When you end up in the girls’ Purim costume aisle in Bet Shemesh

Mom of the year spent a couple hours today exploring the Purim costume scene in Bet Shemesh.

I never really did that before because -

a. my oldest has wanted to be Mordechai HaYehudi for the last two years and bathrobe + makeup beard + paper crown = score!

b. I never had that much time anyway.

Yes, I learned a lot today.

  1. I learned that Israeli Purim costume options are both endless and extremely limited.
  2. I learned that I am never ever going to pay NIS 170 for a manufactured version of the costume my son wants and I’m going to make it from scratch and that’s that, kids (he’s getting it for around NIS 55 AND he gets to keep comfy shirt and sweats after).
  3. I learned that if that freicha in the aisle next to me were to whine the word ‘zombie’ one more time I was going to kick her in the shins. Even her son looked like he would take a bite out of her.

Most of all, I learned that not every Israeli Purim costume for little girls is sexy. In fact, in Bet Shemesh, they can go a totally different route…

1. The Matriarch

Quick, who’s your favorite matriarch? Is it Rachel? I bet it’s Rachel.

Rachel Imeinu Purim costume

Get your elaborate Rachel costume for only NIS 99.99, complete with camel imagery, as appropriate! Torah inside jokes!

2. The Other One

Yeah, I hear ya. Everyone and their mother is gonna be Rachel this year. So how about…

Rivka Purim Costume

Aw, you thought I’d say Leah? Nah, not Leah. Though the makeup could have been fun.

3. The Oddly Specific

Moving away from biblical female Purim costumes based on puffy gowns I’m pretty sure didn’t exist back then… and moving towards puffy gowns that exist for the sake of existing, and then some.

SpongeBob Princess

Hebrew-challenged? Disturbingly weird fifteen-year-old Nickelodeon cartoon challenged? That costume is: SpongeBob. Princess.

I officially can’t.

4. The Classic

And, if none of these options fit your daughter’s wild underage girlish fantasy, you can always go with – but of course – literally, ‘naughty kitten’… in a toddler size.

Naughty kitten Purim costume for girls

And don’t get me started on the sexy Hello Kitty costume line for grown women.

Snow in Tzur Hadassah: Who said this isn’t Switzerland? [PHOTOS]

There’s this inside joke here… sometime a couple years ago they started hanging hopeful signs around garbage points in Tzur Hadassah: If no one made it dirty, this could be like Switzerland. 

After four days of heavy snow, warm clothes, sledding, and beautiful views… Well, I’d have to say we came pretty freakin close for the Middle East.

[More photos from day 1-3 here]

The view from my ‘front yard’ – only last week it was cleared of the forest to make way for new construction (sigh). So it allowed a whole new snow-filled view:

Soon I found the Yetti…

A long long time ago… in another life… I got a free giant boogie board at a tech conference (?!). Never touched it… until now.

The whole view… The hills are Gush Etzion, facing Neve Daniel area. The buildings are Beitar Illit. The snow is ours. (Click to enlarge)

The supermarket was rightfully bare this morning. And then the Tnuva truck pulled up. Never was so excited to see a Tnuva truck…

Later we went out and surveyed some local damage – seems every other tree took a toll. Our garbage collection area collapsed. And… so did our building, actually.

Another new view… sun setting and moon rising over the outlook towards Beitar Illit. (Click to enlarge)

Climbed up the nature walk to check out, in Koala’s words, the ‘sun rainbow.’

 Hang in there, Tzur Hadassah, European snow resort town. (Click to enlarge)


Day 5, morning: Nope, it’s not all a dream.


Wishing the snowman farewell…

More photos!


Tzur Hadassah under snow part 2: OMG ISRAEL SNOWPOCALYPSE 2013 edition

TWO memorable snowstorms in one year? Welcome to the Jerusalem Hills!

It started on Thursday morning at around 7am… All eyes on Neve Daniel… When news arrives from Gush Etzion that snow has arrived, we know it’s only a matter of time.

So no gan Thursday and it was quickly canceled in advance for Friday. Real snow days, just like in my North American childhood. Even if it’s about 1-2 feet less.

Snow… freezing… blackout… no heating… more snow… N-n-new York, is that you?

Went for walk Thursday night… Relived the upstate New York university snow days.

Friday at around 1:30am the blackout hit… Bebe came into my room at 3am to tell me her room was scary. I told her to go back to bed and then after a few tries walked her back to bed to discover the lights were out. Then I felt really bad. “I’m so sorry! Your room is really scary!”

The blackout lasted 12 hours, so no heating until around 2pm on Friday. No matter, we were outside anyway…

Then the kids fell off the boogie board sled and we laughed and laughed.

The only issue was the fridge. So we relocated the milk.

And then relocated some more. Tasty, tasty windowsill kitchen.

And then relocated the freezer, too. Can you spot the meat NOT defrosting?

