Salt & Pilpel

Connecting Jewish Americans and Israelis in North NJ

Passover April 15, 2011

Filed under: Yael's corner — foundintranslation18 @ 2:52 pm

Yet another Passover is around the corner…….. Did you start your house cleaning? Did you move the stove all the way out? Did you check your kid’s jacket pockets? Did you check in between the sofa cushions?

Mama mia …….. if that was the only thing we should worry about. I came to work this morning and instead of starting my daily tasks,  I set in front of the PC (hoping that nobody s watching) ready to write something relevant for  Pesach when all of a sudden it hits me, a revelation (thank you G-d) .

Pesach is a wonderful holiday,  all about gathering with friends and family to pass on the story of our heritage, to let the children take over for two nights and lead  us with the story of Pesach.  Let them (just for a bit) take in their own hands what they will later pass on to their children.

When my children were small we used to watch the movie The Prince of Egypt, you can see in their faces how the story touched them.  Just last year I made them watch the movie Exodus , made in 1960, lasts almost 3 hours – I was sure they will walk out of the room and call me crazy, but they sat with me us and were hypnotized by the whole thing . There is nothing like an old film with true Hollywood stars giving us an interpretation of Moses (the only thing missing was the popcorn  L)

When I was young, we used to do the Seder (2 nights) with the whole family, tons of aunts and cousins gathered around. The Seder was lead in Spanish and Hebrew (we lived in Panama) …… the longest Seder in history….. I used to dread these two nights because they were long and never ending,  each kid needed to read some of the Hagada plus my two uncles Ovadia &  Eli (ZLB) faught over who got to lead. The food was amazing, I never found the AFIKOMAN so I never won  the money……… and I was never the oldest to eat the egg behind the door as we wait for Eliau HaNavi ……….  NOW I MISS IT SO MUCH !!!

I made my own family and moved away from home ……… we are spread out all over the world and we will need a miracle for all to gather as we did when we were kids. 

Today as we live far from our parents, cousins and aunts, we made sure to build our own nest,  it is true that family is irreplaceable  but slowly, slowly,  we made friends that became our family .

To my friends and family , thank you for becoming my home away from home and for contributing to new memories that will last an eternity.

Chag Sameach  xoxoxoxoxo   Yael Chamay

P.S. To my darling husband ……Honey next year G-d willing  in Jerusalem ……… that way I don’t need to clean & cook J



Smart food shopping in training/Yael Chamay February 10, 2011

Filed under: Yael's corner — foundintranslation18 @ 2:06 pm
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I found this article that can be very helpful to all…

Smart  food shopping in training

More than half of all grocery purchases are unplanned! No wonder creating and sticking to a list can bring down grocery costs.

Make a list — and stick to it.

This is the cardinal rule of shopping. The list represents your grocery needs: When you stray from the list, you’re buying on impulse, and that’s how shopping trips get out of control. Sure, a magazine only costs $5, but if you spend an extra $5 every time you make a trip to the supermarket, you waste a lot of money.

Compare unit pricing.

The biggest package isn’t always the most cost-effective. Stores know that consumers want to buy in bulk, and so they mix it up: sometimes the bulk item is cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive. Compare the FAMILY pack volume to the regular pack , are you really getting more for the money?

Don’t examine things you don’t need.

The more you interact with something, the more likely you are to buy it, says Paco Underhill in Why We Buy: “Virtually all unplanned purchases…come as a result of the shopper seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that promises pleasure, if not total fulfillment.” Do you know why grocery stores place those displays in the aisles? To intentionally block traffic. They want to force you to stop, if only for a moment. It only takes a few seconds to stare at the cookie pile to convince you to buy them. Stay focused.

Discard brand loyalties.

Be willing to experiment. You may have a favorite brand of diced tomatoes, for example, but does it really matter? Go with what’s on sale for the lowest unit price. You may find you like the less expensive product just as well. If you try a cheaper brand and are disappointed, it’s okay to return to your regular brand.

Choose generic.

