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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘MS’

Chauncey Gardner Is Alive and Well and Living in Foggy Bottom

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

On Monday, December 10, 2012, State Dept. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, during her regular Daily Press Briefing, started sounding like Jerzy Kosinski’s memorable character in Being There, Chance the Gardener, immortalized by Peter Sellers in the 1979 movie by the same name.

Here’s a short scene from the movie:

President: Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?

Chance: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

President: In the garden.

Chance: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again. President: Spring and summer.

Chance: Yes. President: Then fall and winter.

Chance: Yes.

Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we’re upset by the seasons of our economy.

Chance: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

Benjamin Rand: Hmm!

Chance: Hmm!

President: Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I’ve heard in a very, very long time. … I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

And here’s yesterday’s exchange over the Quartet meeting in Brussels this coming Wednesday, dealing with the “peace process”:

MS. NULAND: We continue to work with Congress to make the case that continued U.S. support for the Palestinian people is in our national interest, is in the interest of the peace process. But again, there are a lot of views in the Congress, particularly in light of the move at the UN.

QUESTION: Just on this, there’s a Quartet meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, envoy level. Do you expect anything substantial or significant to come out of this, or is this just kind of a stock-taking exercise in looking at how dismal the chances are to get the peace process started again?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think it’s been a while since David Hale has met with his Quartet counterparts, so I think it’s an opportunity to look at where we are and if and when we might be able to be in a position to get these parties back to the table, obviously, in light of all of the factors. So it’s – let’s say that at this stage, it is gardening, but it is important gardening.

QUESTION: Gardening. You mean like weeding?

MS. NULAND: No, it’s nurturing of the soil. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Are they actually planting? Are they –

MS. NULAND: Nurturing of the soil.

QUESTION: Are they planting any seeds? (Laughter.)

MS. NULAND: They’re always trying to plant seeds, as you know.

QUESTION: There’s more gardening? (Laughter.)

And here’s the rest of Monday’s exchange regarding freezing settlements as the surefire way of bringing peace and brotherly love to the region, which preceded the above botanical discussion:

QUESTION: On the Palestinian issue, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated today that he, in fact, called for the resumption of direct negotiations with Israel from the point where they were last and during the last negotiation session, and – provided that all settlement activity be frozen for the time being. Do you support such a call, or is that – you consider that to be conditional?

MS. NULAND: As the President has said all the way along, as the Secretary has said, we are prepared to be full partners in supporting negotiations if and when the parties are ready to enter into direct negotiations. So it always takes two to tango, as we say. So – and we’ve also called for both sides to come to the table without preconditions.

QUESTION: Do you consider it reasonable to call for resumption of negotiations from the point where they ended?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, we support any scenario in which the parties can get back to direct talks, because it’s going to be the only way to settle all of the longstanding issues between them. It’s the only way to get to the two states living next to each other in peace that we all seek.

And Over at the UN… Diplomats Try to Keep Israel Front and Center

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

At the U.N. Press Center, we can read

While the brutal conflict in Syria continues to dominate headlines, the world cannot afford to be complacent to the ongoing deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a top United Nations official said today, stressing the urgent need to focus on the goal of a two-State solution.

But can the world afford to nothing much about Syria?  It is not a dominant theme for peacemakers?

After all,

the conflict in Syria, now entering its 20th month has reached “new and appalling heights of brutality and violence,” said Mr. Feltman, adding that, available estimates, which the U.N. is not in a position to verify, put the number of people killed at over 30,000.

But

“While the world’s gaze of concern points elsewhere in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict drifts dangerously in a direction that must be avoided,” the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, told the Security Council, during a meeting on the situation in the Middle East.

“…the creeping realities on the ground and the stalemated diplomacy portray a more worrying reality”…The parties “cannot be impervious to the warning signs of a fading two-State solution,” he added. “Nor can this Council.”

