Friday, June 29, 2018

Necessity Over Beauty

The bridge in the above picture is  built over a busy, major city road connecting a tower complex (Azrieli) on one side, and a military base (Hakyria) on the other side. The bridge is 100 m long ,10 m wide, and has three sets of stairs:  regular stairs in the middle, and two escalators (up/down moving stairs), placed one at each side of the regular stairs. There's also a small elevator nearby, but not always functioning.

stairs to and from the bridge

walking on the bridge to the Mall entrance

The tower complex itself is comprised of three impressive towers: a circular shaped one, a triangle one, and a square one; the geometrical shapes make the tower compound one of the most photographed  in the country.

the three 'Azrieli'  towers

There's security checkup at the entrance of the towers; also at the entrance of the military compound. No security check at the steps leading to the bridge, but I've seen a guy with a gun patrolling near the stairs and along the street segment. Not that it helps much, once a terrorist decides to take some lives and on the way his own too; but ,still, we wish to believe the presence of security people might prevent such terrible acts.

bottom figure: gunman near the stairs to the bridge

gunman patrolling with female colleague

The Towers and some adjacent buildings, belong to the canadian-israeli entrepeneur  David Azrieli and his family, and bear the name of 'Azrieli Center'. In the lobby of the shopping mall (circular tower) there's a bronze statue of the owner sitting on a bench. People (me included) are usually tempted to take a selfie 'with Azrieli' on the bench. Not a bad idea, as in this way he's immortalized in everyone's photo album.

Azrieli on the bench - bronze statue

touching his shoulder

sitting 'with Azrieli' on the bench

The Azrieli towers are not the only towers in the area, and the above pedestrian bridge is not the only one connecting the two sides of the tel-avivian Begin road. I suppose that after the erection of several towers , it has become  necessary to build bridges to ease the congested traffic and find adequate solution for pedestrians. This is what I would call 'necessity over beauty.'

                                                     view of the under road from the bridge

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Arm Stretcher and Going Sleeveless

'Great  things come in small packages', they say.  The 'thing'  I'm referring to is a light arm stretcher, roughly resembling the form of the '8' digit. It's a cheap product , but one that could prove to be quite effective. 

I  doubt if it creates the muscles shown on the little box; it helps, however, tone the upper arms, and that's good enough for me. You can use it at home, take the little pack with you to work or on travels. You can practice stretching anyway you feel comfortable; but practice, you must, if you want results. A few minutes, several times a day, is all that's needed.

Summer is here and we wish to be able to wear a sleeveless top if and when we fancy that.(I usually don't go out sleeveless, but sometimes, the weather is so hot here that  I'm tempted to wear something that looks like a  'beach outfit'- that is, bare arms and shoulders). 

It's common knowledge that certain places of work have a dress code which doesn't allow sleeveless outfits during working hours. In addition, entering religious sites dressed in a sleeveless top , is regarded as disrespectful. 

If you ask me, the showing off of bare arms by the lady stars at events such as the Oscar festivity is not elegant, and far from glamorous. The same goes for sleeveless wedding gowns ;  no sleeves gives a casual, common look to the dress worn by the bride on her most important day.

Anyway, during summer, I often wear sleeveless tops, even if mainly inside my home, and it's a good feeling to try and succeed to improve the condition of the upper arms.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Spente Le Stelle

'Spente Le Stelle'  ('The stars have gone out') is one of my all time favorite songs. Both its lyrics and music are very dramatic, and this is a challenge for most singers, musicians, coreographers, stylists, translators....and viewers.

The lyrics are in italian, and cover rhymes mentioning an empty/ hopeless  night, dull stars, pale moonlight, a broken/ deceived heart, cries of love and pain. The original performer -  a young french soprano, Emma Shapplin; this song has become completely identified with her.

Any young soprano, anywhere in the world, east or west, finds it a vocal challenge and an honor to undertake the performance of this song. Emma Shapplin was and is my favorite.  (I wrote in the past about her great duet with the greek singer Dalares , at the concert in Herodion;  see my post from June 11, 2009).

Besides Emma, I like the italian Gessica La Verde ; beautiful voice, solid orchestra (Rondo Italiano), good choir behind her, a violin player near her.

The israeli Limor Shapira offers a modern, jazzy version;  tiny orchestra (piano, drums, contrabass, sometimes accordeon), no choir, rather unconventional outfit (sleeveless little black dress and high red boots). Not bad, but not the real thing. I like, though, how she moves on the stage.  Worth watching . 

To create drama that adequately matches the lyrics, there's need for good drums and choir - these are indispensable . The beat of the drums and the somber sound of the choir create that special atmosphere that makes this song 'spine tingling'. Just a pretty face, good voice and awsome outfit won't do it.

Once in a while, I check Youtube for new additions, new versions of the song. I prefer the 'live' ones with  full performance of singer, orchestra, choir, special fog effects, dramatic outfit.
Well, the search is often disappointing.

The song was released around the year 2000 (in 1997 precisely). The original clip ,is also the most powerful, fascinating one; the lover here hasn't just betrayed and disappeared, he looks ...dead...lying on the sofa, around which the whole clip is centered.  She's in despair.   Quite a masterpiece!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

S I X- at the Woodland of Dorohoi

Six towns, six stone columns, six burning candles, six flower wreaths, six flags, six guests  at the stage of honor.....

the woodland of Dorohoi

On Thursdayׂ (31.5.2018ׁ), 
I attended a commemoration in the 'Forest of the Martyrs'  near Jerusalem, at a spot called 'the woodland of Dorohoi'. Here, there's a six- column stone monument placed around a tree stump, symbol for the six towns of Dorohoi region in north-east Romania, whose jewish communities have undergone persecutions during the Holocaust.

the six-stone columns monument

six flower wreaths

The Dorohoi region during the WW2 period, included six towns, each surrounded by a number of villages: Dorohoi , the bigger town, and five tiny additional towns: Saveni, Mihaileni, Darabani, Herza, Radauti-Prut. My family was originally from Saveni  (so, by the way, was the american  composer of "Popeye the sailor man" ,Samuel Lerner).

horse of the border patrol by the tree, 'paying respects'

the horse rider patrolling.

youngest generation

I wrote about this memorial in the past, and I also mentioned in a previous post the sad fact about my mother being exiled to bloody Ukraine where she lost a baby and a younger sister. Although I was born after the war , I grew up in the shadow of its atrocities with heart broken parents who had lost everything.

Me...contemplating the area

The climax at this event for me is always the prayer of 'El Male Rachamim' (God full of Mercy). If the cantor is one with a good, powerful voice, it gives me the chills, and hot tears fill my eyes. The prayer (holocaust version, there are several) goes like this: 

'God full of Mercy/grant proper rest for the souls of the holy and pure/ who fell at the hands of murderers, whose blood was spilled in camps of destruction in Europe/ who were slain, burned, slaughtered and buried alive with extreme cruelty'.

six  candle flames