Monthly Archives: February 2013

Celebration of tenth anniversay of Karmiel Hesder Yeshiva

Tonight dh and I went to a dinner in honor of the tenth anniversary of Karmiel’s hesder yeshiva, Orot Karmiel.

The room was packed and I didn’t see anyone else from the charedi community there, but it was quite full so I very possibly could have missed seeing someone.  We know a number of people in the garin Torani (Torani seed group), which is why we were invited, and we had a lovely time.   Delicious food, lovely music, nice people and interesting speeches.

Unlike most dinners, this one had no cost – no sponsorships, no solicitations, no pressure – it was an evening celebrating ten years for this yeshiva.  As one of the speakers said, ten years ago if you told someone you were living or learning in Karmiel, the response was similar to if you told them you lived in Eilat – almost as if you lived in a different country!  But Karmiel is growing, and along with it all of the different religious communities in Karmiel are growing as well.

There were a number of speakers, including the chief Ashkenazic rabbi of Israel, the past head rabbi of the Israeli army, the mayor of Karmiel, the chief rabbi of Karmiel and the rosh yeshiva of the hesder yeshiva.  They all spoke beautifully but my favorite was the rabbi of the army  He spoke about how hard it is for him to understand those who say that there’s a contradiction between being in the army and learning Torah.  On the contrary, he said, there are many fine young men are serving in the army who are learning Torah while also fulfilling the huge mitzva of protecting the Jewish people;  Israel is surrounded by enemies who would happily see the entire Jewish people destroyed in a minute, and the army is critical to the protection of everyone living in this country.

Since religiously Israel is so polarized, I especially enjoy opportunities like this when I can interact with others who are outside of my immediate social group.  Dh and I both liked the tone of the evening, about the value for Torah study that was evident as well as the commitment to actively supporting the community; in the local hesder yeshiva this isn’t given lip service but is actively done by the local garin Torani (who staff the yeshiva).

It was a long evening but we agreed that it was a worthwhile way to spend several hours, and I hope that the yeshiva continues to grow and thrive!

Edited to add: Thank you to the blog reader who sent a link to an article about the evening with accompanying photos.  (I’m in the headline photo but fortunately my face is obscured by someone else so you’d have to know exactly where I was to figure it out!)


Accessing US library books from overseas

When my kids were growing up, we were regular visitors to the library- we always had lots of print books and books on cassettes (later that changed to cds and more recently to a little electronic device) that we checked out.  Most days the kids would sit around the cassette player (later cd player) at some point, listening to stories.  Long car rides were marked by audio books – when I reminisce about certain trips, in my mind I can hear the story that was playing when we were driving to that place!

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about how much I missed audio books.  These stories and the togetherness they engendered as we all listened together was so much part of the fabric of our lives.  I bought an ereader months ago in order to access library books from the US – you can do this if you have a US  library card, which of course I do!  At that time I noticed that audiobooks were also available to be checked out but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I sat down to figure out how to access them.

Actually, it’s pretty simple. You visit your library website, and there’s a program available there to download onto your home computer – my library system uses Overdrive Media Console, maybe it’s different for other libraries.  Once you do that, all you do is checkout the audio book online and press the button that says ‘download’, then approve the download.  At our library system, you can only have six items out at a time on an online account, and books have a fourteen day loan period.  This didn’t originally sound too limiting to me, but then I found out that the audio books that are in the format that we check out can’t be returned – they expire after two weeks.  It’s a good thing that we have more than one library card!

The limitation of this policy is that is that when we finish an audio book in a day, it has to remain in our account until the due date and we can’t check out anything else. But far be it from me to complain when I’m so delighted that we can once again listen to audiobooks!  The audiobooks in our account right now are: The Secret Garden, The Magic Tree House (collection of eight books in the series), Charlotte’s Web, A Bear Called Paddington, The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and a collection of Dr. Seuss stories.  We have some books on the Kindle as well, for dd12 and me.

There isn’t nearly the selection of ebooks available that you can get in person, but it’s a really nice option to have nonetheless.  When we lived in Israel years ago, I used to say that there were only two things I missed about the US: our parents and public libraries. While there are still aspects of public libraries in the US that I miss, this goes a long way toward mitigating my feeling of lack regarding public libraries!


Winter Fruit Bowl with Avocado Mousse

Hot cereal for breakfast gets a little boring sometimes, so this morning I tried something new – a breakfast fruit bowl.  Everyone really enjoyed it so I’ll share it here with you.

I saw the idea of a fruit bowl somewhere on a gluten free site, and since I had several kinds of fruit in the fridge, decided to try it out.  I added the avocado mousse since fruit on its own doesn’t have a high satiation factor.

Winter Breakfast Fruit Bowl with Avocado Mousse

  • apples, diced
  • pears, diced
  • persimmons, diced
  • oranges, sectioned and cut in smaller pieces
  • avocados, peeled and seeded
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • water

Mix the cut apples, pears, persimmons and oranges in a large bowl, then fill individual bowls with the mixture.  Using an immersion blender, whip up the avocado with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of water, until you have a smooth but still thick consistency – this is the mousse.  Top each fruit bowl with a generous dollop of avocado mousse.

This is more of a concept than a recipe. You can use whatever assortment of fruits that you have on hand – berries, pomegranate arils, or whatever is in season.  You can add nuts or dried or fresh coconut.  You can dice up the avocado and add it to the fruit salad itself and then drizzle the olive oil on top, or leave it out if you prefer.  Any of these combinations would taste great.

When I handed ds10 his bowl, he asked me if I was going to take a picture for my blog.  That was a very unusual question, since I don’t take many pictures and very rarely have taken pictures for the recipes that I post.  I didn’t even think of posting about this until after everyone told me how much they liked it!  The fruit bowl does have a pretty and elegant presentation, which is why I think he asked about taking a picture.  The best part is that the look of it and the taste of it match!

(This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays.)