Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ya just can't get enough of snow. Go Jerusalem!

Jerusalem is more prepared for war than snow.

Go Winograd!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snow in Jerusalem

I came up last night to experience the possibility of snow in Jerusalem. With the last few years of living in Thailand and Tel Aviv, snow hasn't really existed in my life. It was definitely worth the trek. Although I am not sure how to return back down the hill to Tel Aviv.
Above: P Bonez starting a snowball fight with the Falafel Stand guys
Above: A snow midget I didn't make.

Monday, January 28, 2008

wind and snow

I'm looking outside the window right now. The plants and trees are leaned over and if beating their stalks to heavy metal music. It's that windy.
I fought the wind with my scarf wrapped tightly around my neck to the cafe next door for a lunch sandwich and a bag of potato chips. As I trudge past the security guard he says to me in hebrew: "you like chips". I chuckle and respond "I do. It's all about the salt." What for conversation- you like chips?? To the security guard in his little booth. I'm the girl from next door who "likes" chips. How complex.
My boss informed me he may not be in on Wednesday- there is snow in the forecast for Jerusalem. "My wife says Israel is more prepared for war than snow!!" He laughs in his thick, French accent. "Everything will be shut if there is snow! No point in planning for work!!".
I haven't seen snow in years. Maybe on the television. I am packing my bags tomorrow and heading to the Holy City, for the small chance that I might get a glimpse and a flake on my tongue.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


My impending Aaliyah has pushed me towards some other decisions I will finally make. Decisions that I've put in a closet for further thought until a certain amount of fate brings it to light. As many of may know- I thwarted most decision making until I felt that I was close enough to be able to make these decisions.
I've tallied up a couple of thoughts of what it takes for a single woman like myself to get as far as I have with this process. It is no simple task and one is required to develop a high dosage of patience and sheer will to get to this point. So for my Sunday thoughts of a Ginrod here is the following recipe to reach pre-aliyah passage:

Slow cooked aliyah recipe for a convert

1 Ishur Giur
1 Hamarak Dat
1 Mikvah visit
1 Atzum organization
1 Girlfriends of fallen soldiers organization
1 family Eyal
1 P Bonez
1 insanely supportive immediate family at home
2 interviews with intimidating Rabbi's
2 Lost files
3 Visits to the Bnei Brak Rabbinical Court
3 visits to the Rehovot ministry of the interior
3 six month work visas
4 visits to the Rabbinical Court Jerusalem
5 visits to the Tel Aviv ministry of the interior
10+ kind families to help me along the way
19 Rabbi's
156 hours of private Jewish studying
At Least 200 hours of pre-conversion Synagogue attendance to grasp what goes on.
A handful of existential crisis
23 new skirts
unlimited amount of dedicated friends who are never short of serious emotional support
a bookshelf of Jewish books (and growing!)
I know this 'impending aliyah' talk must be redundant to my readers, but I guess when you work so hard to achieve something. The thought that it's so close is mind blowing. Anyway. My first steps after aliyah will be Hebrew study and graduate school. After completing these two goals, I am convinced I will be well equipped to give back to the community that has seen me through it all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

all i do is dream.

Ever since the realization that my Aaliyah process here in Israel is almost completed, I've become quite obsessed with the idea. So much that I literally feel like I may possibly have an anxiety attack and fall on the floor shaking to the melody of rockn'roll.
Not really.
But i do feel anxious. And I think that anxiety has slipped into my subconscious, into my dreams- and I will probably anxiously blog to gather these thoughts and put them into the universe.
Last night I had a terrible dream. P Bonez and I boarded a plane and as soon as the engines roared the plane was suddenly moving at an uncontrollably fast speed. I was clinging to the seats. P Bonez was a few aisles behind me due to a mix up in seating arrangements. In those short moments I was convinced we were finished. "No one could live through a crash at this high speed" I found myself thinking, and all I wanted was to get to where P Bonez was. I had to be with him if this was it.
I woke up sweating and chilled. My hair was plastered to my head and my breathing heavy. It was a crazy dream and when I woke up in my calm bedroom and looked over. I was so grateful it was a dream.
Today I couldn't get it out of my head. Even more- I have been reminded that it was barely 3 years ago I lived a nightmare where every morning I woke hoping it was a bad bad dream. It's a momentous occasion where nightmares stay nightmares and your beautiful dreams are becoming a reality.

Alias Pail

The other half of the multi-lingual Doring Duo releases his fabu music video. Yes, brother of mine is singing in Japanese. And yes, we are half Filipino. I hope you love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Almost there.

