Friday, October 31, 2008
But I wish lots of fun to all the kids and grown-ups in many countries who will be celebrating this strange night tonight.
Wandering, intentionally lost, in an old neighborhood of Jerusalem (Nachlaot maybe?), I saw two things which my two California blog-"sisters" Elaine and Petrea would appreciate.
I think this is called Shabazi Street.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I had on a backpack full of fruit and vegetables. But this mother carried something really precious.
Like a BabyBjörn kid carrier, but traditional Ethiopian style.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Rain! The sweet smell and feel of light rain finally returned to the Jerusalem Hills. We have not seen any rain for about half a year, which is normal. That's why it is so exciting to see it now, in its season. Here are some scenes from yesterday's walk through the woods, down just two terraces from my house.
The acorns and the olives were all wet and glistening.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Oi veh, I thought, which of the many O words to choose?!
OK, let's take that big word I never know how to spell: ONOMATOPOEIA .
Onomatopoeia (from Greek ονοματοποιΐα) is a word or grouping of words that imitates the sound it describes (e.g. the animal noise meow) or suggests its source object (e.g. click, buzz, or bang). Greek όνομα, onoma, means name and ποιέω, poieō, means I make or I create, so it means name-creation.
Let's hear some Hebrew examples of onomatopoeia. My favorite is bakbuk. It means bottle. Doesn't it sound like liquid being poured from a bottle? bakbuk bakbuk bakbuk
BTW, this is also my favorite liqueur: chocolate! A tiny bit mixed with soda water or even milk, yum. Or on ice cream.
A tiftuf is water dripping, leaking. Or a light rain.
After years of drought Israel may soon run out of water. This tiftuf in the photo is at the Mekorot national water authority station in my village, of all places!
Tof is the onomatopoeiac Hebrew word for drum. Tof-Miriam is what we call a tambourine or timbrel.
This Miriam is one of the female Bible heroes portrayed in a dome in Jerusalem's Dormition Abbey.
Zvuv is a fly. Well, actually this is more a picture of a stinging insect. What he did was zimzem--he made a buzzing noise.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Come into the spice shop, a pleasure to the nose and eye. What here is labeled "coffee spice" is cardamon. In Arabic and Hebrew it is called hel. Ahh, so fragrant added to Turkish coffee, and healthy for the heart too.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Today the world General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops concluded at the Vatican. For the first time ever a rabbi was invited to address a plenary session of the Synod. Shear Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa, gave a brave speech (which you can read at Zenit news service from Rome).
But what I thought you bloggers would enjoy is this: Zenit's article entitled "A Blogging Benedict XVI?"
Or, here is another, lighter, version of what happened, as reported by Catholic News Service:
Pope Benedict as Bible blogger?
Posted on October 14, 2008 by John Thavis
VATICAN CITY — The Synod of Bishops on the Bible heard an unusual suggestion Tuesday morning when a Hong Kong observer asked Pope Benedict to start up his own daily blog on Scripture.
Agnes Kam Leng Lam, president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Hong Kong, said people need to experience Scripture in small but significant doses.
“To put it in a nutshell, I’d like to suggest to you Holy Father to start a multi-language blog to shepherd today’s world by scriptural verses, daily verses,” she said on the synod floor. The pope’s blog should include simple reflections that relate Scripture to real-life situations, she said.
Lam included advice that’s probably good for any blogger: “Remember, brief texts, Holy Father, and plentiful images, and this will be very attractive to the young generation and to today’s people.”
The talk apparently provoked a positive reaction and some laughter, but the pope, who was presiding over the Oct. 5-26 assembly, didn’t say whether he’d be blogging anytime soon.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
As Naomi wrote in her blog, "These animals had their insides showing."
Today is Shabbat Beresheet, the Sabbath on which we begin the Torah-reading cycle anew, starting at Genesis.
After all our soul-searching and repenting of the past month, God has hopefully given us a clean slate to begin the new Jewish year.
Every year on this Hebrew date we read all over again how God created the world, and every year we are given a fresh chance to create our own worlds all over again.
What Is A Chassid?LET THERE BE LIGHT (1:3)
The Rebbe prayed for many hours that Shabbos morning, as was his manner. Meanwhile, the chassidim made kiddush and consumed a respectable quantity of l'chayims.
Later, when the Rebbe had finished and they sat with him to the Shabbos meal, Reb Yosef Yuzik asked:
"Rebbe, what is a chassid?"
Asked Reb Yosef Yuzik: "What if the lamp is in a desert?"
"Then one must go and light it," said the Rebbe. "And when one lights a lamp in a desert, the desolation of the desert becomes visible. The barren wilderness will then be ashamed before the burning lamp."
Continued the chassid: "What if the lamp is at sea?"
"Then one must undress, dive into the sea, and go light the lamp."
"And this is a chassid?" Reb Yosef Yuzik asked.
For a long while the Rebbe thought. Then he said: "Yes, this is a chassid."
"But Rebbe, I do not see the lamps!"
Answered the Rebbe: "Because you are not a lamplighter."
"How does one become a lamplighter?"
"First, you must reject the evil within yourself.
Start with yourself, cleanse yourself, refine yourself, and you will see the lamp within your fellow. When a person is himself coarse, G-d forbid, he sees coarseness; when a person is himself refined, he sees the refinement in others."
Reb Yosef Yuzik then asked: "Is one to grab the other by the throat?"
Replied the Rebbe: "By the throat, no; by the lapels, yes."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
This building from 1904 was once home to Lemel Elementary School.
Click on the photo to better see the clock's Hebrew letters used as numbers.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The morning after! Just yesterday all these palms were the sekhach, the roof cover of sukkahs. Now the holiday of Sukkot is over and the sukkah-booths are being dismantled.
Flowers or birds? Don't they look like colorful crested cranes?
Even stranger than the car itself was its Hebrew lettering. On the left door it says "Gam zeh ya'avor" written from right to left (as is normal in Hebrew) and on the right-hand door the same sentence but written in mirror image and going from left to right.
At home I looked at the website. Baruch Hadaya is a 16th generation Jerusalemite. Wow! He is an artist, a storyteller, a jeweler.
He says that "Gam zeh ya'avor," meaning "This too shall pass," engraved on his rings, is based on a story about King Solomon. You can see or hear the tale here.
Hadaya says, "This story reminds you that when you have a bad day, it will pass. And when you have a good day seize the moment, enjoy it, appreciate it because you should know it would not last forever."
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
On the right is Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Chicago. He has been my rabbi and spiritual father for 47 years. A truly great man.
Ktav has just published Rabbi's book, Hineni--Here I Am. In it is his amazing life story and his even more amazing original theology.