Monday, November 29, 2021

Poets And Money


 I never really paid attention to the  human figures on banknotes, until recently when I wished to get a closer look at the face of  the poetess, Rachel,  on the 20 NIS (new israeli shekel) paper bill. 



I was surprised  there was no mention of her name, only a line from one of her poems "And Perhaps", (poem that had been turned into one of the most beautiful, beloved Israeli song of all times). 

I checked the other three banknotes with poet figures :      Saul Tchernichovsky on the green 50 NIS banknote, Leah Goldberg on the orange 100 NIS banknote, Natan Alterman  on the  blue 200 NIS banknote. No names, only a line from their work on the back of the banknote.

                                            the four poets in the series of banknotes

There was one name ,though, on the paper bills, the name of economist Karnit Flog,  Bank of Israel Governor at the time of the emission of the poets' banknote series in 2014-2017.         I found that rather unfair and frustrating.  However, maybe, there's a reason for not mentioning the poets'  names - I'll have to try and find out what it is.

Rachel Bluwstein (1890-1931)  known by her first name 'Rachel',  interests me not only for her lovely, simple poems, but also as a woman, and as a person with a tragic life (she died untimely of tuberculosis). Lake Kinneret (The Sea of Galilee) was her whole world (and she was buried close to it).

                              Rachel's grave at Kinneret cemetery (Wikipedia)


"And Perhaps" (Ve Ulai) - lyrics


And perhaps, these things never happened, never existed

And perhaps, I never rose at dawn to work in the field with my own hands,   by the sweat of my brow

On the long, blazing days of harvest / while on top of a cart with sheaves/ I never did  raise my voice in song

Never did I purify myself with innocence, in the azure waters of my Kinneret

Oh, my Kinneret / were you real or was it my dream?


                                singer Ester Ofarim


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

OREO - 'The Blue Uniting Force'

The incredible 'Oreo' industry of biscuits, wafers, cookies, cakes, chocolate - you name it -  has quite an history behind it. They first appeared on the market in 1912! They boast a 100 year of activity! 

The juicy part - the disagreement between the two brothers-owners who eventually had to split,  actually led to the big prosperity of the business. The first two letters of the Oreo name - 'Or',  is french for 'gold'. Perhaps, a hint to the business being a gold mine for its owners.

I'm familiar with one product only : it comprises two  tiny, thin,  brown biscuits with dark chocolate cream between them  (a sandwich cookie). 'Thin and tiny' sure gives one the illusion of less  dietary damage caused by the sweet item, so people go for it.

The first time I bought the above ( to accompany my morning coffee)  I was looking on the package for the name of the supplier, and that's what I found: Ukraine, company name: Mondelez.  In fact, the country of origin is USA,  Mondelez is the international mother company, with branches all over the world.

The products are vegan and kosher. There is a great variety of shapes  (round, oval, button-like), of texture (crisp, soft, creamy), sizes, flavors, and wrappings with the background color of deep blue. 

It seems  this merchandise  is popular everywhere (at my local supermarket Oreo products are quite the Hit),  as it is a suitable treat for everyone - kids, adults, poor, rich, secular, religious. It fits every taste and pocket.  We could rightly say  - it 'brings  us together'.  In the divisive world we live, that's quite a lot.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021



Since the start of the pandemics, I 've stayed  closer to home, going out / traveling - for essentials only.  This week, before the coming of the promised rains, and of  a possible new Covid wave (God forbid!), I took  the time to explore a little the immediate surroundings of my hometown and some landmarks in one of its adjacent towns. 

Not far from my neighborhood, I've spotted a small plot with trees whose trunks were white painted. I suppose it's for protection purposes - to protect them from the sun. Sun rays might crack the tender bark and so allow introduction of disease and insects. I gather the paint is water based or water diluted, so that no chemical harm is done to the tree.   Some of the trunk shapes look rather strange. Perhaps it's a special type of trees.

