Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Of Doctors and Daughters

After retirement, our GP and her husband (also a doctor) moved to another city; sort of a new beginning.
A few years later, the husband died. I happened to come upon the obituary. It said that the deceased was  to be buried  at the cemetery of a city in the north of the country ; the location named was the one where their only daughter lived.

The daughter was a nice girl, but one that made her parents' life a misery. They had plans for her but she strongly disliked school and discipline. Her overall attitude had also isolated them socially, as their circle of friends used to be one of doctors and academics whose children followed in their parents' footsteps.

During her army service the daughter met a russian newcomer; they fell in love and decided to get married. It was not a bad decision. They were both without a profession, but his parents helped and put them on the right track.

In the meantime,  the
'new beginning' for the two doctors was rather one of loneliness. I met them once in the new city and they opened up.  They were each an only child to their parents, and so no siblings and nephews, only some distant cousins. They did keep in touch with their daughter who lived far, but failed to overcome their disappointment in her, so no close relationship.

When I read the obituary, I said to myself that  'frau doctor', the fresh widow, was probably going now to sell the apartment and move near  daughter and her family. The very right thing to do, and it would involve acceptance and reconciliation.
The daughter and son in law  were not perhaps highly educated, but still- good, decent people. That's what she needed in her old age - a good, caring family with grand kids to enjoy.

I felt glad for her, especially that she had once said some very kind words about my father. "He never leaves my office with the back to me; he moves slowly towards the door with his face towards me, out of  respect". Yes, that was him: always kind and respectful.


Both my parents were fond of their GP  as she spoke their language (rumanian) and shared their mentality. Giving medication was not her first choice. She used to advise her patients  to try  change of diet, leaving a toxic partner or place of work , minimal commuting. In a way she was ahead of her time; in those days the doctor was mainly expected to find the problem and give medication, not suggest how the patient should live his life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Visitation Dreams

If and when  I happen to dream during my sleep, it's usually about family members that are no longer with us. They talk, sometimes weep, but when I wake up, I don't remember any word, and that unsettles me .  I lit a candle, ask for forgiveness, say a few words in their memory; that calms me down.

These kind of dreams are important to me. They indicate that there's some  sort of connection and communication with the deceased. Things don't end completely with one's passing; the departed  'stay in touch'  somehow.

In my latest dream it was my beloved mother that made her appearance. She talked and cried. Perhaps she was asking me not to skip  my usual pre-High Holidays annual visit to her grave . We live in weird times, with a shutdown  threat upon our heads, so her fear of me not visiting, was not without reason. 

The next day, I put the mask on,  and hurried to the cemetery to be at my parents' graves.
The day after , I went to the cemetery  of  an adjacent city, to visit the graves of my brother and my little  nephew.

These visits last at least an hour, during which  I wash the tombs, lit candles, and say prayers.

A friend of mine, who doesn't have dreams of that sort says I probably think often of them and they feel loved by me, that's why they appear in my dreams trying to communicate.

Well, that's true. I think of them daily, comparing them to the people I encounter. I consider them by far superior in their human qualities.

Saturday, September 12, 2020



Berries are considered superfood,  for they're packed with nutrients and anti- oxidant elements. We greatly enjoy them in their natural fruit form, in baked goods, in  jams, juices, sauces. Always delicious!

Berries are also widely used in  herbal supplements containing extracts of the active ingredient,  which promise many health benefits such as:immunity/metabolism/energy Boost; anti-aging/anti-inflammation/anti -cancer Fight .

Health stores' staff point at Goji berries, as a  very popular product with potential health benefits, among them ,glucose regulation and eye condition improvement..


People on meds should beware. Some of these extracts might interfere and/or interact with doctor's prescriptions for blood thinning, diabetes, etc..(Hawthorne's berries and Acai berries, for example, are known to have impact on heart disorders).

We're blessed  here, in Israel, mainly with strawberries, but the season is  short. Most of the other known  berry types (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries etc..) are imported and rather expensive Tiny bottles with berry extracts,  produced by reputable pharma companies, are also expensive, but worth ,perhaps, the money.


I keep  a  bottle or two of such berry extracts in my cabinet, usually for their anti- inflammatory property. I don't take the capsule or softgel on a regular basis as one would take meds, but whenever I feel a problem and suspect inflammation of some sort. It usually helps.

