Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I am one of those people who wheezes and coughs and cannot breathe around chemical scents. Lucky me.

Everywhere I go, some man is doused in strong cologne. Some woman is wearing too much perfume. Someone or two or three are smoking cigarettes. Someone poured half a bottle of fabric softener in their wash. The bathroom was sprayed with chemicals. The floor cleaners are sickening chemicals, EVEN at the organic restaurant we once ate at for the NBN Go North dinner, I nearly died of chemical overload in their bathroom! (Okay, so perhaps that is an exaggeration, but that's how I felt at the time!)

This country has majorly assaulted my system. As a result, I spent the first year after we arrived struggling to get my asthma under control. And the second year? Well, I can usually breathe, but I have definitely had some health issues - evidence that my immune system is most likely out of balance.

So today I read about scent-producing food packaging that is about to be introduced in the USA. And I sincerely hope this technology never makes its way to Israel! Please, please, Israel, have some pity on those of us who struggle with synthetic fragrances.

A while back, I heard about an initiative to make it illegal for government workers in New Hampshire to wear scents to work, so they do not cause health problems for people like me. Right now, I'd settle for getting rid of smoking in public, for real. Then I'd love to tackle the perfumes and chemicals! (FWIW, my town's government has agreed to replace chemical cleaners with eco-friendly ones in all the town's public places. This makes me so much happier!)...

What do you think about scents and scentsitivities? Are you also a sufferer?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival

This is my very first time hosting the Heveil Havalim Jewish Blog Carnival, and I'm really happy to have been given an opportunity to do so!

It was great! I even had to make time to read blogs I've never seen before, or rarely have time to read. After all, I'm a busy homeschooling mom!

So here goes!

Haveil Havalim #362

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and jointly coordinated through our Facebook GroupThe term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means"Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'
Here is this week's roundup, sorry it's a day late!

Batya gives a synopsis of the Jonathan Pollard issue, and describes what she thinks will be the outcome, in Obama's "Pollard Card"

Esser Agaroth writes about being a "real" Yerushalmi: You Know You're a Yerushalmi When...

Rickismom writes about the effects of our actions in Ripple Effect

Rickismom also writes about spicy foods and second helpings in Brownie Points

Batya writes about kosher palm oil, noting that much of it is coming from countries that boycott Israel! (She questions its health merits, as well. I will say that some types of palm oil are healthy. You just have to know whether you are buying palm FRUIT oil, or palm kernel oil - palm fruit oil is ok, but palm kernel oil will kill you!) Kashrut Politics, Not Very Kosher and Not Always Healthy

Susan writes out her thoughts after being a shomeret for a met: My First Experience of Shmirah

Rivkah writes about saying Yizkor on Shavuot, and how that opened up a deeper connection to her family's past: My Father Sent Me

Susan writes about making sure she is doing justice for the needy people in her town: Overthinking Tzedakah:

Sharon A. writes about a changing city of Jerusalem, with pictures and all -  in Jerusalem, Past and Future

Batya writes her insights into Shavuot and the Jewish people's acceptance of the Torah: Naaseh v'Nishma

Miriam writes about being a grandparent, and her moderated grandparents' group in Grandparents Are Special Invitation...

Last, I wrote about growing even from things we don't understand: Growing

Next week will be hosted by A Soldier's Mother.  You may submit your posts to her directly at paula@writepoint.com.  I recommend that you give our on-line submission form a shot first, so that we can get in the habit of using it.

Would you like to host?  Would you like to connect with fellow bloggers and fans?  Join our Haveil Havalim Facebook Group!


We have been only somewhat following the news in the last few weeks, but not all of the news coming out of our area has been good. There were some local violent crimes, a car crash that killed nearly an entire family (on a very familiar stretch of road), and an elderly tourist who became confused, presumably got lost, and was found dead.

I am not going to try to discover the reason for any of these things. The people who try to interpret current events as direct messages from Hashem, that they have been uniquely blessed to uncover, are doing enough of that. More than enough of that.

All I can say is, that we can never understand the ways of Hashem. Telling people that the such-and-such a tragedy happened because we use the internet (or whatnot), is completely beyond the pale. Who are we to claim such intimate knowledge of the workings of Hashem?

No one, no one, will ever understand.

But we should grieve along with a little girl, we should show we care to a grieving tourist who lost her husband...  we all can pull together just a little more and make ourselves and our nation a little stronger. No blaming, no finger pointing. Just growing.