Better yet, try the store brand. Generic and store brand products are cheaper than their name-brand equivalents and are usually of similar quality. But do you know why you’re reluctant to try generics? The power of marketing. Most generics have unappealing packaging. If they cost less and taste the same, who cares?

Use coupons wisely.

Coupons really can save you money. But you have to know how to use them. Clip coupons only the things you need — staple foods and ingredients — not for processed junk food. Learn to use special coupons.

Make one large trip instead of several small ones.

Each time you enter the grocery store is another chance to spend. By reducing the frequency of your trips, you’re not only avoiding temptation, but you’re also saving money on overhead (time and fuel).

Check your receipt.

If you are not like me , pay attention to the person at the cashier making sure they don’t scan your item twice.

Shop alone.

In Why We Buy, the author notes that people tend to buy more when shopping in groups than when shopping alone. “But men are especially suggestible to the entreaties of children as well as eye-catching displays.” Kris complains that we always spend more on food when we shop together. She’s right. If possible, shop alone.

Shop on a full stomach.

Studies show that folks who shop when they’re hungry buy more. This is certainly true for me: If I go to the store for milk on a Sunday morning without eating breakfast, I’m likely to come home with donuts and orange juice and Lucky Charms, too.

Information taken from :


Satisfaction/Yael Chamay February 4, 2011

Filed under: Yael's corner — foundintranslation18 @ 11:16 am
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  Satisfaction: the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation


  2 o’clock in the morning and I am sitting in the sofa waiting for my challah to finish baking, it is already Friday.

  You might think I am crazy, especially if I need to go to work in just a few hours.  You see, during my day my brain

  is busy and full of noise, work noise, traffic noise, kid’s noise, husband noise, house noise. So I find that when the

  entire world in sleeping I am entitled to create my own noise, well more like my own silence.

  I don’t do this often (stay up so late) but when I do, it somehow gives me a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment,

  silence…….. funny enough just from this little corner of comfort I hear my son snoring, my husband joining the snoring

   chorus, my daughter talking in her sleep and me, laughing at how funny it all sounds. I decide to just go to each room

  and give everybody a kiss as they sleep.

  I walk to the boys room maneuvering not to step on the clothing that is thrown on the floor, I just stand there

  watching them, so amazed at how beautiful they are, how their bodies full of energy rest for the night and how in

  just a few hours they will fill the space with smiles and commotion. I kiss them on the forehead and pray to G-d so

  he can forever protect them and guide them.

  I continue to my daughter’s room but she is not there…… she is in my bed next to my husband, what a precious

  moment, she is resting her head on her father’s shoulder, he snores and she is having a full conversation for which

  I cannot understand a word. I slowly walk her to her bed, tuck her in, and kiss her also on the forehead, praying to

  G-d to watch over her and give her infinite blessings.


  I glance at my husband from the door as I am tempted to wake him up so he can share with me this moment,

   luckily for him the timer of the oven beeps, reminding me that the challah is now ready. And if I wake him up he

  will for sure think that it is time for some “midnight action”. Thank G-d for the oven beep…….

   As I stand all alone in the middle of the night, the silence after all the noise, the midnight life that a household

   experiences when nobody is watching, a silent prayer that only a mother can share with “Bore Olam”, the smell

  of Shabbat in my house, and the smile on my face as I go to sleep just for a few hours.  It all gives me a sense of


  I didn’t stay up for much longer, I made sure the lights are off; the doors are locked, and that the alarm is set for

  5:30am.  It is my time to sleep,  next to my husband joining him on the never-ending snoring choir, and believe it

  or not……. yes the snoring part after so many years together……… 100% SATISFACTION.                                 



A Winter Vacation January 20, 2011

A winter trip

So winter vacation came and with a lot of planning we are set to go.

3 families and 3 cars loaded to the roof with ski equipment, coolers, blankets, gadgets and smiles that can light up any dark sky.

