Saturday, July 30, 2011

Clever cat (and a horned altar!)

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In Israel's ancient deserts, boulders have long provided respite from the burning sun, for man and beast . . .
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Oh, wait . . . this was just the Hebrew U. Medical School campus at Hadassah Hospital.
But man, was it hot!
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You might have to enlarge the above photo to find the cat.

Here's the boulder "in situ."
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I never understand why they make the roofs of some bench and bus shelters like this.
It lets the rain or too much sun come through.
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Anyway, it's a fun picture for Camera-Critters, Summer Stock Sunday, and Shadow Shot Sunday.
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And here is something YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS! The blog of Tell Es-Safi/Gath Excavations announced their discovery of a horned stone altar from the Iron Age!
And then the archaeologist, Aren Maeir, made a hilarious aerial photo, using volunteers, shadows, and himself as the sacrificial lamb.
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Jerusalem Hills reflected in a notebook

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While housesitting this month for my neighbor-friends' old (as in, 12th C) house, I took my laptop out on the terrace to see if the wireless signal would come through the thick stone wall.
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It didn't.
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But as a compensation, the screen gave a nice reflection of the mountain across the valley.
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It's to share with James' Weekend Reflections.
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My notebook computer is getting old and is showing signs of approaching death. This may be the last time you see it. It has served me well.

Shabbat shalom.
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Airport City sky over shiny trees

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Ah, trees planted in the green center of a roundabout, each tree with a different colored fruit, under a clear blue sky.
One even has a bird perched on it.
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Click on the photo. Surprise! Aluminum trees!
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I didn't see much greenery or trees at Airport City, the sprawling business park not far from Ben-Gurion Airport.
But it is full of big modern buildings--industrial, storage, and logistical facilities as well as offices and hi-tech buildings to rent.
The park includes a conference center, a business hotel, a commercial area, with shops, restaurants, and leisure facilities.
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See photos at Airport City website.
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My sky over metal trees is joined to SkyWatch Friday.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oops, wrong engine

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Egged's sleek new urban buses are so long that some folks call them train-buses.
You see a few of them on certain routes in Jerusalem.
They are even longer than the regular articulated "accordion" buses.
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"Egged aspires to be a pioneer in the reduction of air pollution by purchasing buses equipped with Euro 3 engines, using ultra-low sulfur fuel
," their website says.
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But oi, what's this? While searching for information I happened to find an article in today's Jerusalem Post saying that "The Environmental Protection Ministry submitted an indictment in the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court against the Egged bus company for air pollution last week . . ."
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Apparently there are big differences between the Euro 3, 4, and 5 emissions standards; and the environment ministry claims that Egged went and bought 168 buses which are not of the most up to date standard.
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Oi.
Oh well, I still think they are pretty.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beatitudes for Norway

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For ABC Wednesday B-day --


The Church of the Beatitudes is on the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
Here Jesus gave his first sermon, the Sermon on the Mount.

Stepping into the church you meet the text of the Beatitudes with the square notes of Gregorian chant.
If you'd like to read them in side-by-side Latin, Greek, and English, go here.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3-10

At the base of the lectern is a basket, a reminder to be generous.
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As I read the Beatitudes now, again, they seem to speak of the young Norwegians who were taken from us.
May their memory be for a blessing.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Coming together in protest

