Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Getting into the Spirit of Purim 2015

Aside from preparing Mishloach Manot, the streets of Israel are lots of fun with kids dressed up in fancy dress. Every so often one sees adults or teens dressed up too.

At the local Mall, someone came with battery operated little cars, here a Kallah (bride) and a little boy (can't see from behind how he is dressed up) are preparing for their 10 minutes of fun in these cute little cars.

One little "fireman" is very busy playing with his friend, both are in fancy dress.

 In the aisle at the supermarket, a 'chef' is waiting her turn.

Never too early to become an astronaut!!

So many little girls just love to dress up as a bride. This one is joining her family shopping probably for the Purim Seuda.

It's a lot of fun to be in Israel for Purim time.

What are you doing for Purim? Are you dressing up too?

Have you put aside your Matanot Le'Evyonim? Don't forget to help the needy while you are busily enjoying the fun aspects of the day.

Have a very joyous Purim!

Shoshanah Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Preparing for Purim in Jerusalem 2015

In two days time it will be Purim and this is one of those special times of the year when being in Israel is THE BEST place for a Jew. You just need to take a walk down the road and you will find all kinds of stores filled with costumes and gifts.

 Whether it is the entrance of a store that sells an array of accessories..

 The corner kiosk that usually sells snacks, drinks and flowers.

A sweet store or a stationery / hobby shop..

Everyone is involved in the theme of preparing for Purim.

There are all kinds of baskets, pretty bags and containers, nosh, treats and more..

With all the excitement, one of the very special central themes of Purim is to take care of those in need. This is done by giving Matanot Le'Evyonim, which in English is gifts to the poor. These gifts are not the pretty gifts with chocolates, drinks and other nosh. These gifts are monetary ones to help those less fortunate or in need for whatever reason to have the finances to pay for their expenses.

We hope you have enjoyed the photo's that illustrate the atmosphere of Israel and invite you to join us in giving Matanot Le'Evyonim.

Please visit our website or be in touch. Purim is JUST two days away to time is of the essence.

We look forward to hearing from you

Shoshanah Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet

Purchasing a New Washing Machine in Israel

It's a given - clothes get dirty! In the old days - before washing machines - clothes were cleaned with one's own hands and a basin (or the like.) Today, it's automatically assumed that every household owns a washing machine (and probably a fridge and stove/oven too!) We can take it all for granted - as in the assumption, and presume it's just always there when we need it. 

For new Olim as well as old, purchasing a washing machine for their homes can be an exercise in itself. How much are they? Which brand should I purchase? How long will it last for? There are a bunch of questions. Of course for the new Oleh - it's about trying to understand pricing first and then dealing with brands and future life expectancy. But for the old Oleh whose machine is beginning to sound like it's about to take off as it bangs and crashes across the entire Mirpeset Sheirut (מרפסת שירות) - the "service balcony" often used to keep things like washing machines on them - knowing when to buy can make all the difference in wasting one's money or doing things properly.

For those with wealth, the decision is an easy one. Throw the old machine away and get a new one! For those struggling financially and watching with tears in their eyes as their machine gives in, the only option can be to bring in a technician to fix it and hope it will work for another good few years. But it's not so simple - and here's why;

While for some reason the minimum wage in Israel is just about some ₪24 per hour (currently), those working privately can charge practically anything - and usually do. Here then is the reality. When your machine begins to give in, you may feel calling in Mr Fix It will be your best decision. However, do not forget that he may well charge some ₪200 just for his evaluation call out. He may find something wrong and attempt to fix it - or he may tell you it's not fixable. It will still cost you that call out fee. If he does find a way to fix it - you'll have done well! If not, he may well leave you with your old broken machine - and another ₪200 out of your pocket. You could of course call in someone else to take a look. But it may cost another ₪200. If he doesn't get it right - you may feel you'd like to try just one more person... Do the math for yourself.

Consider a new machine. It may cost ₪1000 for a simple - yet decent machine. You'll order it, have it in a couple of weeks and your washing will be clean again! Although it may cost more money-wise, there's a lot of aggravation you may avoid and you will actually be getting your ₪1000 worth of working machine! Don't forget, that if you'll be using the Mr Fix It approach, you may also find yourself for a couple of months without a machine as he attempts to consider different ways of repairing the machine - often turning around to tell you that he simply can't. You will need to do your washing by hand until he tells you this.

If you choose to purchase a new machine - which you may find easier to deal with in the long run than have to consider the expenses and time involved for the trying-to-fix the other one approach, you'll need to choose something reliable. There are two types you can go for.

There is the top loader which allows you to put your washing into the machine from the top. There is also the front loader which allows you to put your washing in from the front. One advantage of this machine is that you can also put something else on top of the machine - which you will never be able to do with the top loader. Having asked others and searched the Internet for more info, I have heard people say that top loaders are better - though nobody has been able to substantiate this is in any way whatsoever. Did you know that many of the front loaders have a feature called "economy" wash? What this means is that you will save money on electricity if you use the economy mode. A disadvantage - which is rather strange - is that the washing will take at least two to three times as long as an ordinary wash!

When you order your new machine, you'll have to consider how to get the old machine out of your home and what to do with it - especially if it really doesn't work right any longer! I have heard of there being people who assist, but have mostly met unsuccessfully with such people - who can charge up to ₪200 to remove the old machine. If of course you're into weight lifting, you can always put the machine on your own shoulders or maybe just tuck it under your arms and carry it down the six flights of floors you may live on! Legally - I cannot comment on the problems involved in just leaving a machine next to the garbage bins! So make sure you do your homework before getting into any trouble!

Here's the really exciting news now. Once your machine is delivered, you may not connect it yourself. If you do this, you will automatically lose your guarantee for it! For some reason, Israel has set up a law that requires the company to remove the few pins that are in the machine during travel and thereafter plug the cord into the electricity and feed the pipe into the hole made for this purpose. You will need to call the person up (telephone number provided by the store you purchase the machine in.) Incidentally, an additional worker is needed for this job - and in certain instances will charge for this skilled service! In Israel, one really can get job doing practically anything and also find a way to charge for it!

From the time your machine is delivered, it can take up to two weeks to have someone come through to do the connecting - depending on where you live, so be prepared for an additional two weeks without a machine.

The issue of buying the new machine or trying to fix the old one is an individual one. Do remember though that in addition to spending money for fixing purposes - which may well be wasted - there will also be a greater time delay in being able to have your washing clean via a machine. What you choose to do is your own choice. The post is here to highlight some important points that you should keep in mind just about the time you see your machine hopping on the balcony, smashing into the wall, sounding like an aircraft about to take off - or showing any strange signs such as not opening, spinning forever, not releasing the water inside it and just about anything else!

Eliyahu Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet


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