On  approaching the trees, a single hen crossed my way and conquered my heart; such a cutie!

Whenever I visit a town where there's a lot of construction being done, I get the impression that architecture (or shall we say architects) are looking for noise and publicity rather than for comfort and functionality.  What makes me think that, are not only the  towers  standing out in a variety of somewhat weird shapes, but also the use of certain building materials.

The exterior of the 9-story relatively new City Hall building in the adjacent town of Herzliya, for instance,  is made of blue glass.  I suppose the glass is not only for decorative purpose but has certain anti-reflective and security features. Anyway, one can see through the blue glass, from the inside out, but not vice versa.

 City Hall of Herzlyia town
I guess proper maintenance of this glass exterior , to assure its attractiveness and life span, doesn't come cheap, but ,Hey, what are municipal taxes for?
                                    For a short while, feeling free without the mask

By the way, judging by the low numbers in the Israely Media (attributed to the third dose, the booster)  one would think the pandemic is on its way out. I wish it were, but I'm  rather skeptical (the approaching winter, the disappearing masks, etc... ) .The issue discussed now is the vaccination next month of children aged 5-11.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Those Were The Days...


I remember the days when the neighbor next door used to ask my parents for a small loan until he gets the wages. With the appearance of the new banking system promoting overdraft and credit cards - it stopped. The neighbor no longer needed my parents. for the loan.

I remember well the days when our street was lively  and colorful, with voices and movement. And then, it gradually became deserted, as people went inside to watch TV and work on the PC. Interaction was maintained at nuclear family level  mainly.

(One evening, I stumbled on the pavement and fell badly  on my right shoulder. I was unable to get up. There was no soul around to help me stand on my feet, It was then that I realized the severity of the changes we were undergoing).

Next, people started to look for bigger apartments with more rooms. Each child in his own room, with his laptop and mobile phone. At this stage,  interaction between family members got disrupted too.

I so miss the youngsters' politeness and respect for older people of  those days!  Now, I sometimes can't believe my eyes and ears. They don't even fear the old advice given by parents: 'If you wish to reach that old person's age, you better behave yourself!'  It makes them smile or even laugh.

How does the song go? : "those were the days my friend/ we thought they'd never end". Well, apparently they do end. And now we all talk about the big change, Climate Change and the Glasgow summit conference.

It gives us a lot to talk and think about. It's just that  I 'm not sure we've got enough time for it. It's kind of urgent. We should better concentrate on what we can do - planning rescue and survival - not on what we cannot do - preventing  Nature's disasters.


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Oh, The Price, The Price...


Our price labeling law is 23 years old. It is a good law for us, consumers.  The price label on the item  enables us to  easily know the price of an item, make comparisons,  take right buying decisions.

The supermarket chains hate this law; it makes it hard for them to raise prices whenever they want. So, when a new economy minister takes over , they immediately start putting pressure on him to cancel it. So far, without success.

Now, I learn from the Media that they're close to winning.The new economy minister (a woman, by the way) is cooperating with the populist proposal that the price be displayed  on the shelf only, not sticking a label on the item itself.

 tiny yellow price sticker on top of item

                  price on shelf 

Hopefully , the law stays intact, otherwise it will be a blow to the consumer, to  competition, and to price stability. This law is of  utmost importance , especially now in 2021, as prices are up as a result of the pandemics, and its supply disruptions. 

The price tag label gun works intensely these days.  In addition to the rise in prices, there's fear of inflation and of shortage in products. So far I see shortage in some imported, non-vital items, but who knows what's next.

There's no  market in my hometown, and specially commuting to one in the nearby area is hardly worth it considering the  high prices and low variety in today's markets.  Our local supermarket is not bad compared to other supermarkets and even to markets. The only drawback is its location, on the edge of the town. I don't want to get on and off a car or bus with my shopping cart, and walking to and fro takes some time and effort.