Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Southward movement

The October 1 theme day for our City Daily Photo bloggers is about movement.

I'll never forget my moving day, August 5, 2013, when I said farewell to the Jerusalem Hills.
There was a lot of movement that day as three strong movers shlepped my stuff to their truck.

Mohammad used the tumpline technique to full advantage.

 If I had known that's how they do it, maybe I would have looked for stronger boxes.
But miraculously, nothing broke.

 The most fun was getting to ride in the cabin of the truck with the guys (since I have no car, they had no choice but to take me along with the boxes).

We drove south and reached Meitar in the Negev in less than two hours.
Then the unloading began -- more movement.
The men worked quickly, efficiently, and with good humor.
Good work, HaMovil HaArtsi team! Thanks!
(More pictures of the movers are here in an earlier post.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

The heat-cold center


Our next station in our Jerusalem Houses From Within  guided tour of Shaare Zedek Medical Center was the heating/cooling  center which controls the air conditioning and heating and water systems of the big hospital.

The people who keep everything working well are so proud, they hang hospital flags among the boilers and pipes.
The little signs says that ear protection is a must.
Indeed,  the machines were very noisy down there.

The grey giant is a steam boiler.
These days, it is heated by electricity.

Should the hospital be cut off from its water supply by war or natural disaster, there are big reserve pools that hold enough water for 72 hours.
They are cleaned once a year. 

The all-important Control Room.
There is a back-up for every emergency break-down that might happen.
If something goes wrong with a machine or a computer, e-mails and SMSs go out immediately to call in the appropriate technician and man in charge, night or day, Shabbat or weekday.
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014



Even more essential to a Jewish hospital than lox and bagels are these tall tanks of LOX, liquid oxygen.

UPDATE:   Forgot to tell you--the oxygen tanks are ready for any earthquake!
There is something I found online today that should be added to yesterday's post. 
On my tour of the hospital I saw one of the women referred to below  at her work station, but didn't feel right about taking a picture.
Now I am glad to read this and to understand:

...one department’s volunteers were singled out for special recognition. This year, the department was Sterile Supplies, and the volunteers who were recognized are indeed very special.  
They are volunteering for Shaare Zedek under the auspices of the Aleh Siach organization, whose goal is to help developmentally-challenged individuals to achieve self-fulfillment and independence. 
The four young women, who were trained by an Aleh Siach counselor, prepare the sterile supplies required for surgery.  

“The pride they take in a job well-done is a wonder to behold,” says Segev.

The same article (from 2001) tells about the hundreds of volunteers who work at the medical center:

Volunteer Services director Nehama Segev says that when her professional colleagues in other organizations discuss the issue of how to attract volunteers, she has nothing to suggest.  “We don’t have that problem.  We have more volunteers than anywhere, without ever advertising.  I think there’s something magnetic about Shaare Zedek. This place radiates human warmth, without in any way compromising medical standards.”

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Autoclaves and dedicated personnel + bonus rap video

As explained in the previous post, Shaare Zedek medical center offered two well-guided tours of their engineering and logistics facilities last week.
Today I'll show you their sterilization unit.

The hospital recently spent 20 million shekels (almost five and a half million dollars) to upgrade to this Swedish  Getinge Automation System.
Here some 50 of us curious Israelis were standing in the "dirty room" to which the used medical instruments are brought.

Wash-carts are put into these sophisticated "dish-washers."

Even a whole trolley can go through for disinfection.

The wash cycle in action.

The in-charge staff responsible for keeping everything sterile.
They did, however, allow us tourists to cross over into the "clean room" without suiting up in gowns, hats, and booties.

Every scissors and surgical instrument must be arranged in order, counted, and accounted for.
You know the old "joke" about surgeons forgetting something inside the patient . . . 

 Another machine.
With so many people clustered around our guide in such small quarters, it was hard for me to see and hear everything, to take notes and to photograph at the same time.
Why do the tallest and widest men always rush to the front and stay there, instead of giving the others a chance to see better? -- I really should work on improving my elbowing skills. 

It was Friday noon and all the non-essential staff were already on their way home to prepare for the Sabbath.
Shaare Zedek is a religious hospital.

The end product is carefully wrapped, labeled, and coded packages of germ-free instruments ready to be sent to the proper wards.
DON'T MISS this funny rap video about the importance of hand-washing starring Shaare Zedek hospital doctors and nurses!!! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shaare Zedek's smokeless smokestack


The smokestack of Shaare Zedek hospital is cold and clean and useless.
It once carried particles and smoke high up (and hopefully away)  into Jerusalem's sky.
But nowadays, in our era of increasing greenness, the huge medical center uses a closed circuit system of pipes instead.

