Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Let's give a hand to donkeys

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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.  :)
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Look alikes: who are you

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Mandarin or clementine?


Anemone or poppy? 


Guinea pig or hamster?
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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.
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Let's hope everyone is paying attention.
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(Linking to Our World Tuesday and signs, signs.)
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

The varieties of religious branches

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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.
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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
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

A donkey in waiting

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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.
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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.
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Happy holiday to you Western Christians who celebrate the day tomorrow.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Still flowery

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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. 
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Linking to SkyWatch Friday.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Helicopters to Soroka Hospital today

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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.
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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.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kosher kitchen

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For ABC Wednesday, K is for a kosher kitchen.
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Update:  Not mine, of course.  It is a hotel kitchen.
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Ladder of Divine Ascent

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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.
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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.
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Face to face with David Ben-Gurion

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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.
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(Linking to signs, signs meme.)
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Look, up in the sky . . .

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Somebody had fun in the sky over Meitar's senior citizens' meeting house.
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Linking to SkyWatch Friday.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Flower in the desert

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Little flower of the desert, good luck to you. 
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Democracy in action

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Joining millions of fellow Israelis I cast my ballot today in our national elections.


Secretly each voter chooses one little slip of paper to put in the envelope. 


 We have all these many lists to choose from.
The name and letter symbols for each party (sometimes even a party of one) were written in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian.


 Three officials checked my identity card, found my name on the official voter record, and handed me an envelope.
At the end one man was nice enough to take a picture for me, too.


Only one voter is allowed at a time inside his assigned polling station.
So long lines waited outside each of the five rooms inside the school.


At the gate of the school,  representatives of the bigger parties had booths with pamphlets and a few giveaways.
There seemed to be a festive atmosphere in town--most people did not have to work, neighbors greeted one another, and every citizen was proud to cast his vote and to live in a democracy where elections go smoothly.
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(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

The descent from Jerusalem

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The view from my bus window as we left Jerusalem--highways above and highways below. 


 The cemetery for Jerusalemites covers the whole mountain.


The lane with red paint in the middle is reserved for buses.
But on that late afternoon no one seemed to be ascending to Jerusalem.
The long line of cars on our side was heading west in the direction of Tel Aviv.
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Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Orthodox Sunday of the Cross

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Orthodox Christians are today celebrating the fourth Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of the Cross, centered of course in Jerusalem, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Dr. Sr. Vassa  has a good short video which she describes as "a Lenten reflection on the Cross and other mysterious concepts."
It's a good one!
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring migration overhead!

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Walking back to town from a desert hike this afternoon I heard the faint tell-tale squawking high in the sky.
Yes! a huge flock of migrating birds! 
Click two separate times and see them a little better. 

The formation turned a few degrees and headed due north in the direction of Hebron and Jerusalem, and then maybe to a rest stop in the Hula Valley.
I watched long minutes until they flew out of sight. 
It was so exciting!   
I longed to join them and fly to Europe.

Twice a year 500 million  waterfowl, birds of prey, and song birds from 400 species fly over Israel on their great migration between Africa and Europe.
They have learned to feel safe over and in our nature-loving country. 

Ah, to be a bird and see the world . . . .
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Linking to Camera Critters meme.
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Friday, March 13, 2015

A liman catches water and a reflection too

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Not often that I find a picture for James' Weekend Reflections meme.
And this is a transitory reflection, for as it gets warmer and Israel's rainy season nears its end, the water will vanish.


This is a liman, an earthen construction that collects floodwater by damming a gully or streambed. 
The dam slows the flow of the accumulated runoff water, causing it to permeate the soil and thus allow small groves of trees to flourish in areas with meager rainfall. 
Our Keren Kayemet/Jewish National Fund has been building hundreds of limans here in the Negev desert since the 1960s. 

The word is from the Greek λΐμήν, meaning “port.”
It appears in the Yoma tractate of the Jerusalem Talmud: “Until he reached the liman of Jaffa.”


Here it was 5:45 and the sun was down, time for me to start climbing the hill back up to my house in Meitar.

More photos and good information here:
http://www.kkl.org.il/eng/water-for-israel/water-in-the-desert/limans/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liman_irrigation_system
http://www.kkl.org.il/eng/water-for-israel/water-in-the-desert/limans/limans-as-a-designed-landscape/
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Jerusalem Marathon tomorrow

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A week ago when we marched with Women Wage Peace to the Knesset under a rainy sky, the finish line for the Jerusalem Marathon was already set up.


Back then on March 4 the road was quite empty and a police officer was just sitting.
But tomorrow the weather will be good and from 6:45 in the morning thousands of marathon runners will be crowding this and many other streets of Jerusalem.
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See marathon prep photos by a Jerusalem blogger at The Real Jerusalem Streets blog.
UPDATE: Video of the run.
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Linking to SkyWatch Friday.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Israel National Trail

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A blaze of  blazes in the forest!
The orange-blue-white  blazes mark the Israel National Trail.
The blue and white is for a local trail.


Here's another marker on a rock, overlooking my neighborhood in the town of Meitar.


In the opposite direction are the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank.


Over to the west lies the Mediterranean and the Gaza Strip.

The 620-mile,  1000-km Israel Trail is celebrating 20 years since its inauguration in 1995.
I'm lucky to have it right down in Meitar's backyard.
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All photos can be enlarged with two clicks.
Linking to ABC Wednesday.
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