Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jamie's Prematurity Story


My husband and I made aliyah shortly after getting married and I was pregnant with my first due to give birth in Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem September 15th. During my 31st week of pregnancy I suddenly felt tightness in my stomach but just brushed it off like it was nothing...

We decided to go check it out soon after just to make sure indeed it was nothing...on the way to the hospital my stomach was tightening and loosening with no time in between...putting 2 and 2 together it was contractions...

I was almost fully dilated by the time I got to Hadassah and was was told I needed an emergency c-section. They pumped me with a drug to help mature my babies lungs but warned me it likely won't take effect because they were performing surgery at that moment. I've never been so terrified in my life - not for me but for my helpless baby being ripped from me too soon...

I was completely under with general, so I didn't get to hold my baby which I wouldn't have anyway even if I wasn't under because she was born in a dangerous state of respiratory distress. After experiencing hell and back in the NICU, I got to hold my baby and then a few weeks later she was breathing on her own and out of the incubator. and by 6 weeks she weighed 2.2 kilo!

I brought my baby home and she's a healthy 5 kilo now, EBF and beautiful. Baruch Hashem for Hashem's miracle babies and koach that us Mamas need to have throughout it all.

 Here is collage I put together shortly after she came home, she's much bigger now

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cross Posting from Frugal and Kosher

I published this on my other blog, but since there are SO many venues for Science Night in the North, I figured I'd cross-post it here as well.

I hope this is helpful information!

Science Night - Free events!



--- Retrieved from http://www.kosherfrugal.com/ ---
 

This year's Science Night is Thursday, Sept 12, 2013, and there will be free events all over the country! These events are designed to make science fun for all, so it's sure to be a night of somewhat geeky fun. PERFECT.

So here's the info you need:

Events will take place at 14 different locations around the country, and all are free.




MadaTech in Haifa will have special programs from 5pm - 10pm

The Technion will have programs for age 9 + (advance registration required)from 4pm - 10pm

Haifa University will have programs from 5pm - 10pm for ages 4+ (advance registration required for some programs

Migal (in Kiryat Shmona) will have free events from 5pm - 9pm

Tel Aviv University will have events from 4pm - 11pm. Advance registration is required.

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem will have events from 5pm - midnight. They will also run programs in Maaleh Adumim at 5:30 pm

The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem will have events from 4pm- midnight

The Open University will have events at the Raanana campus, from 4pm - midnight. Advance registration is required

The Weizmann Institute will have events from 5pm - 10pm

Ben Gurion University will have events from 5pm - 11pm. Advance registration is required for some events.

Bar Ilan University will have events from 5pm - 9pm

SCE will have events in Be'er Sheva and Ashdod from 4pm - 9pm

The Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute (Eilat) will have events from 5:30pm - 10pm

Moona (in Sakhnin) will have events from 5pm - 9pm

Hope you can find your way to one of these events!
Let me know if you went, I'd love to hear about it!


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Elul Thoughts

We recently moved. We debated and debated and thought long and hard about this move. In the end, we jumped in and bought a house. In the Golan. And we really do love it here. Only there is this issue - that we're really quite close to Syria. I would minimize this issue, but they've been involved in a very bloody, terrible civil war, and are posturing now - threatening to send missiles to Israel. And we all know that they have Weapons of Mass Destruction.

So we have our gas masks, and we sort of know how to use them, but we don't want to ever have to use them...

The threat of war in the week before Rosh Hashana makes me think that this may just be our wake up call. 

It's time for all of us here to remember why we're here - whether we sacrificed much to come to Israel, or if we were born here and this is just "home" - there's a reason we stay here and are loyal to this little country in the Middle East. It's our homeland. And we must remember that this is the homeland of ALL Jews, no matter what type of head covering or, perhaps, no head covering. We are all here in our homeland, together. 

Now, it's time to set aside our differences, stop the bickering, and try to find a way to implore Hashem together - in all our many ways we daven - to watch over us and protect us.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

So misguided

Recently, someone was posting pleas for Hachnassat Kallah everywhere in the social media world, at least in the social media world I am part of.

I understand that Hachnassat Kallah is a very important mitzvah, it really makes sense to help those less fortunate get on their feet at the beginning of their married life. Especially in the case of a bride or groom without family support.

However, this plea really struck me as inappropriate. The writer says that they don't have beds, enough money for food monthly, or "even" a HAT to wear to the wedding!

