Monday, September 27, 2010

Midnight Post

Here we are, at 1:00 AM, Modiin time. I have finally recovered from the Migraine That Ate Godzilla (seriously, it was that huge), and woke up starving. So, naturally, I ate a Milky and checked Facebook. And then I realized I haven't updated my Loyal Readers on Sukkot, so here we go.

Wednesday morning: Momz and DADZ visit. They arrived Tuesday afternoon and are staying with Leezy and Elie in Beit Shemesh for the first leg of the trip. Since we hadn't seen them yet, they came over for a final don't-need-to-eat-in-the-sukkah breakfast bonanza. All manner of bread and mezonot food. The kids were superexcited to see them. Yaakov was especially happy to see Zaidy, since he (Yaakov) is in a very we-are-men phase. The 'rents left, and we packed up to head out to Maale Adumim. MA, if you recall, is the hometown of our Real Israeli friends the Sassoons. We managed to fill the entire trunk with stuff, despite only going for one night. That's the the kind of talent I am talking about, my friends.

Wednesday night: The big kids and fathers sleep in the sukkah. It is very very cute. Of course, this means they (the kids) are up at 5:40, with the sun, requesting breakfast.

Thursday: With only quick breaks to eat, the kiddies spend the entire day playing and making a Godzilla-size mess of the Sassoons'. Finally, at 7:15, it is time to leave, so we bid each other farewell. Another successful Sukkot at the Sassoons.

Friday: Kids eat breakfast, Donny and I have some achilas arai, and then we buy some real breakfast and invade the Balsams to eat in their sukkah. It doesn't bother us at all that Lisa is in the middle of cooking and cleaning for Shabbos. That's the kind of good friends we are. But no matter, she puts on some coffee and she and Nafi (and various children, wandering in and out) join us for rugelach and rolls in the sukkah. We then return home, pack up our entire apartment, and head out to Alon Shvut for Shabbat.

Shabbat: Kids have a great time with the cousins. Now, these cousins are all at least 10 years older than them, but no matter, Ariella and Yaakov make themselves at home. Aviva (cousin) takes them to the park near shul on Friday night. We eat dinner, I put Yaakov to bed 3 times, and then we conk out ourselves. The best part about Alon Shvut (besides the cousins, naturally)? It is NOT a million degrees out. Only about 500,000, which is a big improvement over the rest of the country. The next day, I offer to bring the kids back to the park. Yaakov sighs and agrees, although he really wanted "someone from the OTHER family" to take him.

Sunday: Israel Museum day! Ariella likes the old tombs, and Yaakov likes the old swords. We meet Momz, DADZ, Elie, and Leezy there for some ancient fun. Big kids do a recycling workshop, then we do what we do best - EAT! Found a really nice (besari) restaurant there. DADZ, who hadn't eaten breakfast yet, was hoping for some breakfast-type food, but I reminded him that in ancient times, fish and meat would BE breakfast. So it was very appropriate, considering the context.

Then, the fam left and we told the kids we were going to see the Dead Sea Scrolls. Ariella wanted to know why we were going to see some dead squirrels. Despite the lack of roadkill inside the Shrine of the Book, the kids thought the old scrolls were cool. Donny and I, having just finished a biography on our very own street, Yigael Yadin, considered ourselves experts on the scrolls and nodded knowingly as we read the captions.

THEN, we went to Uncle David and Aunt Adi's for a fabulous BBQ in their 3-room sukkah. With electricity and water hook-up. At this point, the migraine, which started sometime during the recycling workshop, had taken over, so I laid down on the Samsons' couch and succumbed to the visions of Voldemort. Donny fed the kids in the sukkah. Eventually, Yaakov wandered up to play with the toys. After everyone was stuffed and the wine was gone, we came home and (Donny) put the kids to sleep. Which brings us to now. Everyone still asleep, though one scheduled to make his appearance soon.

And that's all folks! More updates to come.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yom Kippur Fun (For ages 7 and under)

Well, Yom Kippur has come and gone. Thank God we all survived and the children even behaved pretty decently. They scored some new toys and games to help keep them occupied. (Yes, my children are growing up looking forward to Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur because they get new stuff. "Yay, fast days!" they have been known to shout. Whatever it takes, man, whatever it takes.) So I played Mastermind with Ariella, although we got a defective box that was missing half the colors. And Yaakov got some new animals, including a lion, so he now has TWO lions and they can play Lions with each other. (Question: Do you think the lions just call it "playing?")

Certainly the highlight for the children, though, was playing in traffic. On Yom Kippur, the one thing we all decide, as a nation, is not to drive. Drinking, eating, any of the other no-nos are fair game on Yom Kippur, but no one, and I mean NO ONE drives. So it becomes "Chag HaOfanayim" (the bicycle holiday), because the streets are devoid of cars and kids ride their bikes up and down. We live directly above the main drag in Modiin, and on Friday night the kids were watching everyone playing in the streets. Then it occurred to them that they could also go play in the streets. Despite their lack of bicycles, and the warning that they would have to walk up and down the five flights of stairs, they were very eager to go play in traffic. So down they went. Nadav and I watched from above. They had a great time getting an up-close look at the construction and running around. In fact, they had such a good time that on Yom Kippur morning, they decided to go again, and stayed for around an hour. I enjoyed feeling so Israeli and letting my kids run in the street. Although as my sister Leezy pointed out, they weren't barefoot, so I guess that takes away from the true Israeli experience.

