Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #99-Old and New

As places go, the United States isn’t very old, only about 250 years old.  You have to travel to Europe or Asia to find really old artifacts.  One of the best places to find old construction is the State of Israel.  Itself, it is pretty new, having been founded in 1948. But the Covenant from God, giving the land to the Jews, is pretty old, dating from around 2000 BC.  In 2007, we visited Israel with Michael Medved, and I had a chance to explore the land of my ancestors  All over Israel, you find ancient things.  One place we visited was the Fortress of Masada, where, in the year 73AD, a band of Jews fought to the death, and committed suicide rather than be captured by the Romans.

Tram-Masada

This is how you get from the ground to the top of the massive fortress built right into the mountainside.  A very new mode of transport up the walls of an ancient structure. Here’s a sample of what you see when you get there.

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel

Fast-forward to 1991.  In the summer, I spent a magical three weeks in Cambridge, England, on a UCLA program, studying Medieval English Society.  We went a numerous field trips around the area, visiting towns and castles dating from the period.  One of my favorite places was the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds.  We read the memoirs of a monk, Jocelyn de Brakelond, who lived at the monastery about 1080-1100 AD.

Bury St. Edmunds
House, built into the ruins of the abbey at Bury St. Edmunds, Ely

See how the relatively new house is built right into the medieval ruins!

Cambridge-Lavenham
High Street, Lavenham. A wool town.

The houses on the High Street in Lavenham date from the medieval period.  I think the vehicles are newer than that!

Cambridge view
Myself, in 14th Century doorway, Trinity Hall, Cambridge-I’m 5’6″ tall

This was me in 1991.  The doorway in the College where we stayed, dates from the 14th Century.

Orford Castle
Fireplace, Orford Castle, Suffolk

Orford Castle was built in the late 1170s.  I don’t think the builders of the castle had access to the device next to the hearth.

I think we should appreciate old things, especially ancient things that have survived to today.  Much of what we build nowadays is not built to last centuries, so maybe people hundreds of years from now won’t remember us as easily as we remember the ancient Israelites, or the early English.

As Ralph Stanley, the well-known Bluegrass artist used to say “Watch where you’re goin’, and never forget where you came from”.

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In honor of Chanukah, pictures of Israel

This week marks the holiday of Chanukah, and the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek desecrators of the Temple.  The ancient Jews, fighting for their homeland, were fierce warriors, who were not finally defeated until the Romans did so in 70AD with the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.  Here are some pictures that I took on our trip to Israel in 2007.

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel

Evidence of another group of brave Jews, who committed suicide rather than surrender to the Romans.

View from Wall of Jerusalem Old City.
View from the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. This is MY Country.

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This is the view from Masada, toward the Dead Sea.  Dry, but absolutely beautiful.

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The lower pool at Ein Gedi, oasis amid the parched wilderness.

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The ancient city of Caesarea, on the Mediterranean Sea.  The city of Herod the Great.

WailingWallWomen
Women at the Wailing Wall, remnant of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. These are MY People.

Happy Chanukah to all.

On The Jews

On The Jews

I am currently reading Walter Russell Mead’s book God and Gold, subtitled Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World.  In this book, he discusses the role of religion as one of the forces in the making of the Western Enlightenment societies we have today.  He says this about the Jews in today’s world:

Apart from the significance of Jewish experience to Jews, the survival of the Jews into modern times serves for billions of non-Jews as a kind of historical proof that the God of Abraham is powerful and real.  God told Abraham that he would have descendants who would remember his name–and lo! there they are.  That this unique people, returning almost miraculously against all probability to the land God promised Abraham would support his descendants, is a kind of bone in the throat of the world–a people and a state that can neither be spat out nor swallowed, unable to find rest at “home” or in exile–only further shows billions of Abrahamic believers just how powerful the narrative (or the God) remains after all these millennia.  That world history remains convulsed by the struggles of the Jews to make a home, and that their ethical and military successes and failures reverberate to the ends of the earth, further reinforces the most powerful cultural force that human beings know.

