Yom Hashoah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, began last night.
In my small town the main commemoration began in the basketball hall.
It was packed; everybody showed up; some had to sit on the stairs or the floor or to stand.
Seven plain white silhouette human figures were evident in the background.
The message written on the wall was our imperative to somehow draw out the lines of their faces, i.e. not to see the victims as "THE six million," but rather as six million individual faces.
And while the presentation went on -- candle lighting by several survivors, prayers, a psalm, songs, a dance, readings -- all the while artistic high school students were indeed sketching in faces and clothing.
See the difference between the first and second photos? Quite amazing, and very moving.
The talented and serious youth were in charge of the commemoration.
What a blessing they are.
In closing we all stood and sang Hatikva, feeling especially grateful to now be living in our own free and strong country.
Let us remember the lost generations in Europe who went before us.
. Walk four minutes down my street and you will abruptly be in the wilderness. Here's a little video I made on a windy afternoon, just because the golden grass was rippling in waves so gracefully. What was all green during the winter rains now becomes golden and soon, in the long dry summer everything will be brown.
When I walk alone in the desert at this season I can't help but sing an appropriate song from my youth:
Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet When the wind comes right behind the rain. Oklahoma, Ev'ry night my honey lamb and I Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk Makin' lazy circles in the sky.
We know we belong to the land And the land we belong to is grand!
. Today is the 7th and last day of Pesach. We remember how on that day Moses led the newly-forming Jewish People out of Egypt through the split waters of the sea.
"And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided" -- וַיִּבָּקְעוּ, הַמָּיִם
- Exodus 14:21
"When God split the Red Sea, all the waters in the world divided, even the waters in cisterns and ditches, in jars, cups, casks and bowls ... the supernal waters, too, divided ..."
-- (Midrash Mechilta)
Whichever holiday you are celebrating today, have a happy and meaningful one!
Nice neighbors invited me to their long and bountiful seder table last night.
No noodles in the chicken soup; that's forbidden food all this Passover week. Fluffy matza balls are much much better anyway!
I brought to the seder a box of three special hand-made matzas from Kfar Chabad. The historic bakery in Kfar Chabad is the world's largest producer of hand-make matzot.
Matza shmurah is baked quickly in a brick oven like in the picture. Its interesting story is explained in my post from last Pesach. But the main thing, as the box says, is "Get a taste of freedom," freedom from slavery in ancient Egypt and from all kinds of things that shackle our growth today. Chag sameach--happy Pesach! . (Linking to ABC Wednesday.)
Sheep grazing next to Meitar Forest!
(Enlarge the photo to see them better.)
For this lovely scene I have only to walk five minutes from my place here in the Negev town of Meitar.
I've lived here for several years and go out hiking often, but this is only the second time that I have sighted the flock.
The first time was in this post, where you can meet the young Bedouin shepherd and his charges.
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday and Camera Critters.)
Last week a local family's front yard grass, hedge, and tall palm tree were suddenly on fire, from an unknown cause.
In the previous post we wondered if it could be spontaneous combustion, but maybe not.
Yesterday a private garden crew came to cut down the blackened tree.
The chainsaw made quick work out of the upper half of the palm.
Watch how they lifted it over the fence and onto the sidewalk.
Still a little bit of green leaves at the very top of the blackened crown.
Watch and hear how they saw the lower half.
"Timber!" -- over it goes.
And the second "log" comes out to the sidewalk.
All that's left, black ashes surrounding a sawdust covered stump of a palm tree that had been growing for decades.
Today our local council's green clean-up crew picked up the wood and swept the sidewalk clean.
And here endeth the lesson.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday. Letter M is for motor saw, which is how most European languages call the chainsaw.)
WET is the City Daily Photo topic for today's Theme Day.
We have not much rain and no bodies of water here in my corner of Israel's Negev desert.
But the other day, a hot dry chamsin day, our town suddenly saw a lot of water--not from the sky but from fire hoses!
The crown of a palm tree suddenly burst into flames. SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION?! It is a known phenomenon especially in palms.
Soon the whole trunk and the hedge were burning.
Our Meitar Bitachon/Security team (bless them!) were on the scene quickly and rolled out their hoses.
The police and Fire Department arrived too.
Two firemen suited up and went to work.
At the end, our local hoses had themselves to be hosed down to clean the black soot off them.
The now leafless and blackened dead palm will hopefully be cut down soon.
That's a scary thing, trees suddenly bursting into flame for no good reason.
I hope never to see such a thing again.
See Palm Trees as Fire Hazards, a useful page of advice, photos, and a video link by a California fire department.