Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yinon Muallem

The room in the basement of the Islamic Art Museum was about the right size for chamber music, though not quite the right shape. We arrived early enough to sit close to the musicians. Their music encompassed us. Greece, Iran, Bulgaria, Iraq beat through us into the hall. You had to be there. I bought CDs, but to be in the presence of the musicians to see them and feel the crowd listening, t hat cannot be recorded. Check the notice board in the wall outside the Islamic Art Museum or their website ( ) for events.

Yinon Muallem - vocals, percussion ( -- but this doesn't capture his percussion virtuosity)

Nissim Lugasi - vocals, tar

Eyal Sela - clarinet, flutes

Yankele Segal - bass guitar

Yaniv Raba - `ud

Copyright 2009 Jane S. Fox

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Arbor Day

  • Four different new years are referenced in the Bible. Ancient Jews decided that the onr on the 15th of Av is the new year for trees.
  • At noon in Jerusalem the rain paused . The sun even shone briefly. The entertainers in the Maheneh Yehuda shouk drew crowds.
  • When the Kurdish dancers walked up the street with drummer, horn, and shofar (which I did not hear sounded) the Klezmer band played a marching tune until they passed. Then the clarinetist took fire.
  • A marching klzmer band, heavy on the brass, made the rounds.
  • Elsewhere, a woman sang in Ladino and her musicians played eastern melodies, old and new.
  • Alround the corner, two older men with glorious young voices sang songs that passersby foxtrotted to, though the Artie Shaw never played such eastern modes.
  • A mime in the best tree costume I have ever seen grew slowly. Another mime was draped in white, like the blossoms of the almond tree, which blooms at this season. A stilt walker appeared in more white drapery and another as a more colorful tree. Clowns tossed roses from balconies. Line dancers debkaed. Jugglers juggled. A candy maker rolled mashed dates in oatmeal and ground almonds.
  • Camera phones were held high, but you really want to be there.

Copyright 2008 Jane S. Fox

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tu bShvat in Jerusalem

Copyright 2008 Jane S. Fox

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Frozen Rainwater

  • Today, a week after the last rain, we found ruts full of water on a dirt road just outside Jerusalem. This was on the Nahal Soreq hiking and biking trail, just west of the entrance to the Hubert Humphrey Park.
  • In shaded spots of water was ice, not a thin sheet but two or three centimeters thick.
  • I have been repeating, "No ice on the sidewalks" with glee, even on the coldest days.

Copyright 2008 Jane S. Fox

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Mikado

  • Enough groups in Jerusalem produce Gilbert and Sullivan that you can go to one of their operettas once or more each year. Today, The Mikado was presented at Beit Shmuel ( ), about two blocks from the King David Hotel, where George W. Bush was staying.
  • The production was professional-quality (and some performers were, indeed, professionals) and enjoyable.
  • On nearby streets what seemed to be the entire Israeli police force was arrayed. They had set up barriers to block traffic and put on down-filled ski suits as protection from the projected freezing temperature.
  • Keren HaYesod Street was blocked, I supose because it is on the path from the hotel to the Prime Minister's office. At one intersection the police told us we could not cross. Two blocks down, police ignored us when we crossed.
  • Nobody drove past. One in our party said, "Bush comes to Jerusalem and it is Yom Kippur" ( ).

Copyright 2008 Jane S. Fox

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Plastic Bags

  • Who remembers string bags?
  • Into these, Israeli shoppers, like European housewives, put the produce they bought at the market.
  • Fifteen or so years ago, Mahaneh Yehuda vendors laughed when presented with string bag or other reuseable carrier. "Yesh nylon!" the stallkeeper would say, pointing to the plantic bags with some indignation, as if the shopper had called him too primitive to do things the modern way.
  • Now the Knesset is trying to pass a law requiring a charge (of more than 25 US cents at the current rate of exchange) for each plastic bag, "to encourage the use of reuseable bags."
  • My string bags are long gone. No doubt I will soon find something similar in the shops. And, if we are fortunate, the vendors will expect me to have one, if I don't want to look like a primitive person who fills the landfills with disposables.

Copyright 2008 Jane S. Fox

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