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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘paper’

Buy It Now: School Supplies!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

School supplies?

I know what you’re thinking.

She is, without a doubt, totally and completely insane.

We just finished putting away the knapsacks, the school uniforms, the crayon stubs, errant markers and half finished bottles of Elmer’s glue that mysteriously defied the odds and survived the school year and she is thinking about school supplies??

Yup. You got that right. Because while most people associate hot dogs, pool parties and fireworks with the Fourth of July, for me Independence Day signifies the start of the school supply shopping season. I know, the summer has just started, the kids have barely gotten off to camp, but as soon as the last explosion of color has faded from the nighttime sky, it is time to start checking your Sunday paper for the sales, some of which are so good you should definitely stock up now for the entire year.

Hear me out before you dial the local insane asylum and give them my address.

Picture this: you are sitting at your desk or in your kitchen and you want to jot down a quick shopping list or a note to a family member. You grab a piece of copier paper that you keep on hand for your printer. Stop for one second and do the math. How much does that piece of paper actually cost you? If you bought that package of five hundred sheets of copier paper on sale for three dollars, you are paying six tenths of a penny per page. Now contemplate this. Instead of grabbing copier paper, you grab an eighty-page spiral notebook that you bought on sale during the summer for fifteen cents and rip out a single page. That paper costs you approximately two tenths of a cent per page, which means it is three times cheaper than copier paper and since many spiral notebooks come with perforated pages, you don’t have those annoying ragged pieces on the side when you rip the page out. While it may be true that we aren’t talking about significant sums of money here, those little chunks of change add up and, if you think about how many times during the week each family member needs a piece of paper, you may realize that in an average year you go through a lot of scrap paper. Of course, the truly thrifty among us will save every half used notebook that their kids bring home from school and use that for scrap paper, but I can’t really ask you to do that, can I?

What you need to remember as the days grow long and hot is that this is the time of year when assorted school supplies, including pens, pencils, glue, folders, paper, crayons, markers and more can be had at a fraction of their normal price and these sales are not repeated during the year. Take advantage now or be prepared to pay double or triple the price when your kids come home from school in the middle of the year and tell you they need yet another marble notebook.

Office supply stores such as Office Depot and Staples, mass merchandisers such as Walmart and Target, drugstores such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid and even major supermarket chains all offer amazing deals. Make some room and clean out a closet shelf or two. It’s time to hit the stores.

The best items to stock up on?

Looseleaf paper. While the days of finding filler paper on sale for ten cents a package are likely behind us, Staples will generally have one week during the summer when it is on sale for somewhere between twenty five and thirty three cents. Their during the year price for the same package of paper? $1.99. Now you tell me. Doesn’t it pay to stock up now? Teachers in the younger grades will generally prefer wide ruled paper, while teachers in older grades may prefer college rule and shockingly enough, your children may have a preference as well, so check with them because there is nothing more annoying than having ten packages of paper in your inventory and having your children say “but I don’t like that paper!”

Marble notebooks are another great buy this time of year and have evolved over the years into all sorts of colorful patterns that your kids will love. At approximately fifty cents apiece, on sale, they are another great buy as during the year they can run between two and three dollars each.

School glue. Yes, it is worth buying Elmer’s and you will likely find it on sale for somewhere around a quarter a bottle. It keeps forever so don’t worry about buying extra. Someone, somewhere, possibly even you, is likely to need it. Pens and pencils are another great buy and you will hopefully find ten or twelve packs of each on sale at two for a dollar. If your kids are little, buy a package or two of Crayola crayons. (Yes, it is well worth paying more for Crayola.) If your kids don’t need them this year, they will need them next year and you never know when they might come in handy on a road trip or some other occasion. At well under a dollar for a box of twenty-four you can afford to keep an extra package or two in the house.

Of course, there are items that have a shorter lifespan and need to be used within the year before they lose their effectiveness. Glue sticks for one. As they age, glue sticks tend to dry out, so while you should buy a bunch to have on hand (and for some reason kids tend to go through these at an alarming rate), don’t overbuy because they really don’t last. Markers are another item that have a limited shelf life. Always buy washable markers and splurge on Crayola – they last longer and the colors are more vivid. Should you have markers that have dried out, take off the cap and sprinkle a few drops of water on the colored portion of the marker. Put the cap back on, wait an hour or two and you may just find that your marker has been magically resurrected.

If you have older kids, this is the time of year to find the one item that will (hopefully) keep them organized and on schedule for the entire year – a planner. Teach them to write down their assignments and tests on a daily basis so they can see at a glance what is looming in their future and prepare accordingly. Both Target and Walmart get these school planners in just once, at the beginning of August. Buy them as soon as they come in because once they are gone, they are gone. Yes, you can probably find them in an office supply store. But at double the price.