It would cost millions to take the chimney down, so up it stays.
Which is a shame because it can be seen for miles and miles around.
An eyesore, in my opinion. 
Not to mention that for many Jews any tall and stark chimney is a grim reminder of the Shoah (see my post "O the Chimneys").

Last week Jerusalem had her annual Houses From Within weekend.
One of the guided tours I took into normally inaccessible places was a walk down to and through the kishkes (the innards) of Shaare Zedek.
It was led by Gadi,  Director of Logistics and Engineering.
The tour was offered twice last Friday and about 100 curious Israelis learned a lot that day. 

I will show you more in the coming days. 

(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jewish new year 5775 begins now


Here's the bakery man slicing and packing three different kinds of honey cake.
They will be gifts for the two different families here in Meitar  who invited me to Rosh Hashana  holiday dinner tonight and tomorrow.
The bakery and the flower shop were popular places this morning. 

Honey means we hope and pray for a sweet new year.

"May you be inscribed and sealed [in God's Book of Life] for a good year."

More about Rosh Hashana in previous posts:
Pomegranate symbol

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Zionist Journey inspired by The Burghers of Calais

Exiting the train station at Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv, I was literally overwhelmed to find this new art work.
Overwhelmed because these figures are  A LOT  taller than me! 

At the Facebook page "Bronze Sculptures in front of Azrieli Towers" you can see photos which include people, to get the scale of it all.

Inspired by The Burghers of Calias!?

But I'll let you read the Programa 1 Design Studio's description, in their own quaint translationese:

The Zionist Journey - Environmental Statue
Inspired by the statue of Auguste Rodin: "The Burghers of Calais," the initiator David Azrieli asked us to create a statue that expresses milestones in the Zionist Journey.
We chose seven figures, each one depicts and represents a period and a discipline in the history of the nation's building, since the 1920's and until these days:
The period of settlement and Aliyah is represented by the Halotz,
The Independence War- by a Palmach fighter,
the development of the public health sector – a nurse,
the evolution of science and research – the scientist,
the building drive- an architect,
the develop of the Hi-Tech industry- a computer specialist,
The financial evolution – a nowadays businesswoman.
The sculpture work was created by a staff of talented artists led by Henry Betzalel and made in the A.A. Tavnit Vetezuga workshops.

Its name in Hebrew: HaMasa HaZioni

Monday, September 22, 2014

From one extreme to another in 70 minutes

So my train pulled out of the sleepy Beer Sheva station and traveled northward through the flat, brown, dusty Negev.
It stopped at Kiryat Gat, Ramle, Lod, and a few other stations.

In just one hour and ten minutes we were transported into a totally different world--the metropolis of modern Tel Aviv.


More traffic lanes than I could count on the busy Ayalon freeway!

The railroad tracks are in the middle, and next to them runs the channel built to contain the Ayalon river when it starts flowing during winter rains.
Some parts of the highway still flood after very heavy downpours.

From the train station I could see (for the first time) the 2009 Azrieli Towers fountain.
A local joke is that the sculpted musicians atop the fountain are the quietest band of all on this very noisy, busy  street.

Tomorrow I'll show you the nearby brand new environmental sculpture which some hate and some love.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The train north


Last Tuesday morning  was my first time to take a train  from Beer Sheva.
The city has two stations.
This smaller, plainer one is Beer Sheva North - University station.

External shade elements help lessen the heat of the desert sun.

The English version of this sign made me chuckle.

Senior citizens pay half price on public transportation in Israel.
My Beer Sheva to Tel Aviv train ticket cost only 15.50 shekels ($4.25).

Here comes the train, a double decker!
(In an older post you can see the interior of an intercity train.)
Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Train through the desert


I have been away.
Tuesday I rode the Beer Sheva-to-Tel Aviv train for the first time.
Today,  Friday afternoon, I glimpsed the train from my Jerusalem-to-Beer Sheva bus.

It is good now to return to little Meitar, but it was wonderful to be back in the Jerusalem Hills and Jerusalem for four days.
And there are plenty of new and interesting photos to show you.

We are finally getting some clouds to hide the sun and there is a tiny hint of coming autumn in the air.
I am so ready for a change of season!

Linking to SkyWatch Friday.
Shabbat shalom

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Frap, wrap, Clove hitch, spar . . .


Something new in the eucalyptus grove down in the wadi!

Looks like the Meitar Scout troop has been up a tree, working on their lashing skills.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The land of milk and money


Doesn't milk in a bag make you think of milk in an udder? 

Israeli consumers are being milked as the price of milk keeps going up.
A 1-liter bag of milk costs 5.30 shekels.*
At today's exchange rate that is $1.46.
Milk and some other basic dairy foods are under price regulation.

Bagged milk is put into its container, a corner is snipped off, and it's ready to pour.

