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Saturday, November 24, 2012


Some people can write their way through missile attacks, writing blog post after blog post full of what’s happening now, how it might continue, what should be done and informing the world about our situation.

I can’t.

I found myself paralyzed, as the missiles fell in their hundreds over southern Israel, then further north to Tel Aviv and eventually right near home in Jerusalem. The deaths the terrorists  were responsible for, and the massive destruction and havoc they caused to millions of people’s lives were well documented by hundreds if not thousands of bloggers in Israel.
photo credit Dror Einavdror-einav

I’m not sure why I couldn’t put finger to keyboard.

I think it was because I was scared that my comments, predictions and thoughts  might come back to haunt me as  events unfolded. 

Now we have a cease-fire - for the time being . A cease-fire forced on us by outside pressure even as we know that although the IDF managed to make an enormous dent in Hamas’s arsenal of missiles, it still has plenty which can reach the heart of our country. And we know that Hamas will use the time to rearm with the help of Hezbollah and Iran.

So, as always, all we can do is to pray the The One Who is really in charge that He will continue to take care of us as He has done for the last thousands of years.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


This is a situation we’re just not used to.

Usually we in Israel are the ones who cause  worries for our friends and family around the world.

But this time we’re sitting in our warm homes, the sun is shining outside and we have running fresh, clean water and electricity.  And we’re worried sick about our friends and family in the USA. since hurricane Sandy smashed her way into their lives just  a week ago.
Hurricane Sandy Manhattan 2
image courtesy of creative commons.
It’s been a sobering lesson to all of us.

No matter where you think you are on the social/financial scale, when the forces of nature hit, the damage is indiscriminate,  flattening the homes of the  rich and poor,  CEOs and street cleaners,  the religiously devout and  atheists.

You can prepare just so much, but then you have to sit and wait it out or flee and leave your home to the ravages of the hurricane.

You’re forced  to realize what Is important in life – and what can be replaced or rebuilt.

When I heard about people who refused to evacuate their coastal homes or even went to them specifically before the hurricane arrived, maybe believing they could keep the waves away with their forceful presence,  I began to think again about Jews who refused to leave Nazi Germany because they just didn’t believe anything would happen to them.

In one day the liveliest city in the world was reduced to a flooded, sightless wreck, a black soaking shell.

A week later life is starting to return to normal. But as these acts of nature become more and more frequent people are beginning to realize just how vulnerable we all are and how little we can really control in our own lives.

Monday, October 29, 2012


My last blog post got a lot of attention and was passed from friend to acquaintance to elderly relatives in an attempt to discover the answer to the mystery of the Nazi pottery that was discovered in the fields of the farm in Thaxted England.

We seem to have solved the riddle with this reply.

Asher Cailingold forwarded your email to me, as I might be able to shed a little more light on explaining the swastika emblem on some pottery found in a field in Thaxted Lodge.
I was on Bachad Hachsharah in England for many years, including 10 years (1944-54) at the Bachad farm in Thaxted, including four years (1950-54) as its manager.
There are two possible explanations:
1. When we took over the farm in 1944 - WW2 was still raging - we found a large hole in one of the fields. We were told that a plane had crashed there earlier in the war, but no one knew its identity. Thus it is possible that this was a German aircraft, which could explain the presence of some cup or other gadget on this plane.
2. During 1944/45, when we needed a larger number of workers, the Essex War Agricultural Committee supplied us occasionally with groups of German POWs, so this could be the source of this piece of pottery.
It was certainly not an item belonging to any of the German origin Chaverim.(members)
I hope this will satisfy your curiosity to some extent.
Well that seems a logical answer, even if it was less exciting than the version  my imagination conjured up.

The identity of the remains that were excavated in Leicester are still a mystery.
We won’t know if it really is  King Richard III for another six to eight weeks as DNA testing can’t be rushed.

But that hasn’t stopped the authorities in Leicester from starting to cash in on the possibility that this really is the king and all that it would mean for the fame and fortune of this relatively quiet town.

Great plans for coping with the possible upsurge in tourism are already in the making as you will see from this report from the BBC.

Marketing this, possibly much maligned, king could be big business.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I’ve always been fascinated with archaeology. I love finding tangible connections to our past, whether far distant or more recent.
Two findings this month really excited me – one of them hit international headlines as it is from over 500 years ago, with regal connections. The other was quieter, probably known only by a few people and from far more recent history.
The  first one was the recent discovery, in my hometown of Leicester, in the U.K., of what is almost definitely the body of King Richard III . He was an arch  villain of the British monarchy, believed to have murdered his two nephews to protect his position on the throne of England, and whose burial place was always unknown.

