Friday, May 31, 2013

Fig leaves reflected in spring water


A fig tree reflected in an inch of water,  for Weekend Reflections.
The water was moving slowly but surely into an ancient irrigation canal, beginning its descent into the wild wadi.

The water emerges from a spring inside the mountain.
I often go down there for an evening walk, when all the waders and hikers are gone and only a the jackals remain.

This photo is from February, after some good winter rains.

The area around my village in the Jerusalem Hills [aka Judean Hills]  is blessed with many ancient springs.
And I am blessed that I can walk to all of them on foot.
As a girl who grew up in the big city Chicago,  I always dreamed of someday living near wild nature.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A feast day in Jerusalem


A blessed Solemnity of Corpus Christi to the Catholic friends!
There was a Pontifical Mass at the Holy Sepulchre today.

My Ministry of Tourism calendar says
"This feast is celebrated in the Latin Church to solemnly commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist."

But  Father James Gardiner  explains in a much simpler and more personally applicable way  about Corpus Christi.  In this video he makes some really good points, and in less than two minutes!

His monastery--and this is the amazing part (to me, at least)--is the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, begun in 1898.
The architect, Aristide Leonori (1856-1928), visited the Holy Land and took accurate measurements and photographs of the holy sites that were to be reproduced.

So replicas of Jerusalem's shrines are now in Washington, D.C.! 
Take a look at the pictures and how all this was conceived and built at the Holy Land Franciscans' website.
P.S.  My photo of the beautiful chalices and  the Communion elements was taken at the Dormition Abbey on Mt. Zion before Mass began, on August 15, 2012, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
Click to enlarge. Even the reflections are beautiful. 
Update:  I was surprised to learn just now that the Feast of Corpus Christi entered the Church thanks to a vision that a mystical nun had at age 16, in Belgium, in the early 13th century.
Yes, a woman!  St. Juliana.
Her story, as told by Pope Emeritus Benedict, is fascinating.
UPDATE, June1:  The Franciscan have just posted a video from the Holy Sepulchre Mass.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sit a bit under the gum trees


The pair of benches looks like they have a secluded spot all to themselves.

But from this perspective, you can see the apartment buildings of Jerusalem right across the road.

As you probably guessed from the middle photo with the tall eucalyptus trees, we are in the Australian section of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.
(Linking to the "signs, signs" meme.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Terra orbitus, T in O maps


For ABC Wednesday's T-Day  let's talk about "T in O maps."

I first learned that term at last month's Jerusalem Green Pilgrimage symposium.
Lecturer Benjie Talor had his Jerusalem in Maps exhibition set up in the passageway and he kindly gave me fascinating facts on each poster.  

The Age of Imagination, 3rd to 13th centuries, saw the earth as a disc.
The terra orbitus, attributed to an 8th century Spanish monk, is one of the earliest conceptual representations of the known world.
Using a T to divide the land masses into Asia, Europe, and Africa, such maps placed Jerusalem in the center.
Their purpose was to emphasize this centrality of Jerusalem and Christianity in the world.
Please enlarge the photo (click once, then again) to get a good look at the medieval examples of world maps.

T in O city maps, graphically influenced by the terra orbitus motif,  made Jerusalem a round city.
Click and enjoy these two 13th century Crusader maps.
One of the ca. dozen map posters ends with this thought:
Yir'ushalem, the organization which produced this exhibition, has attempted to bring forth both the Heavenly and the Earthly Jerusalem within the viewer's grasp.
We have viewed the city from deep within the spiritual beliefs of pilgrims to the view from the heavens, and its centrality for the major monotheistic religions.
Many have tried to paint Jerusalem's portrait, but no artist or cartographer has painted her like the Master of the Universe. 

