Monday, May 29, 2023

Techinot (Prayers)

I'm not a religious person, and I certainly don't define myself as such. However, I do believe in God and in the power of prayer to Him.                                                                            

I've got a small, cute book  with a fine brown leather cover in my possesion. It's a techinot  (plural of techina) book -  a collection of personal prayers, written mostly from the female point of view. These prayers cover all aspects of life: health, finance, success, longevity, old age, birth giving, poverty; you name it, it has it.

front cover

I've mentioned this little book in a previous post-  a post written on the subject of leather (animal skin) as a popular  material for coats/bags/ purses - and entitled 'Cool versus Cruel' (31.1.2016).

back cover

I enjoy reading in this book as the prayers are written so beautifully that they sound more like poetry to me. The language is hebrew. There's also an english translation of 'techinot', but I'm not familiar with it.

I wanted to buy the book for a person I care for, but I was told at the store that this version was  sold out. There are other formats if one is interested.

Anyway, I consider this tiny book , the most important book in my life. Unlike other books in my possession, this one is not for sale/ donation/ giving away. It's always with me - relevant , helpful, and making me feel good.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

The ' Talking' Clock

                                                                             desk talking clock

Once in a while, when trying to put  things in order, I come upon my mother's desk 'talking' clock - a device meant to help the visually impaired. 

During the last decade of her life, Mom  was almost blind , as a result of  the glaucoma disease, and could not see the numbers on a  clock. So, we bought her a talking clock so that she could hear  the time.

The amazing thing is that the clock kept telling the time some seven years after her death. I didn't know a battery could last that long!  I had all kinds of thoughts about it, especially that there were other things that puzzled me. The fridge and air-conditioner both suddenly stopped working after her death, and couldn't be repaired; the engines were totally dead. It was as if these household items "died of a broken heart".

Anyway, her intense blue eyes stayed beautiful till the last moment.

Whenever I come upon the above clock, I turn to the music of Andrea Bocelli, the blind italian tenor. Bocelli was diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 12, but he completely lost his eyesight , according to biography, after an accident. His music reminds me of Mother, especially that she had a good voice and liked to sing  a lot, mainly cantorial pieces (chazzanut). Her and mine favorite cantors were Malavsky and Kossowitzky.

                                      Mom  wearing dress with yemenite embroidery.

Friday, May 12, 2023

"Fake It Till You Make It"

The 'fake' element is everywhere: in the news, in science, in high-tech, in relations between people, relations between countries etc...  

 The worst form of fake is within the family. Fake family members will pretend to care about you and love you, but they'll disappear when help is needed. There are many examples of parents and siblings left to struggle alone with their problems , especially health issues. It's very frustrating when one realizes that  a trusted family member has been faking intentions towards you all along.

Fake science is called pseudoscience, and it consists of beliefs that claim to be scientific and factual, but are incompatible with the scientific method. For instance, health alternative therapies and remedies.   I must admit, I don't care whether these methods are considered fake, as long as they help me, and some of them do help me.

Fake news are deliberately fabricated to deceive readers and  spread misinformation for various reasons, mostly political, ideological  ones partly for business interests or for fun.  We have them all the time, and they do society a lot of damage. During the last years, fake news travel fast via social platforms (Facebook, What's up, etc...).

There's, sadly, no compassion among people or countries. Relations are based mainly on Interest - interest in things that might offer mutual or one-sided advantage. 

The approach of  'fake it until you make it'  is sometimes seen in the Hightech industry - which is highly competitive.  By pretending to have certain skills and projecting confidence, one believes it's possible to achieve a  dream job.

 It's a cruel world, and it's difficult to  live real  in a fake culture.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Islands of Longevity


I've always wanted to visit the islands of  Ikaria (Greece) and Sardinia (Italy) - the 'Blue Zones' (zones of high life expectancy) where people live better and longer.   For various reasons, so far, the visits have never been carried out.

