Monday, July 06, 2015

Twenty Years

In June 1995, we donned caps and gowns. Girls wore burgundy, and boys wore navy. We marched to 'Pomp and Circumstance.' We listened to speeches and saw pictures of ourselves, four years younger. We received siddurim and empty diploma cases. We graduated. Our tassels, bearing the numbers 95, were moved to the other side.

We were the last class to graduate without having seen a website. We were the class who heard Rabbi Krug's birkat gomel at our Freshman retreat. We walked the hallways like students for years before us and years after us. We learned, we skipped classes, we made friends, we had fights. We were stressed, we were calm. 
We entered as children and left almost adults. 

And since then, twenty years have passed. Four of ours have passed on. Goodbye Erica, Jordan, Ari, and Kenny. We miss you. You are still a part of us. תנצב"ה

Many of us have made aliya to Israel. Others have scattered around the United States. Many have stayed in New Jersey. Some have experienced the oddity of taking their children to the school on Frisch Court - the one that is now an elementary school. Some will soon be introducing their own children to the (new and improved) halls of Frisch.

We've spent most of the past twenty years looking forward, building our lives, building businesses and careers, families and friendships.
Now and then, it's good to take a glance backwards. to remember the teachers, the friends, the four years that we experienced together. 

To all of you - the whole class of 1995 - thank you. Thank you for being my friends and for just being there. Thank you for being the catalysts for growth, and the people who made me reexamine myself. Thank you for just being on that ride with me. I hope you've all had an amazing twenty years. And I hope the next twenty hold even more adventures for all of us. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Simple Low Carb Plan - Are You With Me?

As many of you know, I had a little baby girl named Moriya Rosa about 10.5 months ago.

During my pregnancy, I gained 2kg, which means I had a net loss (considering baby was 3.3kg, and there are a bunch of other things that cause weight to increase in pregnancy).
Six weeks post-partum, I was around 8kg down from my pre-pregnancy weight.
I'm now just 2 kg down from my pre-pregnancy weight. (that is, I've gained 6kg in 10 months! :( )

My cholesterol is high, my blood sugar is high, you get the idea.

During the pregnancy, I was on a low-carb plan, and it worked, so I've decided to try it again now. (wish me luck).

Here's how it works:
Each day, you eat 3 meals + 2 snacks
A meal has up to 30 grams of carbohydrates, and a snack has up to 15. A meal or snack should also have some protein, fat, or at least some fiber.

30 grams of carbs:
1 cup of rice, pasta, quinoa, mashed potatoes, couscous, etc.
1 medium potato
or a slice of regular bread (2 slices light bread)

You don't need to eat that much carb in each meal/snack. For example, you can eat a salad with meat or fish in it and no carbs at all. That's fine. Or a snack can be a handful of nuts. But you shouldn't go more than 3-4 hours between meals.

I use meal replacement bars like Zone Perfect for some of my snacks. If I add a cup of milk, it's a meal.

Some possible meals:
cottage cheese with fruit cut into it.
salad with cottage cheese/feta cheese/bulgarian cheese/
salad with fish (tuna, sardines, or cooked fish)
salad with meat (chicken, steak strips, deli meat sliced thin.)

Things that are out:
Sandwiches - If you make them with two slices of light bread, you can have them, but it's just so much carb without flavor.
Pizza - one slice is a meal. Can you live with that? I can't.
Bread - I almost never eat it because it's too hard to stop.
Pasta as a main course - you'll be too hungry. Pasta has to become a side dish.
mashed potatoes/potato salad - Potatoes are practically sugar in your blood, and it's very very hard to stick to a single cup of it. If you want potatoes, eat baked potatoes. Somehow, it's easier to feel like you're eating a normal portion that way.

Things that you can eat unlimited amounts of:
Cottage Cheese, feta, bulgarian cheese, even yellow cheese
leafy greens
string beans
tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, celery, mushrooms
vinegar, oil (but go for olive or other healthy oils)
Butter, milk, cream,

Vegetables that you have to keep track of in your carb count:
potatoes (just count them as a starch)
sweet potatoes

1 fruit is ~ 15 grams of carbohydrates, so it counts as a snack

"One portion is two or more small fruit, for example two plums, two satsumas, two kiwi fruit, three apricots, six lychees, seven strawberries or 14 cherries."
(from the NHS website)

Bananas are high carb, so you should eat only half as a snack (or eat a whole one but make another snack that day carb-free)

So who's on the plan with me?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

37- We'll Get to it Later

When I was in high school, one of my favorite teachers told us that it was so common that kids would ask questions which would be answered later on in the year that he assigned the phrase "We'll get to it later" a number - 37.

It stuck with me. When I taught a class, I used the same number for the same purpose.

In a few minutes, I will be 37. It will be later. All the things tat I've been waiting for... I guess now is the time.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Return to Leah Redux

I found someone who knows Leah, and sent her the siddur.
This lady gave it to Leah's father, who will hopefully give it back to her on Purim!

