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Showing posts from 2012

In and Around Bat Galim

Bat Galim's architectural landmark - white arches. And yes, of course kids and grown-ups climb on top of them. A few weeks ago, the municipality of Bat Galim, a neighborhood in Haifa, Israel held an "Open house" for artists. Some of the art was amazing, others less so. Quite less... But the neighborhood of Bat Galim totally charmed me. "Bat Galim" means 'daughter of the waves" and yes, it is right next to the sea.

Haveil Havalim #383

A rose for Ricki "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is  vanity."  Kohelet 1  (Ecclesiates)  Yup, it is my turn again to host  Haveil Havalim  - a carnival of Jewish and Israeli blogs.The Haveil Havalim blog carnival was founded by  Soccer Dad  and every week a different blogger takes a turn to host a weekly collection of blog posts. The name "Haveil Havalim" means "Vanity of the Vanities" and is taken from the book Ecclesiates in the Tanach (the Jewish Bible).  If you blog about Israel or Jewish-related subjects, please feel free to join the  Haveil Havalim   Facebook group   or go and have a look at the  Haveil Havalim website . I enjoy hosting this carnival. All the different bloggers who participate in  Haveil Havalim   seems to represent the wonderful diversity of people who lives in Israel. There hardworking bloggers who write nearly every day (I am not of them !) bloggers who like to write about politics, an

Yom Kippur in Israel

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronalmog/ When you look for images on the Internet for Yom Kippur in Israel - you will either see photos of empty highways, cycling children or masses of praying religious Jews dressed in white. And yes, I guess that what a lot of people experience during Yom Kippur. But it so much more than that. Yom Kippur is the day of Atonement and one can say that the entire previous year leads up to this single day. In the days following up to Yom Kippur, Jews are supposed  to reflect over the previous year, look at what they have done wrong and set it right. Family and friends are asked for forgiveness for any hurts that you may have caused them, grudges are finally put away and everyone tries to enter to new year with a clean a slate as possible. According to Jewish tradition, God's writes down each person's destiny for the new year during Rosh haShanah . At Yom Kippur the verdict is finally closed and sealed. Just before and after Yom Kippur people wi

New Year in Israel

Pomegranates are eaten at Rosh haShana to symbolize the wish that people's good deeds will be as plentiful as the  seeds of a pomegranate. In Israel the new year is celebrated twice. On the eve of December 31st, like the rest of the world, and on Rosh haShana - the Jewish "Head of the Year". But actually only secular Jews go and party on the 31st of December. And usually it is the kind of people who needs only half a reason for a party! The 1st of January is not a holiday, so the most of us just see the new calender year in by watching a few news reports from around the world. The real Israeli new year takes place on Rosh HaShana. Usually in September, a few weeks after the children have gone back to school. The entire country takes a break for two days and one spends a LOT of your time eating food! Many of the food stuffs that are eaten are sweet. To symbolize the hope that the coming year will be a sweet year. My favourite Rosh haShana dish is apples dipped i

Becoming a Hummus Connoisseur

Hummus plays a large role in the Israeli diet. Wherever you may find yourself eating something, from a picnic at the beach, an end-of-year party or a conference in a smart hotel - there you are sure to find a plate of hummus. There are even restaurants in Israel that ONLY serve hummus and no other kind of food. These restaurants, known as a "hummusia" in Hebrew are very popular and Israelis often argue about which hummusia serves the best hummus. Some people like their hummus with cooked fava beans and/ or boiled chickpea kernels, others insist on a boiled egg in their plate (not me!) and others just want a sprinkling of paprika and a dash of  olive oil. Which ever way you like to eat it, hummus is very healthy, very filling and a great vegetarian dish. It is made out mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans), olive oil and seasoning. A good plate of hummus MUST be accompanied by a few decent pitot (plural for pita bread). One eats the hummus by breaking of a piece of the p

