All posts by geekaba

Seder 2016

Adapted from “A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room” by S. Mitchell


NARRATOR:: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins and nuts to bind the bricks together. We ate nothing but horseradish and drank only salt water. The only joy we had came from squeezing our fresh loaves of bread, which were soft and thick and light and fluffy as clouds. We had nothing to hope for. But little did we know that one of us, an escaped Hebrew who lived as a stranger in a foreign land of Midian, would soon return to us as our savior.

MOSES: Here sheep! Here sheep, sheep! Hey, come back! Don’t make me chase you– (Suddenly surprised at the sight of a burning bush.) Oh, my gosh!

MOSES: That little bush is on fire! (He dowses it.)

MOSES: But why aren’t you burned, little bush?

G_D: Moses!

MOSES: Here I am.

G_D: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place you stand on is holy ground.

Moses removes his shoes.

G_D: Moses! Whew! Stinky! Put your shoes back on, please.

MOSES: Who are you?

G_D: I am the G_D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher–

MOSES: What do you want from me?

G_D: I have heard the cry of the Hebrew slaves and I’ve come to rescue them, to lead them out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Websites, Hippies, Trekkies, Yuppies, Muppets, Skittles, Ewoks–

MOSES: Get to the point…

G_D: Actually, you are going to do it.

MOSES: Do what?

G_D: You, Moses, will lead the Hebrews out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey.

MOSES: Who am I that I should lead the Israelites to freedom? What will they say when I tell them, “The G_D of your fathers has sent me to lead you”? If they ask, “What is His name?”, what do I tell them?

G_D: Tell them, “I am who I am.” They’ll believe you, Moses. Then go to the Pharoah and ask him to let you and the people go on a three day’s journey into the desert to offer sacrifices. If he says yes, which he won’t, you’ll go and you won’t come back.

MOSES: Good plan. Do you think Pharoah will buy it?

G_D: No.

MOSES: What’s Plan B?

G_D: Pharoah won’t let your people go unless he is forced. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt by doing all sorts of wondrous deeds there. Lots of people and animals will die.

MOSES: Couldn’t you just make Pharoah say yes the first time?

G_D: I cannot. But perhaps you can convince him.

MOSES: How will I convince him? What if he doesn’t believe me? I need some proof of your wondrous power.

G_D: Do you know any card tricks?


G_D: The nickel in the ear trick?


G_D: The rabbit from a hat?


G_D: Saw the lady in half?


G_D: Don’t worry. You’ll think of something. Now go!



NARRATOR:: So Moses came back to us, and before long, he and his brother Aaron paid Pharoah a visit.

PHAROAH: Well, if it isn’t the freakies who talk to the gods. I’ve heard of you both. You’ve got my slaves all riled up. Tell me. Is ‘He’ planning to make it rain tomorrow?

AARON: Our G_D has called upon us to make a sacrifice to Him in the desert.

PHAROAH: How narcissistic of your god. I like it. So how did it go?

AARON: We haven’t done it yet.

PHAROAH: Why not?

AARON: We have to do it in the desert.

PHAROAH: You live in the desert. Go into your backyard and make your sacrifice.

AARON: It’s not that simple. Our G_D wants us to do it far away from here.

PHAROAH: Really.

AARON: Yes, sir. About a three day’s walk.

PHAROAH: I see. So what I think I hear you saying is, you want to take all of my slaves out on a sort of field trip.

AARON: A holy sacrifice.

PHAROAH: Right, a holy sacrifice. In the desert.


PHAROAH: Three days away from here.

AARON: Exactly!

PHAROAH: And I suppose you’ll be needing to pack a few things.

AARON: Well…

PHAROAH: For your three-day hike in the desert.

AARON: Well, yes!

PHAROAH: So you can make it back here safe and healthy enough to pick up right where you left off.

AARON (excited): Absolutely, yes!


AARON: Great! OK, then. We’ll see you in a few days!

