Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An incredible Kiddush Hashem

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for maternal boasting. Proceed at your own risk.

Due to various and sundry real life endeavors, I wasn’t able to write the traditional fast day food post on Sunday. Hopefully, however, THIS post will more than make up for my blogging lapse, because I think you’ll agree that it’s highly appropriate for the week of Assarah B’Tevet.

About a month after the CTO began his military service, he was traveling home from his base and found himself sitting next to another soldier from his unit.

They started talking, and during the course of their conversation, the soldier shared a wonderful story with the CTO.

As it so happens, this particular solider comes from a non-observant home and considers himself to be completely secular. (Although the unit in question was a hesder unit, there were a few secular soldiers there as well.)

Furthermore, in what can be taken as an unfortunate commentary on Israeli society, the soldier had apparently had very little direct contact with Orthodox Jews of any stripe.

Indeed, his impressions of his religious countrymen were largely gleamed from the media and basically consisted of stereotyped images of rock-throwing fanatics.

Thus, on the first day of basic training (i.e. tironut, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you), when he noticed that most of the other new recruits were not only religious but yeshiva guys (i.e. beinesh”im, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) to boot, he got very nervous.

Panicked, he approached the commanders and requested that they transfer him to a unit with, in his words, “fewer kippot.”

But the commanders brushed him off with a dismissive “we’ll see what we can do,” and the soldier saw that he had no choice but to deal with his predicament.

So, he settled into army life and waited for the anticipated missionizing and religious coercion to begin.

Except that nothing happened.

In fact, as he admitted to the CTO during their ride home a month after their induction, he realized that he had been very wrong about the CTO and his fellow Torah scholars/soldiers.

They never tried to shove their beliefs down his throat.
They never looked down at him.
They never acted as if they thought they were better than him.
And at no point did they try to force him to do anything.

Instead, he said, the hesdernikim proved to be a group of nice, friendly, and nonjudgmental guys.

When the CTO got home and told us this beautiful story, YZG and I were amazed and, BA”H, incredibly proud.

Sadly, different sectors of Israel’s population don’t always have a chance to meet, and as a result, we are often left with false impressions.

Therefore, IMHO, the CTO and his friends caused an incredible Kiddush Hashem (a sanctification of Hashem’s Name), because thanks to them, the soldier now equates being a ben Torah with being a mensch.

“’ואהבת את ה' אלהיך.’ - שיהא שם שמים מתאהב על ידך… מה הבריות אומרות עליו? אשרי אביו שלמדו תורה, אשרי רבו שלמדו תורה. אוי להם לבריות שלא למדו תורה. פלוני שלמדו תורה ראו כמה נאים דרכיו, כמה מתוקנים מעשיו. עליו הכתוב אומר: ‘ויאמר לי עבדי אתה ישראל אשר בך אתפאר.’”
(יומא פ”ו.)

“‘And you shall love Hashem, your God.’ (Devarim 6:5) - [You must ensure] that the Name of Heaven shall become beloved through you… What do people say about him? Fortunate is his father who taught him Torah; fortunate is his teacher who taught him Torah. Woe onto those people who did not learn Torah. Ploni – who learned Torah – see how pleasant are his ways; how refined are his deeds. Regarding him it says, ‘And He said to me, you are My servant, Yisrael, in whom I take glory.’ (Yeshaya 49:3)”
(BT Yoma 86a)

May we all be privileged to reach out with love to our Jewish brothers and sisters and to bring achdut (unity) to Am Yisrael.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for other people’s vacation pictures/videos. Proceed at your own risk.

Longtime readers know that unlike most Israelis, who tend to visit Eilat during Chanukah vacation, the extended Shiputzim family prefers to head in the opposite direction and spends Shabbat Chanukah up North.

This year, our specific destination was Nov, a religious agricultural moshav, located right next door to Avnei Eitan in the southern Golan Heights, and B”H, we had a wonderful time.

Which was nice for us, of course, but unfortunately, not so nice for you.

Because after all, it wouldn’t be the week after Chanukah here on Our Shiputzim without me forcing you to sit through, er, sharing our vacation pictures.

And so, without further ado, here are the threatened promised photos:

As always, please feel free to click on the pictures for a much better view.

IMG_0508Exterior of our tzimmer

IMG_0488The kitchen/eating area

IMG_0503The bedroom

IMG_0496The sleeping loft

IMG_0448A view of the indoor swimming pool

IMG_0551A flock of sheep

And as if all those pictures weren’t fascinating enough, and on the off chance that I haven’t yet managed to bore you all to tears, here’s a short video from our drive up to Nov on Friday. If you listen carefully, you can even hear the day’s weather report:

Laughing out loud

Have you ever been to Nov?


