Thursday, April 16, 2015

The former-green, almost-brown season


The wild places around the periphery of Meitar are going into their in-between period, no longer green but not yet brown.

We had a few minutes of rain today, but that might be the last until next fall.

Just a month ago it looked like this, all green and flowery.
I hiked for a whole hour out there today without seeing even one person.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fresh produce of many colors


For ABC Wednesday, now in its 8th year, N is for Nature's bounty.
This is what I brought home from the big open-air market/shuk in Beer Sheva.
The prices were higher than usual today but still, all this cost just 60 shekels, which is 14 Euros or $15.
They say it is very beneficial to our health to eat a variety of different colors.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Matza for Natl. Grilled Cheese Day


Now that the big important Jewish and Christian holidays are wrapping up, we can blog instead about those silly unofficial national days like the one America is observing today -- National Grilled Cheese Day.

Today bread would have been in the stores again, after the week of Pesach/Passover when it was prohibited, but I didn't want to walk to the supermarket in the rain to buy it.
So for Grilled Cheese Day I had to (again, still!) microwave-melt cheese on MATZA!

Easter greetings to Orthodox friends

 "When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint his body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, 'Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?' 
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away."
Mark 16:1-4

Do you see the angel in blue, pushing back the rolling stone with just one hand?
 (You can always click and enlarge the picture . . .)

Here is the entrance to the tomb (one of the tombs in Jerusalem) seen from above.
Wishing Orthodox Christians a blessed Pascha, joyous Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Orthodox Great Friday


One lone taper standing, much melted wax floating.
And reflected in the water, the Holy Sepulchre.
Today, tonight, tomorrow is a somber time for Orthodox Christians, the time before the brightness of Easter Sunday.
(Linking to Weekend Reflections.)

Orthodox Holy Week in a dome


Orthodox Christians are now in Holy Week.
Here are all the events of Holy Week, starting with the raising of Lazarus, in one beautiful dome.
Click on the photo 2x to see all the details.

The dome is on the Orthodox church, St. Elias,  on the summit of Mount Tabor.

Kali thinamis, good strength, to the Orthodox Christian friends.
It has been a very long and strict Lenten fast for them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Healing Garden at the Medical Center


Next to the helicopter landing pad,  in between the sprawled-out buildings of big Soroka  Medical Center in Beer Sheva,  is this sculpture-filled garden.
In Hebrew its name is Gan Roga', meaning a garden of calmness and relaxation.
In English it became the Legacy Heritage Healing Garden.

Legacy Heritage Fund's motto is  "the light of the past will illuminate the future."

Benches to welcome patients or their visitors.
Shade is needed on the hot days in the Negev desert.
(For ABC Wednesday,  M is for Medical Center.)
(And also linking to signs, signs .)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Two wheels or four?


This is one way not to get stuck in traffic during Passover week vacation,  when hundreds of thousands of Israelis get in their cars and look for a little bit of nature to picnic in.

Ynet has an article about the holiday traffic jams on the roads and the parks having to close after being packed to capacity.
Today half a million people were outside.
Moadim lesimcha--happy Pesach week!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

An open cave


It being Easter on the Western Christians' calendar, I thought I would hike to my Christmas cave and see if anything had changed.
The "door" was open, blocked only by spring flowers and a tall thistle.
No rolling stone.
The cave was empty.
And silent. 

Almost hidden by the new spring growth.
I trampled down the thistle and entered into the mystery. 
Happy Easter to all you friends out there who are celebrating today!

Pope Francis gave a wonderful homily at the Easter Vigil last night.
(Go to the link for the full text.)
Here are my favorite parts:
“To enter into the mystery” means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).
To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions…
To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our very existence.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Holy Sepulchre

Happy Passover to my fellow Jews.
And for my Christian friends, photos from the Holy Sepulchre.

The edicule (the structure built around the tomb) seen from above.

At ground level.

And inside, the tomb itself.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Let's give a hand to donkeys


If I had a face as pretty as this donkey's,  I would post it.
But all you're going to get is my hand. 

This donkey near the Jordan River was nibbling my hand in a friendly way.
Ya just gotta love donkeys; they're the best!

Today is our City Daily Photo bloggers' theme day on "My camera-shy self portrait."
Here are the guidelines from the website:
"Everyone is shooting selfies.  But, some of us don’t like to be on that side of the camera.  So, if we ask for your self portrait but you are camera shy, what would you show us?  Your shadow?  Your silhouette?  Your back or feet or hands?  Your heavily photoshopped self?  A collection of the things that are important to you?"

Follow the link to see what other city bloggers decided to post.
And happy April Fool's Day.  :)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Look alikes: who are you


Mandarin or clementine?

Anemone or poppy? 

