August 15, 2006

He's Back!!!!

In Israel at least. Betzalel is home in Israel. I don't know and neither does he know when he'll be home at our house, but we are both looking forward to that day. Chicken, steak, salad and rice are on the menu. Promises that we won't serve tuna or corn. YUCK. YUCK YUCK! (well I like them but when you have been eating them for over 2weeks, YUCK!!!!)

He's coming home he's coming home.
Thank G-d.
It was wonderful to hear his voice again and I almost cried.

Poor guy hasn't had a chance to shower in all that time.

Oh and if you are in Israel and see the news and there are two guys playing checkers with bottle caps, one of them may be my son. Tape and lmk!!!!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

So With His Batteries Dead

The last time I SMSed with my son, which seems years ago, but it was only 3 days ago, he warned me the batteries were almost depleted. I haven't heard from him since, but I know he is alright since the army is quite good about informing the family before the public knows anything. Still, my stomach is grieving me terribly, reminding me that while I may outwardly deny my fears inside, inside I worry. Could any mother do anything less? If there were something more I could do....but what?

I send messages that I know he isn't receiving so that when he finally turns on his phone there will be a sign from me that I've been talking to him all along. Okay, he knows that. He knows I love him and pray for him and all. But I want his skin to feel it, the bones in his head to feel it, every part of him to know how much I love him and how proud I am of him.

And how I can't wait to finally, safely, have him home.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 04, 2006

Something Beautiful

While all the ugliness is around article about the giving and loving spirit of Israel and her people.
I was weeping by the time I was through....

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August 03, 2006

Next Text Message

From Betzalel; One of ours was killed about an hour ago. He is fine though. My heart goes out to the young man's parents and family.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2006

Bring Me His Head on a Silver Platter

We were talking, a group of women, about the war, would any group of Israelis not talk about the war at some point? And one of the women said "I wouldn't mind being brought Nashralla's head on a silver platter."

I heartily agreed; at first. Then I thought--- how much better it would be for us and the world to see him charged as the mass murderer he is---costing the lives of Jewish citizens and Lebanese citizens. How much better for the world to see him put on trial and evidence brought out to bear against his vilness, that everyone sees his cruelty, his inhumanity not only to his enemies, but to those whom he supposedly loves. How vile the man that would deliberately place babies and the elderly, the weak and the poor in the way of danger as a publicity stunt, for that is all it really is to him. A way to get him accolades, a way to turn the world against Israel. Those who are wise will protest his actions and demand he be punished for his evil.

Too many however fall into his plan and, either because they are fools or because they simply hate Israel make demands on Israel that is contrary to her health.

Those who want to protect the lives of the innocent will wage a protest, and a continous protest, against the tactics of Hamas and Hezzbullah for the deliberate attacks against civilian populations and the continued use of their own civilians as shields to launch attacks.

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July 27, 2006

Another Way to Send Support to the Israeli Troops

You send a message, they send chocolates.
It does do so much for these soldiers to hear that someone cares and is praying for them. Please send a hug to the soldiers today, and ask your friends and family to send a hug along as well.

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Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:42 PM | Comments (325) | TrackBack

July 26, 2006

Update on Last Post

Wow...this Walid is amazing, truly amazing. He states "We must stop this cycle of peace" because it send the wrong message to the terrorists. It lets them know if we do evil we will get more.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 03:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 24, 2006

Send Israel Your Love and Support

via this handy message board. Let the soldiers of Israel know you stand behind them.

Click on the link, fill out the form, send your love. Something anyone can do.

Blogged with Flock

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July 20, 2006

Well Internet Woes and Other Thoughts

May be over for a time. Why it couldn't have been at a better time, such as when I really needed to work to get the info in on time is beyond me. But I cleared the work, late, and won't have more till
after Shabbat.

But in order to try and do my work I downloaded no less than THREE new browsers in the hopes that one of them would allow me to work. The strangest of them is called "offbyone" . Very unusual set up, but it looks interesting. I now have flock which also seems good, but I'm not thrilled with I will probably discard that one.

However, it wasn't a problem with the browser; it was my Internet provider, and here we benefited from my husbands procrastination. We still have a 012 account! So finally after tons of frustration on my part and I expect on the part of my boss, I switched back to 012 and viola! Success. Not perfect, but it allowed me to work. It of course could all be coincidental, but talk about Hashgacha pratis....

I'm calling and annoying my sons daily. I am missing them terribly. I am glad they are both safe and bored. I pray their whole term of service is both boring and safe. I think that is every moms wish for her army son or daughter. Well, any rational mom. The reason we are at war is because there are moms who aren't proud their children serve and have served, but relish the blood on their sons and daughters hands and find glory in the deaths of their children.

Such I shall never understand.

Blogged with Flock

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July 18, 2006

My MARRIED Daughter

Made me promise not to stop blogging. EVER. Well okay, as long as my mind and arms hold out I'll try, but I'm not promising to write from beyond the grave.

So what can I talk about? The war....told you where to go for that, and basically things are status quo here; my immediate family is safe, my people are not, there's not much I can do but pray. I'll let you know what is happening to my sons when I know. Right now one is in the Jordan Valley and the other near Tel Aviv.

I'm working as hard as I can to keep us moving backward, finacially, as slow as I can. I'm not sure it's working. There is laundry everywhere but where it should be; in drawers and closets. Dishes are having children. Toys are rioting.
As I said, status quo.

So what else is happening at our happy household?

Today we, meaning The Artist and The Monkey and I, met up with some homeschooling families. That should give you all a clue as to the educational direction we may take come Fall. We aren't positive yet...but the families were a wonderful mix of people, and The Monkey eventually warmed up and spoke and played with others. The Artist of course did not. It will take several such outings to get her to actual voice the words HELLO!!!!

I kept trying to get her lips and vocal chords and lungs to move in unison and the others moms told me, nicely, that maybe I should just step back, and to tell the truth if it were someone else's kids that's what I would have told them. Give her time, give her space and she'll start mingling...but it being my kid and all it is hard to step back and chill. Next time in I'll just have to pretend she isn't mine and take the advice. We shall bring a book for her to read and one of the moms is going to bring her a Nancy Drew book. That brought smiles. She, the she being The Artist spoke through 5 this was cute, but it bothers me at 12....step back mom and breathe deep.

Can we ever really disconnect as parents and stop trying to mold and grow? Putting those two words together doesn't sound to hot...but you all know what I mean. Can't stop trying to make it better, trying to get them to appear to others as perfect as we know they are.

