Friday, February 29, 2008

Have a second look

We make trips in Israel for about half a century.
Sometimes by car and sometimes walking.
During the years we discovered, that to see the most interesting things, you often have to give places a second look.
Go down some path 200 metres and you'll find a mountain full of wild tulips.
Drive on a side road and you'll find fields covered with Lupines.
Where are these places?

In northern Israel near Kibbuts Kfar Gil'adi east of road 90 close to the road leading to the quarry, just behind some huge sculptures made of natural rocks, you have to start climbing and during the right season, you'll see wild tulips like these:

If you take from there roads 90, 99 to road 918 near Kibbuts Gonen you'll find fields covered with Lupines:

Most flowers can be found in springtime, after that in summer, all fields become dry and get yellow-brown.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How do the brains work

Have a good look at this picture

Did you miss something?

The answer is:
The face of Ehud Olmert is B&W and the picture in colours. The human brains seems to add the missing information and assumes that the whole picture was in colours.
By the way, he is the first Israeli prime minister to land in prison. 

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to save water

Kohelet - Ecclesiastes already said:

"What has been, is what will be and what has been done, is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. "(Ecc. 1:9)
In Hebrew:
מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה, הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה, וּמַה-שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה, הוּא שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה; וְאֵין כָּל-חָדָשׁ, תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ

During the War in 1948, water was scarce in Jerusalem. People had to manage with a little of it.

The government published a poster explaining how to live with 10 litres of water a day:
  • Drinking water (2 litres)
  • Cooking water
  • Water to clean vegetables and fruit
  • Water to wash the dishes and cutlery
  • Water to clean yourself
  • Water to clean laundry
  • Water flush the toilet and if the water is not enough use caustic soda - NaOH 2%
I found this poster in a museum in Jerusalem and hung it to remind us of saving water, which is also now scarce.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Metsadah - Masada - מצדה King Herod's fortress that became a stronghold during the Great Revolt

In Southern Israel in the Judean Desert, on a hill is Metsadah, the fortress Herod built, as a place where he could hide from his numerous enemies.
The hill overlooking the Dead Sea is near an ancient road, that leads between the east and the west. The top of the hill is harder than the layers under it and as result of this a table shaped Horst hill.
Herod who was a sophisticated builder, but an extremely cruel individual, constructed a splendid palace in the middle of the desert. His builders had to bring much of the materials from a distance.
At the place are no natural sources of water, so people had to manage with the water they saved from the rain.
Herod built numerous buildings and surrounded the hill with a kazemat wall.

After Herod's dead the place was out of use till it was captured by the zealots during the Great Revolt.
Metsadah was the last stronghold of the Jews in the Revolt and fell in the year 73.
Several kilometres to the North in En Gedi a Jewish settlement existed after the end of the Great Revolt till the sixth century.

Have a look at this video:

Sights of Metsada

Monday, February 04, 2008

The beauty of great things is in little details.

After finishing my new album: The Great Menorah near the Knesset in Jerusalem , I took the opportunity to look at the pictures more closely.

I thought it would be nice to add to the pictures I made in Jerusalem, some Menorah pictures from the same era, made by people who might have been in the Temple and seen it personally.

So I added a picture from the mosaic in Bet Alpha:

Here we can see 2 Menorot (this is the plural of Menorah in Hebrew) on both sides of the Holy Ark.

I thought it would be nice to look for another picture, so I added a picture from the ancient Synagogue in Tiberias near the Sea of Galilee:

Again we see 2 Menorot at both sides of the Holy Ark.

But when I added this picture from the museum of Katsrin it struck me:

The relief carved in the extremely hard Basalt stone, doesn't leave space for many details, so the artist who made it, had to stick to the most important details only.

We see the beautiful shape of the Menorah and ....
It has 3 tiny elegant feet!
When we look at the modern reproduction of the Menorah based on the Roman relief seen at Titus Arch in Rome, we see one massive base.
A tiny difference, but that is the beauty of looking at small details even when about 2000 years have passed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Great Menorah near the Knesset in Jerusalem

Near the Israeli parliament - the Knesset, on a hill overlooking the entrance to the building, stands a huge Menorah - a seven branched candelabrum similar of shape like the one that once stood in the Temple on Mount Moriah.
When the Romans destroyed the Temple in the year 70, three years before the end of the Great Revolt in the year 73, they looted all the treasures from the Temple and brought them to Rome. A picture of the "victory march" can still been seen at the Titus Arch in Rome.
But also in ruins of synagogues of about the same age found on the Golan Heights we can see how the Menorah looked like.
Now, about 2000 years later, near the symbol of our independence, our parliament, the Great Menorah symbolises the history of the Jewish people.
When we look at the Menorah from a distance we see the great picture, but when we get closer we can see some of the most important scenes of what happened during more than 3000 years of history of our people.

The album: The Great Menorah near the Knesset in Jerusalem gives you a closer look at the work of the sculptor Benno Elkan, who was born in Germany, was forced to leave the country by the Nazis and who became a British citizen. The Great Menorah is a gift to the people of Israel donated by the British parliament.