Easy, Organic, Healthy

Easy, Organic, Healthy

 

Many times there are small stresses and scares that have to be dealt with on a daily basis – from moldy washing machines to cuts and burns, this is part of daily life. The difference in Israel is that we learn that there are creative and healthy ways of dealing with these events. Here are a few daily stresses that come up and how to combat them with organic and cheap ways:
1. After having a washing machine for a few years, it’s very normal for it to start to smell. Unfortunately, this means your clothes could be smelling like your moldy washing machine. A very simple way to rid your washing machine of this mold is with vinegar. Run one warm cycle after placing vinegar in the liquid detergent compartment of your washing machine. After running that cycle, I like to run a quick cycle with softener just to make sure that there is no vinegar residue. It really works and your cloths will come out smelling clean and fresh once again!
2. Fruit flies are really annoying and unfortunately can sometimes be a constant companion in the kitchen. But do not worry, there are a few simple ways of getting rid of the pests. A quick fix is to a bowl about one-third of the way with apple-cider vinegar and add in a Tablespoon of dish soap. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and then poke holes with a tooth-pick. Leave it out for a few day and the fruit flies will be safely inside your home-made trap. You can also do this with any rotting fruit (if you are
brave enough). Unfortunately, this does not resolve the root of the problem. So if the reason why you have flies is because you just bought some old fruit, this will due the trick. Yet, this is not always the case. If you still are having fruit-fly issues, see if there are any moisture issues near your sink, such as a leaky pipe or something old and rotting. After getting rid of those problems its best to pour down some baking-soda, salt and boiling water down the drain and let it set there overnight. Fruit flies usually lay their eggs in the drain so this will kill them. Also make sure to always clean your dishes right away (or at least let them sit in water) and don’t leave food out uncovered. This should get rid of the unwanted guests.
3.There are times that we worry about our kids’ (and our own) digestion. After seeing that your child did not have a dirty diaper giving him or her prunes really helps out. . You can give prunes to a child who is as young as five months. For yourself as well, you can buy prune juice at any local grocery store and the results are pretty quick coming. If you wake up with a bad stomach ache, beside for prunes, immersing in hot water or using a hot compresses helps soothes the digestive system. Muscles that are tight and contracted cannot always do their job, so by applying heat, the muscles are able to loosen up. Another way to deal with a bad stomachache is with chamomile tea and ginger (such as ginger tea or ginger ale). Chamomile relaxes the body which again helps with the contracted muscles. Ginger is a natural alkaline and anti-inflammatory which can help or stomach aches that are due to a high intake of acid. This eases the irritation caused by the acidic foods. If you find these remedies help, try avoiding foods that contain acid, such as tomatoes,
hot peppers and green apples.

3.When cooking in the kitchen, sometimes the oil sputters and you get caught in a scary rain of hot oil and
sometimes get burned. A quick and extremely effective way dealing with burns is immediately applying honey (the purer the better) and then wrapping the applied area with plastic wrap. Honey naturally prevents bacteria growth from unwanted bacteria and therefore prevents pus and bad infections. If you do it immediately, you won’t have blisters and will not even be left with any scarring (this should only be used for first and second degree burns). The same applies for minor cuts. If the cut does not require stitches, this is a grate way to avoid infection. Aloe vera works in a similar fashion and is a great way to deal with burns and minor cuts, but many times honey is more readily available. Additionally, to avoid oil popping off your pans, make sure to wipe it down of all water before putting on oil. Oil is hydrophobic (literally scared of water). When you start to heat up oil that is mixed with water the water starts to boil before the oil causing the water to rise and bubble up and then eventually burst, which causes the oil to fly off of it and land on unwanted surfaces.

All these methods are tried and true. Hatzlacha with your day to day stresses and dealing with them in a
healthy way!

Israel Winter Hacks

Israel Winter Hacks

 

In Israel, when November comes around, winter begins abruptly. We all are davening for mashiv
ha’ruach, but sometimes we wish that the rain only falls directly into Israeli water reservoirs so that we
don’t have to deal with the rain. Here are a few winter hacks to help you have a more pleasant winter.

1. Protect yourself from mold: Winter in Israel usually brings about a very unwanted substance – mold. A very simple and effective way
to avoid having mold is to leave the windows open (when it’s not raining). This allows for the moisture in
the air to evaporate properly and not sit on your walls (which causes mold to grow). If you already have
mold you can easily wipe it away with bleach. Be sure to wipe it down thoroughly and re-apply bleach as
you don’t want to just spread the mold from one area to another.

