Friday, February 29, 2008

This Old Tabernacle...

Now it's time to build,
Moses is reminding them.
Let's start with Shabbat.

We all must bring gifts
Gifts of gold, silver, copper
yarns, linen and goats

Plus some pretty stones
should all be put together
by all skilled people.

Everyone brought gifts
some were even made by hand
by the wise women.

Mo called Bezalel
and Oholiab also
to be the artists

Everyone brought gifts
and then they brought too many!
Mo said, "that's enough!"

Bezalel worked hard
Made the ark, cover, table,
menorah, laver,

the incense altar,
and altar for sacrifice.
Then he took a rest!

Shabbat Shalom!

See more haiku friday here.

P.S. See this funny video about this week's parasha. Will they do one for each parasha? please?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Making Memories...

Here are some memories of my trip to Israel...scroll back through my posts to read more about the trip.

My mom, brother & I...

Getting a text message welcoming me to Jordan...hmm...I didn't go to Jordan! We traveled along the Jordanian border and my crackberry picked up the signal. Funny!
Our leisurely hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Preserve
(where not-yet-King David hid from then-King Saul)

Watching other people take pictures. I think that was one of the highlights of my trip, watching how everyone else was trying to preserve their memories...I know how hard it was to process all the information and sites, I hope all the pictures help everyone to do it once they're back at home. I think I might do a photo collage of all the pictures of people taking pictures!

Shopping in the Mahane Yehuda open-air market on Friday afternoon. Yum!
Praying together at the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Visiting the Golan Heights and looking out at the land of Israel arrayed below. We read this poem "are you laughing or crying?" that really told the story of life below the Heights before and after Israel took over... before, there was shelling and danger. Now it is safer. Geography matters. (I have been watching all the fancy stuff with textures and decided to try this little fancy maneuver out myself...what do you think? It's the poem overlaid onto the view...)
Theme Thursday over at Stacy's place is Memory. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Getting Myself in the Pictures...

I have made a personal goal to get myself into more of my pictures.

I've started to accomplish this in two ways...neither of which yield particularly spectacular pictures, but manage to get me in the picture without handing the camera to my husband and saying "Take my picture!" *Examples are from my recent trip to Israel.

One: I hold the camera at arm's length and take my own picture.

Me, with a cute little snowman in Jerusalem!

This is me, on top of Masada.

(See another example here.)

Two: I take pictures of my feet, my shadow, or my reflection...personal documentation!

Me, in the individual screen on the airplane...

My feet (and my brother's) in Jerusalem.

In the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial Museum.

My feet on the Golan Heights

A meeting of Quilters (including me) in Tel Aviv!

How do you get yourself in the pictures?
This is what works for me!
See what works for other people here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Israel Pictures...Just a Few...

How to choose, how to choose! 967 pictures are still in my computer after an initial quick-delete...I'm sure there are a few more to be deleted but how do I choose!? Either way, here are a quick rundown of my favorites (with captions of course) with what I consider to be my "Best Shot" of the trip at the end...

I have been to Israel before and taken lots of pictures, but this was my first time with my own digital camera and my first time with a blog that must be filled with photos! Oh how I wish I could have accompanied all my daily updates with pictures...but alas, it was not to be. So anyway, I focused on taking as many cool pictures as I here are some...

This is me and my brother. Why is this picture here? First off, I think I look good, which is frankly exciting to me! Second, I made a personal resolution to get myself into more of the pictures. Third, my brother complains that I don't blog about him enough. We got to see him in Israel! Hooray! Finally, this picture was taken by me, holding the camera out at arm's length. Not bad, eh? Oh, and the Israel connection -- we are standing in the excavation tunnels beneath the Western Wall in Jerusalem!
Four beautiful pictures of the Old City in Jerusalem, one of my favorite places in Israel.

This is my brother again...standing at the end of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum. The new museum is quite incredible, and perhaps one of the most amazing parts is the end, when you come out into this gorgeous healing view...
My mom, at the Ein Gedi Nature Preserve. Look at that blue sky!
Taken in the old part of Tsfat, an incredible city in the north. Notice that this young man is sitting with his laptop (and he was online too...wireless). An awesome reminder of the blend of modern and ancient in this land...
And this favorite. It definitely falls into the category of "don't delete on the camera" because in my camera screen, I didn't get the rainbow. But when I looked in my computer screen there it It is a rainbow over Jericho. We were leaving Jerusalem in terrible weather and as it started to clear - breathtaking! We stopped the bus and I never imagined the picture would come out!

