Post 24: A Sweet Friday: Visit to Oz V’Gaon Event Isru Chag October 17th: Beets in a Ball from Fatfreevegan

This past Friday at 9:30 am, I celebrated Isru Chag at Givat Oz V’Gaon* outpost, the community started on a Gush Etzion hilltop in the memory of Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha’ar (16), and Eyal Yifrah (19), h”yd, who were murdered earlier this year by Hamas terrorists. I was among about 100 people hosted by the sponsors to a stimulating  lecture by Dr Beny Gezundheit from Alon Shvut. He lectured (in Hebrew) about the Jewish People’s Rebirth in its Land: A study of psalms 107.

Dr. Beni Gesundheit studied for five years at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut, Israel.  He attended medical school in Switzerland, and did his residency in pediatrics at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Dr. Gesundheit completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in bioethics from the University of Toronto (2004), with a dissertation on Jewish medical ethics.

Dr. Gesundheit has been employed by Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, Hadassah Hospital Ein Karem in Jerusalem (Unit of Bone Marrow Transplantation), and a private clinical center in Tel Aviv. He is currently conducting stem cell research.

Dr. Gesundheit teaches Jewish Medical Ethics in the Department of Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, as well as in the newly opened medical facility in Tzfat (Bar Ilan).

The lecture was in Hebrew with simultaneous English translation.  I was able to follow the Hebrew decently. Then I saw a bunch of transmitters on a table and I switched over to one. The translator sat on the side close to the speaker and spoke into a microphone. The translation I heard was clear. I am so happy to have been for the first time to the Givat. I hope to return soon.

Nadia Matar lead the group after the lecture on a tour highlighting features on the Givat. We visited a reception center. There is running water through a pipeline from Efrat. We toured an igloo shaped “Ohel”, one of many planned for hosting vacationing families.  A beautiful synagogue has been completed and today’s group was invited to a bar mitzvah which will be held there this coming Friday. A Jewish presence has been in the area since the 1920’s.

It was striking to hear reference range from Psalm 107 to the narratives of Dr. Victor E. Frankl, who wrote, The Courage to Create.

Four sections of the Psalm 107 were interpreted as the narrative of 4 individuals whose souls, though shackled yearned for release.  Dr. Gesundheit explained that to “humble ones’s heart” is to experience total transformation. The implication is that every Jew will come to a complete identification with Israel and with the Jewish people only after  his personal recognition of a deep yearning. Once this is acknowledged, then any amount of difficulty that one personally and the  Jewish people endure can be suffered and endured with perfect acceptance.

from Goodreads: Some transformational words from Victor Frankl:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“What is to give light must endure burning.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”
Viktor E. Frankl
“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?No, thank you,’ he will think. ‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “From “Logotherapy in a Nutshell”, an essay”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning“By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system. I have termed this constitutive characteristic “the self-transcendence of human existence.” It denotes the fact that being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself–be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself–by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love–the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself. What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

*MKs Support Gush Etzion Building Projects at Oz V’Gaon Event*

Ofir Akunis, Eli Yishai, regional leaders flock to support construction in
Judea- Samaria; say Israel will prevail over building freeze.

Racheli Frenkel at Oz veGaon: Be joyful on the holiday for our boys too

Musical Hallel at Oz V’Gaon on Sunday- photo essay by Gershon Ellinson

You are all invited to continue and come to Oz V’Gaon with your family and friends.

For transportation to upcoming Friday lectures at Oz V’Gaon please register by contacting:

Jerusalem: Renee Margolis 052-329-4194. She will take your contact information. The mini-bus leaves from in front of the Inbal Hotel on Friday mornings. The exact pick-up point is the hotel periphery corner Rechove Jabotinsky at 8:25 AM. We were back at the hotel by 11:00 AM.

Follows  A Sweet dish ideal for a picnic at Oz V’Gaon.

Beetballs (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I used golden beets because that’s what I had on-hand, but regular beets will lend your beetballs flecks of vibrant red. Increase the fennel and red pepper flakes for a more sausage flavor, and use hot smoked paprika for more smoky heat..

Beetballs could be used in just about any dish that calls for a meat substitute, though I don’t recommend cooking them in sauce. Heat them separately in the oven or microwave and then gently add the sauce just before serving–or do as I did for spaghetti and beetballs and pour the sauce over the beetballs. Because they contain no gluten, corn starch, xanthan gum, or other “sticky” processed ingredients, they can’t take a lot of stirring or moisture without falling apart, so please handle your beetballs with care.

Spaghetti and Beetballs


  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 medium raw beet
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans, almonds, or other nuts (see note for low-fat alternative)
  • 1/2 medium red or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (mild or spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hickory smoked salt or Liquid Smoke (optional)


  1. Place the mushrooms in a small saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and rinse them well and set aside. Strain the broth through a coffee filter or fine sieve and reserve it for later use. (Leftover mushroom broth can be used in any recipe that calls for vegetable broth.)
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, put the nuts into a food processor and pulse to chop finely. Do not over-process–we want finely chopped nuts, not nut powder. Place the nuts in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Peel the beet and cut it into cubes. Add it to the food processor along with the reserved mushrooms, garlic, and onion and pulse to chop coarsely. Add the chickpeas and all remaining ingredients and pulse several times to chop the chickpeas, but do not turn it into a paste. All the individual ingredients should be recognizable. If you like to have “hairy” beet-balls, use the fine shredder attachment on your processor for the beets and add to ingredients in a later stage.
  4. Add the processor contents to the nuts and stir well to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon of the reserved mushroom broth. Allow the mixture to rest while you preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, measure out a heaping tablespoon of “dough.” Using damp hands, form it into a ball, squeezing lightly to compact it. If the dough seems too dry, add additional broth (this should not be necessary–you don’t want the dough to be too wet). Place the ball on the lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. You should be able to make about 18-22 balls. If you like, flatten some of the balls to use in sandwiches or on pizza.
  6. Bake until the balls are brown and slightly crisp on the outside, about 35 minutes. (Flattened balls will take a little less time.) Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.


I prefer these with pecans, and almonds are my second choice,  but for a lower-fat alternative, substitute cooked quinoa or millet. The mixture will be moister, and you should not need to add any broth. If it’s too moist, try adding another teaspoon of ground flaxseed and let it rest for a few minutes before handling.

Preparation time: 25 minute(s) | Cooking time: 35 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Nutrition (per serving, using pecans): 227 calories, 108 calories from fat, 12.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 750mg sodium, 397.4mg potassium, 23.4g carbohydrates, 7.9g fiber, 4.7g sugar, 8.3g protein, 6.8 points.

Nutrition (per serving, using quinoa): 169 calories, 38 calories from fat, 4.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 751.6mg sodium, 386.5mg potassium, 26.6g carbohydrates, 7.3g fiber, 4.2g sugar, 8.2g protein, 5 points.

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