Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gentle giraffes

Fresh photos from the Jerusalem zoo!
Even the shadows of the giraffes stretch toward one another.

In the same expansive enclosure below us were zebras, two white rhinos, and ostriches.

A minute later the position turned into this.
But that's as far as it went.
The post is for Camera-Critters and Shadow Shot Sunday 2.


Friday, February 24, 2012

The Italian Hospital

Judging from this reflection for Weekend Reflections, you might think I had jumped over to Italy to get the shot.

Jerusalem's Italian Hospital is strikingly similar to the Medici family palace in the Piazza della Signioria in Florence (known as the Palazzo Vecchio) or to the town hall in Siena.

Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi built or restored dozens of churches, hospitals, and schools in the Holy Land.
His Italian Hospital was built from 1912 to 1919.

The gates have the Capitoline she-wolf with Romulus and Remus.

And here is the winged lion familiar to Jerusalemites from the statue atop the Generali Building.

The church, with a beautiful octagonal dome, stood at the center of the 100-bed hospital compound.
The church has been deconsecrated and now a huge mezuzah is affixed to the right side of the door (for Monday Doorways).
Enlarge the photo and see remnants of a mosaic above the door.

Today the complex houses offices of Israel's Ministry of Education.

Click on this photo to see the bare rectangles along the walls which once held the emblems of fifty Italian families that are descended from Crusader warriors. .
Unfortunately for the outstanding building, its location (Shivtei Yisrael St. corner of HaNevi'im St.) is right next to Mea Shearim.
The very ultra Orthodox Jews living there pressured the Municipality to remove all crosses and symbols of "irrelevant" history.
During World War I the Ottoman Turks expropriated the hospital from the Italians (who were fighting against them and the Germans) and it suffered damage.
After the war Barluzzi saw to its rebuilding.
During World War II the British seized the building from their enemies, the Italians, and made it the HQ of the Royal Air Force.

To quote Aviva Bar-Am, "Three years later [1948], when the British began pulling out of Palestine, both the Arabs and the Hagana hoped to get their hands on this strategic property near the border with east Jerusalem. Fortunately for the Hagana, it discovered the exact time of the British exit and the Jews got in first."

The tower and hospital were good observation and firing posts for Israel during the War of Independence, but Jordan's Arab Legion shelled the structure.
In the early 1950s, Italy demanded that Israel repair it.
Israel replied that it was Jordan that damaged it.
Eventually Italy and Israel agreed to a sale of the building.

Since 1963 the Ministry of Education has been in the former Italian Hospital.
What a history, eh?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 generations together for Family Day

I just found out that today was Family Day in Israel (it once was Mother's Day).
As luck would have it, my daughter and my granddaughter are just now visiting from Australia.
So I say "Happy Mother's Day dear Naomi, mother of three of my grandchildren!"
Here she is sitting in the pouch of a kangaroo.

Niki de Saint Phalle created several dozen of these whimsical animals for the Noah's Ark Sculpture Garden at the zoo in Jerusalem. (Enlarge the photo to see a few.)

Libby learned the Israeli ritual of dipping bagele into a little twisted paper full of za'atar.

Laughing at the funny lemurs.

It's so nice to have family back here in Israel for Family Day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Family fun at the zoo

For ABC Wednesday, F is for family fun!
My daughter and my youngest (age 1.10) granddaughter just arrived for a visit from Australia, and today we had a fabulous time at the Biblical Zoo.

A lemur with chutspah almost climbed into Libby's pram!

In the petting zoo, the goats were snoozing in the semi-warm sun.

Shalom Tisch Family Zoological Gardens Jerusalem, see you again next time Naomi and Libby come home to visit.

Monday, February 20, 2012

So many life stories in a small space

Julie describes her new Taphophile Tragics meme as "a warm touch on cold hard stone."
Here is a little more about the Trumpeldor Cemetery I started to talk about here.
This can also be a tour for Our World Tuesday.

The first burials were in 1903, victims of a cholera epidemic.
The cemetery was then situated far from human dwellings because of this plague.

But as Tel Aviv (founded in 1909) grew, the cemetery became surrounded by buildings.

So sit and consider this unofficial pantheon of the great leaders, public figures, educators, writers, journalists, even singers, of the Zionist endeavor.

