Monthly Archives: October 2015

Post 242: You’re not wearing underwear today No you’re not wearing underwear today -Not that i even care Much about your underwear Still nonetheless I gotta say That your not wearing underwear today.

Using Lyrics from “Avenue Q”

You’re not wearing underwear today,
No, you’re not wearing underwear today
Not that i even care
Much about your underwear
Still nonetheless I gotta say
That your not wearing underwear today.


Visiting Hours: If you can’t visit, that’s totally understandable. A call will do. Hope that he will be speaking more today.





Second Floor of Davidson Cardiac Intensive care – We can meet in front of the 2nd floor elevators a few minutes before the time that you choose to visit.

Do you have numbers of anyone else in shul, the community, or your family who would be able to encourage Larry at a visit? I plan to contact some other friends. If you plan to visit, please let me know so that I can space out the visits. Anyone visiting should call before they set out, because Larry may be getting therapy.

Up Date: Larry will be recovering over many weeks if not months after two valve replacements and bypass surgery. He has passed the benchmark of getting the breathing tube out. Baruch Hashem.

His upper body is very swollen I think it his his body’s response to assault. His skin is stretched from weight loss and loss of muscle. The fluids are draining from the diuretics.Baruch Hashem Kidneys are doing their job.  As you know nature abhors a vacuum, so the tissues in his upper body are swollen.

He said a few words. Baruch Hashem. He’s getting out of the sedation.

I have not seen him yet today. Ivy, my daughter and I  got him to move his feet and legs a bit last night. Baruch Hashem.

I remember 26 years ago a nurse was at the foot of his bed for a couple of days after Bypass Surgery. However, now with high tech monitoring and delivering medicines thru micro tubing and and also removal of fluid  through tubes, the patient is more passive, which we don’t want.

If you are faint of heart and will be saying tehillim during your visit, then It will not be of maximum benefit to Larry. Try to relate to him some of your stories together, whatever gets him to talk.

How do you feel about being part of a prank? You can come in and be a “Cardiac Rehab Specialist”. We’ll get you a white jacket and a cap.Larry seemed to respond to his doctor’s orders better than to my requests. They doctors  may want him  to sit up and walk today. They want him to move around in bed every 15 minutes.

The easiest way to get to Davidson is NOT to go into Hadassah when you get off the last stop of the 19 bus. Again, let me know the hours that you choose to visit and we’ll meet by the elevator. Today, I’ll talk with him and his doctors about having visitors other than family.
Please call us when you have arrived.
Kol Tuv,

Post 241:Comprehensive Maariv/Panels Poll on Oct 16 How has your political opinion changed following the terror wave? 64% No change, 30% Moved more to the right, 3% Moved more to the left -You are invited for a day of Jewish art for a better world

Comprehensive Maariv/Panels Poll on Oct 16 Remember-Maariv is a left wing paper.

Jeremy’s Knesset Insider

Panels conducted a poll that was published by Maariv on October 16th 2015.

Jewish Israeli Questions:

How pleased are you with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of dealing with the current terror wave?

67% Not pleased, 28% Pleased, 5% Don’t know

How pleased are you with the Government’s conduct of dealing with the current terror wave?

63% Not pleased, 28% Pleased, 9% Don’t know

How has your political opinion changed following the terror wave?

64% No change, 30% Moved more to the right, 3% Moved more to the left

Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:17 am (PDT) . Posted by:


Join the thinkers and doers of the Jewish social justice and environmental movement coming together with artists, writers, musicians, and curators to explore a new angle on socially engaged art, activism and our changing climate – on November 8th 9:30AM – 4:30PM at the Manny Cantor Center on the Lower East Side.

Participate in Heshvan, the Jewish Social Action Month & the National Arts and Humanities Month of the Americans for the Arts through Art Kibbutz’s Conference! Get inspired with new friends: artists, performers, writers, actors, curators, community leaders, activists, scholars, students, rabbis, visionaries.

Our event connects passionate people who share similar values in their work on advancing social justice issues and making ‘tzedek’ a core expression of Jewish life through their art or community work.

Register for only $25 for the whole day!
Creative Catalyst Symposium

Creative Catalyst Symposium SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8th, 2015 9:30AM – 4:30PM MANNY CANTOR CENTER

View on

The Opening Reception took place on Tuesday, Oct. 13 2015, 6:00 – 9:00pm

Art Kibbutz’s exhibition, co-sponsored by the Jewish Art Salon and hosted by the Manny Cantor Center, will explore the dual role of art embedded in the environment and Jewish identity. In a world where global warming and Israeli current events are in the daily news, modern visual arts provide a platform to continue a conversation about a shared experience felt by the selected artists.

A wide survey of media ranging from unconventional raw materials like dirt, branches and bones to innovative technology like embedded Augmented Reality highlights the complex relationship an artist experiences while being rooted in the changing environment and Jewish culture. Each artist, as an observer and participant, has an individual relationship to their surrounding ecological system, whether it is with Earth or Judaism, or both. The shared experience will fully develop within the gallery space, when viewers are encouraged to participate in questioning and understanding the world around them.

Rooted aims to highlight the active role of immersing oneself as an artist, as a Jew and as a viewer in the process of understanding the connection between Jewish identity, art and nature. The artist’s perspectives range from literally digging deep into the soil of the land, like Ken Goldman’s Dirty Jew, a self-portrait that depicts the Israeli artist proudly drenched in the organic waste of the 350 milking cows on the kibbutz in Israel that he calls home; to artworks that straddle nature and technology, like Cynthia Beth Rubin’s Roots, which uses Augmented Reality to show source material such as plankton in water. Complete with conceptual and commissioned work, the exhibition also displays the art of two pioneers of ecological art, Jackie Brookner and Helène Aylon, who have devoted decades to teaching art as activism and “rescuing” the body, the Earth and G-d.

Most exhibiting artists represent the Art Kibbutz artist community, who each found a different meaningful Jewish connection through the arts. Their work had been widely informed by their artist residency experiences at Art Kibbutz. Each residency program was created to harness and maximize residents’ creative work related to Jewish responses to the environment, farming, and sustainability.

Visitors are encouraged to contemplate their own roots of their upbringing and environment. This incentive is further realized in the upcoming Art Kibbutz Creative Catalyst symposium dedicated to art activism in memory of Jackie Brookner, a former Art Kibbutz resident and activist.

About The Manny Cantor Center and the Educational Alliance
After years of planning, the Educational Alliance’s historic East Broadway headquarters has been transformed into the Manny Cantor Center: a settlement house of yesterday and a community center for today, and tomorrow. Offering exciting events, award-winning programs, and critical services for people ages 0 to 100+, the Manny Cantor Center is a hub of diversity and inclusivity, of health and fitness, of education and of excellence. We hope the Manny Cantor Center will provide a space for growth, achievement, enjoyment and connection for all Lower East Siders today.

About Jewish Art Salon
The Jewish Art Salon, founded in 2008, is an international artist-driven community that strives to promote understanding and appreciation of contemporary and innovative Jewish visual art. It uses the power of collaboration to provide important resources and programs that develop lasting partnerships with the global art community and the general public. The Jewish Art Salon builds community, as well as produces events. It organizes dynamic exhibits, inter-active art events, and (in the New York area) bi-monthly salon sessions engaging international artists and scholars, in order to create an appreciation for cutting-edge Jewish art.

About Aimee Rubensteen
Aimee Rubensteen is a curator and writer living in New York City. She focuses on modern and contemporary art that utilizes unconventional materials and challenges traditional notions of Jewish identity. Her recent projects include curatingWaiting in Wonder, a group exhibition that explored a traditional Jewish counting ritual through modern visual arts for a multi-purpose gallery in Brooklyn; and co-curating JOMIX- Jewish Comics; Art & Derivation, a survey of contemporary Jewish artists using comics as a medium to express and address their Jewish identity and cultural experience, currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art. Additionally, Aimee works at Sotheby’s as the Administrator of the Egyptian, Classical, and Western Asiatic Antiquities Department.



Post 240: A Sacred Time Bitter Makes Me Better by Yehudis Golshevsky Pick Olives in Pnei Kedem tomorrow and Thursday 120 nis from 7am-4pm + lunch Good serious workers needed. Please call Michael 054-473-0652


This post has a common thread. Looking out to others brings attention away from ourselves. Self-focus is the source of bitterness. The olive is without use until it is pressed and goes through a transformation, a tempering of the bitter so to speak.

A Sacred Time

Bitter Makes Me Better

This month is often known as Marcheshvan—“Bitter Cheshvan.” On a simple level it can be seen as bitter because we’ve moved on from a month full of the festivals that have filled our lives with holiness and a deep connection to G-d. Tishrei was a month of focus on the Creator, and that’s what makes it so joyous. Marcheshvan drops us back down into our own agenda, and it’s a lesson for us—that self-focus is the source of bitterness.To figure out the way out of the bitterness, out of all bitterness, we can reverse the two letters that form the word “mar.” When we do that, we get “ram”—aggrandized, the “high” edifice of self. The more self-absorbed I am, the more bitter it’s going to be. And the more I’m able to get out of the prison of self, the happier I’m going to be. It’s that simple.

Dear G-d, help me never become embittered by the challenges that You send me. Empower me to embrace whatever I endure, because that’s going to temper the bitter and open me up to the sweet satisfaction of spiritual growth.

Copyright © 2015 Breslov Research Institute, All rights reserved.