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Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

Live Blogging the War

For up-to-date and well written about the current war in Israel head at Jblogging, LIve blogging the war

I can only give you what Arutz sheva/Y-net/Jpost tells you and my sons tell me. These folks have additional sources that I, with my mediocre Hebrew don't have. Keep up with what is happening via Jblogging...

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Just Trying To

Stay on top of the news and keep up with my boys.

The Agent, who is 19 and in Nahal Charedi, the religous arm of the Israeli army, was woken up early in the morning ON SHABBAT and, together with his unit, moved to a different base. They don't move Nahal Charedi on Shabbat unless great need, but he isn't near any of the fighting yet. The other son, The Wit has been moved up north, but not near the border.

It is odd; I hear nothing and see nothing where I live (close to Jerusalem.) It is all happening somewhere else at the moment and I feel very guilty that my life is continuing as normal and others are suffering so much.Many in the north are living in a shelter or remaining close to home and shelters which makes life extremely difficult, especially during the summer time when children should be able to run free.

Instead we are bottled down in a war that could be over 1, 2, 3. Return our soldiers, stop firing on us, dismantle the terrorist organizations.'

We pull back and out.

End of story.

I am glad that the foreign nationalists are being evacuated. I want as many innocents safe as possible. It also makes it easier for Israel to defeat her enemies. The less innocents that could get in the way, or be used as human sheilds or be deliberately killed in a publicity ploy by the Hizbullah the better.

On the actual homefront, homefront, we are enduring an attack of our own. ANTS. Blasted creatures. We have sprayed but the spray is ineffective. We don't want the heavy duty high powered knock em dead kind of spray (ie having an exterminator come in) because the reports on such measures seem to indicate a need for US to leave the house for at least a week. Three days was not enough to avoid the smell according to one family. And we have the cat and kittens to think about. So we are attacking them in bits and pieces, hoping they'll figure out we aren't going to let them alone. Natural repellent ideas anyone? The kinds that will leave the kitties to grow in peace? Barring that; anyone want to host a family of four to six, depending on when the boys are home, plus four cats?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

What's up with us

Well I guess just read the news. We are not in the north and there are no bombs flying here, but I've two sons in the army and yeah I'm worried. One was briefly moved to the Lebanese border but then moved down south again. The other is in a state of readiness.

I'm praying for the safety of my sons and the rest of those in Israel. I'm not doing anything different than millions of other moms and dads.

I want my sons safe, but I also want this threat stopped and now, or no one will ever be safe.

So...I just want Israel to go in and do what she has to do and not worry or give a damn about the opinion of any country/leader or other being, except for G-d.

My Hashem protect us and defend us.

That is my prayer and that is where we are.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2006

So What Is the World Hearing?

I really want to know what is the world at larges take on the kidnapping of Gilead and Israel's measures against the continued bombing of our country by those of the peaceful religion, as well as the attempt to save Gilead's life. What does the rest of the world have to say about it?

I know I'll puke if I hear another idiot ask Israel to restrain herself. Notice any other country "restraining" themselves when they are under attack? And look how far away many of them are from their enemies...

Has the Egyptian t.v. show promoting anti-semitism and child martyrdom been covered? The Kassam rocket that hit Ashkelon?

So what is everyone hearing on the news?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2006

Israel's Response

I am actually finding myself admiring Olmert for his actions; I detest the man in general and feel most of his policies are wrong, this is the way to go. Don't stop until our son of Israel is back safe in Israel, and do not release any of those who are responsible for his kidnapping and death's of our other two soliders, who have left behind grieving relatives and friends.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 22, 2006

It's a Dog's Life

Dogs in Israel take note. You are now protected from the wrath of a frightened police officer.
Especially if you are cute.

maybe we could extend that rightwing Israeli citizens, like those in Amona....

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2006

In Memory

Of all the brave defenders of our country, who gave their lives to preserve and protect our land: thank you for this wonderful country, for giving your life so others may live.

And in memory of the vicitms of terror. May we soon have a real and true peace.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2006

Things You Prefer Not To Hear

There are things one prefers not to hear, at least at the moment they occur.
For instance, when talking on the phone to your 12 year old daughter who is on an overnight trip;
Oh, there was an explosion nearby.
Its okay. Don't worry.
But everyone is okay?
Yes, don't worry. Oh, it wasn't an explosion, it was gunfire. The teacher was running around everywhere but now she is quiet. long as you are having fun.

cause, there isn't much that I can do with this information but pray it was only some gunfire and wasn't and won't be near my kid.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 10, 2006

Maybe, Just Maybe the World is Starting to Get It

Leaving Gaza mean moving the terror closer to the heart of Israel. Bombs have been falling steadily on Israel from the former homelands of Gush Katif residents. The normal response of Israel was to bomb the area where the rockets had been fired; ie empty fields.

Then, over the weekend, as all know, Israel took aim at the bombers themselves. At the end, 15 were killed, including a child.

I guess PA thought it would be the routine reaction; CHILD KILLED BY ISRAELI GUNFIRE, but at least from my reading the reaction has been somewhat muted. Oh, Annan is asking Israel to restrain themselves (why does he always respond only after Arab deaths? Not after assaults on Israel?) to not endanger civilian population, hard to do when the PA's think take your children to work week includes actions of war.(a sentiment that has come up in more than a few responses to various articles I have read) And the article I linked to talks about Israel taking "revenge" and not what it was, a self defense action. But buried in the article is this paragraph.

The first inkling that Israel's iron-fist response to the Gaza rocket attacks was having any impact emerged yesterday when a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad Party (IJP) - one of the principal militant groups responsible for firing Qassam rockets into Israel - said a week-long ceasefire would hold only if Israel stopped launching its attacks.

and this section:

Checkpoints, walls and barriers have reduced the number of suicide attacks committed by Palestinian militants, so the Qassam has become their favoured weapon.

Made from a piece of metal tubing, with four fins welded crudely on the end, it can be knocked up in a matter of minutes by smiths in Gaza.

It has a range of just five miles and has no means of steering but the amount of explosive it carries makes it a potentially deadly weapon. The rate of Qassams being fired from Gaza has increased markedly since the withdrawal.

In the face of these attacks, Israel has ramped up its response.

First attack helicopters would fire missiles at the Palestinians as they left a launch site. When this proved ineffective, army artillery was deployed to fire at the Qassam launch areas, before Israeli warships joined in with naval barrages.