At the moment the results of the DNA check against a direct descendent are not yet in, but there are multiple physical signs on the exhumed remains that indicate that this is indeed the hated king immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play of the same name.
Which  English literature student doesn’t remember the famous words “ Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York” spoken by Sir Laurence Olivier in that real old movie of the 1950s,  and just before his demise, wandering around unprotected  on the battlefield ….” A horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse”
But we’ll all still have to wait patiently for another number of weeks for the final DNA results.
The 2nd discovery didn’t really involve archeology, it was found lying around in a field in Essex.
The field was in Thaxted, a small farming area where, in the 1940s, many Jewish children, refugees from Nazi Germany, were taken by “Bachad” the forerunners of today‘s religious youth  movement, Bnei Akivah, to live and receive basic agricultural training before going to live in Israel where they went on to be the founders of  several religious kibbutzim.
One of today’s Bnei Akivah youth was hiking in the area, and realizing he was close to the original farm site in Thaxted, decided to continue and walk through the fields which many of his predecessors had lived and worked, over 70 years ago .
Seeing something shining in the grass he bent down and picked up a piece of pottery.

What an amazing discovery. This must have been lying around in the field for  70 years.
What was it? Well a search online brought me to the site of the china manufacturers mentioned quite clearly on the shard……. and to this picture
The swastika, emblem of the Nazi party has clearly been deliberately blocked out. Are they ashamed of their past? Were they scared they would be prosecuted if they left it on the site? Was it just because it’s politically incorrect?
But this is definitely the same motif that is on the fragment that was found.
Why would a refugee from Germany have a piece of pottery with the hated swastika on it?
I have no idea.
I can only guess that maybe this was from an item the children  were given as they left  Germany on the kindertransport. Most  of these children would never to see their parents again. All they possessed were the things in their little suitcases.
Perhaps they were given a last drink to take with them on their journey to the unknown and this was the only glass / cup that was available. Did he/she keep it because it was one of the last things they received from their parents?
Did the owner maybe smash it and throw it away because of the hated symbol ?
I don’t know if we’ll ever know. There are some ‘kindertransport’ children still alive so maybe one of them will see the photo and recognize it.
As one ancient mystery looks like being solved, another recent  mystery is uncovered.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Have you ever noticed that when you  organize one section of your life, it affects other aspects as well?
This morning I did something I’ve been meaning to do for ……..oh I can’t even remember how long….. probably years. You know what it is from the title of this post….I sorted out my zillions of recipes.
First I threw out all those I knew I’d never try because they are too complicated . I still go by  that oft-quoted dictum of Shirley Conran, who became famous with her book “Superwoman” in the 1970s   “Life’s too short to stuff a  mushroom” .
So any recipes that involves finding more than 7 items/ more than 3 stages / over  15 minutes of preparation were discarded.

Next went all the cookies/biscuits that had to be dipped in chocolate …….. I always make such a mess of myself.


Then, not only did I sort the rest out, but I also rewrote the illegible ones ( once I ‘d checked with my kids what I had originally written) and  those where the paper was translucent from grease…..(we seem to spill a lot of oil in our house).

I then stapled the recipes, whatever their size and wherever they had come from ( a notebook, torn from a magazine, a post-it note, napkin) onto sheets of A4 paper and slid them back to back  into see thru plastic  pockets with holes on one side so that each recipe  was  now visible and  inside a wipe-clean pocket and could be filed in a  ring-binder.

And I’m  ashamed to say I feel …..well, wonderful.

I am such a disorganized person, in my home life, that when I finally organize something it makes me feel on top of the world.

Now, you may be wondering, why did I do this specifically today. Well it probably has something to do with realizing that in one month’s time it will be Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year…and the start of a month of  eating  (and praying) and other Festivals and eating…...and  family and visitors...and eating.
rosh hashanah 2
Rosh Hashanah is a time when we try to do some spiritual soul-searching, checking how we behaved over the last year and where our report card says ‘could do better’ ( in most things as far as I’m concerned).

It’s a time for spiritual bookkeeping and new year resolutions. If on January 1st I resolve to lose weight ( as usual), then on Tishrei 1st I resolve to try to be a better person, kinder, more thoughtful, more sensitive and more generous.

