Friday, May 6, 2011

110504 Hopes & Dreams of the Mighty Fallen Live

Yom Hashoah & Yom Hazikaron
Israelis believe you can’t fully appreciate Yom Hatzmaut, Independence Day, until citizens of the State recall the price for their independence. Therefore, Yom Haatzmaut is the day immediately following Yom Hazikaron.
All too often, a moral voice deep inside haunts us: “Why?! Was it all worth it? All the dying, suffering! What was it for?” all the questions we are taught we have no right to ask especially if one is a person of faith in Hashem.
These were the questions parading through my mind as I walked along the Tyelet, the Southern Promenade, taking in the view overlooking the Old City walls, the Temple Mount. I observed all the massive growth of united Jerusalem and along with this sight was the realization of the prosperity of the Jews in order to bring about the renewal of Israel. Vibrant Jewish communities were brought to life from all those martyrs, all the men and women who died to preserve our freedom! What was it all for? The answer: From the ashes of the Shoah was the rebirth of a Jewish homeland!!! The bones and the sinews have come together, and Hashem has breathed life into His People as He promised!
My path led me to a young man sitting on the hillside of the Tyelet concentrating deeply as he was meticulously drawing the scene below with pen and ink. He didn’t miss a roof, house, stone wall or tree as line after line was connected together until the village below was patiently illustrated in black and white. I was so impressed with his art that I stopped to observe as he continued on with his masterpiece. Interfering with his focus, I just had to talk to him a few minutes – it’s permitted since I am a woman! I did not want to miss the privilege to meet another of Israel’s finest of this generation. 
The handsome young man – and girls! we are talking HANDSOME! – kindly introduced himself.
Idan is presently attending one of the best of the best art schools in Jerusalem, Betzalel. He is in hot pursuit of a career in topography and illustration which will take a few more years of study since this is his first year. In the meantime, he has a job at the Little Italy Restaurant in the German Colony, a hotspot for the young college and career ‘yuppies’. But Idan assured me that the mature, wise, experienced folks (like me) in their Golden years are also welcome.
I always taunt young Israelis around the age of Idan if he/she has served in the IDF, because you always get a readily indignant reply such as his: “YES!!! OF COURSE! I’M ISRAELI! EVERYONE MY AGE HAS SERVED IN THE MILITARY RIGHT AFTER THEY GET OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL!” And a stare like “Woman! What world are you from?”
What was it all for? From the ashes of the Shoah came forth the ingathering of the Jewish tribes of Israel from the four corners of the earth. They are still returning home, and bringing forth a determined generation of young people, such as Idan, in pursuit of a future within their own Land never to be dispersed again. We can only pray for our youth’s every success in all their initiatives for a good and prosperous life.
I walked away from another of Israel’s finest, chuckling to myself: “YEP, Hashem! I need to learn NOT to ask stupid questions! Especially when it’s very clear that the human mind cannot comprehend the things of G-d because it’s definite Your ways are not our ways, and only You can create something good out of such evil and bring forth life from the grave.”
The souls of our precious martyrs and the Mighty Fallen live on in every generation. Their hopes, visions and faith are magnified throughout the Land. And their deaths sanctified the Name of Hashem who continues to breathe life into the nation of Am Israel!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It's hard to believe this Hassidic dance is comprised of only one man! It was fascinating to watch him maneuver the four dummies, two to each side. But pay close attention to the fact that only 2 feet ever really touch the ground as he dances to "Moshiach".

