Yips&Howls's Blog

NOTE: This post was updated Friday Nov 13. Many new pictures (scroll through, attributed to the MagnetTEAM). Any changes to text are also noted at the end, so you don’t have to reread the whole post!

Wow. A wonderful night last night at the wedding. So much to write and remember, so I am just going to do some blogging here to capture some of my impressions (and maybe add a few pictures).

My dress was ready, a royal-blue, lace and chiffon number that I got at a bargain price (including alterations) on Allenby St. Shoes were at the ready (imagine the Ruby Slippers in silver). My $10,000 diamond necklace-and-earrings set had been purchased (OK, they were fake and cost only 60 NIS), along with a matching bracelet and various hair ornaments. I had an appointment set with Giselle,  the hair-stylist-slash-makeup-artist, for 2 pm. (My hair deserves its own post one of these days.)

Up bright and early (as usual) I started by decorating the nuptial car. Total materials were 3 meters of tulle and 12 “magic” rosettes. These are nifty things where you pull on a string and the wide ribbon folds itself into a rosette. Very cool. I also made two signs by outlining letters on acetate with a wide, black Magic Marker, and then filling in on the back with white acrylic paint. One said “Just Married” and the other “Nitzan and Oded.” So they could decide which sign they wanted for the photo shoot. Also plenty of thin ribbon for tying all the stuff onto the car.

car2 car3

Amazingly, by the end of the night, all the bits and pieces were still intact, except for one rosette.

At 11, Oded, dressed in his silver-grey suit, loaded the car (with a huge Panda bear, a lace umbrella, a bottle of champagne, three crystal champagne flutes, a load of popcorn that I popped up for them in the micro, and whatever else…) and drove off to meet Nitzan for the photoshoot.






At twelve o’clock I took the dogs for a walk, and then came home, showered, dressed in clothes that didn’t have to be removed over my head (I’d been warned!) and drove over to  Giselle’s. This lady has magic fingers. First step, she blow-dried my hair and gave it a smooth, curvy bouncy shape. Even at this point it looked super and I could easily have just gone like this, perhaps with my “diamond” comb sweeping back one side. Then she started on the upsweep. …


She pinned up the back, fashioned a french braid along my crown, and then arranged my “topknot” into a mass of curls. The style was just perfectly ME. A little bit messy (you can google “messy bun” to see what that means) and tousled and curly, but still structured. She made little pin-curls at my temples and then proceeded to do my makeup.

Sticking on an eyelash.

Sticking on an eyelash.

One on, one off.

One on, one off. Before trimming.

Foundation, eye makeup, blush, contour … open the pin-curls into lovely tendrils. I thought the lashes a bit “much” and she snipped a bit, and finally …

Final touch, lipstick

Final touch, lipstick


Wow! Was that ME?!. My first time ever wearing false eyelashes. Then she fixed up my bangs and added in my “diamond” accessories. I was so pleased with the final result. I felt like a princess.

Home by four. I helped  my dear daughter’s (dd) boyfriend iron his clothes and then helped dd make some changes to her dress, She had 9 months to work on her dress, but somehow it kept getting postponed until the last minute. Oh well. I kept calm.

I got dressed and then HORRORS! I realized that my dress, even though I had had it shortened when I bought it, was still too long and I was stepping on the hem when I walked! Dd had the great idea to shorten the straps to raise the whole shebang, which I did, and it worked! Reminder to self: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do a FULL dress rehearsal before the day of the event!

* * *

We left the house a bit later than we wanted. It’s about a 30-minute drive to the hall.

What a beautiful place it was. My d-i-l chose well. They provided a suite for the couple with a Jacuzzi-equipped bathroom that was above the hall and had steps leading down directly into it (for grand entrances). (The bride had spent the entire day there, first with a bit of pampering, then her stylist got her ready and then she went off to meet Oded for their photo-shoot at 11 am.) I dumped all my stuff up there (I had brought an extra pair of shoes, extra pantyhose, pins, makeup, extra bobby pins, two shawls and a sweater), and then we went down for the family pictures.

