Thursday, September 29, 2011

The binding and unbinding of Isaac

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The frightful story of the binding of Isaac, in Genesis 22, is read in the synagogue every Rosh Hashana.

I talked about it and showed other artistic portrayals of the almost-deed here and here.
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But the photos in today's post are of Sam Philipe's sculpture "Akedat Yitshak" (the Binding of Isaac), on exhibit at Jerusalem's Mamilla mall.


We can be glad that the angel was sent just in time to stop Abraham's hand.

In the story's happy end, the angel quotes God as saying to Abraham
". . . in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast hearkened to My voice."

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By the way, Christians are celebrating today too. It is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, also known as the Feast of the Archangels.

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More about Rosh Hashana in previous posts:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wishing you a sweet new year 5772

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So many different ways to market honey, even inside an Eiffel Tower!
Enlarge the photo and also find cute little wheeled honey carts [oops, I almost said "honey wagon" but that means something totally different].


Tonight at the festive Rosh Hashana table everyone will dip a slice of apple in honey, say the Hebrew blessing for fruit, and then add the special New Year blessing:

"May it be your will, Eternal our God, that this be a good and sweet year for us."

I wish the same to you, my good friends around the world.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A new year starts tomorrow at sunset

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It is a window that shows a door, a door to what I think is called a sheepfold.
It is one in a series of stained glass windows in the small synagogue in Hechal Shlomo in Jerusalem.

The Rosh Hashana window (please do enlarge it) quotes from the moving and powerful piyyut (liturgical poem) Unetaneh Tokef which is sung in every synagogue both on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

כָל בָּאֵי עולָם יַעַבְרוּן לְפָנֶיךָ כִּבְנֵי מָרון. כְּבַקָּרַת רועֶה עֶדְרו. מַעֲבִיר צאנו תַּחַת שִׁבְטו .כֵּן תַּעֲבִיר וְתִסְפּר וְתִמְנֶה וְתִפְקד נֶפֶשׁ כָּל חָי. וְתַחְתּךְ קִצְבָה לְכָל בְּרִיּותֶיךָ. וְתִכְתּב אֶת גְּזַר דִּינָם:
בְּראשׁ הַשָּׁנָה יִכָּתֵבוּן וּבְיום צום כִּפּוּר יֵחָתֵמוּן כַּמָּה יַעַבְרוּן וְכַמָּה יִבָּרֵאוּן מִי יִחְיֶה וּמִי יָמוּת. מִי בְקִצּו וּמִי לא בְקִצּו מִי בַמַּיִם. וּמִי בָאֵשׁ מִי בַחֶרֶב. וּמִי בַחַיָּה מִי בָרָעָב. וּמִי בַצָּמָא מִי בָרַעַשׁ. וּמִי בַמַּגֵּפָה מִי בַחֲנִיקָה וּמִי בַסְּקִילָה מִי יָנוּחַ וּמִי יָנוּעַ מִי יִשָּׁקֵט וּמִי יִטָּרֵף מִי יִשָּׁלֵו. וּמִי יִתְיַסָּר מִי יֵעָנִי. וּמִי יֵעָשֵׁר מִי יִשָּׁפֵל. וּמִי יָרוּם וּתְשׁוּבָה וּתְפִלָּה וּצְדָקָה מַעֲבִירִין אֶת רעַ הַגְּזֵרָה

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"All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock.
Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living;
and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict. "

The piyyut is traditionally attributed to a medieval Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, who spoke the words while he was being martyred. More here.
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You can read its translation in the ArtScroll Machzor.
Here is part of it:
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"On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed
how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created;
who will live and who will die;
who will die at his predestined time and who before his time;
who by water and who by fire,
who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst,
who by storm, who by plague,
who by strangulation, and who by stoning.
Who will rest and who will wander,
who will live in harmony and who will be harried,
who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer,
who will be impoverished and who will be enriched,
who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
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But REPENTANCE, PRAYER and CHARITY

[tshuvah, tfilah, tzedaka]
Remove the evil of the Decree!

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Don't you love that idea that by our re-turning, praying, and doing acts of kindness we can change everything?!
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(Reposted from last year. This time it is for Monday Doorways and Our World Tuesday.)
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Monday, September 26, 2011

"Passed to the New Jerusalem"

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I forgot that I had been saving this fascinating old tombstone that quotes Psalm 27:1.

