Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Parting (for now) Shots

I came prepared on this trip with my longest, warmest winter coat and a new pair of fake Uggs in joyful anticipation of weather that would be described on the radio as "gashum v'kar" (rainy and cold). I didn't get to hear that tachazit (forecast) or wear my gear
until yesterday and rejoiced to see Israel blessed with some much needed rainfall.

My mother, may she live and be well, taught me that April showers bring May flowers. Here, winter rains bring blossoming almond trees.
Indeed, just ten days off schedule (since Tu b'Shevat), I spotted my beloved sh'keydiah porachat! What a wonderful bon voyage gift from G-d! What a wonderful parting shot to Remember this amazing month in Jerusalem!

Now, as the sun sets behind the hills that surround Har Nof, we prepare to depart. But don't worry, I've stored up some gorgeous photos and lots of great memories to share with you from the other side of the Sea.

L'hitra'ot, Yerushalayim!
(See you again soon.)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Simply: Tsfat!

Entrance to the Fiddler's Inn
Being on a "working vacation" has been great for us - but it does have a few drawbacks. Actually, just one: not enough time to visit other parts of our beautiful Homeland. But we did manage to spend a Shabbos in the holy city of Tsfat (Safed). About three hours from Jerusalem via some of Israel’s newest, super-fast highways, we entered another world of steep, winding roads and artists’ alleyways. Our accommodations at The Fiddler's Inn were comfortable and affordable. The Inn is owned and operated by a member of the Simply Tsfat band whose performance in Baltimore several months ago helped hook us on the idea of this wonderful weekend get-away.

Our Shabbat meals with local families (American born but long-time residents of this mystical mountain) gave us the full flavor of what Tsfat – and specifically, its Breslov community – is all about. Warmest thanks to our hosts (you know who you are) for welcoming us into your happy, holy homes and sharing the stories of your lives with us.

The Breslov Shul
En Route to Tsfat
Tsfat is one of the four holy cities of Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). To Remember Jerusalem is, by extension, to remember Tsfat, T'verya (Tiberius), Chevron (Hebron) and every amah (a biblical measurement - approx. 21.25 inches) of Artzeynu HaKedosha, our holy Land.

Come stroll the sky blue city of Tsfat with me and maybe we'll meet in one of her ancient alleyways on our next visit....

Bill's Favorite Alley
One of My (Many) Favorite Doors
A Modest Message to Visitors

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Golden Sun a'Shining

Our Tu B'Shevat Table:
Five-out-of-Seven Species
of Fruit of the Land
I might not get to see a sh'keydiah porachat (blossoming almond tree) today because the Hebrew calendar is early this year, but per the same children's song, "a golden sun is shining" on this Tu b'Shevat.

One cannot help but Remember Jerusalem when consuming the seeds of a pomegranate as large as a small melon, grown in holy soil.

The View from our Table
It's not just about the peyrot and p'rachey ha'Aretz (fruits and flowers of the Land). There is much to be said about the mystical and spiritual significance for Man on this "new year for trees". But I promised just a few thousand words...


A Cornucopia of Color in Fruit Drinks:
Guava, Orange-Carrot, Kiwi-Pear-Apple,
Date-Banana, Mango-Passion Fruit...
Happy Tu B'Shevat!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gratefully Overwhelmed

Yes, by the many birthday wishes.
But similarly thankful for all the sights and sounds of my holy surroundings as our longer-than-usual visit to Israel continues.

I haven't taken many photos (too busy being in the moment) but here are a few, including remnants of Israel's recent snowstorm - sadly, many downed trees
and still a clump of the no-longer-white stuff, even after four full weeks of relatively mild weather.
This is a view from the bus en route to Neve Daniel where I reunited with former Baltimoreans, Marietta and Ruti. Click on her name and get a taste of our delicious lunch together. (Scroll way down to the bottom of her post if you want to see where I fit into the picture.)
On Friday, I put in some quality time with Mama Rochel. (Click here to recall how much I miss her when I'm away.)
Afterwards, enjoyed some hot chocolate with my dear Shani who has joined us from the States for a visit of her own.

I am awed anew at how apparent G-d's Hand is in everything here. The connections and "coincidences" follow me onto the buses I catch and in the people I meet and, best of all, in my efforts to understand and apply the amazing Torah I'm learning from amazing teachers. It's beyond imagination...but not beyond belief and I find myself perpetually and Gratefully Overwhelmed.

May you merit to see G-d's Hand clearly in everything you do, wherever you may be - always Remembering that it's so much more clear here in Jerusalem.

Shavua Tov! Have a wondefully overwhelming week.
P.S. This post is dedicated to the memory of Bill's father, Berel ben Chaim, whose yohrtzeit is today. May his neshama (soul) have an aliyah (rise another level in Heaven) and may he be a meilitz yosher (advocate) for his family, friends and all of Am Yisrael.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Few Thousand Words

Don't worry. The title is just a reference to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. In fact, this will actually be a much shorter post than my usual as the hour is late here. It's 11:00 pm - in Israel! With much gratitude to the Almighty, Bill and I are enjoying a slightly longer-than-usual stay in Jerusalem. It's a "working vacation" for both of us but with more flexibility and time to enjoy our physical and spiritual surroundings than on shorter visits.

My original intention was to post a-photo-a-day with very little text. But reality has set in and it'll probably be more like a few pics a few times with as few words as I can control myself to include.

So, for starters, here's a short photo essay on how I spent my Hebrew birthday last night and today. Sending you warm (certainly warmer than Baltimore) greetings from the holy Land and my hope that these blog posts will help you Remember Jerusalem until we are all back here to stay.
Saturday Night Pizza at "Pizza'leh" with Zevy (and Bill)
A "Milky" Treat for Lunch

An Awesome Hour at the Wall with Holy Sisters of Every Stripe