Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Some Stuff ...

Are we moved in ...??? We'll I guess the answer to that question would have to be yes. We have all our stuff here and we also have the new refrigerator here, we have our bed and the little furniture that we own right now. So yes, I guess we are moved in. We still have quite a few touches to add to this place before it feels like home, but that's what it is right now all the same, this is our home.

Yesterday was interesting. Late last night while we were still at Miri and Shlomo's Tafat called me downstairs in her mischievous little voice because she said she wanted to tell me something. She looked at me and happily asked me if I knew what day it was.

"Monday?" I said.

"It's Christmas," she said enthusiastically. "I had no idea, isn't that great!"

If you aren't aware, my wife is somewhat of a grinch. I had actually noticed what day it was and also it's conspicuous absence from the television, stores and basically every other aspect of life. Christmas eve and Christmas day passed almost invisibly through this country.

It's raining. I'm supposed to be happy about it cause it's good for the country and the farms and the Kineret and all that stuff. But its really been pouring out. I was running around out there looking for an ATM to get some cash to pay for our new fridge. I got completely drenched, I mean soaked. We keep saying we need umbrellas but it starting to get ridiculous.

Random Israeli Politics Posting:

PM Olmert has just approved a plan to improve the lives of the Palestinians in the West Bank. Apparently this plan is aimed at helping PA President Abbas gain some popularity. Personally, I think if Israel declared war on him, that would be the best way to hero status on the Arab street.

One of the main features of the plan, as noted by Ha'aretz, is the removal of several checkpoints from throughout the West Bank.

Olmert approved the plan Monday, which, among other gestures, includes the removal of 27 roadblocks across the West Bank.

Following a meeting between the prime minister, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and several other senior defense officials, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said the prime minister accepted all of Peretz's proposals for easing restrictions.

"The prime minister directed that restrictions be eased immediately for the Palestinian population in order to strengthen moderate elements and implement the agreements and understandings that were achieved [at his meeting with Abbas]," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Normally, I wouldn't pay to much attention to this story. It's not that I don't care, its just that these types of "goodwill" gestures never produce any goodwill whatsoever. But this time the situation is very different because I'm here in Israel. Those roadblocks are supposed to help protect me. But now whoever might want to do me harm has 27 fewer roadblocks to worry about. Well, maybe it will work, this time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

We Did a Little Dance When ...

... we found an apartment in Tel Aviv!!!!

After watching Shlomo have a long discussion about the contract and the apartment in Hebrew, with me standing there understanding none of it, the owners went upstairs and printed new versions of the contract for us to sign. We did the deal and we'll be moving in next week.

The apartment seems great. Its in a great location, on a quite street, but close to the center of the city. It's a renovated apartment in a beautiful building. It's a little pricey but I think its worth it.

When Tafat and I got back to Haifa we did an idiotic little celebratory dance and started thinking about all the details we have to iron out before we can move in.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Official "We're in Israel Post"

I guess since we've been here almost two and a half weeks its time to confirm that Tafat and I are here in Israel. I'll try and run through the last two and a half weeks as best I can to let everyone know what the experience has been like.

After a long flight to London, and a very pleasant extended lay over spent walking around in the city, and then another shorter flight to Tel Aviv, we finally landed at the new terminal in Ben-Gurion Airport. The name of the project to build the new terminal was "Ben-Gurion 2000" which is unfortunate since it didn't open until the end of 2004. At any rate it's really impressive, it's beautiful, clean and very modern looking. It's certainly far more impressive than the terminal was the last time I came here. It's also fairly big. Tafat and I walked for quite a while before we got from our gate to passport control. It's not Minneapolis or Detroit big, but for such a small country to have such a big airport strikes me as some form of compensation.