“A Sacred Time” emails are sent twice-weekly and focus on finding inspiration and meaning throughout the Jewish calendar.Our mailing address is:

Breslov Research Institute

Pick Olives in Pnei Kedem tomorrow and Thursday

(a) Ancient Lever based press 


  A reconstructed oil press, seen below,  was found in a 8th C BC four-roomed house above the palace in Tell Hazor.  This is a typical lever-based oil press which was in use in the Biblical periods. Later the oil press evolved into other types of machines.


   In this oil press, a stone weight was tied to the edge of the wooden lever, pushing the lever down. The use of a lever exerts a large force over a small distance. The force of the lever pushed a flat stone down on a basket, which contained the olives. The stone squeezed the basket, extracting the precious olive oil unto the round grooves of a basin stone. The juice flowed down along these grooves, out through an outlet in the basin, and down into a collecting vat. The olive juice contained water and oil. After a few days, the lighter oil in the juice floats above the water, and it is then collected and stored in jars.

Hazor, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site,  was one of the most important cities in the ancient Near East. Hazor is featured in Blog Post 205.

120 nis from 7am4pm + lunch

Good serious workers needed.
Please call Michael 054-473-0652 Michael is my friend Molly Ratner’s son-in-law.


Post 239: Adam Zartal, a professor of archeology, passed away. He spent more than 30 years on an archeological survey of the area of Menashe – the Shomron and the Jordan Valley – Netanyahu’s Words on Hitler Mark an Important Point For Our World of Today By SETH LIPSKY, New York Post


Hashem works in mysterious ways. A young lady French lady named Josefs and I have become friends. We met in Independence Park. I was impressed with her stunning outfit. As a sewer/designer, I appreciate well made garments. She spent a Shabat evening with us and every consecutive Shabat after that she texts me a greeting Shabat Shalom.

Maybe we’ll visit that Paris bargain sample store.

Here’ a sample:

Me: Larry is in Surgery at Hadassah

Josefs: OK. Thanks, I’ll transmit it to my friend who is going to Uman. May he have a complete refoua shlema!

Me: My daughter,Yehudis Golshevsky is leading a group to Uman. Perhaps your friend is going with her.

Josefs: Oh my gosh, yes…How Beshert, I didn’t even realize.

You can just imagine how thrilled we were to read the above.


From Tablet Magazine:(abridged)

In the 1980s, Adam Zertal, a professor at the University of Haifa, believed the books of the Hebrew Bible could and should inform the work of contemporary archaeologists.

He identified an altar built by the Biblical prophet Joshua on Mount Ebal—near to where Palestinian rioters torched a holy site marking Josephs tomb last Thursday. His claim remains hotly contested.

Zertal was born on Kibbutz Ein Shemer in 1936. His father, Moshe, was a journalist from Warsaw and a leader in the Socialist-Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair. As the kibbutz’s economy was reliant on agriculture, Zertal spent five years studying economics and agriculture before assuming the role of economic director at Ein Shemer. His influence, however, extended far beyond the fields of his kibbutz; in 1972, he led an Israeli delegation to Central Africa Republic and Rwanda on an agricultural aid project.

In 1973, Zertal was badly wounded while serving as an engineering officer in the Yom Kippur War. He spent a year in recovery, and his injury would force him to spend the rest of his life on crutches. But Zertal did not dwell on his physical misfortune. Upon his release from the hospital he began studying archaeology at Tel Aviv University, a bastion of secular culture where the unchallenged consensus was that the Biblical narrative was ahistorical mythology.

This was a critical juncture in time for archaeologists because Israel had recently gained control over archaeologically rich territory in the West Bank in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. As a result, Zertal participated in surveys conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority that identified hundreds of sites from the Biblical period that had never before been studied. He is credited with discovering the Biblical Harosheth Hagoyyim site, mentioned in Judges chapter 4, while leading a dig at the el-Ahwat excavation site between 1993 and 2000.


Zartal was an Israeli officer who was severely wounded in the Yom Kippur. As he told the story, while in a morphine induced stupor in the hospital, he heard the administering physician remark that if Adam dreamt of being an archeologist, he would be an archeologist who wrote reports because he would never be able to walk.

Adam spent the rest of his life walking on two walking sticks, and walk he did. As a professor of archeology he spent more than 30 years doing an archeological survey of the area of Menashe – the Shomron and the Jordan Valley. Every Friday morning he awoke at 5 PM and, together with his colleagues, students and friends, walked the length and breadth of our Biblical homeland.

In these three decades he found more than 1500 ancient communities, 450 of them were populated from the time of Yehoshua until King David. 90% of these communities had never been known and Adam’s work substantiated the Biblical account of our forefather’s entrance into the Land.

Adam’s major finds include the altar built by Yehoshua in Mount Eval along with a series of “Regalim” (in the shape of a footprint) which seem to have been centers for worship of God in the early years after we arrived in Eretz Yisrael.

Adam fulfilled God’s commandment to Yehoshua – “כל מקום אשר תדרוך כף רגלכם בו, לכם יהיה”. He literally walked and discovered the entire center of Eretz Yisrael. This also is a requirement of every man and women IDF recruit.

Adam was a humble and accessible person, devoting time and sharing his knowledge with all.

Adam Zartal passed away suddenly, on Sunday afternoon.

יהי זכרו ברוך


Netanyahu’s Words on Hitler Mark an Important Point For Our World of Today

By SETH LIPSKY, New York Post


According to my own opinion, the Grand Mufti [Hajj Amin al Husseini], who has been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German Government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded. He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he has been in contact, above all before Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestine problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and has constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he has visited incognito the gas chamber at Auschwitz.


Nuremberg testimony of
SS Hauptsturmfueh
Dieter Wisliceny
(Adolf Eichmann’s right-hand man)

Prime Minister Netanyahu did something important last week — he reminded the world that the Arab war against Israel is a continuation of the Nazis’ war against the Jews.

What an uproar greeted Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks. He made them Wednesday, when he suggested that it was the World War II-era mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who planted in Hitler’s mind the idea of exterminating the Jews.

The prime minister was referring to an infamous meeting between the Mufti and Adolf Hitler in November 1941, two months before the Nazi ghouls gathered at a lakeside villa at Wannsee to plan the Final Solution.

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time,” Mr. Netanyahu told a Zionist conference last week. “He wanted to expel the Jew.” He said the mufti warned Hitler that if he merely expelled the Jews, they’d all go to Palestine.

“What should I do with them?” Hitler asked, according to Mr. Netanyahu’s account.

“Burn them,” the mufti supposedly responded.

The liberal pettifoggers are going crazy over this, claiming, with a straight face, that Mr. Netanyahu was giving a pass to the Führer. A “defense of Hitler,” is how it was described in a headline in the Forward. The White House suggested that Netanyahu was being “inflammatory.”

Even the distinguished Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt called Mr. Netanyahu a “revisionist.” This strikes me as unworthy of her and, in any event, inaccurate, even if the Israeli leader misquoted the precise language used by Hitler and the mufti.

None of the aide-memoires quote the mufti as suggesting Hitler “burn” the Jews. But the records show Hitler vowing to destroy them and the mufti gushing appreciation. I can’t imagine Mr. Netanyahu meant to put the gloss on Hitler any more than Ms. Lipstadt means to pretty up the mufti.

The mufti, according to the notes of Hitler’s translator, opened the meeting by thanking Hitler for his sympathy to the “Arab and especially the Palestinian cause.” They were natural friends, he said, because they had the same enemies.

The Palestinian Arabs, therefore, were “prepared to cooperate with Germany with all their hearts and stood ready to participate in the war.” The Arabs, the mufti predicted, “could be more useful as allies than might be apparent at first glance.”

“The objectives of my fight are clear,” the mufti’s diary quotes Hitler as saying. “Primarily, I am fighting the Jews without respite, and this fight includes the fight against the so-called Jewish National Home in Palestine.”

Hitler’s translator recorded in his notes that the Führer enjoined the mufti to “lock” in the “upper depths of his heart” that the Führer would battle to “the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe.”

The Nazi tyrant would then, the notes say, go on to signal to the Arab world “that its hour of liberation had arrived.” Germany’s sole objective would then be the “destruction of the Jewish element resigning in the Arab sphere.”

Mr. Netanyahu may be wrong that it was the mufti’s idea to exterminate the Jews (killings had already begun); but he’s not incorrect in noting that it’s an idea the Mufti endorsed.

The key point is that the Nazis and the Palestinian Arab leader were on the same side. Peoples had to make a choice in World War II. The Jews went with the Free World. The Palestinian Arabs went with Hitler.

Surely that is the prime minister’s intended point. No doubt he seeks awareness of the fact that Israel is still being attacked by the heirs to a devil’s pact between the mufti and the Führer.

Why has this so upset the left? What does it care whether the mufti gets a portion of blame for Hitler’s crimes?

An answer can be found in a New York Times editorial on Friday. It called Mr. Netanyahu’s comments outrageous, “because…[it] gives the impression” that the Palestinian Arabs’ “resistance is based solely on a longstanding hatred of the Jews, and not on their occupation by Israel or any other grievance.”

As if that weren’t true. The mufti and other Arab leaders hated the Jews before Israel. If Israel went away tomorrow, Muslim fundamentalists would still hate Jews.

The left must shout down and discredit Netanyahu, because he’s highlighting the uncomfortable truth that, with respect to the Jews, the Arab ideology is the same as the Nazi one. And how can anyone defend that?

This column first appeared in the New York Post.

Post 238: Cartoonists restore the port town of La Rochelle’s France Gargoyles in the likeness of cartoonists Jean Cabut and Georges Wolinski paying tribute to the two cartoonists who were killed in the attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. Jean Cabut and Georges Wolinski’ gargoyles were unveiled on the town’s 12th century Tour de la Lanterne after the historic tower underwent restoration ( reported by Le Figaro)


Cartoonists Live! reported from ArtNews

Henri Neuendorf, Friday, October 16, 2015

Gargoyles of slain Charlie Hebdo journalists Jean Cabut and Georges Wolinski. Photo: Le Figaro

The port town of La Rochelle, France has paid tribute to two cartoonists who were killed in the attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January.