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First there was the Arab Spring; now we have the Israeli summer.
Ordinary individuals started Facebook protest groups, and this has rapidly mushroomed into tent cities and protesters marching in the streets in cities all over Israel, even now as we speak.
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Last month the three dairy monopolies raised the price of cottage cheese by many shekels.
One man fought back with a Facebook page and soon had the whole nation boycotting the product.
And we won! The price was lowered.
The Cottage Cheese Revolution was "a watershed in the economic life of Israel."
And the people got a taste for revolution.
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Then young Daphni Leef needed to move and discovered the exorbitant rents in Tel Aviv.
She started another Facebook movement.
Now citizens have moved into tents in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other cities to emphasize the lack of and price of rental housing.
Students mostly, but also other sectors who can't afford to buy apartments, even if there were enough to buy.
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These two pictures are from this morning in Independence Park.
Apparently it is a subgroup of the bigger tent city. The sign says "Public housing for all."
Certain families, mainly single parent families, below the poverty line are entitled to public housing; but again, there is just not enough of it.
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Dairy farmers came up to Jerusalem to protest today too.
The government was threatening to import milk.
What a stupid idea.
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The doctors in public hospitals have been striking off and on for the past 128 days.
Yesterday they started a march to the capital, led by their union head who began a hunger strike.
They are camping overnight at Kfar Chabad and will arrive here tomorrow.
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What's great is that the students and everyone are staying mostly civilized when blocking traffic by sitting down in the street in the midst of the marches and when confronting police.
And all the different groups help one another and all of us support our doctors.
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The chant most chanted is "Ha-am doresh--tsedek hevrati!"
"The people demands social justice!"
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http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/netanyahu-i-have-been-aware-of-israel-s-housing-crisis-for-years-1.374989

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_housing_protests_in_Israel

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=230518
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All this is to share with That's My World meme.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The world behind the gate

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A rare photo of the gate open. ( A car had just driven out and the automatic gate was sliding shut.)
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The people door is to the right.
You must press the button on the pillar and hope a Sister will answer on the intercom.
Then you must hope that the Russian-speaking nun will understand that you want to come in and walk around.
If you are answered with a buzzer, lean on that heavy door fast!
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Suddenly you will be quite alone in another world that feels like a 19th century Russian village.
But it is the huge monastic grounds of the Russian Orthodox Gornensky Convent on the edge of Ein Kerem.
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At Louis la Vache's new Monday Doorways meme you can see all kinds of entrances, and you are welcome to contribute a photo of a favorite door of yours too.
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Israeli salad for a blue-tongue

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Even though its bustle and size make me dizzy, I stepped into Malcha Mall.
The pet shop is the one store there that I cannot NOT go into.
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The picture taped to this skink's enclosure makes me believe it is what Australians call a blue-tongue.
I, for one, would not want to keep a 60-centimeter reptile in a glass case for its 20-year life expectancy.
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Well, at least this guy had a nice bowl of "Israeli salad."
We humans eat it for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.
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Shalom to friends at Camera-Critters meme.
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Concocting a cure

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Who knew simple glass bowls could make such interesting shadows.
Good ones to share at Shadow Shot Sunday.
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It pays to enlarge this photo and read about how a prince in A Thousand and One Nights was miraculously cured by a concoction of ingredients bought in the spice-handlers market in old Jerusalem.
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This display is part of the Materia Medica exhibit in Shaare Zedek Hospital.
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Although I can't find proof, I imagine Spicehandler is an old Jewish name.
American Rabbi Ezra Spicehandler comes to mind.
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Till today the Arab souk of the Old City has big spice shops full of exotic and fragrant spices and incense.
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For Norway

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We in Israel are feeling very close to the people of Norway, who have lost so many and so much.
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Norwegian blog-friends Runee of Visual Norway and Spiderdama are much in my heart.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

A monastic mirror

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I suppose part of an old mirror at the washstand is better than none at all when a nun has to tidy up and hasten to the communal prayer after a morning's work in the garden.
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We saw the vegetable garden and the quiet sitting garden of the Congregation of Rosary Sisters
here and I posted about their round church here.
The church, convent, school, and guest hostel are on central Jerusalem's busy Agron Street, hidden within a surrounding wall.
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This photo is joining many others at James' Weekend Reflections.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The place just right

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My little village on the hill, beneath a big sky.
As seen from the valley below, where I often go walking toward evening, meeting only jackals on the way.
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For SkyWatch Friday.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"For good, for a blessing, for healing, and for life"

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Bar-Ilan University, Yad Ben-Zvi institute, and Shaare Zedek Hospital have put together a fascinating exhibit in the entrance hall of the hospital.
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It is called Materia Medica in the History of Jerusalem.
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Please enlarge the photo to read about this exhibit of traditional medical substances down through the ages.
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I'll be showing you different examples over the coming weeks.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A is for arrivals and archaeology at the airport

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Applause for ABC Wednesday going into Round 9 today!
Mrs. Nesbitt and her meme team deserve straight A's.

