Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Action in the air

Two military helicopters land at Hadassah Medical Center, probably carrying wounded.

The wind sock at the helipad twirls around and straightens out or bends, showing the pilot the direction and strength of the wind.

Today's subject for City Daily Photo Theme Day is "Action shot."
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tilt and trepidation

Tilt and trepidation were today's T words for ABC Wednesday as I walked down Jaffa Street.
Two workers were trying to either raise or lower the tilting sign.

The one man I could not see but from behind the tarp he could be heard warning his comrade "
Shwaya shwaya, shwaya shwaya."
(That's Arabic for slowly slowly / little by little / be careful / easy does it!)

Enlarge the photo and you'll see he is balancing on an inch of stone and hanging on to the railing with one arm.

The fear and trembling typical for Jewish Mothers rose up in me, so I took a quick snapshot and kept on walking so as not to distract or embarrass the worker. God forbid he should fall on my account!
They are doing a great job preserving and restoring the facade of the hundred year old Saidoff building while a highrise is being built behind it.
See how the gutted building looked a few years ago here and see how another endangered worker put his nose to the grindstone here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Improving with the years

This newly planted (or maybe newly severely pruned) tree caught my eye several years ago while I was doing my first roam of the Romema neighborhood.

The sandy yard belonged to a house that was being renovated.
Out with the old-fashioned doors!
(Little did I know that in 2011 there would be a Monday Doorways for this photo.)

The house was impressive, even then.
A metal roof, even!

Recently I passed it again; this time the place was surrounded by green.
The name of the landscapers is proudly posted on the fence.

Enter the gate if you dare.
Judging by the sign on the door, this huge house is a private one-family residence. Wow . . .
Romema is near the western entrance to Jerusalem.
Founded in 1921, it was the first Jewish neighborhood built during the period of British rule and was planned as an exclusive residential neighborhood.

You know, now as I reread an excellent article by Aviva Bar-Am, I see that this house was built by the initiator of the Romema project.

She writes,
"Romema was intended as a splendid neighborhood of 24 houses, far from the noise of the town and situated between the Arab villages of Lifta and Sheikh Bader. Yet in the end, apparently for lack of money, just over a dozen beautiful buildings were constructed.
The initiator of the Romema project was attorney Yom-Tov Hamon, an expert in Ottoman law and land ownership issues, who was often asked to arbitrate disputes between Arab landowners in the region. When there was a disagreement about ownership of the land on this hill, Hamon decreed that the plot should be sold, thus making it available for a Jewish neighborhood."
More about this fascinating area are under my label "Romema."

This post joins tonight's Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Those of straight heart

You're invited to visit the new contributors to Robert's PsalmChallenge over at Daily Athens.
Today's text is Psalm 36. For the Hebrew see Mechon Mamre.

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. 3 The words of his mouth are mischief and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. 4 He plots mischief while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he spurns not evil.

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God, your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.
8. How precious is your kindness, O God! The children of man shelter in the shadow of your wings.
9. They feast on the rich fare of your house; you give them drink from your stream of delights.
10. Indeed with you is the source of life; by your light do we see light.

11. Bestow your kindness upon those who know you, and your justice on those of straight heart.

11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie prostrate, they are thrust down, unable to rise.
Photo: My precious granddaughter, Libby, light of my life. Age 1.7.
(By a professional photographer.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In the shadow of Prometheus

Prometheus found -- by a cat!
Who knows, maybe this cat appreciates art or is interested in Greek mythology . . . or maybe he is just hoping for a bite of liver.

Fittingly, the statue stands in the courtyard of Hebrew University School of Medicine at Hadassah Ein Kerem.
The little cat joins today's animals at Camera-Critters meme.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Mercaz Shalem

While strolling in Jerusalem's Greek Colony I found a very reflective door for Weekend Reflections.

It is the front door of the Shalem Center think tank.

