Saturday, November 29, 2008

When Fair Isn't

On Orthonomics, a poster named tesyaa posted the following quote:

There is no way I would let any of my children even apply to a private college. Even if we could somehow manage to send a deserving older child, the precedent we'd be setting with regards to the younger ones -- and the hard feelings we would cause by saying no to them -- would basically be ruinous.
I've been turning this over in my head. I'm one of five kids. I don't remember my parents telling us where we could and couldn't apply to college. They asked us, and we decided where to go. I'm certain that they (and their wallets) heaved a sigh of relief when 4 out of 5 chose to go to college in Israel.

However, one of my siblings went to Yeshiva University. He was number three, so he could have started a trend, and my parents didn't raise any objection. My brother was the sort of person who was very socially active. In his time at YU, he ran camps in the Former Soviet Union. He worked with a group called Yachad, which provides activities for developmentally disabled Jewish teens, he worked as a mashgiach (the guy who makes sure the kitchen is Kosher at a commercial establishment.) He simply wouldn't have had these opportunities at Bar Ilan or Hebrew University (where the rest of us went).

For the rest of us, being in Israel was paramount. We weren't willing to give up life in Israel for any of those opportunities. Should my parents have forced him to go where we went, us to go where he went? It wouldn't have been right.

To bring the point home further, my sister and I both live within walking distance of my parents. My mom sometimes takes me to doctor's appointments or even grocery shopping, because I don't have a car. Should she have to pick up my sister for her doctor's appointments and grocery shopping to be "fair"? My sister has a car and would be more inconvenienced by shopping on my mom's schedule than she is by driving herself. On the other hand, my mom took my sister's oldest daughter to Beijing in 2007. Should I complain that she didn't take Kinneret? The idea is laughable.

While I see that it's important for parents to not favor one child over another, it's also important for equality to be less important than giving the children what they need.

For example, suppose you have a child with dyslexia who needs tutoring. Should you make each of your other children also have a tutor? Should you withdraw other children from advanced reading programs so that the child with dyslexia doesn't get jealous?

Equality is nice in theory, but it ends up not being to anyone's advantage when it's over-applied.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

7 things about me

I've been tagged for a meme by Leora from Here in HP

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people (if possible) at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Seven things about me:
  1. I have a superman complex and find myself wanting to save pretty much everyone from pretty much everything. I obsess over other people's problems.
  2. When I was 12 or so, my best friend cut her wrist in a suicide attempt. Since then, I get weirded out by anything touching (or especially scratching) my wrists. (Friend is still alive and even occasionally in touch)
  3. I'm one of the only people I know who actually LOVED high school and had relatively few complaints about the particular school.
  4. The longest I ever lived in one place is 5 years, but I'm coming up on 4.5 years in my current apartment.
  5. When I was in kindergarten, and they asked me what I wanted to be, I said "author and illustrator." Author is still on the short-list of what I'd like to be.
  6. I'm not sure whether I'm more afraid of having an epidural or going through another whole labor without one.
  7. I've crocheted a kippa for almost every guy I was ever serious about - except Yaakov, who only wears velvet anyway.
People I tag:
  1. Rachel at Despite Motherhood
  2. Bethami at The Mommy Guilt Blog
  3. Raggedy Mom
  4. Robin at My Home in Israel
  5. K. at Children Mentioned
  6. Raanana Ramblings
  7. Perky over at Chez Perky

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Haveil Havalim #192 is Up

I haven't been terribly active in the whole J-Blogging community, but I've decided that maybe I should be... so here goes.

There is a weekly carnival called Haveil Havalim. This week's is the Thanks & Giving Edition.

Check it out over at Ima on (and off) the Bima

Friday, November 21, 2008

Laziness/Efficiency (or a Quiet Family-Oriented Friday)

Friday & Shabbat are the only days off in Israel. Israelis call Fridays the day for SKS - Siddurim (errands) kniyot (shopping), and sponga (washing the floor). Yes - it sounds like what it sounds like in English too.

For those of us who are religious, it's the only day off we have all week that we can really just do what we want. Add in the chores involved in preparing for Shabbat, and many families never really get to just spend some time together on their Fridays.

Clearly, one doesn't want to enter Shabbat with a filthy house and no food, so there are going to be preparations, but cooking doesn't need to take up all of your day.

I've prepared a sample menu for a Shabbat that involves relatively little preparation time.