We were met warmly at the airport by our surrogate Israeli mother Miri. She has been taking extremely good care of us and has kept us well fed. In the states the stereotype of the Jewish mother is someone who is constantly feeding you and taking care of you. In Israel, a country full of Jewish mothers, that stereotype is reserved for Polish mothers. Miri is the quintessential Polish mother. When we got to Haifa Tafat met Miri's husband Shlomo who has been extremely busy with his business the whole time we've been here. Shlomo is also in many ways a good example of the eccentric Israeli some people have pictured in their minds. His favorite pastime is to lament all the foods he can't eat because of the special diet he's on to lower his blood-pressure.

Tafat and I spent our first week in the country slowly recuperating from lingering jet-lag, running a few errands here and there with Miri and getting a feel for Haifa where we've been staying. We also took a very short trip to Tel Aviv to get a feel for the city in which we'll be living. Tel Aviv is everything I thought it would be. That is to say, its a very eclectic, very urban, somewhat run-down and dirty, yet completely appealing city. Being in Tel Aviv is frustrating because it's really not a pretty city yet it has the potential to be a beautiful city. Its a city badly in need of some paint and plaster, but where the architecture is at times stunning and also stunningly bad. Tafat and I are excited to be living there because in many ways it is the antithesis of LA - you can walk almost everywhere and many people don't even own a car.

Our first weekend here was wonderful since it featured a guest appearance by Miri's grandson. Her son and daughter-in-law were also here but the rule, as it is at my parents house as well, is that the grandchild is the star.

With our second week here we began our apartment search, and its been keeping us busy since then. Finding an apartment in Tel Aviv is tricky because you have to keep track of several factors including price, the apartment itself, the location, the noise ... Ok, maybe it's just as tricky here as everywhere else but where you're right in the thick of it it seems really hard. Maybe it's so difficult because really nice apartment seem so few and far between.

We took a break from apartment hunting last week to go to Jerusalem to visit Tafat's aunt Nadine. She is a fascinating woman and her mannerisms really reminded me of Tafat's mother. She also showed me how to make real Turkish coffee and I can see this quickly becoming a new hobby for me. Nadine took Tafat and I (well it was really for me) on a tour of the city. She took us to Tafat's old neighborhood and Tafat gave me a tour of where she grew up. It was really nice to see where she spent her childhood because it can really tell you a lot about a person.

Since then it's been a lot if trips to Tel Aviv on the train, mixed in with a little bit of shopping here and there. We also both got a kick out of going to a kosher hamburger joint in the mall in Tel Aviv. This should seem perfectly obvious that in a Jewish country it will be a lot easier to find kosher food, but all the same it made us both smile.

I would love to show you pictures of where we've been. Unfortunately my digital camera had a bit of an accident and it is no longer working. I'm not going to describe exactly how it happened but suffice it to say that is was a very "Jonah" moment, or in other words - stupid. But fortunately a replacement should be here in about a month, hopefully.

And ... well ... that's about it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where We're At ... Haifa

Just so you know ......

You Know You're in a Jewish Country When ...

... the Supermarkets are filled with Kosher meat and products but you have to go looking for a speciality store to find shrimp, lobster or pork.

... the weekend starts on Friday and ends on Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the work week.

... the cute, sentimental add for the cellphone company features an adorable little boy, whose Sufganyot (doughnuts served during Hanuka) stand isn't drawing any customers, until his mother snaps a picture of him on her cell phone and send it out as a text message to all her friends.

... all of the stores in the mall have Mezuzahs on the door.

... you walk past a trendy shoe store on the street and look inside to find a giant picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

... the graffiti is meant to help bring the Messiah.

... there's a Synagogue at the bus station.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We're Leaving on a Jet Plane

We're leaving for Israel on Friday evening. Basically in a little less than 48 hours. Blogging has been light lately as Tafat and I have been spending a lot of time making lots of last minute preparations, packing, running errands and spending alternating periods of time panicking and feeling overwhelmed. I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that when we land in Ben Gurion we'll have a very welcoming and helpful reception from our interim Israeli mother.