Shifting strategy, the authorities created a buffer zone along the Gaza-Israeli frontier so wide that Qassams could not hit Israel.

which subtle shifts the blame back where it belongs, on the shoulders of those who started the war in the first place.

Of course Hamas blames Fatah for the attacks but who's suppose to be running the show over there anyway? And that sentiment is echoed by plenty as well.

There isn't a sesimic change, but a small change in attitude that I'm noticing. I've talked with others who notice the same thing; but I'm not everywhere hearing I wonder if anyone else has noticed this as well.

Is the world waking up?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2006

3 more dead

Three more Jews were murdered late last night by an Arab monster dressed as a religous Jew. He exploded himself in the car, killing an older couple and another woman.

So what is Israel's choice when the world keeps holding us back from defending ourselves? Hamas is so cheerful about this lastest murder; what will the world say? What will Olmert and the leftist do? Give the Palestinians more land and promise us it will, eventually, (someday when we are all dead) lead to peace? When will the Palestinains actually be held responsible for the crimes they commit?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 11:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 17, 2006

Sorry Boys

But I guess you can't talk to us.

A female IDF soldier has been disciplined for talking with a group of girls who criticized soldiers. The incident in question occurred as they rode together on a civilian bus towards Beit El.

Now, if she was beating them she would have been okay.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

This Does Sound Like an Intersting Site

I found a message in my mailbox telling me how wonderful a blogger I was (okay, I'm a sucker for such) and asking me to review their site, and if I  liked link to it.. So, having a bit of savvy in me I realized "okay, I'm probably being buttered up, but at least she/he didn't spam me." and went to it.

I haven't had a chance to fully examine the site, but it does look interesting; It takes articles from various newspapers around the world and translates them into English. I like what I am seeing so far.

Please note, as you will read in the "about us" section, that the site doesn't endorse the articles, they are translating, not giving an opinion.

I like what I see so far.

Here's an "about us" explanation.
here's the site.

Let me know what you all think. (And maybe let them know as well!)

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

You Haven't Heard From Me Because:

A. I suddenly inherited two billion dollars from an hitherto unknown billionaire for whom I once did a small favor. I am traveling the world and having a grand ole' time chomping down on epicurian delights, sipping the finest Kosher wine avaialable, purchasing fine jewels and silk dresses, hobbnobing with the rich and famous.

B.  Large alien ants have been terrorizing the area. They ate my phone lines.

C.  I've been busy with work and my computer has been giving me problems; slowing down, not able to find pages, in general conking out on me when I need it the most.

Yeah C. though maybe a bit of  B as well. Part of the problem I believe is the phone company. I switched internet providers (for my personal e-mail) and internet access, but still we are having troubles. It can't just be me;  I amd my friends have been having trouble logging into the work site as well. Extremely frustrating to have spent fifteen minutes tracking down a name/phone number/address, and just as I am about to enter it into the system. "Data base error!" (work's end) or "Server Not Found" (our or the phone lines end) or whatever the heck the computer wants to yell at me.

ARGGGGHHH and 1/2.

Although maybe it has been for the better. I don't get to read the news as much and therefore my stomach has been better. Did you see the story of the young boy who almost lost his eye because of the visciousness of the police in Amona?  I am so disheartened. Thanks everyone who has written in with support for our country (and me!)

BTW, if A ever  happens I'll let you know before I leave on my trip and I'll keep you updated on all my antics. With pictures. Hey, with multi-billions I should be able to buy myself another camera, right?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 24, 2006

The Long Arm Of Justice

Has reached out and grabbed this vicious miscreant.

Hevron news, the police were finally able to apprehend,
yesterday, a long-wanted fugitive from justice - the 14-year-old
daughter of a long-time Hevron family. The girl has been wanted in
connection with an egg-throwing incident of about a year ago, yet the
police have not been able to find her - despite several early-morning
violent searches of the family home. Wilder said, "A half year ago,
someone threw eggs at Arabs and did not hit anyone, and she was seen
shortly afterwards coming down the stairs, so they issued a warrant for
her arrest."

This afternoon, she was released from prison. Her father, David
Shir-el, told Arutz-7, "The police claimed that they were looking for
her for six months, when in fact they only began a month ago - and then
they came five times! They came at 6 AM and turned over drawers,
closets, and more - all merely to humiliate us. My children put up
signs all over the house with arrows saying, 'Maybe she is here.' Now,
because of that, a policeman told me privately that they are
considering putting me on trial for interfering with police work..."

The police demanded that that the girl be remanded for five weeks,
until her trial begins. "The police ignored my guarantee to be
responsible that she shows up for the trial," Shir-el said, "but
luckily the judge didn't. The police then demanded that we pay a
deposit, but I refused, and thank G-d, they gave in on that as well."

Phew, I'm so relieved.

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

December 16, 2005

Joy and Sorrow

So the phone has been ringing the door bell buzzing and cakes and cookies and all sort of goodies are coming in to the house in honor of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah.
The Kiddish is tomorrow and the Artist is very happy. New dress, new necklace, pretty new hair things and friends abound.

I just wanted to catch up on the news.

Kind of wish I didn't.
There are five children who are going to have a very sad Shabbat tomorrow. Their father has been killed, murdered, mercilessly stripped from their lives.
May Hashem grant them comfort and healing in the trying times ahead. May Hashem take some of the joy that has come my way and place it in their heart to help the bitterness. May they be comforted among the mourners of Tzion.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005

And You Know Why They Kill Don't You?

Five people are killed by a terrorist bomb in an open air market in Hadera.
Three are killed by a drive by shooting in Gush Etzion

But of course it is Israel's fault. If we didn't build the security fence and stop potential murders average, good natured citizens who wouldn't hurt a fly, from coming in there wouldn't be all this nasty killing business. If we would just open up those borders a little bit like Condi wants there would be many more dead but they would just be Jewish dead so who cares things would all be so nice and peaceful like a graveyard sunshiny and happy.

