Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sowing light and joy

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For PsalmChallenge, hosted by Robert Geiss in Athens, here is

PSALM 97 

1. It is the LORD Who is king! Let the earth be glad, let the many distant lands rejoice.
2. Cloud and storm cloud round about Him, righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne.
3. Fire goes before Him, burning His foes round about.




4. His lightning bolts have lit up the world; the earth saw it and trembled;
5. mountains melting like wax in facing the LORD, in facing the Lord of all the earth.
6. The heavens have proclaimed His righteousness and all the peoples have seen His glory.
 


7. Let all who worship graven images, who boast of their idols, be dismayed; all you gods, prostrate yourselves to Him.
8. Zion heard and rejoiced; the towns of Judah were glad because of Your judgments, O LORD.
9. For You, O LORD, are Most High, above all the earth; You have taken the highest place, above all gods.




10. Lovers of the LORD, hate evil! He is the guardian of the lives of His devoted ones; from the hand of the wicked He saves them.
11. Light is sown for the righteous and for those who are upright of heart, joy.
12. Rejoice, O righteous ones, in the LORD and give thanks to His holy name. 
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Translation by Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal.  See also his commentary. 
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Photos:
Melting candles on a hot day in a grotto where many pilgrims and tourists come to pray.
"The god Nanauatzin" by Yifah Adir,  Mamilla mall exhibition.
An illuminated date palm tree near the Old City wall.
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Saying happy Easter with flowers

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Our local Franciscan monastery chapel "lovesh chag,"  is all dressed up for the holiday.

Happy Easter to all my reader-friends who celebrate this day! 
Wishing you joy and blessings from Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Hills.
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

A day of waiting. The Epitaphios

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I always think that for my Christian friends Holy Saturday must be the saddest day of the religious year.
As a Jew I can't even bear to imagine what it must be like, thinking of one's lord and master lying alone in a cold and dark tomb.
All the more so for the original disciples, for they did not know that Easter would come so soon, if at all.


My two photos are from the seldom-visited Greek Orthodox church Viri Galilei, on the Mount of Olives.

Orthodox Wiki explains the epitaphios:

The Epitaphios (Greek: Επιτάφιος, epitaphios, or Επιτάφιον, epitaphion; Slavonic: Плащаница, plashchanitsa; Arabic: نعش, naash)
is an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the services of Great Friday and Holy Saturday .
 It also exists in painted or mosaic form, on walls or panels.
. . .
The icon depicts Christ after he has been removed from the cross, lying supine, as his body is being prepared for burial.
The scene is taken from the Gospel of St. John 19:38-42.
Shown around him, and mourning his death, may be his mother (the Theotokos; John the beloved disciple; Joseph of Arimathea; and Mary Magdalene, as well as angels. Nicodemus and others may also be depicted.

Usually, the troparion of the day is embroidered around the edges of the icon:
The Noble Joseph, taking Thy most pure body down from the Tree and having wrapped it in pure linen and spices, laid it in a new tomb.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A 1st C. nail in a foot bone

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A heel bone with a spike driven through it.
Found inside a 1st century  ossuary in a burial cave in Jerusalem.
Our only archaeological evidence (so far)  of a crucifixion.


The Israel Museum sign for this gruesome discovery says

In a burial cave in north Jerusalem, an ossuary was discovered inscribed with the name "Yohohanan son of Hagkol."
The iron nail embedded in the right heel bone indicates that Yehohanan was put to death by crucifixion, the torturous and humiliating method used by the Romans to execute rebels, murderers, and thieves.
Even though thousands of people were executed in this manner, this is the only archaeological evidence that has reached us.
. . .
The bones of the deceased allow us to reconstruct the method used for his crucifixion:
his legs were nailed to the sides of the crucifixion post, while his hands were tied or nailed to the crossbar.
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You can watch a live telecast on your computer soon of the Way of the Cross of Good Friday, from the Colosseum of Rome, at http://www.vatican.va/video/index.html 
Pope Francesco will preside.
The meditations for each station of the cross were written this year by Lebanese Christians.
It starts a little after 21.05 Rome time (7.05 in Sydney, 13.05 in California, 10.05 in Hawaii).
Afterwards it will be available on video at the same Vatican Player website.