Ikaria is located in the Aegean Sea. It derives its name from  the greek mythology figure of Icarus. One gets to Ikaria by plane or ferry from Athens.

Sardinia is a big island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its 'blue zones'  where people, reach an  advanced age (90+, 100+ ) are mainly located on the territory of the cities Ogliastra, Barbagia , and Seulo. One gets to Sardinia by direct flight from various european cities, or by flight and  ferry from mainland Italy.

                                            centenarian at work (*web picture)

Many believe that only 25% of our longevity is determined by genetics, the remaining 75%, by our life style. No secrets about the life-style here:

In both the above islands, the diet is Mediterranean (plant based : fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc..); dairy (in small amounts) made from goat milk;  locally caught fish.  Meat is eaten sparingly;  wine is drunk in moderation - 1,2 glasses of wine daily.

Life in these zones is simple, natural, and slow-paced; it includes  working in the garden or on farms, walking, mid-afternoon napping. Family ties are most important;  so is socializing .

                        socializing at the market place

The elderly are considered by the younger people ,a resource , not a burden.   Thus, old people get much respect and support for their wisdom and experience. That's the way it should be.

Thursday, April 27, 2023


Wars are stupid and cruel, yet sometimes, so it would seem, inevitable.

On 25 April we commemorated Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron) for israeli fallen soldiers and also for victims of hostile acts.  On this day, my thoughts wander to a cousin of mine - Marcel (Moshe) Calacuda.  Marcel was killed in 1973, at the age of 26, in the  war with the Egyptian Army, near the  Suez Canal.


We were both born and grew up in the same remote, little town in northeastern Romania. We were not only cousins, but also neighbors; our families lived on the same street, in houses at close distance from each other.

Marcel was quite a naughty boy , but very loved for his energy, cheerfulness, and friendliness.  He came to Israel as a lad of 16, after graduating in Romania from a vocational school. During the first year he devoted himself to learning the new language (hebrew).  Next, he got drafted into the army.  After finishing his military service,  he started working  in a mould foundry, at Haifa Bay.

He was successful in everything he did.  :  military tasks,  work, sports (soccer mainly), public activity (for the benefit of the local youth, and the local council of the town) etc..

He got married in 1972, and wanted to build the family house  'with his own hands' .  Well, this plan, as well as the plan of enlarging the family by bringing kids in the world, got ruined by the war that broke out a year later, in 1973.

Marcel was burried in the military plot at the Kfar Hasidim- Rechasim cemetery., in Haifa district, northern Israel.

'May your soul rest in peace, dear cousin Marcel !'

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Pick a Song

When a famous, admired person (a celebrity) dies, people feel sadness coupled with envy. Sadness -  because  when he/she dies it is  as if a little part of us dies too. Envy, due to the fact that the famous person is going to be remembered and cherished  through his works ( books, songs, paintings etc..) for many generations to come.

Elvis Presley comes immediateky to mind in this category. He was a phenomenon. His songs are unforgettable! His voice and performance - unique!  

His israeli 'counterpart' , Zvika Pick, left us last august at the age of 72.  Pick was not only an iconic pop/rock singer but also a prolific composer. The song 'Diva' composed by Pick (lyrics Yoav Ginai) won first prize at the Eurovision Song Context in 1998.  He also composed songs for other more or less well-known singers and  festival contesters.

'Diva' - Eurovision contest 1998 (youtube)

Pick and his first wife Mirit Shem Or, a talented lyrics writer, have produced together some real music pearls such as Mary Lou, Mala Mala, Beyn haetzbaot, Elef Neshikot etc.. He composed the music, she wrote the lyrics. Very fruitful collaboration, which luckily, didn't end with their divorce in 1995.   

                        Pick and first wife in their younger days. * Web photo

It's interesting to note that  their three adult children are also a success: son a doctor, two daughters that have performed together as the  charming " Pick sisters" singers. (on a sidenote - one of the daughters is married to the american film producer Quentin Tarantino; the other to a 5 star hotel owner). 