And I've been thinking; maybe they are right. And maybe, just maybe we wouldn't have murders, and rapes, and thefts if people were just a little more trusting a little more willing to open their doors to any old who walking the streets. Lets shut down the prisons; an obvious start to ending crime (according to Condi and MK P.S). And, to show their unwavering support of this most logical reformation process, to become role models for peace, Condi, P.S. please invite a couple of murders/thieves and what not to your residences. Make certain to use your best silver and china, you wouldn't want them to get the idea that they aren't trustworthy now would you, and don't lock your door when you go to sleep, and if they happen to kill you or your loved ones, make certain to put the blame where it belongs. On someone else. And invite, or in your will, encourage your loved ones to invite, more such wonderful people in.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 09:10 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 07, 2005

Woke Up this Morning at 4am

The girls had a special thing going for school. They were to meet at the main Synagouge for Selichotprayers---a special group of prayers said during the time before Rosh Hashanah and in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

For the last two years Esther had gone to the Kotel to say the prayers, along with all grades from 3-6, but this year, because of budget issues, the girls were unable to attened. That gave Tehila a chance to go as well. The only problem was I didn't know about it till last night at about 8:30! I would have sent them to bed a lot earlier had I known, but they had decided to stay by a friends house till the fast of Tzom Gedaliah (handy link if you want to know more!) And then, partially owing to catitis (otherwise known as nocturnal animals such as cats really enjoy jumping attacks on one's arms while one is trying to sleep.) and partially on my part because I fell asleep in the afternoon during the fast.

Waking at that hour wasn't a lot of fun, let me tell you; and I think it worse for the fact that I only cat napped. I"m still groggy and it is 8:30. The girls won't be back until about 10; they'll pray and then have some sort of program and a meal. I have to get Shabbat cooked, something I would have normally started earlier in the week, but there was Rosh Hashanah and the fast.

Oh well....both boys were home for the holidays and that was nice. We had a lot of laughs and good food. And as tonight is Shabbat I'll get lots of resting in during the afternoon.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

And The World Say?

Via arutz7: Arabs Establish Outpost on Hevron's Ancient Jewish Cemetery

Hevron’s Jewish community awoke Wednesday morning to discover that two caravan trailer homes had been placed on an ancient Jewish Ashkenazi cemetery frequented by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement due to the fact that Menucha Rochel, the grand daughter of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, is buried there.

ON an ancient Jewish cemetary.
But that is okay with the world, It is only Jewish dead.
Yeah, yeah, I'm bitter.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

A Beautiful Story

There is a lot of saddness in Israel now, not only because of the disenegagment, but because of the death of a young British tourist, a Yeshiva student who was to wed in about three months time.

But right now I want to focus on the beautiful. This story made me cry.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 21, 2005

Where Is My Head?

The disengagement has rocked many, even I would say many of those who were pro-disengagment. The sight of women and children, of men in tallis (prayer shawls) and Tefillin, being dragged away from the homes they have cared for and loved for many years could not but bring tears to anyone but the most hard-hearted. What as when columnist asked, had these people done wrong?

These settlers, now refugees, did all they could to save their homes from being turned to the terrorist who murdered and maimed their families, who have sought their deaths almost daily, who still threaten us from their Mosques and from their offices. Abu Mazen, given this gesture of peace, responds with more words of war. Did we expect less?

The question for all right now is what is our next step? The settlers need, in some cases the most basic of supplies. The government, despite all their assurances of preparedness, were not prepared for the day after. (and here as wellht Engage for a Secure Israel.) I was on hand, by the way, to greet the refugees from Netzer Hazani. I was amazed by their strength and fortitude. These are strong people, much stronger than I warrant 90% of us would be, forced from their homes, and told they would be divided up by the government.

The refugees are in need; I doubt if the UN will extend a willing and loving hand. The first part of the next step is to help these brave souls restablish their lives and their communities. Anyone wishing to help should follow this link to the listed number (which may require an additional international code if you are from outside Israel, I'm not sure.) There is also a group set up for helping the vicitims of the expulsion.

This is not the time for politics. If giving emotional support just listen. Adopt the attitude of the doctor who operated on President Regean when he was shot "Today we are all Republicans' Today, be with the settler-refugees.

But along with financial and emotional support to the refugees what can we do?
These are my suggestions.

Turn inward toward oneself. What is it that "I" am doing that needs to be corrected? How can "I" become a better person. Regardless of the level of one's observance, or one's religion, there are always ways to become a better person. Reach out in love to the person next to you, to the person in pain, or in financial distress. Withhold your anger, or give more in charity, just look within and decide where one personally can improve to make the world better. Do not, I suggest, worry and concern oneself with the faults of another.

Pray; turn to G-d. He is and has always been our only true salvation. However painful this is I know that G-d is with us, and while I may not understand, how could I? His reasoning, I put my trust and faith in him. As loyal readers know I had been working for a caterer, a good woman, a wonderful boss, but the job proved too much for my health. But there is much to give thanks to G-d for this job; first, I met and befriended a great number of wonderful people, my boss and coworkers. Secondly, I gained the courage to go out on my own and seek work, find my way around. While that may sound silly to some, I have been nervous about doing so till now. Realize that at heart I'm a home and family gal, and don't like to venture all that often from my home-turf. Thirdly it put me in greater touch with G-d. Rising early in the quiet of the morning, I found myself with more time to daven, and turned to G-d not only in thanks for this opportunity but for strength to do what I needed.

Similarly, however the outward appearance of the situation strikes us, G-d has not forsaken us. G-d has a plan, and I believe the good of the plan will, hopefully soon, become manifest in the eyes of all. That does not take away from the evil Sharon has done, but I put my faith in G-d.

Do not despair, do not give up hope. The people of Gush Katif have not.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

Road Block Wednesday

Well, we shall be in Tel Aviv picking up my daughter and the rest of the gang for our family reunion when this happens. Which means family et al may be enjoying the airport for several hours.

Yes, I'll be wearing orange to the airport. I wonder if the tour guide will also? I hope so.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)

June 27, 2005

Israeli Time

Schools ends this week; Friday to be exact, only my girls are going to miss it as we are off to vacation in Israel with parents and family. Luckily, so I thought, as tonight was the tekes (program) celebrating the end of school, and saying au revoir to the principal of the school; a job the principal had held for 10 years.

Good. The Artist would get to dance and do her bit in the proceedings. She wouldn't have to miss a thing.

"We have to get there at 7:30. We can't be late! They have hungry lions at the gate and if we are late we get eaten up!" (okay I lied about that last part.) The program itself was to actually begin at about 7:45.

So, I, being quite gullible, harass everyone to get their derrieres in gear and out the door and to the teckes on time. "Maybe" I had high hopes "things will begin on time."

The hungry lions were still meandering into place at 8:00. At that hour there was a flicker of a hint that something might be starting. At 8:10 someone actually said something into the microphone and things began to start to begin. At 8:30 they really started to begin. At about 8:45 the program really started. Once started we had the energy bunny of programs; it kept going and going and going. It didn't end until 11:10!!!

