# Monday, 28 March 2011

Gittel Silver

Following prolonged high-level discussions, we finally decided on a name sometime between Friday night and Shabbos morning, so I named the new baby in shul on Shabbos. She is now officially known as Gittel (Yiddish for “good” which seemed appropriate as she’s scrummy!), although gets called Rivka (by Simcha who had it in her head that we were going to call her Rivka and can’t shift the idea), “Little Gittel” by me (or just LG for short), “pitchkeli” (Yiddish term of endearment for someone small) when I want to wind up Nechoma Bryna, “the baby” by people who can’t remember her name, Chaya Devoira by those who get confused, etc.

Anyway, here is an up-to-date picture of her sleeping, which was taken around 2:30pm today…

Gittel sleeping

P.S. For those who didn’t notice, I turned the blog pink in honour of the occasion!

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# Thursday, 24 March 2011

Chaya Devoira gives the new baby a kiss

Chaya Devoira just toddled in to see her Mummy, who had just finished feeding the new baby. Interested to see what was going on, Chaya Devoira climbed up onto the bed and peeked at her new sister.

Knowing what an affectionate girl she is, the Boss put the baby on Chaya Devoira’s knee for a cuddle. Chaya Devoira immediately planted a bit, wet smacking kiss on the baby’s head (see the left-hand picture below).

Chaya Devoira gives the new baby a kiss

In the right-hand picture, Chaya Devoira is having her hair taken out of her eyes, where it flopped after the administered the kisses. She had just come out of the bath (and wasn’t really dressed, but had a dress over her pyjamas to see if it fitted), and so had floppy hair. I included the second picture as you can see more of the baby!

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# Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mazel tov! A new baby!

With thanks and praise to Hashem Yisborach, we at the Smile Gemach are delighted to announce the safe arrival of a brand new baby girl…

The new baby

She was born yesterday (22nd March ‘11) at 9:32am, after a difficult, but thankfully not too prolonged labour. She weighed 5lbs, 15ozs which, whilst not big by normal standards, is about average for a Silver. B”H, she seems to be healthy and well.

They came home this afternoon, tired but happy. Predictably, everyone is over the moon with their new sister, especially Shayna Brocho, as the baby was born on her birthday!

We will be making a kiddush at home after davenning for anyone who is able to come.

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# Monday, 14 March 2011

Albert Einstein on computers

“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination.” — Albert Einstein

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# Monday, 07 March 2011

Chaya Devoira learns to walk!

One of Chaya Devoira’s main development issues (other than her lack of speech) is her poor motability. Whilst she can crawl reasonably well, she often does this with straight legs (so-called “bear walking). She has not yet mastered the art of standing for more than a few seconds at a time, and walking was something we assumed was still some way off on the horizon. If we hold a hand and lead her, she will walk stiff-legged with us, but will sit down as soon as we let go of her hand.

The occupational therapist in the special nursery she attends told us that Chaya Devoira once took four steps, but we had never seen this repeated, and so the excitement died down.

Imagine our surprise then, when on Friday afternoon she suddenly took a few steps. A couple of the other children were playing with her, and one of them stood her up and told her to walk. Amazingly enough, she did!

I ran upstairs to grab my camera, and got it switched on just in time to see a magnificent seventeen-step stroll across the room! This was followed by some less-successful attempts, but with definite promise.

This video shows the whole thing in glorious technicolour…

Since then, she has shown less interest in walking, but has been consistent in doing a few steps here and there. She has also started standing herself up without holding on to something, which is another promising sign. Obviously we are encouraging her as much as possible. but she has quite a strong will, and if she decides she doesn’t want do something, there’s no persuading her (unless we hold out some food of course!)

Anyway, all good indications of progress, however slow.

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# Thursday, 24 February 2011

Churchill had more sense than most managers and executives!

I saw an extract from Winston Churchill's speech at the reopening of the Parliament chambers that were rebuilt after being damaged during the London raids in World War II.

He noted that the same measurements were used in the rebuilding as in the original, that the main room was just as uncomfortable as before... thus making it difficult for oratory and discussion to drift far from the points that were important to discuss. He stated that Parliament's cramped quarters were perhaps the greatest single material contribution to efficient British governmental decision making.

I can think of a few executives in various parts of industry who would do well to listen to those words!

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# Thursday, 27 January 2011

Chaya Devoira as Rebbe Nachman!

Chaya Devoira came out of the bath tonight, and wandered off towards the boys' bedroom. She climbed onto Elihoyu's bed, and found his shloff kappel (yarmulka worn at night). Now Eliyohu has a rather bright yellow shloff kappel, emblazoned with the words of a well-known song about Rebbe Nachman of Breslov zt"l.

If you will forgive the full-frontal pictures of her big fat tummy, what happened next was very comical.

Seeing the kappel, Chaya Devoira picked it up and tried it on (left picture below), decided it was a perfect fit (centre picture) and reached out to grab the duvet and pull it over her head (right picture)...

Chaya Devoira tries on Eliyohu's Rebbe Nachman shloff kappel
Pulling the duvet up, she tucked herself up and snuggled down...

Chaya Devoira snuggled up in Eliyohu's bed

Not much you can say about that eh?

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# Wednesday, 05 January 2011

Baking foccacia with the girls (includes recipe)

Shayna Brocho has been asking me for a few days to bake with her. She particularly wanted to make foccacia, which is a sort of olive-oil bread, and is absolutely delicious. Well, we got around to it this afternoon, so I thought I would post up the results, along with the recipe in case anyone else is interested.


  • 1lb 2oz (500g) of strong white bread flour, plus a bit extra for kneading
  • 7g of dried yeast, or the equivalent of fresh (dunno how much, we used dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of fine salt
  • 6 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (I don't reckon you need anything like this much, see later)
  • 10fl oz (300ml) of hand-hot water
  • 2 tablespoons of rosemary leaves (we used dried rosemary, which usually comes ground up, but works fine)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of coarse sea salt (we used quite a bit more than this)


  1. Mix the flour, yeast and fine salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the water and one tablespoon olive oil, and mix into a soft dough. Shayna Brocho and Chana Liba took turns doing this, and made a right royal mess!

Shayna Brocho (r) and Chana Liba (l) kneading dough
  1. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is smooth and stretchy. They took turns here too, as their arms were hurting after a few minutes.
  2. Lightly oil a baking sheet or tin, approximately 8in by 12in (20cm by 30cm).

Chana Liba oiling the tray
  1. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about the same size, and place on/in the sheet/tin.
  2. Cover with a damp tea towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for about 90 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 230 degress C, 450 degrees F or Gas Mark 8 (whichever you prefer).
  4. Using your fingertips (they really liked this bit!), makes loads of dimples all over the surface of the dough.
  5. Dribble the remaining olive oil over the dough, and scatter the rosemary on top. As I said above, the recipe reckons you need about five tablespoons of olive oil for this, but we found that we didn't need that much - and we did put plenty on!
  6. Sprinkle the coarse salt on top of this, and bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
  7. Put onto a cooling rack, and when cool, cut into squares.

Simple enough for young children to be involved, and fairly quick and easy. The end result? Well, see for yourself...

The finished foccacia

I had some with my supper later. It was delicious.

Note that foccacia is best eaten while still warm, and can go hard if left for too long. It's best made in time to eat it from the oven, but if you have any left over (unlikely to be honest) then 20 seconds in the microwave softens it up nicely.

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# Sunday, 26 December 2010

Schoolchildren today know nothing!

As usual, I have no idea if any of these are real, but I have my suspicions! They are supposedly genuine pieces of information, as written by children at school.

School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
School kids today know nothing
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