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”

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…”

A Trail of Gifts

Before and after a few days of food.

[Note: My apologies. This is the “real” post and the other has been deleted. The first notice went out when someone accidentally clicked the “Publish” button well before the post was readable.]

Marcia and Miriam, our landlady, have befriended a wild dog. In fairness, the animal they’ve taken to would now be better characterized as loud, untrusting and mischievous since Marcia gave her a name, Miriam made the once small hole in the back fence bigger for ease of entry and both ladies have begun to buy her treats and food.

Marcia’s got the food.

Jutta, that’s what Marcia named her for reasons that may never be known, was only days ago just one of many starving, unloved Jerusalem animals, most of them cats, exceptional only in her ability to avoid being seen. But the poor dog began to break our hearts last month as hunger prompted her to take more risks and she began to visit here regularly (with her tail tucked and barely able to walk) looking for something to eat. Though she only appeared at odd intervals and mostly after dark, her comings and goings eventually betrayed a pattern. She came and left the same way each time; in and out through either of two small holes in Miriam’s fence then across the back of the neighboring yard and off to who knows where through another fence-hole somewhere.

Gifts in exchange for food.

One morning, about 2:30 AM, Jutta woke the whole building with an awful, life-changing howl. Miriam got on her knees the next day and unrepaired the back yard fence to make the hole bigger. She built a small hutch to protect the food that she and Marcia agreed to leave for her, though only cat food that first day.

Marcia began to deliver proper dog food twice daily afterward, big portions, and though we never saw her eating, Jutta ate it all. So things seemed to be looking up for her until a second big winter snowstorm hit Jerusalem.

Continue reading “A Trail of Gifts”