So I add it to yesterday's PsalmChallenge post.
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The grave is in one of the Christian cemeteries in the earthly Jerusalem.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

A great Psalm for one and all

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We are up to Psalm 27 over at Robert's PsalmChallenge.
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Jews are supposed to sing, read, or study this psalm every day in the present month of Elul as we prepare for the spiritual account-taking of Rosh Hashana and the Days of Awe.
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I refer you to the Velveteen Rabbi blog, where Reb Rachel has many good ideas and links about Psalm 27, such as a modern poetic translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.
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This psalm has become beloved in Christian tradition as well.
Taize, the monastic community in France, has two songs from Psalm 27 alone.
A haunting singing of Verse 1 can be heard here.
The words:
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, In him I trust, In him I trust."
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The other Taize song comes from Verses 13-14:
"I am sure I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living . . .".
See all the words and notes below
and hear it sung at Taize here.


From www.taize.fr, Learning the Songs
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Mechon-Mamre has the Hebrew original next to the English translation of the psalm.
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Link

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome back RAIN!

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The times are a'changin'.
This dry sundial in a monastery garden surely has some water in it for that bird today.
YES!!! It rained last night!!
Israel's first rain since last spring!

Rain is such a blessed thing here that Hebrew has a name for this first rain--ha-yoreh.
The last rain, usually in March or April, is called the malkosh.

I slept right through the rain last night, but walking down in the woods this morning I could smell the wetness, so welcome after so much dryness.
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The sundial's shadow did not show the right time but no matter, it is fine for Shadow Shot Sunday.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Something new on old Jaffa Road

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James in California started his meme two years ago today. Now about a hundred bloggers contribute a reflection photo every weekend. Join the fun at Weekend Reflections.

An old building on Jaffa Street is reflected in a new building under construction.

Here's that new building from the other side (at the beginning of Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall).
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UPDATE:
OK, you curious and questioning readers never let me get by with a quick post. Your comment questions have made me do my homework.
So! This will soon be the new home of the HaMashbir LaTsarchan department store (now located on King George).
It will have five sales floors, a cafe, and a floor of offices.

You asked about the tower. Here is what Haaretz says:
[The] rotunda . . . functions like a kind of lighthouse visible from Jaffa Road and the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall. The rotunda is actually the space that connects all the commercial floors inside, and contains two glass elevators. Aaronson [the architect] says he's designing the elevators as a "kinetic sculpture" that will radiate light outward and add to the general experience of passersby.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The olive branch, birds, and St. Jerome

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"Noah's Ark"
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It's part of the Bible Stories exhibit still going on at Mamilla mall.


Genesis 8:
8
And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground.
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot,
and she returned unto him to the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth;
and he put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her in unto him into the ark.

10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark.
11 And the dove came in to him at eventide;
וְהִנֵּה עֲלֵה-זַיִת טָרָף בְּפִיהָ and lo in her mouth an olive-leaf freshly plucked;
so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
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An interesting tidbit from Wiki:
In his 4th century Latin translation of the story of Noah, St Jerome rendered "leaf of olive" (Hebrew alay zayit) in Genesis 8:11 as "branch of olive" (Latin ramum olivae). In the 5th century, by which time a dove with an olive branch had become established as a Christian symbol of peace, St Augustine wrote in On Christian Doctrine that, "perpetual peace is indicated by the olive branch (oleae ramusculo) which the dove brought with it when it returned to the ark."
However, in Jewish tradition there is no reference to an olive branch in the story of the Flood and no association of the olive leaf with peace
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sesame Street?

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Any food with sesame on it is good in my book.

The unusual arrangement of the oblong sesame-covered bagelach caught my eye at this basta (food stand) at Shuk Mahane Yehuda market.

The yellow paper on the wall tells us what time Shabbat began last Friday.
Just a few minutes after 6 p.m.
It is still hot in Israel and it feels like summer still, but the days are getting shorter and shorter--a sure sign of autumn.

The United Nations

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These are fateful days in the United Nations.
My laptop is tuned in to the U.N. webcast right now.
Soon President Obama will speak.
On Friday Abbas will give probably the most important speech of his life.
After him, Netanyahu will say something.

Will a Palestinian state emerge from this talking and voting?
How will it change life here?

We shall see . . .
Let us hope for the best for all of us here in this small land.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jack, jackal

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For my letter J post for ABC Wednesday you are expecting something about Jerusalem, Jews, Judah, Jeremiah, Jonah, or Jesus, right?