So hang in there, take it slow, sip some iced tea and enjoy your summer. But hit the stores and take advantage of those sales. I promise you, come the first day of school you will be thrilled that you did.

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who has written for various websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients in addition to having written song lyrics and scripts for several full scale productions. She can be contacted at sandyeller1@gmail.com.

Students Fined for Anti-Semitic Taunts and Egg-Throwing

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Four students were fined for throwing raw eggs and shouting anti-Semitic taunts at groups of Jews in Northwest London.

The students were each fined $642, some of which will be paid in compensation to their victims, the London Jewish Chronicle reported.

Each was convicted of using religiously aggravated and insulting words likely to cause alarm or distress, according to the paper.

One victim told the court she and friends were walking home when a car slowed down. “One passenger shouted something – definitely including the word ‘Jew.’ Something hit my waist. Then the car drove off. I felt really angry,” Katrina Lester said, according to the Chronicle.

The four students denied they had specifically targeted Jews.

Itshak Holtz Drawings

Friday, July 6th, 2012

The Betzalel Gallery
567 Empire Boulevard
Brooklyn, New York – 718 307 1005
Sun, Mon, Wed, Thursday 11am – 7pm
Until June 10, 2012

Examining a choice selection of drawings done by Itshak Holtz over 30 years ago is a rare pleasure that allows for the appreciation of his unique sensitivity and insights. I was afforded that pleasure at the inaugural exhibition of the Betzalel Gallery in Crown Heights this past May. Although this modest selection of 25 drawings and watercolors of this paradigmatic frum artist ranges from 1963 to 1999, the majority of the works is from the 1970s and reveals a special aspect of his inner artistic soul. The selection of images could easily narrate the fabric of ordinary Jewish life.

Rejoicing (1974), felt pen and marker on paper by Itshak Holtz.
Collection of Mr. Mrs. Nachman Hellman

Rejoicing (1974), which at first seems so recognizable, is actually a delightful conundrum. What should be a scene from a wedding or other joyous occasion slowly reveals itself to be a much simpler image of men dancing. Both the loose nature of the artist’s line and the baggy clothing sets the piece not at a simcha but rather on the street, a kind of spontaneous gathering and celebration. On the left there is one individual who has not joined, his hands clasped behind his back. Strangers come together for a few moments of communal rejoicing and affirm a shared Jewishness.

A uniquely solitary moment is captured in Keeping Up With the News (1970). This genre study takes us into the fabric of most people’s lives, the quiet moments we spend reading the newspaper. While the singular concentration of being absorbed in a story or column is something we can all relate to, the fact that this gentleman has his hat and coat on, with a scarf wrapped around his neck stirs up questions of exactly where he is placed. The more I look at this drawing the more I feel the chill of an under heated apartment.

At the Newsstand (1971), felt pen and marker on paper by Itshak Holtz.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Bentzion Zeitlin

Holtz returns to the subject of newspaper reading in At the Newsstand (1971) in again a disarmingly simple image. While this warmly toned drawing seems straightforward enough, it actually captures a moment of mysterious drama. This man has just purchased a daily newspaper and after he has taken barely two steps away from the newsseller, he is for some reason compelled to stop dead in his tracks. He rips open the paper to intensely read its contents. What scenario has unfolded we can never know: a story that affects his personal life, an explosive political event, a crucial sports score or the results of a horserace, whatever it is, we have all felt that emotion of needing to know right now.

While these emotions are not uniquely Jewish it is perhaps the passion to know, the need to seize the moment, that marks these images as reflections of our people. What is uniquely Jewish is the shtreimel. He was only 36 when he did this drawing, but seen here, these two Chasidim (1963) establish Holtz’s early commitment to depicting the orthodox Jewish world. But beyond such a commitment, this charcoal drawing is a monumental homage to the Old Masters. These two heads reflect the classical motif of two views of the same individual. The individual in the foreground is naturalistic, casual and empathetic while the profile is a more formal study, and yet refreshingly simple and clear.

Reminiscing (1972), Charcoal on paper by Itshak Holtz.
Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Bentzion Zeitlin

Another study that demands attention is Reminiscing(1972). Again Holtz is deeply in the genre mode, minutely describing an old woman, and yet his ability to shift the focus from sentimentality to a woman deep in introspection is breathtaking. Here we are confronted with a real person, her hat slightly askew, perhaps atop an equally precarious wig. Her face has all the characteristic wrinkles of age and yet it is the lone highlight on her right lower eyelid that directs our consciousness into her inner world of memory and longing.

