The Big Felafel


Like=Candy! The Purim Mishloach Manot Project for Lone Soldiers. Yay!

Purim is definitely in the air. What I mean is Jerusalem is now full of even more crazies than usual. Little kids are already wearing face paint and getting dressed up in celebration of the holiday. People seem to be drinking more around me, and I’m going to say it’s because of a countdown to Purim. And those oh so delicious (OK they’re not the most tasty pastry but go with it), hamentashens are filled with all kinds of gooey goodness and being sold in every bakery or makulot in the area.

You may not know yet what costume you are going to wear, but I know you want to be a good person this Purim and I’m here to help you make sure you do just that. Eli, of Eli’s Shop in the Mahane Yehuda Shuk, has a very special Purim campaign for lone soldiers and you are about to become a part of it.

The only online shuk vendor is reaching out to the social media community to make sure lone soldiers have a super sweet Purim. The shop has teamed up with the Lone Solider Center in Memory Michael Levin to help provide Israel’s lone soldiers with Purim treats.

“We’re doing this because it’s a unique way to use social media to donate to charity. People all over the world can participate in this and give to lone soldiers in Israel this Purim just by clicking “like” with their mouse… (no credit card required!). We will donate the candies ourselves in the name of all our Facebook Fans in appreciation of their support” Eli tells us. 

The Purim Mishloach Manot Project for Lone Soldiers is a great and easy way to give this Purim. Eli’s shop will match a candy to mishloach manot (Purim gift basket of goodies) for every like the page receives. So all you have to do is like the page (which is awesome, because it’s a shuk vendor online) and you have done your part to ensure that a lone solider—a person who has chosen to come to Israel and serve in the army on their own— will have plenty of sweets this Purim.

We at The Big Felafel will do our part to spread the word. This is an awesome cause and we hope these soldiers get baskets full of candies as a thank you for the incredible work they are doing to protect Israeli citizens.

The Center is dedicated in memory of Michael Levin. Levin was a lone solider who cut a trip short visiting his family in America in order to serve in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. He had to fight to be with his unit and unfortunately he died fighting in Lebanon. This center not only remembers Levin’s heroism, but honors and takes care of other lone soldiers like him.

It’s a mitzvah to give someone a mishloach manot. To give a lone soldier a candy in that mishloach from anywhere in the world is just awesome. This is the ultimate way to celebrate the most fun Jewish Holiday ever!

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A Big Felafel Exclusive: Unorthodox.

We at The Big Felafel like to think we are super cool people. You may agree. You may not agree. And we might not care. Who are we kidding, we would care. But when my friend Shira Katz asked if I would be interested in writing about a documentary film she is producing called ‘Unorthodox’ I had a moment of awe.

I felt cool. Really cool. Because this film is amazing. ‘Unorthodox’, a feature documentary, tracks the lives of three teenagers from the modern Orthodox community as they spend their post-high school year studying in Israel. The film follows the teenagers through their journey in Israel and America. The documentary tells this intimate story with personal video diaries, giving us those real life moments that are both raw and profound.

As well as the story of these three teenagers, the documentary weaves together Anna Wexler’s own story. Wexler, the woman behind the documentary who left her modern Orthodox community, reveals her own life story adding a very private layer to the film.

In this exclusive behind the scenes, check out our Q&A with filmmaker Anna Wexler herself and a special Vlog from Producer Shira on the Kickstarter Campaign!

 

Q: Why did Anna decide to do this documentary?

A: In a sense, this documentary tells my own story. I grew up in the Modern Orthodox community in New Jersey, and as a teenager, I broke away from the religion. I watched as many of my friends graduated from high school and went to spend a year studying in a seminary in Israel. These friends had also grown up in Modern Orthodox homes, but like me, they had rebelled, and were not religious by the time they went to Israel. When they came back from their year in Israel they had completely changed: some of my male friends no longer spoke to me since they didn’t want to get “distracted” by women; others now wore black hats and spent their mornings learning in yeshiva. My friends who were girls were suddenly wearing long skirts and long sleeves. And everyone strictly adhered to Shabbat (no more going out on Friday night) and kosher.

