Saturday, June 16, 2012


After years of not wearing any jewelry, I started off by setting some old stones I got, in casual pieces. After years, the inlays got loose and I lost a few small stones, a ring cracked, another ring I inherited from my late mother in law was too small and so slowly but surely I got to the no-wearable-piece point. Searched and searched for jewelers to fix my old pieces, but nobody wanted or could deal with them.

In my frustration, I bought a silver ring with a yellow stone and casually asked at the shop (behind which Bili Silver Jewelry manufactures tasteful silver designs) if they knew anyone who could help. They gave me a name and told me to google it. This is how I found Maziar Yeshurun, an Iranian Jew owning a business next to the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan, who turned out to be THE expert in the field as he wrote the textbooks and also teaches courses in this field.

After being amazed by the myriad of different tools at his place (Maziar is a heavy tool collector), a wonderful story unfolded as he and Peter (a tool collector himself) kept talking. Turned out that in the early 80s, Maziar worked at Tenim Ltd. (a Tel Aviv firm that sold equipment and supplies for jewelers and watchmakers) to finance his studies. Tenim was owned and managed by the resourceful Missis Tannenbaum, a remarkable Hungarian Jewish lady, who managed to free her family during WWII, by bribing their Nazi keepers with solid gold bars. According to their deal, the bribed Nazis turned a blind eye to her family members swimming out of the ghetto in up-to-the-chin raw sewage.

During the same period (80s), Peter was an oleh hadash (new emigrant) in Dimona, a godforsaken desert town in the South of Israel, attending Ulpan (intensive Hebrew school). His uncle, Lebovits Andres, worked for Tenim as an accountant. To help Peter, he suggested him to contact Meir Schwartz, a Romanian Jew owning a watch and clock shop in Dimona, who used to come to Tenim once a week for buying supplies for his shop. Peter befriended Meir and his family and made his first, modest income by fixing radio clocks for Meir and later learned how to fix clocks and watches too. After leaving Dimona, Peter visited his uncle at Tenim frequently and even bought an expensive engraver's ball he used maybe once.

With two things is common- tools and Tenim - Peter and Maziar were unstoppable. Maziar kept telling us how modest and wise Missis Tannenbaum was, how he enjoyed his years at the firm and loves everything Hungarian ever since. Peter got all nostalgic about tools, and mutual respect between the two occurred in an instant. I slipped into the secondary, supporting role, but hey, at least all my jewelry is now professionally renewed.

Weekend Culinaria

We've decided to temporarily replace the weekend routine of cooking 15 boxed lunches, with eating out and making meals for just the weekend. This is how it went this weekend.


Peter heard two radio journalists speaking about a special meal they enjoyed at a beachfront Bukharian restaurant in Tel Aviv, so he ordered a table for Friday lunch. After the parking nightmare, we entered the pretty much empty place. The staff was attentive and helpful, the decor basic. The food was not remotely worth the NIS 600 they charged for our 2 samosas, 2 salads, an ethnic bread, a small platter of toof-toof kebab (fried micro-kebabs and fresh onion slices in a pool of oil and vinegar), 4 desserts, a bottle of label-less white wine and a coke. Green tea on the house.


Even though I very rarely eat (at least I try) or buy potatoes, found myself with a sackful, never mind why. Peter came with the idea of making rösti (Swiss hash browns) and so he did. I added cold Hungarian cherry soup and zürcher geschnetzeltes (Swiss relative of beef stroganoff). To complete the experience, we finished the leftover beetroot and horseradish salad, drank chilled white wine and ended the meal with some Swiss chocolate. Green tea will be served later. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Four Short Stories for the Weekend

Unexpected Trail Angel
Tom has left with a couple of friend for a weeks' hike on the Israel National Trail. They started Thursday at the Dan trail head, and if all goes well, will end in Tiberias. After the first day's hike with their overweight backpacks, they spotted a small hummus joint. When the owner realized they are trail hikers, he gave them a free, air-conditioned room with bathroom and a bottle of cold coke. They could take a shower, dry their boots and socks and charge their cellphones. What a wonderful start!

Book Week Thoughts
The book market in the land of the people of the book is basically a duopoly. I still remember when a new novel's price was above NIS 80. Now you can buy 4 for 100. The masses can afford to go to bed with quality novels. Novelists go to bed hungry, unless they have a day-job.

Clothes Shopping
Today I acted as shopping adviser for Dan (25). We drove all the way to the Polgat outlet in Kiryat Gat and were the first to arrive. At unbelievable sale prices of dress shirts (2 for 40 - less than $5/shirt) and other items, the shop quickly filled with customers. In about an hour (that's all we had), Dan managed to buy 2 pants, 6 shirts and 4 pairs of socks at a price more than 3 times cheaper than during a previous such shopping 'expedition' a few years ago. Israeli consumers can afford wearing quality clothes, while textile workers in Kiryat Gat (a fraction of Israeli consumers) are unemployed, and Chinese textile workers feed their families from a monthly wage not enough to live a single week in Kiryat Gat. But who can think about the effects of globalization when Dan said he was happy with my services?

Wrong Address
This weekend I am exempted from kitchen work and so we had lunch at our neighborhood cafe. Got there at 12 and realized they serve breakfast only till 1 PM. The freshly squeezed orange juice was exquisite, the bread warm, the salad fresh and tasty and so were the spreads. My spinach shakshouka was average, all in all a good and filling experience. When we returned, we found grocery bags delivered to our door. Feels good that while we were enjoying our meal, the neighborhood grocery delivered the items we ordered. Well, almost. The only 'problem' is that we didn't order anything from them, so the items were not ours. A quick glance at the bags to realize the food in there needs to be refrigerated or it will get spoiled in this heat. Quickly picked up the phone and notified the grocery about the mistake. They came, collected the bags and thanked us. Shabbat shalom.