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Passing the Baton

Although I have enjoyed writing this blog for the past year and a half, I am passing the baton to my son, who is, indeed a truly excellent (and popular) writer.  His blog, Israel’s Good Name can be found here >

Between both blogs you should be able to get a feeling of what life is like in Ma’alot and the Galil.

Thank you for coming and enjoy your stay (because there’s a lot of good thing to read about)!

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The 5th Aliyah and the Building of Nahriyah

On Yom HaAtzmaot museums throughout Israel are free.  This year we went to the Lieberman House and learned all about the 5th Aliyah and the building of Nahariyah.

The Lieberman House Museum

The Lieberman House Museum

The 5th Aliyah primarily consisted of “free professionals” who were forbidden by Nazi law to work in their field of expertise.   These highly trained professionals left Germany in the early to mid 1930’s and began a new life as farmers in Nahariyah.   Their wooden shipping containers (lifts) were later used as housing.

Our Doscent

Our Docent and Life-Long Resident of Nahriyah

Our docent went above and beyond our expectations, telling more than we possibly could have expected, and going well past closing time.

Lieberman House

The Lieberman House was built in 1890

The Lieberman house was built in 1890 and was part of the original land purchase of Joseph Levi and partners.  It has been passed down to family and was finally donated to the city of Nahariyah, renovated, and used as a museum to tell the story of  Nahariyah.

Hearing the stories about the work and effort of these families is absolulty profound and it brings a greater appreciation as to how a city is developed.

For more information please visit this link >

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Yom HaZikaron

Today my oldest son and I went to the Nahariya Beit HaOlamin (cemetery) for the Yom HaZikaron ceremonies.  On the way there, the sirens went off and everybody stopped, got out of their cars and buses and stood.  Nobody moved.  Needless to say, it is an emotional experience.

Here are a few photos of our experience.

Honor Guard

IDF Honor Guard

After the ceremony we looked about at the different keverim.  Svetlana’s below captured my attention with the stone engraving of her giving a snappy salute with a happy smile.

Svetlana died at 20 years old

Below is the kever of Ehud Goldwasser.  He was captured with Eldad Regev by Hezbollah sparking the war in 2006.  Their bodies were returned in 2008.

The kever of kidnapped and killed Ehud Goldwasser

We were privileged to learn about Gedaliah Kuglar (w/ red flowers) from his sister.   He was involved in running a supply convoy from Nahariya to Yehiam, was held up fighting Arab forces in Yehiam for months, and then later was killed with his unit in Tarshiha.  We were left speechless.

These three and others in the area died in Tarshicha

In the kever below, Yisrael was killed at 16.

Yisrael, the young Teimani died at 16!

After seeing all the keverim, parents weeping profusely, and hearing the stories of sacrifice, I ask the question – “How can you not stand for one minute?”

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Tea with Tsachi

“How do you translate kum-kum into English?”  Tsachi asked, as he filled up his rapid-boiling electric kettle (kum-kum).

“We don’t really have them in America.”  I responded matter-of-factly.

Astonished, Tsachi probed further, “How do you make tea?”

“We don’t drink much tea in America.”  I replied, knowing that it was going to shock him.

“Whaaa?!”  Tsachi shreked as though I just …..   (Shocking statement worked.)

Tea in Israel is a delightful social experience.   It’s offered to guests within minutes of arrival, shared when doing business, and enjoyed in leisure settings throughout this wonderful land.

There is, however, a tea for each season, and everybody knows what they are (and now you will too).  Nana is for the summer and sheeba is for the winter.

Mint Tea Ready for Guests!

Mint Tea Ready for Guests! (no cup handles needed)

Nana is mint and is used for its cooling properties.   Tea is served very hot, sugar is almost mandatory and the cups, upon occasion, lack handles.   Nana tea makes a most enjoyable and refreshing drink.

The Makings of a Robust Winter Tea

The Makings of a Robust Winter Tea

Sheeba or wormwood, has a bold flavor, and it’s warming properties and are highly medicinal. It makes a very good tea!

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The Marvelous Cohen Family

Occasionally you find people that are more wonderful than you originally knew them to be.  The Cohen family are such people.

Boaz and Yehudit Cohen, long-time fixtures of Ma’alot, have done something above and beyond expectation, they have sponsored two festive events in honor of our recent wave of olim.

Food, Music and Fun!

Moshe and Shem Tov provide festive music with Boaz standing in the back

The Sukkot party was sponsored by Boaz and Yehudit Cohen and hosted by Avi Cohen and his family, more lovers of olim and was great fun!  There was great food, lively music,  friends and D’vrei Torah – what more could you ask for?

More recently, the Cohens sponsored a Tu B’Shavat Party at the Grass Civic Center.

