Sunday, September 30, 2012

Obstacles on our way

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For PsalmChallenge at athens daily photo, here is Psalm 73 in the RSV Revised Standard Version translation.

A psalm of Asaph


[1] Truly God is good to the upright,
to those who are pure in heart.

[2] But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had well nigh slipped.


[3] For I was envious of the arrogant,
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
[4] For they have no pangs;
their bodies are sound and sleek.
[5] They are not in trouble as other men are;
they are not stricken like other men.
[6] Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
[7] Their eyes swell out with fatness,
their hearts overflow with follies.
[8] They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
[9] They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
[10] Therefore the people turn and praise them;
and find no fault in them.
[11] And they say, "How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?"
[12] Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.

[13] All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
[14] For all the day long I have been stricken,
and chastened every morning.
[15] If I had said, "I will speak thus,"
I would have been untrue to the generation of thy children.
[16] But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
[17] until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I perceived their end.

[18] Truly thou dost set them in slippery places;
thou dost make them fall to ruin.
[19] How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
[20] They are like a dream when one awakes,
on awaking you despise their phantoms.
[21] When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
[22] I was stupid and ignorant,
I was like a beast toward thee.

[23] Nevertheless I am continually with thee;
thou dost hold my right hand.
[24] Thou dost guide me with thy counsel,
and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory.
[25] Whom have I in heaven but thee?
And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides thee.
[26] My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
[27] For lo, those who are far from thee shall perish;
thou dost put an end to those who are false to thee.
[28] But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all thy works.
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Photo:
Sign in the square just past the Jaffa Gate
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(A contribution to the meme "Signs, signs.")
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

A moveable feast, oil on wood

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Sukkot ("the Feast of Tabernacles") begins Sunday evening.
Here is a sukkah very different from the one I showed you yesterday.
It is so unique, in fact, that it is a museum piece, on display inside the Israel Museum


Here is the story the museum gives:

In the 19th century, Naftali and Zili Deller commissioned a local painter to paint [in oil paint]  the walls of their sukkah.
Their son Abraham Deller and his wife Sofie erected the sukkah in the courtyard of their home in Germany every year until the Nazis came to power. In 1937 the sukkah was smuggled out of Germany and delivered to the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem.

The central wall features a painting of Jerusalem with the Western Wall at its hub. This painting was copied from a lithograph by 19th-century Jerusalem artist Yehosef Schwartz.
 The other walls contain pictures of the village of Fischach and people from that period: on the right is Zili Deller waiting at the entrance to her home; on the back wall is the local baron, the patron of the village Jews, setting out to hunt.
 Painted within small frames in the background of the central and right-hand walls are depictions of Jewish holidays copied from prayer books printed in Sulzbach, Germany, in 1826.

Quite a history, eh?
You can click the photos to enlarge and study the details.
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Friday, September 28, 2012

A sukkah at the tram terminal!

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Look!
CityPass, the consortium that (tries to) run the new Jerusalem light rail, just gave us somewhere new  to sit at their  Mt. Herzl terminal!
No . . . not more shaded benches at the station;  that would be seen as pampering us, giving ALL of us relief from the 34 C heat.
No . . . not more seats on the tram; they wouldn't want ALL of  us to get used to having a place to sit  (let alone enough room to stand) in the packed trams.


 No . . . it is a SUKKAH they gave us, a temporary booth in which to sit and preferably eat  during the week-long holiday of Sukkot!

The soft walls say "To all the light rail passengers and to all the House of Israel--happy holidays and happy travels."

Inside a sign says it was generously donated by  Sukkot Yerushalaim, the sukkah producers, who claim it is not only kosher, not only kosher lemehadrin, but rather KOSHER LEMEHADRIN MIN HAMEHADRIN.
That's like super-duper kosher!


 Printed on the sides are paintings of Jerusalem.
The one above, at the Western Wall, is the only modern one.
(But notice how the Muslim Dome of the Rock is somehow missing. hmm...)


Throngs of pilgrims would come up to Jerusalem for Sukkot  in biblical times.
Here they are walking toward the Jaffa Gate.


 Here pilgrims are walking toward the Mercy Gate, from the east.
The picture quotes Psalm 122, "Our feet are standing at your gates, O Jerusalem." 


 The Temple is near as they converge from the south.


