Nothing like Chabad gan to start the year off righteous.

Like anything religious ever at all, the Chabad gan in Tzur Hadassah comes with its share of politics. Residents are wary over a charedi takeover. Some of the dati-leumi are at odds with the representatives.

But me? I just love their gan. They run a tinokiya (baby daycare), peuton (toddler daycare) and gan chova (kindergarten). The two younger groups are together in the same building this year (a residential house in the new yishuv), and the latter has a facility in the old yishuv.

The ganenets are great, and the truth is, I’m a pretty laid-back parent. So we all mesh together very nicely, and agree where it counts for the most part.

The thing that really gets me spreading the word, though, is the extra mile they go. And, sure, they have Chabad cash to back them up (which probably helps keep the tuition low). But whatever. It’s the extra effort and finishing touches…

I mean, printed magnets with our kid’s angelic smiling face on them? Honey jar with a little apple glued to the top… And I’ll never turn down a shana tova chocolate bar.

Here’s to a sweet, healthy year, bound with security on all sides and, with whatever’s left, as much comfort as affordable.

Koala’s big boy party time!

On the last day of the year, here we are this morning, celebrating…

  • Koala’s first full night with no motzetz! We had a minute or two of pitiful withdrawal face, and another 3 seconds of desperate thumb-sucking, but then he turned over and went to sleep. For the night!
  • Toilet training has hit a new level (as in, we’re actually doing it). Koala’s been interested for a long time, since before he was two, and then he got more serious about it in the summer, but we waited until after the baby, the trip, and gan starting. So… here we are. With poo in the toilet yesterday.
  • New project: overcoming Koala’s creeped-outness regarding stuffed animals. He’s taken more notice of things that scare him lately; toys, pictures, shadows. I loved stuffed animals as a kid, and think it would be a disservice not to share the love on…

So, Koala’s special yomhuledet-animals party was this morning, complete with Kinder egg surprise. And a drink for all the new friends.  


The very best friends are the ones who won’t stop until you come to hang out with them in Tel Aviv and then when you’re finally there, a car ride, train ride, and bus ride later, present you with the very best stuffing-my-face-now-nom-nom-nom

Red Velvet. For months, I’ve been hearing about it and salivating over the pics on their Facebook page. And they’re total cuties, updating it often with new flavors, new goods, and new deals.

The kind of lil bakery you see in movies. But in… Israel!

Americans and anglos of all denominations, you won’t be disappoint.

They are that good. Like, go to there. Go to Tel Aviv. Ibn Givrol 9. Right. Now.

(Sweet new year!)

Aaaand, I’m officially *that* person.

I’m cutting up veggies for a salad. Huz picks up a bunch of lame lettuce leaves I’ve put to the side and throws them in the bin.

What are you doing?! I was going to put that in the compost bin I’m making!”

He looks at me with wtf?! face.

“Oh, I’m making a compost bin. I’m tired of being a horrible human. I’m tired of being lazy and spoiled and selfish and bloated by mediocrity. I’m tired of wasting food. Do you realize some people walked across a desert for two months with kids strapped to their backs in order to come to this country? What the hell are we doing? I’m sick of wasting food. Every time I throw out leftovers, I get sick. It’s enough. We have to give more charity. We have to help other people. We have to do whatever we can, even if it makes no difference globally, just so we can at least appreciate the situation we’re in, and also be prepared for one day when we don’t have anything to eat. I really think  one day we will not have enough to eat, and then we’ll think back to the good days and think, ‘what the fuck were we thinking?’ You don’t think that’s what the people in the Holocaust did? Think back to the good times? When they had food? Just leave the lettuce there. I’ll get a bucket to put it in.”

It’s a Darma and Greg moment, one of many in the last six years, as he replies, “I… I just wanted some lunch.”


The time has come to return to Israel.

They’re talking to you, Israelis.

The Israeli government has been enticing Israeli ex-pats back for a  while now. But it seems they’ve added emotionally heart-tugging videos to their Jewish guilt arsenal.

The Returning Home Project – not just for born-diaspora Jews anymore. The campaign seems aimed at getting friends and family still in Israel to help the ex-pats come on home.

And, by the way,  if you’ve been gone long enough, there are certain benefits you can actually earn by ‘making aliyah’ again. Check out the site for details.

You know you’re a successful immigrant parent in Israel when…

Are you an Israeli who grew up on the classics in Hebrew kids’ books? Did Ora Eyal draw your story time and color your imagination?

Alternatively, are you an immigrant parent in Israel, reading your bilingual kid the classics?

Loved this Eretz Nehederet clip from last season, where they reunite the now f-d up adult versions of the characters from מעשה בחמישה בלוניםתירס חם, בית של יעל and others. My favorite is אופיר.

Time flies when you’re pulling yourself across tiles.

One day, you’re nursing your brand-newborn in your bed at home.

The next, (or 5.5 months later) you turn around for under a minute only to turn back and realize your baby is not where you left her, but rather pulling herself at a steady pace across the floor, reaching into the bottom shelf, pulling out a basket of toy cars, and sucking on one.

In the blink of a childhood.

1 in 4 Israeli elderly live below the poverty line (Shana Tova)

Quick shout-out to Ezrat Avot, in honor of the quickly-approaching Rosh Hashana, Jewish New Year…

Back in my old job, around the major holidays, we’d band together and as an office, collectively donate around 20,000 NIS to Jerusalem-based Ezrat Avot.

Even though we are no longer giving together, I do hope many of us continue the tradition. As a (currently) young person, I can’t help but feel the responsibility to ensure that our elders are taken care of in every way, especially hunger. One in four of Israel’s elderly live below the poverty line… 18.3% of Israel’s elderly are abused, mostly by family members and caregivers…

They took care of our parents and ourselves when we were helpless; how can we not do the same for them,with respect and dignity?

A lil more about the organization:

Ezrat Avot’s mission is to provide the services, resources and education necessary to enable Israel’s elderly to age in the comfort and dignity of their own homes and communities.

Read more about the Ezrat Avot backstory, and here’s where you can donate to aid the elderly across Israel  this holiday.

Start the year off righteous…