Yes folks, there is school tomorrow. The Monkey was begging to go home, poor thing, and if I hadn't gotten a ride down the hill we probably would probably have met my dh coming home from work.

Its gonna be a FUN morning. I'll need firecrackers to get everyone up!

So, I, being quite gullible, harass everyone to get their derrieres in gear and out the door and to the teckes on time. "Maybe" I had high hopes "things will begin on time."

The hungry lions were still meandering into place at 8:00. At that hour there was a flicker of a hint that something might be starting. At 8:10 someone actually said something into the microphone and things began to start to begin. At 8:30 they really started to begin. At about 8:45 the program really started. Once started we had the energy bunny of programs; it kept going and going and going. It didn't end until 11:10!!!

Yes folks, there is school tomorrow. The Monkey was begging to go home, poor thing, and if I hadn't gotten a ride down the hill we probably would probably have met my dh coming home from work.

Its gonna be a FUN morning. I'll need firecrackers to get everyone up!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:06 PM | Comments (1)

June 19, 2005

Indiana Jones Pays Us a Visit

I'm trying to digest and come up with some cogent reaction to the speech last night given by Vendyl Jones. the man who inspired the movie Indian Jones.

He was here over Shabbat at the house of a neighbor, and then remained on the Yishuv to give a slide show presentation his archaeological findings till now, and his aspirations for the future; which is finding the Ark which contains the holy tablets that Moshe (Moses) brought down from the Mt. and other treasures of the Temple.

I wish I could write intelligently on this, but I am floored. He has made several discoveries which are mind boggling in their significance. Is he right in his assumptions about what he found and what he will find? I vacillate between ecstatic hope and
skepticism. I am breathless with anticipation.

I hope and pray he is right. If he is, this is the find of the mankinds history.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:59 AM | Comments (1)

May 20, 2005

Run for your Lives! Ants are Taking Over the World!

At least that is the feeling you would have gotten if you stepped into my kitchen this morning. AND I WASHED THE flOOR LAST NIGHT! (And yes we sprayed). To no avail; they went after the dog food and a couple o crumbs that I had missed when sweeping.

Every day for the last couple of days we have been dealing with these creepy crawlers. Dh is out buying vinegar now; it is suppose to destroy their scent trail. Wash the floor, spray again and hope we can get rid of them.

Just what I need erev Shabbat, right?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Israel!!!!

Israel is 57 years old! What a great and gracious lady. I'm so glad to be in her embrace.

Happy Birthday Israel!!!

Those who haven't visited her, should. Warm, wonderful, full of surprises, she is the best place to be.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:03 AM | Comments (2)

May 10, 2005

Yom Hazicaron

Today is Yom Hazicaron, (from sundown tonight till sundown tomorrow)Israeli Memorial Day, when we give thanks to the countless young men and women who gave their lives so that we can live.

The Yishuv gathered at the kicar (traffic circle)at the entrance to the Yishuv , shivering in an unexpected cold snap, our eyes on the speakers stnding beneath the olive tree planted in memory of one young man from the Yishuv killed by terrorist several years ago.

Prayers were said, speeches given, and a statement of hope that we may soon see a time of peace, where no more need die.

That is our ardent wish; to live in peace, in our land, free from fear.

May we all live to see the coming of the Moshiach (Messiah) and may peace come to the world.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

So Who is Calling For a Civil War?

It isn't the settlers. I'll give you a hint

The fact is a war has been declared on the people of the Gush Katif area, they have not started the fight, and despite the crowds and crowds of anti-disengagement people (100, 000's anti-disengagement vs. fewer than 10,000 pro the disengagement.) there haven't been calls for violence on our part. The hatred that is spewing from the "Peace Now" segment of the populace makes one wonder what exaclty these people mean by peace? I think they mean "surrender"---and they are willing to hurt anyone who isn't willing to advance with hands-up and head bowed.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:04 AM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2005

Winter Has Left the Building

It is so yummy outside today! Warm, sweet scented, cool breezes, flowers popping up everywhere, birds cheering the day on.

It was such a wonderful, wonderful day.

The nights are still chilly, but the days, oh they are grand!

This my dear friends, is a wonderful time to visit Israel. Pack along some cool weather gear for nights and just in case (we most likely will get one more cool snap) but oh, you will not regret visiting now!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 02:09 PM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2005

And Finally, Because I do have to get to bed...

This site brought me to tears, especially the lovely (and that is not a sarcastic statement) letters from Arabs. These are the real voices that never get heard, that the mainstream media doesn't want you to hear because it destroys one of their cherished platforms. I urge you to go and read, and while I'm sending you chasing across the internet, please read this article by Nonie Darwish on Arutz Sheva.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:20 PM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2005

Thank G-d! Baruch Hashem

The reports of the kidnapped soldoer were untrue. It is the first thing I read when I woke up this morning=== Hre's the info, quoted from an article in Arutz Sheva.

Report of Kidnapped Soldiers Unfounded 05:45 Jan 05, '05 / 24 Tevet 5765

( A Voice of Palestine Radio report that an IDF officer and soldier were abducted in the area of Maale Adumim appears to be an unfounded rumor, nothing more.

Nevertheless, IDF officials have ordered tightened security at checkpoints in light of intelligence community reports that terrorists are seeking to abduct military personnel.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2005

True? I pray not.

I just saw this on Arutz Sheva, and I'm praying it isn't true.
full text of the article below; but you might want to keep going back for updates.
(main page, left hand side of the column latest news.) I'll update if I see anything more.

Voice of Palestine Radio: IDF Officer & Soldier Abducted by Terrorists
22:00 Jan 04, '05 / 23 Tevet 5765

( A report leaked out to the media originating at Voice of Palestine Radio, stating they received a phone called that Fatah terrorist abducted an IDF officer and soldier. The caller promised to fax the station copies of the soldiers’ identity papers as proof, but never made good on the promise.

The report stated the abduction occurred in the Maale Adumim area, in line with intelligence warnings of a planned kidnapping during recent days.

IDF officials are handling the report in the appropriate fashion.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:50 PM | Comments (1)

January 03, 2005

Ani L'dodi

So my posts have gone to the dogs so to speak, as that is the topic foremost on my mind.

Being bit by a creature that you love and have loved for years--- my father purchased a dog for my mother's birthday, which is the day before mine--- shakes one up. If this had been a stray I know what I would do; have it picked up, have it quarantined, have it killed. My love of the four-pawed creature does not extend to the loss of my life. Rabies is a horrible way to die, and having a biting dog loose and about is a danger to all.

