Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sheep on the shoulders

I watched fascinated yesterday, June 29, the live broadcast of the Mass from St. Peter's for the great Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
It was the occasion for the Imposition of the Pallium.


After they together spoke the prayer of oath, the 34 new (or transferred) metropolitan archbishops individually knelt before Pope Francis as he put the pallium on their shoulders.

Please see  more photos of  woolen pallia here.
And a nice photo of Papa Francesco receiving the three special pins (representing the three nails on the cross) on his own pallium when he became Pope. 

The palllium is a symbol of communion with the successor of Peter; it  shows some shared authority between the Pope and the archbishops.

This is really interesting, as told by Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans:

Each year on Jan. 21, the Feast of St. Agnes, the pope blesses two baby lambs. The Trappists, who oversee a flock of sheep at Tre Fontane, select the two choicest baby lambs from their flock for this purpose. The Feast of St. Agnes has been chosen because Agnes means lamb and the lamb has always been a symbol associated with this Roman virgin and martyr of the fourth century. When the lambs are brought to St. Agnes Church on their way to the pope, one is crowned with white roses to signify her virginity and one with red roses to signify martyrdom.
Every archbishop is challenged not only to a virginal spousal love for the church he serves, but also to be willing to suffer even martyrdom in witness to the faith. 

After the lambs are presented to the Holy Father, they are transferred to the sheepfold at Castel Gandolfo, where a Vatican shepherd nurtures them. Approximately a month prior to June 29, the shearers remove their wool coats. Religious sisters then make the palliums for the new archbishops from this wool. Vatican officials insert the newly stitched palliums into a silver-gilt box located in a special alcove in the confessio of St. Peter’s Basilica overnight before the pallium ceremony. They rest here in a niche that is very close to the bones of St. Peter.
On June 29, the Holy Father celebrates the Eucharist with the new archbishops and, after the homily, places a pallium on the shoulders of each one. This expresses the solemn responsibility which each archbishop assumes to shepherd the flock of Christ entrusted to him. Like the shepherd who carries a lamb on his shoulders, the archbishop is to care for the flock entrusted to him with the care of the Good Shepherd. 
            - Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans

You know, I was a shepherd of real sheep in 1996-2002,  part of my livestock responsibilities as a volunteer at the Arkansas ranch and learning center of Heifer International

It is much easier to lead a herd than to move an individual sheep. 
Sometimes, rather than dragging a recalcitrant bleating young sheep  on a lead rope to a new place,  I would just carry it on my shoulders. 
Work-campers and visitors seeing this would immediately be transported to  New Testament imagery.

But friends, let me tell you, that hot oily wool pressing on your sweating bare neck is often full of burrs and bugs, dirt and poop. 
You must hold on tight to two hind legs and two front legs, all trying to pull away. 
Sheep protest, they do not always lie passively.
They want off your shoulders, back on the dirt and  back to the herd. 

This experience of mine  helps me appreciate the not-so-different  hard work of pastors in their pastoral work with their flock.   People can be a lot like sheep. 
The video of the Imposition of the Pallium can be see at , just go to June 29. 

Papa Francesco's good sermon, translated to English, is here

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer camp for kids in nature


The pondside restaurant is reflected several times in the mirror-like facade of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, known as " a 30-acre retreat of beauty and tranquility in the heart of Israel's largest metropolis."

The banner announces the opening, on July 1, of  "Nature's Children Summer Camp" for kindergarten to 4th grade kids.
Sixteen mornings of learning and fun for 1,480 shekels (= $407).

The webpage about the camp calls it

An Adventure of Discovery into the Wondrous World of Plants

Who had such money when I was a kid growing up in Chicago?!
I remember learning about nature in the empty lot next door, the forest preserves, and the Lake Michigan beaches -- all for free.
(Linking to  Signs, signsWhimsical Windows, Delirious Doors  and James' meme Weekend Reflections.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Towers soar skyward


Which is taller, which more important for security, which will defend the city better?
The old stronghold of the Citadel with its towering Tower of David?
Or the modern tall antenna on the Kishle police station?