I wanted to find out what happens over this year—what makes people change so drastically, and why do the changes happen so reliably, year after year? Originally I wanted to write an article or thesis about the “year in Israel” but I met a producer who suggested that I make a documentary film about the experience. So as a sophomore in college, I got my close friend Nadja Oertelt on board. We taught ourselves a bit about documentary film and together we set out to follow three teenagers through their year in Israel.

 

Q: How, if any, has the goal changed throughout the process?

A: I think the goal has always remained the same—to find out what happens over the year in Israel. What changed was that I became a character in the film. All throughout production people told me that this was my story and that I should be in the film, but I stubbornly resisted. It was only many years later, in the editing room, that I realized how much richer the story would be if you watched the teenagers travel to Israel through my eyes, and if Orthodox Judaism was explained through my childhood experiences instead of using onscreen text. In addition, I saw that my story—of leaving the community—could add another layer to the film, and thus the film could encompass a broader variety of personal experiences with religion.

 

Q: Why did Shira become an Associate Producer?

A: I met Shira when I moved to Israel, and we’ve been close friends since 2009. When I was working on the full-length rough cut this summer, she provided helpful advice and feedback, and when I was working on the trailer this fall, Shira was there at all hours of the night. I would share my screen on Skype and she’d help me tweak the individual cuts. Nadja and I have been thinking about bringing on a third person for a while now, and Shira was always the front-runner in my mind (I don’t think she knows that). When we launched the Kickstarter campaign in December and were overwhelmed with responses, Nadja and I decided that it was the right time to bring on a third person and we made Shira a formal offer. Lucky for us, she accepted.

Shira also has a personal connection to the film—she grew up in a religious home and has been through her own struggles with the faith.

 

Q: What’s it like filming in Israel as oppose to America?

A: People react to the camera differently. In America, we felt that people tended to be more suspicious—Americans have a deep-seated sense of privacy and personal rights, and they are sensitive to potential violations of those rights.

When we filmed in Israel, we often encountered the opposite issue—people were so enthusiastic about being on camera that they’d wave their hands in front of the lens or stick their faces right into the camera and shout random things. Fortunately, Nadja—who was doing the filming—doesn’t understand Hebrew, so whenever they yelled at her, she was able to block it out pretty easily. I found myself clearing the way and trying to fend people off as Nadja was shooting.

 

Q: Why should people see this film?

A: First and foremost, it’s going to be a great movie with a fascinating narrative! By weaving together the very different experiences of four characters, the audience will really get a picture of the varied personal struggles that people undergo with fait. This is something that is not really openly talked about, especially in the Orthodox community, where on the whole, it’s not okay to seriously question. Unorthodox will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will definitely surprise you—there are plenty of plot twists.

Also, I think that Unorthodox will bring up important discussions about the year in Israel and the Modern Orthodox educational system. On a personal level, I’d really like the film to spark conversation about attitudes towards people who seriously question, or outright reject, Orthodox Judaism. We’ve gotten so many emails from people who are not religious but who are afraid to “come out of the closet” for fear of losing their families and social networks. Right now the approach is largely black or white: you’re either religious or not. The reality is that religious beliefs are fluid—it’s a journey, not a two-sided coin.

Don’t just look forward to the film, make it happen and join their Kickstarter Campaign.

 

 


Happy Hannukah Shuk Style!

EliShuk

EliShuk...it's for real!

The Mahane Yehuda Shuk is one of my most favorite places in Jerusalem. Almost everything is cheap. You can sample the fruit or the nuts with just a wink of the eye. There are so many different smells you can’t tell the good ones from the fish-head ones. And you get to meet a very unique part of Israeli society, from those that do all their shopping there, to the people that have owned their stalls for generations.

I recently found out that a friend of mine, Alex King, not only has a father-in-law with a stall in the Iraqi shuk, but that he also has the stall online…on Facebook. Not only is this awesome, but I am pretty sure this is the only shuk shop branching out into the social media world.  Alex admits his father-in-law is not the most web savy person, but is just as excited to share his shop online as he is to any customer in the shuk.