The gargoyles were unveiled on the town’s 12th century Tour de la Lanterne after the historic tower underwent restoration,Le Figaro reported.

With his round glasses, recognizable hairstyle and a pencil stuck behind his ear, Cabut, who went by the pen name “Cabu”, is seen perched on the northeast side of the tower whereas Wolanski, flanked by two nude female figures, is situated on the southwest side. Both their mouths are wide open, providing a drainage outlet for the tower. The two cartoonists may have found this fate amusing, to say the least.

The historic 12th century tower once served as a jail. Photo:

The tribute was conceived by Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect behind the historic monument’s renovation project, which restored the 12th century tower’s original color and replaced its cement joints.

“During the work, two gargoyles were due to be replaced,” Frederic Henry, assistant administrator of the La Rochelle tower at the National Monuments Center told AFP. Henry said that Villeneuve then proposed that the building be used “to pay tribute to…all the threatened artists in the world.”  Cabut and Wolinski were the obvious choice.


The poignant gargoyles were added to the tower during restoration work. Photo: Catherine Methon via
Of course, placing the face of a Jew on a church does not make me happy, c’est la vie.


Post 237: Jerusalem issues new safety instructions for shuls Due to the security situation, the Jerusalem Municipality has issued a new set of instructions for security inside and around shuls. Here they are: People with gun permits should bring them to shul, hidden under their shabbat clothes The truth about Jerusalem’s grand mufti, Hitler and the Holocaust by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman -Spiritual Defense The Wonder of Visualization- Surgery waiting room Chizuk Theodore Levitt, Looking for Trouble; Levitt was a British Jewish, correspondent covering every war Israel has fought up until ’67 – blueberry cheesecake

Joke going around: A lady approaches a Mall Entrance and is asked by security: “Do you have any weapons? ” She replies, “NO”, and he answers; “Take this knife”.

IMPORTANT: Jerusalem issues new safety instructions for shuls

Due to the security situation, the Jerusalem Municipality has issued a new set of instructions for security inside and around shuls. Here
they are:

People with gun permits should bring them to shul, hidden under their
shabbat clothes.
A list should be compiled during the week of people in shul with weapons. Those with guns should sit near the doors of the shul. The gabbai should appoint someone who knows the people in the shul to
watch who comes into the shul. A person should check inside and around the shul before services start.
Avoid parking right next to the shul.
A cellphone must be left on in silent mode in shul, even on shabbat
and chagim, so a call can be made for help if necessary.
People should be vigilant on the way to and from shul.

Wishing everyone a shabbat shalom with peace, quiet, and rest!

The truth about Jerusalem’s grand mufti, Hitler and the Holocaust
by Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini meeting with Adolf Hitler in Dec. 1941. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went too far in recent comments that Nazi collaborator Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before and during World War II, played a “central role in fomenting the Final Solution” by trying to convince Hitler to destroy the Jews during a 1941 meeting in Berlin. But Netanyahu was right on when he emphasized the Mufti’s Holocaust complicity and activities before, during, and after the war when the Mufti lied about alleged Jewish intentions to expel Muslim and Islam from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount—the same lie that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas repeats today in support of the current “knife Intifada.”

We just heard Lech Lecha this week. I submitted a set of drawings (cartoons) related to the parsha for an exhibition. If they are accepted, I’ll be thrilled, but if not, Zeh B’Seder

The Wonder of Visualization: I feel these words ring very true. I am in Hadassah Hospital Post op-waiting room. A friend mentioned that waiting post surgery is like a stickle gehennah. This is the story: My friend’s husband was a pediatrician. A child was born with a congenital defect that the pediatrician had picked up, and he visited the family in the waiting room, post surgery. The parents were devastated and were relentless in their prayers, not stopping for a second.  He assured them  that they would dance at their daughter’s wedding. On that day, the daughter went to the grave of the pediatrician to invite him to the wedding. I was brought to tears when I heard this.

I am saying tehilim to thank Hashem for putting us in his graces. There is no point to be sad or afraid because most sadness and fear comes from the thought of feeling lost after a tragedy. There is no tragedy and no loss, so why mourn or suffer twice?

There is another moshul: I read Theodore Levitt, Looking for Trouble; Levitt was a British Jewish, correspondent covering every war Israel has fought up until ’67. His book was published in Britain. During the 70’s, a book rarely reached across the globe. I found the book and grabbed it as it is out-of print.

The 1956 Suez War was a joint Israeli-British-French operation, in which Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula and British and French forces landed at the port of Suez, ostensibly to separate the warring parties, though the real motivation of Great Britain and France was to protect the interests of investors in those countries who were affected by Egyptian President Nasser‘s decision to nationalize the Suez Canal. Israel justified its invasion of Egypt as an attempt to stop attacks (see the Fedayeen) upon Israeli civilians, and to restore Israeli shipping rights through the Straits of Tiran, which Egypt claimed was within its territorial waters. The invading forces agreed to withdraw under U.S. and international pressure, and Israel withdrew from the Sinai as well, in return for the installation of United Nations Emergency Forces and guarantees of Israeli freedom of shipment. The canal was left in Egyptian (rather than British and French) hands.

Levitt describes Israel’s tortuous unpreparedness in 1956 Reservists were clamouring to reach the Egyptian border. The one lane road was impossible to navigate even in the best of times. He and a fellow French journalist commandeered a car and were off to the border to catch a scoop. They confronted massive fog and were unable to decipher two fingers held up in the air.

Then Levitt instructed his companion to get out and walk in front of him and yell directions to him. And they reached the Sinai together.

I felt very submerged and disassociated a day ago, needing a navigator  and lead me through today and these next few weeks is very hard. Larry is my navigator. He steps out and says-go this way, etc. Now I imagine Larry’s light out in front of me and I focus on it and keep my eye on it.

Following from

“And the souls they made in Haran” (Bereishis 12:5). Avraham and Sarah influenced many people to believe in HaShem.

How did they succeed to bring them out of the darkness and into the light? In their great wisdom, Avraham and Sarah taught them the secret of understanding the spiritual realm through the power of visualization. For instance, as long as we in this material world, we cannot fathom the eternal delights of Gan Eden. Nevertheless, through reflecting on a spiritual joy that we experience in this world, we can cultivate a belief of how much greater must be the pleasure of Gan Eden.

Lesson: The Torah credits Avraham and Sarah as if they actually created the souls of whom they “brought under the wings of the Shechinah.” Through the power of visualization, they succeeded to bring these  people from darkness to light.

App: Reflect on the joy of being in the company of your loved ones, and imagine the how the joy of being in HaShem’s Presence must be infinitely greater.
(Based on Chochmah U’Mussar of the Saba of Kelm)

L”N R’ Yochanon Mordecai ben Ephraim and Moras Esther Leah bas Yehudah Yoseph

Refuah Shieimah Yochanon Baruch ben Fruma Etta

Refuah Shleimah R’ Pinchas ben Gittel Rus

Ricotta Cheesecake which I prepared yesterday

 Ricotta Cheesecake


2 cups frozen blueberries and cherries defrosted. Drain the syrup and mix with the flax meal. The liquid will be purple color. Add additional fruit liquid/compote to make an egg white consistency. 

1/2 cup dried blueberries/cranberries.

2 cups ricotta cheese (app 900 grams).

6 tab. cream cheese

 2 eggs beaten plus 14/cup flax meal

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts 1/2 cup ground peanuts

1/3 cup brandy vanilla 



Toss half of the pignoli and the ground peanuts into the bottom of  a spring form pan in a preheated toaster one at 160 C about 10 minutes, watching to see that the nuts don’t burn. Set aside to cool. After you have poured in the filling cover outer rim with aluminum foil strips to prevent burning during baking.

Grate lemon peel.

In the same bowl, use an immersion blender or by hand, combine the lemon peel, ricotta, and cream cheese. Add the eggs and nuts. Mix well. Pre-heat oven to 160C (320 F). Spoon filling into nut lined pan. Top with toasted pine nuts, peanuts . and fruit/brandy mixture containing flax. Bake for one hour. Allow to cool in the oven for at least an hour. Refrigerate. This cake will be loose. Very good well chilled. Will get more solid.

Topping : 

Squeeze juice from the defrosted 2 cups frozen blueberries and cherries defrosted. Mix the syrup with the 1/2 cup dried blueberries/cranberries. Add enough hot water to make 1/2 cup of liquid. Mix in the Kuzo. (Be sure that it is a powdery consistency and not hard pieces.

Take cheesecake out of the refrigerator. Mix the fruits together and spread over the cake.

Instructions if you plan to freeze the cake: For a cheesecake with topping, such as fruit, always freeze cheesecake WITHOUT the topping and add the topping before serving.

You will have a nutritious desert for a crowd. This cake also lasts nicely in the fridge for a quick breakfast or a lunchbox meal. There is a slight amount of sugar in the dried cranberries and blueberries.

CHEESECAKE TIPS AND IDEAS From Diana’s Desserts: From Post 37.

1) A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes.

2) Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.

3) For even marbling and the best distribution of added ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts, do not over-soften or over-beat the cream cheese.

4) Avoid over-baking: Cheesecake baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. The cheesecake will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. The center of the cheesecake should be just slightly moist when it is ready to be removed.

