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Anniversary Issue

Modiin Area’s English Speaking Magazine

Winter 2013 | Tevet/Adar 5774 | Volume 11, Issue 1 | FREE

ModiInFocus on Food Segula Challa: Myth or Fact | p. 6

Behind the Scences with Jamie Geller and À la Mode | p. 18

For deliveries 08-6767682 66 Emek Dotan, Mercaz Merlaz | 08-926-7595

Also inside this issue: Celebrating our 10th Anniversary | p. 4 City of the Maccabees | p. 42

Picture is for illustration purposes only


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DEAR READERS It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire decade. Ten years since the first ModiInfo – a 12-page, black and white, humble “magazine” for the English speakers of the Modiin area. When we ventured out on this project, we had no idea where it would lead us. All we knew was that there was a growing need for information in English and so ModiInfo was born.We were two women sitting in the park one afternoon bouncing around an idea for an English newsletter. Next thing we know, we were schlepping our babies all over town combing businesses for ads and selling them the idea of advertising in English. We were surprisingly successful. But it was never just about the ads. Our goal always was and still is to bring you, our readers, the information you want and need to best live out your dream of aliyah. Fast forward 10 years and here we are. A little older (maybe a little wiser – let’s just say we now take credit cards), our babies grown and our newsletter now a big, glossy, full color magazine that has become a staple in the lives of Anglos here. We hope we have been there for you, by connecting with you day to day online through our website and Facebook, tapping into what’s most helpful to you. And we work hard to be more than just another magazine. Our content is thoughtfully considered and laid out in a way we hope captures you interest and attention. We began with a single idea which has grown into many ideas and has connected us with so many people. When readers share their thoughts about an article or appreciation for a post we know we are reaching you and that is by far the most fulfilling part. Our hearts are full of thanks to you, our readers and followers, and we are thrilled to celebrate this 10-year anniversary together by bringing you an issue all about food. Best wishes for a Happy Chanuka, Caryn and Daniella

Daniella Hellerstein & Caryn Meltz Co-publishers and editors 0526-404-414 | 0523-868-768 Design & Layout, 7design Studio | 077-7006797 | Website created by Litesites Social Media, Shari Wright Pilo Hands-On Digital Marketing Consultant,

Cover Photo: Gelarte... nothing beats fresh homemade yummy ice cream - even on a cold winter's day. Hot drinks, scrumptious Belgian waffles on the menu too.


ModiInFocus on Food


Challah: Superstition or Super Mitzvah


Hot Chocolate Review

10 Recipes 14 Healthy Living 18 Behind the Scenes of Joy of Kosher and A la Mode's Video 20 Jamie Geller and A la Mode Talk to ModiInfo 22 Thanksgivikkah 32 LifeStyle 34 A Race of Thanks 38 From Hollywood to the Holy Land 40 ModiInfOnline 42 It's Time to Build a Visitor's Center in Modiin 46 Why We Live in Israel 54 Candle Lighting To Advertise: Find us on Facebook:

ModiInfo is an independently owned, advertiser supported publication distributed monthly to Modiin and the surrounding neighborhoods. ModiInfo welcomes all articles and ads but reserves the right to edit or reject submissions.The views expressed by writers and contributors are not necessarily those of ModiInfo. ModiInfo is not responsible for facts or claims made by ads or authors, nor for any typographical errors.Work produced by ModiInfo is the property of ModiInfo and may not be reproduced without consent. ModiInfo does not take responsibility for the translations that were made in the magazine.


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Hamitbachon Shel Sima

Kosher Under the Hashgacha of Rav Lau & Rav Elcharar: Gush Katif Vegetables

Home-style Take out food Soups Salads Meat dishes Chicken dishes Ashkenazi dishes Mizrachi dishes‌ a little flavor of everything!

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Catering for Events, Kiddushim Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Shabbat Chattan, Family Shabbatot, and more... Kaiser Center, 24 Emek Zvulun 08-926-5368 Modiin Hours: Sun-Thurs 10:00-19:00, Fri 8:00-14:00


ModiInFocus on Food

Challah: Superstition or Super Mitzvah? By: Rabbi Efrem Goldberg Among the three mitzvot primarily associated with women is the incredible mitzvah of taking challah. We have recently seen a beautiful proliferation of virtuous individuals accepting upon themselves to fulfill this mitzvah weekly, often dedicating the mitzvah in the merit, honor or memory of someone else. Purchasing the requisite measure of flour, painstakingly kneading the dough (even a bread machine requires effort and patience), timing one’s schedule around the rising of the dough, separating a small amount to burn in the oven and finally baking challahs takes great effort, energy and resources, particularly admirable given the ease with which one can purchase delicious, affordable challahs in bakeries today. So why bother? Why in fact is the effort worth the opportunity to fulfill this beautiful mitzvah? Can it in truth serve as a merit to help others? Is it only meritorious if done in coordination with 40 other women who bake on the same day as is commonly thought? The Torah (Bamidbar 15:18-21) instructs us, “Speak to the

children of Israel and say to them, when you arrive in the Land to which I am bringing you, and you eat from the bread of the land, you shall set aside a gift for God. The first portion of your dough you shall separate a loaf for a gift... From the first portion of your dough shall you give a gift to God in all your generations. ”The prophet Yechezkel (44:30) already said that fulfilling this mitzvah will bring blessing into your home, “And you shall give the first portion of your dough to a Kohen to bring a blessing unto your home.” So great is this mitzvah, the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 1:4) teaches that the world was created in the merit of the mitzvah of challah, as it says, “In the beginning God created” and challah is called the beginning “reishit arisoseichem, beginning of your kneadings.” The Sefer Ha’Chinuch explains that by associating a mitzvah with bread, the most basic staple of food, the Torah is giving us the opportunity to achieve something spiritual through the physical. Indeed, the mitzvah of challah is a symbol of the Jewish understanding of holiness. Authentic spirituality comes not from abstinence or asceticism, but from finding meaning, purpose and

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beauty through the physical and mundane. Rav Hirsch sees the mitzvah of challah as an exercise in gratitude and appreciation. Just as the farmer cannot partake of his produce before separating the proper tithes thereby acknowledging that his successful harvest is the result only of God’s generosity, so too, the Ba’alat Ha’Bayit takes a portion of the dough and separates it as a gift in order to affirm her understanding that this bread is here due only to the graciousness and generosity of the Almighty. Indeed, when one thinks about it, there is no difference between the bread produced from wheat that grows from the ground, and the manna that fell from heaven other than our coming to expect it.In truth, it is no less miraculous to have bread or its ingredients rise up from the ground than it is for it to fall from heaven. If we have livelihood, sustenance and nourishment, it is only because of God’s eternal kindness. Perhaps this is why Dovid HaMelech concludes his Hallal HaGadol, Tehillim 136 which enumerates the miracles of our history with the seemingly mundane and anticlimactic – nosein lechem l’chol basar, ki l’olam chasdo, He provides bread to all His creations for God’s kindness endures forever. Our easy access to bread in abundance is a miraculous expression of God’s kindness and one that we don’t take for granted. So, can the mitzvah of challah be designated in the merit or honor of another? Absolutely. When we concentrate and tap into the deeper meaning of any mitzvah, we both improve ourselves and earn a merit that we can generously dedicate on another’s be-

