19 – Cricket and Soccer and Sacrifices

19 – Cricket and Soccer and Sacrifices

Israel marked two consecutive holidays in April – a day of solemn, grateful remembrance followed by one of celebration

  1. Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day in the U.S.) honoring fallen soldiers for the liberty and security of the nation http://www.aish.com/h/imd/
  2. Yom Ha’atmaut (Independence Day), celebrating the UN’s approval of Israel as a sovereign nation in 1947 – against all odds



I enjoy (most) street musicians!  These two often perform

afternoons or evenings at Zion Square, an intersection on a busy walking mall in central Jerusalem.  This recording is from the evening of Israel Independence Day when a friend and I walked amidst assorted celebrations.

  • Israeli flags were the theme: Tshirts, miniatures waved or decorating hats, assorted sizes adorned buildings and people, some worn as “Superman” capes.
  • There was face painting, vendor food (Kosher hot dogs, popcorn, sweet crepes with your choice chocolate fillings, etc.
  • Teens, drenched in a white foam, soap-like substance, celebrated with spray cans that streamed long distances of great target accuracy, while residual spray misted unintended’s like my friend and I.


The night was unseasonably cold, but favorite Israeli performers and bands gave their all to their scheduled 20 minute performance. Musicians and singers will appreciate the challenge keeping instruments in tune, playing with ccccold fingers, or singing into cold, windy night air.  Styles included rap hip-hop and moderately-hard and soft rock.  I recognized many songs from the radio that earmark performers’ fame.  The wide range of styles alternatively drew OR repelled us into or away from the crowd at the bandstand.  The generalized age shift with style changes was undeniable. Ever the observer of behavior, I am certain a great deal of alcohol was consumed.


The following day many celebrated with barbeques at the park and other outdoor gatherings of family or sweethearts. I enjoyed the Israeli Air Force jets’ fly-overs.  The airshow ebbed and flowed through the day, presumably around other events and ceremonies.  Next year I hope to be reading Hebrew better – to PLAN better, attend the ceremonies and other events I heard about too late, to know when the jets “perform” … rather than hearing their rumble and running to my balcony to watch them.




Jews comprise .2% of the world’s population.  Not 2%, but 0.2%, and yet have earned over 20% of the Nobel Prizes and astoundingly disproportionate success in all arenas of achievement (science, arts, leadership, start-ups, even Olympic medals).  Education, research (medical, agricultural, etc), and successful start-ups are groundbreaking in Israel.  Here are two fun demonstrations for your education and smiles.  First, the smiles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baQfqoZrEvI&feature=share


And for a little digestible physics – the entire Bible on a pinpoint – also from Technion (Israel Institute of Technology)  https://youtu.be/83cYu5xa5n0




I’m told attorneys don’t ask questions unless they already know the answers. Where were you when…

Before asking questions, I usually think in terms of whether I would want to have the same question asked of me, but too often my thinking doesn’t precede my Mouth. One evening, I took a walk for coffee with a man who I suspected was measurably younger than I. I am still chuckling at his looong silence when I asked where he was when JFK was assassinated.  His response?

“In diapers.”



I’m not a fan of sports, but caught these few Sri Lanka Cricket moments at the park near my apartment.

Can you hear the language in the background – it’s NOT Hebrew!  What do they speak in Sri Lanka?!?  The ball was a bit bigger and lighter than a baseball.  Notice there are not gloves or bases, and the pitcher runs rather than standing on a mound.  I’m not sure about foul lines but the videos posted show the flat plank-like “bat” sending the ball sharply to the right and also far away left angles.  That wraps up years’ worth sports interest for this writer!


However, I’ve spent a number of Saturday afternoons at the park to people-watch, enjoy the spring warmth, and watch men play serious soccer.  The competition and camaraderie appear to be long standing, ages ranging from early 20s to 50s. The Hebrew of the family/fans on the sidelines and of the soccer players’ is a great opportunity to catch many words that I now understand, and it helps to move those vocabulary items from the formality of learning into real life.  Thankfully, I’m not sure which if any of the players’ disputes include words that shouldn’t be uttered in the presence of a lady.  Eventually, I suppose I’ll learn those words, too.

Watching MEN?  It’s more fun than watching women!


WHAT?  The post office is closed?  The hours were changed?  WP_20150415_002Oh, here’s the sign with the hours posted.  Helpful indeed.


Ancient history is one of a number of things that puts  ME  in perspective.  How different are the little gods they carved from today’s iPhones and fashion and cars?  Focus on fertility and weather and food (priority not implied, since each meant survival) persists today. Thinking we’re so very modern, life still dances around these subjects’ disappointments, unknowns, and joys. Visit the past in the Israel Museum with me with these photos.


Photo – OssuariesWP_20150411_008

At the risk of sounding morbid, recent conversations about burial, cremation, end of life decisions, etc drew me to this exhibit.  In case you can’t read the Hebrew, English, or Arabic on the display: Birds of prey played an important role in burial.  After death, the bodies of the deceased were left in round structures where they were exposed to birds of prey. When the bones were picked clean and any remaining flesh decomposed, they could be gathered and deposited in ossuaries.


Photo – EggsWP_20150411_002

I’ve been trying to think of a prize to grant the winner of the contest:  Who’s are these??  I’ll give the answer and announce the winner in the next blog (#20)


Photo – Parchment messageWP_20150411_014

“Let your belly be full, your clothes clean, your body and head washed;

enjoy yourself day and night, dance, sing, and have fun;

look upon the child who holds your hand, and let your wife delight in your lap. 

This is the destiny of mortals.”

Who do you know who could benefit from such wisdom? I find it reminiscent of Ecclesiastes 9:7-9. Whether for ritual or worship, entertainment, or unknown purposes, creativity mirrored basic human activities and interest in life’s meaning.  Siduri, a fictional tavern keeper from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh (1800 – 2100 BCE) is the speaker of quote above. (Much of the epic has been unearthed, carved on stone tablets) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh


Photo – large jar with black thingsWP_20150411_011

The large stone jar holds very old figs, carbonized in a fire.  The jar is about 2 feet tall and the opening approximately 12 inches diameter.


Photo – huge stone altarWP_20150411_001

This altar, with raised corners, stands around 5 feet and was used to offer animal sacrifices on the high places. Those of you with some Bible knowledge will recall that the Israelites encountered many problems due to their adoption of the religious practices of the surrounding peoples, rather than adhering to the proscribed worship at their Temple in Jerusalem.  The pagans offered animals and virgins and babies in their own rituals. I envision an animal tied to the 4 corner-posts and burnt in sacrifice. Bleech



This week, or next, invite someone you don’t know for a cup of coffee or a walk… and listen to their story.  You’ll be richer in the end.



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