And I was at the airport today to await the arrival of two dear relatives who are moving back to Israel after many years in America.
Ahalan!
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Archaeology, even at the airport!
This big mosaic carpet hangs on a wall in Terminal 3.

Appropriately, it is a mosaic that was discovered in Lod.
Ben-Gurion International Airport was formerly called Lod Airport because it is near the town of Lod.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Gates to a smaller world

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Step through the open gates into the magic world of puppetry.
Just inside the stony entrance is the small amphitheater of the Train Theater in Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Park.

(The building behind it is the Inbal Hotel. You can watch Jerusalem on their live webcam!)
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August 14-19 they will be having the 20th International Festival of Puppet Theater.
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These gates are for Monday Doorways and the special world is for That's MyWorld Tuesday.
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another forest fire, the Jerusalem Forest

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The Jerusalem Forest was burning all afternoon.
Mostly old pines planted by the Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemet back in the 1950s.
Those who wanted to quickly "redeem the land" in the young state back then surely did not realize that pine trees are the most combustible and dangerous trees.

From my house I could see the smoke rising; the flames were down in the wadi.
At least four little planes buzzed over my house, going back and forth with water and maybe also flame retardant, until the darkness stopped them.
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They say the fire is just about under control now, tonight. Thank God.
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Enlarge the photo to get the lay of the land.

The Har Nof neighborhood is on the left. Its residents were told to stay home and close their windows.
Smoke inhalation sent several to the hospital.
Behind the green mountain is Mt. Herzl, the mount of remembrance.
Yad Vashem, our Holocaust memorial center, came dangerously close to going up in smoke.
Imagine if the archives and artifacts from the Shoah had burned . . . how awful that would have been.
But while Yad Vashem was being evacuated, the director sent his men out with hoses even before the fire engines could get there. He stood firm and would not be moved.
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Our thanks to the brave pilots, fire-fighters and volunteers who saved the day.
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Information in Haaretz is here.
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The unique retaining/acoustic walls explained

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Readers were so interested in Begin Expressway's unique acoustic walls that appeared in yesterday's post (in my photo facing the opposite direction from this photo by the builders).
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So I kept digging and finally found some answers to your questions.
The Gash website has close-ups of the combined retaining/acoustic walls. Take a look.
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The engineers explain:

Begin Road connects Jerusalem's entrance coming from 443 highway and its south-west neighborhoods.
Gash engineers designed a three-span bridge and acoustic walls with unique architectural cross-sections.
Acoustic barrier semi-roofing shape

The height of the wall and its shape was determined by taking under consideration an acoustic defense line at the edge of the traffic lanes instead of at the margins of the road as usual. As a result the wall's height was lowered from 12-13 meters to 8.5 meters.
Its arch shape was developed in order to reflect the noise sound back to the road.
The structure consists of modules of projecting beams covered with arch-shaped membranes made of 8 cm concrete. The beams also support prefabricated plated serves as a retaining wall for the back landscape's filling.
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

A bridge unseen

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I discovered a shortcut, by foot, down to the Hebrew University.
But then I was so excited to be standing on a bridge looking down at Begin Expressway for the first time that I forgot to photograph the bridge itself.
Sorry bloggers at Sunday Bridges, you'll just have to imagine it.
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The photo did, however, catch the early-morning shadows of the median trees for Shadow Shot Sunday.
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Named for the late Menachem Begin, the north-south urban freeway in western Jerusalem is all of 12.2 km or 7.6 miles long.
Many of its sections have these tall acoustic walls.
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IMPORTANT UPDATE! I finally found info on the acoustic walls that everyone is asking about!
Gash engineers designed a three-span bridge and acoustic walls with unique architectural cross-sections.
From the Gash bridge engineering website:
Acoustic barrier semi-roofing shape

