Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get yer Holy Sepulchre placemats


For ABC Wednesday,  C is for CIC,  the Christian Information Center at Jaffa Gate, just inside the Old City.
I like to drop in and see what new exhibit they have, or what activities are publicized, or what is on their bulletin boards.

A year ago, in May, I was somehow taken aback to find table mats for sale.
Imagine eating breakfast on a placemat of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Only $5 each.
Really.  Click on the photo twice and take a close look.

The big poster with the Stations of the Cross is pretty nice, though.
Only 4 Euros.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Coffee and cake and books at Yad Vashem


Today I had to meet a friend who works at Yad Vashem, our Holocaust memorial.
Here is the Visitor's Center where we had coffee and cake (one floor below).

Right behind the impressive building is an impressive gift shop; well, actually it is called The Book and Resource Center.
It  is managed by Steimatzky Group Ltd.
The center provides a wide range of current reference books, multi-media, memoirs and Holocaust literature for visitor purchase and fills book orders and visitor requests related to the Holocaust and WWII in various languages.
You can see samples of what's available at the Yad Vashem Online Store website.

Wish I had taken a photo of the book store for blog-friend Petrea Burchard in Pasadena because she just now informed us via Facebook  of a marvelous new ad campaign by this same  Israeli book chain,  Steimatzky's.
Follow the link, you will love the photos about the magic of reading!
(This post links to Our World Tuesday and to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jerusalem of gold and blue


For SkyWatch Friday here is our clear blue sky, typical for Israel's long hot dry season.

We are looking up at the Temple Mount from the foot of the Mount of Olives.
The top of the Dome of the Rock is visible.
In the Old City wall is the Mercy Gate.
Outside the blocked gate is a Muslim cemetery and below that is a Franciscan cemetery.

You can enlarge the photo twice and see the graves among the olive trees.

Shabbat shalom to Jerusalem and to you all.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The "born for love" bench


B is for bench in Botanical Gardens of Jerusalem.
You can enlarge the photo once or twice to read to whom it is dedicated.

The bench proclaims

"We are all born for love.  It is the principle of existence, and its only end."
--Benjamin Disraeli


Monday, July 22, 2013

The Day of the Breaking of the Ax, Tu B'Av

Today was Tu B'Av.  As you can see from the Google doodle, in modern Israel this ancient holiday has evolved into a day of love, with many of the trappings of Valentine's Day that we learned from  other countries.
But reading a good Chabad article today, I learned that the Talmud lists six joyous events which occurred on this 15th of Av.

Just recently we found an X word for ABC Wednesday:
 Josephus (Bellum Judaisum 2:17)   refers to Tu B'Av as the Feast of Xylophory ("Wood-bearing") because on that day the cutting of the wood for the main altar in the Temple was completed for the year.

Today I learned this from Chabad:
 When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, the annual cutting of firewood for the altar was concluded on the 15th of Av. The event was celebrated with feasting and rejoicing (as is the custom upon the conclusion of a holy endeavor), and included a ceremonial breaking of the axes, which gave the day its name, the Day of the Breaking of the Ax.
. . .
Why break the axes? Why not store them for next year’s cutting? Because the ax represents the very antithesis of what the altar, and the Temple as a whole, stood for.
Regarding the making of the altar, G‑d had instructed: “When you build a stone altar for Me, do not build it of cut stone; for if your sword has been lifted upon it, you have profaned it” (Exodus 20:22). “Do not lift iron upon it . . . The altar of G‑d shall be built of whole stones” (Deuteronomy 27:5–6). If any metal implement so much as touched a stone, that stone was rendered unfit for use in the making of the altar.
Our sages explain: “Iron was created to shorten the life of man, and the altar was created to lengthen the life of man; so it is not fitting that that which shortens should be lifted upon that which lengthens” (Talmud, Middot 3:4). Iron, the instrument of war and destruction, has no place in the making of the instrument whose function is to bring eternal peace and harmony to the world.
 From the Chabad website.  Based on the teachings of the

See also
and for fun look at

Happy Tu B'Av!

(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Go in peace, to peace, Lara


 By now all you faithful readers know  Lara, my best feline friend.

