Saturday, March 2, 2024



A few days ago,  a shooting attack at a gas station, left two fatalities on the spot: a teenager, and a 57 year old man,  father of three, long time member of the Zaka volunteer organization.  (RIP).

Zaka (search, rescue and identification) has been formally established in 1995 by israeli ultra orthodox people with the main purpose of dealing respectfully with the dead and wounded in disaster places. 

After  disaster occurrence,  there is , sometimes, no corpse left but remaining pieces of it , scattered around.  Zaka people collect the pieces and all the evidence available on the scene, submit it to the forensic teams  and police  to get a DNA, which is key to identify the victim. They then, help arrange the burial , bringing closure to the family.

Zaka teams are also sent to 'rescue and identification'  missions abroad, after occurrence of eartquakes, tzunamis, volcano erruptions, terror attacks, mass shootings etc..
(In Thailand, the Zaka people were named 'the  team that sleeps with the dead',  as they transformed the pagodas into morgues to identify the tzunami victims).

Zaka volunteers are trained paramedics, and are great believers in the dignity of man - dead or alive.  In 2016,  the United Nations granted Zaka the status of a non-governmental consultant.

Zaka logo in hebrew  

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Coldest


Winter is definitely not my season. I feel bad in cold weather.  Luckily, in my neck of the woods, it's usually  a short and mild season.
However, this year , our February  has been quite cold and rainy,  making me often think of the survival of people in those many  places where temperatures drop much below zero.  It requires special resilience and  preparadness to be able to live under freezing conditions. 

I am  familiar, of course, with  the names of the  coldest places in the world:   Antarctica, Alaska, Greenland, Canada, Siberia (Russia), the Scandinavean countries ( Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark), and Iceland.

There are some more places of which I knew almost nothing about their very cold winters, until recently while reading an article mentioning them:  Mongolia (central Asia), Kirghizistan, Tajigistan (asian Russia), Chili (South America).

Ulaanbatoor, capital of Mongolia  is considered the coldest capital city on earth (Yakutsk in Siberia is known as the coldest city, not capital). 
Kirghizistan and Tajikistan  - two gems in  asian Russia,  have very cold areas around their mountain ranges.
Chili is the closest country to Antarctica. In its southern part, there are polar frosts in winter. 

And yet. even in the worst winter months , there is life , culture, fun and...prosperity in those places.  It's mostly due to ski tourism, and all that surrounds it: the beauty of snow-capped mountain peaks, hotels, markets, winter festivals etc...

(AI  generated picture)

Monday, February 19, 2024

Clown Care


I've been familiar with the term 'medical clown'  for quite a while. The son of a good friend of mine, always looking for volunteering , found his vocation in clowning for entertaining hospitalized children  (that was before he started his own family and became a busy chemistry teacher in high school).

To become a 'medical clown', he had to attend a  special course and get a diploma. In his activity as a clown he usually wore a red nose, funny clothes and carried colorful baloons. He and his mother were very proud of this project.

Lately, I've become aware that there is more to it. There are 'clown doctors' , not ordinary people looking to volunteer , but professional doctors trained, in addition to their specialty, to help the patient deal with pain and fears of various medical procedures, through humor and distractiveness.

Health Care clowning is nowadays a worldwide practice.  Professional doctors and ordinary volunteers can achieve good therapeutic goals with both children and adults,  using means to create a light-hearted atmosphere free of anxiety and stress.

(AI Bing picture)

Monday, February 12, 2024


Recently,   my eyes fell on a rather intriguing title :  "A manual for being human", by Dr. Sophie Mort .
A Sunday Times bestseller,  the manual is defined as a self-help book based on various principles of personality and psychology. 

The main message of the book, (according to reviews and comments), is that we, humans, are not raised to understand ourselves, and that makes it difficult for us to  understand life and the world around us.  

True.  We come into this world with no... manual attached. Parents and schools are supposed to educate, guide , teach us about  the facts and meaning of life,  They don't always manage to do a good job. Well,  nobody's perfect. Life is not perfect. 

On the other hand,  whenever we buy a specific product we insist on getting its manual. It comes under various names : User's manual,  Instructions manual, Repair manual. Manual for beginners/advanced/experts, etc...

manual is meant to give  details about the product, and teach us how to use it and maintain it . We are more successful  when dealing with specific products than  with Life in general.  Life is too vast and complex  for us, both, as individuals and as society.

I haven't read the book yet (published in mid 2021). I think it's perhaps, an eye opener ; some readers may find answers and solutions for their problems in its content.  Still,  a manual for being human  sounds rather far fetched and confusing to me.


Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Removable Or Not - that's the question.


Whenever something  works well for me, it gradually disappears from the market - gets discontinued, as they say.

My android smarthphone is 7 years old. Lately, its battery has been showing signs of  'getting south' : the phone is slower, sometimes it shuts down unexpectedly, things like that. It's a removable kind of battery, and this is how I like it, as it gives me control over the phone. If I feel something is wrong , I open the case, take out the battery , leave it out for 10-15 minutes, then put it back - and voila!  Everything is fine.

During the last years, very few phones come with a removable battery. In  my neck of the woods these phones are almost inexistent ( except perhaps some Nokia types, which don't connect to Hi-Fi).  The manufacturers "blame" it on the consummer. The later, they say, likes the non-removable battery as this makes the device  slimmer, more sophisticated, allowing use of premium materials .

A non-removable battery, as opposed to a removable one, is glued and screwed into the internals of the phone. Only an expert who has the proper tools, can  take it out to replace it.  This costs money, of course, and makes one dependant on the lab.  and the technician. 

So far, I haven't  managed to get a new battery to replace the current one.  Over the years, my phone has had several falls, and I don't want last moment surprises. So, I'm facing now the reality of buying a new one, with ... a non-removable battery.                                

                                              yes. I love my phone  (AI)

Thursday, February 1, 2024

I Wish I Could...


Sometimes,  teachers would encourage a pupil by telling him he's got potential, and can achieve anything he puts his mind to, provided he works hard on it. Well, I'm afraid that's not always true. We have our inborn limitations that can seldom be much improved by self-will and/or teaching.

I've recently been reflecting on things I wished I could do, but I haven't got the right aptitude for it,  such as sewing, rhyming poetry, and drawing.  

I managed to teach myself  basic design sewing, using the genial method of the german magazine Burda. That was before the appearance of the internet. I remember how proud I was when I finished sewing an elegant dress for my Mom!

Well, the internet makes it  possible for me to approach the other two, with its rhyming dictionaries,  and  AI image generator.  

The online 'rhyming dictionaries' (a good tool for lyricists and songwriters)  help us find words that rhyme with other words or endings, and thus greatly enhance  our writing.  I believe that a rhyming poem looks and sounds more festive and /or solemn (depending on the occasion), than a standard one .

As for drawing, the Bing  AI image generator gets  you a more or less successful image following the prompt given by you in text format.  Below, is the birthday card  for Irma,  21(age)in the left bottom corner, and a rose in the middle - all of which was demanded by me in my prompt.

birthday card - created by AI image generator

I  suppose there are other such nice little discoveries to be made. They require ,of course, some practice in order for the outcome to be successful.

Friday, January 26, 2024

The Unknown

                                                        storm damage

After many  debates on global...warming,  we're ironically facing now  freezing cold weather. 

Personally, I dislike the heat of summer, but I dread the cold of winter as it usually brings with it viruses and health issues. The annual influenza vaccine has not been helpful to me. The little mask is, and I still wear it when outdoors.

Science doesn't seem to have answers for us. Every day of the week we are notified about another natural disaster occurring in some part of the world,  causing loss of lives, misery, and property damage.

We've been told that  the massive glaciers in Antarctica are slowly melting, causing rise of water in the oceans, as a result of which, islands and coastal cities are going to be swalowed and totally disappear.

Earhquakes, tornadoes, volcano  eruptions - are already 'busy' with contributing to the rest of the world's destruction. Climate change brings about escalation; the probability and intensity of disasters' occurrence, being higher than usual.

We are aware  of things, and yet we do not know with exactitude when, where, and how they'll strike. That's why we  seem to ignore obvious dangers, such as  living by the sea, and around volcanoes.

Anyway, the Uknown is the worst of enemies. Knowledge is power that could help us better protect ouselves and our homes by teaching us how to avoid fires, floodings, drought, outages, finding the right shelter etc..

                                                    lava eruptio

Monday, January 22, 2024

Help, I Need Somebody (The Beatles)

 I sometimes go with the trash bag to the collecting waste bin in the evening hours. Beware!  - someone said to me, You might get attacked at this hour ,even though you carry no purse.  I have news for you, was my reply,  I might get attacked during the day hours as well, with nobody coming to my rescue. They are all seatted in front of TV and computer screens. No desperate cry for Help will make them go outside to see what it's  all about.

* picture made with AI  image generator

A few years ago I stumbled and fell on the pavement, hurting my right shoulder.   Unlike shown in the AI  generated image  below,  there was No One around to help me get on my feet. All I wished for was to get quickly home (which was not far away) to start applying ice to reduce pain and prevent surgery . Finally, ignoring the agonizing pain,  I gave a loud, long shout -  and slowly tried to get up.