The height of the wall and its shape was determined by taking under consideration an acoustic defense line at the edge of the traffic lanes instead of at the margins of the road as usual. As a result the wall's height was lowered from 12-13 meters to 8.5 meters.
Its arch shape was developed in order to reflect the noise sound back to the road.
The structure consists of modules of projecting beams covered with arch-shaped membranes made of 8 cm concrete. The beams also support prefabricated plated serves as a retaining wall for the back landscape's filling.
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The website has close-ups and blueprints in detail.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Bon voyage

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I was taking a picture of the reflection for Weekend Reflections, enjoying how you could see both the outsides and the insides of this vestibule.
It's one of the pedestrian + vehicle exits of the Tel Aviv Fair Grounds.
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Then I looked up and realized that the misspelling of the sign was even more fun.
Whether you say it bon voi-ahzh in the American way or bawn vwa-yazh in real French -- still, you would never spell it bon vayage.
Well, unless you were an Israeli sign painter.
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The Hebrew at least they got right: tset-chem le-shalom.
Literally it means May your going out be to peace.
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Shabbat shalom.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Big moon emerging

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Come on moon, you can do it!
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The moon was just rising at 8:00 tonight from behind the two mountains where our closest neighbor moshavim (villages) are.
It gave enough light for me to see the empty road for my walk in the cool of the evening.
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Happy SkyWatch Friday.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Heart for Peace

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Right after posting about Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo yesterday I came across a heart-warming IDF post (see their video here).
I learned that just a few weeks ago a group of Palestinian children from the West Bank along with their parents had a field day at the Zoo.
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Their trip was organized by the army's Civil Administration unit and Hadassah Hospital.
Most of the kids had undergone heart surgery at Hadassah.
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Since 2005 there is a way for these families to get the help they need: Hadassah pays half the cost of the operation and a French NGO, the other half.
Un coeur pour la paix / A Heart for Peace has a nice little video about how it works.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zany creatures at the Zoo

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Zany creatures at the ZOO for ABC Wednesday today!
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These animals are wild!

Many of the 23 or more sculptures in the Noah's Ark Sculpture Garden may be climbed on.
That is just what Dean did when he came to visit Israel in 2006.

Niki de Saint Phalle and Swiss architect Mario Botta completed their work at the Biblical Zoo in 2001, in the dark days of the intifadah.
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Niki's other landmark in Jerusalem is the Golem, popularly know as the Monster (hamifletset).
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Birthday blessings

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"Isha," meaning "a woman," stands in the Mamilla Mall.
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Artist Ruth Agmon quotes the first blessing we Jews say every morning, even before rising from bed:
מודה אני לפניך מלך חי וקים שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה, רבה אמונתך
Modeh ani lifanekha melekh ḥai v'kayam sheheḥezarta bi nishmahti b'ḥemlah, rabah emunatekha.
I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King, for you have mercifully restored my soul within me; great is your faithfulness.

This statue reminds me of a tall slim friend who lived in and loved Israel for many years.
Sr. Claire-Irene, wise and wonderful, celebrates her 80th birthday today back at the motherhouse in Switzerland.
Happy birthday, ma soeur!
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

A grotto with a door

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For Monday Doorways meme here is a peek into the grotto in which John the Baptist may have lived.
Enlarge the photo and see Elisabeth and her son John painted on the wall.

And here we stand inside his cave and look out past the open door.
The Jerusalem Hills are round about.

The Franciscan monastery and church are built over the grotto.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Seeking shade and shadows

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Here is our tour group attentively listening to the guide, standing in the interesting shadows (for Shadow Shot Sunday) of a "viewing pergola."
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The Sherover Promenade was built in 1989.
Its architects describe it thus:
This promenade overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem, parts of western Jerusalem and a great sweep of the Judean Desert. Its 1,350 meter long walk is used by both Jews and Arabs as well as tourists and pilgrims to Jerusalem. Its quiet gardens, planted with agricultural species such as wheat and olives, and its many viewing pergolas, create an atmosphere of peace and beauty in which to enjoy this unique and world-famous site. The garden contrasts sharply with the desert which begins immediately at its feet, and provides an elegant transition from the city to the classic views of Jerusalem.
Great photos of the tayelet at the landscape architect's website!

A second big tayelet in the area is the Haas or Armon HaNatsiv Promenade , a favorite of tourists riding Segways.

