Monthly Archives: May 2016

Randy’s Recipes: Green Zeitim

 

“Zeitim” is Hebrew for the English word “olives”. One most associates the old olive trees in Israel with the green variety, some trees living for thousands of years back to the times when all three monotheistic faiths could witness their growth, both the trees and their religions, through the Jewish lens of Jerusalem and Judah/Israel. Both the trees and the Jews were there to witness these births and the impacts they have had on humanity — and, not to mention, on the Jews and the trees, themselves.

 

The Jewish people, and its faith, believe that the Messiah will arrive to usher in the G-dly reign by walking through the double gates in the city walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, opposite Har HaZeitim, or, as it’s English name is called, “The Mount of Olives”. This physical site is the rising mountain located next to and over-looking the Beit HaMikdash, the Jewish Temple, which stood upon the Mount opposite, which now is home to the famous gold-domed and silver-roofed house of Islamic prayers.

 

Because we believe that the Messiah will arrive  at that spot, it has behooved us to build our graves there, so that we can be closest to meet the Messiah, at that time. In life and in death, we believe in G-d. It is for this reason that Har HaZeitim, the Jewish cemetery, is situated directly across from the expected arrival spot. Har HaZeitim is the oldest known cemetery in the world. It’s gravestones are graves of stone.

 

Stone has a lasting permanence; it is what G-d has chosen in creating the bedrock and mantle of the crusts of the earth, and of its many interesting geological formations in the composition of the mountains. A small rock or pebble is placed atop the gravemarker upon visiting the site of a Jewish grave location. The tectonic plates which are pushing against one another as they slowly contort the landscape might be riding on the waters which separate firmament from firmament, and from the waters above of the firmaments above. Careful reading of the Bible would show this as a possible meaning to the wonders of our worlds — things we only don’t discover until much later, if at all.

 

The love of the Jewish people for the words of G-d, and their belief that the land He delivered them and the place that He requested as His abode, within the Beit HaMikdash (Jewish Temple) upon its mount, resting on the bedrock of Jerusalem, in the land of Judah/Zion/Israel/etc., has prompted the correlation by the derivative monotheistic faiths to develop tandem, or occasionally, replacement-based theological viewpoints, sometimes leading to major movements.

 

These three evidentiary details should be clear proof that the Jewish claim, not only to the site of the Temple Mount, but to the land of Israel, is legitimate: the Jewish cemetery built on Har HaZeitim to greet the Messiah shows that the Jews cherish and respect the Holiness which G-d accorded it. The cemetery is the oldest in the world, continuing to serve its intended function as a Jewish cemetery. This precedes any possible other claims, being an original, archaeological physical proof, as well as a faith-based demonstration of the Jewish spiritual reality and attention to its fulfillment. The retaining wall to hold the Temple Mount in place has been known as the “Wailing Wall” to successive generations of faithful believers (the “Western Wall” to Jewish sources, translated from the Hebrew “Kotel HaMa’ariv”) who have undertaken specific pilgrimages of faith to visit there throughout the centuries. It is known in extant extraneous sources of written literature attesting to these travels to the revered site in Jewish history and its lore from a broad range of faiths and people throughout history. These documents are being ignored in ceding the site to Arabs, but should not be. The site was built to support a massive structure, requiring the placement, right down to the very bedrock, of 144-ton stones to support the distribution of weight across its surface and to raise it upon its pedestal. There is nothing built below bedrock — no other culture found below this level. It’s walls rise up through the striations of following levels of human existence, but it remains rooted to the earth at its very foundation level. Knowing its importance in relation to the Jews’ perceived relationship with G-d, other faiths built there to receive the glory, as well. It is the reason for the abundance of structures of all faiths, throughout the centuries, enjoining that they receive their share of spiritual accord, too. Some, such as the Arabs, meant to take all the glory away from the Jews; during the time of their actual reign here, too, they made certain to stop the Messiah’s arrival, which would bring the Jews back to their glory, by blocking-up the entry-gates of the walls to the city through which He is supposed to enter. The difference in workmanship, and that this bricked-up addition to already existing entrances to a much older structure, should be obviously apparent (– but, it’s ignored).

