Two Military Funerals In One Day

22 Jul

Jessica, a journalist from the Times of Israel : “So is this your first military funeral?”

Me: “No, this is the second one”

Jessica: “Second one ever?”

Me: <heavy sigh> “The second one today. The first one was for Yuval Dagan, from Kfar Saba.”

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Yesterday I went to two separate funerals for fallen IDF soldiers. One was for Yuval Dagan and the other was for Sean (Nissim) Carmeli.

These funerals were not on my “to do” list yesterday but by the end of the work day, it was apparent to me that I would be attending one funeral.

Yesterday afternoon I heard that one of the soldiers killed in the war was a “lonely” soldier – Sean (Nissim) Carmeli, who moved to Israel and volunteered to serve in a combat unit for the IDF.  Sean grew up in the States and at moved here with his family at 16. His family returned to the States and Sean decided to stay and enlist.

The second funeral was for Yuval Dagan of Kfar Saba. I stumbled across the funeral on my way home from work and knew I could not just go home. I needed to pay my respects for a soldier  that I never met who died fighting for our country.

I came home after the funeral with dried tears on my cheeks and told Eitan to hold me. I am lucky. I can hug the man that I love. And I told him… we need to leave to Haifa in 45 minutes to make it to the next funeral.

The drive was relatively quiet until we reached the entrance to Haifa. Traffic was backed up and the sight of the number of people walking to the cemetery made my jaw drop and a huge lump got stuck in my throat.

I don’t really know how to put my feelings into words so bear with me. You see, I am an olah. I moved here the summer of 2004 and I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary of being an American-Israeli. I am beyond proud of the hard choices I made and the daily choices I make to stay here. But I did not put my life on the line for our country and others like Sean, Max Steinberg, Michael Levine and others that came before them.

I was humbled at Sean’s funeral last night. The turnout was massive – and it was astonishing to see how many came to support Sean’s family and to say farewell to one of their own.

As an oleh, you feel different than a sabra. You are different. But when an oleh or volunteer dies fighting for our country, they are considered the same as a sabra. Sean might have grown up in a different country, but he died as a full blooded Israeli.

May Sean, Max, Yuval and the rest of the fallen soldiers rest in peace. May their families and loved ones find endless comfort and support from those around them and all of us.

And may we all experience true peace. Amen.

Hacking the Home

26 Apr

For the past 10 + years, I have lived in rental apartments. Some of these apartments were well maintained, others were not. Over the years I have “hacked” my home to make it more livable.

Hack: To jury-rig or improvise something inelegant but effective, usually as a temporary solution to a problem.  (according to Urban Dictionary)

I have become the MacGyver of the home.  Now if you are not familiar with MacGyver, he was a television secret agent who solved complex problems with everyday materials he found at hand. In every single episode, MacGyver rescued himself from the bad guys using homemade hacks.

MacGuyver’s formula to hack a gun.

I have tested and tried some everyday hacks that will make your home life easier and more enjoyable.

Here are my top 5 hacks:

1. Using mosquito netting to make temporary window screens. There are many different ways to keep the mosquito netting up and around the window. In the past I have stapled it to old wood window frames, or I have sewed it to the metal window bars. Last night I hung up the mosquito netting outside of our porch doors by sewing it to the porch door’s iron grill.

2. Placing a lavendula plant (lavender that looks like rosemary) outside of the window to repel mosquitos from coming in. I use this when I can’t use my #1 hack

3.  Baking soda + vinegar = natural magic cleaning power.  There are so many use cases for this combination. My favorite use case for this? Drain cleaner. Yup. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda down the sink or bathtub drain. Then pour 1/2 cup of   (cheap) vinegar down the drain. Let it bubble for 5 minutes and then rinse the rain with a cup or two of boiling water.

4.  Taping bay leaves  inside every single cupboard and shelf in my kitchen. For some reason, bay leaves repeal food moths that can ruin your food or give you an infestation of  maggots. GAG.

5. A tablespoon of vinegar poured into a bowl of cold water to clean fruits and veggies. This mixture kills the bacteria that turns your gorgeous strawberries into a moldy mush. When I wash (and then dry) my fruits and veggies in this mixture, they last a lot longer. I also use this mixture to kill any bugs hidden in my lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.  But I only soak these veggies right before I use them.

What are you favorite home hacks? I’d love to hear your tips!

The Secret to Food Shopping Before a National Holiday

13 Apr

What is the secret to an enjoyable food shopping experience before the entire country descends unto the local supermarkets?

Setting your alarm clock early and getting to the supermarket a day or two before the holiday at 8am or earlier.

Yes, 8am.

I strolled into my preferred supermarket this morning at 8am after parking the car in a spot right in front of the store. I looked left, I looked right and I saw almost no-one.

I could hear a pin drop it was so quiet.

I quickly ran to the meat counter figuring that there was a long line in front of me and there was one person waiting her turn.

O-N-E

It took me all of 20 minutes to gather my groceries and I was out of the store within a half an hour.

No yelling.

No shoving.

No crazy lines (anywhere!)

Meat counter was filled with meat

Veggie bins were filled with fresh veggies.

As I was leaving .. the store was starting to fill up with holiday shoppers.

I left with my sanity intact and a HUGE smile on my face. Frayers.

 

8 am food shopping .. I think I kinda love you.

 

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