The back of the historic building bears its Hebrew name, Beit Nativ.
I learn here that next year it will house the new Shalem College.
In March 2009, Shalem submitted an application to Israel's Council for Higher Education to open Israel's first liberal arts college. Shalem College will offer the first Israeli B.A. modeled on the American liberal arts degree.
Top Israeli and overseas applicants will pursue a unique core curriculum in which the classics of Western thought are studied alongside the Bible and other Jewish sources. The College is currently scheduled to open with majors in Philosophy, Political Theory and Religion (PPR) and in Middle East and Islamic Studies.
Additional majors will be added as resources become available.
This post will be for Monday Doorways.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A golden moment

A moment of grace this afternoon!
For five minutes a little patch of rare sunlight was centered exclusively in my yard.

The golden light made it look as if we had glorious foliage colors, just like other hemispheres have.
Actually Israel does not have many deciduous trees.
Only the fig tree drops all its fig leaves and gets totally naked.

The silvery olive and the wild sumac, and of course the evergreens, they stay green all winter.
The pomegranates can't seem to decide whether to shed leaves or not.
The heavy sky is joining SkyWatch Friday.
Thanksgiving blessings to all who celebrate today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A hermit at heart

Impossible to get through. grrr . . .
For a whole week I felt like this puppy. I couldn't get through to the Internet.
And no telephone either.

Finally the Bezeq phone line repairman came yesterday, climbed a ladder to my neighbors' roof, and put my wires into a new DRY box.
The wonders of technology came to life. But by evening, they were dead again.
Then mid-morning today the phone and Internet began working. But for how long?
Tomorrow I will sit home again and wait for the technician to return.

It was so strange not being able to blog or to read your blogs.
I missed the Skype calls from the grandkids in Los Angeles and Australia.

On the other hand, no one could catch me on the phone; I didn't need to answer emails; I was spared the frantic hours of newscasts on Israeli Internet TV.
I got a lot of deep housecleaning and yard work done.
All my books got dusted and put in order on the bookcase; I even read some.
I could go to bed as early or as late as I wanted.

Days did not race by, they took their sweet time.

It was so quiet.
It was splendid isolation.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Good news--rain. Bad news--no Internet.

Hello friends.
The week of rain, plus some thunder and lightning, have taken their toll on my Internet connection for the last three days.
The Bezeq phone company should be out to my house to fix the wires on Sunday.
Sorry, but I cannot post until then.
Be well.
Shabbat shalom.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Inside the walls, gardens and huge reservoirs

I love the old roof tiles like these in the garden of the Notre Dame de Sion convent.
Many of them came all the way from Marseille in the 19th century to roof the houses around here.

Like this precious little outbuilding!

It sits next to one of the huge rain reservoirs that the Sisters of Sion have on the big walled property.
The white yardstick inside goes up to 5 meters.

It finally started to be winter today, cold and rainy; let's hope the pool will fill up this season.

Do you reckon the Rob Roy mixer from yesterday's post contributed some cement to these wall pillars a long time ago?

Just inside the big perimeter walls.
This photo from last spring shows how green the nuns' garden can be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

R is for Rob Roy

I came across this old machine near the little orchard inside the Sisters of Sion convent in Ein Kerem.
It's a cement mixer, yes?

It was exciting to read the boilerplate!
The mixer was brought all the way from Monifieth, Scotland, a long time ago.

Please enlarge the photo. What can you make of the "Date made:" date?

Wow, it came all that way, so long ago, in order to build up the Holy Land.

