Saturday, November 30, 2013

Looking out from the grave


Looking out from the ancient Canaanite shaft tomb they had been excavating, workers come up for some fresh(er) air and a coffee break.
They were two of my forty Arab colleagues at the Holyland Park dig in Jerusalem in 2008.

I miss those good old days of digging at the Canaanite graveyard. See more posts about our finds and our fun here.
The worldwide group of City Daily Blog bloggers are now posting for Dec. 1 Theme Day: Looking Out.
Take a look!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Nature adventures


It was the perfect sky today for SkyWatch Friday.
Grandkids Dean, Eyal, and Libby and I climbed the "mountain" in the middle of Meitar. 
The boys hurried up to the peak  (enlarge the photo 2x to find them) . . .

while Libby brought up the rear.
 The view of the desert and all of Meitar was expansive.

We had fun playing out in nature, the only ones in the eucalyptus grove down in the wadi.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Live turkey


This is as close as my family  got to turkey today here in Israel.
The turkeys were alive and well in the Negev Zoo near Beer Sheva.

The grandkids have ten days of Chanuka vacation.
I am so thankful and happy to be near them.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating the holiday today.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First night of Chanuka


Grandsons Dean and Eyal kindled the first candle of Chanuka tonight together with some of their cousins.
Each used a chanukia [menorah] that he/she had made.

At Eyal's class party each first grader got to make their own sufgania [jelly donut].
Now vacation starts.
The kids don't go back to school until December 8.
Happy Chanuka!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Head for the hills


I went back to my old stompin' grounds for the weekend.
Ahh, the Jerusalem Hills, the hill country of Judea--so beautiful and green and peaceful.
I love them still.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

To each his own


R is for round rubber gardens.
Libby is three and a half and she has planted flowers in a repurposed tire.

Each kid in her class made a scarecrow face with his/her name on it, brought a plant from home, and with the help of a parent planted it in a tire in the kindergarten yard.

This month's curriculum is all about plants.
And reuse and recycling is always a topic. 

Grandsons Dean (10) and Eyal (6) checked out the other individual gardens.
There are more than thirty little gardeners and gardens in the pre-school.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Green cheese


Green cheese?!
It is labeled Gouda with pesto, 30% fat, 15.99 shekels per kilogram.

We shopped at the big and beautiful  Eden Teva Market in Beer Sheva  for the first time.
The daughter happily  stocked up on sheep and goat cheeses. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

World Toilet Day


See these signs and symbols, as if on shards?
They point the way to sanitized toilet facilities of the archaeology museum at the foot of Masada.

So yes, it's not only S day on ABC Wednesday; it is also the annual World Toilet Day.
Seriously--the U.N. General Assembly has designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. 

The idea behind it is
"We can't wait to improve sanitation.
2.5 billion people do not have access to a clean and safe toilet."


Monday, November 18, 2013

For opportunities, go south


Be'er Sheva, population 206,000, is often called The Capital of the Negev, since it is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel.
But this big banner, hung on the side of the theater we saw in yesterday's post, takes it a step further.

It sounds better in Hebrew:  Be'er Sheva -- Birat hahizdamnuyot shel Yisrael, with "opportunities" being in the plural.
UPDATE: I realized from a comment that a map would be useful.
My town, Meitar, is northeast of Beersheva.  It is just south of the Green Line ("1949 Armistice Line"), i.e. south of the West Bank. 

Click on the map a few times to enlarge it.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday and Signs, signs.)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Theater in Beer Sheva


Workers were putting up new posters this morning at the back side of the Be'er Sheva Theater.

The front side had much bigger ads for the coming theater performances.
How about "The Sound of Music"?

And here at the entrance--"Born Yesterday"  and  "Beauty and the Beast."
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Young artists

As you may know, my Aussie family is staying in Israel for seven months and they rent a house walking distance from me in Meitar.
Friday evening all the relatives got together to celebrate Eyal's 6th birthday.

Eyal and his brother and sister and even his mother are good artists, so I gave Eyal this wonderful book.
Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art  is published by Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Amazon says 

In this remarkable and beautiful anthology featuring the likes of Maurice Sendak, Robert Sabuda, Rosemary Wells, and Eric Carle, twenty-three of the most honored and beloved artists in children’s literature talk informally to children—sharing secrets about their art and how they began their adventures into illustration. Fold-out pages featuring photographs of their early work, their studios and materials, as well as sketches and finished art create an exuberant feast for the eye that will attract both children and adults. Self-portraits of each illustrator crown this important anthology that celebrates the artists and the art of the picture book.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Two teens


The military section of Meitar's small cemetery has "only" four graves.
We are just a small community, begun in 1984, with a present population of about 7,500.

