Monday, October 29, 2007


As an educator and a mother and grandmother of children who went/go to school in Israel I have mixed feelings about our current teachers' strike that is now into its third week.

First of all I do believe in the right to strike and I do believe that our teachers are underpaid. That said, I must also state that I have found that this country has too many teachers who are in the business for the short days and long vacations.

I am trying to be fair. I started teaching when I was five and my kindergarten teacher said, 'Marallyn, will you go over there and help Jonny?'

That was it. That was when I discovered the joy of sharing knowledge. I firmly believe that real teachers are born not made.

Most of our teachers here are babysitters...not educators. If they have to be on page 9 by Tuesday, come hell or high water they are on page 9 by Tuesday. Never mind that most of the class is looking at her like she is from Mars.

But at least 10% are angels. Really, takkeh angels and if your kid is lucky enough to have this teacher he/she will be truely blessed.

The norm in this country is that the teachers talk and the parents teach. And if they can't then they hire people like me to do the work.

For fifteen years I built and ran a learning center in Jerusalem for learning disabled kids and for kids who got lost in the classroom. I am appalled at the lack of education going on. Most families have private tutors for English, Math, and Grammar? Why? What's going on in the classrooms?

I know the classes are large. I know the teachers are underpaid. I know that the budget has been cut back drastically and that the last intifada almost broke the bank. But a teacher has a sacred trust--she/he is to impart knowledge. They don't have to like their students. They just have to teach them.

And they don't.

We need more men in education and in order to attract them we have to give them a decent wage so that they can support their families. We have to give women a decent wage so that they are proud of a job well done.

It is like a dog chasing it's tail. Everyone has a complaint and everyone is right.

What would I do? I would start from scratch. I would fire all the teachers. All of them. And during the two months of the summer review their qualifications...their class results. The principals of every school know exactly who their staff is. And someone has to evaluate the principals.Then, start rehiring them. And in the meantime I would begin a massive educational program in the universities to attract people to join the education family. High standards...high expectations...and the students finish with a degree they can be proud of.

We have a huge untapped resource here and what is more important than our children? These are smart kids. I have never, in all my years of teaching, met a kid who doesn't want to learn. I have, however, met hundreds who couldn't learn without help.

Years ago I interviewed a family to start studying at Shar Patuach and I will never ever forget what the young kid said to me. He said, 'I'm only smart on the weekends.'
'Why?'I asked. 'Cuz that's when I'm home with my Mom.'

Kids are smart every day. Kids are wonderful every day. We just have to find their special spark and help them shine.

What upsets me the most about this strike is that they are useing the twelfth graders as hostages. Our twelfth graders go into the army right after they finish school in June. Some go immediately and others have a few months' wait...depending on their birthdays. And their winter matriculation exams are in December and the summer ones are in May through June with a second chance to redo English and Math (that's a whole other blog) in July.

As it stands these kids will not be ready. And trust me the striking teachers know that. Kids should not be hostages. If you have a good enough complaint then it should stand alone. Strike in the summer and during the holidays in September and October. Do something...anything.

Our teachers see our kids more than we do. They have a phenomenal influence on our children. And they have an obligation.

Should the teachers be paid more? Of course they should. Should the classrooms be smaller? Of course they should. Should more money be poured into the school system for art and music and computers and and and? Of course it should.

So now you know why I have mixed feelings.

For the time being I have put my trip to the states on hold. As soon as they all go back to school I will probably have twelfth graders who need to get ready for their matriculation exams. No problem. I wanted to see the snow...I'll see the spring...or summer...or whatever.

Never a dull moment in Israel. And I haven't even mentioned that mamzer Achmadinadoodle who wants to vaporize us! Sigh.

OK, off I go to meet my wonderful Cousin Sheldon, the dentist. Another check on the teeth. They are great. Happy, lucky, smiling me. :)

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


You know how the Chinese have the year of the dog or snake or monkey, etc.? Well, I think we should have years too.

One year could be 'The Year of the Baby' when a new child comes into this world to renew and refresh everyone's lives.

Then, there could be 'The Year I Retired' when I thought I would be wandering around my house trying to find something to do. And, how luckily, tfu tfu tfu, I am so busy I don't know how to arrange my time.

Of course, let's not forget 'The Year of the Diet'...that could be every year...sigh.

This year, I think is going to be 'The Year of the Teeth'. My love/hate affair with the dentist began when I was five. Remember the good ol' years when the dentist's office was a torture chamber? The drill made that awful noise and slowly, slowly dug into your tooth. Vey! I don't want to talk about it. Oy!