The wheelbarrow with a metal wheel looks to be something of well-used antique also.
Back home, I learned from Wiki that the Low family (like on our machine's ID tag) first set up a foundry in the village of Monifieth in the early 1800s and in 1815 developed the first carding machine for flax tow in the area.
During both world wars the foundry produced shells.
The Monifieth History Society adds this:

"The return of the men from the armed services found changes being made in the Foundry. Due to the recession in the jute and textile industry, operations were transformed to the production of building contractors plant, such as dumper trucks, concrete mixers etc. The firm then assumed the name of Rob Roy and was owned and managed by a family from India.
Sadly by early 1980`s all production had ceased and the `foundry` was condemned for demolition to be cleared away to make space for a shopping precinct.
The `heart` of Monifieth was gone and very soon forgotten.
Well, at least the former foundry is still remembered in a convent in the Hills of Jerusalem.
And Rob Roy is remembered for R day at ABC Wednesday.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Charming old doors in an Ein Kerem convent

As you know from yesterday's post, I recently walked through the hill country over to the village of Ein Kerem.
Enlarge the photo and you will see the Sisters of Sion convent surrounded by a big white wall.
For Monday Doorways I'll show you some of my favorite doors from the beautiful enclosed and peaceful place.

As the main entrance door says, Our Lady of Sion was built in 1861.
Back then Ein Kerem was an Arab village and we were all ruled by the Ottoman Turks.

This nice entrance is to one of the guesthouses.

Not sure what this door leads to . . . .

Near the cemetery, the nice old stones showing through.

A storage place with a heart carved in the shutters.

In the food garden, one of the few gateways through the thick outer wall.
Two French brothers who converted to Catholicism founded the orders of the Sisters of Zion and the Fathers of Zion and built this convent in Moslem Ein Kerem.
As the fine Jerusalem, Step by Step guidebook points out,

"The convent, built in surroundings hostile to Christians, looks like a fortress: high, thick walls, water reservoirs inside the grounds and a vegetable garden so that the nuns could grow their own food and withstand a siege."

I'll show you pictures of these elements in coming posts, inshallah.
This post is also for Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A most modest Bailey bridge

The annual Jerusalem Houses from Within weekend was Nov. 4-5.
However, buses stop running for the Sabbath; in fact, in my little village the last bus comes through at 2:30 pm Friday and the next one is not until Sunday morning.

So, not having a car, I decided to walk to the Shabbat guided tours in the nearest place, Ein Kerem.
Counting the getting there and back and the walking inside Ein Kerem, I clocked 7.5 hours on my feet.

The best way to go is a lonely path through the woods.
Here is the trailhead for the Hadassah Trail.
The signs in the photo indicate that part of the way, it is also the Jerusalem Trail.
You can see it is pretty rough, especially after a recent rainfall that brought loose stones.

Shvil Hadassah has signs telling you what you are looking at or where you are.
Dial the number, press 14, and you get a recorded explanation of site #14.
Hmm, too bad I don't have a cell phone.

The Hebrew on the sign has no vowels so I had to guess what it said.
Gesher Bali -- the Bali Bridge?
But wait, we're not in Bali and I don't see any bridge.

Then I figured out that it probably meant to say Bailey bridge !

Oh, OK! Right under my feet!
A little Bailey bridge sitting on the ground, a gishron.

To the left was a gully leading down from the Hadassah nurses' and students' residences up on top of the mountain, so I imagine run-off during rainy season necessitated the "bridge."
Finally, something (albeit small) to contribute to Sunday Bridges!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"Taste and see . . ."

Psalm 34 for PsalmChallenge at Daily Athens.
1. A Psalm of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is there who desires life, and covets many days, that he may enjoy good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. .

Garden of the Scots Hotel, Tiberias.
"Jacob's Ladder (Genesis 12)" by J. Davani, Mamilla
Psalm 34 in Hebrew and English at Mechon Mamre.

Hunters and scavengers

A cat down in the wild wadi next to my village was so intent on stalking prey that it didn't even notice my arrival.