2. In America it’s very common to wear Uggs – those boots will not help you here – even if they are water
proof. Winter in Israel usually just means a lot of cold rain. The best thing to do is buy a pair of sturdy
rain boots and insulate them with fuzzy socks. Many times the weather will not report any rain, but it can, and very often does, come unexpectedly in buckets. A simple way to avoid getting wet is to leave a shein coat both at kollel and at home, saving
yourself from a lot of agmas nefesh.

3. A lot of diras are equipped with a dud shemesh which works amazingly during the spring and summer
time, but if this is your first winter in Israel, you will have to learn to remember to turn on your dud. This
is a learning process, as some boilers will take as short as 30 minutes to warm up for a long shower,
while others take two hours before getting warm. If your dud has a timer – you are in luck, just
remember to set it. Although many people are hesitant to turn on the dud too early, it may be worth
your while to turn it on when you remember. You may save a few sheckel by only turning it on when you
“need” to, but most of the time you end up with a cold shower. If you forgot to turn on the dud and you desperately need to bathe the kids – just plug the bath, turn up the kumkum and dump a few liters of boiling water in the bath Afterwards turn on the water and mix
the cool water around with the boiling water until its at the right temperature for a bath – usually only
takes five minutes. Before doing all this though, make sure you turn on the dud so that when the bath is
done, you can shower comfortably.

4. The air conditioning units in Israel are also equipped to provide heat. If you are not feeling warm air
blow, check the filter inside the AC. You take off the cover of the unit and you will see a filter spanning
across the width of the unit. Take it off and you may see that it is extremely dirty and collected a lot of
dust. This prevent the air flow. To clean it just put it in your bath and run water over it. Afterwards leave
it outside to dry for about 2 hours and then put it back in the unit. If you checked your filter and saw
that it is clean but still feel that the hot air is not coming, wait a few minutes. It can take good seven
minutes until the unit actually lets off hot air.

5. Make the most of the cold air outside. If you are having a lot of guests, or you just want to always make
sure your drinks are cold – just leave them outside. They will get very cold and this helps save room in
your fridge.

6. You family will probably be sniffling a lot and you will need to stock up on tissues. In Israel, it sometimes
is hard to get good quality tissues, like puffs that are soft on the skin. A good way to avoid rashes by the
nose is to apply a little Vaseline before blowing. Your kids’ sensitive skin will feel a lot better. Also avoid
bathing to often as the winter here is pretty brutal and you kids skin will be a lot more sensitive. Too
many baths can lead to dry and raw skin.

Hatzlacha braving the winter and keep in mind gishmei bracha!

Starting a Business- Part 3: Establishing your business

Starting a Business- Part 3: Establishing your business

 

 

Now that you have figured out most of the business, what exactly you are offering, the best places to
advertise and so on, you need to establish your business.

Payment

Firstly, you need a convenient mode of payment. Obviously, you would love to make your sales in cash, but many people would prefer to keep their cash. Quickpay or Zelle are very common applications that allow for easy transactions between your clients bank and yours. If your bank is a small private bank it is very likely that they do not offer Zelle. In that case you can easily open your own Chase account. They
offer a personal and business account and depending on your need you can decide what works best for you. Afterwards you can download the Quick pay app from google play store or apple store. Another option is to open a PayPal account. Most banks, even small ones, have an option to automatically connect your account with PayPal. This is another safe alternative to QuickPay and Zelle. This can also be either a personal or business account. It is cheaper to receive money on a personal account, so bear that in mind when first opening an account. You can always change it later on. There are also many e-commerce websites that allow for credit card payment. You have to pay for this
feature, but you may find many people requesting to pay via credit and it might become worth it to invest in it. Happy clients come back and making payment convenient for them makes clients happy. Personally, I have not yet used such features, but Wix allows for it, WordPress, and many others.

 

Legal Stuff

In the beginning your business will probably be small and you may not want to invest so much into it. That being said, there may come a time where excel spreadsheets will start taking over and you are finding it hard to manage the books as well as figuring out other legality issues that come along with owning a business, such having a ח.פ. , which is like having a teudat zehut for your business and allows
for your business to retroactively receive V.A.T. from the government. With this number you can also hand out receipts and bill people. Many people prefer to have official receipts for specific services. Not necessarily does your business require to take this step. Again, see what the clients are asking, and you will be able to decide what is worth spending time, effort and money into. It also may get confusing if you start employing others and have to start worrying about pension plans, or it may be that even you are having a hard time personally to arrange a pension plan for yourself. It is then, that you should look into getting an accountant. I personally have gone through a few people and I am very impressed with Levine Schnoor Ltd. The company number is 02-622-1140. You also might want to use someone who really knows what to do for personal pension plans. Eli Shimoni came highly recommended, he can be reached at 054-626-9229. He is Israeli but he understands English. Pension plans allow for you to have money to live off of once you retire. If you do not think you will be in Israel long term than I would not recommend opening a pension plan as the Israeli government makes it near to impossible to transfer that money to America. Alternatively, you can open a savings account in America and save up that way. Ultimately, this is something you need to decide.