The printed Way of the Cross meditations are online now.  Very appropriate for the Middle East.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday + an Israeli Last Supper

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Today being Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, on which Jesus held what some say was a Passover seder, washed his disciples' feet, and told them to love one another,  I thought I'd take a chance and post this famous controversial photo.
(You can enlarge it with a click then another click.)

The untitled work is popularly known as The Last Supper and a print hangs in the Israel Museum.

The Museum has this to say about it:
Adi Nes
Israeli, born 1966
Untitled
Chromogenic print,  90 x 144 cm 
. . .
What appears to be a routine photograph of soldiers eating is, in fact, a carefully staged scene showing Nes’s characteristic attention to detail. It was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, depicting one of the most dramatic moments in the story of Christ: the announcement of Judas’s betrayal, which led to the Crucifixion, the ultimate sacrifice.
 In Israeli society and art, the soldier is often represented as an object of reverence. Brave and confident, he is the heir to mythical figures like the pioneer.
 Nes chooses to emphasize the youthfulness of the soldiers, in transition from adolescence to adulthood, from innocence to disenchantment. They face the greatest danger of all, the risk of dying in battle.
Nes’s analogy between the iconic Christian scene and Israeli reality conveys a political message regarding commitment and sacrifice. Like Christ’s apostles, the soldiers are disciples of an ideology, a power stronger than themselves.
But they are also victims of a geopolitical constellation over which they have no control.
The bullet holes in the wall, cigarette smoke, and bitten apple are symbols of transience, reminding us that this might indeed be their last supper.
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More about the photographer  in Wikipedia and in
http://israel21c.org/people/photographer-adi-nes-connects-ancient-and-modern-israel/

More Last Supper images, including da Vinci's, are here
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Turning, inspiring, challenging


For ABC Wednesday,  K is for Kollek and Kapoor.
(There is more about Kapoor's sculpture in two previous posts.)

To quote the Israel Museum plaque (and no, their signage never uses capitals):

turning the world upside down, jerusalem, 2010
anish kapoor, born India 1954, active london
stainless steel 
commissioned in memory of teddy kollek
founder and father of the israel museum
mayor of jerusalem for 28 years
as a tribute for his vision for the museum
Here in Israel last week, and again yesterday at his White House seder Pesach, President Obama spoke often about the Jewish imperative of tikkun olam:
every person must do their part in fixing the world.

And I say that looking at our world in the usual way seldom gives us a clue as to how to make that repair.
In order to see things  not as they are but as they should be, we need to be  turning the world upside down.
Looking at challenges from a completely different angle, is this not called "having vision"?

Kapoor's tall polished steel hourglass inverts everything, brings heaven down to earth, elevates the earthly Jerusalem.

If you would like to see what brought our Israeli students to cheers, applause, and standing ovations,  President Obama's now-famous speech is here.
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Haggadot and piyyutim

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I am back now from tonight's Passover dinner, celebrated this year with just a few women friends.
I led the seder--for the first time in my life.

Reading the Haggadah of Pesach reminded me of two very beautiful, very big, and very expensive Haggadot that were displayed at last month's Jerusalem International Book Fair.


Like this one.

 I didn't put on white gloves to turn the pages, but the special book was open to the Ma'aseh BeRabbi Eliezer.
Five of the greatest Tannaim, Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Tarfon, are shown elaborating on the Exodus story all through the night.

Even if you don't know Hebrew you can enlarge the photo (with a click or two) and enjoy the artwork.

Haggadah means the  telling (to your children), and this nice idea just appeared online from Jerusalem Post blogger Ben Corn:

 The great medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides famously asks whether one is obliged to read the Haggadah if alone when conducting the Seder.  He answers that the Commandment still prevails in that circumstance. The explicit reason is that there is an inherent value derived from articulating the story, but the implicit rationale for this Maimonidean ruling is that there is a child present even in that scenario. A child exists within each adult.


