August 31, 2004


Jim of Snooze Buttons Dreams was just downsized; cooperate realignment stinks.. Go give him a kind word and a helping hand if you can. He's a tech guy and living in Alanta, so if anyone has any leads for him, let him know.

I know this fight; and I hope it is a short one for him. And may the idiots at his old place forever regret this idiotic move.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:22 PM | Comments (1)


Two buses were bombed in Israel today, about two hours ago. 14 people were killed, at least 98 evacuated to hospitals. via Arutz 7.
Go read; and here is a pic of one bus. Now, imagine someone you love rides that line.

And when you are done reading, and looking at the picture, and thinking, could anyone with a few bucks in their pocket do me a favor? Donate some of that money here, or here.

Thank you.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

Clowns to the Right Jokers to the Left

Here I am in the center. Oh, if I'm being obnoxious that is; and I'm being obnoxious, just for the sake fo asking a quesetion. First a step back; why the question?

I was over at Alas A Blog reading his post This and That and from there went to his blogroll and found myself Far to the Right of Amp. and then there was a bit of a discussion on how and why he put me where he put me. Briefly he stated it was a joke based on him being in the center.

Which leads to this question;
You are the center; whose to the left of you? Whose to the right? And why?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:12 AM | Comments (1)

Pet Life

I was over on EyeNo's blog; he did an excellent post on the problems of stupid dog owners and the reprecussions of those who don't know how to train or care for dogs. A brief excerpt from an excellent piece:

We’ve all seen people, usually males, strutting down the street with a pit bull or some other “agressive” breed. The dog is outfitted with a spiked collar and is straining against a leather leash that would look more at home hanging off a barber’s chair in the 1930s just waiting for the straight razor in need of stroping. Who picked out that collar? Not the dog. If the Hummer is the compensation for a rich man’s penile shortcomings then the Pit Bull or the Rotweiler is the poor man’s alternative.

Read the rest; he makes some excellent points.

As far as dog ownership goes, here are my points.

We, for those who don't know, have a dog. A Basset Hound. They are short, stocky, sloppy, but very loveable dogs. He was a good choice for us, good for a still growing family. He is not a good choice for someone who would have trouble walking him and no access to a large yard, for someone who is infrequently at home, who someone whose property is easily damaged, or fine, and hasn't a section of the house for him to romp in freely, where the family would spend a good bit of their time.

When it comes to pets heres the rule;
Research--Know the type of dog you are getting; is it right for your family? A Pit Bull wouldn't be right for us; you have to be very firm and strong, and I'm not that type of person. Be honest with yourself; how much training will this type of dog need and can you provide that?
Assess Is this particular dog the dog for you. Bring the whole family when you are looking at a dog; how does everyone interact with the dog/puppy? How does the animal act? Is it friendly? Timid? Does it knock everyone over to get to you? (could be a sign of aggression).
Train All dogs need some training. Do this when they are young and you won't regret it later.
EnjoyIf you hate taking the dog on walks, hate playing with it, hate petting it, hate having it lay its head on you lap, why did you bring the dog home?

Dogs can make beautiful and long term companions, but the human factor is t he most important. Know what you are doing. A dog is a dog and will behave the way nature intended; we, as owners have to learn how to use that nature to benefit us all.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:50 AM | Comments (2)

August 30, 2004

Oh the Blog, it is a Changing

You all have to sing that title! Anyway, if you are popping in and out of my site you'll see some mighty strange things going on, and you are bound to see some strange things for a little bit more. My site is being given a face-lift. A "blog decorator extraordinaire is working to make it a lovely home. So bear with me folks...

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:51 PM | Comments (3)

Remind Me Not To Do This Again

I knew not to mix ammonia and bleach, but I didn't know not to mix citrus acid and bleach. I figured citrus acid/ oragne juice, well they put stuff like that in bleach sometimes for the smell.

I will not do that again. I got a whiff of something that I knew wasn't good, rinsed everything down, toossed the rag I was using and opened all the windows and doors.

I'm still here so I figure I didn't do anything to bad, but I would like to know what I created.

Any chemist out there?

As an aside, the sink is clean.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:19 PM | Comments (8)

Changing Seasons.

Last night as I walked the dog I noticed a fine mist on our neighbors car; could it be they just washed the car that evening and, as happens in desert areas, where when the sun goes down the earth cools, the car simply didn't have time to dry?
But no, the next car, and the next car, and the next, all were beaded with moisture. This morning too; moisture. The begining of a new season.

There are other changes for our household:

Today my oldest son, the Wit, is going for his psychological testing prior to entering the army. The time when he dons the uniform of the Israeli army comes closer; and yes I'm scared. But not only is it a duty, it is true heroism. Without these men and women in uniform we would not survive.

This afternoon is my last afternoon working for the autistic child; it was a hard decision to make, but the hour wasn't good--dinner time,, and it was having a negative impact on my children. There were other frustrations as well, that I won't ennumerate. I feel bad; but they will find another person, and the sad fact is I just don't matter to the child.

The Artist and the Monkey both start school tomorrow; new teacher for the Artist but the Monkey has the same teacher as last year, which is good. I think this year will be easier on them both; the Artist is making other friends now, and she has picked up a bit of Hebrew. I'm hoping she makes friends other than just the English speakers; she has become too dependent on them for friendship and thus isn't learning Hebrew as fact as she could. I will miss them both during the days; I am not one of those moms who are happy to see their kids go off to school; I've always hated the begining of fall with homeworks and schedules and the hours separated from my kids.

The Agent is going to be taking courses to get his GED. Advice I have for children coming into Israel who are in high school? Arrange a high school first. We thought it would be better to be here and find a place but it never worked out correctly. So two days a week he will be having a class in how to take the GED, then he will, G-d willing, get his GED, then it is off to the Army for him as well. By the end of the year I am most likely to have both my boys in the army. Yeah, my stomach is in knots.

I will be working four hours on Thursdays now, instead of two hours on Thursdays and two on Fridays; one two hour session right on top of the other. I'm trying to keep my work days limited to three days a week, because my house has been so badly neglected, and with my husband's hours, he really can't lend much of a hand.

So there is my fall and most likely winter. A bit of good a bit of hope, a bit of fear.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:59 AM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2004

After the Honeymoon

Honeymoons; they aren't just for marriages, but cover a whole host of life changes. Moving into a new community, as I have, is one of them

Ordinarily the honeymoon period wanes and a new reality sets in; one starts seeing the town, warts and all. Only if the warts become as acceptable in one's eyes as the perfect curve of the nose, does real love of place set in.

Never before has that fresh quality remained; never before have I slipped into the comfortable stage. Never, till now.

A year plus has gone by; I haven't had perfect days. But the feelings that this is home, this is the place I should be has strengthen, not lessened.

Take today for instance, a nearly perfect Shabbat. I attended a Tehilim/good speech lesson, in Hebrew, and could understand more than normal (the woman leading it did explain things, but I got some on my own as well.) I was home for a bit then another Shiur; this one by the father of one of the women on the Yishuv; an astounding talk that I couldn't begin to summarize by a an extraordinary author. Then I came home again and began to prepare for Shalosh Seudot; the 3rd meal of the Sabbath day.

Our family was joining another family; a semi-spontaneous get together, and my friend, we would be eating in the yard of their house under the cabana, invited another family. We carried our small dining room table over the fence separating us from our neighbors, and brought of chairs. There were salads and fish and this luscious dressing, and we were all squeezed together, barely enough room to move, at the two tables. The children played together; not a single fight among them. And we adults talked, and laughed, and talked some more. We shared thoughts on Torah and family life, and Israel; how happy we were having made this move. The time passed so quickly that I was surprised when the benchers (booklets containing the after meal prayers) were brought out; was the day ending so soon? It seemed as if we had only sat down together a few minutes before. But I looked around and realized that night was settling in; a new day was forming. The men went to Shul and returned. We made Havdalah and began to clear away the remnants of the meal, reclaimed our individual portions of the meal, and tables and chairs were brought back to rightful owners.

One day blending into the other. A day of rest, a day of work.

Perhaps that is why the Jewish day begins at night; one day connects to the other without the interruption of sleep, so one carries part of the day before into the new day. Into this day I carried joy and friendship, a pleasant meal and learning.

As we left we promised each other to do this again, next week. I hope we do. These types of gatherings are what make a home, and a homeland.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:56 PM | Comments (6)

August 27, 2004

I Don't Want to Go to Work Today

Title says it all.
Whiningly yours.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:02 AM | Comments (4)

More Miracles

Thank G-d three times.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:00 AM | Comments (1)

Snuggle Time

Scene: Nighttime, in my bed, the monkey beside me.
She wraps her arms about my neck, hugs me close and says
"I wish I could always stay little so you could be the boss of me forever."
Brief pause. I'm thinking, Zero Boss eat your heart out. Then: she rolls onto her tummy:
"Scratch my back. Harder. Up a bit more. The other side. Not so hard. Down a bit."

