30 April 2008

Yom HaShoah / יום השואה

Some of you may remember my post, back when I'd first arrived in Israel, where I marveled that the television stations went on Yom Kippur vacation. Religious or secular, YES! (and probably HOT! -- both are cable companies) both provided images, and not programming, to the people in Israel for the full day of Yom Kippur.

On the way to Rafi's after the Conservative Yeshiva learning community (another week, another Yiddush lit lesson, this time with a post-Holocaust slant because the commemoration began at sundown), we noticed something מוזר / moozar / strange: all of the restaurants and book stores on Emek Refaim were closed. I realized quickly that they closed for יום השואה / Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Remembrance Day. Shoah literally means Holocaust, conflagration, disaster, burning down. Shoah's definition is similar to the Arab word for Israeli Independence (the catastrophe), but more on that next week. It was hard for me to believe that restaurants that were open for Passover were CLOSED for Yom HaShoah. Amazing.

At Rafi's, we turned on his TV for the Yom HaShoah טקס/ tekes /ceremony. Channel-surfing through the viewing options afterwards, we were amazed. His multiple movie stations were playing the following options: Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, JFK, and [insert Holocaust movie here]. (Rafi has Hot! cable.) There was limited programming on other channels.

Back at my house, Yes! was providing fewer programs, but I may just feel that way because I don't have all those movie stations. What Yes! is providing is: Sophie's Choice, The Pianist, and a variety of stations on Yom HaShoah Hafsaka / break. Each channel has a different picture (see below), and each picture on each station seems to have the same background music: Galgalatz, Israel's army radio, is playing only solemn, slow songs for Yom HaShoah.

The Discovery Channel and other European channels (the MTVs and VH1s) have the same stuff as usual.

"Broadcasting on this channel will resume after Yom HaShoah."
(Guess who couldn't have translated that a year ago?)

Six Candles for the Six Million.
"A Day of Memory of The Holocaust and of the Courage / Bravery"

Same as above, but with the little surfing menu at the bottom. This is what most of the channels look like.

Another iteration.

"Yom HaZikaron / Remembrance day of the Shoah / Holocaust and the Courage. Our Broadcasts will resume when we end* Yom HaShoah at 8PM."

hard to translate for me

So, while I know I haven't yet written about the rest of Pesach, I will, but not today, a sad day (and by today, I mean like I do on all Jewish holidays -- from sundown to sundown). Tomorrow there will be a siren of remembrance (this time, I've been warned). Israelis all over the country will stop their cars, their lines at the grocery store, their lectures in University, and stand at attention in solemn memory.

For now, I am going to post pictures of Yom HaShoah remembrance TV, and take a moment to remember the 6 million, to remember my own family lost in the Shoah, the scads of relatives that I never met, that my Mom never met.

May their memories be for a blessing, and may we never forget.

25 April 2008

Unleavened Fun, part 1

Passover started, and I finally started feeling human again. At seder, I went through about a box of tissues, but as the Chag drew to a close, it was so much easier for me to breathe. Seder was co-hosted by Rafi's family and Anya's family (Anya, Elie's girlfriend). Seder was big and came complete with many interesting people: generations from grandparents to teenagers (Anya's family), students studying in Cairo (Anya's sister and her friend), someone who works in Eastern Europe as a consultant (also Anya's sister's friend), and a wide variety of studens at JTS, Hebrew U, and the Conservative Yeshiva. Seder was great fun, and included extra songs and writings from a variety of haggadot and supplements.

I would've enjoyed it more had I been able to breathe, but I did get a kick out of employing, so to speak, my friend Dan as my waiter. I refused to touch the plates of food in an effort to protect those around me. Therefore, Dan placed on my mini-seder plate quite the assortment of almonds, a few apricots, and he topped it all off with a date. It's a special seder when you get a date from your engaged friend while sitting next to your boyfriend.
My waiter and I enjoy some laffa BEFORE passover (Northern Exposure weekend).
This picture is not K-for-P, but I figured Dan deserved a picture, and I don't have one from seder.

The next day, I slept the sickness off even more, and the first day of non-chag, I was excited to wake up feeling relatively normal, and go on a little road trip with Rafi's family.

