Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dear Minister of Education: Please Extend Our Summer Vacation!

Shalom Girls and Boys:

Do you agree with Nestia Froussman? She's a girl who lives in Beersheva and she's getting together a petition to send to Israel's Minister of Education. Nestia wants the Minister to extend the summer vacation so that all the kids in Israel's southern region can make up for the happy time they should have had but lost because Hamas decided to start a war with Israel.
Usually summer means non-stop sun and fun. Last year Israel's beaches , especially those down south, looked like this.

This summer, the beach looked like this.

And instead of going to a petting zoo in the fresh outdoors, we had to bring animals inside. Have a look.
The summer is three quarters through but Hamas is still shooting missiles into Israel's southern region.
Maybe the Minister can't extend the summer vacation, but perhaps he can find another way for fun and play in the sun?
What do you think?

Photo Credit Beach 1 
Photo Credit Beach 2

Friday, June 27, 2014

It's Creamy, D-lecious and I Eat At Least 10 Liters of it Every Year! Guess What Food I'm Talking About.

No, it's not pudding. It's Gleeda -- גלידה -- ice cream, and I'm on my way to a yummy tasting. Gleeda has to be one of the most popular words we Israelis use because you won't believe how much gleeda we eat. On average every Israeli eats 10 liters of ice cream a year! 10 liters!!! That's over 10 quarts and more than the average Italian eats. They weigh in (Weight Watchers talk?) at only 6.2 liters a year. And Italy is home to gelato, the famous ice cream that's very dense and not quite frozen.

Even our Prime Minister is crazy about gleeda. He loves eating it (pistachio is his favorite flavor) and serving it to his guests. You wouldn't believe how high his ice cream budget is! 

What's so good about our gleeda? Just about everything. We have all the flavors, and even a few that we've invented on our own. I'm on my way to taste one of our latest flavors -- Hummus ice cream!

An Israeli original, it's served with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with pine nuts. "That's nuts," you say? Not nuts. I said topped with nuts. Our Hummus ice cream is 60% chickpeas and the rest is cream. Hmmm... this could be the next health craze.

All this Gleeda talk makes me drool.  Gotta reach that tasting ASAP.

Photo Credit: The Hummus Blog

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Israel Just Broke the Record for Largest Shabbat Dinner!

Shalom Girls and Boys:

My head is still buzzing from meeting all the people attending the largest ever Shabbat dinner. Can you believe? Two thousand, two hundred and twenty six guests? Make that twenty seven. I didn't officially sign up.

Where did this happen? In Tel Aviv, of course! The same city Lonely Planet ranks among the top 12 action packed metropolises! The same place ranked as the 9th best beach city in the world by National Geographic! And now, the same city that is home to the Guinness World Record for the largest Shabbat dinner!  Kol HaKavod Tel Aviv!

How do I know that this was the largest ? A Guinness World Record adjudicator -- that means someone who judges an event -- monitored the meal, making sure that all Shabbat laws were kept. And he made sure there was a headcount. Poor me. He kept on trying to swat my head off. I was only trying to help. He just didn't get it.

What can I say? It was unforgettable! Jews from all over came. I'll let you read all about it.
And I want to thank White Shabbat for organizing it. You guys are so terrific that I've decided from now on, every Thursday I'm going to sing I'm Dreaming of a White Shabbat. 
But today is Sunday, so for now I'm going to wish all of you a Shavua Tov -- a good week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Zvuvi for President!

Shalom Girls and Boys:

I'm feeling very presidential. This coming Tuesday Israel's Knesset -- parliament -- is going to vote for the country's 10th president -- and in my opinion, I'm perfect for the job.

There's been a lot of dirty politics during the campaign.  I called all 120 Knesset members to attention. Enough is enough, I said. Have you forgotten that the president is a good will ambassador, not a politician? Save all the mud slinging for the next parliamentary election. Right now focus on the fact that I'm the best candidate to succeed Shimon Peres. 

Here's why:

1. I'm the only candidate who can match his energy level. Correction. I'm the only one with more energy.

2. I'm always on the move, and when I fly, I fly for free.

3. I know how to create a buzz.

4. I'm a master communicator.

5. I'm never caught off guard. I know how to wing it like no one else.

6. I'm a trained diplomat who knows how to fly into the face of danger.

7. Shimon may be a visionary but I've got 4000 separate lenses in each of my two eyes, which means I have omnidirectional vision. No one knows how to take in the whole picture better than me.

8. I'm not a fly by night. You can depend on me to fly the flag with honor.

9. Most leaders would like to be a fly on the wall at important meetings of heads of state that they're not invited to. Ahem...need I say more? Even superman Shimon can't beat that.

10. Flynally. I know how to P-A-R-T-Y!!! With dignity of course. I've never sent out an invitation that's been turned down.

This coming Tuesday it's Zvuvi for President!

Monday, April 28, 2014

This year only women are lighting the torches at the Yom Ha'Atzmaut ceremony!

Shalom Girls and Boys:

Yom Ha'Atzmaut -- Israel Independence Day -- is next week and my cousin Zehava is all excited. In fact, you're probably going to see her on TV next Monday night, as she goes down the line of 14 women lighting torches at the official ceremony launching the Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebration. It's going to be a FIRST -- I promise -- for Zehava and for the female population of Israel. For the first time, every person lighting a torch is going to be a woman! And Zehava is going to be there, hovering next to each one as each torch is lit!