 

The wood of the olive tree has had major Biblical significance, as well. Because of the olive tree’s significance, mentioned throughout testaments of varied faiths, it and its wood, used in the Bible, are extremely revered and imputed with hallowed significance in the industry built up around its usage for keepsakes. Carvings from its wood are especially helpful as a means of employment, particularly among the Arabs who carve and sell such figurines from its wood to the burgeoning Christian pilgrimage visitors, as well as casual tourists, visiting Israel’s sites. Olives are among the species of Israel listed in the Bible. Its oil and the millstones and vats used for its pressing are found in ancient archaeological excavations around Israel.

 

My first encounter with a green olive occurred many, many years ago. Our family was the home where Thanksgiving took place, and my cousin coaxed me to try one. Perhaps it was profaning the sanctity of its species in a secular observance which embittered its taste in my mouth, and my reaction was rather exaggerated and it had to go; and go quickly it did, in a rather irrational manner.

 

My next attempt to try one came directly from a tree in Israel at the site called Gan HaShlosha (or, “Garden of the Three”), a paradaisical oasis of natural hot springs, date palms, olive trees and unbelievable beauty in the sandy desert-like conditions mostly surrounding it. A pool containing the visible portions of this spring has been built to enhance its comforts, and it is definitely a must-see place to visit. It also has another name called Sachne Oasis. I tried the bitter offering of the olive straight from the tree before being brined or preserved, and again, had the same reaction; I wasn’t alone in this — the entire group did, as well. But that was, again, a less commital exertion, on my part, to comply reasonably with facets of our faith’s practices and observances — So, no-go.

 

Then, when I had the right intent, or at least the best of intents on my part to commit further to Israel, the olive became an agreeable and loved and adored foodstuff from G-d that I crave in my diet and which provides me so much sustenance. Thank you, L-rd! And this came about in the most secular manner, by the way. I had visited a mall and there found a Kosher Domino’s pizzeria inside! Fancy that!? It was sortof expensive and I was going to have none of that, but somehow the pizzamaker had convinced me I needed to try it, and that was that. I don’t recall exactly, but I think that we were also debating the merits of an Israeli Jewish staple, at least in terms of pizza toppings, as pepperoni, sausage and bacon do not aspire to the list. It wss an “Ode to the Green Olive” (my title theme eventually to continue in the future, so I claim it as mine — no grabsies). Past occurences notwithstanding, there it was — now on my plate before me. He was right. I don’t recall whether I agreed or whether I received it by “accident”; but, perhaps, maybe there are never any real “accidents” in life. Perhaps this represents an ascension, an accedance, to the realm of the metaphorically-relevant existence operating in G-d’s spiritual realm.


This dish can be eaten as a side accompaniment, as a meal in itself, or used raw or cooked in entrees and hors d’oeuvres, like a tapenade. It’s flavors are spicy. Mixed with sweet apple, as I did here, it became a melding of perfection — peppery bite with underlying temperedness of sweetness. It reminds me of the Yiddish embodiment of Jewish expression.


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Green Zeitim (Randyjw; May 18, 2016)

 

Lemon rind (washed, ripe, edible — can be substituted with other edible citrus peels or the zest from non-edible rinds; other substitutes, and your favorites, might work, as well), cut fairly small

Sugar (any kind; I used white, granular; to be the base for the sweet, syrupy slurry that will be infused with the aroma of the add-in; other substitutes, like agave nectar or honey, etc. can be utilized additional to, or in place of, the sugar)

Green Olives, chopped

Cinammon, sprinkled

Apples, sliced (optional; never-ending adds: on toast; over rice; as a stock-starter to jump off on other dishes, etc… Also: on lettuce, as well as on lettuce and with a garlic-pasta all-together)


At least 1/2-day to 1-day in advance (it’s better this way, but if you must proceed otherwise, don’t let that stop you), prepare the slurry by zesting the peel (if hard and inedible) or cutting the edible, soft, ripe, washed rinds of citrus or other matter you are turning to a liquid-derived, flavor-infused slurry into a container and coat with sweetener, several times stirring and adding, until a thick slurry has formed. If you can, allow it to infuse for a time, overnight in the fridge, or so. Remove when ready to begin next steps of preparation. Using a bit of the slurry that has hopefully had time to “marinate”, add this to some chopped green olives in a bowl. Sprinkle and stir-in a couple dashes of cinammon — the flavor will really come alive and bloom by opening it up to the addition of the cinammon, just like an Israeli sabra in the desert.

