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Haveil Havalim – the Vayechi Vantage

Quote on Israel from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Welcome!  If you’ve never enjoyed Haveil Havalim before, it’s a fantastic Jewish way to end/start your week.  This quote is a terrific way to start of the month of January, which brings (on the 19th, in the U.S.) Martin Luther King day.  Find this and 8 other mind-blowing quotes about Israel here.

What is HH?

imageIt’s a weekly roundup of what’s new and great in the Jewish / Israel blogging world.  I host once a month to give you a taste of what other great blogs are out there that you might enjoy.  Hopefully, you’ll find some new favourites.

Don’t forget – the point of social media is… SOCIAL.  Stop by and visit some of the other blogs listed here.  Leave a comment to let them know you came from HH!

This week’s selections are completely awesome.  Sharing what’s great about Israel and Jewish life in a way I’m sure you’ll love.



Jacob Richman sent in the first post this week, so he’s up front.  He actually announced this week that he’s added some features to his educational Bible Quiz, part of his venerable stash (and huge range) of educational offerings.  The quiz contains 4,327 questions, so you’re sure to find one to challenge you there!

Rebecca at Jewish and Homeschooling in a Wonderful World wrote a very thoughtful review of a new science book written to appeal to Jewish kids in Olam Shel Emet – Book Review.  Full disclaimer:  this book happens to have been written by me.  I still think it’s a terrific book.  ;-)

Speaking of me and my books, I announced a new book for Jewish kids and families over at my Adventures in MamaLand blog called Meet the Avot (Biblical rhymes for family times).  But that’s all the shameless self-promotion (is there any other kind?) you’ll see for this post.


Ever wonder what to do when things go… wrong in the kitchen?  Like, wrong from a kashrut standpoint?  Here’s a practical how-to on what to do from Kochava at You’re Not Crazy for Converting to Judaism in How to Ask a Kashrut Shaila.  Love it!

Yocheved Golani at It’s My Crisis and I’ll Cry If I Need To! offers great suggestions for feeding body and soul with a new book she loves, all about the seven fruits of the Land of Israel with their mystical and medicinal properties (go figure; that’s the book’s title, too!). You can read all about it in her post, Feeding Body and Soul with an Excellent Book (nope, not mine)!


Are you ready for next month?  It seems like the current month of Tevet has only just begun, and already Batya at Shiloh Musings is getting ready for next month’s Women’s Rosh Chodesh Prayers in Rosh Chodesh Shevat Prayers at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh.  The stars have aligned; it’s not on a Friday, or a Sunday… I may actually be able to make it this time.  Save the date:  Wednesday, January 21, at 8:30 a.m.

Also at Shiloh Musings, Batya says recent shake-ups in Israeli politics have left supporters of MK Moshe Feiglin looking “for another party, either NRP or further Right or Chareidi.”  Find out more in It's Bibi's Likud, Not Feiglin's.

What’s bugging you?  Here in Israel, there are lots and lots of little bugs around.  Here’s how our family is dealing with bugs of all kinds, in What’s bugging you? Israeli bug infestations so far (so good).

Enjoy some of Israel’s beautiful countryside, skies and vistas, courtesy of Batya at me-ander – totally an inspiration for anyone who is, like me, learning to get around this country carlessly – in Trip to Netanya via Ariel.

Here in Israel, many people have been following the story of 11-year-old Ayala Shapiro, on her way home from a college-level math class last week (she was taking courses through Bar-Ilan University) when a firebomb was tossed into the car her father was driving.  She’s been in the hospital ever since, drifting between unconsciousness and semi-consciousness.  Varda Meyers Epstein offers a little more historical and political context in Ayala Shapiro, The Town Of Speyer, And Building Homes For Jews over at Israelly Cool.

Did you know that the Israel Museum offers tours?  Batya’s been going there steadily for (shh) 45 years, and never did one until last week.  She’s very glad she did, and passing along the tip to readers via her blog me-ander in Touring the Israel Museum.


Start the secular year off right with a January 1st philosophical rap / existential riff inspired from all over the place and inspiring others as well, from Phyllis Sommer at Ima On And Off The Bima, in Where I’m From.

Varda Meyers Epstein loved singing, loved music… until she became religious.  Read all about the journey and the sacrifices in Giving Up Singing in Tablet Magazine.  Heartbreakingly, inspiringly, she writes, “Other singers would have killed to audition for him. In my pocket, I fingered the edges of his card for a week, until they were ragged. Then I ripped it into four small squares and tossed them away” and shares how she found a way to keep singing, even as she moved into the world of Torah observance.

I’m going to end with something unique:  a blog conversation.

Bloggers Ruti Eastman (Never Ruthless) and Rivkah Lambert Adler (Bat Aliyah) are having a blog-based chat about how, as Rivkah says, “in the absence of many of the rituals and accoutrements that accompany Jewish men through their lives, Torah observant Jewish women express ourselves spiritually.”

Rivkah (as Ruti says) “has thrown down her lovely kid gloves” with a challenge:  “How do we recognize the spiritual acts of Jewish women?” in Spiritual Balm for a Jewish Woman's Soul - Part 2.  “I feel unheard.  Whenever I write about these issues, I hear from people who react, in predictable ways, to the questions Jewish women like me raise about our tradition.”

Ruti responds in her corresponding post,  Spiritual Balm for a Jewish Woman’s Soul – Part 2, saying, “I am so overjoyed to be a Jewish woman! There is no moment in the life of a Jew that doesn't count. No such thing as "dead time." Every moment is fraught with meaning, and with opportunity.”

I’ll close with these two posts, because as much as I love it when women talk about family, food, kids and home… we do have a spiritual side, and this conversation is an important one.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup.  Visit these other blogs, subscribe to them, and stay tuned for more great entries next month!

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


  1. Thank you, Tzivia! Not just for taking the time and trouble to host Haveil Havalim, but for your thoughtful introductions. You have added so much to the J-Blogosphere since you joined... and to the world of children's books!

    1. Thanks, Ruti! I love the Jewish internet. I just want people to know that it's possible to have fun with this and discover great stuff happening out there. :-)


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