Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Destruction, reconstruction, and construction

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In 1928 Arab entrepreneurs financed the construction of the Palace Hotel on Jerusalem's Agron Street. The hotel was the most luxurious in the Middle East, with elevators, a central heating system, and even private bathrooms – practically unheard-of at the time.
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From 1935 it was leased to civil and military units of the British Mandatory government.
Later, the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade used it.
Eventually it was closed down.
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Now it is being turned into the Waldorf-Astoria Palace Jerusalem Hotel.
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It was gutted and the historic and beautiful facade was preserved.
Enlarge the photo above and marvel at how they dug the construction pit under the outer shell!
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I have been following its progress since 2008.
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See how the shell wraps around three sides and the new construction starts in the middle?
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This shot from last March shows how the old and new walls have been joined together.
The original Arabic inscriptions, intricate stone carvings, and decorative arches are being fully restored.
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For the nitty-gritty on the Palace then and now, read here.
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A similar project is going on for the old Saidoff Houses. See http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2010/10/where-history-meets-luxury.html
and
http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2010/10/saving-old-stones.html
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And for more about the ubiquitous construction in Jerusalem you can click on my label "construction."
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For ABC Wednesday, T is for Theme Day.
Yes, it is our monthly City Daily Photo group's Theme Day, today about "Under construction."
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Doorway to the Holy Sepulchre

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Louis la Vache in San Francisco recently started posting doorways, and with a nudge from Reader Wil it turned into a new meme, "Monday Doorways."
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This post is also a mini-tour for That's My World Tuesday.
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The grand old portal of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City.
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It is the only exit/entrance in the huge and often (over-)crowded church and that can be a scary thought.
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When you go out, like these Greek Orthodox clergy were doing yesterday, the bright sunlight almost blinds you after your eyes have been accustomed to the dark interior.
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The Holy Sepulchre was built in 326 and restored and rebuilt by the Crusaders in the 12th century.
It is a world unto itself. I can never be in the Old City without stopping in, just to wander around. There is always an adventure in store.
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UPDATE: Readers who have been there are asking about the locking of the door by the Muslim key-holders. Please see my added info on that in the Comments section.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

A king and his harp

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Our weekly group of Psalm-illustrating bloggers is slowly growing.
Thanks to Robert at Daily Athens PsalmChallenge for getting us started and keeping us going.
You too are welcome to try it once or twice or 150 times.
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Psalm 21

1
In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. (Selah) 3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head.

4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him— length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through your help; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. 6 You bestow on him blessings forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
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8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. 9 You will make them like a fiery furnace when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. 10 You will destroy their offspring from the earth, and their children from among humankind. 11 If they plan evil against you, if they devise mischief, they will not succeed. 12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. .
13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power. .
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Photos--
Statues at Mamilla Mall Bible Stories exhibit:
"David" by Avri Regev

"David BaRuach" by Gavriel Ben-Haim, inspired by I Samuel 16:23 -- "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand; so Saul found relief, and it was well with him, and the evil spirit departed from him."
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shadows in a sunny elevator shaft

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For Shadow Shot Sunday here are strong shadows inside a transparent elevator shaft.

For the first few floors the elevator is inside, but then suddenly it starts facing the outside.

The 17-story building is part of the Technology Park in the Malcha neighborhood of Jerusalem.
(Another post about it here.)

Down below are Teddy Stadium

and more of the Technology Park.
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Across the street you see the train terminal. It and the little train stop at the Biblical Zoo are the only train stations in Jerusalem.
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Do pigeons take a shower?

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I've heard of birdbaths but never bird SHOWERS!

Doesn't it look like the second pigeon is standing under the spewing water?

This rather slimy fountain is in a monastery fishpond.
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Shalom to all the Camera Critters folks.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

A reflection behind bars

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The venerable building reflected in another old, but not so famous, house was once Sha'are Zedek Hospital.
The hospital moved to a larger facility in 1980.
After renovations were completed in 1999, the Israel Broadcasting Authority moved in.
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I took the picture for James' Weekend Reflections.
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Shabbat shalom to all.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Clouds and soon rain, in MAY??

