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The torch-lighting ceremony of Israel's Independence Day

Screenshot taken from i24News.com Israel's Independence Day is actually celebrated over two days. On the first day we remember all the fallen soldiers who died since Israel declared its first independence in 1948. Officially it is called the 'Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of the Wars of Israel and Victims of Actions of Terrorism'. This day is somber and sad and I always cry my eyes out when the stories of the fallen soldiers are shown on television. There are wreath-laying ceremonies all over the county and every Israeli stands quietly when sirens ring throughout the country to acknowledge their sacrifice. The second day is PARTY time! Just about everyone is either having a barbeque or picnic or going to the beach. The fun is however bittersweet. The sadness of the previous day and the human cost of living in a Jewish country cast a deep shadow throughout the day. When and where are the torches lit? The end of the first day and the start of the second day is bridged
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The dark side of Passover that nobody tells you about

There are many Jewish holidays but Passover is the big one. It is not only the longest Jewish holiday (7 days) but is also the holiday with the most happenings. Street fairs, special museum exhibits, festivals and   hundreds of family-centered activities are organized for Passover every year. Passover also has the best time-slot. It takes place right in the beginning of the spring which means awesome weather. Not too hot and not too much rain. The fields are still green from the winter rains and the summer heat hasn't arrived yet.                Our short springs make us appreciate the short-lived wildflowers The Israeli summer is around the corner though. The Passover holidays could be the last chance to enjoy the outdoors before fleeing to air con to survive the summer heat. So what are these 'dark' things then? Passover requires a lot of preparation It is customary for Jews not to eat bread or any other leavened products during Passover. This is to show solidarity with t

Khubeza - Israel's wild ‘spinach'

  During the winter months in Israel, as soon we had a bit of rain, the fields are covered in  green khubeza plants. The word fields are actually not 100% correct. Khubeza will grow anywhere. Empty lots, forgotten plant containers, refuse heaps or in any patch of upturned earth. They grow close to the earth and turn the dry Israeli landscape into an unexpected emerald green. Their willingness to grow to easily and luxuriously make them seem nearly weed-like. Khubeza is however the opposite of a weed. It is one of the most well-known edible plants here in Israel. Every self-respecting forager definitely has khubeza on their top-ten list. Sounds like bread (in Arabic) Is it mostly known by its Arabic name here in Israel. Khubeza comes from the word "hubz"  which means bread in Arabic. Apparently the plant has edible fruit that looks like a small loaf of bread.  Just like young children are taught that you can suck the sap from honeysuckle flowers and look for pine nuts under p

Vaccination Nation

Photo credit: Steven Cornfield Yesterday (9 January 2020) Bibi, the prime minister of Israel and our health minister got their second vaccine against the coronavirus. Once again the event was broadcasted live on television.  They got their first vaccination three weeks ago. The idea was to show everyone that the vaccine is safe and people shouldn't be scared to take it. One can however not say that the Israelis were all that worried about taking the vaccine in the first place. It was more like a frenzy to go and get vaccinated and then tell everyone that you got it. I noticed only one anti-vaxxer, originally from the USA, going on about how unsafe and untested it is and the government is just trying to placate us. Others, including me, were a bit hesitant for maybe two seconds but quickly got swept up in Operation "Let's jab everyone".  Age before beauty For two weeks we heard and saw all the over 60 year olds and health-workers getting shots. They would book

The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem

Brass with silver inlay from the Ayyubid or Mamluk period (14th century, Egypt or Syria) I haven't been in a museum for a long time. This #$% corona virus has not only made nearly everyone 'untouchable' but has also robbed us from enjoying ancient art! One of the most amazing, and little celebrated, joys of life is to stand in front of a glass cage in a museum. In my humble opinion of course 😊.  Ancient glass jars with a very modern design. One gets to appreciate the beauty that fellow human beings have made. These artists may have lived long before us, or come from a part of the world that one would never travel to. And yet there is a connection to these artists via their art. They made something for someone else to enjoy and appreciate and that is exactly what we as museum goers do. I don't think the artists whose work is displayed in the Museum for Islamic Art would have ever dreamt that their work will be marveled over in Jerusalem by Israeli Jews, Christians and

The first rain has a name

Rain is so precious and anticipated here in Israel.  Our long hot summers parch the land, man and beast. It is not just the heat - the hot winds all the way from the Arabian peninsula squeeze the last drops of life out of any living organism. AND cover everything head to toe with a thick layer of dust. It is no wonder that from about the end of September we start looking at the skies. Our very souls thirst for rain by then. This is also the time that religious Jews start to pray for rain, three times a day in their daily prayers. We all had enough by the end of September The nightly weather report finally gets some attention by the end of September. Like seriously, do we REALLY have to see a big dark red warning sign, filled with an impossible high number, to know that it is hot as hell? For every single day of our long hot summers? Come September month and we are waiting, with nearly a hold breath, for that first rain. It is called "yoreh" At first I thought it is no wonder

How do you know it is autumn in Israel

We do not pull on our sweaters just yet. It is more the smell of new wine and wild boar squealing in delight that lets you know that autumn is upon us. There are basically two weather modes here in Israel, rain and not rain. We get winter rains here in Israel - so when it rains, we are cold. The rest of the time we either boil from the heat or merely simmer from the heat. Technically we have nine-months long summers. (And I am not talking about cool summers!) If it doesn't rain, the heat just continues and our summers feel even longer. Most of us are still wearing sandals and shorts late into October. So how do you know when it is autumn time in Israel if the weather doesn't get cooler?  There are a few signs that the summer is slowly coming to a close. 1. The sea squill blooms. These flowers bloom around September for three to four weeks. Their beautiful white heads stand tall and are a welcome relief against the continuous background of dry and dusty. 2. The pomegranates'