But even though were gonna have a very comfortable place to stay once we land I don't want us to get too comfortable there. I really want to get to Tel Aviv but I know that finding a place there is going to be huge challenge. I've been hearing nightmare stories about the total lack of apartments there and its got me worried. Several friends have said that its almost as hard to find an apartment in Tel Aviv as it is to find a date in Los Angeles.

At any rate I'm sure were gonna have lots to say when we get there. I always thought this blog would be a useful tool to communicate with everybody while were in Israel and that was one of the main reasons for starting it. But I always have a lot to say and I've been searching for the right soap box for a while now. But I hope not to opine to much and bore all of you with my rantings.

But now is not the time to start ranting. My sister and brother-in-law are on their way here with the kids in tow. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we want to spend our time saying goodbye. We leave Friday but we don't land until Sunday. About ten of those hours will be spent in London on an extended layover. We probably wont be truly settled for a while but I'll do everything I can to keep everyone up to date while were in limbo.

See ya on the flip side.

Monday, November 06, 2006

We're Back ... and we're not happy!!!

So Tafat and I just got back from Hawai'i today after a wonderful two week honeymoon. Sorry for not blogging the last two weeks but I had more pressing matters like going to the beach and surfing and all of these other important things. Anyway the hard work can now begin as we get ready for our move to Israel. Pictures of Hawaii will follow shortly. Suffice it say that Tafat and I had a wonderful time and were not pleased to be back in Los Angeles.

Friday, October 20, 2006

See Ya Later

Today is my last day at StandWithUs. Iv'e learned a lot in the two and a half years I've been working here. A lot about the world and working and also a lot about Israel. It sounds cliche but I've also learned a great deal about myself, about my strengths and weakness and how I act in a day-to-day work environment. In many ways this was my first real job in the sense of showing up and going to an office on a completely regular schedule. I'm sure that I'm not completely done with SWU considering I'll be doing some work for them in Israel and also working the student conference in a few weeks, but I don't know if I'll ever be back to a regular everyday schedule here.

Today we had a lunch as sort of a going away gathering for me. It made things real in a whole new way. Sitting there at lunch it really hit me that in about a month I'll be moving to a country where I don't speak the language, don't have a full time job lined up, and where I don't have an actual residence waiting for me. I should be terrified and in many ways I am. However, I know that I need to do this. I need to go and figure out for myself what this Jewish state business is really all about. Maybe its a brialliant idea or maybe its crazy. But its my idea and I'm running with it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Think He Had a Good Time in Israel

If you search YouTube for "Tel Aviv" or "Israel" you're bound at one point to come across some videos of the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team. One player in particular stands out in those clips and is even the main subject of several of them. Anthony Parker played for Tel Aviv for five seasons and helped them to two championships while helping himself to two MVP awards. He recently signed with the Toronto Raptors but he's still gushing about his former residence.

Now he has an appreciation for a part of the world many find confusing, complex and incomprehensible.

"A lot of my close friends and family have been over to visit and they had one mindset going in but certainly they were completely the opposite leaving," he said.

"It's a shame that that part of the world is portrayed in the news the way it is. You see it as a war zone instead of the beautiful part of the world it is.

He'll even be wearing number 18 as a homage to his fans in Israel.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

UC Irvine is a Crazy Place

I stopped over at Concerned UCI Student today for the second time. I took a good look around today and found it really interesting so I'm adding the site to my blogroll. I've been spending a good deal of time at UCI over the last 20 months working for StandWithUs so I can understand why 'Concerened UCI Student' is ... well ... concerned. In fact I was down there earlier this month filming everybody's favorite Israel hater Amir Abdel Malik Ali. If you want to see the video I'm posting it below. By the way listen till the end to hear a brilliant question from someone in the audience ;).

Concerned also linked to some of the cartoons from the "Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest". I think these cartoons are the perfect pick-me-up for when your feeling down on a rainy day, so go check them out.

