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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Why Chanukah Gelt?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Yisrael Rice of Chabad.org explains that the origin of Chanukah gelt (money) is in the fact that the word Chanukah, which means to inaugurate—as in inaugurating the defiled Temple after the Hellenistic Jews were chased out of it—stems from the same root as the word for Chinuch, education.

“Appropriately, during Chanukah it is customary to give gelt (money) to children, to teach them to increase in charity and good deeds, and to add to the festive holiday spirit,” writes Rice.

He then offers a second, deeper reason for Chanukah gelt:

“In his record of the Chanukah events, Maimonides writes: “The Greeks laid their hands upon the possessions of Israel.”

“The Greeks invaded the possessions of Israel in the same spirit in which they defiled the oil in the Holy Temple. They did not destroy the oil; they defiled it. They did not rob the Jewish people; they attempted to infuse their possessions with Greek ideals—that they be used for egotistical and impure ends, rather than for holy pursuits.

“Chanukah gelt celebrates the freedom and mandate to channel material wealth toward spiritual ends.”

Wikipedia thinks it may have begun in 18th century Eastern Europe as a token of gratitude toward religious teachers, similar to the custom of tipping service people on that other winter holiday, just before New Year’s. So you give your kid a coin on Chanukah to give to the teacher in Cheder so he won’t smack you too hard the rest of the year. Works for me. I understand protection.

As to why our Chanukah gelt basically a disk of chocolate wrapped in gold tinfoil, and not real money, it turns out that in the 1920s, Loft’s, an American candy company, produced the first chocolate gelt, wrapped in gold or silver foil in mesh pouches resembling money bags – according to Wikipedia.

Chocolate ‘geld’ is also given to children as part of the other winter holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Seems our winter holiday has been peeking at their winter holiday for quite some time…

Abdullah, King of Saudi Arabia, 88

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The king of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, is clinically dead, according to Al-Sharq al-Awsat daily news.

The king underwent back surgery in Riyadh on November 17, but complications arose, leading to his death at the National Guard’s King Abdul Aziz Medical City.

Abdullah inherited the crown in 2005.  His brother, Crown Prince Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defense, had assured Saudis and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council just the day before that Abdullah was well and in good health.

Analysts say Salman acted to ensure national stability to preserve smooth sales of oil.  Saudia Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, holds over 20% of the world’s petroleum, and is the epicenter of Islam, being home to the pilgrimage city of Mecca.

Salman is expected to take over Abdullah’s duties, as well as his crown.

Dinner In Venice

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Winter is almost here and nothing says comfort like a rustic Italian dinner.

Pasta e Fagioli (Bean Soup)
(serves 4-6)

Ingredients

1 quart hot water
2 or 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 cup of dried beans
1 small ripe tomato, seeded, peeled and diced (or you can use canned peeled tomatoes, drained)
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ tablespoon freshly chopped parsley or rosemary
2 cups fresh egg pasta, or you can use dried egg pasta (broken down pappardelle), or regular dried pasta.

Directions

1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of cold water.
2. Dice the carrot, thinly slice the celery, and chop the onion finely.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato, beans, and salt, and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Cover with hot water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one hour or until the beans are cooked.
6. Add the pasta and allow to simmer until the pasta is also cooked (for fresh pasta, usually 3 to 5 minutes; for dried pasta, follow the instructions on the package).
7. Sprinkle with black pepper, adjust the salt, drizzle with a little more olive oil, decorate with the parsley and serve hot.

Potato Salmon Terrine

Ingredients

3 medium/large potatoes
1 fillet of salmon (about 2 lb), baked or steamed
2 scallions or a medium onion
½ cup Chardonnay
1 lemon
3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh chives and parsley, to taste

Directions

1. Boil the potatoes until soft, drain, peel and mash with a fork or potato masher.
2. Add the salt, pepper, wine and about 2 tbsps of the oil.
3. In the meantime boil the salmon for 15 minutes with the peeled and sliced scallions (you can also cook it in the microwave in 5 minutes).
4. Then drain it and chop the whole mixture in a food processor along with the juice of ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, and about ½ tbsp of chopped chives.
5. Combine with the mashed potatoes and pour into a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3″), previously lined with plastic wrap.
6. Press the puree into the pan with your hands or a wooden spoon, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving.
7. Unmold and serve decorated with more chives, and (if you like) some mayo.
* If you are in a rush, replace the fresh salmon and scallions with canned salmon and a touch of onion powder, but the result is less delicate.

Chicken Stew (Ezekiel’s Chicken)

Ingredients

1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, slightly pressed or minced
1/3 cup green or/and black olives, pitted
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons mix of freshly chopped herbs (sage, rosemary, plus basil, mint or parsley)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 or 3 peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup dry wine, red or white

Directions

1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the chicken and sauté until golden.
3. Add the salt, pepper, olives, garlic, and herbs, and the chopped (and drained) tomatoes.
4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, add the wine, then lower the flame and cook covered until tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally, and adding a little water if it tends to dry out.
5. Uncover, and if the sauce is too liquidy turn up the heat to thicken it.
6. You can serve it with a side of polenta, potatoes or rice as a main course.

Chocolate Hazelnut Whole Grain Cake

Ingredients

3 medium/large eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz parve dark, bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp DiSaronno liqueur
1/8 cup almond or soy milk, or more if needed
1 cup hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
4/5 cup whole grain flour (oatmeal or spelt or other; for a GF version, try buckwheat flour)
1 package baking powder
1 pinch salt
Confectioner’s sugar to decorate

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Beat the eggs with the sugar for a couple of minutes or until light and frothy.