The Funeral (1966), Charcoal on paper by Itshak Holtz.
Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Bentzion Zeitlin

Perhaps the most shocking of Holtz’s drawing is also among the earliest. The Funeral (1966) depicts five chasidim carrying a body on a bier. The grave is a gaping hole framed by two shovels stuck in the ground ready to be used. These men do not visibly mourn. While the women behind them cry and lament, the men just carry and do their duty for the deceased. Their emotions are all interior, held in check as they perform the most holy honor. The drawing captures exactly the essentials of a Jewish funeral: we honor the dead by returning them to the ground from which we all originated. We do so in quiet love, honor and respect. It is the Jewish way. Holtz has expressed the essential Jewish service – just like that.

Invitation Presentation

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

With the Omer completed and the three weeks still a short time away, there seems to be an abundance of simchas being celebrated. Here are two easy, yet professional looking ideas to enhance any simcha. You may color coordinate these ideas for your sweet tables and the cookies make great party favors as well.

Customized Jell-O Cup

Yields: 12

Supplies

12-6 oz Plastic parfait cups
4 boxes Clear jell-o
1 box colored jell-o
Acetate paper (available at any copy center)
Invitation, monogram, name, message (i.e. It’s a Girl!)

 

 

 

 

Directions

1. Reduce the invitation, monogram or whatever you will be putting in the cup to a 1 ¾”x 1 ¾” square (you should be able to fit approximately 20 on a page).

2. Then copy onto acetate paper and cut out each section.

3. Prepare clear jello following the directions listed on the package.

4. Fill parfait cups with the jello until its ½ inch from the top.

5. Allow the jello to set.

Step #6

 

 

6. Once it has firmed, place cut out invitation, monogram etc, in the cup with the jello (see image).

7. Prepare colored jello, again following the directions on the package.

8. Allow to firm and then fill the remaining space in the cup with it.

9. For best results allow to “sit” overnight as this will allow the colors to blend nicely.

Customized Simcha Cookies

Supplies

Sugar cookie dough* (recipe below)
Rolled fondant
Square fluted cookie cutter (I used 2 ½)
Straight edge square cookie cutter (I used 2 ¼”)
Acetate paper
Invitation, monogram, name, message (i.e. It’s a Girl!)
3/8 of an inch of coordinating ribbons (about 12” per cookie) – optional
Plastic straw – optional
Small cellophane bags – optional

Step #5

Directions

1. Reduce the invitation, monogram or whatever you are using (I reduced to 2 ¼”)

2. Then copy it onto acetate paper – you should be able to fit approx 12 per page – and cut them out.

3. Roll out the cookie dough.

4. Using the fluted cookie cutter, cut out the dough.

5. Using a straw, cut out two holes – approximately ½” from top and 1” apart from each other on each cookie (see picture)

6. Then bake according to the recipe directions (see below).

7. Meanwhile roll out fondant

8. Using the square cookie cutter cut out fondant to a slightly smaller size then the cookies.

9. When the cookie has cooled, place the fondant square on top of cookie (if the fondant does not stick to the cookie try dabbing a drop of water on it).

Step #12A

10. Turn fondant covered cookie upside down. Push a plastic straw through the cookie holes and into the fondant. This will create holes in the fondant as well.

Step #12B

11. Place your cut out invitation, monogram, etc onto the fondant.

12. Use a pen to mark off holes on the paper and then using a hole puncher cut out the holes. Once again place your invitation, monogram, etc. over the fondant.

Step #13

13. Push ribbon through holes (starting from the back of the cookie). You can use a toothpick to help push the ribbon through.

14. Then form a bow.

15. If you are planning to use the cookies as party favors, skip all the steps involved in making the holes. Acetate paper will stick to cookies with a dab of water.

16. For a finishing touch wrap cookies in cellophane bags and ribbons.

Mazal tov and much nachas!

Sugar Cookie recipe

Ingredients

4 cups flour
1 cup margarine
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 T. vanilla sugar
1/4 c. orange juice

Directions

Mix flour and margarine in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and eggs; mix. Add remaining dough ingredients; mix until well-combined. Roll dough out on parchment paper or cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes.

Two Great Financial Reasons to Make Aliya

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

For those of us who have already moved to Israel, the following sentence probably sounds very familiar: “I’d love to live in Israel, and I’d move there tomorrow. But –”

What are the usual reasons for your family and friends to postpone moving to the Jewish State?