See more Best Shots here...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

May her memory be for a blessing...

I'm so sad to report that during the day today I learned that Helena from Thrice-Blessed Momma, a strong and amazing soul, has died, less than two years after her husband Andrew passed away. Her 5-year old triplets have now lost both their parents in the space of 2 years.

I have been wondering where she was lately, with no posts to speak of, but this wasn't the kind of thing I ever thought would happen. I can't stop thinking about her and her sweet triplets, the center of her life, who are now without their father as well as their mother.

It's hard to believe that we never met, because I counted her as a friend. This blogging-world is so strange and different and yet wonderful all at the same time, because it opens up the world and brings us new and amazing Helena.

If I could, I would be at the funeral. I will be thinking of her and her family on that day and probably for many days to come. I can't bring myself to remove her from my feed-reader...

May her memory be for a the lives of all who knew her, and especially in the lives of her children.

The Last Day...

We spent our last day of our trip in Tel Aviv...

In the morning we heard from Rabbi Galia Sadon, one of the rabbis at Beit Daniel, the largest Reform congregation in Israel. Her conversation with our group was interesting and fun...I think it's such a great chance for our group to hear from these amazing Israeli women.

Then we headed over to Independence Hall, which our group really found to be an incredible highlight. To sit in the same room that David Ben-Gurion stood in when he announced Israel's Declaration of Independence..."surrender is not an option..." and it never will be, our guide added.

Then we headed to Rabin Square, where, in 1995, Yitzchak Rabin was assasinated. I was particularly touched by the personal reflections of our guide, Renee, who was in attendance at the rally that terrible night.

We went to the Carmel Market for lunch and some last minute shopping (my mom picked up a cool Golda Meir sweatshirt for me!) while I was so excited to have lunch with Robin from Around the Island!!!! (More on this in a later post...with pictures!)

Then we headed over to Old Jaffa, and went through the Ilana Goor gallery, which was pretty darn cool. She is a famous artist who turned her personal house into an eclectic and interesting gallery that is open to the public. It was pretty breath-taking to see her collection and imagine actually living in this amazing house. Then we browsed through some of the galleries in Jaffa and headed back to our rest (although four of us went up to the north part of Tel Aviv, to the boardwalk, and browsed around a bit) before our closing dinner...

We all joined together at Kimmel, a great Moroccan/Turkish restaurant for our closing dinner. We shared wine and good food and a *lot* of laughter as we recalled and celebrated our journey together. "Journey" does seem like a good word to describe the trip -- we travelled together, yes, but I think it was so much more, so much more than just a "trip."

Each time I come to Israel I learn something new. And this time was no exception.

May we all return safely home and may we all return again and again to this amazing land...

Stay tuned for more posts, with that I'm home and reunited with my laptop!

Friday, February 22, 2008



We are safely home...a last post to come about our last day in Tel Aviv...

But until then, I'm in the cab and shaking my head in disbelief that British Airways had the audacity to leave some of our bags back in London! Only some, but let me tell you, I am quite sure we're all done with that airline...twice in 10 days....

Okay, more after Shabbat!!!!
It is nice to be home but I miss Israel already:)

Is that a Golden Calf....?

Mo is on Sinai
listening to all God says.
Here are some commands:

Time for a census
One half-shekel per person
To see who is who...

Put a copper bin
for the priests to wash their hands
before sacrifice.

Make special oil:
myrrh, cinnamon and cassia
in olive oil.

Use it to anoint
the Tent of Meeting & priests.
But don't copy it.

God gave Mo tablets
with all the words written down
by God's own finger.

Meanwhile, below,
the people were antsy for Mo
"Is Moses here yet?"

They went to Aaron
and told him to make a god
so he asked for gold.

They brought him the gold.
He melted it down and made
a gold calf for them!

Aaron called a feast
to celebrate the new god.
This was very bad.

God told Mo to go
and see what was going on
God was really mad.

Mo took the tablets
and went back down the mountain.
Mo got really mad.

