Fifty-Two Frames: Desolate.

Twas the week before Passover, and all was too busy,

…so I ended up forgetting to post that week’s Fifty-Frames photo.

The theme embraced the calm before the storm, the serious quiet of Israeli streets – and supermarkets – before the big holiday family-size lock down.

Week 14: Desolate.

The calm before the chag.

The fish, the shark and Passover.

When Gilad Shalit was 11, he wrote a short story called “When the Shark and the Fish First Met.” Though it seems this was originally published and spread around in 2008, I only came across it now via Facebook shares.

It resonates with me because I did a lot of short story writing when I was a kid… from the time I could draw doodles, to when I could write my alphabet, and then string sentences together, and then to the time I could consider word choice and sophisticate the effort.

His story is a good thought to keep in mind as we go into Pesach (Passover) this year, over five years since Gilad Shalit’s capture by Hamas. The story breaks my heart because it contains the same simple message in such a complex scenario, which so many of us familiar with conflict wrote, drew and dreamed as kids.

And here we are as adults, and the stories haven’t come true. Not many know that better than Gilad Shalit, than the Fogel survivors from Itamar.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth to them.

So, amidst the pain and violence of the Passover story, let’s keep in mind all the story dreams our children will have. Maybe, next year, they’ll come true.

When the Shark and the Fish First Met

(by 11-year-old Gilad Shalit)

A small and gentle fish was swimming in the middle of a peaceful ocean.  All of a sudden, the fish saw a shark that wanted to devour him.
He then began to swim very quickly, but so did the shark.

Suddenly the fish stopped and called to the shark:
“Why do you want to devour me? We can play together!”

The shark thought and thought and said:
“Okay- fine: Let’s play hide and seek.”

The shark and fish played all day long, until the sun went down.
In the evening, the shark returned to his home.

His mother asked:
“How was your day, my dear shark?  How many animals did you devour today?”

The shark answered:  “Today I didn’t devour any animals, but I played with an animal called FISH”.

“That fish is an animal we eat.  Don’t play with it!” said the shark’s mother.

At the home of the fish, the same thing happened.  “How are you, little fish?  How was it today in the sea?” asked the fish’s mother.

The fish answered: “Today I played with an animal called SHARK.”

“That shark is the animal that devoured your father and your brother. Don’t play with that animal,” answered the mother.

The next day in the middle of the ocean, neither the shark nor the fish were there.

They didn’t meet for many days, weeks and even months.

Then, one day they met.  Each one immediately ran back to his mother and once again they didn’t meet for days, weeks and months.

After a whole year passed, the shark went out for a nice swim and so did the fish. For a third time, they met and then the shark said: “You are my enemy, but maybe we can make peace?”
The little fish said:  “Okay.”

They played secretly for days, weeks and months, until one day the shark and fish went to the fish’s mother and spoke together with her. Then they did the same thing with the shark’s mother; and from that same day the sharks and the fish live in peace.

THE END

 

American taste since…

Ah, the good old days. Pesach celebrated with the family back in America. My grandmother’s Sephardi dishes, my brothers’ haggadah-reading entertainment. 

And of course, who could hold an American Pesach seder with the family without this gem of an experience: 

Kedem grape juice! I know plenty of American olim who claim that it’s better than any of the all-natural stuff they have here. Though I think not. 

Interested in reliving this American tradition? I found these bottles at a supermarket in – you guessed it – Efrat.

Ma nishtana ha Pessach ha ze?

What makes this Passover different from all other Passovers? It’s the first one where I’m making my own seder while combining the traditions I grew up experiencing with someone else and his own traditions.

I feel like this is the type of thing we all think about and wonder as kids (ok maybe just those of us who grew up with the Orthodox upbringing): when we get married, what traditions will our husbands have? Will we stand united, stay separate but equal or be dissolved into one another?

My husband and I have a fun mix of Ashekenazi and Spehardi between us; it’s cause for all kinds of different foods and we like to be multicultural about it. Now that it’s Pessach, we’re learning new customs, foods and Ma Nishtana languages from each other.

