August 06, 2019

Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel laureate in literature

When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.

Rest in peace. Your memory is a blessing.
February 18, 1931-August 5, 2019

April 09, 2019

In Israel: At a polling station during Israel's parliamentary election

Beautiful brave woman voting while her grandson watches. When he reaches legal age, he will remember this day.

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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June 18, 2018

Youth dancing ballet in Tekoa

Be'eri (on the far right)

I rode with my cousins from Jerusalem to Tekoa, just south of the city to attend their granddaughter Be'eri's ballet recital. The annual event showcases youth dance ensembles in the settlement. Be'eri —Hebrew, for my well was our draw.

Post-recital at her home, a "caravan" — Hebrew, for trailer Be'eri changed into a sequined shirt in honor of my Tel Aviv street Calico.

Kitty shirt

Our family feasted on falafel with all the trimmings followed by blessings of thanks for the meal.

Be-eri's elder sister and a cousin blessed outdoors.

Close to nightfall, quick introductions to special neighbors — horses, several members of a cat colony, and sheep in the distance and a selfie of those whom the lens could capture. Hugs all around when my cousins and I left to return to Jerusalem from where I continued by bus to Tel Aviv.

Tekoa is a Jewish settlement (population: 4500, in 2017) on the edge of the Judean desert. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. Entering and leaving settlements requires passing through a checkpoint. While the location is off for me, think cognitive dissonance.