Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ethiopian ceremonial umbrellas

Joining in the City Daily Photo group's UMBRELLA Theme Day.
Visit the nice new portal to see how bloggers from around the world are interpreting this theme. 

My photos (which you can enlarge with a click, then another click)  are from Jerusalem Day, May 21, 2009.
Now in May Israel has no rain, so the umbrellas you see above are not for keeping dry.
As I understand it, they are meant to show honor to a person or object.

These men  praying in their ancient Gez language are kesim,  Jewish spiritual leaders of the Ethiopian community.
But Ethiopian Orthodox Christians also use these colorful fringed and embroidered umbrellas.
I have seen them called liturgical parasols and also ceremonial umbrellas.

The relatively new ceremony, now held every year on Mount Herzl, is called "The National Ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel."

President Peres  had praise for this isolated community that managed to survive 3,000 years of The Exile in the mountains of Ethiopia.
 He lauded their unending dream to return to Israel, which they called "Eretz Jerusalem," the Land of Jerusalem. 

There were several big operations to bring masses of Ethiopian Jews home.
 Peres talked mostly about Operation Moses, 1984-5.
One out of every three Ethiopian Jews who started the trek, on foot, over the mountains and then through the desert of Sudan to the temporary refugee camps, in other words 4,000 of those people, died before they could be air-lifted to Israel.

This kes came to the podium, opened his ceremonial umbrella, and spoke from the heart, without a written speech, in the spoken language Amharic. 
His whole family died on the long way to Israel.
 For full coverage of this event and for more about Ethiopian Jews, please see my post With Ethiopian-Israelis on Jerusalem Day

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Better than a dog


What?!  Giraffes??

I spied them peeking out from the backyard of an apartment building in the Beit Hakerem neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prayer for Christian Unity at the Cenacle

Thursday my nun friends invited me to come along to  Day 5 of the annual  Week of Prayer for Christian Unity .
Every day a different church hosts the community and leads the ecumenical prayer service.

 But Day 5 was in the Upper Room, the Cenacle, which belongs to all Christians, so to speak, because here was the Last Supper and here the first Christian community gathered and experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

 The only ones to have chairs were the clergymen from the various denominations.
(May be helpful to enlarge the photo.)

On the right is Father  Gregory Collins OSB, who led the service and preached, in ENGLISH! 
He is an Irish Benedictine monk of Glenstal Abbey and last year he became the Abbot of the Dormition Abbey on Mt. Zion (see my coverage of that Mass here).

 The ancient columns and capitals and the six rib-vaulted bays are beautiful to behold.
For Christians I can imagine the Upper Room has much spiritual energy.
And one floor below is the Tomb of David where Jews pray, so Christianity's roots are literally underneath.
At one point the hall was also made into a mosque as you can see in the first photo above with the Muslim prayer niche, the hanging mosque lamp, and the Arabic writing on the window.

Here is one of the two small doors into the Cenaculum.

UPDATE: A short video of the Unity Week's prayer services is now  here
So for ABC Wednesday, C is for Christians communing in the Cenacle.
And the architectural elements are linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's a bloomin' glacis!

The grass in the moat and the vegetation on the glacis is bright green and thriving with the abundant winter rains we are having.
A glacis is a bank sloping down from a fort which exposes attackers to the defenders' missiles, the dictionary says.
The nice Hebrew word for glacis  is a "chalaklakah," meaning literally, very slippery.
This one is part of the 12th century Crusader fortification system of the Citadel (of Tower of David).
It was later repaired by the Ottomans. 

The dry moat was "probably built during the Crusader period (twelfth century) and originally reached the entrance and was partly spanned by a wooden drawbridge," according to the sign.

That is easier to understand if you look at an earlier post with pictures of the present-day bridge.
Or at this post with night photos of the beautifully floodlit bridge.

Oh, and a nice little bonus is the group of nuns in black walking past the Citadel.  (Just click on the photo once and then once again.)
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The spider in the Psalter

Whenever I am at a loss how to illustrate the PsalmChallenge Sunday psalm, I look in the beautiful medieval Stuttgart Psalter to see how they did it.
So imagine my consternation today when I found our Psalm 90 illustrated with a man watching a spider spin its web.
Huh?? I didn't see a spider mentioned in any of the translations I had perused nor in the original Hebrew.

