Monday, June 30, 2014

May We Be United, in the future, for Good Things

    I am assuming that my readers have heard the terrible news, that the bodies of three youths, undoubtedly those kidnapped 2 1/2 weeks ago, have been found. It is a sad day, and I feel literally ill.
    To lose a child is hard enough. To lose him as the result of a brutal atrocity like this must be absolutely heart wrenching . My condolences to the families.
    I rarely write political things on this blog, feeling that the chances of me changing anyone's mind is probably nil. I see that with on-line discussions people very rarely listen to each other; the modis operendi seems to be name calling. And I am not going to go into politics now…. Now is simply a time to be unified in our mourning. I am leaving the politics to those more knowledgeable in that area than I am.
    But I would like to note one fact. Sometimes the different streams of Orthodoxy here in Israel distrust each other. Some feel that others are not religious enough; some feel that different groups are shirking their duties. But in this, we ARE united. A few days ago my granddaughter had an end-of-the-year program at her school. When I went to take the bus home, I was pleasantly surprised to see next to the bus stop (in a chareidi –ultra Orthodox -  area), a table piled with Tehillim booklets (Psalms), so that people could pray for the boys' safe return while waiting for the bus.
    And just now, my oldest son (who does NOT vote in elections, and the like), who I knew had been praying for the kidnapped teens, phoned me. "I heard the terrible news. Please tell me details." He does not own a radio… but he heard… and simply had to know. Because he really, really cared.

   My prayer for the future is that our communities can be united to celebrate happy occasions, and not be united only in sorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lessons From the Titanic

     Today I did something a bit interesting. I went to see the exhibition of artifacts from the "Titanic", which is currently in Tel Aviv for a two month stay. I went with my husband, purchasing tickets as a special treat for him (knowing that he would enjoy viewing the display)
[Note to Israeli readers: the tickets are 154 shekeks; the exhibition is NOT shomer shabbas. Be sure to buy tickets including the audio earphones, which add a great deal to the visit. ALL of the exhibition material is in English/ Hebrew/ Russian. The entire show is wheelchair accessible.]
[image: myself, standing in front of a model of the grand staircase]

   The display was very well done, giving one a definite feel of life on the ship, and of the various types of people aboard. This is the emphasis of the material shown, rather than the sinking itself (although the sinking and aftermath ARE also covered). In addition, there is an added-on part about Jewish victims/survivors.

  Having spent so much money (three tickets---I had a married son come along to push my husband's wheelchair -=, plus an outrageous 50 shekels for parking= almost $150), I wondered what lessons I can take away from this experience.

Here are a few thoughts:
1) Even the glitzy is often tarnished if you examine it closely.  The first class passengers paid $2500 for passage (equivalent to about $57,000 today), enjoying the most luxurious amenities available at that time.  Yet the gossips, the mistresses, and the card sharks were there as well.
2) Try to keep in mind that the things we feel are stable and permanent in our lives may very quickly turn out not to be so. Life can be fragile. Let your family know how much you love them.
3) And finally, I noted one more thing: The first-class section had a gym room with state-of-the-art (for that day) equipment. If the rich (those who can afford the equivalent of over $50,000) understood the need for exercise, why are we shirking…..???????

   And just to prove that I am not shirking, I went walking afterwards from the exhibition center to Reading power station and from there to Tel Baruch and back to Reading… And here are a few pictures from there:

[image: sea view near sunset ]

[image: rocks along the shore ]

[image: yellow blossoms]

Sunday, June 15, 2014

WHERE are They?!?!?

WHERE are all the people who bemoaned the inability of the Palestinians to ship in concrete, as they criticized Israel for enforcing a blockade?

WHERE are all the people who bemoan the difficulties Arabs have in traveling to work in Israel, when they have to undergo security checkpoints?

WHERE are all the people who cry over the loss of "freedom of movement" that the security wall  causes?!??

   What about the lives and freedom of the three teens who were kidnapped? Why do all the people who championed the above causes not raising the roof?