Opening a new business can be daunting, exciting, exhausting, energizing all at the same time. You will have many ups and downs through out your journey. Many people say that you can’t determine the success of your business until at least a year later and most of the time a few years later. Don’t get discouraged! With enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a lot of Siyata Dishmaya, you will see things will
work out!

Hatzlacha and keep going!

Sukkos in Israel

Sukkos in Israel

 

 

For those who may be spending Sukkos in Yerushalayim for the first time, here are some important things about building a Sukkah to keep in mind as the Yom Tov approaches.

In order to build a Sukkah, you need to have a place to build it. For some, this is a non-issue, as their apartment has a mirpeset that allows for a sukkah. Others may have a retractable roof, which in that case, no need to build a sukkah, all is needed is Schach and the sukkah is ready to go. (In case your roof is retractable, realize that if it rains then your house will get wet. The best way to prep for that is to cover any beds you may have set up or anything else that is not waterproof with plastic table clothes – and make sure to have some spare sponja clothes to mop up the water).

Yet, many people do not have a mirpeset or retractable roof and if you fall in that category, you need to ensure you have a place to build your sukkah. In many buildings, there are reserved spots so do not assume you can build anywhere. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of machlokes over sukkah spots. In general, there are two different schools of thought, some buildings go with the idea that the sukkah spot comes with the dira, while others hold that whoever moved in first gets the next available spot. It is important to clarify what your building does in order to know if you have a place to build a sukkah. It could be that things are grey in that area, but remember that it’s motzie Yom Kippur and it may not be worth getting off on the wrong foot with your new neighbor.

With all the above in mind, there are basically two places to build a sukkah, on the roof, or the parking lot. In general, unless you are on a low floor, the roof is a better option. The roof provides a cool breeze, fewer cats to worry about, and more privacy. If you are on a low floor and plan to build on the parking lot, locate a shady spot, as parking lots tend to get very hot and uncomfortable.

Now that you have a place to build a sukkah, what do you need to build one, and how can you be cost-effective? Canvas sukkahs tend to be cheaper than buying boards but it also depends on what stringencies you hold by. Many people try selling their sukkahs so before purchasing new boards or sukkahs, keep your eyes open, or you can ask any groups you are on, and you will be surprised, but some people have extra boards or canvas sukkah. If you are only going to be here short term, there is also the possibility of renting a sukkah, although it does not seem to be cost-effective from the rentals that I have checked. If you are looking to purchase a new sukkah, or sukkah boards and schach, there are many sales around the greater Ramat Eshkol area, for example on Vitznitz in Sanhedria Murchevet, which will actually custom make boards for you. They also have keter tables, chairs, and sukkah lighting and fake grass for the floor of your sukkah for good prices. Standard six-foot table costs around 200 NIS, four keter chairs for 100 NIS, lighting, and grass depends on quality. You will also need extension cords to hook up lighting and duct tape to hold the cords in place. But around sukkos, many people will sell this stuff used and you can get it for much cheaper. You may also need a staple gun and drill, but most people will be happy to lend you theirs, so you probably will not need to stomach that cost.

Decorating does a lot for your sukkah and also gets you into the spirit of the Yom Tov. If you are artistic, a great way to decorate is to paint a mural for your sukkah. You can buy cheap paint on Bar Ilan at the art store there. If you are trying to go for a classier look, or if your sukkah is canvas, hanging glass or plastic ornaments with flowers placed inside from the bamboo creates a beautiful look for your sukkah. You can get ornaments like this at different stores around Bar Ilan area, or you can spend a little more at the art store located near the bus stop on Bar Ilan.

No matter where your sukkah ends up being, or how it ends up looking, enjoy the special atmosphere of Sukkos in Yerushalayim. There is nothing like seeing Sukkah in every corner and watching the entire Yerushalayim getting ready for this special holiday together.