The view is from outside the Old City wall.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Feast of Xylophory

ABC Wednesday's dreaded  X Day has come around again.
But this year I am ready, with a new word I came across just recently.

Soon we will have the happy Jewish holiday of Tu B'Av.

The Talmud gives several reasons for celebrating this date 15th of Av, one being that 
cutting of the wood for the main altar in the Temple was completed for the year.

The wood-offering brought in the Temple is based on Nehemiah 10:35:
35 And we cast lots, the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood-offering, קֻרְבַּן הָעֵצִים to bring it into the house of our God, according to our fathers' houses, at times appointed, year by year, to burn upon the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the Law; 
 Josephus (Bellum Judaisum 2:17)   refers to Tu B'Av as the Feast of Xylophory ("Wood-bearing").

There you have it!  An  X  word!
P.S.  The firewood cutting in the photo was done by me and Mark, my friend's husband.
Update:  Just for fun see also

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy birthday John the Baptist!

Happy birthday (tonight and tomorrow) to John the Baptist!

Here is the pretty fence that keeps pilgrims from falling down toward the opening in the mountain from which flows spring water.
I took the picture from below, after drinking a few handfuls of the cold water. 
John most probably used the same spring, Ein Habis.
In Arabic it means the Spring of the Hermit. 

Above the spring is the opening to the grotto where John used to live, according to Christian tradition.
You can see more pictures of the monastery in my previous posts about John.
To see John's happy birthday party in 2007 see here and here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Jerusalem, old and new


View from the Tower of David (the Citadel).
The ramparts of the Citadel in the foreground.
People passing through Jaffa Gate (enlarge the photo to see them).
Continuing to the right of the  gate, the ancient city wall of the Old City.
West of the wall, the new city.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Friday, June 21, 2013



Someone must have demolished an old cabin on the outskirts of my village/moshav.
I went down to have a look around, hoping that no one was around to see me looking at junk.

Imagine how startled I was to suddenly feel that something WAS watching me!
* "I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love."          -- Dr. Seuss

The sun behind the towers

The longest day!
Happy June solstice.

These mid-month days our City Daily Photo bloggers are having a Festival of the Solstice.
The photo here combines four of the five classical elements:

AIR - The very air vibrates from the frequent chiming in the bell tower of  Dormition Abbey and the five-times-per-day call to prayer of a muezzin atop the mosque's minaret.
EARTH - Below the roof with the minaret is King David's tomb, well grounded on holy land.

WATER - Even farther below, ancient subterranean cisterns capture and keep the rain that falls on Jerusalem's Old City.
SPIRIT - The Spirit mingles with the past and present inhabitants of Jerusalem--Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Fire we don't need;  Jerusalem has been burned to the ground too many times already.
FIRE - As RuneE in Norway just now reminded me, we DO have fire in the photo.
How could I forget that the sun behind the minaret is a big ball of fire!
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday  and City Daily Photo.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From green to red


It is the time of year when pomegranates get their first blush of red.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Watch Dr. Barbra Streisand, singing in Jerusalem for Peres' 90th birthday, soon! On Internet TV!

Photo from the Facebook page of Shimon Peres,  Israel's President

Yay, we get to hear and see Barbra Streisand for free in just a few hours!
At 9:00 pm Israel time, which is GMT +3, click over to

 It sure beats paying hundreds of shekels for her two concerts in Tel Aviv. Anyway, the tickets were sold out immediately.

  Mazal tov to Dr. Barbra Streisand after being awarded an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University yesterday.
  And happy 90th birthday, dear President Shimon Peres!

Consult the handy website if you need to figure out the time difference.

P.S.  Also starring PM Bibi Netanyahu, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Shlomo Artzi, Eyal Golan, and Adi Ashkenazi.