For anyone that has out of town guests, tourists or just friends that want to go to the shuk, you should definitely make Eli’s shop a part of the tour. As a part of the online presence, Eli uploads pictures of the latest products and makes sure to give his online audience a special treat with giveaways! Ahhh, now I really have your attention! What kind of treats are we talking about?

Well click hereto score yourself some delicious chocolate coins just in time for Hannukah, and stay tuned for other yummy goods.  And now for a little Q&A about the man behind the stall, the treats and the Facebook page!

Giveaway

Hannukah giveaway

When did Eli’s shop first open in the shuk?
The shop at its current location was established in 1958 by Na’im Shkuri, Eli’s father who immigrated from Iraq in 1951. Up until 1978 the shop sold fruits and vegetables. Since 1978 it branched out into confectionary and in recent years other areas such as electrical goods.

Who is this Eli?

Eli of Eli's Shop

Eli of Eli's Shop

Eli Ben-Na’im was born in Amhara in Southern Iraq. He made Aliyah in 1951 and moved to Jerusalem. He spent his teenage years in Kibbutz Ein Karmel in the North. He served in a combat unit in the army. He has served in all of Israel’s wars from the 1956 Sinai Campaign up to and including the 1982 Lebanon War. He is married, has four daughters and seven grandchildren (with number 8 on the way!). Eli has worked in the shuk since the mid- 1950’s.

Why did Eli decide to bring the shuk shop online?
The shop has been online for half a year now. The Facebook platform was chosen because it offers great social media tools and can also act as a website for the shop, even for people who don’t have Facebook.

All the merchandise in the shop can be seen on the page (in the photo album section) and new products are regularly added.

Sweets

Sweets for your sweetie!

The page gives the shop a way to communicate with its customers and the wall offers a forum for the customers to post and to talk, fostering a little “on-line shuk community”.

Moreover, all the photos, updates and posts give the user a “taste of the shuk on your computer” which is widely enjoyed by fans that outside of Jerusalem and all over the world.

Most importantly, the page offers fans special deals and discounts from time to time, so click “like” so you can enjoy them!

What is unique about Eli’s shop?
Eli has worked in the shop since it was established in 1958 making the shop probably the last remaining family-run establishment in the “Iraqi Shuk” part of the market that is still staffed by the original founding members. It retains its authentic old-fashioned Jerusalem shuk character. (Most other shops in the Iraqi Shuk are now rented out or subcontracted to hired workers).

To learn more about Eli’s Shop, products click here.

To find Eli click here.


The Jerusalem Light Rail: The Ticket is More Than Full Price

I suck at this!

Wow it has been way too long since we have blogged. I am sure it’s been a difficult few months for you, our readers. How have you managed to live without my adorable sarcastic posts and Rebecca’s incredibly informative write-ups?

So let’s just jump right (or write) in. I’m writing what I am sure will be one of many angry light-rail train posts. Now that the train has been up and ‘running’ for the last few months, I am interested to hear what people think of it. So share your comments with me after you finish reading.

On principal I am not riding it. That and it doesn’t actually go anywhere I need to go.

However, the train and I have met in passing. It’s like a bad date you have to keep reliving, because the person lives a few blocks from you. So, indeed I am not at all fond of this crap train. The train butchered the city with its tracks. It forced stores to close down, has turned the city center into a pretty little ghost town. It causes traffic jams. And some old guy just got hit by it.

But the worst of all? The city is using it as yet another way to rob its citizens. No, I am not referring to the ticket price (as I write this, news has just broken that they plan to charge NIS 6.40 for a ride). No I am referring to the ticket you get when your car gets stuck in the intersection thanks to the new traffic light system, programmed for the train and not the people.

Do I think Israeli drivers are more dangerous than the threat of Iran actually building nukes? Yes I do. But the ones that are getting ticketed at the intersection of Jaffa (by the municipality) are getting fines for fake reasons.

That’s right, the police are standing by waiting for cars to get stuck in the intersection where they then tap on the window, ask the driver to come with them, and give them a big fat ticket. I have heard from several people that the tickets range from NIS 500 to NIS 1,000. I have also heard and even seen for myself that hundreds of people are getting tickets. You do the math on that and you’ll see how the city is planning to get itself out of debt with this method.

