Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Pick Sisters

There's a very successful 70 year old  israeli singer and composer of polish descent, that happens to live in my hometown.
Last year, he got a massive stroke while on the plane that was to bring  him back home from a tour abroad. The pilot changed the route so that he could get him to the closest hospital. The musician was saved. After a long and difficult recovery period, he's now back in business. Happy End.

However, he and family are still heavily on the radar of the Media, due to his daughter's Daniella marriage to the famous american filmmaker and  director Quentin Tarantino.

I used to see this daughter of his hanging around with her sister. The two girls were rather plain looking, but seemed to have inherited their father's musical aptitudes. They set up a musical duo, The 'Pick Girls', and for a while had quite a big success (I personally liked them enormously; there was something very refreshing about them).

The 'engine' behind the sisters was their mother(divorced from their father, the musician). The mother works  in the lyrics business - writes the lyrics of songs and musicals, which eventually become great hits. She's a talented, charismatic woman; her late mother was a well-known , sharp journalist for one of the major newspapers in the country.

The duo, however, was short -lived, as one of them, Sharona, got married and started a family. The other one, Daniella  was left behind with no real purpose in life.

Then, one day Daniella was invited to a party and there, she was introduced to the guest of honor , Quentin Tarantino. Their affair lasted several years with ups and downs and at the end of last year they finalized it by getting married. Now, they're expecting a baby. Happy End again in the Pick family. (I do like stories with a happy end).

I once overheard someone commenting on the fact that she got  to Hollywood and the Red carpet without her being a known actress/singer/model...just the spouse of....
So what??
Anyway, she wouldn't be the first to get there on such a 'ticket'. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

In and Out Design

I was to pick up a small parcel from Amazon. The carrier had delivered it to the wrong address, which made me mad, of course. It was on the outskirts of the town, at a petrol station shop.

After I left the service station with my parcel, I got rewarded by the sight of a very special store nearby. In fact it was more like a long shaped warehouse. The sign read  "In and Out Design".  It shared the vast open space on which it was set up with an adjacent big cat and dog shelter .   A bit further - a strawberry field .   The whole space used to be one big strawberry field, now only a marginal part of it is allocated to the growing of the delicious fruit (Agriculture, like many other good things in this country, is rapidly deterioratng).

warehouse look

narrow entrance

I was attracted by the bamboo pieces of furniture outside. I love bamboo - so light and yet so solid!  Ideal furniture material for all ages , especially for young  and elderly people ; for all spots - interior or exterior. It's rather expensive as it's mostly imported stuff.

When I entered the place , I felt like floating in the the world of the arabian nights : all magic around - a multitude of lights and colours , furniture, plants, light fixtures, some statues and statuettes -  new and vintage - all collected by the owner from all over the world. 
The store also offers design advice by architects and other professionals.

bamboo items




'You'll have to come back during the day hours to have a better look', I said to myself.  I doubt it , though, whether I'll buy anything; not only because of the high prices, but also because I'm in the phase of minimalism and simplicity. Here, it seems they've managed to turn even the simplest natural bamboo stick into some sophisticated item.

sign in hebrew indicating the cats & dogs shelter

On Fridays between 11:00 and 14:00,  adoption of cats and dogs takes place in the area near the design store. Big event for both the adopters and the adoptees!
I remember asking a neighbor of mine how much she paid for her puppy. 3 -  was her hesitant reply. 3 hundred? No, 3 thousand came her answer. Well, why pay so much, when you can get one for free at this gorgeous adoption center:)

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Father and Son

Bnei- Brak - waiting for the green light

I usually see them on a Thursday,  if and when I happen to be at the supermarket adjacent to the ultra-orthodox city of Bnei-Brak. Father and son ; the son has Down Syndrome (condition caused by an extra chromosome). The two are shopping for the upcoming Sabbath.

The father is moving around picking groceries, while the son watches over the shopping cart. Sometimes the later gets bored or impatient and starts screaming to get his father's attention. I've also seen him turning the cart upside down while in a fit of anger.  

