Kosher Lite

0

I haven’t started my Passover cleaning yet. Does that make me a bad person?

Does it also make me a bad person that I choose to stick with the regular chametz dogfood I have and not force Diamond to make do with kosher for Passover dogfood that she may not even like?

Back in Canada, during Passover, we kept Buxy’s food outside our garage door. It was still in our private property so technically it was still in our house and it was still chametz. But that was because it was in the Exile, and if we went to the pet store and asked for kosher for Passover dogfood, the clerk would look at us with a puzzled look that said “Kosher dogfood? These Jews have gone nuts.”

And you can never get your house COMPLETELY chametz-free, can you? Especially if you’re someone like me who doesn’t clean the crevices between the floor tiles with a toothbrush, or buy kosher for Passover toothpaste that tastes like sandpaper, or eat matza shmura that tastes like newspaper. Give me some good old rice-cakes and be done with it.

Back when he was still my boyfriend, my husband asked me if I would still kiss him on Passover if he were to drink beer (made of wheat and most definitely chametz).

“Uh, DUH!” I replied with a hearty laugh. I may keep the basic kosher for Passover rules, but not kissing my lover because he had a pint is stupid.

I also don’t use kosher dishwashing soap, or kosher laundry detergent, or kosher body lotion. I say, if it’s not meant to be eaten, it doesn’t have to be kosher. For Passover or otherwise. Next we’ll start wearing clothes made with kosher for Passover fabric.

But there are people that go above and beyond. Like those who don’t put their matza anywhere near salads or sauces for fear that they may get wet and thicken (like bread).

In my family, however, we encourage getting matza a little wet because that shit is too dry and tasteless. So we spread everything on it, from cooked tomato salad to chocolate spread, and sometimes we also break it into a bowl of milk with some sugar and get kosher for Passover cereal!

And being Sephardi, I totally dig kitniyot (legumes, I think?). Again, rice-cakes is where it’s at.

Apparently, ganja is also considered kitniyot. So yay for being Sephardi!

Peace, love and kosher rat poison.

No Need for Weed

1

The wedding was awesome. Everyone said so. They all told me they especially liked the music, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally proven once and for all that Middle Eastern music is not the only genre that gets people dancing and one does not HAVE to torture people’s eardrums with this whiny shit all night.

And yes, we did have some metal tunes playing at the end. The metalhead group that we invited had the entire dance floor to themselves and went bananas, headbanging, jumping, circle pit, all the good stuff.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I danced the entire time, drank a lot of water, sweat it all out in yet another frenzied dance, and drank some more. I sweat so much, I even felt sweat on my legs! MY LEGS! Who the fuck sweats from their legs?

I also tried drinking some alcohol, but for some reason, my husband forgot to order the Smirnoff Ice I like. So I opted for a regular grapefruit vodka cocktail. I took no more than two or three sips from it, and had to set it aside because I just wasn’t digging it. For the rest of the night, I was on a natural high, and that was good enough for me.

On Sunday, four days after the wedding, we went to our first metal night as a married couple. Then on Monday, we went back to the bar for the mock elections they held. That night was amazing. I was on a natural high once again, and when the “Sunday Metal” party won (by one vote, but still a victory), and they played some more metal, I headbanged like I could not headbang on my wedding, because my hairdo didn’t allow it! I went back home with a sore neck, but that’s the sign that I had a blast. Also, my husband got nice and plastered, but experienced no nausea and no hangover the next day. So we both enjoyed a swell buzz indeed.

That night, I got my period and the next day I wrote my contribution for my friend’s zine “After the Blood” which is a special issue on the period. I wrote all about my experience in the mikve and how this monthly ritual affected the way I view my body and my menstrual cycle. I was looking forward to writing it all week, so once I finally got down to it, I enjoyed it so much that I got into the Zone. I haven’t been to the Zone in a while, and it felt so awesome to be back. And yes, that is definitely another natural high I experienced. Boy, if I’m not careful, my endorphins are going to become my drug of choice.

What will be my next fix you ask? Why, zine production of course!

Peace, love and that’s Mrs. Bar-Lev to you!

