Post 292 What is special about Purim in Jerusalem. Brussles under lock-down, Purim Jerusalem map link :Future of the legal battle against BDS meets in Israel YNET News | March 18, 2016 -Geek Picnic – A futuristic Luna Park for the whole family in Jerusalem, Israel. April 25-27, 2016 Several ways to prepare and uses of vegetables like spaghetti squash and sweet potato for Shalach Manot -post Purim Juice Cleanse

Preparations were started for Purim Day at about 8:30 A.M.

This is a scene before a Purim fest. The young people have taken over the out-door plaza, sort of a circle in the round, and brought in walls of beer cartons.. An ambitious entrepreneur is prepared for the crowd.


A Crowd of young folks listening to recitation of the megillah in the Trumpador Cafe.

Every year I look forward to Purim, the holiday to celebrate the miracle of the Jewish people’s deliverance from a decree of King Achashverosh to destroy them.   What is so special about Purim in Jerusalem? Here, turn a corner and see the hand of Hashem (so to speak) at work, where we experience free-flowing unrestricted joy. I’ll turn to up-coming events and then describe my plans for the next few days including some of my miraculous events.

Unfortunately, today the Jewish Community in Brussels does not anticipate Purim with the same Simcha this year. The community is under a lockdown, Shimon Bretholz, a Jewish community worker, describes the massive security presence that always accompanies Jewish activities in Brussels differently. “It…massively destroys us all.” The never-ending fear and feeling of always being on high alert are exhausting. The week of the attack was meant to be a light moment when Brussels Jewish community would come together to celebrate Purim with some high profile communal events. Residents were planning a major Purim party for the whole city and expected a thousand attendees, all hearing the Book of Esther together and celebrating the holiday. Instead, all public events have been cancelled. In the hours after the attacks, Brussels’ Jewish communal leaders set up a situation room, monitoring the security in their city. “They fear there will be more attacks and (warn against) taking any unnecessary risks,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, CEO of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, explained to Israeli newspapers.

Rabbi Margolin, whose office is located next to the bombed Maelbeek metro station, says, “The Jewish community here in Brussels and in Europe in general is not surprised… We’ve been receiving alerts for a long time now. Despite the shock the city experienced, we were not surprised. Of course, we feel the concern and the pressure, but we were really not surprised by everything that’s going on in the city. It was only a matter of time before such an attack happened.“Today was awful, unbelievable, such darkness…” Isabelle Steinkalik recounted to Brussels looked like a “death city. People are afraid. When it was just terrorism against Jewish people they didn’t so deeply care. Now it’s changed. People are realizing terrorists can kill anybody.” Brussels’ main Jewish school dismissed its students at 12:30, asking parents to pick up their children one at a time to avoid having a crowd in front of the building. Brussels resident and community activist Shimon Bretholz was one of the terrified parents picking up their children. “There is no future for Jews in Brussels,” he adamantly told “There is also not a future for Jews in Europe.” He would like to move to Israel, he explained, but first needs to find a job. Isabelle Steinkalik concurs; Brussels’ Jews are leaving, moving to Israel and other places. Rates of aliyah increased 25% in 2015 for Belgian Jews; overall about 200 Belgian Jews relocate to Israel each year.


Yesterday morning I stepped back when I saw this person approaching me. Look closely at the details of the costume. Amazing? He was with a friend at about 8:00AM about to make his appearance at a High School called the Gymnasia. The whole school was involved with decorating and dressing up.

Purim Events in the city are displayed in the following link: Map:

Attempts to destroy Israel and the Jewish people are being fought today. The future of the legal battle against BDS meets in Israel
YNET News | March 18, 2016


45 lawyers, scholars, and judges from around the world convene in Israel for an eight-day seminar to meet with top Israeli legal experts and learn ways to fight BDS, employing their legal expertise.

Participants of anti-BDS legal seminar

An eight-day seminar, bringing 45 lawyers, scholars, and judges from all over the world to aid Israel in its fight against BDS, started earlier this week in Israel.

The goal of the seminar, organized by Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin, is to help its participants learn about the security threats facing Israel and how the country is fighting for its defense and international image. Israeli legal experts will give lectures to the visiting jurists, and high-ranking security officials will provide briefings.