                                                Zvika Pick - * web photo

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Motion Sickness

Usually, I'm not eager to go  on a cruise, as I might get sea sick . While on a bus or train I refrain from reading, as I might get a feeling of nausea or even dizziness.

Below is  a picture taken  years ago with me  (covered head) and a friend, on a ferry voyage  along the British channel from Dover to Callais.  I had a terrible nausea followed by loss of colour in my face.

seasick in the cabin of the boat.

I've never attempted to get to the bottom of 'motion sickness' or take medicines. I 've just accepted the situation. When feeling unwell, I help myself with doing what seems the right thing to do.  On a boat , I'l go to the deck for fresh air and look forward in the distance. On the bus, I'll look straight ahead or out of the window. A bottle of cold soda water may also prevent or reduce nausea.

I notice , in my case, that with age, there's significant decline in motion sickness, and that makes me glad, of course. Several years ago I went on a boat tour along the river Moskva in Moscow. Had no trouble at all.

boat tour on Moskva river

Recently, I 've incidentally come upon an article on the above subject by James Phillips, a researcher from Washington University. He explains 'motion sickness' as a conflict between senses (visual sense of the eyes,  and audial sense of the  inner ear) that interferes with the brain's processing of the moving information. He calls it 'mismatch'.

As a college student he experienced seasickness ; that made him decide to search it thoroughly and may be find  proper treatment someday. 

In the meantime, people use a variety of  more or less efficient means for preventing or stopping motion sickness, such as accupuncture wrist bands, skin patches behind the ear, herbs like ginger and chamomille, aromatherapy etc...

Friday, April 7, 2023

Security Guard


There's a dog statue near the entrance of a Vetcenter in an adjacent town. Whenever I'm around,  I stop to have a look at it. It is a well- made statue , and  it makes me smile ; it seems as if the dog stands there  in the position of a security guard:)

the display window of the Vetcenter

the dog statue "watching" the entrance

Dogs are good for security. The dog is an intelligent animal, capable  to  detect danger, especially due to its extraordinay sense of smell (300 million scent receptors!).  They say that properly trained, any breed can make a good guard.

Despite technology and its gadgets, dog protection of house and property will probably continue to be the favorite option. Barking of a dog may be enough to scare away potential intruders. Sometimes, even the mere presence of a dog might do that.

Here's something for the 'mural hunters':

I don't know what it says or means, but it certainly catches the eye.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

"Look For The Woman"


She's beautiful, bright (physicist researcher at Weizmann Institute, Israel, and at Cern accelerator project, Switzerland), basketball player (retired after injury), social - political activist, wife and mother.

* web picture

Dr. Shikma Bressler, is one of the leading figures in the recent protests against the government's judicial reform. She has even got arrested like a common criminal (was later released) during a demonstration on 23 March 2023.

In 2020, Shikma along with two of her brothers and two family friends formed what was known as the Black Flag movement protesting against Prime Minister Netanyahu - until the Benet government took over.  Also in 2020,  she appeared in Forbes magazine's list of 50 most influential women in Israel.

Anyway, after weeks of huge protests against the judicial overhaul intended by the new  government, the re-elected Prime Minister Netanyahu announced  he would postpone the legislation to give him time for broad agreement.

Shikma and her fellow leaders organizing  the protests, say they 'll be 'on the streets' until the overhaul is cancelled.

Shikma, you rock!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

My Affair With Kiwi


Kiwi is an exotic, tasty fruit, packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. I like the flavor and its texture. The point is it doesn't like me; for some reason it upsets my stomach. 

At first, I suspected its rather high acidity, but then I found out that it does not have as much acid as citrus fruits, and I never had any problem with citrus fruits. No problems with other fruits high in acid either: grapes, tomatoes, blueberries.

* web picture

Its exterior resembles a potatoe, and this has given me the idea to boil it as I do with potatoes, Not bad, but no change  in the feeling of stomach discomfort. 

