Monday, August 14, 2006

Personal update

Just a few tidbits:

1- Last Thursday night, I took a few friends to the home of Sara Brownstein, where she taught us how to make challah. Challah is a traditional, usually braided, bread eaten by most Ashkenazi Jews on the Sabbath. Having never made bread before, we were most appreciative about learning this ancient skill. It turned out to be much less intimidating than I thought. I'm proud to say that my dough rose beautifully, and the two medium loaves and two rolls I produced came out nice and soft. A little too yeasty, but that can be fixed next time with less yeast or more sugar, I guess.

Sara is a very holy, spiritual woman (who will kill me for describing her as such if she finds out about this blog post), and she urged us to see challah-baking as a sacred activity that connects us to all Jewish women throughout history. It was more of a Torah class than a baking class, with Sara explaining how each ingredient symbolizes a different way for us to grow as people. It was one of those classes where you have to leave your cynicism at the door -- but while we were there, we really enjoyed it. Leaving one's cynicism at the door sometimes feels good. And all four of us got to walk around Emek Refaim street afterward carrying large bowls of dough, covered with kitchen towels. Pretty funny.

2- I neglected to blog about it, but last week I went to Kfar Chabad, a little town near Ben Gurion airport populated exclusively by Lubavitcher Chassidim, to write about the "refugee camp" in their yeshiva dormitory. You can check out the finished story here. (There is an error in the story; "Malka" and "Moshe" are not in the dormitory, but rather still staying with a family. I'm working on getting that corrected.) And in case you missed it, here's my story about my trip to Safed the week before last.

3- Shabbat was nice. I slept over at the home of my friend Judi and spent the time eating, sleeping, and reading People (Lance Bass is gay? Who knew? She says, rolling her eyes. I am so surprised. / sarcasm) and Real Simple (Did you know you can peel off stickers from new drinking glasses more easily if you first heat them with a hair dryer?). In the late afternoon we took a walk through a park overlooking the historic Valley of the Cross. The view included the Knesset, the Israel Museum, and the Central Bus Station. Nice and relaxing day.

Best of all, Judi sent me home with an *NSYNC Care Package, including copies of three of their albums, their HBO special, two "making of" videos, and tapes of several television appearances. Did you know that when they performed "Pop" and "Gone" on The View, Jay Leno, and Today, it was not only the exact same choreography, but also they sang the songs the exact same way? You don't suppose . . . they were . . . lip-syncing . . . do you? Please say it ain't so! (she says, rolling her eyes again)

You have to understand, *NSYNC is my new escape from thinking about the war. That, and the copy of John Grisham's The Broker that I bought on Thursday along with the "Lance Bass is Gay" issue of People. We do not talk about Fight Club, you understand?

4- Most dramatic for last . . . this morning I picked up my first-ever pair of eye glasses. They are pretty trendy, blue rectangular frames. I wanted something that I could feel was a cool accessory, not an embarrassing sign that I'm getting older. I have to admit that they are pretty cool, but it's going to take me a while to get used to them.

It's amazing how well I thought I was seeing the world, when I wasn't.

Sing along with me: I can see clearly now, the blur is gone!

One more note: I'm going to Haifa soon to profile a family who lives there. I'm hoping that what with the (stupid, idiotic, completely nonsensical) cease-fire, I will once again avoid any rocket fire. Bli ayin hara, poo poo poo. Once again, please do not mention this to my parents. Thanks!

Reminder: My birthday is in just a few days. Wish-list is here.


Oh, almost forgot!

I recently got in the mail my copy of a journalism award I won in June.

It's not the Pulitzer, but it's still nice . . .

The American Jewish Press Association gave me a 3rd place Simon Rockower Award (the award for Jewish journalism) in Feature Writing for a piece I did called "People of the Blog," for the World Jewish Digest.


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