Here is another special book, opened to the piyyut written in Israel by Yannai in the 5-6th century.
This piyyut (liturgical poem)  in the Haggadah and is known as Az Rov Nissim or Vayehi Bachatzi Halayla" (and it came to pass at midnight) or Karev Yom (a day is coming) and describes the miracles that happened to Israel at night.

You can read the  translation on the right--the text is beautiful even in English.

The last stanza, the mystical wish for redemption, was made into a well-loved Israeli song. 
Hear it here. 
The lyrics and a translation of the refrain are here.
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Chag sa-MEH-ach -- happy holiday!
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

A psalm of joy

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A joyful psalm for PsalmChallenge
Happy Palm Sunday from Jerusalem to the Catholic and Protestant Christians who celebrate it today!
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 PSALM 96
1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols; but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! 9 Worship the LORD in holy array; tremble before him, all the earth! 10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns! Yea, the world is established, it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity." 

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field exult, and everything in it!


     Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy 13 before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth. .Translation: RSV  Photos from Switzerland:1. The yearly flower-growing field near Lake Neuchatel2. My favorite Alp in Canton Glarus.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Passover plague of locusts

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Oh no, a locust!
It landed on my patio today.
Must have been almost 2 inches long. 
I sure hope it is not a harbinger of an approaching swarm.


Last month Egypt had a plague of millions of locusts, which made Israelis think of the ten plagues that the Bible says were needed to convince Pharaoh to let our people go.
But then the Egyptians of 2013 burned tires and the black smoke and the favorable winds drove some of the locusts across the border into Israel a few weeks ago.

Our Agriculture Ministry put the country on locust alert.
When swarms (some were 6 kilometers long!)  landed on field of crops in the south, they were sprayed by crop duster planes and trucks.

How strange to have locusts right before the Passover holiday.

Now we hear that some Jews, especially those from Yemen, like to bake this type of grasshopper until it becomes a crunchy delicacy.
There is some debate, but many rabbis rule that this locust is kosher, the only kosher insect.
If you have the stomach for it you can read "The locusts are coming! Yum!"

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(Linking to Camera-Critters meme.)
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Goodbye, President Obama, and thanks!

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In addition to the Greenpeace protest atop the Bridge of Strings that I showed you in yesterday's post, there was this smaller sign under the bridge.
At the table was a man on hunger strike urging President Obama to free Jonathan Pollard,  who has been in prison since 1987.


Obama visited the graves of Herzl and Rabin at Mt. Herzl this morning.
Then his motorcade took this road down to Yad Vashem.
The street was decorated with many American and Israeli flags.

Toward noon the sunny weather changed into a windy yellow dust storm.
Plans changed just as quickly.
Instead of helicoptering to the Church of the Nativity, they drove to Bethlehem, a short ride from Jerusalem.

Obama's 51-hour visit in Israel ended after 4:00, and the President flew over to Jordan.

They say he came to win the hearts of the Israeli people, to work his magic on us, to "enchant" us.
I think it happened!

I wonder if the sand storm was a sign of the  "winds of change."

Just after Obama was airborne, we heard about his first dramatic success in changing things:
At the airport Obama telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, passed the phone to PM Netanyahu, and a reconciliation between Israel and Turkey was achieved!

May it be the first of more good surprises.
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UPDATE, Saturday: Times of Israel has put together a nice "The defining words and pictures" summary of Obama's three days in Israel.   You can see the 21 pics in a slideshow.
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Greenpeace in action!

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(All photos can be much enlarged. Click once, and then again.)


Greenpeace strikes again!


 I first saw the climbers on Jerusalem's Bridge of Strings at 7:45 this morning.
I hear they started their surprise action already at dawn.


This is not the first time Greenpeace has used Calatrava's bridge to protest.


By 1:30 the hot sun was beating down on the five.
Greenpeace Israel on Facebook is now saying the activists were hanging up there for about TEN hours!


The view from across the street, near Binyanei HaUma, where President Obama would come at 5:00 to give his keynote speech to Israeli students.
The trams kept going over the bridge.
Some of the car drivers on the busy road tooted their encouragement to the protesters.