*web pictures

Sunday, September 6, 2020


I've recently come across this new term - coronialism - which refers to the danger of a new order, a new society being established -  based on the restrictions and urgencies caused by the fear of the corona virus, covid-19. 

Personally, I'm not afraid of 'new' and of restrictions. The situation now seems to be close to anarchy in many parts of the world, so, there's great need for regulating factors, imposing law and order on people to get us out of the pandemic. 

It's too soon to pass judgement, draw conclusions, as we're still amid the pandemic. The word  'coronialism',  however, gives us food to thought, especially as it sounds like another -ism  word -colonialism - an historical - geographical process notorious for its oppressive forces.

Most people regard covid-19 as a temporary nuissance that will vanish with the appearance of the right vaccine. Perhaps, (an expert has just offered his belief that by March it'll be over), but its consequences on our economic, social, environmental, and political life will be far- reaching. The world won't be the same. We should better get used to the idea.

In what way will the world change? I don't  know for sure. I only hope it's for the better as we've been living till now in bubbles, in lies, in pretense, in corruption,  beyond our means. So, perhaps coronavirus will bring with it, besides the unfortunate disease and death, also a blessed transformation. We have to believe that.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Uman Pilgrimage

Uman is a town in central Ukraine, on the banks of the Umanka river. 
During the recent decades, the town has become known for the burial place of the 19th century rabbi Nachman of Breslov , founder of the jewish chassidic Breslov movement.

rabbi Nachman's gravesite in Uman *

The annual pilgrimage of  ultra orthodox israeli members of this movement,  to the above gravesite, is not new to me, but I must admit that until now, I've not  been aware of the alarming numbers.   According to the media, about 80 planes carrying thousands of chassidim, are usually booked  for the  Rosh Hashana (jewish New Year) celebrations in Uman.  

pilgrims praying at Umanka river *

Since we've been flagged as a 'red' country, the coronavirus czar has attempted to stop this year's Rosh Hashana  (sept.18) pilgrimage,  warning that it presents serious danger to both Ukraine and Israel. So far, his appeal has only partial success , because of political interference (or non-interference, it  depends on who and  how one looks at it).

single chassid praying by the Umanka river*

No doubt, the ukrainian town gets rich during the 
celebrations at the rabbi's tomb .  Israel gets poorer.
Our PM  is re-elected with the help of the many thousands of  pilgrims' votes, and as a reward, he bestows upon their political parties in the coalition, very generous budgets and rights.

I'm afraid, that even with another PM and a  new coalition , there'll be no way of going back. If you touch these budgets and rights, you might get blood on the streets.

My conclusion - it's the numbers that count. Demography,  not Democracy, is the key to all.
If you ignore demography (in Israel, the orthodox jews, and the arabs are the ones with large families, and their locations - corona red zones), you might find yourself without a country. . Coronavirus pandemic is not all bad,  as it's an eye- opener.

* web pictures

Saturday, August 22, 2020

High Holidays Shutdown ?!

We're approaching the High Holiday season which starts with  the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) on Sept. 18-20; goes on with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on Sept. 27 -28; next  Sukkot , Simchat Torah -  and ends on Oct.11.

This year it's all going to be different because of coronavirus restrictions on gatherings, both at the synagogues (for worship activities) and at home (family festive meals) .

Things are not looking good on the 'corona' front. It seems that in China and Russia people are afraid of the authorities; here the authorities are afraid of the people (potential voters who oppose restrictions), so nothing is done properly. 

Transparency is  faulty. We know more or less about the 'red' zones, but almost nothing about age of people in confirmed, as well as in hospitalized  cases.
(There was some mention in a newspaper that currently, those aged 20-39 make up over 30% of the confirmed cases).

According to the chief coronavirus coordinator, prof. Gamzu, the decision about a shutdown will be taken by Sept.10.  In the meantime Army recruits will be assisting with performing tests and 'tracing of contact'. 

The whole world is expecting a vaccine. There'll probably  be more than one, by the end of the year, but I tend to agree with the general opinion that it'll take about two years to end the pandemic.

I don't know about other countries, but here,in Israel, even one year might lead to anarchy and even famine.  May God help us!

Sunday, August 9, 2020


Beirut is in the news with the terrible disaster that has occured in the city's port. It seems the explosion was caused by poor storage of over two thousand tons of ammonium nitrate. Things are still under investigation .