But this was a neighbors dog; they are nice people, it is only in this issue that they are operating beyond the bounds that most of us take. Like an errant child of whom the parents say "why he is just a bit more active than most" I think the family overlooked the negative behaviour of their beloved pet.

And while I dislike the dog, and now have a bit of fear about it, I don't hate it or them; and reporting the dog left me reeling with guilt.

I made certain that they dog would be returned to them after quarantine, but I didn't realize that quarantine was as costly as it apparently is; I allowed my concern for their financial position---beleive me I can relate---to persuade me fact prevericate on the issue of whose dog was it. "It was dark" I told the whoever it was who was in charge. I may have erred." Which of course led to a whole back and forth conversation about the advisablitiy of getting rabies shot; part of me actualy began worrying---I'm too easily persuaded sometimes---that I may have made an error, and that I should go get shots--part of me thought the doctor who spoke to me knew very well that I was deciving her, and that she was trying to frighten me into admiting the dog was our neighbors.

I'm emotionally a wreck by this time, feeling hemmed in and that there is no moral and satisfying action that I can take. I feel guilty, respoinsible for the further actions of this animal, wondering why me? what did I do to this dog to deserve its wrath, trying to calm myself that of course it was the dog, hat it has menaced others, over and over in my head; drowning in my thoughts.

So I call my Rabbi. I don't normally call my Rabbi unless there is a specific law and my dh can't answer; is this kosher or is that alright to use. I don't go in for these emotional based issues. But I really felt the need for advice; what else was my obligation in this area. And he told me; leave it alone but if they ever leave their dog loose, even once, take action.

I can live with that. But in the course of the conversation we spoke about the number of dogs that were in the streets of the Yishuv, and that were often strays. He and his wife had been menaced by a group of four or five such dogs near the gate to the Yishuv; all strays. "There was a time when one could simply shoot a stray" he informed me. "But now there is a law against it."

I'm nonplussed. How could one have such a rule? Stray dogs are a great danger to humans and other animals. What could be the reason for their disaallowing such a intelligent response?

And then part of me says "because maybe they aren't strays in the real sense of strays" they aren't lacking owners, as much as lacking responsible owners. From my understanding many of the strays belong to some of the surrounding Arab villagers; unvaccinated, lacking tags, often hungry and barely cared for, they come to our Yishuv and cause problems, leaving their droppings on the sidewalks, annoying other animals. and so forth.

"Why aren't we allowed to shoot them?" And I ask myself if this is a paranoid response; "Because the government cares more for the response of the Arabs and the world than for the lives of 'settlers'"

And, adding to these fears and concerns are the rumors that are passed back and forth (they are going to stop the bullet proof buses) and the realities that exist (no mail for the Yishuvim. )

Do we count? Are we now dismissed. A mock concern is made for our feelings but the real desire on part of a segment of the Israeli population is hatred toward us. And hatred I think to G-d, and a specific moral way of life.

It is so much easier to chuck all the rules. Believe me, I've been tempted at times. How much easier it would be to shop on a Saturday, or forget family purity laws; they are a drag anyway. How much fun can the three weeks be, a state of mourning, ending with the nine days; no meat, no bathing for pleasure, all during the hotttest time of the year. Right, like, G-d, couldn't you have done this during the winter? The fast days, worrying about Kashrut, whether the food had been tithed or whether one needs to do it oneself, saying one's prayers before and after eating, after using the facilities, before going to bed and waking up, covering my hair...and the list goes on. So much easier to chuck it, at least the parts that don't make sense to me, and maybe mixing and matching whatever rules I l ike till I have what I like, as if the Torah was a linen store and I was choosing the blankets and sheets---but I can't do that.

I can't give up on Torah and I can't give up on the lands G-d gave us, not so much as a gift but as responsibility; to care for her and guard her and use her for purposes dedicated to G-d. in honor of G-d.

Much of the world wants to us to give up on G-d, and so tries to convince us that G-d has given up on us. We may as well chuck in all in because G-d doesn't care or G-d doesn't exist, but my soul knows a different story.

So I cling to His laws, even when I don't particularly want to comply with His ruling, and I cling to the land, even if the world tries to tear my from her heart. My body is suspetible, it is easy to harm or kill, my mind can falter and die, but neither my heart nor soul will turn. Ani l'dodi v' dodi li" I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine. I belong to G-d and threaten or cajole me, promise or sneer at me for my position, the battle may be won by the world, and they may cheer, but in the end, the war is won by G-d.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)

January 02, 2005

Oh and By the Way

David of Rishon Rishon has something to say about what I completely forgot. I didn't realize the day had passed till I looked at my calendar on the computer. I'm pretty happy about not realizing it; I guess that makes me really feel Israeli.

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

December 27, 2004


I hate being a sterotype, but today my son, the Wit entered the army so I rearranged the living room, becoming task master to my husband and son; move this here, move that there. The couch is near the t.v., the computer is back against the wall where it started out, one wall is now free of everything except some framed pictures, artfully leaning up against the wall (um, we never hung them up.)

Everything is changed.

Yes, I'm worried. Yes I'm scared. Yes I miss him.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2004

Coming home?

David Gerstman aka as Soccer Dad, in a recent comment to one of my posts, owned that one reason Aliyah is not in the cards for them in the near future is the reluctance of one of their children, a young teen, to the move. It is not advisable to make the move, he was told, under such circumstances.

We moved to Israel with four of our five children. It hurt to leave the oldest behind. But she was already an adult herself, and the decision was hers and hers alone to make. My other children at that point were 19, 16, 9, and 4. Of those that came with us the most reluctant to make this life-changing move was the 20 year old; waffling between coming and staying on his own, with his sister nearby most of the year. Even in the last month I worried that he may stay behind and not one but two of my children would be left in the USA. In the end he decided to come,

It is hard, very hard, to immigrate anywhere with older children. They already have their friends, their ways of doing things, their favorite hangouts and the like. They know the slang, what is cool and what is nerdy. They know the rules.

Put them in a new country, with the promise of less money (normally) less room, classes where they don't understand much of what is going on, ways of doing things and saying things--even simple things such as greeting that most children share, or songs that the children have grown up on-- it is a shock, and upsetting. Boundaries are unknown at a time in life when the world, due to hormones, is in flux anyway.

Talk about a hard time adjusting.

All the problems one had in one's former country come along as well. All unresolved issues, remain unresolved. The basic characteristic of a person will not change, but most likely personality traits will become accentuated. Shy before? You've might have a recluse. Homework done the last minute? It probably won't get done any faster now. Defiant before, defiantin the new life.
These are facts to keep in mind when moving with any child, but most especially an older one.