half. If that person’s predicament motivates us to fulfill a mitzvah at its highest level, there is no doubt it reflects positively on them and brings blessing into their lives. Is it necessary to bake with 40 other women on the same day? Absolutely not. It has already been established by Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rav Shmuel Eliyahu and others that there is no basis in our tradition whatsoever for this particular practice. If forming a club or fraternity around doing a mitzvah will help promote its observance, it is certainly a worthwhile initiative. However, one should never feel their mitzvah is incomplete or ineffective because it wasn’t coordinated with 39 others or on the same day. The Rama (O.C. 242:1) encourages us to bake challah every week to honor the Shabbos. In the early 20th century, the Chafetz Chaim (BiurHalacha 242) bemoans the fact that in his day in Radin, women purchased challah rather than baking it on their own thereby performing the mitzvah of challah, a great vehicle of blessing and merit. Let’s put in the effort to make our own challah each week and thereby have the opportunity to perform this special mitzvah. When we separate the challah and remind ourselves that holiness is found in the mundane, and that we should be grateful and mindful of the blessing of sustenance in our lives we can in fact bring blessing to us, our families and to all those in need. Rabbi Efrem Goldberg is the Senior Rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue (BRS) in Florida.


ModiInFocus on Food

Hot Chocolate Review By: Judy Hellerstein Since I am a hot chocolate fan I tend to try it many locations. A few months ago when I was visiting Israel for a longer period of time, I sampled many hot chocolates in Jerusalem, Modiin, and in Tel Aviv.I find that hot chocolates that are not made with milk come out too watery. I rated the hot chocolate according to the following four categories: temperature, cost/value, service and taste. To me, the temperature of the hot chocolate is very important and almost as important as the taste. Of the seven places I visited, I thought Café Aroma was by far the best. Not only was it the best tasting, but also it provided the best value for the money. Their hot chocolate is made by dunking a chocolate bar into steamed milk making it rich and creamy. I also very much liked the idea of giving out extra mini chocolate bars with each purchase which is a very nice touch. The service was also very quick. Another one of my favorite places is the Roladin Café. The hot chocolate I ordered was excellent and it scored very high in almost all categories of temperature, taste and service. The most disappointing hot chocolate I had was at the Citadel Hotel. I had such high hopes for this place but was disappointed.

The hot chocolate scored near the bottom of all the ones surveyed. Not only did the hot chocolate take a long time to come but arrived lukewarm. What was most disappointing was that it was made with water and not milk. Café Aroma, Emek Refaim, Jerusalem 4.5 of 5 stars, excellent hot chocolate and great lunch place Roladin, Azrieli Mall, Modiin 4 of 5 stars, great hot chocolate but expensive bakery products Cafe Hillel, Emek Refaim Jerusalem 3 of 5 stars, decent hot chocolate but nothing to write home about. Price was on the lower end – provides a good value for the money, but the hot chocolate was only average and luke warm. Cup of Joe, 36 Keren Hayesod, Jerusalem 2.5 of 5 stars, hot chocolate was average, nothing to write home about. Design Center Café, Ramat Gan 2.5 of 5 stars, hot chocolate was average, nothing to write home about. David Citadel, Jerusalem 2 of 5 stars, hot chocolate made with water, not milk. ˆ

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ModiInFocus on Food

Cinnamon Buns By: Shari Wright Pilo My favorite yeast cake recipe - it is totally chalavi - which is the only way to bake! 4 cups flour 1/2 bag of Shimrit instant yeast 1 instant pudding (vanilla) 2 Tablespoons of sugar 1 1/4 cups of milk 1 egg 50 grams of butter - melted 1/2 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Glaze

200 grams powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, enough to make a soft, spreadable icing


1 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons of cinnamon 100 grams melted butter

Egg Wash 1 egg water


Sift flour. Mix flour and yeast in mixer 2 minutes. Add instant pudding and sugar, mix for around 2 minutes until the ingredients are blended. In a separate bowl, add the melted butter to the milk - slowly adding it and mixing with a fork. Add the milk butter combo to the flour and mix for around a minute. Add the egg mix until incorporated. Add salt. Mix with dough hook for around 7-9 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till it's nearly doubled. Grease two round baking pans. Turn the dough onto your countertop. Knead it for around 2 minutes. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece of the dough into a nice sized rectangle. Brush on melted butter and sprinkle covering all of the dough with the brown sugar / cinnamon mix. Roll the rectangle into a log. Cut them into 3 cm slices. Place in the baking pans leaving space between them (you can slightly flatten them and tuck the end under). Let the rolls rise again until they are puffy probably around an hour depending on the temperature. Brush the egg wash over them. Bake at 170 for around 20 minutes or until they are slightly golden in the middle. Cool for 5 minutes and mix the icing ingredients together and then pour it on!


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ModiInFocus on Food


then reduce to low flame. Taste the sauce and add seasoning if necessary and add liquid if needed too. Cook for an additional half hour and the goulash is ready.


By: Udi at Lomito A basic easy preparation recipe – the hardest part is the peeling.


Large sturdy pot 1.5 kilo shank beef cut in large chunks 1/2 kilo asado meat 5 potatoes halved 4 carrots halved 2 red peppers cut in strips 2 garlic heads halved 2 celery stalks halved 3 parsley heads halved 4 onions halved 3 bay leaves


8 grains English pepper 1 tbsp.salf 1 tbsp. sugar 1 tbsp. black pepper 1/3 cup olive oil 3 tbsp. sweet paprika 1/2 hot green pepper 1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. Bharat 3 tbsp. tomato paste 1 bottle beer or two glasses of white wine of your liking

1 The quality of the dish depends on the quality of the ingredients, especially the meat. 2. It’s recommended to prepare the goulash a day ahead of time. The taste is better when it stands in the fridge for a day. Then all you have to do is warm it up. 3. You can add in the last half hour of cooking gnocchi, dried fruit or whole mushrooms.


Heat the olive oil in the pot and fry the meat until well browned. When ready put the meat to the side and put all the vegetables in the pot, fry and brown. Add all the spices and mix for a minute. Pour in the pot the beer/wine and two cups of water. Add the tomato paste and bring to a boil. Put the meat back in and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and

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Variety of meat, chicken and lamb

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To our dear customers, Wishing you a chag sameach!

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Kosher under Modiin Rabbinate Chicken - Mehadrin Orbach Meat - Glatt Beit Yosef Vegetables - Gush Katif


White or whole wheat baguette

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Hours: Sun-Thurs 10:00-24:00; Fri 11:00-16:00; Motzash until midnight 13 | ‫פסגת הבאגט מודיעין‬

ModiInFocus on Food

Healthy Living By: Dina Solomon Let’s face it, we love to eat! Food is one of the ultimate pleasures of life. Sharing with friends and family, giving love, forming social connections... these are the healthy and positive sides of eating. Boredom, soothing our pains, self-loathing, drowning our sorrows‌ these can be the less than positive reasons for turning to food. We all know that diets don’t work for the long haul. Almost everyone can use their iron will to refrain from eating certain foods for a period of time, but eventually they will swing back into familiar and comforting patterns. To maintain a healthy lifestyle long term we must find a regime that is both comfortable and sustainable, as well as satisfying and nurturing to our health. One way to sidestep many of the pitfalls of poor eating is to eat at home as often as possible. How strange that this should be something that needs pointing out, but in these days of full time working women it has become more and more the norm to turn to fast foods and restaurants. No restaurant will ever compare to home-cooked fare.


