Showing posts from January, 2009

Lonely man's shabbat

My wife runs events.  She is not a caterer, but she handles all the setup, service and cleanup for events on our yishuv.  This weekend, she and her parter are double booked.  They are running two parallel events all weekend.  I am very proud of my wife and I try to stay out of her way when she is working.
What this means is that we have no guests for Shabbat, and that my wife and at least one son will be working during Shabbat meals.  One son is in the army, and another went to Jerusalem for a bar-mitzva.  That leaves very small crowd of 4.   Way too small for Shabbat.  I invited a friend over tonight with one of his sons, so we should have 6.  I'm not sure I can handle the silence.  Please come over and visit if you are around.
On the other hand, I can experiment with cool dishes that I would otherwise skip.  The credit for this meals goes to a book called "The Spicy Food Lovers Bible", by Dave DeWitt and Nancy Gerlach.  I made three dishes, and they all came our amazing.…

National Transplant Committee

This was a big week on the Kidney Transplant front for my son Asaf.  The final administrative hurdle for a potential live donor is a meeting with the National Transplant Committee.  This group of professionals interviews the candidate donor, the recipient and the recipients family to see if they should approve or deny the transplant.  The committee consists of health care professionals.  There was a male doctor, and five women; a social worker, a psychiatrist, a nurse, and two others. (I expect that one of them was a lawyer).  The setting was imposing, with the committee on one side a table and a stenographer on the side.  The interviewee sat facing them.
The main purpose behind the committee is to reject donors who are coerced into donating, either through payments of money, or other pressures.  I fully support their efforts in this arena.  I have received numerous emails from people offering to sell us a kidney in exchange for helping them out of some financial crisis.
Fortunately, ou…

Just another winter weekend

Another winter Shabbat.  The wind has been blowing, but the temperature has been moderate.  A number of trees on the yishuv were blown over last night, and I had dreams about being carried away by a flood.  Pretty fun stuff.
This weekend, we have are hosting my parents and three ladies from Midreshet Meveserey Yerushalayim (MMY).  Dinner should be cozy with only 12 of us.  For lunch, my parents will be visited my cousin, but we will be entertaining a young family with three small boys.  That's going to be interesting.  We have tried hard to forget what its like to have little children around the house.
One of our guests tomorrow has Celiac, a disease the makes your violently allergic to gluten. Not much of a problem for me, since I am used to cooking for Atkins.  No starch what-so-ever.  Most of the lunch items are clean.  The meat roll is just plain wrong (but I made it for the kids).
Shabbat Parshat Vaeira Dinner - 12 Vegetable Turkey Soup Sauted Chicken breasts (by my mom!) Pargiot in…

The dark side of organ transplants

A friend of ours has decided to try and make more people aware of organ transplants.  In particular, we are trying to get people to sign up for organ donor cards.  There are very few situations where it is possible to "harvest" an organ.  The "donor" has to be dead, but still intact enough to keep their organs temporarily alive.  Current medical technology has found that brain stem death meets these requirements.  No one has ever recovered from brain stem death.  The brain stem usually becomes swollen, cuts off its own circulation, ceases to function, and then proceeds to liquify.   The body can still pump blood and breath for up to two days in this state, but eventually, all of the organs shutdown.  People who sign donor cards are telling their families that if they suffer from brain stem death, then their organs should be donated to those in need.
Sorry for the graphic description.  This is not an easy topic.   My friend and I have been trying to our local Rabbi t…

Wonderful speech by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

On January 11, 2009, there was a gathering at Trafalgar square in London.  The Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks gave a very moving speech.  The text can be found here.  Compare this to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's (I'm a nut job) speech on Dec 30, 2008. 
Rabbi Sacks says that everyone wants to live in Peace.  Mahmoud talks about criminals and oppressed people.  The dichotomy is striking and depressing.  It feels like the two people are talking about different worlds, and perhaps they really are.
It worries my that the US and EU governments assume that everyone is like Rabbi Sacks.  They explain away Mahmoud's talks as theatrical gestures.  When will they begin to believe that he really means what he says.
I am sorry that the people of Gaza are unable to live in peace.  I am not sure that is what they want.  After all, the party line of HAMAS is to destroy Israel.   That is not my definition of peace.
I wish all our soldiers a safe Shabbat.  May the war be over soon and ma…

Almost a full house

Last week, we were short three sons.  This week, we gained one and had one go away for a Shabbat Yeshiva.  It is nice to have our oldest son with us.  We miss his presence.
In order to try and fill the house, we will be hosting five young women from Nevey in Jerusalem.  We hope that they will enjoy the weekend here and participate in our discussions and events.
Meal wise, we are having one meal at home and the other at a friends.  I feel somewhat bad, because we are 12 people, but our hosts for lunch are positive that it will work out.
In honor of my son being home, we have lots of beef related foods.  It all looks and smells wonderful.
Shabbat Parshat Shmot Dinner - 12 Oriental Potato Soup Beef in Wine sauce Sautéed chicken and Artichoke hearts Chicken Jeera (chicken with black pepper and cumin) Mashed Potatoes Roast Vegetables Brussels Sprouts
Lunch - 12 + 8 + ?? Chicken Jambalaya with Turkey and Middle Eastern Kabobs

A quiet shabbat

Three of my boys are away for Shabbat.  We are down to a small family of 5.  I'm not sure I can handle the quiet.  Fortunately, my parents are visiting and we have two guests from Midreshet HaRovah.   Many of the people who would normally show up at our house this weekend are away in the army.  We will miss then and hope they return soon.
Tomorrow lunch is going to be a bigger affair.   On of our friends had minor surgery a few weeks back and she has been stuck in the house recuperating.  She and her family (plus a few others) will be coming for lunch.  We have great conversations.  Her husband is a straight thinker and really knows his material.  I usually take the unconventional approach and together, the fur flies.  It should be pretty fun.
I am getting tired of making the same dishes.  It happens mostly during the winter, and it is something that bothers me.  My wife has no such concerns.  She would be happy if I made the same thing every weekend (as long as it included some for…


My son is now a soldier.  He officially became property of the army this week.  If he gets a tattoo, he can be punished for defacing army property.  If he comes home and breaks his leg, he can be punished for endangering army property.  I am very proud to have a son serving in the armed forced.  The last member of my immediate family to serve his country was my father in the 1950s.  Perhaps I'm the last of a dying breed in the US of A, but I still believe that it is ones duty to serve your country.  Because of my kidney problems, I did not and will not have an opportunity to serve.  My second son is also completely absolved of service because of his health issues.  Because he is young, he may still be able to volunteer once he successfully receives a new kidney.
I went to Poland a few years ago on the graveyard tour.  For most Israelis, Poland is one big graveyard.  We started in the formal Warsaw graveyard, but each concentration camp and death camp was one more graveyard stop.  O…

Pre-Army Weekend

I feel rather torn this weekend.   On the one hand, my oldest son is being inducted into the army next week.  Let me say first that I have absolutely no issues with his induction.  I am only disappointed that I never had the option of serving for my country.  As I heard from many holocaust survivors, having a child serve in the army makes up for our own lack of service.
What bothers me is that I am a strong believer in Military Secrets.  Loose lips sink ships.  Its very real and immediate to me.  I spend much of my time mining Internet data for academic goals.  It is amazing how many things you can tell from a large enough collection of blogs and new feeds.  Publishing information about the Israeli army seems to me to be giving information to the enemy.
On the other hand, I really want to share our experiences.  This blog is a wonderful way to get things off my chest.  My anonymous (and not so anonymous) readers are a good sounding board.
So, I'll just say that my oldest son is being…