6th Post for Vegan Marathon: What I learned about Israeli Jewelry creation, how to find the right worker for a job, what spice to substitute for ketchup for the Beans and Rice recipe using Tamarind concentrate from India, Bazargan—Tangy Tamarind Bulgur Salad, Details of MacroloversJerusalem annual Sukot Kenes Event

There’s a common thread  running through this post.  It’s about saving resources and everyone can help save resources. After you read this post you may not think me strange to take my plastic fork home from a Shabbat kiddush (celebratory meal), to use until it breaks. Maybe I will be the start a trend.

A  business of 40 years duration just  closed on Jaffa Road. The reason was  that the owner had  enough, he said.  He owned a sprawling compound in Ein Kerem, in his famility for generations, and that would be his  final destination. The shop was  called Malka’s Jewelry. I loved going by because you never saw the same earrings on the display wall twice. That was because Malka’s consisted of piece-goods jewelry.

Piece-goods are purchased off of a bolt of fabric. A standard bolt is 25 yards. Once it’s sold there is no more. A real pro can tell how much fabric is left on a bolt.  I call Malka’s “piece-goods” because there was no stock.

What was the source of these distinguished one of a kind pieces? They were “one-of-a-kind” samples of costume jewelry.  Each pair was fastened to a small piece of cardboard in an “unfinished” way.  There’s a Spanish company, Zara, today that works on a similar principle. You’d better buy now because we only do one run of this dress. The ladies buy and buy.

Israel is now called  start-up nation. But it started out as spare parts nation. As a single earring is pieced  together from several manufacturers workshops, so too, spare sheets of extruded tubing found their way  into tractors, and building supplies. The center of Jerusalem was dotted with tiny tin-smith workshops stuck into a corner. You see less and less of these workshops.

I realized that the elaborate construction of Malka’s artsy earrings were the result of a cross-pollination of the refuse of many different jewelry manufacturers. I posed my conclusion to the owner who nodded in agreement.  Maybe the component findings were gotten free from a dumpster outside the factory.

In today’s economy it’s a still good to be frugal, like the owner of Malka’s. It always has been. Some people have it in their personality and some, by way of painful experiences, like losing a job, attempt to be frugal. Then it’s already too late because  it’s very hard to rein in free-range spending habits.

Frugality is a zeitgeist. To start, there are lessons one can learn from experienced shoppers and retailers. Most of this is not new. People behaved frugally for most of pre-history up until recently. Remember studying in Civics how states went to war over natural resources? Have you ever thought that you personally were a storehouse of natural resources?

You took a shower today. Do you dilute the shampoo? It can be stretched quite far. You ate yogurt. It came from a large plastic container. Did you bother to slice open the container and reach in and scrap out an extra serving? Did you apply lipstick today? Do you use your lipstick ‘tl the end and then scoop out the leftover with a lipstick brush?  In my closet are a treasure trove of possible combinations. I  stroll thru a store get a few ideas and come home and tweak a skirt here and there and out comes  an outfit. It helps if you know how to sew. 

A sense of frugality sports itself in many ways. Frugality is self promotion without the frills, For example, notice the cafe owner is on the job in the morning taking the furniture outside and to supervise the arrangement. He could have his help do it but he does it himself. He is promoting the image of himself as efficient and capable. This is after he’s supervised the incoming produce delivery.

 The bottom line, if something breaks or chips, he is going to pay for it. It’s on him.  Now the most insulting thing you can do is to bring your dog onto the street where tables are set out later in the day and let the animal do his business in front door of such a restaurant or cafe. This is Israel not Chelsea NYC or London. By being respectful of the streets you will be helping to correct the image of English speakers as wasteful and spoiled.

You might argue, is it frugal for store owners to clean their restaurant’s  muck from the tiles and spread it on the sidewalk. After all, the cafes place their tables and chairs on the street. Isn’t the street if  an esplanade and people socialize there?

It does make a lot of sense. Restaurant owners hose down the out-door cafe areas everyday. Have you seen the new “automatic brushes” called the “mathew” that scrub down the smoothly tile street? Are there signs posted when everything must be off the streets? Everyone knows that the mathews will rolled out over the sidewalks in a “clean sweep”.

If you own an animal and you are with a person that you wish to impress, pick that animal up and move him to the gutter. Shows that you are frugal with another person’s assets or the assets of all of us, which is water.

Frugality is another word for getting things done in the least expensive way. My daughters still tease me about something that I said to them when they were little. We rarely kept soda as a substitute for water. We were together in a supermarket and we passed the rows of sodas. My older daughter asked,  “Do we have money to buy soda?” I replied, “Yes we have money, but it’s not for that”. That was almost 40 years ago.