People in the store stop to look at the "show". They pity the father. I pity him too, of course, but I pity the son even more; how sad to be born in this world just to evoke feelings of pity, and rejection! 
The father  shows him affection , talks to him in a very soft voice and calms him down... till next time.

Bnei-Brak  -chatting under the tree

It looks like the shopping on Thursday is a treat for the boy - he gets to be with his father for more than an hour, and probably feels as his right hand, his helper. They seem close to each other, and I feel very bad  about my thoughts on the issues of prenatal tests and pregnancy termination.

orthodox father and his two girls

usual sight in Bnei-Brak; mother,  kids and baby in the carriage

Anyway,  in orthodox circles abortion is unacceptable unless the mother's life is in danger. It is considered murder of a potential life.

youngsters in Bnei-Brak

Friday, December 6, 2019

Sunrise, Sunset


I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory
And a new day will too begin
(Lyrics - 'Memory' song from 'Cats' musical)

Masada  sunrise (near the Dead Sea )  - web picture

I seldom get to watch the sunrise as I'm not an early riser, but I've seen a lot of sunsets ; they are a source of endless fascination to me.

I like the symbolism of these two nature phenomena : sunrise symbolizes the beginning (of day, of life), sunset  symbolizes the end (of day, of life).  I also like the many wise lyrics, and quotes on the subject.
As for superstitions, there are quite a few, but usually associated with sunsets. especially with their red color - as a sign of storm, blood and war.

In the center of my hometown, there used to be a ballroom dancing school named Arthur Murray (after the dance instructor who opened  dance studios all over the world). It's closed now and the place serves as a youth center for smart kids. 

I sometimes happened to be near the school, in the evening hours while dance lessons were going on, and the sun was gradually setting behind the structure. Music, dance, sunset - what an uplifting sight and feeling that was! (The facade had big windows enabling passersby to watch the dancing couples).

sunset behind ballroom dancing school

The distant blue strip of the religiously famous Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) and a spectacular sunset -  are the usual noteworthy sights on the road going down from uphill holly city Safed (Tzefat) to the little pittoresque town of Rosh Pina lying at its foot.

blue strip of Lake Kinneret

sunset on the road down to Rosh-Pina

I was coming home from a commemoration ceremony near Jerusalem, and along the road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv  I couldn't keep my eyes off the stunning sunset seen through the bus window.

sunset seen through bus window on the road Jerusalem-Tel Aviv

And here's the Mediterranean  Tel Aviv Promenade with an amazing sunset reflected in the water!

sunset at the Tel Aviv promenade

Nothing, however, compares with the  sunsets at the Marina of Herzlyia city; the orange and red colors are mind-blowing.

sunset at the Marina of Herzlyia town

sunrise, sunset
sunrise, sunset
swiftly fly the years
one season following another
laden with happiness and tears

(Lyrics - "Fiddler on the roof" musical)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Eye Doctor and the Painter

He was eager to work in his profession. Fate, however, had other plans for him. His older brother,Bassel, the one expected by all to be their father's successor, died in a car accident, and so, he, Bashar al Assad, the eye doctor, became Syria's notorious president.

He's got them all on his back: Russia, America, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Hezballa. His life is one long, bloody  struggle to survive, using whatever he has, inclusive chemicals .

I'm not sure about  Donald Trump's intentions in the region, but his two younger predecessors Bush and Obama made it clear they wished to carry out what they called  'installing democracy in the Middle East'.  Their actions were set to achieve that by getting rid of the dictators in the region. 

Bush got Saddam of Irak eliminated. 
Obama was more ambitious. His 'Arab Spring ' campaign got Khaddafi of Lybia eliminated,  Mubarak of Egypt put in jail . 
He failed , however, to touch Assad. probably because of  the russians who were there  intimidating whoever sought to approach and harm their protegee.

Anyway, Assad could have been  a good doctor,  a people's eyesight saver . But when Fate intervenes, there's nothing one can do about. 