So many priests, some with trumpets, some tending to the sacrifices!

You might enjoy enlarging this photo to get an idea of how the Temple courtyard might have looked. (Click a second time on the photo that opens up.)


And after you have fulfilled the mitsvah of eating in the sukkah you can sing Birkat Hamazon, the blessing after the meal.
A kosher "roof" covering of a sukkah must let us see the stars at night, hence these "drops of sunlight" falling through the top and onto the walls.

Actually, this could be a good picture for Shadow Shot Sunday meme. 
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These verses from Deuteronomy 16 explain the three great pilgrimage festivals, when Jews from all over the world would make the journey to Jerusalem and walk up to the Temple Mount:

 "Safeguard the month of standing grain so that you will be able to keep the Passover to God your Lord, since it was in the month of standing grain that God your Lord brought you out of Egypt at night...Then count seven weeks for yourself. From the time that you first put the sickle to the standing grain, you must count seven weeks. You shall then celebrate the festival of Shavuot to God your Lord, presenting a hand-delivered offering according to the extent of the blessing that God your Lord has granted you...When you bring in the products of your threshing floor and wine vat, you shall celebrate the festival of Sukkot for seven days...Three times each year, all your males shall thus be seen in the presence of God your Lord in the place that He will choose: on the festival of matzahs, on the festival of Shavuot, and on the festival of Sukkot...
You shall not appear before God empty-handed."

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bus #3 to Mashhad


I needed the expert services of the sandlar, the shoe repairman, in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City today.
So I took the tram all across Jerusalem, from Mt. Herzl in the west to the Damascus Gate station in the east.

The city recently opened a new Arab bus and mini-bus terminal right next to that same tram/light rail station.
The routes seem to be mostly to the Arab towns and villages in the West Bank.

I photographed this particular sign for two blog-friends from Mashhad, but a different one, a real city,  in another country.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Breaking the fast by breaking bread

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Here in Jerusalem Yom Kippur ended at 6:07 pm.
As  the 26-hour no-food no-water fast came to an end, all thoughts turned toward food and drink.

Fortunately, on my last visit to the shuk (Mahane Yehuda market), I stocked up on special bread at the tiny bakery on Jaffa Street.

The growing line of customers waited patiently and with understanding  as dark smoke started escaping from the oven and the baker/seller opened the door and dashed inside.
He quickly peeled the round  Bukharan bread from the ceiling and brought out a stack.

Then he took some kind of long, flat, stiff breads off the sides of the oven. (Next time I'll ask what they are called.)
It is a mystery to me how the loaves just stick to the oven and don't fall.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Absalom's Pillar and Yom Kippur


You have seen this stained glass window before, I know, I know.
Every year at Yom Kippur I seem to refer you back to my earlier post that explains  the synagogue Yom Kippur window,  just because I have nothing new to tell about the holy day.
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But hey, let's look at the real monument that is depicted in the glass!

It is Yad Avshalom,  Absalom's Pillar, at the foot of the Mt. of Olives, in the Kidron Valley.
The bottom part is hewn out of the rock.
Together with the drum and cone, it is 47 feet tall. 


Also called Absalom's Tomb, it was built some 2,000 years ago.
It is Jerusalem's only relatively intact structure from before the Roman destruction of the city in 70 CE.
Both Greek and local styles are blended. 


Avshalom was the son of King David.
David's men killed him after a failed mutiny.

Zev Vilnay says that "For centuries, it was the custom among passersby--Jews, Muslims, and Christians--to throw stones at the monument. Residents of Jerusalem would bring their unruly children to the site to teach them what became of a rebellious son."
Frommer's says that  "At one time, religious Jews would throw stones at Absalom's tomb (Kever Avshalom) in condemnation of Absalom, who rebelled against his father, King David."

See a 17th century engraving of the stoning here

Go to this 19th century photo to see how high the pile of rocks around and inside the monument had reached.
Another view here
A big clean-up was done in 1925.


Just to the right of Absalom's Pillar are the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir and the Tomb of Zechariah.
Enlarge the photo (with two separate clicks) to see the thousands of ancient (and some modern) Jewish graves on the Mt. of Olives. 

Don't get lost, follow the signs!

