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Haveil Havalim, the Yikes-it’s-Yitro (Yisro) Edition


Parshas Yisro (Parashat Yitro) already???  Know what that means? 

Yes, the firecrackers going off every 15 minutes in our neighbourhood tell us that even though Tu b’Shvat is just over, the Purim train is on its way… with the inevitable “caboose” that is Pesach. 

(Love the Israel quote up above?  Find it 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 (huh?  really??).  Stop by and visit some of the blogs listed here.  Leave a comment to let them know you came from HH!

This week’s roundup is kind of rabbi-heavy and a little on the eclectic side… but all Jewish.  Just the way I like it!

Jewish Food & Books

Yes, there’s a Kosher Cooking Carnival (KCC) coming up in Adar (and I’m hosting it over at my Adventures in Breadland site), but just in case you’re hankering in the meantime…

Chef Yehudah Jacobs presents four new flavours you can find in your pita – it’s not just all about falafel anymore in Israel over at the Culture Trip site in Piling a Pita: Four New Fillings to Enjoy in Israel.

Event though this book was nominated for the most prestigious prize in Jewish books… I explain why it doesn’t present great Jewish role models in BLOG TOUR / Review: Tucson Jo, by Carol Matas – Wild West, Jewish style over at my Adventures in MamaLand blog.

One thing I didn’t really mention in my review is that writer Carol Matas not only writes books of Jewish interest, but is Canadian like me!  Israeli-Canadian children’s writer Anna Levine picked up on that in her interview with Carol, also part of the blog tour, at her site in The Canadian Balance.

Israel has a lot going for it, but one thing that’s missing – despite the fact that we’re technically in Asia – is authentic Asian flavours.  That’s why I was so excited to share one of my favourite soup recipes last week in Hot and WHAT…? Hot and sour, one of my all-time favourite soups over at my Adventures in Breadland…and more blog.

At a new-to-me blog heartily recommended by Yocheved, The Lost Kitchen: An Alzheimer’s Memoir and Cookbook, Miriam writes, “Each week I visit Mom, it is new for her, but for me, there is a pattern to our weekly interactions.”  She also shares a recipe for gluten-free peanut-butter date bars in honour of Tu b’Shvat in One Midnight Gone.

Finally, there’s nothing like a smart lady with a good book in her hands to make you want to read and learn more.  This week, Batya, over at me-ander, is reviewing what she calls “an amazingly deep, well-researched book about Hebrew” in “Lashon HaKodesh: History, Holiness, & Hebrew," A Book Review.

Jewish Values

We ask teens visiting the Kotel to cover up and dress respectfully.  Should Michelle Obama have covered her head to visit Saudi Arabia?  Rabbi Jason Miller says she should have and asks, “What do you think?” over at his Blog.RabbiJason blog, in Michelle Obama's Dress in Saudi Arabia.

In light of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz last week, Rabbi Yakov Horowitz writes, “For decades, the perspective of Orthodox Jews has been underrepresented in the recorded legacy of the Holocaust,” at his site in Whose Story?

Thorny issues on teshuvah, apologies, and what an eruv really means in Jewish life - “if you are going to play the game, you need to observe the rules” - from Rabbi Tzvee Zahavy at his site, The Talmudic Blog – with just a touch of current events in My Jewish Standard Dear Rabbi Column for February 2015 - Boundaries and Apologies, and Brian Williams is not Jewish.

What’s the difference between Jews and ISIS?  There’s a big distinction, says The Rebbetzin’s Husband in Why ISIS burned the pilot, saying, “Judaism has an important, albeit fragile, safety net: respect for the opinion of non-Jewish society.”  A must-read for anyone who paints all religious people with the same brush.

Descending into blindness is perhaps the most frightening experience you could possibly imagine, with the world dissolving into an indistinguishable blur.  It didn’t  help that medical professionals were increasingly pessimistic.  Yet, as Yocheved writes at her It’s MY Crisis and I’ll Cry if I Need To blog, “I wrapped up five months of vision therapy this week, and went home crying. I've been blessed with a HUGE miracle.”  Find out her secret (hint:  it’s not “alternative”) in The Healing Power of Optimism Hits Again (HURRAY!) .