I just love his phrase about the “bone in the throat of the world”, it just works.  And the paragraph above supports what I have come to think of as the role of the Jewish People in the world.

The Jews are the Conscience of Humanity.  You will know when the human race is well and truly doomed.  When the last Jew is gone.

May the Jewish People live, and thrive, Forever.  Amen.

A Post for Jerusalem Day

A Post for Jerusalem Day

And what is “Jerusalem Day“, you ask?  It is a holiday in the State of Israel, celebrating the 51st anniversary of the Jewish Liberation of Jerusalem, uniting it as one city, the GREATEST City, in the State of Israel.  And our President Donald Trump has given the Jewish people of Israel another great gift this year-the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, deciding to finally move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 2007, my husband and I went on a trip to Israel with Michael Medved and his family, where we toured most of the country.  Aside from the very hot weather in July, the trip was wonderful, and very enlightening.  Here are some of the pictures I took on that trip.

 

Wailing Wall

The Western (or Wailing) Wall, a remnant of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

Armenian Quarter

A street in the Armenian Quarter of Old City Jerusalem.  There are many of these back streets, not normally visited by tourists, that really have character.

Old City view

The view from the Old City Wall.  Can you see the cat?

Jaffa Gate

The Jaffa Gate.

Jerusalem from Hotel

The view from our hotel room.

And here are a couple of pictures from other places we visited in Israel.

Painted Door, Safed
Painted Door, Safed, Israel

Just looking at this painted garage door in Safed makes me smile.  It’s a Klezmer band.

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel

We spent an afternoon walking through the ruins at Masada, where a band of Jewish fighters and their families committed suicide rather than be conquered by the Romans.  All through our existence, over 4,000 years, we Jews have had to fight for our freedom-for our very existence.

This Jerusalem Day celebrates a huge victory for Jewish Freedom.

**But this victory will not be final until the Muslims are forced to relinquish their immoral control over the Temple Mount.  This was a major error, and needs to be rectified now, and not later.

The Intelligence Operative’s Children

The Intelligence Operative’s Children

I am very fond of Daniel Silva’s thrillers, about his Hero, Israeli Intelligence Operative (and now head honcho), Gabriel Allon.  Gabriel has worked tirelessly for his country, eliminating terrorists of every stripe, all over the world.  His first wife, Leah, who for years has lived in a psychiatric hospital in Israel, was made insane by the terrorist bomb (see A Death in Vienna) that killed his son, Danny, was sane enough to grant him a divorce a few years ago.  Shortly thereafter, he was able to marry Chiara, his fellow intelligence operative.  They are now proud parents of twins, a boy and a girl (see Black Widow).

All through Silva’s novels, the reader is reminded how dangerous the profession of Intelligence Operative (spy) is.  A spy’s enemies are literally everywhere, following his or her every move, and plotting ways to put him or her out of action.  Gabriel Allon was pretty much a ghost for a long time, his movements fairly cleverly concealed by his home Office, and his attempts to stay out of the public eye.  His actions of terrorist elimination were observable.  Once he is exposed, and his picture is splashed all over the press, it becomes more difficult for him to work.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to a spy’s children.  Once he is known, it becomes much more difficult for him to conceal his and his family’s whereabouts and actions.  In fact, if he and his wife choose to become parents, they are putting innocent people at risk. But having children is a primal human need, and it must be a very delicate decision to make, whether to have those children, ensuring your name and memories survive you, or to decline based on the danger to everyone involved.  The thing that makes a spy’s children a dangerous proposition is the fact that his enemies don’t have to kill him to put him out of action.  They can just go after his family.  Gabriel now doesn’t just have to worry about his terrorist enemies trying to find and kill him, and bomb or otherwise attack his country.  He must worry, 24/7, about the safety of his wife and children, who now are prime targets.