There were two still photographers, a “magnet” photographer, and a videographer. Every time the photographer snapped a picture (and he probably snapped at least 100 “family” pictures doing all the permutations), we had to hold position so that the “magnet” photographer could snap his pic. Sadly to say, at this moment in time, I only have 2 magnets in my possession, neither of which is with family. Who took all my family magnet pictures? Don’t know. Hope I find them. My fridge is now covered with lovely magnets of my family. Not that I NEED so many magnets (I would have to buy a new fridge to hold them all), but …

At this point I have to say how wonderful my family looked. The couple, of course, were breathtaking. But also my husband, in a suit and tie (his first time EVER!). He bought the suit in Thailand last year. And my two beautiful daughters:

The ganza mishpocha. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright)

The gantza mishpocha. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright)

With the bride's parents, Bat-Sheva and Yaacov. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

With the bride’s parents, Bat-Sheva and Yaacov. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

my kids1

Odelia, Oded, Ofra

me and moshe my

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

After that was over, guests started arriving. I was rather irked that we didn’t form a reception line, but the bride’s parents preferred it less structured and I wasn’t about to stand there myself, so I just tried to keep my eye on the entrance for “my guests,” Our side had much fewer guests invited than the bride’s side. I would estimate no more than 60 (my friends and family, and M’s family) out of about 260.

MIngle, mingle, mingle. A great hor d’ oeuvres setup. (OK, I will try to list what I can remember… fish and chips in little paper cones, lamb and chestnut ragout, a sushi table, mini hamburgers, focaccia, stuffed grape leaves, all sorts of antipasti including zucchini, sweet potato, carrots, … I can’t remember anymore … and I wish I had eaten more!) along with a bar and — something different — coffee and tea (and pastry) right from the beginning. A great idea!

More mingling. Greeting, hugging (only air-kissing, don’t want to muck up the makeup), eating, drinking, adjusting my bra straps that kept peeking out!

With my sister, Estee, and Rafi an dYanai. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

With my sister, Estee, and Rafi and Yanai. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

8:45. (The huppa actually was called for 8:30.) The parents were assembled and we escorted the couple out to the huppa (wedding canopy). (The huppa ceremony took place “outdside” under a tent. The meal and dancing part was in the hall.)

First M and I walked with Oded out and along the path.

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

As we walked out, all the guests lining the aisle (some had seats, but most were standing) burst into cheers and applause. I can hardly describe the joy and pride I felt to walk alongside my handsome, talented and fine-human-being of a son. We walked up the aisle (strewn with rose petals) and up the stairs to the huppa. The very nice rabbi instructed us where to stand … “Move back! More! More! More!”

Then Nitzan’s parents led her in and stopped before the “official” aisle.  They kissed her on her cheeks and, leaving her halfway up the aisle, they joined us under the huppa.

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

nitzan from estee

The bride awaiting her betrothed (Photo: E. Gafny)

Now Oded descended from the huppa to approach his bride and do the “badeken” –  the veiling of the bride by the groom.

** Reason: the veil symbolizes the idea of modesty and conveys the lesson that however attractive physical appearances may be, the soul and character are paramount. It is reminiscent of Rebecca covering her face before marrying Isaac (Genesis ch. 24). Some more info about misconceptions, here. **

kiss before bedeken - bH

A kiss before the “badekin.” Note my sister (blue phone on the left, taking photo).  (Credit: Ben Harush)

Another angle of the kiss: note Garry's phone on the left! (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Another angle of the kiss. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Covering the bride with the veil.

Covering the bride with the veil. (Photo credit: E. Gafny)

… and then they both walked up the aisle together to join us. (Music: Ahava m’Mabat HaRishon, Eric Einstein, RIP).

bride and groom aisle2

The bride and groom walking up the rose-petal-strewn path to the huppa.  (Photo: Moshe)

bride and groom my

(Photo: Moshe)

(Rabbi: “Rearrange yourselves, groom’s parents to the left, bride’s to the right, and stand in a straight line!”)

The Rabbi did his schpiel, describing how the couple met and fell in love and got engaged. I didn’t catch a lot of it, and will need to hear it on the video. But he did it in an amusing fashion, as there was lots of laughter.

huppa family frm estee

(Photo: E. Gafny)

As he was speaking, I looked out over the room of people and felt so grateful to see them there, joining in our happiness, huge smiles on their faces. Thank you!

BNI_8763 - small

I spy …Tamar, Garry, Zvika, Rina, Rhonda. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

BNI_8761 - small

I spy Wendy (spying others), Rhonda, Shachar and a bit of Kiril. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

I spy Adella, Estee, Aviel. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Then the Rabbi got on with the actual ceremony: First, a blessing over the wine. Oded took a sip and Nitzan’s mother offered the bride her sip, the Rabbi warning her to be CAREFUL when lifting the veil so as not to let any of the sacramental beverage — it was actually grape juice — spill on her dress! Considerate Rabbi. Or maybe he has experience!