Nope. It is . . .


just a jack. A simple scissor jack.
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I was surprised to see this car on the little old road at the far end of the moshav (village), near the spring.
It was evening, getting dark; no one was in sight.

Where was the driver? Where was the fourth wheel?

It was an eerie sight for me, having never changed a tire on my own.
I headed home, glad to be on foot, meeting only two jackals crossing the road.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

"I am the door"

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Here's a very tall door for Monday Doorways and some words of explanation for Our World Tuesday.
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Enlarge* the photo to enjoy the Latin words in gold.
Latin scholars out there, can you translate? I think the words are based on passages from the Gospel of John.
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I'm just guessing here, but maybe it is

EGO SUM OSTIUM + DICIT + DNS +
I am the door, says the Lord,

SI - OVIS SITIT VENIAT + AD ME ET BIBAT +
if the sheep thirst, let them come to me and drink.




Here is the door from afar, to the right of the smaller door.

The church is from Crusader times, 12th century.
We have talked about this church and Benedictine monastery in Abu Ghosh quite often lately.

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*UPDATE:
Dear readers, I am sorry the photos no longer enlarge when opened.
Blogger has changed the photo viewing system just recently and everyone hates it.
See the discussion here:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=73493b0be3a4116d&hl=en
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UPDATE 2: Thanks to blogger Martus for solving the mystery of what is written on the door. Please see his comment near the end of the Comments section.
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Lord, test my kidneys and heart"

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Returning to Robert's PsalmChallenge, after summer break, here is Psalm 26.
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1. Of David.

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in personal integrity; I have trusted in the LORD; I shall not falter.
2. Probe me, O LORD, and try me, test my kidneys
[i.e. conscience] and heart,
צרופה (צָרְפָה) כִלְיוֹתַי וְלִבִּי
3. for Your steadfast love is before my eyes; I walk in Your faithfulness.
4. I do not sit with worthless men, and will never mix with hypocrites;
5. I hate the assemblage of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked;


6. I wash my hands in innocence,
and circle Your altar, O LORD,
7. sounding the voice of thanksgiving, recounting all Your wonders.
8. O LORD, I love the abode of Your house, the dwelling-place of Your glory.


9. Do not sweep away my being with sinners,
my life with the bloodthirsty men,
10. who have schemes in their grip, their right-hand filled with bribes.


11. But I walk in personal integrity; redeem me, have mercy on me!
12. My foot stands on level ground. In assemblies I will bless the LORD.

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Photos:
1. Grandson Dean at the child-height sink in Bloomberg Science Museum, Jerusalem.
2. A mosaic floor designed and installed by Italian Vasco Nasorri in 1984 in the courtyard of the Franciscan church, Mt. of Beatitudes. N.B. I post this only for the broom, not for Paul's message, which is quoted in Latin, and with which I do not agree.
3. Dean, several years ago, walking with his staff. With integrity.
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Naked Sea photo shoot--it really happened

UPDATE: If you really want to see them, here are 6 AP photos in The Washington Post.
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FLASH (flesh?):
The newspapers
are starting to report that it (see my Thursday post) really happened early this morning!
Some 1,200 Israelis were bused to Mineral Beach where they undressed and posed for Spencer Tunick.
On the Dead Sea shore, in the slimy water, and once even covered with the therapeutic black mud.

Haaretz bears it all, complete with a little fuzzy photo, revealing that
"The quiet of the photo shoot was interrupted by Peeping Toms who hovered above the models in powered parachutes. Some of them were equipped with large photographic lenses, which was against all preceding promises and customary rules. In addition, some of the photographers who came to document the event broke the rules and used larger lenses than were allowed."

Opponents to this mass "immodesty" are calling it "Sodom and Gomorrah."
But at least this time no one turned into a pillar of salt.
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UPDATE: Today, Sunday, more articles are appearing, like this in the Jerusalem Post. My favorite part is what the female participant in the photo shoot writes:
After an hour in the Dead Sea holding different positions (certainly the longest I have ever been in the salty water, and an experience I hope never to repeat), and an hour standing in the sun, I started to feel a bit like beef jerky, wellsalted and laid out to harden in the sun.

A kitten rampant

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Shachar was so playful as a kitten, back in the summer of 2006.
Here she is (next to her sister) trying to catch the dry hollyhock stalk I'm waving over her head.
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Today she and Lara, her mother, are much too serious for such antics.
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My grandson asked if I throw a birthday party every summer for these semi-wild feline friends.
Young kids are so wise. Dean has the right idea.
I'll try it . . . next summer.
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For Camera Critters.