I learned, actually, from the movie The Godfather, how easy it is to drive your enemy insane.  Just go after what they love, and you don’t even have to get them (remember the scene with the horse’s head in the bed-gruesome).  Gabriel Allon is fortunate that his wife is also an intelligence operative, and can use her own considerable wiles to protect their children from harm.  But it must be very difficult to be in that situation, where you pretty much cannot ever relax, ever.  You must be vigilant and observant all the time to protect the children from all the bad people out there, just waiting to pounce.  They all now live in Israel, whose defense services are legendary.  But you and I have read the news stories of the continuous attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians by the ubiquitous Arab terrorists, many of whom live in Israel.

So think about it.  If you were an intelligence operative, would you have children?  I think it’s a case of “choosing life”.  You would, because of God’s Commandment to Choose Life.  Life will always conquer Death.

Year-End Photo Challenge: Resilient Jews

My People, The Jews, are the most resilient people there are.  We are Creators and scholars, in Science, Medicine, The Law, and Business.  The Jews have survived attempted genocide at the hands of the Romans.  (Just look at what the Roman Empire became-Italy now is a basket-case in Europe, as is Greece.)

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel
Wailing Wall
People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.

Yet, We Survive, and Thrive.  We survived the Holocaust in World War II.  Six Million of us slaughtered, yet we Survive.

Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial

And we thrive today, in the State of Israel, may she live forever!

Hotels, Tiberias
Modern Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee
Jerusalem construction
Construction in Jerusalem

The Jews today face enemies, new and old, in the US and around the world.  Islamic Terrorists seek to destroy us wherever we are found (which is basically everywhere).  “Palestinians” seek to destroy the State of Israel, in Israel itself, and in the charnel-house of the United Nations (which has become a forum for the totalitarians and oppressors of the world).  But the Jews will survive, as they always have.  The State of Israel will survive, and thrive, and make its Middle East a better place for everyone, even its sworn enemies.  Jews know how to laugh in the face of evil, and hardship.

painted-door-safed.jpg

It has always been my opinion that the Jews are the Conscience of Humanity.  You will know when Humanity is well and truly doomed…when the last Jew is gone.  May that never happen.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/resilient/

Photo Challenge…Quest…For My People

I am a Jew.  In 2007, I went to Israel with Michael Medved.  For me, it was a quest, to see where my people originated.

Walls, Masada
Walls and room, Masada, Israel

At Masada, dozens of my ancestors committed suicide, rather than submit to being conquered by the Romans.  I felt very close to them when we went there.  Those were My People.

Wailing Wall
People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.

This is the Western Wall, all that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE.  These are My People.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/quest/

Weekly Photo Challenge…Harmony…My Heritage in Pictures, and Music

In 2007, my husband and I went to Israel with Michael Medved and his family (he is based and broadcasts from KTTH 770 Radio in Seattle).  One morning, I took a solitary walk to the Old City in Jerusalem, and visited the Western (Wailing) Wall, the remaining remnant of the Second Temple.  Jews come here to mourn the loss of the Temple, and pray for its restoration.  Many worshippers write their prayers on tiny slips of paper and insert them between the stones, to speak for them after they have left the area.  I felt the wailing, and the prayers, and the anguish of my people-tears came to my eyes.  I placed my hand on the wall to feel its power, and took a picture with my camera.  This is a constant reminder of my visit, and my heritage.  Harmony-connected to the reminder of the 2,500-year history of my people.

My hand on Wailing Wall

This picture has a sound-track, too.  I have always loved this “round”, Don McLean singing “Babylon”.  Words from Psalm 137.

This is a bigger picture of the Wall, and the worshippers.

People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.
People pray at the most powerful symbol of enduring Judiasm.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/harmony/

What the Mainstream Media Keep from You-The Iran Deal

So, what do you think of the “deal” the Obama Administration has “negotiated” with Iran (the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism)?  The people whose opinions I value most ALL think this will be detrimental to world order, arm more terrorists who shout “Death to America!”, start a Middle East nuclear arms race, and spell the possible death of the State of Israel, the ONLY working democracy in the region.

Did you know that there was a huge rally in Times Square, in New York City (whose population is heavily Jewish), on Wednesday evening, AGAINST the deal?  Funny, neither did I.  Well, now you know.  Copy this story.  Send it to all your friends.