Hmmm. maybe I'm not understanding this word, BOSS.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:03 AM | Comments (2)

August 26, 2004

While I Wasn't Looking

My blogroll said LOOK over by A Small Victory's name. So I looked and ended up here. HUH? is right!!! I thought I hit the wrong blog name. But no, ASV is deserting the blogsphere for a few months, maybe forever! WAH!!!!

Luckily Michele is still writing. So go on over to POPPED CULTURE and enjoy a great read.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:06 PM | Comments (1)


The woman I clean for on Mondays and Thursdays has two adorable children; a three-year- old boy, who is sweet and funny, and a 6- month- old girl. This little one sleeps in ten minutes snatches, has a smile and a laugh that would warm Scrooges heart. I knew this child before she was born and saw her when she was only a few days old.

Today when I went to clean the bathroom after her mother had given her a bath and found the tub still full of water. Not the little tub her mother has been using, the regular tub.

"She's growing up." I thought to myself.

Later her mother asked me to clean the baby tub. "I'm going to put it upstairs."
"Sure" I thought. I almost always did, but today I hadn't as the big tub was used.
I got out the cleaner and the sponge and set in to work; and I felt this odd little tug at my heart. The bathtub is no longer part of her life, or my life.

"She is growing up."

I feel sort of Auntish toward her, and her brother, watching them grow and change. Today, the little boy pulled out his new crayons and showed me, promising to draw me a picture using them. He's invited me to go swimming in his pool with him, showed off his new Tzitit (fringed garment worn by men, donned normally after a chid is toilet trained/or three), showed me his reward chart. The little girl favors me with her smiles, finds comfort sometimes in my arms.

It is a sweet experience for me.;the privilege without the work; one of the benefits of the job I do.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:48 AM | Comments (5)

Who Better Than A Friend

I met up with a friend as she was walking home from the GREAT EVENT of yesterday, and decided to walk with her a bit; I had some things on my mind and really needed to bend someone's ear and she was very helpful. One conversation led to the next and soon we were talking about housecleaning.

"I really could use an extra hand about the house." She admitted.
She is a very neat homemaker; but she is pregnant and has two little ones. Anyone who is pregnant and has two little ones three and younger doesn't need help, they deserve help! One's stomach just gets in the way of everything, not to mention feeling tired and drained. And two little ones need a lot of attention; they should have priority.

I happened to know someone who was looking for work and I mentioned her.

"But..." she protested. "I couldn't hire a friend!"
"Who better?" I returned. "They would become your friend in any event."

I understood what she meant. In the USA the idea of having a friend scrub your toilets or clean your oven is a bit disconcerting. One has a maid, and one has friends, but one doesn't have a maid who is a friend. Aren't they sort of mutually exclusive? And our upbringing has been strictly American. Role boundaries are heavy and well defined. One may like one's maid, one may be friendly with one's maid, but one isn't inviting them to dinner on Shabbat.

Here, it is different. One shiur (lesson) I attend is given at the house of another woman I clean for. I wouldn't feel at all odd going to either of the women's houses for a meal, nor would I feel strange having them at my table. There are not the strict lines of demarcations here that divide people in the USA according to profession or finances. Our jobs are what we do to live; ourselves are what we give each other.

Another reason I love being an Israeli.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:24 AM | Comments (3)

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Our Yishuv is 20 years old this year; yesterday was the annual party for the Yishuv, celebrated in high style in the grassy lot between two children's play areas.

Most everything was for the kids; four bouncy towers (or whatever they are called. Do they actually have a name?) One, on the podium, had a "bull " in the center of the pillow to toss willing children onto the cushiony mat below;another had a water slide. Moms agreed; this would be the one we would go for! But lacking the courage to actually stand in line with the under 14 set, I satisfied myself with the occasional drifts of sprays that came my way. Both the Artist and the Monkey happily went down and then graciously gave shared the cool water with me by hugging me and leaning on me.

Too loud music blared from the loudspeakers, and shrieks of laughter rendered all unshouted conversation practically unhearable. Up in the first playground area was an archery booth and tables set up for painting; I thought the Artist would certainly want to try her hand at the painting tables but by the time the paints came out she was starting to get cold and, I think, her intense needs for quiet and privacy kicked in.

Sweet treats of course; can any fair be lacking sugar? Enough of the white stuff in a variety of forms present to guarantee the children of a community three times our size would never be able to go to bed that night. The two little ones scurried up and bought themselves lollipops.

"But Ima," The Artist said to me. "It was three shek each and I was suppose to get change, but I don't know what happened." I shrugged; the loss of four shek is not a crisis, but when I passed the booths on the way out I stopped by.

The booth was run by the amazing owner of M.C's shop.

Here's the wonder of living in a yishuv: I pointed out the candies that my two had bought "Cama ze oleh?" I asked, "How much for these?" Perhaps Artist had made an error, misunderstood what the price.

"3 shek each"

"Oh, because my daughter bought..."
I got no further than that.
"Yes, four shek." He said, and reached into his pocket and pulled out his money. Would this happen anywhere else? Most likely he hadn't change when my daughters bought their treats, so he told them to come back, and they just didn't understand. He started handing me my money.
Then I saw some licorice for sale; black licorice, my favorite type, with a white filling. What was that white stuff? How good was the licorice? Another unsatisfied want; a craving I've denied myself over this past year, each time thinking "not now. Maybe next time."
But it was only 2 shek. I considered, and as he started to hand me my change I decided.
One piece of licorice, two shek returned. I smiled my thanks. And bit into my indulgence.
Damn, was this candy heavenly! The white creamy filling was rich, like the fillings of some doughnuts, the licorice full bodied. I ate slowly savoring every morsel, and made up my mind to indulge myself a few more times during the year; luckily for me he isn't open every time I go up the hill!

I bumped into a friend, and we started talking. "Oh, by the way, my dh made some falafels and we have extra, want some?" (Her husband is the cook for a nearby school.) Now, who could say no to free dinner? Along with the too many for us to eat in one day falafel balls came homemade tehina and a salad. Yum, was it good. Those are some lucky kids! This was definitely not the normal food one finds in most cafeterias. Now I have to learn how to prepare homemade falafel.

Music, laughter, fun conversation, sweets, and a dinner I didn't have to cook or pay for, all in celebration the greatest communities I've ever lived in.
Who could ask for anything more?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:38 AM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2004

Israel's First Gold!!!

Via arutz 7 natch.

Gal Friedman won the first Olympic gold medal in Israeli history. Gal, which means "wave" won the medal in wind-surfing. To get the gold he had to win this last race by at least three places. He won by two.

And tonight at about 8pm, guess which national anthem will get played at the Olympics for the first time!?!

Other articles are here!
(compare the reason Israeli atheletes didn't compete in a race with that of some athletes from Muslim countries) and here.

Okay, I am gloating.


Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:26 PM | Comments (2)


Is this a case of possible
One Russian plane crashed, one plane missing within minutes of each other, the Russian presidential election just days away? One plane sent a HIJACK signal.

DId the other plane simply crash?

I don't know what to think. I suppose it could simply be coincidence; but what are the chances?

Athena has a great analysis of the situation, full of updates as well as her measured and thoughtful response to the situation.

via Drink This, who asks "Is this what we have to look forward to? and includes links to other bloggers talking about this.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

Buttons, Books and Saffron

I can count on two hands the times I went into Jerusalem this year; I simply did not have the time. Infrequent, sporadic and quick, my trips did not allow me enough time to do what I wanted to do. I was either working, or in Ulpan.

Now however, I have the time. Yesterday I went in to Jerusalem with a friend of mine, the mother of the young girl who I accompanied in the previous week.

Adult conversation! Whee!

We had an early lunch and headed off to shopping; our first stop to drop off her sewing machine AND converter, which we schlepped onto the bus and up and down the streets of Jerusalem in a little hand-shopping cart. Because of a miscommunication the converter was brought along but not necessary; so we ended up schlepping this 20 or 30lb item along with us the rest of the day. Oy, our aching backs!!!!

Next I bought a small pocket Siddur for me; now there is no excuse for me not to pray. We stopped in the lobby of the Leumi Health clinic and had a chat with G-d. Along with the Siddur I got this cutesy little boo in Hebrew, meant for the wee ones, plastic coated, so my chocolate-sticky hands won't ruining the pages as I read about the moralistic stories of our predeccesors. Hey, with a bit of effort I can pass first grade!

