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Blog - It's all Greek to me!!!!

Life in Greece with a Jewish twist

10 Commandments of marriage

Still in the spirit of Shavuot… (the holiday was beautiful. It passed quicky and left me with lots of inpiration but also some extra cheesecake calories to get rid off :)


The 10 commandments are quite universal and contain the basics of our duties towards G-d and our fellow men.


In a couple relationship, there are also essentials do’s and don’ts. This article lists the 10 commandments of a successful marriage, giving practical and inspiring ideas drawn from the original 10 commandments. The author is Esther Piekarski, a marriage counselor who came to Athens 3 years ago and gave a wonderful speech about creating a positive energy at home (anyone remembers?).


Personally, I loved the article and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to keep up or enhance his couple relationship.


New video - Shavuot

The Mitzvah ATM is about to dispense the Torah in honor of the holiday of Shavuot
.  One snag, though: It wants trustworthy guarantors...

Click here to watch it in Hebrew.

Say “Cheese”

Shavuot is one of my favorite holidays because of its dairy menu (the reason why we eat dairy here).


I remember at home planning the delicacies with my mum and sisters: the various cheesecakes, blintzes, puddings, crepes and other ice creams…  Each one was making her specialty and we would have a great time tasting each other’s “chefs- d’oeuvres” … Yum!!! The diet was for the next day!


So here is one of my favorite no bake cheesecake:




Petit-beurre (nature or chocolate)

Cream cheese or farmer cheese


Vanilla sugar

Chocolate yogurt (optional)

Strawberries (optional)


1) Mix the cream cheese or farmer cheese with sugar and plenty of vanilla sugar (sorry, I don’t have proportions, but you can taste it to make sure you like it J)

2) In a pan, put a layer of biscuits.  (break the biscuits if it’s needed to cover the whole area)


3) Add a thin layer of the cheese mixture (1/2 cm)

4) Alternate layers of biscuits and cheese until the top.

5) Finish with a layer of cheese.

6) Top with a chocolate yogurt layer if desired, decorate with strawberries.

7) Put in fridge overnight (no baking).


Bon appétit!!!


More dairy recipes, including healthy ones (yes, yes, it exists! :)

Love Story

The Holiday of Shavuot is often overlooked but it in some aspects Shavuot may be considered the most foundational of all the Jewish holidays. It commemorates the day, 3320 years ago, when the Jewish people received the Torah on Mount Sinai. In the synagogue, we read in the Torah the account of this love story.


Love Story? Yes, the love story between G-d and the Jewish people, who chose each other and were “united” officially on the day of Matan Torah… The wedding hall was Mount Sinai, all decorated with flowers, the wedding ring was the Tablets and every year, the holiday of Shavuot is like an anniversary, giving us the opportunity to celebrate and strengthen our relationship.


So on Shavuot, we celebrate our connection with G-d, going to the synagogue and listening carefully to the story of the giving of the Torah and the 10 commandments, and in some way, receiving again the Torah… We bring even the children, for they are an essential part of the relationship between the Jewish people and G-d and His Torah: the future generation, the guarantee that the relationship will continue and strive!


And as in every relationship, we have to work on it… make our best to get close to the Other, to listen, to speak, express appreciation…

Sleepless night in Athens

There are many ways to spend sleepless nights in Athens ;-)


Next week, there will be an opportunity to do something more unusual (i.e, not involving any bouzouki ;-): spend a sleepless night studying Torah, Talmud and Kabbala.


Sunday evening, the first night of Shavuot, the custom is to stay up at night, studying the Torah (and drinking a lot of coffee :) .


The reason is because the Israelites in the desert were getting ready to receive the Torah the next day, and decided to sleep in order to be fresh… but they overslept and G-d had to wake them up to get them to Mount Sinai to listen to the 10 Commandments


To correct this, we stay up every year on Shavuot night, showing our excitement and eagerness to receive the Torah…


So, we’re holding an (almost) all night study next Sunday evening, you’re all invited to join: dinner at 21:00, followed by learning. (Please email to reserve.)


So, ready for a sleepless night?

Mad driving in Athens

Driving in the congested and polluted streets of Athens is quite an adventure… So, fasten your seatbelt and follow me.



The number one problem is of course… traffic. When I go out for appointments, I have to plan accordingly… A route that would take me 20 minutes at midnight easily takes 45 minutes… but hey, that leaves me plenty of time to listen to the radio (and practice my Greek J ), or I sometimes listen to a taped lecture (I really should do it more often, actually, it’s a very good way to utilize the time).


Then I check the date: yes, the date, in order to verify if I can drive into the center of town today. In an effort to limit the number of cars jamming the city center, there is an area called “daktylio”, which you can enter only every other day. On odd days (1st, 3rd, 5th etc of the month), only cars with plates ending with an odd number are allowed. And cars with plates ending with even numbers get their turn to pollute the streets on even dates. And even with only half the cars, the city is PACKED… (then of course, some Athenians conveniently have 2 cars, one with an odd plate, and the other with an even one!…)


Next thing to watch out for: the countless motorcycles.

As a consequence of the terrible traffic, many people prefer to take their motorcycle and slalom between the cars. It’s of course a very dangerous sport, which unfortunately many practice without wearing a helmet (I recently heard this comment about one of them: “here goes an organ donor!”). You have to be on the lookout for the next wild motorcycle which will appear from nowhere and zoom past you just when you are about to switch lanes…


Of course you have to watch carefully all the other cars as well… the rule is: no rule! Each one does absolutely as he/she pleases… so be ready for another driver to cut you, to turn without blinkers, to tag you as if to make you drive faster, or to curse you if you stopped when the light turned orange (common, at least three or four cars still can pass after the light has become red, don’t you think?! Here in Athens, this is what happens routinely).


Don’t be surprised if a motorcycle, sometimes even a car comes towards you the wrong way on a narrow one-way street. Be ready for a pedestrian to cross in the middle of a boulevard, and watch out for people waiting to cross ON the street as opposed to the sidewalk… just make sure no to run over their toes J


The top annoying thing though (to me) is when there is a sudden unannounced demonstration (read, 50 unhappy workers decide to protest and block some streets) and the already crowded streets just become one big parking space, like last Friday… This gets me fuming! I am all for the right to demonstrate, but they have taken this way too far… (to be developed in a different post)


To conclude, this article was inspiring to me: cruising thought life, we can and should all learn and respect some “driving rules” in order to get safely to our destination…


(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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