Should you follow doctors’ and teachers’ advice and drug your child with Ritalin?  To what lengths should parents go to follow the advice of “experts” – or follow their own hearts when it comes to their kids’ wellbeing?  When a teacher tells a mother “I have thirty-five boys whom I need to keep in order so I can teach them…Avi needs to learn to sit still,” who’s looking out for Avi’s wellbeing?  These are some of the questions Ester asks in To Drug or Not To Drug, over at her It’s all from Hashem blog.

A deep and urgent question, and one which even Reb Gutman Locks (aka “Guru Gil,” a fixture in the Old City of Jerusalem) had never heard before, from a young boy of 7, shared at his Mystical Paths blog, in “What About Shabbos?”

Jewish Homeland

For many Israelis and even Jews living outside of Israel, visiting the Kotel is nothing special – we’ve been there, done that.  Imagine if you and your family and all your ancestors have been longing to go there… for the last 2700 years.  “For the 1st time ever, these 250 Bnei Menashe - all recent olim to Israel - arrive at the Western Wall and start singing the emotional song in their language about the return to Zion.”  Find out more and watch the video at in Bnei Menashe Visit Western Wall (Kotel) for First Time.

Help!  Batya’s stuck with a potentially big bill for her U.S. income tax, even though she hasn’t lived there in nearly 45 years.  Perhaps you can help with a Possible Solution to My USA Income Tax Problem?  If so, stop by her me-ander blog to drop in your 2 cents’ worth of advice or assistance.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent differences of opinion with Barack Obama have been well-publicized here in Israel.  Applying her usual keen insight in Bibi, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, at her Shiloh Musings blog, Batya says, “it seems like Bibi is between a rock and a hard place. No matter what he does at this point, he's going to look bad to someone.”

Living outside of Israel but thinking of buying Israeli produce?  There’s a lot of confusion going around, says Rabbi Reuven Spolter at his blog Chopping Wood.  “A Jew should make an effort to try and purchase products, including produce, from the Holy Land,” writes Rabbi Spolter.  Find out the truth in A Misleading Article on Purchasing Fruits from Israel.

Know what’s weird in Israel?  Leaving behind the concept of dozens… and learning to count by tens instead.  “If you think about it, a “dozen” is just about the most counterintuitive number.   Very few of us have a dozen fingers… Dozens just don’t fit inside our brain neatly, the way tens do.”  Find out more in Things that are weird in Israel #15: Tens (and tens of tens), written by yours truly, right here on my Adventures in AliyahLand blog.

Jewish Learning – Yitro/Yisro

Batya reflects on the unique character of the Jewish people, saying, “instead of being jealous and hateful of the Jewish People, Yitro accepted and recognized that we Jews are G-d's Chosen People” at her Shiloh Musings blog in Jewish People/Nation/Religion Like No Other. Maybe That's Why We're Hated?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of England, says that “Thirty-three centuries after they were first given, the Ten Commandments remain the simplest, shortest guide to creation and maintenance of a good society.”  Read more at his site in The Structure of the Good Society (Yitro 5775).

Though the Torah praises Yitro in last week’s parsha for his recognition of Hashem’s plan for bnei Yisrael, the legacy of idol worship isn’t so easily shed, and “the damage was already done,” says Ben-Tzion Spitz at his blog,,in Delayed Repercussions.

It’s one thing to have a website… yet another to maintain it, scrupulously, over a period of years and years.  One of the hardest-working bloggers and Jewish resources online, Jacob Richman, wants to let you know about some recent updates to his Shabbat Page.  Stop by for Lessons, Parsha pages, Videos, English Hebrew Vocabulary Lists, Recipes, Games and Clipart about Shabbat.

[almond blossoms image © Jonathan Cardy via Wikimedia]

Shavuah Tov – have a great week!

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


  1. Thanks for the posting and the link.
    Shavua Tov!

    1. You are very, very welcome. This is my once-a-month opportunity to shake off my lazies and venture out of my shell a bit. ;-)

  2. JERUSALEM this day celebrated only one day even the sec- XIII. Scriptures sky (required) compliance feast only one day. This is why some current (spiritual movement) Jewish (like eg. Kara), observes only the first day. Orthodox Judaism and Conservative celebrate both days, Jerusalem and love this day of the year

    1. Is this some kind of weird spam? I'm leaving your comment because it doesn't contain any spammy links, but seriously... way off topic, and it doesn't even make any sense.

  3. Tzivia, thank you so much for your wonderful  Havel Havelim and including my posts.

    1. Totally welcome! Anytime. (well, as long as it's not more than once a month)


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