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For SkyWatch Friday, a cloudy sky over the hills, as seen from Moshav Yad Hashmona.

Israel expects a little rain this weekend. Very strange, this being late May, which is normally well into the dry season.

(We saw other parts of this village and their Biblical Garden in four previous posts. )
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The southern wall

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It was 8 o'clock in the morning but already a line of tourist buses was parked along the southern wall of the Old City.
The driver stands and waits for the guide to bring their group out from the nearby Dung Gate.
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Across the street from the same bench is a barbed-wired wall with an old sign of UNRWA.
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But sitting on the bench you would have this view--the old Turkish city wall and on top of what we call the Temple Mount, al Aksa mosque.
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The city is currently building ways to walk inside the Ophel antiquities at the base of the wall.
The sign said "Maslul HaMikvaot--HaOphel," meaning The Mikva Route.
Should be interesting!
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P.S. For those who enjoyed yesterday's post about doner kebab etc. --I added a comedy skit.
Thanks to daughter Naomi for this funny Armstrong & Miller video about the Neanderthal origins of shwarma!
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shaving shawarma

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See the man shaving shawarma off the skewer?
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(Sure enough, ABC Wednesday S-Day is here again.)
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The rotating spit is always placed at the front of the fast-food stand so the sight and smell will draw you to the counter to order this ubiquitous street food.
The sizzling meat can turn around for a whole day.
The Arabic word shawarma comes from the Turkish word çevirme [tʃeviɾˈme], which means "turning." I suppose the Greek version, gyros, means the same.
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Sometimes chicken or turkey is stacked with lamb, but here in the photo they have two separate skewers.
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The shaved meat is stuffed in a pita or wrapped in a lafa along with salads, tehina or humus, and even French fries.
Spices on the meat make it scrumptious.
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Similar but different is the döner kebab (döner meaning "to turn" in Turkish) available in Europe, Australia, and now North America. It sustained me as the only meat I could afford when I lived in Switzerland.
Mahmut Aygun invented it in 1971.
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More about shwarma and doner kebab.
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UPDATE --
Thanks to daughter Naomi for this funny Armstrong & Miller video about the Neanderthal origins of shwarma!
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Creepy crawlies

Enlarge to see the surprising details.
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Every time I walk through Mamilla Avenue (the mall), I find more sculptures have been added to the Bible Stories exhibition.
Here, for That's My World, is a new one.
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The face created by Yael Erlichman is on the wall next to the Ahava (Dead Sea cosmetics) store.
Its inspiration came from Genesis 1:20 --

And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures . . .
So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm . . .
And God saw that it was good.
And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas" . . . .
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Only at this time, 7:30 a.m., is Mamilla Mall so empty. Later in the day and all evening it is packed.
All the black boxes you see, and about a hundred more that you don't see, have sculptures on them.
The Bible Stories theme is going on until October.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Answers in the day of trouble

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For Daily Athens' weekly PsalmChallenge, here is the uplifting Psalm 20.
The Hebrew + English text can be found here.
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1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
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2 May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion! 3 May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! [Selah]

4 May he grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill all your plans! 5 May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!

6 Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. 7 Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. 8 They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. 9 O LORD save! May the King answer us on the day we call.*
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Photos:
The tetragrammaton: YHWH, the letters of God's ineffable name
Sacrificial altars of the Second Temple, Aish Hatorah model
From the Museum of Islamic Art
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*The Vulgate, the early Latin version of the Bible, translates the last verse as
"O Lord, save the king! Answer us when we call."
From here comes the phrase "God Save the King [or Queen]," a rallying cry to the support of the monarch and the nation's forces.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The first rapture

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You want a rapture, I'll give you a Biblical rapture.
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"Elijah ascends to heaven" by Jamal Dawani
at Mamilla Mall exhibit of Bible story sculpture
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2 Kings 2: 1-12