The police waited below, snapping photos.
Our media was not mentioning the event all day.
Only now, at 7:00 pm,  I hear on the radio that when the climbers finally came down four were arrested.
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Whether you agree with the tactics and ideas of Greenpeace or not, you had to admire the strength, determination, idealism, and courage of these young people up in the air today.
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(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A mistake with "The Beast"

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Trust me, the photo shows 2 of the 7 helicopters that just came over our place carrying President Obama, Peres, and Netanyahu.
Such a short flight from Ben-Gurion Airport to Jerusalem.

But what a fashla  just as Air Force One was approaching Israel's shores!
"The Beast,"  the very special armored limo of the President, would not start!

Jordanian and Israeli officials quickly coordinated the airlift of  a replacement  presidential limousine from a US storage facility in Jordan.

According to The Times of Israel  live blog,  the Americans had filled the tank of  The Beast with diesel**  fuel by mistake!

Just when you think every little detail has been taken care of for this historic visit . . .
I'm just glad it was not Israelis who made the mistake.
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UPDATE at 9:00 pm:
The Jerusalem Post is reporting this:
. . .  Various news reports said it had been mistakenly filled with the wrong fuel, but the Secret Service did not confirm this.
"One of our protective vehicles experienced mechanical problems in Israel earlier today. This is why we bring multiple vehicles and a mechanic on all trips," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary in Washington.
"Situations like this are planned for extensively by our advance teams so that the president's itinerary is unaffected by these types of issues."
**UPDATE #2 at 11:00pm:
Now it's the other way around. According to CNN, The Beast should have gotten diesel but was filled with gasoline by mistake:
The official limousine awaiting President Barack Obama's arrival in Israel malfunctioned after its driver refueled it using gasoline rather than diesel fuel, an official said Wednesday. The limo failed to start, and required towing . . .
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(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)
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Monday, March 18, 2013

45 years (!) since my aliyah

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Israel is much in my thoughts today.
First, because I just  watched the televised  swearing-in ceremony of our new government at the Knesset.
The elections were on January 22 and it took this long for Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a coalition.
Many changes and new faces. 

Secondly, today is my Aliyah  anniversary.
Exactly 45 years ago my good ship Enotria docked in Haifa and I set foot in Israel for the first time.
I was a new immigrant, olah chadasha!
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If you're interested, previous posts about how I left America and made the journey are here and here.
And you can see my Italian ship, built in Livorno!
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P.S.  If you are wondering about the Aliyah Caravan van in my photo, I think it has something to do with a Jewish Agency program for "bringing Israel to Russian Jews living in Germany," similar to a "Zionist Caravan" that drove through Italy.
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(Linking to Our World Tuesday.).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fresh mountain air from Switzerland

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For today's Psalm Challenge, hosted by Robert Geiss in Athens, I felt like using photos from my years in Switzerland, where mountains are mountains.

PSALM 95
[1] O come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
[2] Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
[3] For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.


[4] In his hand are the depths of the earth;


the heights of the mountains are his also.
[5] The sea is his, for he made it;
for his hands formed the dry land.


[6] O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

[7] For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would hearken to his voice!

[8] Harden not your hearts, as at Mer'ibah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
[9] when your fathers tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
[10] For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, "They are a people who err in heart,
and they do not regard my ways."
[11] Therefore I swore in my anger
that they should not enter my rest.
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Translation: RSV
For commentary and another translation see Rabbi Benjamin Segal.
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Photos from Switzerland:
1, 2:  A valley and Alps in Canton Glarus.
3: A flock at the foot of the Jura Mountains.
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Playing with a gecko

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Oi veh, this is the second Shabbat in a row that I find a dead animal in the grass.
Maybe I should not have wished for something to post on Camera Critters


Shachar actually led me to it.  
She was more interested in playing with the poor gecko, batting it around, than eating it. 
I think this cat was not the one who killed the critter, and she is too proud to be a scavenger.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

King David awaits Obama

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Jerusalem's King David Hotel  anxiously awaits the arrival on Wednesday of President Obama and his entourage of hundreds.
Every room of the prestigious hotel is in fact booked for them. 