Amir Abdel Malik Ali at UC Irvine:

Monday, October 16, 2006

When Should I Start to Panic

I woke up this morning, flipped on my computer and saw this story: Disaster declared as quake hits Hawaii. Suffice it say, Tafat and I are concerned. Were concerned for the well being of everyone in Hawaii of course, but were also concerned because in about a week were getting on a plane to Hawaii for our Honeymoon. Hopefully, this quake will amount to just a small inconvenience for everyone. Having lived through the '94 "Northridge Earthquake" I know how scary things can get so I hope all is well for everybody over there. I also hope that all is still well for our Honeymoon plans.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Wow, my husband is really into this blog thing and he keeps "asking" me to write something and contribute. I've tried repeatedly to tell him that if I have something that I think you readers would be interested in reading, I'll write! Right now because we're going on our honeymoon in a week and a half and moving to Israel in 5 weeks, I am not working. So, what do I really have to contribute? Life is slow, uneventful (though I'm still enjoying married life and how that feels), and since I don't get out of the house much I don't have too many stories to tell. Life is on hold in a way for me right now. It is funny how much happens to me that I analyze, evaluate, laugh over, learn from, etc. when I work. I had stories upon stories every day. Anyway, until I feel like people are actually interested in reading about my life, I'm not sure I'll be writing much until I move, start working again, and live life.

The Axe is Staying in Madison

Tomorrow the Badgers play the Gophers in Madison for Homecoming. The winner takes home the Paul Bunyan Axe, which has served as the trophy for this rivalry since 1948. I'll be up at 9:00 AM to watch the game and I hopefully won't wake up my wife with all my yelling and screaming. Tonight I'll drink to a victory and in the morning I'll hopefully watch the Badgers get their sixth win of the season. ON WISCONSIN!!

After writing this post I saw this story on ESPN: "Hazing, booze, sex led to Wisconsin band probation." Intrigued, I read on.

UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley said a band member was pressured into shaving his head in a hazing incident and other members danced seminude during the band's trip to the Sept. 23 University of Michigan football game.

"It has become increasingly clear that certain types of sexualized and hazing behavior are an ingrained part of the band's culture," Wiley said Thursday. "We will not provide an ongoing venue for this inappropriate and demeaning behavior."

So let me get this straight, Chancellor Wiley is shocked by booze and sex at UW? This of course begs the question, has Chancellor Wiley ever actually set foot in Madison?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Inside Iraq

Sandmonkey linked to one of the most chilling blog posts I've ever seen. Check out these threat letters that are popping up all over Iraq. When the Bush Administration was selling the war I bought in to the idea of bringing democracy to Iraq. I still believe that is a realistic goal and should be the objective in Iraq. However, I never considered the possibility of civil war - which is what's going on right now on some level. These letters demonstrate the extent of the hatred in that country.

Fascinating Brittish News Doc

Honest Reporting has put up a British News Documentary by David Aaronovitch. This piece is a breath of fresh air in many ways. Aaronovitch, claims to show liberal and progressive thinkers who a) don't blame Israel for all the worlds problems and b) take the threats of extremism and terror seriously. It's refreshing that there are liberal thinkers out there who are taking an honest look at the problems facing the world today. I was raised in a fairly liberal environment, and though I consider myself permanently planted in the center, it's important to me to have some common ground with individuals on the left of the political spectrum.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Will The Real Video iPod Please Stand Up

engadget is reporting that Apple is preparing to release the often discussed and most anticipated true Video iPod. Not only that but it will also have wireless connectivity. As always my take on Apple rumors is 'who the hell knows.' But like engadget I'm betting that Apple still has something up their sleeve and we'll hear from Jobs and Co before the year is out.

Hat Tip Mac Rumors

My Car Just Keeps On Chuggin

Well its been about two-weeks since I first noticed smoke rising from the hood of my car. Somehow my car just keeps on going despite its problems. When i had Steve our mechanic look at the car he said I would have to add fluids every two weeks or so, because there was some sort of leak in the car. The very next day the oil gauge in my car dropped down to zero and when I checked the oil level of my car it was basically at zero. Of course my car is so old and messed up that it's not even worth it to fix the problem anymore. So my plan was basically to keep adding oil until the car crapped out. Somehow this has worked so far and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will last just a few more weeks until we move. If anyone wants a 96 Jeep Cherokee with 120,000 miles, no radio, suspension problems, transmission problems, a temperamental radiator and some kind of mystery oil leak leave a comment and we can talk. (But the leather seats are still lovely)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Whither the Golan?

