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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Crazy Cell-Phone Plans



Towards the end of any month ( like around now) people who call up our family on our cell-phones are likely to get confused.

“Oh Sorry I thought I’d called someone else I must have dialed the wrong number”

“No its Ok you probably want my Dad but he didn’t talk enough on his phone this month so he gave me his cell-phone to use for outgoing calls for the next couple of days”



or alternatively

“Hi Esther “

“No it’s not Esther it’s her Mum . She’s got my phone . She’s in the middle of a looooong conversation with her friend so she’s using up my unused minutes. But I needed to make a quick call so I’ve got hers”


Confusing ? It’s quite simple really.

We are on a special cheap cell- phone plan. But like so many things – it has its  drawbacks.

If  you don’t talk for enough minutes each month then you  lose your special cheap-rate and a penalty is added on.

Sounds a bit crazy? Or maybe you have a similar scheme?


If we’re really desperate then my husband has been known to call my phone, I answer and we just leave the phones talking to each other for half an hour to use up those precious minutes

Fortunately we still have one teenage daughter still living at home – and if, like Benjamin Franklin, you thought there were only two sure things in life: death and taxes  - then I can add a third to the list …… teenage girls talking on the telephone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Judaism at the Israel Museum


Last week I  visited the newly  upgraded / rebuilt/ renovated  Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I hadn’t seen it since it reopened in the summer after its multi million dollar face-lift, and as I often write about sites to visit in Jerusalem I know  that this museum is world famous and one of the most popular sites for tourists in Israel.

It’s collection of ancient archaeological  artifacts is, as always,  truly impressive and extensive – monuments to dead dynasties,  obsolete civilizations, and  lifeless lifestyles.

But  surprisingly, as  I walked through the Jewish Life exhibition, I  found myself picking up my pace – walking past the glass cases of prayer books and  Torah scrolls,  past the models dressed in ‘Jewish clothing  of the past “ and past the glass cases and films of ancient jewelry and  ancient Sephardic pre wedding customs.
I  was trying to think,  why wasn’t I so interested in these things? Why was I spending so little time here?
And then I realized.
It wasn’t particularly  exciting because it wasn’t unusual. Most of what I was looking at  were the same  things that I  see and even use  in everyday life. The exhibition cases had samples of silver – covered siddurim, similar to those I see often  in the shops and buy as presents. The examples of  clothes that Jews ‘used to wear’ are in fact often seen on the streets of Jerusalem, Golders Green and Borough Park  today. The intricate Yemenite bridal  jewelry and headdress of the past are  used by many  young Yemenite brides today who keep up  their ancient traditions .
The Sifrei Toah that we read from, photographs of a  mitzvah- tanz  (dance) at the end of a Chassidic wedding, silver, chanukiyot  and Seder plates for Pesach – all items, symbols and customs which are in regular  use  today in the 21st century.
I glanced up at the screen displaying a  film explaining how matzo is made  knowing that thousands of  children watch  this happen in real life in Jewish centers all over the world during  the weeks before Pesach.

And yet there were many visitors taking their time and reading all the attached notes about each exhibit – some I’m sure thinking that they were looking at a lost world of the past.
It was said that Hitler ( may his name be blotted out) kept many Jewish items, stolen from homes he had plundered and Jews he had slaughtered,  intending to set up a Museum to the lost religion of Judaism after the war.

But thank G’d Judaism is very much alive and flourishing all over the world . 

For those who have no idea what Judaism is all about, this Museum has much of interest. But fortunately  this isn’t in order to display a lost world of   ancient rituals and customs. For these very same rituals, customs, treasured books and  objects are still in constant use in our homes, within our families .
A Museum is, by dictionary  definition, a place or building where objects of historical interest are exhibited, preserved, or studied –

I’m very happy that  my Judaism  is  alive and well at home.  

Israel Museum Shrine of the Book Ann Goldberg

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I was just awarded  the “Laid Back Literary Ladies” award, by my  fellow blogger Rosalind Adam.