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Surprise shadow

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I turned the corner at Terra Sancta College and its gate's sharp shadow greeted me.
It was a total surprise!
Link
Normally I take that route to the American library every Sunday
morning.
But this time I got there just after noon, and the angle of the sun gave me this nice bonus.
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It made me think how important it is for variety's sake to try going to familiar places at unfamiliar times, at least for us photo-bloggers.
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This shadow goes straight to Shadow Shot Sunday.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Blockhead

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The poor tram driver looks like a blockhead with that building reflected on his head.
For Weekend Reflections, of course.

Here we are slowly approaching the light rail station at the Central Bus Station.
The waiting throng is about to squeeze themselves into the already over-full tram.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Naked Sea Installation: overexposure?

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Would you rather see just this lone person at the Dead Sea shore or a thousand?
If American artist Spencer Tunick has his way 1,000 Israelis will converge at some as yet secret meeting place at this lowest place on earth, undress, and pose naked for his photographs and videos.
On Saturday, Shabbat, the Sabbath.
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Supposedly it is meant to call attention to the fragile nature of the shrinking Dead Sea and to make you vote for the lake as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature -- oh, yeah, and to improve Israel's image in the world.
Tunick also wants to prove that the Jewish State is the only country in the Middle East with religious freedom. (We'll see about that . . . )
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If your kids aren't looking over your shoulder, you might click here to see a clip of Tunick's style in other countries.
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Three thousand Israelis volunteered for the project.
Only one thousand were selected.
I wonder how these chosen people were chosen.
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Red tape might block this mass photo shoot.
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OK friends, I can hardly wait to read your comments!
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Hopefully the little sliver of hazy January sky above the mountains of Jordan, just after sunset, qualifies this photo for Sky Watch Friday.
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UPDATE: I can hardly believe it! They really did it. See the first photo and first news article about the photo shoot at Haaretz.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chapel of the Invention of the Cross

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Today and yesterday, Sept. 13-14, are special days for many Christians, marking the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Feast of the Exultation of the Lifegiving Cross.

Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, after his conversion to Christianity, sent his mother, Queen Helena, to the Holy Land to find and consecrate the birthplace of Jesus, the site of his preaching on the Mount of Olives, and the place of his crucifixion and of his tomb.

According to legends that spread widely throughout Western Europe, the True Cross was discovered in 326 by
Saint Helena during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine.
The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross placed inside it.

One Christian legend says that Helena came and assembled the Jews of Jerusalem and learned that one of them, a man named Judah, knew where Jesus had been crucified.
He refused to reveal the site so Helena had him imprisoned and threatened to starve him to death.
After a week the frightened and exhausted Judah agreed to take her to the site.
When she excavated, she found the three crosses of Golgotha.

Today, if you enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and go down a big staircase, you come to the Chapel of St. Helena, owned by the Armenians.

Descend more steps and you will stand in the dark
Chapel of the Invention (meaning Finding) of the Cross.
The Greeks have the right side of the chapel.
The left side belongs to the Catholics; their
altar (seen in my photo above) features a life-sized bronze statue of St. Helena holding a cross.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Icons at vespers

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For ABC Wednesday letter I day --

Icons illuminated by evening's last rays of sun.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Barefoot in the parvis

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You see many strange things at the holy places in Jerusalem.

But this is the strangest I've seen at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
A young man in a white garment, with long flowing hair, walking BAREFOOT across the Parvis (the entrance courtyard of the church), entering the doorway to the Ethiopians' chapel.

Do you suppose he has Jerusalem Syndrome?

This is a condition of becoming literally intoxicated by the Holy City.
People (usually tourists) start acting like a prophet or messiah.
Every year dozens are taken to Kfar Shaul psychiatric hospital because of this spontaneous psychosis.

It is fascinating to read about.
Here are articles, the first more poetic, the second more scientific, the last kind of funny:


http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/jersynd.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_syndrome

http://people.howstuffworks.com/jerusalem-syndrome.htm

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-03-29/living/simpsons.messiah.syndrome_1_jerusalem-syndrome-kfar-shaul-homer-simpson?_s=PM:LIVING

A post for Monday Doorways and Our World Tuesday.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Together on September 11

This picture of solidarity is from the Facebook page USEmbassyTelAviv.