Even assuming that the ingredients are healthful and fresh, they will never be prepared with the same love and attention as a parent cooking for their family. There are almost always less than desirable ingredients lurking in commercially prepared food. Too much salt, sugar or msg are common flavor enhancers. Another rule to keep in mind is to think ahead. If you wait until you are hungry to prepare a meal you will almost for certain take the easy way out and reach for a pita and cheese or pre-packaged chicken nuggets. Be sure that you always have plenty of fresh vegetables on hand. Wash your lettuce ahead of time and spin it in a spinner, then store in the fridge in a plastic container for easy access. When you have lettuce prepared it is just a few minutes to prepare an enticing salad. The addition of toasted seeds, cranberries, cooked chickpeas, or even slices of cooked sweet potatoes will make it enticing and filling. When you feel the urge for some forbidden food that is loaded with sugar or fat, try to delay eating it, by doing something else for a few minutes. Usually the initial urge will be gone and you will feel in control again. I have trained

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myself whenever possible to go for a short walk and then see if I still want that food. Usually the need has passed. Allow yourself indulgences from time to time rather than trying to be perfect. Almost every weight loss diet is adamant about eliminating bread. While it is true that many people today are gluten intolerant, bread has been central to humanity in many forms since ancient times and should not be thought of as the cause of all evil. I find that I cannot give it up altogether but I would recommend that if included in your diet it should be of the highest quality, prepared from whole or sprouted grains and whenever possible with sourdough rather than commercial yeasts. I created a delicious gluten-free bread that is prepared at home in about two hours’ time including rising and baking. Now that we are moving into the cooler weather of fall and winter we desire heartier eating. Soup and bread are filling and nourishing and the possibilities for varying ingredients are endless. Here I offer a recipe for bread and soup. Dina Solomon is a raw food chef and yoga instructor. You can sign up for a class or order raw goodies by email:

Gluten-free multi-grain bread

In a large mixing bowl place 1 cup teff flour, 1 cup millet flour, 1 cup brown rice flour (these are all available in health food stores). Teff is a seed from Ethiopa that is very high in iron. It comes in white and whole meal. I buy it from an Ethiopian store near Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem, but it is also available in many health food stores. 1 tsp salt 1 Tbs ground caraway seeds (opt.) In a separate bowl place 2 cups warm water. Add 2 Tbs yeast, 1 Tbs honey or date syrup, 2 Tbs olive oil and let sit for 10 min. After 10 min. whisk in 1/3 cup ground flax seeds and 1/3 cup psyllium seeds. Leave only for 3 min. It will form a gel-like consistency. Add the gel to the flour in the bowl and mix until a dough forms. It feels very much like regular bread dough. Knead lightly for a minute. Form into a loaf and place in a loaf pan. Make 2 slits diagonally across the top. Cover and let rise about 1 hour. Bake at a medium temperature for 50 minutes. When cool this bread slices beautifully and can be stored in the freezer and eaten one slice at a time as desired. Since it is not prepared with any of the grains of Israel the blessing recited over it is Shehakol. This makes it a good sandwich bread for travel.


ModiInFocus on Food


I learned this recipe from the Romanian mother of my neighbor. It is a great recipe for using up odds and ends in the fridge. 2 Tbs olive oil 3 cloves garlic 2 onions 3 tomatoes with skins removed ½ cup tomato sauce 1 nice sized chunk of dlaat 1 or two eggplants 3-4 potatoes Any other vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, corn, green beans, or sweet potatoes. Sautee the garlic and onions in the oil until golden and then add all other vegetables, chopped into chunks. Parboil the tomatoes and slip the skins off. Chop and add. Season with 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp each of oregano, marjoram and basil, or alternatively add 1 tsp of curry powder. Add just enough water to barely cover the veggies. Bring to a boil and then simmer about 1 hour. This makes a delicious thick stew. Garnish with sautéed cubes of tofu or chopped hard boiled eggs.

Carrot Salad By: Baba Jim Ingredients:

1/2 kilo carrots Crushed garlic

2 hot peppers Spices


Grate half a kilo of carrots. Add a tsp of crushed garlic. Add 2 hot peppers, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and a bit of olive oil. Mix and eat.

Corn Soup By: Ristretto Ingredients:

700 gr onion 300 gr leek Spices

5-6 cloves of garlic 4 cans of corn


Cut and sauté the ingredients, add white pepper, salt and a bit of sugar. Add 4 cans of corn, thyme and celery. Add cold water and boil. When fully cooked, pour into a food processor to blend or use a hand blender.

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ModiInFocus on Food

Behind the Scenes of Joy of Kosher Having a good time... chocolate making is fun

but keeps tripping over the line which goes “designer desserts designer parties”. After some practice (and a few chuckles) all goes smoothly and they’re off to a great start. It’s one thing to create spectacular goodies in the privacy of your home. It’s quite another to do so on film, while smiling, while looking at the camera and not messing up either your lines or your creation. After trying to get the words out just right Nessie quips, “I’m sure I’ll say it perfectly tonight in the shower.” But Nessie and Daphna are naturals and after the first few moments of stiffness they fall right into their roles with ease. Like with all working mothers, these women are trying to juggle business with motherhood, even in the middle of a time pressured shoot. One gets a call from school saying that her daughter’s aruchat eser is

When we heard back in August that Kosher Media Network’s, Jamie Geller (the famed author of three Joy of Kosher cookbooks, magazine and video blogs), was coming to Modiin we knew we had to get a piece of the action. She has teamed up with Nessie Fisher and Daphna Secunda of À la Mode to create a video about making an extraordinary Chanuka dessert table. Food, film and fun? We’re there! Filming starts bright and early. By the time we arrive the camera crew has set up and Jamie Geller, has arrived. We walk into the living room of the Modiin home which has been transformed into the set of a major video production. Bright lights, cameras and a producer are making the final adjustments as Nessie and Daphna are figuring how to comfortably wear their microphones. The feature of the video is an elegant but whimsical Chanuka buffet table dressed to the nines. Action! Jamie makes several attempts of introducing Nessie and Daphna

The women prepare their chocolate making demo

Easy & delicious!!

