Thursday, December 7, 2017

A message from the Mosque of Omar


In Jerusalem's Old City last week I peeked through the locked gate of the Mosque of Omar and was surprised to see this sign in the courtyard. 
It is apparently sura 3:51 of the Quran which quotes none other than Jesus! 
The banner says
[in Arabic:] There is no god but Allah. 
"Jesus Said:
'I am indeed a slave of Allah,
Allah is my Lord and your Lord,
so worship Him Alone.' "

The mosque, with its tall minaret, is right across the lane from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  
I wonder how many Christian pilgrims on their way to the church  pause a second to look at the mosque and at the unexpected message on its wall. 

The Mosque of Omar, built in the 1460s, has a fascinating story in itself.
You are welcome to read about it in two of my earlier posts
Tomorrow is Friday, the Muslim holy day, and al Aksa mosque will be packed.  After the prayers big protests are expected against Trump's declaration on Jerusalem.  Palestinian officials have called for "days of rage."  Let's hope and/or pray that no one loses his life. 
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Choosing a prayer spot


How many of us would conquer any shyness and just do the prayers wherever we find ourselves when the set prayer hours arrive?
Just put off your shoes, kneel down, and do the prostrations?
In Israel you see Muslims (well, mainly men) praying in many public open spaces.
Like this Bedouin father on the lawn at Beer Sheva's Soroka hospital last week.

While exploring the medical center's sprawling campus I discovered this dedicated [Muslim] "Prayer Room."

The door on the right, as you can see from the water running out, is the place to do ritual ablution before prayer.

Soroka's Prayer Room is open at these times during morning, noon, and evening for the five obligatory prayers.
UPDATE: I read now that Soroka was the first Israeli hospital to open a Muslim prayer room, sometime before 2003.
After a petition was filed in 2013, the High Court of Justice instructed the six largest hospitals to also build such a prayer room.   See article in Haaretz .
While this is not exactly the "inspirational" religious architecture that bloggers share every weekend at inSPIRED Sunday, still, I'm linking it to the meme.  And also to Our World Tuesday.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Homemade gifts--but with a difference!

City Daily Photo bloggers have as our December 1st theme the idea of gifts.

Lucky me--my sweet daughter recently came up to Israel from down in Australia for a short visit.
And she came bearing gifts. 
I was excited to see for the first time the fruits of her labor, her artistic ideas made into physical objects on her new laser engraving and cutting machine!
Like the replica of the Golden Record that was sent into space 40 years ago. (If you're too young to remember the launch of NASA's Voyager I and II, Naomi wrote about the record on her website.)

Another gift I love is Naomi's pleasant-to-the-touch cork coasters.
As she explains,  "These cork coasters are laser engraved with an image of a labyrinth inspired by the famous Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral labyrinth in France. The labyrinth has for centuries attracted people to walk its lines in meditation. Even on this smaller version, running your finger along the lines can bring about calmness and serenity."

These little hearts are really offcuts from the wood and acrylic that Naomi works with.
I gave a few as symbolic gifts to new friends and it really won their heart.

Just for fun take a look at some of Naomi's 90 unusual creations at her online Etsy crafts store called Eclipse9Laser.
You'll even find Tolkien- and space-themed Christmas tree ornaments now!
And more new and unexpected things every week.

As Naomi explains,
"In my previous life I was a university lecturer and researcher in aerospace engineering. I also worked as an engineer for Lockheed and NASA, designing satellite systems. I love all things aerospace, engineering and science.
Now I'm making cool (ok, geeky) laser engraved gifts and items - things that I love and find exciting. I hope you love them too!"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A bizarre accident, 2 smashed cars


This big Border Police vehicle managed to do a lot of damage to two parked cars on a main street of my town early last Friday morning, thankfully without injuring any people.

Police were already there investigating, and this one was measuring distances with his meter measuring wheel.

A parked towing wagon had also been hit and was on its side. 

I really wonder how and why this happened.
Click one or two times on the photos to get the full "impact."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gray on gray


It was a cool gray day in Jerusalem today, with a few drops of rain.
Heavy clouds were sitting on Mt. Scopus at the end of the street.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Olive oil by the barrel


T is for tugging.

Dani, the in-charge of Kibbutz Gezer Olives had just driven two heavy barrels of our fresh oil back from the olive press.

And they had to be off-loaded to the entrance of the kibbutz bomb shelter where the oil would later be bottled.

American volunteer Ashlea took a whiff.

Dani made the taste test.

Ashlea got a capful of the precious fruit of our olive-harvesting labor.

Luke, a WWOOFer from New Zealand, tried it too.

Only I, as reflected in the pure oil, was busy with the camera and mercifully too busy to drink.
(Linking to T-day at ABC Wednesday and OurWorld Tuesday.)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Donkeys and olives


My new friend, Malka! 

"THE HOME OF MALKA AND RACHEL" says the sign. 
Last year the donkeys lived in the kibbutz olive grove, grazing on the underbrush and contributing manure fertilizer.
But this year they were spotted eating olives (!) so they were moved to their own paddock, at least until we harvest all the olives. 

Nothing like a good dust bath on a hot day. 
Yes, it's still hot and dry in Israel, despite it being "winter." 

After she saw Malka roll over, Rachel had a go at it too. 

Two donkey friends and a cloud of dust. 