* picture created by AI  image generator

I had the purse with me during the fall.; it could have easily been stolen, and there was nothing I could do to prevent that. ( By the way, in being attacked for any reason, reaction time is key. If taken by surprise, no time to try and defend yourself, regardless if it's  day hours or evening hours).
Since that traumatic fall,  I'm trying to be careful as to how, where, and when I walk. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Beauty, Drama, and Destruction


 A dormant volcano  near Reykjavik, Iceland, has recently come back to life after nearly 800 years. What happened ? Has Climate Change  awakened it? No casualties so far, but evacuations of people  from the surrounding areas.

(On the web, there are lots of stunning pictures of lava flow  from that volcano  and people gathering to watch it).


In my younger days I visited mount Vesuvius in Italy. Still an active volcano; it could erupt any day. I got to the edge of the crater; smoke was coming out of it. The location is fascinating : overlooking Naples and the ruins of the  destroyed cities Pompeii and Herculanes (which I visited separately).

                                                         on top of the Vesuvius

                                                   Bay of Naples in the background

They say the soil under and around the volcano is very fertile and makes the residents in the densely populated area, rich. That's why they are reluctant to leave despite  the danger of being caught in an eruption of lava. 

The activities of the volcano are closely monitored by the experts at the 'Observatorio Vesuvio', and yet it could suddenly and unexpectedly erupt and cause loss of lives and damage to property.

                                                          red ,volcanic soil

                              the edge of  the crater ; smoke coming out

                                                    me and friend on the edge

                                                        lava flow in Iceland (Youtube)

Yes, as mentioned in the title,  volcano eruptions definitely offer beauty, drama and destruction.

Friday, January 12, 2024


When I retired from work (civil service - government office)  years ago, I wrote a farewell speech which ended with  ' I did it my way' (line taken from Frank Sinatra's famous song).   

Well, I should have written, perhaps: 'Despite the corruption, boss incompetence, women discrimination, bureaucracy ...I did it my way' or,  'managed to do it my way'.  But I lacked the courage:)

I entered civil service after working as a teacher for seven years in a comprehensive school. I've always wished to be a teacher, but  I didn't like what I saw in this type of school, and quit.

On top of it all I got ill. Probably the stress from both places, school and  office, caused it.  Anyway,  that sadly affected my  advance to a better rewarded position within the system. 

Here's the opening part of the speech (translated from Hebrew) which is an attempt to define my general , rather positive feelings on retirement   (in Hebrew it sounds much better).   


'Retirement is a beginning, not beginning of the end

It's an emotional, and significant event

There's expectation for something different and new

Involving social- economic changes too.


Retirement is not  stopping of activity

But rather opportunities  in creativity

Concentration on leisure and balance

Transition to a world  full of challenge


Sometimes, retirement closes one door

Opening another one, to explore

The terms of diligence and action

Enterprise , professional satisfaction

Sunday, January 7, 2024

IMTM (international mediteranean tourism market)

Before Covid-19 hit us, I used to go, more or less, regularly to the International Tourism Fair, held once a year for two days, at the Expo Center  (Rokah Gardens), in Tel-Aviv.     It was  quite the event!

main entrance to the Expo Center

The mornings of the two days were for the tourism professionals from the participating countries to connect, establish contact, do business. The afternoons (after 14 o'clock, methinks) were for us,  the public. No entrance fee, and that attracted hundreds of people to the  pavilions and booths representing the various countries.

One could well spend several hours in an international atmosphere, getting maps and info booklets for free, as well as small souvenirs such as bags, pens, coasters, mini calendars; tasting foods specific to a certain country; watching artistic shows  in various languages and styles etc.. 

                                        by the Serbian booth

I really miss that Fair ,both as entertainment and culture, but since Covid, large crowds still scare me. Besides, this year there's a war going on and who knows what the outcome of it will be. So,  probably, no tourism Fair in the near future.

                                        Odessa  girls in embroidered  costumes

From my visits so far to this Fair (the last one was on February 2019. I wrote a detailed post with pictures on 16/2/2019),  I've accumulated quite a lot of maps. Part of them were of great help to me when I travelled abroad. The remaining part , and especially the booklets and leaflets, are  a declutter project. Decluttering, as you well know, is never easy.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024


There are people who claim they have no regrets whatsoever.  They'll tell you something like  "if I had to live my life again  I'll make the same mistakes,  take the same decisions,  change nothing".   