You want to know who these women are? Click on the link above. But let me tell you -- and Zehavah wants me to tell you for sure -- women have always played an important role in Israel.  From the very beginning, when they fought in the War of Independence, until today. I'm not saying that women don't have problems in 21st century Israel. Sure they do. But we're working on solving them. In the meantime, let's celebrate Israel's women -- from 1948 until today. Look at the photo credits below to find out who's who.




Palmach women photo credit

Golda Meir photo credit

Politicans Shelly Yechimovitz & Tzipi Livni photo credit

The late Naomi Shemer, leading songwriter photo credit

Nobel Prize Winner Professor Ada Yonath Photo Credit

Tennis champion Shachar Pe'er Photo Credit

Female soldier photo credit

Female Arab-Israeli Soccer players on Hapoel Petach Tikva team

Female scientists photo credit

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I Still Don't Have a Purim Costume!!!

Wow! Purim is only two weeks away and I still haven't decided what to dress up as. I stopped by Hannah Katsman and asked her. She writes the blog A Mother In Israel, so I knew she'd have some great ideas, and she did! She popped open her blog post on Easy Purim Costume Ideas.

But what if I don't want to make my own costume?? Leave it to my cousin Zehava. She said "Zvuvi! Don't tell me you've never  been to Pure Glorious Costumes in Tel Aviv?" I said "Huh?!?!"
"That's what I thought," she answered grabbing my wing. Away we flew. Before I knew it we were on Matalon Street in Tel Aviv, home to Tel Aviv's first ever Purim costume designer.

"Come on in," said Adva Abalya, the store's costume designer. With a big smile, she showed us around, explaining that this is a family business going back 30 years. "I'm keeping my 2014 designs a secret for another few days," she smiled, showing us the big hits from last year. Some are not relevant anymore. You'll understand when you view her tour.

When she finished she asked: "So what do you think?"

"What do I think?" I answered. "Dressing up as an Israeli pilot is a good idea. After all, I'm a real spitflyre."

Adva smiled. "I knew you'd find something." As she turned to go, I yelled: "Hey Adva! As long as you're not showing off your 2014 collection just yet, I have another costume idea for you."

Adva was all ears.

"Yeah," I added "I even have a picture for you."

I gave her this photo of me:

"Interesting," smiled Adva.

I think it looks easy to make. What do you think?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Don't Want to be Late for the Chocolate Festival

Shalom Yeladim:

Does looking at this

make you lick your lips?

If it does -- and I bet it does -- then come with me to the annual Chocolate Festival at Hatachana -- the restored Tel Aviv Train Station in Neve Tzedek. All of Israel's best chocolatiers will be there. They're going to show us how to make chocolate.

I can't wait because making chocolate is kind of like a Jewish tradition. Don't laugh.  I'm serious. The connection between Jews and chocolates goes all the way back to the Spanish Inquisition. There's even a book that's come out about Jewish merchants and chocolate called On the Chocolate Trail. But let's stay with chocolate in Israel. It all began in 1933 when the Elite candy company was created. Today we have many, many more companies making chocolate. You could say we're kind of like a chocolate heaven. We even have a chocolate farm! That makes sense. After all, chocolate is made from cocoa beans and cocoa beans grow on trees. Leave it to us to turn those trees into a farm. I guess we had to, because the all-time favorite school snack in Israel is a chocolate spread sandwich. I even found a recipe for making chocolate spread, created by the American-Israeli cookbook author Jamie Geller.

Hey, in case you haven't heard, chocolate gives you energy and bittersweet chocolate is healthy. Like all other foods -- you have to make sure you don't eat too much. Me? I eat a little bit every day. 

Mmmm....I can smell the chocolate.  Going in for a landing. This looks like some festival!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Girls Can Make it in Math and Science. A New Israeli Animated Series Proves It!

Hey Banot -- Girls. I want to introduce you to my new friends Purple and Nine.
Nine is the assertive redhead on the left...and Purple? Purple's in trouble because she's broken one of her father's precious chess pieces. The solution? She's going to make an exact double of the chess piece by using a 3D printer.

Sounds crazy to you? Not to me. Not in our 21st Century. And what's really cool is that Purple and Nine are girls who are techies! Even better, they are the latest animated stars made in Israel by two savvy female entrepreneurs.

Yup. Two American-Israeli women with hi-tech backgrounds -- Rebecca Rachmany and Miriam Lottner -- decided that it's time the world's Start-Up Nation (Israel of course) gets girls excited about math, science and technology. The way to do it? Through a new 3D animated web series they've created for girls, ages 8-12. Called Purple and Nine it just made its debut on YouTube this past Thursday. Have a look at the first five-minute episode. It's totally awesome!

Want to know more about this series? Read this article that just appeared in Ha'aretz.

And boys? I think you'll also be interested in Purple and Nine. They're cute, funny and SMART!

Bye for now.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's My Favorite Tree's Birthday

Shalom Girls & Boys:

Do you have a favorite tree? I do. It's this acacia tree standing in the middle of Israel's desert.

I love flying down south so I can sit on a branch and watch the sunset. It's just me and my tree, alone, away from every busy bee. In fact, I'm watching the sun set right now and thinking about Tu B'Shvat -- which is only a few days away. I bet you'd like to see what planting a tree in Israel is like on this holiday. You don't have to look far. I found some video clips for you, like this one.

Do trees add a lot to your life? What do your friends have to say about trees?  I went to Shalom Sesame  and asked some boys and girls.  And you know what? I also found this neat video with a song called I Wanna Be A Tree. Have a look and let's all wish the trees in Israel Happy Birthday and a Happy New Year!

Acacia tree photo credit