But then, perhaps other sons and daughters of Meitar are buried on Mount Herzl, the national military cemetery in Jerusalem.   I don't know.   I hope not.
Yesterday a young soldier, Private Eden Attias, was buried in Upper Nazareth, his home town.
He was only 18 or 19  and the teenager who stabbed him was even younger.
Eden was asleep in the bus when the bus made a pit  stop at Afula when fellow bus passenger  Hussein Rawarda from Jenin knifed him.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The good earth


You know you are almost home when the Metropoline bus from Beer Sheva drives past the huge plowed field.
In this photo you can just see the southern part of Meitar, my new home, coming into view on the left. 
Aren't those deep furrows beautiful and promising?!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

R + R in B-S


R is for resting place on a Beer Sheva sidewalk.

Sit, relax a while, IF you can stand the hot sun,  if you don't mind those grasses tickling the back of your neck. 
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Monday, November 11, 2013


The Beersheba War Cemetery contains 1,241 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 67 of them unidentified.

 More about the cemetery from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Country: Israel and Palestine (including Gaza)
Identified Casualties: 1173

By October 1917, General Allenby's force had been entrenched in front of a strong Turkish position along the Gaza-Beersheba road for some months, but they were now ready to launch an attack with Beersheba as its first objective. On 31 October, the attack was carried out by the XXth Corps . . . on the west, and the Desert Mounted Corps on the east. That evening the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade charged over the Turkish trenches into the town.

The cemetery was made immediately on the fall of the town, remaining in use until July 1918, by which time 139 burials had been made.
It was greatly increased after the Armistice when burials were brought in from a number of scattered sites and small burial grounds.

The cemetery in 1917 or 1918.
(Glass stereotype dry plate  photo by the American Colony Photo Department.
Library of Congress )
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Speeches today at Ben-Gurion's grave

For several days I've been posting about my visit to Ben-Gurion College at Kibbutz Sde Boker.
Here you can see the kibbutz perched above  deep Nahal Zin, in the wilderness of Zin.

Today the leaders of Israel gathered at the kibbutz, at the tomb of David Ben-Gurion and his wife, to mark 40 years since his passing.

See what Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about at

including this:
Turning to the need to make the Negev bloom in accordance with Ben-Gurion’s vision, Netanyahu promised that there would soon be a rapid and dramatic increase in the percentage of Israelis living in the Negev — which has long hovered at around 8 percent. A huge “critical mass” would start flowing south, he vowed.
And Shimon Peres' Facebook page quotes our President as saying this:
We have gathered here today in memory of David Ben Gurion, but also to remind ourselves of our duty to continue his legacy of making the desert bloom and securing peace among ourselves and our neighbors. His legacy will continue to light our way.
We must ensure that we control our own destiny and make the two state solution a reality. Ben Gurion was adamant that Israel should give up land if that meant maintaining a Jewish majority, for without it, there will be no Jewish State. Since then, many changes have occurred, but this issue has remained as it was 66 years ago.
See also

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ibex, free and friendly!


I was delighted to see ibex wandering free  right next to the Midreshet Ben-Gurion building I showed you yesterday!

Right behind them is the main street of  Kibbutz Sde Boker.
There were three young ones and several adult ibex with curved horns.
Actually the kibbutz is home to Ben-Gurion's Tomb National Park
Linking to Camera Critters meme.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Greening the desert


See the bust down on the ground floor of this unusual building?

It is David Ben-Gurion,  Israel's first prime minister.

Today I was there  at Ben-Gurion College at  Sde Boker, Ben-Gurion's kibbutz.
One Friday a month they offer great lectures and/or guided tours.

At the entrance to the kibbutz is Ben-Gurion's famous prophecy about how we would make the desert bloom and make the Negev a blessing to the State of Israel.
The green shrubbery overtaking the writing on the wall seems to prove that it  really is happening.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors meme.)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Can you hear me?


Faces turned skyward.

On a hill in Beer Sheva.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From Qumran caves to your computer

Inspired by Reader Wil's ABC Wednesday post on Qumran today, I figure it is high time to share my Dead Sea scrolls  pictures from last February's Jerusalem International Book Fair.
The Israel Antiquities Authority mounted a nice exhibition on the DSS back then.
(You can click 2x to enlarge any photo below.)

 The equipment used in  conservation of the 2,000-year-old scrolls.

And the patient and skillful women who work on them.

As it says above
The arid climate of the Judean Desert [e.g. at Qumran] and the dark, remote caves preserved the scrolls for more than 2,000 years.
Upon removal from the caves in 1947, the scrolls were exposed to a steady process of deterioration.
They have suffered from exposure to light, residues of adhesive tape and other conservational interventions.
All took their toll on the fragile parchments and papyri.
In 1991 the Israel Antiquities Authority set up a climate-controlled storeroom and a state-of-the-art laboratory for the conservation and preservation of the scrolls, widely considered a universal cultural heritage.
Four conservators have been tasked with the mission of slowing the scrolls' steady deterioration and preserving them for posterity. 