Youth always bring change to a culture and many find it fun and enjoyable. Yet, my generation remembers the Israeli folk dance and song that gave Israelis courage, faith and joy to persevere through many adversities to become a free nation.
But youth being youth, want progress and acceptance for their many talents, so many had fun and enjoyed the new changes that this group brought to Israeli song and dance in the streets of Jerusalem.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


While visiting Kever Yosef,  I was caught up in the joyful celebration of Yedidya’s first haircut. It is a tradition among the religious for a boy’s hair to grow for the first three years and then have a hair-cutting ceremony known as upsherin. Members of the family who are present each cut a wispy lock of hair, leaving the peyot at the sides.
Yedidya read the honey-covered letters of the Hebrew alef-bet, and licked off the honey, which represents that studying Torah is ‘sweet as honey’. This event marks Yedidya’s induction into Jewish education and he will officially begin the study of Torah. A kipa was then placed on the shorn head.
The first haircut of a Jewish boy from a religious family is the 3 year-old’s rite of passage into Judaism and is a special sign of maturity. One of the mitzvot that Yedidya will be expected to keep is wearing the tzitzit under his shirt to remind him of the 613 mitzot he will gradually learn.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

110105 NEW YEAR’S EVE 2010

I desperately needed a day out just to relax and release myself from the captivity of mundane things. Besides it was the New Year’s Eve day. So, I crammed my faithful partner, Gypsy, into the back seat and abducted a friend who was in the doldrums also, and headed to parts unknown for a cup of java and whatever else we could participate in.
Judy is not as adventuresome as I, but curiosity got the best of her and she said, “Why not!” that is, until I bypassed Jerusalem and headed for the Judean hills, having warned her not to plan on returning home for 3 or 4 hours.
I couldn’t have picked two worse traveling companions to celebrate New Year’s Eve with. Gypsy hates crowds and doesn’t like anyone mauling her as if they want to be her best friend in this present world and the olam habah. Judy on the other hand, doesn’t know up from down if she gets over 2 miles away from her caravan – she is a genuine ‘home-body!” I mean, she could write her own book entitled “HOME ALONE AND LOVING IT!”
For me personally, it was a very short but fun day trip since we wanted to get home before the night crew of celebrants hit the streets for New Year’s Eve. As we sat at the Pit Stop enjoying our coffee, a group of motorcyclists came crashing in upon the serenity from all directions. Finally, the noise subsided and was replaced by a rowdy bunch of guys dismounting from their bikes and sat down at the table right next to ours. As they removed their helmets, the ‘boys’ got older and older!
One of them came over and struck up a conversation with us while petting Gypsy who had made rapid pace to get under the table. The man then asked: “Do you girls know why animal activists throw red paint on fur coats but not on leather jackets?”
Both of us shook our heads negatively and inquisitively said: “NO!”
And with a broad grin on his face, he said: “Because they would rather fight off rich women than deal with Hell’s Angels!”
The ‘boys’ geared up and blasted out the same way they came in. On the heels of their leaving another group came rolling in on their toys only with less noise pollution. This time they were Bicyclists, yet still around the same age.
On the way back to familiar surroundings, we stopped for Judy to purchase a fawn that she felt she just could not start the New Year without. And she has plenty of room for a deer in her yard. She really got it for a good bargain and it doesn’t eat much!

Thursday, November 11, 2010



Yuvi was born and raised at Kibbutz Ginosar on the seashores of the Kinneret along with his four brothers. I recently had the privilege of hearing about a few of their youthful escapades as kibbutzniks and fishermen.
Yuvi is a ‘rock artist’, but not the ‘rock ‘n roll’ kind. His work is out of real stone found in the area. A particular carved stone of his is only one that makes up the Peace Arch as you enter the hotel at Nof Ginosar. He refers to it as ‘the Family Book’. This is one of the stories he related to me:

My father and mother grew up on Kibbutz Ginosar. When they married, a woman gave my mother a pair of white doves which represented their marriage. Everything about our family life is written in the book. (SCULPTED INTO THE STONE: Two doves are engraved into the stone at the top. A book is open and a man and woman are kneeling within it. The photo is of the practice run before the finished product.)
It was very important to my grandfather that everyone spoke Hebrew. Seventy or eighty years ago people did not speak Hebrew in Israel. Jewish immigrants came from Germany, Romania and other places in Europe mostly. They brought books with them in their native tongue or yiddish, so my grandfather wrote a book in Hebrew. He gave it to the people to learn Hebrew so eventually they could communicate in Hebrew.
But when he met with the people, they told him, “We have no money for bread! Why are you bringing us a book?” So he said: “Okay, the book stays here and I will return in two months so we can talk in Hebrew.” Gradually, the people learned Hebrew and slowly more and more people talked together in Hebrew.
This is the story in my grandfather’s book, and that’s why its engraved in the stone of my parents’ lives and is one of the foundation stones in the Peace Arch.