Concept development--Benjie Tal'or (more about him here and here)
Scientific advisor--Prof. Rehav Rubin (HUJI)
Curator--Yoni Shapira
Graphic designer--Kobi Ariel
Exhibit production--LHS Innovative Projects Ltd.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Prop up the peace pole

I was glad to find a peace pole at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

But unfortunately, it was uprooted, toppled over, lying by the side of the path.
A sign, maybe, that the peace pole is waiting to be replanted.
President Peres was in Jordan today for the World Economic Forum, which was dedicated to breaking the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry proposed a $4 billion economic plan to boost the Palestinian economy.

Our President Peres said Israelis and Palestinians “must depart from the skepticism that claims that war is inevitable.  War is not inevitable. Peace is inevitable.”
More about world peace poles, begun in 1955:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A harpist at the city gate


Walking through Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate, built in 1538,  is like passing between two worlds.
Leaving the Old City and returning suddenly to the new city is like a little culture shock for me, every time.

You never know what you'll find in the thick walls of the gate itself.
A harpist in white, perhaps?

A thin place despite thick walls.
 The girl's soft music was heavenly.
King David is recognized as a prophet by Islam and one of the Arabic names for this portal is Bab Mihrab Daud,  Gate of the Prayer Niche of David.
David was fond of the harp, strumming as he sang his psalms.
I hope he looked down and enjoyed seeing this young harpist following in his footsteps.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

My first time at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens


This is a super big reflection for Weekend Reflections.
The mirror facade is the front wall of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens visitors center.

Too bad I couldn't get the wall to reflect the pond and the pretty stone bridge in the distance.
(Click on the pic to find the bridge.)

The cafe across the pond has pretty architecture.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Super cranes


My morning bus was making the circle inside  Hadassah Medical Center campus when we passed two huge mobile cranes getting into position.
Needless to say, I jumped off the bus and whipped out the camera!

I stared in wonder as the crane got longer and longer, sort of like Jack and the Beanstalk.
It seemed it would reach the clouds.

Watching the operator was awesome too.
How many people need a glass ceiling for their work?

(You can enlarge all these photos with a click or two.)

Then they met!
The vertical mobile crane came near the horizontal crane that has for a long time been atop the new Davidson Tower.
(I showed you the new building in 2011 when the head engineer took us up for a hardhat tour of the new hospital.)

At least three guys were on the "bridge" and two can (barely) be seen on the horizontal part! So brave!
The crane started taking off the concrete slabs, slowly, one by one.
They were dismantling the roof crane, above my very eyes!   

About that time I came to my senses and realized I was risking my life for a blog post.
Indeed, the guard saw me from his safe indoor place and yelled at me to get the hell out of there and fast!

I have been following and documenting the construction of this tall tower since 2007.
The picture above (taken from the ancient Roman road not long ago) just may be the final  photo ever of  Sarah Davidson Tower with a crane mounted on its roof.

Hadassah is now crane-less!
Or at least until the Hadassah ladies come up with a new idea and new donations.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Soldiers and sandwiches


S is for soldiers and sandwiches (or in Hebrew, sandvitchim). 
They were sitting just outside the Old City wall.
I think they were getting a head start while  "guarding" their comrades' lunchboxes.

I took the photo from across the street so you will have to click once or twice to see the boys better. 

Once inside Jaffa Gate they started trekking like Sherpas down the narrow pedestrian-only lanes of the Old City.
The whole group of young soldiers was probably waiting for them at the open square in the Jewish Quarter, where there is room to picnic.

Walking around with a knowledgeable guide, learning about our national heritage  is part of soldiers' training in the Israel Defense Forces.

And as Napoleon reportedly said, "C'est la soupe qui fait le soldat," meaning "An army travels [or marches] on its stomach," meaning  "a group of soldiers or workers can only fight or function effectively if they have been well fed."

Bon appetit, dear soldiers!  
(A post for ABC Wednesday meme.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Eucharistic Symphony DVD launch -- a liturgical patrimony


On my way to the Tower of David free museum day last Thursday I first went in to see the new Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Book Shop near Jaffa Gate and say Mabruk (mazal tov) to the manager.
He invited me to come back in five hours  and attend the launch of a very special DVD.