However, the little choco bags have historically been opened by tearing off a little corner with your teeth and squeezing the sweet cold chocolate milk into your mouth.
When a kid can do that without getting choco stains all over his clothes, it is like an Israeli rite of passage.

We DO also have milk in cartons, but bags are cheaper and the milk tastes just as good.

I made aliyah to Israel in 1968 and remember the milk still came in glass bottles and was delivered to your doorstep,  but the bottles soon gave way to bags.
I blogged before about this, back in 2008 , when the prices were much lower.
*UPDATE Oct. 2017:  Milk prices are lower now, at 5 shekels per one-liter bag.  Today that is $1.42 in American money.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fiddler on the Roof stamps


Brand new postage stamps celebrating 50 years since Fiddler on the Roof opened onstage!
How can it be half a century already?
We lived in Chicago then and my mother took me to the theater to see a live musical for the first time.

 Photos of the drawings are by Pini Hemou, Israel Philatelic Federation website

The three stamps in this set are based on drawings by Chaim Topol, one of the first actors to portray Tevye in Hebrew.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Tevye the Milkman is at Wikipedia.

See also Israeli blogger Jacob Richman who faithfully and beautifully updates us as new Israeli stamps appear.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Out on a limb


You may have to enlarge this to see it is a bird. 

At the Artist's House of the Negev in the old part of Beer Sheva,  each of a handful of artists was given a dead tree and asked to give it life with art.
Now the trees are exhibited in the gallery's yard.

Ingrid Neuman called hers "Inyan shorshi," which could mean a matter of roots (or, of rootedness).
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors  and to OurWorld Tuesday .)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Supermoon pretends to be a perimeter light


Tonight's Harvest Moon Supermoon  lined up with the string of perimeter lights that encircle Meitar. 
The outermost ring of houses and then begins the desert.  

(See what I mean in yesterday's aerial photo/map.)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Orthophoto of Meitar


Shalom, welcome to Meitar, my new hometown in the Northern Negev!
I discovered this February 2014 photo on the wall of the Meitar Local Council moked.
Click a few times to enlarge it. 

The planned community (yeshuv kehilati) was  begun in 1984.
Neighborhoods were added gradually and the 5th (or 6th?) one is currently under construction.
The schools, stores, sports center, and public buildings are in the middle (for me, a 14-minute walk from home).

On our west is Kibbutz Kramim with its big solar field.
To the north is Meitar Forest and the Israel Trail.
The road on top of the photo goes along the border with the West Bank.
The green on the bottom is the edge of the big Bedouin town Hura. 

Ofek Aerial Photo produced this 1:2,500 orthophoto map.

Wikipedia explains

An orthophoto . . .  is an aerial photograph geometrically corrected ("orthorectified") such that the scale is uniform: the photo has the same lack of distortion as a map. Unlike an uncorrected aerial photograph, an orthophotograph can be used to measure true distances, because it is an accurate representation of the Earth's surface, having been adjusted for topographic relief, lens distortion, and camera tilt.
You can enjoy Ofek's panoramic aerial photos of Israel at their gallery

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Med is too hot


In Beer Sheva,  where there is so much Brutalist architecture,  the summer temperatures are brutal.
I can't remember one day that has not been in the 30s C  for months and months.
If this Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's rounded building did not have those external shade things,  the students inside would bake from the sun streaming in.

(The building on the right is the university library we talked about earlier.)

Even the humidity here in the desert is abnormally high these days, like this weekend's 45%.
Usually it is 15% to 30%.
The weatherman explained that the Mediterranean water along Israel's shore is still very hot, 30 degrees C,  and is causing this humidity.  (Can such a thing can cause high humidity, really?  Not so sure; never heard that before.)
My town, Meitar, is a little over 50 km from the sea.
UPDATE Saturday night:  Forecast is for only 29 F  tomorrow in Beer Sheva!   Yes!!  The psychological barrier of 30+ is broken!
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An egg roll


For ABC Wednesday,  H is for head.

This is the skull of a Nile crocodile, displayed at the Negev Zoo.

You'll never guess what this croc does with its big mouth!
National Geographic tells us --
 One unusual characteristic of this fearsome predator is its caring nature as a parent. Where most reptiles lay their eggs and move on, mother and father Nile crocs ferociously guard their nests until the eggs hatch, and they will often roll the eggs gently in their mouths to help hatching babies emerge.
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The shpritz truck


As seen from the Meitar to Beer Sheva bus this morning.

This stretch of  dusty Negev desert near the road  surely hadn't felt water since our last rain which was on May 8.
The ground must have been thrilled to get this spray of water today.
I didn't have the heart to tell the earth that soon it would be covered forever with new pavement.