Friday, July 31, 2015

A warm reflection


An unusual reflection for Weekend Reflection group.
There was lots of good home-made food last night.
 I was happy to be at the lively and moving bat mitzvah of a wonderful 12-year-old young lady.

Today (beginning last night) is also the fun Jewish holiday Tu B'Av (explained in my earlier posts).
And in just a few hours Sabbath Eve will begin.
Shabbat shalom, may you and also this troubled country have some Sabbath peace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Carob silliness :)


ABC Wednesday, and C is for CAROB!

I finally found one single carob tree during my evening desert roamings and it was such a nice surprise!

The tree is also know as St. John's bread.
A translation error had John the Baptist eating locusts, but more likely the word in the Bible meant carobs. I hope so!
I gathered some fallen carobs from the ground, brought them home in my pocket, washed them, and ate the pod.
They taste good, some say like chocolate!

The advantage to walking solo in the desert just outside my town is that you can get silly and take silly selfies.
You can even sing and there is no one there to hear you.

To see how to eat, drink, and understand carobs please see my three earlier posts.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trees in the sculpture garden


I'm still under the good impression of the Beilinson Medical Center, near Tel Aviv, that I visited last week.
Their sculpture garden has some nice art by famous Israelis.

Even the trees are decorated.

Easy to love these hanging pots and special flowers.

This olive tree is dedicated to Leah Rabin, who was a good friend of the hospital (the plaque says).
After Yitzhak Rabin was killed, several hospitals in Petah Tikva together took on the name Rabin Medical Center.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Crossing paths with a BIG black scorpion

"Lest you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, 15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water." 
Deuteronomy 8:14-15

This scorpion walked across the path right in front of me down in the desert just outside of town!
The size of the palm of my hand!
Just before and after sunset, after the hot summer day, I usually go out for a walk out in nature.
In my two years of roaming this desert, this was my first time to meet a scorpion.

Don't be afraid to click two separate times and enlarge the photos!

Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek hospital published this warning on Facebook on July 22:
This past week, two people were rushed to hospitals after getting stung by scorpions. Scorpions tend to "hide" in thick brush and in areas that are dark and isolated. It is recommended to wear gloves when working in the garden and wear closed shoes when walking around at night, outside, in areas with thick vegetation. In addition, if you go camping, it is better not to sleep directly on the ground and remember to shake out your shoes before putting them on.
Dr. Todd Zalut, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Shaare Zedek explains, "Scorpions can be divided into black and yellow scorpions and all bites can cause allergic reactions. While the bite from a black scorpion hurts a lot, the yellow scorpion has poisonous venom. People stung by a yellow scorpion may experience pain, swelling, tingling or numbness around the area of the bite, the person may have difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, roving eye movements, seizures, salivation, thick tongue, nausea, vomiting, respiratory distress, or agitation… Antivenom is one treatment option, however, we only use it in very severe cases since there is a potential for complications from the antivenom. Generally, we calm the patient, treat the pain and give muscle relaxants. Please be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you have been stung by either type of scorpion."
(Linking, of course!, to Camera-Critters.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Children's hospital

I was surprised to see a little El Al Airlines airplane sitting on the lawn at Beilinson (Rabin) Medical Center.
It's a nice display but unfortunately for kids it has a sign saying no climbing on the wings.

It has the logo of Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, which is the building you see in the top photo.
I remember taking black and white photos of the corner-laying ceremony in the late 1980s.
This brief video explains what the pieces of the puzzle stand for.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A spiral of progress


When I worked at Beilinson Hospital (near Tel Aviv) back in the mid 1980s, it was pretty much three or four old buildings.
I went back a few days ago and was astounded to see how Beilinson Medical Center has mushroomed!

They even have a beautiful sculpture garden in the middle of the campus.
Such a graceful bench spiral.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The other Calatrava bridge


For ABC Wednesday we have benches on a busy bridge.
Note the glass-paved deck.

The pedestrian Y-bridge by Santiago Calatrava spans busy Jabotinsky Road in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv.
It was built in 2005, before his more famous Bridge of Strings in Jerusalem.

The view from the bridge: an urban park and a residential area.
On the other side of the road is Rabin Medical Center/Beilinson Hospital, which has grown immensely since I worked there years ago.
(Linking to Wordless Wednesday, my first time.)

Monday, July 20, 2015

The big city, too big


Took the train from Beer Sheva north to Tel Aviv today.
Just an hour and fifteen minutes, but you get off the train and you know you're not in the desert anymore.
Oof, humidity was 75% and temps in the low 30s, around 90 F.

Linking to Our World Tuesday.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

First time to meet the sheep + shepherd!