Next came the placement of the ring, while uttering the traditional words: “Hereby are you sanctified unto me according to the Law of Moshe and Israel.”

BNI_8755 - small

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Then followed the reading of the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract).

Here I will backtrack and show you a photo from the signing of the ketubah that took place just before the ceremony, before two witnesses:

contract and gun


(Photo: Moshe)

(Photo: Moshe)

Next came the recitation of the sheva brachot (seven blessings recited at a wedding). Then another blessing over the second goblet of wine, and this time Oded, now being lawfully wed, offered the sip  to his bride (two glasses are used for the ceremony).

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

The remaining wine was left on the little table, as the Rabbi told the audience that anyone looking for a match could come and take a sip and this would surely help!

The Rabbi presented the bride with her legal contract …

Presenting the Ketubah

Presenting the Ketubah. (Credit: Tamar or Garry)

Then the rabbi place a tallit (prayer shawl)  on my son and Oded uttered the traditional words from Psalms 137 that all Jewish bridegrooms say,

אִם אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי,
תִּדְבַּק לְשׁוֹנִי לְחִכִּי אִם לֹא אֶזְכְּרֵכִי,
אִם לֹא אַעֲלֶה אֶת יְרוּשָׁלִַם עַל רֹאשׁ שִׂמְחָתִי.

If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,

Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not;

if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

Then the foil-wrapped glass was placed on the floor,  …

The GLASS awaits.

The GLASS awaits. (Photo: Ben Harush)

and with a whoop, Oded jumped (two feet in the air) and smashed it.

Smashing the glass. Oded always has that certain rambunctious style! I bet my hubby has a great photo...he has stepped back to shoot. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Smashing the glass. Oded always has that certain rambunctious style! I bet my hubby has a great photo…he has stepped back to shoot. (Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Mazal Tov! (Background song: “Now I’m a Believer“)

See it happen here (credit: Wendy)!

Tradition in this country is that, at this point, all 250 guests run up onto the stage/pulpit/whatever that is meant to hold …  maybe … 20 people, to kiss and hug and extend their “mazel tovs”. They really need to think about having a “back exit” because after the first 50 get to the top, they find it hard to go back down with the next 50 coming up. Nevertheless, we did manage to extricate ourselves. (You can see the attack at the end of the link above.)

Let the party begin!

Guests found their tables, sat down. Music played (loud!). The fog machine worked. The couple was in abstentia at this time, of course, waiting for their grand entrance. At one point I ran up to the “suite” to get something, and then I heard the music change. Presenting … Oded and Nitzan!  …who were descending from their suite into the hall. (The suite has two entrances, I entered from the “office” side, the other entrance leads directly down into the hall.)

I quickly ran back down (via the other side) to see my wonderful son and his beautiful bride dancing their first dance as husband and wife (song:  “How Deep is Your Love,” Bee Gees).

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

And then the DJ announced: “And now, the groom will dance with his mother, and the bride with her father.” This had been something I had spoken about to Oded, that there is no “formality” here that I am used to from North American weddings. I was so touched. So I danced with my son, and Nitzan with her dad. (Song: ???)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

and I was amazed that after a few moments my hubby, invited Nitzan’s mother to dance.

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

By now other couples joined in. After one more “slow,” the music livened up.

I could go on and on about the dancing, but this will turn into a book! All I can say is that my son did an AMAZING job of choosing music. An eclectic mix that kept people on their feet even when the courses were being served. There was something for everyone: rock and roll, jive, Yemenite, Moroccan, trance, house, slows, fasts, you name it.

The food, as I knew (we had gone there for tastings about a month ago) was great, not that I ate all that much.The desserts, especially were divine. I ordered all four for myself. But of course I had some help to finish them off (actually Moshe devoured most of them when I was looking the other way!)


(Credit: Tamar or Garry)


(Credit: Tamar of Garry)

The fun continued.

After the main course, a balloon guy – Kobi Balloons –  came out and made the most amazing balloon creations — mostly for wearing on one’s head. Here are some fun pictures of some of some of the guests and his creations.

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

amir and limor

(credit: Yechiel family)

crazyHats my

(Credit: Moshe)

Note that parrot on a perch on Oded’s head. Amazing!

rafi balloon3

(Credit: Estee)

dancing kh limor and ON me and yechiels

And some fun:

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

(Photo credit: מגנט TEAM, copyright.)

Odelia got a beloved Minion. I got a Minion bracelet.