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Now when the LORD was about to take Eli'jah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Eli'jah and Eli'sha were on their way from Gilgal.
2 And Eli'jah said to Eli'sha, "Tarry here, I pray you; for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel." But Eli'sha said, "As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Eli'sha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?" And he said, "Yes, I know it; hold your peace."
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7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Eli'jah took his mantle, and rolled it up, and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.
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9 When they had crossed, Eli'jah said to Eli'sha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Eli'sha said, "I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit." 10 And he said, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if you do not see me, it shall not be so."
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11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Eli'jah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Eli'sha saw it and he cried, "My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!"
And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces.
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Friday, May 20, 2011

A mosaic created by kids

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If you go snooping around in its out-of-the-way corners, you'll find that Jerusalem's huge International Convention Center (Binyanei HaUma) is full of treasures.
Remember those funny naked statues in the broom closet and the Roman Tenth Legion kilns in the basement?
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When I needed a break from browsing at the official event in the hall, the International Book Fair, I went roaming upstairs, only to find this nice mosaic half-hidden behind coat racks.
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The mosaic looked better reflected in this wall of mirrors
AND it gave me a shot for James' Weekend Reflections meme.
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The inscription explains that the mosaic is a tribute to Jerusalem made by the 6th grade class of Dekalim School in Kibbutz Hamadia in 1993.
The art project was an initiative of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
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Wouldn't you love to make a mosaic, especially at the age of ten?!
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two kinds of Orthodox on Shivtei Yisrael St.

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A pretty church in a pretty blue sky, for SkyWatch Friday.
That's the flag of Romania flying.
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Let's let Aviva Bar-Am tell the story:

"You may find Mea She'arim a strange location for an Orthodox Patriarchate. However, by 1927 when the Romanian Church was anxious to gain a foothold in Jerusalem, the choicest sites inside the Old City walls had already been taken.

Instead, it bought property on Rehov Shivtei Yisrael, which was close to the Old City and nearly empty; only later did the street fill up with haredim.

Stand back to look at the reddish tint of the Patriarchate's beautiful stone structure and to note its stately lines. The entrance to the church is hidden around the corner behind the gas station, a gesture to the area's religious residents."

Haredim refers to ultra-Orthodox Jews.
The Toledot Aharon group are among the most zealous of the haredim.
In the 1970s they built a yeshiva right across the street from the Romanian church. Oi veh!
In order not to see the two crosses, they built a windowless wall right in front of the facade of the yeshiva.
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At least that is what an older guidebook says.
When I walked there last week (for the first time), the Toledot Aharon yeshiva was undergoing some new construction.
Maybe things are changing . . .
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Victory in Europe Day commemoration in Knesset today

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At noon today there was a special Knesset Plenum sitting to mark the 66th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
World War II veterans in the gallery (see photo) wore their old uniforms and many medals.
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These stones in a Tel Aviv park are dedicated to those veterans and their 1,500,000 Jewish comrades who fought in the Second World War.
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An estimated 300,000 of the Jewish soldiers and partisans were killed in the fighting.
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Please enlarge and read the plaque.
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I found this information in a web page about the booklet The Jewish Fighter in World War II:

"The estimated numbers of Jewish men and women who fought in the ranks of the various armies are

USA

550 000

Australia

3 900

Israel (Jewish Volunteers)

30 000

Britain

62 000

USSR

500 000

Yugoslavia

6000 (over 4000 in the Partisan army)

Greece

13 000

Poland

122 000

Czechoslovakia

5 500

France

35 000

Canada

17 000

South Africa

10 000


There are no facts and estimates on the number of Jews in the Belgian, Dutch, and New Zealand armies. A careful estimate puts the number of Jewish partisans in the occupied parts of the USSR at 20 000 - 25 000, and in the other European countries at another 10 000, including the anti-Nazi underground."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Romans have returned

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Russian writing and a rather ridiculous rendering of a Roman.
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Right after you enter Jaffa Gate into Jerusalem's Old City, you will see him.
Reflection of the gate is visible in the moneychanger's window.
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All these Rs are for ABC Wednesday.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Birds on a (razor-) wire

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Yesterday Israel learned that wire fences are for the birds.
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(Enlarge to see the sitting doves.)

