Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Trying to Judge Favorably

I read an article in a magazine this month (no, I'm not telling which, because that would be Lashon Hara), which struck a bad chord in me.

The article was about seeing things from two sides, from both angles, and realizing the different perspectives involved.

It seems that a group of students asked a question about the fact that elderly people get on at the later stops of a long bus route, and then expected the young students to give up their seats for them for the duration of the bus ride. These students felt it was too hard to stand up for an hour bus ride, and they felt that the older people were being "unfair" by even getting on the bus, knowing that the younger generation would have to get up for them.

The article spoke about seeing things from several perspectives, and came to this conclusion:

"The older people really should not get on the bus if there are no available seats. However, if they do get on, then the younger people must vacate their seats for them, at least for part of the ride."

Huh? So, talking about Israel, how could you know if there are no seats on a bus in advance? And that the elderly should walk to earlier stops to get a seat before the young and strong? And, the author is saying that the elderly should feel guilty about getting on? And that the young people have a point as to not getting up for them? I thought that was a mitzva, and we should get up for those who are older than us.

I know that I've gotten up many a time. I've even stood while pregnant, simply to give another person who needed it more a seat. I'm lost and confused.

Someone please help me judge favorably?

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Time to Move

I said that there would be exciting news coming- here it is! I'm moving at the end of the summer!

Yup, you heard that one right. No, I'm not leaving Israel. I'm not even leaving Yerushalayim. I'm just moving to a new neighborhood in this Holy City for a more permanent stay. I've been quite transient for the last 4-5 years, so I'm hoping that this will be my final move.

I will miss my neighborhood that I've lived in for the past year (well, almost), very much. The people, the neighbors, the atmosphere- all were perfectly conducive to any and everything I could have ever wanted. Unfortunately, the price of living in this neighborhood was just too high for us- so we have to move somewhere where we can afford to stay. In addition, we want to permanently live in Israel- so this next move is the final stroke of the hammer.

Mr. NMF, NBD, and I took a trip to Ashdod- to check out the giant boat (well, not really, they wouldn't let us see it) that was carrying our stuff from the States to Israel. We had to deal with taxes, shipping costs, and delivery. We sent a lift from the US, so we haven't seen our stuff in about a year.

Now comes all the stuff that I missed doing as a serious newlywed: (My neighbor here says Shana Rishona lasts the first 5 years, and you're still a newlywed for 15. So, I guess I'm NMF for a long time!) Appliance shopping, furniture shopping, unpacking, repacking, and settling down. (Any advice from native Israelis would come in handy- feel free to comment/email me!)

I really can't wait to settle down in Yerushalayim. It'll make me feel like I have a real place in this world, in this land. Something tangible, that I can actually feel. Plus, the neighborhood we're moving to is a great place, with a community I can't wait to join.

Ashdod was rather fun- although we didn't get to see much of it besides the port area. Gila Penina gave us great directions. We did have a bit of trouble with customs- so we headed to the customs office to sort that one out. NBD helped there- any Israeli that saw my sweet daughter said, "Aize Chamuda! (Such a cutie!)", which effectively helped us get through there rather quickly.

On our way back, we stopped at the beach in Ashkelon- such blue water and salty breezes. There, Mr. NMF said a wonderful Dvar Torah- which I will remember for a long time.

He mentioned that our stuff is just that: stuff. Gashmiyus. Items. Things that won't travel with us- like the 'chicken fat' in that famous mashal. But when we use it to build a Jewish home- it becomes far more than just stuff. A plain old bookcase becomes something to hold Sefarim. Plates and dishes are used for Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Hachnosas Orchim (inviting guests). We elevate all we use into a Mitzva. And that's truly phenomenal!

There is a time to move. But at least we're lucky enough to stay in Israel, the most wonderful land of all.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

OII #14- Thinking of Others

I was at the Kotel recently, and two wonderful things happened to me- making me realize yet again how special the people of Israel are.

First, I was with NBD. For all those who know the Kotel, the only way to get down from the Rova to the Kotel is by the giant stairs (or one could take the outside road, but I was with a guest who wanted the stair view). With a stroller, that feat is nearly impossible.

I started to bump down the stairs, NBD securely strapped in, when a young man stopped. "Can I help you?", he asked in Hebrew. I at first said no, not wanting to bother anyone, but he insisted in such eloquent terms. He just picked up my stroller, with NBD inside, and hurried down the steps as if he was carrying a feather.

I kept thanking him the whole way down, and his answer?
"B'Simcha Gedola (with great happiness)." He has a family of his own and he does this for his own children- so he's used to it! Wow. Such a good deed.

I then went down to the Kotel, and noticed a woman, dressed in heavy clothing, walking around with a water bottle and cups. She stopped by groups of people and offered them a drink. In return, they said a loud and clear Shehakol Ne'heyah B'dvaro. She was offering water to the entire Kotel.

