Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No Place for Evil Doing

A 27-year old woman entered a big furniture and carpets store and never came out of it. She got raped and murdered on the deserted top floor of the store. The murderer, one of the workers, wrapped up the body in a thick carpet, and left it there. The victim was found only ten days after the murder, due to the strong smell of putrefaction felt in the building.

It happened some over ten years ago, and it was a big tragedy for the family of the woman, and also for the store, which was part of a very distinguished chain of home stores. The owners had to pay millions compensation to the surviving mother and sisters of the deceased, as the court had found them guilty of failing to assure the safety of the customer. After the tragic event, there were people who refrained from entering 'that place of evil doing', and so the business lost many customers.

I myself never entered that store again until it changed its location. You may call me superstitious or whatever, but I couldn't even approach the place, let alone enter it. I had thoughts about the spirit of the tormented woman as prevailing over the whole place, crying out and warning people
of the danger within it.

It took several years till a new location in the area was found for the store (top picture). I happened to be there yesterday. It's a beautiful store with fine home items (furniture, carpets, light fixtures, etc...) . Along with the pleasure of seeing these items, there's of course the sadness of past memories that one feels.

sitting set



This time I've noticed something very important. No upper floor! only the vast ground surface, divided cleverly in open sections on various height levels. The lesson has been learnt.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden of Sculptures

The Sculpture Garden is located on a segment of the pedestrian area in my town's main avenue, and it includes works donated by famous israeli creators. The sculptures in this garden are made up of various materials: bronze, stone, aluminium, stainless steel, iron, basalt. They all have plaques with the relevant details (name of artist, name of sculpture, material , date of creation etc..) .

Open-air art display , for obvious reasons, is good both for the public and the artists. Everyone strolling along the avenue or sitting down on a nearby bench, can enjoy the work of art exhuibited in the little garden, and get to appreciate the specific artist responsible for it. It is a direct touch between art and the viewer -without the mediation of the museum , without opening /closing hours, without entrance fees.

Here are the sculptures that I particularly like to look at when I visit the place:

Big Head (5 heads made of cut-out iron)

Woman with rungs of a ladder (iron)

A Tribute to the Inferno ( stainless steel)

Relay Station (iron + basalt)

Dolomite Stone

Horse motherland (iron)

No name (basalt)

Art exhibits arranged in a beautiful, central space attract visitors of all ages. It's a pleasure to watch children contemplate the sculptures and react, sometimes, in a funny way. "Look", said one kid to his mother pointing at a rusty exhibit, "Next time we come here, we'll bring our Wd-40 to take off the rust". Sweet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry - The Recycling Version

Recently, standard recycling bins for bottles in my residential town have been replaced with huge, red plastic bins in strawberry format. The 'strawberry' has two round black 'eyes' through which bottles are introduced into the red container, and a black slot through which nylon/plastic bags are slipped into it. The stuff is taken out through the bottom part which has a square door opening.

round black hole for bottles

slot (rubber black tabs covering it)

The red containers , placed in 'strategic' public places such as at a main street corner, near a supermarket, restaurant, park , bus stop, parking area - seem to be highly durable and color-fading resistant; The intention and idea are good; the design is, however, not very attractive, in my opinion. It looks huge , awkward, and far from resembling a natural strawberry.
I hope it's experimental and the people responsible for the project, will either improve the look of the strawberry or improve the former facility. In most places, by the way, the bottle recycling bin is placed close to the paper recycling bin, and/or the trash bin. Good neighbors.

near building with gym studio & supermarket

adjacent to paper recycling bin

former bottle recycling facility

Why strawberry? Well, our town was in its beginning, a rural settlement surrounded by strawberry fields . It still has some of the fields , and its informal icon is the strawberry. Along the pedestrian part of the avenues that run to and from the municipality building, there are many plastic strawberry exhibits in various colors created by local artists. These 'strawberries' display all sorts of prints and inscriptions such as "only love brings love".
Perhaps the love slogan is correct , but all this affluence of plastic strawberry exhibits might gradually 'kill' the desire for the real fruit.

'strawberry' with Love slogan (in hebrew) at top

Saturday, July 2, 2011


On 4 February 1997, two helicopters collided in mid-air above the small settlement She'ar Yashuv in north Israel. All 73 soldiers that were on these helicopters were killed on the spot. One of the helicopters fell on a rental vacation room that was not in use; the other fell on open field near kibbutz Dafna. The day of February 6 was declared an official day of mourning.

We visited the place of the disaster last month on our way to Mt. Hermon (see previous post about the trip to the mountain) - to contemplate the memorial honoring the memory of the 73 soldiers , and pay our respects.

There's a monument at She'ar Yashuv, but the main official memorial was inaugurated eleven(11) years after the crash, near kibbutz Dafna's cemetery.

The memorial site is peaceful and solemn, yet very impressive. Seventy-three(73) beautiful rocks are scattered on a green lawn. There are holes in the rocks that make it possible for the visitor to light a tea candle. On the black edges around a pool are the names of the fallen soldiers written in white - and from the round pool, a narrow stream of water flows towards a large rock covered with plaques; the writing on these plaques tells the story of the deadly collision.

the rocks

tea candle holder in the hole

black granite edges with the names of the soldiers

the rock that tells the story of the crash

From this rock a narrow path leads to the trees where, according to the news at that time, parts of the helicopter and bodies fell upon. The tree branches bear small stone plaques with the names of the soldiers, photos, and other 'mementos'. This is the "spontaneous " memorial that has been created in the first years after the disaster.

plaques with names on the tree branches

a soldier's photo and his 'kipa' (tiny head cover)

On the southeast edge of the She'ar Yashuv settlement there's the "Forest of the Fallen" with seventy-three (73) trees to remember the 73 victims of the helicopter crash.

To sum up the disaster : 73 dead young men - 73 names - 73 rocks -73 trees - hundreds of broken living hearts.- and the grief of a whole nation.