Mo threw the tablets
and set out to punish them.
It wasn't pretty.

He burned up the calf,
ground it up into powder,
put it in water...

He made them drink it.
Aaron tried to pass the blame
but Mo was still mad.

The sons of Levi
were called forth and told to kill
three thousand who sinned.

Mo asked, "God, forgive!"
but God wanted to get rid
of the ones who sinned.

A new deal was made
God agreed to lead them all
to help the people.

Mo asked to see God.
"None can see My face and live"
so God showed God's back.

Then Mo made new slabs
for the words God would inscribe --
all the commandments.

Mo stayed in God's place
forty days and forty nights
and came back glowing.

The glow was too much
for the people to behold
so Mo wore a veil.

(Wow, this is a long Torah portion!)
See more Haiku Friday here.
Come back next week for more!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Driving the Dream

Driving the Dream

Up early, of course, and with fresh-baked cinnamon rolls at breakfast!

Even though we could have spent all day at beautiful Kfar Blum, all of Israel awaited us! Okay, just part of it...but you know!

We started our day in Tzfat - one of my favorite cities in Israel. We visited the awesome candle factory and the two synagogues of Isaac Luria, the great kabbalist. We saw a clsss of three-year-old boys whose Hebrew far outstripped mine and who captured the heart of our group!

We walked briefly through some of the galleries (is there ever enough time?) and then hopped back on the bus to Nazareth.

Nazareth is a large Arab city and the traffic getting in was terrible, which I understand is typical and regular! We found a felafel stand where the proprietor was amenable to most of our group and the ladies were patient as we ordered our sandwiches and drinks.

The restaurant was filled with youngsters after school eating lunch. A group of 13-year-old girls was sitting near us and they captivated the imaginations of our women. We spoke to them and took their picutured and the they whipped out their cell phones and took OUR pictures! They were adorable and seemed excited to practice their English on us!

Most of the group then went to the Church of the Annunciation, a short walk away. The church was gorgeous, full of mosaics donated by many different countries.

Then of course it was back on the bus!

We went to Ein Hod, an artists' colony outside Haifa. Because we were very late, many of the artists were not open but the man who gives "tours" asked some to stay open as he guided us over to their studio/shops. While it felt like a hefty sales job, the art and surroundings were beautiful and many of us bought in one or two of the studios. A spot to return to with a long afternoon, for sure.

And now...we are on the way to Tel Aviv. It's hard to believe we've been gone just about one week! It does feel like much longer...

I think everyone's having a good time and we keep reminding them that there is good reason to come back - there's always more to see and do! I do love Israel.

So much to do so little time to blog!

So much to do so little time to blog!

As we drove north, the group marvelled at the complexity of Israel's politics and landscape. Even to know that just an hour or so behind us was snow in Jerusalem and here was sun?

We went to one of my favorite sites in Israel, Beit Shean. (Like the Torah portions, each one is my favorite...) Although the weather was cold and blustery, we had a great time looking at all the Roman ruins. We especially enjoyed the ancient "bathrooms" and we took lots of pictures :)

After this, we stopped at the Kinneret Cemetery on the shores of the Kinneret - the Sea of Galilee. In this beautiful cemetery are buried some of Israel's pioneers and famous folks. We went to the grave of Rachel, Israel's national poet...and we placed stones on her grave and read some of her poems. Then we visited nearby the grave of Naomi Shemer and sang a little bit of Jerusalem of Gold, her most famous song. We also read a bit of the last poem she wrote, in honor of Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster. Although it was set to music after her death, she wsnt able to do that herself. The Kinneret Cemetery is sucha peaceful and beautiful spot and the overlook is gorgeous.

We stopped in Capernaum, where St Peter was said to have lived. Today a modern church stands next to an ancient synagoge and Christian prayers mingled with Jewish do we know where is St Peter's house? It was the house that had 11 layers of the floor - meaning that the home had been occupied through hundreds if not thousands of years.

Very interesting - and someplace I'd never been before! As Rabbi Ben Bag Bag says about the Torah, turn it and turn it for everything is within it. The same is with visiting Israel. There is always something new to find and see.