It isn't the first time , and it probably won't be the last time that man-made disaster happens. 'To err is human'; humans make mistakes (i.e. the errors at the nuclear reactor in Chernobil). Negligence is also human ( the faulty storage of the ammonia gas in Beirut port). The consequences of these human actions are devastating!

Unlike natural disasters (earthquakes, floodings, volcano eruptions, hurricanes etc..) man-made disasters could be prevented, but not always, as they usually revolve around chemicals. This stuff requires extreme care and caution .
Sometimes disasters are a combination of both the natural with the
man-made, like forest fires, for example.

We humans feel helpless. We have no control on  Nature's sent disasters, and little, if any, on the man-made ones.

We can be careful, of course, as to where we choose to live or work: not too close to an industrial zone (chemical and biological hazzards, explosions), not near  a big body of water (flooding) or a forest (fire danger).   But not much beyond that.

In any case, I put my trust in God and pray to Him :to guide , protect , help us when in danger.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Bubbling and Refreshing

There's water, and there's... soda water. Soda water is my favorite soft drink, especially in summer.. It is made of water to which carbon dioxide gas ( Co2) is added under pressure. It goes very well with wine creating a sparkling, refreshing drink.

They say it upsets the stomach, causes digestion discomfort. Quite the reverse,  it soothes the stomach, and eases discomfort..  As far as I know no one in my family ( all soda drinkers), has had anything to do with indigestion or stomach problems.
Soda water is also  'accused' of weakening the bones; no real evidence in this respect either.

I'm used to drinking it from an early age. In my childhood days, soda water was produced in a small factory where special glass bottles got filled with water and Co2, and then sold to customers. To buy a new bottle (named syphon), one had to return the empty one.


 The next stage in the 'evolution', of this carbonated beverage, was home- made soda , the best kind of soda - as one can make it as strong or as weak as one wishes.

At first, the device for soda making  at home was the sypholux - a metalic, opaque, silver colored item (covering a glass inner bottle) which came with a plastic cartridge holder. To operate it one had to buy a package of replaceable Co2. cartridges. The more cartridges used, the stronger the soda. Usually three (3) cartridges were the optimal number for a fairly strong soda.

(The grey-red sypholux was a popular  wedding gift in those days, and subject to a lot of jokes , as the newly wed couples used to get more than two or three of them ).

bottle, head, cartridge, cartridge holder*

inserted cartridge holder *

The sypholux and cartridges got replaced after a while by the Soda Stream  company's device - a reusable bottle and a replaceable carbonating cylinder.
I wasn't happy with that method - too awkward and expensive for me.

soda stream kit*

Nowadays, I usually buy ready made soda water bottles /cans at the supermarket or kiosks. The bottles come in two sizes: family bottles and smaller personal bottles. It's important to read the label on the bottle before buying, as there are sometimes additions like sodium ,for example, supposed to give the soda  better taste.

* web pictures

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Small and Speedy

Lately, I keep  noticing  a tiny ambulance on my street. That is something new to me. I know our MDA emergency and rescue service, makes use of  full size ambulances, and motorcycles .
I've never seen a mini-ambulance like the one on my street. It looks like a curiosity toy (and indeed attracts kids), until you approach it and see it's serious.

the mini seen from an upper floor

I've found out that our MDA (Magen David Adom)  launched an entire fleet of these rather cute vehicles some two years ago. The minis are supposed to speed up response time, in hard to reach places (i.e. in major cities which have many narrow streets and alleyways).

front of the mini ambulance

The vehicle is electrical with two front seats, and equipped with first aid kits, and sirens. The predominant color is strong yellow which helps with its visibility.  As I understand, these mini ambulances are allocated to volunteers who've been trained as paramedics. 

back of the mini ambulance

It's good to know we have a paramedic volunteer on our street. However, I hope we never need him. By saying that I mean not to be an emergency case, and also not to need neighbors in emergency; they're not always there for us.

side of  the mini ambulance

I was once very frustrated by a  neighbor,pharmacist by profession.. I urgently needed a solution for my mother, and the above pharmacist refused to prepare it ;  the basis for his refusal was  a stupid formality. It was the only solution (prescription of an ear doctor) that could ease the terrible itching in my 80 year old mother's deaf ear. Luckily, I had no difficulty finding an other pharmacist in town, willing to prepare the solution, but it took some time and effort.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020


Magnets have become very popular in healing therapy (relief of low back pain). I have no experience with that sort of magnets. I like to buy  magnets as decorations for my fridge door and as small gifts for others. These items have full or partial magnetic back adhesive.

fridge door (upper part)

I buy them as mementos on almost every trip. They don't take up much place in the suitcase and are quite affordable. Besides, they can last forever on the fridge door.