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the Israeli news sites about the future of the Golan Heights. Ever since the conclusion of the Hezbollah war, this piece of territory seems to keep popping up in the agenda in way that it hasn't for some time. A few weeks after the war the possibility of returning the territory to Syria was raised by a minister from the ruling Kadima party. After that it seemed like everyone was throwing in their two cents on the subject. So being one to always follow a crowd its my turn to weigh in.

I remember when I visited Israel on Birthright in 2004 they shlepped us up north to visit the Galilee and the Golan. At Kibbutz Misgav Am the fowl mouthed security coordinator explained that the Golan would be the next item on the agenda. This always seemed non-sensical to me because I assumed it wouldn't come up on the agenda until the Palestinian issue was resolved, which of course could take until the next millennia.

However, lo and behold Ha'aretz publishes an article calling for Israel to withdraw to the International border. This article amazed not because of the position it argued, which in itself is not at all radical or original. But rather that the author believed that the Israeli public would accept a withdrawal from the Golan in the near future.

From my experience with Israeli society there is one issue that seems to unify Israelis of all political spectrums, and that is there determination never to give up the Golan. The attachment to the land is to strong and the distrust of the Syrians is to great for most Israelis to even begin to think about leaving. Furthermore, there is so little incentive for Israel to withdraw that its amazing this could even scratch the surface of the political radar. There's a good reason there is an Israeli saying "Another Lefty With the Golan." Or as my honorary Israeli mother would say "Over My Dead Body"

What I really think Israel needs to do, is to give Syria alternatives to regaining the Golan. Whether the alternative is economic or political I believe it exists. Jews and Israeli's only need to be creative enough to discover it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CAMERA: Lebanon Casualty Figures Flawed

CAMERA, which is a great media watchdog organization, has a fascinating analyses of how the media reported the casualties from the recent Israel - Hezbollah war. Throughout the conflict the claims of casualties on both sides were radically different. Hezbollah has reported it lost approximately 80 fighters, while Israel is simultaneously claiming it killed 600 fighters.

This issue is too important to be given a cursory examination, which is what most of the media has done. CAMERA's breakdown points out some of the most blatant inconsistencies in the media's coverage of the issue, and sheds some light on what the real picture may look like.

Right now there are way too many people who think that Israel simply bombed Lebanon into the stone-age and yet couldn't manage to weaken Hezbollah in any way. This false perception is dangerous not because of the damage it does to Israel's reputation, but rather because it allows a false picture of a critically important world conflict to masquerade as the truth.

Excerpts from CAMERA's report:

Regardless, the accumulated evidence from various sources exposes as a deception Hezbollah’s claims to have lost 68 or 74 fighters .

Israel’s claim to have killed 500-600 Hezbollah fighters, meanwhile, is buttressed by the government’s partial list of names of Hezbollah fighters who died through Aug. 6, and is corroborated in some media reports.

These different assessments suggest that Hezbollah losses may have been comparable in number to the civilian losses in Lebanon. Allegations by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International–organizations often criticized for their disproportionate and deceptive focus on Israel–that Israel used indiscriminate force and even targeted civilians should be viewed warily in light of this evidence. And when casualty figures and breakdowns cited by news organizations are based on figures supplied by Hezbollah, Lebanese officials, or Israeli officials, those claims should be meticulously investigated for inconsistencies, and should not be reported as accepted fact.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Prime Rib and Yom Kippur

After watching one of my "Good Eats" DVD's I couldn't let go of the idea of cooking a Prime Rib. Well not actually a Prime Rib but a Standing Rib Roast which is essentially the same thing only with out the Prime label. I had the idea stuck in my head and couldn't let it go. At first I thought about preparing it for Shabbat dinner but I couldn't get out of work with enough time to prepare it.

