Monthly Archives: August 2012

Review of Seating Arrangements. *Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card*

I just had the honour of reading Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.

This is her first novel and I refused to read the summary before diving in to the book. I wanted to be surprised. I curled up on the sofa Friday night and started reading. All during Friday night dinner I yearned to get back to it and the moment I woke up on Shabbat I had to return to it.

Maggie Shipstead is a gifted writer. Her story takes place over a wedding weekend and illustrates the ins and outs of one WASPy family in all their glory (and shame).

The main character is Winn Van Meter, father of the bride. Ms Shipstead developed his character perfectly – you feel his pride in his children, his angst at them growing up and embarking upon the next chapter in their lives, his sorrow at various of his behaviours and thoughts. This man is obsessed with belonging – to the right golf club, the right social club. Much of his life revolves around his social club and his inability to be granted entry to the local golf club on his Cape Cod-like island.

Each character has a unique personality and Ms Shipstead is able to bring them to life with her beautiful writing. I laughed, I cried, I cringed.

This was a well-written, fun read that kept me hooked from the first page. I cannot wait to read more family dramas from Ms Shipstead. To buy your own copy of the book – here’s the Amazon link.

***Would you like to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card?***

To qualify, please leave a comment below telling me which types of books you like reading, and the name and author of the last book you read.

Contest will close Monday August 20th 2012 at 9 am. One winner will be chosen at random, and will have 24 hours to respond to the email telling them they are a winner. If no response, another winner will be chosen.

7-11 Hot Dogs – Two (Messy) Thumbs Up

We just returned from 7-11 where we ate supper. Yep. The local 7-11 in Monsey has started selling Glatt Kosher hot dogs for their kosher-keeping consumers.

It felt extremely weird to walk into a 7-11 with the express intention of buying hot dogs, almost as if I was doing something wrong. But there are signs everywhere that the kosher hot dog counter is under the rabbinical supervision of Rav Zushe Blech.

My boys, being kids, order plain boring hot dogs (one had a spicy sausage but no condiments) but they said they were great. I ordered the Jerusalem dog which came with chummus, coleslaw, pickle chips & sweet pepper strips. You can choose what type of hot dog – Hot & Spicy, Polish Sausage or Regular. I chose Hot & Spicy.

Four hot dogs, excuse me, four kosher hot dogs – $14.80. Not bad, not bad at all. I can see the kids now asking me not only to shlepp them there for slurpees but for hot dogs too. But they are not the healthiest thing on the planet, so it won’t happen that often.

However, I can definitely see that 7-11 hot dogs will be a positive reinforcement in the boys’ life – keep your room clean, and we can go get hot dogs at 7-11; fold your laundry – hot dogs; good school report…. you get the picture.

El Al Honouring Tickets!!

El Al Ticket Insanity

By now you have all heard, I am sure, about the craziness on Monday of return flights to Israel on El Al being sold for $350 or thereabouts. Insanity!! A crazy reduction, the likes of which had never been seen before. I was feeling very regretful that I didn’t get in on it.

It was a third party mistake – fuel surcharges had not been factored in. A mistake that was not discovered for several hours.

Initially El Al said they would honour the tickets – however, yesterday they backtracked and tweeted that no firm decision has yet been made.

I have seen many holier-than-thou posts saying how dare these people take advantage of a Jewish company, causing them to lose millions of dollars, that it was immoral for anyone to have taken advantage of these prices.

Several of my friends bought tickets. All of them thought it was seat sale of some sort. Not one of them set out to buy tickets to cheat El Al out of money. All the moralizing is making my head hurt. Should we buy nothing on sale because it means the company will lose money? How was anyone supposed to know that these prices were a mistake?

I am sure there are legal issues that El Al needs to work out, I am also sure that El Al cannot afford to lose millions of dollars – a loss that would result if they honoured the thousands of tickets that were purchased during the glitch.

What do you think they should do – to ensure continued customer loyalty AND to safeguard their own bottom line?

Have Daughters Aged 8 – 15?

YALDAH – the magazine for Jewish girls by Jewish girls – has a batmitzvah essay contest. Grand Prize: A beautiful sterling silver key necklace. The winning essay will also be published in YALDAH magazine. A number of “runner-up” essays will be published in the Bat Mitzvah section of

They are looking for an essay 400-700 words from a girl who has either already celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, or is looking forward to celebrating it in the future. The essay should be either a reflection of the importance of becoming a Bat Mitzvah and how it has affected your life, or what you are looking forward to about becoming a Bat Mitzvah and what you expect to learn and gain from the experience.

Click on over to the contest site for more details.

Good Luck!

What is she teaching her kids?

I was just with my son at the local mall. I am very dressed down today – denim skirt, flip flops (sorry LT), casual tee, and a headscarf. (Similar to pic). The mall was busy. We walked past people of all types.

This mom and two pre-teen daughters walked very slowly past us, staring and pointing not at all unobtrusively at my head-covering. The mother loudly mentioned to her girls to “look at what that woman has on her head”.

I was flabbergasted. OK, I may look different from them – but to be so obvious in pointing it out? Even my youngest knows how rude this kind of behaviour is.

My son wanted to know why people cannot just accept others the way they are – aren’t we all people? What difference does it make if we look different or dress different, he asked? It gave us plenty to talk about – but I am so ticked off.

Mikvah – Wonderful Explanation

Excellent video explanation on the whys and wherefores of mikvah. Awesome job Jew In The City!

Glad to have been a (small) part of this project!

Shabbat Shalom!


Well, I was in Montreal, and I just had to have poutine. I haven’t had poutine in close to two years and I dreamed of it, I salivated over the idea of it and finally this week I squeezed in a quick visit to Pizza Pita and ordered my poutine.

It did not live up to my high expectations. I would even go so far as to say it was “meh”. I expected to be transported to gustatory nirvana. Didn’t happen. Well, I guess I am finally cured of eating a “heart attack in a bowl”.

Sad sad sad day.