9.1 Yums Up (Green Zeitim/Fuji Apple Version, only)

Update: Substitutes can also be used, though, the recipe is really just meant for the Fuji apples. Here, I used pears, and, since it needed a flavor changer/enhancer, I added about a half-jigger or so of Marsala wine. I made this version especially to show to Jyotee, who does not love apples (still, I think it should be apples, but…)

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Afterwards, I then turned it into a piecey poached-pear chutney, of sorts, here:

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Here it makes a delicious dressing atop plain iceberg lettuce:

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and, then, it was love at first bite when I threw-in a garlic-butter-pasta-green herbs side dish, (which had been uninspiringly dry as its plain, old left-over self):

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It was wonderful mixed with sliced peaches:

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Additional Reading (Added June 25, 2018):

 

Flatow, Stephen M. “‘Un-Settling’: The Royals Understanding of Jerusalem”; Reprinted in secondary source by JewishPress.com from Jewish News Syndicate (JNS); June 25, 2018:

http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/un-settling-the-royals-understanding-of-jerusalem/2018/06/25/

 

 

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Randy’s Recipes: Szeged Veg

 

The country of Hungary, located in the more South-Central/Eastern region of Europe, had had a sizable wartime population of 800,000 Jews, prior to their deportment to, and their deaths in, the Nazi death camps established across Europe to receive them.

 

Jews had lived here in Hungary, in the territory previously referred to during the Roman Empire rule as the province of Pannonia, since at least the second century C.E. In its conquering swath, the Roman Empire managed to eventually subdue the sovereign Jewish land of Judaea/Israel.

 

The Jewish Revolt had been initially successful in repelling the Roman invasion from Israel, but eventually, this last, mighty group was defeated, and Jews were then forced to live as a vassal state in Israel/Judah — ruled by Jewish kings, but with acquiescense of Roman heirarchy.

 

During this period, there were the Hasmonean Kings and its dynasty, as well as the more familiar Idumean converts to Judaism, Herod and sons. Because of this Roman overrule, Judaea/Israel was renamed in the guise of the Jews’ old arch enemies, the Falastin (The Philistines — a people absorbed without trace and of no known discernible historical continuation to any known people today).

 

Roman generals utilized three legions from Pannonia against the Jews during these wars of the second century and captured Jewish slaves, bringing them back to what would eventually be known as the region of Hungary.

 

It, like many other of the European towns purged of their Jews, struggled to resurge in the Holocaust’s aftermath. Szeged has become, albeit a shell of its glorious former self, a place where the Jewish community has again tried to rebuild their shattered lives from the ashes of their destruction.

 

Estimates place the Jewish population of Hungary between 35,000 – 120,000 people now. They melded along the way in a high rate of assimilation with the general populace via intermarriage and were generally given relaxed and mostly-favorable treatment by the region’s rulers. At other times, there were pogroms and anti-Semitism, and the practically complete cooperation in compliance with Hitler’s edicts to round-up the Jews to export them to their deaths.

 

In the intervening years, Jews had become skilled merchants and artisans. They lived in Hungary prior to the land’s receipt of that same name. They made prized wines, which eventually drew the jealousy and ire of the locals, whereby an official law was then created barring Jewish production of fine wines. Jews dealt in spices and trade and became generally successful people.

 

Capsicum (pepper) is said to have been brought in to Hungary in the late 16th century, with its derivative spice, called “paprika”, evolving about 100 years later. Both paprika and wine are used in the famous dish of Hungary’s region (and one of my favorites), Hungarian Goulash.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia.org/wiki/Szeged; Citation 4: Web Archive.org/Internet Way Back Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20090728021200/http://www.vickery.tv/acatalog/Paprika.html

 

World Jewish Congress (Communities/Hungary): http://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/about/communities/HU

 

This simple side takes its hot and spicy cues from the flavors of the region, utilizing the famous spice, which become paprika, in the town of Szeged, where it became largely popularized. I have a large can to last me for years — a “hot” version. A second, “sweet” version is the usual type found on supermarket shelves. You’re likely to find the “hot” variety at international or specialty stores.