Recently I was delighted to find this huge historical  photo covering  a whole wall in the lobby.
It shows Ragheb Bey al-Nashashibi, Arab mayor of Jerusalem 1920-1933, inaugurating the new King David Hotel tennis courts on June 13, 1931.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

5 things to celebrate today

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 So many reasons to celebrate today! 

1. We now have a friendly and humble Pope.

2. Armenians celebrate the Feast of St. Vartan the Warrior today.
 By some miracle I was allowed to go up to their church in the Holy Sepulchre during the procession!
I have never ever seen the upstairs part and always wanted to.
It is so beautiful!  Pictures will follow.

3. "Go Figure!",  the Jerusalem Science Festival, starts today.

4.  March 14, i.e. 3.14,  is Pi Day.  

5. Albert Einstein's 134th birthday.
The funny sculpture of him by Yuval Mahler is at Mamilla mall.
To quote GoJerusalem.com :

Humor and Satire, the most extensive open air exhibit in Israel to date, kicks off in Alrov Mamilla Avenue beginning on February 19  with 210 sculptures by 63 artists. Visitors are expected to number at least one million.
Humor and laughter are an inevitable part of our lives from the moment we are born. The sages said that "it is man alone that laughs, he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter."
 "Inventing laughter" is exactly the challenge which stood before the artists participating in the exhibit, which will be displayed beginning on Purim at Alrov Mamilla Avenue. Israel's best artists were recruited by the exhibit's curator, Tzipi Vital, to create sculptures that express laughter and basically reinvent laughter in the physical form in such a way that will cause viewers to laugh.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam!

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Ha! Just yesterday I blogged about Franciscans and tonight we have a new Pope who has chosen the name Francis!
Francis of Assisi, after all these centuries, would be pleased.
Poetic justice, I'd say.
And Pope Francesco is a Jesuit!!
Just look at the coat of arms of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
His motto means  "Pitiable but chosen"  or some translate "By having mercy, choosing."

He seems to be a friendly and humble man.
It think we're going to like him!

Mazal tov, Holy Father!  May God guide you in your new life.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Inauguration in Italian at Immaculata Hall

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So there I was, your nice-Jewish-girl blogger, sitting in the Immaculata Hall among all these  Franciscan friars and a smattering of nuns.
I came to St. Saviour's Monastery  curious to see the inauguration of the new premises of the archives of the Custody of the Holy Land.
The morning of lectures began at 8:30.  You can see the topics here  in the online invitation; but don't let the English fool you (as it did me)--the lectures were all in Italian.


We browsed the exhibition "Books of the Holy Land. A journey among the ancient books of the General Library of the Holy Land Custody in Jerusalem."


I like what the Custos, Father Custos Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said about all the work that had been invested in this project:
"It is necessary to focus our identity, to have a clear perception of reality, to be capable of having a vision, to give ourselves perspective," because "in books, in documents, in the archives, — that is, in our history — is our future."

See a short Franciscan Media Center  video about the library and its inauguration.

Or a slideshow of the place and some of the beautiful old books at the official website http://bibliothecaterraesanctae.org/.

And about "culture at the forefront."
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(A post for ABC Wednesday:  I is for Italian and inauguration.)
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Monday, March 11, 2013

A heavy yoke

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Meat delivery day at Shuk Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem's open-air produce market.
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(For Our World Tuesday)
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

בְּרֹב שַׂרְעַפַּי בְּקִרְבִּי תַּנְחוּמֶיךָ יְשַׁעַשְׁעוּ נַפְשִׁי:

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Join us in  illustrating the Book of Psalms, on Sundays.
Robert is hosting at his new blog, Robert Geiss, A PHOTOGRAPHER'S MIND.
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PSALM 94
 1 O LORD, thou God of vengeance, thou God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O judge of the earth; render to the proud their deserts! 3 O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour out their arrogant words, they boast, all the evildoers. 5 They crush thy people, O LORD, and afflict thy heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; 7 and they say, "The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive." 8 Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? 9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? 10 He who chastens the nations, does he not chastise? He who teaches men knowledge, 11 the LORD, knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.  

12 Blessed is the man whom thou dost chasten, O LORD, and whom thou dost teach out of thy law 13 to give him respite from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. 14 For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; 15 for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it.  
 16 Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? 17 If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the land of silence. 18 When I thought, "My foot slips," thy steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.