Continuing up north into the Golan, we watched the view as we climbed in our bus...we came to the city of Katzrin and had a yummy lunch and what Renee termed the best ice cream in the Golan. You know it's good when even your guide who recommends the ice cream goes and eats it! It really was fabulous! (My mom wants me to note that it was really gelato...I had tiramisu flavor - yum!)

After lunch we embarked on a Jeep tour (they were actually Land Rovers) to see the Golan Heights. As Warren Christopher once said "ah....Geography IS important!" - we saw the very important significance of the Heights...from them you can just see the whole of Israel arrayed before you. The beauty is breathtaking but the knowledge of the danger to the towns and kibbutzim and fields and PEOPLE below if these high parts are not in our hands....

We saw wild boar and jackals in the fields and talked about the ruins of the Syrian army bases. The recent rain and snow had left the off-roads very muddy and full of deep puddles. At least we didn't have to get out and push!!!

Our jeeps dropped us off at the Golan Winery where we toured and tasted...yum!

We arrived in the evening after the wine tour at our hotel in Kibbutz Kfar Blum. The hotel was lovely and the dinner delicious.

After dinner most of us met together in the somewhat noisy lobby and shared stories, some details about the trip, and it was just a nice chance to be all together.

Everyone thought the hotel was wonderful and I know we all slept so well after such a busy day:)!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008



As we left Jerusalem in the slushy snow this morning and came down from the hills of Jerusalem, the snow turned to rain and then tapered off...

...and off in the distance over the hills of the desert appeared a beautiful rainbow! We stopped to take a picture but it we drove we saw another one - a full bow! It was truly a blessing...

Blessed are You, our God, Creator of the World, who remembers the covenant with Noah with each appearance of a rainbow.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Snow in Jerusalem!!!!

Snow in Jerusalem!!!!

It's here! Everyone said it would be but who really believes the weather guy?

It's awfully pretty but might not be so good for our schedule....

The wind is howling in Jerusalem!

The wind is howling in Jerusalem!

The Israelis have been rather obsessed with sheleg this week. Sheleg, the Hebrew word for snow, seems to strike both fear and glee into the hearts of Jerusalemites! Everyone is sure it will snow (as though even the meteorologists here are close to God) and have been worrying over our plans...we plan, God laughs!

So...the wind is howling, the rain is pouring down, and perhaps it will snow. During my year-in-Israel it did not snow, although usually Jerusalem gets about one snow a year. So i would be excited to see it, so long as it does not hamper our plans too much!

Today was a glorious day. The sky was blue, the temperature warm, and we headed south to Masada. Some of our group climbed the formidable mountain but most took the cable car to the top. Even though it was almost midnite back in Chicago, a couple of us took great delight in making phone calls from up there!

Monday morning is a very busy time on Masada becuase of all the Bnai Mitzvah! But we still enjoyed our tour and hearing the tale of Masada...

As we made our way back down the wind definitely began to pick up. Lunch at Ein Gedi followed by an excellent hike through the Nature Preserve. We saw ibex (hebrew Yael! Like my girl) and hyrex, a cute furry animal. Some we close enough to almost touch. Ein Gedi is where young David hid from the wrath of we read a poem/midrash about Abishag, his last and youngest wife.

We got a chance to stop at the Ahava factory store and then headed to the Dead Sea! The wind was really going now and as we walked down the path to the water the people coming up told us that they were closing the beach for the wind. Of course, we said, so laughably typical of our trip so far!? We went down anyway and took pictures wading in the water. The wind nearly knocked us over! A few minutes in the sulfur bath and we were on our way back to Jerusalem.

And none too soon as the wind began to howl and the rain started to come down....

So we might go to the mall, what else do you do on a rainy night? Our guide told me that was very Israeli of we'll see. We're having a great time - the group has a wonderful sense of humor about all the interesting occurances and our guide, Renee, is fantastic...(Hey, Renee, are you reading?:)

Our journey continues...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

So much to report on our journey...Shabbat was lovely - we shared wonderful services on Friday night at kehillat HarEl, Am Shalom's sister synagogue, where the music was fantastic and the sermon highly relevant - it was about clothing, the clothing of the high priest of course...but to our group, most of whom were wearing the same clothes in which we travelled, it was very funny!

It is great to travel to Israel and yet hear many of the same tunes at Shabbat services. Wherever we roam, Jews can feel at home!