It somehow reminds me of Hitler, who could have been,  a good painter, and  perhaps, a decent human being. Fate intervened - the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, refused to accept him for studies as he failed the entrance exam twice.  So, our mediocre painter Adolf  went into politics instead, and the rest is.... History.

Friday, September 27, 2019


'prayer sculpture'  in the city garden - Ramat Gan

We're entering a hectic period of time - from end of September till almost end of October.

The great  synagogue- city of Ramat-Gan

It's the period of the jewish High Holidays which includes not only celebrations and good food, but also repentance, prayer, meditation, visits to our departed ones at the cemetery, fasting. Prayers and  visits to the cemetery (to ask for forgiveness and  a good upcoming New Year) can be quite physically and mentally challenging.  I usually need a little vacation afterwards for change of scenery and atmosphere:)
However, there's satisfaction in being able to carry out the above things. 

the old cemetery in the holy city of Safed (Tzefat)

 street corner adjacent to cemetery in city of Ghivataim

I won't be much, if at all, on Blogger during this period, but I hope to have time to think of  topics for new posts, and take adequate pictures to accompany these posts.

Our weather  is still very hot during the day; slightly cooler in the mornings and evenings. The heat doesn't help with the preparations and efforts to catch the spiritual mood. We need rain, but we won't get it until  late autumn - beginning of winter. Honestly, I dread the approaching  of winter, even though our winter is usually short and relatively mild.

at the Prayer Sculpture

'Whatever will be will be', as the song goes. God will take  care of us.   See You!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Sardines and Bread - the russian touch

A few months ago, there was a certain brand of sardines on sale at one of the local supermarkets.

It was a promotional sale - two at the price of one. There were two versions: in oil and in brine. I bought those in brine. Very salty stuff, so I put it in water to eliminate some of its salt, and at the same time I told myself that I won't be buying it any more. Salt, like sugar and oil, definitely has its drawbacks.

 oil version (orange colored ); only two tins available on  shelf

Well, I  did buy it again. ( At present, it's not available on the shelf.  I suppose they'll bring it  in the cold months when people drink hot tea and/or vodka that go well with salty foods ). 
So, what made me buy it again?

I've noticed that  if I put even a small  sardine in my egg and veggies sandwich , it keeps me satiated  for quite a while. That's important if you wish to maintain normal body weight. I checked nutritional values: 21 gram protein per 100 gram sardines; ok! On the other hand, Tuna in brine, has even more protein, and less, why  buy this particular sardine stuff?

Good question. Well, I never felt that tuna, with all its  popularity as a healthy, low calorie-high protein sandwich filling -  kept  me satiated for long.  Perhaps it's an entirely subjective feeling that has nothing to do with reality. I don't  know. I need some more time to find out the answer.

There are no additives in this product (Ivasi); just sardines, water and lots of salt (350mg). Sardines have one obvious advantage over tuna: the little softened, white bones full of calcium which is said to be beneficial to our bones.

Anyway, for some reason, these  sardines are popular with customers of russian descent (have I mentioned vodka?!)   The owners of the supermarket (actually a chain of supermarkets), are also of russian descent ; that would explain why this product is not found elsewhere.
Many of the above customers  also buy bread made of spelt flour . Spelt is considered the wild ancestor of wheat. In the 18th century it was the main food source for the russian peasants. Today, spelt is experiencing  a 'comeback' , an increase in popularity, as russians everywhere are becoming more health-conscious.

 packed sliced loaves of spelt bread on the supermarket's shelves

loaf of spelt bread - the wrapping paper - not eco friendly

Spelt bread is relatively high in protein and thus, of great help to those with dietary intentions, as it serves as a metabolic booster, and gives one a feeling of fullness. Two slices of this quite tasty bread  keep you going for most of the day. If only they would wrap it in an eco-friendly way! 

slices of spelt bread

The non-lazy  among potential consumers can buy the spelt flour package and bake, the real thing, at home.

packages with spelt flour

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Leave or Remain, That's the Question

map of Great Britain*

I'm not enthusiastic about  countries joining unions and federations, and I'm well aware of the fact that once - In - , it's very tricky to get - Out -.  Having said that, let's have a very brief look at 'Brexit'.

