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NEXT WEEK, March 28, is Election Day, and some stores mark the occasion with special deals, probably figuring with a day off you'll have time to shop after you cast your vote. The Roladin bakeries have a special deal the whole election week, from March 27 through March 31, selling a delicious piece of cake with pears marinated in cinnamon, anis, and orange rind, topped with forest fruit, together with a coffee for NIS 21.90.
AT THE April drugstores, you can find a postcard with stickers that entitle you to the product of your choice among participating brands (for example, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Sisley). You can receive a reduction of 20% on the first product, 25% on the second product and 30% on the third - just take the stickers and stick them on the product you want to buy at a reduced price. In addition, you can buy a perfume at a 50% reduction when buying one of the products that participate in the deal. The offer is valid until March 29.
IF YOU have guests for the Seder, and cooking for lots of people stresses you out, you might consider the option of bringing in ready-made food. Kibbutz Sa'ad has a catering service, called Itha BeSimha that will deliver a meal for about NIS 80 a person. You have a wide choice between first courses, soups, gefilte fish, salads, meat (for example, a delicious tongue in mushroom sauce), fish and desserts. For vegetarians, there are kugels, pies, stuffed vegetables, etc. If you order more than NIS 500 worth of products, you will receive a free bottle of wine and delivery also will be free of charge. Orders can be made up to March 31, with early callers getting a price reduction. Call: 08-680-0459, or use the Internet at http://catering.saad.org.il.
ANOTHER CATERING service is offered by Nir Etsion Meals, located in the religious moshav Nir Etsion. For example, a meal for five persons consisting of fish, meat, chicken, mushrooms, potatoes and a hazelnut pie is NIS 360. You can order separate dishes, as well, such as gefilte fish (NIS 40 for eight pieces), chicken soup (NIS 30 for two liters) or salmon in lemon sauce (NIS 75 for four servings). To order, call 04-984-5745, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
IF YOU don't want to make your own haroset or horseradish, you can find some jars with these traditional Pessah dishes that actually taste quite okay. Olivia sells a set of two small jars of haroset (apple, pear, nuts and dates marinated in wine) and horseradish for NIS 10, available at the Super-Pharm chain. BeTa'am Shel Tzvika has gourmet horseradish that tastes like it's homemade, sold at supermarkets at NIS 16.50 for 220 gr. Haroset from Kibbutz Kinneret (dates, apples, red wine, nuts, sugar, cinnamon and cloves) is sold at supermarkets for NIS 10 for a 250 gr. jar.
THE SEDER is traditionally accompanied by a lot of wine, and the Golan wineries have some good deals and gift packages for the hosts of the meal. For example, a nicely decorated box with a Moscato wine, a Kassel candle and chocolates is NIS 59, and a box containing a Mount Hermon white and a Mount Hermon red wine, Max Brenner chocolates, a candle, a serving tray, and a Haggada, is NIS 115. The gift boxes can be found at selected wine stores or ordered at 04-696-8480. In addition, if you buy two wines from the Yarden series in the wine stores, you will receive two wine glasses for free, and if you buy two Golan wines (Yarden, Gamla or Golan) in the wine stores or in the Coop or Hetsi Hinam supermarkets, you will get a free apron.
BEAUTIFUL AND useful gifts for the holiday are the Wisotzky mahogany tea boxes, containing different kinds of tea. The reddish wood boxes come in two sizes: The big box contains nine different kinds of tea and infusions (herbal tea, earl gray, green tea and chai marsala, among others) with 10 bags of each kind; and the small box contains four different kinds of tea, with eight bags of each (earl gray, chai marsala, passion fruit-mango and green tea with mint). The insides of the boxes are divided into different compartments so the tea bag can be present in an elegant way. A small box is NIS 44 and the big box costs NIS 99.
SWEET HOLIDAY gift baskets are offered by Carmit where the sweets come inside a container that can be re-used after finishing of the goodies. A glass bowl filled with wafers, marshmallows, toffees, lollipops and chocolate candy bars is NIS 60, while an oven dish filled with sweets is NIS 80 and a wicker basket filled with different goodies and a small bottle of wine is NIS 100.
The gift baskets are available in supermarkets.
IF YOU want to send someone a holiday greeting, or add a nice card to a gift, you can buy a set of cards at Home Center, Mega Sport, Toys 'R' Us or Celio, and donate to a good cause at the same time. Sets of five cards with envelopes, simply but elegantly decorated, are sold for just NIS 9.90 with the profits going to the psychology department of the Schneiders Children's Medical Center. Four different sets are available.
A LOT of time leading up to the Pessah holiday is spent cleaning the house, and though there are no miracles here, some products can be helpful. The so-called "miracle sponges" are quite good for cleaning stains from walls and other surfaces, although they are brittle and won't last too long. Nikol now has a two-inone miracle sponge, with one more abrasive blue side and another regular side. A fourpack is NIS 12.
Also new from Nikol is the Super Kitchen Towel, a very strong paper towel that can be reused; one roll, containing 64 towels, is NIS 18, and if you buy three other Nikol products, you will now get it a roll for free until the end of April. Other deals on cleaning products include a box of three Cif Fantastik products (bleach, all-purpose cleaner and lemon-scented cleaning cream) for NIS 20; the second Cilit Bang product (grease remover or all-purpose cleaner) at a 50% reduction when buying two Cilit products; a free bottle of Ajax flower-scented all-purpose cleaner with the purchase of any other Ajax cleaning product; or the second 750 ml. bottle of Palmolive dishwashing detergent for NIS 4 when buying two bottles (at selected supermarkets).
If you buy two Sano Sushi cleaning products, you will get a one-liter bottle of Sano Clear for free. A set of two Pledge furniture sprays, including the new Pledge with bee wax, is sold for NIS 22. Finish tablets for the dishwasher are also on sale with the second one 50% off, and if you need gloves for the cleaning with harsh materials, Vileda has Super Grip rubber gloves for NIS 11-12 or Sensitive Gloves for NIS 10. For tough stains on clothes, you can try Kalia Vanish Oxi-Action, now available in a handy spray flacon for NIS 20, or the new Astonish stain remover, sold at NIS 20 for a 750 ml. spray flacon. For convenient cleaning of the toilet bowl, Sano has a new product: Sanobon Ketsef (foam), a powder that you can just pour in the toilet bowl and then flush after a few minutes; a one-kilo container is NIS 27. To clean rugs and upholstery, Carbona has a product that's quite easy to use and doesn't have a strong odor, making it more pleasant to work with; a 650 ml. bottle is NIS 25.
Grease stain removers usually do have a very strong odor and you normally need to wear gloves when using them but Shion Domestik now has a natural grease remover that is environmentally friendly, won't cause skin irritation and can be used without gloves; a 750 ml. spray flacon is NIS 18.90. Another user-friendly product that doesn't contain harsh ingredients is the Astonish stove and oven cleaner; a 500 gr. container of this cream is NIS 20.
A FRESH coat of paint is another holiday tradition in many households, and Tambour offers extra paint for free in each container of Supracryl, Polysid and Bonderol paint. The six-liter containers have an extra 20%, and the 20-liter containers have an extra two liters; the deal is valid as long as supplies last.
If you do a makeover of the children's rooms and spend NIS 7,000 or more on furniture at 5 Negarim, you will get free advice on how to paint the room from an interior decorator and five free liters of Tambour Supracryl.