The Big Felafel


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Jerusalem Scene category.

Tu B’av and the City: Day of Love events in Jerusalem 2011

Deena from HaBitza.com, a dating blog, sent me a great post about Tu B’Av events in Jerusalem. Enjoy!

Thank the mighty Lord, the mourning period of the three weeks, the nine days and the 9th of Av are behind us. It is such a cumbersome time for many of us and it’s always a relief when it’s over.

And now comes the fun part! This Sunday night (August 14, 2011) and Monday is Tu B’Av, the Jewish/Israeli day of love. Long ago it was the day on which single girls went out to the fields dressed in white and danced while the guys checked them out and tried to choose someone to marry. Today things are done a bit differently, though not by much. This year on Tu B’Av in Jerusalem there are sing-alongs, mega speed dating events and other parties around the city.

This post is an overview of some of the events going on around the city this coming Sunday and Monday. But actually, it is really just an excuse for me to tell you about the following event which I attended (and loved) last year:

באב TWO

Where: Beit Yehudit, 12 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem (aka ICCY/Merkaz Tarbut Amim Veno’ar)
When: 8:30 PM, August 14, 2011
Price: 55 NIS

True, the venue doesn’t seem to be able to choose a name for themselves but that doesn’t detract from their events. I attended this event last year and I can tell you that it is one of the most enjoyable events I’ve attended. There was so much going on, and in general there was a great vibe. This year will be similar in that you’ll get to enjoy a concert by a top Israeli musician (Eviatar Banai), eat and drink yummy things, watch love story movies by Maaleh students and sing and dance (so it seems). Read the brochure above for more information (about a lecture, a tish, a pasta workshop and more).

Tu B’Av Mass Speed Dating

Where: Tzidkiyahu’s Cave, Jerusalem (Below the walls of the Old City)
When: 8:00 PM, August 14, 2011 (I think – the flyer is sort of missing a date.)
Price: 25 NIS (90% discount)

Yeah, this is a pretty interesting one. Mass speed dating in a cave for singles ages 23-40?! They mention wine and romance and the next day you’ll get the contact info of anyone where there was mutual interest.

This is organized by a few organizations including Tzi’irim Lema’an Yerushalayim. Check them out on facebook. You can also email info@y-jerusalem.org for more information. There are buses from Binyanei Hauma in both directions.

Let me know if you end up braving it and going. I’d love to hear how it is! (Not sure I’m brave enough to go myself.:)

You must RSVP before.

Tu B’Av at HaGov

Where: HaGov Bar, 5 Yoel Moshe Salomon, Jerusalem
When: 9:00 PM, August 14, 2011
Price: A drink/food

There will be some really nice specials that night, including:

2-for-1 on passionfruit Margaritas! (Of course)
A Fun Joel Platter of finger food for a discounted 39 NIS. (Named after Joel who is behind this event.)
Two main courses and receive a free sweet dessert!
A bottle of sparkling red wine for a discounted 94 NIS.

Jerusalem Wine Festival

Yeah, I know this isn’t specifically a Tu B’Av event but it begins on Monday the 15th when it is still Tu B’Av and it’s also just an amazing event. So, I’m including it here. 🙂

There are also a bunch of other things going on. For example:

Love story tour of Hanvi’im Street and a sing-along in the courtyard of the museum of the Underground Prisoners (אסירי המחתרות). This is on Monday the 15th. (The event flyer)

BBQ, mingling and art program for singles ages 24-38 (Monday) venue to be announced to people who RSVP.

Tu B’Av JamFest – Ghetto Shul Style in Katamon

Tu B’Av Rooftop Kumzitz by the shuk

Know of anything else that should be on this list? Please email me so I can add it. habitza@gmail.com.

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Ha Ha HaHafuch! It’s time for a Comedy Variety Show and You’re Invited!

