Saturday, August 31, 2013

Libby will be pretty in pink


No, don't worry, this is not a post-Rapture picture.    LOL!
I never saw the movie "Left Behind" but I hear that some empty clothes were  left in the plane.

It is just a picture for City Daily Photo's  September 1st Theme Day about all things PINK.

Horsey pyjamas, a leotard, a blouse with pink appliques, and jeans -- all for my little granddaughter, Libby, who is coming here to Meitar in early October!
I enjoy buying stuff at the Fourth of July yard sale put on every year by AACI,  the Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel.
You can find fun vintage American clothes not found in Israeli stores, and for just a few shekels.
Fortunately my sensible daughter is all for making use of hand-me-downs.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mirror envy


So far I have found no reflections in Meitar.
So for today's Weekend Reflections let's go back to some images I secretly took in the Israel Museum.

The guard came around the corner just as I was going to photograph the explanatory sign.
So all I can tell you about the unusual exhibit is that it is called a "Venetian 18th century room."

Mirror tiles everywhere!
Maybe our blog friends in Versailles and Italy can tell us more.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia has this curious story:
In the 17th century, mirrors were among the most expensive items to possess and at the time, the Venetian Republic held the monopoly on the manufacture of mirrors.
In order to maintain the integrity of his philosophy of mercantilism, which required that all items used in the decoration of Versailles be made in France, Jean-Baptiste Colbert enticed several workers from Venice to make mirrors at the Manufacture royale de glaces de miroirs.
 According to legend, in order to keep its monopoly, the government of the Venetian Republic sent agents to France to poison the workers whom Colbert had brought to France.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Negev sunset


No, it's not a bomb.  Not yet, anyway.
It is just a dramatic sunset over Meitar and the desert a few days ago.
Enlarge the photo to see how the crepuscular ray in the middle "cuts" the cloud. 

A peaceful picture for SkyWatch Friday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tense days as rhetoric heats up

Continuing yesterday's post about this summer's public art exhibit of Cool Globes, here are some more of the 18 globes in Jerusalem that present ideas to combat global warming.

Enlarge this accompanying sign to read about religions' attitudes to global warming.
"Is your faith calling you to act?"  it asks. 

I fear that as early as Thursday night our  Middle East part of the globe will  suddenly be  heating up from the fire power that  men will unleash on one another.
If only it could be stopped before it begins.
I hope these are not my final words to you from this blog . . .

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet


There is something in Jerusalem  I've been wanting to show you  for months now.
ABC Wednesday G day reminded me:
Cool Globes against global warming!

I learn from their website that
 Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet, is a public art exhibition designed to raise awareness of solutions to climate change. 
Cool Globes grew out of a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2005, and was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2006.  Since that time, Cool Globes premiered in Chicago and went on tour across the country from Washington DC to San Francisco, San Diego, Sundance, Los Angeles, Houston and Cleveland.  In the fall of 2009, Cool Globes opened the first international exhibit in Copenhagen. From there our globes were in Geneva, Marseille, Vancouver, and Amsterdam. It is our hope that the millions of people who have experienced the exhibit, leave with a vast array of solutions to climate change, and with one clear message….we can solve this.

Jerusalem has 18 of the globes on display along the  Alrov-Mamilla Esplanade near  Jaffa Gate.

Here are a few of my favorites.

This one is "Solar Power" by Alice Sharie Relevski.

These sweet little religious kids were posing for their parents to take a photo.
They look like they have the world on their shoulders.

All the photos above can be enlarged 2x with a few clicks.

When the exhibit ends at the end of the summer the globes will be donated for permanent installation in Israel, with proceeds from sponsorship going to educational programming on climate change and the environment in Israel.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Opportunities for kids, so many


 Meitar's Amphi was full of life yesterday evening, with a "Happening" to showcase some of the extracurricular activities that will be offered in the new school year that starts tomorrow.

 A judo student  threw his instructor to the mat seemingly effortlessly.
He is on just one leg in the photo!

 Ah, and here are the karate kids.
My grandson Dean might join them; he is already very advanced in karate.
Did I ever tell you why I moved here?
 My Naomi and her family will be coming from Australia to live in Meitar from October to April! Guy got a sabbatical.   For seven months my three grandkids will be living only one kilometer away!

Look how these acrobatics girls lifted the younger ones!

 Several dance groups performed on stage.
These three dancers came to stand in front of where I was sitting on the lush grass so they could see the other groups.
I couldn't resist taking a picture.
(Update: I should explain that all the girls in a certain dance wore a protective  knee pad on one leg because there was a lot of kneeling on one knee.) 

