Like the MamaLand Empire!

Have you Liked the AliyahLand adventure?
      ...and sign up for weekly aliyah tips by email (it's free).

Trivial pursuit? Humiliating Hebrew fail.


For most people, Shabbos is a time to relax after a crazy week. 

But not for my husband Akiva!  Not since I started challenging myself to read and translate the Hebrew trivia questions at the back of the weekend paper. 

I’m terribly bad at trivia, and Akiva isn’t much better, though he knows almost anything to do with movies.  So naturally, we go at it now every single week. 

I read the questions in Hebrew, translate them the best I can, and he attempts to answer.  Often, the questions are some obscure Israeli thing like “who is Moshav Kipnitzky named after?”  To which he’ll answer “Shmuli Kipnitzky,” which is never the right answer. 

Children’s books by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod – Israeli delivery order page


All prices include shipping within Israel.  If you’re outside of Israel, please buy directly through Amazon.

See below for the full list of books.  However, there are 4 special deals you may be interested in:

  • Jewish Monsters 2-pack ($16)
  • Holiday Animals 2-pack ($15)
  • Hashem’s Amazing World 3-pack ($24)
  • Pick your own 4-pack ($35)

Use this handy gadget to buy, or scroll down for more details.

Select one:
Book / Package Name

Jewish Monsters two-pack:

Chanukah Monsters plus Shabbat Monsters – $16

Holiday Animals two-pack:

Penguin Rosh Hashanah plus Panda Purim – $15

Hashem’s Amazing World three-pack:

Zoom! A Trip to the Moon, Baby! Life Before Birth and Buzz! A Teeny Tiny World - $24

Pick your own 4-pack:

Any four books listed below – $35

Individual Books:

Most illustrated, 8.5”x8.5” square full-colour paperbacks are $10 each.  Smaller books are priced individually.

61O09qGXuLL._AA160_  Captain Steve:  A story of coming home - $10
61Laci0ry L._UY250_ Elijah and the Priests of Baal - $10
519K-KF5SYL._AA160_ Ezra’s Aliyah - $8

Hashem’s Amazing World:  Baby!  Life before birth - $10


Hashem’s Amazing World:  Buzz!  A teeny tiny world - $10


Hashem’s Amazing World:  Zoom! A trip to the moon - $10


Hashem Never Forgets - $8

61Oxah rt9L._AA160_

Holiday Animals:  Panda Purim - $8


Holiday Animals:  Penguin Rosh Hashanah - $8


Jewish Monsters:  Chanukah Monsters - $10


Jewish Monsters:  Shabbat Monsters - $10


The Marror Man (b&w interior, fully illustrated) - $8

41gJkDxw PL._AA160_

Naomi Shemer: Teaching Israel to Sing (b&w interior, short chapter book) - $6


No Santa! (b&w interior, chapter book) – $8


One Chanukah Night - $10


The Seven Day Manuscript Machine:  Edit your children’s book to perfection in under a week - $10

514E KQUJzL._AA160_

Seven Special Gifts - $8


We Didn’t Have an Etrog! - $10


What Maya Wants to Be - $8

Weird, Wacky, Wonderful (Hebrew) Words: Kedai / כְּדָאִי vs Kedei / כְּדֵי


Meet the word kedai.  It’s one of my favourites.

Here it is:  כְּדָאִי

(say it – ke-DIE, like as in when a person dies)

This has got to be one of the most subtle, flexible words in the Hebrew language.

Part of its beauty is that it doesn’t have an exact translation.  Morfix says it means, “it is worthwhile, feasible.”  It’s probably true, but believe me, kedai gets a lot more use than those English words ever have.

Every time someone says that Israelis are all aggressive and in your face, lacking any semblance of subtlety, a kedai loses its wings and falls to the floor in a coma.  To Israelis, kedai is the essence of subtlety and tact.

If you want to suggest that it’s better to do something – it’s kedai.

If you prefer one option over another – it’s kedai.

Haveil Havalim, the Vayishlach Venture


Welcome!  If you’ve never been to the Haveil Havalim party before, you’re in for a treat.