5) Upon removal from the oven, loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or narrow spatula between the top edge of the cake and the side of the pan. This allows the cake to pull away freely from the pan as it cools.

6) Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack away from drafts.

7) After a cheesecake has cooled completely, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly releasing the springform pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.

8) Baked cheesecakes freeze well. Cool them completely and wrap them securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, but do not freeze cheesecakes with garnishes or toppings.

8) If you are adding fruit (bananas etc. to substitute for sugar, leave it lumpy. Drain fruit we..or use the juice/fruit in a topping.

More Cheesecake Success Hints:


The most common complaint is cracking that develops through the middle of the cheesecake during or after baking.

To Prevent Surface Cracking:

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle. (A water bath is using a larger pan containing water in which to place the smaller cheesecake baking pan.)

Don’t overbake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a two to three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake; the texture will smooth out as it cools.

Cheesecake will shrink as it cools. Generously greasing the sides of the baking pan before pouring in batter will allow the cake to pull away from the pan as it cools and shrinks instead of pulling apart from the middle.

Cheesecakes have a tendency to crack, but they don’t have to. This favorite American dessert can have a cracked surface for a number of reasons. One cause is air trapped inside the batter – a result of over-mixing. Once in the oven, the air bubble expands and wants to escape from the cake. As it finds its way out of the top of the cake, it creates a crack or crevice in the cake’s surface. Another cause of a cracked surface is a drastic temperature change.

How to avoid cracks then? Be sure to mix your cheesecake batter well, eliminating all possible lumps in the cream cheese BEFORE you add the eggs. It is the eggs that will hold air in the batter, so add them last, and mix as little as possible once they are in the mix.

Also, be sure to cook your cheesecake gently. Use a water bath – wrap the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil and place it in a larger pan with water in it, just halfway up the outside of the springform pan. This will allow the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly.

Finally, cook your cheesecake slowly – at 325º F. After about 45 minutes, turn your oven off and leave the cheesecake inside the turned off oven for another hour. Cool at room temperature with a plate or cookie sheet inverted over the cheesecake to slow the cooling. Only then can you refrigerate the cake, which you will need to do for another 6 hours at least.

If after all this, you still have a crack, make a topping or a sauce for your cheesecake, and tell all your guests that you intentionally made a special crack in the top of the cake to hold more sauce!


Cheesecakes with cornstarch or flour added to the batter do not crack as easily from overbaking. The starch molecules will actually get in between the egg proteins preventing them from over-coagulating. No over-coagulating, no cracks!! Some bakers add extra insurance to a cheesecake recipe that doesn’t contain cornstarch or flour, by simply adding 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of cornstarch to the batter with the sugar.

With today’s trend to produce larger and higher cheesecakes and to bake them without the benefit of a waterbath, they tend to overbake at the edge before the center of the cake has reached the temperature necessary to set (coagulate) the eggs. Here, your cheesecake will tend to form deep cracks upon cooling.

Don’t bake your cheesecake at too high a temperature (I recommend baking cheesecakes at 300-325 degrees F at the highest) The egg proteins will over coagulate from too much heat which eventually shrink when cooled, causing cracking usually in its center or tiny cracks all over its top. If you heat it up to fast or cool it down too fast you’re also going to get cracks.

Freezing Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes can be frozen. Careful wrapping is very important. To freeze, place a fully cooled cheesecake in the freezer, uncovered, for 1 hour. If it’s in a springform pan, remove sides of pan and freeze with the pan bottom in place. After 1 hour, use a knife to separate the cheesecake from the pan bottom. Slide it onto a foil-wrapped piece of heavy cardboard. Wrap in plastic wrap, then carefully place it inside a large freezer bag or wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil. Label and date. Freezing for more than a month is not recommended to retain the best quality.

For a cheesecake with topping, such as fruit, always freeze cheesecake WITHOUT the topping and add the topping before serving.

Always thaw a cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator. When partially thawed, transfer it from the cardboard bottom to a serving plate.

” Water Bath ” For Baking Cheesecakes

A “water bath” is a method that will help keep your cheesecake from cracking while baking.

Instructions For Water Bath

First, take heavy aluminum foil, and wrap it around sides and bottom of your springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom. This prevents leakage while baking your cheesecake.

Place your springform pan or cheesecake pan (filled with cheesecake batter and crust) into a larger deep baking pan* that it will fit into easily.

*Note: The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth.

Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle filled with very hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake cheesecake as directed. When cheesecake is done, remove springform pan or cheesecake pan (if using) from “water bath” in oven. Carefully remove larger pan with water in it from oven. It will be very hot. Discard water when it has cooled.

Remove aluminum foil from sides and bottom of pan after your cheesecake has cooled completely in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to release sides of springform pan, or remove cheesecake from a cheesecake pan with removable bottom (if using) and cheesecake has cooled in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight; this is the best time to remove aluminum foil.

Post 236: You are cordially invited to hear four Druze soldiers from the IDF who will speak at Yavneh Minyan this Shabbos, Oct 24th, at 11:00 am, Tofaa performance and to top it off Creamed Spinach

You are cordially invited to hear four Druze soldiers from the IDF who will speak at Yavneh Minyan this Shabbos, Oct 24th, at 11:00 am. Please join us to hear about their amazing experiences and their dedicated efforts to protect Israel as Arab soldiers in the IDF.

Please note our NEW location, in the lower level at Veretsky Hall, 1102 Ave. L, near Coney Island Avenue

Please note, you are not required to RSVP at all in order to attend this event.  however, if you wish, you can feel free to click the link below in order to view the Facebook Event page or to share with others if you wish.

IDF Druze Soldiers Speak at Yavneh Minyan in Flatbush, this Shabbos, 11 AM| Facebook

Cover Photo

IDF Druze Soldiers Speak at Yavneh Minyan in Flatbush, …

Four Druze soldiers from the IDF will speak at Yavneh Minyan this Shabbos, Oct 24th, at 11:00 am. Please join us to hear about their amazing experiences a…

CREAMED SPINACH for special egg dish IMG_20151021_094847



  1. In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt 3 Tbls butter/oil
  2. Stir flour and salt into pan until creamed together.
  3. Slowly stir in cream, then stir in cream cheese, increase heat to medium.
  4. Constantly whisk until mixture becomes thick and smooth, remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic in remaining butter until transparent.
  6. Add spinach and water to pan, reduce heat to low, cover.
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.
  8. Stir prepared sauce and Parmesan cheese into pan, stir until completely blended.

Post 235: A day at Ein Boqek instead of a meeting at Temech- Building Entrepeneurship in Women.N’OATMEAL COOKIES – THE PALEO RESPONSE TO OATMEAL COOKIES! Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem wins 1st in Middle East

I got this e-mail, however, I was not able to attend because I spent the day at Ein Boqek in the far end of the Dead Sea with three friends. On the way we passed  the cut-off to Masada, several checkpoints along a single lane road. The area was heavily patrolled by helicopters and convoys of jet planes soreyed by. As we entered the last checkpoint before the public  beach entrance,we passed a landing site for about a dozen military helicopters.

Israeli Pilots Broke Guinness World Record Flying Low Over Dead Sea in January 2014.

Last year, The Civil Aviation Authority of Israel announced that 12 pilots flying six aircraft 422 meters below sea level  set a new Guinness World Record for a low formation flight (Israel’s Channel 2 reported).

Formation flying consists of several planes flying together in a precise geometric shape. This particular form of recreational flying requires an extremely high level of aeronautical expertise as even a slight deviation of one plane from the formation or flight path is liable to cause a serious accident.

The Israeli pilots first attempted to break the record in November 2013 but that initial flight over the Dead Sea was disqualified by a judge since one of the planes broke formation, Channel 2 said.

However, the second time proved to be the charm as the ultralight planes’ formation held steady for approximately one minute. After a few tense moments, the official Guinness World Record judge confirmed that a new standard had been established, setting off celebrations among the pilots and crew, Channel 2 reported.

The force behind Israel’s drive towards the record books is retired Lieutenant Colonel Dan Shion, a former pilot and commander of an Israeli Air Force squadron of fighter pilots. Since retiring from active military duty, Shion has continued to fly a variety of light aircraft and it was he who contacted the Guinness World Record headquarters in London to find out the exact criteria required for establishing a new low formation flying record, Channel 2 reported.

According to Shion, the record setting flight was a complex undertaking due to the unusually difficult conditions that go along with flying at low altitudes over the Dead Sea. As a result, Shion believes that the record he helped establish will be impossible to break anywhere but over the Dead Sea.

As such, Shion believes that the low formation flying record will remain in Israeli hands.

I guess this is the view from the pilot’s vantage point

The ladies beach at Ein Boqek is perfect for me because I bring my trusty wagon with food and drink and there are paths down to the beach. The salt was pure white. I took home two jars full to add to my bath water. Not to eat.

I also spoke a little Arabic with some ladies.

Perhaps the handsome fellow at the last checkpoint was Colonel Dan Shion!

Following is the invitation that I declined.

Dear ___ ,

I’d like to invite you to a special breakfast event with Rabbi David Eliezrie, a senior Chabad Rabbi, who has made himself available to share the entrepreneurial model and insights, which have helped thousands of Chabad rabbis build successful social ventures and which are transferable to entrepreneurs and business owners on their entrepreneurship path.

The event is for an intimate group of women entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Please join us at the Jerusalem Hub On Wednesday, October 21st at 8:30am, (more info below)

Looking forward,
Shaindy Babad

Limited Space, Please RSVP

PS. While space is limited, if you ‘d like to suggest someone you think should be invited, please let us know asap.

