Chanukah Activities for the whole family

Chanukah Activities for the whole family

 

 

When I think of Chanukah I immediately think of family time. Cozy circles around the candles, chilly and dark outside, glowing and warm inside. Husbands and fathers come home early and we gather around with the whole family for eight festive days! Let us all maximize on all this special family time as much as we can With the only Mitzvos being Hallel and Menorah, it’s really up to us to make it our own. Here
are some wonderful ideas for you and your loved ones to help bond and keep busy, all in the Chanukah spirit.

 

Decorate Your Chanukah Table

Whether you are having grand Chanukah parties or not, it’s always fun to have themed decor around your house for the holiday. Israeli shops fill with an abundance of Chanukah goodies- plastic ware, food, toys and more. The streets are bedecked with light-up menorahs and dreidels, completing the winter wonderland look for our Jewish country. Decorating your table will fill your home with that same Yom Tov vibe!

You can create a simple Menorah decoration by placing eight similar items down the middle of your table, and one bigger in the center as the Shamesh. Try glass cups of pretty flower arrangements. Simply place four glass cups of flowers in a row, one larger glass, and four more small ones. You can buy one big bunch of flowers from the corner pop ups on erev Shabbos and split them up yourself. For a colorful look try using glasses filled with plastic dreidels or candy. We all know this country has an abundance of candy to choose from, in the shuk in grocery stores and nut shops. Dreidels are popular in shekel stores, Geula, and almost anywhere else, starting from Rosh Chodesh Kislev and on. For a simpler setup that provides a classy and clean look, try placing tea lights on top of eight medium sized Voss water bottles and one taller one. You can get them in Israel here – https://israel.desertcart.com/products/91724157-voss-sparkling-water-800-ml

You can try piling up stacks of doughnuts for people to eat, or any other original ideas you can come up with to create this special holiday aura.

 

Crafts for Kids

With a house full of kiddies, arts and crafts is always a hit. Keep your children busy and excited about Chanukah by creating your own projects. Make a DIY Menorah with children that are too young to light their own. Decorate clothes pins as candles or use Velcro to allow you to add and remove candles each night, and use the Shamesh to “light” the other candles. Stickers work great as flames. You can even have these candles stuck onto a paper crown for your child’s head! For kids that can light their own Menorah, let them personalize it! With some rhinestones and a tin Menorah, you’re bound to end up with a masterpiece. You can get everything mentioned here, plus many more DIY Chanukah crafts, at the shekel stores, located in Bar Ilan Shmuel Hanavi, Geula, Shefa, and their other branches scattered all
around town.

 

Bake

One of the best parts of sitting outside with your Chanuka lights is knowing that there are hot latkas waiting for you in the kitchen. They say that food connects people, and let’s face it- whether you’re having a major Chanukah party or just spending time with family at home, you’re going to need some yummy food. Get into the kitchen with your spouse or kids and get baking! Donuts, latkas, anything oily. You know the drill! Donut holes are an awesome way to make donuts without having to shape each one. Simply create small little balls of dough for frying. You can even use a delicious challah dough recipe if you let it rise long enough. Toss them in icing sugar, glaze, or make a buffet of toppings for everyone to choose from. Classic sugar cookies are an all-time favorite as well, making for some good childhood memories. Cut them out in the shapes of dreidels, Menorah, donuts, and other Chanukah items. Decorate raw cookies with sprinkles, cookie crumbs and chocolate coins, or baked cookies with frosting and then toppings of your choice.

Have a wonderful Chanukah with your family! We hope you enjoy these ideas and that they enhance your Yom Tov. Keep warm and keep busy, and keep creating memories.

Ah Freilichen Chanuka!

Top 5 Chanukah party activities for 2020

Top 5 Chanukah party activities for 2020

 

 

Chanukah is around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited! Every Ma’afe Neeman and Nechama’s is overflowing with delectable looking doughnuts. Grocery stores are having 4 for 1 sales on chocolate coins, and the cold rainy season is in full fledge, waiting to be lit up by the Menorah lights. Whether your plans are to be cozy at home with your immediate family, or elaborately planned Chanukah parties with
cousins and friends, here are some great ideas for some upcoming Holiday fun. Enjoy these home activities for a wholesome and wonderful time!

