Monday, December 31, 2012

Tal's Story part 2

 Today we have part 2 of Tal's story~ an opportunity to honor a young lady as well as comfort a grieving father. The 2 Spies are having a family gathering today to host an event to color camels~ the camel that Tal was never able to finish. May her memory live.
A dad still grieving for the daughter murdered in the 2003 terror attack on a bus in Haifa is asking that a camel be colored in her memory.

Ron Kehrmann’s daughter Tal was just “17 years and 9 months old,” a high school senior when she and 16 others were murdered in the March 5, 2003 suicide bombing on bus #37. (to read more about Tal click here )

“Tal loved camels,” Kehrmann wrote in a letter to Arutz Sheva. “In Tal’s diary we found the camel she had drawn, but not colored.”

In her memory, the heartbroken father decided to hold a “Color Tal’s Camel” memorial event.
“This year we will mark her 10th Memorial Day, and my goal is to post at least 10,000 camels on her website,” Kehrmann explained.

He asked that readers “color Tal’s camel on your computer or by hand, do not hesitate to be as creative as you can be. Please bear in mind that Tal was a very happy teenager, very creative with extraordinary ideas.”

Once finished, scan the camel into the computer and email it to:
or send by regular post to:
Tal’s Camels at 33 Hameginim Street, Haifa, 3346508,

“So far 9,500 people from all over the world have colored Tal’s camel and read her short life story,” Kehrmann said. All of the colored camels have been posted in a special page on the site.

“I would very much appreciate it if you colored Tal’s camel yourself and publish this special memorial event,” he wrote. “Thank you for taking part in my effort to keep Tal’s memory alive.”

Check back tomorrow to see The 2 Spies camels!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tal's Story part 1

Tal Kehrmann
  It has been almost 10 years since Tal Kehrmann died in a bus bombing in Haifa. Today, The 2 Spies want to share her story. Tomorrow, please come back and we'll tell you how you can help honor this precious young lady.
 Tal was born on June 7th 1985 in The Carmel Hospital, Haifa. Tal was the first born child to Orly and Ron Kehrmann, as well as, Dror’s sister.
She was incredibly friendly. She had a lot of friends from different streams of life. She had sensitivity to others’ feelings. Her friends say that when she saw somebody hurt, she took special consideration in supporting and encouraging him. Because she was so friendly, she was the one who made a connection between individual friends and society. In her world of friends, there were a lot of new immigrants.
Tal was a very sensitive teenager and did everything she could to avoid hurting a weaker person’s feelings.

Her sensitivity towards mankind also applied to her interaction with animals. She loved animals, especially cats. At the age of three, she had a cat that she really loved. And at a later age, she fell in love with camels. Her room was filled with all kinds of stuffed animals. There were especially many kinds of camels. There was even a warning sign that said, “Camel Crossing!” She received it as a gift from a friend’s father who designed warning signs.

Tal loved to read Literature both in English and in Hebrew. The last book that she had not yet finished, was Lord of the rings in English. She knew English very well. Of all the books that she loved to read, she especially liked the stories of Etgar Keret. She met him in a Book Festival in June, 2002. Etgar autographed her book and wrote: “Dear Tal, Lots of books and lots of life…”

In addition to her appreciation of literature, she loved to watch the science and music channels. She knew all the words to numerous songs. If one picked any random song she surely knew all the words, both in English and in Hebrew.

Tal knew how to balance between the rebellious teenage behavior and the maturity that adults expected of her. On one hand she was a little girl—she loved dolls, and illustrated cartoon characters. On the other hand, she was very mature. One could see this in her behavior and conversations that she had with others. Her homeroom teacher said that she conducted a lesson about the end of the year events. She recommended as an end of the year project, to improve the external look of campus—a little garden with grass and water.

In 11th grade, a year before the explosion, a month after the Twin Towers Terrorist attack, Tal was sent to represent “Ironi Hey School” in a delegation to Boston from the city of Haifa. She was chosen, because of her outstanding ability to connect with others.

In preparation for the draft to the Israeli army, Tal went through a series of tests to volunteer her service in a combat unit. She was supposed to start her army service on December 16th 2003.
Tal & Liz

Tal was killed on March 5th, 2003 in the bus bomb explosion, number 37, on Moriah Blvd, Haifa. On that day, after school she met her friend to plan the end of the year events. They both went downtown to buy some things for this occasion. From downtown, they got a call from their friends to come up to the Carmel.

Tal and her friend, Liz Katzman, were killed on the bus up to the Carmel.
Tal died three months before her 18th birthday.
Check out Tal's memorial website

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Hanukkah is over. The Hanukkiahs are all washed and put away for another year. Time for The 2 Spies to increase our discipline for exercise and proper eating to undo the effects of  multiple potato latkes and sufganityot.

We want to share just a few bits and pieces from our time at Kraft Stadium yesterday.

* Announced at the flag football tournament:
        "Someone's Kippah is on the field. Get it back on your head please."