The day of Shabbat was mostly spent in the Old City, followed by a study session back at HarEl and a seudah slishit, the 3rd meal of Shabbat before Havdalah. Then we had a night on the town, eating and browsing Ben Yehuda Street's many shops!

Sunday dawned beautifully - bright blue sky and mild temperatures. We began by meeting with Hannah Pick, Anne Frank's closest childhood friend. Our time with this lovely lady was altogether too short - her stories were fascinating. Then we immediately left for Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and Museum.

I had not yet seen the newly redone museum. It was done so well, moving through the years and moments of the atrocities in a moving and beautiful way.

The museum was perhaps even more incredible because of the young soldiers also touring. To see their emotion, most of them tough sabras, was beautiful. Also we shared the tour time with the 8th and 9th grade Chicago teens on the Taam Yisrael program. So good to see these young people gaining this wonderful experience and so moving to see our next generation here in Israel.

The most powerful image to me was the hall of remembrance - a very tall room with shelves stretching above and beyond the floor, lined with books containing the testimony of survivors. Alongside these books were the empty shelves - all the testimony we do not have - all those who did not live to tell their story. The image was a stark reminder of what we've lost.

We came back out into that gorgeous blue sky, and breathed in the air of modern Israel in all her splendor.

We went to Mount Scopus and saw the Chagall Windows at the Hadassah Hospital. They are truly gorgeous.

We returned to our hotel and met briefly with Linda Epstein of the Chicago JUF - she shared he job with us and how she is so instrumental in guiding our money in Israel.

Then we met with Alice Shalvi, founder of the Israel Women's Network and the mother of Israeli feminism. She's quite a sharp and formidable woman and our group enjoyed her talk very much!

Ah....for me a trip to Jerusalem wouldnt be complete without eating at the Village Green, an amazing vegetarian restaurant. (My brother ate across the street at Burgers Bar...go figure) It did not disappoint!!!

Tomorrow we're off to Masada.
Hope for good weather for us - they are predicting snow!:)

Children are children

Children are children

This morning we went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem.

This was my first visit to this beautiful place since I've been a each photograph of those beautiful little children who died much too soon I saw my own children.

I saw the work passes for the children of the Lodz ghetto and I tried to imagine putting my children to work to save their lives.

I looked at the photos of the mothers holding their babies walking into the gas chambers and I felt my own children in my arms.

And I saw the eyes of the young soldier-girls who stood in the museum with us. Their strength and power contrasted so strongly with the helplessness of the ghetto children, I wanted to reach out and pull each of these strong young women into my arms and kiss their heads.

I watched the young teenagers from the Chicago area who were also here with us and I saw my own children visiting Israel and seeing these horrors. And i looked at these bright shiny American teenagers with their lifeforce so strong...against the grainy black and white of the dead...

And I know...I KNOW that these young people....MY children...are the ones who will ensure NEVER AGAIN.

Friday, February 15, 2008


God spoke to Moses
Tell them all to bring oil
for sure from olives.

Oil is for lamps
to burn continually
inside the Mishkan*.

Have special clothes made
for Aaron, his sons - the priests.
Breastpiece and ephod,

robe, tunic, sash in
gold, blue, purple and scarlet,
fine twisted linen.

Beautiful gemstones
will decorate the breastplate
to honor the tribes.

Urim and Thummim
go in the pretty breastplate
for Aaron to wear.

Don't forget the bells
so you can hear when he comes
into God's presence.

To ordain the priests
God gives a ceremony.
They put on the clothes,

and kill a young bull.
Sprinkle the blood on the priests
and on the altar.**

The same with a ram,
then take up the bread and cakes
and burn it all up.

The offering helps
remind them all of God's love
and presence within.

*Hebrew word for Tabernacle
**I'm so glad that we don't ordain rabbis like this...

See more Haiku Friday here.

Shabbat is coming to Jerusalem

Shabbat is coming to Jerusalem

Any early wakeup took us to the Kotel (Western Wall) tunnel tour - an incredible walk under the houses and along the excavation site of the Kotel. Our group was tired but agreed that the visit was thoroughly worth it!

