Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meitar Night Run is on!


The annual Meitar Night Run is underway!

You can choose either 5K or 10K.
I always choose to stand still and take pictures.  :)

Just as the sun was setting the younger runners ran up and then back down my street.

Here's a brief video so you can hear the fun:

On this cool map you can click the arrow and see the route that goes all around our little town:
And you can play around with the map and see where Meitar is, down here in the Negev desert.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sea turtle egg-laying season at the Mediterranean coast

Something told me, late last night,  to post my turtle pictures. 
And today I wake up to discover that today is WORLD TURTLE DAY!!

It is now turtle egg laying season along Israel's Mediterranean coast, but sadly, this sea turtle didn't make it.

My town's touring group visited here in March and we saw three dead ones.

Each year about 300 sea turtles are washed up onto Israeli beaches after being harmed by marine waste, fishing nets, hooks, boat motors, etc. 

Now, during the spring and summer laying season many volunteers and park rangers come to the beaches to assist and protect the endangered sea turtles when they come ashore and later, when the hatchlings hatch from the eggs.

The Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center does good work.
You can see their videos and photos on Facebook at  המרכז להצלת צבי הים .

When the coast was less built up, less urbanized, the females would swim ashore, lay their eggs in a sandy nest, and immediately return to the water by following the moon's reflected light on the sea.
But the beach we visited is close to the big Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa.
The turtles now often get confused and turn instead toward the light of the town and lose their way.
That's why volunteers are needed.
UPDATE May 23:
See also photos, video, and info about Israel's turtle rehab center:

And more information from this good article:
Under cover of darkness in May and June, female sea turtles make their way from the waters of Israel’s Mediterranean beaches to the seashore, where they dig nests and lay dozens of eggs. In August, the hatchlings start cracking their way out of their shells, and begin a perilous trek to the relative safety of the water.
Israel is home to loggerhead, leatherback, green and softshell turtles – all endangered due to decades of hunting, pollution, manmade dangers and habitat disturbances caused by human activity. The newly laid eggs and the hatchlings are quite vulnerable to predators and the hot sun. Left on their own, only a few survive.
Since the mid-1980s, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has been sending out rangers and volunteers in the summer months to move nests to protected beach reserves or incubation farms.

(Linking to ABC Wednesday and Our World Tuesday.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A banner for Ramadan


I came just at the right moment today to witness four Jewish students putting up a banner that says in Arabic 
And the Hebrew parts says

At the Student Union building, Beit HaStudent, at Beer Sheva's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. 

The month of Ramadan begins today.
Unfortunately for the Muslims this whole next week Israel will be suffering a heat wave.  
Imagine not being able to drink anything from sunrise to sunset when it is is 41 degrees C.  
Kol hakavod, respect, to those who fast. 
(Linking to Weekend Reflections and signs, signs.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

1st century synagogue sand for sale


Situation is too complicated for me to blog about, so today let's have a simple post instead.

For ABC Wednesday   S is for  tiny bottles of Sea of Galilee water and corked bottles of synagogue sand.
Only 8 shekels.
At the Magdala gift shop for pilgrims and tourists.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Our Golan Heights on high alert


Across the Sea of Galilee, the Israeli Golan Heights rises. 

Just a few weeks ago I accompanied two Christian friends from abroad to the holy sites around the lake.
It was peaceful and quiet and the many tourists on the shore were happy. 

East of the Golan, in Syria, Iran has been building up bases from which to attack Israel.
Their first attack came last night with a salvo of 20 missiles fired toward the Golan. 
Needless to say, Israeli responded swiftly. 

I hope you are following the news. 
There are many Israeli online news media sites that have all the details. 
A new phase is starting, and it doesn't look good.

(Linking to SkyWatch Friday.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Our matriarch Sarah's laughter, then and now


And Sarah said: 'God hath made laughter for me; every one that heareth will laugh on account of me.'