But now I have Cousin Sheldon, THE DENTIST. For the first time in my life, I can actually eat something before going to the dentist's office. He is the best, the kindest, the most amazing man in the Universe.

But, I still don't put my tush in his chair unless it is absolutely necessary. First I went to the doctor to see why I had an earache. Then a tooth broke. Then another decided to wiggle. That was when I went to Sheldon.

In the past three months he has done amazing things. Another miracle in the Holy Land. Fixed, pulled, polished, and finally bottom teeth are ready for the Oprah show.

Next we attack the uppers. Sigh. But, I can't complain. I have my Dad's AH teeth and he had full dentures at the age of forty. I am way older than thought I was going to tell you, right? Wrong. Where was I? Oh yes. I am way older than that and I still, amazingly, have teeth in my mouth. My teeth. Well as a friend of mine once said, 'They are all my teeth. I paid a fortune for them.' Hahahaha.

Next year I want to be 'The Year of the Best Selling Novel...Emma'. Has a nice ring to it, no?

OK. I will try to do better now that I am smiling once again. The teacher's strike is still on in full force putting a strain on the poor 12th graders, the teachers who need a salary and me who has room on her dance card for a couple more students.

But, it's a lovely day in downtown Jerusalem. My heart goes out to the people in California. I made a frantic call to my other brother, Maeshey, and thank God he and his are all right. But the sky is red and the air is smokey. OYOYOY.

Shabbat shalom.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Sorry I disappeared this week. Between spending two nights at Bubbie Channah's...oy is that good...are we having fun. We're knitting and reading and I'm trying to get her hooked on Prison Break and she got me re-hooked on The Sopranos...and out to lunch...and teaching one of my students a block away from her place...and she has no internet connection...well that is one reason.

Reason number two is that I am still taking care of my teeth...and soon will be chomping away once again. Problems with your teeth are no good for the diet...cuz you eat mushy comfort food stuff. As soon as the new ones are happily installed I will go back to my diets and steak...Yahoooooo.

Reason number three is that I am forging ahead with my new novel...working title Morgan while thinking of the major rewrites on Emma. See, I have my writing class very two weeks and have to have something to hand in...thus 'forging ahead with my new novel' get it. And at the same time I am pondering the adjustments that need to be made on Emma. For the next couple of months she and I are going to reunite and the truth is that I've missed her. Here in my old age I've got invisible playmates.

This writing business is hard stuff. Thinking, thinking, planning, plotting, is exhausting work. But oh so wonderful.

Next I have the astrology column to write every week. Yahooooo I do so love that.

And I guess finally there is, kids, babies, work, cooking, cleaning, lions and tigers and bears...oh my!

So, even though 'Barkis is willing', the rest of me simply is trying to juggle what I want to do with what I have to do.

Please don't give up on me...once I've figured out how to do all this, I'll let you know. In the meantime I'll try to get here a lot more. I miss you too.

Shabbat shalom.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


With all the doom and gloom and terror and stuff, sometimes it's hard to find anything to laugh about. You know what I mean...great guffaws that make your belly shake. That kind of laugh.

Maeshey makes me laugh like that...the brother Dovidle...Bubbie Channah.

What happened to all our lightness of spirit? Our joy of little things?

Here's what I think is funny: clever, unexpected, extemporaneous, doesn't hurt anyone.

My favourite will always be Mel Brooks. I can quote The 2,000 Year Old can Dovidle and Maeshey. What's the greatest thing ever produced by mankind? Saranwrap!

And Shelly Berman when he wanted to ask his father for a hundred dollars to go to New York to Acting School. If you tell your mother I said the word Christmas, you won't go to New York on a plane, you'll go to Weinstein's Chapel in a coffin.

And Bill Cosby's old stuff. God: Noah, how well can you swim?

Here are some classics from Hollywood Squares. Ya godda love 'em.

Peter Marshall: Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Peter Marshall: According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think he's really attractive, is it okay to come out directly and ask him if he's married?
Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.

Peter Marshall: In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I love you"?
Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Peter Marshall: What are "Do It", "I Can Help" and "Can't Get Enough"?
George Gobel: I don't know but it's coming from the next apartment.

Peter Marshall: As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while you are talking?
Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing older question, Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget!

Peter Marshall: According to Zsa Zsa [Gabor], does black look sexy on a woman?
Redd Foxx: I wouldn't have it any other way.

Peter Marshall: What are "dual purpose" cattle good for that other cattle aren't?
Paul Lynde: They give milk and cookies -- but I don't recommend the cookies!