Needless to say, these souvenirs remind me of some lovely places, and give me much pleasure.

The only thing against them is that it might cause clutter on the fridge door; that's mainly true, Imaho, with household chore 'reminders' which we sometimes forget to take  off. 
(Well for reminders and calendar, I have a separate spot, a cork plate on the wall of my computer corner). 

Here are some of my favorite fridge magnets: 

                              babushkas (Moscow)                                  

the Kremlin (Moscow)

amber heart (Moscow)

boat (Heraklion - Crete)

ceramic coaster (Romania)

insignia (Vaduz-Lichtenstein)

Victor statue (Belgrade- Beograd)

face (indian booth - Expo fair)

landmarks (Prague - Praha)


laminated birthday card

landmarks; matchbox (Sofia)


'Face' and 'Heart' can be worn as pendants. Face pendant ( metal), is more suitable for men. The Belgrade item (featuring the Victor monument facing the confluence of two rivers) can be turned into a brooch.

Amber made items are very popular on Russia markets.  I own a beautiful russian amber necklace given to me as a birthday gift many years ago; time doesn't rob it of its beauty.

I've recently seen magnets in the form of the corona virus. I won't buy that one.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Teeth

This is a sad post.

I'll start with corona update: things seem to be out of control as far as 'corona crisis' is concerned. So far, we have over 30 thousand infected, over 12 thousand actively ill, 340 deaths (r.i.p) - thousands of tests being performed almost daily.

There was a beautiful face in the news last month, that of a young man (26) who had  died of corona complications (He belonged to the recovery group;  something went wrong, and he had to be re-hospitalized and put on ventilator. Sadly, they couldn't save him).

In the 'news'  picture, he had a broad smile revealing his perfect white teeth.
The sight of his teeth brought back to me the memory of another tragedy.

Some twenty  years ago, I visited a  neighbor at the hospital. She was dying of liver cancer. When she saw me she greeted me with a faint smile, but big enough to display her perfect ,white, pearly teeth. 

I was quite in shock at the discrepancy between her terminal medical condition and her pretty, 'lively' teeth.  We're constantly told that bad teeth and gums have a bad impact on our body's health. Isn't the opposite also true? Namely, if the body is  ill, doesn't it affect our teeth and gums?

Well, the answer is yes, of course, and there's a long list of diseases (diabetes at the top) that are said to affect oral health. 
Perhaps her case was special. She was in her early forties, no smoker, and I knew of no other disease she could have had.  Genetics was probably involved as well. 

May they both rest in peace! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Sponge Fingers

Sponge fingers were the main  treat for all ages. in my childhood. It accompanied coffee and tea for adults, milk and cocoa for children.
It is a flour-egg-water based baked goodie with the addition to the dough of vanilla extract, lemon juice (resembles the italian 'savoiardi' biscuits). The result - finger shaped cookies, spongy inside, crispy outside, coated with sugar.

sponge fingers (web picture)

We had a relative and neighbor (aunt Elki) that was famous in our little town for her 'swollen', delicious,  sponge fingers.  It was believed she used a certain ingredient which she refused to disclose. The sponge fingers were her 'specialty', her pride. She kept the secret to herself, probably took it with her to the grave, as her daughter and daughter- in- law who lived in other towns, were unaware  of her fame and didn't know what it was all about.

My mom  made some attempts to find out the secret by adding, and/ or eliminating ingredients. No many options in those days, but the 'usual  suspects' were there: soda water, baking powder, baking soda, yeast. Nothing conclusive, as far as I could remember). 

(Come to think of it, maybe it was potato starch. Perhaps, it wasn't an ingredient that did the job, but the method, the quantities). 

Anyway, I didn't mind the secret as long as I got my treat, and I got it often, There were times when her husband was mostly on the road (sales agent), and she wanted me to sleep at their house. Well, no child likes to leave his bed , but she was also a close relative and I didn't want to upset my mother.  So, the sponge fingers and sometimes little gifts, sweetened my bitterness.

