Our Rig

Our Rig

Monday, December 22, 2008


300 year Hanukia ,lightening the first candle at our house.

The Story

The story of Chanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees (no direct connection to the modern movement known as Chasidism). They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.

According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.


Our rabbis taught the rule of Chanukkah: ... on the first day one [candle] is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased ... [because] we increase in sanctity but do not reduce. -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud

Chanukkah is not a very important religious holiday. The holiday's religious significance is far less than that of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu'ot. It is roughly equivalent to Purim in significance, and you won't find many non-Jews who have even heard of Purim! Chanukkah is not mentioned in Jewish scripture; the story is related in the book of Maccabees, which Jews do not accept as scripture.

Chanukkah MenorahThe only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles. The candles are arranged in a candelabrum called a menorah (or sometimes called a chanukkiah) that holds nine candles: one for each night, plus a shammus (servant) at a different height. On the first night, one candle is placed at the far right. The shammus candle is lit and three berakhot (blessings) are recited: l'hadlik neir (a general prayer over candles), she-asah nisim (a prayer thanking G-d for performing miracles for our ancestors at this time), and she-hekhianu (a general prayer thanking G-d for allowing us to reach this time of year). See Chanukkah Candle Lighting Blessings for the full text of these blessings. After reciting the blessings, the first candle is then lit using the shammus candle, and the shammus candle is placed in its holder. The candles are allowed to burn out on their own after a minimum of 1/2 hour.

Candlelighting Procedure Each night, another candle is added from right to left (like the Hebrew language). Candles are lit from left to right (because you pay honor to the newer thing first). On the eighth night, all nine candles (the 8 Chanukkah candles and the shammus) are lit. See animation at right for the candlelighting procedure. On nights after the first, only the first two blessings are recited; the third blessing, she-hekhianu is only recited on the first night of holidays.

Why the shammus candle? The Chanukkah candles are for pleasure only; we are not allowed to use them for any productive purpose. We keep an extra one around (the shammus), so that if we need to do something useful with a candle, we don't accidentally use the Chanukkah candles. The shammus candle is at a different height so that it is easily identified as the shammus.

It is traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukkah because of the significance of oil to the holiday. Among Ashkenazic Jews, this usually includes latkes (pronounced "lot-kuhs" or "lot-keys" depending on where your grandmother comes from. Pronounced "potato pancakes" if you are a goy.) My recipe is included later in this page.

Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the holiday, but has been added in places where Jews have a lot of contact with Christians, as a way of dealing with our children's jealousy of their Christian friends. It is extremely unusual for Jews to give Chanukkah gifts to anyone other than their own young children. The only traditional gift of the holiday is "gelt," small amounts of money.

Another tradition of the holiday is playing dreidel, a gambling game played with a square top. Most people play for matchsticks, pennies, M&Ms or chocolate coins. The traditional explanation of this game is that during the time of Antiochus' oppression, those who wanted to study Torah (an illegal activity) would conceal their activity by playing gambling games with a top (a common and legal activity) whenever an official or inspector was within sight.

DreidelsA dreidel is marked with four Hebrew letters: Nun, Gimel, Hei and Shin. These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham", a great miracle happened there, referring to the miracle of the oil.

The letters also stand for the Yiddish words nit (nothing), gantz (all), halb (half) and shtell (put), which are the rules of the game! There are some variations in the way people play the game, but the way I learned it, everyone puts in one coin. A person spins the dreidel. If it lands on Nun, nothing happens; on Gimel (or, as we called it as kids, "gimme!"), you get the whole pot; on Hei, you get half of the pot; and on Shin, you put one in. When the pot is empty, everybody puts one in. Keep playing until one person has everything. Then redivide it, because nobody likes a poor winner.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


We decided to take advantage of the warm December weather and take a day trip to Jerusalem.
Usually in Jerusalem the weather is by 5-10 degrees colder that in the center but this time it was just fantastic, the sun was soft and warm but as one stood in the shade one need a light jacket.
Mainly Jerusalem is divided into 3 sections:New Jerusalem-all the new buildings mainly around Jerusalem that were built after the six day war.
Old Jerusalem-old sections out of the walls , the houses are built so close to each other that some places never see sunlight.
Ancient Jerusalem within the walls,that has 4 sections:Jewish,Muslim,Christean and Armenian-All religious places are opened to everyone since Jerusalem became united after 1967.