Peter Marshall: If you find someone lying unconscious in the street, should you do anything?
George Goebel: I'd probably crawl around him I guess.

Peter Marshall: Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Peter Marshall: Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during your first year?
Charley Weaver: Of course not, Peter. I'm too busy growing strawberries!

Peter Marshall: In bowling, what's a perfect score?
Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Peter Marshall: Eddie, according to the Institute of Motivational Research, a wife should beware if another woman takes an interest in a certain item of her husband's clothing. What item?
Ed Asner: Well, shorts immediately springs to my mind.

Peter Marshall: It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics. What is the other?
Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Peter Marshall: True or false: a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Peter Marshall: Is there a weight limit for bags on airline flights in this country?
Charley Weaver: If she can fit under the seat, she can fly.

Peter Marshall: During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?
Rose Marie: Unfortunately, Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.

Peter Marshall: Can boys join the camp fire girls?
Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Peter Marshall: When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do?
Paul Lynde: Make him bark.

Peter Marshall: True or false, George: experts say there are only seven or eight things in the world dumber than an ant.
George Gobel: Yes, and I think I voted for six of 'em.

Peter Marshall: If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Peter Marshall: According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army!

Peter Marshall: Is it possible for the puppies in a litter to have more than one daddy?
Paul Lynde: Why, that bitch!

Peter Marshall: While visiting China, your tour guide starts shouting "Poo! Poo! Poo!" What does that mean?
George Goebel: Cattle crossing.

Peter Marshall: It is the most abused and neglected part of your body -- what is it?
Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn't neglected!

Peter Marshall: Charley, what do you call a pig that weighs more than 150 pounds?
Charley Weaver: A divorcee.

Peter Marshall: Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Peter Marshall: According to Movie Life magazine, Ann-Margaret would like to start having babies soon, but her husband wants her to wait a while. Why?
Paul Lynde: He's out of town.

Peter Marshall: Dennis Weaver, Debbie Reynolds, and Shelley Winters star in the movie What's The Matter With Helen? Who plays Helen?
Charley Weaver: Dennis Weaver -- that's why they asked the question.

Peter Marshall: Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Peter Marshall: When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?
Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car. The rest is up to him.

Peter Marshall: James Stewart did it over 20 years ago when he was 41 years old. Now he says it was "one of the best things I ever did." What was it?
Marty Allen: Rhonda Fleming.

Peter Marshall: Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
Charley Weaver: His feet.

Peter Marshall: If you're going to make a parachute jump, you should be at least how high?
Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Peter Marshall: Do female frogs croak?
Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water.

Shavuah tov...a good week.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


My son, Joe College, decided to take a week off and go someplace with a few friends before his next year of law school begins.

Here in Israel, the kids have exams all summer and then are on vacation from the end of August until after the holidays, usually the end of October, beginning of November.

They wanted to go to seats. They didn't want to go back to Greece, or the Greek Islands. They did Paris and London. No time to get back to the States or Canada. ***These kids have worked hard both at the University and their jobs and I love that they can afford to be world travellers. Yahoooooooooo.***

They didn't want to do Italy...not enough time to do it properly. So my kid came home and said, "Imma, we're going to Berlin."
"Like in Germany? Berlin? Acht, macht, gebracht? The land of the Nazis? O Tannenbaum?"

As you can tell I am not about to forget WWII, the big one!. Nope...not me.

When we were growing up in Windsor, my house had nothing from Germany or Japan. Nothing. Now, today it is virtually impossible to have a Japanrein home as the world has turned a blind eye to WWII and many of our products are/were Made in Japan. Sigh.

And in Israel we are dancing with the Germans. Ben Gurion opened talks and trade and what can I tell you? Germany is one of our most visible supporters...sigh. They even sent us gas masks...GAS MASKS...during the Gulf War!!! (Sometimes I am sure that God has a wicked sense of humour...the devil made me say that.)

But, when we got married, I told my husband that I didn't want anything that was made in Germany in my house. That lasted over twenty years until one day he brought home the new washing maching...don't ask...a great machine...great...'Surprise!' Only problem is...yup...I own a Nazi machine. Vey.

For over ten years I use the machine and have a love/hate thing going with it. I sort of want to kick it every time I fill it up. Sigh.

Lately when my brother, Dovidle, comes to visit he flies Luftansa and has a stopover in Frankfurt. 'Heil, Hitler? You're flying Heil Hitler?' I asked.

My son, Joe College smiled at me and said, 'Well, I guess you don't want me to bring you back anything.'

I smiled. What could I do? A mother's heart. 'No, sweetie. I don't think so. But, you can bring back a fridge magnet to add to your collection.'