Violence and other sources of tension on the ground are making it all the more difficult to overcome the political stalemate, Mr. Feltman stated, noting concern about security in the West Bank, settler violence, continued settlement activity, Palestinian attacks against Israelis, as well as sporadic eruptions of violence in the Gaza Strip…

And what did U.S. Ambassador Rice say?

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan E. Rice said on Monday that the U.S. “does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity, and will continue to oppose any efforts to legalize outposts.” Speaking at the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, Rice emphasized: “The fate of existing settlements must be dealt with by the parties along with other permanent-status issues.”

Oh, and I caught this attempt to muddy the waters at a State Dept. Press Conference:

MS. NULAND: Thanks. Anything else? Said.
QUESTION: Scholarships for the Palestinians?
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: Are you aware that you have cancelled a three-year program of scholarships for the students from Gaza because of an Israeli pressure on the travel ban, and this disallows young Palestinian students, especially women, from traveling to the West Bank, and they find themselves confined to Islamic universities in Gaza?
MS. NULAND: Well first of all, let me just clarify, Said, that there have been no scholarships canceled by the United States or by our Consulate General in Jerusalem for Gazan students to study in West Bank universities. In fact, we are currently funding three undergraduate students from Gaza who are on four or five-year university degree programs in the West Bank with assistance granted through our A-PLUS programs. These folks have been studying for some time and permits have been granted for these students by Israeli authorities.
My understanding of the situation is that the Israeli high court in May opened a case with regard to the future of Gazan students studying in the West Bank. They made clear to us in the context of that that while the case was ongoing, they would not issue any new permits. So understanding that and with the school year starting, we chose this year, for the 2012 school year only, to grant scholarships to folks already in the West Bank. But it is our hope that we will be able to get back in the business of helping Gazan students study in the West Bank.
QUESTION: Are you raising this issue with Israel to allow Palestinians to travel from Gaza to the West Bank for studying purposes?
MS. NULAND: Well, again, those who are already part of our programs and were before the high court took up the case have been able to continue their studies. And we have heard from the Israelis that this is a freeze, if you will, until this court case goes forward. So we will see where we are after the court case is finished, but it’s obviously our hope and aspiration to be able to continue the program for Gazan students.
QUESTION: Thank you.

Visit My Right Word.

US Aid to Egypt Blocked by Republican Congress Following Riots

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

At last, the violent rallies against the U.S. embassy in Cairo, in reaction to an anti-Islam video, and Egypt’s laxidasical efforts to defend American assets, have yielded a real result: talks about $1 billion in debt relief and millions more in aid to Egypt are suspended, according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.

It took Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi more than 48 hours to condemn the breach of the US embassy premises in Cairo and the removal of the American flag.

There will not be new aid approved for Egypt until after the November elections, and talks intended to ease to payment of funds that have already been approved are stalled, the officials said.

But the same officials added that the delays are temporary and do not represent a reevaluation of U.S. aid to Egypt.

“Folks are going to wait and see how things materialize both with the protests and on Capitol Hill,” one congressional aide told the Post.

The U.S. annual aid to Egypt comes to about $1.6 billion, and the Obama Administration was fully prepared to continue providing this aid, despite the election of a new government in Egypt run by the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed, President Obama has proposed an additional $1 billion in debt relief for Egypt, whose debt to America stands at about $3 billion.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, since 1979. Of the $1.6 billion it receives, more than $1.3 billion goes to military aid.

The major hurdle in the path of U.S. funds to Egypt is the Republican House of Representatives which last year attached conditions to U.S. aid, most notably a requirement that the State Department certify that Egypt is abiding by its peace treaty with Israel.

Several Congress members have been proposing additional conditions. And there’s been some pushback on the part of the State Department. For instance: this week, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wanted to hold a hearing on U.S. relations with Egypt, but it was canceled because the State Department refused to send witnesses. DOS instead offered a private briefing for lawmakers, a congressional aide told Reuters.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland attempted to paint with pastel colors that clash of wills between Republican Congress Members and Hillary’s DOS: “We are continuing to work with the Hill on the support that we think is important to support those very forces of moderation, change, democracy, openness in Egypt that are very important for defeating extremism of the kind that we saw,” she said on Monday.