And in case you’re wondering what that’s got to do with my recipes – it’s quite simple – I feel that if I can conquer my laziness, my procrastination, my disorderliness in one part of my life – maybe there’s hope for me in far more important aspects.
So in case we don’t meet again for a few weeks I wish  you all a very Happy New Year and you should all be inscribed in the Book of Life and good health.

Friday, July 27, 2012

9th Av in Jerusalem

It’s difficult to admit to really mourning our lost Temple, if we don’t even appreciate what we have.

So last night I went to the Kotel, the western wall of the Temple  which was closest to the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum of the Temple where only the High Priest ever entered.We are told, the Shechina, G’ds presence still rests there

These notices at the entrance explain the significance and importance of the site.

As you approach the Kotel you pass by the southern wall of the Temple
Despite it being late evening it was very crowded with  people arriving all the time.
The pigeons were gathering in the crevices of the wall as they always do at dusk
As I sat there saying my prayers it gradually got darker and darker
and by the time I finally went home the lights lit up the walls in a gentle, beautiful way

I have such mixed feelings about the 9th Av.
I mourn the Temple we don’t have – but I am so very, very happy and grateful for the privilege of living here and being able to enjoy what we do have.

It’s a dilemma many of us face.

We pray that we be considered worthy enough that our Temple will be restored to us “bim’heira be’yameinu” speedily and in our time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I remember lying in bed one  morning, when my radio alarm went off and hearing the news. it was 1989 and the middle item in the news was that all resident s of the Sharon area i.e. Tel Aviv and its environs, had been given gas masks….and then they went on to the next item.
I turned over …and then suddenly thought……………Is there any other country in the world where distributing gas masks is such a normal idea that it’s just a short item on the news.

And this was two years before the first Gulf War when we all shivered with fright in our sealed rooms, wearing those gas masks as the scuds fell all around us.

I can remember when I had never heard of the name ZAKA. You may not be aware that is the initials of the Hebrew words ‘zihui korbanot ason ‘identifying disaster victims’, but almost everyone all over the world is now familiar with their yellow vests with the English letters on them as their volunteers do their holy work of gathering body parts and scraping blood off any surface in order to give each Jew a proper , complete burial.

No, living in Israel isn’t like living anywhere else i n the world. But then it was never meant to be

All this went through my mind yesterday as the terrible news came though of the terrorist attack in Bulgaria while we were listening for information regarding the funeral of one of our generation’s most important rabbis, Rabbi Elyashiv who had died just a few hours before

How many blows can we take in one day?

But we should be used to it.

I have lived here through all the intifadas. I can remember when I turned on the radio and I’d would listen out to hear what kind of music was being played.
So often in those days the music would be old sad, war songs….and then I knew that another terrorist attack had taken place.
It was such a common occurrence that I consciously listened out for it.

No, life in Israel isn’t ‘normal’ by other country’s standards.

But we didn’t make Aliyah for a normal life.

When I saw the speed at which the whole of Jerusalem closed down and reorganized itself to enable the half a million participants to Rabbi Elyashiv’s funeral to arrive from all over the country, find somewhere to park their buses, take part in the funeral with minimum discomfort on a boiling hot night, with emergency services in place everywhere - I knew why I had made Aliyah.

When I heard how quickly the squad of ZAKA volunteers, doctors, soldiers, rabbis and social workers were gathered and flew off to Bulgaria to take care of our living and our dead – I knew why I made Aliyah.

We are told, ‘Kol Yisrael areivim ze le’ze’ each Jew is responsible for his fellow Jew.
Here in Israel we are privileged see the reality and the fulfillment of this mitzvah.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Kishor. Women’s Professional Network in Israel, held its 3rd annual conference yesterday in the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.

The conference’s subtitle said it all “ Home Maker – Business Builder”
It was clear from all the opening speeches that there is a tremendous amount of support available for women setting up their own businesses today – financial, professional training.motivational  tools and one-on-one mentoring.

One of the greatest supporters of this group is the organization  TEMECH but there are also many other organizations  including MATI  Jerusalem Business Development Center, who have set up departments to help this ever growing section of the population.

This year’s conference was also for Hebrew speaking women with some speakers and workshops  in each language and simultaneous translation available.

But right from the start Rabbi Menachem Stein reminded us where our priorities lie – in our homes, with our husbands and children.                                                               Our businesses are important in that they enable us to provide for our families – but a  successful career should not be  our goal in life.

