Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sampling the beers

If you are in town tonight or tomorrow night and are of a certain age, get yourself over to Jerusalem's former train station, plunk down 25 or 30 shekels, and taste over a hundred different kinds of beer.
Including the famous Chimay beer, made for centuries by the Trappists in the Chimay monastery in Belgium.
I'm sure they will also have Taybeh, the first and only Palestinian beer.
This is the 7th Jerusalem Beer Festival .
The poster makes a pun on the Hebrew ir ha-biRAH (meaning the capital city) and ir ha-BIrah, meaning the city of beer. All depends where you put the accent.
The other pun, Let there be beer/light, is less appealing. Eeuw, who wants to drink out of a light bulb!
Lechaim to the 9,000 who are expected tonight.

UPDATE: By chance I just saw a blog post about three other uses for leftover beer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Girl soldiers on a safety island

Good girls, go in peace!

G Day at ABC Wednesday.)

Seen today clustered on a traffic island at the busy Jerusalem intersection of Agron and King David Streets--green (as in,
new) recruits, going on a tour of the capital as part of their compulsory army service.
Enlarge the photo and see that the gun of their sergeant leader is about half as tall as she is.
That 5-star hotel is the David Citadel.
The Citadel/Tower of David in the Old City is visible just a few blocks to the east.
These 18-year-olds look so young to be defending this country, no?
God be with them!

Monday, August 29, 2011


For Monday Doorways, a natural doorway to one of the many caves in the Jerusalem Hills.
Come on in, if you dare.
It would take some bending or crawling just to get to the main entrance.
The cave arch resembles the shape of the new moon.
Id mubarak to those about to celebrate Id il Fitr. Ramadan ends today.
Chodesh tov to Jews. Tonight we start the new and special month of Elul.

Christians? Well, have a nice day in Ordinary Time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How many unhappy birthdays more?

Gilad Schalit turned 25 today, somewhere in the Gaza Strip.

It is his 6th birthday in captivity, since being kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in 2006.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bees: life on the edge

It's hot and dry the whole summer long in Israel and even bees have to search for a drink.
It might take some enlarging of the photo, but here's at least four bees quenching their thirst at my neighbors' birdbath.
Be careful little critters, don't fall in and drown!
The two on the right are making tiny shadows and one is even making ripple-shadows.

Hmm, this might be a triple-meme photo opp, for Camera Critters, Shadow Shot Sunday, and Summer Stock Sunday.
P.S. Shadow Shot visitors, check out an earlier fun post with people shadows and our new tram.

UPDATE: I should have quoted the 23rd Psalm to title this post:
"He leadeth me beside the still waters."
Like maybe deer, bees prefer to drink from quiet water. My neighbors have to turn off the fountain element of the birdbath just for the bees.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Israel's first tram in 3,000 years

With the ride still free of charge and with kids still not back to school and many families on summer vacation, riding the new tram together has become the thing to do.

The lines of excited kids waiting at the stations remind me of cues for Attraction A rides at Disney World.
People still don't realize they should step back and let some passengers exit before rushing into the opening doors.
It is crowded and hot and stuffy inside.
But . . . at least the shiny-clean ceiling is good for reflections for Weekend Reflections!

The train driver sits in splendid isolation behind glass doors in what is hopefully a cool and quiet cabin.
A security guard always stands nearby.
We have completed the first week of light rail operation with no major mishaps, so the drivers must be doing a good job.
From this afternoon until tomorrow night is the Sabbath, so the trains and the drivers have a day of rest.

Shabbat shalom.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Contemplating new ways

Here's the tram where it runs parallel to the Old City's northern wall (visible on the right).

The new trams started taking people last Friday and everyone along the route of the light rail has to get used to this new phenomenon.

Enlarge the photo to enjoy the stance of the young haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) man contemplating this ultra-modern vehicle.
Don't you wonder what he is thinking?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage rally

The two men had to try at least twice to swing the heavy battery of lights up and into position.
I saw them setting up the stage and chairs yesterday in the plaza of the Jerusalem Municipality, Safra Square.