13235_10153187295689470_2899486564003113381_n

A Feminist of Valor

2

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and for the occasion, I wrote a status on Facebook wishing the female variety a happy day. Seriously, I did nothing that involves feminism and female empowerment except for that.

Since yesterday was Sunday, we had metal night at Blaze. I thought maybe I should put on a powerful song by a female metal band as a tribute to IWD, but nothing came to mind. And they already played Arch Enemy with Angela on the lead, so yeah. Nothing more than that.

It got to a point where I started fantasizing about one of the dudes there making some sexist comment, just so I can say something bitching like “Number one, I’m a feminist. Number two, today is International Women’s Day. Number three, I may be small but I’m much stronger than I look, and you should watch your mouth or you won’t have any more fucking teeth left in it!”

But the guys at metal night are nice dudes. And they know I’m a feminist. And they know not to make any sexist comments when I’m around because I could leave them as bloody as I get when I’m on my period.

Come to think of it, I haven’t done too many feminist things lately. There was a Vagina Monologues presentation by the Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center on V-Day, but I didn’t go because I was out of town. So instead, I called up the JRCC and donated the equivalent amount of a VM ticket price, 80 NIS, so that even if I didn’t go to the show, I could still contribute to the fundraising efforts.

That was it.

Right now, I’m reading a book about Witches. I don’t mean a horror story. I mean a book on the actual pagan faith. It’s got a lot of feminist elements in it, and I find it utterly inspiring. So if that also counts as a feminist thing, then I’m also doing that.

RosiePlus, I’m also going to my very first mikve (ritual bath) today as a prerequisite by the Rabbinical Council for having a proper Jewish wedding. I promised my penpal friend, who is writing a comp zine on periods, that I will contribute a piece on the mikve once I experience it. I will write it in conjunction with my feminist beliefs and how this holy monthly ritual can be seen as a tremendous source of female empowerment. So I guess that’s another feminist thing.

While I’m on the topic of religion, my husband-to-be and I received a wonderful gift by one of the people who will not make it to the wedding. It was a Sabbath set including candle holders, a kiddish glass, a couple of prayer books (including one called Eshet Chayil – A Woman of Valor – with chants and hymns for the woman of the house. Yes, still totally feminist!), and my favorite – a cutting board for motzi bread! This last one is a super fancy board with a bread knife on the side and a tiny built-in bowl for salt. I’m so excited about it, I can’t wait to invite some friends over for a Sabbath dinner, and get a chance to use all that awesome stuff.

And since my man always relegates the kiddish and motzi to me, this soon-to-be-married feminist will be the one to do all the chants and all the prayers for the Sabbath dinner, and this time with a headscarf.

May be kinda reform, but you don’t get any more feminist than that!

Peace, love and Wednesday, March 11, 2015, Kaf Be’Adar, Tashaah.

All that Glitters Is Gore

0

My head is on the verge of explosion. And if it does explode, what will come bursting out will not be blood and brains and gore, but rather glitters and confetti and sprinkles. Because I am so goddamn fucking happy right now. And while I was thinking I might just be PMS’ing (because the timing is right) I have some pretty good reasons to be going mad with joy.

Split Zine Coming Together

My friend from the Land of the Witch (a.k.a. Salem, MA) just sent me her part of the split zine we are writing together. My boyfriend is at his office and should be scanning my part of it any minute now. And when I get home today, I will be working my ass off (quite literally because my ass tends to go numb when I sit at the computer for too long) to put it together and hopefully have it printed by some time next week. I can’t wait to finally hold it in my hands and read it and absolutely enjoy every tiny bit of it!

Letter-Writing

Same friend sent me a package saturated with zines and a sweet letter. So once I figure out how to manage my time, or once I feel like my ass is really screaming bloody murder, whichever one comes first, I’ll write back a nice long letter, soaking with exclamation marks and happy faces.

Zine Plans

I think I’ll write the metaphor issue of the PMS zine sometime between my wedding day and my honeymoon. Said events are separated by a little over two months so that should give me plenty of time. Waiting to continue working on this issue only serves to build up my excitement for it even more. So add more sparkles to the glittery fire!