P.S. Speaking of Shabbat Chanukah, don’t miss my tribute to my Zaidy z”l. (It’s especially noteworthy, because it’s the first time I ever posted a picture of myself here on the blog…)

P.S.S. The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including my “ceasefire pie” (aka chocolate mousse pie) post.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Euphonic Friday: Chanukah 5773 Edition

Here’s the Maccabeats’ newest Chanukah video:

!שבת שלום וחנוכה שמח

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ceasefire Pie

Look, I get it. I really do.

Matters of state are extremely complex, and every policy/military decision depends on countless factors.

But would it really have been too much to ask for the government to at least acknowledge that the recent ceasefire would impact the dessert situation here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog)??

I mean, surely our prime minister, who’s justifiably known as a brilliant strategist, should’ve foreseen that the affair would play out as it did?

After all, once the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense and a certain hesdernik was called up to serve along the Gaza border, it was inevitable that we would send along a batch of chocolate swirl blondies.

And given the fact that there was a war going on, it should’ve been obvious to this country’s leaders that the aforementioned hesdernik would be too busy doing whatever it is that one does during a war to have time to eat - or even to share - most of the aforementioned blondies.

And therefore, once the war came to an abrupt halt and the hesdernik in question returned home on erev Shabbat, it was only to be expected that we would suddenly find ourselves in possession of a mostly-full container of stale blondies.

But (and here’s the surprising part…) although this chain of events should have been highly predictable, not. a. single. person from Israel’s military and political echelons contacted us to advise us about the disposal of the contents of said container!

Shocking, isn’t it?!

Winking smile

Fortunately, however, a certain bat sherut happened to be home at the time, and BA”H, she too has earned quite the well-deserved reputation for brilliance. </gratuitous maternal boasting>

And sure enough, she came up with an ideal - albeit not particularly healthy - solution:






Chocolate Mousse Pie (aka “Ceasefire Pie”)

The chocolate mousse recipe comes from my friend E.


  • Cookie crumbs
  • 1 container parve whipping cream – whipped up
  • 2½ TBSP sugar
  • 300 grams chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup boiling hot water


Press cookie crumbs on bottom and sides of an oiled pie pan. Set aside.

Melt sugar and chocolate chips in the microwave. Add hot water and vanilla and mix well. Carefully fold  the chocolate mixture into the whipped topping.

Gently pour the mousse into the pie crust. Refrigerate for a few hours or even overnight before serving.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just call me Yente

Ah, the lengths we bloggers go for our craft!

{cue: dramatic sigh}

Take me, for instance.

I mean, sure, I could’ve continued to churn out my usual blogging fare – you know, things like Heblish, national parks, and so on – and no one would’ve complained. (Well, not TOO much, anyway…)

But instead of resting on my laurels, I decided that the time had come to take things to a whole new level.

To boldly go where no J-blogger had gone before.

To use my blogging powers for good.

To get my blog into the shidduch game.

And thus, I channeled my inner Yente…

…And deliberately caused my blogging world to collide head-on with my real life world.

My blogging friend relative G6 has all the details.

Mazal tov to the young couple and to their parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins – including, of course, those who now fall into more than one of the above categories!!

Open-mouthed smile

יהי רצון שתזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More signs that your son is an IDF soldier

As you may (or may not) recall, a few weeks ago, I posted a list of the top 10 signs that your son is an IDF soldier.

But in the wake of recent events, I think it’s time to update the list.

Thus, the Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

Five MORE Signs That Your Son* Is an IDF Soldier

(*Or Daughter)

1) Your son spent the week of Operation Pillar of Defense hanging out along the Gaza border.

2) You spent the week of Operation Pillar of Defense being, well, very much aware that your son was hanging out along the Gaza border and the week after Operation Pillar of Defense comparing notes with parents of other IDF soldiers who had been hanging out along the Gaza border.

3) Although ultimately, you’re just as unimpressed by the current ceasefire as you were by the ceasefire that ended Operation Cast Lead, you notice that your views and opinions are more nuanced and less black and white than they were four years ago.

4) Your son reports that during the war, not only did the rations include the requisite canned corn, tunafish, chumus, and MREs (i.e. cham-gashiyot for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) with schnitzel, but there also seemed to be plenty of Crembos to go around…

5) While doing the aforementioned hanging out, your son bumped into numerous friends, neighbors, former classmates, and assorted acquaintances. (In other words, he got a lot of points.) Clearly, the Gaza border was THE place to see and be seen…


P.S. In case you missed it, here’s the original top 10 list.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Déjà vu?

From the moment the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense, the pundits have been comparing it to 2009’s Operation Cast Lead.

