Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Israeli Stamps

When I was growing up in New York, I used to collect stamps. I collected from all over the world but I had the most stamps from Israel. I stopped actively collecting over 25 years ago.
Several years ago I decided to join the Israel stamp service. 3-4 times a year the Israeli postal service sends me all the new stamps issued, together with the first day covers and an English and Hebrew flyer describing the stamp. The flyers are very educational and helps one understand the theme of the specific stamp.
Today I received the stamps issued in February and I scanned and posted the stamps, first day covers and flyers on my website at:

One of the "cool" things about Israeli stamps is that the postal authority has issued many stamps with Jewish themes. The stamps range from Jewish holidays (check out the Purim ones) to stamps honoring great Rabbis and leaders. On my website I setup different sections with these cool stamps. I especially like the stamps that relate current issues and places to their biblical roots. You can check out all the stamps sections at:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vounteers in Israel

One of the hidden treasures about Israelis and Israeli society is the number of people that do volunteer work to help others.

Why do I call it hidden ? Well, it is not the type of story that appears on the front page (or back) page of your daily newspaper.
Whether it is working in a hospital as a trained medical clown (think of how this affects the kids in the children's ward) or volunteering for the traffic police, the variety of volunteer programs in Israel is amazing.

For example:
Yad Sarah, the largest voluntary organization in Israel, provides a spectrum of free or nominal cost services designed to make life easier for sick, disabled and elderly people and their families.
They have 103 branches in Israel and over 6,000 volunteers. They also lend out medical equipment for free to anyone that needs it.

Another organization that has thousands of volunteers is Meir Panim. They are best know for proving thousands of meals each day to the needy.

These are just two examples from many.

By the way, you do not have to be a resident to volunteer in Israel. Besides the various Israeli programs, there are special ones that are tailored to people visiting Israel. Some even include touring the country and learning some Hebrew while working. There are even programs that will give you the opportunity to help the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). I know people that participated in the Sar-El program (doing work on army bases or hospitals) and had a great time.

If you are interesting in volunteering, I have a list of organizations with volunteer programs at:
I also have a list of non-profits in Israel which I am sure would welcome help:

Doing volunteer work helps everyone including yourself.
Give it a try. It will make a difference.
Shabbat Shalom,

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Purim in Israel

How do you know that Purim is on the way in Israel ?

The first sign is that supermarkets are beginning to sell packages of Hamantaschen (Purim pastries). Yesterday in the supermarket I saw the first packages. The range of flavors of this triangle shaped pastry (Haman the bad guy wore a triangle hat??) is very wide.
Poppy seed, dates, apricot, chocolate, strawberry, etc....
Angles' bakery in Jerusalem has non-sugar, chocolate filled Oznei Haman ("Haman's Ears") - this is what they are called in Israel. I have tasted these "dietetic" ones more than once. They taste very good but I am sure you are not supposed to eat the whole package in one day :-)

The second sign in Israel that Purim is approaching are the advertisements for Purim costumes that will soon appear in all the newspapers. I wonder what this year's costume fad will be ?
I think the present day Haman in Iran will be in fashion.
May his fate be the same as Haman of Purim.

Purim falls on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar.
This year Purim begins Saturday night March 3, 2007.
(In Jerusalem, it is celebrated one day later.)

In order to start preparing for this fun-filled, Jewish holiday, I updated my Purim hotsites list with 95 links to websites with everything ranging from laws and customs to games and recipes. Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German.
Today I reviewed / checked all 95 links. They all work.
The address is:
I also have a humor page with funny stuff related to Purim.
The address is:
Additional items are welcome!


Shabbat Shalom,