Let’s say that you need some work done in your house.  You would like to solder a metal piece, like a broken screen or you want to make a hole in a ceramic tile. Again, you are exerting caution to stick to a budget.  Each time you bring a worker into your house there is a charge for his travel time. If possible bring the item to the worker’s shop. A tinsmith would have a soldering tool, that is much better than the kind used for doing stain glass.

As a long-time home owner, the skill of finding the right person for the job took many years to acquire. Generally my rule of thumb is the following: ask a person with a higher or broader level skill to do a simpler job. Then he will feel comfortable.

For example, you would like to have wheels affixed to the bottom of your luggage. You have the wheels.  Do you bring the job to a luggage repair shop, to a carpenter who is working on a job in your house, or a shoemaker?  All three can do the job. In my opinion the carpenter, because he is on top of that kind of work and handling the drill is a snap. The luggage shop might be the most expensive, considering there’s a worker to be paid and overhead. The shoemaker doesn’t do this everyday, he’ll quote a high price. Handling a drill is just not something that he is comfortable using-if indeed he has one at all.

My window installer Gaby just finished installing window blinds inside the window frames, throughout the apartment. The result was better than I had expected. He had installed 26 windows prior to this and has become a good friend. The windows are double pane glass. What was my plan? I measured to the closest meter the total area that  the blinds would cover.

Estimates for blinds are based on the amount of square meters. I strolled around Talpiot and inquired among several showrooms, what the cost of mini-blinds would be including installation. I’m sure that a conscientious decorator would do the same. Then I saw Gaby’s estimate after he did an exact measurement. We came up with the same square meters. Then he met the same price as I had received at the showrooms. There was no arguing.

When Gaby finished the job, which took him a whole day with a break for lunch, he sat down with my husband. They chatted a while and then he asked for a bracha. It was well-deserved because we appreciate his work and are 100% satisfied.

Gaby had a worker with him who did little else than open  bags of screws. He was not a relative. Then I remembered a conversation that I had with a friend who recently required some house repairs. She related a story about her worker who is a father of many children. He returned home after  miluim, מילואים, (reserve army service usually for one month). Since he is in his 50’s he stays at  camp and supervises and does whatever sergeants do. He also sees which soldiers are good workers and are indeed looking for work. Many young soldiers are between jobs or starting post high-school studies. These young fellows find work with the superiors in the IDF, not necessarily  their own.

The sergeant  finds workers from the pool of unemployed in his moshav  ( community) . But he is still an independent worker. Some day I’ll get the details of Gaby’s connection to his assistant.

My husband explained that it’s like the motor platoon. Remember Sergeant Bilko? He was always fishing out the goof-offs to get his car fixed? So Gaby too maybe found his novice assistant while he was on miluim,מילואים.

Finally, I asked Gaby to do me a favor and punch holes in a tin box that I retrieved from the cheese store. Gaby punched several rows of holes all around and now I have a composter.

Now you ask where does one find a fixer?  Every Yeshiva sets aside a space for a “fixer”, tucked away in the basement, with access to a court-yard.  His main job is at the Yeshiva. He’ll use the space to perform small jobs on the side. Yeshiva boys are always throwing chairs around and breaking them. His soldering gun is perpetually on.

 I found such a workshop in the downstairs of a Belz Yeshiva which has an entrance on Rechove Agrippas.  A sure sign of a janitor’s workshop is a pile-up of broken metal tables and wheels that are used for spare parts. That’s one option.

Another school option, If you are really gutsy,  is  to find workers on a high school project. Stroll by a school in the summer. Those vacation months are the busy time for laborers to lay electrical conduit. That requires drilling through walls. Try to collect a few names and contact info of workers who would be interested in work during the winters. Just today I spotted three workers standing on two ladders. I would n’t interrupt them during a job.

But tomorrow, I plan to come by and ask if they would be willing to bring that long extension ladder to my apartment a few blocks away and wash the outside of my window, that are impossible to reach. Better yet,  would be getting a few folks in my building to also have their windows washed, but there aren’t any customers for that.

If you want to be frugal, try this test. Throw something away and don’t replace it. This is the idea of streamlining. There is also a way to focus our eyes for streamlining. That means you will only buy a pair of socks that can be used with several outfits. Even if it is gorgeous, don’t buy it unless it works with many articles of clothing that you own.  As you increase the investment, the more the new purchase is required to enhance what you already own. A good example are shoes.

They are a big investment, and as such never buy a two outfit pair of shoes.

Every purchase or view on the net makes your impression on the internet, your every movement on the net. What style and color that you look at.