I woke thinking we were going to Haifa, but we ended up going to Yaffo and Tel Aviv for the morning. We walked around Yaffo's crazy shuk (where you can get a broken telephone at a truly bargain price!), and then drove around Tel Aviv, vaguely looking for kosher food. When that didn't work out, we made our way to K'far Sabba (literally, Grandfather Village) and dined at a mall. It was pretty crazy for me to get a kosher-for-passover meal anywhere outside of a house, and in a coffee shop it was pretty close to surreal. After K'far Sabba, we ended up in the coastal town of Netanya. Rafi, his dad and his brother went swimming, while Rafi's mom and I sat on the beach. I spent a lot of that time watching an incredibly adorable dog jumping up and down over the waves.

It was really beautiful in Netanya, and we noticed around town that it is a very heavily French place. There were signs in French, and most of the people on the beach were talking in French, too. As Rafi put it, "the lingua franca was...franca." I was more impressed at the open ice cream bar, selling kosher for passover ice cream. I didn't have any, but I was impressed.

Swimming was a success!

Rafi and I enjoy time on the beach in Netanya.

Checking out the beautiful horizon above the Netanya beach.

After Netanya, we came back to Jerusalem, where Rafi's dad cooked something incredible. We hung out for a while, but I was still feeling pretty exhausted and not 100%, so I went back and got some much-needed sleep.

More Matt Bar

So, last week, I was feeling really terrible. The only thing I could drag myself to blob about, other than complaining about the doctors here (by the way, my dad was 100% right), was Matt Bar. So imagine my happiness when I saw this Forward article posted last night. The writer, Bari, is a friend of Elie's (Rafi's brother), and she's great. Let's hear it for Matt Bar and Bari!

I'm glad she didn't use the quote where I said that Matt would be great to perform at camp, better than an "aging Backstreet Boy." Let's hear it for the new generation!

Passover draws to a close this weekend. So take this opportunity to watch the Pesach rap one more time....Shabbat Shalom, Moadim L'simcha, v'chag sameach v'kasher!

22 April 2008

Jews in the News

I am feeling much better, and I wanted to post some "Jews in the News" in celebration.

First, The Daily Show covers Da Popa's visit to Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City, my homeland.

I wonder if Jon Stewart realizes he is describing the Israeli Hotel Breakfast phenomenon?

Secondly, this article, brought to my attention by 5 people in the last hour or so (it seems my sense of humor is known far and wide). In short, a religious Yeshiva student protested the sale of Hametz (bready stuff) in Israeli supermarkets on Passover. I'll let you read the story, as I'd hate to ruin the punchline.

18 April 2008

Yetzer HaRah and Yetzer HaTov

Actual conversation:

Lisa: How's your Yetzer HaRah doing? (bad part of myself, you're supposed to clean it out with the hametz.)
SBB: It's pretty awful. I think that's why I got so sick.
Lisa: Really?
SBB: No!

My mom sent me a picture of the world's cutest nephew (objectively speaking, of course), in order to make me feel better. So far, it's not really working, although I do love looking at this kid's pictures.

Behold, Aaron Kyle, the Yetzer HaTov (the good spirit):

"Well, yes, I AM the cutest nephew ever. Thanks for noticing and Hag Sameach / Happy Holiday!"

17 April 2008

Only Matt Bar Makes Me Feel Better

I am really not feeling well, which has brought me, once again, to have another run-in with the Israeli medical system (thankfully, not the hospitals.).Once again, the doctor didn't look in my ears, didn't take my temperature, and verbally rolled his eyes at me because I didn't seem to be trailing any limbs, or spurting any blood. He prescribed a nose spray, even though I cannot breathe through my nostrils, saying, "It's ok, eventually, it'll get up into your sinuses." He also prescribed some antibiotics, and regarding the conversation that ensued, to quote my favorite humor writer Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

SBB: So you're prescribing what?
Dr: This is Amoxicillin.
SBB: But I don't need to start taking it?
Dr: No. Don't start taking it until Sunday.
SBB: Why Sunday?
Dr: Well, if you really have a sinus infection, it won't work unless you start on Sunday.
SBB: So, If I don't get better, I have to feel like this until Sunday?
Dr: Yes.
[insert other conversation here]
Dr: Happy Passover.
SBB: [inside stuffy head] I imagine it will be quite fabulous, seeing as how you want me to stew in my own infectious grossness until Sunday, which, OH, is AFTER the SEDER. THANKS!