What exactly have I done to deserve the award, I can hear you all asking ………( well there must be someone out there who is asking)

Absolutely nothing . Ros is just a kind friend from way back when.

The funny thing is  Ros, that you probably don’t even realize how ‘appropriate ‘ the description is. People have been known to say of me that I’m so laid back ,I’m almost on the floor ……….what we English usually call a backhanded compliment.

it’s usually said in the same tone as a friend of mine who came to visit many yeas ago when I had a house full of little children – and I much preferred to write rather than do housework (some things never change.)

Businesswoman Working in a Messy Office clipart

She looked around my ‘busy’ ( as in totally chaotic) living room and said the famous words………………….. “Ann you are my role model. I don’t know how anyone can live in this mess and not let it bother them…………..”

Here’s to  many more  Laid-back- Literary –Ladies  and thanks again Ros, for the award.

Friday, December 10, 2010



We’re  “battening down the hatches”  for the  expected torrential rain and storms the weather forecasters have promised us……….

Well they think they have promised us …. but over here in Israel we know that rain is not dependent on meteorological and natural elements - but on our relationship with One Above .

It’s difficult for those of  you in Europe and the USA to imagine longing for rain – you get it in plentiful supply and maybe you think even  over-supply.

When I lived in England it used to rain about 350 days of the year – but not over here.

Our summers have been getting hotter and longer, our aquifers depleted and never refilled during the long ,dry winters we’ve been having.

We’ve instituted special prayers for rain and have already had two days of fasting.

Our first rain started falling on Monday


…..and now we’re looking forward  Please G’d to several days of  real storms.


Our parched and burnt  land, our rivers and streams , our crops and our farmers and all of us young and old who need this life giving force are very grateful to the Supplier Above .

Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Departure lounge at Ben Gurion aiport, Israel

I can’t help it, the  only airport I feel really safe in is Ben Gurion in Israel.

I know I have to arrive earlier there than at any other airport in the world.   I know by heart  all the questions I’ll be asked. But I also  know that everything connected to security is ‘tachlis’, to the point and relevant with no nonsense of political correctness.

They don’t care about a baby’s bottle of milk or the coke I’m drinking – it’s me and the other passengers they are looking at. Do we look and  act like  possible terrorists.

“How many children do you have” they once asked me.

“Seven” I replied.

“What are your their names?”

I could have said any names I liked as they aren’t listed in my passport – but that didn’t bother them. They just wanted to see that I didn’t hesitate when answering.

But in general I’m usually let through quite quickly. I don’t fit the profile of a terrorist . I’m not the one they’re looking for. Others don’t get off so lightly.

airport traveler

I  wouldn’t like to be traveling in the US over the Xmas holidays. The airport staff are all already stressed out and scared. Even after their horrific experience of 9/11 they are  forbidden to  ‘profile’ passengers but can only subject everyone to the same  stupid scrutiny and irrelevant checks – despite their better judgment.

They will confiscate your hair mousse if the container is a few grams over the permitted amount. They’ll make you remove your baby’s bottle and drink the milk to prove it’s not poisonous. They will make you take off your shoes,  subject you to body scans and pat-downs that anger many travelers. But they will never question you because you look  Middle Eastern,  nervous  and frightened and keep looking over your shoulder. That’s not allowed.

luggage carousel

And  unfortunately the sad fact is that even if G’d forbid there should be another airline disaster, I doubt if it will change the methods employed at US and European airports. Politics seems to me more important than safety and security.

I remember when my nephew was hounded by our security personnel at the airport . It was nerve wracking for him  and very amusing for us when we heard about it later. But the fact remains that  our security guys  did  a tremendous   job and because of them I feel safe and secure in  our airport – but not unfortunately in any other.

Whenever I’m abroad , it’s such a relief to get back home safely.

Ben Gurion airport arrival lounge. Luggage carousel