One of the most important features of the program was the Power Networking arranged by Naomi Elbinger .
Rows of women were seated facing each other  in various parts of the halls and each had 2 minutes to describe their business to each other and exchange business cards . Then one row moved on one place and each woman  introduced herself to a new person.

I met several women who had businesses which were of interest to me personally and several  others to whom I was able to offer a writing service.
There were also three workshop session with  four choices for each session ranging in topics  such as:
setting up a business                                                          Marketing                                                                                                               Negotiating in business                                                                                              Eighteen keys to successfully running a small business   
Time   Management                                                                                                          Goal Setting  

For an extra fee there were also sessions of FreshBiz Games – a new ‘game’ designed to impart  creative methods of entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving.

The final session was  meeting a panel of three  women who had  set up highly successful businesses  despite various challenges, businesses which now provide work for many more women.
Each woman described the path that led her to  go it alone and  the problems she  met and overcame,  They ‘proved’ that anyone who wants to can set up their own business- even if you have thirteen children at home and even if you have suffered grueling health problems.
They were indeed role models.

A delicious dairy  lunch up to  the Ramada’s usual high standard and  coffee  and cold drinks on tap made this a  highly successful and  enjoyable day.

If you missed it – be sure to look out for next year’s conference.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I first came to Israel when I was 18 years old, a few years after the 1967  6 Day War during  which Jerusalem was  returned to the Jewish people.
When I arrived Jerusalem was already reunited, we had easy access to the Kotel and it was hard for me to imagine a Jerusalem that was split in two with no access for the Jewish people to their most sacred site.
As with most things which are handed to us on a plate, most of my generation and our children and grandchildren  take this  for granted.
But on a day like Jerusalem Day,  which this year is Sunday  May 20th,  we watch and listen to stories of that miraculous day, when against  all normal odds we captured back the last remnant of our holy Temple built 3000 years ago.
What the Kotel means to everyone
Jerusalem is an intriguing mix of the ancient and holy together with the everyday and modern.
People from all over the world come to place their prayers and wishes between the cracks in the stones of the Kotel. These are all eventually removed and buried.
Jerusalem  prayers and wishes between the kotel stones Ann Goldberg
The alleyways in the Old City
Jerusalem  Old City Ann Goldberg
The model of Jerusalem as it was when the Temple stood which is now on the campus of  the Israel Museum
Temple Model Israel Museum
The Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls
Israel Museum Shrine of the Book Ann Goldberg

The new ultra-sleek ultra-modern light rail

The new Mamilla Mall near Jaffa Gate at entrance to the Old City
Jerusalem Mamilla mall
And on Jerusalem Day in particular we thank G’d for bringing us back home and allowing us to live in HIs holy city

The Chief Chazan (Cantor) of the Israel Defense Forces singing the Prayer for the State of Israel  which is recited in most synagogues all over the world  every Shabbat.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Today, is the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, Lag Ba’Omer.

If you’d like to know more about Lag Ba’Omer read some of these essays and articles.
Here in Israel it’s what the British would call Bonfire Night. The articles mentioned above will explain why, but all over the country children set up bonfires in some of the most ridiculous places and the authorities just look on and smile.

Later on when they are lit at night the municipalities  send fire engines driving around all the neighborhoods to keep an eye on things and check that none of the bonfires get out of control.

Is this the kind of thing that goes on where you live?

My American relation who was with us as we wandered around admiring the local bonfires couldn’t believe her eyes.
“ Do you know what would happen to someone in the US who decided to light a bonfire on the sidewalk along the main road ????”

Although the children have been collecting wood and ‘anything else’ they can find, for the last month, when it comes to lighting the bonfires parents are on hand and the whole family  and neighborhood come out to enjoy the festivities

darkness falls –time to light
Lag BA'Omer darkness falls time to light
it’s off
Lag Ba'Omer - it's off

the children enjoy the bonfire from a safe distance under parental supervision
Lag Ba'Omer the children enjoy the bonfirel from a safe distance

dancing and singing the traditional songs

This is just the ‘local’ fun – the real celebrations are on a mountain in the north of Israel – Meron - where hundreds of thousands gather for the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Ten reasons I’m grateful that I live here.