This venue was for the overflow crowd that couldn't get tickets for the sold-out Davidson archaeological park event near the Western Wall this afternoon.
Glenn Beck was giving a talk to over a thousand supporters, mostly Evangelical Christians who came from America for his "Restoring Courage" rally.
The video is up on YouTube.

I don't know this commentator but apparently a lot of Americans do. He has radio and TV stations.
There were protests, both from Peace Now and the Left and from some of the Jewish religious establishment.
City Hall was criticized for providing top venues, holy places.
So is Glenn Beck good for the Jews or bad for the Jews? See the CNN article.
Many Israelis welcome the love and support of Christian Zionists.
But many Jews have a kind of (involuntary, perhaps) flinch reaction when they see so many smiling Evangelicals, especially so close to the Western Wall like tonight.
From the Israeli press about Glenn Beck:
A funny recap in Haaretz
Jerusalem Post
UPDATE: A fellow local blogger was there at Safra Square the night of Beck's rally. See her pictures and comments at the excellent The Real Streets of Jerusalem blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fenced-in falling facade

This was the Russian hospital in its better days, in the 1920s.

The historic photo is by the American Colony photographers, whose wonderful collection is now available online through the Library of Congress.
The Russian hospital was built in 1863, making it the first such institution outside the walls of the Old City.

I walked through Russian Compound today and was dismayed to find the old building's facade draped with chicken wire.
And a protective roof had been put up over the entrance.

"Fenced-in facade" I thought, as I took a picture for ABC Wednesday F-day.
It's no fun, though, because it must mean that chunks of masonry are starting to fall off.

I think that today some offices of the Israel Police use this building.

But the gable is still topped by the symbol of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society which was founded in 1882 in St. Petersburg for the purpose of studying Eretz Israel and the holy places, aiding Russian pilgrims, and establishing institutions in the Holy Land.

Encircling the khi rho (XP) cross and the alpha and omega is the first verse of Isaiah 62, written in old Cyrillic script:
"For the sake of Zion I will not be silent, for the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still."

Monday, August 22, 2011

A nun at Terra Sancta's door

I've posted about Terra Sancta College before, but now I want to show its lovely front door for Monday Doorways (where meme host Louis la Vache is showing some nice Biblical scenes on his doors today).
You normally have to shoot through the locked outer gate, so just believe me that the door bears the words CHARITAS -- FIDES.
Charity/love -- faith.
Today was my lucky day.
I saw the door open for the first time AND a nun came out!

Enlarge the photo and see she is kneeling not in prayer but rather in service to the plants, watering them on this hot day.
Well, gardening is holy work too, IMHO.
Terra Sancta was designed by the prolific Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi.
This historic photo is from the 1920s, when it was dedicated.
The heritage sign says that "This monumental building typical of Italian public buildings of the period ... served as a boys college (high school) administered by the Franciscan order."
When the Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus became inaccessible to Israelis in 1949, the university used Terra Santa (aka Terra Sancta) for offices and to store the library collections.
Just a few years ago the entire building finally went back into entirely Franciscan hands.
I think it is now a college where young Catholic men can study and live.
And the new Franciscan Media Center might be inside that big door as well.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"How should we approach Jerusalem . . ."

. Here is just the thing if you, like me, are in need of some uplifting of spirit right now. . Click here, click full screen, and treat yourself to 7 minutes of inspiring aerial video of Jerusalem and Israel. It is a foretaste of the movie JERUSALEM, which will be released worldwide to IMAX® and Giant Screen cinemas in 2013. At the same website of the producers, Arcane/Cosmic Picture, you can download their newsletter in PDF and see stunning photos and great information. . Enjoy! . UPDATE: Lots more details about the movie have just been published in the Jerusalem Post. .