Then it dawned on me that the copyist creating the manuscript in 820-830 in France would have only the Latin  Vulgate available to him.
It was only much later, during the Protestant reformation in the 14th and 15th centuries, that the Bible was translated into modern languages (against great resistance from the Catholic Church).

So I searched our Psalm 90 in the Vulgate for some sign of a spider and sure enough:

9 Quoniam omnes dies nostri defecerunt in ira tua defecimus anni nostri sicut aranea meditabantur
10 Dies annorum nostrorum in ipsis sep tuaginta anni si autem in potentatibus octoginta anni et amplius eorum labor et dolor quoniam supervenit mansuetudo et cor ripiemur
Online dictionaries say that aranea is Latin for 1. spider, 2. spider web, 3. (figuratively) threads similar to spider webs.

The English Psalter translates the verses as
9 For all our days are spent; and in thy wrath we have fainted away. Our years shall be considered spider:
 10 the days of our years in them are threescore and ten years. But if in the strong they be fourscore years: and what is more of them is labour and sorrow. For mildness is come upon us: and we shall be corrected.

Or more polished:
"Our years pass away like those of a spider." 
Meaning our life is as frail as the thread of a spider  web.
But still, I don't understand where the translator could have gotten spider from the Hebrew
(ט) כִּי כָל יָמֵינוּ פָּנוּ בְעֶבְרָתֶךָ כִּלִּינוּ שָׁנֵינוּ כְמוֹ הֶגֶה

Photo is from Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart DFG-Viewer
where it can be enjoyed in high resolution

OK, let's see the whole Psalm 90 in a good and modern translation by Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal, directly from the Hebrew:

1. A prayer of Moses, the Man of God:

O Lord, You have been our refuge from generation to generation.
2. Before the mountains were born, before You formed the earth and the world,
from eternity to eternity You are God.
3. You turn mankind back to dust; You decreed, “Turn back, you children of man!”
4. For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that has passed, like a watch in the night.
5. You cause them to flow by. They are sleep. At daybreak they are like grass that renews itself;
6. at daybreak it flourishes, renewed; by dusk it withers and dries up.

7. Indeed we are consumed by Your anger, terror-struck by Your fury.
8. You have set our iniquities before You, our hidden sins in the light of Your face.
9. All our days pass away under Your wrath; we consume our years like a sigh.
10. The days of our years are all of seventy years or, given the strength, eighty years; but the best of them are trouble and sorrow. They pass by speedily, and we fly away.
11. Who can know Your furious anger, and Your wrath, which matches the fear of You.

12. Bring us to know how to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a wise heart.
13. Turn, O Lord! How long?! Show mercy to Your servants.
14. Satisfy us at daybreak with Your steadfast love that we may sing for joy all our days.
15. Give us joy for as many days as You have afflicted us, for the years we have seen calamity.
16. Let Your deeds be seen by Your servants, Your glory by their children.
17. May the favor of the Lord, our God, be with us; establish with us the work of our hands; yes, the work of our hands, establish it!

Translation: Rabbi Segal.  See his excellent commentary.

Photos (all can be enlarged with a click and then a second click):
1. Stuttgarter Psalter
2. Statues made from Dead Sea salt crystals.  Mamilla mall Ahava store.
3. Just before the sun rises over Jerusalem.  You can see the tall mast of the Calatrava bridge on the horizon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Aussie grandkids feed the chooks


Happy Australia Day to all Aussies and Aussies-at-heart! 

My  contribution to that fine country is three happy born-in-Australia citizens--my three grandchildren, Dean, Eyal, and Libby.
Daughter Naomi and son-in-law Guy, both born and raised in Israel, went way down to "the Great South Land" to study for their doctorate and stayed.  
That's Guy in the photo with their kids. 

Can't blame them.  Life is Australia is a lot calmer, safer, saner, and less stressful than here in the Middle East. 
As you can see from my self-portrait,  bushwalking in New South Wales with a much needed mozzie net, the only thing in life that bothered me in Australia was the flies. 
See other bloggers' contribution to Australia Day over at City Daily Photo portal.
CDP is starting a fun new thing with monthly National Day themes. 
My own blog has lots more Australia-Israel connections under the labels ANZAC Day and Australia. 
Ah, wish I were there right now to celebrate.
(And this post can be for Camera Critters too.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tonight's moon on the ramparts


The almost-full moon rose over the Old City wall.
We walked here just a few hours ago,  at 5:25 pm,  in the magical light of not-day not-night. 