Lots more information:
360-degree panorama
A short video
Bible sources about Absalom
About Yad Avshalom as a 4th C Christian shrine here and here

Getting back to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement starting tomorrow afternoon . . . I wish you gmar chatima tova, may you be written and sealed in God's Book of Life for a good new year.
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(The post participates in Taphophile Tragics, ABC Wednesday, Our World Tuesday, and  Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A still-awaited ideal world of just and righteous governing

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Who would have believed that we'd stick with it so long?! Robert Geiss in Athens has led us through almost half of the 150 Psalms at his Psalm Challenge.  Today we complete the second of the five books of Psalms.
It would be a good time for you to jump in and join us!

PSALM 72

1. Of Solomon.

O God, confer Your just rules upon the king, and Your righteousness upon the king’s son;
2. may he judge Your people rightly, and Your lowly ones with justice.
3. May the mountains bring well-being to the people; the hills, righteousness.
4. May he rule the lowly among the people justly, save the children of the poor, and crush the oppressor.
5. May they fear You as long as the sun shines and while the moon lasts, generation through generations.
6. May he be like rain that falls on a mown field, like sprinkling showers of the earth,
7. that the righteous person may flourish in his days and that well-being abound, till the moon is no more.
8. May he reign from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.
9. Before him may desert tribes kneel, and his enemies lick the dust.
10. May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring forth gifts, kings of Sheba and Seba offer tribute.
11. And may all kings prostrate themselves before him, all nations serve him.

12. For when he saves the poor man who cries out, the lowly who has no one to help him,
13. cares about the needy poor man, saves the lives of the poor,
14. redeems their lives from lawlessness and violence, and holds their blood precious in his eyes,
15. he shall live and be endowed with gold of Sheba; may prayers for him be said always, blessings on him invoked at all times.



16. May abundant grain be on earth, to the tops of the mountains; its crops reverberating like the forest of Lebanon;


and may men sprout up in towns like the earth’s grass.
17. May his name be eternal; while the sun lasts, may his name be re-summoned; and may all nations bless themselves through him, and may they count him happy.

18. Blessed is the LORD, God, God of Israel, who alone works wonders;
19. Blessed is His glorious name eternally; and may His glory fill all the earth. Amen and Amen.

20. The prayers of David, son of Jesse, are ended.
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Translation by Rabbi Benjamin Segal
Photos:
At the foot of the Jura Mountains, Switzerland.
Click on the photos and then once again to see the kernels in the heads of grain. 
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gaining an hour but losing the day


A big clock in the bell tower--I guess it tells the monks at St. Gerasimus monastery exactly when to ring the bells for prayer.

Tonight this and all our clocks will have to be turned back an hour.
Crazy, no?
It is only September;  it is still sunny, hot and dry, like summer.
So why does Israel have to go off sha'on kayits, the "summer clock" (Daylight Savings) and jump so soon into sha'on choref, "winter clock"?

Every year the politicians and the Knesset argue about when to go off D.S.T. but they can't get their act together.

All I know is that the dark of night will be coming way too soon.
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REMINDER: The Wikipedia photo competition is happening now! Contribute your cultural heritage pictures and you might even win a prize.
Details at my post about Wiki Loves Monuments. 
And today's Wiki blog post proves that heritage buildings should be photographed before they are lost.  (Something Israel, especially, should be thinking about, maybe.)
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Reflection in "The Scottie"

It looks a bit complicated but I think I was taking a picture,  through a glass door,  of the arched window that is  inside St. Andrews Scottish Guest House.
And of course aiming for the reflection of Mt. Zion across the valley.
The tables are on the outside patio that boasts a splendid view of old Jerusalem.
Visible in the photo are the Dormition Abbey, the former Bishop Gorbat School, and the Old City wall. 
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Smoke rising?



I looked out across our valley in the Jerusalem Hills  and my heart sank!
It looked like smoke rising.
The last thing we want in our moshav on a hill surrounded by forest is a fire.

But there was also the noise of an  all-terrain vehicle going full speed.
I could not spot the ATV but I watched and finally saw that  clouds of dust (not smoke) were following the route of the twisting dirt road.
What a relief!
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(The late afternoon sky is for SkyWatch Friday.)
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tashlich, year 5773 AM (anno mundi)

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 On  Rosh Hashana afternoon it is customary to do the Tashlich ceremony.
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In the biblical book of Micah (7:18-19) it says:
"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? . . . You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."

