Archive for the ‘A Taste of Milk and Honey’ Category

Rainbows in the breeze

July 3, 2015

Well, it has been an eventful week.  Things crowding on the heels of what went before!

Last Friday was the Pride march in Haifa.  Not nearly as grand as the big march in Tel Aviv earlier in the month, which is on an international scale with well over 100K participants, but nothing to sneeze at either.

The Hebrew text says:

We march to fight for the right to live the lives we want! To love whom we want!  To dress as we wish to!  We march for equality and against discrimination.  We march in solidarity and for the struggles we face around us.  Because a society that respects and values us – gays, lesbians, bi and trans – is a society that is better for everyone.

As an aside, I was glad to note that the American ambassador and his family marched in Tel Aviv with the staff of the Embassy (which flew a giant rainbow flag in support).

Haifa had many local leaders and representatives – including all the liberal political parties and many local businesses – accompanying the 5-10K folks who marched and celebrated.

I missed the gathering at the first meeting point, with the initial speeches, because I can’t really march.  (So sadly I have no pictures of the actual march.)  I went directly to the final destination (carrying my rainbow flag, of course), where there were more speeches and lots of entertainment.

My friend Marina marched with the Progressive Judaism contingent.

(stolen from Marina's facebook wall...sorry M)

(stolen from Marina’s facebook wall…sorry M)

Lots of lovely speakers and MCs

 

 

 

Some folks with very special outfits for the occasion

    

Love those eyelashes…but that ballgown seemed a wee bit…warm for the Haifa heat?

The singer and personality Margalit Tzan’ani (Margol) joined us with music that had everyone singing and dancing and cheering

Booths with drinks, with bubbles, with rainbow products.

   

High energy, smiles and laughter, I didn’t see any negativity there at all.  Well done, Haifa!

      

My only real regret?  It wasn’t until a little later in the afternoon, after everyone had dispersed and gone home, that the SCOTUS ruling was announced.  It would have been nice to have heard it from the stage when we were all together and could celebrate even more for our US friends!  But that’s a subject for the next post…

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Jonathan the Goat is Live!

November 26, 2014

The goat pattern Jonathan has now been released!

I can now show you the (not yet blocked) goats in the scarf so far:

First goat (actually goat three in the pattern):

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Second goat:

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(This was taken before I tinked back and fixed that missed slipped stitch between the horns.)

I’m now working on a non-goat section before I begin the third goat.

Lots of knitting time due to the rain and hail all around the country (and there’s snow up on our northern mountain, Mt. Hermon).  While driving to appointments I actually managed to catch a minute-long break in the storm to take a picture.  Then ran back to the car as the rain once again started pelting me.

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Have a good one!

Vista of Peace

November 24, 2014

A few doors down the road from me is a lovely little haven of a park.  A sculpture garden, with paths and benches and many little half-hidden places to take in the view.  (It’s also the park that kidlet got locked up in a year ago…we don’t go there late any more.)  Called Mitzpor Shalom – Vista of Peace.

All 29 of the bronze life-size sculptures are the work of one artist, Ursula Malbin.  I believe that in 1978 Mitzpor Shalom was the first open-air sculpture garden in the world devoted entirely to the works of an individual woman artist.

Earlier in the day, I had tea and cake with a friend, we braved the cold and sat outside at the cafe where we met up.  Basically because the inside tables were all full.  We – along with everyone else sitting outside – chased the sun for an hour or so.  We shivered in the cold shade of clouds but whenever a table in the direct sunlight opened up one of the groups of shiverers grabbed their things and dishes and moved over.  We were all laughing at our giant game of musical tables without the music, applauding those who successfully moved into a warmer spot each time.  The poor waitress had to keep tabs on who was where.

When I got home, I parked the car and decided to pop over to the sculpture garden.  It hadn’t really started to rain yet, just a few random drops.  Still, all the paths and benches were empty due to the incoming stormclouds.

From the entrance you can see the bay and the port.

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The sculptures are meant to reflect and blend in with the greenery.

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Some surprise you as you go around a bend in the path.

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Some are serious, some are humorous, some are whimsical.

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Not all of the sculptures are of humans…

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I was about halfway through the gardens when the rain started to fall more in earnest, so I cut short my stroll and hurried home.

It’s a wonderful place to escape for a while.  Where do you escape to?

Sadness

November 18, 2014

It has been a sad day.  Day to day business goes on, against a backdrop of terror and hate.

26 children lost fathers today.  And the count may well rise.