According to Nuland, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would appear before Congress in person soon regarding U.S. aid to the Muslim-Brothers run Egypt and all the other painful realities exposed by the violent protests.

According to the Washington Post, American and Egyptian officials were in the final stages of negotiating hundreds of millions of dollars in aid just as the protests exploded outside the embassy and American flags were being set on fire.

And a delegation of 120 U.S. business leaders was in Cairo at the same time as well, as the State Department was trying to encourage foreign investment in Egypt.

Here is an excerpt from the State Dept. Monday briefing regarding the U.S. and Egypt:

QUESTION: On Egypt, you said the Egyptians have been cooperative in providing the additional security you requested. Can you talk a little bit more broadly about what the contact with the Egyptians has been like over the last few days? And what is the status of the discussions about delivery of aid? Has that been affected at all?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, the White House reported that the President had a good conversation with President Morsi. I think it was before the weekend. I can’t actually remember. It might have been Friday. Right. And then the Secretary talked to Foreign Minister Amr on Saturday. I think we reported that conversation out to you over the weekend. She, as you know, spoke to leaders around the region on Saturday. She also spoke to Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, FM al-Faysal. She spoke to the Libyan Prime Minister Abushagur. She spoke to Foreign Minister Davutoglu, spoke to Foreign Secretary Hague, and Foreign Minister Fabius of France.

How Not to Keep Israel from Bombing Iran

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

There are no deadlines:

The U.S. is “not setting deadlines” for Iran and still considers negotiations to be “by far the best approach” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Bloomberg in an interview published Monday.

Speaking to Bloomberg Radio on Sunday after the conclusion of meetings at an Asia-Pacific forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Clinton said that economic sanctions are affecting Iran and the U.S. is “watching very carefully about what [the Iranians] do, because it’s always been more about their actions than their words.”

And there are no red ones either, according to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland yesterday:

QUESTION: Toria, your closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is quite upset with a interview that the Secretary gave, particularly when she was asked about redlines or deadlines for Iran’s nuclear program. Do you have positions or levels in Iran’s nuclear enrichment that you consider unacceptable and that would force some sort of change to the current stalemate, let’s say?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we have been saying for many months, and as was clear when the Secretary was in Jerusalem earlier this summer, we have extensive and ongoing contacts with our close ally Israel to discuss the full range of security issues, but obviously to compare notes on the challenge posed by Iran, and we will continue to do that…

QUESTION: Well it’s a very – will you agree that it’s – are you – is there a specific policy of being – of constructive ambiguity here? Because, I mean, not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon means many different things to many different people. As you know, the Israelis have one definition of what it means to have a nuclear weapon, and maybe you have another one. So could you provide any –

MS. NULAND: Among the many reasons, Elise, why these consultations with Israel need to be constant, they need to be detailed, they need to be private. …

So we are absolutely firm about the President’s commitment here, but it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, redlines. It is most important that we stay intensely focused on the pressure on Iran, the opportunity for Iran to fix this situation through the diplomacy that we’ve offered, and intensive consultations with Israel and all the other regional states, as we are doing.

Nuland seems to be trying to suggest that there is more going on under the surface with Israel, but Israel Hayom quoted “senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem” saying that,

Hillary Clinton is speeding up the Iranian centrifuges with her erroneous public comments … Without a clear red line, Iran will not halt its race for nuclear weapons.  … not only do Clinton’s comments not deter Iran, they actually appease it.

So to recap: there are sanctions, but Iran’s 20 biggest trading partners have exemptions. Iran still refuses to let IAEA inspectors into its test site at Parchin, where it appears that experiments related to weaponization have been carried out. The I.A.E.A. also reports that Iran is carrying out computer simulations of the destructive power of nuclear warheads. Iran continues to add centrifuges to bolster its enrichment capabilities.