This plea just turned my stomach. It made me think of how messed up people's priorities are. They are arranging for a HUGE wedding, with a band, and catering, and wanted a special wedding gown, a special suit and hat, presumably because that is the cultural norm. It seems to be expected that couples (or their parents, or a benefactor) will go into debt to throw a party beyond their means... Not only that, but then they refuse to accept used items, for couples who don't have enough to meet their basic needs on a daily basis.

Really? 

When we first got married, I accepted used items. I still do. Without that, we'd be in trouble, as it is really hard sometimes to make ends meet, even with gainful employment. Especially in Israel.
 
When you tell us that the Chatan learns half a day and works half a day and cannot afford food for his family, does it really make the case that we should all give him money? Just so he doesn't have to accept the indignity of working full time?

Why not sponsor a modest backyard wedding, with homemade food, a very small crowd... and help the Chatan find a full time job? And with all the money saved - a lavish wedding costs a TON - help them get on their feet? Who needs flowers? There are so many ways to make a "simcha" on a budget, and this organization, instead of trying to turn that into a dignified answer for people who don't have a lot of money, has chosen to make it their mission to help destitute people look like they are "keeping up with the Cohens"! So misguided, in my opinion.

I was reminded of this article on Orthonomics, and I think it would be great if our communities could re-examine the way we celebrate smachot.


Here is the basic text of the plea - it is bound to be replaced with another "current couple in need" at some point soon.

Currently, while they have a hall, catering and music, they have absolutely NOTHING ELSE! They lack even cutlery and crockery for the food! There isn't a photographer at this point in time either!

The bride has nobody to drive her to the Chuppah, no proper wedding dress, nobody to help her with her make-up on the big day and not even a pair of shoes appropriate for the wedding day! There are no flowers! She has no special bridal chair to sit in! She lacks a veil! In short, there are some serious basic necessities missing to make this Simcha even the start of a true wedding Simcha! In addition, the guests - mainly the Avreichim of the Kollel - have no way to get to the wedding. They require a bus to take them through and we have no way at this stage to assist them with this!

The couple lack beds for themselves, a stove, fridge, washing machine. But more, the Chatan does not have enough for a Tallit or even a hat! The Chatan learns half day and works half day but his salary does not provide enough even for food each month! They lack the basics in clothing and by no means have the ability to purchase new clothes for the wedding!!!

We accept ANY new items to assist all our couples - which are passed on directly to the couple. Financial donations may also be given. Money is not usually given directly but rather used to purchase the items the couple actually need - and which are then given to the couple directly - much to their delight!!!

If you are able to give ANYTHING to this couple (items or Tzeddakah), you will be truly taking part in a very special Mitzvah assisting a special couple! Financial donations can be done directly on the website below. Anybody who has a wedding-service they could provide - see services that are needed as above - including just coming through to dance(!) is asked to please contact me as well. Money is not the only thing needed here. There are real items and services that are required to make this wedding a success! Those who can donate services or items please contact us immediately

Monday, April 15, 2013

Yom Ha'atzmaut 5773

It's that time of year again.
You know, when the flowers are in bloom, but all of a sudden instead of the countryside arrayed in colors ranging from violet to sunny yellow, everywhere you look it's Blue and White.

Israelis have a lot of national pride. And rightfully so! We have given so much - so much blood, sweat and tears, and prayer, and yearning... all of it so that we could return to our land and have a sovereign State of our own. I say we, because, we, all Jews, have been a part of that.

It's the time of year when we can't imagine living anywhere but here. When we lived in America, it was the time of year when I missed my spiritual home so deeply. And I am so glad that now we are here, and that we are making it work, and figuring things out so that each day here is better than the one before!

And then there are the discussions that bug me. Those people who say that because the State is not run according to Halacha, it's not a Good Enough sovereignty to celebrate. And they refuse to take part in the day, the one day a year we give thanks to Hashem specifically for allowing us to return to our land after 2000 years of wandering, persecution, and yearning.
 
Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations are really something that generations past would have LOVED to see and have. How can anyone, after davening daily, asking for the return to our land, not know that? (And in case you missed my post on my other blog, there are many ways you can celebrate this Yom Ha'atzmaut, many of them for FREE!)