The Kotel, ah....each time I come to Israel I stand in awe of those stones, cut and placed in almost miraculous fashion (because of their size and the available technology)....the beauty of those stones, worn by so many hands...

Like so many, i think of the moment in 1967 - Har haBayit b'yadeinu! The Temple Mount is in our hands! The moment when those young paratroopers came to this place and their tears fell...

The Old City is such a magical place - ancient blending with cards and Roman glass, Internet cafes and stone ruins. A brief walk through the ancient Cardo (and a few moments to shop) and we're on our way to Mahane Yehuda.

Machane Yehuda is an outdoor market that positively buzzes on Friday afternoons. The crazy frenzy of last-minute shopping is intense and exhilarating! We found dates and pita and cookies and pomelos and strawberries and rugelach and, of course, felafel !!!

Even though we don't have our luggage,
even though we are so tired from no sleep and crazy travel,
Shabbat is coming. Shabbat in Jerusalem...such a blessing, such a joy.

May this Shabbat bring blessings.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

We've arrived in Israel....

We've arrived in Israel....

....But without our luggage.

Oh well - even the air here is better than the air anywhere else so how can we possibly complain?

(I would write lots of mean things here abour British Airways in the hopes that someone from their PR department would see it but I'm too tired )

We ended up with any interesting side journey to Brussels (sprouts, anyone?) and finally have arrived (it's 2:15am)....

Tomorrow we go to the Old City!
Stay tuned....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We're off!

We're off!

Today was the most beautiful day Chicago has seen in a long time! The sun shone for extended periods of time and the copious snow glittered. I woke up thrilled that a snowstorm had not marred our plans....until I learned that our flight was cancelled because of weather in London!

After much worry and wrangling we were all safely rebooked on a slightly later flight (ideally we'll still make our connection!) And we are all happily chatting and snacking and about to board our plane!

See you on the other side:)

Follow me, Israel!

I am so excited that I'm going to Israel today!!!!

But fear not, loyal readers, I will still be posting. Thank you, Blogger, for creating Mail2Blogger which makes it so easy to post! (Data service on the Bberry is super expensive and I'm not not not taking my laptop.)

A bit about my trip: I'm leading my congregation's first-ever Women's Mission to Israel. We will be seeing and doing lots of incredible things while we're there for 9 days...most of our time is spent in Jerusalem but we're also spending a couple of days up North (Tzfat, the Golan, Tiberias) and one day at the Dead Sea, plus twoish days in Tel Aviv. I'm so excited! There are 20 women plus me (and including my mom!) and I know it will be an amazing experience. I haven't been in Israel in 2 years (since before Sam was born) and I just can't wait.

Plus I get to see my brother (<--that is a link to his blog btw. He is very cranky that he thinks I don't blog about him enough. See the cute sidebar button for his blog now? That's because of a snarky comment he made a few posts ago...) AND meet Robin (hopefully this will work out!) and give her the prize she won in my Tu BiShevat giveaway last month!

So...if you're looking for something to read in the next 10 days, I'll be posting about my trip here and also at my other blog.

(Oh, and I think I'm going to try and post my Haiku Torah Fridays (hosted here) -- they are all stay tuned. We're into a great part of Exodus! For those of you who aren't followers of Haiku Friday, each week I write haiku versions of the week's Torah (Scripture) portion...check some of them out here. Come back each Friday for my Haiku Torah!)

See what works for other people over here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

creating memories

I love to look at the inspiring, creative and beautiful photography that I've found in the bloggyworld. Some of us are much more amateur (me!) but still want to document our family's life in beautiful pictures.

I know that I look for opportunities to take pictures for my albums and of course, for my blog.

But what if you're documenting life for mom or dad who are not there to see each day's activities? I'm thinking of our troops who are serving abroad, some for very long stretches of time without their families close by. One of my friends from high school, Kristie, has two small (beautiful) children and a husband serving overseas in Iraq. She handles each difficulty that life keeps throwing at her with a great deal of strength and humor and I'm amazed and impressed.

Kristie sent me an email this weekend offering a chance to help out our troops and I thought I'd pass it on here to all of you. She is trying to get together some small durable photo/scrapbook albums to send overseas, and she writes...

Operation Minutes from Home
For a donation of $10, (retail is over $20), you can purchase a photo album to be sent to the unit. I am working with the unit commander's wife to have an event at Ft Lewis, so the families here can fill the albums before we send them.