Sketch of how to create a multi-dimensional buffet table


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Busted... the camera crew sneaks a nibble of the goods

and A la Mode’s Chanuka Video

Jamie, Nessie and Daphna practice the opening line of the video with guidance from the producer

missing. “I know it’s there,” she says, “I packed it in your bag this morning.” But the school calls back insisting that it’s nowhere to be found. Dad’s put on the case. Another of the women gets a call that she’s expected at the mother-daughter event at school. “I’m a working mom,” she tells the school. “You’re just going to have to allow my husband to attend.” Clearly, the secret behind successful moms are hands-on dads. Despite the small hurdles, the mood on the set is light and fun. The crew is incredibly patient and Jamie is upbeat, making everyone feel relaxed and at ease. Plus, it’s hard not be cheerful surrounded by colorful candy and bright Chanuka décor. We work hard to successfully resist sneaking a taste of the goods (something the crew had a harder time with). By the end of a long day the cast and crew are exhausted but feeling accomplished with the making of an amazing Chanuka video that’s already a huge hit. Watch it at how-to-create-a-dessert-table-for-hanukkah.

The camera crew captures the whimsical details of the table

Nessie putting the final touches to the table

It's all in the details


ModiInFocus on Food

Jamie Geller Talks to ModiInfo

À la Mode

Talks to ModiInfo

À la Mode is run by two sisters, Nessia Fisher and Daphna Jamie Geller was used to being behind the camera, not the Secunda, who grew up in the glamorous city of New York. They star of her own show. A successful broadcast journalist, Jamie spent a good deal of their childhood looking at art, whether in climbed the ladder at CNN and HBO working behind the scenes the city’s world class museums, while window-shopping on on their most successful shows. Jamie’s mother while proud of Fifth Avenue, or on their living room walls. Their distinctive her daughter, became concerned that as glamorous as the Osstyle grew out of living in New York at a time when the city’s cars and MTV Music Awards were, they were unlikely places Minimalism was emerging, but they also have experience workfor Jamie to find a nice Jewish boy. In perfect Jewish mother ing with a variety of clients of difform, Jamie’s mother signed up ferent backgrounds and aesthetic her traditional daughter for classes preferences.They both live in Moat Aish HaTorah and other Jewish diin, where they have managed to venues. While Jamie did not meet fuse Israeli, European and Ameriher beshert there, the classes made can culinary and aesthetic tastes in her think about her greater goals one of a kind dessert creations and in life. In media, she says, “everyevents. thing is disposable, nothing is what it seems, relationships don’t mean What made you decide to open anything, all is transient.” PonderÀ la Mode? ing her purpose and wanting more, Nessie: From a very young age I Jamie ultimately became fully obloved to create. And there’s nothing servant and did meet her perfect “Jamie wanted to make a video about how to create a more fun than planning and pulling match through a shadchan. knockout Chanuka buffet table. She needed a top notch together a party. In Israel, there are dessert company in Israel that would deliver on every Jamie continued working in the so many fun ways to create a stunlevel - quality, creativity and class. Turning to her trusted industry until her first child was ning event—the flowers, the tablefollowing, Jamie put a call out on Facebook for the perborn. Having been raised to be a ware, the accessories, table linens, fect people and got several of the same response - A La successful career woman and not the candles—that we wanted to proMode. When Jamie met Nessie and Daphna in person a domesticated homemaker, Jamie vide our clients with an experience they instantly clicked and Jamie knew they were the "it" knew nothing about cooking when girls for the job. The result of this collaboration is a gorof pure delight. she married. Yet, with her husband’s geous display and fantastic video...” Daphna: I was also excited about help she learned quickly, not just offering people the opportunity to how to whip up kosher meals but just show up to their party, rather than have to plan all those imhow to infuse them with tradition and secret seasoning. Home portant details on their own, when they are worrying about their for the first time, she told her husband she wanted to write a family coming in, a new baby or the challenges of arranging an cookbook. “The Bride who Knew Nothing” became an instant important corporate event. This way our clients feel comfortsuccess and launched a new career for Jamie. Since television able that everything is being managed, and that their guests have is her first love, Jamie then expanded to kosher food and travel shows (or vlogs). Continues on page 37


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Thanksgivikkah?!? By now you have all heard of this year's big holiday Thansgivikkah, the rare phenomenon of Thanksgiving falling on the second night of Chanukah. The reason for this is that the Hebrew calendar is lunar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar that is solar. The solar calendar is 365.25 day in length and the lunar calendar is approximately 354 days in length. As a means to attempt to even out the lunar and solar years, the Jewish calendar adds seven leap years to every 19 years during which they add an extra month (called Adar Bet). The last time Chanuka was this early was in 1766 and the next time will be in 2089. Therefore, the Jews are taking this rare holiday by storm and comedians and businessmen are milking the possibilities for all they're worth. A lot of creative energy has gone into suggestions as to how to seamlessly blend these holidays together in more ways than just the name. Decorations, recipes, tshirts are flooding the internet and just because we live in Israel doesn’t mean we should be left out of the fun. Here are some Thanksgivikkah menu ideas to enjoy on November 28 and year round. Find more on

Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing

Excerpt from: Jamie Geller, Joy of Kosher Fast, Fresh Family Recipes Kosher Status: Meat • Prep: 10 minutes • Cook: 50 minutes • Total: 1 hour • Yield: 8 to 10 servings In the dead of winter, my folks would drive us up to New York City from Philly. We’d catch a few Broadway shows and shop like crazy. We snacked on little bags of hot roasted chestnuts bought from a street vendor wearing fingerless gloves. The aroma of freshroasted chestnuts in winter is my New York. So when I noticed bagged roasted and shelled chestnuts in a store recently-wham! I instantly saw Times Square . . . snow . . . funny gloves. There was no snow and no hot aroma when I opened the bag, but once baked in the oven with my stuffing, they were divine. 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped 1 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts, quartered 1 cup dried cranberries 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried 8 cups 1⁄2-inch cubes white or whole wheat challah 2 cups chicken broth, such as Manischewitz All Natural ChickenBroth 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and celery until softened and the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts, cranberries, sage, and parsley and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the challah, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until lightly browned, 10 minutes more.

Quick Tips: You can find bags of roasted and peeled chestnuts

in the snack aisle at the supermarket. This recipe doesn’t require day-old or stale bread, although it’s a great use for any leftovers on hand. Challah, hot dog and hamburger buns, even sandwich bread-use it all out, mix ’n’ match it, cubeit, and make stuffing or Spiced Apple Challah Kugel. Make It Pareve: Use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Make It a Meal: Serve with Sour Mash Whiskey-Glazed Whole Roasted Turkey. Pair It: Weinstock Red by W. A robust red wine would overwhelm this dish, so go for the soft fruity flavors in Red by W to complement the red berry flavors of the stuffing. 22

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Sweet Potato Cake Excerpt from: Jamie Geller, Joy of Kosher Fast, Fresh Family Recipes Kosher Status: Pareve • Prep: 20 minutes • Bake: 45 minutes Coo1: 15 minutes Total: 1 hour 20 minutes • Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Cooking spray

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced Cooking spray 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup granulated sugar 1⁄2 cup canola oil 2 large eggs

1. Steam the sweet potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Mash them into a smooth texture and set aside 1 cup; reserve any remaining sweet potatoes for another use. 2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. 3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl and whisk well. Combine the 1 cup sweet potatoes, sugar, and canola oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle until smooth. Add the eggs, on eat a time, beating well to incorporate after each addition. Add the flour mixture

in two additions, mixing by hand just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan 15 minutes and then let cool completely on a wire rack.