תמך, בנין שערי העיר קומה 9, רחוב יפו 216, 11, ירושלים, Israel


While on the subject of resorts, recently was announced a first for Israel. I have never stayed at Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria hotel. My apartment is a five minute walk away. I did walk by to congratulate the consierge. While standing at the desk I overheard a conversation.

The concierge conveyed to the couple, “No outside guests allowed on Shabat.” The couple wanted to have Saturday lunch there because their apartment was being painted. I offered a better deal. Friday night with the Farkashes. They turned me down and we walked together up Agron to King George. The lady explained that she’d be in Jerusalem for 6 weeks and next week she is traveling to Uman.

And I said, “With Yehudis Golshevsky”, and she nodded. And I proudly said, “”She’s my daughter”. What a lovely meeting.

And a day at the Dead Sea beats this hotel by a mile. That was a first, but I’m getting to the first, first.

Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel received a score of 97.5 in Code-Nast magazine’s “Top 15 Hotels in the Middle East: Readers’ Choice Awards 2015.” 226-room hotel opened in March 2014 after a reported $150 million refurbishment.

“More than 128,000 travelers took part in our 28th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey — the most in its history — submitting millions of ratings and tens of thousands of comments to help us create a list of winning favorites,” Condé Nast Traveler said in announcing the rankings Tuesday.

In response to being ranked so highly on the prestigious list, the Waldorf posted the following message on its Facebook page:“What an honor! We are thrilled.”

The 16-room Singita Grumeti in the Serengeti, Tanzania was voted as the best hotel in the world, followed by The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, in Saratoga, Wyoming.

The Waldorf Hotel is rated 1st in the Middle East. From mid 1936 to mid-1937 it was then the Palace. The hotel was built by the then mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a fierce opponent of Jewish statehood who would later collaborate with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The Haganah planted listening devices in chandeliers in the hotel, a TV report said, exploiting the expertise of two of its officers who had been involved in the building’s construction.

The mufti has been in the headlines this week, after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alleged that Adolf Hitler only decided on the mass extermination of Europe’s Jews after receiving input on the matter from al-Husseini.

Read: Israeli spies ‘bugged Peel Commission’ at mufti’s Jerusalem hotel

All sources are denying that the Mufti advised Hitler to “burn” the Jews.


Yield: Yields 24 cookies

N’Oatmeal Cookies – The Paleo Response to Oatmeal Cookies!


Dry Ingredients

    • 2 cups almond flour

    • 1/2 cup flax seed meal

    • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut/cooked fruit/banana

    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

    • 1 tsp baking soda

    • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

Wet Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup walnuts/peanuts/pecans chopped

  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped

  • 1/2 cup raisins;cranberries soaked in vanilla brandy


    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

    2. In a large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, flax seed meal, unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Mix with a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are very well distributed. Reserve.

    3. In a separate bowl, cream soy cream cheese, almond milk/banana  and date paste with a hand mixer, until light and fluffy in consistency. Add eggs, one at a time and make sure it’s well incorporated before adding the next one. Add vanilla extract and mix well. (you can also do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment)

    4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined, no more.

    5. Stir in walnuts, dates and raisins- I like to put the on top so I can see the batters thickness.

    6. On a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper, drop tablespoon-sized amounts of cookie batter; slightly flatten with a fork or use muffin tins lined with paper that is oiled.

    7. Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes; allow cookies to cool for a minute or two before attempting to move them to a cooling rack.

    8. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

    9. These cookies will keep for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

    10. HA!HA! That was funny. They will never last that long! 😉


Post 234: Israelis support our soldiers – Last Friday at Oz veGaon and gave chizuk to the security forces on the road the over 100’s ways one can someone in Hebrew on a poster in Dr. Oz Shapira’s office at Hadassah Hospital

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries - fall flavors with a hint of spice, these easy to make cookies are tender and delicious.

It’s fall!  Time for all things pumpkin and squash.  Today I decided to make up a batch of pumpkin oatmeal cookies.  I just cooked up a monster Galeux d’eysines (the bigger brother of the one in the photo), which makes a beautiful deep orange puree.  Some will go into the freezer, but we’re also going to experiment with some more pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries - fall flavors with a hint of spice, these easy to make cookies are tender and delicious.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour – I prefer King Arthur’s.  You could also fresh ground soft white wheat, or a gluten free flour blend; to make gluten free use ground pecans, ground pumpkin seeds, rice flour,teff flour or oat flour
  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal – quick cooking for a softer cookie, old fashioned or steel cut for a chewier cookie
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Real Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably organic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably organic – you can substitute more cinnamon if you don’t have cardamom
  • 1 teas ground nutmeg

Wet mix ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) tofu cream cheese
  • 1/ 3/4 cup rice milk mixed with fruit puree
  • 1 large chicken egg or small duck egg, 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup home cooked pumpkin (squash) puree or 1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin

Ingredients to add last:

  • 1 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, preferably as crispy nuts


Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper or reusable parchment sheets or tins and my “cookies” are soft like muffins.

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients and set aside.  (If you don’t want to dirty a bowl for this, you can dump them straight onto the top of your wet mixture, but this ensures they are thoroughly mixed.)

In a large bowl or food processor , mix flax meal with 1/2 cup fruit puree until well blended. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin and additional rice milk.

Mixing pumpkin into the pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Add the dry ingredients and stir gently until blended. Stir cranberries or tart cherries and chopped nuts together. At this point you can add more flour or more rice milk if the batter is not to you liking. It should be like lumpy mashed potatoes-don’t over mix.

pumpkin oatmeal cookie dough with nuts and cherries
I hold incorporating into batter. I want to see the actual texture to see if I need more flour or more rice milk

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.

pumpkin oatmeal cookies ready to bake
Spinkle your topping on now and press gently

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and set.  Don’t over bake!  You can use Airbake pans if you’re nervous about burning the cookies.  These are tender cookies, so you’ll need to let them cool for a few minutes on the pan to set up before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

freshly baked pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. I turn mine in the muffin tins and bake an additional 10 minutes.

This recipe was adapted from

These cookies were even a hit with the boys, who normally aren’t big on oatmeal cookies.  You can see it’s loaded with goodies.  :-)

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries - fall flavors with a hint of spice, these easy to make cookies are tender and delicious.

Post 233: This post speaks about contrasts. Israel has the finest medical sector, so much so that hospitals have departments to handle foreign patients, who are encouraged to come. That’s an influx. On the other hand, an Arab-Israeli journalist has just deposited himself in Iowa, for some R and R. Here’s one that I wish stayed in Jerusalem. Life in Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, About the humorist Sayed Kashua who has moved to the corn belt; Grain Salad

This post speaks about contrasts. Israel boasts about medical delivery, so much so that  hospitals have departments to handle foreign patients. On the other hand, an Arab-Israeli journalist has just deposited himself in Iowa, for some R and R or perhaps for good. Here’s one that I wish stayed in Israel.

Despite attempts of top designers, life on a hospital ward isn’t homey. The attempts are the icing on the cake. A hospital is meant to be efficient, innovative, clean and run by rules. Iconoclast that I am, efficiency gets the price in this context, because my husband will (IYH) have surgery at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem next week.

The new  ( a few years old) 4 star Davison Towers expansion at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, has one innovation that makes moving around on a gurney efficient. A gurney pivots and is difficult to maneuver and often appears to have a mind of it’s own. Just watch an orderly round a corner with it. With 20 operating rooms, hallway traffic  produces congestion. Hadassah has a system to overcome this problem.

The building designer/architect took into consideration the needs of the fellow wheeling the gurney. Instead of a dial inside the elevator with floor numbers, and the usual up-down arrows, there is instead a dial outside the elevator to punch in the desired floor.

I didn’t understand the purpose of this arrangement of no floor dials inside. But, when I was on the “Inside” escorting my husband with the orderly to several tests and procedures, the system made sense.

I observed the following: The orderly, stands at the head of the patient outside the elevator. He punches the desired floor. He walks into the elevator to the back and rolls his patient in. His hands are free and he doesn’t need to maneuver back to the elevator entrance to dial a floor. When the desired floor is reached, he’s in a proper position to move the gurney.

The Davidson building has 500 beds, 20 operating rooms, 20 silent elevators, three escalators, four healing gardens, and a synagogue. When we return to the cardio-thoractic floor next week, I’ll move around to see the other healing gardens and the synagogue. Larry’s angiogram was done in the old building. It was obvious that the hallways in the new building are twice the width of the old incorporating several nurses stations all accessible in a huge circle, making  entering and exiting a unit easy.

However, the family waiting room is placed at one end of the floor. If your family member/patient is at the extreme other end, the extremes distance between the  is the length of about a city block. I brought two thermuses, one for hot and one for cold water, to avoid that long haul.

Here are some of the tower’s features:Every bed has a window. A third of the tower’s 500 inpatient beds are in single rooms, the remainder in doubles, with complete privacy for each patient. Next to each bed is a recliner where relatives can spend the night. Every room has a safe, closet, Shabbat light, and en suite bathroom. A personal entertainment system is installed next to each bed. Patients have free multi-channel TV, radio and music stations, Internet, and personal services that can be ordered by remote control.

The Davidson Tower operating rooms are among the most advanced in the world. Some hybrid rooms allow surgery and catheterization in parallel. The walls are constructed of stainless steel. The most advanced control system is installed in the operating rooms.

Now for exterior features:

A Light Rail Station is to be built next to the hospital tower, which will disembark directly outside it and already has the established infrastructure. 3 of the elevators that service The Davidson Tower are glass-encased. The Davidson building has a 7-story, 1,000-space parking lot built across the street. The building is named after Sarah Wetsman Davidson, mother of the late Bill Davidson – one of the greatest supporters of Hadassah, who along with his wife Karen, contributed upwards of $75 million to help build the tower.

