Powered by WebAds

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Yihiye B'seder

There is an Israeli phrase that is peculiarly...Israeli. Every Hebrew speaker and even some non-Hebrew-conversant Jewish types know this phrase: Yihiye b'seder.

"It will be okay," or "Everything will be fine" or "Things will get better" all approximate yihiye b'seder. Literally, it means "it will be in order" but that doesn't have the same flavor.

However, it is a phrase used with heavy irony here in Israel, which is not always understood by olim or tourists.

The bank calls to tell you that you're over your overdraft. "Yihiye b'seder."

Your car went into the shop for a routine tune-up and you get a call telling you that you need a new transmission. "Yihiye b'seder."

You have a tooth ache and go to the dentist, thinking you have a cavity, but what you need is a root canal. "Yihiye b'seder."

No matter how awful, no matter how impossible, no matter how difficult the situation, no matter how painful, Israelis wryly remark, "Yihiye b'seder." It's Israeli gallows-humor. I'm sure it stems from an ironic contemplation of life's disasters coupled with an absurd faith in the future.

Hence, Benji Lovitt's new T-shirt line has a shirt I HAVE to buy!

The perfect Hanukkah gift for Israel - berated by friends, abandoned by allies, threatened with extinction by enemies.

Yihiye b'seder!

Cholent Season

The Rains came. Now they've gone but for a week it looked as if the drought might end and Cholent Season might be underway.

I am a very seasonal cook. Summers are barbecue and fruit salad (or other salads--green, Arab, kruv, egg, potato, pasta and so forth...oftentimes several on the table at once). Oftentimes the kiddush is chalavi, with simply fish and salads and this allows me to serve oddles of cheese on the salads or as a spread.

Winter is different. Winter needs cholent (or as our Sephardi relatives and friends call it, "chult"). Cholent is a slow-cooked stew. Too many Ashkenazi households I've visited (okay, not the Hungarians--they know how to cook!) serve beans with some meat and ketchup.

My guys would turn up their noses if I brought that to the table. Californians like a little more heat in their food, like the Moroccans.

Cholent in my house is a layer of frozen garbanzo beans and white beans, with beer poured over the top for openers. Add meat (I use #8) which has been browned with at least one onion--two is better. Toss this on top of the beans and beer with one or two hot red peppers and an entire head of garlic, top sliced open to let out the flavors. Add however many quartered potato pieces you think your family will eat. In Israel, use the yellow potatoes, not the red--the latter get too mushy. Many households add eggs, but since I'm the only one who really likes slow-cooked eggs, I don't usually bother. A proper cholent also has barley in it, but again, I love barley but the guys don't, so I usually omit it. Sprinkle a generous amount of baharat (or allspice if you can't find baharat), cumin, Madras curry and turmeric over the stew. Don't forget salt and pepper. Green tomatillos in their juice is also good if you have them. Throw in a handful of dried red pepper flakes if you want to make sure its really charif. Add chicken broth and water to cover the ingrediants. Cook in a crock pot overnight. I start mine on "high" around 1pm to make sure its mostly cooked before Shabbat begins. Then put it on low to keep until kiddush on Shabbat day.

Now THAT's a cholent. Guaranteed to warm you up on the coldest days. And sitting on the edge of the Judean desert, we have extremely cold days like most high desert lands. Our springs and falls are long and lovely; our summers are bearable because they are dry. But the winter is a killer. It's better when it rains because then the cold is ameliorated and doesn't chill the bones the way the the dry cold days of recent winters have.

Cholent has an ancient history and is found everywhere, although by different names: hamin in the Maghrebi communities; daube and cassoulet in France; chili con carne. Among Jews, it was essential to have a meal that could be assembled in advance, mostly cooked and then left to stew in the embers of one's fire or the communal oven after Shabbat started, since lighting a fire on Shabbat is forbidden.

Now, we're back to a long, lovely autumnal period that's crisp in the mornings and nights, cool in the evenings and perfect during the day. And totally bereft of rain. We need the rain. This isn't even a political question--the land needs the rain, the farmers need the rains, the Jews, the Moslems, the Christians, the Druze, the Bahai---we all need the rain.

