Saturday, August 19, 2006

Jewish Legion Zucchini Salad (story & recipe)

Mossa'ei Shabbat Qodesh Parshath Re'eh 5766


Two years ago, upon moving up in the world, north that is, from the town of Ofra in Binyamin (See Judges 6:11) to K'far Tapu'ah around the border between Efraim and Menashe (See Joshua 17:7-8), I was invited to eat Shabbath dinner with HaGedud HaIvri (the Jewish Legion). The Torah-based Jewish Legion, a resurection in spirit of its name-sake founded, through the efforts of Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Yosef Trumpeldor in August, 1918, was a group of Jewish volunteers who trained in self-defense, dog-handling, emergency medical response, and other security operations. Members came from Israel and from outside of Israel; some were "frum from birth," others only learning about their heritage. It was one of the only organizations or programs in Israel which was truly made up of a diverse group of Jews, building the kind of Jewish unity so-called pluralists only "talk" about.

Anyway, I was invited to join them for dinner. I could not arrive empty handed, could I?

I prepared the recipe below, and brought it over. Introductions were made. I had remembered several of the members from when I first visited K'far Tapu'ah, two years previously. Still, my eyes were fixed on my salad as it was passed around the table, making a mental note of who took, and who did not. I wanted to make a good, first impression. WHEW! Most of them took, AND finished what they took.

One of the members of the Gedud HaIvri, who liked this salad, asked if he could "claim" it, and put the Legion's name on it.

I said, "Sure. Why not?"

Thus was born the "Jewish Legion Zucchini Salad" (pictured below).

He soon left to go get some sleep. He had to take up his post at 2:00am. Even though exempt from service in the IDF, this Jew decided to give three years of his life in the service of his People and and his Land. So, for three years, seven days a week, from 2:00am to 8:00a, he was the only person standing between the western boundary of K'far Tapu'ah, Giv'ath Tapu'ah HaMa'aravith (Tapu'ah West Hill) and the Yishma'elite (Arab) village of Salfit, in so-called "Area A."

Another member, the Number 2 man in the Legion, later went out to his guarding post, overlooking the neighboring Yishma'elite village, Yassuf. He took up his position, armed only with a cellular phone and a plastic fork, having been unceremoniously denied his right to bear arms by the powers that be. That did not deter him from his mission. Somebody had to do it. His plastic fork, by the way was more of a symbolic protest weapon, than a functional one. Although, he did seem to be pretty resourceful.

Well, none of the dedication of these Jews seemed to matter to the IDF local command nor to the Israeli police, when on 8 Teveth 5766 (Jan. 8, 2006) they raided K'far Tapu'ah, confiscating everything from the dining room table and chairs to their specially trained, pedigreed Mallinois (Belgian Shepherd) guard dogs.

These are the same dogs which guarded towns throughout Yehudah, Shomron, & Azza (Judea, Samaria, & Gaza), deterring Yishma'elite infiltrations. These are the same dogs which (with their handlers) assisted the IDF in searching vehicles for bombs and bomb-making materials. These are the same dogs and handlers who spent their Saturday nights guarding hitchhiking locations during the recent kidnapping scare.


(You know... that light green squash in Israel that's not really zucchini, but we sometimes call it that in Italian/English for lack of a better name.)


(Fresh, not powered, for goodness sakes! - Gevaldt!)

Soy Sauce
(No, you don't have to make this from scratch. Although everyone knows that if you really loved your family, you'd make it from scratch! -- Just kidding. The only soy sauce requirement is that you are not allowed to use those thick Israeli versions of soy sauce! Telma used to have the best and cheapest, proper soy sauce, with an Eidah Haredis heksher, but it seems to have disappeared. Surprisingly you can find some American and Asian-made soy sauces in Shuq Mahaneh Yehudah, at reasonable prices. But, it depends on your preference in heksherim.)

Canola Oil
(Self-explanatory,...Um,...I hope.)


1. Wash, and leave un-skinned, 10 or so medium-sized qishu'im. Slice into circles about 4 mm wide (about 1/5 in.).

2. Whether deep-frying or frying in a regular frying pan, make sure to pre-heat the oil. Otherwise, the result will be a soggy mess.

3. Fry until the last piece of qishu'im begins to brown.

4. Remove, and allow oil to drip, or place on ripped-open, brown paper bag or paper towels to allow the excess oil to be soaked up. Repeat with with subsequently batches.

5. After all of the qishu'im have been prepared in the above manner, place four or five cloves of garlic, finely chopped, into the frying pan, with only a little oil, if not the oil which was dripped off from the deep-fryer, and reheat briefly.

6. Once the garlic begins to fry, add the qishu'im, and turn off the fire.

7. Immediately add the soy sauce, about three tablespoons. Additional soy sauce can always be added later according to taste.