You would imagine that once on the road the goal was to drive straight to Vermont (about 3 ½ or 4 hours drive) but as organized as we are, we planned a stop at COSTCO and purchase all the food needed to feed this bunch. Oh boy ……. Let the kids out of the car and into Costco……. Result: 8 kids stacking all sorts of things on to the carts. “We need cookies, how can we not get this chips” as they put stuff into the cart, Shiri and I took them out.  An hour later we are on our way. But an hour later into the road trip….. ” I need coffee, I need tea, I need to pi, and can we stop?” So we pulled at the rest stop .

Finally, we arrived.  The view was amazing, white powder dressing up the trees, the roofs filled with snow; you can clearly see the ski trail.

We rented a very nice house that can accommodate all of us. Everybody grabbed something and we ventured inside , the kids ran in as I make a silent  prayer  for a clean environment ( you never know what you get when you rent a house from a website). To my surprise it was exactly as the pictures but only with one surprise.

The owner of the house was a cow collector, yes I said COW, I am not kidding they had cows in pictures, cows as stuffed animals, kitchen gadgets, door stoppers, cow vacuum cleaner, cow broom, cow dust pan, cow wall paper, cow pillows, cow light switch, entrance cow, cows on top of the fire place, even a cow manikin in the middle of the living room (that Ron was scared of so Shiri had to turn it facing the wall). It was a cow invasion.

I declared myself the designated cook, I am the only member of the crew that is not ski friendly ,I needed to get some office work while on vacation plus I was going to take ONLY ONE SKI lesson just to have it checked on my bucket list. I was pretty happy with the indoor cow environment.

I have to admit I was petrified of taking the ski class, I am a control freak and the day of the class I was getting the butterfly on my stomach feeling. How will I stop, what if I fall, what if I need to pi in the middle of the mountain, what if I am so uncoordinated  that I will not learn at all. STOP ! Think positive, you can do it, one class what is the worst that can happen? Think of something else!!!!!!!

I am happy to report that I took the class, my mind was set to nail it, I did not fall, I did not freak out, I did not pi at all. I was so surprised and confident, it felt SO GOOD.  Learning to ski…. CHECKED

We spent 5 days in the cow house, eating like pigs (I fed everybody from schnitzel, hamburgers, matzo ball soup, pasta & deli sandwiches with the help of my sous- chef Shiri). Tal even made cookies, yummy .

At night we played Pictionary and found ourselves screaming the answers before the sand clock completed the minute.  A shesh besh  match between fathers & sons was the highlight. The fathers thinking that they have more experience and can conquer any opponent ( ha ha ha) , kids putting on a Kippa to win the match ( luck is needed at this point) . My husband losing the game to and my son   …… priceless.

As the trip came to an end and with sad faces to go back home, we all bonded, friends & family, we had a great time. The cows did not follow us home (thank G-d).

Next trip ….. Laufer’s/ Sofer’s please lets pick a tropical location  xoxoxo.

From any family trip you will always get great memories, and with time these are the stories that your kids will remember and cherish forever.

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IMAGINATION/ Yael Chamay January 17, 2011

Filed under: Yael's corner — foundintranslation18 @ 6:44 pm
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It has been a long time since I wrote a piece for the blog. As always I have been all over with a very busy schedule. But you already know that. I have so many ideas on things I want to write about that I don’t know what to choose.  But I flipped a coin so here it goes

In my very limited free time I love to watch TV, I am a junkie when it comes to OPRAH, the home makeovers type of programs and reality shows ( this last one according to my husband is a waste of brain cells, but I just cannot resist. Between the Millionaire matchmaker & Gene Simons from Kiss…. just to name a few)

So I was watching a certain program on TV of a team that comes to your house and renovate a room for you, ONLY ONE ROOM IN THE HOUSE. All of a sudden my husband tells me ….. Yael why don’t you apply for  the show? You might win a kitchen renovation, you never know. You are always complaining that you have no room in the kitchen? …..

OMG he is so right, did I tell you that I talk to my  pots when I take them out of the closet ( they are all stacked up and to take one out something always falls on me) or that I always take out the wrong container lid and curse at it till I find the right one.