And to a certain extent, one can see where they’re coming from.

After all, once again, Israel faces the same cruel, merciless enemy.

Once again, the casus belli is the enemy’s vicious and relentless targeting of innocent Israeli civilians, while using their own civilians as so-called human shields (i.e. a double war crime).

Once again, Israeli men, women, and children are forced to cower in stairwells, bomb shelters, and security rooms.

Once again, an ever-growing number of beloved Israeli fathers, sons, and brothers are being called up to defend the country.

Once again, Israelis have opened their hearts and homes to our beleaguered brethren in the line of fire and are collecting desperately-needed supplies and treats for the soldiers on the front lines.

Once again, much of the world is rushing to condemn Israel for fictitious atrocities and promoting an obscene moral “equivalence” between sadistic terrorists and the IDF, who is – by every objective standard – the most moral and ethical army on the entire planet.

Once again, Israelis are walking around with the same fortitude and grim determination to get the job done.

Yet, as far as we’re concerned here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), there are several major differences between this week and four years ago.

It’s that the enemy is now firing missiles with longer ranges and that sirens and booms are now being heard in a much larger section of the country (including the area where our favorite bat sherut now finds herself).

It’s that this time around, we are B”H blessed with a very different government and prime minister, and that hopefully, HaKadosh Baruch Hu will grant them the strength and the courage to stay the course.

And it’s that after being told to keep his phone on over Shabbat, OS (=Our Soldier) finally got the call a few hours after Havdalah, and since then, he has been spending his days somewhere along the Gaza border.

May Hashem watch over and protect him and all our courageous men and women in uniform and keep them all safe and sound!

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלקינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַיִם וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה בַּיַּבָּשָׁה בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן ה' אֶת אוֹיְבֵינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחְלָה וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם וִיעַטְרֵם בְּכֶתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבְעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחוֹן. וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי ה' אֱלֹקיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם איבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם, וְנאמַר אָמֵן.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defense

Now that the IDF has launched Operation Pillar of Defense (officially called מבצע עמוד ענן in Hebrew – literally “Operation Pillar of Smoke”) in response to the enemy’s vicious and relentless assault on innocent Israeli civilians, the Rav of our community has asked that one say a chapter of Tehillim after davening and recite the following prayer for our beleaguered brothers and sisters in the South as well as the brave soldiers of the IDF:

אחינו כל בית ישראל, הנתונים בצרה ובשביה, העומדים בין בים ובין ביבשה, המקום ירחם עליהם ויוציאם מצרה לרווחה, ומאפילה לאורה ומשעבוד לגאולה, השתא בעגלא ובזמן קריב. ונאמר אמן.

Our brothers, the entire House of Israel, who are held in distress and captivity, whether they are on the sea or on dry land:
May the Makom have mercy on them and bring them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from subjugation to redemption - now, speedily, and very soon. And let us say: Amen.

As always, for up-to-the-minute, accurate reporting of the day’s events, be sure to check out Jameel and friends’ excellent live coverage.

May we soon be privileged to enjoy besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Film Friday: Fill the Void Edition

Warning: The International Blogging Federation’s Oversight Committee has determined that the following post is in direct violation of Article XII-3298-A763 (“Posting Film Friday Posts On a Sunday”) of the Blogging Code. Proceed at your own risk.

Last night, YZG and I went to see a movie.

In the theater.

Which - considering the fact that as far as we can recall, the last movie we saw by ourselves in a movie theater was Sleepless In Seattle – was unusual in and of itself.

But that wasn’t the strangest part.

Because the thing that makes our cinematic date night blog-worthy is that we saw a Hebrew-language movie.

Which had no English subtitles.

And yet, we both really enjoyed the movie and highly recommend it!

If you live here in Israel, you’ll no doubt have guessed by now that we saw “Fill the Void” (i.e. “למלא את החלל” for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) – a wonderful and critically-acclaimed movie that was written and directed by chareidi filmmaker Rama Burshtein.

The storyline is fairly simple. A chassidish 18-year-old girl’s mother wants her to marry her deceased sister’s widower. In other words, there are no major plot turns or shocking developments.

But the amazing and nuanced acting, the brilliant cinematography, and the painstakingly-accurate dialogue, sets, and costumes all add up to a charming movie.

A certain Our Shiputzim reader referred to it as “a chareidi romantic-comedy,” and IMHO, that’s an excellent description.

Unlike many other movies about chareidim, “Fill the Void” is neither a mean-spirited attack on the chareidi world nor a lame attempt at apologetics. Rather, it’s a warm-hearted, sweet, and extremely believable (the mascara scene happened more or less in its entirety to a certain Shiputzim family member) film that just happens to take place in a chassidish community.