But the U.S. is not prepared to issue an ultimatum. It will go no further than to repeat that “we will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” but it will not say — publicly or to Israel — how far it will allow Iran to go.

The Iranians understand this to mean that they can keep on doing what they are doing, which is putting all the pieces in place to sprint to the finish line when they choose to do so. It’s by no means clear that we will know when this is about to happen, or that we will be able to act quickly enough to stop it, even if we do know. It is also generally accepted that the ability of Israel by itself to prevent Iran from building a weapon is eroding with time.

The U.S. has the power to issue a credible threat to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, as well as a great deal of its military assets — missiles, air defense systems, etc. Such a threat would most likely cause Iran to pull back and would not actually have to be carried out.

By not doing this, the administration leaves Israel with only one option, which is to try to destroy or delay Iran’s program itself. While an American threat carries the risk that the Iranians will call our bluff and provoke a conflict, an Israeli attack guarantees one.

Incidentally, it should be mentioned that the former Israeli security officials like Meir Dagan who are opposed to an Israeli attack in the near term do not believe that Iran should be allowed to get nuclear bombs. They simply disagree with the PM and Defense Minister aboutwhen there will be no other way to stop Iran. If the US persists in allowing Iran to proceed, then even Meir Dagan’s red line will be crossed.

If the administration wants to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran, it has a strange way of showing it!

Dairy Free And The Nine Days

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

The Nine Days are upon us once again. This historically sad period in Jewish history shouldn’t be made worse by allergic emergencies. If you (or your child) suffer from milk allergies (or lactose intolerance), planning meals for the nine days can be a challenge. During this time period of collective Jewish mourning, we refrain from deriving the pleasure and enjoyment that comes from consuming meat. Milchig meals during this time are very popular. For the individual with a milk allergy, strict avoidance of all dairy products is a must.

A true milk allergy is an abnormal immune system response to the proteins found in milk. Symptoms of a milk allergy can range from mild to severe. The progression of symptoms in severity can often be quick, degenerating into a life-threatening situation called anaphylaxis. Airway constriction during anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal situation if not reversed with prompt treatment of epinephrine. Many milk allergic individuals carry portable injectors in case of such a situation.

Lactose intolerance, while uncomfortable, is never fatal. Instead of the immune system kicking into high gear when milk is consumed, the digestive system wreaks havoc on the lactose intolerant person. Individuals with this condition lack a critical enzyme that breaks down sugar (lactose) in milk. If the lactose intolerant individual consumes milk, he can expect to experience a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Consuming dairy just isn’t a choice.

While dairy is not an option, there are some very satisfying alternatives for the Nine Days (and beyond). As kosher–keepers, we are already accustomed to preparing non-dairy (also known as pareve) items. Kosher dairy alternatives are readily available in supermarkets, health food stores, and kosher groceries. There are non-dairy versions of milk, cheese, cream and butter. Often these choices are soy-based but there are other options as well. One option for Nine Day meals is to pick a dairy recipe and use one of these substitutes. For many children who’ve been raised on soymilk and soycheese, this is no problem. Adults who consumed dairy all of their lives may not be as pleased with these alternative products.

Another option is making a dish that doesn’t call for dairy in the first place. Since dairy and meat products are sources of protein we’ll focus on providing alternative protein sources. Fish (sole, halibut, flounder, salmon), eggs, soy (mock “meat”, mock “chicken”, patties, tofu), beans (lentils, kidney, black, etc.) and quinoa are all great alternatives and often nutritionally superior to dairy. Quinoa is a great example of a complete protein and is quite an amazing food. It looks like a grain but actually grows like spinach. It is gluten free, very high in protein, and fiber, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It even has antioxidant properties.

Recipes with these non-dairy sources of protein abound in cookbooks and online.

For more great ideas about food allergies and substitutions, visit kosherfoodallergies.blogspot.com.

May this tragic time in history become a time of rejoicing soon!