In less than a millisecond I was in fantasy land. Oh can you imagine, they take over and throw this wall down, and push this outside , and install  a new floor, and change for wider windows,  and give me tons of storage place, build me an island, with some stools so we can all gather in the kitchen and chat with the kids as I cook, install a music system so I can sing as I cook , new appliances will be nice, might as well expand to the dining room since it is next to the kitchen and make it a bigger open area with cool light fixtures and a bigger table that can fit tons of people, a long buffet where I can serve food & entertain guests . Can you imagine?

My husband tabs my shoulder in order to bring me back to reality not so harshly and with  a very big smile tells me  …. Honey I think you should first send the application to the show so you can actually win.

This is so typical of me ( and I bet you are the same) , I was so happy for  a few seconds, I savored the entire remodeling and imagined every detail in my head , and yes I had also a big smile on my face .

I once heard someone say that having happy thought increases days to your life and happiness to your soul.

Boy oh boy…. my soul must be dancing and hope to live a long life 🙂

PS. I did send the application to the TV show…….. you never know


I sound just like my mother/Yael Chamay November 3, 2010

Filed under: Yael's corner — foundintranslation18 @ 4:14 pm
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I was in the middle of giving my daughter a lecture of why she needs to be a good student in school and why completing homework is so important, when it suddenly hit me ……. I sound just like my mother.

All of a sudden all my childhood memories stormed back. It was just yesterday that my mom came from a parent / teacher conference and I was being punished for a week.

  • I could not talk on the phone ( Mobil phones not invented  yet)
  • Cannot go to the street and play with my friends ( comparable to going downtown nowadays )
  • My cassette player was taken away (equivalent today as “ IPod”)
  • No TV ( No MTV )
  • No sleep over with friends  (OMG)

Back to the present day, my focus shifted completely, I need to call my mom and ask for forgiveness, I truly made her suffer in my teenage years.  I had (and still have) a very close relationship with my mom but I did tons of crazy stuff that drove her to the edge.

She always told me: Yael whatever you do now you will pay for later ……“KARMA”.

I don’t want to pay! I don’t want to go through that! Is KARMA knocking???

My oldest kid will have his driving test soon, so now every time I drive him anywhere I am being analyzed for my driving skills

  • Mom , you need to actually stop at the sign
  • Mom, you didn’t look both ways
  • Mom, are you in a rush?
  • Mom, you are too far from the sidewalk, park the car closer
  • Mom, the other car is too close , keep your distance


Dear Mom

Sorry for driving you crazy when I was a teenager.

I could list all the stuff I did (but then I will run out of paper).

I am sure Karma is in my house, living in every room & sleeping within my children. Can I please ask for the recipe to get rid of it?




Gym – by Our very own Yael Chamai! October 1, 2010

Filed under: Yael's corner — foundintranslation18 @ 11:04 am
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Back by popular demand, Yael has written for us about her gym experience. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

If you write well and would like to share with us, please submit to Sarit or Sheli – we’d love to have you on board!

    Gym Ready

So I decided to take care of myself, or at least try. It took one phone call from my sister and some web investigation for the nearest gym with a decent price.  It is time to do something for myself.

Wednesday afternoon 4:30 went into the gym to sign in and by 4:55 I was out with a brand new gym membership attached to my key chain. I am so proud.

Thursday came and I didn’t find time to go to the gym, I had the day off but needed to cook since I had friends coming over for dinner, the house was a mess, a pile of clothing to wash & dry and it was the first night of Sukkot. What else is new, “hectic “ is my middle name.

Friday morning ….. I have the day off because of the holiday; I am all geared up, sweat pants, t-shirt, proper sneakers, pony tail, water, iPhone and most importantly my brand new membership card on my key chain. In the middle of the morning chaos I announced to my husband & kids “I am going to work out at the gym!”  All of a sudden there’s complete silence and all eyes are on me. Did I mention that my two boys are amazing athletes? They for sure did not get that gene from me.  The last time I worked out was 3 years ago!

I get to the gym and it’s not that crowded, people  using the machines with such passion and focus , this could actually be inspiring! I figured that I will start slow so my body will get used to the shock.

