Zvuvi's Israel (11)

SHALOM!!!!

It's me again. Zvuvi. And I have a question for you: how many of the English words you use are actually Hebrew?

Hmmm....Want to think about it? Take your time. In the meantime I'm going to put up our alphabet.

Our alphabet is called the Alef Bet.

What's that??? Did I hear you say that the word alphabet sounds like Alef Bet?!?

Ding, Ding, Ding!!!!! You just scored a point because the Alef Bet was around a long time before the word "alphabet" came into being.

What other English words are almost, if not identical to Hebrew words?

How about:

  & 

 

Here's another. It's a Leonard Cohen favorite: 

Too much prayer? Here's a word that's Shabbat related. It's something everyone loves to eat, even people that are not Jewish. The word -- in Hebrew and English -- is right there, on the bottom right corner of this cutting board.

 

What's that? You say I've got a lot of  

And if you think this is a Yiddish word, you are so wrong! Have a read

These are only a few "English" words. There are many more. 

Why, all of a sudden, am I into this? Because it's Hebrew Language Week in Israel. Tomorrow is the birthday of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of the modern Hebrew language. Without him, Hebrew would only be the language of the Bible. Thanks to him, it's the language we speak morning, noon and night. 

Don't worry. A lot of English words have crept into Hebrew as well. But that's another post.

So, for now... 

   

 

Alef Bet Credit

Amen Credit

אמן Credit

Hallelujah Credit

Challah Credit

Chutzpah Credit

חוצפה Credit

Bye Bye Credit

ביי ביי Credit

Hey! I'm back and I'm trying to get my family to enter Israel's latest contest: Best Mid-Week Family Dinner Experience.

Why mid-week? Well...I don't want to sound like I'm boasting, but us Israelis...we're kinda ahead of the game. It doesn't matter if you're religious or not, on Friday night most of us get together for a family meal like this one.

But in Israel's fast paced world -- which is just like yours -- where Moms and Dads are working, working, working, and girls and boys go from school to after-school activities with homework in between, mid-week family time is a big HUH?!? Which is crazy, because we should really spend more time together. It's important!!!! We actually get to talk instead of text, and we get to feel a lot closer to each other. So to make sure we sit around the table as a family, one of Israel's largest food manufacturers -- Osem -- has teamed up with Israel's largest newspaper -- Yediot Ahranot and its online version, Ynet -- to create a contest around mid-week family meals.

Here's what we have to do to enter the contest: we have to send in a report about our eating style, the stories we tell each other around the table, and the recipes for the different dishes making up our meal. We've got two weeks to do this. The best thing about this contest? There won't be one winner. There'll be 5!

Let's see...I'm thinking couscous-tabouli salad...

....and  

a gourmet (of course!) falafel platter with hummus, chips, Israeli salad and a few more goodies.

 

I'm telling you, the Zvuvi family is definitely going to fly off with one of the prizes. We're stuck on food -- it's our best landing pad, which is...well...how we get to eat together as a family. And these recipes? While you may want to be a fly on the wall when Israeli chefs exchange ingredient secrets, we're actually there, eating up every morsel of information.

There's no winging it. This time around we're going to cook up a winner and have a lot of buzz fun together.

Gotta go. I'm already drooling.

 

 

Family Photo Credit

Couscous Salad Photo Credit

Falafel Photo Credit

 

ShalomYumYum:

It's that time of the year, when my favorite pastimes start with the letter S or ס.

You got it -- Sivivon -- סביבון -- that's Hebrew for dreidel, and Sufganiya -- סופגניה -- Hebrew for jelly doughnut. And yes, I know Hanukkah's about to end, but I'm still spinning with joy.  

I love Sufganiyot so much, that today I decided to find out how they became the favorite Hanukkah food over here in Israel.  

Here's what I found out: It all began with the North African Jewish tradition of eating Sfenj on Hanukkah -- small, deep fried doughnuts -- like the ones being fried in this photo taken in Morocco.

When Jews from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt (countries in North Africa) moved to Israel and started mixing with Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, they found out about a Yiddish delicacy called Ponchkes, which is like the Russian Ponchik, that looks like this: 

Doesn't look like Ponchiks had any kind of filling, so you can imagine how happy they were to find out about the German Berliner, with jelly dripping out of the side.