* At the same game:
      "Boys~ tuck your tzitzit in and be sure to grab only the flag"  

*  One of the billboards at the stadium:

"Halachic Organ Donor Society"

After being raised in the galut we find these daily bits of 'Torah life' charming and refreshing. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mourning with Those Who Mourn~ Sandy Hook Elementary School

James Mattioli
Jessica Rekos

Josephine Gay

Nancy Lanza

Olivia Engel
Daniel Barden

Caroline Previdi

Catherine Hubbard

Charlotte Bacon

Jesse Lewis
Emilie Parker

Anne Marie Murphy  

  Avielle Richman 

Ana Greene

Mary Sherlach

 Principal Dawn Hochsprung 

Ana Marquez-Greene

Lauren Rousseau

Victoria Soto

  Chase Kowalski 

Noah Pozner

 Dylan Hockley 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rabbi Pozner~ A Man of Vision

Today's story is of a Rabbi in 1930s Germany who was able to correctly read the times and warn the people ~ Jew and Gentile~ of what was coming.We are in the days, once again, where the signs are all around us. Are we discerning enough to read them~ and to know what to do. The 2 Spies prays that we are.

From Nazi Germany to Beit Shemesh: The Mansbach Hanukiyah
 by David Lev

Each year before Hanukkah, the Mansbach family drops by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum to pick up the family Hanukiyah (Hanukkah Menorah) – an item rich with history, symbolism, and sentimental value. Because, family member Yehuda Mansbach told Israel National News in an interview, “This Hanukiyah is the only remaining memory of the congregation my Grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Akiva Baruch Pozner, led before escaping Germany.”
View from Rabbi Pozner's window.

The photo attached tells much of that history, says Mansbach, a resident of Beit Shemesh. “In this photo you see the Hanukiyah stationed at a window, with a Nazi flag across the street.” The photo was taken in 1931, says Mansbach, long before the Nazis came to power. But, as it happened, the house of Rabbi Posner, who led the community of Kiel in Germany, was right across the street from the local headquarters of the Nazi Party.

“It was on a Friday afternoon right before Shabbat that this photo was taken,” says Mansbach. “My grandmother realized that this was a historic photo, and she wrote on the back of the photo : ‘Their flag wishes to see the death of Judah, but Judah will always survive, and our light will outlast their flag.'”
As Rabbi of the Kiel community, Rabbi Pozner did everything he could to encourage Jews to escape Germany. 

“Already in 1933, he was making many speeches, both to Jews and Germans. To the Germans he warned that the road they were embarking on was not good for Jews or Germans, and to the Jews he warned that something terrible was brewing, and they would do well to leave Germany.” Indeed, Mansbach says, many did leave, and by the time the Nazis came to power, some half of the congregation had already emigrated, mostly to the U.S. and the Land of Israel.

The Hanukiyah made it to Israel as well, and ended up in Yad Vashem. But each year they make sure to “borrow” if for their family Chanukah celebration. “My grandparents understood what was going to happen, and this Hanukiyah is a message to us – and to Jews in the Diaspora today – as well. It tells them to come to the Land of Israel now, before it's too late. No one knows what will be tomorrow.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hanukkah's Oily Delights !

Sufganiyot... what a Hanukkah delight. A marvelous fried jelly filled 'doughnut'. Depending on where you buy them they will either b light and fluffy or a cousin to a hockey puck. When our children were in kindergarten, we went on a field trip (in the States) to Krispie Kreme Doughnuts. It was fascinating to see how the doughnuts were made (and the few samples were nice too) It was fully automated.

Moshe Sharabi has been operating the Magdaniyat Pe'er bakery for 42 years. His doughnuts are made by hand.. After seeing this video, The 2 Spies will have to head to Magdaniyat Pe'er Bakery in Jerusalem to taste for ourselves.

Hag Sameach

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Sabba for Hanukkah

Hanukkah will be upon us as we close out Shabbat and begin a new week. What a marvelous time to enter the celebration. Fun filled festivities with family and food and fire-lit candles (can I get any more words in there that begin with 'f' ??)

In the family the Sabba is so very important to this celebration. Through his learned eyes and keen intellect, he is able to weave the story of Hanukkah of the past with a story for the present. Only a Sabba can make life so relevant but enjoyable at the same time. He can present and maintain the delicate balance of being a people who have enemies and a G-d who is always present~ our Shomer (guard).

But many of us do not have such a Grandfather. This spy did not. So, we have determined, for at least the next few moments, to 'borrow' a Sabba. We are happy to share him with you to further your enjoyment of this marvelous remembrance of battle & victory.

Happy Hanukkah.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time to Sing!

Hanukkah begins in only 4 more nights~Time for some Hanukkah music around The 2 Spies house~

We kindle these lights [to commemorate] the saving acts, miracles and wonders which You have performed for our forefathers, in those days at this time, through Your holy priests. Throughout the eight days of Chanukah, these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make use of them, but only to look at them, in order to offer thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, for Your wonders and for Your salvations.

Monday, December 3, 2012


There is no celebration without great food!  As we learned yesterday, Chanukah has it's own unique foods with great meaning!  'The 2 Spies' favorite... LATKES! Potato latkes!  For the uninitiated, potato latkes are basically a potato pancake.