She offered a cold cup to me, and I accepted, responding with the bracha. I then asked her, "What made you think to do something like this- it's such a big Mitzva!" She replied that she was once thirsty at the Kotel, and no one was there to offer her a cold drink. So she decided to take it upon herself to offer this to others.

Mi K'Amcha Yisroel! Who is like Your nation, O' Israel!

Friday, June 19, 2009

10,000 Hits!

Israel Chronicles has had 10,000 hits!

Thank you to all those who stop by, and all those who stay a bit and read!
Now, on to the next 10,000!

Obama Doesn't Like FOX

President Obama isn't quite happy with a certain news station, this article reports. It seems that the President does not like anyone who says anything bad about him, his policies, or his administration.
Interesting. I hope he doesn't ban FOX News, as they seem to be the only news report that gives both sides, the bad and the good.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Small Outing

I, Mr. NMF, NBD, and our guests from Chutz L'Aretz are on a major trip tomorrow- so I won't be around for a bit.
But there will be exciting news forthcoming afterwards!
We're trusting our good friend, Gila Penina Silverstein, to keep us on track though. Hope her directions don't lead us into the middle of the Mediterranean!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Bit of Writer's Block

I'm having a bit of writer's block lately.

Anything that I would have wanted to say, has been said in so much more eloquent terms by someone else. And there are things out there that I didn't know what to say on, or how to say it, or even to say it at all. So, sitting here at my computer screen, I'm diagnosing myself with a good case of writer's block.

To keep my readers (I do hope I still have readers- as I probably will enjoy writing when I have something to write about) entertained, here's my favorite selections of articles.

The Great Mistake
A Stone's Throw

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Netanyahu and the Two-State Solution

Yeah, that was the headlines when I checked the news in the evening after Bibi gave his speech.
Immediately, I jumped, thinking the worst.

But, he did so far beyond the best I would have hoped for.

He stated the conditions for a Palestinian state must be an demilitarized state, and one that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. He called the settlers our Zionist brothers and sisters, and said he doesn't plan to destroy or get rid of any of them. He recognized the Jewish ties to Israel- from Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. He was awesome, and I'm so happy he said all this.

Needless to say, the Palestinians rejected his proposed solution immediately, which frankly, is what he expected.

We can't have another Gaza in the center of Israel- so he was totally right that he said all this.

I know there were points and semantics that both sides don't agree with.
But he did the best he could.

Jameel and JoeSettler have a write up. They state it far better than I could. But I'm so happy with the way he said his speech. Well done.

Friday, June 12, 2009

OII #13- Yet Another Traffic Jam

Somehow, whenever I'm sitting in traffic, something interesting seems to happen to me.
I was with Mr. NMF and NBD was in my arms, slowly falling asleep (since it was late at night), when our taxi driver turned on the radio.

I asked him if he would mind turning it off, since NBD was trying to sleep, and he obliged. But, he remarked that he was going to fall asleep himself since it was basically bumper to bumper traffic. He told us that he would tell us his story instead. Whenever anyone has a story- I'm up for listening, but this one totally blew my mind.

It seems that David, who was our taxi driver, was the first soldier in 1967 to reach the Kotel during the 6 Days War. That statement alone was shocking enough, and I wasn't sure whether or not to believe it. But he corroborated his statement by telling me the story, and telling me I could look it up on the Internet if I wanted to.

He was part of the paratrooper unit who, as entering into the Old City, was returning sniper fire. He and his friends fought valiantly, and finally reached Lions' Gate, where the entrance was. He then finally reached the Kotel, but of his unit, 24 men died fighting. The Arabs had erected a wall between the Kotel and their houses, in order to prevent the Jewish people from ever seeing the Kotel. After all, from 1948, when the State of Israel was established, till 1967, no one had seen the Kotel except for older men who had seen it in much earlier times.

He wasn't sure what he was seeing- after all, he wasn't sure if it even was the Kotel or not.
But he remembered something. When he was a young boy growing up, he went to an irreligious school. On the page of the textbook he used was a section about Torah. And there were three pictures- the Kotel, the Maarat HaMachpela (Cave of the Patriarchs), and Kever Rachel.
David saw the picture of the Kotel in his eye, and he knew it had to be it.

He inched forward, and noticed that the sniper had stopped shooting. He wedged himself between the wall and the Kotel, and (in his own words)- felt the Shechina (Divine Presence) there. He was so shocked, so overcome with emotion, that his friend, who came after him, thought he was dead; that the sniper had gotten him. His friend checked him for blood- and only then did David come out of his reverie.

Yitzchak Rabin came, as well as Moshe Dayan, and the first civilian there was Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who, since he was a civilian, the snipers didn't shoot him. David and his soldier friends all went to cover the Rabbi, who took out a walkie-talkie and said those famous words, "Har HaBayis b'Yadeinu, HaKotel b'Yadeinu!" (The Temple Mount is in our hands, the Kotel is in our hands.) Rabbi Goren then blew the shofar.

