Friday, February 28, 2014

People on the street


City Daily Photo's Theme Day is about people on the street.

My people here are at one end of Jaffa Street at what we call the entrance to Jerusalem.
Above them is Calatrava's Bridge of Strings which carries the tram and a few pedestrians over the busy intersection.

An older man had fainted or fallen on the sidewalk and a gurney was quickly brought for him.
So you have the young Magen David Adom (our Red Cross) volunteer medics in white, the religious onlookers in black, and two police officers.

On Sunday a stage will be built at this place and busloads of haredi Jews will converge from all over Israel and Jerusalem for a massive prayer rally and protest.
They are coming together to fight proposed new laws to draft ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army.

Highway 1, the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, will be closed to private cars after 2 p.m. Sunday from the Latrun area to the capital.
The Jerusalem Central Bus Station will be shut down in the afternoon.
Buses and the tram will stop running near the entrance to Jerusalem.
Some schools in the area will close at 1 p.m. 

The gridlock will be bad enough; but mainly let's pray there is not much violence.

See more in Arutz Sheva and  The Times of Israel  and Haaretz.

UPDATE, Sunday morning:
 Ynet says "Inside the haredi community there were calls from rabbis on Thursday to attend the rally, and the community's leaders gave a rare permission for women to attend – but on separate streets. All boys from the ages of nine and older were also called to attend the rally."


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fly the friendly skies, they used to say


Another reason to fly EL AL
Our national airline's commercial jets will be the first to be equipped with the new Sky Shield system.
(Let's hope some of the government ministries will come up with the over one million dollars per plane.)

Sky Shield was successfully tested using live missiles on Wednesday, Haifa-based Elbit  Systems proudly announced.
As the Times of Israel article explains, the defense system integrates laser technology with a thermal camera to protect aircraft from shoulder-launched missiles fired [by terrorists] from the ground.
Sky Shield deflects an in-coming missile by changing its direction.
I assume the missile then explodes in the air somewhere.

C-MUSIC is another name for the system and stands for Multi-spectral infra-red counter-measure.
Here is a photo of a dismounted unit. 
See a simulated scenario of how it works in this short video at the Jerusalem Post.
(A post for Sky Watch Friday.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blue sheep


Sheep in an artist's garden.

Geula Nachmias is the artist.
Moshav Nevatim in the Negev is the place.
You can much enlarge the pictures to enjoy the details of the "wool."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

City Hall


Another Brutalistism building--the Beer Sheva City Hall, tower included.

On one side its Brutalistic architecture is softened by a dancing fountain, at least.
G is for gray, gray, gray  for ABC Wednesday.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Today's drill


Here's one of the shelters in one of the schools in town (Meitar).

It is adjoining the classrooms, as you can see.
 The Education Ministry, in cooperation with the army's  Home Front Command, rescue services, and local councils, held a drill in Israel’s schools and kindergartens this morning. 

Here is my video of the air raid siren.
You see a big public bomb shelter next to the municipal pre-kindergarten in my neighborhood, but the kids have there own fortified room inside their own building.  Which is a good thing since here we have only one minute to take cover from any in-coming rockets from Gaza.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

More Beer Sheva Brutalism: Yad LaBanim

Here is Beit Yad Labanim, another of Beer Sheva's many examples of Brutalist architecture.

(We saw in the post about BGU's library  that the term Brutalism was coined in 1953 from the French b├ęton brut, "raw concrete," a phrase used by Le Corbusier to describe the poured board-marked concrete with which he constructed many of his post-World War II buildings.)

Originally designed to be Beer Sheva's main synagogue, the money ran out before its completion,  and the strange building stood deserted for years.
In the late 1970s a group of bereaved parents came together to try to have the building's designation changed.
By 1983 they succeeded in completing it as a memorial hall to their soldier sons and daughters who had fallen in Israel's wars.  