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Randy’s Recipes: Szeged Veg (Randyjw; May 18, 2016)

 

Onion (I used white, but you can use your preference), sliced into small, wedge-like bites

Carrots, bias-cut (my preferred style, generally; but, use your own)

Paprika (“hot” or “sweet”), to taste

Cinammon, to taste

Oil (I used corn, which was at-hand; others you might try are: grapeseed, sesame, peanut, flaxseed — experiment!), lightly drizzled

Honey (or other natural sweetener) (optional; cuts the heat)

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Combine all ingredients. Enjoy! This can be used as the basis for a cooked main course, mixed with fowls, meats, fish, pasta, over rice, sauteed with diced potatoes to make home fries, etc.

3.2 Yums Up

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Brighten Someone’s Day

 

Brighten Someone’s Day (Randyjw; May 15, 2016)

 

Send someone a cheery reminder that you’re thinking of them by sending them a Peace/Love Bunny! Just snap a photo of your hand making the “V” for Victory/Peace sign, add a design (be creative and tape cotton balls for fur, or add whiskers, etc. Googly eyes, stickers, non-toxic paints, paper bow-ties, polka-dots, pipe cleaners, are all cute add-on to dress up your bunny). Forward it along on your blog or email or snail-mail, and brighten someone’s day. When they catch their bunny, they’ll know you sent them warm and fuzzy (furry!) happy thoughts! Soon, they’ll hop around the world! Write a special saying on your photo, like Love or Peace. It’s a nice gesture and might help add some cheer to somebunnies’ day (hah-hah)!!!

 

It’s also a thank-you to you, for cheering me and the world with your posts. I’m happy to see you all, and want you to know that your presence has gladdened my heart.

 

Here’s an example of the Peace/Love Bunny (mine says “Shalom” in Hebrew script, which means “Peace”, as well as “Hello” and “Goodbye”) below. Make your own and send them ’round the world!

 

SOME BUNNY LOVES YOU!

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“I’d Love to Change the World…”

 

… but I don’t know what to do… So I leave it up to you…” Lyrics — to the rock song I heard growing up in my youth, by a band called Ten Years After (see a video, for a feel of the era of the times, here: (https://youtu.be/IaGwjZCCswQ)).

 

It was a time of residual hippiness and carefree youth, my older brother (I miss you!!!) indoctrinating me with a great schooling of the proper rock classics and culture, which went along with the 60’s and filtered into the early 70’s.

 

While I’m more of a hippie-chick used-to-be wannabe, I still have alot of the social-issue-activism I never really utilized spilling over into my later years. It’s been tempered through experience with reality toward a more conservative outlook, these days — but best summed up by considering myself an issues-oriented person with conservative leanings.

 

The world really does need changing still, so here is where my evolving stances lie, and what my proposed considerations would be (and may be further updated/edited):

 

I. Workplace:

a) Unhook healthcare from employer responsibility. What happened to medical privacy? Your employer should not be privy to your private, personal medical data. Repeal the law that requires a company to provide medical insurance coverage. That will be one less thing for them to administer. It benefits nobody in the present arrangement: companies often don’t even contribute to an employee plan, so their input is voyeuristic, at best. A company may still offer it, if they wish. Healthcare was at its best when companies had no obligation to provide it. Money the company saves, if any, could be used to raise take-home wages (though companies being the greedy little entities that they are make this scenario hardly likely).

 

b) Repeal the 90-day employee “probationary” status. People should be considered an official employee from day one. This eliminates bureaucratic red-tape in the burdensome “he-said/she-said” proof-of-employment status with the unemployment claims process, should it eventually come down to that. There is too much emphasis, because of this present allowance, to treat employees as disposible resources. They should be treated as the assets they are and receive benefits, if offered by the company, from day one. This makes better sense and offers better job “security”, for both the employer and the employed. Turnover will plummet, and both applicants and hiring managers will make more concerted efforts to create a mutually rewarding environment for all.