Among the planned activities for the participants are meetings with Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, the deputy president of the Supreme Court; renowned American jurist Professor Alan Dershowitz; Lt.-Col. Menachem Lieberman, the president of the Ofer military court; Daniel Reisner and Pnina Sharvit, lawyers who are experts in international law; and Kent Yalowitz, a lawyer from Arnold and Porter, which won a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority.

Seminar attendees will participate in two workshops with experts, who will teach them how to fight BDS on university campuses with the help of legal tools and social media. They will also tour courts and observe ongoing terror trials in addition to visiting the security barrier, West Bank checkpoints, and the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

A lawyer who is participating in the seminar said that he specifically wanted to come to Israel at the height of current violence to understand what is happening in the region and to what extent Israel is threatened in terms of security and policy. He added that he is interested in hearing the perspective of high-ranking security officials to receive a fuller picture and hopes to understand how he can help Israel in its fight against BDS and terror.

The goal of the seminar is to create a network of jurists who can help Israel fight against BDS and those calling for Israel’s destruction with legal tools. The participants will brainstorm ways to fight terror and delegitimization with their legal talents.

“We hope that the selected group will create a basis for an international network to fight for Israel in courts of law throughout the world,” said Nitzvah Darshan Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin. “The State of Israel desperately needs forces to fight against the threats it faces. Additionally, many Jewish and non-Jewish lawyers want to help the State of Israel fight for its existence. This seminar is a meeting of those two forces.”
YNET News. All rights reserved.

Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center

10 Hata’as St. Ramat Gan, 52512 Israel
Phone: 972-3-7514175    |    Fax: 972-3-7514174

It seems that nothing really changes, except the story of my Shalach Manot and miracle accompanying the making (albeit small) :

These are the size of pizza sauce jars. I used a kilo of apples, 500 grams of celery, 250 grams parsley, lemon and ginger

 In years past I have made pastries. This year the gifts to our friends will be 4oz of a juice to sparkle up the internal organs, and a spicy spaghetti squash muffin (two foods requires for each Shalach Manot, which means sending gifts). The 100% juice consists of  apples, celery, parsley, lemon and ginger.  I am storing these ingredients in my crowded fridge and literally on every surface close to a sink.

Preparations started about a week ago. The bottle collection came from ones I’ve been storing over a period. However, many bottles have no caps. I was about to carve out cork bottle caps for my bottles. However, I discovered that wine bottle corks are for the most part made from a plastic material .

As Hashem helps us when we are doing a mitzvah, the way to get my caps became revealed.

This past Shabat, I went to the kiddush that was held next to the shuk. A community pot luck affair. The picnic blankets were spread out and every few meters a bottle of wine was  standing waiting to be poured. A few hundred young people gathered dressed informally. Here and there fellows in sprawling white gotchkes and shirts, with solid walking shoes, were scouting the ladies.

I started a conversation with Shlomo.

Image result for vintage men's hat biltmore

Shlomo proudly donned a BILTMORE New York Fur Felt Fedora Hat, like the one in the above photograph, a dapper vintage model from the 1940’s. Since he offered to share the origin of his top-hat, I commented that his collar was a “Chesterfield”, the type of velvet collar often a top a vintage glen plaid in this case a black and grey wool jacket, that went well with his slight build. That too was a glen plaid, but I didn’t want to overwhelm him with details. He was the most formally dressed in the crown, with the exception of the yeshivah boys, and they without suit jackets. This really gave away the fact that Shlomo was a visitor. Friends on the spot, that’s Jerusalem.

Shlomo is a film-maker and was thoroughly enjoying his time in Jerusalem, making a friend for future visits and perhaps for the eventual day that he would move to Israel. His work has extended to Jerusalem. He put together the video for Beer Bazaar, one of the trendiest places in the Machana Yehudah Shuk.

Avi Moskowitz, who opened the Beer Bazaar in Jerusalem's bustling Mahane Yehuda market (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Avi Moskowitz, who opened the Beer Bazaar in Jerusalem’s bustling Mahane Yehuda market (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

I’ll tell you a little about the beer bazaar.

Avi Moskowitz, 51, a Brooklyn native and former hi-tech employee, is a father of four and grandfather of three. He has spent the last 20 years on the New York-Efrat line, until he decided to settle in Jerusalem a couple of months ago. It seems that the passion that led him to swap the delights of the US for the Israeli swamp has also served him well in his choice of business.Packed every night despite the fear”As long as we were bringing up children, we preferred to live in the suburbs,” Moskowitz says. “We thought it would be better for them. “When they had grown up, we decided to return to city life. We bought an apartment 300 meters from the market, but we thought more time would pass before we’d move there. When our daughter made aliyah with our grandchildren, the penny dropped and we realized that we wanted to be there, only there.”