Minion balloons

Minion balloons

Unfortunately, time passes, and the guests started to trickle out (even though I tried to entice them all to make sure to stay for the amazing desserts!)

At about 11 o’clock, the after-party began. Because the guests had obviously all been so underfed, they brought out a “hamburger” bar. Waiters made the rounds with little shots of tequila or whatever (they served an amazing melon-flavored Van Gogh liquor.WOW!)

More guests trickled away… noooo….come back! I don’t want this to end!!!!

But it did. The wait staff cleared tables and piled up chairs. The DJ and cameramen packed up their stuff. The bar closed down. The coffee bar folded.

We emptied the safe where the checks (gifts) had been stashed, tipped the waiters, packed up all the stuff from the couple’s suite upstairs, collected the “after-wedding meal” that they provided for the couple (who never eats during the wedding) and a few salmon leftovers (I wish I could have just taken ALL the leftovers home, but I couldn’t…boo hoo.) Then the hall gave each of the parents a HUGE (I can’t write that word in large enough letters!) arrangement of flowers that were left from the huppa. They took up almost the whole trunk of the car.

At this point, we were three cars: ours, the bride’s parents’, and the newly hitched’s — Mr. and Mrs. Yechiel. We drove in a convoy because we had heard of robberies happening after weddings (don’t forget, we had all the checks!). Imagine that!  However, there were no shenanigans on the way home, and the stuff is safe, waiting for the final tally. Whew!

I arrived home, tired but so, so, happy. A huge wedding bouquet on the table.

after4 my

I put the food away. Gave the dogs some of the steak I had brought home for them. Dress off, makeup off, eyelashes off … hair still up (and still up this morning, so I will look very elegant walking the dogs.)

My only regret was that my mother wasn’t here to share in our happiness. She and Oded were very close, and I know how happy she would have been to see him marrying Nitzan, whom she did have the chance to meet. To the wedding, I wore my mother’s pearl and crystal pin. Moshe wore my father’s tie clip. My mother was also represented by my sister’s stole (see photo above).



Nine months of preparation ended in an incredible day of magic. Special thanks and appreciation and AWE to my most wonderful daughter-in-law, now Nitzan YECHIEL, who did an incredible job of organizing things. It was an amazing, awesome affair. I can happily say that I had the most marvelous time. Didn’t have any regrets (Why didn’t I wear that? Why didn’t I bring this?).  I am looking forward to seeing the official pictures and the video.

This evening (the day after the wedding) the couple is off to their honeymoon in Thailand.

I feel that such a post should properly be concluded with  “Welcome, Nitzan Yechiel, to the family.” But this wonderful girl has been a part of the family for so many years that the wedding was just a formality. Nevertheless, now that it is official, my heart sings. I offer all my love to the couple and  best wishes for their ever-loving happiness. XOXOXO

PS. This entry is well over 3000 words, and I haven’t even BEGUN to mention my and Moshe’s friends and family who were such a special part of the occasion. Please forgive me all, keep the pics and videos coming (and I’m sorry I didn’t credit all the photos properly – if you let me know which are yours, I will fix that). I love you and appreciate you. XOXOXO to you all.


  1. The magnet mystery was somewhat solved: The “family magnets” did not go out to the board and I got some lovelies from the couple when they came. I also got the disc of the magnet photos, and some pics have been added into the blog. Also, some of the photos that I had taken were not with who I thought was the “magnet guy,” but another stills guy. I’ll see those photos later on when the couple return from their honeymoon.

2. I rewrote the part about the badeken (veiling) as I got it wrong the first time (see misconception link).

3. Added many photos by the Magnet man, and slightly changed the description of the ceremony itself. E.g.: I can hardly describe the joy and pride I felt to walk alongside my handsome son.;   while uttering the traditional words: “Hereby are you sanctified unto me according to the Law of Moshe and Israel.” ;

4. Changed toward the end a bit: The wait staff cleared tables and piled up chairs. The DJ and cameramen packed up their stuff. The bar closed down. The coffee bar folded.

5. Reworded the last couple of paragraphs (after the last photo).

6. I added a bit about my parents: The only regret was that my mother wasn’t here to share in our happiness. She and Oded were very close and I know how happy she would have been to see him marrying Nitzan, who she did meet. To the wedding, I wore my mother’s pearl and crystal pin. Moshe wore my father’s tie clip.