Even little kids are learning the movements of capoeira.
It is quite amazing what kids can learn here in little Meitar, in  the Negev desert, in the middle of nowhere.

 One of the several youth movements active in the community gave a final cheer off to the side.

Even the dogs were happy as everyone headed home.
Nice ambiance in the amphitheater. 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Meitar's "wildlife"


Gradually I am exploring my new surroundings in Meitar.
The high heat of the day limits my hikes to the evening when an almost-cool breeze picks up.
Yesterday I reached the eastern end of my street and of the town (all of five minutes from home) and found this "mountain."
Looks like they had to cut the rock back in 1984 when they started to build the community. 

What fun to find the shaved cliffs inhabited by deer!

Even if the deer are of metal, I'm hoping they will qualify for Camera Critters Sunday meme,

because so far these are the only animals I've seen down here except for the ubiquitous cats and pigeons.
Oh, and the dogs that occupy just about every other yard on the block; I can't walk by without getting barked at.
But at least here there are rules about walking your dog on a leash.  So civilized!
A friend in The Netherlands saw this and informed me that it is no coincidence that her quartet will today sing in church the beautiful motet of Palestrina for the beautiful words of Psalm 42:2-3:
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.
 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God
כְּאַיָּל, תַּעֲרֹג עַל-אֲפִיקֵי-מָיִם--    כֵּן נַפְשִׁי תַעֲרֹג אֵלֶיךָ אֱלֹהִים
  צָמְאָה נַפְשִׁי, לֵאלֹהִים--    לְאֵל חָי
You can hear "Sicut cervus desiderat. Sitivit anima mea" on YouTube.
Thanks Ellis!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Walking over ancient history


The newly redeveloped  Beersheva Central Bus Station gets a lot of foot traffic.
But the floor is clean and shiny enough to reflect the signs of Burger Ranch, CocaCola, and Little Switzerland.
Good for James' Weekend Reflections.

This special part of the floor is right next to one of the entrances to the bus station.

Look what's under the glass floor--antiquities!!
Found a year or two ago just one or two feet below surface, in a rescue dig! 

 "For Byzantine Beersheba, this was it,"  according to Dr. Daniel Varga, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority, who conducted the dig. "This was the heart of the Byzantine city, right here. Two Byzantine churches were built within a radius of 300 meters from here, and right over there was the Roman military camp."

The bustling Byzantine city of Beersheba was home to several thousand people and a popular stopping place for Negev travelers.
Surprisingly, most of the rooms were empty with no signs of destruction, suggesting that the residents left the area of their own accord.
 The Byzantine site is remarkably well preserved due to centuries of abandonment following Arab invasions in the seventh century C.E. and recent coverage by the old bus station itself.
(The Muslim conquest of Palestine was completed in 640.)

The dig information here comes from Travelujah and Bible History Daily articles from 2012.
P.S.  See my post on the Roman Tenth Legion  for a similar way of preserving antiquities under glass, under Jerusalem's International Convention Center. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our spartan amphitheater


Under the string of colored lights,  the stairs leading down to Meitar's "Amphi."
Enlarge the photo 2x and you can find some benches, the stage, a few rows of  stone seats, and lots of grass.
And the outer row of Meitar's houses.

We are looking to the north/ northwest and I reckon the buildings off in the distance are Palestinian villages or towns beyond the nearby Green Line.
Meitar was built just south of the West Bank, just below the Green Line, i.e. in Israel proper.
On this map you can see the white dotted line - - - - -  marking the 1949 Armistice Agreement Line.

To the east, west, and south of Meitar are many Israeli Bedouin villages, towns, and even one Bedouin city, Rahat

I have only lived in Meitar for two weeks so I haven't seen any events in the amphitheater yet.
Soon summer vacation ends and probably the activity in the amphi will pick up again.

You can drag that map around or zoom in on Meitar.
My 2010 paper map gives the population as 7,500.
(Linking the big sky and rare summer clouds to SkyWatch Friday.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013



My first visit to the open-air market in Beersheba was an eye opener.
The fruits and vegetables were colorful, plentiful, and not expensive.
But seeing the heads and insides of cows or sheep displayed  was not something I was used to in Jerusalem's Shuk Machane Yehuda.

This picture of the butcher with a long knife about to cut something I knew only from anatomy course  made an "offal" impression on me.
Enlarge the photo if you have the stomach for it.
The term offal is used in the United Kingdom while  in the United States organ meats or the euphemistic term variety meats is used instead.

If you really really want to learn the strange vocabulary, see this food blog

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fine for the tram


For ABC Wednesday  F is for fine.
And for failure, franchise, and frequency.