Guinea pig or hamster?
These are all part of a new campaign at Beer Sheva's Soroka University Medical Center.
They are posted along the covered walkways where patients are taken from one hospital building to another on gurneys or wheelchairs.
Medical personnel are reminded to follow the hospital's patient identification and verification procedures carefully.
And the patient is urged to insist that medical personnel identify him by his full name and identity number.
"Mistaken identity can lead to tragedy!" is the message.
Let's hope everyone is paying attention.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday and signs, signs.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The varieties of religious branches

The Palm Sunday procession begins high on the Mount of Olives.
The people walk down, cross the Kidron Valley, and enter the Old City of Jerusalem through Lions Gate (St. Stephan's Gate).
The concluding prayer is in the courtyard of the Crusader church St. Anne's.

I have so many photos from the walk of 2007, but here I have selected the ones that show different varieties of branches carried on Palm Sunday.

A long stream of pilgrims!  (You can click a few times to enlarge the photos.)

The friends who took me with them back then in 2008 brought olive branches from their trees in the Jerusalem Hills.

The Old City in the distance.

In the magenta hat, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal.

Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (Ordo Equestris Sancti Sepulcri Hierosolymitani).
And one Arab Scout.  
See the other Scouts in this post.

And bringing up the rear, last but not least,  girl- and boy-soldiers, IDF Border Guards.
Happy Palm Sunday to all the Western Christians who are celebrating today!
You are welcome to see my two Palm Sunday albums:
At the Holy Sepulchre 2007
The procession from Mt. of Olives 2008

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A donkey in waiting


A donkey among the many red flowers on the Mount of Olives.
Maybe he is resting up for the big entry into Jerusalem tomorrow, Palm Sunday.
Sorry, friends, that I have no new photos for the Christian holidays since I no longer live near Jerusalem.
You can, however, enjoy Sr. Dr. Vassa's brief video about Palm Sunday.
She has nice insights from her childhood home in Nyack, New York, about the holiday customs.
Happy holiday to you Western Christians who celebrate the day tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Still flowery


The winter/spring flowers are blooming everywhere, even among the cacti.
Soon they will wilt.
Tomorrow it will be 34 degrees C.
Maybe I will wilt too. 

Under a big sky, my little town, Meitar.
As seen from the cactus hill. 
Linking to SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Helicopters to Soroka Hospital today


While at Ben-Gurion University today I chanced to see two big IDF helicopters landing at Soroka hospital, which is right across the street.
 Here above is the landing.

And then the take-off.
I don't know where the wounded came from; there was no word of any incident in the news.

The helipad is just a big fenced-in patch of grass in between hospital buildings.
You can see the windsock on the roof. 

During the 50 days of fighting with Gaza last summer this was, sadly, a very busy place.
UPDATE: I see now some statistics from the director of the hospital
During Operation Protective Edge, as in previous rounds of fighting in the South, Soroka Medical Center was at the forefront of treating the wounded. Life-saving teams at Soroka cared for the majority of the soldiers wounded during the operation. In the 50 days of warfare, 1,263 casualties received treatment, among them 777 soldiers and 486 civilians, of whom 53 were seriously injured.
There were more than 60 helicopter landings on the hospital's helipad, evacuating the wounded from the Gaza Strip.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kosher kitchen


For ABC Wednesday, K is for a kosher kitchen.
Update:  Not mine, of course.  It is a hotel kitchen.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Ladder of Divine Ascent


An Orthodox priest filling the oil lamps above the tomb at the Holy Sepulchre.

 A brave Benedictine nun positioned a ladder on the stairs leading down to the crypt and climbed up to extinguish the candle at one of the stations of the cross.
 At the Abbey of St. Mary of the Resurrection, Abu Ghosh.

A brave nun friend on chapel-cleaning day.
Chapel at the tomb of St. Elisabeth.
Why am I posting pictures of monastics on tall ladders?
Because  today is the Sunday of  John of the Ladder!
St. John Climacus wrote the guide for his fellow monks, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
He lived not far from here, at Santa Katarina monastery in Sinai and in desert caves in the 7th century.

I have been learning about him at Sr. Dr. Vassa's short video.
In it Sr. Vassa also talks about how you don't have to be a monastic to get into the habit of doing a little bit of spiritual reading, lectio divina, every day,  just for a few minutes.

The 12th C icon for The Ladder of Divine Ascent, this one from St. Catherine's Monastery.

You can sample some sections of the book here.
Or an outline of the steps of the ladder.
More about St. John Climacus.
Also at Wikipedia
But the most fun way is to see the Coffee with Sr. Vassa episode. Only ten minutes.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Face to face with David Ben-Gurion


Today I was down at the Midrasha and Kibbutz Sde Boker, where David Ben-Gurion lived.
I'm glad I immigrated to Israel in time to hear one of his last lectures before he died in 1973.

While standing near the big stone I was surprised to find the tempered glass sign ringed with little portraits of Ben-Gurion.
While looking now at the photo on my computer, I'm surprised to find my reflection.
Just in time for James' Weekend Reflections.
(Linking to signs, signs meme.)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Look, up in the sky . . .


Somebody had fun in the sky over Meitar's senior citizens' meeting house.
Linking to SkyWatch Friday.