Friday, March 26, 2010

Sounds like...

Rafi G. over in Life in Israel has had a couple of posts in the past few days about 'The Askonim', making them sound like.. well...

(For anyone who hasn't watched TV in the past... 10 years or so, take a look here.)

Thumbs Down

A week or so ago, someone posted a link for an Israeli company selling 'quality childrenswear delivered to your door'.

The clothing looked promising, the prices affordable and well, 'delivered to your door'! Plus they were advertising a special - order before Pesach and it's 10% off orders of 300NIS or more.

I posted a link to the catalogue in my own FB and posted to the Ariel Yahoo group, asking if anyone would be interested in ordering. Figure we'd make it to the 300NIS for the discount. Plus, according to the literature, delivery was free for orders over 400NIS. (They advertise 18NIS for deliveries in Jerusalem and 28NIS 'outside Jerusalem').

I got two responses. All total, the bill was just under 650NIS. I called it in and the saleswoman was very nice and helpful. A couple things weren't in stock so I made a couple calls, made some adjustments and the order was finalized. She said she (or someone else) would get back to me with regard to just when delivery would happen.

The next day I get a call, I think it was one of the owners. There was going to be a problem with delivery. Their driver (I later found out it's the owner's husband) felt that our order wasn't really worth his time to come out to us (we're about an hour from Jerusalem. Door-to-door, it would have taken him 90 minutes each way).

The woman made some suggestions.

1. Send it by mail. Yeah except with Israeli post, it could take 2 days or 12 days or they could go on strike tomorrow. Plus they were only willing to pay up to a certain amount on postage. We'd have to cover the rest of the cost.

2. Have someone pick it up from them in Givat Shaul. Um... it's a couple days before Pesach, no one making an order has a car and there aren't very many people with a car who work in Jerusalem (that we know and could call) who would be willing to schlep to Givat Shaul.

3. Cancel the order.That was definitely a possibility... and was looking more and more likely.

4. Find someone in Jerusalem they could deliver it to who could bring it to Ariel.

There's one person I thought of who works in Ein Kerem (we'll call her Y). So I called her up and she was willing to have them deliver it to her. I gave her the number so she could call them and arrange with the driver the logistics of getting the stuff. Basically she told them he should call ONE HOUR before he was due to arrive so she could finish her labwork for a few minutes and meet him by her car in the massive parking lot. Plus she made her own order.

In the meantime one of the other women who had gone in on the order called them to complain. I mean really... if you're going to advertise delivery 'outside Jerusalem' with no caveats, then you need to expect people to call you an hour or three outside Jerusalem who expect to get what you're advertising. The woman said that if we could get '10 orders', we could have the delivery (although I'm not sure if they expect us to pay the 28NIS or we'd get it for free). Like the way she planned her advertisement, I think she was just pulling figures and suggestions out of the air without thinking things through because '10 orders' could be as little the 650NIS they refuse to deliver for, or it could be 2000NIS (which I think was what they were aiming for).

Anyway, we now have someone in Jerusalem for them to deliver to and you'd think the saga would be over.

Uh no.

First, the guy called Y FIFTEEN MINUTES from delivery time. Then he had the nerve to say we had to pay delivery fee. AND he was charging us the 'outside Jerusalem' fee (and he argued with Y about this).

First of all, Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital/Campus is IN JERUSALEM. And second of all, it's a 20 minute drive through the Jerusalem forest from their offices to the hospital. It's not our fault the guy decided to make our order the last delivery of the day.

In the end, they didn't charge us anything... but it meant yet another call to their offices.

And now for the order itself... um... one thing was missing (and we were charged for it), another item (which someone ordered 3 of) was out of stock and no one called me to let me know and they incorrectly wrote the quantity on another item so we got 1 instead of 2 (and were only charged for 1).

With all this hassle, I'm not sure if any of us will be ordering from this company any time soon.

In addition, this whole thing was very 'small picture' for the company. The first order was 'only' 650NIS... but if they had given us good customer service the next one could very likely have been 2000NIS. Now... I'm not so sure they'll even get another 650NIS worth of orders from us again.

(If anyone in Israel wants to know which company it is, PM me and I'll tell you. You can decide whether or not you want to give them your custom, or in the very least you'll know some very specific questions to ask them regarding their delivery policy).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New scarves!

Some of the new scarves! Click to see a larger image.





Monday, March 22, 2010

Entering a whole new chapter...

My daughter officially has a boyfriend now.