"You will cast" in Hebrew is the verb tashlich.

The Jerusalem region has no sea or lake or river.
I am lucky to live  a short walk  from a spring-fed fish pond.


I read the prayer  and then took the symbolic bread crumbs from my pocket.
 I named a personal sin and threw a crumb in the water, named a national sin and threw another, a private sin of omission and tossed more bread.

The fish had a feeding frenzy!

Part of the symbolism is that a fish has no eyelids and cannot close its eyes, and so  too  may God always keep his eyes open watching over us.

You can see the nice Tashlich prayer here

Shava tova -- let the new year be a good one.
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UPDATE: The newspapers now have photos of where Israelis like to go for Tashlich .
And Israelity has pictures of the rivers.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jenny or jackass?

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J is for jenny, a female donkey.

"Ephraim . . . Ephraim!"
2000
Lidia Zavadsky
Earthenware, copper glaze,
soft lead stripes

At Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv
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(A post for ABC Wednesday.)
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Wiki Loves Monuments (historical landmarks) photo contest

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Photographers, bloggers, natives, tourists--get your cameras ready!
Or your archives.
Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 is in progress!

Wikipedia needs photos, old or new, of your local cultural heritage and the best entries in their big photo contest will get prizes.

I read through the list of moreshet/heritage places in Israel and realized that my archive is already full of such pictures.
Maybe I should upload a bunch and try for the shekel prizes of

  • First place: ILS 5000 (about $1,250)
  • Second place: ILS 3000 (about $750)
  • Third place: ILS 2000 (about $500)
Worldwide, 142,511 images have already been uploaded; and in Israel, 353.

Check the website to see if your country is participating and what the final date is.
In Israel, the contest (like everything else here) starts and ends (Oct. 15) later than in non-Jewish countries because of the chagim, the holidays.

About the contest for Israel
FAQs in Hebrew
Help Desk in English
Wiki Loves Monuments blog
2011 contest jury report (judging criteria, etc.)

I am new to this; does anyone have any advice? It sounds like a good thing to do, this contributing to Wiki and freely sharing pictures of my beloved country . . . . Is it?
It means anyone in the world can use our photographs, for any purpose, including commercial.
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UPDATE: See added information in the comments section, e.g. re the Wiki contest in the USA.
UPDATE #2:  The Jerusalem Post writes about the competition in Israel.
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(This post can be good for Our World Tuesday.)
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Might God cast us off when we grow old?

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Welcome to a new year which just began tonight, Erev Rosh Hashana.
It is 5773 AM (anno mundi) on the Hebrew calendar.
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It is also Sunday, the day on which blogger Psalm illustrators come together at Robert's PsalmChallenge in Athens.
Today's psalm has the well-known and heartfelt verse 9 which, changed into plural, is part of the Yom Kippur liturgy.

Here is Psalm 71:

1. I take refuge in you, O LORD, may I never be disgraced.
2. In Your righteousness, save me and rescue me; incline Your ear to me and deliver me.
3. Be for me a sheltering boulder to which I may always come; You ordained my deliverance, for You are my rock and my fortress.
4. My God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked, from the grip of the unjust and the violent.

5. For You are my hope, O Lord; O LORD, my reliance from my youth.
6. In utero, I was dependent on You; it is You who brought me out from my mother’s womb; I sing Your praises always.
7. I have become, as it were, an exemplar for many, for You are my mighty refuge.
8. My mouth is full of Your praise; all the day, Your glorification.

9. Do not cast me off in time of old age; when my strength ends, do not forsake me!

10. For my enemies speak against me; those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together,
11. speaking: “God has forsaken him; pursue and catch him, for there is no one who saves!’’

12. O God, do not be far from me; my God, hasten to my aid!
13. Let those who despise my life end in disgrace; let them be clothed in reproach and shame, those who seek my harm!

14. As for me, I shall always hope and add to all Your praises.
15. My mouth recounts Your righteousness, Your deliverance all the day, though I know not how to count it.
16. I come with praise of Your mighty acts, O Lord; LORD, I make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone.
17. You have taught me, God, from my youth, and until now I have proclaimed Your wondrous deeds,
18. and even until hoary old age, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your strength to the next generation, Your might, to all who are to come,
19. Your righteousness, O God, is as high as the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You!


