Saturday, January 31, 2015

A new neighborhood going up in Meitar


On the right side of the wadi the new houses are already lived in.
On the left, a whole new neighborhood is being built.

Here are some in-progress houses as seen from the direction of Meitar's new promenade and bike path (seen in the foreground).

Lots of big houses.
Meitar is a yishuv kehillati, a planned community, begun in 1984; and every so often they add a whole new neighborhood.
Our population is over 8,000. 

When the streets are finished, they will all be named after different birds.
(Linking to Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The wire eruv surrounding our town


Against the blue sky for SkyWatch Friday you can see the post and wires of the eruv on the west side of Meitar.

An eruv is something the rabbis thought up in order to get around the restrictions on carrying objects from the private to the public domain on Sabbath and holidays.
(You can click a few times to enlarge the photo and see the whole line of posts.)

Here's the eruv on the east side of town.

Let's let Wikipedia explain it:
An eruv is an enclosure around a home or community. It enables the carrying of objects out of doors for Jews on the Jewish Sabbath that would otherwise be forbidden by Torah law (Halakha). Without an eruv, Torah-observant Jews would be unable to carry keys or tissues in their pockets or push baby carriages on the Sabbath, thus making it difficult for many to leave home.
. . . When an eruv is made to demarcate a contemporary Jewish neighborhood, a symbolic fence is typically constructed using poles and wires as well as any solid walls available. Thus, a modern eruv is commonly composed of a series of 'doorframes,' with the poles forming the doorposts (lechi, pl. lechai'in) and the wire forming the lintel (korah)...
So the term eruv in modern Jewish usage usually refers to the wire that creates a symbolic "walled courtyard."
In effect it expands the private domain out into the public domain, thus permitting very religious Jews to carry certain things on Shabbat.
The Sabbath starts just before sundown on Friday.   Shabbat shalom!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015



Cut down, burned. 
But following the conflagration, all around, tiny green pine saplings push their way out through the ash and grow toward the sun.
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
It is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
More posts about the Shoah can be found here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

BridgeClimb pics for AUSTRALIA DAY!

Happy AUSTRALIA DAY to my family in Sydney and to all the Aussie blog-friends! 

As soon as grandson Dean turned ten, the minimum age for BridgeClimb, he and his father climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge!

What a view, eh?!

Wikipedia explains: 
Since 1998, BridgeClimb has made it possible for tourists to legally climb the southern half of the bridge. Tours run throughout the day, from dawn to night, and are only cancelled for electrical storms or high wind.
Groups of climbers are provided with protective clothing appropriate to the prevailing weather conditions, and are given an orientation briefing before climbing. During the climb, attendees are secured to the bridge by a wire lifeline. . . . Each climb takes three and a half hours, including the preparations.

See BridgeClimb website, "for the climb of your life."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tribute to a vet, training promenade for dogs


Camera-Critter folks, look what citizen volunteers of Meitar started building a few months ago!
A nice shiny drinking bowl too. 

Complete with rebar bracing up on top!

When finished (maybe it is already) this will be a dog-training and dog-exercise promenade in memory of a beloved local veterinarian, Dr. Doron Avishai (1953-2013).
Click 2x to enlarge and to better see his photo on the sign. 

I remember from my volunteer years at Heifer Ranch how much work goes into digging post holes, mixing concrete, and setting posts straight.
It has to be a labor of love.

All these are right across the path from Meitar's new fenced-in dog park I showed you last week.

Looks like the dogs are going to have fun.

Nice detail work on the balance beams-cum-benches.

Rest in peace, Dr. Doron Avishai, knowing your memory lives on.
UPDATE:  The place was soon completed and a Dog Day was held, to the delight of Dr. Avishai's widow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kibbutz Kramim PV solar farm!


What a big photovoltaic facility, when you finally see it up close like I did yesterday!

The two parallel perimeter fences stretch on forever . . . 

 . . . and make it hard to get a clear photo.

 It was a long hike from Meitar, seen in the distance, including a quick dash across busy Highway 60.
It's funny, on one side is a farm field of Kibbutz Kramim . . .

. . . and on the other side a solar farm!

The land is leased from the kibbutz by SOLON Elco Renewables Ltd.
It is a joint venture of Berlin-based Solon Energy GmbH, a producer of solar power modules and systems, and Israel's Elco company.
Israel Electric Corporation will buy all the MW this photovoltaic project produces.

I understand that it just became operational about a year ago (at least that was the plan).
Israel's notorious bureaucracy makes getting permits problematic and time consuming. 
And with PV projects you need to obtain a building permit, a grid connection permit, and a permit stating you can receive the feed-in tariff. 

This is the view from the center of Meitar.  (Enlarge the photo to see better.)
The solar field shimmering way way down there was always tantalizing for me.
Yesterday's beautiful weather with the temperature shooting up to 25C finally gave me the get-up-and-go to get up and go there.

See six bigger versions of  impressive aerial photos of Kibbutz Kramim (aka Cramim) at the website of Enlighten Eurocom Group.

See an orthophoto showing both Meitar and Kramim in my earlier post.

UPDATE Jan. 26: This just published about how all this renewable energy can be stored. 
UPDATE Feb. 3: A paragraph was published about Kibbutz Kramim.
UPDATE July 23:  New in the Negev:
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sitting with a cello


My town, Meitar, has many roundabouts and each one has something beautiful in it.

But my favorite is the cellist.