Many hikers visit the spring over the weekend, too many for only one trash bin.
If the lid can't close properly, it's easy pickin's for the jackals and cats to dig in, scatter the garbage, and look for a meal.
Fortunately, this area is on the Hadassah Trail, not far from the medical center.
The hospital encourages staff members to volunteer to go out and clean up this area (and also Khirbet Sa'adim spring, up on a different mountain) on a regular basis.
I think Hadassah gives the volunteers picnic lunches, transportation, and pay for the days they clean the adopted nature areas.
For Camera-Critters meme.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A new apartment building, reflected

Reflected--a new building in the old German Colony neighborhood.

For Weekend Reflections.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

No cleaning required!

Hadassah, the hospital on the hill.

The Jerusalem Hills finally had clouds and even a few minutes of rain last Friday and Saturday, something to show for SkyWatch Friday.

The new hospital tower, in its final stages of construction, had guided tours on Friday.
I gladly put on a hard hat and went up to learn.

But of all the high tech and eco-friendly innovations in the building, the windows impressed me the most.
They are double-glazed with vacuum insulation between the two panes of glass.

The blinds are encapsulated within the double glazed unit!
These integrated or "integral blinds" offer protection from the heat and the glare of the sun.
And once sealed in this dust-free environment, the blinds require no cleaning.

Anyone who has cleaned trissim or even worse, Venetian blinds at home understands what a revolutionary new system this is.

Despite the cloudy sky, the big windows in the patient rooms let in a lot of light.
Hadassah wants to save and to use as little artificial light as possible.
A little knob allows the patient to adjust the blinds.

Instead of the present 4-5 patients per room in the old hospital, the new tower's rooms will be for only 1 or 2 people.

Nathan Margolin, the engineer who guided us, said the planners wanted to make all the windows un-openable.
But there was opposition. (I, for one, would hate to sleep in a sealed room.)
So they compromised: each room will have one or two very small windows that can be opened.
The nursing stations and doctors' offices are toward the inside of the building, while all the patient rooms face the outside.
I think looking out over the green valley and the terraced and forested hills is healing in itself.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dead Sea needs your votes!

The Dead Sea needs your votes--and soon!
Please vote at least once to help the Dead Sea become one of the
New7Wonders of Nature.
Voting closes on 11.11.11.
Go to and choose the easiest method for you.

The lake is disappearing at an alarming rate.
Its shores lie in the desert at 420 meters below sea level.
As the water level goes down, dangerous sinkholes are opening along the shore.

Winning New7Wonders of Nature status will bring it funding and more tourism and attention.
Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have nominated the Dead Sea for this competition and all of us will benefit if it wins.

Thanks for your help!

(Click my label "Dead Sea" for more photos and info.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quiet in the crypt!

Quiet is the key word for today's Q post for ABC Wednesday.

Shhhh, we are descending to the dark crypt beneath the Armenian Catholic church in the Old City.

OK, no talking; the mysteries of faith seldom have an explanation anyway . . . .

A nun in black is behind the glass doors in this unusual chapel.
First read the signs carefully, if you dare to enter.
(More about the quiet Our Lady of the Spasm Church is
here and here, including how it got its rather queer name.)
This post is also for Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Of harps and horses

For Robert's 33rd PsalmChallenge at Daily Athens, here is Psalm 33.

1 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 2 Praise the LORD with the lyre, make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song, play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright; and all his work is done in faithfulness. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle; he put the deeps in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth.
10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nought; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the LORD stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The LORD looks down from heaven, he sees all the sons of men; 14 from where he sits enthroned he looks forth on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15 he who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds.
16 A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17 The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.

18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19 that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. 21 Yea, our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22 Let thy steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in thee.
Today I used the RSV, but the Hebrew with old English translation is at Mechon Mamre.
Window of Ps. 33 at the Great Synagogue, Jerusalem.
"David's Harp" by Shaul Baz, was at Mamilla mall exhibit.
"The creation of Man--sound of silence" by Betty Wachsstock Schonfeld, was as Mamilla. It is worthwhile enlarging this photo to see how Adam is stepping out of a block.
Ottoman Turkish soldier on horseback, Museum of Islamic Art Jerusalem.