Yet, very few problems are intractable, and there is much to be gained from our move to Israel. All in all I have found the country much warmer, and people friendlier. While there is less stuff, there is a greater appreciation for what one has, and a greater willingness to share the wealth that is found. Materialism, especially in the settler world, is less rampant. Children experience a greater sense of freedom.

Whether or not to make the move is of course a very personal decision. My own belief is Aliyah is for all Jews and the sooner the better. Planning, knowing what the issues are with a particular child and trying to find solutions for them before the move isn't always possible, but can be done. A pilot trip to a place one might enjoy, moving to an "anglo" (or French or Russian community as the case may be) is another. One of our mistakes was waiting till we arrived to find one child a school, feeling, as we did, that an in person interview was best. It is probably best to find a school, know the community one will be entering, for at least a significant period of time after the move, before making the move, and then change if necessary. That gives the child(ren) a sense of stability, though not one free of complaints.

If your older child (and David may very well be doing all that I mention and more) is unwilling to make the move, consider trips or visits, and connecting through the internet or snail mail to a family or age-mates. Small moves such as these may advance the cause.

It is a beautiful place to live; I would not want to live elsewhere. Israel is home.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:47 PM | Comments (2)

December 09, 2004

The Sanhedrin!

via arutz sheva:

In a dramatic but unpublicized move Monday, members of the newly established Sanhedrin ascended the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

This is fantastic news. I don't even know how to explain this situtaition and what it means to me. I know that I would just muddle the job. So please, go read. I am extremely excited about this event. I am practiacally bouncing up and down in my chair like a child whose just been told they are going toy shopping and can buy anything they want. I am close to tears.

The times of the Moshiach (Messiah) are upon us. Can't you feel it? And yet the mundane world goes on. It is a wonder sometimes.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:57 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2004

Rode the Wave!

After my daughter's birthday party I went here with a group of women from the Yishuv (settlement). I almost backed out, to tell the truth, a big party, a mess, and probably a headache and I just wasn't in the mood to step out the door; step into a hot bath more likely! I was kind of guilted into going. Though I had heard nothing but praise for this acting troupe, I had my reservations. It was a Yishuv production!, put on by a bunch of moms , regular work-a-day women and children. I could expect entertainment, yes, a few hours free of children I needed to mind and worry over; but a professional production? One I'd end up singing the praises about? A pleasant evening was in store for me, nothing more.


I was overcome with the spirit of the group as well as their professionalism. This wasn't a slapped together production, which one viewed with good humor. It was overwhelming fantastic! If they have a play next year, I'm going, and bringing my daughter, and if I can convince her to come to Israel during Chanukah time, my mom (the play is by and for women/girls only). I bought the CD for selfish me--and I'm not the biggest music fan, , and I hope to purchase one for my mother's birthday (like the show the cds are for women only) The singing is incredible, the acting phenomenal; everything on target.

The production company started in reaction to terrorist attacks on the communities in the Gush; after the mourning the women got together to try and think what to they could do to battle the emotional reperecussions of living in terror. A play was the answer. They began with "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, slated to run for three performances; instead it ran for 11 shows and they even took their production to the Women's Caucus of the Knesset, as well as doing segments on a well known children's show.

The second production, called Esther and the Secrets in the King's Court played 21 times and the CD was a smash hit! The first year I was here it was the music to get on everyone's lips.

If you are a woman or girl in Israel, go see the play! Any child capable of sitting quietly for a few hours will enjoy this production. And if you can't get here, do the next best thing: get the CD. Honestly, you won't regret it. (And no, I"m not connected to the group in any way, aside from being of the same religion!)

I'm still on a high from seeing the show.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:14 PM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2004

Siren of Death

via Arutz Sheva.

Israel recently uncovered and prevented several planned bombing attacks; one of which would have involved an ambulance with suicide bomber inside, which was to have gone off in the center of Jerusalem.

Simultaneious bombings were planned for Me'ah She'arim, which is also very crowded, and the French Hill intersection, an area which generates a considerable amount of traffic (and a common area for hitchhikers to await a "tremp" (ride). A shooting attack was planned for Kever Rochel (Rachel's Tomb).

Teenage bombers were already lined up (one of whom was a high school girl), bombs were prepared., the ambulance, they had scoped out the areas, but had not yet decided on a route to commmit their mass killings.

Thank G-d they were stopped. I'm breathing a big sigh of relief.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2004

Carmel Bombing

The latest I read on Arutz Sheva was three dead, 30 wounded and the bomber was only 16. How do they do that to theiir children? Their own children? How do you turn your child into a bomb?

Posted by Rachel Ann at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2004

Mothering Woes

Some days I think I should accept the worst parent of the year award for my utter failure to alter for the better my children's behavior.

Yesterday my oldest daughter and I attended a protest (together with many of the children of her school) against the closure of Gaza settlements. There were buses to take whoever wished to go to the protest area, there were banners and flags passed out, hats and orange t-shirts that proclaimed our love for the Gush.

The general mood of the children was high-spirited and joyful. They sang on the bus, as all children do, the typical songs, albeit in Hebrew, that I sang on similar occasions as a child. They clapped hands and at the site gathered for an impromptu dance.

Well all the children except for one child, who, disconcertingly, happened to be mine. The Artist curled up against me and I needed to force her to dance. There wasn't an actual frown on her face, her expression almost blank though her eyes didn't have the dullness of boredom, Rather there emanated from her an overwhelming feeling of despair, a downward cast of her head, t as if I were sending her to face the wrath of lions and she had no choice but to engage in battle. All the girls in her class are sweet, friendly, and caring. They made various attempts to pull her into their dances, made certain that she received a flag, traded candy with her and what not.

The Artist remained withdrawn, encapsulated within herself.

I don't know what I should do; what course of action I should take. Many people tell me I should simply leave her be and that she will come around when she is ready to interact; that she is simply more introverted person and that one can't alter this basic fact. And I understand this because I also was a very introverted child and I am an introverted adult; in large social settings I was and still am uneasy and often too happy to leave the raucous noise and chaos behind me. Yet I understand the loneliness as well; the feeling that those around me know a secret that I can not decode, a different language then I never learned, that I am insignificant in the eyes of most; easily forgotten. I both wish and do not wish the contact; the two sides of myself fighting for supremacy. As a child the introvert won, almost every single time. Crawling back into my cave I would find comfort with books and television; the worlds that confronted my eyes easier to deal with the reality of humans.