At the base of the ramparts Arab boys were kicking a ball around on what's left of the green grass in Gan Habonim park. 
I was happy for them because if they live inside the small Old City, there they have almost no grassy open spaces for soccer.
Jerusalem is so beautiful, day and night.  Always.
(This post joins hundreds of other bloggers' skies at SkyWatch Friday.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The brave palm tree trimmer


Promise me you will enlarge this photo (by clicking once, and then once again). 

Isn't this guy awesome?!  He was so brave.
He was up in the crown of a palm tree trimming the fronds and after he climbed down, he agreed to show me those tree-climbing spikes strapped to his legs. 
Awesome, right?
Go on, click on the picture.  Look at that smile! 
How often do you see a man doing a dangerous job but enjoying it and taking pride in good work?!

It must be hard enough to climb and keep your balance even  without the heavy chainsaw hanging from your belt. 
At least here, the man had a cinch holding him to the tree so he would have both hands free to saw.

But while he was coming down, he took off the cinch. 
Oi veh!  I was holding my breath. Please don't fall! 
His two assistants on the ground asked me "Mafchid?" --Does it look scary to you?
Oh yeah.

Actually it was my first time to see a palm tree trimmer.
I had only seen pictures of this in Maryanne's blog, in Egypt, and there the man was cutting with an axe. 
Click on her label "palm" to read all the many ways palm fiber and wood is used in Egypt.

If you enlarge this photo too, you can see all the drooping dead branches that needed to be trimmed. 
The row of stately palm trees there at the entrance to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem medical center looked a lot more stately after the trimmer's good treatment.

I thanked him profusely and said "Allah yisa'adek" which I hope is the proper Arabic for what I meant:  May God help you in this challenging work and always keep you safe.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ballot box, blue and white


 B is for ballot box in my village's polling station.
My ballot joins millions of others that were or will be dropped into these simple blue cardboard boxes today.
They will determine the future direction of Israel and maybe even--but hopefully NOT!--the fate of the world.

As if we could forget, Google doodle gave us a reminder this morning:  "Election Day--don't forget to vote!"
Over 30 lists are running for the Knesset; I wonder which little slip of paper the letters G and L in the doodle chose.
(An egg-filled crazy way of getting voters engaged: see my previous post.)
(Linking to ABC Wednesday B-day.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Egg toss at Bibi and Shelly

A crowd was forming as I came out of  Shuk Mahane Yehuda market this afternoon.

Most of the onlookers were religious yeshiva boys.

 Some had long twirled side-curls and some had short tucked-behind-the-ear peot.
Nevertheless, I worked my way closer to the center to see what was going on.

 Two young seculars were wearing goggles and T shirts bearing pictures of two of the major candidates in tomorrow's national elections; the one above had Bibi (Netanyahu) in the crosshairs.

 This one, wearing Shelly (Yacimovich, Labor), was trying hard to explain that the people were invited to throw an egg at the candidate they disliked the most.
They had trays with 60 eggs ready on the pavement.

OK, the boy takes aim, the victim guards his betsim (eggs) . . .

 . . . and splat!  egg yellow on his chest, broken shell on his hand!

Strewn on a black cloth under the eggs were voting slips (yes, we still vote with a paper petek placed inside a paper envelope), and they were all of the Shas party (religious Sephardic Jews).
There was even a glossy picture of their head rabbi on the ground. Oi.

Then the Israeli crowd dynamic came into play.
A woman walking by yelled "Why do you make our sidewalk filthy with all those Shas papers?!  Disgusting!!"
Some young men in black shouted back "So you will have another reason to hate us."

Then an older man saw the egg-throwing in the crowded place (already spilling over onto the tram tracks) and said he was calling the police (as he took pictures with his cell phone).
Then the mood changed.
The previously-amused religious young men started chanting "Smolanim hachutsa, smolanim hachutsa" --meaning "Out with the left-wingers!"

The two in white packed up their eggs and got out of there.
There has been plenty of mud-slinging in this election campaign, but I have never heard of egg-slinging, till today.
For a nice piece about how the candidates always visit "Jerusalem's iconic fruit market" and how the sellers see them, read in The Times of Israel.
(Post links to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Breached walls, desecrated crown

For this Sunday's PsalmChallenge, here is Psalm 89.

