Friday, September 28, 2012


I am reading the book "The Thread" (Victoria Hislop) and on page 177 I found this lovely passage:

"Katarina pulled a chair towards a high shelf and climbed up to get a wooden box. It seemed almost as big as she  was, but she managed to slide it off the shelf and pass it down to Kyria Moreno, who put it in the center of the table.

Katarina ran her hand over the lid, enjoying the patina of smoothness, and traced with her finger the delicate image of the pomegranate, which had been inlaid into its surface. The box was oval, lined with pale pink silk, and the lid itself was padded. The  interior space was divided into tidy compartments, within which were spools of white cotton for lace, lengths of fine gauze edging, skeins of silk in pastel colors, tiny spools smaller than a little finger, and, in the padding of the lid itself, needles ranged in size order."

Happy weekend to all the silk and thread and needle and wooden box and pomegranate lovers! :-)

תודה כוכבה - תודה אלקה! :-)

Monday, September 24, 2012


The day of Atonement has arrived and the Jewish people are starting their 25 hour long absolute fast this afternoon. Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation, when Jews strive to make amends with people and to draw closer to God through prayer and fasting.

Forgiveness is being asked:

For the sin that we have committed under stress or through choice.
For the sin that we have committed in stubbornness or in error.
For the sin that we have committed in the evil meditations of the heart.
For the sin that we have committed by word of mouth.
For the sin that we have committed through abuse of power.
For the sin that we have committed by exploitation of neighbors.
For all these sins, O God of forgiveness, bear with us, pardon us, forgive us!

The traditional Yom Kippur wishes are "Tzom Kal" (Have an Easy Fast) and "Gmar Chatimah Tovah" (May you be sealed for a good year in the book of life) 

גמר חתימה טובה

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


New Year Festivities have been great and are over - waiting now for Yom Kippur and Sukkoth...

My friend Aiva sent me this pretty photo yesterday - please zoom in to fully see and enjoy the beauty of those leave less  flowers...
(Sea squills)

Thursday, September 13, 2012



Dome of the Rock in the old city of Jerusalem

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The holidays of Sukkoth (Feast of the Tabernacles) and Rosh HaShana (New Year) are nearing. That means autumn is here. Yes, the days are still hot and dry, but certain signs, coming back season after season, point to the change. I am reaching for a blanket at dawn. Early mornings are cooler. The nights are longer, the days shorter. The Chazavim ( Sea Squills) with their delicate appearance are blooming every where, and  the Chavazalot HaChof (Sea Daffodils) are adorning the sandy beaches with their snow white lily like blossoms. Have a look at a previous post and photos:

And the pomegranates are ripe, ready to pick from the trees in the garden or to buy at the markets. Pomegranates (Rimonim) are a beloved addition to Rosh HaShana meals, wishing that the new year will be as fruitful and plenty as they are, referring to the many seeds of the fruit.

There is this book I love, by the Israeli author Meir Shalev, whom and all his other books I adore. It is called "The Loves of Judith" (Ke Yamim achadim). In its story is a lovely memory about the pomegranate, told by Zayde, the prominent figure of the book:

'Before Passover, Tonya Rabinovitch's pomegranates blossomed in a plethora of tiny leaves, then they glittered and bloomed red, and in the June Hamsins, the scarlet ovaries puffed up and decked themselves out in their crowns.
Judith made newspaper cones, took Naomi, and together they covered the tiny fruits, and in the autumn when that summer came to a close, the two of them sat on the new walk and ate pomegranates.

The first pomegranates, with big pink seeds, were ready to eat by Rosh HaShana, and the dark sourish ones Judith picked after Sukkoth, squeezed them and strained their juice with the white laundered cloth they used for straining milk, and taught Naomi how to make wine from it.

Years have passed since then, but I can easily picture them sitting on the gray cement, the woman who's dead now and the little girl who has grown up now, blue cloth kerchiefs on both their heads and their four knees bare. Their strong, bare feet are still pricked by the tiny spinning tops of the eucalyptus, which was still standing there, and by the hard little hedgehogs that kept dropping from the casuarinas.

