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29-Jan-2016

פעם אחת לא כל כך מזמן כשיהודים הגיעו לארץ, הם לבשו בבגדי מסורתי, לצערי היום כבר לא

 

When Jews from the גלות (the diaspora) immigrated to this land, from Tunisia, from Yemen, from the Caucasus, from Eastern and Western Europe, from Greece, from Ethiopia and from every country on the planet, they came dressed in what is erroneously but commonly called "traditional dress".

 

The style and appearance of their dress were almost identical to the clothing worn by non-Jews in the countries where they had lived.  Small, subtle differences were present but often undetectable by an outsider. Jewelry usually included reli...

25-Jan-2016

Today is ט׳׳ו בשבט (Tu B'Shvat)  - 15th day of the month of Shvat. The Hebrew calendar uses letters for numbers (Gematria) and the letters ׳ט׳ ׳ו׳ are respectively 9 and 6. Together they make the number 15. Normally this number would be comprised of the number 5 ׳ה׳  and the number 10  ׳י׳.  Since these two letters together are a written substitue for the name of God, the combination is not allowed to be used as a date.  

 

 

In a nutshell (no pun intended) Tu B'Shvat is the holiday where Jews celebrate nature. Sometimes it is referred to as the Jewish Arbor Day but it is much more...

23-Jan-2016

Television in Israel is abysmal.  When there is no more money to be made in the American and British syndicates, networks exchange shows across the pond and run them on less than prime channels. When networks can no longer syndicate shows to each other, they move to the Asian, African and finally the third world market. 

 

Israel gets the brunt end of all of these streams.  Recenly out of deseperation I have been watching every flavor of CSI, NCIS and odd miniseries from Australia (circa 2004-5). When that isn't on I am stuck with all the design shows made in Canada. I know the Canadian real est...

23-Jan-2016

I awoke today to sad news - a thirteen year old Palestinian girl was shot and killed outside a settlement in the West Bank this morning. According to early reports, she fought with her parents, stormed out of the house with a knife in her bag and attempted to kill a security guard. 

 

There are many things to be said but none of them quite describe how surreal this has become. I do not know any teenage Palestian kids but I do know that all kids will do anything if they think it will get their parents attention or at least if they believe that finally they will be taken seriously. 

 

Of course, this has quickly c...

21-Jan-2016

One day last summer when the heat wasn't yet unbearable Avi and I were looking for a short טיול (trip, walk, outing) that wouldn't be too taxing and didn't require getting on a bus or  מונית שירות (group taxi). 

 

Avi is a historian AND a tour guide so he is the ideal companion for an outing to an unusual and often little known site that is historically important.  He had been talking about the American Colony for awhile so we decided to check it out. 

 

The American Colony, or as it is called in Hebrew המושבה האמריקאית–גרמנית (The American-German Colony) is located between our neighborhood נווה צ...

19-Jan-2016

The Romans were a rather smart lot. Wherever they "went" (conquered, occupied, owned, influenced, appropriated, enslaved, educated, enriched, raided, paved, plumbed - and the list goes on) they were savvy to the natural resources local to the region. Since they heralded from a hot country and often ventured into hot, dry and arid territories they became expert at finding water. All sorts of water. They built palaces by the sea, acquaducts to transport fresh water to settlements and they liked their baths. 

 

By the 2nd Century, bath houses were a feature of most territories under the auspices of the Roman Empi...

16-Jan-2016

Walking around the ancient city of בית שאן (Beit She'an). Thursday morning, There are three other visitors to the park.

Many years ago Ken went to Pompei and spent a very hot day photographing the ruins. Two years later we made the same mistake and went in August. Pompei is hard to describe. You can feel the presence of the people who once lived there and died so tragically. 

 

Perhaps all ancient cities excude this aura. But watching Ken descend the steps from the promenade into the amphitheater with his camera and watching him once again balancing on the edge of some precipice to get a shot, took me back to...

16-Jan-2016

 

 

Deep in עמק יזראל (The Jezreel Valley) on a mountain directly across from הר גלבוע (Mount Gilboa - site of many historical battles) sits one of the oldest kibbutzim in Israel - עין חרוד (Ein Harod).  The kibbutz is known for many things - it commmitment to socialist ideals from its founding during the Third Yishuv to present day; its remarkable and significant contribution to horticultural development in Israel; and for its lost members who fell during the many armed conficts in Europe and in the middle east during the past 100 years. 

 

Today Ein Harod is an elysian field. The hills...

10-Jan-2016

 

This is Rachele (רחלה) or maybe it is Broche (ברוכה). I am not sure. But she is my great grandmother on my father's side. 

 

I was named for her and for another great grandmother who's picture the family lost in a flood. 

 

As is the tradition in Ashkenazi families living in the גלות (literally "exile" but used to refer to the diaspora) - I was given two Hebrew names at birth and I was given two "English equivalents" - Barbara Rae. An odd practice to say the least. 

 

Naming a child after a family member is not odd but giving the names in honor of the family members and then not using them is strange. But th...

8-Jan-2016

 

As New Year's Day takes its place in events celebrated, enjoyed and now past, our family has a special date to look forward to, January 26th. Just two short years ago on that date we took a long car trip to meet a puppy who had been abandanoned in a park in עפולה (Afula). 

 

In April of 2012 we lost our beloved pet, Jack. He was 16 and had a very good and long life. But it was hearbreaking and we vowed that we would never again love someone so dearly. 

 

Well...the best laid plans...

 

On of the first things everyone notices about Tel Aviv is the number of babies and the number of dogs. It seems everyon...

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