Social media is filled with anger, talk of more bloodshed.  News is skewed, uintentionally or deliberately.  Condemnation with a qualification or two.   Politicians pontificating.  A few lone voices pleading for a way to reach peace.

My heart hurts.

 

Beach 1 Forest 0

November 8, 2014

Kidlet wanted to hike in the forest today.  We chose a route that would allow her and boyfriend to hike a trail and meet us at the end where we would have been able to park close by and sit in a lovely nature spot to wait.  We printed out maps and information.

I told her that we have to get moving early if we want to enjoy the forest in the daylight.  Weather is awful – windy and dry and icky, but she was determined.

Except she slept late.  And then couldn’t decide what to do.  By the time we actually got going, we realised that it would become dark too soon for a forest hike.

So we opted instead for the beach.  One of the most beautiful Mediterranean beaches in my opinion, HaBonim Nature Reserve.  Kidlet and boyfriend went off on one trail to climb a hill to an inlet with caves, partner and I took the pup to a different inlet that was easier to get to.

The sand is more shells than sand.  The rocks are shaped by the waves.  The plants are hardy to survive the environment.  The view is serene and hypnotizing.  Here’s a short pictorial view of our visit.

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We stayed as the sun set, and the beach got dark.  We had brownies and beer.  (^_^)  The other folks on the beach left and we had the whole inlet to ourselves.  The stars were amazing.  Partner and I started back to the car before the full moon rose over the hills behind us, so we used flashlights on the dirt trails in the darkness.  Kidlet and boyfriend were a little smarter – they came to meet us after watching the moon rise so they didn’t need flashlights.  Which was good, because they didn’t have any.

We all headed off to a favourite restaurant for a simple, filling meal, then off to home.  Tired but happy.

Have a good week!

 

Late Night Adventure

September 29, 2014

So Saturday evening kidlet suddenly decided we should have an adventure.  At the very end of a long 4-day holiday weekend, of course.  I love spontaneous, partner is not so good with it.  But she took a deep breath and agreed.  Originally boyfriend was to join us, but his visit with his mom went into overtime and he didn’t want us to have to wait.  So just the four of us (3 human, one canine) piled into the car and we headed north.

We drove through several towns looking for a good place to stop.  Conflicting requirements made this difficult, as kidlet wanted an isolated beach with no one around, partner wanted a safe place that allows dogs, and I wanted a comfy place to sit and gaze at the view.  Not that there would be much of a view, it was just past new moon and everything was pitch black.  But never mind.  Dark beaches are fun with the sounds of pounding surf.

We got as far as Achziv but the nice beaches there were locked and dark.  Kidlet was clamouring to keep going north to Rosh Hanikra on the border, partner was clamouring to turn around already and head back.  I wasn’t interested in getting off the main road to explore the dirt roads with no street lights, so we turned around.

Then by turning down random roads we found a nice almost-deserted beach just north of Nahariya.  No place to sit except on the sand, which we did for a while as kidlet wandered along the rocks by the shore.  Kidlet and I amused ourselves by snapping pictures in the dark, or under the light of the single path lamp, while partner fussed about the bad conditions for picture-taking and that we were being silly.

Well, yeah.  Adventure + silly definitely go together, don’t they?

night beach 2

There were tons of night-blooming flowers scattered around the sand a bit back from the beach.  So we turned our cameras on them as well.

night flowers

And a once-removed photo by kidlet – taking a picture of me taking a picture of the flowers…

night flowers once removed

When we returned to the car we decided we were hungry.  A drive down the main street in Nahariya (with the worst traffic-lights in the country, a 3-5 minute wait every few meters…pfui) and along the beach didn’t show anything we wanted, so we next drove to Akko.  After driving back and forth along the beach we settled on a nice café, with indoor seating, a huge deck, and a bunch of tables on the beach itself.

night cafe Akko 2

There were no tables free on the beach, so we opted for the deck.

night cafe Akko

Good food, too.  We all polished off our meals down to the last bite…

night cafe Akko 3

By this time it was well after midnight.  Vowing to remember this café, we took a final stroll along the boardwalk – well, kidlet, partner and dogbeast strolled, I sat on a convenient bench – and then headed home.

night stroll Akko

So do you prefer spontaneous or planned outings?  With something planned, you have a good idea of where you’re going, what’s available and when, and there’s no wasting time and energy.  With spontaneity, there may be more wandering, and more disappointment and/or arguments, but also more surprises and no pressure from a schedule.  Most people seem to fall into one camp or the other, but compromise is possible with a little effort, as proven by our adventure!