 19 When the cares of my heart are many, thy consolations cheer my soul. בְּרֹב שַׂרְעַפַּי בְּקִרְבִּי תַּנְחוּמֶיךָ יְשַׁעַשְׁעוּ נַפְשִׁי  20 Can wicked rulers be allied with thee, who frame mischief by statute? 21 They band together against the life of the righteous, and condemn the innocent to death. 22 But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. 23 He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the LORD our God will wipe them out. .Translation: RSV (Revised Standard Version), 1952, 1971For a different translation and for commentary, see Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal.
Photos (all can be enlarged with a click or two): 1. Remains of an ancient shomera (~ watchman's hut).2. A different shomera,  also in the Jerusalem Hills. 3. Rakafot (cyclamens) grow in the ancient terrace walls..

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shmulikipod?*

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(You can enlarge the photos with one click and then another.)

Oh poor little hedgehog, he lost his head!


I was returning from my Sabbath walk on this path in the wilderness just an hour ago, lamenting that I had found no animals to post for today's Camera Critters meme. 


Just then the little kipod and his severed head in the grass caught my eye.
With a stick I rolled him onto the path and saw it was a fresh kill. 
The grass was trampled down for about a meter around him.
There must have been a struggle.
Actually, I had noticed a hawk flying off as I was coming up the path . . . 

It was getting dark.  I said a few funeral-type words, told the hedgehog to go in peace, walked on, and hoped the hawk would at least return to finish its dinner.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Reaching

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Libby, in a Dead Sea hotel kids playroom, stretching to find herself   [in the mirror, for Weekend Reflections].

Libby's mother, my daughter, also had to be "on her toes" and to stretch herself to accomplish many many things.
Things like serving in the Israel Defense Forces,  earning a BSc (Honors)  in mechanical engineering and a PhD in biomedical engineering, like doing good post-doc research and now,  teaching aerospace engineering at UNSW in Sydney, Australia.
Oh and did I mention Naomi learned  how to fly?  And play the violin and make art. And cook.  And much more.
All while being a dedicated wife and the mother of three young and wonderful children.

To Naomi and all the women who work hard to accomplish much, to give much to their family and/or  to the world, I smile and bow in admiration.
Happy International Women's Day! 
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Above the city wall

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 The sky was nice and blue yesterday around 4 pm, and the wind brisk. 
The Vatican flag was easy to see, flying atop St. Saviour's (Franciscan)  Monastery in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.
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(A sky for SkyWatch Friday.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy nuns

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This is the scene that made my day today.
Just outside the Old City wall. 

Of course, it's common to see nuns in Jerusalem.
But it's not everyday that you see half a dozen walking down the street eating ice cream cones! 
(Enlarge the photo twice and you can spot one on the left.)

They were all chattering happily in the warmish afternoon sun.
You know, those nuns probably would have kept smiling even if I had taken the photo in front of them . . . .
You think?
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

H is for Hugh Hefner + Hebrew Playboy

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There are no photos in my archive of naked women or bunnies.
So I had to use this little logo instead.
Yes, Friday is International Women's Day.

Is it just a coincidence that tomorrow the first issue of Playboy in Hebrew will hit the newsstands?
Now Israelis buying the magazine will find it much easier "to read the articles."

It was launched today in a Tel Aviv  press conference,  complete with a tall model wearing the trademark ears and tail of a Playboy bunny.
In Hebrew this bunny is called a "shfanfanah." 

If you really want to, you can see her and also the local girl who posed for the Playboy cover photo in all the newspapers, e.g.  The Times of Israel article "Reading right to left, adult style."

(For today's ABC WednesdayH is for Hugh Hefner and Hebrew Playboy.)

UPDATE: Today there is an article about by the former Chicago lawyer  who recently immigrated to Israel and became the CEO of Playboy Israel: "Why I started Playboy Israel."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Strings of figs

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Care for a fig?
A carbonized fig?


They are strings of figs carbonized by fire in antiquity.
 Ekron, 13th century BCE.
At the Israel Museum.
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