Anyway, I recently went into reading the info about it on the web. Kiwi has a lot of health benefits (good for heart, eyes, skin; fights diabetes, helps with weight loss), almost no side effects (except it might cause allergies in people allergic to other fruit or plants - and I'm not in that category). I might eat one or two fruits per day or week, so quantity is not an issue here either.

So what's special about Kiwi that prevents me from enjoying eating it?  Well, I don't know and until I do know, I'm sadly, giving it up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Lately, I've been busy with my desktop computer. Its internal DVR wasn't working, so I had to take the whole thing to the Lab.

In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I prefer  desktop computer to  laptop. One of the reasons is that I'm sometimes able to solve problems that arise, by just replacing a cable or by opening the case to clean the fans with a compressed air duster, and check that  pieces are not loose or out of their slot.

Well, I couldn't do that now because of the warranty certificate. How come? If I don't manage to solve the problem of the DVR, and at the Lab they'll notice that I've opened the case and done things by myself, it might result in my warranty losing its validity.

I thought the technician was going to concentrate on fixing the DVR issue only, but he phoned me to ask permission to do a reset first, re-installing the OS . 

Anyway, he was probably so deep in the Reset that he returned the PC with the DVR problem...unsolved. I had to return the PC to the Lab.  In the meantime, I've  made a wrong backup of my blog's theme and lost the layout with its widgets. I felt very sad about it;  my blog ,started in year 2008, was unrecognizable.

 I worked hard on it for a couple of hours and , thank God, managed to restore it to the old theme and layout I'm used to. Still, I have to add and change some components that will enable me to perform certain functions.

As for the DVR, it got fixed at the Lab, but the content of my CD-s, belongs to the days of the XP operating system, and my present Windows 11  Media Player doesn't open them for me. So, I'll  have to work hard again, and try to solve the problem.

Hopefully, no more computer problems in store for me .

Wednesday, February 22, 2023



In  Hebrew, the word 'balagan' means mess, chaos, disorder.  There's controversy about the word's origin (Russia? Turkey?...), but I'm not going to go into this.

 It suffices to say that at my age I hate balagan. I can try and control 'balagan' at my home (not always successfully), but not the one outside it .

Since the last general elections we've got constant balagan: protests, strikes, violence (both verbal and physical). It's all too little and too late, as they say, and as I firmly believe - but, who wants to know...   

People constantly ignore things, they live each inside their own bubble, and then act as surprised.  No surprise here at all. As expected, 'demographics' won the elections.  So, all that remains to do is try to make 'a lemonade out of the lemon', IF possible.

One must add to the above political kind of balagan,  the fear caused by the recent earthquakes in the neighboring countries Turkey and Syria. We are not prepared for such a disaster , so blames regarding  apparently faulty structural condition of buildings, are already flying  over our heads, in all directions.

Actually, the big balagan started several years ago with the Light Rail works in major cities -  Jerusalem and Tel Aviv first. The Light Rail has lots of benefits, but I pity those who live close to the stations and rails during long periods of work to be done. What a mess! 

They'll tell you it's all worthy as it raises house value on the market. Maybe, maybe not. In the meantime, one lives near a considerable balagan, and that's hardly quality living. If you've got kids, it could also be dangerous to live close to road /rail works.

Anyway, there seems to be no 'responsible adult' around, so things look  rather bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Three Surprises and One Pink Martini

The other day, I bought a few small items and got unpleasantly surprised by the price I had to pay.  It added to my gloomy mood I was in since the earthquake in Turkey last week.

The first item was a tiny pack of  sewing needles.'These needles are made in Germany', said the saleslady. What happened to China, give me chinese needles - these are expensive, said I. She smiled; no chinese needles in her shop.

Next, I fancied a loaf of light, sliced wheat bread . Unlike standard bread, light bread  (fewer calories) is not under price supervision, so it's subject to  constant raise by the supplier- informed me the vendor. Got it. 