Friday night:

First course:

how to make this course:
(prep time - about 10 minutes + shopping)
buy challah, hummus, matbucha, your family's favorite hatzilim, olives, and pickles at the supermarket.

1 bag pre-shredded, pre-washed lettuce
2 tomatoes
4 cucumbers
lemon juice or vinegar
olive or other oil
pepper if you like it

wash the tomatoes and cukes
sit down at the table with a cutting board
cut the tomatoes into pieces and put them in a big bowl (preferably with a lid)
add contents of lettuce bag. Add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar and a splash of oil, a dash of salt, and maybe some pepper. Put the lid on the bowl (or plastic wrap if you don't have a lid.) Shake it all. Put in the fridge. Serve.

Everything else can be served directly out of the container or spooned into a plate or bowl before serving. (I prefer not to serve cans at the table, but have no problem with hummus in plastic containers)

Pea Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes.
Lead time: at least 2 hours

How to make this course:
you'll need:
split peas
1 large or 2 small onions
oil for frying
salt & pepper to taste
parsley (dry flakes work fine)

Chop the onion fine.
Fry the onion in the bottom of your soup pot until it turns transparent
add water and split peas. Stir.
Bring to boil, then leave to simmer, stirring every 30-40 minutes and checking to make sure it doesn't run out of water.
Add parsley - it helps with certain gastric issues.
Add salt and pepper only after the peas have become mushy. If you forget, they can be added at the table.

Main Course:
Chicken & potatoes
String beans with slivered almonds

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Chicken & potatoes:
prep time: 5-10 minutes
lead time 1-2 hours, depending upon the cooking utensil.
you'll need:
1 whole chicken & or a bunch of chicken pieces
4 large or 6 medium potatoes (or you can use the tiny ones)
Granulated garlic

how to prepare:
I usually use a clay pot, but you can use a regular deep baking pan or even a disposable.
wash the potatoes. Do not peel.
slice them, unless you're using the tiny ones, in which case, just stick them in as usual.
place the chicken on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle granulated garlic on the chicken.
Cover the chicken (if you're using a clay pot, use the lid. If you're using something that doesn't have a lid, use tin foil) Place in the oven at about 350 degrees F (175 C). A clay pot needs about 2 hours while a regular baking pan needs a bit more than an hour

string beans with slivered almonds
prep time: 10 min
you need:
frozen string beans, preferably whole
slivered almonds
oil (preferably olive)
granulated garlic

how to make:
defrost the string beans, either by leaving them out or by microwaving them until they're defrosted and not all the way cooked
put oil in a frying pan.
add string beans and stir until they look lightly sauteed.
add slivered almonds, salt, and granulated garlic to taste.

cake & fruit
buy a nice cake at the supermarket or bakery (rugalech are fine too)
rinse off the fruit and put them in a bowl, serve whole.

Shabbat Lunch:
first course:
(look familiar?)

main course:
sliced deli meats
sliced tomatoes
sliced challah/rye bread/rolls
ketchup/mustard/mayo (depending upon your family's tastes)

cake & fruit

that's it. done. You don't have to spend your whole day working on this.
You've only prepared:
salad (10 minutes)
soup (10 minutes)
chicken & potatoes (15 minutes)
string beans with slivered almonds (10 minutes)

You've spent less than an hour slaving away in the kitchen, but you have full, acceptable Shabbat meals, you haven't bought lots of overpriced prepared junk, the meals have a reasonable amount of variety, and you don't have to leave the platta/blech on all of Shabbat either. (This is a huge benefit in the summer, imo - we use a timer to have it on for about 2 hours Friday night, and then it's off the rest of the time.)

If you put all the hot stuff in the oven and put it on high for a few minutes right before you leave for shul, you can actually get away with not leaving the platta on at all. (unless you go to a Karlebach minyan...)

This isn't our family's definitive every week menu, but it's a good sample of how we manage to get in a nap on Friday afternoon, have friends drop by, and not feel like we're rushed to get our food ready for Shabbat.

*matbucha is roughly like salsa, though it has more cumin and less pepper.
**hatzilim is shorthand for any of a number of salads which include eggplant (the actual translation of hatzil)

Not Exactly Writer's Block

I haven't written in quite a while. It isn't that there's nothing to say, and it isn't quite writer's block either.

