Tuesday, May 31, 2005

schwarma day.

One of the most common reason why North Americans will say they made aliyah is shoko in a bag. While that wasn't our main reason, I won't say that wasn't a prominent factor. I also have to say I'm pretty disappointed with the shwarma that we have found up north. Maybe Jerusalem shwarma is better, maybe there's just a wider variety for a mehadrin eating person.

For better or for worse, Tuesday is Shwarma day at my company. While we can go out any day we want, (there is a policy that attempts to limit it, but I modified the policy to require at least an equal opportunity for kosher food because thursday they go out for traif. and I didn't hear back so as far as I'm concerned the policy is null and void) Tuesday has been allocated as shwarma day. The guy at the shwarma place showed me the package showing it is mehadrin and so I join them in the meat eating frenzy. On the other hand I won't eat at places that don't have a hechsher, even if they have a big picture of babi sali on their wall and they say their kosher but open on shabbat. I gently explain to them that being open on shabbat is like pissing on babi sali's grave. But they don't care.

I originally decided that it was worthwhile to go out with the guys once a week to build a rapport with them. While this has not exactly happened, they speak Russian amongst themselves, I have grown to enjoy the time out. Every once in a while, I will throw in some hebrew and then the conversation will slightly change. Besides a shwarma we also generally get a plate of felafel for every 4 people and 2 fries. Russians like their shwarma on a plate and they eat it with a fork. I get mine in a lafa, which is the preferred way of eating it.

Monday, May 30, 2005


A couple years ago when I had a job where I actually did no work I used to write out a thought of the day. Most of them can be found on my old blog http://www.technologism.com/aliyah on the left hand side.

I'm in a lyrical mood so I thought I would try to pump another one out. It's called "Don't eat that apple"

This is especially relevant in the galilee where there are a lot of mixed marriages and people eat at each others houses without asking their yichus first.

It started a long way back when minhag became din and habit became minhag.
if a sefardi rabbi takes the gid hanasheh out of an animal can an ashkenazi eat it?
Should the fact that ashkenazi have the word nazi in it scare the sefardim?
Are yekkas bad people?

If for pesach one year i happen to be in yemen
do i eat their soft matza or just suck on a lemon
none of the special food they eat for the holiday
would pass as kosher if MY rabbis had what to say

If one wants to wave a chicken over your head
Do you need to insist that it has to be dead
Or maybe it's too pagan and you use money instead.
another guy says no kaparos just do tashlich with bread

It all seems rather silly when you know that in the end
all that really matters is if god gets mad enough to bend
If you ti or you si, guten vuch, shabbat shalom
all just depends from where you started to roam

I would guess one isn't more correct then the others
sefardim against ashkenazim? come on we're brothers
It isn't about the sway or the time you spend in the chapel
all that god had asked at first was "DON'T EAT THAT APPLE"

Sunday, May 29, 2005

the religious beach

It seems like I have a lot of catching up to do, what with not blogging for a couple of exciting months.

The plan was to go to the large crater down south during pesach. They have colorful sand there. But then we heard that the crater fell down on someone, so we couldn't go there. How in God's good name does a crater fall down on someone? It's a hole!!! In any case we spent the day in the gaza strip instead. Gaza is a pretty cool place, when you are not ducking Kassams. We Galileans have an appreciation for rockets as the Hizballah has just announced their 12,000 rockets are pointed at the northern heartland. Thank God, Maalot is past Shlomi, so they are taking the brunt of it for us. Back to Gaza. We had a nice day at the beach and taking a stroll from one end of gaza to the other. They let us off in neve dekalium and told us that if we wanted to leave we had to walk to the agam. With 8 kids. at least we had our stroller. The third day of our trip we wanted to go see the sea turtles who were being thrown out of their homes for the displaced settlers. We felt pretty bad for them, but they also don't serve in the army, except maybe in elite units, and are parasites on the nation because none of them work. So we actually hate them just like settlers. or something. But we couldn't find the turtles so we asked some random chiloni where a good beach was and he told us we had to go to the religious beach in alei sinai. religious beach? you mean separate? no. its mixed. just religious.

So we went to the religious beach. and that's what it was a mixed beach with out any mostly naked women. some of the men were mostly naked, but apparantly no one has a problem with that. I think it's because women don't get upset when their husbands see guys without shirts on. Go and figure. But I digress. So we had a very enjoyable day at the beach and now we have seen 2 nice areas that are being given away for apparantly no reason. Except I think Sharon has a hard-on for the turtles. I think he was traumatized by them as a child and he planned this whole operation just to wipe them out. That bastard.

The best was yet to come. On oiur drive home we stopped in kiryat malachi. Talk about real meat. My wife, god bless her heart, found some huge mehadrin (kind of expensive) steaks on the bonem, such has never been seen in Israel. They looked like American cows. They were delicious, but not like American ones. American ones are better. But Israelis don't appreciate them. We invited over an israeli couple for American steaks so that they could taste gashmiyus for once in their lives and they thought maybe chicken was healthier. And maybe we could come over sometime for grilled cucumbers. CUKES!!!!!!! Anyways. They were told they have to leave maalot so they found a home somewhere else.

I'm done for now.

hallel with a ti

We had a very nice shabbos, 4 seminary girls (or rather 3 seminary girls and 1 other) came over. They were in Meron for lag b'omer and wanted to stay up north for shabbos. They got along well with the kids and I got to take a nap, though I don't know if those were connected in any way.