How strange the sabra cactus looks here. Perhaps the deceased was a Sabra (a native-born Israeli).

Just a very few plots remain, and their starting price is 75,000 shekels (more than $20,000)!

But (reminiscent of yesterday's Psalm 49) all the dead, rich or poor, will be wrapped in a shroud, wheeled to the grave on this simple gurney, and laid in the earth with no coffin.

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wisdom literature addressed to all mankind

For PsalmChallenge, inspired and hosted by Robert in Athens, here is Psalm 49.
1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2 both low and high, rich and poor together!
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. 4 I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me, 6 men who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? 7 Truly no man can ransom himself, or give to God the price of his life, 8 for the ransom of his life is costly, and can never suffice, 9 that he should continue to live on for ever, and never see the Pit. 10 Yea, he shall see that even the wise die, the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their graves are their homes for ever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they named lands their own. 12 Man cannot abide in his pomp, he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who have foolish confidence, the end of those who are pleased with their portion. [Selah] 14 Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home.
15 But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. [Selah]

16 Be not afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. 17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. 18 Though, while he lives, he counts himself happy, and though a man gets praise when he does well for himself, 19 he will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never more see the light. 20 Man cannot abide in his pomp, he is like the beasts that perish.
Today's translation is the RSV, 1952. Hebrew original is here.
1. "David menagen" by Gavriel Ben-Haim, was at Mamilla mall exhibit.

2. A tombstone in the Christian cemetery in Jerusalem's German Colony.
More exactly, the Hebrew means
"But God will redeem my life from the clutches of Sheol, for He will take me."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mystery on Mt. Herzl

At the Mt. Herzl tram terminal today I was really curious about two young men.
Each was loaded down with backpacks, cables, and a strange Samsung instrument.
I assume, I hope, they were working for CityPass, the light rail company.

We got on the tram and the guy strapped the thing up on top, above his head, pointing to one of the doors. (Enlarge the photo to spot it on the left.)
I guess they are gathering statistics, hopefully in order to improve the service (it needs some improving).
I know I know, I should have just asked him what the camera (?) or whatever was and what it was for, but he was busy of the phone, writing down stuff, and eating chocolate and I hate to bother a man when he's working.
One nice thing about the tram: if you feel claustrophobic in the pressing crowd or if you get bored, you can always look up and space out with the funny reflections on the ceiling (for Weekend Reflections, of course).


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jerusalem's first snow since 2008 coming?

The helicopter landing at Hadassah hospital helipad had clear visibility just last Monday.
But that was the last we saw of blue skies this week.
The good news is that Jerusalem might have SNOW on Saturday!

The weather forecasters say snow may fall on peaks higher than 700 meters.
Too bad the hill of my village is a bit lower than that.

Jerusalem Municipality has fifty salt spreaders and bulldozers at the ready.
Buses do not work on Shabbat and religious Jews do not drive their cars; not much traffic.
So Saturday snow sounds perfect!
Happy SkyWatch Friday wherever you are.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Empty tomb in the edicule

The clergy of the different Churches keep a pretty steady wafting of incense going into the edicule.
The edicule is the structure built over the tomb of Jesus inside the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

E for edicule is a gift to ABC Wednesday and the door is for Monday Doorways.
Even though the grave is empty, I think the taphophiles over at Taphophile Tragics would be interested in this, the world's most famous and revered tomb.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

That you may recount to the next generation

Psalm 48 is for Robert Geiss' PsalmChallenge at Daily Athens.
1. A song. A psalm. Of the Korahites.

2. The Lord is extraordinary and much praised in the city of our God, His holy mountain,
3. lovely in heights, delight of all the earth, Mount Zion, far end of Tsaphon, abode of the great King;
4. God, within its citadels, is known as a haven.
5. Behold, the kings conspired; they advanced together.
6. As soon as they saw, so they were stunned; they were terrified, they panicked;
7. a trembling took hold of them there, pains like a woman in labor,
8. as when an east wind shatters the Tarshish ships.

9. As we have heard, so we have seen, in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God―may God establish it forever! Selah.

10. We sense Your faithful care, O God, in Your Temple.
11. As Your reputation, God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; righteousness fills Your right hand.

12. Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the towns of Judah exult, because of Your judgments.
13. Walk around Zion, encircle it; count its towers,

14. set your heart to its ramparts;

go through its citadels, that you may recount this to a future generation:
15. that this is God, our God forever; He will lead us evermore.

Translation by Rabbi Benjamin Segal.

The Old City wall with Mt. Zion beyond the wall.
Old City wall near Jaffa Gate.
The Citadel (Tower of David).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cutting through a big wheel

The steel of the two-handled knife is shiny enough to reflect -- MORE cheese!
--for James' "Weekend Reflections."
At Basher's, Machane Yehuda market, Jerusalem, a must-see delicacy store.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dear friends, I hope you had a happy Tu BiShvat today, the birthday of the trees.
Sorry I have been such a bad blogger for several weeks but I have been quite sick and don't even have the strength to blog. A non-stop cough and a congested nose can drive you crazy. Tomorrow I will go back to the doctor and ask for antibiotics.
Thanks for your patience. Stay well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

British humor?

I started to tell about the new murals inside this Christian cemetery a few weeks ago.

Its address in Jerusalem's old German Colony is 41 Emek Refaim; one possible translation of the street name is "Valley of Ghosts."
Many of the gravestones have biblical quotations, especially from the Psalms (but I'm saving those for PsalmChallenge meme).
Some, the more modern ones, have sentimental words like "See you soon, darling," or "We miss you," or "Gone home."

But my favorite is the home-spun wisdom on former British soldier Johnny Shortlidge's stone:


This post goes to Our World Tuesday, to Signs, Signs, and to the growing and fascinating new cemetery meme Taphophile Tragics.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Everybody clap and sing

For PsalmChallenge, hosted by Robert Geiss in Athens, here is Psalm 47.
For the leader. Of the Korahites. A psalm.

2. All peoples, clap hands, shout to God with the sound of joyous praise.

3. For the LORD is Most High, awesome, a great king above all the earth.

4. He subjects peoples beneath us, setting nations beneath our feet.
5. He chooses for us our heritage, the Splendor-of-Jacob, whom He loved. Selah.

6. God has risen high, amidst shouting; the LORD, amidst the blasts of the horn.

7. Sing, to God, sing; sing, to our king, sing;
8. for the king of all the earth is God; sing a hymn.

9. God has become king above the nations; God has sat upon His holy throne.
10. The princes of the peoples have gathered, the people of Abraham’s God; for God’s are the guardians of the earth. He has been raised very high.

Rabbi Benjamin Segal's translation is literal, he says, "to allow readers to appreciate repeated metaphors."
1. A Christian group from abroad in praise at the Western Wall Plaza.
2. A busker playing the didgeridoo, Mamilla Mall, Jerusalem.
3. Sunday's hymn numbers (for the Arabic-speaking congregation), St. George's Cathedral.
4. From the Psalms series of windows at Hechal Shlomo.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pulvinate shadows

The pulvinate elements above the door of the Holy Sepulchre gave crisp shadows for Shadow Shot Sunday 2.
Such "cushions" or boofim or poofim are typical of Crusader architecture.

Oh, and there is the immovable ladder.
Someone put it there sometime before 1852, when the status quo defined both the doors and the window ledges as common ground.
Under the status quo, no part of what is designated as common territory may be so much as rearranged without consent from all the communities that have rights inside the church.
So no one dares to remove the old ladder.

Please enlarge the photos to enjoy the stonework.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Well polished

The squeaky clean windows and body of the Mercedes reflect* the Old City buildings in Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Square.
The diplomatic corps car was turning into the narrow Latin Patriarchate Road.
Maybe the Latin [i.e. Roman Catholic] Patriarch was inside (I didn't want to stare).
It's always fun to see the two little Vatican flags on the car.
For James' Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Segway in the sky

Segway in the sky -- for SkyWatch Friday.

Segway tours start at the City of David.

I like to think that Naomi Street is named for my daughter.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fluffy baby donkey

Donkeys are my favorite animal; and there is nothing cuter than a baby donkey.

Here I'm trying to put a halter on the foal for the first time.
I loved working, living, and playing at the Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary as a volunteer, for a month, back in 2005.
The farm is in the Hunter Valley in Australia.
The Kokas family keeps some one hundred rescued donkeys, with much love and kindness.
Today is City Daily Photo bloggers' monthly Theme Day. On animals!
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.