Today is the epitome of gloomy day. Refrigerator cold air and cold rain. Rain without passion, no creation of water melodies from the fierce rain, just continuous drizzle.
It makes me tired. It makes my toes cold. It makes me want summer to come to my toes can feel the sun. So my freckles can grow together into one big, brown, spot and my eyes can peek out from my big sunglasses.
One thing however that keeps me warm is the following email. I'm almost done. There's been a lot of effort with this whole Judaism thing. a couple years of dedication, not just to Judaism but to finding the emotional strength to face a plethora of Rabbi's, to crawl into all of these offices with my ears ringing in understanding Hebrew. At the beginning it was emotionally painful because I was this scared, grieving kid. Trying to build some sort of life after all the mess. I'm glad that it's possible to swim through the paperwork and the patience of being accepted. and I'm almost there. That's not entertainment, that's the most dedicated thing I've ever done for myself.
Dear Susi,
Good news! I understand that all has been approved. It is due in our offices for signing this week (the Conversion Authority) and then back to the TLV Rabbinut who will send you the Hamarat Dat certificate by registered mail – hopefully by the end of next week – fingers crossed. Then your life can begin!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2Pad for Recipe Sharing

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The last stop

At beginning of each Gregorian year, I get a little excited about what's to come. How will Spring 2008 fare in the Book of Ginrod? Will this chapter be the traditional very cherry Jelly Belly? or will it be an accidental mix of Berry Blue and Green Apple? Will I mistakenly pop in a Jalapeño instead of the watermelon? Or maybe I'll develop an acquired taste for licorice this year.
On the bus ride home from work yesterday, I got caught in an intensive day dream of Thailand, so much in fact- that I almost missed my bus stop. I was remembering everything I could about the town I lived in. I thought about my neighbors- middle aged women I sat with on the cement bench outside every evening, smacking mosquitoes eating at my ankles while explaining to them U.S politics in my broken Thai. I thought about if I went back, how I could finally afford to bring them nice gifts- but I won't be able to communicate with them, since I haven't spoken a word of Thai in almost 3 years. I wondered if a ring to my old landlord would set up my old apartment for me for a long weekend, I could visit my students- say hello to all the people I left overnight, literally.
I suppose I've come to terms that I need some sort of closure when it comes to Thailand. Perhaps most of my things are still in my old apartment, maybe the yoga mat I was stretching on when I found out my father died is still laying out next to my made bed.
Did they take down my pictures? My decorations? What happened to all my clothes the Peace Corps couldn't pack in the two suitcases they sent to me months later?
I guess that's what they mean about gaining "closure". In my head, my life in Thailand is exactly as is was when I left it so abruptly. As if it froze in my memory, without an ending- I literally just got on a plane and had to leave it all behind. Even my toothbrush.
I came to just in time to jump off the bus and into the arms of the "free hugs" picketers standing on the corner of Ibn Givrol Street. I gave a few more hugs to the non-protesters and went on my way home.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sodom and Gemorra


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Salsa Pains 9not the dance)

I know I know. I just couldn't help myself. Raised in a Tex-Mex food haven, I've missed my daily dose of chips & salsa. So when I ran quickly into a 24 hour food store and saw that they had restaurant style tortilla chips and jars upon jars of salsa, (7 Shekels cheaper that the Super Sol grocery store)- Well, I couldn't help myself.
I also could not help myself when I was running out of the door this morning for work. You see, I just couldn't bare the thought of not being able to munch on this spicy commodity during work. So here I am, in EXCRUCIATING pain because I just ate extra HOT salsa ALL DAY LONG. I kinda skipped lunch today, because of this whole salsa experience. Lordy Lordy.
Aside from that Georgie is in town. He is the sole reason that many of my friends are working from home today and tomorrow. Highways are closed, policemen on every corner. That's a lot of cash spent on his safety. It's quite awesome in itself, I wonder how much of the Hotel they shut down during his stay.
Ok- I can't really concentrate, my spicy stomach is cramping.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Kibbutz Hagroshim