Yum-mmmy!!! And now, for the final touch. The combined Israeli nation put all their ingredients into their melting pot -- fried North African Sfenj, Russian Ponckiks and German Berliners -- by taking two circles of dough, sticking them together with a jelly filling and deep frying them into a one piece jelly bun for Hanukkah. 

And so the Sufganiyah was born!

What about you? Do you know how Jelly Doughnuts came to America?

Nooooo....not through Dunkin Doughnuts.

I'm going to whet your appetite by starting you off:

One theory is that Dutch settlers invented them, calling them Oliekoek - which literally means means "Oil Cake" -- a sweetened cake fried in fat.  Today. I think they're called Oliebollen, and they look like this:  

Now it's your turn. You take it from here.

Did the Dutch really bring jelly doughnuts to America or did combined ethnic American groups cook it up in their melting pot? You gotta watch it. If you're like me, you'll find that research can create an unbelievable appetite!!!!! 

Enjoy and let me know what you find out! 

  

Sufganiyot Photo Credit

Sfenj Photo Credit

Ponchik Photo Credit

German Berliner Photo Credit

Oliebollen Image

 

Shalom, Hello, and in Two Weeks' Time -- Happy Hanukkah!

 

I've decided to give you a quick Hannukah quiz.  

It's fun and interesting. Ready?

Here goes. First a little background: Like the United States, Israel is a melting pot.  That means our citizens come from all over the world -- countries in Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia.

Now for the question: Which Jewish community never celebrated Hanukkah until its members came to live in Israel? 

Want to give a guess? Let's hear your answer.

Want to look up the answer? O.K. You've got 5 minutes.

Zzzzz........

 

I'm back. What's the answer?

 

Did I hear you say Jews from Ethiopia? Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing!!!!!!  You are so right. But I've got another question and it's related to the first one. How come?

Not sure? Can I help you out?

O.K. Here's the thing: Jewish life in Ethiopia goes back more than 2,500 years. Some people think that the Jews of Ethiopia are descendants of the tribe of Dan -- one of the lost 10 tribes -- and that they escaped Egypt by heading south. Others say that Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of King David and the Queen of Sheba. Whatever the case is, they never heard of the Macabees. They only celebrated holidays mentioned in the Bible.

All of that has changed now that the Jews of Ethiopia live in Israel. Have a look at this beautiful handmade, embroidered picture made by an Ethiopian artist. I love it! I hope you do too.

 

 

Thanks for taking my quiz. Bye for now.

Zvuvi 

 

 

 Photo Credit

Ethiopian Art Credit

Hey! It's me again and I want to tell you that California Governor Jerry Brown is a smart man. His state is suffering from a record-breaking drought and he knows who to turn to for help – Israel. He recently signed a strategic agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu to bring Israel's famous water specialists to the thirstiest state in America.

I really feel for you California, but don't give up. If we made the desert bloom decades ago, we can help you. Water has always been a major issue over here. We know what it's like not to have rain. In fact, last year we had the driest winter in decades but we don't have a water shortage this year!

How can that be? Simple. We've spent decades researching and developing some of the most advanced water and irrigation technologies in the world. We've also invested in planning our water economy. That includes desalination water recycling.

At this point, we're world water experts. And you know what? California is not the first state to turn to us. Ohio came to us a while back and has been using Israeli water technology to save water and prevent waste for several years.

Massachusetts is another one of our “customers.” That's BIG because the state is home to hundreds of its own water technology companies, and is one of the leaders in the U.S. for developing ingenious water systems. With all that, Massachusetts still turned to us. Its governor – Duvall Patrick – says: “Israel is the world’s top location for water tech start-ups, with innovative technology in fields such as water reuse, wastewater treatment, desalination, energy efficiency, and drip irrigation.”

The governor knows what he's talking about, and so does Jerry Brown. An Israeli expert in groundwater flow systems is in California right now. His name is Professor Eilon Adar and he told the governor: "If we managed to overcome the water issues in the Middle East, we can do it anywhere in the world.”

So don't worry California. Right now you're in deep water but we'll show you how to tap your resources and go with the flow.