Posted on: November 5, 2015

Tuesday night we celebrated the henna ceremony for my son and his betrothed. The henna is a traditional ritual wedding celebration practiced by many cultures. In Israel, the most well-known is the Yemenite Henna Ceremony, where the bride wears a ritual headdress such as this. I didn’t do a henna ceremony when I got married even though my husband is Yemenite, but my sister did (her husband is also Yemenite). Other cultures have similar ceremonies, too, during which one of the rituals is decorating (or simply staining) the hands and (sometimes) the feet with henna, a mud-like mixture made from the henna plant and water. My son’s fiancee is part Moroccan, and this culture also has a similar celebration.

The festivities took place in restaurant in Givat Shmuel, a small town near the bride’s parents’ home. About 80 people were invited, mostly the closest relatives and friends of the bride and groom. A “Moroccan tent” was set up at one end, all red velvet and ornate gold with various Moroccan ornaments, such as a tagine (off to the side), and the traditional coffee pot and glasses you see on the little table.

Sitting on their thrones in the

Sitting on their thrones in the “tent”

To the side of the tent was a table with the “henna pot” (filled with a mixture of henna mud and studded with candles and candies), trays of Moroccan delicacies (i.e. various cookies), and candies (especially meringue kisses and almond dragees).

We (i.e. my family) were asked to arrive early (the event was called for 19:30) and we  got there at 19:00. First thing we did was to set out on each plate the 80  little party favors that I had made up. These consisted of little “henna pots” filled with a few chocolates and a little magnet that said “Thanks for participating in the joy of our Henna.”


The guests began to arrive. At about 8 o’clock, the door to the side room opened and the bride and groom entered dressed in traditional Moroccan clothing. Oded told me later that he felt like the monkey in Aladdin. I thought he looked like Aladdin himself.


I can honestly say that it took my breath away to see this beautiful couple like that, and I have to admit to a lump in my throat and a tear to my eye.


The photographer started his thing, and every permutation of bride, groom, parents, friends, family, etc. etc. were arranged, rearranged and photographed. While he was doing his thing, everybody who had a smartphone (I guess that means everybody) was busy snapping photos, and I will add what I can (so far mostly my own pics).

Here’s a family shot:


And here with hubby’s family


The music started, and the dancing began. Music was first modern Moroccan style, then a bit of Yemenite was added in, and then more modern Israeli music. All good fun and tons of energy. Mostly it consisted of the bride and groom in the middle dancing and then switching with the guests, parents, siblings friends. Everyone dances a bit with one or the other and then switches. Many people simply stood in a circle around the more active ones, clapping hands and swaying in time, yet participating nonetheless. I was happy to see that most of the guests did participate, with not a lot of “stick-in-the-muds-I-don’t-dance.” Even those who “don’t dance” were up on their feet. I had tremendous fun and feel like I didn’t stop moving for a moment!

This part went on for quite a while, up to the point where most of the guests decided to sit down already and begin on  the appetizer course. At this point I must state that this restaurant will never, ever get even close to a Michelin star. Although the appetizers were fine —  baked eggplant and tehini, hummus, “Israeli” salad, matbucha (a spicy tomato relish) — the “main meal” was more like street food. Which isn’t bad. It’s just not great.

At one point the couple disappeared and then, ta da, out they came in outfit number 2:

20151103_213447 20151103_213445

Here they started up the traditional Yemenite step (so proud of my “I don’t dance” boy!). Very quickly, the guests joined into the revelry.

Next stage was the main course. Nothing fancy. Mostly fried Moroccan tidbits, such as cigars, stir-fried chicken and vegetables, fried chicken nuggets, etc. My favorite dish was the olives in sauce. (Just like you might cook zucchini in sauce, you do this with olives.) My eldest, who is vegetarian and also can’t eat potatoes, was forced to stick with the rice dish.

After the main meal, the point of the henna began. Again, the bride and groom disappeared. But, in the meantime, the organizers laid out costumes for the guests, and everyone chose what they wanted.

My sister and her SO in their Moroccan getup

My sister and her SO in their Moroccan getup

Then the honored couple came out in their third outfit … this time both in white. The parents and relatives, bearing trays of sweetmeats and the ritual henna bowl with candles lit (see pic, below) made a procession and circled around to the music.

The bride and the groom sat down on their “thrones,” and the parents sat on the little sofas on each side.


Next stage was presenting the gifts to the bride and groom. I imagine that in “old times” the families heaped gold and other valuables on the couple. We did it symbolically. So N’s parents presented O with a watch, and I gave N a pearl-and-gold necklace-and-bracelet set (meant to match the earrings they bought for the wedding).

Placing the jewelry on the bride.

Placing the jewelry on the bride.

