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

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

 

Do Israeli kids ever learn the fire safety lesson?

The answer, sadly, is no.

There is an unhealthy Israeli-Jewish obsession with fire in the springtime. It starts today – with Biyur Chametz, the burning of chametz, which is done on erev Pessach. Soon will be Yom Haatzmaut – the national barbecue bonanza, and after that, Lag B’omer, which pretty much celebrates bonfires the way it’s done here.

Coming from a country with real fires that kill real people – and being married to an Australian – I can’t express fully how angering it is to see the carelessness with which Israelis treat the issue. Houses may be built of stone here, but the beautiful trees and plants we sing about and name our children for are not fire-proof.

For instance – when my husband went out today to burn our chametz (tiny morsels wrapped in newspaper, in an open space), he spotted a father and son duo who, along with their bread, chucked in the plastic bag they brought it in. The father went so far as to turn to my husband and offer a sound piece of advice: “Hey, why don’t you just throw your plastic bag in there?”

A few minutes later, after he regaled us with that tale, we looked out the window and saw a fire in the forest across the street from us in Tzur Hadassah. Soon after the smoke was spotted coming up from the trees, four kids between the ages of 10 and 12 ran down the hill from the forest, with shit-scared looks on their faces. After calling the firefighters, my huz yelled out to them – “Did you start that? What were you doing up there? Learn from this!”

They ran away, of course. I’m kicking myself I didn’t take a photo of them because I swear  I would have have printed it out and hung signs around the neighborhood calling out for their parents, teachers and friends to be responsible and discipline them properly. I don’t give a shit how old they were. The younger they are, the worse it is. They need to be taught, because clearly someone didn’t pick up that responsibility early on. In the States, we learned about fire safety since we could comprehend English.

The firefighters and police came in a timely fashion, which was a pleasant surprise. But it was too late; descriptions of the kids given to them could describe any of the punk kids running around Tzur Hadassah.

I just hope some spark of personal responsibility or shame made those kids spill to their parents, and that their parents are not the types to coddle them into feeling better because they’re ‘just kids.’

It’s a horrible shame and an embarrassment to me that personal responsibility tends to be lacking around me here in Israel.

 

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.

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.

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.