Furthermore, Burshtein, who clearly knows her way around this community and gets nearly every single detail right, doesn’t insult her audience’s intelligence.

For example, when the characters sit around a table in dressy clothes and sing, the filmmaker doesn’t need to hit the audience over the head with a maudlin candle lighting scene to announce that it’s now Friday night. Instead, a character’s throwaway comment that he’s on his way to “the tisch” serves the same purpose – albeit in a more subtle and much more effective fashion.

Bottom line: As much as I tend to shy away from hyperbole, I have to say that “Fill the Void” is truly a “must-see” movie. You won’t want to miss it.

Have you seen “Fill the Void”?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top 10 signs your son is in the army

The Our Shiputzim Editorial Board proudly presents:

The Top 10 Signs That Your Son* Is an IDF Soldier

(*Or Daughter)

10) His speech is liberally peppered with acronyms (i.e. roshei teivot for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you).

9) Not only have you started to recognize some of those acronyms, but you even know what a handful of them mean.

8) You’ve considered adding a new skill to your LinkedIn profile: washing army uniforms.

7) You’ve convinced yourself that there’s no need to iron those uniforms.

6) Mathematicians may insist that the shortest route between any two given points is a straight line, but you’ve learned that in the army, traveling home from one’s base involves zigzagging across the country and changing buses at countless obscure junctions and intersections.

5) You’ve long since ceased to be surprised that the army functions in a seemingly-constant state of balagan (loosely, disorganization)…

4) Somehow, you’ve suddenly been transformed into the stereotypical Jewish mother (aka an imma Polaniyah – a Polish mother – in the local vernacular). Whenever you speak to your son, you find yourself asking, “But are you SURE you’re getting enough to eat?” (Although to be perfectly fair, a certain hesdernik of my acquaintance is actually eating better now in the army than he did when he was in his yeshiva. Of course, that’s not really saying much… :-))

3) Many of the country’s burning political issues have become far less academic and theoretical and far more personal and relevant. (More on this, perhaps, in a future post.)

2) You finally feel like a “real” Israeli.

1) Every time your son walks through the front door, you’re once again amazed and filled with tremendous gratitude to HaKadosh Baruch Hu that the tall, handsome (BA”H) soldier standing before you is the same tiny baby boy you held in your arms all those years ago.

May Hashem watch over and protect all our soldiers and keep them all safe and sound.


P.S. Looking for “the Israeli view of yesterday’s US elections?” Here’s my take:

”.על מי לנו להשען? על אבינו שבשמים”
“On Whom can we rely? On our Father in Heaven.” (BT Sotah 49a)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pool of the Arches

A special shout-out to our dear friends and family on the Eastern Seaboard. We’re thinking of you and hope you all stay safe and dry! Oh, and in case you were wondering, here in Israel, we enjoyed beautiful, clear weather today. I’m just saying…</gratuitous aliyah plug>

Winking smile

We interrupt this blog’s incessant litany of national parks to bring you an idea for a family outing*: a visit to Ramle’s Pool of the Arches.

*Full disclosure: Most of the Shiputzim teenagers did not join us on our recent trip to the pool – they felt that it sounded, and I quote, “boring” – and thus, “family outing” might perhaps be too strong a phrase. But each of the younger (and older) members of the family who came along had fun.

Built in 789 CE, the Pool of the Arches is an underground water reservoir. The ceiling is supported by a series of pillars and curved arches (hence the name), and today, visitors get to explore the pool in row boats:

IMG_8163One of the rowboats

IMG_8164One of the arches

IMG_8166More arches

IMG_8170Historians believe that people would lower buckets into holes in the ceiling to draw water.

Suggestion: The Pool of the Arches can serve as a perfect companion trip to the Nesher cement factory, which is located nearby.

Have you ever been to the Pool of the Arches?

We now return you back to your regularly scheduled catalogue of national parks


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for hyperbole. Proceed at your own risk.

As every desperate/bemused/frustrated/resigned (pick your favorite adjective) Israel parent is well-aware, Chodesh Irgun is upon us.

So, why haven’t I mentioned this important fact, you’re no doubt wondering?

Two reasons, really.

a) It’s kind of hard to mention anything, when one is busy neglecting one’s blog.

b) I figured that by now, I’d pretty much said everything there was to say (and then some…) about Chodesh Irgun.

But then yesterday, a miracle happened.

Yes, a miracle.

Right here in TRLEOOB*.

<brief explanation>

First, a quick refresher for those who – for reasons best known to themselves – have not committed every single word I’ve ever written to memory. (But if you consider yourself to be an OurShiputzim expert, please feel free to skip ahead…)

Chodesh Irgun usually includes at least one communal seudah shlishit, and said seudah shlishit is inevitably preceded by the Call.