One needs between 3-5 days to visit Jerusalem just to see the main places and stroll along the narrow roads and paths ,visit the Holy places and Museums.
The city is full of surprises and each time I escort someone to Jerusalem
I discover new places and angles that a gave saw before, it is amazing.
This time we took a day trip concentrating on the city market and in "Nachlaot" one of
the oldest quarters out side of the walls.
I wish I could bring you the sounds and the smells from this fantastic place,these pictures can give you a small "taste" of the place but it is no way replacing a "real" visit .

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

A great day for sailing

13 December can you believe it, look at the sky's and the color of the water, yes this is a great day for sailing.

So we hit the road at 0830 to make it on time to the marina in Herzelia to meet friends for a short half day sail in the area.

It was spontaneous and we meet a friend that we did not see for 35 years since the jolly navy days and it sure brought some memories back and many things to talk about.

As we were heading back after a few hours the sea became rough and we picked up speed up to 10 knots with only one sail on, the boat had a nice angle and handled it very well.

The weather brought a large amount of people to the boats and we had to stay in line to enter the harbor.

Drinks and light food was served as we enjoyed the whole atmosphere, nothing like good company a drink in your hand and an open mind.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Automn in New England


New England in October

Some times leaving the best part of the meal to the end makes the whole meal much better.

We love to RV, meet people from different places, make a fire, hike and feel the freedom but as summer ends and the cold weather is getting to our bones we store the rig and would usually fly home to Israel, but as I wrote before we have two kids in North America, one in Toronto and one in Boston with his family.

So maybe the summer RV season is over but NOT the entire trip.

This year we had a great time traveling with our young son from Toronto to Barrie, a small town next to a lake just an hour drive north to the city.

It was a bright cool day as should during this season, actually the weather was better than we sometimes had during the summer in Newfoundland, amassing..

After spending time in Toronto and the area we flew to Boston and had a fantastic week with our middle son, his wife and their daughter that had her 2nd birthday celebrated with us.

She grew a lot since we saw her 5 months ago and now she mixes English with Hebrew in one sentence what makes it funny but sweet.

In the weekend we took a drive to Salem, Rock port, Concord and had a great time.

The weather was just cold enough to remind us that we are way after the summer but still before the really cold days, the sky was clear blue and the Autumn colors were everywhere a real celebration of red and yellow leaves on trees and on the ground , the ones on the ground looked some times as big great color carpets.

I took a few shots hoping to grasp the atmosphere of this time and place-enjoy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We are on the way to our home in Israel after our summer RV trip but there are always 2 stops on the way,one in Toronto where our young son lives and one in Boston where our middle son and his family are stationed.
It usually takes us a while to arrive in Israel from the time we store the rig, it is a lot of fun and we take the time to enjoy and cherish this beautiful time with our family.
After 2 weeks in Toronto we finally made it to Boston not before being bounced from AA first flight
of the day due to overbooking,but we made the second one after 4 hours and it is fair enough as we are traveling on S/B bases.
Meeting our family after 5 months it is always a joy and especially Rony that turns 2 this month, we could see a huge change ,she speaks now Hebrew and a little of English and some times it all gets mixed up in a very funny nice way.
The parents of our daughter in law are here to visit so we are going to celebrate Rony's birthday all together and give her the best feeling possible as she misses her "home" atmosphere.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Down Town &Toronto Islands-October 2008

The rig is always stored at the end of each summer trip and can be a different location from the last year but we always fly through Toronto because of several reasons, first of all our youngest son lives in Toronto so we can be with him at least twice a year and second there is a direct flights to Tel-Aviv.
We also get over the jet leg after the long flight from Israel and take the time to explore different parts of the city and the surroundings.

This year we spent time in down town and on the Islands.

Down town and the close area except being a business's center has many beautiful spots, like China Town, Kensington Market ,Distillery Historic District and others.

Walking the streets or taking the subway you wonder if you are in Canada or in some other place in which people speak different languages , so many nationalities and cultures and all get along well together-amassing.

I general I prefer the nature, the outdoors and the space I have while traveling with the trailer,but I found that Downtown Toronto has its special appeal and I can sit in a coffee shop listen to street singers and just watch the people .
In my first visits I got uncomfortable with all the crowds especially after RVing in open area's that are nothing like this place,but I learned to get along and even enjoy this loud crowded place as well, it is different but nice.

Will be flying from Toronto to Boston to visit Yariv our middle son,his wife Ayelet and their daughter and our youngest granddaughter Roni that turns 2 this month.