1. Create a family video. There are so many wonderful things about living in Eretz Yisrael. Chanukah time especially, you feel it in the air; with every shop and home getting ready, menorahs going up all over the city, and a huge plus, no non-Jewish holiday items in sight! While this aspect is truly amazing, it can also be hard at times, especially when you’re not with family for Yom Tov. Try connecting with family all over the world by watching the same video with familiar faces. Before Chanukah send out a request for a video from each family member, with a question or guideline: Try family trivia, or favorite cousin memory. Let everyone have a good laugh and a great time connecting to family across the globe. Ask the tech-pro in the family to put it together, or hire someone to make it professional. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

2. Donut Decorating! We all know a good Chanukah party isn’t complete without good food. We wait for the classic sufganiot all year, along with Chanukah cookies or even some good cake. Turn your dessert into a fun activity by letting your guests decorate it themselves with frosting, sprinkles, cookies crumbs and chocolate coins! Either make it yourself, or ask your local bakery or home businesses for your
doughnuts and toppings separately. Try turning it into a contest, for the funniest, prettiest, or yummiest dessert. For an additional fun twist, split your group into teams. Show them a pre-decorated cake for a number of minutes, and then take it away, for them to copy by memory. Whoever comes out with the closest match wins! With whatever option you choose, you’ll end up with a creative game, and a
delicious dessert! Bitei’Avon!

3. Paint night! Another great, bonding activity is painting! Crafts are great for all ages, and could be more slow paced and relaxing. You can hire an instructor to come to your house with all the supplies, to teach everyone a pre-determined painting of choice. The instructor brings everything you need to set up, and can help each person individually. There are paint instructors in almost every neighborhood in Jerusalem. You can also order paint kits from many local home businesses for a DIY experience. Paint kits are delivered to your door with all the paint, brushes, and supplies necessary, including step by step picture instructions to follow along. Alternatively you can just order the supplies yourself, and get your creative juices flowing!

4. Dreidel….with a twist. We all love a good old fashioned game of dreidel, sitting around in a cozy circle, only complete with the Chanukah gelt. Dreidels in Israel can be picked up wherever you go – groceries, shekel stores, Judaica, you name it. Now try spicing up this traditional game with a few funky rules! Gimmel = get everything, Hay = half, Pey = pay ….and Nun = nothing? Try replacing Nun with a challenge! Every time a player lands on Nun, they have to pick a dare from a bowl! Dance around the room, sing a Chanukah song, taste a suspicious concoction or the like! Complete this game with a plethora of shekel store prizes and it will be a Chanukah party to remember!

5. Kahoots. There are many online escape rooms or fun games to choose from. Kahoots is a game of questions that you come up with, which your guests answer from their smart phones. This game can be projected on the wall, or placed on a laptop in the front of the room. Stick with Chanukah trivia, or maybe ask questions about the craziest thing each player has done. It’s an awesome connecting activity that can be played each person for themselves or in group teams. So dim the lights, and get involved. We hope you find something you enjoy on this list of Chanukah activities to lighten up your Chanukah party. Check out our website for more information on Chanukah in Israel.

 

Have a happy and Lichtege Chanukah!

5 things to do on a Motzei Shabbos in Yerushalayim

5 things to do on a Motzei Shabbos in Yerushalayim

 

With winter fast approaching, Motzei Shabbosim are getting longer and longer. I know, there are always
dishes to wash, but why not hit the town for a good time? Here are the top 5 things to do in Jerusalem
on a Saturday night.