However, using the word 'pancake' seems just so wrong! These lovely, crispy fried treats are served with applesauce, sour cream or eaten just as they are. ( My mouth is watering!) There are many versions of latkes but potato is the most traditional. At the end of this article we'll give a simple recipe.

Over the years, makeing latkes has become quite a science. To get the latkes just right~ crispy on the outside, moist on the inside~ without being soggy~ we are going to share some tips we found to hopefully guarantee the PERFECT POTATO LATKE! Enjoy!
Making Latkes
The best latkes are golden and crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.
Latkes are traditionally eaten at Hanukkah, but they're a treat anytime you crave crispy, savory potato pancakes.

Treat Your Potatoes Right

For best results, use russet potatoes. They are high in starch, which is necessary to form pancakes that don't fall apart. If you peel the potatoes before making latkes, put them in water between peeling and shredding to prevent oxidizing and discoloring.

Just Grate!
Have the onions and any other veggies trimmed and peeled, have a piece of cheesecloth ready and waiting, and measure out the other ingredients your recipe calls for: matzo meal or flour, baking powder, eggs, cheese and seasonings.
  • If you have a food processor with a shredder attachment, this will make the process go faster, but a good old-fashioned hand-held grater will perform the job just fine.
  • Alternate the potato with the onion and other vegetables while you shred in order to keep the potatoes from oxidizing too quickly.
  • If you want lacy latkes with rough, crispy edges, shred those potatoes coarsely. If you prefer denser latkes with smooth edges, use the fine side of the grater.

Squeeze your Spuds
The potatoes need to be dry and the oil needs to be good and hot so that the exterior of the latke will get crispy and prevent the pancake from absorbing too much grease.
  • To squeeze out the potato mixture, place it in a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze it.
  • When you cannot get any more liquid out, open up the cheesecloth, stir the mixture around a little, and then squeeze it some more.
Empty the contents of the cheesecloth into a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients.

Fry Away
Heat a heavy-duty pan with vegetable oil ¼- to ½-inch deep. When the oil has reached a temperature of about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), it's time to fry!
  • If you don't have a deep-fat thermometer, you can test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of latke mixture into the pan. If it turns golden brown within one minute, the oil is ready.
  • Form the latkes by carefully placing spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil, then flattening the mounds with a spatula.
  • Fry until nicely browned on the bottom, then flip the latkes with a spatula and brown the other side.
  • Drain the latkes on paper towels and serve them immediately, if possible.
  • If you aren't able to serve them right away, keep them in the oven at 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet. To keep them nice and crispy, don't stack them or cover them.
Serve hot latkes with applesauce and sour cream.

Latke Troubleshooting:
The latkes are too greasy
The oil is probably not hot enough. Allow it to come back up to temperature between batches of latkes.
The latkes fall apart
Did you squeeze out excess moisture from the shredded potato mixture? Extra eggs, matzo meal, and shredded cheese will all help bind the mixture together if it seems too "loose."
The potatoes turn brown
Keep peeled potatoes immersed in a bowl of cool water until the second you're ready to shred them.
The latkes are still chewy and starchy on the inside
To remedy this problem, you can shred the potatoes more finely, make sure the oil is hot enough, make the latkes thinner, or pre-cook the potatoes.
The latkes aren't crispy
Again, pay attention to the type of potato and the temperature of the oil. These are the two most important factors in achieving latke perfection--and for best results, latkes should be served hot from the pan to the plate.

Potato Latkes


  • 2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil for frying


  1. Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.
  2. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together.
  3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Serve hot!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost Hanukkah!

One week from last night will begin the celebration of Hanukkah. We want to write more about Hanukkah ~ which we will another day~ but right now we want to focus on the joy of all holidays~ food~
Every celebration has it's own special culinary delight and Hanukkah is no different. Traditionally foods that have some measure of oil involved are the basis for Hanukkah eating. The most popular are latkes and sufganiyot.

Yummy.. and jelly filled
The sufganiyot have been available in the bakeries for several weeks already. The 2 Spies have resisted taking a taste so far~ preferring to savor the calorie-laden goodies during the hag. There are so many varieties of fillinf here in the Land~ vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, praline and of course many types of jelly filling. One dear friend who has diabetes keeps looking for a sugar-free sufganiyot. Let us know if you find one.

Everyone has their own version of latkes. A little like the matzah balls at Pesach there are 'special' ingredients or techniques to making the perfect latkes. Our grand daughter couldn't eat white potatoes one year so her Ima made latkes out of sweet potatoes and green zucchini. DELICIOUS~ And of course all of these are served with heaping spoons of sour cream and applesauce.

Later this week The 2 Spies will have all our grandchildren over for a cookie-decorating party. The cookies in this photo are an ideal. I am certain that ours will have much character and pizazz if not be so artistic~

Do you have a favorite Hanukkah recipe? Would you like to share it with the readers? Send it to us at and we'll be happy to share it.