We are grateful to have at this era Internet,so we can share,talk and even see friends and family at any given time when being far away.
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2008 7th RV trip-East Canada

We flew to Toronto to visit our youngest son Nimrod , and then to Boston to spend time with our middle son Yariv, his wife Ayelet and Roni our youngest granddaughter,this way we see them at least twice a year once on the way to the trailer and once on the way home at the end of each trip.
The visits are always emotional as they are relatively short and only once in half a year.
Getting back to the starting point we were meet by Nancy and Llyod that are going out of their way to help us getting on the road.

After a few days we headed to North Sydney to catch the ferry to NL as a begging point to make it on time to see some Icebergs before the melt or go South.
From that point we started slowly to circle this beautiful Island, I planned one and a half months but we traveled along we decided to give it another whole month-and we are not sorry a bit.

The nature,the sea food and especially the PEOPLE make New Foundland a great unique place, we have made a lot of friends on this Island and we loved every minute we spent there although the weather was not always as summer should be.
We hiked,visited festivals,went to dinner theaters,pubs with Celtic music and socialized with locals all this made the stay in New Foundland great, we will come again..

Our next destination was the famous great Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia,nature at it's best..every turn a new and beautiful scenery appears and you start to wonder if this is for real.
We had some mechanical problems with our truck, usually I do not get into it on the blog but this time I am doing it because I wanted to thank the people from Sydney NS that went of their way to help me out,they fixed the problem in no time even in the weekend,left me their personal car so I will be able to drive around and did not let me go till they were satisfied with the repair.

P.E.I is a place to end a long trip, it is relaxing,beautiful and groomed all together, we spent there 10 last days of the trip before heading back to N.B passing through the Hopwell Rocks to see the magnificent phenomena of the TIDES, we walked on the ocean floor when the tide was out and saw the rocks all covered with 16 meters of water when the tide is in, what a sight.
Now the rig is stored in our friends property and we are on the way home through Toronto and Boston, it is the end of our 7th trip (unbelievable) but there is always next year.....till then.
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Monday, October 6, 2008

2007 6TH RV trip-Ontario,Quebeck

Starting from Thunder Bay we headed east along the North Shore of Ontario Lake, we had to remind ourselves that it is a lake rather than a sea,it is so large , the waves are so strong that it gives you the feeling that it is a sea.

The parks along this route are outstanding, long sandy beaches,trees,Islands,waterfalls-Paradise..
The diamond on the crown this year was meeting Nicky and Grant in Sue San Marie and then at their place in Whit Fifth Falls.
It was a complete surprise to see their fantastic house and the boat docking at their pier, we were invited to join them on a cruise around the area and had enjoyed every minute of it-Thanks friends and hope to see you again.

We also were able to meet with Jim and Sylvia that came all the way from California to meet us in Ottawa and spend time with us in Mount Tremblant before heading back home.

We continued to Quebec and all around the beautiful Gaspe Penninsula,watching the "big" whales play around
Ending our current trip in New Brunswick at Nancy's and Llyod place, a great couple we "meet" on the RV forum.
They made us feel at home and for that -Thanks a million.
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2006 5TH RV trip-Montana-WY-S.D-Minnesota

This year we started with our brand new Trailer, that was already loaded with our personal things since last year and was waiting for us in the dealers yard together with the truck.
Things went well till we reached the Alberta - Montana Boarder,there the US customs pulled out from the trailer food they said that was not allowed to enter the US,but we overcame this although we thought is was not handled properly.
The main attraction this trip was BRANDING in Sheridan Wyoming, it all started a year before when we meet with Eddie and Dee during a beer fest in New Mexico, they invited us to participate in Branding their cattle the following year, well it took us 2 seconds to except their offer and showed up in time for the event.
It was like in the good old days the traditional way (as we saw in the movies), build the coral,gather the herd,brand,vaccine,castrate the caves and then have food&grab laughs and more beer-it was fun- ,my back remembered it for a while..

South Dakota was special to visit ,Mount Rushmore and Bad Lands gave the place fine flavour.
In one c.g we had a Snake coming up our sewer pipe chased away by a BIRD..it was an interesting scene all together.
In Minnesota we meet face to face with "Internet" friends Hal and Jan that live on a beautiful river in South Minnesota and had a fantastic week together.
The way to Thunder Bay from Duluth in the Autumn with all the colors changing was an outstanding event, its like driving in a dreamland.
In Thunder Bay we meet with Peter and Cheryl a couple we meet in 2002 on the way to Alaska , it was nice meeting them again and sharing some time together.
After storing the rig in Thunder Bay we took off for the winter...
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