1. Escape room
Going to an escape room is a fun and engaging activity for a couple or a group of friends. You and your
party are locked into a room (or sometimes a series of rooms) and have to look around for clues, codes
and keys until you break yourself out. There is a storyline told to you before you go in, and a series of
connecting clues leading you along, to help you get out in the time frame of one hour. It’s thrilling,
unifying and really thought-provoking. (Bring your smartest friends!) Its a great way to spend an evening
indoors with something fun to do. Although there are many escape rooms in Jerusalem, I found one I
liked in the Ben Yehuda area. Call to book in advance because only one group can go at a time.
Secret room Jerusalem

16, Yoel Moshe Salomon St, Jerusalem

2. Go out to eat.
This one never gets old! They say that eating connects people, and it’s definitely always enjoyable!
Whether you’re ordering to your home, finding a park to chill in, or eating in the restaurant (corona
permitting of course) eating out is a fun way to connect with friends and family. Check out our list of
restaurants for some good ideas and fast contact information. We have a separate list of dairy and parve
places, the usual go-to's after a Shabbos full of meat, or Fleishigs for those who want. Delivery options
are included, check it out!
https://liveyourbil.com/lifestyle/food/restaurants/

3. Kever Rochel or Shmuel Hanavi
For those of us looking to get holy on a Motzei Shabbos and take advantage of living in the land, going to
a Kever is a great idea. There is always something or someone to Daven for, and Kevarim are a
wonderful way to connect. Kever Rochel has busses running even on Motzei Shabbos (try the 71 or 72.)
It’s a quick ride and a fantastic way to fill your evening.
Kever Shmuel Hanavi is less popular but also a great and fulfilling way to spend your Motzei Shabbos.
Any bus going up Shmuel Hanavi Street should take you to the bottom of the hill, although you still have a small mountain to climb! With a breathtaking view, Shmuel Hanavi is one of the highest points in Jerusalem, so hitch a ride, or put on your sneakers for the winding paved road ahead. Aside from being a wonderful Jewish prayer site, Kever Shmuel Hanavi is surrounded by a nice area with benches, gazebos
and places to walk around. With beautiful indoor bathrooms, it’s really all inclusive!

4. Bowling, Go Carts, Arcades
If you’re missing the fun thrill of a Dave and Busters, or local bowling alley, we’ve got you covered.
On the bottom few floors of Talpiot mall is a bowling alley, a room with arcades, karaoke, and go carts.
The bowling alley is really big and well done, complete with a cafe for chips and salsa, slurpees, and
loads of other snacks and treats. They are constantly upgrading their arcades. You can win tickets for
prizes or reserve a pool table. On the lower level is a go-cart track for 50 shekels per round. Enjoy!
Bowling Talpiot
026782000
HaUman St 17, קניון לב תלפיות

5. Ceramic Painting
For a more relaxing and slow paced activity, try out one of Jerusalem’s many pottery studios. With soft
music playing, and calm energy, ceramic painting is a fun way to unwind and create, especially for those
who are artistic. You can paint a cute tchatchka for your shelf, a serving dish for Shabbos, or a gift for a
friend. With many options to choose from at varying prices, it’s a wonderful activity, and great for all
ages. JClay is in Jerusalem’s center, located in Geula area. This studio specializes in Judaic products, from
models of Kever Rochel, Mezuzos, Kiddish Cups and more. For a Motzei Shabbos appointment, call to
book in advance.
JClay
02-6786828‬
Yosef Ben Matityahu St 14, Jerusalem

We hope you find this list informative and varied for whatever mood you find yourself in on Motzei
Shabbos! Luckily for us, Yerushalayim has really got it all! Enjoy your evening and Gut Voch!

How to put together a last-minute meal for 6 Bochurim

How to put together a last-minute meal for 6 Bochurim

For some reason, Bochurim don’t think about Shabbos until it is practically Shabbos. Whether your husband met some Mir guys at Maariv on Thursday night, or your nephew just let you know that he’s bringing a handful of guys, don’t fret! We’ve got you covered.