So it’s shameless self-promotion…so what! I’m just trying to get you to come to the Hahafuch Comedy Variety show this Thursday, July 7th at 8pm. I just want you, person living in Jerusalem, to have a good night out. I want you to laugh, drink some beer, enjoy music and maybe meet some cool people. Is that really so bad?

I hope to see you there. There will be comedy sketches, improv, music, beer and even stand-up with the very talented Benji Lovitt.

For details click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


‘Be My BFF’ Campaign: Sarah Silverman Be My Friend

This is what our friendship would look like

A few years ago famous comedian Sarah Silverman took part in a campaign geared towards getting young Jews to make sure their grandparents in Florida voted for then presidential candidate Barak Obama, in ‘The Great Schlep’.

Fast forward a few years later to present day, famous comedian Sarah Silverman is about to partake in another schlep, The Really Great Schlep, as she makes her way to the Jewish Homeland. That’s right, Silverman, obviously a big Jew, will be in Israel on tour and at this year’s President’s conference in about a week.

I am sure she will have an awesome trip, hang out with her family, and see some Jewish stuff while she is here. But more importantly, she needs to come and hang out with me, because we are destined to be BFFs. Is there a way to say that, write that, without sounding creepy or stalkerish?

So, just like Sarah Silverman once campaigned to make a difference, it appears it is now my turn to do the same. Perhaps my campaign is much smaller, really just for me and my friends and my comedy troupe, but I believe it will have a profound  effect on the nation, on Jews as a whole, and perhaps even milk prices.

Sarah Silverman this is my ‘Be My BFF’ campaign and I will do everything that I can until you and I are wearing friendship bracelets, posing in front of the Western Wall with our shoulders covered (thanks to the old lady-shmata-police at the Kotel who hand out dirty scarves to make sure G-d doesn’t get a peep show in the holiest place in the world) and leftover hummus and pita in our teeth.

There are a lot of reasons that you should be my friend and meet me on your trip to Israel. I will now list just a few. Also, I will make sure to tweet it up, Facebook and get my friends involved in my campaign. I will not sleep or eat until you are my friend. Mainly I won’t be sleeping because my eight-month-old son is teething and wakes up every two hours throughout the night. And when I say I won’t eat, what I mean is, I won’t eat too much, except for Shabbat when calories don’t count.

A List of Just a Few Reasons Why We Should be BFF:

We are both Jewish ( I only use this as a reason, because people think when they are setting people up, as long as they have one thing in common, like age, race or religion, that they must be perfect for each other…just trying to cover my bases. And this is kind of like the perfect shidduch).

I have a tiny comedy troupe, in a tiny city, in a tiny country. We are Hahafuch (it means upside down) the premiere English speaking comedy troupe in all of Israel. The only English speaking comedy troupe in all of Israel. We do improv and comedy sketches, making fun of Israel. We would love to have you for practice. Then you can check off “do improv with a bunch of new immigrants in Jerusalem” from your bucket list.

My husband is an archaeologist and can show you a private tour of his dig where they find really old stuff. He can also show you and your family awesome, really old secret places all over Jerusalem that you don’t know about.

I will take you to Bazaar Strauss in Talpiot, which is like a smaller, crappier version of Target. I will buy you anything you want, as long as it’s under NIS 10. It might not sound like much, but you could get a lot of stuff there for that price: underwear (never used, I might add), salad tongs, or half of a Purim costume (I say half because the other half is gone but they are still selling it).

I go to this Yoga-Pilates fusion class that you would love. Not because of the workout, but because the teacher wears these amazing pants, that are so wrong in all the wrong places. It is truly a body and mind challenge to get through the class. But as BFFs I know we could do it together.

I will take you to the Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda Shuk and you can meet a real busta (stall) owner in the Iraqi part, and I can guarantee he will give you some candy and tell you cool stories about his life.  I will then buy you NIS 5 ice coffee from marzipan and get you some of their famous rugelach if you insist. We will look at really pretty vegetables and take another picture, that I would probably make my Facebook profile for life.