Israel's Transportation Ministry is fining Citypass for failure to meet the franchise conditions:
the frequency of the trams is too low, the hardly-working ticket machines are still frustrating and enfuriating,  and  average travel time is  20% longer that originally planned.

 CityPass, the private consortium that won a 30-year contract to build and run Jerusalem's light  rail system, has had two years of operating the new trams.
But they just can't seem to get it right, and now they will have to pay the State a million shekel fine (about $280,000), according to today's report by Army radio.

Feh.  F is for "This is a fine kettle of fish," that funny old English idiom meaning  a troublesome situation, a vexing problem.

I can honestly say the tram and all the eight years of  its construction (and tearing up the main roads) are not something that I miss after moving away from Jerusalem.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A lot different from Shuk Machane Yehuda

I moved to Meitar exactly two weeks ago, but today was the first time I ventured out to the big city, Beersheba.
It's a 45-minute bus ride.
My first exploration point was the shuk, the huge open-air market.

Now that I live in the Negev I will have to get used to seeing veiled Bedouin women with only their eyes and hands showing.
I shot this photo from the hip, in stealth mode, just because I couldn't resist capturing her black lace trim.
It was not the normal black dress with colorful  embroidery the women often wear.
Enlarge the picture 2x to see the detail. 

Did I mention that Meitar is neighbor to many Bedouin towns and villages and even a Bedouin city?
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)
P.S.  I will have to find out if they still have a weekly live livestock market next to the shuk.
Meanwhile, you can watch this British video about it -- from 1955

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Our urban park, thanks to German friends


 Back where I came from, the Jerusalem Hills, you never see olive trees in orderly rows.
They just grow scattered all over the terraced hills.
So when I saw these long rows in a wadi in my new home of Meitar in the Negev, I had to investigate.

Fortunately there were plaques.

So!  It is the Olive Tree Park of Meitar, funded in 2009 by the Friends of the Keren Kayemet/Jewish National Fund in Germany. 


 German friends Ingrid and Hans-Dieter Roth of Wiesbaden gave Meitar another important gift--a fire watchtower.
I still have to find the tower but meanwhile here is an article about it and its dedication.

The blessing on the sign is from the Torah,  Numbers 6:24:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
 "The Lord bless you and keep you"  (keep as in keep you safe, e.g. from forest fires!).

As a resident told the visiting Germans, "The Olive Tree Park creates a real bond between the people who live in Meitar and the people who feel connected to Israel in Germany."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Music to my ears

Bright and early yesterday I walked over to the Meitar Regional Council office to have my Israeli identity card changed to my new address.
Yay! Now I am an official resident of the Negev and of Meitar.
(It is pronounced  may [like the month] + tar, accent on the tar, so:  may-tar' .)
Hmm, would that make me a Meitarite?
Dina of the Desert?

The secretary said I was in luck because at 4:00 there would be a festive ceremony to re-open the newly-renovated Moadon LaGil HaZahav,  literally the Golden Age Club. 

OK, so I dutifully walked back over there in the  35 C/ 95 F heat of mid afternoon.
The new glass wing of the clubhouse really IS impressive.
What a view!

The young Minister for Senior Citizens, Knesset Member Uri Orbach, came down from Jerusalem to give a speech.
(Does YOUR country have a Ministry for Senior Citizens?)

He predicted that the old-new clubhouse would be full of cultural and learning  activities.
Once Meitar gets its own high school, he  added, they want to open a class for retired people.
The group would have classes all morning taught by the high school teachers, and several times a year "stars," visiting professors and experts, would come to lecture.

Orbach also gave a hint that his Ministry is working on starting a Shnat Sherut for retirees, a year of volunteer service, complete with certain benefits!
Until now, this  Sherut Leumi year of civic service was meant for young people who, because they are Israeli Arabs or very observant Jews, are normally exempt from compulsory military service;  it gives them a chance to serve their country and be recognized for it.

 Meitar, founded in 1984, is a community built around good education, cooperation between the religious and non-religious and young and old, volunteerism, and general quality of life.
Here above is the Moadon LaGil HaZahav as seen from the wadi, where a nice park and playground have been built. 

A local rabbi and of course our Regional Council head Avner Ben-Gera also spoke to the audience.
But the best part was the man in the photo, Anatoly Lain, an Israeli born in Russia.  What a singer!!
He started with La Traviata.  Hear him on YouTube (at a different venue).

Anatoly gave us an hour and a half, if not more, of  arias, old Israeli Hebrew songs, and a few Yiddish songs too.
But the most moving was what he sang in Russian. 
What could be more touching  than a baritone singing soulful songs from old Russia.
(You can enlarge the photos 2x.  The desert sky is for SkyWatch Friday.)