All the counters and work areas are composed of a composition like seamless corning.

Nice touch a self to hold your phone!

The hospital is attempting to trim fat off the budget. This goal became apparent as I was given a wooden stirrer when I asked for a plastic spoon. When visiting patients, bring your own disposable plates, etc. and coffee, because the family rooms are not stocked. And while your at it, bring your patient food, because he/she will need it.

Now is the time to find some humor.


Dismayed by Israeli politics, Kashua moved to Illinois. “He wants to be in the most parve place on earth,” his agent said.


A century ago, on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem, Albert Einstein gave the first lecture at the future Hebrew University, a ninety-minute inquest into cosmic mysteries: the meaning of time, the properties of light. In June, 2014, Sayed Kashua, a novelist, columnist, television writer, and perhaps the most visible representative of Palestinian life in Israel, trudged to the same spot with a more earthbound goal. A reluctant public speaker, he was there to deliver a commencement address to the graduating class. His subject was life between languages, familiar ground for an author who identifies himself as Palestinian but writes solely in Hebrew. Though he was given only fifteen minutes, the invitation was unprecedented—the first time the university had brought in an Arab to speak at graduation.


Background: Kashua, who is forty, with thick, once black hair and a brooding gaze, slouched a little behind the lectern. He grew up in Tira, an Arab village in central Israel, in a family of fruit farmers who had lived in the same house since the days of the British Mandate. In the past decade, he has become the kind of writer whose column, in the left-leaning newspaper Haaretz, “people hang on their fridge,” as a colleague put it. In 2007, a sitcom he wrote, titled “Arab Labor” (a Sabra idiom for second-rate work), had its début, introducing an Arab family to Israeli audiences for the first time.

It made him a celebrity not just on the comfortable left but, as one television executive told me, among “taxi-drivers and supporters of Beitar,” a Jerusalem soccer club whose right-wing fans have been known to chant “I hate all Arabs.”
Standing before the students and their families, Kashua decided to say a few words about the political climate. These were agitated days. (last summer).

A week earlier, three Israeli teen-agers had been kidnapped while hitching a ride in a settlement south of Jerusalem. Kashua recounted how his son told him about it, garbling the news reports and the results of that summer’s World Cup soccer tournament. In a recent game, the Netherlands had grabbed five goals; now, his son said, “Palestine grabbed three.”

His line drew nervous laughs, and Kashua quickly reassured the crowd: “It’s my fervent hope . . . the boys will be back home, safe and sound.”

But he confessed to feeling “a stabbing in the chest,” and asked, “Does the hope that they will return home imply some sort of declaration that the settlements can be considered legitimate?”

The next day, Ynet, the most widely read news site in Israel, ran a story about Kashua’s speech. It quoted one graduate saying that Kashua had complained that his children “bothered him” with news of the kidnapping “while he tried to watch the World Cup.” Another student said, “Kashua used the technique of joke-telling but injected his speech with radical statements.”

Political debate in Israel is vigorous, if not always elegant, often summoning the old Hebrew phrase that describes “a dialogue between deaf people.” But it has been dampened in recent years by a series of government-sponsored bills: one demanding that non-Jewish Israelis take loyalty oaths; another authorizing the finance ministry to withhold funds from organizations deemed—however vaguely—to be violating Israel’s foundational tenet of a “Jewish and democratic” state. Kashua, like other Arab Israelis in the public eye, was used to having his words scrutinized. But the summer’s events felt different.

As the conflict in Gaza escalated into war, the première of a movie based on his memoir “Dancing Arabs” was hastily scrapped. Flag-draped extremists in Tel Aviv brandished metal rods at antiwar demonstrators. The atmosphere of intimidation became so intense that Ayman Odeh, the youthful leader of the Joint List, an alliance of Arab-backed parties that represent Palestinian aspirations in Israel, announced that an “age of ostracism” had taken hold.

Within the Green Line that separates Israel proper from Gaza and the West Bank, Arab Israelis make up twenty per cent of the population. For liberal Israelis, and for Arabs who hope to be accepted as equals, Kashua embodied the country’s stated ideal of coexistence—of Arab Israelis’ full legal and civil integration.

For a decade, he had lived with his wife, Najat, in Ramat Denya, a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, and their children attended the city’s only bilingual school. In a country where columnists have a flair for grandiloquence, Kashua’s columns are conversational, confiding, anecdotal, centered on the rituals and trials of bourgeois life, like the “holiday tour” that includes stopping at sixteen relatives’ houses, or the visiting electrician who reprimands him for his children’s excessive television viewing. While his writing is rarely explicitly political, a sense of uprootedness lurks; when the electrician, also an Arab, overhears the kids speaking Hebrew, Kashua can’t stop apologizing.

Coexistence of the kind that Kashua represents seems increasingly out of reach these days, when more than a third of Jewish Israelis openly say that Arab citizens shouldn’t be entitled to equal rights. Of 1.7 million Arabs in Israel, perhaps forty thousand lead middle-class lives in mixed cities. Ayman Odeh told me that his party’s goal is for Arab citizens “to take part in every institution in the country—except for security, foreign relations, and immigration absorption, because these institutions blur the lines of our national identity.” But even his more hopeful speeches don’t envision such inclusiveness for ten more years.

Two weeks after Kashua’s commencement address, searchers discovered the bodies of the three kidnapped teen-agers in a mound of rocks in a field near Hebron. In Jerusalem, far-right protesters called on Jews to avenge the murders. Kashua watched the news, terrified.

As far as he knew, there were only five Arabs living in Ramat Denya: him, Najat, and their three children. When air-raid sirens warned of incoming rockets from Gaza, Kashua sent his kids to the bomb shelter, but he stayed away, uneasy around his neighbors. One day, his teen-age daughter was pummelled with water bottles, apparently for being Arab.

A day after the teen-agers’ funerals, a sixteen-year-old Palestinian was found dead amid the pines in the Jerusalem Forest. He had been bludgeoned and burned alive—an act of revenge for the teen-agers’ murder, his killers later claimed.

After that, Kashua said, “I didn’t want my children to leave the house.” He was scheduled to depart later that summer with his family for Champaign, Illinois, to teach for a year at the University of Illinois campus there. He moved up the date of their flight and changed the tickets to one-way. “I’m not coming back to this building, not coming back to this neighborhood, not coming back to Jerusalem,” he wrote in his Haaretz column.

“The lie I’d told my children about a future in which Arabs and Jews share the country equally was over.”

For Kashua’s faithful readers, his departure symbolized the country’s decline into angry factionalism. The Israeli author Amos Oz told me, “The fact that he left saddened me greatly. I can tell you that over the summer there wasn’t a decent Israeli who didn’t have similar thoughts.”

On the airplane, the heat of the day replaced by the cool nothing-air of transit, Kashua vowed that he wouldn’t return. “Please,” he said under his breath, “take me far, far away.”

How he came to Write:

The story of how Sayed Kashua came to write about Sayed Kashua sounds like a typical Sayed Kashua tale: the result of equal parts constraint and conviction. When he was sixteen, the only Arab student in his high-school class in Jerusalem, a teacher assigned an essay about a day in the life of a figure of the students’ choice. Kashua had the idea of writing—“hardcore-like,” he said—about a dead person. But a classmate who had lost her father asked if she could take the idea. He decided instead to tackle the only subject he knew well: “I wrote ‘A Day in the Life of Sayed Kashua.’ And I’ve been writing it ever since.”

The second of four brothers, Kashua was a nervous child—“scared of everything,” he said. At night, after his parents went to bed, he slipped into his grandmother’s room, where he heard stories about a bygone time, about “the fields and the lands and the first rain.”

It was from her that he learned how to tell a story, and from her that he found out about “the damned war” of 1948, when Israel won independence and more than seven hundred thousand Palestinians became refugees. His grandmother described how a Jewish sniper killed his grandfather as he was picking grapes, leaving her alone with four daughters and a two-month-old son. When the war was over, she wanted to return to the fields. “So she tries to head out,” Kashua said, “and she sees an Israeli soldier, and he tells her, ‘There are no fields.’ ”

Bereft of her land, she continued to work in Tira, twenty miles north of Tel Aviv, as a hired field hand. When Kashua’s father married, he brought his wife to live with his family, across the hill from the village mosque. Today, Tira is an overcrowded city, rife with corruption and gang violence. But when Kashua was growing up the streets were quiet and nameless. On airless summer nights, neighbors slept on their rooftops. His mother taught at the local school; his father, after years of farming, went to work for the interior ministry, issuing passports in a basement office. “Sometimes he got so bored that he’d renew all our I.D.s and passports,” Kashua has written. Like other people in the village, his father was active in the Communist Party; children grew up singing Red Army songs. Tira may be the only place on earth where you can meet a man named Abu Castro.

One day, Kashua, rummaging in an old suitcase in his grandmother’s closet, found a postcard stamped “Damon Prison, Haifa,” and dated 1970. It read, “Tell Mother to stop crying. I will be released soon.” Kashua discovered that his father had been held for more than two years in administrative detention, without trial. A dusty clipping from Haaretz described his arrest for failing to thwart a bombing in a Hebrew University cafeteria, in 1969, which wounded twenty-nine people. “Some of those involved in the bombing were apparently friends of his,” Kashua said. “But he never talked about it.” Newspaper reports from the time say that Darwish Kashua, then a student at the university, was held on suspicion of “assisting” the terrorists, but he was never charged.