As I noted in my original post on the subject, the Call is when the madrich/madrichah (youth group leader/counselor) calls (hence the name) each of the chanichim (youth group members) to arrange who will bring what to the seudah shlishit.

Without fail, the Call arrives about an hour before Shabbat (when no one has time to run out and go shopping, even if the stores weren’t closed) and involves the most random items (which the typical family rarely stocks in their pantry).


If you’ll kindly consult your calendar, you’ll see that yesterday was a MONDAY – i.e. many, many, MANY days before Shabbat.

Yet, amazingly, it was, indeed, yesterday when one of the Shiputzim daughters got the Call from her madrichah!

And as if the Call’s timing wasn’t shocking enough, the Shiputzim daughter in question was merely asked to bring a bottle of drink and a can of pickles - neither of which is remotely obscure or exotic.

Astonishing, no?

In fact, I’m sure you’ll agree that this means that TRLEOOB* now qualifies for a recitation of שעשה לי נס במקום הזה (“Blessed is… the One Who performed a miracle for me at this site”)…

Winking smile


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tales of a Chatan Kol HaNe’arim’s wife

Warning: Although it’s now Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan, which – according to every opinion – falls firmly within the “acharei hachagim” (literally, “after the holidays”) parameters, the following post pertains to Simchat Torah. (Hey, if Israeli gannanot can celebrate Simchat Torah after the fact, so can I…) Proceed at your own risk.

The main problem with shamelessly neglecting one’s blog is that there’s no clear protocol when it comes to resuming one’s blogging activities. Do you apologize? Pretend that you never left? Offer a long-winded explanation/excuse for your absence?

Which is why I’m just going to jump right back in with the following news item from TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog):

YZG was our shul’s Chatan Kol HaNe’arim (i.e. CKH in OurShiputzim-speak) on Simchat Torah.

In many congregations, CKH is sold to the highest bidder. However, in our shul, the gabbaim award it to someone who is very involved in the shul and the community, and as those of you who know YZG in real life are aware, this was certainly a well-deserved honor.

Here are three things I learned in my role of CKH’s wife:

1) It seems that proper Simchat Torah etiquette teaches that both the CKH and the CKH’s wife deserve hearty “mazal tovs.” I confess that I never knew this before, but I quickly got into the swing of things and made sure to say mazal tov to the Chatan Torah, the Chatan Breishit, and their respective spouses…

2) It turns out that there’s no statute of limitations when it comes to corny CKH-related jokes. Sample groan-worthy fare: “If your husband is a chatan, that makes you a kallah! Shouldn’t you be wearing white?{cue: canned laugh track}

3) And finally, I discovered that in our shul, the CKH’s wife is in charge of distributing candy bags to all the kids. (Fortunately, the shul covers the cost; someone else volunteered to do the shopping; and assorted neighbors helped the Shiputzim kids stuff the bags.)

Which means that within two minutes of Kol HaNe’arim’s conclusion, the CKH’s wife (that would be me in this case, for those just tuning in at home) is suddenly beset by nearly 200 (BA”H) overtired, hyped-on-sugar (in our shul, Kol HaNe’arim takes place AFTER the communal kiddush), impatient kids.

Ah, good times. Good times…

Laughing out loud

How are Chatan Kol HaNe’arim, Chatan Torah, and Chatan Breishit chosen in your communities?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Netanyahu’s address to the UN

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations today:

May 5773 be a year of besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation).

Thursday, September 13, 2012


For obvious reasons, most people consider taiglach – those honey-drenched, boiled Ashkenazi pastries – to be a traditional Rosh Hashanah delicacy.

Yet as far as the extended Shiputzim family is concerned, taiglach have long been associated with, well, bar mitzvahs.

For instance, family lore tells how my great-aunt z”l made her famous taiglach for my father’s bar mitzvah.

But seeing as she had to schlep three days by bus while holding the fragile dish of taiglach on her lap, she couldn’t bring too many, and thus, each person at the bar mitzvah was entitled to exactly one of the precious treats.

Fast forward to the next generation, when my dear maternal grandmother z”l prepared taiglach, according to her mother’s recipe, for my brothers’ bar mitzvahs and even whipped up – I use the term loosely; taiglach are a HUGE patchke - a batch for a bris or two.

Of course, her idea of a “batch” was actually a gallon’s worth.

Legend has it that the first time one of the relatives from my father’s side saw that huge container of taiglach, he was stunned. “I’ve never seen that many taiglach at once in my entire life!” he exclaimed.

