Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pedal power


“Full Gas in Neutral”
"An interactive installation comprised of 30 interactive and colorful bicycles. 

Each bicycle is attached to a flag pole, at the end of which is a surprising element activated by pedaling. 
The installation, which was placed at Safra Square in August 2013, was created by the artist Anat Berman and the architect Ilan Berman." 

More about it here.

(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Matza shmura!


Look what a wonderful gift I received yesterday on the Eve of Passover!

And expensive too!
Every box is sealed with a sticker bearing a serial number and rabbinical certification of authenticity and kashrut.
Normally only very observant Jews go above and beyond to invest in matza above and beyond the standard square white, uniform, factory-produced matzot.

The box held three hand-made shmura matzas specifically for use on the festive Pesach seder table.

The back of the box has a handy guide to the elements of the seder.
Especially stressed is the requirement for every Jewish man and woman to eat matza three times on this night of our "going out from Egypt," each time the required minimum is about 27 grams (or some ancient authorities say 15 grams), i.e. "kezait," ("like one olive").

So, very carefully (because if one matza breaks, it is not kosher for the seder), I tore off the outer cellophane, cut the strong sticker, took out the plastic bag from the strong box, unwrapped the waxed paper, and . . .

tada!  The three precious matzot shmurot!
In Hebrew, shmura means guarded.
Every stage of the making of this once-a-year specialty is carefully guarded, from farm to packaging.
"The wheat is plucked after the kernels start to harden but before they sprout new shoots. Kosher supervisors monitor the grain even as it’s growing to make sure the wheat isn’t sprouting."

This quote is from an article in Haaretz called Why Does Shmura Matza for Passover Cost More than Filet Mignon?.
You will enjoy reading it, I'm sure!

To see the process: a 2-minute video
and/or an old-fashioned video starting from the wheat growing, 11 minutes.
Chag sameach, happy holiday!
(For more information and photos please click on the matza and Passover labels here below:)
(Linking to Our World Tuesday and ABC Wednesday.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Jerusalem's Archimedes screw


The Archimedes screw is now turning!
I was at Safra Square in Jerusalem on Sunday, and it was my first time after all these years to see it in motion.
During the long recent past when Israel had a water shortage, the water in many of the city's beautiful fountains was turned off.

See more pictures, including a real Archimedes screw once used in agriculture, in my post A Fountain That Screwed Up.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring cleaning at the firehouse


Seen in Jerusalem today.
It looks like even fire and rescue trucks need a thorough cleaning just before Passover!
Our Pesach holiday starts this Friday evening. 
UPDATE: The day after I took this picture, the firemen were battling flames that engulfed two buses in Jerusalem after a terrorist's bomb exploded!
See the brave fire fighter's GoPro footage at http://www.timesofisrael.com/firemans-helmet-cam-shows-first-moments-after-bus-blast/
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Desert Embroidery's Mobile Library in Lakia

Looks like a shelf stacked with kids' books in Arabic and Hebrew, right?

Actually it is the side of a truck, a library on wheels!

The project was started 15 years ago by some very energetic and courageous Bedouin women with vision living in the town of Lakia, here in the Negev.
The Mobile Library travels around Lakia.
It also goes out to several settlements in the Bedouin "diaspora" which are not recognized by the State of Israel.

The library's webpage, where you can see more photos, explains like this:
Although 58% of Lakia’s 10,000 residents are children, Lakia has no public library.  The Mobile Library Project was set up in 2000 to provide children in Lakia and the unrecognized villages in the area with an opportunity to read and exchange books to improve their reading skills, instill a love of reading and facilitate their educational achievement.
Three days a week, the Mobile Library travels in Lakia and the unrecognized villages of Abu Kef, Owajan and Alatresh, all of which are denied municipal services. At each stop enthusiastic children check out books in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Volunteer university students organize story hours and operate the library in exchange for a small stipend. We estimate that the library reaches some 1,750 children of all ages.
Future plans for the Mobile Library include extending operations to a full week, the expansion of library visits to more unrecognized villages for the benefit of even more children, development of an area for games, and the procurement of new books.
 The library is only one of the projects of Desert Embroidery, Association for the Improvement of Women's Status, Lakia.
We can learn a lot by reading the three sections of Overview at the website and then looking through the other text and photos.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday and signs, signs.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Made in Norway salmon


Look at the  s i z e   of this piece of salmon!
Our town's supermarket recently began selling Norwegian salmon.
I think it's because Israelis started having second thoughts about buying frozen fish and frozen vegetables from China after these products got some bad press.

BTW, a supermarket worker in white saw my camera and rushed over, asking if she could help me with something.
I said simply that I had promised a photo to my friend Tanya in Norway, which is true. 

So for ABC Wednesday, N is for Norway, "Made in Norway."