You’re invited for Shabbat. I will make sure to have a table of awesome people, even if it means I have to become more than Facebook friends with them and possibly have to pay them. For a BFF, I would do that.

There’s more reasons of course, but I have to leave something for Twitter and Facebook. I will post reasons daily and I hope you will check them out and I will win you over. Like I said I will do anything. I can’t promise peace in the Middle East, but I can promise it like a politician does- which is about the same and worth a Nobel Prize if nothing else.

I know if we had the chance to hang out that it would be just another day in your world but for me it would kind of make my life. I moved to Israel after college and while I love it here, sometimes it’s hard to get through the day. Not because of terrorists. No I’m talking about something more evil than that- bureaucracy. So, I am just saying that you would make a big difference in someone’s life. And that difference will have a huge effect throughout the Anglo-Immigrant community in Israel. That’s a big deal. A really big deal. So on your Really Big Schlep, please just consider taking an hour or two to meet your Middle East BFF.

He wants to be BFFs too!

Also, I have a dog. He’s a Jerusalem mix and knows how to high five and roll over. We rescued him. He does not make white dog poop from the 70’s, but I can have my Israeli husband sing that song to you. He has it memorized.

To hang out you can email here. Or tweet me @FelafelBalls

Can’t wait!

 


Jerusalem Day Special: HaTikva’s scandalous past and its relevance today

In honor of Jerusalem Day, The Big Felafel received an excellent guest post about HaTikva, Israel’s national anthem.

The Impossible Dream
By Ariella Gottesman

Many years ago, I heard a speaker – a self-proclaimed Zionist – taking HaTikvah to task. In her opinion, it didn’t speak to the Zionist dream, the true feeling of the Jewish heart aching to return home, or the mission of Zionism. She suggested that The Impossible Dream from the hit Broadway musical “The Man of La Mancha” take its place as the Israeli national anthem. The very words, she thought, encapsulated everything Zionism and Israel stands for:

To dream the impossible dream,

To fight the unbeatable foe,

To bear with unbearable sorrow,

To run where the brave dare not go…

I was quite taken with this idea as a child, with the notion that this stirring song about reaching “the unreachable star” could serve as a more fitting national anthem for our homeland. I took out the CD from the library and listened to the song countless times, smiling as I internalized the lyrics. It struck a chord within me, far deeper than HaTikvah ever had.

So, why shouldn’t this song represent the Zionist dream? What does HaTikvah really have over The Impossible Dream?

Recently, I hit the books (and the Internet) to figure it all out.  What I discovered was fascinating.

Similar to The Star Spangled Banner, which is actually a four paragraph poem with only the first verse known, HaTikvah has seven other stanzas, which nobody knows.

HaTikvah was originally a nine stanza poem written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a relatively unsuccessful poet, loafer, and womanizer who lived in the late nineteenth century. The original title was actually TikvateinuOur Hope – and it was the anthem of several settlements in the 1880s. Imber later died of alcohol induced liver disease, a glorious way for the writer of Israel’s national anthem to pass.

Samuel Cohen later put these rhymes to a Romanian folk song, Carul cu Boi. Though he slowed down the rhythm and refined the sound, when one listens to Carul cu Boi, it is clear that the two songs are related. The tune that makes Jews worldwide rise and put their hands to their hearts means, in Romanian, “Cart and Oxen,” and the original is a dancing tune.

The more I uncovered in my research, the more the case was made for The Impossible Dream to take center stage.

Yet, HaTikvah, with its interesting, and perhaps scandalous, past, still has a unique quality that The Impossible Dream cannot and never will have. This quality fills the heart of the Jew. It makes us smile, it makes us cry, it defines us, and it makes HaTikvah our national anthem.

On May 12, 1948, before David Ben-Gurion read the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the audience spontaneously sang HaTikvah in unison. After the Declaration was signed, the crowd once again rose and sang:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

No one in that room, or anywhere in that newly born country, would have envisioned owning all of Jerusalem. Not under the White Paper, nor under the UNSCOP Partition Plan, nor by any other conceivable course of events. At best, they thought, it would wind up under UN jurisdiction. At worst, it would fall into the hands of the Arabs, who would in all likelihood deny Jews access. Indeed, by the end of the 1948 war, when the smoke had cleared, Jerusalem was still not under Israeli control.