So in the end we decided that the Rib Roast would make for an excellent Erev Yom Kippur meal. It appealed to the idea of starting the fast with one last hurrah - a fabulous piece of meat. I woke up early on Sunday to get over to Ventura Kosher Meat ( which I think is the best Kosher Butcher in LA by far) to ensure I got what I wanted. I picked up a nice roast and headed home confident that all was well. I knew I was missing one critical tool but I figured it would be easy to pick. Alton Brown had used an electronic probe thermometer to cook his roast on the DVD, and I figured it would be easy to find one at any major store. Being the net geek that I am I looked online first to see where I could pick one up, but couldn't find a store that carried one. This was a mistake, cause if I had simply called the store I was planning to go to in the first place they could have told me they had exactly what I was looking for.

The unfortunate result was several minutes of me yelling at my mothers oven because the probe thermometer it came with didn't work the way I wanted it to. The poor dog was literally shaking in fear because of my temper tantrum. Eventually the probe spontaneously started working and I was able to cook the roast essentially the way I wanted to. I had to cook at a higher temperature because I was up against a deadline, but I was still happy with the results. This time was a good learning experience and I 'm confident that next time will run smoothly with the exact results I want. Of course, a Standing Rib Roast isn't exactly cheap so I'd better think of a good reason to cook it again.

The odd thing was I ended up thinking about the roast during various parts of Yom Kippur services, but not out of hunger. I was sitting in Shul thinking about the ways I could perfect the cooking process of the roast. I really need to learn how to channel all this food thinking in a more effective way.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What the hell is Technorati?

So I don't even know what Technorati is but I keep seeing it on other people's blogs and they all have that little icon on the bottom of there posts, and I like pretty little things so I figure I'll give it a shot.

Technorati Profile

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ah yes, my darling husband is crazy about cooking. If you don't like cooking and recipes you'll have to skip over some future blogs I'm sure. However if you do, you are in for a real treat - heavenly food! Anyway, for those of you who have read the previous blogs, I just have to put my two cents in. It is not just Jonah who wants to go to graduate school, but he IS the one who specifically picked Israel. All I'll say about that is that many people live happy, fulfilled lives in Israel, and people immigrate to Israel every year......so sit with that for a moment next time you immediately jump to the "it's a dangerous, dark, and depressing place" mentality.

Okay, moving on......... so although we have not gone on our honeymoon, made our move to Israel, and settled in our first home together, married life is beautiful! I feel like I'm in a perpetual state of happiness, and I keep looking down at my finger at my ring to confirm that I am in fact a wife now. Daily life isn't that different, other than the fact that I don't have my two jobs since we are leaving soon and I am a teacher, but yet knowing that you are about to go on adventures and do it with the person you love is wonderful. Well, Jonah is back from work so blog soon.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Belated - Shana Tova!

What is the proper way to say Happy New Year really? It seems there are so many variations. Well here are some options so pick one and run with it.

Happy New Year

Shana Tova

Shana Tova u'Metukah

Have a happy and sweet New Year

Have a happy and healthy New Year

Have a happy, healthy and sweet New Year

Happy Rosh Hashana

Happy Apples and Honey Day (actually forget I said that)

Jonah's Beef Shishlik

Equipment: First and foremost the key to good Shishlik or Shis Kabob is long flat skewers. Get yourself some skewers that look like swords. I found some for a few bucks at the kosher market in Santa Monica, or you can just buy their premade marinated kabobs and technically you'll get the skewers for free.

Meat: I've been using London Broil lately. It's affordable and seems aptly suited to this type of cooking. Marinating is a necessity but in this case that's a good thing. I also just usually ask the butcher to cut up the meat in pieces for the kabobs, at a nice kosher butcher this isn't a problem.