Dear Friends & Family back home in the USA,
Happy 2008. Just thought i'd send ya'll an email with a little update on what has been going in the world of Ginrod. Last weekend, P Bonez & I took a trip up north to a Kibbutz called Hagroshim. The kibbutz hosts a hotel and nature reserve complete with a petting zoo where they have managed to capture baboon monkeys and hold them hostage in cages without swings. There was an owl who sat in the farthest corner of his cage shaking himself similar to the way I shake my tukas for meditation before I sleep. We also saw a very depressed and lonely fox as well as a mountain goat sniffing a donkey's ass in the open pen.
We drove from Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea and swung a left just after Jericho up the Jordan valley and through the West Bank. Of course, we were driving in the evening time and it was black as night outside. Black enough that for a while, we didn't notice the flashing of lights from what seemed like bombs falling on the vast emptiness of desert next to our car. "just don't stop the car Hun" P bonez tries to calm me as I am fiercely clutching the steering wheel as vile words escape my mouth. Apparently, the IDF has practice grounds nearby.
3 hours later, we made it safely to our Hotel, and it was gorgeous. I have obviously been lacking visual foliage and crisp air because my heart jumped for joy in hearing running water and breathing in the fresh air. I did a little "Yeehaw for green trees and running water!!!!" dance outside the car as P Bonez yawned while holding the luggage.
Northern Israel reminds me that i am definitely a country girl vs. the concrete jungle the city brings. If only I had a regular form of transportation, I would find myself up north more often- on a tree branch, beating my chest and singing songs from the latest Darkness album.

As we drove back into Jerusalem Satursday night. I told P Bonez that the air suddenly turned sour and he informed me that it wasn't Jerusalem, but his farts.
I am looking forward to immigrating to this crazy country but apparently my file weighs 90 kilos and no one can move it from the desk it started at. I have decided to send my file a personal trainer so that the office workers are able to pick its fat ass up and get it moving along. Apparently paying fees doesn't insure anything more than the ever growing headache that my patience has given me. I'm not too worried about it as I am sure it will inevitably happen. I even lowered it on my prayer list: right below Britney Spears having a comeback and world peace. I have decided that when I do become a citizen, I will apply to graduate school because a graduate degree is "like the new highschool diploma, like you know-".
I have also decided I should create lists for "wants" and "needs" and learn to differentiate the two. In doing so- I have already realized the only "needs" are a new mattress and arch supports for my over used brown boots. My "want" list is topped by various things like: last minute trips to just about anymore, an hour at the GAP, an endless supply of Glad Press n'Seal, and a box refill of spicy, clear glass mung bean noodle soups.

Happy January.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

props to 2008

Last night I sat with two groups of friends to bring in the new year. My Israeli friends, who I came to know in 2004 in Chiang Mai Thailand, and my "new" friends, the fellow English speakers that are my comfort zone and urban family in the Middle East.
Soon after midnight- I became a bit sentimental reflecting on every movement it took for us all to end up at that very moment, together- under the same roof. It was a matter of 24 hours really. A decision adamantly made by Tsiki to travel up north then and there in 2004. It was a matter of 15 minutes a few days later that I would accidentally run into him in Chiang Mai that would bring us all together last night, under the same roof, with many of the same memories. You see, it is not only me that was sitting there by mere coincidence in Israel. It was also Tsiki's best friend's girlfriend who found herself, a Canadian- with no Israeli identity, underneath the same roof bringing in 2008 with us. It's been almost 4 years since our history started. All to end up at the same point- just now in Tel Aviv, Israel instead of the dusty roads of Thailand.
When I introduced Tsiki's best friend to one of P Bonez closest friends. I stated "you two have a lot in common, you're both best friends of men I love." Sure, such a comment would be awkward in many social situations, but I would like to think they both knew what I meant, that we may not have the means to control our fate. And no one would wish a story of sadness, but this is what it is. It's the closest thing to truth I have. And with 2008 being lived at this moment, there is a lot of beauty in this whole story of life we all lead.
So here's to 2008. The first year since 2005 that I actually am happy to enter- For so many different reasons, for understanding how far so many people can come in such a short time. For understanding the beauty of coincidence, and respecting fate. To understand that- well, we may not be able to explain it now, but there's a reason I am sitting underneath the sky of Israel, and there's a reason why I've felt the things I've felt. I am grateful to have 2008. With much respect and eagerness. Because- I have no idea was will happen, and I'm finally ready to experience it all..again.

