Monday, February 27, 2012

Always a new sight

Saturday morning's Jerusalem Municipality walking tour was to Yemin Moshe -- the third or fourth tour I've taken of that (now ghost) neighborhood. But this one walked around the outside.

I've been to YMCA (pronounced yimka) often enough. For a couple of years I taught English there. But I never noticed the seraph carved in relief on the tower, a six winged angel using his wings just as Isaiah said he would.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Craft fair and demo space

Looking for the Jerusalem Municipality's Friday morning tour (whose starting point what obscured by both the Hebrew and English listings on the city's extensive website) I discovered the craft fair the stretches up Shatz street from King George and then up the tail beginning of Bezalel St, next to the School of Architecture. Fridays from 10 AM.

The tour (it starts outside the original Bezalel building on Shmuel HaNagid) ended at the "old" Knesset building next to Gan HaSoos (the park withe horse sculpture). I learned that the building had been a cookie factory and that the site of the current Knesset building was chosen partly because there is ample space nearby for demonstrations.

At least that's what the guide said. The plaque on the building says it was built to be an apartment house. I like the cookie-factory story better.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

End of Divine RIght

Beit Avi Chai's lecture series on the Jews of North Africa did not start with their arrival there. The series is, after all, only four lectures. It started with colonialism, and the results of good intentions. (Patricia Limerick has a wonderful riff on good intentions in her book about the history of the American West, Legacy of Conquest).

What we heard about the changes colonialism brought to the Jews of the Maghreb was interesting, but there was also a reminder for all of "the West."

"Louis XIV ruled by divine right, Napoleon by the will of his people (however often he ignored their will)." That change in the basis for the legitimacy of power is something to remember today.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox

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Monday I noticed that the viola da gamba (aka viol) bow also seems loose. The way the musician held it, he seemed to be controlling the tension. Wikipedia ( ) informed me that, indeed, this is how a viol is played. Seeing Mark Eliahu ( ) play his kamanche with an even looser bow ( ) made me notice what I had never noticed before.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snow siege

On Thursday, with the forecast for snow on Saturday, bread flew off the shelves. Since shops are closed on Saturday, people, whether religious or not, always buy enough to last till Sunday. So why the run on bread?

Something in Jerusalemites remembers the siege of Jerusalem. That's all I can figure out. I've never seen shops run out of food on snowy days. The bakeries bake extra and the city, even back before it had snowplows and was set up to salt the streets, sees to it that bread is distributed.

So what folks remember cannot be past snowstorms.

The old remember the siege. The middle aged remember moms buying extra bread when snow or was threatened. And so the custom is passed on.

Even I felt the urge to buy extra bread. Instead I bought eight potatoes. We cook with gas. I can see the canisters from the window. We could probably go on cooking even after an earthquake.

By Friday they were predicting snow both Saturday and Sunday. I looked. There was still plenty of canned tuna on stores shelves, and canned corn -- the two staples bought up before more recent wars. But bread, ah bread, you must have that on hand.

No snow fell in Jerusalem. Much disappointment was expressed. The meteorologist said snow has been known to fall in March in Jerusalem and even in April. Perhaps folks have bread waiting in their freezers now.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Karaite Cemetery

Walk past the (nolonger-used) Turkish railway station. Cross Derekh Khevron. Keep walking, park-for-the-blind on your right, down to the overlook. Abu Tor is to your right. Look down.

The larger rectangle filled with smaller rectangles is the Karaite cemetery.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Homayun Shushtar Bidad

After the third maqam concert I have musical notation of these three forms, three sets of treble clef scales I can play on the piano, with an arrow from D to C above middle C (Homayun), from G to middle C (Shushtar or Chakovak, and from G to D (Bidad of Hijaz Misri And I still do not understand. I'm guessing that the indicated notes show resolution. Not even Wikipedia can get my mind out of its stubborn Western set.

Bu is clear to my ears.

Copyright 2012 Jane S. Fox

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