Next was the actual henna part. The bride’s mother placed a gob of henna on the bride’s palm, and I did likewise on the groom’s.


Little “patches” were tied over the blobs. Then everyone got busy anointing (is that what one does with a blob of mud?) anyone else who wanted to walk around for the next few days with stained palms.

(photo: Garry Bregman)

(photo: Garry Bregman)


In the meantime, waiters carried out bowls of fruit cocktail, plates of almonds and pistachios, and trays of sweetmeats.


Guests helped themselves to coffee (nothing like what you’d get out of that coffee pot, unfortunately…just the instant stuff) or tea. Goodbyes were said and the place started to empty.

The bride and groom changed back into their regular clothes, we gathered up whatever leftovers we wanted to take home with us (the bride and groom had supplied the sweetmeats, nuts, wine and liquor), and we loaded them and the pile of gifts into the cars and headed home.

I thank everyone who participated and helped to make this the wonderful celebration that it was. I have heard couples say that they actually enjoyed their own henna party more than the actual wedding (less stress, more intimate). I certainly had a wonderful time (even though I my feet still hurt from all the dancing …. but that’s a “good” kind of hurt, I guess.)

UPDATE after wedding. I think I enjoyed the wedding more, actually…hard to say, a whole different experience. Both were WOW!!!!

from nurit 1

So much happening and so little time, and this blog ends up one of the first casualties. But some of the pressure is easing and I hope this blog gets a bit more use.

To sum up.

One of the biggest time and energy guzzlers that I can blame is that over the past two years I studied for my MA at Bar Ilan University in the English Department, and, having passed my defense at the beginning of October,  I am now, proudly, eligible for my Master of Arts degree in Literary Translation. To say I have an MA in English Literature is a bit presumptive, since there is a LOT about English Literature that I don’t know, but if Bar Ilan sees fit to award me the title, so be it. Graduation in in June. More about my academic adventures later.

Work-wise things are busy enough. I am still what is regarded as an esek ptor (business who doesn’t have to add VAT to their prices) because the volume of my invoices is below a certain amount. Happily to say, I am running pretty close to “that amount” and this is mainly due to three “book deals” that I have. One (recently finished) is actually “literary translation” and is a translation of a book by well-known Israeli author Uri Orlev. The book I translated is called Homeward from the Steppes of the Sun. Also, I am now working on an Israeli bestseller entitled Ba’ali lo ba’Bayit (My Husband Isn’t Home – although the English title may change) by Meirav Halperin. Waiting in the wings is a 400-plus page book on teaching mathematics. My main fare is academic articles. I’ve got three underway at the moment, however there are some other books I have done, and they are listed here.

However, in the very recent past, I have been very busy because of the impending wedding of my son to the girl of his dreams. The wedding is next Wednesday, and I am mostly ready: dress, shoes, accessories, make-up person booked. My hair is still up in the air (literally and figuratively, and I’ll probably do a blog post on that). The henna ceremony was Tuesday night, and to this i will devote the very next blog post.

Given all that has been going on, I am sure you can understand why my house, garden, artistic endeavors and dogs (training-wise, they still get food and water regularly!) have been rather neglected. Hope to get back to those things, too, soon.

Hmmm…. where do I start? OK.

Now that I’m at the tail end of writing my thesis, it’s time to start back to other areas of my life. One is getting rid of STUFF. I have way too much stuff. I have a lot of STUFF that I accumulated when I was teaching English, most of which is stuffed into a large, two-door closet. (There’s also a lot of stuff in our storage shed … dolls, dolls clothes, toys bugs, toy furniture, etc.)

closet before

The second shelf is bags and such, but the other three are full of teaching STUFF. A lot of this stuff is GOOD stuff. Either it consists of many wonderful games, lesson plans, blah blah blah that I lovingly and with much talent, creativity and TIME made by myself, using tons of paper and lamination film, or tons of printouts that used a half-rain-forest of paper and a good-sized puddle of ink printing, collating and stapling, or there is stuff that I bought (games, books, etc.) with a lot of money.

Will I ever  teach again? I doubt it. Maybe my grandchildren, and even that I wonder about.

Do I need all this stuff? Not at all. It’s just taking up valuable space.

Can I get rid of this stuff? Very difficult.

Every so often, I do go through and purge what is least painful to give up. For example the tens of English workbooks (many I had gathered from the garbage outside a bookstore) from grades one up to 12. I schlepped three cartons of them over to a colleagues apartment a couple of years ago.