At this point in life I've succeeded in masking my inner conflict and generally can defeat the uneasiness that accompanies me to ever large social event. I now can look forward to a large social event, though I'm never as comfortable, or at least believe I am less comfortable, than most people. I still feel there is a language I have never learned and that all around me people are in on a secret that I'll never know. But my countenance is no longer frowning and disagreeable. I can smile, laugh and dance and want more. Perhaps I never quite reach the state of bubbling effervescents; I never the center of attention, never find masses of people, all eyes upon me, as if my every word ribboned from my mouth. The sidelines, listening and responding to quiet conversations is sufficient for my needs.

I want my daughter's happiness; but I'm very concerned that the road she is taking will lead to loneliness. A community of friends who are behind one, come what may, who understand one's oddities and accept them, who feel safe and trusting in turn, this is what makes life beautiful and desirable. I do not want her to waste years in this effort to obtain what has only lately become mine.

There are small indications that despite my feelings of casting her to the lions my efforts are paying off. This morning she woke with her normal reluctance to face school, once again, especially after a major event. She dithered around the house, complaining of nausea and stomachaches and a generalized feeling of discomfort. The decision on whether she was to go to school or remain home we left up to her; and at first the decision was no.

Normally that no sticks; she has not been willing to go to school knowingly late.
But this morning, such a small triumph, she looked up at me from the couch and stated; I won't be on time.

But she left for school anyway; along with a note from me explaining her lateness, and my assistance in packing her knapsack and lunch, she headed to school.

Yesterday I felt like an utter failure; today as if she and I made a little bit of progress in her social development.

Such is the nature of parenting I suppose; I just wish it would come with a report card; so I could see if I were truly passing or failing whatever the current test.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 08:03 AM | Comments (3)

October 05, 2004

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

I got to go wake up the little creepy deeps and get them dressed because it is off we go to a new Yishuv to make and fly kites, candles and apparently, for the adults get a massage.

Massages. Cool. I am just got to stretch out and float off.

I have high hopes for this day.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:54 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2004

Dear G-d, it is October

Could you please consider turning down the heat a bit?

Thank you


devoted but melting

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:43 PM | Comments (1)

September 30, 2004


That is how our Succah felt like last night; and my poor dh and sons withstood the heat and mosquitos and lights which we forgot to put on a timer so they were on the whole night, trials and tribulations, until morning. Poor guys! It really was miserable for them. A lot of men came back inside during the early mornings it had become so uncomfortable. It was unseasonably warm all day.

Luckily it is already cooler and we can turn out the lights...and I'm going to recommend my dh spray the Succah before he goes to bed.

I hope tonight proves more comfortable for them.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2004


Tonight is the first night of Succot and my family and I will be outside, enjoying the beautiful air, hopefully good tasting food, and listening to other's do the same; so you won't be hearing from me till afterwards. I am very behind in everything I shoudl have done till now to get ready because everyone was so ill; the Succah is not yet decorated, the food isn't cooked, the house is once again a mess (but it gets that way over-night. Everyone is innocent of the mess of course.)

Anyway, for those of you who the word "succah" and "succot", "lulav and esrog" bring up no real images, try here and here for some information.

Tomorrow we will be having a Succah hop; going from one Succah to another to eat and talk; hopefully by then I'll be up to it.

And we bought a folding table!!! Yippee! So now we can have guests!

Posted by Rachel Ann at 05:55 AM | Comments (1)

September 27, 2004

Mazel Tov

To the members of the Israeli Paraympics team for their great wins in the games. A total of 13 medals were won, 5 bronze, 4 silver, and 4 gold. Many members of the team sustained their injuries while defending Israel and her citizens. But whenever and however they recieved their injuries, they have honored this country with their spirit, their persistence and their will to do more and move beyond their "limitations."

Congratulations to them all.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Yes, that was were the Bombing was

These were among the first words my husband said to me when coming home. "I got a tremp from French Hill, and yes that was were the bombing was"---eight hours earlier.

The two police who died gave their lives to protect those who waited for the buses and for a "tremp" a ride back to their homes. If that guard had not stopped her, hand not prevented her from being on that bus.....

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2004


I was reading the Jerusalem Post online edition today; what I found makes me realize I should have made this paper a daily read. A new feature, begun September 3, is a blog, updated daily, circumstances allowing, of the Deputy Managing Editor of the paper who is on miluim (reserve duty). Today's entry, to which I am linking, is fascinating. I haven't had time yet to go through his other entries (listed at the bottom of the last page) but I do plan to try and catch him daily.

I am just going to include a short quote from the article here, in case you haven't already gone over there and read the article.

A few minutes later, a taxi arrived with two men sitting inside and a large cardboard box on the back seat. "What's this?" "His child died in the hospital and we're taking it back to its mother," the driver explained. "But what's in the box?" "The child." I waved him on quickly. Afterwards, we speculated that it could have been a trick and something else could have been inside. But none of us said that we would have been willing to open and inspect the box.

Imagine having to make a decision like that; open the box and expose a pain that cuts deep into the soul of any parent. Allow it to go on and speculate, as they did, that it was something else. Do you check or not check? I can't imagine having to make that type of decision; one that could affect hundreds of lives.

Those men and women at the checkpoints are brave beyond belief. Any one of those trying to enter could have very evil intentions; they may also simply want to go into the city to shop. They don't wish to harm or disrespect or cause pain to tthose who want to enter; they also don't want to die, or to learn that if only they had looked or inspected more carefully, that car, that man or woman or child who seemed to have such a pressing need, lives would have been saved.

Kudos to them for being there.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

A Beautiful, True, Story

Israel21c has an article on an amazing rescue that occured in Israel recently. Please go read. This brought tears to my eyes.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 07:51 AM | Comments (2)

September 02, 2004

Thank You IDF

Who knows what disaster was nearly averted by the discovery of a tunnel leading from an Arab village to a Jewish community of Kfar Darom. I doubt if they were going to bring candy and toys for the children. Here's another picture of the tunnel.
You can't tell me that this was kept secret from half the neighbors.

Thank G-d for the industriousness and persistence of the IDF. They are real heros, everyday going out and risking their lives for me, my children and my friends.

Thank you, thank you.

Posted by Rachel Ann at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2004


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)

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

More Miracles

Thank G-d three times.

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

August 26, 2004

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)

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)

August 22, 2004

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 17, 2004

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 13, 2004

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)

August 12, 2004

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)