     And of course, there is NO comparison to any of the above and the targeting of children.
    See also this post by Paula Stern.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Walk North of Hertzlia

Sunday I did something I haven't done for several months: I went "exploring".  With Passover cleaning, the Passover holiday, and my operation, I had been too busy. But Sunday I felt definitely ready to try walking in a "new" area. I like to do this, and then, once I have discovered the best route (and what to avoid) , I share with friends. (BTW my knowledge of this area is largely from the geocaching site. HIGHLY recommended……)
    Note: This walk is largely in the sun. It is best to do on a cooler day, and with a good sun hat, sun screen (bring extra with you to re-apply), and plenty of fluids!!!!!!!!  Also wear shoes that will do well on sand roads (ie, closed).
   So I started out near  the central train station, on Derech Namir (route 2), where I took a "sherut" (shared taxi)  heading in the direction of Netanya. I got off next to the small town of "Shefayim", which is a bit north of Hertzliya. (One can get off also at the next stop, "Ga'ash".) Between shafayim and Ga'ash there is, next to the shore, the Hof HaSharon Nature Reserve. In my opinion, the side nearer to Shefayim is nicer.
   This reserve is a wild area, on the cliff-bluffs overlooking the ocean. There are several paths.
[photo: view of the Mediteranean Sea from the overhanging bluff.]
   After leaving the park, take back roads (a google maps app on your cell phone helps here) towards Hertzliya. On the way you should pass the green gallery", an outdoor sculpture display.
[photo: "sculpture" of a vase.]

   As you reach the outskirts of Hertzaliya, you will arrive at the Appolonia Ntional Park. Here there are the remains of a crusader fortress. (There is an admission price of 22 shekels.)
[2 photos: Crusader fort ruins.]  

    An additional half-hour walk will take you to the Hertzliya Beach area, from where you can take a 90 bus back to the Tel Aviv area. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Spring Thaw and The Cookie Monster

   The past few weeks have been "non-standard" for me.  Nearly 2 weeks ago I underwent surgery on my shoulder, to repair the ligaments I tore in December (from a fall). This means that for 6 weeks my arm will be in a sling, and movement will be limited for up to 6 months.
  A week after the operation came the "Shavuot" holiday, followed a day later by the bar mitzvah of my oldest grandson. I had cooked in advance for the holiday, so I "managed" fine.
   However diet-wise the 2 weeks have been challenging. After the operation I was OK about my intake, but my exercise level was WAY lower than normal, so I gained a bit. Then came the holiday, accompanied with my favorite calorie-bomb, cheesecake. And while I have done much worse in years past, my consumption was not going to earn me an abstinence-prize.  Then came the bar mitzvah. I overate…. And overate. On arriving home I went to upload the photos I had taken for family members living abroad. In the middle, I felt hungry (hungry??!? After ALL that I ate at the Bar Mitzvah!?!?), and I went to the kitchen and prepared myself half a bowl of cookies.
   Now years ago, I could eat a full bowl of cookies, and often add an additional helping as well. So a half bowl was less than that… but that was very small consolation. I had thought that this cookie monster who could devour a bowl of cookies had long ago been slaughtered by my new habits. But suddenly I realized that cookie monster had only been hibernating. Underneath it all, he was alive and well. And since I had started a "spring thaw" by not restraining better my eating for the previous week, cookie monster had woken up and started stirring.
   THAT scared me, so early the next day I was 100% back on track. I have already lost nearly all that I have gained.  But what I want to explore here is the difference between a small planned "leniency" and a "spring thaw". I often tell my diet pupils that for holidays they should allow themselves a bit of extra leave way.  Completely abstaining from cheesecake (as a possible example) on the Shavuot holiday is only going to lead to feelings of deprivation, and "I-can't-live-like-this". But if I allow myself "extra" for the holiday, won't that lead to a "spring thaw"? Not necessarily.  A few hints can help prevent that:
1) Even if allowing yourself a bit extra, keep tracking what you ARE eating.
2) Plan in advance exactly what you are going to allow yourself extra, and when.  This should be very specific. And allow yourself to enjoy that extra portion, guilt-free.
3) If possible, cut and prepare the planned portion in advance.
4) Decide exactly when you are going back to watching yourself 100%
5) Plan other, healthy  low-calorie treats for the holidays as well. Make the holiday food "special" even if low calorie.
6) You can also make an effort to set the table in a pretty manner, to add to the feeling that the holiday is special.
*   *   *   *   *  

Yeah, I know… I should have posted this BEFORE the holiday… (But I WAS post-operation….).