I'm not ready for this. Although neither is she or him for it to be even more officially anything so I think I can breathe easy for about a year... and lose some weight for the inevitable wedding (whether to him or not, one will be coming sooner than I'll expect)

So some stats...

The daughter in question turned 18 in August. She is in her last year of high school - technically. I say technically because the school is offering one more year which will be a certified course for daycare. It's not something she thinks she wants to do but they're offering it for free and it's a great fall-back.

I was 18 1/2 when I married her father. A year later she was born. And the year after that her sister was born.

My mother was 43 when she was born. I'll be 39 at the end of the year.

As for the young man... he's 21 and is from Shilo. Chances are Batya knows him. You'll forgive me if I don't offer any more information :)

It's Me!

My interview on Cooking Manager.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Buying and Selling

For the past month, I've been selling Israeli scarves on ebay. Yesterday I made my very first purchase(s). My almost 3 year old needs summer clothes and unfortunately the clothing Gemach (Goodwill) here is terrible for kids clothes. Since I don't have a car, getting to out of town Gemachim is difficult.

So I took the plunge and did some ebaying.

Man, shopping on ebay is a full time job! First there's searching for what you're looking for. Then it's looking over each listing to make sure the items are in good condition (we're talking little boy's clothes here). Then you want to calculate how much your final bid should be and add the cost of shipping.

Then there's deciding on whether you're going to bid right then and there and possibly drive the bidding even higher or simply watch it and come back to when the auction is almost over and make your bid then. (Oh, and I'm bidding on lots so it's comparing one lot to another and their prices).

And you need to sleep at some point, right?

Well, I won 2 bids and lost a third. Which was annoying since I went to bed as the only bidder, there was 2 hours left on the auction and the final bid was 2.5 times more than my highest offer (granted the highest I was willing to go was $5.00, but still).

So then it was back to the drawing board and I'm watching several new auctions. I'm hoping if I can win one more lot, Nati's summer wardrobe will be done - other than sandals.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New scarves... just in time for Pesach!




(Click on the photos to see a larger, better version)

New stock up for sale at my ebay site!

And yes, there are colors other than purple. I also have black and white 'kippah snoods' to wear under hats, transparent scarves and bandannas.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pesach Humor

From my mom who got it from my sister who got it from...

The Short Vort

Good Morning!
Today is Tuesday the 23rd of Adar 5770 and March 9, 2010

Kosher for Passover

With Hashem’s help, I am privileged to send out to my loyal readers this unique opportunity.

I am sure that many of you will take advantage of this unique offer and you will no doubt place an order for this special Pesach product today.


* Are you tired and fed up with your kids messing up your house after you already cleaned for Pesach?
* Are you about to scream when your three year old treks cheerios back into the playroom after you spent three hours cleaning it?
* Do you feel that you are fighting an impossible battle as just when you think you have finally finished cleaning the living room; your two year emerges from the room clutching a cookie in each hand?

Well, we have the answer you have been davening for!!!

From the originators of the Kosher Klock and the Kosher Krepel, we are proud to present: Kosher Kids!

That’s right, now for the first time ever in America, Krume Chumeras Incorporated is proud to present Kosher Kids!!!

It’s simple and it’s easy.

Just dial 1- 888- MESHUGA and press ‘one’ for a female operator or ‘two’ for a male operator and just say the words: “I want Kosher Kids!!!”

And we do the rest. (After you supply us with your credit card number, that is)

It’s so simple here’s how it works.

Kosher Kids will come to your house beginning this Friday and we will pack up your own kids and place them in hermetically sealed Chometz Free storage bins at our Chometz Free cold storage area for the duration of Pesach.

1) Your children will be packed away after being totally disinfected and sanitized and sterilized by our staff of competent and responsible kosher guardians.

2) All of their hair and teeth will be seared clean and their little finger nails will be cauterized and expunged from all dirt and Chometz.

3) They will then be packed away and sold with all of our Chometz to our good friend and ally Mahmoud Abbas- or as we call him Uncle Abu Mazen.

After your child has been packed safely away, we will deliver to your home a batch of clean, sterilized and best of all- B’datz Kosher L’Pesach Mehadrin Kosher Kids.

Our Kosher Kids are B’datz certified sterilized, clean, kosher children.