I needs 50 albums to hold the event (for all the families).

You can contact her directly if you're interested. Please let her know it came from me...

Here's my favorite shots from the snow day we had last week...

What did you want to remember?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Thoughts on House (TV)

Some of you asked my opinion on last week's (this week's?) episode of my thoughts are up at my other blog.

What did you think?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Divine Plans...Parashat Terumah (haiku)

Time to build the ark!
God gives Mo some instructions...
who and how to do.

If your heart moves you
bring your gifts for the Mishkan*
gold, silver, copper,

colored yarn, linen,
goats' hair, ram skins, acacia
oil, spices, gems...

Make two cherubim
and put them on the cover.
Make a table too.

Make a menorah
six branches -- of purest gold,
to light it all up.

Put the Ark, table,
and the menorah into
the Tabernacle.

Weave a curtain of
Purple, blue and crimson yarn
as a partition

Cover the Mishkan*
with fine twisted linen stuff.
Make it beautiful!

*AKA Tabernacle

Things are about to get a tad bloody...stay tuned for next week!

See more Haiku Friday here...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Glow of One

(I actually have three children, I just keep posting pictures of this one...I promise, the others will get some limelight;-)

This week's theme over at Stacy's place is Glow...and I knew I had the perfect opportunity with the birthday party on Sunday.

(Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure my dad took this picture. They all got mixed up on my computer!)

But I also thought about my little girl...she sure is glowing.

When she was first born, she was horribly colicky. For three solid months, she really wouldn't let us put her down (she'd scream, she'd cry, she'd wail...) until she finally took a pacifier, learned to calm down, roll over, smile and then...

She became lovely.

Smiley, happy, friendly, sweet, social...with moments that remind us of her colicky days but they are few and far between. She watches everyone around her with interest, she shows an unusual affinity for technological objects (especially cell phones), she eats steadily and patiently (and almost anything), she handles her brothers with ease even when they push her around, she loves books, she dances and giggles when music is played around her, she greets new people with a smile but truly shouts with glee when her daddy walks in the room...she positively glows.

For both of these pictures, I played with the saturation...a new thing for me. I really like how they look! What do you think? I think they gave each pic a nice gauzy glow. The bottom picture was also very dark, so I lightened it up and then did the saturation. I think it has a cool, artsy look...

What's glowing in your life?

P.S. *today* is my blog-aversary! (although i posted last year on 2/7 and then didn't post again til march... so i think i'll celebrate then....if i remember. ha.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I ♥

Did you know how useful is? I've actually written about this before, how much I love the "wish list" feature. (even my kids have wish lists on Amazon!)

But there are other great things you can do with Amazon as well.

I have a Prime membership, which makes 2-day shipping free (well, I pay the fee for it upfront, basically). I use it for diapers. I've bought food items to send to soldiers abroad. I buy all sorts of miscellaneous things available from my favorite online store! The Prime membership also makes it easy and inexpensive to send gifts because I don't pay for shipping. (You can send a $10 gift and only spend the $10 you wanted to spend!)

I also use it for recommendations. I love the feature that when you are looking at a book, you get other books that you might like to read too!

I also have a collection of Listmania lists that I've written.

Getting Ready to Travel to Israel
Great Chanukah Books
Great Jewish Children's Books
What's Next to Read With My 5-Year-Old
Books I've Read with my 5-Year-Old

I also have on "so you'd like to guide...": So You'd Like to Lead a Great Passover Seder

I think that these are a great way to "share the wisdom" that we have all gained in a creative and interesting way. I love to look at other people's lists to see what to read or research.

The prices are right, the orders come quickly, and I love shopping on Amazon!
(Plus I hear rumors that maybe...occasionally....the Amazon CEO "grants" wishlists. So make sure you have one and that it has that big beautiful camera that you really want...and the sewing machine you've been drooling never hurts! Okay, it's probably an urban myth. But it makes me happy.)

What works for you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

And the winner is...

Jon Stewart.

The piece on tonight's Daily Show about the Giants' ticker-tape parade by John Oliver (the British guy) was hilarious. When the video is available, go see it! He did a whole piece on how everyone in New York was celebrating their right to was awesome.