Next, an essential stop for me; buttons. The Artist, for reasons I cannot fathom, is a button repellent. Buttons just fall off her clothes, never to be found again. We have so many outfits of hers that either need to be held together by safety pins (which we can never find when needed) or sit there, looking at me contemptuously, saying "You are never going to fix us up proper, are you?"

Hah! I entered the sewing store fearlessly and well prepared; all the buttons in a little paper packet, with amounts needed (in case I couldn't match exactly) and other pertinint information. I show the woman at the counter the button and she came back with ----

something that was wrong, wrong, wrong!

I tried to explain "Saricha et hamida ha zeh!" I need something in this size. She looked at me. "Ha seveh lo hashuv, saricha et hamida ha ze." The color isn't important, I need something this size." She waves angrily at the buttons behind her "Tisticali" "Look". and added, that I should come back there and look.

I searched, seething. Couldn't she have been a bit politer? I realize my Hebrew isn't that good, but I was pretty certain that between my friend and I that we communicated what I needed. But finally found what I needed. Sort of.

"She is rude, frequently" My friend explained later; but the other woman, who owned the store a nd stayed mostly in the back, was very nice." I'm not swayed; I doubt if I will return there. I don't expect fawning, but it wasn't as if I had taken up a lot of her time.

Next we head for the Shuk.

I've wanted to go to the Shuk since we came in May of 2000 for a visit. It is a marvel; outdoor/indoor stores, full of great and unexpected bargins. Most of the stores are food stores; cheese in blocks, fruits and vegetables, nuts, spices, and various mixtures of seasonings for different foods. But there are also clothing stores, and stores filled with pots and pans, and one never knows what one may discover. I walked around in awe, and then bought something for rice; it looks incredibly delicious, a confetti of colors, more like a potpurri than food; and then headed off to a spice store.

I buy a strange looking root, after getting instructions on how to prepare it (hot water, drink it up!)Don't ask me how to pronouce it! Then I ask about saffron.

I've heard the praises sung about saffron for a year now; how expensive, how delicious it is. I knew I had to try it, just once. Did I have enough for it? How dear was dear?

He brings out a small jar; smaller than the height of my thumb ; fiery read threads, in a small mass, less than the volume of the jar, are curled inside. This is the spice I've been searching for. I stare at it; "Kamah ze oleh?" How much.

15 shek. about the price I paid for my little Siddur. 5 shek less than I earn in an hour watching Y; so little for so much money really.

But: I'll take it.

He wraps it in a plastic bag, and hands it to me; I take it as if it were a jewel, placing it carefully in my bag.

Now we can go home.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2004

Well We Got One

One of those big ugly boxes that sit on your t.v. and bring you garbage from around the world.

Yeah, a satellite. Without such we can only get two stations in, poorly, and both are Arab stations, so the t.v. was never really used except for videos.

I could have done without the upgrade. I liked the idea of finally having no real t.v.

I could have done without it totally; no t.v., no videos, but my family wanted, and I was overruled on that a long time ago. Now I've been overruled on the satellite as well. So now we have over 200 channels and nothing on really.

The plus side is it can help with our Hebrew; many of the kids shows the children are accustomed to have been dubbed into Hebrew the children have an easier time figuring out what is going on an associating the words with concepts; learning the way any person would learn a first language. And then there are all the original Hebrew cartoons as well.; simple Hebrew, words and concepts repeated dozens of times; one begins to hear the words and common phrases.

But it is such a time waster, such a grabber of attention; can we use it just to learn and for the occasional vege days? When we are feeling too tired, or too ill to do much of anything? Or will it make us into vegetables? We had a hard time controlling it in USA; but then we were home more often and someone was always done with their work. The girls are both in school and they have all developed different "I'm bored" skills. The Artist is now reading; a skill that come hard to her as a dyslexic. They are finding friends; the Monkey will follow the Artist anywhere she goes (and often when she doesn't want her to follow.) Soon the boys will be out of the house most of the time. The Wit into the Army, the Agent into a program designed to help him get his GEDs, and then he will go into the Army as well. I'm working, my dh is gone most of the day.

So maybe it will be good.

Or maybe it will be too much money flushed down the drain helping us make mush of our brains.

I suppose it is a wait and see situation. Well, I'll lift my morning cup of joe in the hopes that it ends up being a benefit.

Here's to language acquisition via cartoons.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:48 AM | Comments (5)

August 23, 2004

You Can Get Anything (almost) You Want at M. C's Store

Walk right in it's round the back, just a few steps from the Ma~ko~let!
And you really can get practically anything you can think of.
The other day I was in there for a particular religious book (on ethical speech.) I edge past a box of something and suddenly hear this loud noise beside me. After descending from the ceiling, I turn about to find the culprit.

It was a rabbit. A cute, fluffy black and white rabbit in a cage constructed from a box. "Only 100 skek" I'm told when I enquire about the animal. "With a cage, 150 shek." and I am assured, "He's had all his shots"

Oh, I want him! I tihnk of the Artist who has wanted a rabbit, on and off, for years. She is in the off stage now, and even if she wasn't, if I took him home my dh would have had a cow. I know we have no room for a cow.

But there was the rabbit, tucked in between some silver knickknacks and besides the shelf full of books. There are bins of candy; the kind one use to buy for a penny, here it is a couple of shek. Licorice wrapped about a second type of candy, chewy squares.

There are baby items and kitchen ware, papers, pens, paints, dolls, candles, clocks, mirrors, toys, books and religious items.

There are birds (and now at least one rabbit), utility knives, sponges, and toilet paper.

There are grills and hair supplies, shampoo and stickers.

You name it, he's got it.

It is the funkiest store I have ever entered; fun to be in, fun to shop from. You never know what he'll have in stock. And he is a wonderful man.

The only problem is trying to find him open. Supposedly he is open after 4. I've gone there "after 4" and he isn't open. The only day I'm told he is there is Friday, in the morning. Technically that is after four on Thursday, but it is a way of keeping time that I'm just not use to!

This is sort of a sideline store; his main store is somewhere in Jerusalem, and dthat is where his main focus must remain. It is basically a gift to our Yishuv that he is open at all. But it is somewhat frustrating; especially when you are waiting on a few items that he promised to try and order for you.

I guess I just have to develop a bit more patience.

And if you ever come visit me I'll take you there to visit, on Friday morning, so I'll know you have a chance to buy a little something, and enjoy just roaming the aisles.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Jewish Community Center in Paris Burnt Down Yesterday

And as my son says "This is becoming all too typical." Article here and then consider this.

Ya think there might be a connection?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:36 PM | Comments (1)

Strengthen The Good

Strengthen The Good starts off the week with their first charity: THE GULF COAST COMMUNITY OF VENICE. Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund.

What can be done for the vicitims of Hurricane Charley while they wait for help from some of the macro-chariites? To help them feel safe and secure once again? As Strenthten the Good states:

Here’s the issue: a burning charitable need at this moment is relief for people affected by Hurricane Charley. And while I very much want to highlight a Charley micro-charity, the fact is that the need right now is macro … incredibly macro. Fundamental needs: housing … water … huge quantities of baby formula … needs that are best met by macro charities such as the Red Cross, the Christian Contractors Association, and Salvation Army, and it’s going to be this way for some time.

Strengthen the good has found this charity:
From their website:

Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund
The Foundation Board of Directors voted Tuesday to match contributions to its Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund up to $100,000. In addition, the Board set aside $25,000 as an initial gift.

You can take advantage of this matching opportunity by donating online or you may deliver it to 601 Tamiami Trail South, Venice, FL 34285. The Foundation is pleased to be able to offer a means for giving where 100% of the donations will be directed to the agencies providing the services required to sustain and improve life for the victims.If you prefer that your contribution is used for a specific community or cause, please include the name in the "Special Instructions" area on the donation form.

You can donate by clicking here and filling out the form.

OR: mail a check to:

Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice Hurricane Charley Disaster Relief Fund
601 Tamiami Trail South
Venice, FL 34285

Please write “Strengthen The Good” in the memo line on the check if you donate by mail.

You may also donate via Strengthen the Goods paypal account here, right column, just under the icon.

Remember, every dollar you give is doubled.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2004

Now You Know My ABC's

Robin of CCJELLYBEANS (check out her new look!) had this up, and I'm falling suit. I'm such a copy cat!