May the rains come again and soon...and I will celebrate with a spicy cholent.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Global Warming's Dirty Little Secret

If you've ever seen Fiddler On The Roof, you'll remember when Perchik popped The Question:

"I'd like to ask you a question."

"What kind of question?" she asks.

"Well, a political question. About marriage." he splutters.

"Marriage? A political question?!" She's astounded.

He's defensive. "Yes, well, everything is political."

So it seems.

The great hullaballoo about Global Warming never caught on with me. Yes, the Earth is polluted. Yes, we have dirty rivers, poisoned wells, too much desertification, we throw too many pollutants into the air......I am, at heart, a Green, and don't want highways bulldozed through forests or housing projects on open space...but....I did a bit of reading on The Inconvenient Truth.

It left me sceptical. Not because I'm an environmentalist or scientist--I was lucky to survive algebra. What made me sceptical were some angry Third World voices raised in protest and joined by unhappy Eastern Europe voices. What they basically said was this: "The First World Industrial Powers with all their money, their developed infrastructure, their ample food which they either grow or import, are laying down these environmental rules not to protect the world from climate change, but to stifle developing nations' ability to compete with them."

I'm not an economist, either, so I couldn't tell how accurate these alternate-voice assesments were -- but it made me stop and wonder. It's not often that Nigeria and the former Eastern Block nations raise a common voice.

I started reading more about global warming. There was a trial in London on the issue--and the judge ruled flat out that Global Warming was "junk science." This was not a ruling made lightly or out of pique but after a great deal of testimony by experts.

Now, it turns out that Global Warming is the biggest con job since Ponzi schemes. The Wall Street Journal, among other journalistic institutions, published an eye-opening account of scientific political correctness run amok. Or maybe its just ego and greed run amok.

The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) is staffed by one of the world's leading climate scientists, apparently a little Stalin in his own right, who demands a unified theory on man-made climate change from his colleagues, engages in overt manipulation of scientific data to fit his theories on global warming and promotes censorship and boycott of any who disagree with him. "Deleting, doctoring or withholding information" was the Journal's description of his tactics to scam the public and the governments who up until last week felt they had solid scientific reasons to believe Global Warming existed and was a man-made problem.

How do we know all this? Someone (bravissimo!) stole over 3000 emails and documents from CPU and published them on the Web for the world to read. Someone, presumably, who is a REAL scientist and disillusioned with CPU's results-manufactured-to-fit-a-political-agenda. Jewish World Review's Robert Tracinski gives even more detailed coverage to the contents of the emails and overt censorship and manipulation that CPU and its allies engaged in [hit the link embedded in the title].

This is bad news for environmentalists everywhere. When some hot-dog like this plays fast and loose with scientific data, all his mendacity, his manipulation, his ego-centric determination to prop up his faulty theory with manipulated data results in setting back real environmental research and casting doubt on all environmental research.


I will quote the Journal's closing lines, because I'm sure we'll hear much more of the same in days to come:

We...now have thousands of emails that give every appearance of testifying to concerted and coordinated efforts by leading climatologists to fit the data to their conclusions while attempting to silence and discredit their critics. In the deparment of inconvenient truths, this one surely deserves a closer look by the media, the U.S. Congress and other investigative bodies.

And kudos to West Africa and Eastern Europe, who smelled the rat first.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pure Plagiarizing

I unashamedly admit it--I stole this from Gila because it had me in stitches! I think I'll post it to FB too:

Obama To Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Somebody Please Buy The State Department A Map

Much whooping and hollering in the diplomatic circles this week over the approval of a tender to build 900 homes in Gilo.

© RomKri

"It doesn't advance the peace process," was the oft-heard complaint.

Neither does the Palestinians' juvenile rejection of every offer that doesn't meet their maximalist demands, but no one says anything rude about that.