What is HH?

imageIt’s a weekly roundup of what’s new and great in the Jewish / Israel blogging world.  I host once a month to give you a taste of what other great blogs are out there that you might enjoy.  Hopefully, you’ll find some new favourites.

It’s been a quiet week for Haveil Havalim, but there’s still lots going on.  I’ll let all these terrific posts speak for themselves.

Oh – and what about this picture of otters? 

Just a friendly reminder that if post(s) of yours are included here, you “otter” be sociable and visit some of the other blogs listed here.  Leave a comment to let them know you came from HH!

Inside Israel…

Following a stabbing last week at the Rami Levy supermarket in Mishor Adumim, Jacob Richman says it’s important to keep shopping there.  He says, “if you really want to see what peaceful co-existence is all about, go do your shopping at Rami Levy in Mishor Adumim,” in Shopping at Rami Levi in Mishor Adumim.

Varda Meyers Epstein agrees, and shares the lousy turnout in her local Gush Etzion Rami Levy store at Israelly Cool in Thursday night and the shopping is easy, where she praises owner Rami Levy himself, saying he’s “committed to hiring workers irrespective of race, creed, or nationality.”

Varda also wonders if the current Knesset bill defining Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people really does threaten Israeli democracy like its opponents say it does, in Israel As The Nation State Of The Jewish People Or Things That Make Me Cross.  She says, “There is a long list of national flags that depict crosses but only one with a Jewish star.”

Seasons (don’t) change: 10 ways you’ll know it’s winter here in Israel.


Israelis love to make a big deal of the seasons changing.  Heck, you can even drive up to the northern Galil and Golan to see colourful leaves on trees.

But I’m not buying it.  It’s all just an act.

As far as I’m concerned, there are exactly two seasons here:  good weather and hot weather.

We’re in good weather right now.  I feel like a human being, as opposed to a wrung-out sponja mop.

Nevertheless, Israelis insist on referring to the bit from November to February as winter.  They walk around shivering and kvetching about the cold.  This is disorienting, because if I close my eyes, it could be any season. 

I hope this Top Ten list will help you orient yourself when it comes to figuring out if it’s winter.

Top ten ways you’ll know it’s winter here in Israel:

Things that are weird in Israel #12: Xmas (that means Christmas)


If there’s anywhere the Grinch LOVES at this time of year, it’s got to be the Jewish state… right?


More than 2% of Israelis are Christian, about 161,000 people.  That’s about the same as the proportion of Jews in the United States, although it depends on how you’re counting. 

But it’s not just Israelis.  Beyond that 2%, there are about 300,000 “foreign workers” in Israel, which includes many, many Catholics from the Philippines.  (I also believe that many olim from the former Soviet Union are “secretly” Christian, which would bump the numbers way up beyond the official government tally.)

Anyway, considering this country is the birthplace of Christmas, it’s usually given pretty short shrift.  (A Christian word, by the way, meaning “confession.”)

Would I be a bad Israeli, a bad Jew, if I admit that it feels like there’s something missing here in December?  Don’t worry, I’m not pining for the malls and Santas of years past.  But it’s definitely different.

Which was why I was unexpectedly thrilled when I stumbled upon this colourful display outside a supermarket in the heart of Haifa. 


No snow in sight, but at least Frosty is putting in an appearance.

Learn more Hebrew… with Morfix’s “English Sentence of the Day?”


Want to improve your Hebrew?

Morfix (my favourite Hebrew dictionary) has this cool feature I noticed not long ago:  English Sentence of the Day.

It’s meant for Israelis learning English, and it teaches one new English sentence every single day.

But!  Since you and I already know English, the site can help us, instead, figure out how to say some of our favourite English things in genuine Hebrew words.

Today’s expression, for example, is “without further ado.”  A very handy thing in either language.

In Hebrew, the site says, this means “ללא דיחוי, מִיָּדִית” (lelo dichui; miyadeet).  The first means “without delay” and the second means “immediately.”  This also tells me, then, that there’s no exact translation.

A few days ago, the expression was “to get under one’s skin.”