 וַתֹּאמֶר שָׂרָה--צְחֹק, עָשָׂה לִי אֱלֹהִים:  כָּל-הַשֹּׁמֵעַ, יִצְחַק-לִי

This was said after God had promised the barren Sarah that she and husband Abraham would bear a son in their advanced old age. 
I am thinking of this statue, called "Sarah," by Rita Paran, based on that Bible verse, because today our City Daily Photo bloggers group is sharing a Theme Day about LAUGHTER. 

Back in 2011 I was walking very early through the still-closed Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem. 
I was shocked to see the cleaning man throw a bucket of water on one of the Bible Stories statues! 
But our matriarch Sarah just laughed.
She seemed quite tickled when the cleaner scrubbed her with his broom. 

(Linking to City Daily PhotoOur World Tuesday, and Weekend Reflections.)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

World Veterinary Day today


Happy World Veterinary Day!
Let's appreciate the veterinarians who keep our livestock and pets healthy.
I don't have either, but I really admire vets (and for years wanted to be one). 

These are some good-looking cattle at a private farm not too far from my place. 
They also raise goats and we go there to buy creamy yogurt, tangy labaneh, and wonderful cheeses. 

Enlarge the photos and you'll spot the new concrete security wall just across the road.
Less than two years ago there was only a rather useless fence. 
On the other side you can see Palestinian villages in the West Bank. 

(Linking to Camera-Critters.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



Today is ANZAC Day, which Wikipedia explains as
 a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served".
But the ANZAC troops are also remembered in other countries, and especially at the Commonwealth War Cemeteries in Israel and nearby Gaza.

Here in the Negev we have the beautiful Beersheba War Cemetery.
Some of the graves are of Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers.  
The administering Commonwealth War Graves Commission says that 
The cemetery was made immediately on the fall of the town [Oct. 1917], remaining in use until July 1918, by which time 139 burials had been made. It was greatly increased after the Armistice when burials were brought in from a number of scattered sites and small burial grounds. The cemetery now contains 1,241 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 67 of them unidentified.

 A Jewish officer's tombstone says
The pebbles on top are left as a traditional sign of respect by visitors to his grave.

Written in Welsh.
And a little LEST WE FORGET cross.

The traditional red poppy on the cross and one stuck in the ground.

A trooper from New Zealand.
Someone added the Kiwi's photo.

An Australian from the famous Light Horse brigade.

A New Zealander from the Mounted Rifles.

The unidentified ones are the saddest.

"In memory of a Ballarat boy.  Trooper Thomas Bell was aged just 16 when he died of wounds received in the charge*.
All gave some, some gave all."

[* i.e. the mounted charge on the Turkish trenches, to liberate Beer Sheva.]

The tall white structure is the Cross of Sacrifice, standard for all Commonwealth War Cemeteries around the world.

The Visitors Book, with lots of information, in the wall near the always-open entrance gate.

In the background is Beer Sheva's new and wonderful ANZAC Memorial Centre.
More on that in a future blog post.

One of the dedicated and caring Arab gardening team planting more flowers. 
Thank you, brave ANZAC soldiers, for turning the tide of World War I down here in the Negev desert that I now call home.   Your memory will live on! 
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
-- fourth stanza from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen, 1914
(See more about this cemetery and about commemorations in Beer Sheva in 3 previous posts.  See also my posts about ANZAC Day in Jerusalem.)
More about this and other Australia places in Beer Sheva:
How the Australian army talks about ANZAC Day:
(Linking to inSPIREd SundayOur World Tuesday and to  ABC Wednesday -- p is for poppy.)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fireworks for 70th Independence Day


Like every year, when night came, the heavy day of remembering our fallen soldiers and our victims of terrorism gave way to the joy and exuberance of Independence Day celebrations. 
Last night I watched our town's fireworks display from my place.
Enjoy the little video and its sounds!
Happy 70 years of independence, my dear Israel!  
I am fortunate to have lived here for 50 of those eventful years. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Stamped on our memory


Israel came to a standstill this morning during the 2-minute memorial siren at 11:00 commemorating our 23,646 fallen members of the security forces and 3,134 victims of terrorist attacks. 