And so we finish a story that began over 25 years ago.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Visiting Shuk Machane Yehuda

photo by Ariel Palmon
Although I lived all over the USA, I spent most of my summers in Jerusalem where my oldest brother and sister lived. We used to go to the Machane Yehuda shuk, and I got really grossed out. The whole place smelled like dead fish, it was hot (I was always there in the summer), and they had way too many pieces of dead animals in full view (like chicken feet)... I also remember it being absurdly crowded (because we probably mostly went on Friday mornings), and I remember thinking that personal shopping carts were the pinnacle of nerdiness.

For the first time, I really let myself enjoy the shuk today. My work had a fun day, which was a tasting tour of the shuk, followed by lunch. I'm not going to go into the tastings because you'll all be really hungry.
We  heard about the history of the shuk, and tasted a number of incredible flavors, from French ice cream and Israeli-made artisanal cheeses to etrog juice and malawach.

I discovered -
1. Only parts of the shuk stink.
2. It's not hot in winter (we had PERFECT weather).
3. There are no longer chicken feet in plain view. I assume they still exist somewhere, but they're not hanging out there for everyone to see.
4. Wednesday morning is a better time to go than Friday morning.
5. I no longer care how nerdy I look, and I only wished I'd had a cart and the time to fill it with the super fresh-looking produce.

I can't wait to go shopping at the shuk again!

If you're interested in a tasting tour or general tours in Israel, I highly recommend our guide Joel Haber.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Where's the Cozy Carpet Corner?

Kinneret in her classroom
Her classroom looks stark. There are pictures on bulletin boards in the back and one side of the room. The windows don't open very wide, presumably to keep kids from climbing on them and falling out. There's no carpeted area or shelves of toys. The kids sit at tables, and not at desks. They store their books and notebooks in magazine boxes on a bookshelf, because the children don't have a desk to store their things inside.

I looked around the room, first trying to find the light switch, then trying to open the windows or turn on the air-conditioning. Her classroom isn't anything like what I remember from my first grade class at Woodland Hills Elementary School in Lawton, Oklahoma.

The assemblies are held in an outdoor amphitheater. We had ours in a giant auditorium. The dress code requires skirts for girls, kippot and tzitzit for boys. We were told that shorts had to reach the ends of our fingers when our hands were at our sides.

It's so different. At first I was apprehensive. Then I remembered my own first day of first grade.

I don't remember the morning. I only remember what happened at lunch time. We all lined up to go to the bathroom to wash our hands. I took a paper towel, wiped my hands, and recited the bracha (blessing).

Then I didn't talk. I'd been taught that you don't talk between washing and eating bread.

I didn't talk when I came out of the bathroom, or when I walked down the hall to the cafeteria to buy my milk with my special milk token.  I didn't say a word even when people talked to me, while I walked back to my classroom, waited for permission to get my lunchbox, and took out my lunch. It was a complete ordeal. It seemed to last for hours. Everyone kept asking me questions and looking at me as if I were doing something wrong by not answering. When I finally made the 'hamotzi' and bit into my sandwich, I felt like I'd been to battle. I was the only religious Jew in my school. There were two other children who I knew were Jewish because they attended our services on-post. I don't think anyone else even knew that. They certainly didn't wash or make brachot. I don't remember what I did about bensching (grace after meals). I'm guessing I gave it up as a lost cause. Until I entered a religious school in 8th grade, I never washed for lunch at school. Not once after my first day in first grade.

My daughter is sent out to wash, and then comes back to the table to make the bracha with her classmates. She bensches with her classmates, loud and clear. Each morning, she davens in school. She will never need a note explaining why she cannot participate in the class activity of eating green eggs and ham, nor will she have to go to school with matza and hard-boiled eggs and be stared at by children eating ham and cheese sandwiches.

In this school, she will never be unwilling to share food with her classmates because she knows she can never eat anything of theirs in exchange. She will not be excluded from school activities because they happen on Friday night or Saturday. She will never be made fun of for being  a Jew.

So I think I'm ok with there not being  a cozy rug corner in her classroom.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Return to Leah

Back in the late eighties, my brother worked at Six Flags Great Adventure for two summers. Since he was the only one around there who wore a 'beanie' (a kippa), when one of the workers found a 'Jewish book,' they gave it to my brother.

The 'Jewish book' was a siddur rinat yisrael (prayer book) with the name  (Leah) לאה imprinted on the front. Since we're talking about the eighties, polling the NY metropolitan area to find which Leah had lost a siddur wasn't really feasible. Instead, he gave it to his sister, Leah.

Over the years, I've kept the siddur, davened (prayed) from it. It was really special to me - I've felt connected to that unknown Leah who lost her siddur.

Recently, I've realized that it probably is possible to find the girl (woman) who lost that siddur, so I'm going to post a picture of the inscription, and ask that everyone please send every friend whose Hebrew name is Leah to this blog post.

I really want to return the siddur to its rightful owner.

thanks for helping!

Leah (triLcat) Goodman