Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Black horse, white horse


A Lipizzaner stallion stuck his beautiful head out of his box stall at the Spanish Riding School.
It was a rainy Sunday in Vienna.

And in a dim attic in a century-old Vienna apartment building I found this old flat metal votive horse.
It had come to Austria from a church in Greece.

These photos are what I could come up with for our CDP Theme Day on "black and white in color."
See what other bloggers are posting for the next two days at City Daily Photo website.

In 2015 UNESCO inscribed the Spanish Riding School in The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! 
You can see more about the Lipizzaners and their palace in my earlier posts.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Kalaniot, Shoshana Damari, in Trumpeldor Cemetery

During about half of every year Israel can get some rain.
In that winter season the wildflowers go wild!
Right now the red anemones are blooming, especially here in the Negev.

Every Israeli knows the old 1945 song about anemones, "Kalaniot" in Hebrew.
It has even been called Israel's unofficial national anthem.
You can enjoy poet Nathan Alterman's lyrics translated here.
The concluding verse says this:

Yes, generations come and pass without end
but each generation has an anemone in a tune.
Happy is the man if between storms and thunder
an anemone bloomed for him, if only just once.

Shoshana Damari, the singer with the Yemenite accent who made the song famous, even has an anemone-themed gravestone.
The standing stone has her name and the message "Anemones will always blossom."

Many admirers left the traditional stones of respect on her grave, wet because it had rained that day a month ago when I visited.
Wiki says that "Kalaniot" was sung to Shoshana Damari by family and friends when she was on her deathbed in February 2006.
Listen to her, our "queen of Israeli song," (often likened to Edith Piaf), singing Kalaniot here.

From her grave this is the view of Trumpeldor Cemetery.

The first burials began in 1903.
Tel Aviv has since grown up and now surrounds the famous old cemetery.

There is no more room here; you would have to be a VERY important VIP to be honored with a plot.
For more about this fascinating old Jewish cemetery please see my earlier posts.
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday and Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

More about the old forester's tower

 Just to finish the report from my previous two posts about the dedication of Mitzpe Noam, a new forest lookout and monument for fallen soldier Noam Rosenthal, here are better shots of some "ruins" which share the hilltop.  
Many readers were asking about the barbed wire.

A little bit of barbed wire was recently put around the abandoned cabin to discourage further graffiti and desolation.

I can't find much information online but apparently in the mid-1980s when the community of Meitar was begun and the Meitar Forest was planted, a forest ranger was stationed on the highest hill, with a lookout tower to watch from and a simple cabin to live in. 

Before the addition of barbed wire, I once went inside the old house and snooped around.
It feels quite mysterious and full of history.
If you enlarge some of the photos, you might get the feeling. 

I heard rumors that the Keren Kayemet/Jewish National Fund afforestation authority plans to renovate the place, especially now that Mitzpe Noam is completed right next to it, and open it as a way-station for Israel Trail through-hikers to overnight in. 

Let's see what happens . . . 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Our new place to pause on the Israel Trail


And now about the February 10 dedication of Mitzpe Noam that I started to tell you about in the previous post.

Many, I think more than a hundred, came to honor Noam Rosenthal and his family.
Noam was a son of Meitar, our town.

Noam was only 20 when mortars killed him along with four other soldiers on July 31, 2014 during the 50-day fight with Gaza.

His mother, father, brother, friend, and his commander,  the mayor, and a representative from Keren Kayemet gave moving speeches.
There was hardly a dry eye in the audience.
Then the red ribbon was ceremoniously cut above the stone compass which shows one of Noam's favorite sayings: "Live always says northward."

His chevreh, a tight-knit group of  fine young men (seen in the photo) who every Friday evening would get together on this hilltop and make music, wrote moving things on the rock about Noam's legacy, how they would always think of him and miss him.

His family wrote these words about memory and memories.

Noam's favorite instrument was the piano; he played mainly classical music.
And so they designed this meeting place in the shape of a grand piano.

I hiked back to the Noam Overlook a few days ago and found it being enjoyed by a few families.

This is the view from the edge of town.
Mitzpe Noam is on top of the hill.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday, hoping wars will someday not be a part of our world.
And for ABC Wednesday, the letter G is for a grieving family and a good boy, gone from us.)

UPDATE Jan. 2019:  The place now has a sign:


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Former forest ranger's camp


In honor of F day over at ABC Wednesday, feast your eyes on this fresh fruit!

Friday was the Tu BiShvat holiday and food filled the long table.
A new lookout was being dedicated in memory of a fallen soldier, but more about that in the next post.

The former forester's watchtower and hut reminded us of the early days of Meitar, founded in the early 1980s.

The overlook on the high hill in the forest now looks down on our town of almost 9,000 and Meitar is still growing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hiking the forest on Tu BiShvat

Hello again.   Happy Tu BiShvat!
Today on the Hebrew calendar it is the 15th of Shvat, which according to ancient Jewish law is considered the birthday or New Year for our fruit trees.
In modern Israel it has become a happy day of going out into nature and enjoying the now-blooming wildflowers, and some groups plant young saplings.
As you see in this photo, the leafy trees are still in their winter leafless stage, but spring will soon come!
Our town is lucky to have the Meitar Forest right in our "backyard."
Many of us were out hiking in the hills today.

At one picnic spot we chanced to meet this couple.
They came from the American Midwest to hike the Israel Trail, which goes right through our forest.
They did not camp right here but had only put up the tent to let it dry from the morning dew while Turkish coffee was being boiled.
Good luck to these brave young souls!

Gotta love modern technology -- charging the cell phone with solar power!

You can learn more about Tu BiShvat customs (there is even a seder meal!) in my previous posts.
And there is more about the 950-kilometer-long Israel Trail, including a map, in these other posts.