Haveil Havalim Edition 367

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is  vanity."  Kohelet 1  (Ecclesiates)  I have the honor again to host  Haveil Havalim  - a carnival of Jewish and Israeli blogs.The Haveil Havalim blog carnival was founded by  Soccer Dad  and every week a different blogger takes a turn to host a weekly collection of blog posts. The name "Haveil Havalim" means "Vanity of the Vanities" and is taken from the book Ecclesiates in the Tanach (the Jewish Bible).  If you blog about Israel or Jewish-related subjects, please feel free to join the  Haveil Havalim   Facebook group   or go and have a look at the  Haveil Havalim website . Batya Medad at Shiloh Musings says   why she thinks the university center in Ariel should be named the Ariel University. And in Me-ander she thinks about her aunt's funeral in New York while she is at a memorial service in Israel in Being Two Places at Once . Susan Esther Barnes at the Jewish Journal.com

How to Survive the Israeli Summer

Well, maybe survive is too strong a word... one does not  survive  the Israeli summer heat. It is more like you barely manage to grasp on to life while your eyeballs are being melted to the back of skull. You are constantly tired because it is too hot to sleep and your children are cranky because they are all hot and bothered. And if you DARE put a bare foot on an Israeli beach - then it is, well then it is like an instant barbecue!    Eating large ice creams will definitely help you to survive the Israeli summer. Okay, I exaggerate. But only a little bit. It is HOT in Israel in the summer and everybody is more irritable than unusual. And yes, Israelis can be more  irritable than unusual :) So, if you are thinking of coming to visit Israel in the summer months (or already live in Israel) here are a few tips on how to survive the Israeli summer. 1. Buy the largest, most expensive air conditioner that you can afford. Switch it on and do NOT leave the house! If you are a touri

The Glass Museum at Kibbutz Nachsolim

Kibbutz Nachsolim is right next to Hof Dor (Dor beach), one of my favorite beaches here in Israel. I usually walk right past the kibbutz, straight into the clear (and wonderfully cool) Mediterranean sea! The Glass Factory Museum  But a while ago I had the chance to visit the glass museum on the kibbutz and I was surprised at the amazing treasures housed in there. It is not just about glass - even though glass was the reason the building was originally built. The museum took its name from an extremely well-equipped and state-of-the-art glass bottle factory that the Baron Rothschild had built in 1891 right next to the beach. The glass factory was to supply bottles to the wineries in Zichron Yaakov using the sand from the nearby beach. The chemist Meir Dizengoff ( later the first major of Tel Aviv's) oversaw the bottle making process. Not a bad idea one might think - but nobody had bothered to check the sand's suitability to be made into bottles. The glass  factor

Meeting the writer Amos Oz

I had the fortune to attend a talk given by the world famous writer, Amos Oz. He is probably the most well-known Israeli writer -  his books have been translated into more than 30 languages and he was won several honors and awards.   The Israeli writer, Amos O Our town's wonderful library staff organized this meeting with Amos Oz as part of the Hebrew Book Week celebrations. I have read a few of his books that have been translated into English but I must admit that I have not yet been courageous enough to read any of his books in Hebrew - the language that they were written in. My children's books, the newspaper and a few websites is as far as I will dare!

Remembering the Fallen Soldiers

or "The Meaning of the number  22, 993 in Israel " In the Commonwealth fallen soldiers are remembered by buying and wearing a paper poppies but here in Israel people fly the Israeli flag. Copyright: comedynose In South Africa (and other commonwealth countries) fallen soldiers are honored on  Remembrance Day , usually on the 11th of November. Ceremonies are held in a few of the large cities and small paper poppies are sold to raise funds for military veterans in need.

Haveil Havalim # 356

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is  vanity." Kohelet 1  (Ecclesiates) 

Remembering the Holocaust - The Saddest Day in Israel

People all have their own private saddest days. They may have had their house foreclosed, had to bury their parents or even a child. So maybe I am not speaking for all Israelis when I say that Holocaust Day is the saddest day in Israel. But it really feels like it.

The Judas Tree of Israel

A Purple Judas tree A month or so after the almond blossoms are gone, the beautiful flowers of the Judas tree show up in loud purple glory in Israel.

Sending a Child to the Army

Copy right: Goldberg  Some Israeli soldiers - just look how young they are. This week I helped friends of mine give a send-off party for their 18-year old son. He wasn't going to university or work in another city. No, he was off to join the Israeli army.

The wild mustard flowers of Israel

The wild mustard is growing yellow and everywhere in Israel at the moment. But not the kind of mustard that you eat with ketchup on your hotdog! Wild mustard as in wild mustard plants! :) I am talking about  Sinapsis Arvensis , a tiny yellow flower that grows in masses in fields, along road sides and abandoned building sites. Up close the wild mustard flower does not look like much - a bit on the puny side actually. But just come across a field filled with mustard flowers and you will be enchanted - just as I am every spring.