MOSES: You’ll hardly miss us!



PHAROAH: I’m assuming you have a Plan B?


PHAROAH: In case I’m not the fool you think I am. You Hebrews are going nowhere.


CHARACTERS: NARRATOR:, Moses, Aaron, Pharoah, G_D

NARRATOR:: G_D had indeed made Pharoah obstinate. He ordered the taskmasters to increase our work and punish us with greater cruelty. And though Moses and Aaron returned to him each day with various amazing feats to prove their holy authority, Pharoah simply ordered his own magicians to explain these tricks away.

MOSES: G_D, it’s not working. We told him everything you said. We tried a few card tricks. We turned my staff into a snake. But nothing works. And the slaves–they think I’m only making things worse for them.

G_D: Yes, I expected this. It’s time I showed them the awesome power of the Lord. It is time I smite Egypt with my wondrous deeds! Go back to Pharoah, lads, and warn him of my wrath.

NARRATOR:: So with G_D looking on, Moses and Aaron returned to Pharoah.

PHAROAH: Boys, welcome back! Have any new tricks to show me?

AARON: Pharoah.


AARON: Let my people go.




AARON: If you don’t, you will witness the awesome power of the Lord.

PHAROAH: I see. Could you be more specific?

G_D: I will turn all their waters to blood.

MOSES: Ugh! I pass out at the sight of blood.



NARRATOR:: And so Egypt was colored red with blood. The fish in the river died, the Egyptians had to dig to find clean water to drink, and Moses was woozy for many days. After a week, G_D commanded Aaron to stretch his hand over the waters of Egypt and the country was overrun by frogs. This time, Pharoah sent for Moses and Aaron.

AARON: Now, Pharoah, you have seen the awesome power of the Lord!

PHAROAH: Yes, and the frogs were cute at first, I admit, but all the ribbiting is driving me crazy. Make them disappear and I’ll let your people go.

AARON: Okay! Let’s go!



PHAROAH: Forget it. Can’t leave.

AARON: If you don’t let us go, the Lord will punish you even more severely.


AARON: Oh, you want to know How?

G_D: I’ll, I’ll, I’ll turn the dust of the earth into little gnats, which will go “bzzzz” over the land!

NARRATOR:: And so the land and air were swarming with gnats. But Pharoah refused again. And then came flies. And the pestilence. And the boils. And again Pharoah called Moses and Aaron to his chambers.



PHAROAH: Oh, thank G_D you’re here. Make these things go away. I’ve tried everything. Facial masks, Buff Puffs, exfoliants, zinc supplements, hypnosis, feng shui, everything! Clear my complexion and I’ll let you Israelites worship in the desert for FOUR days if you want to.

AARON: OK. We’ll begin packing.



PHAROAH: If I change my mind?

AARON: If you change your mind?

PHAROAH: What would happen?

AARON: Well, if you don’t let us go, the Lord will rain down on you millions of little round balls, and when you try to chase after us, you’ll slip and fall down. And you’ll try to get up, and you’ll slip and fall again, and we’ll be laughing so hard–

NARRATOR:: And so the Lord drowned the land in a downpour of hail, so fierce that every animal and plant was struck down and the crops were ruined. A plague of locusts followed. And then Pharoah called upon our heroes again.

PHAROAH: OK. I’m pretty sure I’m going to let your people go this time. But just supposing I don’t?

AARON: If you don’t let us go, your people will be blinded by darkness! And when they try to chase after us, they’ll bump into each other and fall down and then get up and run the wrong way, and when you hear our giggling, you’ll reach for us, but you’ll only grab each other by accident!

NARRATOR:: But Pharoah proved wishy-washy again. And Aaron and Moses promised Pharoah the worst plague of them all.

AARON: If you don’t let us go, the Lord will make Hannukah last eight months instead of eight days, and every night our children will wander through the villages singing ( singing in an annoying voice), “I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, And when–”


G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES (exasperated) : What is it?!