1. When my radio alarm goes on in the morning  the first thing I hear is the morning Shema prayer, then I’m told what number to count for the Sefirat Ha’ Omer.
2.There is no better, safer place to bring up Jewish children and grandchildren.
3. The army holds itself  to the highest moral standards as proven so many times by the lengths the generals and individual soldiers go to avoid harming civilians whenever it is humanly possible.
4. It makes headline news every month or so  when archaeologists discover ancient artifacts which reconnect us with our Bible. Our tourist guides carry a Tenach with them on their tours to describe places they visit.
entrance to City of David
5. I can visit the Kotel, the last remaining outer wall of our Temple, whenever I want to although  I readily admit I don’t take advantage of this as often as I should.
The Kotel
6.’ Kol Yisrael areivim ze le ze’ Everyone in Israel feels responsible for each other.
If someone falls in the street everyone rushes over to help them.
People freely hand out the name of a sick friend or relative to total strangers so that we can all pray for him.
A child who is lost or has mislaid his fare money or bus ticket knows he can ask anyone / go into a shop and ask for help and will get it.
7. If you’re not sure what the next festival is just walk into any supermarket.
Cleaning preparations, freshly scrubbed and covered shelves and matza (Pesach)
Chocolate,wine   and   goodies (Purim)                           Special offers on giant containers of  cheese (Shavuot)
Shelves overflowing as though there’s going to be a war -heaven forbid.  ( Two days Rosh Hashana)
8.We’re always the first to set up a field-hospital and bring 21st century hi tech medical equipment to any disaster zone.
Haiti baby
Newly delivered baby and mother in Haiti

9.When flying El Al you feel really safe. They are totally not politically correct, but they’re great at profiling and know exactly what they are looking for.
Ben Gurion aiport, Israel
10. You always knew that Israelis were innovative but did you know just how much of what we use today is ‘made in Israel’.
Take a look at this video.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I read a book this week – It took me just two days  and I read it entirely while traveling by bus  to and from my day-job and waiting in line at the post-office.
I know, you’re thinking big-deal! Lots of people read on buses. But I never did, mainly because I never wanted to shlep a book with me. I carry enough as it is and didn’t want to add to the load.
But now with my Kindle ( substitute any e-reader) it’s always in my small hand-bag, weighs next-to-nothing and contains several books I want to read.
I was also amazed at how many free books are available on Kindle. I had assumed that all the freebies would be – forgive me for saying it – junk. But that’s simply  not the case.
 I have downloaded several books that were on my to-read list, free of charge and  I've bought several others at ridiculously low prices.
There are several sites for free and cheap e books. Amazon have a monthly list of 100 free books and  on Twitter  you can follow @pixelofink and #freekindlebooks and get daily updates, some of which are new books.

Friends have said – well you can’t use it on Shabbos (the Sabbath when we're not allowed to use electronic devices) so why bother, but the truth is I read completely different material on Shabbos anyway and I’m sure we’ll always have bookshleves full of ‘real’ books, but there is definitely a place in my life for a Kindle.

And by the way, I’ve also downloaded a free Siddur and Sefer Tehiilim so that’s another couple of items I don’t need to carry with me during the week.

If anyone has any more ideas / links  I’ll be happy to  hear.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


What do you do when your daughter’s  wedding and a writing deadline fall on the same day?
Well you can’t postpone the wedding, so you have to bring the deadline forward, at least psychologically, and I had to tell myself that I had to  send the copy and photos in a week early.
I knew if I left it any later, it would never get done – as it was, it was touch and go.
The big plus was that the articles that needed to be written were all about places in my hometown of Jerusalem, so I didn’t have far to travel for research and photographs.
My sister had already arrived from the States for the wedding  and so I persuaded her to accompany me on a walk around Mishkenot Shaananim while we chatted about family and I made notes and took photos.
Montefiore’s Windmill
Jerusalem Montefiore's windmill
Artists’ Quarter in Yemin Moshe
yemin Moshe
Then we went for a walk amongst the beautiful alleyways of Nachlaot
Nachlaot  a peaceful haven tucked away
and found some surprising parks hidden away
Jerusalem NAchlaot (2)
On we went to town Nachlat Shiva, one of the first neighborhoods to be built outside the Old City walls in the beginning of the 20th century, to visit some  of the attractive shops and restaurants.
Nachlat Shiva 7

Nachlat Shiva
Then it was off home to write it all up, chose the best of the hundreds of photos I’d taken – leave for  a day and re-read……….. and click ‘send’.
And then I could concentrate on the last minute arrangements for the wedding.

mazel tov 5
wedding 3