After Darwish was released, he named his firstborn son Sam, after the SAM missiles that Egypt fired at Israel during the Yom Kippur War. To his mortification, his sons grew up wholly uninterested in politics. (“We can’t even draw a flag,” Kashua writes.) He urged them to excel in school and, above all, to read. “He thought that Lenin, Trotsky, and Marx were all the literature you needed,” Kashua said. “So I tried. I read all of that shit. That and ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ in Arabic. Every Arab home I ever knew had ‘The Old Man and the Sea.’ ”
Kashua was fourteen when the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy, the country’s most prestigious high school, reached out to Arab villages, seeking to diversify. Dozens of kids were bused in to take an entrance exam, and only Kashua and one older boy passed. Kashua arrived at school with a pencil-line mustache and a loud, billowy shirt—“Qalqilya fashion,” he calls it, after the provincial West Bank town. Outside the building, kids hounded him, chanting, “Muhammad is dead.” The first day, on the bus ride home, a soldier asked to see his identity card. Kashua, who wasn’t old enough to get an Israeli I.D., was thrown off the bus. “That’s when I started to understand what it meant to be Arab,” he said. Sobbing, he called his father. “Whose son are you?” his father said, laughing. “When a soldier didn’t notice me on the bus I would wave my I.D. and say, ‘I’m Arab, take me off!’ ”

Arabic is a diglossic language, with literary and colloquial versions. Kashua, whose Arabic education ended when he enrolled in the Jerusalem academy, isn’t versed in the literary one. The books he learned most deeply were classics of modern Hebrew, and they suggested a world he didn’t inhabit. Books by Amos Oz, David Grossman, and Meir Shalev implied that the Hebrew canon was closed to anyone who wasn’t a fair-skinned Ashkenazi. When Arabs appeared in their stories, it was usually as a Jewish character’s foil or negative image—what the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury has called “a shadow.”

Kashua likes to say that he fell in love in Hebrew, not with Hebrew. It was during his last year of high school, with a Jewish classmate. “I loved her like you can only love your first love,” he said. But the girl’s mother didn’t approve of the relationship—“I don’t want my daughter to live in an Arab village,” she told him. After graduation, as Kashua’s schoolmates left to perform their mandatory Army service, he stayed in Jerusalem and enrolled in university. He was lonely and quickly became depressed. Two events saved him: meeting Najat, a first-year student who also came from Tira, and beginning to report for a weekly paper called Kol Ha’ir.

Kashua’s first assignment, when he was twenty-one, was to cover an arts festival in Arab East Jerusalem. Kashua told me that he abhorred “any sign of nationalism” in a cultural context, and so his piece “made fun of the whole thing.” Yosef Cohen, then the editor of the paper, said, “In Hebrew media, there’s a tendency to see Arabs either through the sight of the rifle or as the eternal martyrs. Sayed did neither. He showed Arabs as human beings, with a sense of irony that was quite rare.”

Kashua decided to remain in Jerusalem and write, but when he told his parents they were devastated. “Art is for Jews,” his mother told him. “Minorities need a profession.” At night, in an unheated studio apartment he shared with Najat, in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, Kashua started writing a bleak, meandering memoir. A group of young journalists from Kol Ha’ir met after hours, reading aloud from their work. At those meetings, Kashua tried out chapters:

There are only Arabs in the emergency room. Women who seem older than they are, with head scarves and plastic thongs, drag themselves through the corridors. Sometimes they bite the edge of their scarves. They seem lost, not knowing where to go. Why the hell do they have to look like that? Why do they even go out of the house? And why are those plastic thongs still being sold anyway?
Just don’t let anyone think I’m one of them or that I’m like them. Just don’t let them call out my wife’s name when it’s her turn.

In 2002, the memoir, “Dancing Arabs,” was published, and it introduced Kashua as a bracing voice in Hebrew literature. The Times compared the book to James Weldon Johnson’s “Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.” But being the anointed Arab interlocutor for Jewish readers came at a price. Najat warned Kashua against publishing a book that portrayed their home town as a petty, claustrophobic place, and that detailed, often in comic and critical terms, such taboos as dishonoring one’s parents or considering infidelity. “I didn’t want to deal with these things,” she recalled. “It would have been difficult for anyone to share, but especially for us, coming from a society that is—what can you do—very conservative.” One reviewer of the novel, in the Arabic-language newspaper Al Ittihad, told me that he took issue with Kashua’s writing “about his grandmother’s closet, about her underthings.” Almost immediately, Kashua regretted writing the book.

“Arab society in Israel suffers from a syndrome of ‘Who’s more Arab than whom?’ ” Ayman Sikseck, a young Arab Israeli novelist who writes in Hebrew, said. “And once you coöperate with the Israeli establishment then you’re supposedly no longer Arab.” The political map points to a precarious reality. Two-thirds of Arab Israelis, including Kashua and the politicians of the Joint List, support the idea of a Palestinian state. But, according to a 2012 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, only a quarter of them are willing to have the cities they live in belong to it.

Many Arabs, like Kashua, consider themselves both Palestinian and Israeli, a bifurcated identity that speaks to years of strife and longing. “People keep bringing up this question of ‘Would you want to live in a Palestinian state?’ ” Kashua told me. “Is there a Palestinian state? Where are its borders, exactly? What they’re asking is if you’d want to live behind a fence and be occupied. Of course not.”
Kashua made this ambivalence the subject of his next book, “Let It Be Morning,” a dystopian thriller about the residents of an Arab village who wake up one day to find themselves besieged by Israeli tanks, prompting a struggle to survive. As people claw through trash heaps, looking for food, they realize that the tanks are the by-product of a peace agreement; residents are under the jurisdiction of a new Palestinian state. When the novel came out, in 2004, the Arab journalist Ala Hlehel said, “It upgraded him from immediately suspect to immediately guilty.”

How Kashua came to write for Israeli TV through an observant Jewish producer:

That winter, Kashua got a call from the television producer Danny Paran, asking to meet. Paran, an observant Jew, is an outlier in Israeli show business, whose ranks tend to be secular and left-wing, but he is a respected veteran, and he had been following Kashua’s newspaper columns. He had an idea for a series that he wanted to market to the Arab world.

“He took me to some kosher café,” Kashua recalled, and “kept fixing his kipa.” Kashua was fascinated to encounter a Jewish producer who was interested in Arab television, but he found Paran’s idea laughable. Hadn’t he heard of the Arab world’s boycott of Israel? They decided to collaborate on a different concept: a comedy about Jewish-Arab relations. Paran saw it as an antidote to the “heavy” political dramas that tried to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kashua envisioned a series closer to home, “about an Arab who really wants to do everything in order to be accepted as an equal in Israeli society—but it doesn’t work.” He had another motive, too, he later acknowledged. Although Arab Israelis represent a fifth of the population, in 2011 they made up one per cent of the characters on national TV and, according to a report by the agency that oversees commercial broadcasts in Israel, “usually appear in the context of crime and violence.” Kashua wanted “people to get used to seeing Arab actors on prime-time television.”

Kashua set to work, devising a deceptively modest script that skewered stereotypes among both Jews and Arabs. He said that he wanted each episode to touch on a stigma in Israeli society: “the whole thing with Arabs and dogs,” “Arabs and swimming,” and “Arabs and driving” (are afraid of, can’t, and are bad at, respectively). The script, whose dialogue was mostly in Arabic, to be screened with Hebrew subtitles, addressed the conflict at its most mundane: the measly water pressure in Arab towns, the spotty Internet coverage, the dearth of Arab gardeners following crackdowns. As Yonatan Amir, a friend of Kashua’s, said, the show helped explain “the kind of politics that arises from the dirty dishes in the sink.”
“Arab Labor” centers on Amjad Elian, a sycophantic Arab journalist for a Hebrew newspaper, who lives in an Arab village before moving with his family to a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. In the pilot, Amjad is fed up with being pulled over at checkpoints. He blasts Army Radio and puts on his best accent when addressing the soldiers, but nothing helps. Bewildered, he turns to a Jewish colleague, who tells him that the problem is with his car: “A Subaru like yours could belong only to Arabs or young settlers.” He recommends a Land Rover, so Amjad proceeds to buy one—stolen—from a local Arab dealer. The soldiers now wave him through. But Amjad’s father is livid when he hears that his son was seen wearing a seat belt. “Seat belt!” he tells his wife, and makes an effeminate gesture.

Kashua used prejudice like a boomerang: the moment a viewer snickered at a joke, she became its next target. “I’m not sure whom I’m laughing at, exactly,” he once said. “I think I’m laughing at Amjad, but maybe I’m really laughing at Israelis for thinking these things.” Incisive as Kashua was about right-wingers, he was even more unsparing toward the left and its hypocrisies. After a Jewish neighbor mistakes Amjad for the building’s new staircase cleaner (“Don’t leave a puddle by the door,” she warns), she awkwardly backpedals by announcing her membership in a leftist party: “We vote Meretz. Just so you know.”

For more than a year, Paran shopped around Kashua’s script, but network executives weren’t interested. “The challenge was to bring an Arab-speaking show to mainstream Israel,” Udi Lion, then a director of special programming at Keshet Media Group, said. “Even worldwide this hasn’t been done. There’s no Turkish-language show in Germany, no Spanish-speaking show on NBC, for example. Not in a foreign language, let alone in the language of the enemy.”

It didn’t help that Kashua was certain the series would fail. “I would throw seventy per cent of ‘Arab Labor’ in the trash,” he told me. He can be exacting on set, and, like many comedy writers, he is riddled with anxiety. “How should I put this gently,” Ran Telem, an executive at Keshet, said. “You know those girls in school who always come out of an exam crying and thinking they’ve failed and then they ace it? That’s Sayed.”