Yet, Jews still dreamed of Jerusalem. Their eyes still looked towards Zion. The city where David camped was still in their hearts. And, in 1967, against all odds, we claimed our birthright.

The Impossible Dream is a wonderful song. I smile and cry every time I listen to it. But it does not focus on Jerusalem.  As such, it cannot possibly represent the Zionist dream because it is impossible to fulfill the Zionist dream without our Golden Jerusalem.

Ariella Gottesman is an undergraduate student at Stern College for Women and the president of the Yeshiva University Israel Club.

 


The Jerusalem Marathon and You! (Next Year in Jerusalem Indeed!)

Picture yourself somewhere in this crowd!

If you weren’t one of the 10,000 people that ran in the Jerusalem Marathon, Half-marathon, 10k or 4.2k race this past Friday, I am here to tell you that you better be next year. If you want a challenge, if you want to be healthy and if you want to eat pasta like it’s nobody’s business then sign up for the 2012 race now.

I am writing this to you, sore legs and all, to say that everyone has the potential to run in a race like this, and if you don’t do it then you are missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. And to run the Jerusalem track, that’s the cherry on the top. Running through the streets of Jerusalem, hills and all, is an incredible feeling. Running with others who are sharing in your excitement and pain as you climb yet another incline, is so amazing I wish I could do it again this Friday!

Let’s get this straight. I don’t consider myself a runner. I am a woman who became a mommy and didn’t have the time or money to go to a gym with a newborn to take care of. So I made it my goal to get back in shape with a few DVDs (those postnatal workouts with cheesy trainers telling you you’ll be as fit as ever) and a light jog every now and then. No matter where you run in Jerusalem you are bound to face a hill, so I figured a good twenty minute run was plenty and would keep me healthy. Continue reading this entry »


Guide to Childcare in Israel and 15 questions every parent should ask


If there is one thing harder than birth, we would say it is trying to register your child for day care. Unlike the birthing process, there’s no Lamaze class to teach you breathing techniques as you try to register your child for day care in Israel.

But lucky for our readers, you can learn through our mistakes and questions as we  navigate the childcare system in Israel. And let us say right off the bat, that we encourage and beg you to add info in the comments section in order to help the new parent community.

It is barely spring, but according to Israel you need to secure a place for your child for the fall. You must sign up before spaces fill up, and that means that even if you don’t know what part of town, or even what part of the country you are living in, well that’s too bad.

Check out our guide below that explains the different types of daycare options in Israel.

Public/Government Run Childcare:

Maon (Daycare)

Definition: This is large-scale daycare run by various organizations (usually women’s organizations).  The government supervises and dictates policy.  You must register for these and be accepted (registration starts April 27, 2011). Full-time working mothers have top priority.

Groups:

  • 3-15 months: 1 adult for every 6 children, maximum 15 in a group.
  • 15 months – 2 years: 1:9 ratio,  maximum 23 in a group
  • 2-3 years: 1:11 ratio, maximum 27 in a group

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday: 7:00am-4:00pm (though some go as late as 5:00pm)
  • Friday: 7:00 am-1:00pm
  • Holidays:  Government policy: three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: NIS1550- NIS 2050, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings

What is included: Food (and sometimes sheets)

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, (sheet for the bed)

Maons in Jerusalem:

Mishpachton (pre-nursery in someone’s home)

Definition: This is daycare that is run out of a private home.  The government supervises and dictates policy.  There can be a maximum of 5 children (without getting special permission for more)  and  no more than 2 children under the age of one.  If there are more children an additional caregiver must be present.

