Standing by the Gate is moving…

"we're moving" picture of Jerusalem bus

There are a number of features and improvements I have wanted to make to this blog that cannot be implemented as it is now configured at’s free hosting site. So, I will soon move Standing by the Gate to a new domain …

I hope to automatically redirect traffic to the new site but that remains to be determined. If you want to be sure to stay in touch, please jot down the new web address: )

You will definitely see changes, experimentation and eventual improvement at the new site, but it will take some time to reconfigure.

Thank you for your readership, interest and comments.



Appointments in Jerusalem

Richard & Carolyn Hyde
Richard & Carolyn Hyde

Richard, Carolyn Hyde and family, supertalented people on many missions…

Jerusalem is a providential place where coincidence rarely explains anything. It certainly did not seem in play on the day, in 2011, when Carolyn Hyde felt prompted to introduce herself to Marcia and me at a Jerusalem restaurant. In no time afterward,  we became friends of Carolyn and her husband, Richard, two of the most talented, tireless and gracious people we know…

Aliyah, Music, Publishing, TeachingVisit the Hyde family’s website.

As beneficial as our friendship with the Hydes has been to Marcia and me, it doesn’t seem all that exceptional by Jerusalem standards. That’s the way things seem to happen here. Virtually everyone we know in the land seems to have a fascinating story about his or her preordained connections to persons and places in Israel.

Continue reading “Appointments in Jerusalem”

Assaults, sirens, shutdown and remodeling…

CLK_0042Maybe this morning, Tuesday, October 13, 2015, was truly worse than all the others; maybe it was only that it seemed so. All morning, across the city, we could hear beating helicopters, screaming ambulances and convoys of police vehicles racing behind their sirens. A sampling of events…

Meanwhile in America, even-minded Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the preacher President Obama never listened to while regularly attending his church, has weighed in from his hateful perch.

Israel is an apartheid state, Wright finds the time to say (adding that Jesus was a “Palestinian”).

Continue reading “Assaults, sirens, shutdown and remodeling…”

Four Days in a Cloud of Dust

Young Israeli crosses street in Jerusalem during the nations worst dust storm in history.
Crossing the street in Jerusalem on the first morning of A 4-day Storm

A personal recollection of the worst September dust storm in Israel’s modern history…

The worst September dust storm in Israel’s modern history—the worst to strike Israel at any time in the last fifteen years—hit Jerusalem early on the morning of September 8th, 2015, the result of “sandstorms raging in the Syrian desert.” The storm lasted an unprecedented four days and began less than a week after Marcia and I had returned to Jerusalem after spending a month in the States.

Average September Weather in JerusalemThe consecutive daily high temperatures in Jerusalem during the 4-day event were 93, 97, 95, and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our apartment has no air conditioning. The walls of our 77-year-old building are composed of cut stone and poured concrete and are 18 inches thick. These, combined with our high ceilings and Jerusalem’s 3,000 foot elevation above sea level normally make hot weather bearable, if not comfortable, so long as the outside air temperature remains at or below 90 degrees. It also helps to be able to open the windows though that was not a viable option during the storm. We had no warning the night before the storm hit so we innocently closed shop the evening before with our shutters and windows partly open.

Morning brought a surprise. Continue reading “Four Days in a Cloud of Dust”

The “End Times,” Ancient Jewish Cemetery and the Mount of Olives

Rainbow over the Mount of Olives.

Jerusalem Archaeological ParkAbout two weeks ago, to shamelessly aid in promoting my goodStories site, I began posting  a photo each day to my goodStories Instagram gallery, photos I am taking and have taken in Israel. I simultaneously share these on Facebook and Twitter. The above shot was met with a nice response (It’s also one of my favorites.), including several questions.

The photo was taken from an Old City vantage, near the southernmost corner of the Western Wall overlooking the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. (Compare to the inset photo above, taken farther from the wall, credit ) The history of the rainbow shot is simple. On a wet, dark day, the clouds opened briefly, a spectacular rainbow appeared over the Mount of Olives and I happened to be carrying a camera. This post briefly discusses the Mount of Olives and the Jewish cemetery at its base and includes a few additional original photos of the area which may or not eventually make it to my Instagram feed.

Continue reading “The “End Times,” Ancient Jewish Cemetery and the Mount of Olives”

Five things you’re likely to see only in Israel

image collage for post

When was the last time you were accosted by four teenage boys brandishing…Rubik’s Cubes?

My wife, Marcia, and I are now traveling in the US. When people here learn that we live in Israel they often ask how we manage to cope with “all the violence and unrest.” They seem surprised, if not stunned (or skeptical), when we answer that our neighborhood in Jerusalem is a safe and enjoyable place. Remember the following scene from the 1990 comedy, The Freshman…?

Like Matthew Broderick’s Rodolfo Lasparri’s take on Palermo, an informed judgment on Israel would surely benefit from a visit. Though the country has its share of problems it’s not the place one would imagine from having watched only network news. Following are five vignettes from personal experience that might help refine one’s impression of the Middle East’s only democracy.

Continue reading “Five things you’re likely to see only in Israel”


or, “how Juttah got her name…” three prophets bannerYesterday was a big day. Almost ten years ago, Marcia and I began a writing project to create an entertaining and scripturally  accurate novel about the miraculous life of the prophet, Daniel, while he was held captive in Babylon. Yesterday, July 13th, we were thrilled to do a small mailing to announce its publication as an eBook. The Daniel story had already been uploaded for sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo since May but we chose not to publicize it until a second novel was ready to go. This second novel, entitled, The Ivory House, the days of Elijah, is now available as well and, we hope, meets the same criteria, entertaining and accurate.

Juttah, the wild Jerusalem dog, as she appears on The Ivory House book coverRegular readers of this blog may have spotted a familiar face on The Ivory House cover. It’s Juttah, the wild dog of Jerusalem you may remember from here, and here! Always cooperative except when awake, Juttah volunteered to stand in for the male, fictional, canine star  of The Ivory House, also named Juttah…only first. For a look at the original photo of our cover girl before being Photoshopped to look a bit scarier, details on how to keep up with goodStories and more about Juttah’s status, read on.
Continue reading “announcing”

Ariel’s smart move

French-Israelis hold a sign reading "Jews of France in danger, your place is in Israel" during a rally in Tel Aviv in memory of the shooting victims in France on March 22, 2012. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90.
French-Israelis with sign, “Jews of France in danger, your place is in Israel” Tel Aviv, 2012. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90.

I met a French Jew in Jerusalem today, normally not a blog-worthy event but this fellow was from Paris, had just made Aliyah with his family and recently moved into our neighborhood having never seen it. Ariel’s cab had stopped on the street, he stepped out and hailed me then asked the question I am best equipped to handle in Jerusalem.

Do you speak English?

Ariel’s next question, while pointing at the roof of an elementary school, was, “I was told I could see the Knesset from here. Is that true?”

It was almost true, I explained, and once we got the Knesset’s whereabouts settled I learned that Ariel, his wife and children have recently left their home in France and made Aliyah to Israel, in haste, because they feel they can no longer live safely in Paris.

Continue reading “Ariel’s smart move”

Juttah, the movie…




It’s been about two months since the once wild Jerusalem dog (whom Marcia has named, Juttah) appeared half-dead in our backyard desperately seeking food.

It is only natural, then, given the immense interest stirred up by my first blog account of Juttah’s uncertain welfare, found here,  that the sure-to-follow sequel would blossom into a video epic. The epic never materialized, however, ordained or not, but we did manage to upload a short video detailing our new, healthier dog’s progress and prospects to date…

Continue reading “Juttah, the movie…”

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