Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Incident on the No. 37 Bus

I took the No. 37 bus from Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood a few weeks ago. Since I hardly ever go to Ramot, I'd never taken it before, so I asked the driver some questions about the route when I got on. The driver said nothing to me about the bus being segregated, nor was there any sign stating any seating policy at all.

After I had finished speaking to the driver and was making my way to a seat, one passenger, a Haredi man, said something to me just before he got off the bus. Since my mind was on planning my route back to town, I didn’t pay attention at first, but suddenly I realized that what he had said was “Helek ahori” – “Rear portion.” No “Please” or “Thank you” – just a curt two words ordering me where to sit.

(Now, as I write this, I am reminded of the well-known story in the Talmud [Eruvin 53b] in which the scholar Beruriah shows her irritation with the saying in Pirke Avot 1:5 that one should not talk too much with women:

Rabbi Yosi the Galilean was once on a journey when he met Beruriah. He asked her, “By what road do I go to Lod?” “Foolish Galilean,” she replied, “did not the rabbis say ‘Engage not in much talk with women’? You should have asked, ‘Which to Lod?’”

Maybe that was why the gentleman spoke so tersely. Anyway, back to the story:)

I got a few quizzical stares from some Haredi men, but I just smiled and stayed alert. I remained where I was, in the front portion, and nobody bothered me. In fact, a Haredi woman sat across the aisle from me in the single-seat section of the bus on the left-hand side. Later on during the ride, another Haredi woman took the window seat next to me. When I got off the bus, I noticed that at least one Haredi man was sitting in the very back seat.

Although the trip was peaceful, I still didn’t like feeling as though I had to be vigilant every time the bus stopped and people got on, wondering whether someone was going to make trouble.

This is not the way things should be on a public bus. This is not the way Egged should be running its business. And this is not why I pay a good chunk of my hard-earned cash for a bus pass every month.

Incidentally, I wrote up an account of the incident in Hebrew and sent it to the email address that the Ministry of Transportation has made available for complaints about forced gender segregation on bus lines (email and fax number on request). I got no response.

Jerusalem’s Old Train Station in Twilight

Old train station

A Sign

No-parking sign outside kindergarten

A polite no-parking sign posted outside a kindergarten. It reads as follows:

When you park on the sidewalk,
you put us in danger

When you park on the sidewalk,
you force us to walk in the street

When you park on the sidewalk,
you show contempt for the law and for others, and this is the message that you are giving to your children

Don't park on the sidewalk... not even when it's raining!
And don't put anyone's life in danger.

There's parking around the corner and across the street.

Let’s hope that people listen.

Aftermath of a Bomb Scare

And thank goodness that a scare was all it was....

The police van, specially equipped to deal with bomb scares, about to return to base:

Bomb-defusing van

The police officer has just finished rolling up the crime-scene tape, and people and traffic can go about freely again.

Aftermath of a bomb scare

The Sketch and Its Subject

Pinocchio, the framer’s cat, has many fans all over the city. Her human companion tells me that well-known people come to visit her frequently. One of them, an artist, did a sketch of her. Here is the sketch next to its lovely subject:

Sketch and subject

Here is the lovely subject on her own:

Pinocchio's eyes

And for a bonus, here is what I found the other day when I went to pick up the newspapers at work:

Cat on newspapers

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Like many cats I’ve seen, Kitten likes to bury his food, or at least pretend to bury it. The other morning, I was almost out the door when I saw the mess. Kitten had accidentally spilled a good portion of his water bowl over his food and spilled most of the food, too.

Since my work days are now fairly long, I prefer to leave Kitten with enough dry food in his bowl to last him the day. Moving into turbo gear, I scooped the soggy food into in a paper towel, washed and dried the bowl, filled it with fresh dry food, and moved the water bowl out of range. Then I headed out, and on the way to the bus stop I left the soggy food, in its paper towel, for the local strays.

I still made the bus and was on time, but when I got home, I told Kitten, "That was a bit too close for comfort, Fuzzmonster. Now you owe me. That's gonna be double cuddles from you for the next few days."

He continues to make good.

Something for the Soul

Or: Yowza! I’m on a podcast!

Menachem Vinegrad of Radio Upper Galilee has featured a song from my CD, Day of Rest, on his podcast, WorldWaves, today!

Download it... or head over to the page... or listen here:

Most of the podcast is in Hebrew, and my song is about twenty minutes in.

Menachem and his wife, Yehudit, are the founders of the Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival... which will be featuring the one and only Christine Lavin this coming spring.

Thank you, Menachem!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Pinocchio Receives Her Fans

Or could it be Basement Cat thinking up some nefarious plot?

Pinocchio on the chair

You decide.

(Yeah, I lolcatted her.)

Welcome to Israel...

... where even the buses say “Shannah tovah” (Happy New Year)!

The bus says "Happy New Year"

The Great Kashering Caper, Part 2

Or, the Frying Pan edition...

First, the frying pan is taken apart and subjected to a process known in Hebrew as libbun kal – in other words, heated until it is red-hot.

Frying pan 2

Now it cools....

Frying pan 3

Still disassembled, all its parts are immersed in boiling water....

Immersing the frying pan

... and rinsed in cool water.

Immersion in cool water

Finally, it is put back together.


Result: one kosher frying pan!

(Well, actually, two.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Forty-Five Minutes

Today, I was remembering how the US secretary of state harangued the Israeli prime minister over the phone for forty-five minutes for daring to allow construction in Ramat Shlomo, as though she were his boss and he were her employee.

I find myself wishing that Bibi would pick up the phone and call her, and have her listen to the children crying for their murdered parents for forty-five minutes... and then listen to the Palestinians cheering the murders and handing out sweets for another forty-five minutes.

And then get the president on an extension, and ask them both exactly why they think that the checkpoints should be removed.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Or should that be “crash”?

This giant screen at the Lev Talpiot shopping center in Jerusalem’s Talpiot industrial zone shows advertisements to the entire area. When I passed by the other day, it was having some trouble.


Oh, dear. Someone call tech support right away!