After a zillion more games of Mastermind (Ariella is gooood. She did the same pattern twice in a row, knowing I would never think to guess it again, and it took me almost until the end to get it.), a billion puzzles, books, animals, snacks, and I think two or three packs of gum, it was time for the fast to end. We all ate (On the menu: Melon and lasagna, and a delicious apple pie, made using the recipe that my grandmother A"H used for many years and always served after the fast. Ok, full disclosure: We had the pie and accompanying homemade cinnamon whipped cream after the kids went to sleep.)

And now we move on to Sukkot, where the Roses become homeless because we have no sukkah, but luckily have good friends and family to take us in for the holiday, and the rest of the time Donny will have to go around being a sukkah beggar; hopefully someone will help him out, and the kiddies and I will be playing the We're Only Women and Children Card so often it's going to get old and frayed. Plus, the 'rents are coming, so stay tuned for some good fun to be made at the expense of DADZ.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Star-Spangled Baby

Today, my friends, we made Nadav an American.

I will admit that I was a little excited when I saw the American flag on Hayarkon Street in Tel Aviv. I mean, I love Israel and all - I didn't only make aliyah for shoko b'sakit - but it felt a little bit like going home when we walked in. I wasn't deterred by the Hebrew-speaking security guard outside the Embassy. ("Hey, buddy, this is AMERICAN soil you are standing on. Speak some English. Or at least Spanish.") I was superjazzed to go inside. I figured it would be like a little slice of America. You know, a Starbucks (one on either side of the room) and a mini-Target. Or at least some amber waves of grain.

But boy, was I wrong. Just a big room with chairs. No grain, amber or otherwise, and not a purple mountain or a fruited plain in sight. Sheesh.

The workers there did speak English - ours had a nice Brooklyn accent, to boot. So I felt better about that. After filling out the paperwork, we had to wait to meet with the consular representative, and you know what they had on TV? Were they showing some good old-fashioned American television, like Happy Days, or Friends, or an ER from the Doug Ross-Carol Hathaway heyday? Indeed not. It was an ISRAELI talk show about aruchat eser!

I mean, where's the American love here?

Luckily, everything went pretty smoothly. Thanks to my frequent and obsessive checking and rechecking, we had all of the necessary documents, passports, and babies. (Well, just the one.) The consular guy even said we had the cutest baby picture ever, and that he doesn't say this to any other parent. Lying? Probably, but always nice to hear validation about your cute kid.

Unfortunately, the only swag that Nadav scored after being made American was a little sticker that said, "Proud to be an American." I was hoping for a pack of baseball cards, or maybe a miniature mosque. Also, I worry that he now looks a little overweight.

The only hitch was the middle name. When we gave Nadav his middle name - Yam, after my grandmother Mary (Miriam) - we foresaw the sweet potato problem in English. Instead of "Yahhhhm" it would be pronounced, "Yeaahhmm." No problem, we figured, we'll just delete the middle name in English. No such doing, my friends. Whatever is written on the birth certificate is your name FOREVER and EVER. So he will be "NaDAV Yahm" in Hebrew, and "NAH-dahv Yeahhhmm" in English. Sorry, kiddo. Also, we apologize to you and to the future Mrs. Nadav Rose that you were not born in America because your children might have some difficulty getting American citizenship. In the spirit of these days of repentance, we hope you can forgive us.

And on that note, we at aliyahbyaccident wish you and easy and meaningful fast, or a meaningful and easy fast, depending how you swing. We hope you forgive us for our myriad transgressions, whether it was infrequent postings, inappropriate jokes, or the occasional use of mildly bad language. (Not that we necessarily plan on reforming; we'll probably be asking forgiveness for the same things next year.) But seriously, folks, have a gmar chatima tova and may we all be sealed in the Book of Good Things. Thank you, and God bless America.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


This summer, I was inspired by my very Tired friend. No, not because she actually does stuff with her kids instead of auctioning them off to the highest bidder as I do. Like she takes them to the beach, or the park, or bowling, or cooks with them – and cooks actual, healthy food that would appear in Parents magazine, not just heating up the green package of frozen schnitzel for Shabbos lunch. Not that I know anyone who does that, of course. (As I tell her, if you would just stop being such a good mom, you wouldn’t be so tired.)

Anyway, unfortunately for my children, I was not inspired by her mad parenting skillz. She inspired me because she pondered whether she should hire herself and her blogging skills out for cash. You know, you review things on your blog and you score stuff free stuff.

But upon further reflection, I decided that was just too much work for me. However, in a similar vein, I thought I could put my own skills to good use, to make this world a better place. And what better time to embark on this new challenge than the new year. What skills, might you ask? Besides the obvious culinary ones listed above?