I saw a great quote on the Life in Israel blog - "So true are the words of Rav Shalom Gold: 'It is interesting that anti-Zionist rabbis constantly were able to find God in the horrors of the Holocaust, but were never able to find Him in the miracles of the establishment of the State and the 65 years of Independence!'"

This really resonated with me, and reminded me of my trip to Poland on a March of the Living Program in high school, so many years ago. We went to Poland and visited the terrible, death camps, the places that left me wordless and horrified. And then we went to Israel, and celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut here, and nothing ever seemed more right. Celebrating in our land, after bearing witness to the horrors of history. Never again seems possible now that we have a land of our own again.

And so I am rambling. I apologize. But I feel so strongly that this little country of ours is OURS. And there is room here for the several million more Jews that are still scattered and wandering. And it's time. It is Just Time for everyone to Come Home.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hidden Gems

It was the last long Friday of the year.

Obviously, we had to do something, as starting the week right after, we'd be ushering in Shabbat BEFORE 5 pm. We actually thought everyone else would have the same idea, and that the parks and whatnot would be packed.

I imagined finding a park and then having to help my kids navigate playground politics (just exactly how long is a child allowed to stay on a swing when there is a line forming?!).

The boys wanted to practice their baseball skills with my husband, and the girls really didn't care where we went, as long as there are slides and swings.

I know, baseball is not exactly your typical Israeli pasttime...

I was really hoping to find a park with a great playground, big wide open grassy fields, and public bathrooms.

In the end, we didn't find exactly that, but we did find a gem of a place anyhow! It was lacking the big wide open grassy fields, but we went to Park Rabin in Migdal Ha'emek, since we knew it had bathrooms and a great play area.

I really expected crowds, as we only got there in the afternoon, and schools were all out already. But it was practically empty! There was one couple with a toddler there, a family with a few little kids, and 4 kids on bikes. For most of the time we were there, those were the only other people we saw.

The boys got to practice their baseball in a field that was dotted with olive and other trees. Makes for interesting baseball.

When the girls needed the bathroom (they always need the bathroom when we are out), we found the one unlocked toilet and discovered it was very clean, but lacked toilet paper and soap. Luckily I carry toilet paper around in my backpack, and hand sanitizer too, for when we find ourselves without soap...

The girls loved the lack of playground politics in the kiddie playground.




 
But when we ventured up to the upper play area and discovered the HUGE slides... well, they were ecstatic! (And the boys had fun there too.)








 

Those were really huge slides. The kids love all those colors zooming past them as they come sliding down. We literally had to drag them away so we could go home and finish getting ready for Shabbat...

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friday Tiyulim

We've been doing Friday tiyulim - mostly hikes - for a few weeks now. This means I frantically cook and bake on Thursdays, but then we get to go somewhere as a family for a short tiyul on Friday! So much fun.

Until a couple of weeks ago.

We planned to do a Friday tiyul really nearby, and we had done a little bit of research, and found a short (1/2 hr to 1 hr) hike to do. We drove to the park where the hike was, and there were a few people hanging around. One recommeded we detour off our path and check out the natural springs, and they were so pretty! We walked a little in the forested area, but eventually we decided that if we were going to do our "planned hike", we had to get started. So.we.did.

At some point it turned into too much walking for my girls. It had already been an hour, and I didn't feel like we had begun to loop back yet. My husband and I discussed it a bit, and we decided that the girls and I would wait in the shade, not far from the road leading out of the park, and he and the boys would continue the hike and when they got back to the car, they'd come pick us up.

Sounds good.

But it wasn't. The trail signs had apparently been redone since the website we used had been updated. The red and white signs we had been following turned into more of a 3-4 hour hike, and ended right near Yokneam. No.Where.Near.The.Car.

It was getting later on Friday afternoon. Our Shabbat guest texted me that she was waiting outside my house. The girls and I were ok, we were in the shade, and I had been stretching our water. Michael and the boys, however, were dehydrated and exhausted. They had run out of water. We decided they needed to either get a ride back to the car, or get a cab.

We tried to call a few people in the area, to see if anyone had 20 min to help Michael and the boys get back to the car, but we were out of luck.

Eventually, Michael flagged down a taxi, and 50 shekels and 30 min later (they had to stop for a bicycle race on the road), they got back to the car.

And picked us up. And we got home 55 min before sunset.

And. well. sigh.

It was a day I won't forget. At least all the cooking was done in advance!!