Thursday, September 21, 2017

Where did the salmon's head go??


Last night was the Eve of Rosh Hashanah (literally, the head of the year). 
On the festive New Year's dinner table, usually on the platter with the traditional gefilte fish, traditionally there should be at least one cooked fish head. 
Or even a ram's head. 

This is to remind us of one of the many blessings that God promises in return for obedience to his commandments. Deuteronomy 28:13a says 
"And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail . . . " 

In The Living Torah translation it becomes "God will make you a leader and never a follower."

The Hebrew blessing said over the fish head is 
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב
May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that we be a head and not a tail.

I pray that every leader and every citizen in our world will use their head to make peace and not war in the new year. 
Shana tova, a good and happy year to all!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Marble slabs, all in a row


Is it just me, or is there something exciting about seeing marble slabs?

The worker wearing a dust mask had been cutting stone on the shrill-sounding saw.

Shiny, big and beautiful. 
And expensive, I imagine.

The marble place is in Beer Sheva. 

And what's this hiding under a table in the 
shadows . . . ?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rishon's old synagogue then and now


As we saw in the previous post, Rishon LeZion was founded in 1882 by Jews who came from the Russian Empire to farm the land of Israel. 
Here is another mural on a wall in present-day Rishon, now a city.

Here is that same old synagogue, presently undergoing restoration.
It's going to be really nice. 

The airbrushed paintings were made by Hillel Lazarov who has a school for teaching mural making. 

(Linking to Monday Mural meme.)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Murals like historical photos


Finally, some murals to contribute to Monday Murals meme. 
These were on sidewalk level of a tall building in Rishon LeZion, now our fourth biggest city.
Rishon was founded in 1882 by Jews who came from the Russian Empire to farm the land of Israel. 

Here is the same old water tower in real life.

See the bell tower in back of the orchestra?   
Not many farmers could afford clocks or watches back then, so they relied on the bell-ringer to signal the times of day (or to warn of emergencies). 

Here is the same bell today, in front of the old synagogue and next to the history museum. 
You can ring it! 

Friday, September 1, 2017

In the pre-drone era


Things were more primitive way back in 2010 when I took these pictures.
Before drones came into popular use, people used small helium balloons! 

Enlarge the photo with a few clicks and you will see the cables attached to the suspended camera.

Apparently the archaeologists and/or the architects and engineers needed aerial photography of this exciting and welcome new National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel.  
Back then the construction was just beginning; now it is almost completed. 

Our City Daily Photo bloggers group has our monthly Theme Day today.
The subject is Photographing the Photographer.
In my post you'll just have to imagine the photographer, down on earth holding the tether. 
(Linking also to SkyWatch Friday.)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Great Synagogue of small Mazkeret Batya


On a Beit Harav Kook study tour we visited the old "colonies" of Mazkeret Batya (originally called Ekron), Rishon LeZion, and Rehovot in central Israel.
Mazkeret Batya was founded in 1883.
In 1927 its first synagogue had to be razed, due to structural problems; and in 1928 the new Great Synagogue was built instead.

The sign notes a surprising fact: toward the end of the British Mandate, in the period leading up the war and to Israel's independence in 1948,  the Haganah force had a "slick," a secret weapons cache hidden under the bimah (the table on which the Torah scroll is unrolled and read).

Pictures of the interior of the synagogue after its 1989 renovation can be seen here.

Written in stone:
In the year Tarpaz

Baron Rothschild  and his wife, Adelheid, were great supporters of early Zionism.
He purchased huge tracts of land from the Arabs and got the Jewish pioneering families started in working the land. 
Rothschild changed the name of the Ekron community to Mazkeret Batya in remembrance of his mother, Batya, who had just died. 

You can learn more about Mazkeret Batya in this nice article by a tour guide
and/or at Wikipedia.
(Linking to inSPIRED Sunday.)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

For Dog Day, our growing dog training promenade


In honor of National Dog Day (in America, at least) and for Camera Critters meme, here are some fresh photos of our town's dog training promenade.

It is a work in progress, made by volunteers, friends of our local veterinarian Dr. Doron Avishai,  who died before his time.

The builders left their names and messages in the concrete next to the water bowl.
To see how much has been added lately and to check out the various wooden training things, see my post from 2015.
And here you can enjoy pictures of the happy Dog Day that was held there in cooperation with the vet's widow.

The main rule listed here is to keep your dog on a leash.
This is in contrast to the official bare-bones Dog Park built by the Meitar Local Council right across the path; see the difference here.

Another welcome new addition is a patch of bare land where the sign invites you to scatter seeds of wildflowers from our own Negev desert region.
There's also a caveat: Please do not spray here.

Happy Dog Day!
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pigeon in a bad place


This is the first time (fortunately!) I've ever seen a pigeon on the shopping carts just outside our town's Shufersal supermarket.
It was standing on the slot where you put in your 5-shekel coin deposit.
The poor bird looked like it could not fly, as if its tail was too short or something not quite right.
Poor thing. . .
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Davening birds?


This is the spot where I often walk out of Meitar and into Nature.
It was Friday just before sunset, Sabbath Eve, and all these birds were on the wire as if in a long prayer line. 

I approached quietly, slowly, respectfully; but there came a point at which they could no longer abide my presence.
And they took off. 

Shabbat shalom! 

