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Grab & Crack

Israelis separate their munchies into pitzuhim and hatifim. Pitzuhim are (literally) “things that can be cracked”; i.e., nuts and seeds. Hatifim, literally “things that can be grabbed,” are all sorts of chips and other salty snacks. To complicate matters, there is a type of salty snack that Israelis call “monchies,” which is a spicy mixture of puffed rice and peanuts. ... Read More »

Saying “Goodbye”

My father Leonard (Lenny) Weinberger (89) had been in and out of the hospital over the past year for congestive heart failure. We got the call early Tuesday morning October 22. There is often a need to delay a U.S. funeral for arriving relatives from Israel due to the long travel time, but my father’s situation was an exception: He ... Read More »


When I was about 15 years old I learned a crucial thanks-giving lesson: In order to be able to thank another person you must first acknowledge their existence. It happened like this: Lynn and Pete Yellin, may they both rest in peace, were our next-door neighbors on the 7th floor of 135 Eastern Parkway (across the street from the Brooklyn ... Read More »

Cool or Shul

I was in 10th or 11th grade at the Yeshivah, Rabbi David Eliach, the austere principal who was then about mid-way through his 43-year tenure, called a few of us from the religious honors class into his office. (The grade was segregated along the lines of religious/non-religious, Syrian-Sephardic/Ashkenazic, and honors/non-honors—aka “stupid.”) Rabbi Eliach told us that the high hopes he ... Read More »

Aruhat Tsaharayim

Tel Aviv, Israel- September 18, 2013: Vendors and buyers at the Sukkot Market in Rabin Square, looking at Etrog and Lulav (the for species) and decorations for the Jewish Festival of Sukkot.

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a cultural phenomenon simply by referring to its name. The noontime meal in Israel is called “aruhat tsaharayim”; in America, it’s called “lunch.” Officially, the definition of aruhat tsaharayim is a hot meat meal. It used to be a lot easier to fulfill this cultural obligation in Israel: the school day ended by ... Read More »

Dancing and Praying

I had always wanted to do Israeli folk dancing. I connected it in my mind with the Zionist experience and I wanted to be a part of it. Then I saw my chance: “Learn Israeli folk dancing from the very first step with Kobi Michaeli” said a flyer in my mailbox. If I ever was going to learn, now was ... Read More »

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