A Greek Orthodox priest just happened to be standing under the book store sign that I wanted to photograph. 

The poster shows the DVD and give some details about the music and the project.
You can click and read the enlarged version.

A few minutes after 5:00 pm the VIPs from the Eastern churches began arriving.

 My ticket said
We are most honored to invite you
to the presentation and projection of excerpts of the DVD of the
September 22, 2012 Gethsemane Concert (World Premiere) of the
Eucharistic Symphony
for baritone and soprano soloists, mixed choir with four voices, flute and string orchestra and twelve Church representative singers
by Armando Pierucci, ofm.

The man with his hand on the arch  from the sound system crew had to climb that ladder several times, trying to convince the laptop with a blue screen to actually project the DVD.

The gathered  Greek, Armenian,  Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, Melkite,  Franciscan, and Latin clergymen sat patiently and politely waited.
Maybe they were praying for a computer miracle . . .

His Beatitude Theophilos III seems to be such a good man.
The official title of the Patriarch of Jerusalem is
His Most Godly Beatitude, the Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, Syria, Arabia, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion, Theophilus III.

Here he stood with Swiss Veronique Nebel, prime mover for this "cultural project born in Jerusalem, inspired by liturgical pieces from twelve different Christian musical traditions, a call for increased mutual awareness between the churches and for the respect of religious freedom."

Following the premiere in Jerusalem the concert was given in Geneva at the United Nations, in the cathedral of Milan, and in Matera. 

You will enjoy hearing and seeing the premiere that was in the Garden of Gethsemane.

A short video recap of the performances in Geneva and Italy. 

Meet the composer/organist in this video.

An article from the Custodia is  here .

The composer, Armando Pierucci, a Franciscan Father, said "Music helps us rediscover our roots when Christians praised God with one voice."

(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Is that a flame on her head??


I sometimes  hear about weeping icons and myrrh-gushing icons and miracle-working icons, but . . .  well . . .

But what happens when on the feast of Pentecost  you are all alone in an old chapel built by the Crusaders,  looking at an icon,  and you actually see a "flame" above the woman's head??

Enlarge the photo, you will see it too!

The Book of Acts says that the Apostles [on the very first Pentecost] were gathered together in one place [the Upper Room] when suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing wind, filling the entire house where they were sitting.

"Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them."
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as directed by the Spirit.
You can see the flames as depicted in classical artwork at

My other posts about Pentecost in Jerusalem are here.
 Here's how the icon appears normally.

And as grateful as I am for the "miracle" I was treated to,   I must add that this photo is for Weekend Reflections.    Yes, reflections.

Happy Pentecost to all the Catholics and Protestants who celebrate it today!
Shalom from Jerusalem, where it all started.
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Citadel, doves, and the Pope


While spending Thursday, which was our International Museum Day, at the Tower of David, I noticed that birds feel very safe inside the courtyard.
The Citadel, protected by  ancient walls and a dry moat, is like the Garden of Eden for them, especially since-- unlike anywhere else in Israel-- I didn't see one single cat roaming around.

This pigeon is a good example.
I took five shots of it, each time moving a step closer, and still it did not fly away. 
No fear.

On a stone near the Garden of Herbs,

both a sparrow and a dove were busy preening.
You can see their ruffled feathers if you enlarge the photo.
But the very best dove pictures of the week come from the Vatican!
Papa Francesco was doing a tour of St. Peter's Square in the Popemobile, blessing the cheering crowd when someone sent over a bird cage to him.
The Pope just opened the cage, pulled out the white doves, and launched them (even though the second one sat on his hand and didn't want to leave).
You will enjoy the little video.
Happy Pentecost to all the Catholics and Protestants who celebrate it tonight and tomorrow!
(A post for Camera Critters meme.)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Norway in Jerusalem

City Daily Photo bloggers are having a mid-month theme day in honor of Norway's Constitution Day.
There is not a huge Norwegian presence*  here in Jerusalem and I was fretting, where would I ever find something Norwegian to photograph in time for May 17?