Before you get to this evil intersection, you are stuck in a horrendous traffic jam. I believe this is the part of the psychological torture that drives the drivers into the intersection where they get stuck. Instead of having two lanes, all the cars are forced into one lane, thus further frustrating your target ticket audience. Add to it, the many drivers that cut the line of cars by driving on the wrong side of the street, and you have a pretty angry driver that just wants to cross the light already and get from A to B. And I don’t have to tell you that the drivers who are driving on the wrong side of the street, literally meters from the police, don’t get a ticket. Why would they.

The train sucks. Its only lightness is how light it is on any concept of how to truly benefit the city and people. The city sucks for handing out tickets to drivers that don’t deserve them, while standing by and doing nothing about the real issues. With all this sucking, you would think that the whole problematic ordeal could be sucked away into a black hole somewhere.

 


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Update: Campaign Sarah Silverman Be My BFF a Great Success!

We look like BFFs in this picture.

Update on the Sarah Silverman Be My BFF Campaign: It worked! That’s right; I will no longer just be Molly, but the Molly that met Sarah Silverman. The Molly that used her social media tools and connections to become a little bit of a stalker in her pursuit to meet someone really funny while in Israel.

How did it all happen.

Well, for background on my campaign you can read my first post. Basically after facebooking, tweeting, spreading the words among friends and random strangers at bus stops or waiting in long bathroom lines, I managed to find someone that knows her sister, Susan Silverman.

Susan Silverman lives in Jerusalem. I got in touch with Susan and did my best to explain that I am not really a total weirdo and just want to meet Sarah. She, being super nice, said she thought we could arrange some sort of coffee date. As I read her email I jumped up and down (first I took the lap top off my lap, smart thinking).

I had to keep it a secret. It was hard. I am really good at keeping secrets, but I wanted to share the news with all my friends that helped me out. Still I patiently waited for the day to arrive.

By Tuesday the President’s Conference had officially started and I knew Sarah Silverman must be somewhere in Jerusalem since she was supposed to appear on the first panel. Sitting a few rows back in a large conference hall, I watched Sarah Silverman give her interview. From the high of watching her from a short distance, I decided to call her sister a few hours later to check in about our coffee date.

My skinny friend and co-blogger, Rebecca, stood beside me as I tried to sound as normal as possible when scheduling my big moment. It was decided that I would meet Sarah at a family BBQ the next evening – just me, Sarah, family, friends and my husband and baby (should’ve asked if I could bring the dog too).

As the hours ticked by I got increasingly nervous. It was almost like a blind date. I asked for advice from some of my friends and they told me to be myself and just enjoy the meeting.

So that’s what I did. Almost. I got to the BBQ and walked in, felt a rush of heat go over my whole body, and walked back out. I got super nervous. I just had to tell myself she is a normal person like anyone else. My G-d this is the woman that talked about poop on stage yesterday at the President’s Conference, she is just like me!

I met Susan first and thanked her for the opportunity. Like any Jewish mother she encouraged me to eat and have a good time and then she brought me to Sarah. It was awesome. Sarah gave me a big hug as I introduced myself to her as the semi-stalker she had heard about from her sister.

The pants I gave Sarah look just like Jasmine's but the waist goes much higher...much higher.

I gave her a present, some Jewish stuff, but the main gift was a pair of super Israeli pants from Bazaar Strauss. Wrong in all the wrong places, the turquoise MC Hammer pants are known in Israel as, “Aladdin pants,” or “poop pants.” I explained to her that there was no right way to wear them. As she stood examining them she asked how high up they are supposed to go. I told her I really didn’t know, but I guess up to the boobs if possible. I wanted her to have a quintessential part of Israel and something funny to remember us by. I told her if she ever doesn’t feel funny enough she should definitely wear these. She took them and thanked me.

After grabbing a plate of food and making my way into the circle of chairs on the balcony, I proceeded to hang out with Sarah and her friends. I introduced her to my baby boy, who of course was wearing his ‘party pooper onesie’. But like any good party pooper, as soon as she held him he started crying. Thanks kid. But she took it well, and later in the evening when he cried with her again, she posed with him for some sad face pictures. Nice.

