Pesach Loans – Only in Israel!

Yesterday I had an unusual customer service experience with a Bank Leumi representative. I phoned (because with my limited Hebrew I couldn’t find the correct link on their site) with the goal of transferring money from our savings to our checking account. The conversation went something like this:

Continue reading Pesach Loans – Only in Israel!


CHAI Chanukah News

Having made Aliyah from Cleveland, Ohio, I receive the CHAI (Cleveland Hometown Association in Israel) newsletter periodically. The most recent issue opens with a holiday message from Jerusalem Rabbi Shalom Bronstein who has kindly granted me permission to share it with you.

Dear Friends:

The rabbis in the Talmud ask the question “What is Hanukkah?” In the world of today, I would not be surprised if it is the most widely known Jewish holiday. In reality, the holiday is looked upon by various segments of the Jewish world in so many ways that the Hanukkah of one is almost unrecognizable to another. We all know that its proximity to another winter holiday inflated its importance. Continue reading CHAI Chanukah News


Gearing up for Chanukah

I remember feeling overwhelmed (in a suffocating sense) by the over-commercialization of the December holidays in America (that seemed to begin earlier every year) to the point that I would stock the pantry and freezer, and be sure to buy all the wintery things we might need before January no later than the end of October. Sure, I’d venture out to pick up perishables from time to time, but usually alone so as to shield my son from the in-your-face/ears advertising assaults. So for those of you who are still in the United States (of Islam – sorry, I couldn’t resist!), here’s a taste of how Israelis gear up for the holidays… Continue reading Gearing up for Chanukah


Erev Yom Kippur – Please Forgive Me!

E-mail, blogs and social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook have had an incredible impact on connecting us with hundreds and thousands of people – this is both a blessing AND a curse because on Erev Yom Kippur I am now faced with the task of asking forgiveness of anyone I may have offended or hurt during the previous year and it’s possible that I have never even met some of you or received feedback that would allow me to know that I have done so.

So, in the spirit of high technology I am now using the same tools to ask your forgiveness… If I wrote, said, or did anything that offended or hurt you during the previous year, I apologize. Will you please forgive me?

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast.
G’mar Hatimah Tova!


Greetings for Rosh HaShanah 5770

I can’t believe another year has flown by so quickly! I planned to select a photo from my gallery and make a Rosh HaShanah greeting card out of it for you but I can’t decide which ONE to choose. Since I’m running out of time, I decided to share with you 13 of my favorites. Just for fun, maybe you could let me know which one (if any) you would have enjoyed receiving as a printed card.

– if you live in Israel please scroll down to the photos now and the message at the bottom.

– if you still live in a foreign land (i.e., chutz la aretz, galut, galus, diaspora, etc.), please read and respond to the following message and then enjoy the photos.
Continue reading Greetings for Rosh HaShanah 5770


Yom HaZikaron

At 20:00 (8:00 PM) sirens cried throughout all of Israel in memory of the 22,570 who have been killed during their service in the IDF.

In my many decades living in the US I never experienced an American Memorial Day celebration as emotional as the ceremony I witnessed tonight at the Kotel (Western Wall); parades, BBQs and big shopping sales pale in comparison.

On this night last year I was lighting the menorah at Young Israel in Cleveland in remembrance of the fallen soldiers, and although it was a special night of videos and moving speeches – and I cried – somehow actually being here makes this night much more personal and meaningful.

Fortunately, Channel 2 News quickly published online their broadcast of the torch lighting and powerfully touching speeches of President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, so you can watch it now (multiple videos on that page, so scroll down) if you didn’t catch it live.

At the time of this posting, Channel 2 is broadcasting a memorial concert live from Rabin Square in Tel Aviv Continue reading Yom HaZikaron


Our Best Pesach Ever!

5769 has proven to be our best Pesach ever! The food, friends, weather, the Holy air we breathe…

We thoroughly enjoyed the seder at the home of our friends Ron, Esther and Sarah, who provided an entertaining evening and delicious meal. Then we walked home with our friends Fred, Barbara and Netanya and even with the long walk we were home by 1:15 AM – sure beats arriving home at 3 AM from those Cleveland seders that took place on our block!

We were challenged to find a second night seder for Carol/Rina who is attending seminary here, but unfortunately not planning on making Aliyah in the near future. She was worried, but I told her that in Israel everything is planned at the last minute – and to our delight she received an invitation the day before Erev Pesach. They also invited her for their “last day” meal. Continue reading Our Best Pesach Ever!


The Pesach Kitniyot Debate

Pesach is coming and along with concerns about friends who do – or do not – consume gebrochts (a Yiddish term referring to mixing matzah with any liquid), the debate about consumption of kitniyot moved to the top of our list.

Some of our readers may ask “what is kitniyot and why refrain from consuming it?”

According to Bayla Sheva Brenner in the last paragraph of an article titled Keeping Up with Passover Trenditions at The Orthodox Union of America OUKosher site:

Kitniyot: Ashkenasic Jews have accepted the stringency to refrain from eating products such as rice, legumes, corn, millet, and beans to avoid confusion with forbidden grains, since they, at one time, were commonly made into a flour substance for bread; also, because certain types of wheat can get mixed in with these items and it is presumably difficult to differentiate between the wheat and the kitniyot.

Continue reading The Pesach Kitniyot Debate


Pesach Shopping in Israel

I am so used to being price-gouged in America for Kosher L’Pesach foods that I didn’t even think about the prices as I did my holiday shopping here in Israel. I guess I just expected to be taken advantage of, so when I sat down to share my Pesach shopping experience at our local Mr. Zol (the equivalent of Heinens in Cleveland and Price Chopper in upstate NY) with you I realized that not only did I get great deals, but my weekly shopping total was less than usual!

Here are some photos and deals I thought you might be interested in. Continue reading Pesach Shopping in Israel