Great Britain wants out of the European Union.
So far, things don't look good for her; Let's hope the efforts invested in the above direction (Brexit) won't turn GB (or is it UK?) "into the best show in town".  

GB has a North  Ireland  problem, a Scotland problem, a monarchy problem, but the real problem lies elsewhere, and is common to all countries, not only to GB. It's called leadership problem.

Countries hold elections in order to enable their people to choose someone capable of forming a government that will decide things for them,  not  call for referendums (as the former british PM, Cameron, did). Referendum is the tool of the non-leader, a way of letting the "mob" rule even after the elections.
But before we blame him or any other leader/non-leader, we have to examine the whole picture, and it's  a rather gloomy one.

It seems, the old  western political map of  parties, elections, parliament, coalition,  opposition - doesn't work any longer (See USA where almost half of the population refused to accept the results of the last  elections).

In my humble opinion (and upon examining things in my own country), the above situation is, partly, because of the constantly growing diversity within a country's population, which brings about a great diversity of interests, and ultimately diviseveness.

Diversity makes life look more exotic but it comes at a huge price. 
It  makes democracy or the so-called democracy, a big Burden. and not at all an efficient system.  Unless there's some new, up-to-date efficient political/social system on the way, divisiveness and corruption within nations, and even extinction, yes, extinction of nations (with or without  Mother Nature's help),  are likely to occur in a fairly accelarated mode - and no leader, elections or referendums, could do anything to stop it. 

It's a pesimistic view of things, I know that, but then reality (inclusive, the reality in my own country) is not an optimistic one at all.

As for Great Britain, I wish her Good Luck whatever she chooses: leave or remain. She can always turn to Shakespeare and count on him for Honor and Fame,(the last paragtaph rhymes: remain/fame/ I like that :)

* internet map

Friday, September 6, 2019

The (In)Famous Grandpa

Discount stores (the one dollar shop, the five dollar shop, etc..) and fast food eateries (the local ones, as well as the foreign names of McDonald's, Burger Ranch, and  others) are an  all-family fun experience involving parents, grandparents, kids, siblings .
(I rather pity the staff  for the noisy atmosphere under which they work, especially during school-holidays. The place is not a museum where children and adults alike silently contemplate works of art).

MAX chain of discount stores - main branch, Nethanya, near Ikea

Our most popular discount stores are 'Max 20' of the 'Max' chain (Max - the name of the owner, 20 israeli shekel - about $5- maximum price of most items ). 
The most popular fast food places, being the local falafel/shuwarma/kebab/schnitzel/shakshouka/
veggie omelettes eateries, and , of course,.. McDonald's branches.

entrance and main street window of a 'Max 20' store

inside a 'Max 20' store

Mc Donald's branch

poster attached to the  window with  food names

 same poster attached to the inside counter of the eatery

Anyway, it so happened to me once, that after buying some household items at one of the discount stores, I entered a near by fast food eatery to get myself a bite to eat. While sitting at the table I noticed a small group of four (previously seen at the discount shop) that looked like grandparents and their two grandkids

people sitting at tables at Mc.Donald's

girls enjoying  shuarma at a popular local eatery

The man's face seemed familiar. It was. It belonged to a chief pathologist at the Forensic Institute -  involved, at that time, in a terrible public scandal regarding mishandling  of removed organs and tissues from corpses.

( He was found guilty and released from  his post. He managed to escape jail as he had answers, and not many people had the professional capacity to contradict him. There was also the desire to close the case and not prolong suffering of the involved families, among them families of two late TV figures and an army general).

I couldn't take my eyes off of  the four. Grandpa was very gentle with his grandies (a boy and a girl about 9-10 years old), helping them with cutting  (no pun intended) their food portions .
I kept thinking and asking myself whether the two kids knew and understood the line of work of their grandfather, whether they read about him in the media,  asked him questions about the scandal. 