Shade for all


The view from the Beer Sheva-Meitar bus window. (Nicer than in the previous post.)
A flock of sheep and goats takes shelter from the noon-day sun.
The Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund), Israel's tree management organization, was nice enough to plant these trees at scattered places in the desert.
(I know it's the KKL's work because I enlarged the photo and found a white pillar with the emblem.)

And also taking advantage of the shade -- two Bedouin girls under a tree.
Even though they sit with their back to the flock, one or both of them must be the flock's shepherd.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Not such a pleasant ride this time


A cool reflection of a single street light pole, but a sad story for my Beer Sheva to Meitar bus.

About 10-15 minutes out of Beer Sheva, last Wednesday, a passenger went up to our driver and said a window was broken and that when she had gotten on the bus she saw the glass was damaged but now the glass was starting to fall out.
When the driver got to a stopping place on the busy road, he stopped.  
It was the bus stop just outside of Omer.
He took a look.  He asked if there were any witnesses.  No one had heard anything hit.
So no one knew when or where it had happened. 

You see the tiny hole on the bottom?
Could it be a bullet hole?
Or is that how it looks after someone throws a rock?
I don't know because--miraculously maybe--I have lived in Israel many decades and have been spared first-hand experience with such events.

Our driver telephoned Metropoline and asked whether to continue driving or not. 
No, they would send another bus to collect the many passengers.
People asked what happened, some got on cell phones, everyone looked at their watch, and then we all sat quietly and just waited;  I myself felt a bit like like a sitting duck.
Finally, 20 or 25 minutes later we were let off.
Someone foolishly pressed on the pane and more glass fell out; there goes the evidence.

Soon the replacement bus came and within ten minutes our same driver got us to Meitar, my town. 

Good wishes (and how to pronounce them) in the languages most heard here in the Beer Sheva area: Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and English.
Let's hope so . . .
(Linking to Weekend Reflections.)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Scouting out the land


Hikers on a hill and a bird in the sky.
On the outskirts of  Beer Sheva.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mosques and minarets (two!)


M is for mosques!  This one has TWO minarets.

On Saturday our Arabic teacher took us to the nearby Negev Bedouin town of Lakiya.
We drove by two of the town's many mosques.
Sorry about my out-of-the-car-window shots, but there was no time to stop.
We had many welcomes and lectures and visits waiting for our class.
I learned so much in half a day!
It is so inspiring what some of the women have done, together, to advance their status within the traditional, male-dominated society.
More about that in coming posts.
(Meanwhile, happy ABC Wednesday.)
(Linking also to inSPIREd Sunday meme for houses of worship.)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Burying carrots in the cellar for winter, Europe style


Today is International Carrot Day.
It brings back memories of my wonderful month with an Austrian farming community.
It was October and some of the root vegetables had been harvested and were awaiting further attention in two colorful wheelbarrows. 

Look, a three-fingered carrot!

Ready for longtime storage in the big underground cellar.

But THIS was new and exciting to me (although common knowledge for Europeans)!
They bury the carrots in this sandy ground in the floor of the cool cellar!
The old and true ways of food storage during the winter.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Cat confrontation


Several outdoor cats come through "my" yard regularly.
When the females are in heat there is pandemonium around here.
Loud, eerie yowling!  Cats chasing each other up trees or onto roofs!
Hissy fits with real hissing. 
Violent fights, with two cats locked in battle.
Here in the photo, two even crouched outside my window screen, growling and staring each other down.
I chased them away before the fur could fly.
(Linking to Camera Critters, still going strong after eight years.)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Living the beauty of simplicity

 Today and tomorrow we City Daily Photo bloggers are blogging about the theme "The beauty of simplicity." 
Karl suggested this theme, as it is his philosophy that a photo should be kept simple for maximum effect. His blog, Bolzano Daily Photo, has stunning pictures of South Tyrol.

This hermitage in the Jerusalem Hills was built in the 1400s.
It was added on to a house and chapel built by the Crusaders in the 12th century.

From June to October 2006 this hermitage (more like a monastic cell), was my beloved dwelling place.
I had just returned to Israel after eleven years of volunteer work abroad, with my backpack and duffle bag and two boxes of stuff and that was about all.

The water faucet was just outside the door (near Lara the cat, z"l).
Steep steps led to a little building with a shower and toilet. 

The simple wooden table was both desk and dinner table.
Afternoon sunshine streamed in.
In the evening families of jackals called back and forth across the Soreq Valley just below.
(Hear videos of their howls here.)

Olive trees, pines, and many other trees right outside in the woods.
Silence mostly.

Full of history and holy energy, each ancient stone in the walls and floor became my fast friend.
How very good it was to sleep and dream and to wake to a new dawn in my own land.
The hermitage was beautiful in its simplicity, and so was my life.
As the old Shaker song affirms,
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.