And Jon's response at the end was great.

Okay, I'm still up watching results and I still have no idea what really happened. I'll have to wait for tomorrow's paper. Until then, I'll continue to listen to what Jon has to tell me. Most useful news on TV!

A Super Day...

Did you vote?

Decisions, decisions....

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Party...

Really, who cares for the one-year-old birthday party? My one-year-old doesn't like the sound of the vacuum cleaner, she's not going to enjoy 50 people making noise in her house.

So we had just a few...

And really, for me, it's just about getting the pictures of the kid eating cake.

(BTW, she wasn't so obliging. Maybe there wasn't the lush waves of frosting on a "bought" cake, but she was pretty darn dainty about eating her cupcake. I might have to buy a cake just to try again for the pics to match her brothers'! She still enjoyed it and needed a bath post-cake-eating!)

First, I made the cupcakes -- tie-dye...

And since it was Super-Bowl Sunday, some red, white, and blue ones for the Patriots (note, my dad took this one, isn't it cool?) This almost looks like a great food blog:-)

And my Best Shot...I love how she has her mouth open way before the food is anywhere near her mouth. She is ready!! (Smart cookie.)

The party was lovely, quiet, and simple. My 6-year-old was a little upset with me that I didn't even buy "special napkins." It seemed nice to me!

(More about my baby turning 1 to follow since she's not actually 1 for about 2 weeks. We are celebrating early because I'm heading off to Israel over her birthday.)

See more tasty shots here.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Don't Just Do Something - Sit There!

This past Shabbat we read Parashat Mishpatim. At the end of the parasha, we read in Exodus 24:12: And God said to Moses: Come up to Me into the mount and be there.

Rabbi Steven Lowenstein (the senior rabbi of Am Shalom) gave an interesting drash (comment) on this verse. He asked why would the text say "come up" and also "be there"? Isn't this extraneous?

Well, we know that nothing is extraneous in the Torah. So what is this text trying to teach us? That "being there" is so important. As he said in his drash, the expression "don't just sit there, do something" should perhaps be re-rendered as "don't just do something -- be there."

I thought this was so powerful and wise. How often do we run around the house picking up toys, folding laundry, doing dishes...when we could just sit and be.

I have this comic on my fridge from Baby Blues (my favorite comic strip)

Even though it says a lot about the difference between men & women (which is why I cut it out), I think it also serves as a reminder to me. Sometimes the right choice is to sit down first and clean up later. Sometimes the right choice is to take the "me time" -- the work will be there later.

Written as part of MamaBlogga's Group Writing Project for January. Wanna join in?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Winner of OopsieDazie & Book Giveaway

The winner is #24:

Laura_licious! (at hotmail) -- I'll be sending you an email.

Here's how she answered my question about instilling confidence in girls...

I have a son, and I am due with a girl next month. I just pray that I can instill confidence and strength to her as she grows up!

Some of the comments were really fabulous, take a look.

Some of you asked me what I meant by the Jewish princess reference. It's a not-very-nice ethnic slur...of the "Jewish American Princess". Sexist and also antisemitic. See Wikipedia's article for some more information.

Thanks to everyone who entered!
Come back in March for a Celebrate Women Purim Party, co-hosted by Frume Sarah!

If you liked what you see here, please consider subscribing to my blog.

Thanks to Shannon for hosting the Giveaway Carnival and a big thank you to OopsieDazie for offering the great giveaway. Go buy some of their cute and affordable stuff!!!

i ♥ laws

In this week's Torah portion, Mishpatim....

God gives lotsa laws,
tells Moses to pass them on
for all to obey.

Laws for keeping slaves,
how to treat your maids and wives,
penalties and rules

don't hit mom or dad,
what to do when an ox gores,
don't throw stones or smite.

It's eye for an eye
life for life and tooth for tooth
burning for burning...

If you dig a pit
and someone falls into it
you have to make good.

The people answered:
"all that God has said we'll do!"
So Mo wrote it down.

Mo went up the Mount
left Aaron in charge of things
and all the judging.

A cloud covered up
mount sinai from all their view
Mo stayed forty days.

(What happened while he was up there? Stay tuned...)
and see more Haiku Friday here...

Shabbat Shalom!