The third item was a bag with potatoes. In winter, I often eat boiled, mashed potatoes topped with cottage cheese, or some piquant topping like sardine in chilli sauce. I like the red potatoes grown in Turkey. Immediately after the eartkquake, here, at the grocery store they shamelessly raised the price of these potatoes , probably in expectation of  shortage and/or difficulty with importing them .

To cheer myself up, I turned to Pink Martini,  no, not the drink but the music - something dramatic with a drop of fun. The drama in the youtube video was provided by an old, powerful song (Amado Mio - my lover), great voice, and stunning performance of the singer, Storm Large. 

The drop of fun was provided by a short pianist ( the leader of the american, successful Pink Martini band)  attracting attention with his over energetic piano playing, and a taller, standing  trumpetist attracting attention with his long hair. The live audience added nice background to both , drama and fun.

After running the youtube video  a few times, I felt better.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

On Earthquakes and Buildings

On  Sunday, we were told a storm named Barbara was on its way  from Greece to Israel, and will hit us on Monday morning.   In the meantime, at middnight, a deadly earthquake occurred in Turkey and was felt in the whole region: Syria, Lebanon. Cyprus, Israel. 

On Monday, at about midday, a second quake struck. Thousands of casualties in Turkey and Syria. Countries are offering to send teams with humanitarian aid, but the wintry weather is not cooperating with the search and rescue efforts. Terrible  tragedy!

Turkey has had her share of earthquakes in the past, and has learned important lessons from them, yet every new quake is  surprising and devastating.

One thing is for sure, we israelis, are not prepared at all  should a major quake strike closer to us. There's a lot of talk about strenghtening existing buildings. Some of it has already been done here and there.  New buildings are checked, before approval,  for specially designed features that will make them earthquake proof  buildings. So they say. I don't know how seriously things are done, if at all.

There's ,of course, no complete immunity to these buildings, given the unpredictability of intensity and ocurrence of the earthquakes, but it's the best we can do to bring damage and loss of life to a bare minimum.

Anyway, things look quite scary.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Me and Influenza


I've always considered climate as an important factor that affects one's well-being and quality of life. ( long before the discussions on climate change).

I don't particularly like winter.  Although our winters are short and mild, nevertheless there are days I'll rather stay indoors because of the weather elements of wind, rain and cold. This fact annoys me. I feel my freedom of choice is threatened. It's the weather that actually decides for me if I'm indoors or outdoors and the proper activities that go with it.

I don't like summer heatwaves either, but they are mostly bearable and don't affect my health, whereas the cold and rain might do that. Winter brings with it the flu (influenza), and in elderly people various joint and muscle aches.

I'm glad to admit that during the last three years , probably because of mask wearing, no flu has hit me. That's a big relief as I used to get a very nasty form of flu (sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, fever), despite the annual flu shot. 

Thank God I can manage it with basic remedies: undiluted freshly squeezed lemon juice for the sore throat, saline nasal spray for the nose, ice for fever - and of course, hot soup and hot tea. Within a week, it's usually gone.

However, as I advance in age, the flu symptoms make me tired and vulnerable . If the mask is the solution - so be it. As long as it keeps the flu away from me,  I don't mind to be in the minority ; most people have already abandoned  mask wearing.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

My Kind Of Archeological Discovery

No bones, no skulls, no skeletons, no pottery, but silk and cotton. A few hundred pieces of exotic textile from 1300 years ago, has been found recently in a lovely place - in the israeli desert  (northern Negev) near Nahal Omer ('nahal' means river). The luxury fabrics were originally from China, India, and Sudan and meant to reach European places.

piece of fabric*

The first find in this area (considered part of the Silk road - a network of Eurasian trade routes) - came in 2018, but there was no money to start a serious excavation. Finally it became a joint project of israeli and german archeologists, and the funds were provided by the germans.

