Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Know I’m Energetic, but on Passover I’m Full of Beans!

It’s that time of the year again. We’re all thinking about Passover and the family getting together for the Seder. I know I am. School is already out. Everyone’s cleaning their house and all the mothers are planning their menus for the Seder night. Yes, I didn’t say nights. That’s because we only celebrate one Seder night and if you think I’m pretty bouncy now, wait till you see me at the Passover Seder. I’m full of energy. “No way,” you say, “Zvuvi can’t be more energetic than he already is.” Well, I am. I’m a virtual jumping bean and I’m going to spill the beans about why. I’m what they call in Israel a “Mizrachi.” That means my family comes from Middle Eastern countries. A lot of Israelis have their roots in Morocco, Iraq, Syria and other countries in Israel’s neighborhood. So do Israeli flies. My mother’s family comes from Turkey and my father’s family comes from where the Passover story took place – Egypt. We Mizrachi folks (people & flies) believe that it’s O.K. to eat legumes on Passover. That means kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, peanuts, even rice and all other yummy kinds of legumes are part of our Passover menu. “No way,” you say again, “that’s a lot of hot air!”
No it’s not. Well, O.K., maybe hot air and beans go together, but honestly, I’m telling you the truth. Our rabbis don’t agree with the Ashkenazic rabbis who centuries ago said lentils are a “no-no” for the Passover diet because they resemble leavened food when they swell up. That’s why when Israelis do their Passover shopping they have to look carefully at the ingredients on all the packaging. Some foods will say Ocheli Kitniyot: “For Legume Eaters”.
You know what’s happening now? Don’t groan – more and more Ashkenazim are asking themselves “to bean or not to bean – that is the question!”

Happy Passover cooking!

P.S. Need an Afikomen idea? You can get a 10% discount on my book ZVUVI’S ISRAEL when you shop at Kar-Ben’s online store. Use the special code TAMI when you check out. This offer is available until April 20, 2010.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Mah Nishma Yeladim – What’s New Boys & Girls?
I’ll tell you what’s new in Israel – GESHEM – RAIN!!! Heavy, pouring rain like the one in the picture of the Israeli girl caught in the storm. I know, I know – rain goes back to the time of creation, but last year and the year before, and the year before that, we had practically no rainfall. The rain was so little, that drought conditions were declared. Farmers had a hard time growing their fruits and vegetables. Even worse – our sources of drinking water started to dry up. The water level of Lake Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee – which is pictured above and is our main source of drinking water – got so low that it went below the red line. We were in BIG trouble. Then this year rolled around, beginning with Rosh Hashana. Looks like the prayers for rain during the High Holidays must have really helped because lo-and-behold the skies opened up. We’ve had thunderstorms the likes of which we haven’t experienced in years, maybe decades. Lake Kinneret began to fill up again. Yay!! It rose almost five feet. That’s a lot – but it still doesn’t put us in a water comfort zone. And wouldn’t you know it – our last major thunderstorm fell around the Purim holiday. Everyone says the last rain of the year always falls on Purim. It poured on-and-off for three days. All the Purim parades and outdoor pageants had to be postponed until Shusan Purim – the day Jerusalem celebrates the holiday. Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem on that day because in Biblical times it was a city protected by a surrounding wall, just as the city of Shushan in the Purim story. Like clockwork, the sun came out on Shusan Purim and all the outdoor celebrations were held. But, you know what? Even though I have to put on a raincoat and boots, rain please don’t go away. Come again another day VERY SOON. I hope someone up there is listening. Help me get this message across. Join me in singing and dancing to the Israeli folk song "Mayim, Mayim”.

Looking forward to a few more wet days…Zvuvi

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – with Zvuvi

Shalom Yeladim:
I know you’re familiar with stuffed animals, but have you ever seen a stuffed insect? Well, here I am! My creator – Tami Lehman Wilzig – asked her artist friend Vivianne Reich to make a stuffed Zvuvi so that she and I can talk to you b’arba einayim – face-to-face. Tami has this fun idea of having the two of us help you celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut.
B’Emet – really! If you use Skype, you can book a live Q&A with Tami & me and we’ll answer all your questions about living in Israel, what it’s like for kids and where the fun places are to go. You can also ask Tami why she moved here and why she created me. It should be kaif -- lots of fun. Click here to find out how you can book a virtual visit with us.

Can’t wait to meet you.


P.S. I'll be back next week with a new post on rainfall in Israel.