The State Department and its elite allies amongst the diplomatic aristocracy of western Europe start with the faulty premise that Gilo was built on captured Arab lands. Any number of sources report that contrary to this canard, the majority of Gilo is built on land legally purchased by Jews prior to 1948, and it has been an "open secret" in Beit Jala that Jabra Hamis, former mayor of Beit Jala, sold Israelis the land on which parts of Gilo are built.

In the 1948 war, Jewish lands in Gilo were captured and confiscated by the Jordanian government, as were the Jewish lands of Atarot, the Old City (which was majority Jewish), Sheik Jarrah, Silwan, Kfar Etzion, and countless other places in what is now referred to by the politically correct as "Occupied Palestinian Lands."

Sorry, useful idiots -- many of those lands were Jewish to start with. We just got them back, is all.

From 1948-67, during the illegal occupation and annexation of everything over the Green Line by Jordan, Jewish landowners did not relinquish ownership of their land in Gilo, ( or in Har Homa, for that matter, where land was also purchased by Jews prior to 1948) and when Israel recaptured the land in 1967, Gilo was built -- not because of war victories, but because of longstanding legal land purchases.

Also, we're not idiots. Gilo sits on one of the highest points overlooking Jerusalem--which the Jordanian and Egyptian armies recognized and capitalized on, placing artillery batteries on the hills and shelling the Jewish population under their guns at will.

We're not giving up the high ground again so that during the next disagreement with our neighbors, they can shoot from the high ground.

Besides, calling Gilo a "settlement" conjurs up this image of hilltop caravans, or in the case of France 24, mendacious stock footage of a desolate spot with some rebar and concrete prefab going up -- when in fact, Gilo is a thriving suburb (see picture) that looks a lot like any suburban neighborhood around here. There are over 40,000 people living in Gilo, on Jewish land, and the fact that the Municipality approved a housing tender which has been in the pipeline for years in order to alleviate a severe housing shortage, is really none of State's business.

It's just Left-Wing Grandstanding, "settlement" being the incitement.

And by the way, idiots, Gilo is not in "East Jerusalem." Somebody get these people a map.....Gilo isn't even within walking distance of East Jerusalem. It's at the very southern edge of the city, right before you bump into Beit Jalla, which abuts Bethlehem to the south.

There has been this absolutely Orwellian transformation of truth in that everything that was once over an armistic line which for 50 years the Arabs adamantly refuse to acknowedge is now suddenly referred to as "borders" (which they never were--it was an armistice line--borders have never been determined) which the Arabs now equally insist are sacrosanct. This is the same armistice line that the Palestinians and their Arab state backers refused to acknowledge for decades on the grounds that Greater Palestine was the goal, and to acknowledge anything demarking the Jewish state from Greater Palestine from-the-River-to-the-Sea was tantamount to treason. This same sudden insistence on the "1967 borders" (Arab propaganda for the 1948 armistice line)has also brought with it a new gospel that every plot of land over that armistic line is "East Jerusalem" even when it's northwest (Givat Ze'ev) or southwest (Gilo) of Jerusalem. Or more amazingly, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. Never mind that Jews have lived in the Old City for at least a millennia, and constituted the majority of the Old City's population in 1948--suddenly that is "Palestinian territory" because the Jordanians conquered it, occupied it, annexed it, settled it and killed or expelled the Jewish population.

The fact that the Jordanian Army marched across the Jordan River like conquistadores, stole Jewish lands and houses, ethnically cleansed the Jewish population, destroyed Jewish holy sites, illegally annexed and occupied those lands over the Green Line, and settled thousands of their own people on that land, does not automatically translate into "everything-over-the-Armistice-Line-is-Palestinian."

That's what this peace process is supposed to be all about--deciding where the borders go, and what the two nations will be.

Saeb Erekat and Co. ominously promise to declare unilateral statehood. Go ahead--and watch us declare a unilateral annexation. You don't want to negotiate borders? You don't want Olmert's offer of 97% of the West Bank plus land swaps equaling 100% You don't want a land bridge to Gaza? You refuse half of Jerusalem because now you're demanding it all?