Tu B' Shavat Party

Sim Zacks heads to the front to delivery a D'vrei Torah

Happy People on a Happy Day

Happy People on a Happy Day!

Once again, there was the food of the day – dried and fresh fruits in honor of Tu B’Shevat,  music, more friends,  and of course, D’vrei Torah given by long time oleh Sim Zacks.

Thank you Baoz and Yehudit Cohen for your heartfelt love of olim.  It is people like you who make the world a better place.


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“G” Stands for Golan, Galil and Gourmet (Pt 1)

Over the last month or so, we’ve had a delightful time discovering that the Galil and Golan are filled with great, gourmet foods.   All the places we went to were within an hour of Ma’alot, with most places being only about 30 minutes away.

Rimon Winery :  Starting off on our culinary journey we went to the  Rimon Winery ( in Moshav Kerem Ben Zimra.  The winery is located in the midst of the Nechmias family pomegranate orchard 30 minutes east of Ma’alot, being between Safed and Lebanon.  There we sampled some delicious dry and dessert wines made from pomegranates.  What a treat!

Rimon Winery's Wonderful Dessert Wine

After the wine tasting, there was a brief tour with an explanation of the wine-making process.

Who would have thought you could get great, full-bodied wines from rimonim?

Johncolad :  Chocolatier John Alford ( makes some amazingly rich chocolates and truffles in his little chocolate factory in Manof, just 40 minutes south of Ma’alot.  The process appears simple and the result are amazing!


John hand-rolls a "chocolate snake" before feeding it into the "baller"

Here is the oversimplified version of how John’s chocolates are made:

Step 1 – Making the Chocolate.   In this step John mixes premium chocolate products with natural ingredients to produce a chocolate “dough” with centers the flavors of brandy, caramel, mocha, etc.

Step 2 – The Chocolate Snake.  After all the mixing and blending, John forms chocolate snakes of about 1/2 ” diameter, which then go onto his conveyor belt for further processing.  Half way down the conveyor belt (to the right of John’s hands) the chocolate snake is cut into approximately 8″-10″ pieces, which at the end of the line get dropped into two counter-spinning grooved rollers, slicing the snake into a dozen or so little “balls”.


John explains the process of making chocolate

Step 3 – Coatings.  The flavored chocolate centers are then placed into the spinning drums (pictured above) for repeated application of chocolate coatings, nonpareils or cocoa powder, depending on the desired results.

Johncolad Samples

Samples for the Children

His tour is interesting, informative and takes about 15 minutes, followed with samples for the children.

When you go, make sure you bring plenty of cash or checks (credit cards not accepted) and sample your purchases in the parking lot.  That way you won’t have to go back for more after 10 minutes of driving and eating.

La Bonita : La Bonita ( in Karmiel, about 30 minutes south of Ma’alot, tastefully fills the need for authentic Mexican corn and wheat tortillas.  The tortillas are made on location, and you can buy them fresh off the conveyor belt.

La Bonita

Started by Olim Chadashim David and Betty Kleiman of Mexico

Recently, La Bonita went through some renovations, automating some steps and installing more equipment for higher production.

Tortilla Baking

Special-sized Tortillas being cooked on the conveyor belt

Wheat tortillas are available in a small and large sizes and are amazingly delicious.  Corn tortillas are available in a standard sized 8″ diameter (or so).  Also available are fresh sauces and tortilla chips.

Tortillas being hand packed

Tortillas being hand-packed

The owners and workers are delightfully cheerful and are always happy to see us!

In Part 2 we will explore some profoundly fantastic olive oils of the Golan and some delicacies from Tzippori.

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…sitting in the dust of his feet…

In the book, Pinnacle of Creation, adapted from the talks of Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz ZT”L (Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim), I found something amazing that I would never have thought about had I not made aliyah, or seen pictures of hesder yeshiva students in the IDF.

In parashat Balak, a Midrash Yalkut Shimoni is used to explain the pasuk, “Who can count the dust of Yaakov…?” (Bamidbar 23:10).  It states that Bilaam’s prophetic reference to the “dust of Yaakov” alludes to

  • the young men of Israel,
  • students dressed in their Shabbat finery,
  • who congregate around their teacher,
  • sitting in the dust of his feet,
  • to hear the words of Torah from his lips.

Further on in the drasha, it states, “…they were proud of the dust stains, they wore them like medals and ribbons, their insignia of devotion and love for Torah.”

Learning Torah

...sitting around their teacher, sitting in the dust of his feet, to hear the words of Torah...

After I read this, I couldn’t help but think about a picture my son’s friend posted on Facebook.

In my conversations with a local hesder student / tank driver, I feel convinced that this Yalkut Shimoni is speaking about these young men who live a religious, Torah-life by learning Torah and by serving in the IDF.

Their dust is real dust and their devotion is seen in “ribbons” and “medals”.

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