Recent events in my life include:
A trip to the emergency room which almost ended up with me being admitted for monitoring because I have hypertension and the doctors are worried about pre-eclampsia. I am monitoring blood pressure and protein at home. It's still fairly low risk, so that's ok.

I'm on bedrest for something called SPD, which is related to an over-production of elastin. Basically, the bedrest is to limit how much pain I'm in rather than to save the baby or something useful like that. Limiting pain is good. There's enough of it already.

Kinneret can say baba (byebye, and she waves), hello (when she picks up a phone), ball (when playing with a ball), mo (for more).
She touches her nose when asked where her nose is, and she touches her head when I sing "yadayim lemala, al harosh" (hands up, on your head).
She claps for "if you're happy and you know it"
She spins around when she likes music. She enjoys playing her xylophone, drawing on a magnadoodle thing, and keeping her toothbrush in her mouth for hours.
She knows how to climb into her stroller by herself, and sometimes will do so if we tell her we're going out. She climbed in by herself the other day when my nephew went to pick her up from her daycare.

I was thinking about writing various posts about stuff going on at Orthonomics. It makes me mad to see people who have loads of kids that they can't support and then complain that people from the community aren't supporting them. If our financial situation doesn't improve, I can't imagine us having another baby after this one.

There was also a thread in the comments there where I suggested that a solution to the extremely high school tuition in the US might be to make aliya...

>>>Dave said...

Leaving financial issues out, I think the case can be made that widespread Aliyah is not in the interest of the Jewish people.

Historically speaking, what has preserved Jews as a people has been a widespread diaspora, so that when oppression arose in one area, there were still safe Jewis communities.

Had there not been a widespread Jewish Diaspora in the late Republic and early Empire, I doubt that Judaism would have survived the Bar Kochva rebellion.<<<

I've been biting my tongue to resist getting up on my soapbox to tell people that only through widespread aliya can we prevent the scary stuff that's in the works... A Shas spokesman told the press that of course Tzipi Livni won't be selling the country to the charedim. She's already selling it to the Arabs. (This in response to Livni saying she won't sell the country to the charedim.) It sounds like Jerusalem is already on the chopping block. Scary stuff.

At least Sir Peres isn't rushing to evacuate the West Bank.

I also tried to stay out of the whole US election debacle. I'm now just praying to be wrong about my predictions for Obama's America. Unfortunately, a few years ago, I prayed to be wrong about the Gaza expulsion. The situation in Ashkelon is precisely what I feared would happen. (Hat Tip: Joe Settler) It doesn't look like life in Sderot is improving much either.

Anyway, all of these little bits and pieces could be posts, I suppose, but I'm afraid that the beginning would be boring, the Kinneret stuff would be standard (and boring) parental bragging, and really, no one wants me to get up on a soapbox about the rest of it. So that's why I haven't been posting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Being Helpful

Today, someone pointed out on the Modiin e-mail list that Terem, our emergency first aid center is open only 1pm to midnight. They asked what to do in an emergency at any other time of day. Since apparently, this is not a directly Modiin related issue, the moderators of the list rejected my answer.

Since I'd spent a while translating & researching, I'm going to post the information here. If you don't live in Israel, this will probably not help you.

The list included below is translated from:

Terem is an emergency medical care facility which charges around 70 shekels for a visit. In certain cases, you may be referred to Terem by a doctor, in which case the health fund (kuppa) will pay the 70 shekel deductible. In some cases, the Terem doctor may send you to the emergency room (ER).

If you have an emergency at a time that Terem is not open/available, you call your kuppa's moked (maccabi is *3555) and ask to speak to the nurse. If it is an ER situation, they will fax the ER a "hithayvut" and you will not have to pay for it.

If you go to the ER between 1am and 6am without a "hithayvut," you are charged 139 shekels
Between 6am and 1am, you are charged full price (566 shekels) if you don't have hithayvut or a referral from a doctor.

*There are a whole bunch of situations in which you don't have to pay for ER treatment:
1. a new broken bone
2. a serious dislocation of shoulder or elbow
3. a wound which requires stitches or similar "sealing"
4. inhalation of a foreign object
5. objects in the eye
6. Cancer patients
7. Hemophilia patients
8. CF patients
9. A pregnant woman in labor
10. Anyone who is brought in by ambulance from a public place
11. Babies under 2 months of age with a fever of 38.5 or higher
12. Dialasys patients
13. Rape victims
14. Victims of domestic violence
15. Terror victims