 

c) Eliminate background checks/references, and streamline the employment application. It is an invasion of privacy to require an applicant to provide personal financial and identifiable details, and its abuse is evident in the burgeoning explosion of identity theft issues. There are plenty of shady businesses out there, but the bias is tipped in their favor. What guarantees does a potential applicant have that their wages will be paid or that they will not get caught up in the company’s questionable dealings? Really not much, other than the companies’ reputation; how long they’ve been around, etc. Conversely, it happens that the company may have hired a “bad apple” in the bunch, from time to time. If the applicant is not jailed, than it should stand to reason that they have not been proven guilty of anything. Aren’t they supposed to be given the benefit of the doubt? Instead, they’re bombarded with giving up private information about their banking and finances, credit, vehicles, housing, location of everything: school, previous employment — and that’s just for the consideration of becoming an eligible candidate. It’s no wonder identity theft is so commonplace. Do company managers and executives provide their own, personal credit reports for the applicants’ perusal? I didn’t think so. So, what proof does a company provide that they can purchase your services up-front for one-, maybe two-weeks or more in advance, when your paycheck arrives (interest-free)? It is an even exchange; your work, for an agreed (though not always favorable) rate of pay. Simplify the process: Name, address and phone number, plus a check-box to indicate whether the applicant is eligible to work and can supply, on day one, proof of employment eligibilty (the present forms work, as long as there is enforcement of compliance), which ought to suffice for all requirements needed from an applicant. Let the potential employee provide, at their own discretion, non-requisite additional information to enhance their selection for the position (relevant experience, etc.). Engender an atmosphere of enhanced trust — it will do wonders to increase morale.

 

Taxation:

It’s a necessary evil. There would be no other fair way to generate revenue to create the infrastructure and services the country communally relies on. Money is an exchange medium to purchase goods and services, and credit is the extension of a promise for future payments toward the purchase of goods or services. Of course, there has to be an accepted and defined value standing behind the worth of the currency, and that is why some people prefer only valuations backed by real, tangible items (such as gold), as currencies occasionally are devalued and have little worth from their original price. Barter uses this principle, to create an agreed-upon exchange; but since not everyone can produce all things, money becomes the commonly recognized equalizer. So, if you don’t want my wooden picture frames, but I want your eggs, I can give you money for your eggs, to be used to purchase your need for milk from a different source.

 

a) Double Taxation: End unfair taxation. Either tax our employment, or our goods, but why do both?

 

b) Death Tax: Excuse me? End that.

 

c) Inheritance Tax: That’s a double (or more) taxation. It’s already been taxed when initially earned. End that; it’s unfair.

 

Foreign Policy:

 

a) Stop Financing Terrorism. Only Support Democratic, Western-aligned and Acting Countries. Why do we send tax-payers’ hard-earned wages overseas to terrorists trying to kill us? This is not humane — either to our own citizens, or to them. Only support Democratic, peace-loving nations which need the help, from time-to-time. Business deals, where we reap a product, are fine. Endless financing to bankroll terror-involved attitudes from the countries housing such people needs to be ended immediately. If they want access to the nations and the economies that generate them,then they need to play by OUR rules.

 

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Randy’s Recipes: Laissez Caffe

 

Randy’s Recipes: Laissez Caffe (Randyjw; May14, 2016)

 

Instant coffee

Sugar

Sweetened condensed milk

Coconut Milk

Cinammon, a few dashes or 1 stick

 

Mix into large mug. Add boiling water and stir until ingredients are blended and dissolved.

 

Relax and enjoy!

7.8 Yums Up

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Letters to Editors, Etc.

 

 

Euronews.com:

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The Huffington Post:

Screenshot - May 6, 2016

Screenshot – May 6, 2016

 

 

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Away

 

Away

(Randyjw; May 13, 2016)

 

Should old acquaintances be forgot,

replaced with the shiny and new?

Should gifts of love and presents bought

return themselves to you?

 

Ice on a wound that does not heal

Sounds rather quite absurd

Advice dispensed you cannot feel

Because you have not heard

 

The magic spell was cast when young

which clouded sense from sight

The spider’s web with silk was spun

both hands released the kite

 

 

 

 

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