Golan Heights Wind Farm

Monday, November 12th, 2012

The Golan Heights Wind Farm is located 3,150 ft. above sea level on Mount Bnei Rasan, three miles south of Quneitra in the Golan Heights.

In other words, just a stone’s throw away from the bloodiest civil war raging in the region.

It was the first wind farm ever built in Israel, back in 1992. It perates 10 Floda 600 wind turbines generating 6 MW for the Mey Eden mineral water bottling plant, the Golan Heights Winery and 20,000 local residents, give or take. The surplus is fed into the electrical grid.

Several more wind farms are planned in the Galilee, the Negev, and the Aravah regions.

Walking to shul on the shore of the Mediterranean in Netanya, holding on to my yarmulka against the crazy gale, I wonder why they haven’t filled up the horizon with off-shore wind turbines. Altogether, it’s nuts that a country with this much sun and this much wind has to keep looking for oil and natural gas in the ground.

You know why the off shore rigs Israeli companies keep building are yet to yield a drop? Because the midrash says there was no deluge in Eretz Israel. No deluge – no oil or natural gas. It’s scientific…

But, like I said, we’re blessed with so much wind and sun, we should be able to make with it more than just hot air…

Report: Iran Planning Massive Oil Spill in Strait of Hormuz

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Iran may purposefully contaminate the waters of the Strait of Hormuz by performing an oil spill, according to a report in the German weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday.

The plan, codenamed “Murky Waters”, would block oil shipping routes in the Gulf. It would also drive up oil prices and force the west into an emergency cleanup in cooperation with Iran, which would likely reduce sanctions on the country.

The decision whether to implement the plan rests with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  It is the brain child of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander General Mohammed Ali Jafari and Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi.

Iran Claiming Oil Deal with Egypt

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) was quoted on Monday by Reuters as stating, in the name of Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi, that Iran is negotiating to sell oil to Egypt.

The Iranians have been saying time and again, especially since the new round of Western sanctions set in on July 1, that they are negotiating to sell oil to several new buyers, but would not name.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Egypt’s oil ministry refused to comment on Qasemi’s remarks.

Since the fall of President Mubarak, relations between Egypt and Iran have been improving, and last month President Muhamed Morsi visited Tehran – first Egyptian leader to do so since 1979.

Egyptian Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal told Al-Ahram earlier in September that he had no objection to importing Iranian crude oil, to be processed in Egyptian refineries.

But such an Egyptian move will likely not receive the blessing of the Obama White House, nor of the U.S. Congress.

Egypt has been receiving just under $2 billion in U.S. foreign aid, but the Obama Administration has repeatedly promised a significant increase in some aspects of the aid package over several years, as well as completion of an agreement between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In short, like Israel, Egypt stands to lose a great deal by annoying the Americans.

Iran Bypassing Sanctions on its Oil, Aided by Asian Customers and the Obama Administration

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Iran is involved in hectic attempts to lower the insurance costs for its oil shipments, and, apparently these attempts are working.

Iran Insurance Company (IIC) Chairman Javad Sahamian has told Tehran Times that Iran will provide insurance coverage for any oil tanker carrying Iranian crude oil. “After the sanctions, Iran extends insurance coverage for every oil tanker loading in Iranian ports,” Sahamian said.

Seyyed Ataollah Sadr, managing director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, said last July that Iran would give insurance to “any foreign ship that enters Iran’s waters” but did not elaborate on how the scheme would work in practice.

The consortium providing the insurance to these rogue shipments includes domestic insurance firm Kish P&I, itself underwritten by Central Insurance of Iran, and Razi Insurance Company, which in August was reported by the Fars News Agency (FNA) as “ready to join the consortium of domestic companies in this field.”

According to various sources, Kish, which is the Iranian national insurance company, has already begun to independently insures all vessels leaving Iranian ports, replacing insurance service by European companies, which was stopped on July 1, when the European Union sanctions on the Iranian oil industry went into effect.

Now, as a result of self-insuring, the premium for transporting oil to Japan dropped from $3.17 a barrel in July to $2.00 in August.

In addition, carriers belonging to the National Iranian Tanker Company, (NITC), began independently transporting oil to countries in the Far East in order to help them avoid the sanctions. The NITC frequently uses small, private Iranian shipping companies flying foreign flags. Coverage provided by the Kish Company for the fleet of tankers has amounted to $1 billion.

Turkey’s imports of Iranian crude oil have jumped in August, ignoring possible friction with the U.S., after hitting a multi-year low in July, using Iranian-owned tankers.

Kish uses a secondary guarantor, the Central Bank of Iran.

The U.S. and European countries are aware of the latest developments, and have begun to demand penalties for Asian countries attempting to avoid the sanctions. Many analysts predict, however, that the U.S. is not planning to enforce the sanctions with real, tough measures against countries like Japan or China.

The U.S. has also given several countries sanction waivers after they cut imports prior to the imposition of the full embargo. Turkey was granted a 180-day exception from sanctions from June 11 as a result of an initial 20 percent cut in July, according to Tehran Times.

With the elections approaching, the last thing President Obama wants is to get into complications with those two countries, or with South Korea. Analysts add that the U.S. economy is benefiting from the Asian markets’ clandestine oil imports from Iran.

But all hope is not lost – it turns out Iran’s biggest enemy is its own inefficiency. A research study conducted by Reuters last Week revealed China’s lack of satisfaction with the timing of the Iranian oil deliveries, which used to take 48 hours and now takes up to 10 days.

But the Kish insurance policies do not cover instances of late delivery; and an unhappy China is pressuring Iran to improve service or improve the compensation system.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-bypassing-sanctions-on-its-oil-aided-by-asian-customers-and-the-obama-administration/2012/09/09/

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