Thursday, January 27, 2005

no entry... :-(

My whole entry just disappeared before my eyes. and it was a good one.
We'll have to do this another time.
Just remember what king solomon said.
There is not only a time for love and a time for peace.
There is also a time for hate and a time for war.
There is a time to throw stones.

Don't teach half of solomon. that's perverse.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

happy tu bshvat

Does Tu Bshvat really celebrate the redemption of the Lebanese cedars, as they were cut down by King Solomons men and brought to Jerusalem? Or is there a deeper more significant tradition behind the celebration?

These and other similar questions were discussed over a traditional meal consisting of chili, dried apricot and wine. Fruit salad, the dessert, was a big hit though it contained such inedible items as strawberries, bananas, coconuts and other unmentionables. The highlight of the evening was quoting the Lorax and continuing the fight against apathy towards our environment. There was even the modern israeli vidui, confession.

The big question is how to really fight and get rid of disease such as a flu. The issue at hand is that I can get a flu and be over it in a couple hours while it takes my wife 3 weeks. I explained that you have to be very active in rooting the disease out. Figure out what its attacking and focus your energy on that part of the body. Doing this you might have the disease for a couple weeks but it doesn't really show the symptoms because you're winning the battle. I think part of it is blood flow. Increasing the blood flow in areas that are being infected helps bring white blood cells to the rescue. You want the white blood cells better then the red blood cells, because fighting disease has racist tendencies and everyone knows that you don't make an alliance with the indians.

Daf yomi has been difficult recently. I'm learning mesechet niddah, which goes through the rules and regulations of marital intimacy and sexual impurity. Some of it is interesting and some of it is just off the wall. Learning the gemara is similar to reading the discussions of the supreme court, irrespective of the final decision. The topics that are brought in as proof for one opinion or the other are often off topic and seemingly only slightly related, but if they can show precedent in interpretation of law in a specific manner that can bring the tide over to their side. Majority wins. Very similar to secular courts. Interesting.

So to tie it all together:

Eating the dried fruit of the truffala tree
looking at the world with so much of a plea
don't kill our world which god lovingly made
for in it there are times when we can get laid
diseases are rampant and a bond we must form
to destroy the little bugs use our bodies as a dorm
The nature is in and it is time to get out
roll up your sleeves and begin with a shout
Study the rules or you won't know what to do
Is it this blood or that blood that makes it so true
life is meshed together and it is all contained
Or you wouldn't have had what to do when it rained.

Monday, January 24, 2005

raindrops are puring on my head. drip drop.

It's pouring outside. again.
And we thank god. again.

The country needs the rain and apparantly it is considered to be unthankful to request that it rains while we are sleeping. Though to draw a circle around yourself and discuss it rationally with god has been tried and found to be successful in at least one case in history.

I found a fascinating article about the Haraidic left, (which considers itself the hareidic right, just for the record). It brings up the history of the disapproval of Zionism and some of the practical ramifications therein. If you look at Rabbi Ovadia Yosefs decisions regarding the withdrawal, they are all based on political and security concerns. None arfe based on the legality of transferring Israeli soil to a foreign power. For the non-Rav Kook philosophy based anti-disengagement Jews, it gives you something to think about. That being said, not even one of the 71 members of the Sanhedrin could come up with a good reason to be pro disengagement plan. Something to think about on the other side.

Work is going well. I finally put together a model of the database system, something that I should have done from the get go. This model allows me to look at any change made in the system and determine exactly what will be affected by it. This will greatly reduce bugs and other mishaps.

I finally caught the damn virus after everyone else in the family stayed home sick for at least a day. Thursday night after basketball ( I played for 2.5 hours) I could barely move. Friday afternoon I took a short nap (God bless my wife) and Friday night I went to sleep at like 8 and was only woken up a couple of times by the children. Shabbos morning I had a therapeutic prayer session and that was it. No more missed work.

I haven't prosed in a while and I am in the mood so here goes:

When the sun sets on the hills of galilee
It becomes awfully hard to see
As the rain and the hail come swirling by
You're stuck outside nothing to do but sigh
Then a light appears with a very warm glow
You stick out your hand, the truck's going slow.
Trying to get a lift - what they call a tremp
Getting a good one gets you high like hemp.
This time, though the truck doesn't stop
Just runs through a puddle making you sop.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

back to work

So this morning at 6:20 when I got home from davening, I assumed that Golda was feeling better and didn't wake her to find out, just headed on down to work. Which was a good thing because i think she needed the extra couple minutes of sleep.

