Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Sometimes we learn from the media about the death of a person; no cause of death mentioned (usually at the request of the family). Even if we're curious about cause and circumstances, we accept the lack of information.

It is somehow different when the deceased is someone we've known personally or through online activity such as blogging; it seems then, that curiosity is stronger than us. We even feel 'entitled' to know about the cause of death.

A 69 year old blogger died suddenly at home about 3 months ago.  It was quite a shock! The blogger was a very active person, and l was under the impression that he  was not having any (major) health problems. He felt unwell during the last few days of his life, and passed away  (rip).

I was hoping his wife might perhaps reveal in her blog the cause of his sudden death.  Well, she mentioned him a lot, described the sadness of the days without him, her crying and grieving, but nothing on the cause of death. 


Until a few years ago, I was having correspondence with a cousin in the USA - a cousin discovered through the internet, while doing a genealogical research. She was of great help to me with this research, and I felt  grateful to her.

At a certain stage, the said cousin (a divorced, registered nurse in her fifties) wrote to me that her younger, single sister  was hospitalized. After a few weeks she informed me of the sister's death.(The two lived in the same big, town).

I was in shock twice: first by the tragic event, and second  by my inability to get any info on what had led to hospitalization and death. I tried both approaches - direct and indirect, to make my cousin tell me what had happened. In vain.

I had my guesses, but why guess, I said to myself, "we're cousins, and we've been in touch for at least three years . Moreover, I've told her in detail about my own tragedy - the sudden , untimely loss of my brother. So why couldn't she tell me what happened to her sister"?

I felt hurt, but , went on with the e-mails, albeit less frequently. I tried to convince myself that her behavior had probably something to do with  specific american mentality with which I was not  familiar, and for the time being, I'd better ignore the whole painful thing.

After a while, she brought up the subject of inheritance (procedures to be dealt with, a town house and a car to be put on sale, etc..) - without even mentioning the name of the sister. It was at that point that I sadly decided to stop the correspondence. Certain things are unacceptable to me, mentality or not.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Analog Pictures - part 2


Update on covid-19: easing of lockdown restrictions starting with this week , encouraging news on vaccines. However, the overall atmosphere is one of great anxiety caused by reopening of schools, economic collapses, and the fact that though doctors know much more now about the virus, they're still in the dark about some main issues.

And now to the topic of this post.

I like to re-read my posts on favorite places I've been to in my younger days; it uplifts my mood.

During the current lockdown, though, my target was to try and improve/restore  pre-digital photos in my possession. Thanks to the right tip from Jeanie (the Marmelade Gypsy blog) on my first part , I've managed to do some of that.


To this day, one of my favorite places I've been to, is the Vesuvium volcano in Italy. What an excitement  to be on the edge of the crater of an active volcano! It could erupt any day. The smoke coming out of the crater is a fascinating sight! 


on the edge of the Vesuvio crater

Speaking of volcanoes, Edinburgh castle in Scotland was formed as a result of a volcano erupting several hundred million years previously. The castle (over 900 years old) had been both a royal residence and a military base.


                           At Edinburgh Castle, Scotland


Greece has many 'dramatic' places such as Delphi (town and archeological site - house of the famous Oracle), and the amphitheater at Epidaurus.

The theater at Epidaurus is still in use today

amphitheater at Epidaurus


                                     Mt. Parnassus domineering the area of Delphi 


Jerusalem is known for its two outstanding religious sites: The Wailing Wall and the Al Aqsa Mosque (with the golden dome).

In those days, I didn't have a prayer book with me, but I did place a  note  in the cracks of the wall.

                               At the Wailing Wall; left a note in  cracks of the wall


On the top of snowy Yungfrau mountain (Swiss Alps) which is considered the highest peak in Europe, one feels on the top of the entire world, not only the top of Europe.

on Yungfrau ('virgin' in german) viewing the snow

Well, that's it for now. Hoping there won't be a  third lockdown.

Sunday, October 11, 2020



Still on Lockdown. I don't know how long covid-19 will be with us. (A climate activist claims - for as long as Climate Change crisis will last).

However, I do know that a country needs the right strategy to handle it.  I'm not referring to a country  that belongs to the club of the big and rich  (USA, Germany, UK..) but to a country  of small to modest size and resources, like Israel where I live.

By 'right strategy' I mean one that would not be based on waiting for a vaccine (which may or may not be available ,  may or may not be effective), and, would not be based on borrowing heavy money to give its people the (false) feeling that life goes on as usual, and covid-19 is just a temporary inconvenience.

Perhaps, new drugs development (antivirals, steroids) will move faster than vaccine development, and help make real progress in the fight against the virus.

Perhaps, before  borrowing money to release 'loan programs' and 'rescue funds', the government could advise people to return to basics;  the decadent world of the pre-covid era,  might never come back.