Hours and Holidays:

  • 6 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:00pm, Fri: 7:00am-12:00pm
  • 5 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:30pm or 7:30am-5:00pm (although some places are only until 4:00pm)
  • Holidays: They must abide by the government set holiday schedule.  This includes taking off three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: More or less the same price as a Maon, approximately NIS 1550, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings.

What is included: Food

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, sheet for the bed

Continue reading this entry »


Running in Jerusalem or How to Make Buns of Steel!

As I train for the Jerusalem half-marathon, I have come to realize that the Holiest city in the world was meant to be a land filled with extremely fit people. You cannot run five minutes without finding yourself climbing up another hill or flying down one. And when you’re running in your first half-marathon – that’s 21.1 kilometers or 13 miles – you realize that maybe Jerusalem isn’t the best place to start. Then again when you live here, there isn’t much of a choice!

Thanks to the new Gmaps Pedometer, creating my running routes has been easy— but there’s nothing easy about the actual runs. Every route has hills, it is unavoidable. Not only that, Jerusalem doesn’t have a beach, a lake or a boardwalk (I know there is the Haas Promenade in Talpiot, but really not the same as a boardwalk), that could make the run more visually exciting. Sure there is the Jerusalem Forest, but that is just more of the same, with crazy hills and inclines that my legs, butt and thighs will just not accept. And true, we do have the Old City which is a cool place to run through, if you like thousands of tourists getting in your way, cars trying to squeeze through the narrow streets, and broken roads that make for embarrassing and painful (being embarrassed hurts more than bruises) falls.

But I have challenged myself, body and mind, to run this year’s Jerusalem half-marathon and March 25th I hope to achieve my goal with thousands of others. While I am super excited about the half, the real deal is the first full Jerusalem marathon taking place the same day. With over 10,000 people registered, it looks like this will be the country’s biggest marathon, so take that Tel Aviv (with your beautiful beaches, boardwalks and HaYakron!). Continue reading this entry »


A Guide to Birth in Jerusalem: The deals, The clothes, The bureaucracy

Baby Pasta for diaper rash! Welcome to Israel where new flavors of pasta are invented every day!

I was always so terrified to give birth. But had someone told me about all the free crap you get, I might not have been so scared. I’m just saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel (which tunnel…), and freebies are an awesome way to make the pain feel a little less painful in the days after birth.

The Big Felafel ladies gave birth just two weeks apart and through our experiences we would now like to share our knowledge of free stuff, cheap baby stores and paperwork with you. Save this list and save your time and money.

1. Money from the great State of Israel

When you give birth in any hospital in the state of Israel you are supposed to register your child and receive an Identification Number (Teduat Zehuot) as well as a little monetary gift of about NIS 1600 (if you have twins it is way more so keep that in mind), known as a birth grant. You should also receive a small monthly supplement thereafter, so make sure to fill out the paper work and give them your bank info.

2. Treats in the Hospital

As well as the free oh-so delicious meals you will have during your recuperation period in the hospital, you will also find that there are random women distributing gifts for your newborn. While in the hospital you may receive diapers, fresh wipes, breast pads and even a pacifier. Just realize that these gifts may come to haunt you as they will most likely get your home address and start sending you all kinds of stuff. I receive some kind of coupon or baby magazine every week (a nice change from the bills, but annoying just the same).

3. Betuach Leumi, National Health Insurance Pays Too!

That’s right, if you are a working expecting mother then make sure to collect your $200 after passing go. That is to say, that after you give birth you are entitled to 14-weeks paid maternity leave. My advice is to make sure you collect the past 10-months of pay-statements before leaving your job because you may need them when filling out paper work. The paper work will either be sent to you by your employer or you can get it at Betuach Leumi. It is pretty simple to fill out and your employer will also need to file. You can submit your paperwork at any time but it takes about a month for the money to be posted to your account so keep that in mind. The payment is supposed to be based on an average of the last three months you worked, so make sure to do your overtime if you can. Also, another tip here is to go to Betuach Leumi during afternoon hours when they are empty and more friendly since they are about to go home. One woman even let me breastfeed in their private kitchenette. I even started a trend when another nursing lady followed me in to the room. For more info from Betuach Leumi, check out their website.