For example, one of the staples of the seder is the haroset; the ugly but yummy dip we use to remember the bricks our forefathers built in Egypt. Ashkenazi haroset is usually constructed from apples, walnuts, sugar, honey, cinnamon, sweet red wine. Sephardi charoset is more focused on dates, raisins, apples, and some kind of nut. That is why we will have two different charosets at our seder table this year.

haroset

Can you guess which is which?

I have never been a fan of Ashkenazi charoset. It’s kind of awkward to me and looks like chopped liver, another Ashkenazi food I try to avoid. In my house growing up, we all fought over the amazing, sweet pasty charoset my Sephardi grandmother prepared for us. Every year the amount she made grew, and every year, it seemed more like there was not enough.

Well, I replicated it this year and I can proudly say that my Polish husband fell in love with it instantly… although, to be fair, he has decided to have his mum’s version at the seder because it wouldn’t be the same for him without it.

Pessach is definitely my favorite food holiday and it’s probably in the number one spot for all-time favorite holiday. I feel honored to be cooking the dishes my grandmother spent years serving us, carrying on traditions… and even picking up new ones.

A little thing about home(land) cooking.

There is something so completely special – when you can look past the depressing, lonely, sad aspects – about being an olah in Israel, cooking your family’s traditional Passover recipes for your own seder with fellow olim…

My grandmother is far far away, but here I am, across the world, continuing her delicious traditions and recreating her dishes in my very own Israeli kitchen. Like so much of the population before and around me, I am an immigrant here, bringing my own brand of Judaism and Jewish food to this true melting pot of a country.

The Computer Engineer's Haggadah.

Had to share this email I got at work today. Bear with me, I work in the hi tech realm; therefore, I thought this was funny:

The Computer Engineer’s Haggadah

Release ISRAEL

ISRAEL running in slave mode, cannot release

Set ISRAEL;mode=master

Pharaoh already running in master mode, cannot change ISRAEL

Set Pharaoh;mode=slave

Command ignored

Load Moshe

Done

Deactivate Pharaoh

Pharaoh account hard locked;cannot be deactivated

For i=1 to 10 do plagues

Are you sure? Y

Done

Release ISRAEL

error: ISRAEL uninitialized

Set ISRAEL = 600,000

Done

Release ISRAEL

ISRAEL released

Declare Matza;array(width=20,length=20,height=0)

Done

Move ISRAEL to Sinai

OPERATOR WARNING! SYSTEM ABOUT TO CRASH! PHARAOH AND RED SEA

HAVE LIMITED YOUR MEMORY SPACE! SAVE YOUR WORK!

Save ISRAEL

Specify save device

Save ISRAEL with miracle

Done

Move ISRAEL to Sinai

Done

For I=1 to 10 do commandments

Allocation conflict: Commandments cannot be operated with active golden

calf routine. COMMANDMENTS CRASHED!

Destroy calf

Done

For I=1 to 10 do commandments

Done; commandments stored on hard rock device

Move ISRAEL to desert

Warning! Command could lead to infinite loop

Move ISRAEL to desert;limit=40 years

Done

Build Mishkan

Syntax error

Build Mishkan;owner=Betzalel

Done

Move ISRAEL to ISRAEL

Warning: operand terms must be unique

Move ISRAEL to CANAAN

Overload: cannot move all of ISRAEL to CANAAN

set ISRAEL = ISRAEL – (SPIES * 10)

Done

Move ISRAEL to CANAAN

Done

A Passover bonus for everyone.

This is sweet. My company gave us our usual Passover bonuses in the form of gifts bought via Sderot, so that Sderot vendors make some money off of the deal as opposed to vendors elsewhere.

Since the population of Sderot has been suffering for years now, and business has suffered along with it, there has been a movement to purchase groceries, gifts, shoes, etc. within the city. A lot of people are doing this all over Israel, though it seems to be an especially Anglo thing.

I’m happy my company had the mind to share our Passover bonuses this way. Warm, fuzzy, Israeli, Jewish, happy.