G_D: I like the dreidel song.

MOSES: Then YOU think of something!

G_D: Mark your doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

MOSES: Not more blood!

G_D: The angel of death will pass over the homes that bear this mark. And take the living spirits of the first-born Egyptians.



NARRATOR:: And so it came to pass. And this time, not only did Pharoah give us permission to leave, but all of Egypt helped us pack and rushed us out toward the Red Sea.

PHAROAH: Here, I had my soldiers wrap up your bread!

AARON: But it hasn’t had time to rise.

PHAROAH: Wait! I think I might change my mind!

NARRATOR:: Pharaoh did change his mind, and he sent his people to hunt us down as we made our way toward the Red Sea. I think you know what happened next. Four hundred thirty years of oppression came to an end.


Standing Desk, Day 0.5

People ask us how we decided it was time for our daughter to move from a crib to a bed.  Our answer is: “When IKEA had their annual bed sale”.  Typical first-time parental fashion, we dove in and bought a bed, came back and took apart DovLev’s crib and took out my +5 allen wrench and got started.  About half way through, when night had fallen we looked at the taken-apart crib, and then at each other sand said “What if she isn’t ready for a bed yet?”  Our answer was “Oh well.”.  Luckily, she did fine and we didn’t have any long-term repercussions.

I regale you with this memory because I’ve been thinking about going to a standing desk for a while.  Well, actually a treadmill desk, but after speaking to a client I realized that maybe a part-way step to just a standing desk would be a good idea.   So this afternoon I raised my IKEA desk (yes, we like IKEA) as high as it could go, put a monitor riser on top and now i’m pretty close to all set.  I’m using a couple reams of paper to make my keyboard level, and the level of my monitors (yes, I have two – don’t judge me) is lower than its ‘supposed’ to be, but I’m standing, and working at my desk, which would make my current status “Working at a standing desk”. Achievement unlocked!

I’ve been doing some simple things like typing emails and accounting and such, and my feet sometimes are getting numb on the sides, and my hands feel too high, but I’ll figure that out later.  I’m diving in!


What am I doing here?

“oh, you’re going to israel with the family for six weeks! What are you going to do there?”
“well, my wife has a two week study program, and my daughter is going to be at sleep away camp and my son at day camp.”
“That’s wonderful! And what are you going to be doing during those two weeks?”

Now that I’ve dropped off DovLev at camp, and JediYeled and RavIma have been delivered to their programs for the day, I have to figure out what to do with myself. It’s 10pm back home, so I’m not going to be doing any real-time emailing or Skype-ing with anyone, so maybe i’ll take care of a few work things but how long will that take, an hour?

I do have an errand to run that may take a while – we bought SIM cards for our iPads back in the states for us to get online anywhere in israel but they haven’t been working. So I’m off to visit a telephone co. service center and hope I can get that taken care of.

Then what? By 9 am I’ll be family-free and pickup isn’t until 3, so that gives me 6 hours to go play (and shower, naturally, falling back into my regular school-year routine). And this will be the same every day for the next week and a half. I’ve never been the wandering type, but maybe I’ll start. I have to figure out the grocery stores of course, and find the cafes with the good wifi (and friendly staff that will let me hang out). Then maybe check out some blogs of what to go see in Jerusalem.

One thing I know – I will NOT be driving.

I’ll keep you posted…

Driving the Israeli countryside

Today I took DovLev to her 2 week sleep away camp here in Israel. Google map has it at 1.25 hours away from Jerusalem, and we did a test drive a few days ago so I could see how it was getting out of the city and getting out to the intercity highways.

All was well for our getting her there by 11 a.m. for check in. We’re then getting her bag triple-checked and we look at the drop off information again. “Campers should arrive between 8-8:30am…”. WHAT!?! That’s a alight difference than our leasurely ‘get up and out by 9 am with time to spare’ plan of attack. Oh well.