 

 

 

Shalom Girls & Boys:

I don't usually talk about the Torah portion of the week, but I couldn't help notice Chapter 11 of Genesis in this week's section and connect it to where I live – ISRAEL. The Torah section I'm talking about takes place after the flood, after Noah and his family left the ark.

At that point in time everyone spoke the same language and understood each other. They decided to work together and build a very impressive skyscraper. The builders were merrily working their way to the top when God saw what they are doing, and he wasn't happy. Earlier, when their forefathers – Noah's family – left the ark, God told them to multiply, spread out and fill the earth. Now they were building a tower reaching the sky and staying together in the same place. To make sure they fulfill the commandment, God created total confusion by switching each one's language to a different tongue (so to speak). Everyone became discombobulated. They began scratching their heads, not understanding what the next one was saying. They stopped building. Each took his/her family and went on their merry way, filling the earth and multiplying.

So why did I think about modern-day Israel? Because, hey – we've reversed the situation. We're nine million people speaking the same language – Hebrew – while at the same time speaking the language of our forefathers. So you've got families from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand who speak English to each other and their Anglo friends – and in the same accent of the state/region they came from. Then you've got lots and lots of Russians who continue speaking Russian between themselves, just like the Ethiopians continue speaking Gez. And the French? They would NEVER think of giving up speaking French. The same goes for the Italians, Swiss, Germans and you name it. We're one little country with a lot of languages being spoken. BUT we all speak Hebrew between each other when the different cultures mix.

Isn't that just like where you live? Think about your Italian, Greek and Chinese neighbors – or their parents and grandparents. What language do they speak to their family? Not English. But when they speak to you, it's only in English.

Hey! You know what? Sounds like we have a lot in common.

 

Shalom Girls & Boys:

I don't usually talk about the Torah portion of the week, but I couldn't help notice Chapter 11 of Genesis in this week's section and connect it to where I live – ISRAEL. The Torah section I'm talking about takes place after the flood, after Noah and his family left the ark.

At that point in time everyone spoke the same language and understood each other. They decided to work together and build a very impressive skyscraper. The builders were merrily working their way to the top when God saw what they are doing, and he wasn't happy. Earlier, when their forefathers – Noah's family – left the ark, God told them to multiply, spread out and fill the earth. Now they were building a tower reaching the sky and staying together in the same place. To make sure they fulfill the commandment, God created total confusion by switching each one's language to a different tongue (so to speak). Everyone became discombobulated. They began scratching their heads, not understanding what the next one was saying. They stopped building. Each took his/her family and went on their merry way, filling the earth and multiplying.

So why did I think about modern-day Israel? Because, hey – we've reversed the situation. We're nine million people speaking the same language – Hebrew – while at the same time speaking the language of our forefathers. So you've got families from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand who speak English to each other and their Anglo friends – and in the same accent of the state/region they came from. Then you've got lots and lots of Russians who continue speaking Russian between themselves, just like the Ethiopians continue speaking Gez. And the French? They would NEVER think of giving up speaking French. The same goes for the Italians, Swiss, Germans and you name it. We're one little country with a lot of languages being spoken. BUT we all speak Hebrew between each other when the different cultures mix.

Isn't that just like where you live? Think about your Italian, Greek and Chinese neighbors – or their parents and grandparents. What language do they speak to their family? Not English. But when they speak to you, it's only in English.

Hey! You know what? Sounds like we have a lot in common.

 

Shalom Girls & Boys:

I don't usually talk about the Torah portion of the week, but I couldn't help notice Chapter 11 of Genesis in this week's section and connect it to where I live – ISRAEL. The Torah section I'm talking about takes place after the flood, after Noah and his family left the ark.

At that point in time everyone spoke the same language and understood each other. They decided to work together and build a very impressive skyscraper. The builders were merrily working their way to the top when God saw what they are doing, and he wasn't happy. Earlier, when their forefathers – Noah's family – left the ark, God told them to multiply, spread out and fill the earth. Now they were building a tower reaching the sky and staying together in the same place. To make sure they fulfill the commandment, God created total confusion by switching each one's language to a different tongue (so to speak). Everyone became discombobulated. They began scratching their heads, not understanding what the next one was saying. They stopped building. Each took his/her family and went on their merry way, filling the earth and multiplying.