Start with a Menu:

If you’re making something big for the main course, like meat or chicken on the bone, you really only need one protein. If it’s something smaller like chicken cutlets or poppers, I’d go with two Fleishig dishes. Match this with three or four sides, and you’re good to go. Also, you want to make sure you have enough food, but there is really no reason to get too complicated. Boys will enjoy pastrami pizza (which takes about an hour to make) and deli roll (which takes about 3 minutes to make) just as much. Minced garlic from the freezer can easily replace freshly chopped cloves. Buy a bag of sweet potato chips for a salad instead of making your own. Keep it simple, easy, and delicious.

To make a deli roll, take one package of defrosted flakey dough, and roll it out. Smear it with duck sauce, honey, and mustard, and layer with any deli. Roll it up, cut some slits in the top, and bake. Prep time is about 3 minutes. Literally.

Next, make sure you choose recipes with the least amount of steps. Chicken on the bone, or a big roast, is filling and a beautiful Shabbosdikke main dish. Both are extremely simple to spice up  (or sauce up) and stick in the oven for hours.

Easy and delicious chicken on the bone:

Spice chicken with all the classic spices – garlic powder, paprika, pepper, and a bit of salt, then drizzle with ketchup, soy sauce, and silan. Bake for 1 hour covered, and 30 minutes uncovered to get a crispy top. This is a delicious recipe that will be a hit every time.

 

Number 3 meat:

Chop onion and place your meat on top. Coat with salt, pepper, and oil. Add 3/4 can of whole cranberry sauce, honey, minced garlic, (from the freezer!), and some red wine. Cover and bake for 2-3 hours. This recipe is a hit every time, and easy to play around with. Your guests will love it.

Baking in the oven is a great tool for fast cooking. This way you can avoid standing and frying for hours, or puttering around mixing and watching your food. I know there’s nothing like freshly fried schnitzel, but schnitzel dipped in a sauce (instead of egg) can come out pretty good oven-baked as well. (Especially when you use a lot of oil.) Rice comes out just as good or even better when made in the oven, and it’s definitely easier.

Bais Yaakov Cook Book Shnitzel

Coat schnitzel in

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons bbq sauce
  • Garlic powder

Use this instead of a regular egg, and then dip it into crumbs. Bake with lots of oil.

Rice in the oven

  • One cup of rice
  • 2 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • salt pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Chicken soup mix
  • Teriyaki sauce

This recipe is delicious and very flavorful but feel free to spice it however you like. And of course to double it if you need more.

Simplify!

Instead of adding ingredients to make a kugel or muffin, just roast your veggies as they are for a delicious and nutritious side.

Roasted sweet potatoes:

  • Cut sweet potatoes into cubes.
  • Add a few cloves of garlic.
  • Spice with salt and pepper
  • Montreal steak spice. Yum!

Buy!

Don’t be shy to buy! Buy challah, dips, or an extra potato kugel to ease the cooking burden. Buy lettuce to make a salad that you can prepare right before the meal. Use tomatoes and cucumbers for Israeli salad, and lettuce with an assortment of veggies (even deli!) for the main course. And of course, buy dessert! Cake, ice cream, or nuts and seeds can always do the trick.

Good luck and Shabbat Shalom!

Israel Life Hacks

Israel Life Hacks

 

Life is different around here! With just a few tips and tricks to get you on your feet, you’ll be settled in no time. Soon you may be coming up with ideas of your own!

Spices

The main thing to be aware of when it comes to spices in Israel is moisture – and bugs! I was making tomato soup one afternoon and was pretty surprised to find my onion powder…well, not powder anymore – but one big clump. You may find that your paprika or pepper sticks to the top of your spice shaker and clogs the holes. This is because there’s a lot of moisture in the air, making the spices clump together. A common trick for salt is to put a bit of dry rice into the shaker to absorb any extra moisture, but the less common trick for the rest of your spices is to keep them in the freezer. You can also keep flour or coffee in the freezer to keep it fresh and dry. This tip also helps with bugs. You might have noticed that almost every package says “mehudar to check for bugs” this is because it can be a real problem here in Israel. Thankfully, keeping easily infested ingredients in the freezer should take care of it.