Jerusalemites swap fear for beer

Brooklyn-born Avi Moskovitz’s friends told him he had to be crazy to open a pub in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market now. But Moskowitz, who worked in hi-tech, opened Beer Bazaar in the heart of the market, selling Israeli beer only. This is Jerusalem syndrome, the party version.When Jerusalem’s restaurant owners are talking about a significant decrease in customers over the last few weeks, the light rail is almost empty of people and fear continues to dominate the streets, you would need to be crazy – or at least crazy about something – to open a bar right now. But judging by what went on at Jerusalem’s Beer Bazaar last weekend, the crazy gamble has paid off.

Packed every night despite the fear

The exterior of the Beer Bazaar (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
The exterior of the Beer Bazaar (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

“And when we got to the apartment and saw it we knew we wanted to move in,” Moskowitz continues. “The market is an incredible place, you experience everything here. Only this morning two terrorists were walking around here trying to stab people. I was in the bar when it happened, people were walking around the market, noise started, we realized something was going on. It was a mess and then after a few hours everything was relaxed again.

“The next decision was to make an old dream come true here and open a bar in which people of all kinds would sit together, drink beer, eat something and chat. I didn’t believe I’d do it, and everyone around me said I was crazy. But for me, the market is the place to try, there’s a lot of movement here, and curious people, and it works. With all that’s happening and despite the tough conditions, the place is full every night. I sometimes think I’ve developed Jerusalem syndrome – but I actually feel blessed, not as if I’ve sacrificed something.”

Over a hundred boutique Israeli bottled beers are on offer at the Beer Bazaar, and nine on tap. Moskowitz only sells Israeli brews – he sees it as the Zionist response to the European boycott of Israeli products. The establishment has a Rabanute Hechchshir

Also Shlomo added that his video for Beer Bazaar had was selected in the bar’s  competition. That impressed me. I decided to view it. It was very well done.

The above conversation with Shlomo resonated with me, and on Monday, I ventured into the busy bar ( at 2PM and asked if I would be able to speak to the chef). I met Chaim David who was filling an order and in bits and pieces I described my Shalach Manot project of “bottling” my health juice concoction. Without batting an eyelash, he said, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll have some caps for you. I’ll show you the knack of putting the caps on the bottles.” That was Monday. I was expecting old caps.

Later, I called Beer Bazaar to confirm that I was coming by. I definitely didn’t want to show up at a bad time. I reached Helen Moskowitz, Beer Bazaar’s co-owner. She patiently listened to my request. She was busy and in a short time returned my call, promising to leave the caps behind the bar. That was very gracious.

I’m always pushing borders. When I arrived, at about 6PM there was a crowd around the bar. No staff to help me cap my bottles with the juice that was sitting in my wagon. That wall of shinning Israeli beer bottles was an attraction. Apparently, the health authorities are looking the other way and not looking over the shoulder of Israel’s several hundred “Boutique Breweries”. I hitched up to a lady sitting next to the wall of beers who was part of a threesome. Thought maybe they would recommend a particular light beer. Helen Moskowitz came over with the caps and explained that non of the boutique beers have a Hechshir that I would use. That was disappointing.
I continued my conversation with the Australian lady and learned that they had just arrived from Australia. The third member of the group, a young woman, identified herself as a student of my daughter. In fact, we have  been in the same class! Just made another Jerusalem friend.


Today I finished peeling about ten lbs. of apples. Tomorrow, we’ll find a way to seal the caps.

Rather than mechanically peeling the apples, I thought “how may one prevent the peeled apples from browning” ?

Aside from adding lemon juice, I’ve never given much thought to apple flesh. A bruised apple starts  hemorrhaging and the visible browning internal process.

Apples, like most fruit are very delicate. And as my Korean greengrocer in New York City advised, “never wash fruit until you serve it”. I would add another caveat, “handle fruit minimally, gently and at your own risk”. I examined  my peeling method.  Compare peeling an apple to demolishing a house. Demolition takes place from the “core” outwards. The outside walls are the last to come down. Similarly, rather than core the apple, I sliced a bunch in half and turned them over, then cored and then peeled. This left a minimum of the apple’s surface to be exposed to the air to deteriorate. Minimum handling.