See more about the concept of Yad Labanim houses throughout Israel here.
Or see my photos of Jerusalem's Yad Labanim, which also has unusual architecture. 

I have not ventured in yet, but I read that inside are art exhibitions, cultural activities from time to time, and a 300-seat theater. 

Enlarge this photo 2x and see some interesting details!

Pigeons on the roof are kept out by metal grating stretched over the openings.
And that bare patch--is it just the plaster falling off the wall  or  could it be a deliberate "window" into the brutalist reinforced concrete? 
Haaretz has an entertaining article about Beer Sheva's love-hate affair with Brutalism.
(It is behind a paywall but the newspaper offers ten free articles per month after a simple registration.)

It says this, for instance:
Brutalism and its varied concrete features were seen as an allegory for the young, Israeli-born Jew − rough, direct, aggressive, just like cement itself. 
The architects of Brutalism were themselves native-born, young contemporaries of the state. Their character and vision overlapped with the allegory to a remarkable extent. 
The great irony is that their buildings were constructed mostly for newly arrived immigrants whom the state was sending to the country’s far geographical periphery to live in its Israeli-conceived concrete works. The architects themselves, of course, didn’t follow.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Friday, February 21, 2014

The peeling earth


 The little bit of rain that fell last Sunday was enough to let a jackal or maybe dog leave some footprints.
But today the "winter" temperature soared to 30 C  or 86 F here in the Beer Sheva region!
The ground is again dry and parched. 

Grandson Eyal had fun peeling off pieces of crusty earth.
 Cracked dried clay flinging could become the newest Olympic sport, as far as he is concerned.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

From there to here

Click a few times on the photos, the better to see the cyclists.

Several hours' walk from my place in Meitar, the road to the north runs alongside the Israel National Trail for a while.
So you could say these guys on bicycles were riding the Trail.

Little did I think, exactly six years ago today, when I began blogging about Jerusalem and the hills around her,  that in 2013 I would move south to the Negev desert.
Life is full of surprises!
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Keeping water safe


F is for firmly fenced in.
Water valves in the open areas surrounding Meitar are kept under lock and key.
(For ABC Wednesday.)

Our hilly town


A late afternoon view from a playground of the southern neighborhood of my town, Meitar.
Actually, Meitar is called a planned community, or yishuv kehilati in Hebrew.
Since 1985 it has grown to a population of over 8,000.
(For Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Goat on water buffalo

Photo by Joan Fahs

Last Saturday I posted a photo of a goat standing on a Jerusalem zoo bench. 
That same day my friend Joan Fahs shared an even funnier photo and, with her permission, here it is! 

It is from this winter's unusually frosty and icy February in Perryville, Arkansas.
When I worked and lived there at Heifer Ranch (1996-2002) our two water buffalo, Briggs and Stratton, shared the same big front pasture. 
Since then, one died, leaving his buddy rather lonely. 
So I'm glad to see the Livestock people have given him some bucks for company. 
This new mixed species pasture looks like it created a real symbiotic relationship! 
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

A day of love, Jewish style


Libby's pre-kindergarten class chose February 14 to celebrate Family Day and to sing and dance and talk about love.
No one actually said "Valentine's Day" but there it was, a big red heart!

Their dedicated teacher was right down their with her kids, close to the heart.
It being Friday, they also said the Kiddush over little cups of the fruit of the vine, recited the Hamotsi to bless the challah bread, and sang Shalom aleichem to the angels of peace.
Shabbat shalom to all!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My little flower


Who SAYS there are no flowers in our desert?!

Libby found at least four different kinds.

My hat was big on her but she managed to see, somehow.

The wind was pretty cold but Libby and I still had our little picnic--on green grass!