I picked up the prescriptions and went home, expecting to feel better in the morning. Sure, I felt like I did that time the UF infirmary told me I probably had mono, and here are some painkillers, and then when I returned the next morning demanding medical justice, they confirmed that I actually had pharyngitis. But if IsraDoc said that I should be better by Sunday, who am I to disagree. Being a LifeGuard and the daughter of a doctor does not a medical degree make.

I even made it off my couch last night for 45 minutes to wax social with Anya's family. All I could choke down was some pear nectar, but hey...at least I was able to "eat."

I woke up this morning just as sick as before. After languishing in bed for a few hours, I called my dad. If you don't know my dad, he is the best doctor in all the world. In addition to specializing in hearts (he fixes them, I eat them), he can also serve as an Internist. So this was our conversation:

SBB: Good morning, Dad. You busy?
Dad: Nope, not really. You ok?
SBB: No, I feel like [bad word gerund] [bad word] and I went to the doctor and he told me to wait until Sunday to take antibiotics. Sniffle.
Dad: What's wrong?
SBB: I feel like there are tiny little machetes in my throat. I can't swallow. My ears hurt. I can't breathe through my nose...
Dad: That is horse[bad word - go dad for the bad word!]. Start the meds now.
SBB: You're the best doctor ever!

I felt a little Emily Dickinson-like, having a doctor examine me from miles away (she refused to be touched in an examination). But hey, at least now I can start the drugs!

Passover starts Saturday night, and I was supposed to spend this week working on JTS finals and my fabulous thesis. Unfortunately, the majority of that stuff remains stuffed in my head, and will until the antibiotics kick in. I can't even believe I wrote this much. I have to go lie down again.

In the meantime, enjoy the latest video from www.bibleraps.com phenomenon, Matt Bar. I love him. He loves Bible Raps. Bible Raps love you. Other than Amoxicillin, the only cure I want is some Matt Bar.

PS - This video was uploaded on April 11th, the birthday of my illustrious brother, Alex. Happy birthday, Alex!

14 April 2008

Birthright Season, Part 2

I wanted to post another series of pictures of illustrious visitors. Only some came on Birthright, but, as I said to my cousin on the phone earlier today, I have enjoyed Jerusalem's appeal as a tourist destination. I have been surprised how so many more visit in Jerusalem than even visit NYC.

Below are a few photos of people I love who came to see me in the past 4 months or so.

Coming soon...many more visitors over the next 7 or so weeks.

Jamie staffed Birthright -- back when it was chilly.

My dear friend Avi participated in Birthright - which was funny for me, as his former co-staff.

Diana, a friend from growing up in Coral Springs and at Beth Am, was on WUJS, and our paths crossed at the Shlichim seminar and at a Holler show.

Rebbetzin Andrea and I enjoy lobby-time.
I was SO happy to see these faces from South Florida!
Rafi and I spend some quality time (QSBT or SBBQT or whatever you want to call it, it was quality and it was fun) with Andrea and Rabbi Michael.
Andrea and Michael introduced me to the Kwellers.
Hotel lobby time can be all sorts of fun.

11 April 2008

Down with Filth!

Today, after spending quite a long time disgusted with the cleanliness levels in my dear apartment, I declared to my roommate Lisa that I was going to mop. After throwing together a delectable, pareve (dairy-free, and yes, I'm serious) batch of oatmeal cookies, I did some JTS work and then it was time to mop.

We hadn't mopped in many moons. We do Swiffer and sweep regularly. I also do my fair share of cleaning up shattered stuff -- applesauce jars, chili sauce bottles (the fridge hates me and spills glass on my feet often) -- but that's just spot cleaning. We are also constantly cleaning kitchen surfaces, because the Antalones think they own the place. This was all-out war on filth.