1. A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

2. Of the LORD’s loving kindness I will sing forever; to all generations I will make Your faithfulness known with my mouth.
3. I declare, “Your loving kindness is set forever; there in the heavens You have made Your faithfulness firm.”

4. “I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to David My servant:
5. I will confirm your offspring forever; I will set your throne for all generations.”   Selah.

6. Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O LORD, even Your faithfulness in the assembly of holy ones.
7. For who in the skies can compare to the LORD, be likened to the LORD among divine beings,
8. a God held in awe in the council of the many holy ones, fearsome above all surrounding Him?
9. O LORD God of hosts: who is as mighty as You, O LORD? Your faithfulness surrounds You; 

10. it is You Who rules the swelling of the sea; when its waves surge, You still them.
11. It is You Who crushed Rahab as if he were a corpse; with Your powerful arm, You scattered Your enemies.
12. Yours is the heaven, the earth too; the world and its fullness―You founded them.
13. North and south—You created them; Tabor and Hermon sing joyously to Your name.
14. Yours is an arm with might; Your hand is powerful; Your right hand, exalted.
15. Righteousness and law are the firm base of Your throne; loving kindness and faithfulness go before Your presence.
16. Happy is the people who know the festive shout; O LORD they walk in the light of Your presence.
17. In Your name they rejoice all day long; they are exalted through Your righteousness.
18. For You are the grandeur of their power; our horn is exalted by Your will.
19. Truly our shield belongs to the LORD; our king, to the Holy One of Israel.

20. Then You spoke to Your faithful ones in a vision and said, “I have conferred supremacy upon a warrior; I have exalted one chosen from the people.
21. I have found David, My servant; with My sacred oil I have anointed him.
22. My hand shall be firmly with him, and My arm shall strengthen him.
23. No enemy shall overpower1 him, no wicked man afflict him.
24. I will pound his adversaries before him; those who hate him, I will strike down.
25. My faithfulness and loving kindness shall be with him; and through My name, his horn shall be exalted.
26. I will cause his hand to be on the sea, his right hand on the rivers.
27. He shall address Me, “You are my father, my God and the rock of my deliverance.”
28. And so I will appoint him firstborn, the highest of earthly kings.
29. Forever I will keep My loving kindness for him, and My covenant is faithfully his.
30. I will cause his offspring to be for all time, his throne, as long as the heavens endure.
31. If his sons forsake My teaching and do not follow My laws;
32. if they desecrate My edicts, and do not keep My commandments,
33. then I will punish their transgression with a rod, and their iniquity with plagues.
34. But My loving kindness I will not take away from him; I will not betray My faithfulness.
35. I will not desecrate My covenant; what My lips have uttered I will not change.

36. Unequivocally I have sworn by My holiness: I will not be false to David.
37. His offspring shall continue forever, his throne, as the sun before Me,
38. as the moon, confirmed forever, a faithful witness in the sky.”    Selah.

39. Yet You, You have rejected, spurned, and raged at Your anointed one.
40. You have repudiated the covenant with Your servant; You have desecrated his crown in the dirt.

41. You have breached all his walls, caused his strongholds to be rubble.
42. All who pass by plunder him; he has become an object of abuse to his neighbors.
43. You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries: You have made all his enemies rejoice.
44. You have turned back his sword’s blade, and You did not raise him up in battle.
45. You have ended his splendor, and his throne You have hurled to the dirt.
46. You have cut short the days of his youth; You have cloaked him with shame.   Selah.
47. How long, O LORD, will You hide Your face; will Your fury blaze like fire forever?
48. Remember how short my lifespan. How could You have created all men in vain?
49. What man can live and not see death, can save himself from the hand of Sheol?   Selah.
50. Where is Your first loving kindness, My Lord, which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?
51. Remember, O LORD, the abuse toward Your servant, that I have borne in my bosom—many the peoples—
52. how Your enemies have flung abuse, O LORD, how they flung abuse at the steps of Your anointed one.

53. Blessed is the LORD forever. Amen and amen.
Translation: Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal.  See also the Hebrew original and his essay about the psalm.

1. Mediterranean shore at Tel Aviv.
2. Stained glass window with inscription וְכִסְאוֹ כַשֶּׁמֶשׁ נֶגְדִּי  "his throne, as the sun before Me."  At the Great Synagogue, Jerusalem.
3. David by Kobi Knaan.  Mamilla Mall. 
4. A breached ancient terrace wall near my village in the Jerusalem Hills. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

KAI in snow, with curious cat


In last week's rare and not-long-lasting snow I wrote my grandson's name, planning to e-mail the picture to him in Los Angeles.
Kai has not yet seen snow, Californian that he is.  