Dress it Up

• Peaches and Jam Sweet Potato Cake • Cut the loaf horizontally in thirds. Spread the top of the bottom layer with raspberryjam, top with peach slices and then the middle layer of the cake. Repeat with morejam and peaches, and place the top layer of the loaf on top. Can be served immediately or prepared a few days in advance. (Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, on a cake platter with a top, or in a container with a tight-fitting lid.) Try whipped cream in place of the jam and use different fruits like kiwis, strawberries, or bananas (sliced lengthwise) in place of the peach slices. Pair It: Morad Danue Pass ion Fruit Wine. Stay sweet here. Sweet potato + passion fruit = pure magic.

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Joy of Kosher Fast, Fresh Family Recipes by Jamie Geller Book review by: Caryn Meltz For those of you who know me, you’re probably thinking, “She hates to cook, why would she be reviewing a cookbook?” To be honest, I thought the same thing to myself. Daniella and I had the honor of meeting Jamie Geller and hearing her story of how she came to writing three cookbooks. I make no attempt to hide my dislike for being in the kitchen (I’d much rather be doing laundry) and was a bit intimidated to be discussing a cookbook with the “Jewish Rachael Ray”. But it immediately became clear by reading the title “Fast, Fresh…” that if there was any cookbook out there for me, this was the one. Unlike other cookbooks, Joy of Kosher, reads like a novel. Jamie brings in personal stories and pictures of her family throughout the book that make you feel like she’s guiding you along in the kitchen. And if you don’t need the “help”, the intros to the recipes make for an entertaining read. For the more seasoned chef, Jamie adds in “Dress it Up” options – so there’s something for every type of cook in this book. The recipes are a nice change of pace from my usual routine and there are a lot of easy, quick ones to choose from. The Red

Hasselback Potatoes picture drew me in and has a prep time of 15 minutes. The potatoes are presented in a way that not just a potato on a plate. Jamie writes, “It’s such an elegant way to present a common potato.” The ingredients are simple: potatoes, garlic, oil, salt and pepper but what makes them so great is how they’re sliced

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horizontally that make it seem like I’ve been slaving in the kitchen for hours. Sushi is the in food today and my kids love it. The Sesame Chicken “Sushi” recipe is a big win for my family. It’s sushi without the seaweed - the chicken cutlets take the place of the seaweed - rolled up with carrots, zucchini and red pepper. This too has a prep time of 15 minutes. Another great way to serve chicken is Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Skewers with Herbed Curry Mustard. Jamie writes, “When I developed this recipe, I had kids in mind - and not just my kids. Your kids. My neighbors’ kids. Every kid in the universe.” And my response to Jamie is, “thank you!” For children who are picky about their food and even for those who aren’t this is a great recipe and a fun way to eat chicken on a skewer. If not everyone is a fan of the Herbed Curry Mustard that’s ok, because it’s served on the side – all taste buds can be satisfied. Onto dessert… I’ve always prided my baking skills on the Pillsbury mixes to the point that years ago at a Shabbat meal at my house, I was showing off to a baker friend of mine that I “baked” a dessert. She was impressed that I took the initiative and got a chuckle when I said that I made a Pillsbury cake. Jamie offers a range of recipes that even I felt comfortable to tackle and better yet the kids think they’re delicious. I highly recommend Joy of Kosher to all you chefs out there who are like me, but also for those who really enjoy cooking.


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Corn Latkes By: Amichai Dimbort Catering Ingredients: 525 grams fresh corn kernels (approx. a package of corn on the cob, husk the corn and remove kernels) 1 chopped red onion 1/2 package of coriander (the more the merrier) 125 grams flour Salt, pepper

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C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s

A Race of Thanks By: Judy Silkoff and Daniella Hellerstein In January 2013, 11-year-old Orli Rose of Modiin was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After eight months of intensive treatment at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikveh Orli is thankfully cancer free. Now Orli’s parents, Jacqueline and Daniel who made Aliyah nearly two decades ago from London, are ready to take on another task. The Rose family is organizing a Chanuka marathon to raise funds for the hospital where they have spent so much time recently. Orli was not the first in her family to benefit from the wonderful care provided by the dedicated staff at Schneider’s. In 2006, Orli’s then just year-old first-cousin, Zeevi Gray, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing Sarcoma. He was treated over a period of 18 months at Schneider and is now an active and healthy third grader. The family and friends of a cancer patient experience profound helplessness and in 2006 the family turned to fundraising for Schneider to try and contribute in the merit of Zeevi’s recovery. Daniel, Orli’s father, ran his first marathon in Tiberius in January 2007 for Schneider and raised more than $25,000.

Zena Behrman, Zeevi and Orli’s grandmother, established UK Friends of Schneider Children’s Hospital which has raised thousands of pounds since that time. In addition, while Orli and her family were living for two years in the United States, the family ran races in Disney World in Florida in January 2012 to raise money for Schneider. Last year when Orli walked into the hospital for the first time to begin her journey, she remarked how it felt good that she had run that race to raise money for the hospital that was now going to make her better. Daniel said, “For any child of Orli’s age, undergoing chemotherapy is a daunting experience. But Orli had the advantage of already being familiar with Schneider as her younger cousin Zeevi was successfully treated there for a rare form of bone cancer in 2006, when he was just a baby.” Although Orli’s diagnosis came as a huge shock, Daniel and Jacqueline, along with all five of their children, decided almost immediately to begin raising money for a Rose Family Project at the hospital, dedicated to the merit of her complete recovery. Fund-

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C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s raising kicked off in earnest with the Maccabi Community Fun Run in London back in March, but the action has now been moved literally to the Rose’s doorstep, with a race beginning at their home in Modiin and ending at the hospital itself. The event will take place on the second day of Chanukah (Friday, November 29, 2013) and cover a full marathon distance of 26 miles (42.2 km). There will be a party atmosphere at the finish line too, with entertainment and refreshments for family and friends of the 30 runners. Daniel, an experienced marathon runner himself, commented, “Preparation for the marathon is going really well and we’re so excited for the day – we have a great group of runners registered to run and sponsorship is coming in.

It’s a real privilege to be able to raise money for the hospital that has helped our family so much over the years and we are so looking forward to enjoying the day with Orli, our younger children, community and friends!” To make a donation visit For more information email:

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continued from page 20

A few years later, with five small children and a thriving Joy of Kosher multidimensional career, Jamie made her next big move – to Israel – something her husband had always dreamed of doing. Settling in to Ramat Beit Shemesh from New York was a journey, one that was chronicled in a 10-part video series by Nefesh B’Nefesh. Now living in Israel, Jamie has moved her productions locally but still travels to the US to promote her magazine, third and latest book and videos. She says she absolutely loves life in Israel and is thrilled with the quality of her crew here. When asked how she does it all, Jamie says her secret is her amazing staff and incredible husband. She credits him with having fresh ideas and being the better cook. In terms of juggling it all, Jamie struggles with the same things we all do. Resisting the urge to check emails when she’s with her kids is tough but she’s working on it. According to her track record, there’s no doubt she’ll succeed at that as well.

a wonderful time with delicious food and small details that transform the event from just another night to a memorable evening. Tell us your favorite part of planning an event. Daphna: I really enjoy working with a color scheme and looking for different elegant and unusual ways to combine them with all the other elements on a table. That is how we create a couture event! Nessie: I love putting it all together! After creating the desserts, shopping for accessories, arranging the flowers, and tying the bows – I love seeing the final result which is a custom-made designer party!