1. The economy is so fantastic in America. This sentence is usually accompanied with a sigh and statements like, “I need my creature comforts. I just couldn’t live without my Starbucks coffee or Trader Joe’s.” Well, perhaps you know something that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t. After all, he was the person who recently said that the “U.S. economy is expanding moderately, but there are still clouds on the horizon.” Now compare that to Israel, where the IMF (International Monetary Fund) anticipates a growth rate of 2.8% in GDP during 2012 and the possibility that Israel may become a major gas exporter due to recent gas discoveries. Indeed, there may be reasons to think the American economy is gradually improving after the economic crisis of the past few years; after all, it has improved corporate earnings and lowered unemployment figures. But still remember that Israel is not a third-world country. And by the way, the quality of life has improved so much in Israel that the perception of needing to bring over essentials like washing powder and soft toilet paper or popular American consumer products is twenty years out of date. Indeed the influx of refugees across Israel’s borders show that it is one of the most desirable countries in the region.

2. I love paying day school tuition. These days, sending your child to a Jewish day school in Manhattan can cost you more than $30,000 per year. If, like many Jewish families, you have more than one child, this can become prohibitively expensive. Compare this to the relatively low tuition that we pay for schools in Israel that teach both Jewish and secular studies. This includes any kind of school that you want, from a secular Israeli day school to a Talmud Torah. Indeed, tuition costs and the quality of education has been a major factor for many families when considering whether to make aliya.

Moving to Israel involves many considerations, including financial. If you’re seriously considering moving to Israel, or if you already live in the Promised Land, make sure you know about living in dual currencies and investments/pension plans that straddle the ocean. There are two tax codes to consider, and different forms of accounting. Make sure you get advice, pre- and post- aliya, from professionals who are qualified to handle your investments. For a broad introduction to personal finance and investments, as well as specific information pertaining to the Israeli financial scene, read my book, Building Wealth in Israel.

Rubin Reports: President Obama Demands a Meeting to Discuss His Grade

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/president-obama-demands-meeting-to.html

Janice Fiamengo’s brilliant article, “The Unteachables: A Generation that Cannot Learn,” fits my past experience teaching at American universities. But I realized that her account applied perfectly to…something else.

Fiamengo writes that students are upset when teachers get tough on grading, “Offended pride and sulkiness replace the careless cheer of former days.”

They don’t get it when the professor points out the shortcomings in their papers. “But my work has always been praised before! Your criticisms are exaggerated!” And they may boast: “The general idea was good, wasn’t it? I’m better at the big ideas. On the details, well…”

And then if you don’t give in they become belligerent. As Fiamengo puts it:

“Their tendency is…not to confront the problem directly but to hit back at its perceived source.…These students experience a range of negative reactions, including anger, anxiety, and depression.”

They are incapable of learning because they are can’t deal constructively with criticism orr learn from failure.

Now does this sound familiar? It sounds exactly like President Barack Obama. So I wondered. Suppose I was Obama’s professor in a class called “Being President 1” and I gave him an “F.” If he fails to improve his grade he won’t be allowed to continue for next term. Here’s how such a meeting might play out:

Me: Barack, I’m happy to discuss the grade on your paper, `How to Fundamentally Transform America and Make It Fair’ with you but I hope you listen carefully and learn how to improve.

Obama: There must be some mistake! I’ve always gotten an A+ from the media. I was admitted to Harvard! I was editor of the law review! And in 2008 I won the presidency and then the Nobel Peace Prize! I’m the smartest man in the world! The mass media–which can’t find any occasion where I was ever wrong–and millions of people can’t stop raving about how wonderful I am! Me: Well, actually, your work has been quite substandard, I’m sorry to say. But you can improve it if you try.

Obama: Improve? What have I done wrong? I’ve never made a mistake in my life, except Michelle, of course.

Me: There’s the economy, for example, it hasn’t been getting better but your paper says things are great. And, come on, does anyone really think getting rid of coal, oil, and natural gas can work?

Obama: What are you talking about? I’ve been creating jobs! Unemployment is going down! You know the problem? It’s a do-nothing Congress and Joe Biden kept me up late in the dorm room drinking and shouting, “I have dreams, too!”

Me: Yes, but your performance has been terrible.

Obama: Look, the general idea was good, wasn’t it? `I’m better at the big ideas. On the details, well….’

Me: I understand. But you have to be judged by the work you turn in. And another thing. You must have specific footnotes citing sources. It isn’t enough to keep saying that all the experts agree with you. Or that anyone who disagrees with you is a flat-earther, evil, greedy rich person.