Lara kept the neighboring monastery free of mice, snakes, and rodents.
Last week we think a snake bit her.
Now beloved Lara is dead. 

 For at least 8 (some say 11) years she did her job well, living free outdoors, bearing the snows of winter and the heat of summer.

 She had one litter.  One kitten survived.
Here on the stairs she had a brief hissy fit with daughter Shachar.

But mostly they were kind to one another, like here, sharing a plate of leftovers in the February wetness.

She was beautiful and intelligent  and affectionate to the few humans that she knew and trusted.

She enjoyed having me swing her back and forth, side to side, around and around.
"Hoy-dash, hoy-dash ..."

And now dear Lara is on the shining path to Cat Heaven, if there really is one.
Thank you for your friendship and love, my friend, and for your long service.
"Well done, good and faithful servant."

In her final days she was tended by a gentle hermit priest monk, and he buried Lara in his garden.
Rest in peace, old girl. 
We will miss you. 

(Linking to Camera Critters)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sun for the garden


A monastery  garden, tended by the Sisters of Sion, Ein Kerem.

Clouds over the Jerusalem Hills for Sky Watch Friday.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tisha B'Av

We are in the Hebrew month of Av, and today is the 9th of Av,  Tisha B'Av.

It is a sad day of fasting and remembering the destruction of the First and the Second Temples and other calamities that befell the Jewish people throughout history on this day.

When the Roman legions attacked,  Josephus writes that it was the rivers of blood flowing down the city's streets that extinguished the fires burning Jerusalem. 

To celebrate their triumph over the Jews in 70 CE, the Romans erected a monumental arch at the Forum in Rome.
One of its reliefs depicts soldiers carrying off sacred objects from the Temple. 
. . . Where is the gold menorah now?
See about the religious observance of Tisha B'Av in my earlier posts.
The two photos above are from the Tower of David Museum.
May we know no more destruction.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Like a tropical island in a sea of construction


I wandered around a neighborhood in Jerusalem that was new to me, in the Talpiot area.
I even wandered into a construction zone,  since there was no one  guarding the entrance.
The abyss was deep and abrupt; hope they get a fence and gate or a guard soon!

But I couldn't tear myself away from the exciting scene.
Look at the island they left, complete with three trees! 

The big backhoe went on chomping away at the rocky earth.

You can enlarge both pictures, click two times, to see what not long ago was underground. 

Wondering why that island has been spared  . . .
And what will be built around it . . . 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Paris Square by day and by night

 Happy 14 July to all the French citizens! 

 For Bastille Day, here is Jerusalem's own  Paris Square.

The square is also known as  "Kikar Tsarfat" in Hebrew and "Place de France" in French.
 More about it here  in my earlier post.

See other French places  in Jerusalem here:
the French Consulate
the fascinating old  French Hospital St. Louis
Many City Daily Blog bloggers around the world are posting today about the holiday.

See Google's 14 July doodle too.

Bonne fête!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Woe to you, Bethsaida ...*


I leaned over to take the "street" sign at eye level and out popped a reflection!
For  James' Weekend Reflections, of course.

Here is another shiny sign, this one reflecting rocks and August (2012) dryness.

The site is Bethsaida, of New Testament fame, located on the northern tip of the Sea of Galileee.
You can enlarge the photo twice and read about its history. 

Look, they even found the city gate at the end of the street!

I worked two seasons digging there in the early 90s.
Even my then-teenage daughter took part in one  of those expeditions.
We volunteers slept in straw huts ("bungalows") in nearby Katzrin, together with bugs and scorpions.  (Ugh, better to forget that part.)

I had not been back up to Bethsaida since then, and I was so impressed at the archaeological progress (on-going) and the unique signage and visitor paths.

I remember having to swing a pickaxe  to break up the concrete floor of a Syrian bunker so we could dig down to lower strata.
In the photo above I see that long-time director Dr. Rami Arav chose to leave one bunker in situ.
Syrian troops were up there on the Golan Heights, shooting down on Israel, until the 1967 Six Day War.

Not much shade at the site, but this tree offered some, complete with a bench.
The sign says "To a shaded meditation place."