Flip forward to 4:30 am the next morning. DovLev had been up since 3 and came in and old us she couldn’t sleep. She came in to make us aware of that fact at 4:30, so I got up with her and we sat on the couch as she made her latest blog post.  At 6 a.m. we got everyone else up (read: RavIma and JediYeled) since they also had to get going by 7:00 a.m. this morning.

We finally left at about 7:30, and we knew we’d be a little late with the camp, but we’re ok with that – we get out of the city, and get onto the highway, and then end up with some old-fashion looky-loo slowing around Tel Aviv where we were stuck in a traffic jam.  We had a good time of it – fighting over ‘good’ music to play (Brittney Spears vs. Weird Al), and DovLev helping me navigate all along the way.

White Sandy beaches of the MediterraneanWe ended up pulling in around 9:30 ish to the camp which is right on the beach – and the white sand was beautiful!  The heat was impressive as well – they had water at the check-in and insisted that kids and parents each have a drink while signing up.

DovLev’s cabin has all the right mix – one Israeli counselor, one US-transplant counselor (lives in Pittsburgh, goes to school in UCLA), at least one new girl like her and at least one 4-time returning camper giving us her vote of confidence.

After about 5 minutes, DovLev was ready for me to leave, so she pretty much pushed me out and I left her with the camp – we’ll check in with her on Saturday next week for their ‘family day’, unless we get a note from her to stay away…

Next drive: an errand to run for a friend who gave us something to put in our luggage (Shhh! Don’t tell the TSA) as a wedding gift for a family event here in Israel.  Unfortunately all the family contacts were outside of Jerusalem so this was a good opportunity to make the drop-off.  Also unfortunately, the person giving directions didn’t sound very clear on the phone.

Travel note – GPS use in foreign countries – while they are great to find any location you can enter, if the city name is in one language but your keyboard is in another, then you have to keep guessing at the transliteration until you get it right.

Once I finally was able to look up the city, things got better and we met up and made the delivery.  Next stop was back to Jerusalem.  I made it back and took the same wrong-turn that i’ve taken both times coming back into Jerusalem, but made it back ok, but now i’d been driving for 4.5 hours, in unfamiliar surroundings, and i’m exhausted.

I then have a few hours to check-in on work projects, eat lunch, TXT with RavIma and then go out again to pick up JediYeled.  Because the first run went so well (within reason) I decided to drive again to pick him up from camp.

Travel Tip #2: Google Maps works great at home for time estimates when you know the city, not so much for Israel.

The map said 10 minutes, so I left with 20 minutes and right away made a wrong turn that sent me into the city center, where I then got trapped behind a bus stuck making a turn. I waited a few minutes and then decided to go around the bus (the wrong way) and hope the GPS would re-route me.

Travel Tip#3: GPS/Google maps don’t know about the ‘other’ parts of town.

I then realized that the GPS could possibly take me into East Jerusalem if I got too far astray (I was starting to not recognize some parts of my drive), or into some of the older neighborhoods with narrow streets.

And then the police lights showed up behind me.

Travel Tip #4: Police in Israel ALWAYS have their lights running ALL the time, so no, they’re not pulling you over.

After recovering my breath and slowing down my heartbeat, I finally re-navigated around the stuck bus, called my friend and fellow Sabbatical Spouse to let her know i’d be 10 minutes late for pickup of my son and could she please hold onto him for me (how embarassing).

20 minutes later… I show up at camp, and of course, can’t find parking so I stash the car on the side of the street where i’m almost sideswiped by a bus and a backhoe, pick up JediYeled from the very forgiving friend (finding out he’s arranged a playdate for today without me).

We finally get home, vegg out watching some videos and have a nice evening just the two of us (RavIma being at her Study session still for dinner) and we learn how to play Bakugan together over our chicken schnitzel.