Then a miracle happened yesterday.
Getting off the tram on Jaffa Street, I suddenly saw a little flag of Norway in an Israeli souvenir shop window!

Here it is, right next to the menorah.

I toured beautiful Norway way back in the 1970s and loved it.
The most exciting thing for me was standing on a living glacier  and rowing a little wooden boat on a real fiord.

For a funny list of "typical" Norwegian characteristics  visit the wonderful blog post written by friend "Spiderdama" in Grimstad, Norway.
She is now joining City Daily Photo.   Welcome, new member!
*Some 18,000 tourists from Norway visited Israel last year, and 550 Norwegians are registered at their embassy as temporary or permanent residents of Israel.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sharing the view


Israel has been having rare May rain in the last few days.
When I got to Jerusalem at noon clouds were everywhere, but they didn't drop any rain.

The Tower of David, our museum for the history of Jerusalem, was having a free admission day for International Museum Day, the 2013 theme of which is  Memory + creativity = social change.
The rest of the world has IMD on Saturday, May 18. 

This scene I found after climbing to the top of the Phasael tower.
On one side of the observation deck a class of Arab school kids with their teacher.
On the other, a group of young soldiers learning about Jerusalem from a Jewish guide.

Here is the splendid view they were all looking at--the Old City and beyond, the Mount of Olives and Mt. Scopus!
Except this last shot is from 4:30, after the bright sun had come out.
Only a long line of clouds remained, to the east, where the desert begins.

I climbed the tall tower a second time, with SkyWatch Friday in mind.
You can enlarge the photos with a click and a second click to get a better look at our city that is like none other.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A good Shavuot lesson for modern-day Israel

Chag sameach!
Today is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
The Feast of Weeks is also called the Time of the Giving of the Torah, the Festival of the First Fruits, and the [wheat] Harvest Festival. 
Shavuot commemorates the people's pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bring first crops to the Temple. 
Today the Ten Commandments were  read in synagogues and also the Book of Ruth, telling the story of Ruth the Moabitess who followed Naomi and became Jewish.
 On Shavuot it is the tradition to eat dairy foods, wear white, and study Torah throughout the night.

More posts about it under my labels "Shavuot"  and "Torah."

I learned something nice today, thanks to the Velveteen Rabbi.

Exodus 19:1-2 states that
1 In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 
2 And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount. 
That last part, in Hebrew,  is  וַיִּחַן-שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל, נֶגֶד הָהָר
Suddenly the Torah is using a singular verb to say that we (plural) camped in front of the mountain.

 Rashi understands it to mean that the Israelites camped there as a single entity, with one heart and one purpose.

Or as Velveteen Rabbi says in her blog, "On this day, long long ago, despite all of our frustrations and our differences, we were together at the mountain as one. We were one people, one heart, one community. And in that state of oneness, we entered into relationship with God. In that state of oneness, we received revelation. We experienced divinity. We experienced the theophany . . . "

And the following verse says, "And Moshe ascended to Heaven and God called to him from the mountain. . . ."
 The 15th century Italian commentator Rabbi Sforno explains that  "This teaches us that Yisrael set themselves to the task of preparing the camp, and Moshe ascended to prepare himself for his approaching prophecy."

As I find at a "Chassidus" website

"Rabbi Chayim Shmuelevitz, the former Rosh Yeshiva of the famous Mir Yeshiva of Poland and then later Jerusalem, once pointed out the seemingly contrary intent of the comments of the Sforno:

 How is it possible to describe the activities of Moshe and the people in one breath?! Moshe Rabbenu is preparing for the world's greatest revelation, and the people are digging latrines and pounding in tent pegs?