Well,    I belong to the opposite category.  I do have regrets on things done / said,  or on things not done at all (inaction). I usually blame myself ( ignorance, naivety, trust in the wrong people) for the matters regretted.

There's a famous song , originally performed by the french singer Edith Piaf (rip) ,  named  "Non, Je ne regrette rien" (No, I regret nothing).  According to this song, things that went wrong, make us strong.  Grief doesn't last, it's a matter of the past.  

True. Even if we regret our choice, some good  might come out of it. We can't change the past. We can, however, try to focus on the present and the future. We can learn to apologize. Apologies give us peace of mind and sometimes save relations.

Still, I have regrets  regarding many topics in my life, among them:

Staying in touch with friends from childhood and youth;  Romance  (breaking ups, getting dumped, dumping someone);  Career and Jobs;  Family ties.  The only consolation is the thought that with any choice made there would probaby be positive as well as negative aspects to deal with.

                    here she is, EDITH   PIAF  at the Olympia, Paris, 1960 (Youtube)

Friday, December 29, 2023

The Unsolved Mystery


                                                        *Web   picture

Nine years ago, on March 2014, the Malaysian plane MH370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur airport (Malaysia) to Beijing  airport  (China).   Over the years, there were many theories  about the disappearance.

 The most 'popular'  theory was that of the pilot's plan to commit suicide and take the plane with its passengers and crew  ( 239 people)  down with him.  The second 'popular' theory was that the plane, a huge Boeing 777,  was carrying something or someone, that  a certain factor wanted gone and never to be found.

Since 2014, there have been  some three major very expensive searches, and three main countries involved: Malaysia, Australia (the plane was believed to have dissappeared close to  her area),  and China (most of the passengers - 153 - were chinese).   Nothing conclusive. Some examined debris found  in the Indian Ocean and other areas,  gave no indication as to the location of the missing plane.

Now, we are being told by aviation experts that the mystery could be solved in a matter of days with the help of advanced technology. They propose a new search based on the belief  that the plane was hijacked and deliberately downed into the ocean  ( in fact, that  resembles the theory with the pilot's suicidal plan).

The missing MH370 has captivated my attention for many months. It's sadly, one of the best mystery stories ever!  I do want the plane to be found,  as this will bring some closure and comfort to the families of the victims, and on the way, will satisfy our curiosity.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Red Sea Crossing


The Red Sea , located between Asia and Africa continents, is in the news.   Cargo ships are being attacked by the Houthis, yemenite rebels (at least 17 incidents from November). This could disrupt global supply, leading to economic chaos and shortage of products.

The news take us back to the well-known Bible story in Exodus chapters 14, 15, about the spectacular miracle of parting the water and enabling the Israelites that fled from Egyptian slavery,  a safe crossing of the sea.

Moses, who led the Israelites from Egypt to the Red Sea, stretched his hand out over the sea, and God caused a wind that parted the waters creating dry land. When the israelites were safe on the other side, Moses, at God's command, stretched out his hand again, and the waters returned,  covering  completely the Egyptian hostile army. 

I suppose there will be some sort of miracle this time too,  and the Houthis will learn their lesson; one doesn't mess up with things of Biblical origin:)

It is believed The Red Sea got its name due to a bacteria that lives in its waters and is responsible for their  occasional reddish tint .

Major ports along this sea are: Suez (Egypt), Sharm El Sheik  (Egypt), Jedda (Saudi Arabia), Port of Sudan (Sudan), Mocha (Yemen),  Port of Aden (Yemen),  Aqaba (Jordan), Eilat (Israel).

Many years ago,  I attended a trip to the Sinai Desert;  the trip also included  a brief visit to the Red Sea port of Sharm El Sheik. Fascinating place! 

                           me, enjoying the sea views at Sharm El Sheik

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Open-air Art

There's a pedestrian street, part of a road running paralel to our municipality building,  which hosts a constant display of art works created by local artists. The place also has benches, trees, flower beds and grass,  for people to sit and enjoy art in nature.

I  am not always free to stop and contemplate these works of art.  Pity, as they get replaced by new ones, from time to time, and I miss enjoying some good stuff.

Last time,  I was impressed  by three such works:   the statue of a pony,   the statue of two elders  playing chess (long table between them),  and that of a young woman exercising:

Works of art placed outdoors bring a lot of pleasure to the wide public. I'm sure  artists get great satisfaction from that;  it even  helps them ignore the fact that nature's  elements (rain,  wind, sun) and/or wicked people, might somehow  damage their creation. 
Outdoor art is definitely a meaningful experience both for the artist and the public.