Pareve Salmon Quiche
(yields 4 pies)

Ingredients

4 frozen piecrusts
2 large onions chopped and sautéed
2 cans red salmon (each can 14.75oz)
1 cup mayo
1 cup water
5 eggs
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
Dried parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° Remove all spines and bones from canned salmon (drain liquid) Mash salmon in bowl Combine salmon, eggs, mayo, water, mustard and lemon juice till smooth Place sautéed onions on the bottom of each frozen piecrust Fill each pie with salmon mixture Garnish each pie with dried parsley Bake at 37°5 for 1hr or until golden brown on top

This recipe is too good to only use 9 days a year. Try it as a fish course for Shabbos, or a main dish for weekday!

Tamar Warga, MS is the author of author of A Taste of Freedom, a Passover allergy-related cookbook. Visit her blog at www.kosherfoodallergies.blogspot.com

A Small Dose Of Prevention Goes A Long Way

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Summer is just about upon us, and with it comes the hustle and bustle of preparing for camp and family getaways. This is such a wonderful time, full of new experiences and memory building for the whole family. One memory the summer shouldn’t create, however, is that of the house being infested with bedbugs.

Bedbugs are a difficult topic to talk about, one that tends to induce feelings of disgust and horror. Yet, ignorance is not bliss. In a recent article in The Jewish Press, it was mentioned that according to a 2011 study, the occurrence of bedbugs has gone up four percent since 2010. While in the past bedbugs were an almost exclusive problem of those living in poverty, nowadays those pesky little bugs don’t discriminate, and can be found in the most lavish of homes and hotels, as well as theaters, nursing homes and even libraries.

Getting rid of bedbugs is an expensive, exhausting, and emotionally devastating process. Putting in some basic preventive procedures that everyone in your home follows is well worth the couple of extra minutes. This way, even if you do G-d forbid, come into contact with bedbugs, you will avoid infestation.

1. Anytime you are staying overnight at either a hotel or someone’s home, regardless of who’s home it may be, never put your suitcase and clothes on the bed. Don’t assume if you can’t see the bugs they aren’t there. Bedbugs are notoriously difficult to spot. Leave your suitcase and clothes on a chair, or if you’re in a hotel, on a suitcase stand in the bathroom. All pajamas and worn clothes should be placed in a sealed bag, and washed immediately upon your return home. I like to put the clothes that weren’t worn in a sealed bag as well, to limit any possible cross-contamination.

2. When you have overnight guests in your home, be it your mother, sister or best friend, wash all linen immediately upon their departure and vacuum thoroughly around their room.

3. Consider buying mattress protectors. Although they will not prevent bedbugs from living on top of the protectors, they make the bugs easier to spot and remove. 4. As a general rule, bedbugs are found predominantly on and around the bed, so avoid walking around the house in pajamas to minimize the risk from spreading. Wash all linen, blankets, teddy bears, etc. at least once a week.

5. Avoid the temptation to put clothes that were worn only for a short time back in the drawer or closet. This limits the spread of potential infestation to the others clothes in those places.

6. It’s easy to excuse bedbug bites as a rash or misquotes bites. However, if you notice a group of bites, or if only one person in the home is getting bitten, or it’s not the season for mosquitoes, don’t wait. Call an exterminator immediately. Have him spray down the bed, the dressers, behind the walls especially all the moldings, and couches. Schedule a follow up in two weeks to ensure there aren’t any remaining bugs. Don’t despair if you need a few follow up visits; this is normal. It is very difficult to completely eradicate all the bugs in one shot.

Meanwhile, with the help of a cleaning lady, vacuum and wipe down all the bedrooms and any other room in which the bugs were spotted by the exterminator. If all the above preventive procedures were followed, only the laundry in the hamper and the linens on the beds need to be washed. However, if you were not careful, everything, and I mean everything, must be washed or dry-cleaned. This is not the time for martyrdom. Use the nearest full service Laundromat. For sixty cents per pound, they will wash and fold the laundry for you. Quilts and pillows can be put in the dryer for a minimum of twenty minutes. After vacuuming, be careful to empty out the vacuum bag outside the house. Don’t think that you can eliminate all this work by throwing out the beds because the bugs do not live exclusively on them and they will more then likely just hop onto your new beds. However, if you do decide to throw out the beds, a New York City law stipulates that the sanitation department will not remove them if the mattresses are not wrapped in plastic. Remember to put mattress protectors on your new beds.