"For the birds" -- an American idiom meaning worthless, meaningless.
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That's My World for now.
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The sound of silence

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The 19th is a perfect Psalm and one of the greatest poems in the world!
Parts of it I know by heart because of their recital in Jewish liturgy.
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Today I'm using the RSV translation. The Hebrew original is here.
This post joins the other Psalm 19 illustrators at Robert of Daily Athens' PsalmChallenge.
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1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,

and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 4 yet their voice [or: their LINE] goes out through all the earth,.
In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid from its heat.
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7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
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10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
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11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern his errors? Clear thou me from hidden faults. 13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
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14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. .
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Photos:
Sunbeams over the Valley of Soreq
Moonrise over Jerusalem
Jet contrails in a Swiss sky
Christian cleric in the Holy Sepulchre church
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chagall reflections

In this forbidden photo you can see 4 of Chagall's 12 stained glass windows in the synagogue of Hadassah medical center.
The Holy Ark and the reading table for the Torah scroll are covered by a two-piece soft sculpture created by Aviva Green.
The detail is better seen in the artist's slideshow, and here she explains about the creative process.
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The glass protecting the reading table gave nice reflections of the windows.
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I knew I just had to get them for James' Weekend Reflections so I shot fast, just before the shout of "No photographs!" rang out.
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From Poland to Sweden to Israel

Like the phoenix, this molded brass bird rose from the ashes; it found new life in Jerusalem.
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The bird is atop an 18th century Chanuka menorah now safely displayed in the Jewish museum in Hechal Shlomo.
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The shadow of the first menorah blends with the shadow of a second menorah, it too adorned with a bird.
They now join other bloggers' contributions to the meme "Shadow Shot Sunday."
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These tall Hanuka lamps once graced the Tlomatzka Great Synagogue in Warsaw.
Before the synagogue was bombed and destroyed by the Germans in World War II, the congregation's rabbi managed to transfer the menorahs to an underground hiding place.
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He then asked the Polish ambassador in Sweden to sell them for the highest possible price to get money to help Jews flee Warsaw.
Countess Margaret Waner-Green of Stockholm purchased them.
After the war she donated them to the Wolfson Museum in Jerusalem in commemoration of the Tlomatzka community and in honor of the hundreds of Jews whose lives were saved thanks to these Chanuka menorot.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Heavenly shades of night are falling . . .

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The last half hour of direct sunlight on the valley and the Jerusalem Hills and on Jerusalem itself, as the sun starts to go down behind my hill.
"Heavenly shades of night are falling . . . "
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For SkyWatch Friday.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rapunzel Rapunzel

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Did you ever see such a long banner?!
It is as long as the Hadassah hospital's Mother and Child Center is tall.
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Today is the day after Independence Day so a guy on the roof was pulling up the equally long Hadassah banner.
A visiting German friend and I watched it go up.
It reminded her of the fairy tale about Rapunzel!
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Flying

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UPDATE to yesterday's post!
The IDF Blog has a slideshow and short videos (from the cockpit) of yesterday's Independence Day flyover by the Air Force!
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aerial salute on Israel's 63rd birthday

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Quintuplet -- 1. a combination of five of a kind
OK, I got my Q word for ABC Wednesday.
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This morning a quintuplet of helicopters flew right over my house, followed by a second identical formation.
They must have been on their way to Jerusalem to do an Air Force fly-over for Independence Day.
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The choppers were followed by five fighter jets and then several Hercules transport planes.
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This combination was about aerial refueling.
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Thanks, pilots, for letting me enjoy hearing and seeing these aircraft without leaving my doorstep!
Happy 63rd Independence Day!
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