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peace and solitude in the valley

Is it a mourning dove?
This sweet bird didn't fly away when she saw me on my evening walk in the valley.
Maybe she knew we were birds of a feather.

Can you see her above the summer dryness of the Jerusalem Hills?
The dove is for Camera Critters and the dry grasses are for Summer Stock Sunday.
It is a big and sad contrast. Just a few hours drive to the south and west of here, missiles and rockets from Gaza are falling on Beersheba and communities of the Western Negev and on the Mediterranean coast cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon since yesterday.
This is the Palestinian reaction to Israel's retaliation on Gaza terrorist centers.
Our Air Force strikes came after Thursday's deadly terror strikes on the road to Eilat.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The little tram that could

See? Kids posing with Jerusalem's shiny new tram!
Look! Passengers actually boarding!

Today was a truly historic and exciting day as we the public got our first ride!
And for free.
The first two weeks of the running-in period will be free.

CityPass photographers were happily getting lots of stills and videos.
(CityPass is the consortium that won a 30-year concession to build and operate the tram's first line.)
Many of the passengers were entire haredi (ultra-orthodox) families and some of them shielded their face from the cameras.

The sign says "Welcome to Israel's first-ever light rail!"
It promises the tram will give more clean air, more information, more simplicity, and more Jerusalem.
Well, what I needed this morning was more air-conditioning.
Even though I boarded at the first station, the terminus at Mt. Herzl, it was already standing room only and it got very stuffy inside very quickly.
I had planned to go the whole 13.8 km (8.6 mi) route but after just a few blocks I had to escape, into the fresh air.
Hoping the AC issue will be resolved next week.

You can see the bumper to bumper car and bus traffic parallel to the tramway, conveniently reflected for Weekend Reflections meme.
After over a decade of construction, it is great to see the tram actually up and running.
It was fun to blog about the exciting stages of development over the years (see my label "tram").
Wikipedia has the whole story .
Haaretz has an article from today.
After its first day of carrying passengers, the tram takes a rest now for the Friday night to Saturday Sabbath.
Shabbat shalom to you too!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shalom Klaus

Oi, I can’t believe Klaus is gone from this world.

Any blogger who has ever contributed to SkyWatch Friday or That's MyWorld knows that Klaus Peter was a moving force behind those memes and an encourager of fellow bloggers.

His memory will be a blessing and his legacy of Florida bird and nature photographs (see will live forever.
SkyWatch takes on a new meaning.
Now on Fridays I will look upward and imagine Klaus in a different world filled with heavenly birds.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Old style "Come to Palestine" poster

The owner of a little Arab restaurant in Jerusalem's Old City has this old poster on his wall, and while waiting for my shawarma to be prepared I studied it.
Back home, I studied its history.
The poster was painted in 1929 by a Jew born in Poland, back when the British (of the governing British Mandate) still called this land Palestine, before there was a State of Israel.
Wiki says that Ze’ev Raban (1890-1970) was a leading painter and industrial designer of the Bezalel school style and was one of the founders of the Israeli art world.
He moved to the Land of Israel in 1912.

In the Bezalel school art style both Biblical and Zionist themes were portrayed in a style influenced by the European Jugenstil (similar to Art Nouveau).
I wonder if the Arab owner realized how his "Come to Palestine" poster came to be.
P.S. There is a huge collection online at the Palestine Poster Project Archives.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Exciting emergency excavation

Just in time for ABC Wednesday E-day, an emergency (i.e. salvage) excavation in Emek Yizrael (the Jezreel Valley) has unearthed an exciting find!

Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

A marble statue of Hercules from the 2nd century C.E.!
He is leaning on a club to his left, on the upper part of which hangs the skin of the Nemean lion which according to Greek mythology Hercules slew as the first of his twelve labors.
As you can guess, it is from a Roman bathhouse.
Benches were found on two sides of the pool, which had a sophisticated pumping system to fill it with water.
More details and a link to high resolution photos at the IAA press release.
I hope they find his head.