29 April, 2008

How can we be sure?

Here's an item found by one of my Chicago correspondents: my dear brother Avy. On my recent visit to the States, he had a photo of this ready to show me as I arrived at the airport. Pretty impressive.

I eventually saw this in the store - not too surprisingly, it was in the fancy imported foods section, and is not a native American product. It seems to be British, as we might also understand from the "biscuit" reference.

I was, of course, mildly tempted to open one and take a bite, just to see if the Yorkie Police would appear to arrest me. I managed to resist, and instead looked a bit more closely at the wrapper. The thing that somehow grabbed my attention the most was the small purse that this stick figure is holding. Apparently that's the international symbol for "girl," one hand on her hip and the other clutching a handbag.

There are plenty of snide things that I could say about the Yorkie bar, but I think I'll leave this one open for free association...

22 April, 2008

Can't believe I almost forgot...

the most common "no kitniyot" marking, quite funny in its own right:

It says: Kasher LePesach, with no fear of kitniyot."

Somehow that strikes me as a little too dramatic. No fear of dragons, I could see. But kitniyot just aren't that frightening...

17 April, 2008

Kitniyot Confusion

As we all likely know, Pesach (Passover) is upon us, and we've been busy shopping for unleavened products. Back in America, knowing what is kosher for Passover is pretty straightforward - either your product says OUP or it doesn't. Here, things can get a little complicated, as the majority of the population eat kitniyot, which we Ashkenazim are not (yet) allowed. Kitniyot is generally translated as legumes, like beans and peas, but every year the Jewish definition seems to spread out to include more and more products. I remember that as a kid we used peanut oil on Pesach, but now peanuts have become accepted as kitniyot, and not at all allowed. Quinoa, a recently popular (and quite yummy) seed, is totally unrelated to legumes, but is still looked upon with suspicion (it just seems too good to be true, I guess), and so some still don't eat it on Pesach.

Anyway, shopping here in Israel is usually fine, but finding non-kitniy
ot products isn't always easy. I once came upon some cookies that said in big letters "Kosher For Passover" - only after we brought them to our friends did we notice the small note on the other side of the box that "for kitniyot-eaters only." Although I haven't seen anything since then that was quite so misleading, getting the hang of what's what can be tricky.

Here's a box I really appreciated - with a huge, clear marking on the front:

Most packages aren't quite so forthcoming. A lot of products keep the same year-round label, but add some information to the timestamp. This one says "kashlap," which is the abbreviation for "Kosher Le(For) Pesach."

Sometimes a year is included on the label, which seems a bit strange.

I mean, it may be unwise to eat a product from a previous year, but does it make it less kosher for Pesach? It seems to me that people can rely on the kosher label for the kosher information, and the date stamp for the date information. Of course, I don't get consulted on this very much...

I've never understood this one - maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

It says "Kasher Le Pesach Erev Pesach, which I understand to mean that it was made before Pesach. Maybe this is some kind of stringency that I don't know about?

Now, sometimes the organization that supervises the general kashruth of a product is not the same as the one who does the Passover supervision. In that case, each organization can only testify to what they've done, s
o on the same package, it will say "Kosher during the year, but not for Pesach" and then, elsewhere, say "Kosher Le Pesach." This to me seems ridiculous - surely there's some less confusing way to put the label together. Here's an example, with the conflicting decrees on the top and bottom of the same can:

This is the same concept, I think, but really bizarre.

Here, the label reads:
"Only during the year"
Kosher Le Pesach

What's with the quotes? Is the can being sarcastic? I guess here it's one organization supervising both situations, but the "only" kind of throws you off - it seems to me that it would be clearer if it used "also" instead.

And now we come to the kitniyot. Here's how the basic kitniyot-only label reads:

It just says "Kosher Le Pesach, for those who eat kitniyot." Pretty easy.

This year, I saw one that I don't remember from previous years. It's not so exciting, but it was new for me. It says "Kosher Le Pesach, from kitniyot."

And here's the one that makes me stop in the aisle and start talking to myself, trying to work out what the heck it means:

It says, Kosher Le Pesach, also for those who don't eat kitniyot. Of course, now that I've written it out in English it looks pretty easy, but in Hebrew, the positives and negatives get me all mixed up, every time, and I have to start thinking it out. "Okay, I'm the one who doesn't eat kitniyot, so it IS okay... for me... yeah, this one is okay." Phew.

Good thing this only lasts for one or two shopping trips. Happy Pesach!

13 April, 2008

This just in from Raanana

I'm pleased to announce that I have a Raanana correspondent - Mirj has provided us with yet another funny sign. This one is from Achuza Street - seemingly an ad for a soon-to-be shop:

Now, look at the size of this thing. It covers the entire storefront, taller than either of its neighboring shop windows. How much did this cost? Obviously this ad was a high priority to someone - but not quite high enough to warrant consulting a dictionary? Or consulting any native English speaker, not too hard to come by in Raanana... sheesh.

Thank you Mirj! If anyone else out there is interested in reporting something they've seen, I'll happily consider it. I certainly don't need a monopoly on finding funny signs - on the contrary, I'm pretty limited geographically. My only request - please only send things you've seen yourself, or that have been seen by someone you actually know. A lot of these photos that get passed around in bulk emails are photoshopped, and not really in the spirit of this blog, funny though they may seem.

Just so you know, the latest edition of "Haveil Havalim" is up, and can be found here. Haveil Havalim is a weekly sum-up of Jewish and Israeli blog posts, so if you're looking for something good to read, check it out.

Enjoy the rest of your chametz!

07 April, 2008

Sider for me, a duble esprreso for my friend

We don't have a lot of time to spend in restaurants, but when we do, a great source of fun can almost always be found in the menu. There's a local place in Efrat that used to make us laugh out loud - every time we went we would point out a few more corrections to be made, and now it's just a menu. But that's a small-town joint - you can't really walk into a normal sit-down place and start editing to the waiter. So we generally just chuckle to ourselves, and leave it at that.

Here, I managed to surreptitiously sneak a photo. Truthfully, this isn't the funniest menu I've seen by any means. But they did manage to spell "wine" three different ways on the page, plus get in all sorts of funky capitalization variations.

My favorite is the bottom line - I can't exactly explain why, but the rolling "rr" makes me giggle. My apologies if the photo quality isn't as clear as it should be - you can click on it to enlarge, and that should help.

03 April, 2008

New word for the day: pashkevil

It sure is a small world. This morning, an online friend of mine (thanks, Mirj!) emailed a link to me - someone else's blogpost that she thought I would like. It's an exceedingly funny photo of a spoof sign hung up in Ramat Aviv Gimel. Now, I live in Efrat, about an hour and a half from Ramat Aviv Gimel, and yet in this ever shrinking world, I got to check out the sign over my breakfast coffee. And now I'm going to share it with you. Although I do enjoy being a relatively active member of hi tech life, it's little things like this that still sometimes blow me away.

Anyway, click here, and enjoy!