My curiosity remained, of course,  unanswered.  It ended up though, with me feeling angry at myself for totally failing to see the bad guy that was - perhaps - deeply hidden in that frail, gentle grandpa.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Rain - Water - Fencing

When I was a little girl ׂ(ages ago), my mother used to wash my hair with rainwater, as it was considered beneficial to both scalp and hair. I suppose nowadays, mothers wouldn't do this to their girls as rainwater is full of all kinds of pollution particles  that cause damage to soil, to humans, to our flora and fauna. 

And yet, in spite of its contaminants, we badly need rain, want rain, dream of rain, pray for rain, expect rain, feel miserable without rain.  Rain cools the air, and makes the heat of summer more bearable. It prevents famine and thirst .

fountains - as a "cooling" sight.

Despite smart desalination and irrigation water systems, and the bombastic headlines style " Israel helps world fight water shortage" - the sad truth is that water is a never-ending problem in our country, because of rain, more precisely - lack of it.

It rains mainly in winter, and even then, not daily or weekly. Maybe 'Climate Change' will change that, and bring us some more rain, who knows. I wouldn't count on that, though. This Climate thing is quite unpredictable and very, very scary!  In the meantime, we have to keep an eye on our water supply and consumption, so that we don't get into deep trouble.

There are things that can be done to prevent water waste without affecting our life too much. Here's one tiny example - replace living (green) fencing with the various other options: wood, metal, stone,wall, bamboo. Living fences (shrubs) need  water (quantity depending on the requirement of the plants that make up that particular shrub).

living (green) fence, neatly trimmed

dry fence ; no water - no living (terrible sightֱֱֱֱֱ!)

Most house owners  prefer a green fence, it's a favorite, but this is gradually changing, as water is not the only one problem with this type of fence; there's also the regular cutting and trimming process which requires time/patience/money. In addition, there's the growing awareness that home and garden security might be better assured by the other options, especially stone and metal.

overgrown shrub - not trimmed, not nice fence

white wooden fence

wall-type fence

bamboo-type fence behind the bus stop.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Some Thoughts on Pictures

Life offers a lot of subjects to write about in our blogs. I like to accompany my writing with pictures which, as everyone knows, "are worth a thousand words." However, that's not always possible, and as I don't like to borrow from the internet, I let the subjects wait...

Sometimes, I browse through my picture archive, and come up with the conclusion that it's very true what they say about dogs and kids 'stealing the show'. I always take an additional look at this kind of pictures as they give me much fun and pleasure.

dog watching his owner eat; expecting to be treated with leftovers

kid and pigeons - heartwarming sight!

boy and girl curiously contemplating the chickens in the enclosure 

happy baby in Grandma's arms

I often ask myself what makes a more powerful photo: an individual or a group? The answer is: both. 
The indvidual kiosk owner, surrounded by colorful fruit and veggies, squeezing them to get juice for his thirsty customers; the solo arab woman making the pita bread to be sold with 'labane' - make very attractive, powerful photos.

kiosk owner squeezing fruit to get juice (pic.taken in the evening)

arab woman preparing the dough for the pita bread

So do groups. See below, the group of japanese ice-cream 'lickers' (Moscow Red Square) , and the group of musicians performing in the city square of Prague. Both groups got an 'audience':)

japanese tourists licking ice cream in Moscow

musical band performing in the main city square

I'm not surprised when beautiful setting gets overshadowed by people. It's always people that draw the most attention. Who cares about the lovely tree on the Mound with stairs leading to it, when nearby there's a chat going on between what seems like father and daughter dialogue.

The red painted military lookout on the strategical top of Mt Hermon at the border with Lebanon, makes no impression whatsoever without the young , lively soldiers that stay on it day and night.

father &daughter chatting outside the Habima theater building, TA

soldiers at the border Israel- Lebanon, up on the mountain

Anyway,  I like to have people of all ages in the pictures I shoot. Human presence adds interest and value to whatever else appears in those pictures: buildings,  landscape, food, critters.

Photography, even the simplest one like mine, from a 'point and shoot' little camera, can definitely enrich both the blog and my knowledge of things.