If Purim is here then Pesach is only a month away. Both chagim appeal to me because they are about appreciating the miracles that have been showered on the Jewish people. And each with their story, is different every time it is told.

As a child, I relished the toasted almonds in shells that my father would prepare. He would watch them meticulously. My brothers and I would wait for them and of course fight for our share.

Now it isn’t necessary to wait for a feast of nuts. So where is Daddy to roast those nuts? Perhaps he is out gathering  the snacks from the shuk or working late to earn big bucks to take the kids out to amusements during Chol Ha Moed? Does the following sound like the city selling out to a developer?

The following is a description of Geek Picnic – A futuristic Luna Park for the whole family in Jerusalem, Israel. April 25-27, 2016.

IMG_8636 (1) (1)The first international edition of the Geek Picnic is taking place this
Passover in Jerusalem, Israel.  Or rather taking over Sacher Park.

The Geek Picnic portends to be a science, technology and art festival to make you experience all that is “geek chic”: from revolutionary scientific research to the latest high-tech gadget. The event takes place on three days during Passover. Buy your tickets early for the event on April 25, April 26, or April 27.

Jerusalem’s Sacher Park has been chosen as the first international, outside Russia, open-air foray for this sensational event, which has been taking place annually in St.Petersburg, from 2011, and has quickly become a global phenomenon, joined by enthusiasts from all over the world.

Israel, the start-up nation, represents a fitting setting where to venture for an international edition of the Geek Picnic, and Jerusalem, with its unique mix of academic and technological excellency alongside its historical and spiritual heritage, was selected after careful consideration for its potential to offer fertile ground for the festival to grow in new, groundbreaking and inspiring directions.

The array of events and attractions at the Geek Picnic is meant for different kinds of audience: professionals, geek enthusiasts or families looking for fun and educational entertainment.




  • The Robotic Garden – Zoo of robots of various sizes and shapes, from all over the world.

  • The Third Industrial Revolution – Have you ever imagined printing an espresso? Check-out the most ground-breaking uses of 3D printers.

  • The Makers –  Some of the most influential inventors and artists in the world today are here for you to meet them.

  • Digital Art – Art and science fuse in performances combining multiple technologies, dance and music.

  • Gaming Zone – It cannot miss a gaming zone, for all geeks who love to play with the support latest technological toys.

  • The Virtual Realm – 2016 is the year of virtual reality. As many devices are becoming available to the general public, Geek Picnic showcases some of the most sophisticated virtual reality technology, for you to try and be mind-blown!

  • Geeks and Gadget Market – The biggest fair of all-that’s-geek.

  • Wearable technologies – 3D printed clothing, try them on!

  • Bionics and Cyborgs – Technology used to improve the human body. This interesting, at times controversial field has a space at the Geek Picnic through the stories and experiences of people that, for disabilities or desire to “upgrade” have become “super-human”.

  • The Lightning Show – The Tesla Coils turns into an electrifying show of high-tension lightning dance.

  • I Love Science – Conferences by more than 50 speakers, live demonstrations, experiments and discussion forums.

The Geek Picnic will take place in Sacher Park, Jerusalem, on April 25 from 9:00 to 14:30, on April 26, all day, and on April 27, all day. For early birds the ticket costs 124 ILS,  while regular ticket price is 144 ILS. Buy your tickets for the event on April 25, April 26, or April 27. THAT IS about $50.00 per person including all children over the age of 5. The city will not make any profit form this event.

The end of this post describes alternatives to the usual sugary and wine gifts for Shalach Manot.

What makes these muffins special is the sweet, orange-gold squash that’s baked-in. You can use canned pumpkin, which works just fine, or you can roast your own spaghetti squash or sweet potatoes and make a puree.

Recipe :

One advantage to roasting your own is the toasty, caramel smell it gives your kitchen. I used spaghetti squash, a winter squash variety with rich flesh, lots of flavor, and low water content.

As you can see, the peel can be smooth or textured and the flesh a variety of colors.