I finally met the good shepherd!!
Two years I've been roaming the desert outside my town and yesterday evening was the first time I saw the flock!
Enlarge the photo, don't miss his nice smile. 

I always see their droppings and sometimes even an ovine leg gnawed to the bone by jackals but never saw the flock on the hoof.

 After we chatted a bit, with the special sounds and calls that only shepherds have, he told the sheep "Heads up, enough grazing, let's go home."
I got nostalgic for my livestock work at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas; my way of calling sheep was "Sheep-sheep-sheep!" and for the goats the Hebrew "Bo-i bo-i bo-i!"

The sun had just set, ushering in our holy Sabbath Eve.
For the young Bedouin man, end-of-Ramadan Eid al-Fitr was just beginning.
It was a blessed evening all around.
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day is done, gone the sun


Day is done, gone the sun . . .
Sunset last night, 7:45 pm, as seen from my desert walk just outside Meitar.
Linking to Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Armenians at prayer


For ABC Wednesday, A is for Armenian arches

and Armenian priests and monks at prayer in their beautiful chapel in the upstairs level of the Holy Sepulchre.

Their chapel is up these stairs, but I think not many outsiders are allowed to ascend.
(Linking also to inSPIREd Sunday.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Holy Sepulchre Dedication Day


There is almost always a long line of pilgrims waiting for their one minute of time inside the edicule and the tomb.

July 15 is celebrated every year in Jerusalem as Dedication Day of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. 
Consecration of the new church (built over earlier destroyed ones)  took place on July 15, 1149, the 50th anniversary of the Crusaders' conquest of Jerusalem.

Solemn Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow by Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land.
UPDATE: Here is the latest video: 

Here is a 3-minute video of the Mass from several years ago, also presided by the Custos:

(Linking to inSPIRED Sunday.)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The hanging gardens


The hanging gardens of old Tel Aviv.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Red flag at Jerusalem Beach


A pigeon lady feeding the birds in Tel Aviv.
You can enlarge the photo to see her bread bag.  

Where I'd like to be today -- Tel Aviv's "Jerusalem Beach."

It was a windy day when I took these pictures on June 27.
The red flag flew at our Mediterranean beaches to signal dangerous water conditions. 

Shabbat shalom from the hot dry desert today.
(Linking to Skywatch Friday and Camera Critters.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015



"Road hump" always sounds funny enough, but this is even funnier.
Tel Aviv humor.
(Linking to the fun meme signs, signs.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Street furniture


Apparently lately Tel Aviv Municipality has been putting out lounge chairs along various sidewalks.
Could be more comfortable than that mega-bench. 
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Independence Hall, Tel Aviv


Dizengoff,  Tel Aviv's first mayor,  loved to ride his horse down the local streets in the 1920s and 30s.

Next to the new (2009) statue on Rothschild Boulevard is the former house of Meir and Zina Dizengoff.
Today it is a museum commemorating the place where David Ben-Gurion signed the Declaration of Independence and declared Israel a State on May 14, 1948.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Big city cat


A Tel Aviv street cat in the driver's seat!
(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Friday, July 3, 2015

An unusual synagogue and a talking donkey


The Friday sun will soon set and you can feel the quiet and calm of the Sabbath Eve settling down on Israel (despite the fact that three Grad rockets were just fired into the south from Sinai).

Here is an unusual synagogue we found in Tel Aviv's historic Neve Zedek neighborhood exactly two weeks ago.
Look at those two arms coming out of the wall,  opening a Torah scroll case! 

And on the ground floor is this tree sprouting the most important Jewish books: Tanach (the Hebrew Bible), Talmud, Shulchan Aruch, Zohar (mystical Judaism), and the Siddur (our prayerbook).

The sign says the congregation, Sukkat Shalom, was founded in 1913. 
The door has the twelve tribes of Israel.

Inscribed above is "How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!"
This is the famous blessing which came out of Balaam's mouth when he was sent by the king Balak to curse the Israelites, and it is this week's Torah portion.
For donkey pictures and the biblical story of Balaam's talking ass, please see my posts here and here.
Shabbat shalom.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Some soldiers head home today


Thursday, when some soldiers, the lucky ones, get to go home for the weekend.
Sunday morning comes quickly, and then back to base.

Yesterday, however, IDF presence was beefed up along our border with Sinai and the Gaza Strip after Islamic militants on Wednesday unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks on Egyptian forces in Sheikh Zuweid.
No one knows what is going to happen next.
See this map with Sheikh Zuweid marked; see how close it is?
Some analysts even think the jihadists linked to Islamic State might try to conquer Gaza and that the Egyptian air force would bomb them in Gaza.
The Caliphate is getting way too close, both in the north in the Golan and now here in the south.