Google over your  shoulder, takes a peek at you

Google over your shoulder, sees what you like too

Bet your bottom dollar you and I are scr____

cause Google’s over our shoulders keeping tabs on you.

Bazargan—Tangy Tamarind Bulgur Salad

1 cup fine bulgur (cracked wheat), soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained
1 small onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons tomato paste (not macrobiotic)
8 tablespoons ou’ (tamarind concentrate), homemade or store-bought
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts (optional)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1. Put the bulgur in a medium mixing bowl. Add the onion, lemon juice, tomato paste, ou’, vegetable oil, Aleppo pepper, cumin, and salt to taste. Combine well. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes, or until the bulgur is al dente, “firm to the bite.”

2. If desired, add the walnuts or pine nuts shortly before serving so that they do not become soggy. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

-From Poopa Dweck’s Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews (Ecco, 2007)

Poopa Dweck, the writer, is a first generation Syrian–Jewish American. She  has devoted much of her life to preserving and celebrating  the Aromas of Aleppo, the title of her widely acclaimed book, where this recipe can be found.
Without the  the recipe would be considered macrobiotic.
Comment: I would eliminate the tomato paste. From members of MacroloversJerusalem: ) …if you are speaking of a healing macro recipe- by the time you take out all of the extreme ingredients….pepper, hot pepper flakes,tomato paste- (not sure of tamarind) i think you could find something more suitable.  So it depends on condition of people eating.  Also bulgur is gluten.

Follows are details of MacroloversJerusalem annual Sukot Kenes event:
In Memory of our dear Leah Lublin, z”l
We would like to invite you to a day of learning, sharing, and most important                שמחה

MONDAY   13 October    9:30 – 4:00   Ma’aleh Adumim

Activities, Cooking Class, Inspiring Lectures, Potluck Macrobiotic Lunch

NIS 40 for the entire day, plus a kosher macrobiotic dish

NIS 70 if you cannot bring a dish

RSVP required   Klara LeVine   klara_levine@yahoo.com
052-342-8058       02-534-5103

Hazel Dobrin   hazel.dobrin@gmail.com
054-582-2347       02-642-2347


Schedule for the Kenes:
9:30 – Registration and welcome – introduction
9:45 – 10:15  Tai Chi/Chi Cong with

Bruce Dublin, a practitioner of Martial Arts for over 30 years and an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist for 20 years. He currently teaches Tai Chi in Mizpe Nevo and practices Chinese Medicine, specializing in pain management and gynecological problems in Maale Adumim.
Chi Gong  literally: “Life Energy Work out” is a practice of balancing body, breath, and mind for health. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance chi or what has been translated as “life energy”.
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art often practiced for health reasons.
It consists of gentle, slow motion, low impact routines that promote
good health and mental calmness, and relieves stress.
Researchers have found that tai chi practice promotes improved
balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and has shown
to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy and elderly patients.
It also is beneficial to those recovering from chronic stroke,
heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia.
In addition, Tai Chi is beneficial to reduce the symptoms of
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in adolescents.
Bruce Dublin D.Ac., C.H.,
Acupuncture * Chinese Herbs * Nutrition  *  Martial arts  * Tai chi
052 802 1436 (Israel)
718 689 1490 (New York)
10:15 – 10:30  D’var Torah   on Simcha
10:30 – 11:30   Batya Yaniger, teacher, therapist and supervisor of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy

“Is Seeing the Cup Half Full Enough to Make You Happy?”



Logotherapy: Find out who you are. Become the person you can be.
Preview by Yahoo
 11:30 – 1:00  Cooking Class with Esther Frumkin
1:00 – 2:00   Potluck Lunch
2:00 – 2:45   “Especially for Leah – our shared humanity- focusing on lullabies from Israel and around the world” by ChanaYaffe Music by Hanna Yaffe


Music by Hanna Yaffe

Hanna Jaffe is a storyteller, singer and teacher of Jewish traditional texts. She is originally from London. She studied in the ultra-orthodox, well-known seminary in Gateshead, UK.
Preview by Yahoo
2:45 – 3:00  Some words from Aaron – with the spirit of Leah
3:00 – 4:00    Panel Discussion – the macrobiotic adventure
After the kenes, we will have 6 private rooms available for various treatments – if you are interested in giving a treatment, write me the details of what you will be offering and how much you will charge – I will write that to all who RSVP – and sign up sheets will be on the doors. The monies for treatments will be the responsibility of the person giving the treatment. No connection to the kenes.
Also, we will have a table if you have anything you’d like to sell, or put your business card.

All profits of the Kenes will be going to a Scholarship Fund for Cooking Classes – after we see how much is made, we’ll see how many scholarships we can offer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s