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Sunday, March 28, 2010


If you are visiting Israel for Pesach or just looking for somewhere to go, take the children, grandchildren or your family visitors, try  some of the places below .

Zippori , situated in the northern section of Emek Yizrael, ( The Jezreel Valley) was the seat of the Sanhedrin in Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi’s time, and where he finished writing the Mishana. Much has been unearthed of the living areas of the Jewish population as well as the Romans who also lived close by .  Amongst the archeological findings is the famous mosaic dubbed the Mona Lisa of the Galilee.


zippori Mona Lisa


If you have young children they will love nothing more than a day at Beit Halomotei near Givat Brenner. A complete wonderland of games, activities, train rides, bumper cars, water slides etc.

beit halomotei 2

Hatzerim Air Force Museum near Beer Sheva – is a mostly  outdoor museum with  dozens of airplanes from Israel’s aerial history from the first Messerschmitt that was the sum total of the country’s air force  in 1948,  to the wily cobra helicopter that can chase terrorists through tiny alleyways.

  air force museum 2 Hatzerim Ann Goldberg

Mini Israel, near Latrun  is a great place to get a miniature view of hundreds of Israel’s historical, religious, nature, archaeological   and tourist sites.

mini Masada


For more ideas see here 

Have a great time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Teaneck Update

Thanks to so many of you who  sent  me emails with prayers and good wishes to my sister and her family and asked for an  update on their situation.

On Monday experts, with an enormous crane,  came to start removing the two trees. It was done section by section, all the time securing the remaining trunk to stop it moving and destroying the rest of the house.

teaneck cutting down tree

It took seven hours of Monday  and several more hours on Tuesday before it was all removed.


My niece’s bedroom after the tree was removedTeaneck Amy's room

Once it was done they could  enter the house safely and remove some of their belongings. The children are staying with friends and my sister and her husband are meanwhile in a nearby hotel.

Many friends have  offered  to have them stay with them and local hotels have offered free showers to people who are still without power. One of the kosher delis has offered free dinners to them also.

Their immediate neighborhood was the worst hit, it seems, as they are still without any electricity although most other areas have had power restored.

The local  paper sent reporters to the area and they were interviewed .

An insurance assessor  has only  just been assigned to their case as there weren’t enough  for all claims. Hopefully work  on mending and rebuilding will start soon but it will still probably  be several weeks until the house can be lived in once again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don’t Take Anything for granted

Last night I was thinking and worrying about cleaning, shopping, ordering food and cooking for Pesach.

Now those “worrying” aspects of life seem more of a privilege than a problem.

This morning I woke up to an email from my brother in law in Teaneck New Jersey..

His name in the ‘sender’ box was already unusual.

Then I read the email, sent from his Blackberry, which went something like this:

“Tremendous storms over here. We've lost power and don't have access to email.Two large trees fell onto the house, and one of them broke through the front facade and roof. Water is pouring in. No one is hurt.

We have gone to friends down the road . They also have no electricity..If you need to reach us, send email to me (until my battery dies).”

I had to read it several times before it sunk in. I still didn’t / couldn’t believe it.

I quickly surfed over to the American news programs and read, watched and listened to the horrific stories.

Two men from my sister’s shul had been killed returning from Shabbat Mincha (afternoon) prayers when a tree fell on them.

Hundreds of thousands are without any electricity and it’s very cold .

An update later from my sister’s cellphone ( everyone has cordless phones which need electricity so we couldn’t get through to any telephone – another reason to dislike cordless phones) said that electricity probably wouldn’t be restored until Tuesday. They had returned to the house to see if it looked safe enough to go in and take some essential items for a few days /weeks ? Who knows.

tarp covers the house to save it from  more damage.spiro house storm

The important thing now was that the tree shouldn’t move any more and destroy more of the house. It had crashed through the roof, through my niece’s bedroom and down to the living room.

They were hoping to go further away later on to someone with electricity so they could recharge all their ‘communications’ equipment.

They weren’t sure where they would be sleeping – they had plenty of offers. They are still traumatized and are taking each hour as it comes

I felt so helpless and so useless. Apart from inviting them to come over here I couldn’t really do much else. But it’s not very practical. There’s work, school, college, and keeping an eye on their home.

I thank G’d that none of my sister’s family was hurt

I also thank G’d that I have a home to clean for Pesach, a kitchen to cook in and our own beds to sleep in.

We take so much for granted.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Is it such a good thing?

It’s not a good sign when a group of people have to have their own day. It usually means they’re treated badly the rest of the year but to make up for it they are “given” a day of their own.

On that special day all the injustices and hardships felt by them are aired and discussed in the media …… and then forgotten by the following day, which makes a mockery of the whole idea.

For this reason, these days have no place in Jewish custom. For example, there is no Mother’s Day in the Jewish calendar, because mothers should be treated with respect every day of the year – it’s one of the Ten Commandments.

I’ve always found it ironic that Jewish feminists have ‘decided’ that ultra-orthodox women are unhappy, downtrodden, inferior beings who lead a miserable existence, governed by their fathers, husbands and/or rabbis with ne’er an intelligent thought for themselves. They are not allowed to read from the Torah, put on tefillin or count as part of a minyan. They are ‘forced’ to have large families and relegated to a separate part of the shul .


Well, surprise, surprise, but I don’t know any ultra-orthodox women who feel like that. It seems to me that those who voice the above ‘complaints’ are painfully unaware of the respect in Judaism given to the Jewish wife and mother. She plays the central role in the home, in the education of the next generation and is often the breadwinner in the family.

Feminists, it would appear,  have a knee-jerk reaction in wanting to do anything that is perceived as ‘forbidden’. There are many mitzvot which women can perform, but I have a strong suspicion that these don’t interest the above ladies.

If they had more self-respect for themselves and their role as women and as individuals they probably wouldn’t be so desperate to be allowed to take part in rituals which for religious/practical reasons have never been part of  a Jewish woman’s daily routine.               

Self-respect and self-confidence are the keys to living a fulfilled life. Continually looking for things to be disgruntled and annoyed over will, in my opinion,  only lead to a negative image and  discontented outlook.

Ultra-orthodox girls usually leave school ( which continues for an extra 2 to 3 years of further education ) well qualified to join the work-force in a variety of interesting and  much needed professions from architects to educators.

Before getting married both the grooms and the  brides  take pre-marital courses which don’t just teach the halachot ( laws) pertaining to Jewish married life but also place tremendous emphasis on shalom- bayit  (marital harmony) i.e. treating each other with  respect . Discussing peacefully, avoiding fights, respecting each other’s opinion, coming to a compromise – all these important aspects of sharing your life with someone else are discussed in depth. The emphasis is placed on giving not demanding, looking for way to make your partner happy – not insisting on  your own rights privileges.

I can see the fruits of these lessons in my own children’s harmonious relationships with their spouses.


Men and women are  equal, but different – each with their own role in the home, in the family, in society and in spiritual life .

Hopefully there will come a day when we won’t need a special International Women’s Day – when women all over the world will be treated with equality and respect at home and in society.          

But I believe this will come through education within society and not through any artificially organized days on the calendar.