September 17, 2018

Refugees and asylum seekers awarded diplomas in Levinsky Park

With Gaby, from Eritrea

Meet four among English Level 3 students who completed the course along with a hundred more students of English (Levels 1 and 2), Hebrew (Levels 1-3), computer basics, Photoshop, photography, and pattern making and sewing! All classes are held in Tel Aviv's Central Bus Station.

With Omar, from Darfur

Fellow teachers Hal and Judith flank Shibli and Ibrahim, both from Darfur

Way to go, earnest dreamers working hard six days a week and attending night school two to four times weekly. Next semester begins in a few weeks.

September 08, 2018

"Have you a sweet year" — celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah greeting card and honey cake

On September 9, 2010, Atlanta neighbors nine-year-old Taiwanese Peter Chiou and his mom, Sophia, gifted me the Rosh Hashanah greeting card and honey cake shown in the photo. Their greetings and cake remain timely and fresh.

The delightful Chiou family from Taiwan were my neighbors when veterinarian Tony Chiou was conducting research at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center. With Sophia, also a veterinarian, we shared foods, customs, books, and ideas. Just before Rosh Hashanah, I described our custom of eating apples dipped in honey, symbolizing hopes for sweetness in the coming year. They soon surprised me with their gifts.

This post was originally published September 9, 2010, 5771 in the Jewish calendar.

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May 15, 2018

2018 Ramadan Mubarak to my Muslim and Ismaili friends

Images from “Jerusalem in Detail”
Israel Museum | Oct. 1917 - April 2018

May the holy month of Ramadan that begins this evening be affirming and that you follow tenets of your faith in safety —  observing teachings that root your community to its origins and bind you as a people of social, spiritual, and personal reflection, cleansing, and renewal.

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May 04, 2018

In Tel Aviv: Reunion with Amir Habaya at Frishman Beach

Amir Habayba and I at Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom, 2003
Our first reunion since Amir Habayba and I met, in 2003, in the Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom (Arabic and Hebrew for Oasis of Peace) cooperative village! The years and distances (he is now a UK citizen living in Belgium) vanished with bursts of laughter and joy in sharing memories, updates, ice cream, crushed watermelon drinks, and many hugs.

Here we are today.

At the Tel Aviv seaside Calypso Restaurant, 2018
Amir's beloved friends Rola Shehadeh, Khaled, and their ADORABLE Lolo with whom he drove from Jerusalem to spend a beach day, joined us, expanding the friendship circle with everyone babbling in two of three languages — Arabic, English, and Hebrew!

With Rola, Khaled, and ADORABLE Lolo 

April 12, 2018

In Tel Aviv: Holocaust (Shoah) Remembrance Day

When the SS murdered Romanian-born Leah's parents in front of her,
a Christian neighbor heard the screams and gunshots
and dashed into the house, grabbed the 9-year-old child survivor
insisting she was hers and hid Leah in a crawl space 3 years.

Note: I first published this post on Yom Hashoah 2009.

Today, as every year on the 27th day of the Hebrew month Nisan, at 10 A.M., a two-minute siren wailed nationwide. The sound calls us to remember the six million Jews — one-third of world Jewry then, among them 1.5 million children that the Third Reich systematically exterminated in less than five years. Five million more victims perished, including German opponents of Nazism, Gypsies/Roma, Serbs, Polish intelligentsia, resistance fighters from all nations, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, people with disabilities, habitual criminals, and the "antisocial" such as beggars, vagrants, and hawkers.

Listening to the siren, activities and conversations stop and traffic halts: drivers and passengers exit cars, busses, taxis, and trucks, and pedestrians stand still. Yom Hashoah memorial ceremonies follow at the Knesset (Parliament), the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, and in schools, organizations, and institutions nationwide.

At the corner of Tel Aviv's Allenby and Yavne Streets, in the first public Beit Avot (Home for the Aged), I joined the residents, most of them Shoah survivors, for their memorial ceremony.

Watch the video (5:21 minutes).

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