8. With a spatula, gently flip over portions of qishu'im, allowing the soy sauce and garlic to mix in, without breaking up the shape of the qishu'im.

9. Allow to cool. Refrigerate. May be served cold, at room temperature, or be reheated for an additional side dish.


On that fateful day in Teveth (January) of this year, I, myself, happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. All of my personal belongings were searched, and personal letters read. I was then taken in, "detained for questioning." I spent a few hours at the police departments "lovely" facility in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem.

During my "questioning," I was asked what my connection was to the Gedud HaIvri. I told the detective about once in a while making a salad to bring over to them for Shabbath dinner. That seemed to catch even him, a seasoned interrogator, off guard for a split second. I believe that that I was released, as he was certain that I could not possibly have made up such a thing.

It's just like the Erev Rav (decendants of the"mixed multitude") police not to concern itself with the power of misswoth (Toraah commandments) like Shabbath and Hakhnasath Orhim (welcoming and providing for guests).

Anyone interested in supporting a similar organization, with canine units manned by volunteers may send donations to:

K'levim leHaganath Yisrael
(Canines for the Defense of Israel)
P. O. Box 6592


Don't forget to check out the other great recipes at the
Kosher Cooking Blog Carnival #9

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More Mistaken Photos (Photos Of Mistakes)

15 of the Fifth Month 5766 (Tu b'Av)

British PM Chamberlain & Hilter YSh-WSpeaking of mis-taken photos, these two, black & white photos have been circulating the Internet, a comparison which hardly challenges the imagination. Upon receiving these combined photos, a [Chinese?] proverb came to mind:

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

Each of these photos feature an accepted leader or representative of Edom shaking hands with his contemporary, who had vowed to destroy the Jewish People.

UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan & Hizbollah leader Nasrallah YSh-W

Yitzhak Rabin YSh-W & Yassar Arafat YSh-W

I suppose I can understand the oversight, neglecting to include the color photo above, which pictures the, then leader of the Erev Rav with his Yishma'elite counterpart, who was intent on destroying the Jewish People.

I side with those who include it with the first two, as all three photos are of evil people making huge and unconscionable mistakes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fire Phasers! On Lebanon?

14 of the Fifth Month 5766

The USS Enterprise Attacking Lebanon
Photos like this one have been popping up here and there, ever since the Reuters photo-doctoring scandal broke. Yes, I know it's shocking that anyone contributing to such a reputable institution as Reuters would do such a thing (sic.). Nonetheless....

One independent journalist (anonymity protected) was quoted as saying that this photo is an obvious fake due to the absence of a Star of David. That's pretty weak if you ask me. The Arabs would be the first to jump up and yell, "Zionist conspiracy! They purposely paint over their national insignia and jam their transponder frequencies in an attempt to escape identification."

As a Star Trek expert (ie "geek"), I feel it is my obligation to proclaim to you the irrefutable evidence that this is photo is a fake.

You see, the original USS Enterprise was a Constitution class starship, and thus unable to navigate through the earth's atmosphere. I know that it's very easy for you lay-people to get confused. Perhaps you recall witnessing the USS Voyager commanded by Capt. [now Admiral] Janeway, landing on the surface of various planets, and thought to yourself, "Hey, if the voyeur can land on an M-class planet, then so can the Enterprise. And, if the Enterprise can navigate through the earth's atmosphere, then maybe this photo isn't a fake after all." Wrong! These two space vessels are completely different classes of ship. The USS Voyager is an Intrepid class ship. It is a well-known fact the old Constitution class ship was not designed to navigate safely through planetary atmospheres.

Well, now that I've cleared that up for you, I must say that Sultan Knish and then Jameel @ The Muqata, among countless others I'm sure, beat me in posting this photo way before me. I, myself, received it from "Frodo" in Israel, via various middlemen.

(20 of the Fifth Month: This just in: It has been confirmed that Sultan Knish was indeed the creator of this mocked up photo. Apparently, in applying for a position at Reuters, the application asked for....)

But, hey, that's the whole point of this blog, to provide my infinitely invaluable and highly opinionated [I hope] "Esser Agaroth" on world events and life's little surprises. Of course, I'll probably be the only one to get sued for copyright infringement, or at the very least a nasty e-mail from, canceling my subscription to its e-newsletter.

Stay tuned!

And, of course, may the almighty protect us, and grant us victory over our enemies. war is no laughing matter, but it often reveals some of those absurdities inherent in human behavior.


Interested in contributing? E-mail me.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another Divine Cancellation

13 of the Fifth Month 5766

Last week, while those in many religious communities, in and out of Israel, were celebrating the cancellation [for the second year in a row] of the so-called "pride parade" in Jerusalem, another cancellation may have squeeked by without your notice.