Are Israelis Rude?

Photo by  Ken Bosma   Israelis are often described as prickly pears - thorny  on the outside but sweet on the inside! It is the first day in an ulpan (Hebrew class) in Israel and one of the new immigrants raises his hand and ask: "Excuse me teacher, but can you please tell me how to say 'Please', 'Thank you' and 'I apologize' in Hebrew." The Israeli teacher (clearly baffled) looks at him for a while and then asks, "Why?" One does not hear the 'magic words' too often here in Israel. And yes, Israelis can also be quite rude. Let me count  the ways: They elbow you out of loosely-formed "queues" They steal parking spaces right in front of you If When they get mad they yell and/or swear loudly Their dogs do its 'business' in front of your house and nobody picks it up They love to interrogate you about your salary, religion or why you aren't married. And if you are married they ask why you do not have children. Or

Purim in Israel

©Flavio  Is it the kids who like to be dressed up for Purim or the mommies who like to dress up their kids? One can still buy "oznei haman" in the supermarkets in Israel and so I thought that: 'Well, Purim may be over by now but one cannot have a blog about Israel without talking about Purim! "Oznei haman" (Haman's ears) by the way are special triangular shaped cookies that is eaten during Purim.

Snow in Israel

An orchard covered in snow Yeah, snow in Israel. I know that sound totally oxy-moronic. People are supposed to be like flash-fried here whenever they stand outside for too long, not frozen into ice lollies!

The End of the Winter

Almond blossoms are the first sign that the winter is near its end. In the United States the groundhog is used to predict the end of the winter. I may have it wrong but apparently if the groundhog comes out of his burrow and can see his shadow then winter will lasts for another six weeks. In Israel the almond trees tell us that winter is drawing to an end. They are the first trees to blossom and brighten up the landscape with unexpected dots of pink and white. It is almost as if the landscape are draped randomly with large swathes of lace.

A Very Wet Winter by Marina Shemesh

A soaked rose When you think of the land of Israel, images such as camels, deserts and thirsty palm trees pop into your mind. This country is, after all in the middle of the Middle East.  And the Middle East is known as hot (weathered!) area.

Happy Birthday Mister Tree - by Marina Shemesh

An olive tree with Haifa harbor in the background and my youngest playing around with her red balloon . Yesterday, we celebrated the birthdays of all the trees in Israel.

Living in “In spite of it all” street by Marina Shemesh

My street name is called Af Al Pi Chen - a bit strange sounding, I agree. Especially when you say it out loud. What is even more strange, is that Af Al Pi Chen is Hebrew for “In spite of it all”. Sometimes it is translated as "nevertheless", "nonetheless" or "notwithstanding".

Would YOU Sit on this Couch?

A very odd couch Awhile ago, while shopping for jeans for for my husband, I came across this very strange couch. The shop does indeed sell jeans, so I guess that the couch fits in with the theme of the place...but still, it is quite odd, is it not?

The Schnitzel Toaster by Marina ShemesH

Kobako Any visitor to Israel quickly realizes that felafel and schwarma may be the national food, but schnitzel is served EVERYWHERE. You will eat it in hotels, restaurants, friends' homes, coffee shops and take-aways. Just about anywhere food is served. My children and husband love schnitzel (and me too, I must admit). But only the home-made kind! :)

The South African and the Sarcophagi

The South African and the Sarcophagi by Marina ShemesH If you think that there is nothing in common between South Africa and sarcophagi you might just be right. Sarcophagi, the plural for sarcophagus, are ancient burial boxes that were not buried underground but usually put in a cave or a pyramid. They are often beautifully designed with all kinds of symbols and things that were thought to be cool when the person inside the sarcophagus died.

The Blasting Taps

The Blasting Taps  by  Marina ShemesH   Water tap on the Ya'ala Mountain Israel is a hot country (except for ten days in the winter!) and children from kinder garden age are taught: If you go out, bring a hat and a water bottle. All the parks and public spaces have a water cooler. You will even find a water cooler, with disposable cups, in banks, medical centers and libraries for the use of the patrons.