Everyone at work asked how she was. It was very nice. And I got a lift home which was excellent.

I am currently trying to figure out a good way to integrate paypal with my new website. It seems the best way to do it is through the developer API, but the website is down.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Day 2

We heard planes yesterday which is pretty odd. I commented to a friend that we must be bombing lebanon. He called me back 4 hours later and said we did. It's nice to be in the loop.

Today was also a trading day and it looks to have been fairly successful. Lets hope we can quickly recoup the losses of the last 2 weeks.

Monday night we had discussed it and golda felt that she was feeling well enough to handle being a full-time mom again. It's hard taking off work on unplanned notices, especially as I am in the middle of a bunch of things.

So I get home from davening this morning at 6:20 AM, put my tefillin down and grab my bag. For some strange reason everyone was awake. This never happens. Golda asked if I would mind waiting until I brought the kids to school and then took the car because she didn't feel she could drive. Uh Oh. I said sure and then a couple minutes later she started getting dizzy. The only 2 possibilities was acid or she was still very sick. I didn't think she was tripping so I sent her back up to bed and spent the 2nd day in a row as Mr. Mom.

At least nobody crapped on themselves this time. Today Avigail was sent to school but Naftali was sick. He was happily playing most of the time but at other times he just got so pitiful that we gave him more drugs until he started smiling again. In America its Tylenol, here we have something called Nurofin. Which is like a generic of the generic of tylenol or something similar.

Today I went out for lunch. I tried 4 places before I found the calzone that I wanted. Except they didn't know how it was pronounced and after explaining it in my what I thought was understandable hebrew she smiled and said, "calchuna?" that's ch as in chair. At least I enjoyed it afterwards.

Naomi went over to her friends house who's mother is English and who she says speaks only English in the house. Except when I heard her yell for her sister, it was in Hebrew. Maybe they don't know that English is a seperate language. I think the random British u was getting to them.

I went to a weird sheva brachos tonight by myself. It was weird in the fact that the only people who really knew the chasson and kallah were the hosts. They drove up from jlem just for this and knew 1 person at the party. The kallah was roughly acquanited with some of the other people in the room, but we ended up with 5 males for a nice bbq so we had to call another 5 for dessert. Why bother?

I hope my wife is feeling better tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Are mom's allowed to get sick?

Mr. Mom has arrived. Or something.

First of all Jessica is my sisters roomate. Gessica is my wife. Though we don't call her that.

So last night when I got home from work the house was a mess, all the kids were up and golda was sprawled out on the couch looking miserable. Uh oh. what did I do now?

Apparantly golda caught the virus that's been making the rounds in the house and she was so miserably sick, that I took the day off of work to tend the house and children.
So I got up this morning late, thinking this is the life. But then I had to get kids dressed and take them to school. except avigail who was also sick she she stayed in bed. Anyways after a long day of playing with all of the toys and listening to music and everything it was 9:15 AM. uh oh. we managed to make it. anyways, yada yada yada and we had steak for dinner. I found out that in one of the supermarkets they have very kosher fresh meat, instead of the regulkar kosher that most places have. So I used a dry rub of red hot peppers and cumin. Then I placed freshly picked lemons on top of the meat while it was cooking. oooWah. That was good.

We got to video conference with my grandparents today. Who would have thought that great grandchildren and great grandparents would ever converse face to face while being across the ocean. All I can say is "God is Great."

Which makes me think, the arabic word for great is very similar to the Israeli word for mouse. On a similar note - the arabic word for thank you is very similar to the Israeli word for liar.

Kind of makes you think. And smile.

Have a good night.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Beth Yehuda Vindicated!!

When Naomi was in nursery back in America she started learning the Hebrew alphabet. She enjoyed it a lot and was really learning the letters. However, we were quite perturbed that the pictures that they had associated with the letters only started with the sound in English not in Hebrew. For example, Tes (or tet for those of you with a sefardit pronounciation) had a picture of a toothbrush. (which does not start with a t sound in hebrew). Why couldn't Rabbi Davidson put a picture of items that start with a "ti" in Hebrew and then the kids would learn a little bit of Hebrew instead of just the letters. This way they are going to think that toothbrush is a hebrew word.