Starting a Business – Part 2: Advertising

Starting a Business – Part 2: Advertising

 

Social Media

 

A business can only exist if you have a clientele. In order to gain a following, a business relies heavily on advertisement. This is a major factor in having your business succeed, but as most things in a fledging business, it can be a big expense so here is a break down of how to make a big name, but pay less. Social media is a great free platform for you to get your business out there. Instagram is a major platform to showcase your product and gain a following. Although Instagram is free – be prepared that running a platform in itself, is a full time job. People want to see updates of you product, they want new pictures and what helps is putting a face behind the business. People will relate more to your business, when they see who is behind the product – that it’s more than a product, but it’s a person providing a
service. In addition, everyone loves free stuff, so a very popular way to increase your following is by having giveaways. In general, a giveaway is some sort of competition that involves a person being entered to have a chance to win your product/ service by helping you increase your following. Lastly, Instagram is great for collaborating. For example, you only have a few followers, so by collaborating with
other small business or other big names on Instagram, you can leverage the fact that they have more followers and therefore increase your following. There are many social media platforms and many more strategic ways to use these platforms to help increase your publicity, but this will help you get started. Not only is it important to use social media, but while doing so, it is important to create the name you
are looking to portray. As a small business, it is important to take into account every expense, but you don’t want to cheap out on your image. Therefore, it may be worth your while to have a professional to create your ad or logo. There are many cheaper options, like finding a student or beginner graphic artist who is also trying to showcase their work, and whom might provide the service in exchange for you
having their name on your ad, or they may do it for less. Although this is another expense – the image you make for yourself is what attracts a clientele – if you look like a serious business, then people look at the business in a professional light. In addition, WhatsApp groups are another great way to publicize your business. Some groups are free – so you can periodically post your ad, for no cost. Some WhatsApp groups are bigger and may ask for a minimal fee to post – it is up to your discretion to decide if it worth you while. Some groups, such us the
LYB group, will offer you to advertise for free in exchange for giving their subscribers a discount of your product. This is a great way to get your name out, because people always feel better about paying for something on sale, and it gives them the impression that your business has great deals. There are also different emailing groups that provide the same type of publication. There are small local google groups, for example, where it is free to advertise. Just like WhatsApp groups, there are much larger emailing lists, like the Ramat Eshkol Nshei (ramateshkolnshei@gmail) where you can pay for different advertisement plans that fit with-in your budget.

 

Printed Ads

Although it may seem old fashion – printing out advertisements is another productive way to publicize, especially here in Israel. Not everyone has social media here, and people look at bus-stops and light poles for updates. You can get very good deals at printing presses – such as דפוס השושנים located on Shmuel Hanavi and Yechezkel – they will give you a card that allows you to print 100 color prints for 100nis, but allow you to split up the time you print. Therefore, you can print 50 of one ad, and then come back another time and print another 50 of a separate ad. They also cut your prints for a minimal cost of 5 nis. You can email them at 5827402@gmail.com or WhatsApp them +972-2-532-2315. Personally, after doing research from different printing presses in the area – they provided the cheapest deal. Having print outs will increase the type of clientele your business will reach. You can also join different “Pop-up shops” that usually happen around big buying times, such as erev Sukkos and erev Peseach. This also allows for potential customers to see the face behind the business and creates a friendlier
repertoire.

Lastly, there are different advertisement publications where you can have your ad printed in. This can be costly, but you may find that this reaches a wide range of potential customers. One of the most widely known publications is the “Pirsumit” (pirsumit@gmail.com). It is important to keep in mind that although your ad can be seen by many people with such publications – you need to make sure its formatted in a way that people will notice it, amongst the tens of other advertisements. The “Pirsumit” and most publications, have a graphic designer who you can pay a minimal fee to (in addition to the fee of the advertisement) to create for you an ad that you want displayed.

 

Conclusion

With all these options, it is therefore important to know where to invest your time and energy. The most effective way to determine this, is by always asking your customers how they heard about you. Always ask and when you see a clear pattern develop – for example after asking 50 customers, 30 people tell you they saw you on the BIL group, you know to hone in on WhatsApp groups, or if they tell you that after a giveaway on Instagram they started following you – then you know that you should continue to put effort in improving your Instagram account.
Keep in mind – advertising is costly but it is a worthwhile effort. It may take time, but when people see your name everywhere, it becomes familiar to them and therefore the next time they need a service you provide – you will be the first they turn to. Don’t get discouraged, this is how all businesses build themselves. Keep it up – and you’ll see results.