20. Having shown me much harm and trouble, You will again revive me; from the depths of the earth, again raise me up.
21. You will grant me much greatness, You will turn to comfort me.
22. Then I will acclaim You―Your faithfulness―with the lyre, O my God; I will sing a hymn to You with a harp, O Holy One of Israel.
23. My lips shall be jubilant, as I sing a hymn to You, [with] my life, that You have redeemed.
24. My tongue as well shall recite Your righteousness all the day; how disgracefully abashed are those who seek my harm!
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Translation by Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal. See also the Hebrew original there and his analysis of the psalm.
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Photos:
4: A soulful friend sings to God.

1-3: Lad LaKashish / Lifeline for the Old center: workshops and giftshop.
"Yad LaKashish is a non-profit organization which provides hundreds of Jerusalem's needy elderly with creative work opportunities & crucial support services, helping them to feel part of Israeli society & boosting their sense of purpose & self worth."

See their inspiring videos at the website .
You can order lovely things made by the artisans online.
Check out Yad LaKashish also on Facebook.
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

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At times, when the pressure gets too great, stones meant for building and beauty break loose, fall into the wrong hands, and become projectiles instead.


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Friday, September 14, 2012

Would you like your hay bagged?

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Many favorite blogs here in the northern hemisphere are showing pastoral scenes of freshly-baled hay sitting in golden fields.
Over the years and the miles I've seen quite a few ways of protecting bales--but never saw hay in a zippered bag!
This one, encountered at the Polysack booth at last May's big Agritech exhibition, made me smile for some reason. :)
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Browse their website and be surprised by all the Israeli high-tech agricultural innovations, including amazing agrotextiles.
At a kibbutz in the Negev, 150 people work at Polysack to supply solutions for world agriculture.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eyes to the sky

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Eyes to the sky
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St. Etienne basilica and monastery of the Dominicans, home of the Ecole Biblique.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Fire Next Time

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May the individual flames of prayer eventually overcome the mob's fires of destruction.
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A virtual memorial candle and a place to express condolences for the four Americans killed last night in Libya:
https://www.facebook.com/U.S.EmbassyTelAvivIsrael?ref=ts
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Archaeologist, beware!

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Now that you are fortified with yesterday's post's pomegranate juice, let us get back to a weightier subject for today's Taphophile Tragics.

"The Kidron Valley is the boundary between the living . . . and the dead . . ."
So begins the City of David's sign perched on the side of the valley.
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Kindly click on the photo to read about Jerusalem's cemetery from 2,000 years ago.

The photo above can be enlarged too, so you can see the ancient inscription found in the burial cave.
The inscription, discovered in 1874, may relate to the Prophet Isaiah's words (22:16).

It says
This is [the grave of ] [... iahu] who is over the house. There is no silver or gold here, but [his bones (i.e. the deceased's)] and the bones of his maid servant with him.
Cursed be the man who will open this.
The City of David interpretation suggests this may refer to the royal overseer at the court of King Hezekiah, Shebna, whom Isaiah castigated for carving himself an opulent tomb in Jerusalem.

In this zoom shot you can make out at least five of these tomb entrances in between the houses in the Arab village of Silwan.
With a click on the photo and then another click, you should see some kids tending their goats.

Just to the left of Silwan begins the huge Mt. of Olives cemetery.
Jews have been, and continue to be, buried there for thousands of years.
The rows of graves stretch from the Kidron all the way up to the top of the mountain.
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(Isaiah, inscription, interpretation, and interment are all "I" words for today's ABC Wednesday meme.)
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Fresh pomegranate juice

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This nice man at Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda open-air market was happy to press me some sweet pomegranate juice today.

See?! Here is comes!
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As our grandmothers always said, "Kos briut!" (a glass full of good health!).
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The shuk is full now with big red pomegrantes because it is a symbolic food for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year starting this Sunday evening.
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(This little look into the huge fresh produce market is for Our World Tuesday meme.)
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

A desperate call for urgent help -- Ps. 70

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All day yesterday I was mulling what to do with Psalm 70 (for Robert's weekly PsalmChallenge).
I was getting no inspiration; I couldn't find a fitting photo (and still can't).
What to do with yet another psalm of calls for help and revenge?
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The answer came to me in a dramatic way:
I left the house for my usual evening walk; the minute I stepped onto the street a small dog came yapping and running toward me, got behind me and bit me on the lower leg.

