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30-Dec-2015

 

 

Tomorrow I will be going to the Port of Tel Aviv נמל תל אביב and doing the rounds at the farmer’s market. It will be a Thursday like any other. The fact that it is December 31st and the end of the year everywhere else has little bearing on the Israeli workweek or the general mood of the city. 

 

It is celebrated in many Russian families and many of the clubs will be booming out the techno music because it is Thursday and because it is another reason to party.

 

In any event, the sun will shine or it will rain but it will not be New York. And for the first time in three years I am feeling a bit nostalgic....

28-Dec-2015

Everyone in Israel - if they are legal, and of course some who aren't legal - has an identity card. This ID is callled a תאודת זהות (te-o-dat ze-hoot). It is like a SSN in the States or a SIN in Canada. You can't do much without it. You need it to open a bank account, to rent an apartment, to buy a bus pass, to get the famous club card at Tiv Ta'am - everything. What is different about the T.Z. is that it includes on the certificate, the members of your family and their numbers and it also includes your current address. If you move you have to go to the משרד הפנים (Ministry of the Interior) to have it update...

28-Dec-2015

Ethopian Jews celebrate a special holiday 50 days after Yom Kippur - around the time of Hanukkah.  The holiday is called סיגד (sig-ad) and commemorates the convenant between the Ethiopian Jews, God and the Torah . סיגד is also the name of the language Ethopians use for prayer. It is a semetic language like Hebrew and Arabic but it is not the language they use for everyday exchanges. On a daily basis Ethiopian Jews speak Amharic, also a semetic language. 

 

Every year at this time there are many celebrations of Jewish Ethiopian culture in Israle. An important weeklong festival occurs in Jeru...

25-Dec-2015

 

I ended the last post with a mention of "zoresh". In English these are called barberries ברביריס. Everytime I go to Shuk California שוק קליפורניה, I ask for them. I seem to get the same merchant each time. I believe he is a member of the owning family. And each time I ask for them, he asks me if I know what they are. Maybe I am mistaken and think they are currents or raisins. 

 

Each time I tell him I know how to use them in rice dishes with ful (פול) and dill. He is always surprised and tells me I don't look Persian. I say, I am not Persian. Then there is a lull. He is pleased that I know what they are...

24-Dec-2015

 

In honor of a well beloved tradition that of course does not exist in Israel, many Americans Jews will be eating Chinese food on Christmas Day. Until recently, I thought my quest for this particular cuisine - not authentic Chinese in any way - authentic American cuisine - would be doomed to failure. But on a recent trip to a large super market in Hod HaSharon (הוד השרון) we found a food court. And in the food court there was the ubiquitous and familiar paper plate with 3 divisions designed for the dinner special. 

 

Behold, they had Chinese food with lomein and sweet and sour chicken, beef and brocc...

24-Dec-2015

Yesterday afternoon we took a short walk from the house to Florentin with some good friends visiting from New York. We walked across Herzl through the “furniture district” past the stores with lamps and closets and couches, cross Eilat Street and into a maze of factories. But the factories are really "manufacturers" who work in small storefronts with perhaps one or two employees, if that. Tailoring, sewing machine repair, shoe repair, watches, plastic piping, lumber, everything – a microcosm of industry as it was in the 30s.

 

Within seconds we could smell the bourekas (בורקס) - pastry filled with potatoe...

19-Dec-2015

Last week, December 9 was Avi's birthday. We asked where he would like to eat since we all like to take advantage of a night out in a special restaurant. Avi didn't have any immediate suggestions. There are wonderful restaurants in Tel Aviv but he didn't seem excited about going to any of them. So I asked if there was anywhere outside of Tel Aviv he would like to go for dinner. Not unusual around here to travel an hour or 2 for something special. He said he'd get back to me. 

 

A day later he called and said he had made a reservation at המטבח של רמה, Rama's Kitchen a farm to table restaurant in the J...

17-Dec-2015

 

גן עדן

The Garden Of Eden. Lost. 

 

When I muster up the nerve to speak Hebrew in a store or restaurant I am invariably met with a response in English. Sometimes this happens because native born Israelis are so anxious to speak English they will use any opportunity to do so. Sometimes, it happens because they think they are doing me a favor by answering in language that I am comfortable with. And some times it is just stam (סְתָם) - just because. But often it is because they think they know better than I do, what language I want to speak. Please -- I am working on my accent. Let me try. 

 

Once we get over the E...

17-Dec-2015

 

 "The sabbath year (shmita Hebrew: שמיטה‎, literally "release") also called the sabbatical year or sheviit (Hebrew: שביעית‎, literally "seventh") is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel,[1] and still observed in contemporary Judaism." *

 

The peppers look incredible. The tomatoes look even better. Like candy. We suffered through a whole year where the fruits and vegetables were good but nowhere near the quality or intensity of the everyday produce in the shuk. Last year - Ro...

15-Dec-2015

This is a topographical map of the State of Israel. The colored areas are within the legal borders of Israel proper. The area immediately to the east of Jerusalem is the West Bank - named such because it is to the west of Jordan and the west bank of the Dead Sea. Unlike what many people believe, there is not a huge wall that corresponds to the West Bank outline on the map and there is no wall separating Israel from

Gaza. There are obviously places where there are very high walls but not in the way one might imagine. Often the wall goes right through a populated area and separates two sides of a valley or...

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