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

Just a typical day.

This is the kind of thing you’d expect in Israel I suppose, but with my in-laws, who knows what might pop up down under…

Today while visiting my brother-in-law’s farm (yes, farm), my nephew started towards one of the roosters and was attacked. My father-in-law ran over, grabbed my nephew, and kicked – booted – the rooster across the pen. The flightless bird flew like a football.

Then it was decided that the rooster had to go; it was the third time it had attacked someone and apparently, when a rooster gets too aggressive, you tell the kiddies it’s going to Hashem and say good night.

So it was to be shechted.

We brought the rooster home, in the back of the van. A few hours later, the shochet arrived. The last time I saw an animal get shechted was on a grade school trip (yes, there was a last time!).

I think watching rituals in Judaism is really important. Practicing is understanding. Talmud class was stimulating for about 5 minutes, but putting a sukkah up or, well, watching a rooster be shechted, makes it a whole lot more meaningful.

So, no, I wasn’t grossed out.

But in the end, the rooster wasn’t kosher because the chicken swallowed air and the shochet missed the sweet spot.

In the words of my father-in-law: “Well, I’m not trusting this guy with the ducks.”

פיצונקה would like your attention.

Since moving to this area, we’ve watched local restaurants come and go. They usually aren’t kosher or attention-grabbing enough to get us interested. And the latter is probably mostly why they don’t survive.

To service (and survive) the Matte Yehuda area, I suppose you have to be pretty damn good, considering you’re competing with an evening out in Jerusalem – the big city with lots of choices – as opposed to a little local eatery with nothing else around it.

There are a few that thrive though, or evolve enough to thrive. I’m hoping the following is one of them.

In the last month or so, we’ve seen signs crop up along the country roads and yishuv entrances advertising פיצונקה (Pichonka), a kosher meat restaurant in nearby Nes Harim prepared to serve pareve brunches on Fridays,  parties of 300, deliveries in the immediate area, and a complete and robust menu. They are even daring enough to lure Jerusalemites outside their paradigms.

Intrigued, we decided to check it out last night; surely it takes beitzim to open a higher-end restaurant in this economic climate in the backwoods of Jerusalem.

The place was already on the way to getting an A+ before we walked in. Location is great for us country folk and close/far away enough to make it intriguing for Gushniks, Beit Shemeshites and Jerusalemites. The venue is nice on the outside, and very classy on the inside. Spacious with two outdoor areas. And you don’t have to worry about parking.

The food was really excellent, but more than that, the menu choices were intriguing and well thought-out. The kind of thing where you choose what you want but you know you’ll be back again to try the other things you didn’t order. I’m not a food critic, so I won’t go into depth, but my husband is qualified and we can say we’d go back there (food-wise) before other places in Jerusalem (especially Emek Refaim). Check out theirrecommendations (more importantly, the photos of the recommendations).

Perhaps the most impressive thing, so rare in Israeli restaurants: a good, appropriate soundtrack. Seriously. The sound system was set up properly, small speakers in different locations instead of blasting a couple huge ones in one corner. The music was light and the level was right. Never underestimate how your venue’s music could turn off your customers.

I’m talking to you, Israeli bar owners.

Prices were decent, or as expected. See them on the menu. In my opinion, it’s worth not eating out for a while so you can save for a real quality meal and pleasurable experience in the hills instead of wondering why you fork out your cash for mediocrity in Jerusalem.

Here’s hoping it actually survives its first year and sticks around a while.

My semi-Mehadrin life.

Checked the mail today. Being in a  new district, outside of Jerusalem, makes for interesting mail. Tzur Hadassah is technically a part of Matte Yehuda (מטה יהודה) but it borders Beitar, which is technically in Gush Etzion, however… yeah.

So in the mail, I usually get telephone books for different districts, catalogs for different shopping centers. Today I got a booklet that is proud to claim it is the מדריך עסקים למהדרין – the guide for Mehadrin business. That’s super-kosher business, folks.

I had a thought and when I flipped through its glossy pages advertisements, my suspicions were proven right: not a single photo or image of a female throughout. Truly Mehadrin.

They say Beitar is expanding into Wadi Fukin, taking over the small Arab town one housing development at a time. You can see Beitarians striding through Tzur Hadassah on power walks. And now we get to partake in their advertising literature…

Well, I suppose it serves us right; Tzur Hadassians are known to use Beitar facilities, too… like Mehadrin Rami Levi, Mehadrin kupot cholim, Mehadrin hardware stores…

Are your medicines kosher for Passover?

Clalit health Israel

Here’s reason #678 for aliyah: The Clalit health clinic, one of the four major health insurance programs in Israel, has a place on their website for determining if the medicines in your cabinet are kosher for passover.

You can check it out here (works better in IE). You can type the name of the medicine in Hebrew or English.

Israel restaurant guide.

Tourist season is pretty much over in Israel… until Chanukah. So it’s a shame I’ve only found out about this now, but you’ll know for next time.

eLuna guideeLuna.com is a website listing and rating restaurants from all over Israel. If you register, you can even get Jewpons, sorry, coupons, honoured at many of the restaurants listed.

Personally, the site comes in handy when I find myself with the task of picking out a good Mehadrin dairy restaurant for my brother-in-law. It conveniently categorizes by kashrut amongst other things like price and location.