 He answers that when they pitched camp, each one was concerned not with his own place, rather he took the time to worry about his neighbor; was his camp in order, did he need some help.
Because they were doing chesed [~ acts of kindness] one with the other, they showed that they were indeed a nation that was fit to receive the Torah.
Moshe's going up was made possible by the Nation's pitching camp."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bring on the loquats!


Soon these loquats will ripen to a nice yellow-orange color.
Then the birds and bats will know it is time to visit the tree.

In Hebrew they are called shesek  and Israel is the world's #2 producer and exporter, after Japan.

Eriobotrya japonica originated in SE China.
It was introduced into Japan and has been cultivated there for over a thousand years.

The fruit is juicy and tangy and nutritious.
Just don't bite the hard seeds by mistake--they are toxic.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A message from the grave


  PSALM 103

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,

bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we were made;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his bidding,

obedient to his spoken word.

21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

his ministers that do his will.
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. 
Translation: NRSV 
1. On the grave of an old couple from Finland, at the Finnish moshav, Yad Hashmona, in the Jerusalem Hills.
On the right side of the book is Psalm 103:1 in Finnish and Hebrew.
On the left is Matthew 6:33.

2. "Relief depicting an angel holding a book, Church at Belvoir (Kochav Hayarden), late 12th C, limestone. . . . The angel is probably St. Matthew." Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Haaretz just published a free article, with photos and video,  about Belvoir, the Crusader fortress.

Flowering date palm


Jerusalem's International  YMCA tower.
But even more impressive,  at this season of the year, are the date palm trees in its courtyard.
Enlarge the photo with two clicks and enjoy the view of dates in the making.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bubble mystery


I've never seen such big bubbles while boiling rice.

But can bubbles have straight lines??

And can my kitchen light reflected in each bubble count for James' Weekend Reflections meme? 

Enlarge the photo and judge for yourself.  Whaddaya think?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stumbling upon the Government Printer


After finding the nice new health clinic (the one in the previous post), I decided to explore a few unfamiliar streets of the Jerusalem neighborhood and see what else I could discover.
Hmm, interesting old machines lined up in there.
I stuck my camera through the locked gate and snapped a quick pic before the security guard could get worried.
Hmm, might be old printing press equipment. 

Sure enough!   There was the sign saying     המדפיס הממשלתי‎.
HaMadpis HaMemshalti  means the Government Printer. 

Part of the Ministry of Finance, the unit has been providing  printing services to governmental institutions since the beginning of the State of Israel.
The Government Printer is also in charge of the printing of identity cards and passports, national final exams for schools, stamps, governmental reports, state laws, etc.

In a short video of their operations you can see how far the equipment has advanced from  the old metal presses in the front yard.

(Linking to Lesley's meme signs, signs.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quandary and quaternary

While trying to find an interesting Q word for ABC Wednesday I happened upon QUATERNARY. 

Wikipedia explains that "The term quaternary care is also used sometimes as an extension of tertiary care in reference to medicine of advanced levels which are highly specialized and not widely accessed. Experimental medicine and some types of uncommon diagnostic or surgical procedures are considered quaternary care."

Sounds ominous already, no?

Some health experts think so, too, because I found this:

Quaternary prevention, first coined at Wonca world Hong Kong 1995 by M. Jamoulle & M.Roland, describes the protection of patients from diagnostic tests, interventions and treatments that offer no benefit for overall morbidity or mortality for the individual, and may cause physical or psychological harm.
The P4 concept pulls together all reflexive moves on the problems resulting from an excess of medical care, such as overscreening, overinvestigation, overprescription, and overtreatment.

 No direct relationship to quaternary (I hope!), but here you see the new Kupat Holim Clalit health center to which the gastroenterology (and other) specialists have now moved. 
It is on Bethlehem Road in Jerusalem and is called Lev Talpiot.

Ah, but the writing above the main door puts me in a quandary.
How can I find out why it says Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate  Jerusalem 2000  above the door to my new medical center?