Sunday, February 28, 2016

Library Lovers Month, expansion


Before February is over, let's have a post for Library Lovers Month!

Our town's library is being enlarged, and on December 4 the day came when all the material in the main reading room had to be moved away so the builders could build.
Students and their teacher from the school across the street came in to help.
These two used their legs to maneuver a book shelf.

When I approached on foot and heard the lively music from this speaker, I knew something very unusual was happening in the normally quiet library.

I guess the girls were waiting for instructions from the librarians.

Behind the hedge and the scaffolding you can see the fresh gray concrete of the new addition.

Outside on the trash bin was this nice scale model of the library made by a 3rd-grader.

Kind of painful to see holes in the wall, especially during Library Lovers Month.

Meitar's library was built in 2003.
The community, founded in 1984, is expanding and it is time for a bigger library.
The construction work has been going on for many months, and we will be glad when the library reopens, bigger and better.
P.S. Here is a post about the library in former (normal) days of activity
(with a bonus pic of granddaughter Libby!). 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Tell A Fairy Tale Day


Tell A Fairy Tale Day is being celebrated today!

What better time than now to tell you about a unique experience I enjoyed while staying with the Franziskusgemeinschaft in Austria last November.
The community invited Eva Meierhofer, a professional storyteller, for an evening of fairy tales!

Eva came with a thick book of  "the world's most beautiful fairy tales."

Also a strange little book, "Tales of Idiots, Poor, Beggars, Jews, and Gypsies."

Since I didn't understand all that much of the German, I could concentrate on Eva's pointy shoes and special umbrella.

The Feenhaar, literally fairy hair, played with a bow, gave ethereal music.
I think it is also called a psalter.

You can hear a sample of its music and see beautiful photos of how the instruments are made in Switzerland here:

All the members of the Franciscan farming community gave it a try.
It was really a magical evening in rural Austria.
You can look for Eva Meierhofer on Facebook and see more of her special work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Music of the spheres?


 Satellite Dish, 1999-2000, by Ofra Zimbalista at the Omer Open Museum.

We have seen two other blue people of this artist: one lady with a flute and one holding a perforated umbrella.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Delilah of the Valley of Soreq


And here endeth my multi-post saga of the great train journey up to Jerusalem through the Valley of Soreq.

But not without recalling a Bible story --
 "And it came to pass afterward, that he [Samson] loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah."

Yes, the famous story of Samson and Delilah -- how she tricked him into revealing the secret of his super strength, how she revealed it to the Philistines, and how they cut off his hair and weakened him.
Read it in Judges 16.
Then see more about Samson  and a bit about Delilah.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Vineyards in the Brook of Soreq


Just before the train to Jerusalem enters the canyon between the mountains, you see some vineyards.

At least I think those are grapevines.
Hard to get a clear picture from a speeding train with dirty windows.
You can enlarge the photos and take a closer look.
The train travels through the Valley of Soreq, and the Hebrew word soreq  is the grapevine itself in Genesis 49:11, Isaiah 5:2, and Jeremiah 2:21.  (See more about that in the Comments.)
(Linking G for grapes to ABC Wednesday.)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Two trains share one track


When the train leaving Jerusalem, going west, gets to this signal #60, it is time to pull over on a side rail and stop for a few minutes. 

Suddenly you see it -- the "locomotive" of the other train coming in from the opposite direction, heading east up to Jerusalem.

The other train whooshes by!
Then we get back on the main track and resume our journey westward toward the Mediterranean.
This is called a passing loop (UK usage) or a passing siding (US).

 I like the sharp curves like this that let you see the front part of your own train.
The train does a lot of meandering and you hear and feel the clack clack as it rounds the bends. 
In this wild and secluded section of Nahal Soreq (the Brook of Soreq), the mountains on both sides of the narrow valley and the stream below did not leave room for the railway builders in the 1880s to build more than a single track.
See more about this beautiful journey in yesterday's post.
And another post about A bridge over the river Soreq.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Train up to Jerusalem -- almond trees blooming