Last year I purged some stuff into a big box and gave it to an English teacher who responded to a notice on Facebook. She even gave me a donation of a hundred shekels or so which I gave to Spay Israel (the organization I do the pet portraits for).

And the cupboard is still too full. (I will ignore for the moment that stuff in our storage shed.)

Yesterday the purge bug hit me again, and I did manage to get rid of about three magazine boxes full of stuff.

This is what yesterday’s toil yielded: two empty binders, a huge pile of paper for scrap printing (I use that a lot), three empty magazine organizers (you only see two in the pic, one’s in the trash), a pink bag of trash, a paper bag of recycling, a pile of organizers, and a box of stuff to give away.


A drop in the bucket though. This is what is left!

closet after

Meanwhile, I found out that a dear friend from Bar Ilan is teaching both E1L and EFL and she is one person to whom I would be happy to bequeath my stuff. She lives far away, though. However… we’ll see.

At any rate, I have decided that “picking through” the stuff is just not going to work.

… Oh! Maybe I should start again.

Many, many years ago (I think this was even before my youngest was born) I came across a wonderful book on organizing, the pages of which have long scattered to the wind (it was very crappy binding). It might have been by Julie Morgenstern. At any rate, her main advice for getting rid of STUFF was SPACE: sort, purge, assign, containerize, equalize.

And here I am, forgetting the lesson.

So now I realize that the first thing I must do is “sort.”  And for that I have just schlepped three huge boxes into the house that will be labeled EFL, E1L, and KEEP.

So, I shall press “Publish” on this blog and get up and start sorting. Wish me luck.

It’s hard to believe, but yesterday was the last class of the last day of the last semester of the last year of my MA program. All my papers are in and I have “just” my thesis left to do (in progress, due mid-September).

It was an amazing journey into a realm that was somewhat foreign to me, not being of the “Arts” persuasion. One thing I learned is how much I don’t know. I hope I will have the persistence, motivation and determination to continue my journey. One thing I want to do is to work my way through one of these “Best 100 Works of Literature of All Time” lists, going from earliest to latest. Paradise Lost and Heart of Darkness can already be checked off (amongst others, of course). Is Ulyssus somewhere in my reading future?

I met some amazing people (hope we continue to stay in touch!) and am totally in awe of the instructors who imparted to me some of their wisdom. To name them: Prof. William Kohlbrener (Intro to Literature, Milton, Shakespeare), Professor Susan Handelman (Contemporary Literary Criticism), Professor Evan Fallenberg (Literary Translation, Creative Writing), Professor Marcella Sulak (Translating Poetry), Professor Roston (Literature and Visual Arts), Dr. Kinnereth Meyer (American Drama), Dr. Baruch Alistair (5 megillot). And of course, Prof. Yael Shapira (thesis mentor). The only course that I am dissing is the Jewish-studies self-study course I took, but I ended up with 90, so never mind.

I have to give a thumbs-up to the amazing atmosphere at Bar Ilan. Being of the atheist persuasion in an orthodox Jewish learning establishment presented absolutely no problem whatsoever. The student (and academic) body ran the gamut: side-locks, tzitzit (fringed garments that Orthodox Jewish males wear), sheitels (head covering for Orthodox Jewish women),  and hijab  (head covering for Arabic women) were sported alongside  tattoos, piercings, spaghetti strapped tops, tights and  short shorts. Everyone in a wonderful spirit of live-and-let live and mutual appreciation. I don’t know if it’s just the English department of the whole university, but no complaints in that area.

Apartheid indeed!

I spent hours and hours reading, researching and writing. I have a couple of pieces that I wrote that I’m particularly proud of, and might actually look to getting them published: to wit, a creative writing piece connected to Sherlock Holmes, and the translations I just finished of the Israeli Hebrew poet, Alexander Penn (I will post them to my English with Linda site one of these days. I’ll let you know!) .

So now it’s time to  stop ignoring —  my house, my garden, my dogs, my cooking, too many of my friends, and my art.

First the good stuff. Most of the music was good, some was GREAT.

Most of the food was good, some was GREAT. The Potluck and the Cake Room surpassed expectations.

It was such fun having my kids with me (at least 2/3 of them).

Now the bad stuff…can’t say I was overjoyed at the place I chose to stay at…should have gone back to the one from last time which seemed so luxurious.

Here’s the letter I just sent off to the proprietor. I will point out that this is someone’s house that is just not occupied at the moment and that they let out, and not really a business venture/official zimmer. (Sorry for the wacko directionality…i.e. punctuation at the wrong end, but no time to fix it now).