Tomorrow marks the first day of just one child and hopefully me spending time geeking out on some of my projects for a few hours.

Oh, and Happy 4th of July, which evidently means something back home…

First post from israel

I’m going to try to start blogging regularly on this adventure. I’ve always wanted to blog but have never had anything worthwhile to write about.

I’m also going to try to not fall into the trap of getting everything down in the right order, which usually ends up with me writing a long post from the beginning, not being able to finish and then never posting it.

Here’s a view from our apartment. We’re having some shabbat time playing monopoly all together, and then it’s time for a walk and hopefully motzei shabbat dinner at ben Yehudah.

More Epistles from the Tooth Fairy

The Shirt off his back

November 10, 2010: Another week, another tooth.  After losing his bottom left tooth so soon after his top two teeth, his tooth fairy wrote:

I didn’t expect you to lose another tooth so quickly.  I didn’t have time to make you another power ring, so i’m just going to leave you my shirt.

Fast forward to tonight – a far cry from his first lost tooth, which entailed 2 days of pitiful cries any time we wanted to touch it, now he asked Ima to pull it out so he could give it to the tooth fairy and ask him for a set of Pants to go with his shirt.  So after services tonight, when it didn’t fall out despite attempts to coax it out with lots of bites on Challah and brownies, Ima pulled it accompanied by yells of excitement and anticipation of what was to come.

JediYeled then wrote the following

Dear Mr. Toothfairy

Guess What? Do you want to know what I just lost?


Can you please now leave your pants. I want a whole collection of your clothes.  But no worries, my tooth is worth $1,000 so you can buy more clothes.

Thank you, Love JediYeled

(So nice of him to care about Tooth Fairy finances)

And here is the Toothfairy’s response:

Dear JediYeled,

You’re really on a roll now! Keep wiggling those teeth!

I figured you’d want my pants too so I found where you left my old smelly shirt and left you a new fresh shirt with some clean pants.

Maybe next time i’ll leave some shoes?!?

Love, The tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy Fashion

Letters to & from the Tooth Fairy

Missing teeth are so IN this season

JediYeled lost his second tooth in three days – both top front teeth so he’s got that classic ‘hole in the front’ look.  They were both really loose but he wouldn’t let Ima or Aba touch them.  He knocked the first one out while playing with a foam pop-up toy (much to his surprise).  The second one seemed like it was going to be in for a while, but the tooth fairy had other plans.

At tonight’s Cub Scout Pack meeting, all the boys got apples as treats for their game playing.  JediYeled was very disappointed that we didn’t have a knife to cut it up so he could eat it right away (since he couldn’t bite it with the one loose tooth.  I was able to bite out a large section for him and he tried chewing the remainder of the apple, and soon afterwards, he came up to us saying that his tooth fell out!  Luckily he was blinded by the excitement to the lots of bleeding from the gums, so we dodged a bullet on that one! (he’s a big blood-phobe)

For the first front tooth a few days ago, the tooth fairy brought JediYeled at gold dollar coin.  Tonight, JediYeled wrote (well, dictated) the following note to the tooth fairy:

Dear Tooth Fairy

I’m really excited that I lost my tooth. It was funny that I lost two teeth in a couple of days.  I lost my tooth at Boy Scouts tonight.  I was eating an apple when it popped out.

How do you carry so heavy things?

Thank you for the last money and I can’t wait for what you give me this time.

Love, JediYeled

The ‘so heavy’ comment was about the relative size of the dollar coin and the size of the tooth fairy.  JediYeled’s tooth fairy is a boy, naturally, but he was still curious about how strong he was.

Here is the response the tooth fairy left:

Dear JediYeled,

I didn’t expect to be back so soon!

It is funny that you asked about carrying heavy things because I was still tired from carrying that heavy coin last time, so I brought you a magic power ring instead.

I am happy you lost your tooth but I think you still won’t be eating apples for a long time.

Love, your tooth fairy

Magic Power Ring