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C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s

From Hollywood to the Holy Land By: Daniella Hellerstein I catch comedian, Elon Gold, as he’s walking in the door from slichot. It is midnight in California and 10am in Israel. We had scheduled this interview back when he visited Modiin this past summer. Gold came from Los Angeles to Israel on a long awaited family vacation that also had him working. Local organizations took advantage of his trip and lined Gold up to perform his wildly popular comedy routine as fundraising events. Gold is a regular on the Tonight Show and other TV shows. I had heard Gold perform live in America and was super excited to hear him locally. The first comedy act took place in Modiin to support Shalva, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel. The evening took place in a private backyard which gave Gold plenty of material to jump start the comedy. He joked about not being used to working under such distracting conditions what with cats roaming and children playing in their yards till all hours of the night plus less than adequate lighting. Never the less, Gold put on a knockout show and had the audience in stitches. His background as an observant Jew (he went to Westchester Day School and MTA) means he can really connect with audiences here. Like all successful stand-up comics, he uses his life experiences to relate to the audience and finds humor in the everyday. In Gold’s case, he finds comedy in studying Gemara, keeping kosher and modern (“not so” as he puts it) Orthodoxy. His humor is both respectful and hysterical. Gold’s second show took place in Jerusalem in a proper theater to an audience of 450 people in support of the Koby Mandell Foundation. Gold says he was so moved by his visit to Israel and by the show, that when he allowed the audience a question and answer session he actually broke down in tears, not the reaction you expect from a Hollywood comedian. Yet, as we talk Gold expresses such heartfelt emotion about his Israel trip that I wonder if he even came away with any Israel jokes. In fact, Gold sounds more like a Nefesh B’Nefesh emissary than funny man but it just shows how real he is. What did you find so moving about your trip to Israel? I had been pushing this trip off for so long for so many reasons. My son was turning 13 and so I said now there are no excuses – we’re going! The first time we went to the Old City I got all choked up. It was my wife’s first time in Israel and she absolutely loved it. I wanted to make sure we did this trip right so we stayed at the Citadel hotel, I hired a driver and proper tour guides and my wife fell in love with the country. But the truth is you don’t need luxury to fall in love with Israel. By mid-week of the first week my family was loving it and asking to come back every year. We loved every minute.

JPost. Israel is always in my heart and mind. I had this crazy yearning to go and now I have this crazy yearning to go back. I believe all Jews have an innate connection to their Homeland. How many times do we refer to Jerusalem in our prayers? I really started to care about Israel during the second intifada when I saw all the injustice in the media. I couldn’t understand why Daniella Hellerstein and Elon Gold people were killing my people for no reason.The insanity of it was a wakeup call for people to pay more attention to Israel. Do you feel on the other side of this issue when you’re in Hollywood? The people I’m with are pro-Israel. You would be surprised how much of Hollywood is pro-Israel. The world is finally realizing that the problem in the Middle East is not Israel. It’s the only free democracy. The call for boycotts in the entertainment industry is insane. Israeli apartheid is a lie. Occupation is a fake word. So much of it is anti-Semitism. The world doesn’t care about Palestinians or Syrians until the Jews get involved. On 9/11 people realized what it means to get bombed for no reason. Do people in the industry look to you to understand the Israel issue? No, no one is looking to me for anything. I’m more up and coming guy. I would like to be a voice in defending Israel and the more fame that comes my way the more opportunities I will have to be the pro-Israel voice. Standing at the kotel I felt that it was part of my mission to be that. I’m performing at the Stand With Us dinner in support of the Friends of the IDF. What was your most moving experience? My son putting on tefillin at the kotel was very moving. We had Friday night experience with soldiers which was very special. Even though my kids sing Hatikvah in school and learn they’re supposed to love Israel you really have to be here for that to happen.

Would you say you feel very connected to Israel? This past decade I’ve been visiting Israel in my dreams. The first thing I do in the morning is check the 38

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Elon Gold peforms in Modiin

Did you come up with anything to laugh about in Israel? Well, I joke that all I do in is Israel is gain weight and lose money. We go through shekels like its nothing. I emerged from the Dead Sea with a burning sensation from every orifice.I love how Israelis are always saying not to worry.The van driver is driving like a maniac? Don’t worry! You’re stranded in the West Bank? Don’t worry! That should be the country’s slogan. Sure, we’re under constant threat, but don’t worry. It’s like the exact opposite of American Jews who are neurotic worriers. The truth is Israelis are so strong because they can’t let worry into their psyche. So, is that an incentive to move here? I’m a New Yorker. I moved to LA for business because that’s where I have to be. There are no production facilities in Israel and not much business for me. I would like to spend every summer in Israel in the meantime. I think I can be more helpful to Israel from America. Speaking of show biz, how do you merge your comedy and Jewishness successfully? I am proud of my heritage and of our traditions and homeland. Even if I’m self-deprecating I do it with pride. We can poke fun at ourselves. That’s the beauty of Judaism. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Humor is a part of our culture.Some of the greatest comedians are Jewish – Milton Berl and Jerry Seinfeld. We take a step back and look at our customs from a funny angle but there’s not true negativity there. ˆ

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C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s

ModiInfo is with your quarterly in print and daily online. Here’s a quick recap of some of our recent posts: A group of English speakers from Modiin was recently organized by ModiInfo to be part of the upcoming Pella Singers Chanukah video. The group gathered in front of city hall and promoted Modiin, city of the Maccabees, for the music video which will be going viral soon. Big shout out to Modiin.TV for filming and Ingrid Muller (and family) for taking some great pics!


ModiInfo’s “Tuesday Fooday” competition has been a big weekly hit around town. Every Tuesday we post a picture of a different food venue and ask our followers to guess where it’s taken. The first three right answers win a free promo from the store. Be sure to check in with us early on Tuesdays to get a piece of the action because people here know their food (and drink)! ModiInfo was in full force covering the recent municipal elections. In addition to hosting an English panel and providing English speaking residents with election and candidate information prior to the big day, they were out in the field on Election Day itself. For the first time, ModiInfo interviewed English speakers on film with Modiin.TV (in the Azrieli mall) to find out about their voting habits and opinions.The posted video was such a success we are planning additional video interviews of interest in the future.