A Daily Dose Of Glam To Keep The Blahs Away

Friday, May 11th, 2012

It’s tough to catch some glam in an otherwise pretty non-glamorous life. In the 21st century, who isn’t overstressed, overwhelmed and overbooked? The roles of today’s women today has multiplied to the point where even the strongest of us has stretched her limits, leaving her without any time or energy for herself. Which woman hasn’t been guilty of eating her children’s leftover cereal and calling it breakfast? Who hasn’t thrown the nearest shmatta over her head and a long coat to cover the old clothes she’s wearing on a trip to the store?

I’ve experienced this syndrome myself, saying I’m too tired to dress nicely or too busy to sit down to a balanced meal. The end result was that I was tired, lethargic, lost patience with my kids, was sloppy with my work…take it from me, it was a bad day. The truth is, no one can run on full throttle, all the time, without something giving. Without investing a few moments during the day for ourselves, we will run out of speed too soon, and have nothing left over to give all the other important people in our lives.

So, in the interest of working not just harder but also smarter, I resolve to:

1. Stand up straight. It doesn’t take any extra time, makes me look ten pounds thinner, saves my back and helps me breathe better.

2. Enjoy my clothing. It takes just as much time to put on a nice skirt and fitted top as it does to put on the same long jean skirt and black t-shirt I’ve been wearing since 2001. And really, what am I saving my expensive dresses for? While I’m at it, I will invest in a few nice pairs of pajamas instead of wearing my husband’s old t-shirts.

3. I will moisturize everyday. I will also use makeup daily, taking a few seconds to apply some quick dabs of concealer, bronzer and mascara for the days that I’m just doing errands on the avenue. For insta-glam, I will utilize a pair of big sunglasses (my favorites are aviators) that I can just plop on my face to hide the effects of last night’s all-nighter with the baby.

4. I’ll admit, I love getting manicures, but being a working mom with three children, I tend to use my hands a lot, and the manicures don’t last. Therefore, I will limit my manicures, but have my eyebrows professionally shaped. This is a cheaper option, as it’s only needed every three weeks or so, and does a tremendous amount in defining the face.

5. I will eat at the table. Mealtimes will be a break from the hustle and bustle of the day, a time to eat meditatively and focus on the delicious tastes and textures of the food. I will eat at the table, with a real plate and utensils, and drink with a straw to prevent discoloration of my teeth.

I will avoid overeating to prevent feeling lethargic and sluggish, though indulging in a delectable piece of chocolate in moderation is an easy way to get some endorphins to the brain.

6. My bedroom will be a sanctuary. I will banish all toys and children from my room every night, prepare a delicious cup of tea or a soothing glass of wine, light some candles, dim the lights and just relax!

7. I will pay attention to and remark on the beautiful things around me. I will open the shades in my home and office to let in the natural light. I will have flowers on the table so that our dinners can be brightened by their vibrant colors. I will kiss and caress my children’s beautiful faces and thank G-d for giving them to me.

By incorporate those few simple tactics, my day will be more joyful, pleasurable and glamorous. I owe this not just to myself, but also to all those around me. I can only give as much as I have, and when I run out of steam, it affects all my relationships. So in the interest of being the best me I can be, I’ll also be the best maintained me I can be.

Pnina Baim holds a B.S. in Health and Nutrition from Brooklyn College and a MS.edu from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Program. She works as a nutritionist and a freelance writer. Contact Pnina at pninabaim@gmail.com.

How To Make Pesach Cleaning Stress Free!