Earlier, in 2017 (during an excavation that was going on since 2013), 3000 years old purple wool fragments from king David's era,  dyed in royal purple (argaman, in hebrew), symbol of high social status , and probably first evidence of chemical dye in the area, was found in the valley of Timna, place in the desert known as an ancient copper mine.

The dry desert climate was probably the reason for the good preservation of textiles digged up in the above excavations. 

The findings have a great historical and archeological significance as they help understand the techniques of textile development in those times. Moreover, they add information regarding transfer of goods between East and West.

A bit of trivia - cotton is the most comfortable of fabrics (softness, breathability, weightlessness); silk is the strongest natural fabric in the world. Ahmadabad is considered Manchester of India for its being the center of textile industry.

* web picture

Monday, January 16, 2023

The Deserted Bench


One of the saddest things we witness in our third age is disappearance of familiar faces of friends, neighbors, acquaintences. Some die, some go for an assisted living facility, some move closer to their children.

 There's a certain bench which whenever I happen to pass near it, I feel a twinge. It reminds me of two women, neigbours and friends, that regularly used to sit on it talking, gossiping, laughing. Sometimes, I would join them as they were a good source of the latest news in the area.

One of them died a few years ago; after that, the other one was not seen again sitting on that bench .  She recently moved to an assisted living facility. She didn't want to. At her age (80) she was still in good condition and quite independent.

However, a divorced brother of hers who had to leave his apartment to wife and kids, came to live at her big house. She was not happy about that. After three years of having him around, she decided to sell the house. She gave him some money to find himself a place, and joined an assisted living facility.

She couldn't believe it. Leaving her house, turned out to be one of her most happy days. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Urban Renewal (Pinuy-Binuy)


Urban renewal is a widely discussed and controversial program. It is a process intended to improve specific areas of a city. There are several terms related to urban renewal, the most known being 'Clearing and Building' (Pinuy-Binuy in hebrew), 'Tama 38'.

It's usually a slow process (it may take years) that involves getting permission from the residents, from the local and regional authorities, proper planning and consulting. If all goes well, the result is one of economic, social and environmental area revival.

The buildings in my neighborhood are about 60 years old. The plan is to demolish the old structures and build new ones, more spacious and with a promise of increase in market value. I would have preferred renovation, not demolition, as the basic construction is of good quality. Moreover I've got 3 air exposures and it's street faced (quiet inner street).

 In Pinuy-Binuy the apartment has to be evacuated for two-three years, and the resident displaced until the new building is finished. Not convenient to my age. I think, however, that according to the law the contractor has to offer a person of my age the option of an immediate new apartment in one of his other buildings, if available.. We shall see.

Lately, I've noticed some action which means the process is approaching and I'm quite apprehensive. There is always local corruption, conflicting interests, poor planning, and above all, the need to start downsizing towards the evacuation of the apartment.  Just the thought of it gives me a headache.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Prima Donna

I started the new year with  listening to some of Maria Callas' opera performances.

Her voice was perhaps, not the greatest, but her stage appearance was majestic, dramatic, and her smile - fascinating!  Maria Callas, the famous american born, of greek descent, opera soprano , had a vast classical repertoire which included operas of Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Bellini etc.. brilliantly performed by her.

I often watch the youtube video with Callas in the Habanera aria from the opera Carmen by Bizet. It' s a treat; it gives me so much pleasure to see her and listen to her interpretation! ('habanera' is a cuban popular dance).

Her untimely death (at 53) was a big loss to the opera world. They said she died of a 'broken heart'. Her lover, Onassis, the shipping magnate, dumped her for Jackie Kennedy. 

According to letters found after her death, it would appear that she was abused by both, the ex- italian husband Giovani Meneghini , and by her greek lover Aristotle Onassis. It was believed that unlike on stage, in her private life she was a somewhat submissive person, and submissiveness usually attracts abusers.

The word has it that she was abused even by her parents! Who would have thought that about the greatest soprano of the 20th century!?