A Archery is a sport I took in highschool. I wish I had a set of bows and arrows!
B Buy me a Book, that will make me happy. My favroite authors? Ende and Liggoti.
C Chocolate, white and creamy, with or with out nuts, a taste that is dreamy.
D Dogs and cats, cats and dogs. I've always lived with one or the other.
E Eclairs; I love them, but haven't had one in years. The chocloate, the pastry, the cream. An inch of fat on each thigh but worth it, really!
F Flowers and plants don't last long in ths house.
G Graduated from college with a BA in psych, which has helped me not at all in life.
I Israel is my physical home of only 1 + years, but ever since I was young I wanted to live here.
J Jacks was a game I loved to play when I was a child; I was actually quite good at it.
K Kites; everyone should have a kite!
L Lavendar ismy favorite scent. When we buy the house I want to plant lavendar and roses.
M Momo, by Michael Ende is one of my favorite books.
N Neverending Story, is the one Michael Ende is most famous for. Read the book, skip the movie.
O Orthdox Jew is what I am. I wasn't raised this way though; we were conservadox.
P Penumbra is my favorite word; it just seems so mysterious.
Q Quilts; I've always wanted to make a quilt.
R Rachel Ann is my name because my mother didn't like Ann Rachel! I prefer it this way also.
S Serendipity is another word I like.
T Tidy I am not. Wish I was.
U Unicorns are my favorite fantasy beast. Wish they were real!
V Violins are interesting instruments. The Artist wishes she had one. I wish she had one also.
W Williard is one movie I will never see. I've a fear of rats!
X Xenoglossia means person’s knowledge of a language never studied. I like weird and unusual words!
Y Yarn is something I love to work with; crochet it or spin it from wool.
Z Zephyrs are lovely on a warm day. Or a cool day, depending on which you mean.

What are your abc's?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:35 PM | Comments (4)

What the Mainstream Press Doesn't Want You to See

I was over at Honest Reporting, reading one of the articles, and I thought I would share.
Read the article and then go here for the slide show on this particular soilders term of service at the Kalandia check point.

So when will your paper print these pictures?
Check out some of his other slideshows. I think this man has a career as a photojournalist ahead of him.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:47 AM | Comments (1)

August 20, 2004

A Gift from my Father

Better here;

Okay, after two days of cleaning work, my back is hurting again; it isn't spasming this time, so I was able to actually work, but I needed to rest. I'm laying on a heating pad (thank you dh!) and trying to rest when I hear some yelling downstairs, and the Monkey comes up to me crying.

She broke my wood dog. She pulled on the Artist, unsettling her as she was trying to put something on the shelf, and the Artist's arm struck the dog and it came tumbling down.

This is a favorite piece sculpture of mine, because the artist is my father. He carved it from a single piece of wood in the shape of my Basset Hound. It wasn't a perfect rendition of a Basset Hound, but it was very well made, he most likely could have gotten some money from it, but even if he wouldn't be able to I loved it---my father made it for me. It was a keepsake treasure, one I hope to pass maybe with the help of some glue.

Now it is earless and tailess and yes I'm upset; but yelling about it to the Monkey won't help; she was sorry for what she had done, in tears over it. So I hugged her and told her it was okay, maybe we could glue it. I suppose I could ask him to make me another one, but I think that would leave him hurt that it was broken.

And I'm hurt, and angry.

This was a gift from my father.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:29 PM | Comments (4)

Entrance of My Past-Life Lover

So I'm helping out a friend with a bit of fine hand work the other day; this is the day I am also all set to go for a wedding; the son of a good friend, and my first Israeli wedding. I had cleared my calendar, switched my afternoon work. Boy, was I hyped.

But first I had this little emergency to take care of. And it took delicate handiwork. Repteitive, delicate, handywork.

Did I ever mention I suffered from carpal tunnel in the past (Thank you G-d for accupuncture!) And I guess this delicate, repetivive handiwork tickled my brains bad humor and it sent me a twinge in the back. Ouch. Okay, ignore that. But then antoher one came, and another one came. Soon I'm doing the labor-woman breath: pwhh, pwwhh! No help. My back is getting very angry. I stopped, lie down on the ground a moment (really looks sophisticated to speard yourself on someone's porch. "Hit! Didn't you know proch lying was the latest fad?" Didn't do much good. I try working again, interspersed with wacky motions of back and arms, and lying on the floor and two ibruprofens; spasms are coming on strong. If I were a laboring woman I'd be nudging my dh and going "It's time!" But there would be no blessing at the end of this battle and while I tried to work it was just getting ridiculous. I was spending more time on the floor than on the work. It hurt to move, it hurt to stay still. I had a few seconds of releif and then BAM! Something grabbed the nerves in my back and pulled! Finally I had to leave.

Angry, humilated, guilty---I like helping, I like the feeling of it, but it was a no go-- I head home, phoning the Agent and telling him; KEEP THE BATHROOM CLEAR. I was headed for a hot bath.

This will do the trick. This HAD to do the trick. I couldn't picture myself riding in a car the way I was feeling. I wouldn't be able to maintain any position. NO! NO! NO!

Hot water. Ease myself in. Close my eyes to try and relax a bit. My emotions weren't helping my back any.

I'm just starting to relax a little when BANG! I look up and see the shadow of a bird in the window. Pebbled window for modesty's sake.

"Absurd bird." I think. I close my eyes and again BANG! What?

And I think back to a little incident with an e-mail friend. She had this bird keep banging agains ther window too. What was going on she asked? Me, being weird as usual wrote back "It is a past-life lover my dear. You rejected him. He no longer wanted to be human, but he sought you out and he has forgotten he's a bird! In his next life he'll be a moth."

Well it looks like my past-life lover was paying me a visit too.

After about the fifth bash his head against the window I started feeling a bit
weird. Apparently my past life lover was not only stupid and absurd but a perv.

No wonder I ditched him.

My back wasn't getting better and absurd bird was getting on my nerves. Out of the tub, down two more ibruprofen, slather on ben gay, try and lie down, try and walk around, a glass a wine. Finally a nap.

Woke up as if from a drugged sleep, which I guess it was, but the back pain and the bird were gone.

Wedding was lovely.

But if I see that bird again, I'm gonna kill him. Moth's are less noisy and messy.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:12 PM | Comments (3)

August 19, 2004

What won't you Blog about?

I wrote a post today that you will never see. I . got all the way through to the end; I even checked it for spelling errors. Then I deleted it; I thought the post was funny, I thought it relevant, I thought it would give a taste of life in Israel. No one had done anything wrong or evil so no one's name would have been besmirched. I hadn't even used anyone's name; I even disguised and altered the information to make discovery difficult or impossible; still, I was afraid that someone might see what was written and guess who the story was about, or guess that it was about them; that they would undo the deceptions and nod their head and go, oh! I know who she is talking about.

I know other bloggers have talked about this before; I am curious: what are the lines you will not cross? Have you ever blogged something and then regreted it? Have you ever erased or deleted an entry? Have you ever read something on someone else's blog and thought they should not have done so because, though well written, it could cause someone else harm? (no naming the blogs please.)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:07 PM | Comments (12)

Helping the Blind to See

This is fascinating.

There is a new type of surgery available for those who are suffering from corneal blindness. The process is two part, and involvees using the tissue from the patients cheek and a tooth along with some of the jawbone. The procedure is rather complicated, so go read about it here.

This givea a whole new meaning to the word "eye-teeth".

Other articles dealing with this new surgery can be found here and here.

via Dean's world. Thanks for blogging about this Dean.

I love science!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

New Blog!

There is a new blog on the blogsphere, and she happens to be both an excellent writer and a good friend of mine. I hope you enjoy reading her work as much as I do.

Her blog is called House of Joy

She is truly a lovely woman, inside and out, one of the sweetest women you could hope to meet. She always has a smile on her face and a soft, gentle voice.

I only held off promoting her blog because I didn't know if she wanted the advertisement or not; but yesterday I finally got to speak with her about it (at a wedding we were attending) and she gave me the go ahead.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

Hunger Strike Over?

Four days into the hunger strike and at least one person is calling it quits.

Prison Officials brought Marwan Barghout, one of the strike leaders (and one who considers himself a potential leader after Arafat), his food Tuesday and, with a quick glance around to assure himself he was not being seen, he dragged the food into his cell and ate. But the guards were one step ahead and photographed him with his head in his food. Terrible guards! Not only don't they allow the prisoners cell phones, but they actually photograph them cheating on their strike. The nerve!

He isn't alone. At least 10 other leaders have been nibbling away, according to Israeli officials, taking advantage of the fact that they are in solitary confinement.

I guess with the Palestinians it isn't what you do it is what you say. And, as the article in Arutz 7 points out; Palestinian leaders are all to quick to sacrifice their people while they sit on cushions and lap up cream.

BTW, why is Marwan Barghouti in jail? He is convicted of the deaths of FIVE people. Here's a link to some more information about this wonderful fellow.