Fast forward two years....... (The above issue momentarily forgotten)
Golda offers to give a biweekly lesson in English to the first graders. The school doesn't start teaching them English until 4th grade, but we would like Naomi's friends to understand us before then. Golda found some worksheets on the Internet that had a picture of an Apple next to the letter A. I thought about it for a little bit and suggested that maybe she should have a picture of a watermelon instead. She said, "but watermelon doesn't start with A, don't you think that will confuse them?" I said when they look at an apple they see a tapuach which starts with the sound "ti". It would confuse them a lot more to show them a picture of an apple and expect them to learn both that the object is an apple as well as learn that apple makes the A sound. It is much easier to teach them ABCs by getting them to recognize an object that makes the sound. Avatiach (watermelon) is recognizable by the kids as making an A sound. It is easier to teach the letter A using the representation of a watermelon. Working on vocabulary is a different stream. Both are important, but mixing them together would only confuse the children.

I suddenly realized that Beth Yehuda had been doing exactly what I was suggesting. Because it only makes sense. Beth Yehuda has been vindicated.

tsunami relief??? WTF

After Naomi, Golda, the Galilee and even a quote from Alvin, it takes until Jessica before he can figure it out. From his perspective, WHO THE HELL IS JESSICA??????? All I'm saying is that there are not very many people who can quote alvin like that.

Just a thought, maybe giving billions of dollars in relief money to tsunami victims is like trying to rebuild Sodom and Gemmora? There was no relief fund after the great flood - is that only because there were no people left or because after God wipes out the sinners it is inappropriate to call it an accident of nature and help them become more then they were before. Instead send your money to a place like WITS or Aish Hatorah where they teach Torah which may prevent disasters from occuring in the first place. Soon you'll be able to donate in memory of tsunami on the new website, but that will probably be another month.

Which brings us to this weeks Torah portion. Did Egypt get global relief funds after God spit at them with his 10 plagues? I think not. Which brings us to the question I asked the 1-3 grade girls this week at the parsha class this week... Was Pharaoh an idiot? After getting hit with 7 plagues and Moshe comes in and promises another one, did he think that he would be able to keep the Jews in the end? 2 girls thought yes, he was an idiot. The other 5 were not so sure. It's good to get them to think a little bit.

Naomi told me that she liked the shiur, and that everyone understood it, but my Hebrew is horrible. Nonetheless I should do it again when it is our turn. At least I'm not embarrassing her, or if I am she doesnt know it yet.

To end on a slightly political note... While the government is trying to choke the jewish residents of the strip so that they are more amenable to leaving, what will they do when the residents of sderot, a town not slated for evacuation decide that they have had enough and start moving out? Sounds like its going from bad to worse.

Friday, January 14, 2005

shabbos, sanhedrin, basketball and politics

Basketball last night was an absolute killer. I played for 2 1/2 hours straight and by the end couldn't move either leg, had a cramp in my right side and couldn't move my right arm. It was a successful game. I really should start moving more.

This week for shabbos we are having a family from Netanya that doesn't like ti there and want to check out Maalot. It's funny because we checked out Netanya on a pilot trip and the people we visited said they hated it there and were leaving.

This shabbos I am also giving the parshat hashvua shiur to girls grades 1-3. Lets see how my Hebrew holds up.

Into Politics.

When I first read about the new Sanhedrin in the settler newspaper, I was very excited. The question of what would come out of it was the big unknown. The article in todays settler newspaper gave me more hope that good things are on their way. Appointing an Av Beis Din and a Nassi is something that can only be good for the Jews. I was kind of hoping they would reimplement the death penalty, though my chavrussa feels that all people deserving of the death penalty today are n the category of tinok shenishba and are not fully accountable for their actions. I feel that is rubbish and is similar to saying that pagans who sacrificed virgins to appease the gods are also not accountable for their actions.

Was Rav Elyashav hoodwinked by wheelers and dealers as Rav Kook insinuates? I think not., Rav Elyashav has been around the block a time or two and knows his way around town. It seems that the NRP cannot handle any decisions based on Torah as we saw when they ignored Rav Avraham Shapira's ruling to get out. Now that another Torah scholar has ruled to get in, they are opposing that as well. May as well listen to Uncle Yossi Lapid. Make sure you read Susie B's from Clearwater Fl comment on the above story.

However the most shocking story of the week is Glicks' article on the Arab demographic fable. It's amazing that intelligent people, or something, can buy into numbers that were developed by the enemy. Maybe we should send a report detyailing the 6 million soldiers that are lining up on their borders for the invasion next week. See how quickly they turn and run. Or not.