I spun around and yelled "Stop it!", hoping it would make the dog's owners, a young couple and their baby, pay attention and come to my rescue.
They took their sweet time coming over and calling their dog, thinking he was just barking at me.
I looked at the two red scratch marks from its fangs and at its saliva on my skin and felt the pain inside and shouted to the people that it was indeed a bite.

"Oh, slicha, slicha" they said.
I retorted, "I don't want 'Sorry, sorry,' I just want not to be bitten when I walk on my own street! Train your dog! Get a leash! Take some responsibility!"
And I added that my step-daughter recently spent months in a wheelchair after a dog bit her on two different days in the stairwell of her apartment.
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Back home, cleaning my wound (which fortunately was not deep or bleeding), I felt the anger more than the physical pain.
I had shouted, I had been attacked, help was slow in coming--all such rare things in my current life--and the adrenaline was pumping.
I heard myself planning: "Next time I'll go out walking with a strong walking stick and if that damn dog comes at me again I'll break its teeth, I'll smash its head, I'll . . . ."
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Then it occurred to me: I was sounding like the biblical psalmists!
I could so identify with them, suddenly.
I could feel their righteous indignation!

And my murmured threats were nothing worse than an example of the Hebrew hyperbole so common in the Bible, the exaggeration for effect often used in Semitic languages.
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Then I wondered just how many folks in the Western world have ever been physically and unjustly attacked by man or beast, how many know the constant fear of an existential threat to them and their whole country?

The people who feel a need to "clean up" and tone down many of the Psalms, taking the "violent" and "terrible" verses out of some Psalms before inclusion in their prayer books--are they not missing the point and power of the Psalms?

Well, I was taught a lot yesterday; but next weekend I might think twice before praying for some PsalmChallenge inspiration.
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PSALM 70
1. For the leader. Of David. Lehazkir.

2. Hasten, O God, to save me; O LORD, to aid me.
3. May those who seek my life be disgraced and abashed; may those who wish me harm fall back in shame.
4. May those who say “Aha! Aha!’’ over me retreat in disgrace.
5. May all who seek You be glad and rejoice in You; may those who are eager for Your deliverance always say, “God be exalted!”
6. As for me, I am lowly and needy; O God, hasten to me. You are my aid and my rescuer; O LORD, do not hold back.
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Translation by Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal.
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For a modern and initially shocking reworking of Psalm 70 by Rabbi Justin David, do see the new American book Psalms in Ordinary Voices.
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Archaeology evening, Part 2

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Here is one of the guides who explained the Givati Parking Lot excavations on Thursday, as part of the 13th annual City of David conference.
He is showing the buried treasure that was found there in recent years.
Like the hoard of 264 gold coins, never used, in mint condition, dated to 613 CE, worth over half a million dollars today!

A British woman volunteer found the money in the wall of this Byzantine building.
This dig in the Arab village of Silwan, right next to the Old City, is the biggest on-going excavation in Israel.

The other items in the guide's photo are a tile with the stamp of the Roman Tenth Legion and a 2,000 year old earring of gold, pearl, and emerald.
Got $180 (less a holiday discount)? --You, too, can buy a pair of earrings, replicas of this beautiful Roman Period find.
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Last night's demonstration in Jerusalem

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The young woman with the bullhorn led the slogan-chanting of the demonstrators.
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I came up behind them, as I was just exiting the big Givati Parking Lot Dig where guided tours of the excavation were going on.

I had to cross the street to get to the annual City of David Archaeology conference.
I needed to squeeze between the many Border Police to get this photo.
The policemen outnumbered the demonstrators, it looked like.

The narrow street leads from the Arab Silwan up to the southern wall of the Old City.
To the left is the Dung Gate into the Old City.
The dome you see is El Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount.
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I'll tell you more about the conference itself in the coming posts.

If you want to try to understand the reason for yesterday's demonstration, please see my earlier post http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.co.il/2010/09/trouble-in-jerusalem.html.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The writing on the door

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Everyone knows the verse of Psalms that tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but today this new graffiti in the Old City rings true as well.
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