Marinade: Start with about 40% Soy Sauce and 60% percent water as a base. I'm not going to post exact amounts cause it depends on how much meat your cooking. Then add a few tablespoons each of lemon juice, honey, and olive oil. It might be a good idea to user a lighter oil like canola even though I've been using olive oil. Then toss in some pressed fresh garlic. Marinate for at least one hour but overnight would be good.

Rub: I make a spice mixture of paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and fresh ground pepper in the following proportions
3, 1, 1, .5, 2,

Preparation: Feel free to load up the skewers with a lot of meat. Press the meat tightly together, this will actually help ensure the meat doesn't overcook. Sprinkle the rub all over and take your kabobs and rub them against each-other to evenly distribute the spices. Throw them on the grill and cook. Flipping them is a million times easier compared to regular thin metal or wooden skewers. Keep in mind that the individual pieces are going to press against each-other and almost fuse together. Think of the Kabob as a long narrow roast. It's gonna take some cookin to get these suckers done all the way through. So stick around for frequent flippin so nothing burns. Take of the grill when done and rest for five minutes. Push all the meat of the skewer by holding the meat with a fork and pulling out the skewer, this is best done on a bed of couscous leaving the meat in a row ready to serve.

Friday, September 22, 2006

You're Moving Where???

"So why are you moving to Israel?"

That's the question Tafat and I keep hearing from just about everyone we know. The answer is simple of course - " because I want to go to grad school there."

But it's inherently a more a complicated question than it seems, and my answer is blatantly more simple than anyone wants. What people people mean when they ask the question is " why would ANYONE want to move to Israel?" You can see it in their eyes "it's dangerous there, it's controversial, it's a bad place." They say everything without saying anything at all.

What are we supposed to say. Should we tell them that the country is so much more than they think. Should I say "I'm a Jew and it's important for me to be there." Or should I talk about the beautiful cities and landscapes, or the vibrant lifestyle. Shouldn't it be enough to say that Tafat is Israeli and we both want to understand better the place that she grew up.

I could say all those things, and they would be true, but not quite right. The answer is actually rather unremarkable. The truth is, the place just seems a bit more interesting than here. And for us, that's enough.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I found two interesting articles about the 2nd Lebanon War in the Washington Post. Read them here and here. William M. Arkin, the author, provides something rare for an analysis of the Middle-east — dispassionate and objective observations. Anyone with a vested interest in the conflict will find something to disagree with, but for people with minimal knowledge or those with an open mind Arkin provides several keen observations.

What struck me about the bombing, in both countries, was that you could see the destruction and completely misread what it meant. In Beirut, the destruction in reality is efficient and impressive. The destruction in Israel, on the other hand, is random and scattered. When Hezbollah rockets were fired on Israel, landing meant success.

So here is the truth: Israel did not do anything close to what it was capable of doing. Hezbollah did all it could.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple has invaded the livingroom!

And I say "prepare to suck a fat one Bill Gates!!!! Bwahahah!" No but really. I think this new iTV box is the beginning of a completely new way of enjoying media and entertainment. This is like a centralized version of Tivo and on demand cable all wrapped-up into one new package. Oh I feel shiny and new, like a brand new dime. Additionally Apple introduced updated iPods as well as a brand new Shuffle enclosure. iTunes also got an upgrade which I'm downloading right now. No new Video iPod but there is still plenty of time before the holidays so don't count-it-out yet. Anyway I'll let you know what I think of the new iTunes soon.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hezbollah is full of s@#$.

Ha'aretz is reporting the Hezbollah leadership's new claim of their weapons stockpile following the war with Israel. Surprisingly, rather than revealing a substantial decrease in their purported cache of weapons, or even a modest decrease in-line with the number of weapons fired at Israel, Hezbollah is now claiming up to 80,000 rockets.

Hezbollah could have tens of thousands of rockets still left in its arsenal, the group's deputy leader Naim Qassam said in an interview published Sunday in a London-based Arabic-language newspaper.