Obama: It’s not my fault. I inherited that paper from George W. Bush.

Me: You’ve been attending this university for three years now. Don’t you think it’s time you took responsibility for your own actions?

Obama: Did you know the Republicans hate women, that Romney put his dog on the roof, and that he beat up a kid in high school?

Me: What’s that have to do with it?

Obama: Well, it works on all of the other professors. So don’t you think I should be one of the students who get 99 percent? I want an America where everyone has an equal chance to get an “A” no matter how much or little work they do.

Me: Frankly, I think your grade is closer to 1 percent. You missed the point of the assignment; you didn’t answer most of the questions; your argument is illogical; and you totally misrepresent the facts. Oil prices have nothing to do with supply and demand? Helping put the Muslim Brotherhood into power is a good idea? Massive debt and spending on unproductive things brings prosperity? Higher taxes in the midst of a depression is a good idea? I just can’t change your grade. And I regret to say you don’t seem to learn anything about improving your work. You have failed every subject. If you haven’t changed completely by November I think we’re going to have to expel you at the end of the semester.

Money? I’m Giving it Away!

Monday, May 14th, 2012

http://notajew-jew.com/?p=85

I thought this would be one of the hardest mitzvot of all.

Years ago, I was taught by secular Jewish friend that giving away money was disrespectful to money. It devalued money to give it away.

And, for years, I agreed. Until I tried it.

There’s a special outreach newspaper that homeless people sell, and they get to keep all the money they raise. When the paper was launched, I was one of its most vocal champions: “finally a way for these people to earn an honest buck, instead of putting out their hands and just begging for it.” But then I promptly forgot about it.

Until a few weeks ago.

I had just spent more money on a single piece of sushi-grade tuna than most homeless newspaper vendors will make in a day, when I emerged from the store and saw…him. My body instinctively tried to carry me away from him. But my new-found Jewish teachings kicked in and stopped me.

I turned, looked him in the eye, and did something I normally avoided like…well…like homeless people on the street. I treated him like a human being. I struck up a conversation. And, while we were talking, I put all of the change in my pocket into his hat. He offered me a paper, and my old instincts kicked back in. “That’s all right,” I said, “I won’t have time to read it.” And he said, with a smile, “Take it. It’s got a good crossword.”

Now, let’s break this down. 1) He already had my money. All of it. Easily tripling what was already in his hat. 2) He had a limited number of newspapers in his hand. Which meant that, if he had kept my newspaper, he could “sell” it again, and make even more money. 3) He smiled and looked into my eyes, long after I had given him my money.

That brief experience was such a blessing to me that it broke my nearly 20-year habit of walking past beggars on the street, not making eye contact, and not giving them money.

He helped me to become a better Jew.

Giving away money may devalue money. But it adds value to my life as a prospective Jew, and to the life of the person I give to.

Is there a more valuable use for money than that?

NY Times: Brooklyn D.A. Inflated Success of Program Against Haredi Sex Abuse

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Brooklyn’s district attorney has inflated the results of a program for combating child sexual abuse in the Haredi Orthodox community, a New York Times investigation concluded.

The Kol Tzedek program was launched in 2009 by the district attorney’s office in order to combat sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s large Haredi community and encourage reporting of such crimes. The office has faced criticism over its refusal to publicly identify abusers prosecuted as a result of Kol Tzedek, but claimed that the program has led to 95 arrests.

The Times reported that using public records it was able to identify the names of suspects and other details related to 47 of the 95 cases. “More than half of the 47 seemed to have little to do with the program, according to the court records and interviews,” the paper reported.

“Some did not involve ultra-Orthodox victims, which the program is specifically intended to help. More than one-third involved arrests before the program began, as early as 2007,” the article continued. “Many came in through standard reporting channels, like calls to the police.”

The article noted that one of the cases involved a café owner convicted of molesting a Hispanic female employee and that three others involved Orthodox defendants accused of groping women on public transportation.

Hynes declined to be interviewed for the article.

The chief of his office’s sex crimes division, Rhonnie Jaus, told the paper that Kol Tzedek has been “an incredible success,” increasing the number of cases that the office has been able to address.

“Our numbers are not inflated,” she said. “If anything, they are conservative.”

Hynes’ critics say his office has not been aggressive in prosecuting sexual abusers in the Haredi community.

The article also reported that Hynes has not publicly challenged the position of the leading haredi advocacy group Agudath Israel of America, which instructs followers to confer with rabbis before reporting allegations of sexual abuse to police.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ny-times-brooklyn-d-a-inflated-success-of-program-against-haredi-sex-abuse/2012/05/12/

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