Friday, May 17, 2019

Capoeira



Yesterday, I had some errands to run in an adjacent town. It was getting dark and I hurried to catch the bus back home. Suddenly, I stopped walking as  I came upon a  kids' capoeira performance.



I was attracted by the rhytmical music, the brazilian-portuguese language of the instructor, the special percussion drum, and of course, the versatile  performance of the small group.  It was a mixture of  acrobatics and  apparent fighting moves. 

They  were obviously enjoying every bit of it: the dynamics, the interraction with the others, the physical challenge, the rhytm.  It started with them standing in a circle, then two entering to play simulating a fight without touching the opponent.



That brought back memories of a conversation I once had with an adult capoeira  fan. Both he and his wife participated in adults' capoeira events, as well as in their kids' capoeira performances. He said that it was family strenghtening, that it helped kids to do well as part of a team and as individuals, and that it was one of the best extra curricular activity options.

I would also add as  side benefit that ....it takes them away from the screens:)


group preparing to leave ;  instructor's orders


Saturday, April 27, 2019

White Plastic Cover Sheets



Passover is over, and so, we return to our daily routine of habits and activities.  
Holiday Breaks usually make me reflect a lot on the addictions in our life. Everyone is  addicted to something; the question is whether we can control the addiction or it controls us.  I'm glad to say: Yes, I  Can. 

Tradition, religion, culture - all give us  a fair opportunity to test the extent and severity of our addictions , and try to improve things (especially, in the area of the lighter addictions, to food and shopping). 

In judaism, the most holly day is the Atonement Day (Yom Kippur).We are supposed to fast on that day to repent for our sins, ask forgiveness,  and pray to be sealed in the book of life.
Regardless of the religious aspect,  I know I would despise myself for not  fasting on that one day, as the Fast helps  prove to myself that I'm more than just an animal looking for food. 

During  Passover(Pesach) week, it is forbidden to eat bread. I'm a great lover of bread as are many other people. And yet, unlike some other people, I wouldn't dream of making "bread provisions" for this short period of time. 


popular felafel booth- before Pesach

the same booth - closed for Pesach

Sometimes. it's hard to believe what people would do, to avoid the one day fasting and the eight day of abstinence from bread eating!
(For the oriental jews, with roots in North Africa and the Middle East,  life is much easier during Passover, as they're allowed by their rabbis to eat grains , seeds, legumes such as rice, corn, beans. I belong to the Ashkenazi jews with roots in Europe and their Passover has strict rules that don't allow the above). 

Anyway, I say : once a year -  fasting for one day and not eating bread for a week - see it as a chance you're given to test yourself, free yourself of bad habits, improve yourself. Take it, and make the best of it! Being able to control the smaller addictions will help you in your struggle with the heavier ones (if and when they come) like smoking, drugs, gambling.


at the supermarket (before Pesach) : pita bread, bread, cakes, cookies

 Pesach -  leavened food shelf covered with white plastic sheets

It's interesting to note that  white is the color of preferrence during both holidays:  white clothes on Yom Kippur,  white garment for the jew leading the Seder meal on Pesach,  and...at supermarkets, white cover sheets for 'chametz' (leavened food),  just before Pesach.


Friday, April 12, 2019

April's Major Events


Heads of the electoral parties - from "Haaretz" newspaper

On the 9th of April we had the General Elections;  on the 19th we will be  celebrating Passover (Pesach).. Both April  events are a bit of a madness thing.



the polling station in my neighborhood

'blue evil eye'  poster on the wall, in the entrance hall 

There were 47(!!) registered political groups  (including the regular parties) participating in the elections. That hardly looks to me like democracy,  more like anarchy.
I went "to do my duty" as a law-abiding citizen, in the evening hours, when  it's quieter, with less people waiting in line to enter the polling room.  


inside the booth with the ballots

election workers;  the blue box where we cast the ballot

 voter handing in his ID and after check, getting an envelope

After the elections, forming a coalition is not an easy task. The largest parties rarely get more than 30-35 seats each (61 is needed for a government). so negotiations start, and this is a real circus or nightmare - depends on the beholder.

I'm rather indifferent to all this  'more of the same' show. 
Politicians see only the votes that will assure them a seat in Parliament, with all the power that comes with it; they don't care about the people, or the country.
*
Passover (Pesach), commemorates the journey from slavery to freedom. What sort of freedom?! We are slaves to cleaning, scrubbing, burning , spending, cooking - before, during, and after the holiday.


Plate for the symbolic essentials (egg, horseraddish, charoset etc)

Moreover, during Passover, we, the people in the land of the glorious Pita bread, have to abstain from bread made with raising flour, and from grains and their derivates (beer). We are said to eat  unleavened bread, called  'matza'. One gets used to that, but it's not the greatest of eating pleasures. 

Matza, near the green bottle

The weather is fine and drags people out to trips and picnics.
Kids have vacation during the Passover week ; many adults also take the days off, so places are crowded, traffic is congested.
And yet, we don't stay at home. As long as we can stand on our feet, we are all out and about.