Meditate on all what Bethsaida has seen over the millennia . . .
* My post title comes from Matthew 11:21 .

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A loner


Getting some zzzz's at the zoo.
Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo.
Enlarge the picture to see her pretty face. 

For ABC Wednesday.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Devouring Nature


While on a bus trip from Jerusalem to Beersheba today  I saw  the massive Highway One upgrade underway.
It was my first time to see it and I was shocked.

The 2.5 billion shekel project is supposed to improve safety and journey time between Sha'ar Hagai (Bab el Wad) and the entrance to Jerusalem.
But meanwhile  huge machines are destroying the forest and tearing apart the mountain on the south side and are destroying  nature in the valley on the north side.

To learn about the grandiose plans read this article.
This will go on for YEARS. 

Drivers are asked to use alternate routes, but the people  who live along the way and have no choice but to exit onto Highway One are suffering from the disruption and congestion.
It is our major Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway (and to points beyond as well). 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Everyone shall sit under his vine and no one shall make them afraid

 1 But in the end of days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow unto it.
 א  וְהָיָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים, יִהְיֶה הַר בֵּית-יְהוָה נָכוֹן בְּרֹאשׁ הֶהָרִים, וְנִשָּׂא הוּא, מִגְּבָעוֹת; וְנָהֲרוּ עָלָיו, עַמִּים.

 2 And many nations shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths'; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
 ב  וְהָלְכוּ גּוֹיִם רַבִּים, וְאָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַעֲלֶה אֶל-הַר-יְהוָה וְאֶל-בֵּית אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב, וְיוֹרֵנוּ מִדְּרָכָיו, וְנֵלְכָה בְּאֹרְחֹתָיו:  כִּי מִצִּיּוֹן תֵּצֵא תוֹרָה, וּדְבַר-יְהוָה מִירוּשָׁלִָם.

 3 And He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide concerning mighty nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
 ג  וְשָׁפַט, בֵּין עַמִּים רַבִּים, וְהוֹכִיחַ לְגוֹיִם עֲצֻמִים, עַד-רָחוֹק; וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבֹתֵיהֶם לְאִתִּים, וַחֲנִיתֹתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֹת--לֹא-יִשְׂאוּ גּוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּן עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.

 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree;

and none shall make them afraid;   for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken.
 ד  וְיָשְׁבוּ, אִישׁ תַּחַת גַּפְנוֹ וְתַחַת תְּאֵנָתוֹ--וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד:  כִּי-פִי יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, דִּבֵּר.
Micah 4:1-4

The new kitten, only survivor of the mom's litter, chose to be born and to live in the little space under my little house.
Mother and kitty are for Camera Critters.
Enlarge the second picture to see the baby's expression! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Abu Shukri


Here is grandson Dean, the famous photographer from my previous post, and his famous yellow hat and sunglasses.
When he was here from Australia last summer he and I ate humus and falafel at Abu Shukri, the famous (in its simplicity and popularity)  eating place on El Wad Street in the Moslem Quarter of the Old City.
Abu Shukri has been there like forever and I hope it always will be.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Still life by Dean


Yellow is my Y word for today's ABC Wednesday.

Young Dean, my first grandson, was only eight last summer when he asked to borrow my camera during our train ride from Yerushalaim to Tel Aviv.
In his mind he saw the beauty of this still life and made one of his first photographs. 
Just his yellow hat, my camera case, and the new glasses I had bought him--it would not have occurred to me to take a picture of these common objects.
But Dean is the artist, not me. 
And how he kept a steady hand as the train swayed  I'll never know.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A veneer of Jerusalem stone

July Theme Day over at City Daily Photo is titled  "facade."

 Since the 1920s, when the British (as in British Mandate) made it mandatory, all new buildings in Jerusalem must be cladded with Jerusalem stone.

But as we can see with this little 19th century house in the old Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlaot,  "It's all a facade."
What faces the street is handsome Jerusalem stone, maybe recently added;  but in the shadows lurk the original thick, simple, strong building stones.

You can click once or twice to enlarge the photo and decide which side of the house you like more.