(Linking to Camera Critters and to SkyWatch Friday.)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Being comforted on Shabbat Nachamu

Click to enlarge for the beautiful window details

Shabbat Nachamu begins this evening.

After going down to the depths on Tisha B'Av, mourning the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem [in my 9 B'Av posts], we are brought back to the light by Isaiah's visions of a better future.
He tells us that Jerusalem has paid the price for her sin and is now forgiven.

The haftorah, Isaiah 40:1-26, begins "Nachamu, nachamu ami . . ."
God is telling his prophets to console his people:

" 'Comfort, oh comfort my people,' says your God.
'Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem . . .' "

Are they not lovely and welcome words?!

The other verses are equally lovely and well-known.
You can chose your preferred translation of the Isaiah chapter:
"The Message" in modern English or NIV or the translation used by Chabad or the Hebrew with classic old English.

The painted stained glass window is exhibited at Hechal Shlomo museum of Jewish art in Jerusalem.
It was made in England in 1907, one of twelve windows that graced a synagogue in Manchester.
It is based on sketches made by 19th century pilgrims to the Holy Land.

Shabbat shalom!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dean and Dina down by the sea


Number One grandson Dean and I were talking about sloths and how they hang upside down
I decided to throw decorum to the winds and demonstrate, despite my grandmotherly age. 
This was about ten years ago, in Australia, but I still remember the fun of acting young at heart in a public park! 

Visit the gallery to see what other City Daily Photo bloggers dared to post for our August theme, "young at heart."

(Linking also to ABC Wednesday's D day.)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Surprise clouds at sunset


Not just here in the Negev desert, but all over Israel, July has been crazy hot.
One heat wave after another with no respite.
Temps in the high 30s (near 100 degrees F) in the shade (if you can find any shade). 
Even our nights are too warm, which is not normal. 

During my sunset walk I was treated to these strange clouds and, mercifully, the breeze began to blow. 
Our summer skies do not often have any clouds.
And the long hot rainless summer can last for eight months.  

Shabbat shalom! 
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

When is a deck a boardwalk?


Can this long wooden walkway qualify as a "boardwalk"?
Hope so, because I need a B word for today's ABC Wednesday.
This was my first time to see Jerusalem's cultural and entertainment venue, the First Station.
I was last there in 2013 when the old heritage site train station was being re-done, so my construction photos are now history.
Just look at all those carts!
I walked through at 2:30, returning from the nearby International Book Fair, and nothing much was open yet, except the restaurants.

The rough-hewn wood of the selling carts is meant to evoke the memory of old-time luggage carts for the train passengers back in the 19th century.
The journey up to Jerusalem with the coal-burning locomotives is one I would love to have made back then, when this was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tmol Shilshom, Only Yesterday


For the brand new version of the long-running meme ABC Wednesday that begins today, my A is for Agnon.
Shai Agnon, 1888-1970, was the only Israeli to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Alongside the walkway of the long Train Track Park in Jerusalem I was delighted to find this clever waist-high sign.
You can read (if you know Hebrew) either the cut out letters in the metal or the shadow of the words on the ground.
The quotation is from Agnon's famous masterpiece Tmol Shilshom, published in 1945.
Just a few years ago the book was translated into English as Only Yesterday.
You can sample some pages of the peculiar style here in Google Books.
UPDATE:  More about where this is located:

(Linking to signs, signs and old-new ABC Wednesday.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

High tension


The Electric Corporation had to send us this special crane, and we waited several hours without electricity as it drove over from Ashdod, the port city of the Mediterranean coast. 

Then they had to adjust the feet of the truck, to make it level and solid. 

Remember this post about the burning palm tree from last March? 
And this post on how the black dead tree was cut down? 
So the fire was the culprit!  Three months later the apparently frayed cable tore and ended up on the sidewalk. 

I know the technicians turn off the electric current for blocks around, but still, I always worry that the brave man on top might get zapped, God forbid!

Here he tried to "splice" the two ends of the cable.

But his helper on the ground later had to lift the cable up to him on a stick.

Oi, look how high he is, working hard to take up the slack and make it taut.

Leaning so far out of that cherry picker bucket. 
We all watched in awe.  

You can enlarge these pictures and see how the man is smiling through it all, as if to calm me, the Worrying Jewish Mother.
Thanks electric company. You guys are always here when we need you.
Stay safe and may you never ever get zapped. 
(Linking to ABC Wednesday Z-day.)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Grandkids in motion


Grandson Dean jumped nearly into the winter rain clouds back in 2013 when my Australia family was here in Israel.
His younger brother and sister were also in harnesses and bouncing off the big trampoline in a Beer Sheva shopping center.
You can see all of them jumping in this post.

We City Daily Photo bloggers have our July 1 Theme Day on the subject of MOTION.
See what other photographers are adding to today's CDP gallery.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Our yearly Night Run (in the sun)


Our yearly Meitar Night Run got underway just after 7 pm. 

Some parents ran together with their sons and daughters. 
Long shadows in the setting sun.  

The runners rounded this roundabout and ran back to the center of town, up hills and down hills. 

On the uphill, into the strong still-hot glaring sun, some of the less-inexperienced participants had slowed to a walk. 
The other, marathon-type, serious joggers would run for hours into the night on longer routes.  
I was happy just to stand still and take pictures and admire other people's endurance. 
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

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.)