So why did I think about modern-day Israel? Because, hey – we've reversed the situation. We're nine million people speaking the same language – Hebrew – while at the same time speaking the language of our forefathers. So you've got families from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand who speak English to each other and their Anglo friends – and in the same accent of the state/region they came from. Then you've got lots and lots of Russians who continue speaking Russian between themselves, just like the Ethiopians continue speaking Gez. And the French? They would NEVER think of giving up speaking French. The same goes for the Italians, Swiss, Germans and you name it. We're one little country with a lot of languages being spoken. BUT we all speak Hebrew between each other when the different cultures mix.

Isn't that just like where you live? Think about your Italian, Greek and Chinese neighbors – or their parents and grandparents. What language do they speak to their family? Not English. But when they speak to you, it's only in English.

Hey! You know what? Sounds like we have a lot in common.

 

Shalom Boys & Girls:

I'm not a great athlete but I've got to admit, there's nothing like sports for bringing people together, especially people that don't like each other. Last week, after a horrible, stressful summer that was one big battle between us and Hamas, Israeli kids from Sderot and Gaza border communities – yes, the same kids who had missiles shot at their city and kibbutzim – got together with Palestinian kids from the West Bank town of Yatta to show that both sides can have a lot of fun together.

They met at the Peres Center for Peace's annual after-school soccer program. 80 Palestinian and Israeli kids came to the Center for the season's first training program. They play in joint soccer teams and take part in a special education program for peace. So there's soccer training and also peace education program activities where they get to know each other, learn each other's language and become friends. I mean real friends who try to understand each other.

Naturally, former President Peres was there to greet them. “You will spread word of the games, of peace instead of confrontations,” he said, adding: “Everyone loves to play soccer, regardless of religion or nationality.” Before blowing the whistle to start the game, President Peres reminded the players that “soccer isn't played one against the other but one alongside the other.” 

You know what? Former President Peres is really on to something. Everyone in this part of the world does love soccer. How do I know? Don't laugh, but when the World Cup finals were televised in July, I could have sworn there were no missiles fired or bombs dropped 'cause everyone on both sides was glued to the TV for a couple of peaceful hours.

Issa, the coach of the Palestinian children is also the coach of a joint team, and boy was he enthusiastic. “I’m excited to see you after months in which we were unable to meet,” he said. “I hope that on this pitch we can begin something new, that we can go back to enjoying playing soccer together.”

Hey, if soccer is what it takes to bring us together, I'm all for it. I mean, isn't true peace between both sides our mutual goal? So every time someone scores I'm going to shout GOAL, cause peace through sports. That's my kind of language.

 

 

 

Photo credit 

 

Shalom Girls & Boys:

 

I'm asking myself what would Golda do today? Would she open our school year on time or postpone it?

 

Golda is Golda Meir, our fourth prime minister.

Why am I asking this question about school? Because right now one of the hottest debates in Israel is when the school year should begin. As scheduled, on September 1st, or indefinitely postponed? It's been really hot over here because of two Ws – War and Weather. I wish it would just be the usual weather problem but this summer, the war keeps on going. Missiles are flying over the heads of kids in our southern region, and parents don't want their children going back to school on September 1st unless there is a ceasefire agreement with complete quiet.

 

What's the connection with our school year and Golda? A book I just finished reading, called Goldie Takes a Stand

This book is all about Golda's first crusade. It's school-related even though it didn't happen in Israel. It took place in Golda's hometown of Milwaukee. That's right – Golda was once an American citizen just like you. She and her family were Russian immigrants who made Milwaukee their home. When she was a girl she was called Goldie and by the time she was nine she was the president of the American Young Sisters Society. Can you believe??!! Yup, that's our Golda. A leader even when she was little.

 

Golda's first crusade was helping her fellow immigrant classmates acquire the textbooks they needed for school. She organized her friends to help raise money for this cause. How? Have a look at the book's video clip. I know for sure that after you watch it you'll go out and buy the book. Hey, you want to know how the story ends? I'm not telling!!!!