David finished his story, which he said all in broken English, by the way, with interspersed Hebrew for greater translation, and Mr. NMF and I were in shock. Such an amazing story, and from such a unique person.

Just then, the traffic started to move- and David laughed and said that there was far too much traffic here. I responded, "Well, that's why there was traffic. So you could tell us your story." He laughed, and answered, "Yes, that's true. But I was just a soldier- I was just doing my job."

Only in Israel, would a taxi driver be one of the phenomenal heroes of our time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OII #12- Traffic Jam

Today, I headed out for a brief outing at Canyon Yerushalayim, otherwise known as Malcha Mall. However, the traffic was brutal outside, and I couldn't figure out why. I asked the driver, who responded that there must have been an accident on the road, because there usually isn't any traffic at that hour of the day.

As we inched forward, I noticed the site of an accident- a stalled car. However, that's when the OII occurred. Before my eyes, a man reached out of the side of the vehicle ahead of me, and handed the guy with the stalled car a 2 liter bottle of water- so he wouldn't get thirsty and tired while he was trying to fix the cause of the problem.

Wow. Who would ever think of doing that anywhere else? Such a small thing- but such a big impact.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Shidduch System

Here's an awesome video from my friend, Racheli Geizhals- journalist-in-training- about the shidduch system. Bad4S is also featured (anonymously)- and it's really just an excellent video about the pros and cons of the shidduch system.
You go, Racheli!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Erev Shabbos #18- Cooking Fun

I happen to enjoy cooking for Shabbos- oftentimes I try something new, but my favorites are the times I stick to something old.

There's nothing like a delicious good old fashioned bowl of chicken soup, or potatoes with chicken to feed the hungry guests.

My mother makes the most delicious cinnamon rolls in existence- just for Shabbos, and made from the same dough as her challah. Just one taste- ahh, gan eden.

There's nothing like an old taste to bring back memories of times gone by, of laughter amidst family and friends.

So, here's a quick and easy recipe for your Shabbos chicken- all in one pan- so that way, you can reminisce over the dinner table about the older recipes- tried, true, and tasty.

1-2 chickens, cut into eighths.
4-6 potatoes cut into slices
3-4 carrots cut into slices
1-2 onions cut into slices.
garlic powder
onion powder
soy sauce to taste

First, cut the potatoes into slices and lay them on the bottom of the pan. Next, add your sliced carrots and onions. Then, arrange your chicken pieces on top of the vegetables so every vegetable is covered. Next step is to slather the chicken in paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder, until every inch of the chicken is covered. Make sure to do it in that order. Finally, drizzle soy sauce over the entire chicken, and add a 1/2 cup-1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan to keep it moist. Then pop it into the oven at 160 degrees Celsius (that's 350 degrees for Fahrenheit Americans), and leave to cook for 2 1/2 hours at least.

Gut Shabbos everyone!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

21 Reasons

B4S took me up on my challenge to create 21 real reasons why someone would want to get married. Here's the link. Enjoy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

OII #11- A Day of Fun

I haven't posted another OII for a while, but my recent activities lead to a burst of posts on this phenomenal country and the people in it.

*I went to pick out flowers with my neighbor for her apartment. When I went there- there were hardly any flowers outside, leading me to believe, in typical Israeli fashion, that this job was not one that would get done today, but rather, the ubiquitous 'tomorrow/Machar'. And, I was proven right, as since the flowers come from all over Israel, including the Golan, Tzfas, and Netanya, they didn't have them ready so close after Shavuos.

But, the flower owner apologized, and made a wonderful remark. He said that since they come from all over Israel, we should be proud and grateful we can get flowers from the Golan! And, so we agreed, that it is wonderful to be able to enjoy the fruits from all over Israel! What a great perspective!

*As we were heading out of the flower market, I heard another lady remark on the fact that the owner had pushed us all off till the morrow. I repeated his comment, on how we get flowers from the whole of Israel, and how lucky we are. She smiled and agreed. Then she introduced herself. Lo and behold- her name was Tzivia Ehrlich-Klein! Author of the Only in Israel book series!! What a wonderful event!

When I remarked on how much I love her books- she blushed and said- I'm glad that there are those out there who recognize the beauty of Israel. So, in the street lurks authors as well....hiding behind every possible face.

*I went to Har Nof recently, and I ended up in JII Pizza. I asked the owners of the store if they had a bathroom in which I could feed NBD. They said no...but they would give me another place. And before I could say boo, they cleared themselves out of their entire kitchen, handed me a chair, and offered me the key to lock the door so I could have some privacy.

How many restaurants in the US would give over their entire kitchen to help out one person?

What a wonderful people in what a wonderful land!