A Suitcase of Love

When you pack for a two month trip and it turns into 7 months you learn about which of your material possessions are important. Not having my own laptop was beginning to wear and the thought of 5 more months without it awoke a sense of panic. So I started a list of things I would have shipped out here. With an impending winter in the horizon, one that I’ve been warned will be very cold, I added boots, jackets and tights to the list. By a convenient twist of fate my cousin Rachel was able to bring me an entire carry on sized suitcase of my things. When we met up at the beginning of last week at Raanan and Sharon’s home we made the highly anticipated (by me) exchange. I never would have thought it’s contents would make me tear up. The requested 2 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of flats, 3 dresses, 2 sets of tights, 4 sweaters,  socks, toothpaste, laptop and thrown in for good measure hoisin sauce, Siracha (rooster) sauce, and two packages of Asian noodles. My sister kindly included the second season of one of our family’s favorite shows, Arrested Development, and a favorite movie, Pride and Prejudice. I felt like a grave robber opening up a long sought treasure chest at the bottom of a tomb. Honestly, besides my laptop, the Asian ingredients were the crowning jewels. I mentioned them as a last minute addition to my “care package” and my mom really pulled through with including them. In honor of their arrival I made my own version of a quick pad thai that came out better than I thought and thus warranted a photo in the end.


Thai food in the middle east. WIN.


20 Minute Pad Thai

serves 2 (or 1 really hungry American in Israel)

Asian noodles (rice or ramen style), enough for 2 people

1/2 pint of fresh mushrooms, quartered

1/2 eggplant, neatly diced

1 bunch of scallion/green onion, chopped

1 egg, lightly scrambled

2 tbsps olive oil

1/2 tbsp sesame oil


1 tbsp hoisin sauce

1/2 tbsp siracha

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tbsp peanut butter

1/2 tbsp vinegar

1 tbsp water

1 large clove or garlic, grated


1/2 lime, to squeeze over top of final dish

Bring water to a boil, enough water to cover the noodles. Sauté salt and peppered eggplant and mushrooms in heated olive and sesame oil over med/high heat until golden and carmelized. Set aside and cook egg in the same pan, careful not to break the egg up too much. Remove from heat and combine with cooked vegetables. In a separate bowl soak noodles in boiled water until softened according to the package. Drain and combine in pan/wok with vegetables and egg. Make “pad thai” sauce by mixing the listed ingredients above, checking for taste along the way. Should be a balance of sweet, salty, spicy and pungency. Pour over noodle mixture in pan/wok on med/high heat until incorporated. Finish off by tossing chopped scallions/green onions on top with a generous squeeze of lime. Devour immediately.

Yesterday I took a walk with my friend Rachelle to Emek Refaim to take a few pictures of the venue for an event I’m helping promote in Jerusalem. It’s a project called Jerusalem Challenge. It’s aim is to bring together Israelis with temporary residents looking for a real and lasting connection to the city. This coming Friday will be an event called “Make Your Own Shabbat”. An informal but well organized dinner for about 130 people held at the Jerusalem Community Center. I was charged to take some photos of the venue for our Facebook page. I also snapped a few photos during our schlep over there and caught a few interesting shots.


Stange place for a cat nap. Israeli cats are the toughest I've seen.



I'm not convinced these are actually real.



Beautiful and unique style of architechtiure in Jerusalem.



The fiddler on the roof gets invited inside for a bar mitzvah celebration.



Nice sunburst on Emek Refaim.



Israeli graffiti is interesting. My cousin Rachel personally knows the artist that crafted this one.