Friday, March 9th, 2012

I think if we can be honest with ourselves, most women will admit to enjoying Pesach cleaning – and perhaps to even looking forward to it all year long. What better opportunity is there to start digging through closets and drawers and clearing them out, giving both the house and yourself a physical and emotional purging? When else would you tackle the dusty corners on top of cabinets and vacuum behind heavy furniture?

None of the above has anything to do with chometz, of course. As Rabbi Dovid Orlovsky said, “If men made Pesach and women built the sukkah, both would start on erev Pesach.” So just in case circumstances are completely out of control and you have no time to do much, here is what you must do for Pesach cleaning: Sweep the floor, clear off the table, empty out the fridge, and close the kitchen cabinets. Buy some paper goods and ready-to-eat Pesach products, sell your chometz to the local rabbi and you are done.

But for most of us that won’t work. For the vast majority of us, Pesach cleaning is synonymous with spring-cleaning, and why not? If you’re not going to tackle those tasks for Pesach, when will you?

There are two schools of thought regarding when to first pick up that duster and spray: You can start months in advance and eliminate the stress of 20-hour cleaning days, or you can start as close to Pesach as possible and eliminate the stress of constantly reminding everyone not to walk around with chometz. For me, the decision is a no-brainer; everyone should only be eating at the table anyways.

To make Pesach a success, it is best to start from the year before – last Pesach. I like to keep the receipts of the items I bought. Once the holiday is over, I write up a list of things I actually used and the amounts I needed. Pesach is expensive enough without buying excessive products. I keep the list with my Pesach dishes, but accessible so I can go shopping before its time to bring down the boxes. In addition to last year’s list, it’s a good idea to plan the menu for the entire holiday in advance so you can add the corresponding ingredients to the list. Don’t forget breakfast and snacks. Oh, and please, as a personal favor to me, stay away from any packaged cakes and cookies. No 5×7 cake is good enough to cost ten dollars. You can make Pesach munchies yourself for a quarter of the price and they will be twice as tasty.

To clean your house, I recommend sitting down at a desk or table and writing down all the tasks for each room in the house. Take a calendar and schedule when each task should be done. Remember, unless you are the only person living in the house, you should not be the only person cleaning up. Figure out when you have the most physical energy and try to plan chores for that time. Blast some music and consider the scrubbing a cardio work-out! When organizing cabinets and closets, remember everything has a limited shelf life. If you can’t articulate why you want to keep it, then it’s time to chuck it. If your spouse has a hard time throwing things out, then consider doing it when he or she is not home.

Here’s a sample To-Do list that can be modified as necessary:

1. Bathrooms: vanities, medicine cabinets, high shelves, linen closets.

2. Bedrooms: Closets, dressers, under beds, wipe down blinds, behind radiators. carpet clean, wipe down toys, machine wash stuffed animals, purge old and broken toys.

3. Basement: Organize and purge miscellanea. If you have an extra fridge there, clean and line it first so you can start buying and preparing Pesach products.

4. Den: Clean behind and inside couch. Organize and purge files, purge old toys, dvds and whatever clutter is stashed there.

5. Living Room: Clean behind and inside couch. Wipe down bookcase, purge old books, clean out fireplace, wipe behind picture frames, shellac wooden floors.

6. Dining room: Clean behind, inside and the top of china closet. Wipe down chairs and table. If it’s your custom, line the table and any other surface that will hold food.

7. Kitchen: Move chometz dishes out, organize, purge, clean and line cabinets and drawers, wipe and line fridge, wipe down walls, wipe down garbage can. Different halachot apply with cleaning the stove, so consult your local rabbi. Remove any appliances from counter and line them.

8. Vacuum and scrub the car and strollers, machine wash backpacks and dry clean coats! I know this list is extensive. That’s why you need to start in advance. For working moms, I always recommend Tu B’Shevat as an optimal start date to get everything done on a reasonable schedule. (I know its Adar, don’t panic, just adjust the list to fit the amount of time you have.)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/for-the-home/how-to-make-pesach-cleaning-stress-free/2012/03/09/

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