Meanwhile a stray cat walked into my photo. 
Now, looking at the enlarged version on screen, I try to figure out the tomcat's strange stance:
alert?  afraid?
assuming attack mode? 
being careful to avoid snow? 
about to jump up to the shed roof?
studying the grapevine's shadow? 
listening for a bird? 
catching scent of a she-cat? 
Maybe the animal observers at Camera-Critters know?
(P.S.  There is another animal, a HUGE rubber duck, in the previous post!)
And if you missed the snow pictures last week, look at

Friday, January 18, 2013

A mega rubber ducky!

Blogger mates in Oz--I don't mean to encroach on your territory but my family in Australia sent me these pictures and they are perfect for Weekend Reflections and perfect for a BIG smile.

 Photos by daughter Naomi 

Rubber Duck is 5 storeys high and 5 storeys wide!
When a tugboat pushed the inflated circle pontoon  into Sydney harbor for the Festival they had to open the bridge and the overhead monorail.

The duck's creator, Florentijn Hofman from The Netherlands, explains that "It relieves everyday tensions, as well as defining them. Its purpose is to do no more than amaze."

But in this fun video from the harbor, the artist also says  "It's about one family, and you have to take care of each other in the world.  And our global waterways--it's our bathtub and we have to take care of it."

In past years Hofman has made other giant ducks for other parts of the world. 

Here's grandson Dean holding up the duck.
I remember when he was much smaller, playing with a much smaller rubber ducky in the bathtub.
The team that made Rubber Duck got their inspiration from memories of childhood.
They say in the video that this duck connects everyone because everyone had a childhood, and they took the idea of enchantment and the child and all the pleasure of having a bath.
Actually it is part of a 90-minute musical show.
But really, just enjoy the short  video!
Good on ya,  Sydney!  What a fun city!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gateway to nowhere


Abandoned pillars of an old gateway. 

One of the mysteries in the wilderness valley where I often hike, right below my village. 
The January sky above the Jerusalem Hills is for SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Leaning limestone


And what is next to "The Antiquarian Book Shop" we saw in yesterday's post, out in the Israel Museum's art garden?
This thing of limestone and steel cable.

Benni Efrat, an Israel artist born in Lebanon in 1935, made it in 1978.
It's name?
(If you are more interested in the shiny thing in the background, see my posts
and )

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An American artist's "Antiquarian Book Shop"

As you may guess from the title,  ABC Wednesday is starting another round through the ABCs today, for the 12th time!

New York artist Mark Dion’s work "The Antiquarian Book Shop,"  2008,
now stands in the Israel Museum's art garden.

A Jerusalem Post article calls it "an installation that tries to shatter the accepted norms of history and collective culture."

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem Magazine calls it
  a life-scale book shop filled with hundreds of books and collectibles culled from various locations and cultures worldwide and across an impressive range of periods in time.
Dion’s house-like structure is locked and not accessible, creating a kind of still-life motif within the dynamism of the Garden’s seven-acre setting.
The work seeks to find connections between disparate peoples and moments in history and literature, revealing underlying commonalities of humankind and resonating both with the European tradition of the 16th–17th-century Wunderkammer, and with the Museum’s encyclopedic collections.
Its special setting in the Garden, near works by such minimalist masters as Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, creates yet another level of dynamic reflection about the nature of empty forms, as well as of those – such as Dion’s – that are filled with rich material content.

Well, whatever.   All I know is that it felt frustrating to be peering through locked windows and door at all those globes and stuff and books, instead of being able to enter and browse.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mosque of Omar

In the Muristan area of the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, just opposite the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,  you will find the Mosque of Omar.

Its distinctive square minaret, 15 meters tall, was built in the 1460s.
The minaret was  renovated by Ottoman sultan Abdulmecid I in the mid 19th century.

(All photos can be much enlarged, to see, for instance, the big loudspeakers atop the minaret for the call to prayer.)

The mosque was built in 1193.
As you can read on the beautiful gate, it is "For Prayers Only," meaning non-Muslims may not enter.

It is a very tight corner in the narrow lanes of the Old City and I could not back up enough to capture the gate in one shot.