Dear R,
I hope you found the place satisfactory after we left.
I am sorry to say that we were a bit disappointed in the house.
There were two main flaws that, in our opinion, disqualified it from being a “5-star” place:
1) There was NO suitable way to heat water for coffee. There was no electric kettle and the blue kettle on the stove was FULL of rust and absolutely unusable (see photos. The black powder on the counter is the rust that fell off the lid as I placed it on the counter!) We couldn’t find a saucepan, and I ended up having to heat some water in a small stainless steel bowl with no handle. Even had we wanted to fill the “Meham” with water for just a few cups of coffee and wait for it to  heat up, the inside was dirty. This was quite an inconvenience, as I think the availability of a kettle is the minimum requirement (especially with such a great collection of teas)!
2) The clip on the shower to hold up the shower head was broken, meaning that we had to do a “hand-held” shower. Also, not “fun.” (See photo.)
There were another of other small things that, on their own might be trivial, but seemed to add up. Perhaps you would like to take them into consideration before your next guests:
  1. There was no toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom and we had to run around looking for some (finally found some upstairs) before we could use it. I think that making sure there is a supply of TP in every bathroom is something that should be on the “list.”
  2. The kitchen counter was dirty and needed wiping.
  3. The bunk beds were “strewn” with blankets and looked like someone had just dumped them (or had just got out of the bed). They should have been folded neatly.
  4. There are a number of things that need the care of a handyman: e.g. the dismantled cupboard  in the master bedroom, making sure both reading lamps have bulbs (master bedroom), that the trissim all open and close smoothly (master bedroom, one tris I couldn’t budge, living room it is very sticky), loose hinges (kitchen pantry cupboard), etc.
  5. The faucet in the shower needs a good dose of CILIT. Ugh!
  6. There was no Turkish coffee. I believe that many people enjoy Turkish coffee, especially in the morning, and it should be standard supply along with ‘nes’ and teas.
  7. The tree near the entrance needs a good trim so people don’t have to duck down when coming into the property (my son forgot to duck one time).
  8. The “driveway” is not conducive to parking.
  9. The gate is very sticky. I thought at first that we needed a key, until my daughter gave it a good kick. We weren’t able to close it afterward.
  10. I don’t know if the chairs outside on the patio were supposed to be part of the “deal” but they were certainly unusable and looked awful. If you would just stack them and tidy that area, it would just LOOK so much better.
  11. Paying guests really  shouldn’t be asked to “work” (even if it is “just” watering the plants). That’s for the couch surfers.
I admit these are small things, but they add to the atmosphere and feeling of caring and respect (or not) the owner has for their home and their guests.
On the other hand, we appreciated the little treats you left for us, especially the almond chocolate (homemade?). (But Bamba can’t be left out for any length of time, it gets “chewy.” Just saying.) And although you told us that the Miso was “out of bounds” I wasn’t sure about the wine, blueberries and other stuff in the fridge, so we didn’t touch them (except the fruit, but we had brought our own, and the milk). And my kids happily took advantage of a game they found.
Linda and family

Who will wrap it up in a ribbon and put it in a box for me? 

So I can see at my leisure… 


Well, those are the words from Oliver! and I want to just say what a great weekend I had with my brood. I have to keep it short and sweet because I have a busy day, but just so I won’t forget and I can come back and remind myself.

Present were: Son and fiancee, younger daughter and bf, and older daughter. The first four reside here (well, the bf doesn’t really, but he’s here so often he’s already one of the family!), and older dd slept over Fri night.

I made lasagna, tomato soup (my fake Campbell’s recipe!), coleslaw and grilled vegies. Ydd and bf made a zillion potato latkes. That was Fri night dinner.

After dinner we made three teams for pictionary, and did two rounds. (Who won doesn’t matter, what matters is that we had FUN!)

Then we watched The Man Who Sued God, all bundled up on the sofa!


In the morning Sister and her DH joined us for breakfast: Jahnun and store-bought Cobanah, oven baked eggs, yogurt, tomato puree, schug, and latkes, with just enough that there was 1/2 of a Jahnun and 1 T of tomato puree  left.

It was a lazy day: reading in bed and stuff. Older dd left around 4 to get back to her kitties. Everyone else hung around till Sunday morning.


OK…well, I know it doesn’t SOUND like an earth-shattering weekend, but it was sooooo homey! Loved it.


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These are the days I posted

February 2016
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good oven mitts for lefties;
a silicone mat with measurements for rolling out pie dough;


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