Shiran taught me how to Israeli-mop when she was here for Simchat Torah and we made a big mess. We filled our sustainable-recycling Diet Coke bottle-turned-cleaning vessel (it says "Shanah Tovah!" on it) with the bright pink soap (it can't be all bad if it's pink, right?) and some water, and then started having at it.

We mopped the kitchen. We beat the rug outside, and I didn't have an allergy attack! We mopped the living room. We mopped the bathrooms, upstairs and down. We mopped the laundry-landing, and I mopped most of my room. I even watered the maybe-dead, maybe-not plant.

We also talked about Spring cleaning vs. Hametz-busting (getting rid of bready, not-Passover-friendly stuff), and how it's important to focus on cleaning out the bread stuff, and the bad stuff, from our lives, with less focus on, say, searching under the couch for old potato chips. Indeed, after today, I can proudly say that potato chips found living under couches are indeed, no longer edible, and then do not really count at Hametz.

Next week, we'll really kasher. In the meantime, this mini-spring cleaning has left the apartment with the sparkle of a million ethically mined diamonds...one thousand recycled aluminum cans...a hundred freshly-waxed Priuses...or 10 stars, twinkling in the sky.

It's the hard knock life for us.
It's the hard knock life for us.
'Stead of treated, we get tricked.
'Stead of kisses, we get kicked.
It's the hard knock life.

09 April 2008

One Sixty-Sixth!

This is a few days late, but I haven't talked to my brother in a few days.

As you may or may not know, the Washington Post (a newspaper known mainly for its fine military funeral coverage) won 6 Pulitzers! Since I hadn't talked to Mark recently, we just had this GChat conversation* and I thought I would congratulate my little, tiny, minuscule baby brother for winning...wait for it...1/66th of a Pulitzer Prize!

*as the sister of a Pulitzer Prize-splitting journalist, I have taken the liberty of doing a little editorial work. I just moved a few lines around, to make it readable.

SBB: hey. congrats on your pulitzer. your work is really quite stunning.
Mark: hahahaha. i won 1/66th of a pulitzer, technically!
Mark: (the entire metro desk won one for the virginia tech coverage)
SBB: yay!
SBB: you contributed on one of the articles?
Mark: and i was one of 66 ppl who contributed
SBB: yay! haha nice.
Mark: and thank you sis!

08 April 2008

Happy Birthday, Zayde!

My Zayde, my grandfather is the man who turned my average, everyday blog into an original "blob." This fabulous man celebrates his birthday today. He's 16 now, and ready to take to the road. Or he's 90. Sometimes, it's hard to tell, because he's so incredibly youthful in spirit.

Today, I talked to him about his birthday. Here are two gems:

SBB: Be a well-behaved lady on your birthday, Zayde.
Zayde: I'm not a lady any more. They had a procedure called a bris, and I made the cut!


SBB: You're funny.
Zayde: Around the face, at least.

I'm going to go, as I have a two-day Hebrew midterm ahead of me and some heavy work to do. And, as I told my grandparents, and I have been telling everybody who asks, I am leaving Israel on May 29th at 1AM (Bubbie, in an act of Zayde-like humor, said, "Oh, just before breakfast." My response? "Just after dinner, actually."). Much work to be done before then.

But for now, happy birthday to the man who is clearly not just my grandfather, but the godfather of my family's school of humor.

Zayde (left) and his sons, my dad and my uncles! A fine-lookin' bunch, I'd say.

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls...

I have been joking recently in my status messages about my workload, saying, "Ask not for whom the deadline tolls, it tolls for SBB."

Today, however, a different "bell" was tolling for me. It's Tuesday, my day to sleep in and then do work all day long. So, imagine my terror when I woke up to sirens, wailing and loud outside of my room, my apartment, my CITY.

Here's my series of thoughts, in very quick succession:
1. I didn't set my alarm today! It's Tuesday. What happened to my alarm-pod?
2. What the [bad word in gerund form] [bad word] is going on!?
3. Am I going to blow up?
4. Gloria (cousin) will explain. Furiously dial cell phone while scrambling downstairs to the kitchen where it's "safe."
5. Gloria explains: A country-wide disaster / siren drill. Make sure you know where your bomb shelter / safe room is!
6. My Hebrew U memo told me there was going to be a drill on Tuesday, April 8th, but I thought it meant a fire drill.