Follow the links from the second url in the above sentence. They are quite interesting.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:45 AM | Comments (2)

August 17, 2004

"Western Europe there is sympathy for dead Jews; it's just the live ones that they cannot tolerate"

The above title is a direct quote from Laurence Weinbaum, Director of Research at the World Jewish who was the resident scholar for a group of Jewish and Israeli students who were verbally assaulted on a tour of Auschwitz.
Full article here.

Read and let me know what you think. It left me shaken. I know no one was physically hurt but there seems to have been a line crossed here, a rather dangerous line.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:24 PM | Comments (4)

I am hoping

She wins the diarist award. She deserves it; don't you agree? Her writing takes my breath away. I often want to go print out what she is writing and save it for when she becomes famous.

She writes like a dream, and leaves you wanting, craving more. She is better than chocolate.

But don't just trust me; see for yourself.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:51 PM | Comments (2)

Back to School

So we, as in the love bugs, well the two young ones anyway, me and the dh all went into Jerusalem for back to school shopping; Martys for shoes for the two girls (140 shek for two pair of sandals, not bad!) a new tik (knapsack) on wheels for The Artist, and of course Bazaar Strauss.

Bazaar Strauss is the place to go if you want a serious headache for just a teensy tiny place. Consider the store uncrowded if you are able to move from one side to the other and only have to say "sleicha! (excuse me) five or six times. There is no such thing as a quiet mode. No changing rooms that I know of (maybe they are there but I am not looking for them!) and stacks and racks of clothes for bargain basement prices. No serious clothes shopping trip can take place without a stop at Bazaar Strauss. This trip I netted two pairs of light pajamas for the Artisit and a few things for me; under 50 shek. When your outgo isn't matching up at all to your income, this is good news.. Pizza, a large portion of which was fed to my youngegst shirt, and home again.

4 hours, and about 350 shek later we are home.

And I have to make supper and go back to work.
That's life!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2004

Help One Another

This is a fantastic idea and I'm happy to plug it.

It is real simple; Alan of Command Post has set up a new site. He searches for a worthwhile charity and posts it as his new site, Strengthen the Good. Then we link to the post, getting the word out to as many people as possible.

What a great way to make the world a better place.

via Elms in the Yard

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:52 PM | Comments (2)

EU Separation Fence

I stole this from Simon world:

I suppose this is do as I say and not as I do? The EU is building a border fence between their new members Poland and Hungary, and their neighbors Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine because they just don't want those people coming in! (Bombs we can let through though.)

And guess who will most likely sign the contract to do the work?
If you said an Israeli company go to the head of the class!

Got to love it!


Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:39 PM | Comments (1)

The Wit Shared this with Me

And I had a good laugh. Thought you might also.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)

What the ?!!!

Maybe Ca. needs an intelligence test before hiring their bus drives.
via Zero Intelligence.

First-grader Sarah Macias told the bus driver the stop at Mango and Walnut avenues in Fontana. Calif., wasn't hers, but the driver told her to get off along an open field where there were few homes and no stores. It was her first bus ride.

Look, moron; a first grader knows their own house. And even if you thought she was just confused SHOULDN'T YOU HAVE CALLED AND CHECKED??? Did you see a mom or dad or sitter waiting for the child? You would want this to happen to someone you loved?

Claudia Walker of Rialto spotted the frightened girl and took her to the Fontana Police Department. The girl's parents were called and they were reunited an hour later.

Thank you Claudia Walker; thank you for being there and caring and doing what others should have done and didn't. It is nice to know there are sensible, good hearted, responsible people in the world.

The August 4 incident, which was made public on Thursday, occurred at the end of the second day of school when Sarah was instructed by a teacher to follow girls boarding a bus. Sarah's shoe fell off, however, and she got distracted and boarded the wrong bus.

The girl says she was told to get off when the bus reached its last stop.

Moron number 2. Teachers, you are responsible for those children from the time they get to school till they leave. It was her second day at school YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE EACH CHILD IS ON THE RIGHT BUS! It is your business.

When my son was young and in school, we had a similar incident. The school called me and said "Is your son home yet?" "No" I replied, "He was suppose to have detention" (they were handing out detention for everything, from missing homework to acting silly in class) "He's suppose to be with you!" (the bus hasn't even reached home yet. "Where is my child?" This is about 45 minutes after school has ended btw.

I had no car, and couldn't leave the house anyway (in case he showed up.) I waited 15 more minutes for him and the bus to come, sick with worry the whole time.

What happened? He asked his teacher where he should go for detention and his teacher said "Go home." well, since she was the one who did it, he figured he had to wait another day and went home.

Then the school complained to me about his leaving. LISTEN YOU DIMWITS ; YOU LOST MY SON!

45 minutes could have made the difference between life and death. He was fine, but what if something else had happened? Wait 45 minutes to tell me? FIND THE BUS. SEE IF HE IS ON IT.

Don't mess with me when it comes to my kids.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:29 PM | Comments (3)

Quiz:What Famous Leader am I?

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by

via Accidental Verbosity

That's me! Except my hair isn't quite that white yet.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

The Price of Love

I was snuggling with the Monkey, trying to get her to sleep; this is a Herculean task-- I think even Mother Teresa would have had her patience tested! After finally getting her to lie still for a few seconds, she turned to me:

"When are Bubby and Zayde (grandma and grandpa) going to come back? I miss them!"

"Well, soon I hope. Bubby was sick so many not this year."
"Oh! I miss them." pause.
"Well at least I miss the desserts they had. They were good!"

Nice to know they are loved for something important.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

Intimidation and the Truth

There is an excellent article on Jewish World Review on how the PLO uses intimidation to distort the truth of what goes on in Israel and dthe Palestinian territories.

Arafat's "security forces have made more than 30 arrests of journalists and editors," the Columbia Journalism Review noted in 1996. "Although they have been almost completely freed from the Israeli yoke of military censorship, Palestinian journalists are being fettered in new ways. Reporters Sans Frontieres, a watchdog group based in Paris, released a report . . . deploring the Palestinian Authority's policy of suspending newspapers and employing threats and violence against journalists. . . . The result is a tame, compliant press that . . . rarely engages in investigative journalism and publishes only . . . 'vegetarian' criticism of the regime."

Frightening, but what can be done about it? How can the truth be brought out, especially to an audience that has less and less time to search for the answers and is waiting, unfortunately, to have the news spoon fed into their mouths?

I can't tell you the number of people who simply "don't know much about the situation" and other's who add "I don't understand why they (Israel and the Palestinians) can't just get along."

If I come over to your house, destroy your property, pee in your pool and hit your kids are you going to give me half the house to live in?

I can recommend books; I can't make people read them. I can express my feelings of anger and fear; but I can't make other's feel them. Danger is always right there, just out of sight; any nut job could ruin my life or the life of one of those I hold dear; child, friend, loved one. And there are times I just feel so helpless.

A father of 7 is murdered. An entire family wiped out. A young mother wakes to find her little boy is gone. What else can I do? What else should I do?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)

Guest blogged

Over at feministe if you all want to see it.
First time I've done that! (Depending on how it is received it may very well be the last time too!) I was ultra nervous of course; messing up one's own site is one thing, but no one wants to goof up someone else's place!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:03 AM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2004

hopes and prayes

Are there for all those who were in the path of Charley; I hope everyone and their loved ones are safe.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)

PaPa PaPa


I have to say, I spent the whole day deep in thought regarding the sad and deplorable condition of the Palestinians security prisoners. I mean, I read on Arutz 7 how they have NO COMPUTERS in their cells. Now, really. Geneva convention, where are you?

To show our support for these murderouspoor prisoners, I am launching a campiagn. It is called Pa Pa. That stands for:
Pandas bears, Pampers Pablum and Pacifiers. (I'm going with a PA theme here.) We will make up care packages and send them to these vicious deprived men. Think how happy they will be, with their pacies and their pablum.

So have a heart. Send a killer a care package today; I mean think of your choices; would you want to help any of these children instead?

So send those pandies people!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

Palestinian Hunger Strike

Well, I'm slightly amused.
About 1,500 Palestinian security prisoners are having a hunger strike; they are abstaining from SOLID food, and threaten to do so until death. They are protesting horrific conditions; such as no public phones on their cell blocks and glass partitions between them and visitors and body searches.

Poor babies. Do they want their mommies to come sing them lullabies before bedtime too? Maybe they want their teddy bears and blankies.

In any case, if anyone is worried about the their health, don't. They will be taking liquids. If that liquid includes liquids like soup then this hunger strike is nothing but smoke. Many people are restricted to liquid diets for one reason or another.

BTW, please note the source of the article. Not exactly a pro-Israel site.

I'm having a good laugh.