Don't make us do this. You've finally got most of the Israeli population, including Netanyahu, believing that a Palestinian state can be worked out. Don't assume that because we're meeting you half-way that we're "weak" or that you can now in bad faith demand more. Listen to the Saudis--they were right when they told you to take Olmert's offer. That offer is off the table now, but maybe you can get something almost as good if you choose to negotiate in good faith unstead of posturing for the street.

You might be able to sell the false chimera of "settlement" victimhood to State, but you won't sell it to Israel. And we're the ones sitting in the disputed territories, not Hillary Clinton. It's time to get real in Ramallah.

*photo credit of Gilo to RomCri at Jerusalem Shots

Checking Back Into The Blogosphere

In response to friends, relatives and fellow bloggers, no, I haven't died or gone on an extended vacation.

I'm having a hard time squeezing blogging into the daily schedule, which looks like this:

0530: turn off alarm

0540: turn off alarm again

0545: roll out of bed and walk dogs (or in the alternative, The Husband walks dogs and I make coffee and breakfast)

0600: roll out the laptop and go to work

0745: coffee break with Yossi, followed by gym

0930: back to work

1600: turn in the day's work, turn OFF computer--avoid anything electronic for the next hour and let the eyes come back into focus.

1615: take dogs for a walk, stretch the shoulders, enjoy the outdoors for 15 minutes.

1630: help with dinner, catch up with The Guys and their day

1700: two nights per week, go to ulpan (language school); home at 9pm.

1800: on the nights with no ulpan, do homework from ulpan, review lessons, try to retain some semblance of sanity. Quit around 9pm.

9-10pm: veg out in front of television, or in the alternative, fall asleep in front of the television.

The exception to this, of course, is Friday, known here as Yom Shishi, the Sixth Day, or Erev Shabbat Sabbath Eve.

That starts a bit later--0600. Then we do all the same things except work, and I put together a grocery list and take off for Rami Levy, Israel's answer to Costco. You go at the crack of dawn because otherwise there is no parking and it takes you an hour to get through the checkout. From Rami Levy, I go to Ne'eman to buy challah (you want me to MAKE challah? On THIS schedule? You're nuts...), and sweetrolls for Shabbat morning. I also buy wine, run errands, pick up medications if needed, go to the greengrocer (since no one in my family will eat Rami Levy produce), and until HaPoalim closed on Friday, I was also doing banking....

And I stop to see Rosette who every week makes my family a Morrocan dish for Shabbat--this is Yossi's mother, who has adopted me and makes sure my family eats right.

I get home around 11:30 or 12 and start cooking for Shabbat, setting the table, make a dessert unless I've cheated and bought one, put out the blech and the kum-kum and somewhere around 2:30 or 3pm, I'm almost done. Done enough to take a nap when we're not on Winter Hours (Standard Time) but on Winter Hours, benchlicht is at 4:00 p.m., so there's no chance to nap---have to hustle the guys awake and chase them off to shower. I do Minchah while they're showering and vice versa--by the time I race the clock to candle-lighting, they're already davening and I'm lighting.....just in time.

And this is an electronics-free zone on Shabbat---no television, no computer, no blogging. Which is good because by the time Shabbat afternoon rolls around, I'm ready for a nap....

Uh, so, no, I haven't been blogging.....even finding time to read Other People's Blogs has been tough.

I have, however, been trying to improve both my Hebrew and pick up a little Arabic. My ulpan class has interesting demographics: olim from Portugal and South America; a guy who is in the IDF; a nun from Poland who is now stationed in Jerusalem and is trying to learn both Hebrew and Arabic; the usual cluster of Anglo olim and students here for a visit; a professor of art history who is doing her sabbatical year here; a woman who is a social worker specializing in helping people with disabilities and whose career involves traveling to other Middle Eastern countries to facilitate this; and five Arab students who are beating the pants off of us in Hebrew. They are all young--two are social workers, one is an engineer who does something I don't understand with computers; one is a teacher; and one doesn't talk to the rest of us.