The Depeche Mode concert, scheduled for the night following Tisha b'Av in Tel-Aviv, was also cancelled.

Although I haven't been following Depeche Mode's journey through music and time that much for the past several years, I really have been a fan of theirs almost since their inception in 1980. At one point, I even had my ears pierced just like lead singer David Gahan. The earrings have long since been removed, and, well,...that's another story for another time....

Months ago, when I heard that Depeche Mode was coming to Israel, I debated as to whether I should go. Could I afford the NIS 300 ticket? (approx. $68) Should I go to a concert with mixed [gender] seating? Maybe I could stand outside, and just listen, like we sometimes did in California. Or, should I even go to such a concert at all?

Well, after many months of not even thinking about the Depeche Mode concert, I was walking around Jerusalem with friends who were visiting from LA. We turned up Hillel Street, in a neighborhood where I am almost never seen, and sure enough we ended up passing a ticket office. There in the window was a huge poster announcing the concert, with that blaring date: Aug. 3. My friends asked, "Hey isn't that Tisha b'Av?" What did I know? Back in Teveth (January-ish), I didn't think anything of the date. Other than the occasional form to be filled out at an Israeli government office, I hadn't been the position of having to be bothered by the Western date for a very long time.

My friends quickly checked their calendars. The decision as to whether to go to the concert had been made for me. The concert fell on the night following the Fast of the Fifth Month (Tisha b'Av - commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, among other things). Even on the night following this fast, I would be unable to attend the concert. Most Hallachic (Jewish legal)authorities rule that several of the fast's observances of mourning continue through noon of the next day, just as the Temple continued to burn.

As the soldier abductions and rocket-firing by Hizbollah YSh"W turned into a war, I thought it hardly appropriate to go to a concert anyway, while my brothers in the north were huddled together in bombshelters, getting bombarded with rockets.

A short-lived protest over the concert being held right after the fast was waged by Knesset Members Zevulun Orlev and Nissan Slomiansky (National Religious Party). But their protest was to no avail. Israeli civil law only protects the sanctity of this fast from sunset to sunset. Given the current make-up of the Knesset, I seriously doubt they had any chance of ammending the law, assuming they even thought of such a possibility. Of course, the concert was cancelled anyway.

According to, the band's official website, the concert was cancelled "following the latest developments."

Arutz 7 suggests that “'recent developments,' [are] possibly an allusion to the bombing of a populated Hizbullah position in Kana, Lebanon."

YNET reported that according to the band's manager Shuki Weiss, who has family in Israel, and was looking forward to coming, the cancellation began with "a problem [that] came up with the technical team which developed into the refusal of the entire team to get on a plane and come." The report also included the only indication I was able to find as to how the band members themselves felt, with the band's organizer Marek Lieberberg saying that they very much wanted to come to Israel.

Of course, I cannot say for certain how the Depeche Mode concert, inappropriately scheduled in the first place, for the night following Tisha b'Av, came to be cancelled. I will say this, that I do not believe in coincidences. Simply put, the Almighty took away the option from 40,000 people to bop-out at a concert. If they wanted to avoid focusing the on the past and current, sadness and destruction going on around us, they were going to have to find another way to it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


The Fast of the Fifth Month 5766

On the Fast of the Fifth Month (Zekharyah 8:19), or Tisha b'Av as it is now commonly known, Torah study is forbidden. One of the few exceptions to this prohibition is the Book of Lamentations (Mishnah Torah, Hil. Ta'aniyoth 5:11), which is also publicly chanted on this day in many communities.

א אֵיכָה יָשְׁבָה בָדָד, הָעִיר רַבָּתִי עָם--הָיְתָה, כְּאַלְמָנָה; רַבָּתִי בַגּוֹיִם, שָׂרָתִי בַּמְּדִינוֹת--הָיְתָה, לָמַס ב בָּכוֹ תִבְכֶּה בַּלַּיְלָה, וְדִמְעָתָהּ עַל לֶחֱיָהּ--אֵין-לָהּ מְנַחֵם, מִכָּל-אהֲבֶיהָ: כָּל-רֵעֶיהָ בָּגְדוּ בָהּ, הָיוּ לָהּ לְאֹיְבִים

איכה א:א-ב

1 Oh, how she sits alone. The city* that was full of people has become like a widow. The great among the nations, the princess among the provinces, has become tributary! 2 Surely she weeps at night, her tears upon her cheeks; she has no comfort from her lovers; all her friends have betrayed her, they have become her enemies.

-Lamentations 1:1-2


No comfort, even from those who love her? Friends betraying her? Becoming her enemies?

Sound familiar?


Hebrew texts of the Tana"kh, Mishnah, Talmud Yerushalmi, Talmud Bavli, & Mishnah Torah are available on-line at Mechon Mamre.