These days, the taiglach mantle has passed to my mother, who has earned a well-deserved reputation as a skilled taiglach expert. Not only did she prepare taiglach for each of the Shiputzim sons’ bar mitzvahs – see, for example, here and here – but random distant cousins have been known to call her up for taiglach-related advice.

My Mother’s Taiglach

Most members of the Shiputzim family are adamant that taiglach taste best when eaten with a toothpick, but YMMV.


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 TBSP oil
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • Raisins


  • 2/3 kilo honey
  • 3 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 2/3 cup boiling hot water


Combine eggs, oil, ¼ tsp ginger, and flour into a soft dough. (If the dough is too dry, add a bit of water.)

Roll the dough into long, ¾-inch-diameter “snakes” and flatten. Dot the snakes with a generous amount of raisins and then roll the dough around the raisins until they’re covered. Using a sharp knife, cut the snakes into ¾-inch-long pieces. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine honey and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the flame to medium heat, and then carefully drop the taiglach into the syrup, one at a time, without stirring.

When all the taiglach have floated to the top and the taiglach are almost ready, add the remaining 1 tsp of ginger and gently mix through.

When the taiglach are golden-brown, turn off the heat and immediately add the boiling water.

Let cool and store in a sealed container. (Taiglach keep for weeks on end --- assuming that no one eats them first...)

Note from my mother: A teaspoon or so of the honey syrup is great with a cup of tea.

Thank you, Imma, for graciously sharing your recipe!
P.S. Laura posted her own taiglach recipe

לשנה טובה תכתבו ותחתמו לאלתר לחיים טובים ולשלום!

May you all have a wonderful, happy, healthy, prosperous, and sweet new year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Latma’s new Rosh Hashanah song

Latma just released a great song for Rosh Hashanah:

May we soon be privileged to enjoy besurot tovot, yeshu’ot v’nechamot (good tidings, salvation, and consolation).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Heblish: The Emptying Nest Edition

You might think that since TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog) is relatively empty these days – seeing as how one Shiputzim kid is in the army and a second is doing sherut leumi (national service) – we’ve experienced a significant decrease in our Heblish levels.

But you would be wrong.

Because as it turns out, the younger Shiputzim kids are more than capable of coining plenty of new Heblishisms all on their own.

In fact, the Heblish has been flying so fast and furious around here that I believe it’s time we had a Heblish theme song. You know, perhaps something like this?

Sample Heblish Theme Song
(To the tune of “The Impossible Dream”)

To dreeeeeam that you speak fluent English.
To mangle two languages instead.
To ignore all the known rules of syntax.
To translate each and every word literally.

This is your quest: to cause your Anglo parents to wince.
No matter how awkward, no matter how wrong,
To fight for the right, without question or pause,
To always use Heblish, regardless of grammatical laws.

But I’m certainly open to other ideas… :-)

And in the meantime, here’s yet another batch of entries from the Official Our Shiputzim Heblish-English Dictionary:

Slowly by slowly: Hebrew source לאט לאט. English definition – Little by little. Sample usage - “I moved the stuff over slowly by slowly.”

Yell on: Hebrew source צעק על. English definition – Yell at. Sample usage - “The substitute teacher spent the whole day yelling on the class.”

Switch: Hebrew source להחליף. English definition – Trade. Sample usage - “We switched stickers in recess today.” (See also this post, which shows that “switch” can also mean “substitute.”)

Israelit: Hebrew source ישראלית. English definition – Israeli (fem.). Sample usage -“She doesn’t speak English. She’s an Israelit.”

And while we’re at it - and because Heblish spans households and dialects - here are a couple of reader submissions:

To my opinion: Hebrew source לדעתי. English definition – In my opinion. Sample usage –“To my opinion, that’s the best way to do it.” (Hat tip: Miriyummy)

Comfortable: Hebrew source נוח. English definition – Convenient. Sample usage – “I'm not coming home for Shabbat this week. It's more comfortable for me to come next week.” (Hat tip: Mother in Israel)


Thanks, everyone, and please keep all those excellent Heblishisms coming! I’d love to include them in a future Heblish post. You can leave a comment on this post or send an email to OurShiputzim at gmail dot com.


Previous Heblish editions are available here: Heblish I, Heblish II, Heblish III, Heblish IV, Heblish V, Heblish VI, Heblish VII, Heblish VIII, Heblish IX, Heblish X, Heblish XI, Heblish XII, Heblish XIII, Heblish XIV, Heblish XV, Heblish XVI, Heblish XVII, Heblish XVIII, Heblish XIX, and Heblish XX.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to compute the KQ

A couple of days into the new school year, and parents across the country are STILL walking around with deliriously happy grins on their faces as they greet each other with joyful cries of “mazal tov!”

