Two of my stories up on the web
Here's one about an interesting little Israeli company.
And here's my travel piece about Tzippori.
I had such a great time in Tzippori (this was a couple weeks ago already). Peter was a fabulous tour guide, and it was amazing to get out of the city and into the fresh air, and just do something different.
At Kfar Kedem, I did, yes, don the costume they give out. It included a large white cotton square of material, folded into a triangle, wrapped around my head a couple of times, and in the end very protective of both my head and neck against the sun. I realize now why so many Orthodox women cover their hair with a mitpachat -- a kercheif wound around the head, often with fancy twists and knots. It is soooo comfortable. Peter put on the costume too - he's a good sport.
I milked a goat! I'd never milked an animal before. It was really strange, holding the breast of another animal. Is it just me, or is that really weird?
But in any case, we took milk fresh from the goat (and boiled, to pasteurize it), and Menachem, the Kfar Kedem owner, did something really cool.
He prefaced by saying "there is a discussion in the Talmud about the circumstances under which a Jew may buy cheese which has been made by a non-Jew. It says that if the cheese was made in a cow's udder, it is prohibited, because the udder may have been traif. If it was made using figs (?!?), it is prohibited, because the figs may have been orla [if you don't know what that means, don't worry about it]. But if it was made from the stem of the fig leaves, it is permissible.
"So, how do we make cheese out of the stems of fig leaves?"
Menachem took a couple of leaves down from the fig tree on his property, and from the stems, he squeezed a few drops of white liquid into the fresh goat milk. He started stirring, and before our very eyes, the milk started to curdle.
We drained the cheese in cheesecloth, hung it up to dry, and 20 minutes later, it was cheese! And it tasted pretty good! (I later realized that it tasted good at the time because I was starving and we were outside, so it fit into the "back to nature" feeling. When I got it home, it was tolerable but not good.)
And guess what? I didn't get sick from the cheese! Even though I'm lactose intolerant! Turns out that goat's milk has far, far less lactose than cow's milk.
I went home with two big tubs of spiced goat cheese, and have been loving it. Loving it. And, last week, I found goat milk yogurt in the health food store. I'm in heaven. I can have yogurt for breakfast again! Haven't done that for years!
So, it was a happy day.
PS. It took our homing pigeon about three hours to fly from Efrat, where Peter released it with his grandchildren, to Hoshaya. That's just a little longer than it takes to go by car.