Saturday, June 24, 2017

Die goldene Medina


Every spring when these Israeli trees shed their flowers, turning the sidewalk a bright yellow, I am reminded of the Yiddish expression Die goldene Medina.
The Jewish immigrants disembarking at Ellis Island probably did not expect to see America's streets literally  paved with gold  in "the golden country," but they knew that with hard work and patience they would rise out of poverty.

The trees responsible for my reverie look like this, with rough bark.
(Linking to Camera-Critters meme, for the sweet black cat.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

I want a Russian dollhouse!


The most delightful booth at last week's Jerusalem International Book Fair was this Russian one with do-it-yourself scale models! 
I visited on the next to the last day and as you can see, eager Israelis had just about emptied the shelves.   
All that was left to buy was a small church, a truck, and a bridge. 

The nice sales rep from St. Petersburg was quite proud of the little wood-burning stove that goes into the fantastic dollhouse.    
See a close-up of the stove at the website. 
And here you can read all about the dollhouse. 
The "Clever Paper" publishing house makes a zillion different models--there is even a medieval series.  And not expensive.   Take a look! 
Amazon sells them too, under the name UMBUM. 

Soon the engineer, whose brainchild all this is, came over and they showed me how the UMBUM construction works--you just snap the pieces out of a flat card made of hard, solid binder board  and put them together (they call it "splicing the details") per the printed instructions. 
It is supposed to be for kids over three.  
I think WAY over three!  I would love to build some! 
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A very long autobiography

More from the Jerusalem International Book Fair which ran last week.
(See also the previous post.)

All these books are by Norwegian author Karl Ove KnausgÃ¥rd.

He was awarded the coveted Jerusalem Prize on opening night of the Book Fair. 
At the ceremony he said very welcome and surprising things about how he learned about Israel as a schoolboy. 

You can see a short TV report about him and about the fair. 
His autobiography spans I think six volumes and thousands of pages and in Norwegian is entitled Min Kamp
Fortunately neither the German nor English translations carried that title over as Mein Kampf. 
More about his My Struggle here

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jerusalem International Book Fair

Every two years many foreign publishing houses flock to Jerusalem to talk and to exhibit at our International Book Fair.
Yesterday I traveled up to Jerusalem to sample their wares.

You wouldn't know it from the photo, but the pretty Austrian representative is hidden at her desk behind the flowers.
Sometimes, even more than the books, it is the people who leave the nicest and most lasting impression.
I loved hearing her accent in English, and I told her how I loved my month in beautiful Austria.
She gave me a booklet and a big map of the country.

The booth of the Esperanto League in Israel was pretty quiet.

A slideshow of Italy drew me in and made me really really want to go there.

Hopefully these program objectives are clearer in the original Russian.

For the first time ever, the fair took place inside the Hangar next to the First Station.
In previous years the venue was the more solid and impressive International Conference Center (Binyanei HaUma).

I left for my long homeward journey weighted down with four new books, but my wallet was a lot lighter.

More about the Fair in the coming posts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The books are calling


International Book Week has started!
Tomorrow or the next day I'll be taking this train from Beer Sheva up to Jerusalem.
It's a long way there and back "just" to see a few thousand books and their exhibitors, but who can resist! 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

People of the book


Tomorrow the annual Hebrew Book Week will be starting in many cities and towns.
And on Sunday the big International Book Fair will open in Jerusalem.
It is the first time the two are at the same time and that should be great!
I'll take the train up to Jerusalem in hopes of bringing you some exciting photos from the events.
UPDATE:  If you just can't wait, take a look at my posts from Book Fairs past.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A tongue of fire?


In the dim recesses of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a priest and his reflection.

Enlarge the photo and you will even see the light reflected in his eyeglasses as well.

What almost looks like a flame above his head reminds us that this Sunday is Pentecost for some Christians.

The Book of Acts says that the Apostles were gathered together in one place [Jerusalem's Upper Room] when suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting.
Then tongues of fire appeared and one sat upon each one of Apostles!
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as directed by the Spirit.
Happy Pentecost to all the Christians celebrating it today!
There is a surprising and beautiful blessing for you here, by the modern poet Jan Richardson. 
(Linking to the meme inSPIREd Sunday.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Our most beautiful desert oasis


A real oasis in the desert, near the Dead Sea.
Ein Gedi, my most beloved nature spot in all of Israel!

This Apple of Sodom grows from the rock and clings to the canyon wall in Nahal David, on the way to the waterfall.
June 1 is Theme Day and City Daily Photo members are starting to blog about Nature today.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cool campus cats


Cats are EVERYWHERE on the campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. 
Even indoors, it now appears! 
This one was feeling right at home inside the Student Administration Building. 

When she saw me sit down near her, the kitty perked up, assessing me: would I be a good source of food and cuddles? 
(Linking to Camera-Critters.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sculptures at sunset


Art in between two Brutalist buildings at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev!

The light of the setting sun (see it in the tree?) silhouetted them nicely.

The BGU booklet Beyond the Classroom about the sculptures on campus offers this:
Three Fanfare Trumpeters and a Climber
Ofra Zimbalista
2014, cast aluminum, life-size figures
Three musicians scale the side of a building, representing a group  going in a single chosen direction.   On a nearby building, the W.A. Minkoff Senate Hall, an individual chooses to climb a new, previously unexplored peak. 