Zine Fest Plans

Yes, you read that right. Zine FEST plans. Israel is seriously lacking in those. And so, since most zine fests take place abroad, and while my boyfriend and I are planning to honeymoon in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Montreal, should there be zine fests in those cities around that time, then I should be there too! And my Salem friend said there’s a good chance of that happening, and if it does, we’ll table together. And if that’s not reason enough to stretch my smile all the way to the back of my head, I don’t know what is! I’m already thinking about making some extra copies of my zines and what to wear on that day, if that day does in fact come.

Video Camera Fun

I recently bought a little digital video camera. And I also got this free video editing program online. Maybe if I figure it all out, I could even make a short film about something. Making short films is the only kind of art I’ve never really experimented with. I’m very excited to try it out, and if it works out, I’ll be singing the Ren & Stimpy Happy Joy song and bounce around to the beat.

It must be noted that, as I wrote some time ago, we plan and God laughs. So I’ll try real hard to keep my glitters contained until all the pieces fall together and I’m actually in the process of experiencing all these extreme-excitement-inducing events. And I hope that if the Goddess is laughing right now, then it’s because She is happy for me and is also planning on making all this stuff happen, and the sparkly confetti can go bursting right out.

Peace, love and twinkle twinkle black star (metal is always exciting)

Zines = DIY Gold

1

Today I want to write about zines. I mean, I write a lot about zines and my last post was also zine-related, but I still want to write about zines. It’s either writing a zine or writing about zines. And since I am just finishing up my part of a split-zine, writing ABOUT zines it is.

I first got into zines back in 2007. Come to think of it, I don’t exactly remember how or why. All I remember is that I was heavily into the riot grrrl scene (and still am). I was browsing some riot grrrl literature on eBay and ordered the book A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World. At that time, I’ve been in Israel for a year, working random translating jobs that had nothing to do with the field I really wanted to work in – Journalism. I’ve submitted a few articles here and there to the Jerusalem Post, and saw my work butchered by the editors, and I still didn’t make a rusty Agora for it. It was only after I read A Girl’s Guide that it occurred to me.

“Hey! I can make my own zine, publish my own work the way I wrote it, and fuck mainstream media!” It also occurred to me that I might not get paid for it either, but who cares? Using my journalistic skills and self-publishing was the end in itself.

People have sometimes asked me what does it take to make a zine. What tools do you need? What skills must you have? What stories, topics or themes should you explore?

I always gave the same answer: DIY. Do it yourself. Get your own tools, learn your own skills, tell your own stories. There are no rules, there are no limits. Best of all, there is no censorship. This is free speech and freedom of the press the way it was intended.

The only mandatory thing in zine culture is inspiration. I think that with inspiration, everything comes right along – patience, persistence, and an unyielding love for the craft. The zines you create with inspiration are the best zines you will ever make.

Of course, there are certain guidelines for zinesters if they want their readers to enjoy the full experience of zine-reading. The layout should be easy on the eyes, the script should be legible, the binding should be stable… I’ve also read suggestions from other zinesters who said that the pages must be numbered, you should have a table of contents, and somewhere in your zine there should be your name and contact information. But I don’t think these things are entirely necessary. Maybe there are some zinesters out there who do not wish to be contacted. I can sometimes relate to that. Zinesters are artists, and many of the ones I know (including myself) are introverts and loners. We find comfort in solitude. We find our inspiration and do our best work when we are left alone in silence, preferably in a sound-proof shelter room with a blasted heater.

Despite that, I still put my contact information on the back of my zines because I like to hear from others in the zine-scene. But that’s my own choice and may not apply to everyone.

After the split-zine I am currently finishing up is all printed, stapled and ready for distribution, I will write another issue which I’ve already started (probably after my wedding on March 11). It will be a zine about the wonderful and magical world of metaphors. Y’all should be on the lookout for it.

Also, I am jonesing for International Zine Month. I’m pretty sure my honeymoon will be in June, so I hope to be back home a bit before July so that I can prepare for that month and also do the 24-Hour Zine Thing again. So psyched for it!!

Keep up with any zine-related progress on my PMS zine blog (now featuring a sneak-peek into the upcoming split-zine) and don’t forget to Facebook Like it!