Just in case the article disappears for some reason; here is a copy:

Palestinian prisoners start hunger strike in Israeli jails
15-08-2004, 05:44
Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners started a hunger strike Sunday morning at three Israeli jails in a bid to improve their condition.

In reaction to theeir strike, the Israeli authorities imposed further restrictions Sunday. They removed radios and television sets from jail cells, did not distribute newspapers, canceled family visits and stopped selling cigarettes, Haaretz reported.

Some 4,000 Palestinian prisoners announced about two weeks ago their intention to open the hunger strike to back their demand for a number of privileges that have either been restricted or taken away by Israel's Prisons Service.

The prisoners are demanding public telephones in their cell blocks, the removal of glass partitions separating them from visiting relatives and an end to what they call "intrusive" body searches.

Meanwhile, Hamas described the prisoners’ hunger strike as a great step that was launched to challenge the Israeli "oppression" represented in the daily humiliations, strip searches, visit deprivation, reducing quantity of meals, denying medical treatment and other practices that could be only "perpetrated by non-humans."

The statement said that the prisoners’ bitter struggle and ferocious battle were part and parcel of the Palestinian people’s Jihad and sincere struggle to rid the homeland of such a detestable occupation and to realize independence and freedom.

On its part, the Palestinian Mizan center for human rights has asked the international community to immediately pressure Israel into meeting the detainees’ demands.

The center’s statement affirmed that the Israeli prisons authority was exercising various penal measures against the prisoners that made their lives inside those detention centers like "hell."

The center declared its wholehearted solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and asked the international community to immediately intervene and demand the minimum limits of treatment of prisoners in accordance with international norms and to seek their swift release. (

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:09 AM | Comments (5)

August 14, 2004

Olympic Spirit

In the "true spirit" of the Olympics Arash Miresmaili, a judo champion of the flyweight division, dropped out of the competition when he learned he would face an Israeli;

"Although I have trained for months and was in good shape I refused to fight my Israeli opponent to sympathize with the suffering of the people of Palestine and I do not feel upset at all," Miresmaili told the IRNA news agency.

Now pardon me for being somewhat childish but I am thinking:
bwak, bwak, bwak! CHICKEN!

What I'm thinking is he is just afraid he'll be shown up by an Israeli. He's afraid of losing. I'll say it again;
bwak, bwak, bwak! CHICKEN!

This has happened before to Israeli players and in at least one case the chicken was banned for a year.

A year? That's not punishment. How about ten yeas. Now that would make a difference.

But then, the Olympics doesn't stir a whole lot of good thoughts in my mind in any case. 1936 and 1972 stick out in my mind.

I'm not watching the games; no satellite connection, as well as having other things to do. I would be interested in knowing if there was a memorial for the 11 members of the Israeli team murdered in 1972. I am hoping something was said, done.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:53 PM | Comments (4)

August 13, 2004

Father of 7 Murdered by Terrorist

Shlomo Miller, 50, a father of 7 was murdered today by Arab terrrorist. The murderer was a member of the Palestinian Authority's Preventative Security Force.

THe funeral for Shlomo Miller is now; 4pm. Jewish burials normally take place within twenty-four hours of death. As tonight is Shabbat, the burial is being held today.

I can not imagine the agony of this Shabbat for the family. As I sit with my loved ones tonight it will be hard not to think about the pain this family will be going through; who to say Kiddush (the blessing over the wine)? Make Hametzi(blessing over the bread? ) The pain of the family as they gather to welcome in the Shabbat Queen, but who is there to comfort the widow?

May Hashem grant them comfort, and may the children grow to a world of peace.

via Arutz Sheva.

I am sorry for leaving bad news after all.

I pray the British Journalist will be released safely and soon.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:09 PM | Comments (6)

Global Warming doesn't spell Death for Corals

According to the latest findings:

Global warming does not spell imminent doom for the world’s coral reefs. Corals may be able to survive the higher temperatures by forming new symbiotic relationships with algae that can take the heat, suggests new research.

via Great News Network

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

Jewish Birth Rate on the Rise

Because I couldn't bear to leave sad and fearful news all alone on my site over Shabbat, I give you this: via Arutz Sheva

Contrary to most demographic predictions regarding the population statistics of Israel, a revolution of sorts is underway in the Jewish Israeli birthrate.

ie, we are growing!!!!

Contrary to most demographic predictions regarding the population statistics of Israel, a revolution of sorts is underway in the Jewish Israeli birthrate. According to a Health Ministry report, the Jewish Israeli birthrate is on the rise, while the Arab Israeli birthrate remains unchanged.
(rest of article here)

because for a long time now we have been subject to this:(here for more)

* "Israel is currently populated by 5 million Jews and more than 1 million Arabs (an increasingly vociferous, pro-Palestinian irredentist time bomb)." * "At its current rate, the Arab birthrate will overwhelm the Jewish state sooner rather than later, just on the strength of sheer numbers." * "The great Arab weapon in the battle against Jewish Israel is: babies."

But we are growing; at a 4.8% rate of increase. (Arab population saw no change.) and a decrease in infant mortality Arab infant mortality is twice that of Jews,( and of course they keep sacrificiing their chidlren anyway :-(. )The main cause in all populations is premature birth..

Maybe if Arafat would start feeding people instead of bombs...One could only hope.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:17 PM | Comments (1)

British Journalist Kidnapped

James Brandon, 23, a British journalist from the Sunday Telegraph was kidnapped from a Basra Hotel by about 20 or 30 masked gunmen.

In a video the kidnappers, most likely Shiites Muslims declared;

"We are the sons of the Iraqi people," said the captor wearing a black ski mask. "We demand the withdrawal of the occupation forces from the holy city of Najaf in 24 hours, otherwise we will kill this British hostage," he said, patting Brandon on the shoulder.

There really isn't too much to say about this but pray.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

Abortion in Israel

I came across this article via afterabortion.

Data from the Health Ministry shows that each year in the country, approximately 3,400 pregnancies are terminated due to a physical defect of the fetus (this figure amounts to about a fifth of all legal abortions performed annually). In 1997, 2,800 abortions were performed due to a physical defect of the fetus. In 2002, that number was up to 3,396 - an increase of about 20 percent within five years.
As Emily said, read the whole article, it is mindblowing.

The article was based on research by Yael Hashiloni-Dolev.

And for this woman, for this Jew, very upsetting. That isn't the way it is suppose to be. A child is not their defect and their life, while not the life of a "normal child" need not be sad or lacking in all the things that make life wonderful.

At the end of the article Ms.Hashiloni-Dolev is quoted as saying:

"I'm not propounding a certain moral position. I don't know what's right and what's wrong. But what bothers me is how all this genetic testing is done in Israel without any ethical questioning. There's this total faith in science on the one hand and a lack of acceptance of disabilities, of handicaps, on the other, and the view that people with them are a burden on society and ought to be killed before they are born."

I agree that there needs to be more discusion; however I can and do hold a moral position; abortion should be avoided if at all possible, and all other recourses should be looked into. (for an excellent article on Jewish law and abortion see here)My personal function, imho, would be to try and be there for the people who need me; to help women continue their pregnancies and to enjoy their children. I hope to do so in the near future. I don't know what else to do. But this article made me ill.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:42 PM | Comments (3)

Lost and Found?

Arutz Sheva has a small article on the efforts on the part of the Cheif Rabbinate to help bring to Israel what may be a remnant of the lost tribe of Manashe; this group from India, who call themselves Bnei Menashe (they are also called the Manmassi tribe), were actually discovered several years ago and have been the subject of serious debate; Are they halachic (legal, in terms of Judaism) Jews?, as well as a the subject of a book, called Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel, by Hillel Halkin(a review of the book can be found here.) They have some unique practices which are similar to Jewish practices; bris milah at age 8 days, they have laws regarding leprosy, offer sacrifices using a name of G-d found in the Torah, kept the 7th day as Shabbat (Sabbath) didn't eat fish without fins and scleas, and have songs referring to events that took place in the Torah---going out of Egypt, and several were welcomed to Israel in 2000, brought with the help of Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, who heads the organization Amishav-- dedicated to brining back all the lost tribes of Israel.

More articles here, here (this is my Rabbi)and here, and here!

This kind of stuff fascinates me; science, history, linguistics and the possiblity that those who were lost to us are finally coming home---its got everything!

I'm not a Rabbi, and can't make that type of a Halachic decision, but I'm convinced!
What do you think? Does this sound like the real deal to you?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2004

Pressed Between the Pages

This past Sunday I attended a lecture, on the Yishuv, in a little library, by the author of the book "Expecting Miracles". It was an interesting lecture on the spiritual side of being pregnant, and being a mother.