Ethiopian at the entrance


An Ethiopian clergyman at the entrance to the Ethiopian Orthodox church that is within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
(For ABC Wednesday's E day.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Harvesting desert floodwater by savannization


Meitar Forest is just a short walk north of my home in  Meitar.
See the parallel ridges in this late-afternoon photo?
Keren Kayemet (KKL)/Jewish National Fund (JNF), which is creating this and other forests in the northern Negev, explains it:

The tree planting method is called savannization, and it is based on harvesting desert floodwater.  
Terraces, furrows and ridges halt the rainwater and prevent it from running off. 
This method causes most of the water to be absorbed and stored in the earth, deep enough not to evaporate and close enough to the surface to be utilized by the vegetation.

Kakal (KKL) has some nice short videos about savannization on YouTube.

(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Vittorio Veneto Synagogue


From inside, looking out.

From outside, looking in.

Enough desert and Beer Sheva Brutalism; let's see some Italian Baroque style beauty!
This 17th century interior of a small synagogue in the town of Vittorio Veneto near Venice was transferred to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in 1965 and was faithfully reconstructed.
(Linking to Toby's meme  Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Don't get my goat, said the goat on the bench


A goat showing off its goatee at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.
(For Camera Critters Sunday.)

Friday, February 7, 2014

What the blazes is this?


 A strange thing in Beer Sheva.
I did a double take the first time I walked past it.
In my imagination this is how Moloch looked.

This is the other side.
In back of it you see the gray walls of the Brutalistic-style city hall.

Who can enlarge this photo and read the French?
Made in 1995 is what I can understand.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Needing rain


The houses up there are the western periphery of Meitar. 
Last month was the driest January on record for most of Israel. 
We finally had a tiny bit of rain on Tuesday. 
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Don Quixote rides again


D is for Don Quixote.
Zeevik Gottlieb made the unusual sculpture and it was part of the Humor and Satire exhibition along Jerusalem's  Mamilla Avenue  last year.
Looks like the knight errant carries his own windmill that he plucked from a modern wind farm, no? 

LOGON, the Light Opera Group of the Negev, will be staging the musical "Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha."
In English! 
It will open in Beer Sheva on February 27 and will  tour major cities in Israel.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

P.S.  See a video of The Impossible Dream song with Peter O'Toole, of blessed memory, as Don Quixote. 
(Linking to James' Weekend Reflections.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Beer Sheva's Government Compound


 An older man stopped to ask me directions in Beer Sheva today.
He asked in Russian and was not happy that I could answer only in Hebrew.
A large percentage of Beer Sheva's 211,000 residents are Russians who came in the big immigration wave of the 1990s.

He needed the Ministry of the Interior.
I pointed and told him it must be somewhere in this string of similar buildings that are called Kiryat Hamemshala, meaning the Government Compound.

You can see at least four of them in the photo above, but there are even more to the left.

It seems like such a hodgepodge of architectural elements, no? 
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday and Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Family Day


On Friday Israel celebrated Family Day (which some years ago replaced Mother's Day).

The lower grades from grandson Eyal's school  danced and sang the good old songs.
Bless those kids and their teachers, they were all heart!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ENTRY into Jewish adulthood


Entry into Jewish adulthood--a neighbor's bar mitzvah ceremony.
At the synagogue in the moshav/village where I used to live, in the Jerusalem Hills.

City Daily Photo bloggers' Theme Day today is about "entry."
See what entries others posted at the group's website.

Wikipedia explains:

According to Jewish law, when Jewish boys become 13 years old, they become accountable for their actions and become a bar mitzvah. A girl becomes a bat mitzvah at the age of 12. Most non-Orthodox Jews celebrate a girl's bat mitzvah in the same way as a boy's bar mitzvah.
 Prior to reaching bar or bat mitzvah, the child's parents hold the responsibility for the child's actions. After this age, the boys and girls bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics, and are able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life. Traditionally, the father of the bar mitzvah gives thanks to God that he is no longer punished for the child's sins (Genesis Rabba, Toldot 23:11).
In addition to being considered accountable for their actions from a religious perspective, b'nai mitzvah may be counted towards a minyan (prayer quorum) and may lead prayer and other religious services in the family and the community.