Israel Post describes the new stamp issued for Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day: 
This stamp features a poppy/red everlasting flower and a military dog tag engraved with the words "we shall always remember" [lenetsach nizkor] against the background of a tombstone with small rocks placed on it by loved ones who visited the grave.
The tab features the official IDF symbol and the symbol of the Ministry of Defense Families and Commemoration Dept.
May their memory be for a blessing and may God console the many bereaved families. 
This information is so interesting. But sadly, so long.
For more about Yom HaZikaron please see my previous posts.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Bored police horses


In Jerusalem I would from time to time see mounted police riding around, usually just outside the Old City (e.g. as in my posts here, here, and here).
Today was my first time to see a police horse in Beer Sheva.
He was just standing in the shade near the Central Bus Terminal.

On the vehicle towing the horse trailer is written Mounted Police Unit, Southern District.
Wait! -- Is that horse in the drawing wearing a gas mask??
THAT I've never seen, but I guess it would be needed in riot control.
Actually, maybe it's just my imagination working overtime, maybe he just has a black nose.

I walked in back and discovered a second horse.
Really wanted to ask the officer in charge if I could talk to, I mean pet, one of the nice horses.
Alas, he was in the middle of an animated conversation on his phone and didn't even notice me.
(Linking to Camera-Critters.)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mosaics of the Magdala side chapels

Greetings to the many Orthodox Christians who are celebrating Easter Monday today.
It might be the right day to give you the final installment of my description of the new Magdala Center on the Sea of Galilee.
(My previous posts are under Magdala.)

Thank you, people of Singapore, for donating this side chapel.
In the reflection is the main Boat Chapel.

I will quote the descriptions from the official website, since they explain it best.

(You can click on the photos to greatly enlarge them and enjoy the details of the wonderfully colored, sparkly tesserae.)

"Each of the four chapels are home to a mosaic that illustrates events from the public life of Jesus and each mosaic is an open window inviting us toward the infinite love of God in the Gospel. Each chapel has enough room for up to 30 people and an expressive mosaic depicting a biblical event near the Sea of Galilee. They are realistic representations in dialogue with the original sites and invite us to meditate the Gospel scene in its authentic context.
The first chapel facing the lake is the Walking on Water Chapel, representing the story in Matthew where Peter’s faith was tested by walking on water with Jesus. “‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14: 29-31 NIV"

"The second chapel facing the lake is the Fishers of Men Chapel, representing another story in Matthew where “Jesus Calls His First Disciples”. As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”    Matthew 4: 18-20 NIV"

"The other is dedicated to the daughter of Jairus. This holds great significance because she was the only woman whom Jesus raised from the dead. In this we see the Magdala messages woven together.He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.”     Mark 5: 41-42 NIV"

BTW, you might enjoy the story of Jerusalem's 1867 school called Talitha Kumi.

Our tour group was in such a rush that I somehow missed the fourth important chapel, so you will have to see the photo at the Magdala website.

"One of these chapels is of course the Mary Magdalene Chapel, where we remember the story in Luke of Jesus casting out demons.After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.” Luke 8: 1-2 NIV"
Duc in Altum at Magdala Center is a Catholic spiritual center being built by the Church of Mexico.
They are doing a really good job.   Do stop in if you are in Israel.
(Linking to inSPIREd SundayWeekend ReflectionsMonday Mural, signs, signs and Our World Tuesday.)

Friday, April 6, 2018

A farewell to matza


Today is the 7th and last day of the Passover week in Israel.
Last Friday our town's Chabad rabbi and rebbitzin arranged a big community seder with about 45 guests.
It was nice, and four hours long, and at the end the men danced in a circle with gusto!
But because it was the Sabbath, photography was not allowed.  Sorry!

We have been eating matzo for a week.
Only on Sunday, when the stores open again after Shabbat, will we be able to go buy BREAD.
And I bet the big boxes of matzot will be deeply discounted.  :)
Chag sameach and Shabbat shalom.
If you're in the mood to see more about the seder and Pesach, please see my older posts under Passover.