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Cycling - Experience and Tests


bicycle lane marking

Two bicycle riders, aged 44 and 54, suddenly collapsed and died, at different spots, several days ago (rip). Sadly, it's not for the first time that such a tragedy happens. In fact, we're told that more cyclists die of cardiac arrest than in accidents. 

In an emergency situation like this (cardiac arrest), only a defibrilator (a device sending an electrical shock to the heart) can save the life of the unconscious cyclist. This device is not always accessible, and the resuscitation efforts done by paramedics or others on the road, are not always successful.

cycling along the promenade

According to the News, the two were experienced riders, and had undergone all the neccessary medical tests.
The thing is that the Heart organ can often be unpredictable, so one cannot fully rely on experience and tests. Besides, tests are not always accurate, and doctors don't always have the right answer or medication at hand.

female bicycle rider

male bicycle rider

waiting for the green light - on Kalisher street  Tel  Aviv

I suppose the best thing  one can do, in addition to the tests, is to practice moderation and caution, especially after a certain age. This applies to any of our life's  activities: eating,  work, walking, sports.
(The world ,it appears, is full of 'nutters'. I myself was one of them till recently; I used to walk  like there was no tomorrow).

photo taken through the bus window


Cycling has lots of physical, mental, and social benefits. Unlike other sports (running or jogging, for instance) it is not weight-bearing. No wonder it has become so popular over the years. Anyway, its dangers should not be overlooked


jogging in the park



Sunday, March 24, 2019

Purim Parade



We had Purim holiday  last Thursday.  Purim is the most joyous day on the jewish calendar. It is celebrated with  parades, costume/mask parties, gift giving, and a traditional, triangle shaped pastry  named  'hamantaschen' . These cookies are made with a variety of fillings to choose from:  poppy seeds/ fruit jam/  chocolate (My favorite filling - poppy seed or apricot gem).


hamantaschen (Web picture)

The parades are mainly for kids and youngsters;  adults will usually remark : 'once you've seen one, you've seen them all'. They do a great job, though, accompanying their children and sharing the fun and joys of the day.

parents leading the proud little girls to the parade site

muscle man with his baby kid in a red Purim outfit

no place like Dad's shoulders

Father and child in 'strawberry' costumes

little tiger, safely'n his Dad's arms

Each town organizes its own sort of parade ( the most grand and famous being the carnival of Holon city,  south of Tel-Aviv). 
I did not attend this year's local  parade, so I browsed through my pictures of a previous one to get the feeling of Purim. 

The parade included clowns, gymnasts, percussion bands, lots of balloons, cops, and other security guys to assure the order, viewers standing on the pavement or sitting on its edges.


clowns

gymnasts

younger group age of gymnasts


performance  with circles

The dominant color of the event seemed to be red, the color of Joy. However, khaki, white, black, and blue colors were also seen around. 



                                     youth movement teens in khaki uniforms


 bridal white gowns

geometry - squares and circles in white&black combo


blue &yellow ice cream cone hats 


lady in black - what a look in her eyes!!


here she is again; cop across the street watching procession

 percussion bands;  white&green shirts; stylish blue hats

Some adittional things that caught my eye: 

cop in a long embrace with a lady ; while on duty:)


walking on the wooden legs


acrobatics

Hoping we all  happily make it to next year's Purim festivities!


Friday, March 15, 2019

Mangal (Barbecue)

web picture

Spring (yes, it's  already here) signals the opening of the outdoor barbecue grilling season which reaches its peak on the Independance Day (also named, jokingly, National Mangal Day - 'mangal' being the hebrew word for both the griller and the grilling event itself ).

On weekends and holidays, the picnic spots of beaches,  parks and forests become crowded, as mangal is a very popular leisure activity among israelis. Most homes are equipped with the essentials for a successfull outdoor mangal  'adventure': portable grill device , charcoal, skewers, and other accessories.



adding charcoal

The grilling procedure is called Al- Haesh (literally meaning On the fire); the Esh (the  fire) being provided by either charcoal or gas. 

The device in these pictures - small and simple, suitable for a small gathering. The guy over the mangal in the backyard, seems to know what he's doing. 



Preparations start with buying the meat cuts from reliable butchers. Next, choosing the suitable spices from the market; then, marinating the stuff prior to placing it on the grill; fanning the smoke with some adequate cardboard or plastic  fan...



The goodies that usually accompany the grilled stuff on the set table are: salads, fresh pita bread pockets, dips (tahine, hummus), unless it's during the intermediate days of Passover when we have 'matza' instead of bread , and other specific dips - instead of, or in addition to tahine and hummus. 


looks very happy with the lamb meat on skewers and the matza

the cats searching  the grass for treats

Vegans also have Al -Haesh.  Instead of meat they place on the grill: tofu, veggies, eggplants, potatoes, mushrooms, fruit, and corn. This is best done by using skewers. The result is delicious.

web picture ; veggies on skewers

I had my share of mangal parties in my younger days. During the last years I try to keep away from them. The smoke, the mosquitos, the overeating  - create an atmosphere which has ceased to be funny and pleasant for me .