Well, as we all know, aliyahbyaccident is always full of helpful advice for everyone. Or, at least, it’s full of something. So instead of reviewing, we will be coaching. Starting today, we are beginning a new “HELP!” section. Whether you want to move to Israel, or you have kids, or you want to move to Israel with your kids, or you want to have kids and then move to Israel, or you want to move to kids and have Israel, or you just want both Israel and kids to leave you alone so you can continue treifin' up the kitchen.... No matter what your question is, aliyahbyaccident is here to answer it. In fact, without further ado, I present the first edition of Aliyahbyaccident: HELP!

Let’s hear from some of our Loyal Readers:

Q. Hi, my name is Katzav. What I want to know is, why hasn’t anyone given kappayim to Dov lately?
A. You’re absolutely right. We are very behind on our kappayim-giving. So Dov, if you’re reading - kappayim!

Our next question is from Drake, in Wichita, Kansas.

Q. I’m thinking of making aliyah.
A. 1066

Q. I haven’t asked a question yet.
A. Sorry – we get a little jumpy sometimes. Go ahead.

Q. Anyway, so we’re thinking of making aliyah, and we wanted to know…
A. Myanmar.

Q. You have got to stop doing that.
A. Sorry again. We just get very excited about helping people. Continue. Aliyah. We're listening.

Q. What would you say is the single most important thing to bring with us? Ziploc bags? Bounty paper towels? Liquor from the duty free? A good attitude?
A. Well, Drake, it’s simple. The single most important thing to bring with you when you make aliyah is your luggage.

Q. I don’t get it.
A. Drake, didn’t your teachers ever tell you that “I don’t get it” isn’t a question? Would you like to rephrase?

Q. Sorry. I don’t get it?
A. Much better. As I was saying, the most important thing to bring with you is your suitcases. I can’t tell you how many times people make aliyah, and they’re waiting at the baggage carousel for their bags, when suddenly, they slap their hands to their foreheads and exclaim, “Oh, for the love of Likud! We never brought our bags! Now we have no clean undies to wear!”

Q. Really? How often does that happen?
A. Drake, pay attention. I just said “I can’t tell you how many times” this happens.

Q. Right. Suitcases. Any advice as to what should be in the suitcases, though?
A. Clean underwear. Sheesh, you really need to listen when people are talking.

So you see, Loyal Readers, in a matter of minutes we have helped both Katzav and Drake. Not to mention Dov. If you have a burning question that needs answering, don’t hesitate to contact aliyahbyaccident. If we choose your question to be featured in our weekly HELP! Section, you will receive a free pair of clean undies!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Well, I had a whole post planned to celebrate our two-year aliyah anniversary. Which is September 7/8. But then Rosh Hashanah, in all of its 3-day entirety, decided to approach rapidly, and Nadav decided to get sick, and I decided to burn some chicken. Bad decisions, all around. So the celebratory post will have to wait.

In the meantime, the entire staff - and here I mean everyone - at aliyahbyaccident wishes you a new year filled with good decisions and all kinds of happy stuff. Plus, we hope, more frequent blog postings.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Survivor: Summer Edition

Summer, alas, has ended, though fret not, it's still hot as chicken soup outside.

We got through the last couple days, barely. Donny came down with an illness which stubbornly refused to be strep (despite two tests) and is still lingering, Ariella got GLASSES and a cool haircut, and Yaakov informed me he will be playing "Lions" during mifgash (circle time) in gan this year. [Sigh.]

Both of the big kiddies had orientation - Ariella had a half-hour activity at school with her teacher and classmates (same teacher and kids as last year), and Yaakov's gan meeting was eerily similar to his gan meeting last year. That's because it WAS the same - his gan has a mix of first-timers (3 year olds) and old hats (4 year olds). So, if you didn't catch it last year, the meeting was "new for you," otherwise, same song, same book, same treat in the kids' drawers. Meanwhile, Yaakov was very excited all day to be reunited with his good friend Matan; he expresses this excitement by refusing to go near him at the meeting. Boys.

Yaakov's ganenet is finishing her maternity leave and isn't coming back until after Sukkot, though she was at the meeting. Maternity leave does not faze Yaakov. He is so used to teachers on maternity leave he wouldn't know what to do if a teacher wasn't pregnant. Last year, there were so many babies, he had subs for his subs. And when one of the teachers (in her mid-fifties) was absent one day, he confidently informed me, "She had a baby." Anyway, the sub seems nice, and has no discernible bump, so no worries

I displayed my cunning juggling skills at the meeting - sitting with Yaakov, making sure Nadav didn't fall asleep, and dealing with Ariella's I'm bored/I got hurt on the swing/I'm bored/Nitzan doesn't like my glasses/I'm bored issues. Luckily, the few times I dropped a ball (usually Nadav), my Tired friend was there to pick him up. (Yes folks, Tired and I have children in the same gan this year. Look for a Special Tandem Blogging posts throughout the year!)

But this morning, it really paid off having everyone "same same" as last year - no fights or crying or clinging at drop-off time! Please, please, please may it continue this way.