Click the photos if you'd like to see them bigger.
There are three other posts in the blog with more sculptures by the same Ofra Zimbalista z"l.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.  And T is for Trumpeters for ABC Wednesday.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A spooky whirling skirt


Ben-Gurion University is having a very unusual exhibition right now.
"Tzena Urena" is a group exhibition focusing on Israeli Jewish women's responses to their religious and female identity.


Watch Zipora Mendel's "The Twirling Movement of a White Skirt" in my little video clip.

Here is an explanation!
You can enlarge the photo if necessary.
I was the only one in the exhibit and being there alone with this whirling skirt was a bit spooky.
UPDATE May 18: On the subject of white shirts, here is something funny from today's Haaretz:
(For ABC Wednesday.).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lag BaOmer bonfires


We celebrated the Jewish holiday Lag BaOmer last night!

The mama cat, who has a litter of kittens hidden nearby, kept coming over to investigate this intrusion on her territory.

The authorities asked that Israelis not make the huge and numerous bonfires this year, to cut down the pollution and fire danger.
So we had a small, civilized one.

Wings on the charcoal.

Today, the morning after, kids have a day off from school.

More about Lag BaOmer here.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Shepherds and flock on the move


I was out walking when suddenly a cloud of dust started moving toward me from the west.
(Hint: you can enlarge the photos and solve the mystery.)

Turned out to be a large flock of sheep and goats!

Two young Bedouin shepherds and their dog kept them moving at a fast clip.

The fine dust coming into my camera (and my nose) was not a good thing but there was no way that I was going to miss this exciting photo opp!

I followed the flock.

Here we were walking part of the Israel National Trail.
Some of the goats took a minute to stand on hind legs and eat a bit of the Meitar Forest.

You can see the houses of Meitar up on the hill.

The flock moved on toward their home in the hills and I turned back to start the climb up to my home in town.

Because the sun was setting and night would soon cover the desert.
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Sinking sun between two trees


Sunset in the desert just outside my town.
It was 7:15 pm.
Just before and after sundown is the coolest time to hike.
The Jewish day begins at sunset, not at midnight.
Now it is Friday night, the beginning of the Sabbath, so wishing you  Shabbat shalom.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jet fighters overhead! 3 videos

The Independence Day flyover!
Today Israel Air Force plane flew for two hours, all across the country.
I climbed the high hill in Meitar's center to get the best view and be closest to the aircraft.

These jets demonstrated  mid-air refueling.


A bird and a child's kite got into this clip of some fighter jets.


I think these are our new F-35 Stealth fighters.
They were shown to the public for the first time today.
The Times of Israel writes this:
Israel is the first country outside the United States to receive the state-of-the-art F-35, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin. In total, the country is planning to purchase 50 of the fifth-generation stealth aircraft, known in Israel as the “Adir,” or “mighty one,” and has thus far received five of them.
You can see clear photos of them in that article.
And now tonight, we end our happy 69th Independence Day and start our 70th year as a State, thanks, in great part, to the planes and pilots we saw today.

Monday, May 1, 2017

On Jewish feasting


Patriotic blue and white marshmallows!
A limited edition especially for Israel's Independence Day (starting tonight) and also for the upcoming Lag BaOmer holiday when kids gather around bonfires.  

City Daily Photo bloggers are posting their favorite "Let's eat!" photo today for Theme Day. 

If you say "let's eat" to an American Jew, what comes to mind is the old joke: 
How can you explain most Jewish holidays?  Simple:  They tried to kill us; we won; let's eat. 

Think of the history and the feasting that go with Chanuka, Purim, Pesach, and Independence Day, for example.   True, eh? 
Today we are in the very somber and painful Remembrance Day when we think about the many thousands we have lost to wars and terrorism, and tonight we must transition into the fireworks, happiness, and barbecues of our 69th Independence Day.
The bitter and the sweet. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Never impede a millipede


Just me and a millipede in my secret cave. 

(Linking to Camera Critters meme.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Yom Hashoah in Meitar


Yom Hashoah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, began last night.
In my small town the main commemoration began in the basketball hall.
It was packed; everybody showed up; some had to sit on the stairs or the floor or to stand.
Seven plain white silhouette human figures were evident in the background.
The message written on the wall was our imperative to somehow draw out the lines of their faces, i.e. not to see the victims as "THE six million," but rather as six million individual faces.

And while the presentation went on -- candle lighting by several survivors, prayers, a psalm, songs, a dance, readings -- all the while artistic high school students were indeed sketching in faces and clothing.
See the difference between the first and second photos?  Quite amazing, and very moving.

The talented and serious youth were in charge of the commemoration.
What a blessing they are.

In closing we all stood and sang Hatikva, feeling especially grateful to now be living in our own free and strong country.
Let us remember the lost generations in Europe who went before us.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A young olive tree in a roundabout


Meitar has many roundabouts and each one has its own beauty and character.
One single olive tree.
It will grow.

Shabbat shalom and happy Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Watch the wind

Walk four minutes down my street and you will abruptly be in the wilderness. 
Here's a little video I made on a windy afternoon, just because the golden grass was rippling in waves so gracefully.
What was all green during the winter rains now becomes golden and soon, in the long dry summer everything will be brown. 


When I walk alone in the desert at this season I can't help but sing an appropriate song from my youth:

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.
Oklahoma, Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I
Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk
Makin' lazy circles in the sky.

We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!

You can hear it on YouTube
 (As you may have guessed, I'm linking to ABC Wednesday's O Day and to SkyWatch Friday.)