They are so sweet! 
Gotta love donkeys.
(Linking to Camera-Critters.)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Volunteer fun in the olives


Still having fun harvesting olives at friendly Kibbutz Gezer.
Starting my third week as a volunteer.
Here you learn new and exciting things every day.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The olive harvest is in full swing!


This is my 6th day living and volunteering at a nice kibbutz in central Israel. 
We are working hard harvesting olives.
The main method to get the olives off the branches is to "comb" them off with a plastic rake thingy. 

We spread long long tarps on both sides of the trees. 
The olives we "comb" fall onto the tarps, making a sweet sound. 

Finally we push and pull all the olives into the center of the tarp, kneel beside the pile and fish out a few twigs, and then pour the beautiful olives into a crate. 

More about life in the big olive grove in the coming days.
If you'd like to learn more about the place and the philosophy, please see one or all of these:
Olives 101
The Olive Blog 
Kibbutz Gezer Olives -- Facebook page 
Come and join us, there's still a few beds left for more good volunteers! 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jerusalem tolerance: 2 wheels vs. 2 legs


Our group of 28 older citizens of Meitar was touring Jerusalem last Tuesday.
We had just exited the New Gate and were trying to get through the narrow passage between the Old City wall on the left and the tramway on busy Paratroopers Road on the right. 
We had to quickly scoot over when a string of segway riders came whirring by! 
I was delighted but one of the oldies voiced his disapproval to the tourists for usurping his space. 
Maybe it was just envy, because I see on the SmartTour website that 
"All participants must be between the ages of 16-70, not pregnant and of a maximum weight of 270 pounds."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

An electrifying kiss


Suddenly crazy dazzling streaks across my laptop and TV screens, then a huge flash of light outside my window and a loud PATZ!!  And then my place and the whole neighborhood were plunged into darkness. 
I grabbed a big flashlight and walked down to the corner to check the big electric pole, the one that says "HIGH VOLTAGE,  DANGER OF DEATH!"

Our town's security team was already there, calling the Electric Company's emergency repair line.
Curious neighbors were milling about and pointed out to me what had fallen from above to the hard pavement below.

One pigeon sitting on one high tension wire had touched a second pigeon sitting on a parallel wire, forming a short circuit and causing the big bang and their own electrocution!
Totally charred wings, so sad.

The poor pair of pigeons had only wanted to kiss each other good night.
Even in death they were locked together. 
(Linking to Our World Tuesday, signs signs, and Camera Critters .)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where'd everybody go?

I've been negligent lately in my blogging and blog-visiting, but I have an excuse!
I've been preparing for, partly hosting, and then emotionally recovering from an all-too-short visit of my family from Australia.

Under welcome clouds and a welcoming committee of birds, my Naomi, Dean, Eyal, and Libby and I walked over to our local "desert." 

It was the day of the Sukkot holiday, so everyone else must have been dwelling in their sukkas or away on vacation or napping, because we were the only ones out and about. 
Imagine having the whole Meitar Forest to yourself for your picnic.

Then we headed home on the dusty Israel Trail.

Naomi had everyone hose off the dust from their shoes and feet, because the very next day they would  be starting the long journey back, flying from Tel Aviv east to Hong Kong and then another long flight south to Sydney. 

So for ABC Wednesday, N is for Naomi and her husband, (who had to continue on to some professional conferences in Europe) and their kids who were nice enough to come north to visit.
But for not nearly enough time. 
(Linking also to Our World Tuesday.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sensual centaur


When was the last time you saw a CENTAUR?!? 
I saw this one at Beer Sheva's Old City street fair during Sukkot three years ago. 
I remember well his strong silent presence, the menacing look he gave to each passerby, his face, his muscles . . . .
Enlarge the photo, see what I mean. 

For Oct. 1st Theme Day our City Daily Photo blogger group came up with the theme "sensual." 
Of the more than 26 entries so far, I note that the majority focus on females, so I am adding a MAN.
Well, at least a half-man.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New meaning to "Spanish omelette"


The stamped Large white Israeli eggs are what I normally buy.
See the L on the shell? 
But now during the Jewish High Holidays, the Days of Awe, there are so many festive meals to be cooked inside of just a few weeks that the country apparently ran out of eggs.
I was astounded to open a new carton and find brown eggs!
I examined the Hebrew label and discovered they were imported all the way from Spain!
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Where did the salmon's head go??


Last night was the Eve of Rosh Hashanah (literally, the head of the year). 
On the festive New Year's dinner table, usually on the platter with the traditional gefilte fish, traditionally there should be at least one cooked fish head. 
Or even a ram's head. 

This is to remind us of one of the many blessings that God promises in return for obedience to his commandments. Deuteronomy 28:13a says 
"And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail . . . " 

In The Living Torah translation it becomes "God will make you a leader and never a follower."

The Hebrew blessing said over the fish head is 
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב
May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that we be a head and not a tail.

I pray that every leader and every citizen in our world will use their head to make peace and not war in the new year. 
Shana tova, a good and happy year to all!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Marble slabs, all in a row


Is it just me, or is there something exciting about seeing marble slabs?

The worker wearing a dust mask had been cutting stone on the shrill-sounding saw.

Shiny, big and beautiful. 
And expensive, I imagine.

The marble place is in Beer Sheva. 

And what's this hiding under a table in the 
shadows . . . ?