Thursday, October 22, 2015

Giant Challah Bake

Tonight started the festivities for the Shabbos Project, a worldwide effort to get as many as people as possible to experience one Shabbos (check the link to see if something is happening near you!). Tonight, Penina and I joined my friend from ulpan and two of her daughters, and 1000 other women (!) at a giant challah bake (there may still be time for you to join a challah bake near you--there is a 1000-woman event happening in Boston tonight, too).  It was SUCH a sweet event.  It was Penina's first time "taking challah" and there is a lot of holiness in such a time.  SO proud of her.

 We had a lovely representation from our ulpan and it was so nice that, between neighbors and ulpan folks, it felt like I really knew a few people

Faina, the most amazing ulpan teacher, center, with women from my class on the right (I'm in the back, of course) and three women from the next level on the left side.  

The event was just what it was supposed to be: a mix of old and young (and everything in between), religious and secular (and everything in between), women who were "old hands" and making challah and those who had never done it before (and...well, you get the idea).  It was absolutely beautiful and Penina and I were both very glad we went.

Delightfully, Penina ended up right next of Temima's sisters-in-law who came to meet our aliyah flight!!!! This sister-in-law lives in Beit Shemesh, so it wasn't as crazy as meeting up with, say, the sister from the Galilee who drove several hours to the airport, but, still, there were 1000 women there!


Can't wait to taste the finished products tomorrow night!  (btw, we have nicknamed Penina's giant 6-strand challah, "The Challah that Ate New York".  Ilana made hers with cinnamon and raisins to give Chana a wonderful surprise when she comes home this week for Shabbos.  Although there is FABULOUS bakery challah all over the place here, we have only seen plain or sesame, not raisin).

Good Shabbos!

Adventures in Iced Coffee

Conversation in Hebrew:

Me: "One regular iced coffee please".  I am delighted that I finally understand what "regular" and "light" mean in terms of premade slushie iced coffee (there are sometimes two machines and one will make coffee using skim milk.  If I'm splurging on a coffee, I'm going full fat!)

Worker at ice cream store: "10 or 15?"

Me: "umm, no" (wondering where this simple conversation has gone so terribly wrong as I try to calculate if I have enough money for 10 or 15 coffees and how I would get them home.  Then I wonder what we would DO with 15 coffees, there being only 4 of us at home....).  "No, just one please"

Worker (trying hard not to giggle.  He did a [reasonably] good job): "Do you want the 10 shekel size or the 15 shekel size" and he held up cups to illustrate his point :)

We have had one full month of ulpan (lots of time off for the Holidays).  It's clearly helping, but not fast enough!

Note for all Grandmothers on this list: she did not drink both of them.  But it makes for a funny photo :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Your private ulpan Hebrew lesson starts now.  See, you already know the word for rain.  Very good!

On Shemini Atzeret/Simchas Torah, we began saying the prayer for rain.  The next day was overcast but dry ("it was so everyone could take down their sukkah" said Shalom Shachne).  The *next* day: TONS of rain.  It was great!  Also very amusing to see the very big differences in how people dressed.  Some were in their usual short sleeves and some people were wearing winter coats and boots!  Penina quite delighted to wear her new "Hunters" (aka fancy rain boots that she saved up her $ to buy before we moved).  Too bad that it started raining during the night for the first time.  Sheva (doing great in her new job and enjoying Chicago, thank you for asking!) said that, when she was here, people danced in the street when it first rained!!!

Zelda, another student in ulpan (and who sat a few rows in front of us on the Aliyah plane) said, "Look what we can do when we all put our minds to it.  Now all we need to do is just daven for Moshiach!".

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sukkos Fun in Israel

The holiday of Sukkot is all-out, crazy, over-the-top fun here in Israel.  The kids have off of school (and we have off of ulpan) for over 1.5 weeks.  On the intermediate days of chol hamoed people go on trips and outings.  Since many adults don't work during chol hamoed these tend to be full-family trips, meaning that places are VERY crowded (it's a small country, but, still, when you think of the vast majority of even a small country on vacation at the same time, you can see how places get busy).

We started off at the nearby Biblical Museum of Natural History.  Thank you Elisha and Annabelle for the strong recommendation to go there--all of us had a great time.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

They had a very interesting and large shofar collection.  Shalom Shachne, of course, had to try them all :)

How could this not be the last picture of our trip?!