More later!
See Barbra sing Hatikva and talk to Golda Meir in 1978:

Hear "You don't bring me flowers":


Monday, June 17, 2013

Teaching tram etiquette

It has been almost two years since Jerusalem's new trams began running.
Our light rail is the first in Israel.

Strange that only now the company decided we needed a campaign to teach tram riders how to get in and out without pushing and shoving.
Now you see their signs everywhere--on illuminated billboards,

and on the sliding doors of the tram.

They even hired people to pass out thousands of pamphlets (along with a bonbon).
The message is  that first you let passengers get out of the tram and they you can get on.
Pretty basic, eh?
But what is missing in the picture of the three people  are the  247 others who are crammed into each of the two cars of the train.

Can you believe??  They even painted arrows and lines on the ground for us at ALL of the stations next to where the tram comes to a stop.

Now  if they could just teach their drivers not to close doors on people.
Of course we all rush in, otherwise we often get squished by the strong doors closing after a few seconds, or, we get left behind to wait another eight or so minutes for the next tram (which is also too crowded).
(This post goes to Our World Tuesday , Signs, Signs,  and Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The best light show


Happy SUNday to you all.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

King David's busted nose

It is almost Sunday already so let's do Psalm 108.

A Song. A Psalm of David.
1 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
   I will sing and make melody.
   Awake, my soul!
2 Awake, O harp and lyre!
   I will awake the dawn.

3 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples,
   and I will sing praises to you among the nations.
4 For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens,
   and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
   and let your glory be over all the earth.
6 Give victory with your right hand, and answer me,
   so that those whom you love may be rescued.

7 God has promised in his sanctuary:
   ‘With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
   and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
   Ephraim is my helmet;
   Judah is my sceptre.
9 Moab is my wash-basin;
   on Edom I hurl my shoe;
   over Philistia I shout in triumph.’

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
   Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
   You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 O grant us help against the foe,
   for human help is worthless.
13 With God we shall do valiantly;
   it is he who will tread down our foes.
Translation: RSV
Find the Hebrew and English together at Mechon Mamre.
PHOTO:  King David next to the traditional tomb of King David on Mt. Zion.
His broken strings have been restrung and he got a coat of gold paint, but David's nose is still broken.
The recurring  vandalism is generally thought to be the way of some haredi/ultra-Orthodox Jews to show they do not approve of graven images of humans in the holy city Jerusalem.

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Flower [of light] from the Universe"


For Weekend Reflections  here is Flower from the Universe by Titia Ex from The Netherlands.

I didn't go down to the lower part of Tsahal Square to play with this Festival of Light installation, but apparently it is interactive.
The festival brochure says the principle behind it is "physical space--space as palette, as living organism."

See more about it at

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Formula One. In Jerusalem.

Today  Jerusalem was treated to (or subjected to) the Jerusalem Formula  The Peace Road Show.
It will continue tomorrow, the whizzing sound of Formula One cars and big motorcycles on our main streets near the Old City.
70,000 people came to line the streets or sit in the specially erected grandstands.
It was not a race, thankfully.

See some video and photos and more information at

This is not something that would draw me into Jerusalem, this Formula 1 spectacle.

The closest I got to the event is shown in this photo from last Monday, on my way to Jaffa Gate for the Light Festival.
A stand at the foot of the Old City wall was being set up to sell Ferrari and Jerusalem Peace Road Show memorabilia.

Mayor Nir Barkat stated that the total cost of the Formula 1 events reached around 15 million shekels ($4.15 million) and that most of the funding came from sponsors.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pardon, your roots are showing

More from this week's Festival of Light in the Old City --

The row of palm trees had taken root.
This is along HaTsanhanim St., between Damascus Gate and the New Gate.
Click to enlarge the photo and you will find the silvery tram passing by, approaching Damascus Gate station.