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Congratulations to Sivan Yaari, owner of iSpa, who received the Innovation Award at the UN for her work as founder and president of Innovation: Africa. As Gil Haskel, the Israeli ambassador to Kenya said, “Innovation: Africa is a brilliant concept of combining Israeli creative energy and innovative spirit, with the Jewish concept of Tikun Olam and compassion.Together these characteristics are making a significant difference for so many lives in rural Africa, and building eternal bridges of friendship between Jews, Israelis and Africans.” Kehillat Shaarei Yonah Menachem of Modiin hosted a Yachad shabbaton on November 1-2. Yachad is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of

all individuals with disabilities and including them in the Jewish community. Yachad made Aliya in October 2012, and runs yearround, events, shabbatonim & more. The shabbaton brought close to 100 counselors and yachad members for a full Shabbat of programming which included the greater community. Rav David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel, addressed hundreds of Bnei Akiva youth (at all the snifim) at Shabbat Irgun which ended with daglanut and marked the conclusion of a month long of activities around a specific theme – “ain li eretzacheret”. Yosef Mendelevich, a refusenik who came to Israel in 1981, speaks to Beit Knesset Meginim in Dimri Towers about his years of Soviet imprisonment and how he became a religious man.

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C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s

It’s Time to Build a Visitor’s Center in Modiin By: Daniella Hellerstein This past summer, the city of Modiin hosted a wide array of cultural events (approximately forty) for our youth. The city is to be commended for the time and effort spent ensuring that the kids and teens of our city remained entertained throughout the long hot summer. Specific attention was given to the large teen population who had their own hangout dubbed – The Village–which was located at the new Extreme Park built primarily for teens.The park was also the site of the extreme street fair which hosted breakdancing and skateboarding competitions and concerts. Soon after the summer, I joined Mayor Haim Bibas on his bus tour of Modiin, which focused mainly on the amazing projects and plans for the city. It was truly thrilling to traverse the city while the mayor explained the details about additional amenities soon to be built. More parks, sports complexes, shopping and even a boutique hotel. Modiin just keeps


getting better. Yet, with all the planning for what will be built next, it’s what is not in the plans which became most glaring. How could a city that is being built with such foresight and fortitude, with such aspirations and excitement, leave its own history behind in the dust as it forges ahead at record speed? On the two-hour bus ride around the city of the Macabbees, there was not one mention of the Maccabees, nor a hint at the Chanukah story or any other historic connection between ancient Modiin and modern Modiin. Admittedly, the tour was not a historical one but rather a chance for residents to get up close and personal with what’s in store for the future but shouldn’t honoring our history be part of our future plan? Over the election period it became clear that I am not the only one jarred by the city’s investment in our future while ignoring

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our past. Candidates and residents expresseddesire for a tangible connection to the place we live that links residents to their shared history and to each other, something I believe is as much, if not more, an investment in our future and more importantly, our kids’ future as any skate park. It’s astonishing how little our youth actually know about Modiin’s history. By the time they graduate, the city’s youth should be experts in ancient Modiin. Yet, they learn almost nothing in school and few, if any, of the school tiyulim include a tour of the local historic sites only blocks away. In addition, Modiin should be the place where others come to connect to their roots by learning about the monumental events that took place here. After 17 years, Modiin can proudly boast thriving communities equipped with all the amenities of a modern city, but where is the city’s soul? Modiin’s central location has attracted tens of thousands of people. But is that all this city is? A convenient midway point between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv? Titura, the most well know historical site in the city, continues to be threatened. The ancient synagogue Um El Umdan is being preserved in a joint effort by the city and the national government but it is not set up to accommodate visitors. Most residents are unaware of the other nearby sites (such as Givat Sher) and the many trails with historical value. Certainly none of these draw outside visitors. Modiin is most well-known historically as the site of the Chanuka story where the Maccabees fought the Greeks. Every Chanuka without fail, I receive calls from family and friends from around the country asking what there is to see in Modiin to learn about Chanuka. Sadly, every year, I tell them there is nothing. Yes, there is a parade and a contest and other annual events. But these are scheduled one-time productions that you must know about in advance and are not necessarily intended to educate or connect the public to the land. I dream of a proper visitor’s center that would draw people from the around the country and tourists from around the world, a place that promoted the heritage of the actual land the modern city of Modiin is built on. Such a center would be the heart and soul of the city, a source of pride to the residents, and especially our youth, sending the message that the land our homes and stores and parks were built on have immeasurable value beyond their mere economic worth. Practically speaking, Modiin’s proximity to the airport would make it a natural first stop for tour groups. People would come in droves to learn about Modiin’s history, see the many arti43

C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s facts that have been unearthed during construction and be taken on guided tours of the ancient sites. Like in many other visitor’s centers, there might be a movie which brings past events to life allowing guests of all ages to get a real taste of ancient life in Modiin and how it served as a resting point on the way to Jerusalem.

people would take advantage of the vast shopping and eating opportunities. Modiin would be listed as a tourist attraction giving it valuable publicity. The visitor’s center would also provide volunteer opportunities for residents.

Such a center would no doubt be expensive to build (some estimates are as high as 30 million shekels) but it would also be a source of income for the city and boost the city’s local economy. In addition to the entrance fee, local tour guides could be available through the center to take visitors to other sites and trails in and around Modiin. Of course, once in Modiin

Most importantly, though, a visitor’s center would send a message to our youth that their connection to their city goes deeper than a skateboarding park. The city expresses priorities through spending and consciously, or subconsciously, the teens view what’s really important through that prism. Movie theaters, bowling alleys and malls all add to our quality of life but to give our lives meaning we, and our children, need more. ˆ

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C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s

Why We Live in Israel One Mother’s Peace Plan By: Karen Zivan, MS Making the decision to move to Israel was neither complicated, difficult, nor scary. Sending our five sons into the Israeli army, however, multiplied all of those feelings and struck us like an earthquake, deep to the core. Don’t get me wrong. There wasn’t a moment that I wished for my boys not to serve, but there were many moments I wished there was not the need. I realize I sound naive, but I longed for the days when I would roll my eyes in boredom as my children discussed football scores and basketball statistics, not army units and ammunition. I have “nachas” (pride) from the strong, positive and unconditional commitment my children have to the State of Israel. I have witnessed many challenged by army conditions – suffering physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion because, as exciting as the army may sound to enthusiastic young people, it doesn’t take long

for them to realize that the experience is very challenging, very frightening, and very taxing. My oldest son has finished his service, and my second is still serving. My third and fourth will serve within the next couple of years, and my fifth has already been recruited to the Air Force, having signed up to learn in the Air Force’s first Yeshiva, before he continues on with his service. My husband, Bruce, and I, have schlepped many meals up to our son’s Golani unit army base. We accepted the idea that guns and bullets would be in our home; we have listened to stories of all night hikes, soaked blistered feet, and we have been dumbfounded by their nerve wracking stories, and yet, we have asked ourselves: what more can we do? How else could we contribute? As a psychologist and trained yoga teacher, I am very sensitive to mental health and wellness. I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Africa this year to be further trained in yoga, but I learned much more. There, while my physical comfort was tested hourly,