Sacred Destinations explains why the Mosque of Omar was built:
After a brief and bloodless seige, Muslims seized control of Jerusalem from the Byzantines in February 638. Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab accepted the city's surrender from Patriarch Sophronius in person.

Omar was shown the great Church of the Holy Sepulchre and offered a place to pray in it, but he refused. He knew that if he prayed in the church, it would set a precedent that would lead to the building's transformation into a mosque. He instead prayed on the steps outside, allowing the church to remain a Christian holy place.

The Omar Mosque was built near the site of these events in 1193 by Saladin's son Aphdal Ali.

This means that we have Caliph Omar to thank, because his actions after his takeover of Jerusalem ensured that the Holy Sepulchre would remain open to Christian worship.

UPDATE:   In 1172 the Crusaders added a beautiful bell tower, 29 meters high (!), to the Holy Sepulchre.
After Saladin’s arrival in 1187, the 18 bells that had chimed the hours and announced the services were melted down and not replaced until the 19th century, when the current ones were installed.
An earthquake in 1545 caused a collapse of the upper parts of the bell tower, but the Ottoman governor of Jerusalem refused to authorize its reconstruction.
The truncated bell tower has been dwarfed ever since by the 15-meter minaret of the adjacent Mosque of Omar.
P.S. Jerusalem had a rare snowfall!  If you haven't seen my posts of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday you are welcome to enjoy snow pictures there.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors and to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A darkness psalm

For PsalmChallenge, hosted by Robert Geiss in Athens, here is the dark Psalm 88.

1. A song. A psalm of the Korachites. For the leader. On mahalat le’annot.  A maskil  of Heman the Ezrahite.

2. O LORD, God of my deliverance, daily I cry out at night in front of You.
3. Let my prayer come before Your face; incline Your ear to my cry.
4. For my soul is sated with evils; my life has arrived at the brink of Sheol.

5. I am reckoned with those who go down into the Pit; I am become like a man without strength,
6. loosed among the dead, like slain corpses lying in the grave whom You remember no more, for they are cut off from Your hand.
7. You make me be at the bottom of the Pit, in utter darkness, in the depths.
8. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and so all Your waves; You cause affliction.   Selah.

9. You have distanced from me my companions; You make me an utter abhorrence to them; I am imprisoned, unable to get out.
10. My eyes throb from affliction; I call to You, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to You.

11. Will You work wonders for the dead? Will the shades rise to praise You?   Selah.

12 Will Your steadfast love be recounted in the grave, Your faithfulness in Perdition?
13. Will Your wonders be made known in the Dark, Your righteous beneficence in the land of oblivion?

14. As for me, to You, O LORD, I cry out, and in the morning my prayer greets You.
15. Why, O LORD, do You rebuff my soul, do You hide Your face from me?
16. Afflicted and dying from my youth, I suffer Your terrors wherever I turn.
17. Your fury overwhelms me; Your dread assaults destroy me.
18. They swirl around me like waters all day long; they encircle me totally.
19. You have distanced from me loving friend and neighbor, my companions. Darkness.
Translation by Rabbi Benjamin Segal.   It is well worth reading his explanations, especially for this unusually dark psalm.
He also points out that "It is of note that the Church prescribed this psalm for Good Friday, implying an appropriate description of Jesus’ suffering on the cross."
1.  The newer section of the ancient cemetery of Tiberias.
2.  Me struggling in Fribourg, Switzerland. 
3-4. Ancient burial caves, some still with the bones!, under St. Etienne/St. Stephen's in Jerusalem.
5.  Man praying at a tomb in Tiberias cemetery. 
UPDATE:  See how Orthodox Christians made the blessing of the waters for the Feast of Theophany, not at the Jordan, but on a frozen lake in Minnesota!   Great photos at Leif's blog.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cats in snow

If you have looked at my blog for the past two days you  know that the Jerusalem region was treated to a rare snowfall on Thursday.
Ten inches!

It was only the second time in her life for 6-year-old Shachar to feel snow underfoot.
She walked through it as gingerly as possible. 
Two legs down, two legs up, way up.

Lara, Shachar's mother, wanted nothing of it.
She tried to stay high and dry.

The little cat paw prints looked delicate,

compared to the much bigger canine prints.
Or--maybe this was the jackal I saw in the snow of 2008!

(All photos can be much enlarged.)

(A post for Camera Critters.)