Looking in the opposite direction you see the wall enclosing the  Old City.
This installation is called Luminaissance, a "Student Effort" project by French students from the Ecole de Conde, Lyon.
See more about the work here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Damascus Gate sprouts a tree of life


Jerusalem's Festival of Light in the Old City can start only when it is dark, i.e. after 8 pm.
Last night at 7:54 the sky above Damascus Gate was turning pretty shades of blue and pink.

Very soon the air got cool and the sky got dark and they began the projection of "Tree of Life"  by Heinz Kasper of Germany.
This virtual tree is for ABC Wednesday's V day.
P.S.  - Even better was how they projected "I LOVE JERUSALEM"  onto the gate in the 2011  Festival of Light!  See my post for the photos.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A fountain of light

The week-long Light 2013 in Jerusalem is on.
It is our fifth international light festival in the Old City. 

We walked over near the New Gate to see what everyone was looking at inside this bright installation that was sitting on the grass.

It looked like a huge hole in the earth!
How do they DO that?!
The official prospectus says this:
Fountain of Life / Mekor Chaim
Amir Zobel, Israel

"For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light."  (Psalm 36)

A well of light that gives the viewer a sensation of glimpsing the subterranean foundations of Jerusalem's Old City.
The well symbolizes the unshakeable relationship between the building of Jerusalem and the Jewish people's roots:  light and water, the sources of life, both serve as metaphors for the Torah in Jewish sources.
Light and water are found physically and metaphorically in Jerusalem's foundations, and they are what make the city the beating heart of the people who have converged on it for thousands of years. 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Others go down to the sea in ships, ply their trade in the mighty waters"

Psalm 107:23  is quoted on a first day cover that Israel issued on April 17, 2012.
See the envelope and stamps below. (They are enlargeable.)

Wikipedia says this psalm "is  beloved of mariners . . . and is often quoted at events involving the navy and seafarers, such as the launching of ships."
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures for ever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful works to the sons of men!
For he satisfies him who is thirsty,
    and the hungry he fills with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress;
14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
    and broke their bonds asunder.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful works to the sons of men!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze,
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17 Some were sick through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress;
20 he sent forth his word, and healed them,
    and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful works to the sons of men!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

 23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
    .יוֹרְדֵי הַיָּם, בָּאֳנִיּוֹת;    עֹשֵׂי מְלָאכָה, בְּמַיִם רַבִּים
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.

 25 For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunken men,
    and were at their wits’ end.

 28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.

 31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wonderful works to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33 He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
    and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly;
    and he does not let their cattle decrease.
39 When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt upon princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction,
    and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
    and all wickedness stops its mouth.
43 Whoever is wise, let him give heed to these things;
    let men consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Please click on the information sheet to know more about the stamps and ships.
Hear the Psalm read in Hebrew here or read the beautiful old  Jewish Publication Society translation from 1917.

The newer translation I used above is the RSVCE.
And as dear Papa Francesco in Rome always says following the Angelus, "I wish you a good Sunday and a good lunch [buon pranzo]!”

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Quail are funny


One evening I decided to walk home from Hadassah hospital not on the road, but  down on the wild path.
Almost no one ever walks there. 
That is why a family of quail was so surprised to see me.
The mama, followed by her three little ones, ran  in single file fast as they could down the trail and ducked into some bushes to hide.  

I  opened the lens, walked after them, and came to the brush next to the scarp where they had to be, and looked around.
The camouflage was so good and the little birds were so brave not to move, that I could not find them. 

Hoping to get a snapshot for Camera Critters I stomped my foot and shouted "Hey slav!" (slav being Hebrew for quail, like in the Bible stories about them).

Sure enough, with a noisy fluttering of wings all four rose to the air right next to me!
Enlarge the photo and you can find all four in flight. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Naturally sweet


After all these years of blogging about sugar cane in Israel, I finally decided to taste it!
Here's the man pouring my freshly pressed sugar cane juice.
The juice store  is in the covered part of the open air Mahane Yehuda market. 

Ten shekels for a small glassful.
That means this bundle is worth hundreds.

The stiff cane gets a good strong squeezing.