Their beloved offspring, in contrast, don’t appear to be QUITE as thrilled that the powers that be over at the Education Ministry saw fit to shorten summer vacation (i.e. chofesh hagadol, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you).

But, dear readers, there is an upside.

Because one person’s misery is another person’s blog fodder, and in this case, the younger generation’s less-than-celebratory mood inspired me to shake the dust off the old blog and discuss… the kvetching quotient (i.e. the KQ, in Our-Shiputzim-Speak).

Parents the world over are very familiar with the KQ – although many prefer to call it:

“A quantitative measure of the incessant complaining that features prominently in every family outing and that seems to increase exponentially as the kids reach adolescence.”

Yet, I wondered, does it really? (Increase exponentially, that is.)

And so, in order to get to the bottom of this pressing issue, I turned to the Our Shiputzim Mathematical, Statistical, and Actuarial Department - you probably didn’t even know that we HAD such a department, did you? – who came up with the following helpful formula:

KQ(E) = c / (3y + t)


  • KQ = the kvetching quotient
  • E = a given event or trip
  • c = the average number of complaints, snide remarks, sarcastic comments, overly-dramatic sighs, and (if you’re talking about Israeli kids) loud “oooofs” per hour
  • y = the number of younger kids
  • t = the number of teenagers

In other words, according to our experts, adolescent grumbling does, indeed, have a much greater impact on the KQ than the milder, less-grating type of whining which precedes it.

Do you agree with our experts’ findings? Why or why not? Don’t forget to show your work…

Open-mouthed smile


P.S. The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including our visit to the Nesher Cement Factory.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On eagle’s wings

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for other people’s vacation photos. Proceed at your own risk.

If my overstuffed Drafts Folder is any indication, I owe you at least three national park posts and an equal or even greater amount of Heblish posts.

But first, with your indulgence, here’s an idea that has been designated an “Ideal Late Summer Outing.”

(Previous recipients of this prestigious designation include the Bank of Israel’s visitor center and Better Place’s visitor center.)

As I’m sure you know, in order for a tourist site to be eligible, it has to meet two basic criteria:

  1. Free.
  2. Air-conditioned.

If the attraction is interesting to boot, well, that’s just a nice side benefit, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker or anything...

Laughing out loud

Which brings me to our trip last week to the Nesher Cement Factory in Ramle – aka “City in Growing Process.” (Many years ago, a large sign at the city’s entrance read, “Ramle: City in Growing Process.” Apparently the Heblish-infused title didn’t require a leading article, definite or otherwise…)

Nesher manufactures most of the Portland cement (i.e. melet for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) used to produce the concrete (i.e. biton) that is the backbone of Israeli construction, and the company offers free tours. [Note: Advance reservations are required.]

The tour includes two movies in the air-conditioned visitor’s center and an air-conditioned bus ride around the plant and adjacent quarry.(Did I mention that the site is air-conditioned? ;-))

And now, without further ado, the long-awaited threatened pictures: (As always, feel free to click on the pictures for a closer view.)

IMG_7880The cement is mixed in this building which is covered by a free-standing dome. According to the guide, it is the largest such structure in the entire Middle East.

IMG_7889The conveyor belt leading out of the quarry.

IMG_7906The “preheater” which leads directly into the furnace.

IMG_7911A view of two cement silos.

IMG_7923A cement truck is weighed on an automatic scale as it enters the plant.

IMG_7924A display case demonstrates that “clinker” (which is turned into Portland cement) is composed of 80% limestone and 20% clay.

IMG_7926A model of the furnace. There is no cement between the bricks, which are simply wedged into place.

All in all, we enjoyed the visit.

The price was right; the tour was extremely interesting and informative; each visitor received a free, cold Tropit (a bag of sugary grape drink) on the way out; and even the KQ (=kvetching quotient) was relatively low – in spite of the fact that one or two of the Shiputzim teens had been to the factory as part of a school trip back in elementary school…

Laughing out loud

Have you ever been to the Nesher factory? What other free, air-conditioned attractions can you recommend?


P.S. The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is available here. Special thanks to Batya for including my cinnamon buns post.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fine Arts Friday: Home from the Army Edition

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for pictures of other people’s kids’ drawings. Proceed at your own risk.

In my post about our newly-minted IDF soldier, I noted that the army traditionally allows its new recruits to spend their first Shabbat of basic training at home.

And sure enough, B”H, OS (=Our Soldier) came home this morning.

When he arrived in TRLEOOB*, the following sign - produced by one of the talented Shiputzim daughters - was waiting for him on the front door: (As always, feel free to click on the picture for a closer view.)