The phone conversation ended with me talking about kashering my kitchen for Passover and what was up with the Rafiparents are here. All of this while the siren petered out in the background.

The siren was extremely loud. I felt like I was in middle school again, and they were making a terrible announcement over the loudspeakers. Sure, I ran downstairs and kind of stood awkwardly in the kitchen as Gloria told me it was just a drill, but I was 2 milliseconds away from jumping into bed with Lisa (she lives in the safe room). Would I be really safe if it wasn't a drill? Who knows?

At CIL, there was an outdoor PA system, often used and overused by overzealous announcement, ahem, hoda'ah makers, to notify the entire camp of messages and time changes. I didn't realize Israel was wired similarly. Every story I've heard about Israel's Yom HaZikaron / Memorial Day included stopping cars in the middle of the highway, so passengers and drivers could stand silently in memorial, as soon as the siren sounded. I guess I always pictured the siren piping in through the radio stations drivers choose on their commute. Now I know better. Israel is wired like my middle school, and like CIL.

All I know is that soon I'll be back in the USA, where I am lucky to live without disaster drills. (Yeah, we have hurricanes, but at least then they give you fair warning to stock up on Gatorade.) And, much like speaker-system free CRD, the camp I work at in odd-numbered summers, there is not a massive outdoor speaker system to scare the [bad word] out of me.

06 April 2008

Northern Exposure

This past Shabbat I finally got out of Jerusalem to somewhere other than Tel Aviv. I know I've been out of Jerusalem a lot. After all, I spent a ton of time with Shiran in and around Tel Aviv before she went to India (come home!), I went to the Dead Sea, and I also went to Ouch-That-Hertzeliya once. Ok, and I also went to London, Rome, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, but those countries are not in Israel. (I know you needed the geography lesson. I am an educator, after all.)

In all of this time, however, I hadn't traveled to the north of Israel. So, when the Conservative Yeshiva's learning community sponsored a weekend up at Kibbutz Hanaton, I was all about it. We stopped at Daliat al-Carmel on the way upstate (yes, upstate), had some Druzi pita and got stuff -- scarves, sweatshirts, a backgammon set -- everybody got something to bring back. Well, almost everybody. I got a pair of ridiculous pants that I will be wearing at camp, and otherwise not in public, so that was fun.
Rafi, Elie and I are happy campers on the bus at 9:30AM!
(Elie, if you can't tell, is Rafi's fabulous brother.)

I like this sign, because it said: "import production and marketing souvenirs." I feel like maybe that should be on their mission statement and not on a sign outside, but what do I know? I'm just a silly American grammar snob.

Dan S tests out his new recorder. He is adorable.
After a laffah (a really thin, great pita) with labane, za'atar and eggplant, I waited maybe an hour until I had ANOTHER laffah, this time with chocolate spread, although I did split it with one of the Rothberg Undergrad kids. Both laffahs, while not entirely necessary, were spectacular.

Once at Hanaton, I learned a game called Dutch Blitz. Thanks, Brandeis, for finding the hang-out-and-be-nerdy-game of the year (it's like Risk at UF AEPi in 2002*). It's terrific. Let's hear it for Amish games! I had a phone meeting before Shabbat started, and then made my way to lead Ma'ariv. My friend Dan complimented my leading skills, and it made me realize how I never lead services with the frequency I used to lead them.

*An AEPi boyfriend was so occupied with playing Risk in the Pi house, that when I said "Bye, I'm going to a JSU (Jewish Student Union) meeting," he nodded goodbye. When I came back, an hour and a half later, he asked why I hadn't left yet. Hmmm....This may be the nerdiest Jewish story of all time.

Rafi told me that this is Nazareth. Even if it's not, this is part of the view from my room. Also, it doesn't really matter because on our way back we got to ride on the Nazarene Express, which is Nazarethy enough for me!
One of the great things about being on a kibbutz is that there is still agriculture at your fingertips. See the tractor there? Also a view from my window.