By last night, it was snowing hard again. They had predicted an even worse storm over Shabbat – and we woke up to double snow or more. Throughout the day it continued, on and off. We ventured out to a beautiful snow country view… white skies, white ground, the occasional white 4×4 showing off…

I’m going to relive today’s memory of trudging through crunchy snow with my kid, giant snowflakes falling in our faces, knowing that I need not be concerned my 50% North American kids wouldn’t know winter…

After Shabbat, here’s what was left – plus plenty of potential black ice:

It’s Saturday night, end of snow day #3. No gan tomorrow, either. We’re going to eat cupcakes, sit on the snowy porch, and enjoy the snow-filled Tzur Hadassah view.

Apparently this is the worst storm on record in Israel, and possibly the worst in modern Israeli history. We were lucky with a relatively warm home, plenty of food, and a fun spirit about it all. We’ve had four fatalities over the last couple days. 13,000 homes in Jerusalem went without power over Shabbat, and other towns in our area went without electricity since Thursday night. Roads into our area and Jerusalem were blocked; cars were stranded at Jerusalem’s entrance. Hard rain, freezing cold and hail took over the center and there was more snow up north. Gaza experienced major flooding. Syrian refugees were hit with more struggle. Egypt saw its first snow in 112 years. King Abdullah of Jordan played in the snow.

One last thing – trying not to lose my faith in basic high school science education here. The huz was out starting the cars to save the battery and spotted a neighbor hosing down the road. With water. He told the neighbor to stop – he’s just making ice. He replied, “There’s already ice, I’m loosening it.” A million facepalms descended from the heavens. I’m going to start teaching chemistry to Israeli 5-year-olds.

I’m pretty sure if John Kerry wants to be useful in the Middle East, the former Massachusetts senator would teach us all how to handle true wintery weather.

It ain’t over till the black ice melts.

XTREME WEATHER Middle East edition! Read more about it.

Life in Israel: boys will be boys in flower crowns

Israeli kindergartens love crowns.

This is the first year I’ve been personally exposed to the Israeli flower garland thing. In Hebrew, זר. Kids in gan and early elementary school wear these pixie crowns for birthdays, celebrations, ceremonies.

Naturally, the Shavuot chagiga in gan is one of them, and between his gan birthday and this, Koala’s now been fully introduced to the tradition.

And then this…

Little boys wearing flower crowns shooting at each other with pretend guns.

Isn’t that just… a little boy’s life?

Israeli “Who’s on First”

“יש לי חנות.”
“מה יש בחנות?”
“פיצה וקוסקוס. מה את רוצה?”
“אין לי.”
“אבל אמרת שיש פיצה?? אוקי אז קוסקוס.”
“אין לי.”
“אז מה יש??”
“אז אני רוצה כלום.”
“אין לי!”
“אבל אמרת שיש כלום!”

Little does he realize this is EXACTLY how it happens here. #sabrakids

Loose translation:

“I have a store.”

“What do you sell?”

“Pizza and couscous. What do you want?”


“I don’t have.”

“But you said you have pizza? Ok, couscous.”

“I don’t have.”

“So what do you have?”


“So I want nothing.”

“I don’t have!”

“You said you have nothing!”

Go gaga for mongal. Or…

Recently I came across this ‘infographic’. I don’t know the source or whether the stats are correct, but it still resonates because we all know what the sky looks like by the time Yom Haatzmaut is over:

1636 פרות, 1884 כבשים, 548 חזירים, 685,000 תרנגולות... ביום אחד. יום העצמעות שמח.

1636 cows. 1884 sheep. 548 pigs. 685,000 chickens… in one day. Happy Independence Day.

The animals. The air. The smell of our hair. Nothing is left untouched when we get excited about something as a nation.

Are there alternatives to a gluttonous meatfest when celebrating the most important event in modern Jewish history?

How about…

  1. An early hike, before the smoke settles
  2. A day at the beach – it’s not as crowded as you’d think, and no bbq-ing allowed
  3. A block party – a group in Efrat puts one on every year – what better way to celebrate community?

I know it’s ‘what’s done’ and I know we as a country love to barbecue in general. But surely we could diversify a little bit.

Maybe an even healthier by-product would be less audible duf duf music.

Because this is Israel and my neighbor is President Obama’s tow truck service

Like I said…

The truck that towed visiting President Obama’s limo today – the one accidentally filled with the wrong fuel and then broke down – happens to be the tow truck that calls its home my street, where my kid and his friends stand totally in awe of an enormous truck right before their eyes.

Way to go Motti!

We thought we saw it all, Bnei Brak. Then you do this.

Kashrut enthusiasts! Kosher-keeping container collectors, gather round!

You’ve seen the blue Dairy stickers…

You’ve used the red Meat stickers…

You’ve stuck on green Pareve stickers…

You’ve dusted off the purple Passover stickers…

And now, for a limited time only, you have the stunning option of adorning your most chametzidik dishware with the one, the only…

…’Sold to a Goy’ stickers!


h/t Aaron