In April, 2005, Keshet won a ten-year deal to produce shows for Channel 2, the most widely watched channel on television. The agreement, drafted by a committee of public representatives, had a high-minded purpose: to develop shows made by and about “previously disenfranchised” sectors of society. By year’s end, Kashua’s series had been green-lighted.
“Arab Labor” was an overnight hit. Twenty-five per cent of viewers tuned in for the première, making it the third-most-watched series on TV. The production felt dated—misunderstandings spun out of control, set to punchy music—but the dialogue was unlike anything else on TV. For the most part, Jewish critics praised the series—Haaretz called it “easily the best show” on Israeli television—though they tended to stress its “importance,” rather than its entertainment value.

But in the Arab Israeli community the series, even more than Kashua’s novels, was met with scorn. Some Arab intellectuals said that the show trafficked in the very stereotypes that it was meant to upend. Amal Jamal, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University, described it as “a fig-leaf show.” Kashua had done as much as he could, he said, but the show didn’t go far enough: “It doesn’t present racism as institutionalized, sanctioned, deep, and systemic.” Others attacked Kashua personally. A newspaper affiliated with the Islamist movement called him “a slave to the Jewish masters.” Pamphlets circulated in Tira calling him a “Jewish pig.”

One day in 2007, during the worst of this onslaught, Kashua sat in his parents’ living room, in Tira, and watched an episode of “Arab Labor.” The scene is depicted in the documentary “Sayed Kashua: Forever Scared,” by the filmmaker Dorit Zimbalist. “In today’s episode, there was ninety per cent Arabic—on prime-time Channel 2!” Kashua tells his parents, sounding embittered. If that didn’t register with Arab Israelis, what would? “Screw those Arab sons of bitches,” he mutters.

Reflecting on the criticism and the vilification, he says, “You hear things like that and say, ‘Fuck, for whose benefit am I carrying this burden?’ ” At the same time, he wonders whether his Arab critics are right. “Do you know what I’m fed up with? With this road I’ve taken, slowly and gently, just like this series. I say, ‘Yes, through culture, slowly they’ll understand.’ But it’s not true. And Israelis can’t take the truth to their faces.” Growing angry, he says, “I suck up to them, and what do I do on Passover? The column for Passover. I have to amuse Jews to be read over the weekend, so they can laugh at the Arab. I want to shout ‘Happy holiday’—but, you know, really shout it.” He cups a hand over his mouth and bellows, “Happy holiday! Have a happy holiday!”

Before I (Margolit) visited Kashua in Champaign, where he recently extended his contract with the University of Illinois for three more years, he warned me, “It’s one of the most boring places you’ll ever go to.” He insisted on meeting me at the airport, and arrived in a behemoth black Jeep, a booster seat in the back. “Does it smell like chicken?” he asked as I got in.

We drove through suburban streets to pick up his sons, who are ten and four, from school. His kids are by now trilingual and, unlike their parents, seem happily settled in their new surroundings. They argued over whether their Playmobil came from Target or from Walmart, while their older sister—“the tallest girl you can imagine,” Kashua said—was at basketball practice. At their house, a modest brick-and-clapboard rental, a car with an “Obama ’08” sticker was parked in the driveway.
Najat, a psychotherapist by training, appears in Israeli public life mostly as a crabbed presence, the object of her husband’s jokes. (“For a long time, I thought that depression can breed creativity,” Kashua once said, at a party for a season première. “She showed me that so, too, can sexual frustration.”) In person, she was graceful, with a pearly smile and dark hair coiled in a loose bun. She delighted in her kids’ Americanness—“Wait till we tell Fletcher!” she mimicked her youngest—and had a calm authority over her husband.

As we sat down, I asked whether the family followed the news from home. “Enough to not want to go back,” Kashua said. That day, someone had spray-painted “Death to the Arabs” on the bilingual school that the children had attended. A new government policy briefly forbade Palestinian workers to ride the same buses as Jewish settlers. “People say ‘Come back—just give it some time,’ ” he said. “Fuck that. I’m tired of waiting.” Still, in a recent column he had confessed to having an “overwhelming desire to go back home.” He couldn’t rid himself of the notion of the homeland that his father had instilled in him: “He etched in our brains the fear of leaving the country.”

The socializing he did was confined mostly to Israeli expats, of the sort who read him at home. He was struggling to create a life for himself, as was Najat. “Loneliness isn’t the problem,” she explained. “It’s the sense of having to build something new at an age when you’re not exactly ready for something new.”

Kashua’s creative life remains in Israel. A series he has written about a depressed comedy writer—his “Louie,” as some members of the production crew put it—is being edited. His column in Haaretz still runs every Friday; he recently described himself scrutinizing dishes on a restaurant menu with his daughter. (“It’s Cajun style,” she tells him. “I don’t think you’ll like it.”) “A Borrowed Identity,” the movie based on “Dancing Arabs,” was released in the U.S. this summer, but the interpretation is wooden, and it didn’t play much beyond the festival circuit. Those close to Kashua sense his displacement. His longtime literary agent, Deborah Harris, was baffled by his decision to settle in Champaign, rather than in New York or Boston. “I think he really wanted it to be exile,” she said. “He wants to be in the most parve place in the world.”
One afternoon, I met Kashua outside the building of the university’s Jewish-studies department, where he teaches advanced Hebrew. He was smoking next to a notice that said, “This is a smoke-free campus.” The irony of his situation—a Palestinian writer leaves Israel only to find himself teaching Hebrew to American Jews—hadn’t escaped him. When he was offered the job, he said, he warned the department head that students might adopt his Arabic accent in Hebrew and be “kicked out of Birthright,” the organization that offers Jewish kids free trips to Israel.

Inside, five students chatted around an oblong table, and a framed photograph on the wall showed a young woman holding a sign that read, “I am not a self-hating Jew.” Kashua is an uncertain, even timid teacher. In Hebrew, he asked the students to hand in homework at the end of class, then immediately demurred: “I don’t know. Do you want to?” Still, he bantered easily with them. When he asked them to translate “insert” and got a few snickers, he smiled and scolded them: “Only the shit words you understand.” Grammar bored him, but he loosened up a little as the students began reading a Hebrew translation of Italo Calvino’s “Adventure of Two Spouses,” struggling through language far too intricately shaded for them to manage. As they rose to leave, he handed them more pages: another story, this one by the Israeli writer S. Y. Agnon. “I was told it’s good for you,” he said. “Because Hebrew is important for you, right? And for me, too. Unfortunately.”

On my last night in Champaign, Kashua took me to a local sports bar, a barn-size establishment that he referred to as his “little neighborhood-y place.” Before leaving Israel, he said, he had lost his driver’s license in a D.U.I., and so he was allowing himself only one drink. But, as we sat, the resolution receded. Over Green Line beer, he spoke of his father, of his family in Tira, of Jerusalem.

In the bar, Kashua considered the distance between him and his old home. Despite pressure from Keshet, he has refused to write a fifth season of “Arab Labor.” He told me, “I couldn’t do humor anymore.” He was under contract for a new novel—about a journalist who sets out to write his father’s story while living in a small university town—but he hadn’t started. “I used to go to a bar, look at the kitchen, and see two Arab workers, or even Africans. I could be accurate; I could describe them. Here, I go, I look, I don’t know what I see.”

Mostly, he talked about his children, and his fear that they would grow up to resent him. “For confusing them,” he explained. “For the fact that they will have nowhere to be. Not there and not there and not here.” He once told his parents that, despite the hostility, he loved their home town more than anything else in the world. In the bar, he asked, “What kind of Tira do my kids have?” He seemed to weigh the question. “I wanted a more comfortable life for them. But you can’t raise children in Israel on values of full equality. Arab children, I mean. Jewish children maybe you can lie to. But when my children find out they’re not equal where will they go?” ♦

Spicy Kasha Veggi Salad

Instead of kasha, you can substitute 1 cup of quinoa, bulgur wheat, millet, or any whole grain and cook it in the amount of water/broth .. 


  • 1 cup buckwheat kasha, medium granulation
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 large cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas/adzuki beans
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or pomegranate molasses) or other sweetener to taste
  • 1-3 teaspoon hot pepper paste or sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)


  1. Heat 2 cups of vegetable broth (or heat water and add vegetable bouillon). While you’re waiting for it to come to a boil, toast the kasha/millet/quinoa  in a large, dry saucepan for about 3 minutes, or until it releases a nutty aroma. When the broth reaches a boil, add it carefully to the kasha (watch out for spatters!) Cover and turn the heat very low. Place a diffuser underneath. Cook until kasha/grain is tender and all liquid is absorbed, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff, and allow to cool. Kasha/grain can be refrigerated overnight, if necessary.
  2. Add all chopped vegetables and the chickpeas/beans to the kasha. Mix the lemon juice and remaining ingredients well and add them to the kasha, stirring so that the dressing is distributed evenly. Serve mounded in the center of a large platter, with  lettuce leaves. To eat, spoon some of the salad into a lettuce leaf and eat like a taco or burrito.
  3. Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus cooling time) | Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 132 calories, 11 calories from fat, 1.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 267.5mg sodium, 307.6mg potassium, 27.4g carbohydrates, 4.8g fiber, 4.4g sugar, 5.3g protein, 3.9 points.

Continue reading Post 233: This post speaks about contrasts. Israel has the finest medical sector, so much so that hospitals have departments to handle foreign patients, who are encouraged to come. That’s an influx. On the other hand, an Arab-Israeli journalist has just deposited himself in Iowa, for some R and R. Here’s one that I wish stayed in Jerusalem. Life in Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, About the humorist Sayed Kashua who has moved to the corn belt; Grain Salad