On the far left the Old City is visible.
Enlarge the photo and you can see the golden Dome of the Rock shining.
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Above the Arab villages is the Mt. of Olives on the horizon, left.
Just beyond the ridge on the right lies the Judean Desert, the Dead Sea, and the Kingdom of Jordan.
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Strolling along the tayelet in evening or early morning sounds like a nice summer activity, so I add it to Robin's Summer Stock Sunday.
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Friday, July 8, 2011

A towering crane and its reflection

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(This photo is more fun when enlarged.)

Waiting for a bus at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center is never boring.
I can always watch a tall crane in action.
Hadassah is forever building something.
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The other morning I had a bonus--a reflection for James' Weekend Reflections meme.
And there were workers on that suspended scaffold on the left!
Oi, they are brave.
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This new tower is going to be for hundreds of badly needed additional hospital beds.
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Shabbat shalom, sei gesund (be well).
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

A sliver of a moon

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We were sitting outside watching the changing shades of color in the 8:00 pm sky.
This new moon of a few nights ago signaled the beginning of the Hebrew month Tamuz.
(Hebrew months and moons are explained in a previous post.)
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In less than three weeks Muslims will be watching for the next crescent moon, the sighting of which means that Ramadan observance can begin.
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Happy SkyWatch Friday!
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Bible on a necklace?

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I've heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve, but would you wear your Bible on your necklace?
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This miniature Hebrew Bible has a metal case with a built-in magnifying glass.
It was made in Warsaw in 1896.
The sign in the Bible exhibit display case at our National Library suggests that perhaps the little case was meant to be worn on "a chain of the neck."
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Kreps" with Nutella and sprinkles

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Last night the crêpes stand was one of the most popular food stands at the American Independence Day bash in Jerusalem.
Except its name was transliterated from the Hebrew as KREP.
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The little girl could hardly wait to sprinkle her sprinkles on the Nutella-filled "krep."
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The AACI Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel put on the Fourth of July + Canada Day picnic in Kraft Stadium.
The best part was the big yard sale. Lots of bargains.
No fireworks, thankfully.
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For That's My World meme.
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Monday, July 4, 2011

A pretend gate

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A little paint does wonders.

For Monday Doorways hosted by Louis la Vache.
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UPDATE: This was one of several doors painted during a street festival on Shushan Street.
See another example, with the artist at work, in an earlier post.
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

An engineering first

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There goes the tram, up and over the curved Calatrava Bridge of Strings!

(Finally, a Jerusalem bridge picture for Sunday Bridges meme.)

In a post of mine from three years ago showing the early stages of the bridge construction an engineering maven said, "The Bridge of Strings will be the first train-carrying curved suspension bridge in the world."

You can see the white mast and the cables of the bridge protruding from behind a tall building.
(Lots more pictures of the whole bridge are under my label "Calatrava.")
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And look! A brand new bench for future tram passengers.
This tram stop is across the street from the Central Bus Station on Jaffa Street.
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We the public were told the light rail would start taking passengers in August, but now that has been delayed again to November.
The reasons, which include a lot of infighting, are explained in the Jerusalem Post.
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Well, at least now we have benches to sit on and watch the empty trams glide by as they are being tested.
It's more like our PATIENCE that is being tested.
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Saturday, July 2, 2011

For the 4th of July

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Jerry the Dragon's spiky back and tail cast nice long shadows for Shadow Shot Sunday.
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The dragon lives in Liberty Bell Park.

(I'm hoping he will qualify as an animal for Camera-Critters meme, too.)

I was there two weeks ago for the big Hebrew Book Week fair.
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This innovative activity park intersperses stone paths, greenery, and an open-air community center offering cultural and recreational events.

Jerusalem created Liberty Bell Garden in 1976 in honor of America's Bicentennial.
The replica of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell was a gift to Israel from the City of Philadelphia and is mounted in the center of the park.
But without the crack.
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The inscription chosen for the original bell is from the Bible, Leviticus 25:10--

"PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT THE LAND, TO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF."
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Happy Independence Day to the United States and to Americans everywhere!