I tried roasting this type of squash with a lot of stock. However, for the final step to achieve a fluffy spaghetti, the pressure cooker was necessary. The membranes and seeds were left in situ, scooped out and eaten after cooking,

Many bakers shy away from spaghetti squash. The easiest way is to slice thru the tough shell prepare slices about 1-1.5 inches. Place liquid in the pressure cooker halfway up your slices. MIx water and stock in the ratio of about 1:1. I placed a steamer inside the cooker. Closed the lid. Listen for the the pressure to  rise over two minutes. Lower the temperature to lowest for you stove-top and inserted a diffuser underneath the pot. Cook another 5 minutes. Use the quick release method as the pressure will be  reduced.

Sometimes, when the pot is more than half full, I’ll stop the cooking process, open the pressure cooker and redistribute the contents. This is particularly helpful with the tiny sweet potatoes that most folks pass up in the shuk. They are somewhat wrinkled due to water loss from storage. However a pressure cook will plump them up! When I open the cooker, I often add more liquid and sprinkle the surface of the Tates .

These are not the kind of tates that you’d wrap and put on the bar beque. However, when cool, they peel in a flash

Open and test if your roasted squash/sweet potato  content is fork-tender, let it cool, then scoop out the flesh and puree it in the food processor(Tip: You can make it a day ahead and store in in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake the muffins).

At the top righ you see a seed over the edge. Perfectly edible.
Fluffing up the strands can be done by your kitchen helper/chiild.


1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, or coconut oil, at room temperature

1 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar or apple butter

1 cup pumpkin puree/cooked spaghetti squash

2 eggs/flax meal

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely ground

1 tsp cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350F/200-250 depending on your particular oven, and line muffin tins with paper muffin liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, turmeric, salt, and baking powder, and set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, or food processor, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla, and mix to incorporate. Add the flour mixture in two batches, and mix just until it’s no longer visible. Fold in 1/2 cup of the walnuts.

4. Spoon the batter into papered and oiled  muffin tins. I measure between 40-60 grams for each muffin. Mix together the remaining 3 tablespoons of walnuts, the two tablespoons of brown sugar, and the teaspoon of cinnamon, and sprinkle the mixture on top of the muffins.

5. Bake the muffins for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Post Purim Juice cleanse or give as part of your Shalach Manot:


Apple carrot ginger juice;


  • 6 carrots

  • 4 apples

  • 2 in (2.5 cm) piece of ginger


  1. Wash all produce well.

  2. Add all ingredients through juicer and enjoy!

Servings: Makes 2 servings of 16-20 oz (500-600 ml)

  • Nutrition per serving:

  • Calories 199

  • Sodium 11 g

  • Carbohydrates 41 g

  • Fiber 1 g

  • Sugars 35 g

  • Protein 1 g

Yields and nutritional information are estimated and will vary depending on produce size and equipment used. I omitted the carrots and substituted greens to reduce the sugar content.

Carrol Apple cucumber celery juice (From Food and Wine)

3 Carrots
½ Cucumber
1 Apple
2 Celery sticks

Wash all fruits and vegetables well. Cut the ends off of the carrots before juicing them. It’s not necessary to peel or de seed any of the fruit or veggies; the juicer will separate it for you. Drink the mix immediately after you make it for the highest nutritional value.

Juicing fruits and vegetables is amazingly healthy. There is not a single bottled brand out there that can even come close to competing with what fresh juice has to offer. Making your own juice is more healthful, than drinking commercial juice, with water, added preservatives and sugars. When you juice your fruits and vegetables  at home, the result is not only fresh, it’s also 100% pure.

Celery, Granny Smith Ginger, Parsley variation (from Food and Wine)

INGREDIENTS : My recipe X50 only less ginger

  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 3-inch lengths

  • 1 Granny Smith apple—halved, cored and cut into large chunks

  • One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

  • 1/2 medium bunch of parsley with stems

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE-Great for after Purim

  1. In an electric juicer, juice the celery with the apple, ginger and parsley. Stir in the lemon juice.

My bottled shalach manot, celery, parsley,apple juice  and ginger juice


One Serving 35 cal, 7 gm carb, 1 gm fat, 0.1 gm sat fat, 2 gm protein, 3 gm fiber.

Chocolate Beet Cake


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1 cup butter, softened, divided

  • 1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 cups pureed cooked beets

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Confectioners’ sugar

1 serving (1 slice) equals 211 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 56 mg cholesterol, 294 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.


  1. In a microwave, melt chocolate and 1/4 cup butter; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, cream the remaining butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate mixture, beets and vanilla.

  3. Beat into creamed mixture (mixture will appear separated). Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.

  4. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 375° for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Yield: 16-20


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