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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Trying to Understand

What a relief to come home to a quiet house. When I got back from visiting my parents, I actually looked forward to doing the laundry, to cooking dinner, to—dare I say it—doing the dishes. It was a nice day, but I worked hard to keep Mom occupied.

Let's blame it on the weather. Israel is blanketed in a yellow hazy sandstorm with temperatures in the 90s. And it’s humid.

Mom was restless at home, so we decided to walk the 15 minutes to the local mall. Big mistake. By the time we arrived, we were dripping with sweat.

We wandered around for a bit, then Daddy joined us and we celebrated his birthday (which was September 6) with lunch and a surprise chocolate dessert.

While we were waiting for the food to arrive, Mom speculated that it was her birthday just last week. When Daddy corrected her and told her it was months away, she suddenly got up from the table, her face full of anger, and stormed off.

Whoa! I quickly jumped up to follow her.

“I want to kill everyone. I hate them.”

Where was this coming from? It is so hard to understand, to really put myself in her shoes and know how her mind is functioning. What is it like to be painfully aware that you don’t get what’s happening around you? How do you cope when people shift identity with the blink of an eye and objects are impermanent? We walked a circuit in the mall, and by the time we came back to the café, Mom was better.

Yes, we laughed today, but Mom’s bad moods are hard to dispel. Maybe when it’s a little cooler and not so humid, we’ll be able to laugh more.

Meanwhile, my husband Jeff and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary! We moved to Israel 24 years ago, and just like this year, our anniversary and Rosh Hashanah were only days apart. When we marked our 1st anniversary, it seemed like the whole country was celebrating with us and sharing our tremendous excitiement at having moved to Israel. Here we are, 24 years later, ensconced in a wonderful life, and we’re planning for Rosh Hashanah in earnest now. No more dilly-dallying. Here’s a sweet chicken recipe that will help you usher in a sweet new year.

Cherry Chicken on a Bed of Rice

This is a convenient way to cook a whole meal in one pan. The rice becomes moist and savory as it absorbs the flavor of the chicken. Serve with steamed broccoli or fresh salad.

10-12 chicken pieces (with bone)

1 cup white rice (uncooked)

1 jar cherry preserves

½ cup red wine

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2½ cups water

2-3 cloves garlic chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large baking pan, spread uncooked rice evenly along the bottom. Pour water over rice. Place chicken pieces in pan. (Note: chicken will displace the water slightly. Make sure your pan is deep enough to hold it all.) In a small bowl, combine cherry preserves, wine, vinegar and spices. Spread on top of chicken. Cook covered for 40 minutes at 350°. Remove foil and continue cooking another 15-20 minutes until water has evaporated and chicken is browned and cooked through. If you decide to use brown rice instead of white rice, the cooking time will increase as brown rice cooks much slower.

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