The Sheital and her Teichal-rehashed

A woman commented on a blogpost of mine from October 2006. I thought I would post her comment as it's a lot of content and a lot of opinion and well, discussions are always entertaining!
Keep in mind the opinions of those who post comments are not the opinions of myself.
Although I have changed the word "Goyim" to "Non-Jews", because Goyim sounds like some sort of insect egg to me and I don't agree with the sound of the word.
Hair Coverings – It is time to UnCover
I am writing to raise a simple and very important question: Where is the codified Halacha that a married woman must cover all her hair, all the time, whenever she steps out of her house, whether it is summer or winter?
There is no codified Halacha that a married woman must cover her hair totally and constantly whenever she steps out of her house.
The halachah has been totally misinterpreted, and in fact, relates ONLY to a married woman covering her hair when she lights the candles to welcome in Shabbat and Yom Tov – lechavod Shabbat ve Yom Tov.
Therefore, for religious men/women to impose hair coverings on other women, whenever they step out of their houses is against the Torah. This misinterpretation of the Torah is completely ASSUR, and a twisting of the Torah.
In ancient times, a woman would only cover her hair upon entering the Beit Hamikdash. Similarly for the Sotah - otherwise she would not cover her hair ordinarily, day to day.
If a Rebbetzin is reading this, I bet you don't like covering your hair, especially not in the hot sunshine.
I could quote exactly the same arguments back to the Rabbis and Rebbetzins, and all those who blindly follow them like sheep, as to why men should cover their hair - FULLY, upon marriage - a man would look completely 'modest' keeping himself 'pure' from the looks of other single women. His wife would no longer be worried about other single women, and could breathe a sigh of relief, as her husband would be completely covered up!
It is very important for people to know and realise that when a married woman covers her hair with 'real hair' the woman is covering herself with 100%Tumah. This is against the Torah.
She can never fully be sure that this 'hair' has not come from meitim - despite any guarantee by the seller.
This 'real hair' is doubly and in some circumstances, triply Tumah. Firstly, it will contain the leftover dead hair cells from another person - however much it has been treated, the tumah is still there.
Secondly, this other person (likely to be a non-Jew who most likely was involved in some kind of Avodah Zarah) may have eaten bacon, ham, lobster etc, all of which are totally forbidden as unclean and non-kosher foods in Halacha.
Thirdly, if the woman happens to be the wife of a Cohen, then she is bringing her husband into close contact and proximity with meitim and Tumah Every day, and throughout their married life - clearly strictly against the Torah.
Don't the Rabbis and Rebbetzins feel ill at the realisation of what they are making other Jewish women endure? Men have degraded women in order to suit their own sexual desires and needs. Some men actually prefer to see their wives in wigs because they look more sexually attractive to them than their real hair.
There is nothing more degrading and demeaning to a woman than to make her cover her hair upon marriage. Frankly it is an abhorrent practice. By quoting feeble arguments like 'Tzniut' - 'Modesty' not backed up by clear Halacha, the Rabbis and Rebbetzins are making a complete mockery of the Torah, and all the good values that they stand for.
It is extremely unhealthy and unhygienic for a woman to cover her hair constantly. The hair needs oxygen to breathe.
In addition, hair covering is a form of oppression to women by men, and doing so, can undoubtedly cause a certain type of depression in women, once their hair is covered so permanently for life.
A woman's hair will lose its natural beauty and shine, she may have scalp problems, some of her hair may fall out, she may get headaches, and she may end up cutting it short like a man, when she always wore it long, in order not to have too much discomfort from her hair covering.
Do you think that HaKadosh Baruch Hu commanded this of women? I can assure you that He did not.
The commmandments are not meant to cause so much repression and oppression in women.
The non-Jews also look at us in disgust when they know that Jewish women cover their hair and wear wigs. They think that we are going against all the light and the beautiful principles that we, Am Yisrael, brought into the world.
And therefore, for a woman to start doing this nonsensical act of covering her hair, all the time, in all seasons and temperatures, is against the Torah, and is also a form of Chillul Hashem. Exactly the opposite of all the arguments put forward for this unnecessary sacrifice. For a married woman to cover her hair is a Chillul Hashem, and is in no way, a Kiddush Hashem.
It is also against all common sense, apart from anything else, otherwise why would Hashem have created women with hair on their heads in the first place?
Please think about all that I have said above. As there is no halachah for a married woman to constantly cover her hair once she steps out of her house, the women reading this should have the intelligence and moral strength of character to join together and remove their hair coverings.
It is totally wrong for any married woman to be covering her hair constantly, ( e.g especially in the hot summer), when she steps out of her house. This is a misrepresentation and twisting of the Torah.
For a woman to cover her hair with real hair is to cover herself with complete Tumah, and also against the Torah. If she happens to be the wife of a Cohen, then she is bringing her husband into close contact and proximity with meitim and Tumah every day - clearly strictly against the Torah.
I would be grateful to hear from other readers .
Yours Sincerely,
Deborah Shaya,
London, England.