Yuvi introduces me to his brother Beni who is driving a tractor and playing a harmonica.
Beni is my older brother and he is in charge of everything on the Kibbutz. He takes his harmonica with him all the time to play music. He just came from playing music for the children, and he likes to make people happy.
We like to dance Israeli dances on the Kibbutz and Beni used to play all the different musical instruments at the dances before tapes and CDs came along.
There is an antique tractor displayed on the Kibbutz but the one Beni gets around with on his daily rounds is even more antique.


ESTI is from Poriya and she is learning to sculpture the rock.
I come every day. I just cannot stop. I told my child I can work here 7-9 hours a day and I don’t feel tired. I don’t need to eat; I don’t want anything. Every night I just wait for the morning to come.I have the freedom to do everything that I want whether I fail or succeed it doesn’t matter.

Right now I want to make many butterflies. At first, when I started to make a butterfly, it becomes something else. But that’s what is so magic about the stone. You think you want something and suddenly in the middle the stone tells you a story and it becomes what’s inside.
If someone were to ask me if I’m a ‘stone cutter’, I would say ‘no’ because I’m a writer and artist. I also create from ceramic. And now I can’t leave the stone alone.


As a rock artist Yuvi wants to leave behind a legacy of his civilization so that in another 2000 years archeologists will be finding rocks that endured the difficulties and traumas of years between now and then.
He believes there is a story within the rock and when it is handled with care, the rock will reveal its hidden identity. The artist may start out with one idea in mind, but the end product will be something totally different. Every sculpture of Yuvi’s has its own unique personality, and usually has a little humor in its character.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


You get to meet a lot of people at the roadside pitstops which are few and far between in Israel. The Desert Inn is a favorite found on Highway 1, east of Jerusalem called the 'Way to Yericho'.
Children are never bored between the food, playground and camel rides.

Speaking of camel rides! It can be very hilarious to observe parents and grandparents attempt to mount a camel, and even more humorous to watch them ride it. Kids adapt well as the imagination takes them to the place of freedom, riding a camel in the hot desert wind.
But I could certainly understand why the camel would take flight and run into the open dunping the rider into a pile of sand on the desert floor when I heard the alarming squeals of a woman as she shrieked: “Ima-leh! Ima-leh!” I mean give me a break! That would terrify any animal even of the mildest nature! (SAVTA SHOSH from Ramat Gan, with her grand-daughters, Lia & Dolev)

Adults certainly enjoyed the coffee shops and buying those famous Israeli sandals fit for any nomad of the desert, male or female. And of course, who could resist those fresh fruits and veggies at the open stands.

But all too soon, tourists ascended back onto their buses and left for parts unknown. Well, maybe not too soon to please the vendors and the camels who just want a siesta break from the noonday sun.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Gemma's succah was full and overflowing with friends who came for her annual spaghetti dinner at Succot 2010. One of my demands was for her to sing a few of her childhood favorites which she grew up with.


This was Auntie Alma's first time to visit Gemma's succah even though they have been friends for some time. They met at their favorite spa in French Hill, Jerusalem. For her participation in the evening's event, she sang one of her favorite childhood songs.


David is really not that old but the song he sang is about an old man, Paddy-whack! David brought along his guitar to Gemma's succah and sang a number of songs while everyone else ate all the spaghetti. His music added a little more flavor to the evening and evidently to the food.