Translation: “Welcome home, Our Soldier!”

שבת שלום ומבורך!


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog

Monday, August 13, 2012

Becoming a “real” Israeli

As many of you know, here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), we’ve B”H reached a very significant milestone:

The first of the Shiputzim kids started his army service this week.

If I wasn’t busy shamelessly neglecting my blog, maybe I’d try to describe some of the different things I’m feeling right now. Thankfully, however, I don’t have to, because Guest Blogger Malke did just that in a beautiful guest post a couple of years ago.

Yet, nevertheless, there’s one thing I WOULD like to discuss.

You see, until now, I considered the first time I gave birth in Israel to be the moment that I had become a “real” Israeli.

But having a son in the IDF takes one’s, well, Israeliness (if that’s a word…) to a whole new level.

Because, IMHO, there’s something so poignantly, sweetly, intensely, and wonderfully Israeli about the whole thing.

It’s that on the Shabbat before OS (=Our Soldier) was inducted, he was called up to the Torah in shul and received a warm brachah (blessing) in the announcements after davening.

It’s that the army tries very hard to allow the new recruits to spend their first Shabbat as soldiers at home.

It’s that OS has been together with a number of the guys in his unit since first grade.

It’s that when we took OS to his giyus (induction), we met several friends and acquaintances, who were there dropping their own sons off. (In other words, we got some points)

It’s that one of the well-respected rabbis from OS’s hesder yeshiva came to the giyus to see his talmidim (students) off.

It’s that over the past few weeks, everyone – and by “everyone,” I mean family, friends, neighbors, the owner of the local makolet (supermarket), coworkers, the mailman, and anyone else you could possibly think of – gave OS (and us!) lots of helpful advice and heartfelt good wishes.

It’s that one of the things on OS’s list was extra army socks, but I had no idea where to purchase them. So we tried a nearby dry goods store, and sure enough, they had exactly what we were looking for.

It’s that the induction point boasts a food concession stand and a covered picnic area for all the families who come to drop off their children.

It’s that the army makes sure that the religious soldiers have enough time to daven three times a day, and that all the larger bases have fully-outfitted shuls – complete with a Sefer Torah, plenty of siddurim, and even a collection of seforim for learning.

It’s that OS made a point of taking a pocket Mishnah with him to the army.

It’s that the recruits’ commanders make home visits to check out where their soldiers live.

It’s that at the giyus, YZG was far from the only father lovingly giving his son a brachah.

It’s that before the giyus, OS’s yeshiva arranged a very special two-week-long pre-army program – to prepare the guys religiously, spiritually, halachically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically for their upcoming military service.

It’s that OS and his fellow Torah scholars/soldiers are deeply aware that it is both an honor and a responsibility to be serving and defending Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael.

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלקינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַיִם וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה בַּיַּבָּשָׁה בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן ה' אֶת אוֹיְבֵינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחְלָה וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם וִיעַטְרֵם בְּכֶתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבְעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחוֹן. וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי ה' אֱלֹקיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם איבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם, וְנאמַר אָמֵן.

May Hashem watch over and protect OS, his friends, and all our soldiers and keep them all safe and sound.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cinnamon Buns

As I’ve noted many times (e.g. in this post), the dessert situation here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog) tends to improve dramatically  during the summer months, when bored teenagers the talented Shiputzim bakers are willing to try their hands at complicated yet mouthwatering projects.

For instance, look what a certain newly-minted young driver of my acquaintance produced a couple of weeks ago:





Cinnamon Buns

Adapted from “Spice and Spirit” (aka “The Purple Cookbook”)


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 7-8 cups flour
  • 1¼ cups apple juice
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs


  • Canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Cinnamon



Mix sugar, yeast, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Set aside.

Pour apple juice and oil into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 40 seconds.

Slowly add warm liquid to dry ingredients. Beat at slow speed, and then increase to medium speed for about two minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and 3 cups of flour, and then beat for an additional two minutes. Add enough flour (about 2½-3 cups) to make a stiff dough, and knead in the mixer for about 8-10 minutes.

Cover dough and let rise. When it doubles, punch down (and take challah).

Place dough on a floured surface. Roll half the dough into a rectangle. Using a pastry brush, lightly spread oil over the dough, and then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up like a jelly roll, and then cut into about 2½-cm-thick slices. Place the slices in a baking-paper-lined pan.

Repeat the process with the second half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise, and when they’re ready, bake them at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until done.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. As soon as the rolls are out of the oven, pour the glaze over the hot rolls in the pan.



P.S. For more recipes, check out the most recent Kosher Cooking Carnival here. Special thanks to Cooking Outside the Box for including my zucchini soup recipe.