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I practiced how to connect to different types of people and situations. I learned to adjust to new surroundings, smells and sweat. One morning in meditation, an idea came to me like lightening; it burned such an impression on me. I announced, “I will bring powerful yoga into the Israeli Defense Forces.” My palms became sweaty; my heart beat faster with anticipation. My eyes were closed; I didn’t see everyone smiling and nodding, but I did hear their powerful, strong affirmation, “Yes, you will!” We have created the non-for-profit organization, MasaL’Koach, Journey into Power, which is committed to offering yoga to soldiers for free, while also paying those who teach the classes.As a workout, power yoga is a physical strengthener, but it also infuses a message of personal empowerment, and it creates space for the participant to release stress and access internal equanimity. Masa L’Koach has also created an ambassador program, providing yoga to pre-army programs, such as a school for non-religious girls from low socio-economic backgrounds. By offering

them yoga, we have helped them feel stronger about their potential, so that when they go into the army, they will be ready to learn professional skills and ultimately gain employment. While the experience of creating Journey Into Power is my own personal narrative, it is also a strong symbol of how we can make greatness in the world. With Masa L’Koach, soldiers in the Israeli army benefit from a well-designed power yoga program, not only taking them to greater places of physical strength but also to a place of personal empowerment. Incorporating yoga into the army brings peaceful thinking into our soldiers’ minds, and believe me, as an Israeli, and even more, as a mother, I deeply understand the importance of peaceful thinking. For more information or to contribute to Masa L’Koach, please contact us at Karen Zivan, Founder of Masa L’Koach and Psychologist and Power Yoga teacher in the Modiin areacan be contacted 054-692-7215.


C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s

Why We Live in Israel Welcome to “The Club” By: Sherrill Kaye

life. This is like the huge exam of a lifetime and she wanted so badly to pass.

A few days ago, my husband and I had the unique experience to of being present at the final stage of a conversion to Judaism. We attended the proceedings of the Beit Din in order to lend support for our friend Cynthia (not her real name) who has often joined us at our home for Shabbat. We became acquainted through a business connection with her parents.

In my attempt to distract her, I ask her about the papers she is holding in her hand. She explains that they are character references from various people. She shares with us a letter from her parents to the Beit Din, which movingly describes her journey and her love of Judaism. I’m in awe of the love, respect and understanding of their daughter’s deep commitment to being Jewish.

“Oh, my daughter lives in Israel,” they noted. We were happy to invite a young, single woman with no family in Israel to join us for Shabbat.

“Do the rabbis really need anything more than beautiful this letter?” my husband whispers to me. But Cynthia is still anxious, feeling the enormity of the day.

I admit that when I allotted a few hours to be in Tel Aviv to meet with the Beit Din, I didn’t know what to expect. But when we first arrive I am surprised to see Cynthia so incredibly nervous. In the many times that she had come for Shabbat she was always relaxed, calm natured and easy going. It hit me how meaningful this day is for her; probably one of the most important days of her

After a few moments, the Beit Din call her in. They are apparently testing her knowledge about many different topics. My husband and I wait patiently to be called as we sit with another couple also present to support her.


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Continues on page 50


C e l e b r a t i n g 1 0 Ye a r s continued from page 48

When it’s our turn to join her, I see her facing the three Beit Din Rabbis separated by a large desk. As we all take the seats behind her I still note that she sits alone in the intimidating center. The Rabbis ask us how we know her and what we have to offer. My husband explains our connection. I tell them that she has become like one of our family; how much our youngest loves her. I explain that for so long we didn’t even know she wasn’t Jewish because she’s so comfortable and knowledgeable with the laws of Shabbat. Being Jewish seems a natural part of her. After a few more minutes questioning the other couple, the Rabbi faces her and says, "‫אנו מקבלים אותך לעם ישראל‬..." All of us start to smile, but she didn’t yet grasp the rabbi’s words. So the rabbi from her conversion course says, “That’s it. You’re in!” “WHAT?!” she expresses in disbelief. “They said YES? They said YES?!” As the intense understanding and recognition wash over her, she begins to sob uncontrollably. Filled with emotion and relief, she could not stop crying. I hug her and cry with her. I realize


my Jewish identity was handed to me on a silver platter, and she worked long and hard for it. A fleeting thought crossed my mind: Would I really go out of my way to choose the nation that has been persecuted for thousands of years; the one with all those restrictions if I wasn’t born into it? They ask her to rise as she repeats after the Rabbi in Hebrew that she promises to keep all the laws and customs of the nation of Israel. Then she covers her eyes and says as they instruct – “‫שמע‬ ‫ישראל ה' אלוקינו ה' אחד‬.” As Cynthia begins to relax, she can’t seem to wipe the smile off her face. The rabbis charge us with the responsibility of her shidduch. They smile but they are serious. I’m again hit with the momentous occasion of the day and of my role in this process. In a few days’ time, the rabbis tell her, she will need to immerse in the mikvah. Dunking in the pure waters of the mikvah will bridge her long journey to convert with her new life as a Jew. Mazel tov, Cynthia! Welcome to the club! ˆ

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CANDLE LIGHTING November 29/26 Kislev Parashat Miketz (Chanuka) Shabbat Mevarchim Candle lighting: 16:16 Shabbat ends: 17:16

December 6/3 Tevet Parashat Vayigash Candle lighting: 16:14 Shabbat ends: 17:16

December 13/10 Tevet Parashat Veyechi Fast begins: 5:00 Fast ends: 17:04 Candle lighting: 16:15 Shabbat ends: 17:17

December 20/17 Tevet Parashat Shemot Candle lighting: 16:17 Shabbat ends: 17:20

December 27/24 Tevet Parashat Ve’era Shabbat Mevarchim Candle lighting: 16:21 Shabbat ends: 17:23

January 3/2 Shevat Parashat Bo Candle lighting: 16:26 Shabbat ends: 17:29

January 10/9 Shevat Parashat Beshalach Candle lighting: 16:31 Shabbat ends: 17:34

January 17/16 Shevat Parashat Yitro Candle lighting: 16:37 Shabbat ends: 17:40

January 24/23 Shevat Parashat Mishpatim Shabbat Mevarchim Candle lighting: 16:44 Shabbat ends: 17:47

January 31/30 Shevat Parashat Teruma Candle lighting: 16:50 Shabbat ends: 17:53

February 7/7 Adar 1 Parashat Tezavei Candle lighting: 16:56 Shabbat ends: 18:00

February 14/14 Adar 1 Parashat Ki Tisa Candle lighting: 17:03 Shabbat ends: 18:06

February 21/21 Adar 1 Parashat Vayakel Candle lighting: 17:09 Shabbat ends: 18:12

February 28/28 Adar 1 Parashat Pikudei (Shekalim) Shabbat Mevarchim Candle lighting: 17:14 Shabbat ends: 18:17

March 7/5 Adar 2 Parashat Vayikra Candle lighting: 17:19 Shabbat ends: 18:22

March 14/12 Adar 2 Parashat Tzav (Zachor) Candle lighting: 17:25 Shabbat ends: 18:27

March 21/19 Adar 2 Parashat Shmini (Para) Candle lighting: 17:29 Shabbat ends: 18:32

March 28/26 Adar 2 Parashat Vayakel Shabbat Mevarchim Daylight Savings Candle lighting: 18:34 Shabbat ends: 19:37

April 4/4 Nissan Parashat Metzora Candle lighting: 18:39 Shabbat ends: 19:42

Happy Chanuka from the ModiInfo staff

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Modinfo winter 2013 online  
Modinfo winter 2013 online