Trezoros – The Lost Jews of Kastoria

Kastoria, a picturesque small town in northern Greece, situated between mountains and lakes, was home to a vibrant Sephardic Jewish community who lived in peace and harmony with its Christian neighbors for hundreds of years, even during the occupation of the area by Italy in World War II.

Seattle local, Leah Watts, shared the fascinating story of her mother, Nina Elias, and her family who originated in Kastoria. Nina’s family fled back to Kastoria from Yugoslavia in hopes of surviving the war, but the Nazis' entrance in 1944 sealed their fate. Only a few months before the liberation of Kastoria by Greek guerrilla units and the end of the war, the entire Jewish community of about 1000 people, was transported to Auschwitz, along with Italian families who helped them. 14-year-old Nina, her mother Mila and the cousins Lena and Beni, were among the only survivors. read more


By: Hagit Galatzer


Sale away! Photo by Pixabay

‘Tis the season, to be merry and thankful, celebrate the joys in our lives with people we love and some good food. Among the holidays that begin in November and continue through the end of December, there is one holiday that is so formidable and universally loved, it is celebrated with devotion by literally everyone. It is known as the “Black Friday”.

The shopping fever spreads like wild fire and affects even those with the best immune system and the strongest will power. It all starts with shiny pamphlets that land in our mailbox sporting magic words like “SALE!”, “50% OFF” and “While supplies last” in big red letters. The attack on our senses continues with emails, ads, commercials and the worst of all, peer pressure. read more

A web of horror

By: Hagit Galatzer


Decoration? I don't think so…Photo by Hagit Galatzer

During the fall months, it is not rare to hear a bloodcurdling scream, followed by loud banging noises in our house. When family members rush to the disaster area, they discover me, standing triumphally over the body of the monstrous intruder that caused the havoc – a spider. Many of you may be chuckling dismissively now, but others, 30% of the population, know exactly what I'm talking about.

For those of us that suffer from Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, the mere thought or even a picture of a spider, let alone the presence of an actual one, can invoke real fear or a life-threatening sensation, that may seem unreasonable to others. As in many other cases, size does matter. As long as the diameter is smaller than a quarter coin, it is simply a disgusting nuisance. However, bigger models require immediate termination, otherwise I won’t be able to go to sleep. An appropriate weapon is needed of course. I find that a flexible shoe or flip-flop works nicely. If the target lurks in high altitudes, you will also need a broomstick. read more

Sukkot – the Jewish camping holiday

By: Hagit Galatzer


Pop-up Sukkah, Photo by Sukkahmart

The High Holidays are upon us, again, and with them the pleasure of explaining our holidays and their interesting traditions to our children. Take Sukkot for example, this is the holiday where we are required to construct a roof-less hut in our back yard, decorate it and dwell in it, or at least eat there for a whole week.

Today you can construct your Sukkah by downloading instructions and ideas from Pinterest, and if you are DIY challenged you can even order a pop-up Sukkah that pops instantly like a quick setup tent. For the roof, you can use leaves, bamboo or any other organic material that it is not water proof read more

חדשות קהילתיות

IACSharonבשעה טובה ומוצלחת נפתח בסיאטל סניף של:

IACIsraeli American Council

שמטרתו גיבוש הקהילה הישראלית המקומית, חיזוק הקשר עם הקהילה היהודית המקומית ותמיכה וגיבוי במדינת ישראל. נפגשתי לקפה עם שרון פרלין, הדירקטורית האזורית של הסניף שאך נכנסה לתפקידה. שרון היא ישראלית-אמריקאית מעצם הגדרתה. היא נולדה וגדלה בפרברי וושינגטון די.סי. להורים ישראלים. בבית דיברו עברית וביקרו בישראל בכל הזדמנות. כסטודנטית למדה שנה באוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים ואף עבדה בהדרכת עובדים בשגרירות האמריקאית בישראל. לאחר קריירה ארוכה בתחום היחסים הבינלאומיים ועריכת דין, שרון חיפשה תפקיד שמשלב בתוכו גם עשייה קהילתית וחיבור ישראלי וכך הגיעה לאיי איי סי. שרון מתגוררת בסיאטל עם בעלה ושלושת ילדיה read more

International night

By: Hagit Galatzer


Two posters for the Education Hill team! Photo by Hagit Galatzer

If you have elementary age kids you are probably familiar with the various theme days and evenings your school hosts on a regular basis. From crazy hat day to PJ night, a western Hoedown and my personal favorite, the International night. This is a celebration of diversity and a homage to the countries and heritage we all came from before we became Americans.

The main element in the display table is the tri-fold poster board. This conveniently folding board should display pictures, trivia details, maps and other tidbits on our homeland, Israel. read more

Weekend Getaway

By Hagit Galatzer


Other people's vacation Photo by Pixabay

The summer season marks the beginning of vacation season. There is nothing like a short and relaxing hotel getaway in a different city or state for a change of atmosphere.

The first night is dedicated for getting acclimated to the foreign room. Getting used to the new bed and pillow, the AC humming and the hallway noises. It is really annoying when people return to their rooms late at night and disturb everyone. When we arrive late, we practically scream at the kids to be quiet and we make sure to slam the door ever so gently. read more

Living in Seattle


Blue sky! Photo by Hagit Galatzer

When friends and family come to visit from Israel, the undeniable truth comes out, we don’t really live in Seattle… It’s not that we lie, but Redmond and Bellevue are not the most famous cities in the world, not to mention the exotically named Sammamish and Issaquah.

Washington state itself is pretty obscure and is often confused with Washington D.C. Whenever a blizzard hits the east coast, I receive anxious phone calls at 6:00 am, “Are you guys ok? Oh, did we wake you up? Don’t you live near New-York???” read more

Cleaner Day

By: Hagit Galatzer


Israeli Couscous, food you eat before cleaner day

Although Passover is the ultimate spring cleaning opportunity, there is a more obscure cleaning holiday, celebrated by many around the world. In our household this holiday is celebrated a few times a month with ceremonies and praise to the cleaning ladies.

Like any holiday, cleaner day requires much preparation and cooking. My kitchen is usually tidy, how messy can you get making a salad and eggs for dinner? But every now and then my motherly conscious demands homemade meals for the children. My kids take one look in my culinary creations, a sensational symphony of vegetables, and ask for eggs. In any case, it is best to time these creative bursts to the day before the cleaner ladies arrive. read more

Purim existential thoughts

By: Hagit Galatzer


Curls rock! Photo by Pixabay

Purim is almost here and I still don’t have any idea which costume to wear this year. Unlike most people, I can’t just throw on a colorful curly wig on my head. I did try once, it just didn’t fit. Also, I fail to see the joke…

Purim is probably the most beloved holiday amongst kids in Israel, however, if your kids were born here, it might be a good idea to verify that they actually know what Purim is all about. My junior, for instance, was pretty certain that this is the holiday where you don’t eat and don’t drink all day…When I explained the difference between Purim and Yom HaKipurim (Yom Kipuur), he was relieved that we are talking about the Jewish Halloween, where you get to dress up and eat ear (shaped) cookies. The famous cookies, Hamentashen, or “Haman’s Ears” are fashioned in the form of triangles and filled with sweet poppy seed filling. Haman, is the bad guy of the Purim story, he devised a plan to kill all the Jewish population in ancient Persia and in a miraculous turn of events ended up hung on a tree along with his entire family, while the Jews celebrated their victory. read more

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