Judith picked up a pomegranate, tapped it gently all around with the wooden handle of the knife and decapitated it. She peeled a bit around the stump, cut around the rind, and cracked the fruit with her fingers.
"Never cut it with a knife, Nomele, she said. "Metal gives pomegranates a bad taste."
With the pad of her thumb, she loosened and spilled the seeds into the palm of her other hand, and from there she poured them into her mouth. 
"Don't let a single seed fall," Judith warned her, as she warned me, too, a few years later when I was also in the world and the two of us sat on that same walk and ate pomegranates. "Don't let a single seed fall. Anyone who drops a seed has lost."

Even today she warns me like that in my mind, but today I don't eat the fruit of those pomegranates. All winter they are occupied by robins and all spring they bloom red and they still ripen into a plethora of fruit. Out of a vague sense of obligation I cup them in paper cones every year, but I don't pick them when they're ripe.

Summer passes, the birds and the wind tear the paper cups, and the tiny fruit flies, who go nuts from the sweetness and lust, hover over the oozing cracks in the rind of the fruit and tell me it's autumn.
Then the pomegranates dry out and harden in their torn wrappers like mummies whose shrouds are undone. Their black rind tells me it's winter and their seeds crumble like corpses' teeth in its winds.'

In my husbands Rosh HaShana gift from work was included a small pretty recipe book, called: "Matkonei Tishrei",  (Tishrei Recipes), with a collection of holiday meals for this period of time. Tishrei is now the first month of the Jewish year, and Rosh HaShana is celebrated at its first two days. But also the feasts of Sukkoth and the fast of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) are present in this month (September/October).

Here is an easy and quick to prepare salad from this booklet, made with pomegranate seeds, very tasty:

1      packet of a baby salad leaves mix
1      cups pomegranate kernels
        remember: don't cut the fruit open with a knife :-)
1/4   cup sugared pecan nuts, crushed
1/4   cup cashew nuts, small pieces
        segments of red grapefruit, the white rind peeled off

2     spoons olive oil
       juice of 1 lemon
1     garlic clove, chopped finely
1     spoon balsamic vinegar
1     spoon honey

Mix well and serve immediately.

שנה טובה ומתוקה - חג שמח

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Rosh HaShana,  (the Head of the Year), the Jewish New Year is coming up and it is a time of gift giving. 
A traditional present would be something sweet and fruity - honey and apples, a bottle of wine, a fruit basket - to wish a sweet year ahead. But each nice gift will be appreciated, and "handmade" is always among the favorites.

Yesterday, at Shabatt, I participated in a Rosh HaShana sale. The bazaar was held in the community center of the little village in the Galilee, where my friend Aiva lives. She had invited me to join. We had a great time, the atmosphere was friendly, a lot of people came, many knowing each other and the artists. There was laughter and music, coffee, cake, cold drinks and cookies. Crafty things were on the tables, and some serious art, like paintings, wall hangings, jewelry was presented. 

I loved the ceramics - the artist had created beautiful and useful dishes, vases, vessels, plates and cups with wonderful glazes. One woman made fantastic lamp work, and her creations from colored glass rods were absolutely stunning. Bags from leather and fabric, scarves, small mosaic items, quilts, jewelry fashioned from beads and buttons (my friends genre), papier mache bowls, necklaces with polymer clay beads, coasters made in enamel technique with lovely motives, wood art, very pretty silver jewelry, (rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings), and even pretty artful cookies in flower shapes, wrapped beautifully in transparent paper, with a bow for adornment - you name it, all was there! At one stand home made liqueur in several tastes was sold, chocolate, mango, kumquats and limoncello. I can testify that it was high quality and very good, because we bought a bottle and enjoyed some in the evening. :-)

This was my table with my beloved helper! I had brought mostly gifts for children, a box full of small fabric hearts, some colorful pouches, lavender hearts, and lavender pillows too.

The wide range and variety of homemade goods was astonishing. Most sellers live in this village or its surroundings. The ceramist for example is my friends next door neighbor. Outside at the yard a nice sitting area was put up, and felafel and waffles with chocolate syrup and powdered sgar were prepared and sold, and one could even have a fresh cold draft beer, from a local small brewery.

But the best thing were those cute girls, who brought all kind of plant material, leaves, blossoms, rosemary needles, small pine cones, twigs and tiny pebbles, squatted on the floor and earnestly created little artful arrangements, which sold for 1 Shekel each! :-) Yes, the artists and/or businesswomen of the future :-)

It was a good day!