Here's what was left.
This is the length of a cane that  it took to extract  my small glass of juice.
Very sweet.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Slide reader


Back in March I wandered around the old Jerusalem neighborhood  Musrara for the first time and fell in love with it.
I remember focusing my attention and camera on Mt. Scopus on the horizon for this shot.
Funny, but only now, when I enlarge the photo, I notice the woman on the slide.
She's getting some warm reading time while the baby probably sleeps.
Hebrew Book Week is starting now all over Israel, so it seems an appropriate time to share this photo.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

U is for uniform(s)


You can put our kids into army uniforms when they are 18, but you can never make them uniform.

Even from the back you can tell that each one is unique. 
Their guide was explaining the wide expanse of Jerusalem far below as we stood atop Phasael tower inside the Tower of David museum.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

An International Press Club for Jerusalem being built


While wandering around the old Jerusalem neighborhood of Mishkenot Sha'ananim a month ago, I discovered this small construction site.
The sign says it is the future home for an International Press Club, sponsored by the Jerusalem Foundation and Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

I never realized that there is no international press club in Israel or any of its neighboring countries at present.
At least that's what it says in the Jerusalem Foundation's article about the new club. 

They certainly have a breathtaking location, across the valley from the golden wall of the Old City.
Imagine a  correspondent giving a live TV report with that background.

The JPC's website is
and their FB page is .
(Linking to Our World Tuesday meme.)
UPDATE:  The JPC  Jerusalem Press Club officially opened on June 16.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A new WHITE baby donkey!


Look, a frisky two-day-old donkey!
The baby was born just a few days ago, not far from my place.

That means I'll be visiting him as often as the neighbors allow.
The fact that this blog has 23 posts on donkeys is proof of how much I love them. 

The foal looks so slender next to his still double-wide mama.

Jewish tradition says that when the messiah comes, he will enter the Old City through the Gate of Mercy (the Golden Gate), mounted on a WHITE DONKEY.

Let's hope this new-born donkey grows up quickly because this troubled region could sure use a messiah.
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Decaying slowly through the millennia

I am lucky!
 I just have to walk a block or two from my moshav/village, out into the terraced valleys of the Jerusalem Hills, to find pictures for today's City Daily Photo Theme Day, which is "The beauty of decay."

This rounded place on a hill slope is one of my favorites.
See its arched opening, now half buried by the ages?!
I try to imagine who used it, when,  and for how long . . . 

Please enlarge these photos with one click, then another.
I left them big so you can enjoy the luscious details.

The hills are peppered with mysterious stone structures  that are thousands of years old.
They are hard to date, but some go back even to 4,500 years ago.
Archaeologists have proof that different peoples have inhabited this area for 6,000 years.

 The door and a window of this now low structure on the valley floor are still visible.
The big pine tree toppled over in last winter's rain and now it, too, will start to decay. 

A forest fire swept through this valley a few years ago, but this tall cypress survived.
It thrives between two dams.

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills and the only way to raise crops was to build agricultural terraces.
Farmers picked rocks from the ground and used them to build terrace walls; they may have had to bring in soil for each little plot.
They devised irrigation channels from the many springs in the Jerusalem Hills.

In the bottom of the valleys they built dams, as pictured above.
When rain water rushed down the valley from the hills, these dams stopped the soil from being washed away.

In Biblical days, farmers were able to feed their families from these terraces as well as most of the great throngs of pilgrims who ascended to the Temple in nearby Jerusalem on the three yearly pilgrimage festivals.

In recent centuries, up to 1948, Arab farmers grew many fruit and olive trees and I'm not sure what else in the hills.
I admire all who did this hard work in a not easy land.
To see how farmers used stone shomerot, watchmen's huts, please see previous posts.
There are hundreds here in the Jerusalem Hills in various stages of decay.
Now let's go visit the other CDP bloggers and see what's decaying in their cities.
Shalom to all. 
(Linking also to Toby's meme (in Israel!)  Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)