Monday, January 19, 2015


Kibbutzniks who fled Hitler welcome 100th great-grandchild

Despite the recent stormy and cold weather, a piece of joyous news warmed the hearts of the residents of Kibbutz Lavi in the Lower Galilee this week. The Mittwochs, Michael, 92, and Marion, 90, two of the founders of the kibbutz, celebrated the birth of a new great-grandchild – their 100th.

The Mittwochs were born in Germany, and both fled the country shortly after the Nazis' rise to power. After World War II, Michael, with a degree in chemistry from an English university, moved to Israel and joined the effort to help Holocaust survivors make their way to Israel. He was absorbed onto Kibbutz Kvutzat Yavne and that's where he met Marion, who also spent the war in England and immigrated to Israel under a forged visa. The two moved shortly afterwards to the Lower Galilee and were among the founders of Kibbutz Lavi, and also the first couple to wed at the young kibbutz.

The couple had five children – Hadassah, the widow of the late Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa; a second daughter who lives in Kiryat Shmona; a son, Eli Ori, who lives in Shilo and is the grandfather of the 100th great-grandson; a second son, a professor of astrophysics at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology who lives in Mitzpe Netofa in the Galilee; and a third daughter, who is the principal of a school in Gush Etzion for children with special needs.

On Tuesday, Eli and his wife, Ofra, arrived at the kibbutz with their son, Gadi, his wife, Noa, and their five children to present the 100th great-grandchild to great-grandfather Michael and great-grandmother Marion. The boy was given the name Dagan Raz, after the late Major Dr. Dagan Wertman, 32, a Golani Brigade doctor who was at officers' school with Gadi and was killed during Operation Cast Lead.

Gadi, the happy father and Michael and Marion's grandson, lives with his family in Ofra. "Dagan Raz is our fifth child, and it's amazing that our grandfather has raised such a magnificent family," he said.

"This is our answer to Hitler, damn him," said Michael, the great-grandfather. "He tried to wipe us out and here we have brought the 100th great-grandchild into the Covenant of Abraham."

"It's not just the number," added great-grandmother Marion. "All the children and grandchildren live in Israel and everyone wants to contribute to the country. We feel we have established a really big tribe."

"This is the essence of Zionism," concluded their son, Eli. "Mom and Dad underwent severe hardships early on in their lives. They established a kibbutz and today we are all proud of their 100th great-grandchild."

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The estimated number of Jews who moved from France to Israel in 2014.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

46,000,000 (forth-six million)

The approximate number of people who were given Starbucks gift cards this past holiday season.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


The movie "The Big Lebowski" has the word "Fuck" 292 times.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Time capsule, 219.5 years old, opened today.
Yesterday, after five hours of meticulous work with a small, dental tool-like metal pick and a porcupine quill, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston conservator Pam Hatchfield opened the oldest known time capsule in the country. It was originally buried on July 4, 1795 by Revolutionary War heroes Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, who was then the governor of Massachusetts. On that day, 15 horses—one for each of the states in the relatively new union—pulled the cornerstone for the new State House through the streets of Boston to the building site for a commemorative ground-breaking. Below the cornerstone, the two men placed the capsule, sandwiched between two sheets of lead.
And there it remained—but not without interruption. The capsule was first unearthed back in 1855, when workers discovered it while making repairs to the State House. It was opened at the time and the contents were cleaned (in nitric acid according to "preservation" tactics of the time), cataloged and re-buried along with artifacts from that era in a sturdy, brass box.
One hundred and fifty nine years later, the box is back out of the ground. Last May, historians—concerned about water damage from a nearby leak—decided it was time (again) to open the capsule. In December, Hatchfield spent seven hours carefully extracting the historic box.
Inside were five neatly folded newspapers, a collection of 23 coins dating as far back as 1652, a medal depicting George Washington, a replica of Colonial records, and a silver plate commemorating the erection of the new State House that reads, "This cornerstone of a building intended for the use of the legislative and executive branches of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was laid by his Excellency Samuel Adams, Esquire, governor of the said Commonwealth." Most of the items were already known from the 1855 catalog, but the details are still of tremendous historic value. Accessing this value presents some quandaries for the preservationists, though—like whether or not they should attempt to unfold the delicate newspapers to read what's inside.
Secretary of State William Galvin said the items will likely go on display for a short time and then they will go back into the time capsule and return to the original resting place in the cornerstone of the State House.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


The lowest temperature in Anchorage in 2014 was 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  This is the first time this has happened, since we have been recording temperatures.