Last December, as Bible History Daily reported,
 Israel Antiquities Authority, in collaboration with Google, launched The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, a new website that allows visitors to view and search high-resolution images of the complete Dead Sea Scrolls archive online. The project uses the most advanced and innovative technologies available to image the entire collection of about 930 manuscripts, comprising thousands of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, in high resolution and multiple spectra. Through this process, hundreds of images are now accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world over the web, with many thousands more on the way. Several hundred fragments are already viewable, and it is hoped that transcriptions and translations for many scrolls will soon be available as well.

You will enjoy the IAA's  new website, The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library.

See also the Israel Museum's website The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.

How to Study a Dead Sea Scrolls Text is interesting, too.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday Q Day.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Water Music

Two grandmas sit on the bench near one of Beer Sheva's many shpritzing fountains. 
To their right is the Samuel Rubin Music Conservatory.

Israel Arts Directory website informs us that it is a
Municipal Conservatory which teaches western music (keyboard, stringed instruments, wind instruments, music theory) to young people aged 6 to 18 years. The majority of its students are high-school students who attend the Conservatory several times each week to study music, working towards high-school matriculation. With its excellent auditorium the Conservatory is an important regional centre for musical activity. It is the home of the Israel Be’er Sheva Sinfonietta  and also hosts regular concert series, conferences, seminars, masterclasses and other activities.
 (For Our World Tuesday meme.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Alone in the cemetery


With many Christians marking All Saints' Day and then All Souls' Day this weekend, and with some countries celebrating the Day of the Dead at cemeteries,  I as a Jew felt a bit left out.
So I walked over to our  small Meitar cemetery, just to see  it for the first time.

There was a fresh burial, very moving, not expected.

I was the only living soul in the graveyard.
The sun set, the light faded, and a chill set in.
In the distance I heard  the automatic metal gate squeak  as it rolled shut across the entrance road.
. . .
But here I am,  blogging; so you know I found a way out and made it home.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Australian Light Horse annual commemoration in Beer Sheva

Yesterday I found my way through the streets of Beer Sheva  to the Park of the Australian Soldier.
My first time to see the annual commemoration and to see the new park, and both were very impressive.

The e-mail read "The Pratt Foundation and the Municipality of Be’er Sheva invite you to the commemoration of the 96th anniversary of the Battle of Be’er Sheva, marking the fall of the Ottoman controlled city of Be’er Sheva to ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and British troops on 31 October 1917."

After morning tea the many guests took their seats and the ceremony opened with a long blast of a long and curling shofar.
The nice new Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Dave Sharma, gave a good speech about the great importance of the Battle of Beersheva.
BTW, he is Australia's youngest ambassador anywhere in the world.

Military representatives  of Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and the United Nations were there.
Many Zionist youth movements attended, as did classes of high school students.

Dr. Apple, Rabbi Emeritus of Sydney's Great Synagogue, was expected to give a memorial prayer but he spoke instead about the recent attack on five Jews at Bondi beach.

The Australian youth groups joined in singing Advance Australia Fair and Hatikva.

Please enlarge the sign to read the story of the famous battle, history's last great cavalry charge. 

The U.N. men from UNTSO and MFO  were happy to pose for anyone with a camera.
Israelis are not used to seeing fancy dress uniforms and medals.

Everyone then went across town to the Beersheba War Cemetery.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission says their cemetery contains 1,241 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 67 of them unidentified.

In the Light Horse charge on Beersheva, 31 Australians were killed.
At least 70 horses were also killed in the audacious battle. 

 Again there was the laying of wreaths.

I asked for a poppy and the digger asked  to put it by a soldier's grave.

I found a Jewish grave.
There are many more at the Jerusalem War Cemetery on Mt. Scopus.

 The morning's ceremonies concluded a block away, at Atatürk Plaza, at the obelisk.
Carved in its stone:


The distinguished representative of Turkey spoke (in English) about the martyrs who died defending the then-Ottoman town of Beer Sheva.
He was proud to see the old Turkish train station behind him, part of the famous Hijaz Railway,  being carefully restored as he spoke.

We stood for the Turkish and the Israeli national anthems. 

Wreaths were placed at the foot of the tall obelisk, which was built in 2002.

With the strained Israel-Turkey  relations in the last few years, it was very special to see the two flags flying side by side.

Let's hope Atatürk's motto, "Peace at home, peace in the world," will someday be true for all countries in the Middle East. 
For more see Australian blogger-teacher Hels' post