The Roaming Pomegranate

September 25, 2014

There’s an old joke that’s been around for years (even made into a song at one point) that says that Jewish holidays are usually based on three things:

  1. They tried to kill us.
  2. We survived.
  3. Let’s eat.

Food does seem to be central to any kind of celebration.  There are traditional dishes for almost any occasion.  Rosh HaShana is no exception.  Most of the customary food for the new year in the Jewish calendar is sweet, nothing bitter, in order to “ensure” a sweet new year.  (Partner’s father even used to forbid eating the gefilte fish with horseradish on Rosh HaShana, as it was too bitter.)

We dip apples in honey.

We dip challah (sweet egg-bread) in honey.  The challah for the new year is not braided as it usually is for Shabbat and other holidays, but spiraled or round, symbolizing the continuity of Creation, and raisins are often added.

We eat honey cake.  (Well, most do, nobody in our household really likes honey cake that much, so we don’t bother.)

We eat a “new fruit”,  a fruit that has recently come into season but that we have not yet had the opportunity to eat, saying a blessing thanking God for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season.  A pomegranate is often used as this new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot/commandments. I’ve never actually checked this out by cutting open a pomegranate and literally counting the seeds.  I really wonder who did to make the above claim, or why, or how they even thought of it. But I can attest to the fact that there sure are a lot of tangy-sweet seeds in those things.  Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranates on Rosh HaShana is that we wish that our good deeds in the coming year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

So.  At last night’s dinner we dipped our challah

new year challah 75

into honey along with the apples.

sweet new year 75

 

We saved our pomegranate for dessert – and then ate so much good food that there was no room for dessert.  Oops.  It will be eaten at tonight’s dinner instead.

So I took our pomegranate and started placing it around the house to symbolize a sweet and plentiful new year in many ways.

Catbeast was intrigued.

sny 75 cat

Dogbeast was a little wary of it.

sny 75 dog

And the pomegranate was on the move!

For a sweet year with plenty of work:

sny 75 work

For a sweet year with plenty of reading:

sny 75 books

For a sweet year with plenty of knitting:

sny 75 knitting

For a sweet year with plenty of healthy and tasty food:

sny 75 cooking

For a sweet year with plenty of music:

sny 75 music

For a sweet year with plenty of friends and laughter:

sny 75 friends

For a sweet year with plenty of travel:

sny 75 travel

For a sweet year with plenty of exercise:

sny 75 exercise

 

For a sweet year with plenty of rest and serenity:

sny 75 rest

And for a sweet new year of peace:

sny 75 peace

L’shana tova, y’all.

 

25 years of Women at the Wall

November 4, 2013

WoW25th

I fully intended to post pictures here today that I had taken at the special 25th anniversary Rosh Hodesh of the Women of the Wall at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.    Unfortunately kidlet was ill, so I stayed home,  supporting only from afar.  I followed the live streaming and posts all throughout the morning, from the first harrassment and cursing before the women even began to pray, then the rabbis turning on loudspeakers to drown out the women singing, until there were 1000 women strong, praying in a beautiful celebration of 25 years of struggle.  Women and men arrived from all over the world to join in.

There have been attacks, arrests, setbacks, legal victories, and compromises.  But the fight continues for women’s rights and freedom to pray as we wish.   Women are still not allowed to pray from the Torah at the Wall – at today’s prayers women held Torah covers aloft as a symbol.

Several hundred men stood on the men’s side supporting WoW, wearing shirts that proclaim they stand with us.   American ambassador Dan Shapiro spoke at the following activities, “I have had many honors… None as great as standing in support of WOW”.

I’ve posted about Women of the Wall before.  Today was a memorable landmark – a quarter of a century.  Support WoW.  Like their facebook page.   Buy a tshirt and wear it proudly, buy a WoW siddur (prayerbook), or choose another way to take a stand.

Our voices will be heard.

Clouds A-Creeping

April 22, 2013

On the trip to kidlet’s school this morning we were treated to a wonderful sight.  Clouds filled the sky – white clouds, gray clouds, dark black rain clouds.  And between them glimpses of very blue sky.

But what was interesting, and what prompted me to tell kidlet to get out the camera and start snapping, was the fact that many of the clouds were just sitting low on the hillsides, like little pockets of fog while we drove by below.

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From a distance, as we approached, it even looked like smoke from a fire.  But no, it was clouds.

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The lower clouds burned off later, and there was more sun, but the higher clouds still remained, at times sending showers of rain down in between the sunny moments.

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Still weird weather for April, but at least intriguing.

 

Shabbat Shalom

April 19, 2013

haifa