February 16 was National Almond Day, or so the American calendars tell me.
And indeed when I rode the train up to Jerusalem yesterday the almond trees were blooming like crazy!
Must be the rare winter heat wave Israel is having this week, with temperatures in the mid 80s (30 C).
On both sides of the train, in this small section, is the famous terraced agriculture of the Arab village Battir inscribed in 2014 as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Wikipedia tells the curious history like this:
In the 20th century, Battir's development was linked to its location alongside the railroad to Jerusalem, which provided access to the marketplace as well as income from passengers who disembarked to refresh themselves en route. During the 1948 war, most of the villagers had fled, but Mustafa Hassan and a few others stayed. At night they would light candles in the houses, and in the morning they would take out the cattle. When nearing the village, the Israelis thought Battir was still inhabited and gave up attacking. The armistice line was drawn near the railroad, with Battir ending up just meters to the east of Jordan's border with Israel. At least 30% of Battir's land lies on the Israeli side of the Green Line, but the villagers were allowed to keep it in return for preventing damage to the railway, thus being the only Palestinians officially allowed to cross into Israel and work their lands before the Six-Day War.

One almond tree among many olive trees.
This was the sunny view at 8:55 in the morning.
(You can enlarge the photos for a closer view, don't forget.)

The same spot but at 4:30 pm, on my way back, when most of the valley of Nahal Soreq was in the shadow of the mountains.

It is a fabulous train journey, meandering partly through a steep canyon with Soreq River running at the bottom, parallel to the railroad tracks!
I'll show you more of that part soon, inshallah.
(For ABC Wednesday F is for fabulous.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

A lonely blue flute player


A lonely flute player on the big open lawn of the Open Museum in Omer Industrial Park.

We saw another very blue work by the late Ofra Zimbalista at Beilinson Medical Center.
Remember the bombastic interpretation of the symbolism of her colors that I quoted?

Behind her is one of many hi-tech companies on the campus and the sculpture by Ilan Averbuch called "Wheat in Berlin."

You'll be seeing other creations from the Open Museum collection in future posts.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Red flowers for you


Happy Valentine's Day, beloved blog readers.
Red flowers for you from the Negev, where stones outnumber flowers.

For the famous Israeli song "Kalaniot" (meaning anemones) and its best singer, the late Shoshana Damari,  please see my earlier post
Today is the 10th Yahrzeit of her death.

Have a bright and happy Sunday!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Moscow meets Rome


Vienna's beautiful St. Nikolas Russian Orthodox Church, in November.
(Click to open the photo, then once again to greatly enlarge it and see the detail.)

Within the next hours, Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis will have a historic meeting -- over coffee at Havana airport.
The first coming together since the great schism in 1054.

UPDATE:  On Twitter:  

UPDATE 2:  Here is the Joint Declaration that resulted from the meeting.
UPDATE Feb. 13:
My favorite quote from the get-together:
"Together, they discussed concrete proposals for working together, “because unity is made by walking,” the pope said. Even if the goal of full unity is not reached in this lifetime, he said, “at least when the Lord comes, he’ll find us walking.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2016



For ABC Wednesday E is for my son, Edo, exercising at Elma, exactly one year ago.

Daughter Naomi gave it a try, too.
I was too busy taking pictures.

You may remember my 8 nice posts about Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel in Zichron Ya'akov.
Thanks to the right connections, our whole family got to be together and stay two days at the new hotel, before it was officially opened. 

Don't you just love the table?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Remembering Hong Kong on Chinese New Year Day


Happy Year of the Monkey!
In honor of Chinese New Year today,  I'm pulling up the only photos I have of China and remembering a pleasant 6-hour wait in Hong Kong Airport last August.
After a 12-hour flight from Tel Aviv, the coffee was a necessity and the young people making it were lively and friendly.

Plenty of planes of many colors to watch on the busy tarmac.

Signs on the moving walkway ask you to pay attention to children and old folks while walking, and not have your eyes glued on the cell phone. 

Hong Kong International Airport is big and bright with free wifi and free computers all over.

I found this interesting, both the instructions and the language.
Click and enlarge if you'd like to read about a multi-faith prayer room.

Finally it was goodbye to Hong Kong, and another long flight down to Australia.

Happiness, good luck, and prosperity to you in the Year of the Monkey!
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sleepy cats share their bench with me


 I tried not to wake the fluffy sleeping cat, but his was the only bench I could find for my picnic.

The cats at the Open Museum in Omer Industrial Park all seem to feel protected and are laid back and pettable.

And apparently also well-fed because they didn't beg while I sat between two of them and ate my cheese sandwich.
(Linking to Camera-Critters.)