Crying like a baby or tears of joy? Sarah plays along.

We talked about all the things you would talk about when you introduce a Diaspora Jew to Israel: cats (they are the squirrels of Jerusalem), cottage cheese prices (through the roof and boycotts throughout the country) and how the old city is really old. All the important stuff.

It was a great night. I saw her as a real person. She and her sister are very close and they sat there reminiscing about funny childhood stories. She loved hanging out with her nieces and nephews, was open and friendly with anyone that walked through the door, and seemed so comfortable. I loved hearing her talk about comedy, since I am also a comedian (if only to myself) in my comedy troupe Hahafuch (had to plug it). It was fun to hear her and a few other comedians talk about that world. I have never been in a conversation like that. And when I say ‘in’ I mean I was on the sidelines listening to them talk about stand up and just taking it all in.

Thumbs up, that'll win her over!

And that’s what I did with this campaign. I took in the whole experience, from the first idea of ‘what if I could meet Sarah Silverman while she is in Israel’ to writing a post, and in the end actually meeting this incredible comedian. I would like to thank all the people that helped me in my campaign and in my success. As Sarah Silverman says, ““Guess what, Martin Luther King? I had a (beep) dream, too.” Thank you to Sarah Silverman for making this Jewish girl’s dream in a far away land come true.

 


‘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!

 


And the winner is…Israel: Behind the Scenes of Footnote

This week Israel made it in the news a lot. Mostly you read about politics, lame speeches and overused terms, but if you dug a little deeper you might have found out about Joseph Cedar, an Israeli film director who won best screenplay at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Whenever an Israeli wins something anywhere in the world, an Israeli citizen feels entitled to enjoy the moment and share the good news, almost as though they are the ones accepting the honor. I think this is where you can definitely say, “we’re all family here.” When Natalie Portman took home the Oscar for best actress at the Academy Awards this year, she might as well have been playing for Team Israel, because she was celebrated as though she brought home the gold. I don’t even know what makes her Israeli (obviously her mom or dad), but I shed a tear (not really) when she gave her acceptance speech— it was like Hebrew to my ears.

So when Joseph Cedar, an Israeli, clinched the Cannes award for best screenplay, I just wanted to give someone, anyone a high five and pop the champagne bottle (more like cheap fantasia, but you get the picture) open and celebrate.

Cedar is a gifted young director, who is no stranger to winning awards. His first movie, “Time of Favor” won six Ofir Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In 2007 his critically acclaimed film, “Beaufort” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The movie is based on his own experiences during his army service where he served in Lebanon.

His latest win at Cannes is for his new movie “Footnote”, which premiered there. The movie is a dramedy that examines the relationship between father and son, both of whom are competing researchers of Talmud at an Israeli university. The film is set to premiere on June 2.

I had the chance to sit down with Joseph Cedar’s father, Prof. Howard Cedar and talk about his son’s continued success. But what makes the conversation even more interesting, is that Prof. Howard Cedar is also gifted and no stranger to awards— however, this is not a son following in his father’s footsteps story, but quite the opposite, Prof. Cedar is a world renowned scientist. Known in the medical world as the ‘Father of methylation’, Cedar has won many awards for his work including his recent honor, the Canada Gairdner International award for his contribution to medical science. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if his contribution ultimately leads to a Nobel Prize.

Prof. Cedar has been teaching and continuing his investigative research at The Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada since the 1970’s when he moved to Israel. That’s where I interviewed him, in between his busy day of researching and being a top scientist.

By the way, for all the praise I am giving him, it is just as important that you know he is a really nice guy. He sits relaxed on his couch and enjoys speaking to me about his son’s good news. He also makes sure to tell me he is proud of all his kids. Awesome! You can check out the video interview to see what he says about the movie, Cannes and what’s next for Joseph.

And just before you do that, let me leave you with this, so you really get a picture of how great of a father he is— not just in the science world but as a family man too. I told him that I don’t know how he must feel having his son achieve such a great honor. I said my son is sitting up now (he is almost 8-months-old), and for me as a mother it feels incredible. I burst with joy and glee and I couldn’t be more proud. He told me it’s the same feeling.


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 »


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 »