One thing I have been thinking about recently is hallel on yom haatzmaut. I am pro-state, but i don't believe that ben gurion was the messiah and I don't see any religious significance or mandate in the secular government. Therefore, hashkafically I would be against saying hallel. But for the second year in a row, I have said hallel with a bracha. Why? because I joined a religious zionist community and I figured if they were all going to hell for saying hallel, I would go with them. So I didn't go to the special non-hallel chabad minyan. It was kind of an "al tifrosh min hatzibur" sort of thing. That's done. Now I have never considered davening with a ti. But is that the same sort of thing? If that is how the community does it, is it appropriate to do it that way as well? Is there an al tifrosh kind of deal with the pronounciation?

I'm trying to get back in the saddle, slowly and surely.

Friday, May 27, 2005

4 bits

I really am going to try posting once a day now. I think it is important and enables me to clear my head for a couple minutes.

Yesterday I did something very enjoyable in honor of my birthday. I left work very early and told my wife I would meet her and the kids in nahariya. I got to nahariya a little bit early and went to the beach. all by myself. There was no one else at the beach it was so nice and peaceful. I sat down in a recliner chair and ordered a beer. For 20 minutes it was just me, my beer, the waves and god. Then after 20 minutes I finished and rejoined society.

Today I had an interesting experience. one of our friends had a party for his baby daughter. and they had a whole tefilla and program and stuff worked out. It was weird and one of the other guys I was with thought it was kind of reform. But the paper they handed out said it had sefardic customs. My friend who is sefardic by birth (though he has since joined the ashkenazic world) said that was impossible because sefardim don't consider new girls a reason to make a party.
Go figure. At least the food was good.

Have an enjoyable shabbos.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

30 years

I've been quite lax on posting recently, mostly its because I don't have any time. I have one of those strange jobs where I am actually busy for the better part of 9 hours a day. When I started blogging I would take a couple minutes each day, but then I was informed that non-business websites were against company policy during the non-lunch hour. Which is strange because I wrote the Internet use policy and I certainly didn't include that. In any case, daf yomi takes up my lunch time in general so I am basically in a non-writing time period.

It's my birthday. I'm 30. Ouch.

As I expected, my older brother blogged a story that he loves to tell about me on a visit to the Skokie spa (or yeshiva. whatever). I made chocolate chip cookies for work because the custom here is to bring cake or something in honor of your birthday. I made damn good cookies. Even though the ingredients in the Galilee are different then the ingredients in Southfield.

Cooking in the galilee, and maybe cooking anywhere in Israel is much different then the same in the US. You really have to consider the ingredients to be Israeli. In order to work, it needs to be beaten. and beaten. and beaten. and beaten. ok you get the point. the problem I think stems from the sefardi brown sugar saying they are not going to mix with the ashkenazic white sugar. that is only the start. The sugar in israel is too sweet. You have to use less sugar in order to get the right sweetness. Also the margarine here sucks. We melt the margarine before mixing it in with the other ingredients otherwise the cookies come out with pieces of margarine in them. No they don't melt after they are in the mix. I don't understand it either. I've explained to my wife that you have to beat everything Israeli if you want them to do what you want. 2R told me the story that she went to a government office and got a number to wait online. she was number 172. They called 172 and told her to go to desk 3. She went to desk 3 and he informed her that he doesn't take any numbers over 25. She patiently explained to him that this is where they told him to go and he replied that it didn't matter. He doesn't take numbers that high. She then asked him where to go and he said try another desk. She went to another desk and someone processed her paperwork. She needed to take his head and bang it into the desk, or at the very least start yelling. Then he would have understood and he would have done it. But she doesn't understand that yet. She's been here 6 months less then we have.

Reflecting back on 30 years is a long time to reflect. I would say that most of my life has been a lot of fun and very enjoyable. I enjoyed elementary school - I pretty much did what I wanted to. I enjoyed high school - I pretty much did what I wanted to. I enjoyed 2 years of beis medrash. Even Baltimore was enjoyable, maybe not in the same way, but I spent a lot of time on someone's couch watching Beevis and Butthead. I think every school I went to, except OJ, threatened to throw me out for some silly reason or other. I think people are just too concrete and cannot handle a little bit of creativity.

I think I had the best time in high school. WITS was definitely the place to be and the people to be with. It was a place where very few people walked out with the same name they walked in with. Being in a class with personalities such as Sal, Swank, Bosh, Rex, Wedge and Bill to mention a few definitely made for interesting times. I have plenty of yeshiva stories to tell, but I will leave the storytelling to airtime.

College was also a lot of fun, though it was mostly the time period and not the actual college. I didn't really socialize on campus that much. I did get a lot of travelling done and met my wife while travelling home from New York, via Toronto, with Whatsa in my grandparents new car. I met tons of people and had a small group of friends to hang out with in each city I stopped in. I hung out with the goon squad of Chicago when I was there. A bit older and a bit wackier but lots of fun in any case. Guys like goober and gumby just had a different way of having fun.

I'm not even going to get satarted on kids, which consist of some of the most frustrating and most enjoyable experiences on this earth.

Moving to Israel and now living in the holy land is definitely an experience that I am loving every minute of. The land speaks to me and the aura of holiness gives me the strength to deal with the Israelis who were here first. I found Maalot quite by accident after deciding I was going to live up north but not having anywhere to go telling my wife to call her friend and have her rent us a place until we decided where we wanted to live. The clean mountain air and the view reminds me of home. And no. there are still no mountains in Detroit. We are 20 minutes from the beach, which we visit on a regular basis. We live in the hills of the galilee, in some of god's most gorgeous countryside. God willing we will be buying a house soon, though it is too soon to tell for sure because there are tough negotiations going on.

In short it's been a good 30 years.

I've got to thank god for this life.