The new American Ambassador, Dan Shapiro, who speaks fluent Hebrew, said this at the memorial ceremony today at our September 11 memorial site in the Jerusalem Hills:

אין עם שמבין את הכאב שלנו ואיך להמשיך לחיות עם כאב יותר מהעם בישראל. הקשר המוסרי בינינו מחזק את שנינו.
It means "There is no other people that understands our pain and how to keep living with the pain more than the Israeli people. The moral bond between us makes us both stronger."

He speaks the truth.
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The Embassy has a short video of the monument's 2009 dedication.
The sculpture has the names and country of origin of all the victims.
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More about it at the JNF website.
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We watched, not without tears, the moving commemorations live on Israel TV today from New York and the Pentagon.

Interesting that the young man who designed the powerful monument at Ground Zero is architect
Michael Arad, a veteran of an IDF commando squad and son of a former Israeli ambassador to the United States.
In this video tour with him, Arad describes the monument as "the built equivalent of a moment of silence."
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May America never have need for more such monuments.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Turning green

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See all the bumpy details by enlarging the photos.

So funny.
This chameleon was lying lengthwise, right on top of the popsicle wrapper.
He had turned so green as to be almost invisible.

Well, yeah, after a long hot dry summer, paper is the only green thing you can find on the ground in the woods.


While I got the camera out, he walked away ever so slowly, but turning brown quickly.
The chameleon looked stiff as a board.
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You don't see them much around here, maybe just because they are so well camouflaged.
Here is one climbing straight up a green bush, and here is one getting eaten by Lara the cat.
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For Camera Critters meme.

Update on the roof covering, but in GREEK

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I found a clue to the mystery of the new roof awning (shown in yesterday's post) over the Greeks' building next to the Holy Sepulchre, but it's Greek to me.


Both photos are from the Jerusalem Patriarchate News Gate website.

Some of their 16 photos from June show the big roof awning being constructed.

But the article is in Greek.
Can you read Greek?
Does it say the purpose of the roof covering and if it is meant to be for now and ever and unto ages of ages?

Photo source here.

This sign makes me smile, wondering what Constantine, Queen Helene, the Crusaders, and the other ancient builders of the church would think of it.
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UPDATE: Tom Powers found the answers to the canopy mystery!
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Something NEW over the Holy Sepulchre??

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Sometime this year a big roof awning went up over (what looks like) part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I can't believe that this got past the old Status Quo agreements about the church.
You see the ladder under the window on the left, for instance?
It was placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19
th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down.

Does anyone know who put up the awning and why?

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UPDATE: I think I found a lead. See Sept. 10 post.
UPDATE 2: Someone here told me the roof-thing is not quite over the Holy Sepulchre, which makes sense, considering the strength of the status quo.

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BEST UPDATE!: The answer to the mystery is from Tom Powers!
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Read this: International Literacy Day today

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A child-high table for playing with the 22 Hebrew letters at the Jewish museum at Hechal Shlomo in Jerusalem.

Today is International Literacy Day.

The International Reading Association says that
International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

And Wikipedia has the list of countries, starting at 100% literacy and going down to 26%(!).

Imagine . . .
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Red sculpture in a blue sky in a tram window

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Here's a post for both SkyWatch Friday and Weekend Reflections.

I got off Jerusalem's new tram at its terminus, Mt. Herzl, and transferred to my bus home.

I have learned the hard way that each of the two carriages can, and usually does, carry 250 passengers!
Most of us are standing, or trying to.

BUT, the tram, inside and out, is very good for reflections, as witnessed in the top photo.
See the famous "Calder red" color?

Across the street from the tram station stands, once again, Calder's huge "Homage to Jerusalem--Stabile."
It had to be moved while they were digging the underground park-and-ride garage, which has still not been finished.

The blue sky is typical for Israel's long and dry summer; it is normal to have no rain for 5 or 6 months.

To learn more about the sculpture and see some funny photos of its patchwork paint job, see previous posts.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New and old in the Crusaders' church

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Since everyone seems to be enjoying the pictures from the Benedictine monastery in Abu Ghosh (a village near Jerusalem), I'll show you some more.

The walls and pillars of the Crusader church still have parts of frescoes from the 12th or 13th century.
The frescos were done by Greek Orthodox artists in Byzantine style.
See a fresco up close here. At some point in the conquerings of the land, the faces were de-faced and that is how they were left.

