the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Here's the list of things I need to bring in for Rimonit's birthday party at gan on Friday:

- 4 pictures of her from babyhood on
- 10 blown-up balloons
- A decorated store-bought cake
- A present for the gan (game/book)
- Candles
- Napkins


Photo montage for a 4yo? Present for the gan? Blowing up balloons isn't in their contract?

Anyway, here's hoping this year's bday party will be better than last year's at least...

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This is long long long long overdue, but here goes (finally):

Q: What? You had another kid? What's that, No. 3?
A: Yup.

Q: What, another girl?
A: Yup.

Q: So three girls, huh?
A: You got it.

Q: So what's her name?
A: Well, that depends on whom you ask. If you ask her Big Big Sister, it's often Moriya Shiran-ran. (RP occasionally likes to confirm the facts and announce: 'Moriya a girl.' She also likes to reprise recent history and say things like: 'First Moriya was in your tummy. Then she came out of your tummy.' and: 'First Moriya didn't have a name. Then she have a name: Moriya Shiran-ran.') If you ask her Little Big Sister, it's generally Ya or Iya (as in 'Change you Ya,' when KL wants to help change the baby - as opposed to 'Change you,' which is when she needs to be changed. Similarly, 'Help you' is when K wants me to help her; 'Help me' is when she wants to, er, 'help' me.)
If you ask her birth certificate, it's Moriya Shiran. (Well, Moriya Shiran Kordova Wienburg, but you knew that already, didn't you?)

Q: What's with spelling her name with a 'y'? Shouldn't it be 'Moriah'?
A: The idea is to help people avoid confusing her name with that of a singer whose last name is Carey. Unfortunately, the spelling doesn't seem to have done much so far to keep Americans/South Africans who don't live in Israel from calling her either 'Mariah' or some variant of 'Maria.' Maybe we should have spelled it MoReeYA for extra clarity, but somehow I don't think it would have helped...

Q: Why Moriya Shiran?
A: There's a whole theme thing. If I were to encapsulate it in equations, it would look something like this: Moriya = Har Hamoriya/Mt. Moriah = site of akedat Yitzhak (binding of Isaac) + Har Habayit/Temple Mount. Matityahu = (familial) my maternal grandfather + (historical) leader of Maccabees = purifying Temple (after beating up the bad guys - you know, that whole Hanukkah thing) = Har Hamoriya. M = Matityahu + Moriya. Avraham = (familial) W's maternal grandfather + (historical) Avraham Avinu, of patriarch renown = akedat Yitzhak = Har Hamoriya. Shiran = Shimon = (familial) w's great-uncle. Get it? Got it? Good.

Q: How much weight has she gained in the past three months?
A: At birth (that would be July 9, a week before K's second bday), she weighed in at 3.62 kilos, and just before Sukkot she was 5.65. I don't want to take away from anyone's fun, so I'll let you do the math if you really want a precise answer to the question asked.

Q: How have her sisters reacted?
A: To be continued...

Where there's steam...

* At breakfast today:
Me to RP, after two consecutive mornings of bloody noses (hers): We're going to put something called a hu-mi-di-fi-er in your room so you don't get bloody noses as much.
RP: [Not much of an immediate reaction. About five minutes on, looking troubled and sounding distraught:] I don't want fire in my room!

* RP, sharing her epiphany after being put to bed tonight:
Grown-ups don't play a lot. They do... things.

* What RP calls a bathing suit: beigele yam
(The explanation that ruins the joke: Bathing suit = beged yam. Beigele = pretzel. Beigele yam = sea pretzel.)

* Extended conversation with KL (while she is being changed):
Ima no diaper.
Just Ya. [that would be Moriya aka Moriya Shiran aka Moriya Shiran-ran aka Gimmel, who has yet to be properly introduced on this blog despite being 3 months old]
Also Diti. [at night]
Also me.