The rest of Shabbat was lovely. I spent a lot of time hanging around with Team Rothberg: Undergrad! and the Schechter boys. I also got in a full three-hour nap before Minchah, which was beautiful. The ride back was fine, and being back in my own bed was terrific!

Elie defies the laws of physics to nap on the Nazarene Express bus ride back.

Back to Jerusalem and back to work. Such is life. Passover is VERY soon and I just cannot wait to get my hands on some matzah. OK, I was lying about the matzah...but I'm excited for the Jerusalem passover fun, which apparently includes street-side kashering (making kosher) for pots and utentils, and visits from a wide variety of parental units that aren't exactly related to me, but are fabulous nevertheless.

05 April 2008

Stuff Young Sara Beths Like

I am back from my Shabbat in the North, and I'll write about that soon. For now...let's talk about Stuff White People Like. It's the latest fad in blog-followers. My favorite spinoff? Stuff Young Jewish Adults Like.

Every once in a while, I find something online that describes me. Here is the latest installment, courtesy of Stuff Young Jewish Adults Like.

Also, something to consider: http://reader.google.com. I use Google Reader to track headlines from a variety of major newspapers, blogs, funny quotes, and the occasional observation about famous people (I know, I can't help it, ok?). Sign up for a Google Reader -- it's easy to set up and it'll change your life!

03 April 2008

Queen of Hearts...and Livers...and Kidneys...

My friend Jesse, who is in a Bible class with me at Hebrew U, struck up a conversation with me about Jerusalem Mixed Grill, and was shocked when I said that I like it. A brief conversation led us to make some plans to grab some of the glorious grill together.

I stayed at school doing work and getting stuff done, and then met Jesse for the bus downtown. A quick ride and then walk through the shuk brought us to Sima's. I just read Someone to Run With (amazing) by David Grossman, and the main character ate lunch with one of his family friends at Sima's, and it sounded really tasty. So I was more than willing to go to shuk-land to eat some mixed grill.

What is mixed grill, you may be wondering. Well, let me tell you about my first interaction with mixed grill. It went a little something like this:

[December 2006. Restaurant in downtown Jerusalem. Table is set with pita and little plates of salatim, or Israeli salads, such as tabouleh, beets, tomatoes and cucumbers, hummus, eggplant...waiters come out with trays with skewers of unidentified meat.]

SBB: Hmm, I don't really know what this is. But it tastes good. This piece here is like fat-free steak!
Classmates: This, I think, is liver.
SBB: Mmmm, liver. Pass me some of that!
Professor: This is mixed grill. [pause] That, on your plate, Sara Beth, is heart. That is indeed liver. That's kidney.
SBB: Oh, wow, I HAVE to call my dad! I ate heart and he's a cardiologist! Heart! Cardiologist! Get it?!
Classmates: This is gross. Let's play skewer games.
SBB: OK, after I eat a few more pieces of liver.
[end scene]

Talia holds a skewer of hearts, and I hold livers. Get it? (Davidson Trip 06-07)

I stab Davey in the heart. (Davidson Trip 06-07)

At the restaurant last year, the meat is set up on the skewers in a display.
That's, from L to R, kidney, heart and liver.
(Davidson Trip 06-07)

To be honest, I was a little scandalized, but really, I am such a fan of liver, and chicken hearts don't have a stitch of fat on them. Sure, you can identify the ventricles and the occasional artery, but hey, I'm a fan of anatomy!

At Sima's, the uncooked meat is in bowls, not on skewers, and they throw it on the grill as soon as you order. It's really crazy to see a big, pyrex-ish bowl of hearts go by your table. Sima's salatim aren't as good as the salatim at the grill place off of crack square, from whence the above pictures came, but they do serve the mixed grill with mejadera. I love mejadera. Also, our waiter was really awesome, and he was very interested in our choice of mejadera, instead of chips, pronounced "cheeps", Hebrew for "fries".

Our plates of chicken parts were huge, and after eating a piece of liver, about 5 hearts, and 2 kidneys ("a whole chicken's worth!") I decided to take the rest home. After Jesse and I went looking for a CD he wanted (Ehud Banai) and a book we need for class on Wednesday (a Haggadah, and I almost bought a $50 one because it was so lovely), I made my way home.

And I took my hearts with me.