 

Bag Clips

This one might be self-explanatory, but it is a big deal here in Israel! So many more products come in bags! Besides the regular sugar and flour, you are going to be buying croutons, vanilla sugar, baking soda,  and many of your food products in bags as opposed to plastic containers. This tends to get frustrating when you only want to use half a pack of baking powder, or when you want fresh crunchy croutons! Baggie clips are sold in Yesh, or any home goods store and will really save you. I would suggest buying a big pack (or two!) and keep them with your plasticware to have around.   This will also save you from moisture and bugs.

The same problem can be avoided by buying (or keeping) containers for your ingredients. Open all your powders into one small container for easy scooping, and keep a large one for flour or oats.

 

Mold

Moisture moisture moisture….

I promise to stop talking about it after this one, but moisture…can cause mold! Many couples are surprised to find mold in their apartment, and even want to move. Unfortunately, moving is not going to solve this one. Most people struggle with mold and it’s something you need to learn to deal with. For starters, always try to keep some windows open. Make sure your rooms have time to air out. Next, you can buy some mold spray that is fairly easy to use. Just spray some around and wipe the affected area with a cloth. This spray is called “masir ovesh” or mildew stain remover and can be found near the regular cleaning products. Lastly, you can hire someone to come to take care of it for you, (or beg your Baal Dira to take care of it…). Click here for our recommendation!

Potatoes and Root Vegetables

I’ve heard many a girl on the local nshei chat complain about potato storage. While on the east coast it may be no problem to keep potatoes and onions in a dark drawer or cabinet, many find that this just doesn’t work as well here in Israel. The vegetables go bad too fast and start to smell really quickly. Most people try to settle for a basket, which helps a little, but I’ve taken it one step further. I got some metal wire baskets (found in max stock or the like) which I hung on my wall. I’ve seen this before and I love the idea as well as the look! This way you can see which veggies you have very easily, and spot them before they go bad. You can never leave a sweet potato behind a drawer or in the back of a cabinet for a morose husband to clean up, and the best part is they stay fresh for longer! I also happen to love the look of the natural earthy tones hanging in my kitchen and get many compliments on these baskets. You can do this with wood baskets, metal wire, or anything else you can think of.

 

Getting Challah to Rise

Some people get nervous to try their mother’s famous challah recipe on this side of the ocean. Often it turns out just fine, but sometimes those fears are founded. I have another article here on Live Your BIL about cooking and baking, so definitely go check that out if this interests you, but here are the rules of rising. In order for yeast to proof, you need to have a warm environment. In the summer you should have no issue at all because it’s definitely warm enough! In the winter it’s harder though because the cold seeps in, and it’s hard to avoid that with Israeli apartments. I’ve definitely thrown out two or three batches of yeast in a row because I didn’t realize I had a temperature issue. This can be fixed easily. Preheat your oven before you start your challah. When you’re ready for the yeast to proof, turn off the oven, and place the bowl on the open oven door for five minutes. Some people keep their whole dough in a warm oven for a better rise in the winter season as well. Btei’avon!

 

Ants

Another common issue the masses deal with is ants! By the thousands! No matter how clean you think you are, you may be infested with these little guys. Luckily, many families before you figured out how to deal with them. It’s good to know that keeping clean, putting away, and sealing all food will really make a difference. First, you have to find where the ants are coming in from to see if you can seal it up – that’s already half the issue! Next, regular “juke” spray can usually do the trick. Spray some standard bug spray around the areas they come from and they may be gone for good. Lastly, if sealing and spraying didn’t work you can go for the stronger stuff – poison. You can buy ant poison in Yesh, Olam Habayit, or similar shops.  The ants take a bit of poison back to their home and it kills them all. Obviously, be very careful not to use this when kids are crawling around or eating off the floor.

So here you have it- my best tips and tricks to tackle the issues that seem to be more common here in Israel. Feel free to customize them to make them work for you. Found the best bag clips? Have a great idea to keep the ants away? Let us know at writeforus@liveyourbil.com