At the end she asked us to do a bit of an exercise. As moms we don't get those little letters after our names that seem to establish ourselves as "somebody" in the eyes of the world. She asked us to "fill in those letters"; what would they be? We were to write, for five minutes, on a defining moment in our careers as moms and wives.

I was flummoxed; perplexed. This was beyond me. What would I write about? What could I write about? I have five children; what incident should I pick out, what event held great importance; such great importance that it would be worthy of committing to paper?

There were tons of events, and more over, I felt overwhelmed, and, moreover, I couldn't see myself writing about one particular event, as that would have to do with one or two of my children. And then I thought; what event brings them all into the picture? A Bar Mitzvah? Thanksgiving? Our first trip to Israel in 2000?

No; none were as important as this; a day when all the children were here; my daughter visiting us from the USA; after the Shabbat meal; everyone but me still hanging about the table, joking, laughing, arguing, their voices rising to meet me in the bedroom; happy, together, safe. Nothing earth-shaking; nothing really that would set it apart from other days and other meals; but together, laughing, faces happy and buoyant; full of love.

If I had a choice of only one memory to hold onto for the rest of my life, it would be an evening such as that; all my children together, their voices mingling and separating, and me listening in., satisfied and joyful; they were all home.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

I Get by With (a lot) of help from friends!

I just want to say thank you to all the people who are helping me pull my blog together so it has some pizzaza to it! Linda taught me how to do the lovely blockquote thingy,

so the quotes are in their own little boxes.
She also sent me a terrific pic for my banner, but I'm going to have to go hat in hand and beg another to show me how to upload it because I'm failing at that. Jim for helping me right and left. And Pixey for setting me up in the first place! And everyone else who has given me suggestions and ideas on how to make my spot a little nicer.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:14 PM | Comments (3)


Yesterday was so wonderful; I went into Jerusalem with a friends young daughter; age 14, so it wasn't like I was babysitting; more accompanying her because her mom didn't want her in Jerusalem alone.

Aside from Bazaar Strauss, where I purchased 4 shirts, 2 for each daughter, the only places we went were bookstores.

I could have stayed the whole day doing that!

When I came home my little ones were with friends, and my son was handling dinner (baked ziti, quite delicious!) I ignored all housework and dug into to my new purchases.

For 103 shek (which comes out to be about $25) I brought home 12 books, one of which was new, and a crossword puzzle magazine. Whee! Talk about striking gold! I'm in 7th heaven.

I bought
1. Rose Madder; by Stephen King (which I'm almost through already)
2 Mistress of Mistresses; by E.R. Eddison
3. Little Deaths; edited by Ellen Datlow
4. A Whisper of Blood; edited by Ellen Datlow
5. Death Dream; by Graham Masterton
6 Stephanie; by Winston Graham (no idea what this author is like)
7. Buried Secrets; Trish Macdonald Skillman (another unknown)
8. Barchester Towers; by Anthony Trollope
9. Under the Volcano; by Malcolm Lowry (again, whe? But looks interesting.)
10.Nectar in a Sieve; by Kamala Markandaya (started reading this. WOW!!)
11. A child's novel in Hebrew, hoping to imporve my Hebrew.
12. A book for The Artist, a Madeline L'engle book.

But what has really tugged at my interest, what I really think I'm going to fall in love with (as I have already dipped my fingers into her text and the taste is exquisite!) is Nectar in a Sieve.

It is a novel, written by a woman from So. India in the 1950's. It was her first novel published, third written. She died just this past May.

I love old books; I love the feel, the yellowing paper, the quaint pictures on the cover; but all that is dressing. Open the book of an unknown author and one is invited to take a tour of an unknown land. What will one find? Dull, uninspired gardens, dead trees and stagnant waters, with nothing but the scent of dust , rotting fish and dead flies? Or beautiful bays, mysterious grottos, a path through the woods that leads to a secret lake, fed by a glimmering waterfall, the air crisp, clean and fragrant flowers?

Here are a couple of quotes from Nectar in a Sieve; I leave it up to you to decide
the landscape.

My mother in the doorway, no tears in her eyes but her face bloated with their weight.
I had seen the slow, calm beauty of our village wilt in the blast from town, and I grieved no more;.....
The memories of that night are hard and bright within me like a diamond, and the fires that flash from it have strange powers.

I just skimmed through the book and found the quotes above; I'm certain there are better examples. I don't know whether I want to save this book for last or read it a bit at a time, or just read it in one gulp and then again and again. I do know that whatever else she wrote, I want to read!

Anyway, I"m going back to my reading; housework be damned! I'm extending my "vacation" as long as I can!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

What I won't do for friends (benefits of chocolate and beef)

Well, I'm going to make Jim a happy camper!

Here's an abstract from the science blog no less (so you know you can trust it)
On the health benefits of beef.:

In her report, Hasler also stated that conjugated linoleic acid in beef may protect against a variety of cancers. This fatty acid increases in beef when it is cooked or otherwise processed.

full article (which focuses more on other foods) here.

and here's on chocolate.

"Cocoa contains the same nutrients found in other plant foods, including minerals and specific antioxidants that help ward off diseases such as heart disease," says registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Althea Zanecosky. "In addition, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil, makes up one-third of the fat in chocolate and has been shown to be beneficial for heart health.

full article here.

I'm good! ;-)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)

Drink up!

Got this in an e-mail, and thought I would pass on the good news:

It is news guaranteed to raise a cheer among those who enjoy a glass or two: drinking half a bottle of wine a day can make your brain work better, especially if you are a woman.

Here's the rest of the article; what more needs to be said? Bring on the vino! It's a matter of health.

Finally, something we can drink!

And don't forget the good news about coffee either!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:55 AM | Comments (4)


Today, in Jerusalem for BOOKS!!! Books, books and more books, as much as I can afford. I have two coupons for about 6o shek (probably not even equal to one new book, but maybe) and we will also go to Sefer v'sefel.

I love books.

(My alter-ego is off to Japan; but she can't read Japanese! She'll probably get one or two books there just for the fun of it though. Lucky lady; she has one room dedicated to books!)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:39 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

Sipping wine and reading a good book

Or my alter ego is anyway. In fact, she has been reading a good book for over an hour now. She is not trying to avoid finishing the dishes.

Four hours ago she sat down to a quiet dinner; she decided on dinner at home tonight: pasta in a light garlicky sauce, with parmesan cheese, a salad, with just a hint of raspberry dressing. Then she took her little Scot-terrier for a walk. Momo loves Jerusalem at night, and pokes her head into everything.

Back home she took a long, scented bath; there were no toys in the tub of course; but puffs and pumice stones and gels galore.

Now she is sitting in her ver clean living room, curled on the couch (deep purple with toss pillows in sage green with purple banding), her silver grey cat, Mist, in her lap. There are candles lit on the coffee table near by, scenting the room with lavender. Jazz is playing on the stero.

The windows are open to let in the light breezes of the evening.; white curtains billowing in and out.

In another hour she will tire, and slip into her clean bed. Alone, at peace, she will fall asleep.

She is probably very lonely too, and is probably fantasizing about a life with kids, hubby and noise. But I like my alter-ego sometimes; a nice fantasy to engage in when I'm feeling exhausted from the kids and all the work that results from being a wife and mommy.

Do you have an alter ego? What does he or she do?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:32 PM | Comments (2)

Summer camp?

Whatever happened to learning how to tie knots? I don't think that is something these children were learning! (the photos is titled Hizballah kids)

via Arutz Sheva
(complete article below)
More Children Recruited For Arab Terrorism
17:33 Aug 09, '04 / 22 Av 5764

Security sources revealed today that in In months, at least three attempts by Arab terrorists in Israel to use minors in attacks against Jews were foiled. In one case, a group of 11-14-year-olds were caught smuggling weapons between Egypt and Israel. In another case, a 17-year-old Arab youth blew himself up in an attempted attack near the Arab village of Jinsafut, 11 miles east of Kfar Saba. And in yet another incident, three Arab youths aged 13-15 were stopped at an IDF checkpoint in Jenin on their way to carry out a shooting attack in the town of Afula.

I have an 11 year old. I can't imagine teaching her terrorism. Where is the outcry among Peace Now groups? These are children! They aren't things, they shouldn't be made into weapons. They are human beings. They deserve lives; they have a right to ogle girls and make stupid jokes and see who can throw the ball the farthest, and to get into trouble because they stayed out late. Where are the protests against teaching these children MURDER? Training them to kill themselves?

