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Is it just me…

… or is this not a tad disgusting???



The poster says קח את הנקיון בידיים, which means something like “take cleanliness in your hands.”

Um, yuck.

My Aliyah Sweatshirt

Wish I could have one of these made up to wear constantly over the next few weeks.  Not that I want to be wearing a sweatshirt in this >30 degree muggy heat, but at least it would save me the sweatier moments of having to explain every detail of my life, over and over and over…


Transcribed for those who cannot see the picture: 

Image shows a sweatshirt with the following caption:

August 5th, G-d willing.  Near Haifa.  No, the kids are going to school.  If, by lucky, you mean “giving up a lot for something you believe in” – yes, we are lucky.  If, by excited, you mean “scared out of our minds” – yup.

If you could have (or could have had) a sweatshirt during your aliyah process… what would it say (or have said)???

We had a big farewell shalosh seudos last Shabbos at my mother’s house for the ladies of the community.  Next up – big family BBQ this Sunday and possibly some kind words from the rabbi at kiddush next week.

So many ways to say goodbye, when really, I’d rather just slink away… :-o

Things that are weird about Israel, #1: Seed Stores

True, we’re not actually over there yet.  But what better time to start kvetching… in a not-so-kvetchy and affectionate way, of course?

Seed stores???

Yes, they are everywhere.  (Here’s an article about the ups and downs of the national Israeli nut habit.)


This particular one boasts roasting, sweets, spices, dried fruits and gift bags.  And, of course, the ubiquitous Nestle ice cream logo.


[Dear family and friends:  if you are concerned that we will be deprived of ice cream in this crazy Holy Land quest for holiness and meaning, please rest assured that we are not suffering too, too much.]

Mmm… ice cream. 

My favourite Holy Land ice cream experience so far has been at Aldo, which is absolutely wonderful ice cream.  They even have a pareve section!  All the ice cream is smooshed out attractively in tubs – all the pictures I can find make it look like a great big mess, but I assure you, it’s a beautiful thing.

But back to seed stores.  Actually, I’m finished ranting / kvetching about seed stores.  I don’t love seeds, but Israelis do, which is essentially what makes anything weird in this world of ours.

The real attraction is just down the street at what will probably be our nearest big-chain big-box drugstore (in this case, Super-Pharm, run by the same friendly Canadian folks who run Shoppers Drug Mart here in Canada), just down the street from Nuts & Seeds Depot over there…


See???  At first, I thought it was my imagination, but no…

In a strange country where everything seems totally weird (seeds???), I cannot tell you how comforting it is to see little familiar logos and drugstores that feel just like home.

See ya later, Life Brand alligator; seeds no more, you wacky store!

Top Seven Reasons Making Aliyah is Like Having a Baby

image #7 People keep asking when it’s going to happen already. 

#6 Even if you give them the date, you have to keep telling them, over and over and over...

#5 People who aren't doing it ooh and aah and tell you how magical everything will be and how lucky you are. 

#4 People who have done it before either tell you their horror stories (or just hint slyly about the kind of horror stories they would tell you, if they were the kind of person to do that sort of thing, which – lucky for you! - they're not). 

#3 People who did it years ago sit back muttering about how everything was completely different in their day.

#2 People who have done it recently act like they're the first in history to have this totally unique, eye-opening, life-changing experience experience. 

And then, all joking aside, there’s the most important reason…

#1 Everyone who does it is partnering with Hashem in fulfilling the destiny of klal Yisrael (the Jewish people).

Have a happy day!

A mashal – a fish


Before they left for Israel a couple of weeks ago, my friend Rachel’s husband Ariel, a wonderful rabbi, mechanech (educator) and all-around mensch, spoke in our shul about “Top Ten Obstacles to Making Aliyah (and a response).”

I have the notes here and want to throw them away – but can’t until I share two things he said.

The first is a mashal, pretty much the way he gave it over:

“There was once a fish that lived in water.  He had all the food he needed, all the space to swim in, and was protected by a protective barrier.  His life was fine, consistent and easy.  But something was nagging at him.  He just didn’t feel at home, for he was living in an aquarium.  Sure, the ocean is more dangerous and presents greater challenges and hardships, and it’s very difficult leaving the bubble he is used to living in, which is the only home he knows.  But deep down inside, the fish knows that he was not meant to live in a tank.  He was meant for the open waters of the ocean.  The Jewish people were meant to live in Israel.  That is our true home.

The second thing I took away from the talk (among many, many wonderful things) was from the section on “obstacles” – objections and excuses people give about why they’re not making aliyah. 

There were ten of them that he listed, and this was, “#7:  It’s not my time.”  This is about frum (religious) people who say, “Hashem just doesn’t have a plan for me to go to Israel (right now…).”  And his response, well, one of his responses is, “would you say that ‘it’s not my time to keep Shabbat now?’”

In other words:

You may not be ready / willing / able to live in Israel, BUT that doesn’t mean it’s not part of Hashem’s plan.  Don’t write it off the “bucket list,” even if it’s out of your grasp right now.  Even if it’s waaaaay out of your grasp.  Even if you don’t think it will EVER be within your grasp. 

The mitzvah to live in the land of Israel is on the books, whether we can live it yet or not.  (To be fair, views on this mitzvah within the Torah world range from “it’s optional” to “it’s mandatory” and everything in between.) 

What we should never ever do is suggest, even for a second, or fool ourselves or anyone else into believing that Hashem doesn’t want us there. 

He does.

… All of which said, now that I have recorded this and shared it, I can advance the cause of packing / clearing off my desk by throwing away this piece of paper – so we can get over there and actually see these wonderful friends again in person!!!