The new world might be one of isolation, including touristic isolation. North Korea, a small, isolated country, has just made it known to the world that there has  been not even one single case of coronavirus infection there.

We don't know things for sure yet, but we have to be mentally prepared for the possible reality of no physical schools, restaurants, culture halls etc.. and reorganize our life the best  we can under the circumstances.

Sadly, it seems that politicians and vaccine developers will nevertheless be dragging us into the abyss, creating chaos on the way.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Analog Pictures

The other day, I was browsing through my old, analog (non- digital) pictures, focusing on the bad ones (blurred, failed contrast - too dark, too bright etc..).  I wanted to try and improve quality, if possible, by using the editing software on my rather old,  computer.

Most of these pictures  are dear to me, mementos of my visit to some famous landmarks, such as that of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In order to successfully capture both the landmark and myself in the same picture, I needed a much better camera than the one I had, and certainly better photographic skills, but I had neither (sigh).

Eiffel  Tower

It was getting dark outside, I was sitting on the stairs, feeling tired. In the above Eiffel Tower picture I looked almost  deleted, so I tried hard to recover some of my body shape.


                                                      At The Colloseum in Rome

The ancient structure of the Colloseum looks o.k. ;  my face, on the other hand, looks blurred. One can improve things, but touching face could turn disastrous; not recommended.


                                           Mozart's monument & birth place in Salzburg

 I felt music in the air, Mozart's music. It was a lovely, sunny day, perfectly appropriate for a visit to the great composer's birthplace.

                                                        Fontana di Trevi - Rome

This stunning , famous fountain, where people throw coins in its water, makes you forget everything. I just stood there overwhelmed by the sight of it.


I've got quite a few pictures with Me sitting on stairs , on rocks, on a bench , on a fountain edge or on the grass  by some famous attraction .  Not surprising, though.  I was a tourist, and as such, often  tired from much walking and exploring. I needed to rest, and that was also a good opportunity for a picture.

                                                Urquat Castle at Lockness  lake, Scotland
 I like the greyish color tone in this picture; it somehow matches the atmosphere created by an old castle and a lake where a monster is believed to live.
on the edge of the fountain at Buckingam palace
It was raining on the day of my visit; a light rain, still, not a very suitable day for taking outdoor pictures

                                               sitting  on a bench in the center of Frankfurt
The red, cotton cardigan was bought in the city on that very day, and it was my first 'inauguration' of it, on that bench, watching the passers by.

                                         on the grass, by a monument in Sterling, England
The 'on the grass' picture reminds me of my big issue with photography. I've convinced myself that I 'm not photogenic, so I keep it distant, until it's... too distant.
Apollo Temple  in Ancient Corinth, Greece

This is a rather rare picture of me,  as my head is seen here from profile, from the side.


While browsing (apparently, not a bad lock down occupation), I came upon two pictures relevant to our times: social distancing in one, crowding in the other. Both were taken in Athens, Greece.

distancing on Likavitos Hill (made me smile)

                                                     crowds  on the Acropolis , Athens

 I also came upon a picture I was glad to forget about .

On the route Dover-Calais , I felt like I was going to die of sea sickness. Very traumatic experience!  (Several days earlier, wearing the same outfit , I had my photo taken close to a wax figure at the Wax Museum in London, and visited Buckingam palace too.).

                                                            seasick in the boat cabin 

                                                                  at the Wax Museum

The weather at the time of the sailing from Dover to Calais was very rough. In calm weather I usually don't get sea sick.  Here's a photo of me on the deck of the greek Saronic Star vessel. I was full of energy and glad to be on that cruise.


on the Saronic Star deck  


This kind of browsing brings back to me nice memories,  so I'll go on with it till the end of the lock down.


Jeanie from the Marmelade Gypsy blog - has kindly offered to restore most of the above pictures. The result is incredible!

Amazing! Thanks Jeanie.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Final Sealing


The 25 hours of Fasting  are over.   Hopefully, Fast and Prayer have got me a good final sealing in the Book of Life for the New Year.

The Book of Life contains the fate of every sinner. On the jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) the fate is inscribed,  ten days later , on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) it is sealed. Between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur,  people have a chance to change their fate if they repent, pray, ask forgiveness.

Yom Kippur is the most sacred of the jewish holidays. It's also a day of Fear - fear of the finalization of the heavenly verdict passed on Rosh Hashana.  G'mar Chatima Tova! meaning:  a Good Final Sealing , is the customary greeting used among people between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

 I believe the Book of Life is part of God's greater book, that of the Creation, its order and rules. Sadly, Man has constantly  violated these rules, in the name of progress and evolution, and we see the result - we live in a scary and unpredictable world.

In  the book of the Creation there are answers and solutions. Man prefers and expects... politicians to offer answers and solve problems.

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.