Treadmill: I position myself and my stuff . Cool ! each machine has a TV, at least time will pass by fast if I find a good show. I press start ….. The machine asks me for MY WEIGHT!!!! What ? nobody told me that this was necessary? I look around to make sure nobody is watching and input the almost correct number (deducting 2 or 3 lbs). OK, now input the length of time I want to walk:  25 minutes. The platform starts moving slow, OH this is not bad…….. So I press the faster button +. Cool, I can actually keep up (press ++++) pretty good, now I can choose the elevation, let’s see what my body can take.

I walked for 20 minutes changing channels every 3 minutes, I couldn’t find anything to watch. I decided that the last 5 minutes I will RUN – I can do this. Press faster ++++++++++++++++++++ I can do this right? 5 minutes only.

The lady next to me is running on her treadmill and she isn’t even sweating. why am I soaking wet?

4:09 minutes left ….. Come on, is that right?  Seems an eternity,  Focus  Focus ……… I can do this , change the channel, ……. 3: 00 minutes left .

Yael, breath properly not from your mouth, change the channel, sweat some more, focus: 1:37 minutes left …….. I will for sure pass out on my first gym visit . Beeeeeeeep…. Hallelujah!  I ran for 5 minutes !!!  Press the slow down button – – – – – – – – – – – – – back to walking , breath …….. Drink water, wipe the sweat off my face.

I step off of the machine, I feel like my legs are light as a feather, I can probably fly, why does the floor move?

OK lets move to the next challenge, bicycle.

Set my stuff (water, iPhone, towel, key chain ) press start……… press start…….. Nothing works. Pick up all my stuff, move to the next bicycle, set all my belongings again, press start…….. press start…….. nothing!?! Maybe the bicycle is not plugged in? I get all my stuff and go to the reception desk.

“Can you please help me? I think the machines are not plugged in. This tall, blond girl gives me a big smile and asks “which machine?”

She walks with me as I point to the bicycle ,she  gives me another smile and tells me very politely  “you need to pedal and the bicycle will turn on”.

I wanted to die…… how ignorant of me, please G-d make sure nobody is watching. Oh what the heck, I don’t care. I am sure that nobody knew that on their first day.

I proudly did 20 minutes playing around with all the settings.

I noticed this very cool machine that looks like you are skiing, it makes you move your arms & feet in a ski like motion, called Elliptical machine. Why not, let’s try it for 15 minutes. Again the person next to me was doing it at such a speed and ease that I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Press start….. ha ha ha ha move the handles & steps so it will turn the machine on …… I got this now , input my weight, THE REAL ONE, set the time for 15 minutes,  I am moving, not bad, Rachel Ray is on the TV making some type of buffalo wings, CHANGE THE CHANNEL , Fox news is a better choice. Look at the timer, this is getting harder, how much time left ? the screen shows my heart beat going up. I will do this no matter what. 4 minutes left, I don’t feel my legs. Is this normal??

I successfully ended my first day at the gym. I was walking to my car as if I just rode a horse. Legs wide open.

Got home with an amazing level of energy : I cooked, did laundry, took the boys closet down ( it was a war zone inside, mountains of shoes & clothing on the closet floor) vacuumed, broom, swiffer. I put the music full volume to Phil Collins “in the air tonight” & Alicia Keyes “super woman” and sang as if in a concert. My kids think I am for sure crazier than usual.

I like the “after work out feeling” . I made a pledge to keep it up, went to the Zumba class Sunday morning, at one point I don’t know if I was dancing or dragging my feet, but I was sweating and not looking at the clock as much. I find it weird-looking in the mirror as you work out, in my head I truthfully think I look like the instructor  slim & fit, doing all the right moves) but when my eyes go back to the  reflection  in the large mirror …….. Reality check…

The challenge for me  is making time for working out. I work full-time, I have 3 kids  and a husband , different schedules to run, cook, overseas phone calls for work, homework, drama…  you know the drill. Bottom line, I need to find time for “ME “ . And get some phone calls from my sister to push me to GO baby GO !!!!!

Wish me luck !!!!

Yael Chamay