In Good news this week, my company has realized a profit once again this week and there are bonuses and raises. This is a good indication of a healthy economy and we are well on our way back to becoming an economic stronghold and powerhouse.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

my day with Naomi

A trip to Jerusalem is always a good time though there are not excuses often enough to leave the galilean homefront and take a road trip. Not that a long Israeli road trip is much to write home about. The trip from the upper western galilee to the heart of the country is a mere 2.5 hour drive. Still it feels good to be on the road going places that I've already been (to quote Alvin). I had a good excuse to head on down to jlem (pronounced jay-lem, for those of you who have not read my old blogs) as my shtender had been staying in Ramat Bet Shemesh for about 6 months and I felt it was time for it to come home. Going on a road trip neccessitates a car, and my wife pretty much uses it every day unless I need it for something. Otherwise I take public transportation to work, which isn't bad because I spend 9 hours at my desk anyways, so its only the hour and a half before and after work when I would use the car.

At the same time that I was getting ready to go down old Route 2, the beach road, my daughter Naomi was told she would have to go have a hearing test done. I don't know exactly why she needed a hearing test done, she can hear plenty well. I know this because if I walk in the house and ask golda if she wants to go out that night, Naomi will inevitably ask me who is babysitting. Even if she is upstairs in her bedroom when I walk in and I whisper. She hears other things very well too, such as when Golda is on the phone or talking to one of her friends, Naomi can probably repeat the entire conversation. She's not so good at hearing when I ask her to be nice to her sister. The only (only?????) hearing tester in the region is in Haifa, so I decided to combine tasks, which makes sense logistically, and take Naomi to the doctor and continue onwards to Jlem.

So we set up Naomi's hearing test for 4PM on Thursday and Naomi came to work with me brigth and early that morning. What to do with a 6 year old at work? Thank God my office is child friendly. We have Satellite TV in the office for when kids come and a computer dedicated to children with games etc.. In fact it is the only computer in the office that has a Hebrew operating system on it, so the kids can understand. So we got to work and went immediately to buy burekas. After that I couldn't figure out how to turn on the TV so Naomi did homework until my secretary arrived. She turned on the TV and Naomi watched cartoons for an hour or so and then she came back to my office and did more homework. We had pizza for lunch, with olives but no onions (I had to draw the line somewhere) and then Naomi got to finish her homework and then play on the computer. It sounds like she had a lot of homework, but she was actually more interested in fooling around then doing her homework and I pretty much let her do what she wanted. I think she finished her 3 pages of homework during the 8 hours we were there.

The hearing test went fine, we only got a little lost looking for it. As I suspected her hearing was perfect and the doctor didn't understand why we came.

Onwards towards jlem. I had a lot of plans for our short visit there. We were going to go out for dinner with the central Israel family which included my brother sister and 2 sisterinlaws, no the 2nd sister has no connection to the 2nd sister-in-law, at KFC. Well we passed a sign which said that highway 20 was closed, and that is how I get to jlem. Bad news. There was a huge backup at the junction where highway 5 connects from the 2 to the 20, the 4 and the 6. I called a friend who said take the 6. I hate the 6. They charge to use it. And if you pay a day late they charge you 90 shekel. That's not like pesos. That's like $20. But he said it would save me 20 inutes so i did it anyways. I finally got to RBS and I picked up my 2nd sisterinlaw with the shtender and we headed down to kfc. When we got to kfc my sister called and said they'd be another hour. It was now 8:15. Naomi's bedtime is normally at 7 and she was waning. So I decided to bring the kfc to jlem and we ate at my brothers apartment. which was nice. but one of the things we wanted to do in jlem was go to the shuk and buy meat for shabbos because the meat in maalot is double the price or so.

By the time I got to the shuk it was 9:30 and people told me it would be open till 10 on thursday night, but it was mostly closed except for a baker and a store with candy. So we did without meat. Then we got lost trying to find our car. It's not like there's a shuk parking lot, so we parked somewhere in Nachlaot, and couldn't find the car until a chasidishe told us we parked right next to where he lived. So we followed him and found our car.

We got into the car at about 10:15 and had 3 more things to do in jlem before leaving. kotel, visit the pro gaza/anti disengagement tent city in front of the knesset, which I felt would be a worthwhile experience for my daughter, and visiting a friend.

Naomi said "Daddy I don't want to go to the kotel I am going to sleep and she was sleeping within a minute. I called my friend and we got together in a parking lot for 5 minutes. Then I picked up my sister who was plannng on coming back with me for shabbos.
I went into her apartment to use the bathroom before we left and heard her roommate talking to her mother on the speakerphone. I suppressed the desire to yell out "Jessica, I'll be back soon, don't go to sleep without me" and left.

We had a nice road trip back. It felt more like a road trip at midnight. We arrived in Maalot at about 1 AM. I then called and arranged the Mikey video. That was it. Good night.