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Counting the Omer

     The period right after Pesach (Passover) and just before the height of the summer is lovely in Israel. The days are nice and sunny though the evenings can be quite cool and one can still snuggle under a duvet at night. The weather is nice enough to spend a day at the beach but the water is way too cold for normal people like me to swim in. :) The wild flowers are slowly disappearing in the heat and the farmers start to harvest the wheat from the fields. This is also the time that religious Jews count the Omer. From the second night of Pesach for 49 days (seven weeks) right up to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. They will count the days verbally every evening and in the end have the right to recite a special blessing. If one has missed counting just one day, you will not be able to say the blessing. You can read about the counting of the Omer at Leviticus 23:15-16 . The word 'omer' itself is a word for a measurement such as 'liter' or 'kilogram'. On

Ten tips for photographing wild flowers in Israel

Israel may be a tiny country but you would not guess it by the amazing large range of wild flowers found here in the Holy Land. The wild flowers bloom in t he short period of time between the winter rains and the heat of the summer, or the short-lived spring time. Depending on the winter rain and the weather, this can be anytime from mid- February to April. The shy Cyclamen usual opens the wild flower season

The Amazing Metal Work found in Israel

The architecture found in Israel is pretty amazing. People have been building here in the Holy land since ancient times. And they left some pretty amazing buildings from the times that they lived here in Israel. From the Western wall in Jerusalem, churches,synagogues, museums to apartment blocks build in the  Bauhaus style  - there is some pretty interesting buildings to see. And while you look around you a bit and try and figure who and when these buildings were build, have a look at the amazing metal work found here in Israel. Modern balcony railing

Sukkot - The Holiday of Little Huts

A very patriotic sukkah All the Jewish holidays have special customs and traditions that make then quite distinctive from each other. So if you are eating doughnuts and lighting a menora, you know that is is Hanukka. In the Jewish New year, Rosh haShana, one eats pomegranates and listen to a shofar. At Yom Kippur you fast and in Sukkot you sit in a little hut.

What is the connection between pomegranates and the Jewish New Year?

Another year and another Jewish New Year, or rather Rosh haShana (the head of the year). And again we see pomegranates ALL over the place! I mean like...EveryWhere! There are pomegranates on the greeting cards we send each other for Rosh haShana There are heaps of pomegranates in the supermarkets There are pomegranate recipes in every single newspaper and magazine There are pomegranates, real and decorative ones, on the table during the Rosh haShana meals. As a matter of fact, pomegranate seeds are one of food stuffs that have a special blessing. The juice guys on the street corners are selling more pomegranate juice than ever The are even pomegranates growing like crazy all over Israel. They are practically 'dripping' from their trees.

The new Moshava park in Zichron Yaakov

The light water fountain that changed colors at opening night. A new park opened this summer in Zichron Yaakov with the usual pose and ceremony due to a major in an election year. But it was still easy enough to block out all the self-congratulating speeches and just enjoy the entire spectacle. We had people standing in long ques vying for the right to buy an expensive hamburger or a small slice of pizza (yes, me too) Young children had various kids TV-personalities entertaining them from a temporary stage The light water fountain changed colors and magicked all of us We had the very popular Israeli band דג נחש (Fish Snake) playing their hits songs ( I am also a fan) It felt as if every young child in Zichron were climbing about on the spanking-new jungle gyms and monkey bars

The Jerusalem Pine of Israel - a hate/love story

I have always taken offense at the Jerusalem pine trees that one sees dotted all over the landscape here in Israel. They are just too scraggy, skinny and needle-ly and let's be honest: UGLY. I mean just look at it...