Now, I thought that was very big of me, don't you? And every time I shut the fridge I can smack it and walk away.

I know I am not being fair. Not all Germans etc., etc...

But, I figure that as gorgeous as Germany may be...and I'm sure it is...And, as much as the young Germans aren't responsible for their parents and grandparents crimes...I still need forty years in the desert before I can think of moseying on over to take a look at the Rhine. Until then, I'm afraid that I'll be looking at everyone my age and older and wondering what they did/or didn't do during the war.

I think the Guv summed it up when she wrote: 'Tell the kid to have a wonderful time and not to take any showers until he comes home.'


p.s. the kid is having a marvellous time...he sms'd me that they went into a shop and Ninet( our top singer who I love) and her boyfriend Yehuda Levy( a top tv/movie star) were in the shop too.

Seems like I'm the only one still waving the flag. Never mind. There are plenty of places in this world that I want to see...Scotland!!!!!!!! Italy!!!!!...and at a drop of the hat I would put my tush in the big plane and fly to Canada and the States.

Now, all we need is for Bubbie Channah to win the lottery.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I love cable tv. 742,00 channels and mayber here and there you can find something great to watch. One of the programs we got last year was something called Prison Break.

I saw the promos and decided it was too scary.

Then last week my Joe College came home with two friends and invited me to watch season one. They got ahold of the whole thing on DVD and made popcorn and settled down to watch.

I said , "Thanks, but no thanks. You kids have fun."

By two in the morning they broke up for the evening. Two days later they were back again.

"You didn't finish?" I asked.
"Nope," they said.

This time I went out and bought munchies. I mean, what's a mother for? Pretzles...cookies...candies...chips.

While they were huddled in the dark watching the DVD, I decided to check it out on my tv. It didn't matter what was going on, I was only going to watch one episode to see what all the fuss was about.

That was it! Big Mistake! I brought in a chair and grabbed the pretzles. We started watching at three in the afternoon. By midnight we were half way through season two.

I'm hooked!

Luckily, my cables are now showing an episode a night and I am back to where I left off with the kids.

Prison Break. Go watch. But if you do, be prepared to forget about your kids to say hello...just you and Michael and the gang...vey!!!

I am having a wonderful time sleeping over at Bubbie Channah's place one night a week. I think I am having more fun than she is. I take my laptop and my knitting and we each grab a couch and relax. If this goes on I may have to have her place internet connected :) .

Good thing Bubbie Channah has the same cable server that I do. She, however is stuck on the Sopranos.

Wonder what it says about us that we are both watching guys with guns? I remember when we used to watch Gilligan's Island. Ah, as the song goes...The times, they are a'changing.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Monday, I decided enough was enough. All week long I'd been cooking and doing what had to be done for all the holidays and it was time to hang up my towel and go into town and visit Bubbie Channah.

Don't ask! It was a zoo. 742,000 people all crowded into sukkas with their family and kids screaming and running around. The truth is that it was a pleasure to see my city all gussied up for sukkot and filled with children and tourists and just simple folk like me and Bubbie Channah off for an afternoon lunch.

I can remember, not too long ago, when my city was a ghost town. That was really awful. Because of the suicide bombers, no one was in the city. Bubbie Channah lives right off King George and BenYehudah. My learning center was two blocks away right next to the shuk. So we were there all the time.

Nice to have people running around eating ice creams.

After lunch...and I have to admit that I took Bubbie Channah for an ice cream too. There is a nice place just up the street from the restaurant that has sugarless ice cream and my mom loves it.

I decided to go back to her place and just sit around for a bit rather than run back home. I had brought my knitting...yes I am back knitting...for my neice's new baby girl. Mazal tov!

At some point along the way I realized it would be stupid for me to go home. I only had to be back in the center of town the next morning as I was invited for lunch at my friend Marianne's house in Sanhedriah.

The problem was that Tuesday there was a big parade in Jerusalem. Lovely to watch...hell to navigate.

So, I stayed at Ma's house and the truth was we had a marvellous time. I really haven't slept over since she moved ten years ago. Then I used to stay every weekend until she got acclimated.

I liked it...she liked it. And I have decided that I'm going to sleep over one night a week from now on, bli neder. A pajama party with Ma. How cute is that???

Ma does not have internet access so I couldn't have stayed in touch even if I had shlepped my laptop along.

Today is another holiday...Simchat Torah. I love these holidays. Just love them. The cooking is done. The house is clean. And I think I'll take a little nap.

Chag sameach.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.