Enlarge the photos and you'll see she is sitting on two wooden boxes.

( B word for ABC Wednesday.)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Feast of Theophany today, at the River Jordan

Now is the Feast of Theophany for Coptic, Syrian, and Ethiopian Christians and for those Orthodox who follow the Old Calendar.
To quote from our Ministry of Tourism's nice Holy Land Calendar of Christian Feasts & Events
For the Eastern churches, this feast denotes Christ's baptism in the Jordan River.
Theologically, it is Jesus' first revelation as the Son of God and the revelation of the Holy Trinity.
Morning of Jan. 18 - A procession of Orthodox clergy and pilgrims goes down to the river bank [at Kasr il Yahud, east of Jericho]. ... By submerging a cross in the river, the Patriarch purifies and consecrates the water, which is then sprinkled on the crowds of faithful.
The Ethiopians celebrate the baptism at the river that afternoon.
The Syrian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church have the river the next morning, Jan. 19.

 I visited Kasr il Yahud on a regular day in May 2012 and chanced to see a Canadian pastor baptizing  his whole youth group.

Should you need a life preserver. . .

The gift shop on the Israeli side of the river has souvenir T shirts for you.
Click on the photo to read the Bible verses.
To see more of the baptism site, see my posts on Kasr il Yahud.
There are some posts about John the Baptist too.
Sr. Vassa has a 9-minute video about St. John and how "he didn't get in the way."
You will enjoy it, for sure!
Happy Theophany to Sr. Vassa and all who are celebrating now.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our new dog park


It's seldom that I find an animal to contribute to the weekly Camera Critters group.
But here is something animal-related.
Guess what the concrete pipes are for. 

Yes! It is a brand new park for dogs!
Right here in my little town, Meitar.

These pictures are from October.  Maybe it looks a bit more finished by now.

"How Park" Park for Dogs  the sign says.
Hebrew-speaking dogs say how-how instead of English bow-wow or arf arf.
There are many rules, one being "No entry to bitches in heat."

Dogs on the streets are supposed to be on a leash, so here in the dog park  you can sit on a bench and enjoy watching  your dog(s) run free.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Manure biowaste management & reuse


A biowaste digester!
Yes.  And it stands in the lobby of a beautiful building. 

It's in the ZIWR, the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research,  which is part of the  Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at the Sede Boqer Campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

To learn more about what they research, see their website or this 5-minute video.
The video has impressive aerial views of the nice building and of the surrounding wilderness.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter clouds hang over the Jerusalem Hills


Winter in the Jerusalem Hills.
Click twice to make an even bigger sky. 
(For SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Βασίλειος Τζαφέρης z"l

Israel has lost another of her veteran archaeologists.
Vassilios Tzaferis died at the age of 78.
You can see many nice photos of him at work in this Greek article.

Tzaferis was a monk before becoming an archaeologist.
Here's how he himself tells it:

Archaeology was not in my mind nor in my parents’ minds when, in 1950, at the age of 14, I departed the island of Samos, Greece. The destination for my migration was Jerusalem to study theology and become a monk in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. Six years later, when I was 20, my father’s desire was fulfilled when I undertook the vow of monasticism and was ordained deacon in a solemn ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
As a deacon and an obedient member of the “Holy Sepulchre Brotherhood” of the Patriarchate, I was sent to serve the Greek Orthodox Church in Nazareth. Two years later, in 1958, I applied for higher theological studies at the University of Athens, but the then-Patriarch Benedictos had a much different idea: Instead, he urged me to complete my academic education in Biblical studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For my B.A. studies, I chose the history of ancient Israel and archaeology. For my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, classical archaeology was my field of specialization.
 Indeed, Tsaferis Tzaferis wrote extensively about monks and monasteries in the Byzantine period, and he served as director of excavations and surveys at the Israel Antiquities Authority from 1991 to 2001.

But in my opinion his most moving discovery was this heel bone with a spike.
It now has a place of honor in the Israel Museum.
Please see my earlier post to understand how the foot was nailed sideways to the cross. 

In a 1985 BAR article Tzaferis told this:

From ancient literary sources we know that tens of thousands of people were crucified in the Roman Empire. In Palestine alone, the figure ran into the thousands. Yet until 1968 not a single victim of this horrifying method of execution had been uncovered archaeologically.
In that year I excavated the only victim of crucifixion ever discovered. He was a Jew, of a good family, who may have been convicted of a political crime. He lived in Jerusalem shortly after the turn of the era and sometime before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Rest in peace, Vassilios Tzaferis. Thanks for all you have done in the Holy Land.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hebrew Language Day today


A child-high table for playing with the 22 Hebrew letters at the Jewish museum at Hechal Shlomo in Jerusalem.
Happy Hebrew Language Day! 
Interesting earlier posts about Hebrew: 
Hebrew vowels in a Tiberias sculpture
The Academy of Hebrew Language in Jerusalem
Ben-Yehuda's house 
"Jew, speak Hebrew!"
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Feeling linked


Israel feels   linked  to France on this day of the historic Paris solidarity rally.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Still snowing

Snow fell again today in Israel!
Thanks to friend RDE, who lives in Jerusalem, for sharing her photographs from the city.

Western Wall

Damascus Gate

Meah Shearim 

 Ethiopian church

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Russian Compound

tram on Jaffa Street 

outside the Old City wall

Dome of the Rock and Mt. of Olives