Image credit: N Sher
After high heat, the weather is certainly more pleasant with temperatures forecast to be in the upper 20s/near 30 C (80s F) in the coming days. This will bring us to Erev Rosh HaShanah, which looks to be quite pleasant. It's not fall weather, but more of a transition weather.
This Friday morning actually shows a chance of light showers over the northern part of the country, and some showers off the southwest coast. Weak low pressure to our east will move east, while weak pressure develops over the Mediterranean. The counterclockwise flow around the Mediterranean low will be sure to keep our winds from the west, which will keep temperatures lower, but humidities a bit higher.
All in all, a good weather way to head into the new year!
Image credit: The Jerusalem Herald
I'd like to follow up, briefly, on my recent discussion concerning health care in Israel. Perhaps -- some would call it ironic -- I developed the worst pain I can remember about two weeks after my surgery. After a visit to my family doctor, I was off to Terem. Terem, for those who don't know, is a way station on a potential journey to the emergency room. For the most part, those who go there are well enough to be healed without a visit or stay in the hospital, with basic, but not major intervention. Anyone can come, for a small payment, and receive quick and efficient care.
After a series of tests, I was quickly referred to the public emergency room. We decided to go to Hadassah University Hospital-Ein Kerem, just outside of Jerusalem, instead of Shaare Zedek Medical Center. There is a new road to Hadassah, so getting to one hospital compared to another is not that much more difficult, and parking is easier at Hadassah Ein Kerem.
Moreover, it turns out that Hadassah Ein Kerem has an obvious physical separation and treatment plan for those who come on their own compared to those (unfortunate) who do not (who are wheeled in and left with the "mob"). This is a great idea, and I was much appreciative of it -- in the end receiving the care I required.
Yet, I arrived at about 11:30 in the morning and was discharged about 9 PM. All the while, my wife was running back and forth reminding the staff that I needed treatment (for those who come by themselves, this can present a problem).
While I sat in a chair waiting, I noticed a sign that said: "Tell us about your treatment." The more I waited -- while the doctors I needed to see flitted in and out of the treatment center -- the more this sign grated on my nerves. Had I felt any better, I would have been more than angry. Moreover, the nurses confirmed that my wait time was typical!
There are those who might respond to what I've written with: "Don't complain -- what do you expect from a public service?" This would be my point exactly. For those who support public health service (I do), timeliness and the dignity of the patient should be paramount, and this is a failing that must be corrected by hiring more staff. Must our standards be low?
After a difficult two weeks, I would like to end on a happier note. The foods of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) present us with challenges such as to be like the head instead of the tail of a fish, for example. We eat carrots (my favorite) to wish that negative decrees against us will be annulled (in Hebrew , the word for carrot, gezer, sounds suspiciously close to the word for decree, gezera).
For those who like to bake, one of those challenges is making challah. Hence, I present my recipe for holiday challah, which I think I've finally got right.
Weather It Is 'Just the Perfect Challah Recipe'
Image credit: Dr. Barry Lynn
This recipe makes two large challahs (round or oblong) and 4 small challah rolls. All measurements are given in American units. For half a recipe, add 1/2 TB of salt, instead of 2 1/4 tsps as below. You can add raisins to the dough before you roll it up after the first rising (you should put the raisins along the middle of the dough and then fold it over, so the raisins don't cook on the outside of the dough).
You can preheat the oven to 190 C (about 375 F). If you do, you probably only need 25 minutes of cook time. Turning the oven on, though, when you put the dough in allows the dough to quickly rise a bit more.
6 cups bread flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted to remove any bugs.
2 cups warm water.
1/2 cup light brown sugar.
1/4 cup honey.
3 TB instant yeast.
1/2 cup gluten.
1/4 cup oil.
2 1/4 tsp of salt
Canola oil spray
Set aside the sifted flour in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, mix with an egg beater or fork the water, sugar, honey, yeast and 1 cup of the flour; let rest until bubbles form (yeast needs to "warm-up").
Beat with an egg beater the gluten, oil, eggs, and 1 more cup of the flour. Beat in 2 1/4 tsp of salt. Don't forget the salt!
Using a bread kneading device (or your hands), knead together yeast mixture, gluten mixture and enough flour (about 5 cups) until bread is dry enough to handle with your hands (and a bit elastic). I usually let this go on about 5 (over beating can break down the gluten).
Remove from mixing bowl and knead a few minutes with your hands on a flat surface, adding enough flour to keep bread from being sticky (but don't add too much flour to make the dough dry). Return to bowl and spray with canola oil. Cover with wax paper, and a light wet towel. Put in a warm oven (60 C).
About 45 minutes later, the dough should have doubled in size. Punch it down. Use 2/3 of the dough for making two loaves and the rest for making rolls. You can add a little bit of flour to keep it from being sticky. Grease pans. Place dough in pans and spray with canola oil. Let rise about 45 minutes; the dough should have doubled in size again.
Cook for 28 minutes on 190 C, until outside is hard to the touch. Remove from oven, cool on racks until warm and then remove from baking pans.