Qassam said that the reconstruction of Hezbollah's military wing was not a top priority as the group still had a plentiful supply of weapons.

"We had the option to confront Israel for many months," he said. "The 8,000 missiles that we fired at Israel could be a quarter or even just 10 percent of the rockets we have."

So let's see 8,000 is ten percent of 80,000. That's odd considering before and during the war the estimate of nearly every analyst was that Hezbollah had between 10,000 and 15,000 rockets. So this new number would represent a sudden 5 fold increase in their arsenal.

Let's also remember that Hezbollah claimed it only lost approximately 80 members during the fighting, while the IDF claimed it killed nearly 600 fighters.

Next thing we know Hezbollah will be claiming that it came away from the fighting with nothing more than a few bumps and bruises, a disappearing scratch on its chin, and a case of irritable bowel syndrome.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

First Photo's from the Wedding

Austin burned a disc with some photos from the wedding. If you have more send them in.


See more ...

The patient is doing well!

Tafat had her surgery today. All went well and Tafat is already feeling much better. Were all being pretty lazy today, lounging around her mothers house. Were both looking forward to Tafat feeling better and getting back to normal activity which should come in the next few days. While this whole thing has been inconvenient, and has weighed us down like a heavy stone, it finally feels like were starting to move past it. I was bugging Tafat to leave a post last night but she didn't quite feel up to it. Hopefully she feel like it soon. I really want this blog to represent both us and I'm eagerly anticipating reading what she has to write. I know that she has a lot to say and has more practice keeping a journal because of her writing class. Hopefully things well be up and running here soon!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh by the way were married!

More to come soon!!!!!

Your guess is as good as mine!

Apple is holding a special media event on September 12th. The rumor sites are predicting everything from new iMacs to a movie download service, new iPods even the often mentioned iPod phone or iPhone. Of course there is always the possibility that Steve Jobs has something completely unexpected up his sleeve. That would be incredibly entertaining. I don't have any idea what's coming nor do I care. All I know is that I'm excited to find out what it is. I would also be very surprised if this was the only special event planned before the holidays shopping season.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My Opinion of Australia Just Went Down

Hat tip to LGF

Editorial: Red Cross rocket snares Downer

Interesting that in this article the editorial board at the Australian doesn't make a serious effort to contradict the claims that Zombie put forward in his report. They only try to smear his credibility by throwing out the label "right-wing". I personally think every source should be equally scrutinized whether from the left or the right. But I have to admit that Zombie's report feels like a homerun.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My Opinion of Australia Just Went Up

The Australian Foreign Minister has figured out what the Media is choosing to ignore. As reported on Backspin, the ausie Minister is calling-out the media for their unquestioned regurgitation of the Lebanese Ambulance Hoax.

He accused "some of the world's most prestigious media outlets" of falling for a hoax in their reporting of an alleged aerial attack on a Lebanese Red Cross ambulance by Israel.

"After closer study of the images of the damage to the ambulance, it is beyond serious dispute that this episode has all the makings of a hoax," Mr Downer said

I don't know when this story is finally going to get the coverage it deserves, but I doubt it will be any time soon. Many news organizations reported the hoax with vigor and enthusiasm and seemed all too happy to drag Israel through the mud. The ITV news report is the best example of this. It's unlikely these same news outlets will man-up and admit they were suckered into reporting the cheapest propaganda.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Official Balfour St. Mascot


Alright everybody welcome to this blog! I'm not sure what is going to become of this experiment, or whether or not I'm really going to commit to this. But hey, I figure its worth a shot. So Tafat and I are getting married in nine days. After that were off to Minnesota for a while so Tafat can a have a quick surgery, and than our Honeymoon, and than we move to Israel (for a while). Expect political rants, info on various sites in Israel, and other assorted rantings and musings. Like all good things this blog was started at one in the mornin'. So please forgive the brevity of this first post cause I promise much more later. But hey after all, who the hell is really gonna read my very first post so what difference does it make.