Me - at the back, left side, with braids , boy with cap behind

My real prize was many years later in a conversation I had with her daughter in law (Aunt Elki lived her last decade with her son and his wife in a remote town). The conversation brought me to tears, as it appeared she had mentioned me often and thought well of me.  It made me feel guilty, as I always pictured  her as the wicked woman who wouldn't reveal the secret of the sponge fingers. May her soul rest in peace!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Omegas

As sometimes happens, one thing reminds me of another.
The coronas (yes, plural, as there are several corona viruses: common cold virus, Sars, Mers, Covid-19..),
remind me, by way of contrast, of the omegas - omega essential fatty acids : omega 3 (linolenic acid) and omega 6 (linoleic acid). 
The first group, the coronas, seeks to destroy immunity, the second, the omegas, helps strenghtening it.

Omega 3  (found in oily fish, nuts and seeds) has brain, vision, and heart benefits. Omega 6 (found in meat, dairy, vegetable oils) along with its 'cousin' omega 3, also plays a crucial role in brain and body functions.

The thing is, that Omega 6 has 'invaded' Western diet violating the balance between the two omegas, and practically pushing  Omega 3 out- thus causing some harmful effect on health  ( blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, water retention etc..).

bottle of omega 3 capsules

I know of a successful chess player who's also a doctor. Someone has told me that he's heavily on omega 3 as this helps him plan and perform his brilliant chess moves and win the game. Good for him! There's a lot of money and honour involved in these games.

And after all, omega 3 is not 'ritalin'  (used in ADHD), or some other drug, known as enhancing  performance.
It's just...fish oil which happens to improve brain activity and stabilize mood - recommended to all or most of us.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Here We Go Again

After lifting of restrictions (probably too soon) we're, sadly, back to a rise in the number of covid-19 virus infected people.

I don't know where all this will lead to. In the meantime, I'm looking at some situations, in light of the corona crisis.

1.  Schools are in a rather chaotic phase; after reopening,many got shut again because of individual pupils or teachers who tested positive to the virus. 

2.  People have been told for years  that humans are  "social creatures".   True, people seek interaction with other people. 
Self-isolation is tough on them,  but many have  come to realize now that it has some benefits too.

'The time to have time' - is  a major benefit:  time to do things in the house and around it, to read books, to practice a hobby,  to have a dialogue with one's own self, to enjoy...silence.

3. Lately, I happen to come upon the slogan  'a trade is better than a degree'.  It seems to imply that people with a trade (mainly requiring manual skills) have done better than those with a profession (requiring more education, and an academic degree).  

I think that nowadays, the difference between trade and profession is both  subtle and  dynamic. One can acquire more education and move between the two worlds according to circumstances. ;there are lots of nurses, for instance, with an academic degree.

I've recently read about two israeli sociology professors, man and wife, who are about to publish a book  about  what they call  'the futility of academic degrees'. It sounds provocative and it should be  an  interesting read.

Anyway, degree or not, many have lost their jobs because of the corona crisis, and are getting financial assistance from the government.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Evil Plants

We are more or less aware of toxic plants, that are poisonous to cats and dogs (see picture below: lilies, crocuses, daffodils, oleanders, cyclamen..).

toxic plants (web picture)

We know little about carnivorous plants, also named insectivorous
(I prefer the term 'carnivorous' as these plants might also harm organisms bigger than insects and beetles, like mice , frogs, even us, humans).

The carnivorous plants have  three means of attracting the prey: 1. trap-shaped leaves/ flowers / fruit; 2.  a stiky secretion; and  3. a sweet aroma. The trap is usually closed, and opens up when the intended victim is near. Here are the names of some of these plants: Venus flytrap, Drosera, Sarracenia, Neptenthes, Pinguicula .

venus flytrap opening up its 'jaws' (web picture)

I was once attacked by a  carnivorous plant at the cemetery; the flower or fruit was full with needles and they landed on my lower part of the body. I was completely shocked  and felt helpless. There was no living soul around at that hour.

I 've described the sudden, nightmarish experience in a post entitled: 'Live Danger In a Dead Place' (pse. use the search box to get at it).
That's my opening paragraph of that post:

"Several months ago I got attacked by ...a plant. It happened while I was on my way out of the cemetery. My skirt touched a shrub near one of the graves and all of a sudden its fruit opened up sending tens of needles into the lower part of my body. I won't go into details; I'll just say that it was pure Hell".

I must admit I don't recall seeing anywhere a sign or poster warning against toxic or carnivorous plants. There should be strict published regulations regarding these types of plants. That's definitely a matter of life and death.