So when class first started, we heard some of the "kids" greeting each other in Arabic, and I had to ask, "What does that mean?" Shireen, the teacher, explained it is the same as "Baruch H"S".....and taught me. I can now sort of say al hamdulaleh, and my pronunciation is duly corrected. The question "how are you?" is ma nishmah in Hebrew, but kif halek in Arabic (or kif haleich, if you're asking a guy--spelling doesn't count, ok?)

Laila saidah (good night) is easy because Hebrew and Arabic have the same word for night.

During the breaks, I discovered that we share a common disability. The Arab students want to be more fluent in Hebrew because, like English in America, it's the key to advancement in tests, in government positions, in jobs generally. Moi aussi. Heck, I just want to have an intelligent conversation with my neighbors. I was explaining during a break that despite living in a non-Anglo neighborhood surrounded by Israelis speaking Hebrew, it was still tough to keep up Hebrew because I work all day in English; my colleagues all speak English; my family all speaks English, despite pleas that they speak Hebrew to me, and invariably the English-language stations are what the guys watch on television......and Achlan said she had the same problem--"I study Hebrew, but my family speaks Arabic, all day long my clients speak Arabic, so I work in Arabic, write my reports in Arabic, and go home to dinner and television in Arabic--when do I get to use Hebrew?"

So we are bound by a common goal and a common lament.

Tonight we learned about Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice. It follows the Akeidah exactly but with Ishmael in place of Yitchak, and in Mecca instead of Jerusalem.

But what we have in common is the Sacrifice--Korban in Hebrew, Qurban in Arabic. Like Judaism, which commands tzeddakah for the poor at religious holidays, Eid-al-Adha commemorates the near-sacrifice of Ishmael with lamb or beef--most of which is given to the poor.

Eid al-Adha starts at the end of this week. If I didn't know from my classmates, I would know from the large number of hijab-clad women shopping excitedly at the Jerusalem Mall. Like Rosh HaShanah, it's a holiday where one's husband buys new clothes and shoes for the wife and children.

I don't have David Bogner's talent for posting every day. I had hoped that at a minimum I could post twice a week. That's still my goal--but my exhaustion quotient is reached much more rapidly in my fifties than it was in my twenties, and I still need to squeeze in The Husband's medical appointments as well as The Boy's---we have been successful in getting him new glasses, a new eye doctor and a transfer to adult neurology.

What I really need is either a 28-hour day or the ability to get by on four hours of sleep.

  • N:A-LI-YAH
  • Ilana-Davita
  • West Bank Mama
  • South Jerusalem
  • Daled Amos
  • Ki Yachol Nuchal!
  • What War Zone?
  • Alissa's Aliyah Adventure
  • Treppenwitz
  • The Traveller Within
  • Moving On Up
  • My Shrapnel
  • The Big Felafel
  • Jacob Richman's Home Page
  • How To Measure The Years
  • An Unsealed Room
  • Middle East Pundit
  • Meryl Yourish
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • Israel Insider
  • The Muqata
  • Zabaj
  • The Jerusalem Post
  • Cox and Forkum
  • Day By Day
  • Jewish World Review
  • MidEast Truth Cartoons
  • Dry Bones
  • Step By Step
  • Greetings From The French Hill
  • Jerusalem Is The Place To Be
  • Camera
  • Israelity
  • Cross Currents
  • Slightly Mad
  • Israellycool
  • Chayyeisarah
  • Josh's Photos
  • Tel Chai Nation
  • Good Neighbors Blog
  • The Sudanese Thinker
  • We Blog For Darfur
  • Rantings of a Sandmonkey
  • The Big Pharaoh
  • Iraq The Model
  • Previous Posts
  • Making Amends
  • Special Needs and the Marin Culture of Intolerance...
  • 2012--the Age of Resurgent Racism
  • Vetting The Dogs
  • Borders - The End of an Era
  • The Agalah Conundrum
  • Five Years On....
  • Move On.Org's Double Standard
  • Mass Graves--Stepping Stones to Greater Syria
  • Children of Abraham
  • My Photo
    Location: Jerusalem, Israel

    Powered by Blogger