Here are some of the advantages of Kosher Kids:

* We guarantee that they have not been in contact with Chometz for at least thirty days.
* Our Kosher Kids have been thoroughly ‘brain-cleansed’ before we bring them to your home.
* That means you don’t have to worry about them even gravitating to the Chometz.
* These children have been raised in special Chometz Free units in Meah Shearim where they have never ‘seen’ nor ‘found’ (Bal Yiraeah U’val Yimatzeh) any Chometz their entire lives!
* These children have been programmed to seek out and destroy any Chometz which is in the Eiruv of your neighborhood.
* The children come with packets of stones which they will happily throw at anyone who brings Chometz within twenty feet of your home.

The packets of stones come in two sizes:
1) B’datz size with 1 pound rocks – able to break the skull of any person carrying Chometz.

2) Chazon Ish size with two pound boulders (please allow an extra week for delivery). These boulders are able to smash the armor of an Israeli tank – if the tank is found to be concealing Chometz.

If you don’t believe the greatness of our new product see our ‘off-line’ reviews from two of our many satisfied customers:

1) Mrs. Ima Shoteh from Ramat Beit Shemesh writes: “Thank you Krume Chumeras for making this product. It was so easy. After I realized that there was no way in the world I could possibly keep every Chumrah which I needed to keep in order that no one would ever realize that I am a Baal Teshuva, I decided to order Kosher Kids for Pesach. Am I glad I did!

It was so simple, I called, gave my credit card number and the next thing I knew, six Shtriemel wearing, striped bekishe clad,- cigarette smoking, Yiddish speaking Tzaddikim showed up at my door.

They quickly tied up my kids in cellophane wrap- which of course had the hechsher of the B’datz, and they dumped my kids in the back of truck which was being driven by a Palestinian Arab.

An hour later, three wonderful, Yiddish speaking, rock throwing, and cigarette smoking little Tzaddikim arrived at my door.

At first there was some confusion as the children kept asking where are the policemen whom they are supposed to beat up and where are the women to throw bleach on?

However, the nice man from the agency came and he quickly re-programmed them and now all is fine.

Of course when we went out on Erev Pesach to burn the Chometz, they started burning all of the garbage bins they could find and unfortunately our next door neighbor’s husband was accidentally burned up when he was returning from ‘miluim’ (army reserves) and the Kosher Kids mistook his green uniform for a green garbage bin; however, that is a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that your house is Chometz Free! Thank you so much for Kosher Kids!

Mrs. Imma Shoteh, RBS

2) Mrs. Wonna B. Afrumme formerly of Passaic NJ (now in Tzfas) writes: “Thank you Kosher Kids!!! You have made my Pesach! However, if I can just suggest two things:

Last year I gave you three kids and after Pesach I only received two kids back.

Of course I know I am not allowed to complain because I know everything you do is a Kiddush Hashem and all is done with Dass Torah, however, perhaps this year you could find my child and return him?

If you can’t I understand and I will make do with whatever Hashem gives me through you.

The program works so well; perhaps you can add this year a “Kosher Husband” addition as well? I mean it would be great if I could just have my husband packed up in cellophane and sealed away until after Pesach. Please let me know.

Your trusted and trusting fan,

Mrs. Wanna B. Afrumme.

So don’t delay! This offer will not be available for much longer!

Call today at 1-888-Meshuga to order your Kosher Kids!

Remember, Kosher Kids is B’datz approved, Gedolim supported and most importantly- you will look and be looked at as really frum!

As a special one time incentive, if you order before midnight tonight you will receive a 10% coupon to try our new product The Kosher Kup!

· The Kosher Kup which is being offered for the first time in America this year- is designed to rid your ‘kup’ (head in Yiddish) of any Chometz.

· Just tell the operator when you order your Kosher Kids that Rabbi E. from The Short Vort told you to call. (If a rabbi did not tell you to call- you might be acting without Dass Torah)

· Then mention your 10% coupon- available exclusively to readers of The Short Vort – and tell the operator you also want to try The Kosher Kup!

· Our professionally trained ‘kup cleaners’ will be at your house in no time and we will ‘clean’ your head from all impurities.

· We guarantee that after just one treatment with our professional ‘kup cleaners’ you will have nothing but fresh air from ear to ear!

· Think of how beneficial that will be:

i. No more having to make decisions on your own. We will control all of your thoughts.

ii. Your mind will be free of disturbing and distracting thoughts as your mind will be empty!

iii. Everything you think, say and write will be directed by our team of competent and recognized G’dolei Yisroel!

iv. Your life will be manageable as you will become a robotic thing who no longer thinks on their own.

v. You will be free of having any opinions- we will control and dictate all of your thoughts and actions.

vi. All of this and more for a one time fee of $19, 999.00

Don’t Delay call before Midnight tonight!









Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On top of spagheeeeeeeetti

I think we all know that little song.

So how do you make your meatballs? Fry them up in a pan, toss onto some pasta and ladle sauce on top?

Or do you make them like me... get a sauce started in a pot then drop balls of seasoned chopped meat into the bubbling pot. Cover and simmer for an hour or so... then ladle the contents over pasta...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Shabbaton in Ariel

Looking for that perfect place? Trying to find the best fit for you and your family?

Young, central, and affordable, these have made Ariel a very attractive city for those in search of a place they can call home.

Ariel is a city with stunning views and a great climate located in the center of Israel- half an hour from Tel Aviv and 20 minutes from a large Hi Tech area. With a population of 20,000 and a large university with over 11,000 students, Ariel is a microcosm of Israel with religious and secular, young and old, Israelis and immigrants. It is a model of Israeli society all embedded in a warm and welcoming English speaking and Israeli community.

If you are looking for the right place for your family- Ariel is the city to consider!

In a good location and with a wonderful community it can become your home in Israel.

To fully experience Ariel come join us for Shabbat on April 23 and 24th.


For more information and to RSVP:

(Please help spread the word and let folks know about this in your own blog... thanks!)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Israeli Childhood Milestone

My 11 month old has met a very important Israeli childhood milestone today.

He's had his first Bamba.

One last Purim post

When I read threads other people post about their Mishloach Manot-giving there is usually a very telling common theme.

Giving to their friends and neighbors who more often than not, attend the same shul (or one similar), attend the same (or similar) schools... in short, are more often than not just like them.

A few years ago my husband and I decided that instead of making a list of all our friends on the Yishuv to give our Mishloach Manot to, we'd cut 4 off our list and give those 4 to other people in the community that we don't socialize with (and the fact that my husband doesn't speak Hebrew made it easy to find folks we simply nod hello to and have nothing else to do with).

One year the Yishuv arranged a 'Gamad Anak' (think secret santa) type of exchange for Shabbat Zachor. We got a very Sefaradi family so I made them an 'Ashkenazi Kiddush Club' basket - herring, gefilte fish, crackers, potato kugel and a bottle of vodka.

They didn't like it.

Last Purim was our first in Ariel and we were in a larger community where the majority aren't religious. I was also 39 weeks pregnant and feeling a million weeks pregnant. I made very simplE roasted garlic hummus and lavash crackers to give out and while my daughters went out and delivered, for the most part I gave to whomever came to the door. Our random giving was to the Russian taxi drivers who took us to Megilla reading and brought us back home.

This year we're still in Ariel but in a different house. I know many of our neighbors by sight and the fact that the boys and I go out almost every day, we have a 'hello, how are you?' relationship with some of them. We're also one of the few religious families on this section of street. (The street is made up of a series of row houses. The houses have 8 attached units).

The weather for Purim was terrible. Torrential rain, hail, thunder and the wind was bad. There was a break in the weather enough for the boys and I to get to Megillah reading (5 minute walk with a double stroller) and on the way home, I gave a Mishloach Manot to one of the neighbors we often see caring for her garden. At least I think that was her house. A man (most likely her husband) answered the door...

A few units down on the other side is a house we pass almost every day. They have a white wrought iron fence and some nice lemon trees in their front yard. Nati likes looking at the lemons and smelling them.

I knocked on their door to deliver the Mishloach Manot and one of the older sons answered. I handed him the small package and wished him a Purim Same'ach.

About an hour later there was a knock on the door. It was the guy and he handed me a shopping bag. He wished me a happy Purim and told me that everything had a Badatz hechsher (one of the more ultra-Orthodox kosher certifications) and then left.

I looked inside and it was 2 bags of salted pretzels and a bag of sesameed pretzels.

I have to say, I'm rather proud of getting this. In all likelihood, this was probably the first Mishloach Manot this man has given in many years... if ever.

My policy of going out of the box for a bit paid off. Giving Mishloach Manot shouldn't be about giving to the next door neighbor whose own table is full of brightly wrapped or bagged goodies. It should be about taking the opportunity to expand your 'cookie cutter' circle of friends to find new, interesting and different Jews by handing them a bag of nosh. It should be about giving to someone who otherwise wouldn't be Yotzeh the Mitzvah (granted, finding a secular Jew might be easier here in Israel).

Monday, March 01, 2010

Purim Same'ach!

The Dread Pirate Elchanan

The Captain and his First mate

Such a gray, wet, cold, windy day... really put a crimp in our Mishloach Manot delivering.