbecues– those have to wait a day for Yom Haatzmaut, our Independence Day. On Memorial Day, just like on Yom HaShoah avweek before, the national flag will be lowered to half mast…
…and the sirens will sound and everything will stop.

— 7 —

Just to illustrate how far TV has gone…

Me: “I remember when TLC was known as The Learning Channel, and it lived up to its name.”
Itai: “You really are old.”
 

They were surprised tha History showed actual history related programs, and A&E once had arts and entertainment… And that MTV Europe had half an hour dedicated to movies, and the rest was music, before they invented The Real World… I feel mighty old now.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Week 53/1

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— 1 —

2014 is finally here. I hope it will be kinder tome than 2013 was. I’d appreciate a year without major medical drama, and yes, it would be nice to be able to save up for an iPhone. The dream is a yellow 5c, but a second hand 4s is more realistic. Of course if I can sell some cozies, I can achieve that goal a bit faster. So yes, yay for 2014!

— 2 —

2013 ended with two sad news for sports fans. Michael Schumacher, 7 time Formula One world champion (or whatever the title is) in coma after a ski accident, and 22-year-old Trinidadian footballer, Akeem Adams died in Hungary, where he was playing for one of the premiere league teams. While I don’t care for football, and especially not for the team he was playing for, he was much too young to die of a stroke. After his heart attack in September, and the subsequent amputation of his leg, he’d recover, and lead a successful and happy life. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. May he rest in peace, and may Schumi recover fully.

— 3 —

I posted about looking for a new host. I found one, and in a few weeks I shall make the gradual move over there. For now, I started a new blog, and will delete a few blogspot ones. The new one is at http://www.becauseicrochet.com/ and it will include my crafty adventures. Question is, should I add Disqus to the site? I have several posts already planned for it, and I hope it can be useful for someone. I might cross-post a few posts from here.

— 4 —

Since I never posted about it here, Oh My HaShem, that Doctor Who Christmas Special was awesome!

doctor ….and now the wait begins for the new season. 8/9 months… Well, it will be shorter than the wait for Sherlock season 3 was! I’m not going to say anything about that, as my American readers still have to wait about two weeks for that!

— 5 —

There is no Starbucks in Israel. This morning, however, I started with Starbucks. 😀 While sipping my home made latte from Christmas Blend Via. While sipping it, I created an imaginary Starbucks, and started to work on my “Tales of Budapest”. I don’t know how many tales there will be, but a few for sure! coffee

— 6 —

I just found the unaired pilot of The Big Bang Theory online. Let’s just say, I’m not surprised it’s unaired. The pilot that finally made it to our TVs is much, much better. It, however, reminded me of just how much I love The Barenaked Ladies, and went to itunes and bought some songs, including the theme song for TBBT.

— 7 —

I just finished the first book this year. Again, it was something I started last year, so I am not sure it counts. It was yet another Kindle purchase, Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore. This reminded me, that if you want to try Amazon Prime free for 30 days, now is the time: using your favourite blogger’s affiliate links (like the one below) will bless them with an increased bounty, even if you cancel during or right after your free trial. This is true through January 10, 2014. And who knows, you might fall in love with Amazon Prime. I wish it was available to us in Israel, because even the online content without the free 2-day-shipping on most items would be worth it. If you choose to try it, and use my link below, I’ll be able to buy yet another Kindle book, or get so much closer to buying the Kindle for my son for homeschool.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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