Peace, love and I do like it PMS, and I got it PMS.

Doctor Art

0

For the past few days, my emotional state has taken a beating for a slew of different reasons I don’t wish to detail. Each one of them pushed me further and further into a state of utter depression. I haven’t been showing it much to anyone mainly because I’ve managed to deal with it by escaping into mind-numbing entertainment – heavyass metal tunes, Stephen King literature, countless episodes of Shameless… Sometimes distracting myself by reading an ungodly amount of chapters of an intense novel that only Stephen King can manage is the best treatment (read: treatment, not cure) for depression, mood swings and PMS.

I’ve also had problems falling asleep, and if I do fall asleep, I have nightmares that I can’t remember, but the feelings these dreams cause last pretty much from the moment I wake up in the morning and all through the day. So fuck you very much, nightmares, for making me feel even worse.

HOWEVER! Last night I managed to forget all about my shitty state of mind while I was working on a photo presentation for the wedding. And today, while I found some free time at the office and worked on a collage I’ve been planning for a new issue of my zine, I suddenly felt happy. My Core of Happiness resurfaced, and my yin-yang balance was reclaimed.

It seems to me that production (art, zines, computer art) is the one activity that is not distracting or mind-numbing and does not repress whatever shit I’m feeling, but actually manages to cure it. I think back on all the reasons I felt depressed and suddenly, they don’t bother me so much anymore.

Sometimes speaking to my inner child helps if the depression comes on for no apparent reason. But I also know that sometimes my inner child doesn’t want to speak and prefers to express herself with the silent form of expression – art. Her mother tongue is the written word, poetry, photography, graphic design, paper art, drawing, and zine-making. This is why when I engage in any form of art, I feel hypnotized. I feel in the Zone. It’s because I’m not really the one who makes that art, but the child within.

So I think that this surge of the Core that all but saved me this week happened because my inner child got her little art pill and spilled it all. She will get some more of it tonight when I will be working on my zine.

Thank you, art. I don’t know if I’ll be alive today if it wasn’t for you.

Peace, love and serenity.

No Presents for New Year

0

So New Year’s is coming up, and just like any other Christian New Year I will be doing nothing. New Year’s for me is as unimportant as the Jewish New Year is to Christians. Thinking back on all the other New Years I’ve had, they were either uneventful or absolutely horrible. I’m pretty sure I wrote about this once, though I can’t remember where, so here it is again.

I don’t remember any New Year parties before Y2K, so nothing happened then.

In 2000, New Year’s eve fell on a Friday. So it was the Sabbath. I did nothing more than watching the NY ball drop on TV, expecting my computer to go up in flames and waiting for nukes to fly. Nothing happened of course and life went on as usual.

In 2001, I slept. In 2002, I slept some more. In 2003, I was up north with my boyfriend of the time, getting drunk and freezing my ass off in a cabin that had no heating. The following day I spent with my head in the toilet. In 2004, some more sleeping took place. In 2005, I wrote this post. The following years, I was in Israel (and still am) where the “Sylvester” is virtually non-existent. It’s just another day where you go to work and, while looking over your schedule for the day or writing another invoice, you realize “Oh yeah, it’s January 1st,” in a rather nonchalant tone. Same thing happens on Christmas.

There were some New Year’ses that sucked ass. Like in January 1, 2010. It was the 30-day memorial of my cousin who passed away from brain cancer. So the first thing I did that year was looking at the gravestone of an 18-year-old kid, while my grandmother was screaming bloody murder.

In 2010 to 2012, schlafen marathons galore, and maybe even some Stephen King books.

In 2013 I had a blast – namely my elbow was blasted to hell and beyond. So I spent my New Year’s at the hospital. How awesome is that?

In 2014, I was still struggling to find a date for my second surgery and Hadassah Hospital kept postponing it. And then I slept.

This year, there’s a party at Blaze, but I don’t care. I rather stay at home and get some writing done. Now that I have some time cleared, I may actually make something of myself, and celebrate New Year 2015 in the company of my typewriter, stationaries, pens and paper. Who knows, maybe I can even start a new issue of PMS!

Peace, love and January is in winter anyway so it sucks no matter what.