The security sources say that the latest incidents are only a sample of the widespread use of children and minors in the terrorist war against Israel. Among the actions carried out by minors since the start of the Oslo War in September 2000, are: suicide bombings, riots, clashes with IDF soldiers, smuggling, reconnaissance, serving as spotters, digging tunnels, and more. IsraelNN's Haggai Huberman noted that the defense establishment views the phenomenon of children terrorists as a direct result of the ongoing incitement to violence in the Arafat-controlled and schools.

Which is why the checkpoints, and why children aren't always let through. These children are abused. Where are the human shields to protect these children from their parents and from Arafat and his gang? He is a murderer of children, a killer of innocents. How can anyone see him as a partner for peace?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:53 PM | Comments (2)

The Tamar Yonah Show

For an interesting perspective about the closure of the Gusk Katif and Gaza (and other areas over the green line) to Jews, please listen to the Tamar Yonah show Live Sun morning 8-10 am, Mon-Wed nights 12-1 am (NY time) The question she asks is

Why is the left wing making this happen and will Israel die because of it?
. Click here for more information about the program. There is a link at the bottom of the article to the station.

Listen, and come back and tell me what you think; I would like to hear your views. How did you feel before the program? After the program? If your views changed, can you point to something specific in her program that gave you a different perspective?

APOLOGIES! The program is on now, at least where I am! It broadcast last night. You can still listen, but you won't be able to call in live. Just click on the link at the bottom of the page.

And I really want to hear what everyone thinks.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:05 AM | Comments (1)

Lazy Hazy Days

I seem to have had that folkloric cat who steals one's breath come visit me at night. But it has not taken by breath, but all my energy. Unsatisfied, it also went after my husband, my chidren, my dog and my internet provider; none of us was up and working this morning.

Well, I must correct that; I was up, but my internet provider did not seem to be. I tried to open my administrative page to follow through with l&d's suggestions to correct a problem I was having and got an error message; and my e-mail stopped in the middle of downloading.

Annoying? Frustrating? Truthfully I welcomed the problem; unable to do what I wanted to do I did what I needed to do and went back to bed for three hours.

I need a vacation; I had sort of a mini one, as the girl I care for in the evenings went away to a special camp. But I mean a real, do-nothing, sleep till 10 if you want, read in bed or go to the beach vacation.

No dishes, no laundry, no anything to clean or scrub. I don't even want to go touring strange and unfamiliar places. And it would be nice if there were someone along who would handle the little one's needs.

I want to do nothing. I want to vege.

Though I wonder if I got my chance how long I would last before I started looking for something to do.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:16 AM | Comments (1)

August 08, 2004

Quote day!

At least that is what I think it must be.

Jim of Snooze Button's is asking for them.

Linda of Auterific is finding them.

Now what would these great minds have said about Jim's blog? That's the question!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:41 PM | Comments (1)

Meme Propagation

Testing Meme Propagation In Blogspace: Add Your Blog

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate—the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:


The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)


To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).

REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL:

(2) I found it via “Newsreader Software” or “Browsing the Web” or “Searching the Web” or “An E-Mail Message”: Browsing the web.

(3) I posted this experiment at URL:

(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 08/08/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 23:30

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Jerusalem area, Israel


(7) My blog is hosted by:

(8) My age is: waiting for the grandkids

(9) My gender is: Female

(10) My occupation is: whatever gets me paid (and is legal and moral)

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: xml? Rats, make me look stupid.

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: MovableType

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 28/05/2004

(14) My web browser is: Mozilla Firefox

(15) My operating systems are: Windows XP

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Things Past

My grandfather died when I was 18, having slipped into a coma after a fall and never recovering. This was probably the beginning of my grandmother's decent into senility; her long vigils at his side causing mini-strokes that began to eat at her brain.

Before he died my grandparents lived in this wonderful Victorian house; lead glass windows, stained glass windows, a hall big enough to dance in, an upstairs that was easily divided into three bedrooms AND a full size apartment, where an aunt of my grandmother had previously lived.

It was a wonderful place for a child to play; full of closets and frightening corners that might. who knew? held ghosts.

Much of the time however, we spent in the living room; my grandparents on the green Victorian couch, holding court.

My grandfather was mostly quiet; interjecting advice or commands occasionally, but otherwise, silent. One day however, when I was about fourteen, he abruptly declaimed, into a rather dull conversation of politics and what not.

"You use to be able to smell the flowers!" And the room became silent. My grandfather began to cry."You use to be able to walk down the street and smell the flowers! Now you have to stick your nose right into them to smell anything. The scent use to be all over the street. You use to be able to smell the flowers!" and then he retreated back into silence.

The conversation began after a few seconds; not about flowers, about what I have no memory. But in that moment my grandfather went from being a stick figure to becoming a man; I imagined him when he was young, unbent, proud, walking down his beautiful street full of sweet scents. HE had brought his family there, bought a house large and comfortable where his children could hold dance parties. HE had given them a lovely neighborhood safe and sunny, where they could live with their heads held high. HE had, in a sense, conquered the world.

And I wondered what had taken the scents away; pollution was one thought.

It wasn't till I was older that I learned in breeding had replaced lovely scents with showy blooms; the outside ritz and glitz, replacing the inner sweetness. It seemed to me as if we had traded the most important for the least.

This is my fondest, though saddest memory of my grandfather. I wish he had been less reserved; I wish he had let us see more of him while he was still alive.
I wish I could have known at least a few of his joys.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:12 AM | Comments (3)

August 07, 2004


The room is starting to spin about; I'm coming down with something no doubt,
so as not to leave the day broke, I'm leaving you this joke.

I heard it during a Shabbat shiur (lesson) so you know it's clean.

A group of scientists came to G-d and said; "G-d, we don't need you anymore. We now know how to create life."
"Ok" G-d said "How?"
"Well, it's easy. See we just take some dirt and form it into a human like shape, and then we breathe life into it."
"Ok" G-d told them "Go ahead."
So the scientist started to gather together some dust and G-d said:

"Uh, uh. Go create your own dirt!"

Okay, it was funnier when my friend told it.

Hope my head stops spinning by tomorrow.

have a goodday and goodnight.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:19 PM | Comments (3)

August 06, 2004

Renaming my Kids

For blogs sake; I'm tired of writing my 10., and my 5. They aren't numbers for goodness sake!

Here's an intro to my creepy deeps:

The P.R. which stands for Petier Rechem, meaning the first one to open the womb.
Obviously my oldest; she's going to be 23 this September and has the audacity to continue to live in USA instead of with her mother. Hmphhh!!!

The Wit, which is my second born; he's a comic--well he always cracks me up anyway. He's 20 and will soon be in the army

The Agent, as in secret, because whenever I talk about him, even if it is something innocuous or nice (as in The Agent said you called) he becomes irate. "Don't talk about me! From this I can only conclude he is an alien spy from a planet light-years from here. He is 17 and will go into the army next year most likely.

The Artist, and she is serious about her career. She has told me that she has to look at everything carefully because she wants to be an artist. She does some great graphics and writes her own stories. She is 10, 11 at the end of November.

The Monkey; she swings from doors, jumps and twirls, she never, ever slows down. Her favorite line is "I didn't mean to!" and "it was an accident" She is 5. If she were first she might very well have been the one and only. LOL.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:21 AM | Comments (4)

Nails on the Chalkboard

It is 6am. I'm awake, so is my ten year old, who we will hence forth name the Artist, as that is her chosen career.

Artist could not sleep last night; this is a bit of a problem lately, but not the issue of the post. The upshot was she was downstairs and dressed at a time everyone but me is usually snuggled deep into sleep.

I'm bopping about the kitchen making cholent (mainstay of Shabbat lunch in many Jewish homes) and she is standing by the refrigerator, door open and already my back begins to tingle.

"What can I eat?" she so innocnetly asks.

Argh! I hate that question! I don't know why but it drives me nuts, but it does. Sometimes I name off ideas, sometimes I say "I don't know what your body wants, you have to tell me that." but I always feel like answering "I'm not a resturant menu! "

So, are there any innocent kid questions that drive you up the wall?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:08 AM | Comments (4)

August 05, 2004

Linky Fest

Okay, this is more of a test, since I'm late doing this; my three fave:

1.snooze button dreams
3.elms in the yard

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:45 PM | Comments (5)

Hello Everyone!

I'm here! Sort of. Just learning the ropes so I am not entering much but. Hello everyone! I'm so glad to be here.

Now how do I add color? Zing?

damn, no one told me there would be HOMEWORK!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 03:47 PM | Comments (8)

Willow Tree

Willow tree, very pretty,
But the willows are not sweet,
For the fruits of the poor willow
Are impossible to eat.

Ah! What am I saying?

It's the codeine talking, folks. Don't mind me.

— Pixy

Posted by Rachel Ann at 03:27 PM | Comments (1)