Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Volunteer fun in the olives


Still having fun harvesting olives at friendly Kibbutz Gezer.
Starting my third week as a volunteer.
Here you learn new and exciting things every day.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The olive harvest is in full swing!


This is my 6th day living and volunteering at a nice kibbutz in central Israel. 
We are working hard harvesting olives.
The main method to get the olives off the branches is to "comb" them off with a plastic rake thingy. 

We spread long long tarps on both sides of the trees. 
The olives we "comb" fall onto the tarps, making a sweet sound. 

Finally we push and pull all the olives into the center of the tarp, kneel beside the pile and fish out a few twigs, and then pour the beautiful olives into a crate. 

More about life in the big olive grove in the coming days.
If you'd like to learn more about the place and the philosophy, please see one or all of these:
Olives 101
The Olive Blog 
Kibbutz Gezer Olives -- Facebook page 
Come and join us, there's still a few beds left for more good volunteers! 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jerusalem tolerance: 2 wheels vs. 2 legs


Our group of 28 older citizens of Meitar was touring Jerusalem last Tuesday.
We had just exited the New Gate and were trying to get through the narrow passage between the Old City wall on the left and the tramway on busy Paratroopers Road on the right. 
We had to quickly scoot over when a string of segway riders came whirring by! 
I was delighted but one of the oldies voiced his disapproval to the tourists for usurping his space. 
Maybe it was just envy, because I see on the SmartTour website that 
"All participants must be between the ages of 16-70, not pregnant and of a maximum weight of 270 pounds."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

An electrifying kiss


Suddenly crazy dazzling streaks across my laptop and TV screens, then a huge flash of light outside my window and a loud PATZ!!  And then my place and the whole neighborhood were plunged into darkness. 
I grabbed a big flashlight and walked down to the corner to check the big electric pole, the one that says "HIGH VOLTAGE,  DANGER OF DEATH!"

Our town's security team was already there, calling the Electric Company's emergency repair line.
Curious neighbors were milling about and pointed out to me what had fallen from above to the hard pavement below.

One pigeon sitting on one high tension wire had touched a second pigeon sitting on a parallel wire, forming a short circuit and causing the big bang and their own electrocution!
Totally charred wings, so sad.

The poor pair of pigeons had only wanted to kiss each other good night.
Even in death they were locked together. 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday, signs signs, and Camera Critters .)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where'd everybody go?

I've been negligent lately in my blogging and blog-visiting, but I have an excuse!
I've been preparing for, partly hosting, and then emotionally recovering from an all-too-short visit of my family from Australia.

Under welcome clouds and a welcoming committee of birds, my Naomi, Dean, Eyal, and Libby and I walked over to our local "desert." 

It was the day of the Sukkot holiday, so everyone else must have been dwelling in their sukkas or away on vacation or napping, because we were the only ones out and about. 
Imagine having the whole Meitar Forest to yourself for your picnic.

Then we headed home on the dusty Israel Trail.

Naomi had everyone hose off the dust from their shoes and feet, because the very next day they would  be starting the long journey back, flying from Tel Aviv east to Hong Kong and then another long flight south to Sydney. 

So for ABC Wednesday, N is for Naomi and her husband, (who had to continue on to some professional conferences in Europe) and their kids who were nice enough to come north to visit.
But for not nearly enough time. 
(Linking also to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sensual centaur


When was the last time you saw a CENTAUR?!? 
I saw this one at Beer Sheva's Old City street fair during Sukkot three years ago. 
I remember well his strong silent presence, the menacing look he gave to each passerby, his face, his muscles . . . .
Enlarge the photo, see what I mean. 

For Oct. 1st Theme Day our City Daily Photo blogger group came up with the theme "sensual." 
Of the more than 26 entries so far, I note that the majority focus on females, so I am adding a MAN.
Well, at least a half-man.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New meaning to "Spanish omelette"


The stamped Large white Israeli eggs are what I normally buy.
See the L on the shell? 
But now during the Jewish High Holidays, the Days of Awe, there are so many festive meals to be cooked inside of just a few weeks that the country apparently ran out of eggs.
I was astounded to open a new carton and find brown eggs!
I examined the Hebrew label and discovered they were imported all the way from Spain!
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

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.