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.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Splitting the waters

Today is the 7th and last day of Pesach.
We remember how on that day Moses led the newly-forming Jewish People out of Egypt through the split waters of the sea.

"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided" -- וַיִּבָּקְעוּ, הַמָּיִם
- Exodus 14:21

"When God split the Red Sea, all the waters in the world divided, even the waters in cisterns and ditches, in jars, cups, casks and bowls ... the supernal waters, too, divided ..."
 -- (Midrash Mechilta)
Whichever holiday you are celebrating today, have a happy and meaningful one! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Nice seder last night


Nice neighbors invited me to their long and bountiful seder table last night.

No noodles in the chicken soup; that's forbidden food all this Passover week.
Fluffy matza balls are much much better anyway! 

I brought to the seder a box of three special hand-made matzas from Kfar Chabad. 
The historic bakery in Kfar Chabad is the world's largest producer of hand-make matzot. 

Matza shmurah is baked quickly in a brick oven like in the picture. 
Its interesting story is explained in my post from last Pesach. 
But the main thing, as the box says, is "Get a taste of freedom," freedom from slavery in ancient Egypt and from all kinds of things that shackle our growth today.
Chag sameach--happy Pesach! 
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Still green, to the flock's delight


Sheep grazing next to Meitar Forest!
(Enlarge the photo to see them better.)
For this lovely scene I have only to walk five minutes from my place here in the Negev town of Meitar.
I've lived here for several years and go out hiking often, but this is only the second time that I have sighted the flock.
The first time was in this post, where you can meet the young Bedouin shepherd and his charges.
Shabbat shalom.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday and Camera Critters.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The palm tree is gone


Last week a local family's front yard grass, hedge, and tall palm tree were suddenly on fire, from an unknown cause.
In the previous post we wondered if it could be spontaneous combustion, but maybe not.
Yesterday a private garden crew came to cut down the blackened tree.
The chainsaw made quick work out of the upper half of the palm.


Watch how they lifted it over the fence and onto the sidewalk.

Still a little bit of green leaves at the very top of the blackened crown.


Watch and hear how they saw the lower half.

"Timber!"  -- over it goes.

And the second "log" comes out to the sidewalk.

All that's left,  black ashes surrounding a sawdust covered stump of a palm tree that had been growing for decades.

Today our local council's green clean-up crew picked up the wood and swept the sidewalk clean.
And here endeth the lesson.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.  Letter M is for motor saw, which is how most European languages call the chainsaw.)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Spontaneous combustion? -- A palm in flames


WET is the City Daily Photo topic for today's Theme Day.
We have not much rain and no bodies of water here in my corner of Israel's Negev desert.
But the other day, a hot dry chamsin day, our town suddenly saw a lot of water--not from the sky but from fire hoses!
The crown of a palm tree suddenly burst into flames.
SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION?!  It is a known phenomenon especially in palms.

Soon the whole trunk and the hedge were burning.
Our Meitar Bitachon/Security team (bless them!) were on the scene quickly and rolled out their hoses.

The police and Fire Department arrived too.

Two firemen suited up and went to work.

At the end, our local hoses had themselves to be hosed down to clean the black soot off them.

The now leafless and blackened dead palm will hopefully be cut down soon.
That's a scary thing, trees suddenly bursting into flame for no good reason.
I hope never to see such a thing again.
See Palm Trees as Fire Hazards, a useful page of advice, photos, and a video link by a California fire department.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Come in and look -- Open Houses weekend sale


This weekend was our town's Open Houses event.
About 18 Meitar residents opened their yards or houses to sell all kinds of crafts, art, and clothing.
The old balance scales were fascinating.
In back of the table, on the ground, you can see beautiful old Persian carpets, SO expensive.
(You might want to enlarge the photos to enjoy the details.)

Actually the lady at this house was selling the nice pottery that she makes, but she was happy to explain that the antique sewing machine still works fine.

In this other yard, what I thought looked like a fancy scarecrow led the way to other "vintage treasures."
But my favorite house was the woodworker's.  He creates wonderful toys, eating utensils, benches, and artistic things, and even a Pinocchio!
Wish I could be his apprentice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Forest to Plate in Kfar Sallama, Galilee


The most delicious vegetarian lunch I've ever tasted!

This young Bedouin brought huge trays to our tour group directly from the kitchen window of the family preparing all these fresh dishes.

Here the basket of hot pita came.
All the ingredients were local, in season, organic, and -- did I say? -- delicious!
Some were grown right there in the yard where we ate, while some were gathered in the wild.
In fact, the business card of  the family enterprise reads  FOREST to PLATE.

Right there in the yard, between the modern houses of this village in the Galilee, is a diwan, a Bedouin tent of hospitality.
If our tour group from Meitar had been a few decades younger, we could have eaten inside, sitting on the ground.
You can see video of guests dancing there to live Arab flute music at The Bedouin Experience in the Galilee page on Facebook.
Their website is in Hebrew but has photos and music.

The old traditional Bedouin embroidered dresses are always nice to see.

The Galilee is covered with olive trees and still the oil production does not meet the local demand.
So many foods are made with olive oil.
In the garden an old olive crushing stone was on display.

Right under an olive tree!

One of the village's mosques.

Kfar Sallama has more than 3,100 inhabitants.

A photo of the village from 2008, from Wikipedia.  I'm sure Kfar Sallama has expanded since then.
Very interesting is this list and map of Arab localities in Israel.
Check out the Northern District (ya'ani, the Galilee) especially.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday K-day.)