4. Misrad Hapnim, Ministry of Interior, Make it Official

As I stated above, when you are in the hospital you should get an ID number for your child which will help when you need to get their passport. If you don’t fill out the paperwork there, don’t worry, you can always go to the Ministry of Interior to do the paperwork. If you go, again I recommend going during afternoon hours when it is less crowded. You will need to bring your baby’s paperwork from the hospital and the correct size passport photos (you can get them done anywhere) as well as the baby to prove that it is the same kid in the pictures. My advice here is to register the child’s birth and get their Israeli Passport at the same time, why go back twice? For more info.

5. SuperPharm cares

Continue reading this entry »


The New Hannuka Miracle: American Doughnuts in Israel

Normally this time of year, starting about a month before Hannuka, the bakeries place their finest, sweetest and most oily sufganiyot in the window display so that passers-by have no choice but to indulge in the million calorie treat…several times. However, this Hannuka there is a new market on the oily goodness, in the form of real American doughnuts.

It seems that the already successful Jerusalem based Aldo ice cream shop on Emek Refaim is now cornering in on the doughnut world. With a huge sign at the front door, the store invites people to their new display of doughnuts, which happens to look exactly like Dunkin Donuts. In fact the company behind this year’s Hannuka miracle is Mr. Donuts, which have already been selling doughnuts in their Alonit stores.

The doughnuts come in all different flavors, sugar coated, chocolate with sprinkles, strawberry, and banana (really not a fan). A single doughnut is NIS 6, but Aldo is currently running a deal, six doughnuts for NIS 30 (that’s almost a doughnut for each day of Hannuka, if you can really pace yourself). I’ve already bought a box full and I won’t tell you how many are left as I write this post!

The man behind the doughnut vision is Zohar Norman, owner and CEO of Cocoa Mr. Donuts. The business guru has been back in Israel for 3 years after conquering the hummus market in America with Sabra Salads. His bakery in Yavne is behind the real doughnuts, using an American style recipe which fries the doughnuts at much higher speeds and best of all are only 180-240 calories a doughnut (another Hannuka miracle). If all goes well, Norman plans to also import American style pizza and muffins, OMG!

And in an exclusive report to The Big Felafel, a source at Holy Bagel has revealed that they are also going to begin selling doughnuts in their Jerusalem stores. I can already smell the doughnut sale wars! Now, we just have to get Norman to buy into Mexican food. How about some burritos and tacos in time for Purim?


GroopBuy, Get Your Deal On.

Like any good Jew, especially one living in Israel, I love deals. Deals complete me. A dress that was on sale seems more valuable somehow. Going to the shuk and bargaining over fruit leaves it tasting better than ever. And discovering a new website that brings the promise of amazing deals day after day, well friends, that is priceless.

May I introduce you to GroopBuy where deals are daily and that makes mamma happy. The concept is simple: everyday there is a new deal and if you like it you sign up and then you make sure your friends do too. If enough people sign up for the deal then we all get to enjoy the benefits. And again mamma is happy.

The deals can be for restaurants to dance classes and today it was for a dentist (not a bad idea since my teeth have been feeling sore lately, and I was just ignoring it but now I don’t have to). The deals come to your inbox so I imagine that this is what it feels like when the Christians say, “Everyday feels like Christmas.”

The website is super user-friendly and in English, in fact they even had Anglos in mind when creating the site according to the ‘about us’ section: GroopBuy is a response to the frustrations Anglos may experience when integrating into a new country. This cuts the Israeli learning curve right in half—now we just have to figure out a website that makes the banks and bureaucracies open for more than two hours a day and we might just see a spike in Aliyah.

Who is excited to get her deal on? It’s me and I hope it’s you because it only works if we all join in. And remember mamma wants to be happy.

Check out the deals at www.groopbuy.co.il
Join the Facebook GroopBuy Group