The remains of the Crusader Resurrection Church were restored by the French government and handed over to the Benedictine Order in the 19th century, and since then our present Benedictines have made lots of improvements too.
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Here you see the lectern for the readings.
The monks sit on one side and the nuns on the other, and together they sing heavenly music.
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Click and see a marvelous 360-degree photo of the church!
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It's the modern version of "choir stalls."
Benches but with nice individual seats, and next to each seat, a box for prayer books and music.

After Mass, candles at the altar must be coaxed back into shape.
Candle care, singing, gardening--it's all part of a nun's work.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In the habit

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Hurrying to do a little horticulture while still in Sunday habit.

(Continuing yesterday's post.)

For H-day at ABC Wednesday .
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Green door with a grate

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Here's a strong and serious door for Monday Doorways meme.

In this close-up of the monastery's sign you can see some reflection of the Israeli Arab town of Abu Ghosh.
Just outside the monastery wall is a mosque and minaret; sometimes the muezzin's call mingles with the Latin + French Mass being sung in the church.

The little door of the grate was open and the lush greenery of palm trees and gardens was visible inside.
The church was built by the Crusaders over a spring in the 12th century.

The Olivetan Benedictines have a double monastery; the men's and the women's monasteries are within the same walled compound, and each has its own superior.
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Enlarge the photo and see a nun carrying a tall musical instrument into the modern monastic enclosure.
Pictures of her playing that Senegalese kora or bridge-harp are in an earlier post.
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More pictures inside and outside the church are here.
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UPDATE: I just learned that That's MyWorld is being continued in the form of Our World Tuesday. Thanks to hosts Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia, and Sandy for giving it new life after founder Klaus, z"l, died. He would be happy to know that.
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Whose God is taller?

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Robert at Daily Athens is restarting our PsalmChallenge after a summer break.
We are up to Psalm 24. You are welcome to join in and try your hand at illustrating a verse (or all the verses) every Sunday.
I repost mine from last June (before I knew we were out on vacation), but it's OK--this great Psalm deserves repetition.
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P S A L M 24
1 A Psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein;
2 for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.
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3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. [Selah]
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7 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O everlasting doors! that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O everlasting doors! that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! [Selah] .
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Photo (more beautiful when enlarged):
The bottom of the stained glass window says, in Hebrew, "Lift up your heads, O gates."
The window is one of many in Jerusalem's Great Synagogue that are based on verses in the Book of Psalms.
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I cannot read these verses without hearing the cantor singing them half a century ago in the synagogue of my youth in Chicago. The whole congregation would sing the stirring words in Hebrew as the doors of the Holy Ark were opened, revealing the Torah scrolls.
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UPDATE: Dr. Ray Vander Laan explains why the Hebrew gate heads had to be lifted up in a short but great video filmed in Egypt. Recommended!
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fig leaf shadows

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I was shooting into the setting sun to catch this shadow on a fig leaf cast by a neighboring leaf.

This was in June so the little figs you see on top are bigger now.
Or at least those figs that have not been eaten by birds, bats, worms, jackals, or hikers.
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Don't you love the delicate pattern of veins (seen when the photo is enlarged)?
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A post for Summer Stock Sunday and Shadow Shot Sunday.
Bon dimanche, a good Sunday to you all.
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Thar she blows!

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Captain Ahab grasps his harpoon, ready for Moby-Dick, the white whale.
I grasp my camera, in preparation for Weekend Reflections.
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And don't you love how the DVD acts as a diffraction grating for light?!
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I've seen more movies in the last month than I have in the last few years.
Why?
On the really unbearable hot days in July I sought a quiet, comfortable air-conditioned place, and I discovered the American Center in Jerusalem.
It's a section of the Office of Public Affairs of the American Embassy (which, like all embassies, are in Tel Aviv).
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They have a cozy corner to read journals, computers with WiFi to use, and lots of books to borrow.
AND you can take two DVD movies for one week. FREE.
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The Gregory Peck version of Moby-Dick came out in 1956.
How much did I understand of it then, seeing it as a child?
But I vividly remembered certain scenes and lines from seeing it half a century ago.
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Hats off to my daughter who is making time to actually read the big long book.
Either way, Herman Melville's classic is a powerful story.
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

I see you!

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Dean, my first grandchild, my Sunshine-and-Light at the end of the tunnel.
At Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo, December 24, 2006.
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It helps to keep these things in perspective, to ponder such gifts in your heart.
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Today's Theme Day at City Daily Photo is all about
PERSPECTIVE.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.
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