Today is a blessed day in Israel, it’s our independence day; celebrated in the homes and out in the country. Many people like to hike and to picnic out in the open. It might be a bit of a challenge because there’s rain in most places. Barbeque is a great favorite, and some folks celebrate with a formal banquet. The first chief rabbi of the modern state of Israel, Rabbi Kook said that the proper way to celebrate this day was to walk four steps in the country, where we haven’t walked before. Of course, I could satisfy the requirements by visiting the local Laundromat, but I, like many of my fellow citizens, try to find a new place of natural beauty to visit every year.


Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire conquered our country, subjugated our people, and eventually exiled the majority of our citizens from our homeland. For hundreds of years, Jews went from one country to another, trying to survive, but often facing great obstacles and cruelty at the hands of those who gave us temporary shelter. Our experience as refugees has been a very difficult and painful story… and a long one too. There are many accounts of our trials and sorrows in exile. And those who can read Hebrew, can read the stories of the victims first hand. For we are known as the people of the book because reading and writing has been popular and very wide spread among us since the birth of our nation, over 3500 years ago.


I have chosen to celebrate this day on the blog, by sharing with you some pictures of a beautiful area I just recently visited, in the town of Ein Kerem, very close to Jerusalem. And to celebrate this day, and the coming of spring, I’ve decided to post the whole series in the coming days. I hope my readers will enjoy these nature pictures. I visited with three dear friends, and we had a nice hike, and enjoyed wild flowers as well as some planted flowers in the area. Today I am celebrating with two of my friends, and we will probably walk on ‘new’ ground, and have something of a picnic or banquet too. I haven’t made the plans. I simply enjoy the initiatives of my friends.


I would like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all my friends and readers, in the hope that all people around the world will soon have the joy and freedom to live in their own free and democratic country where they can live according to their culture and traditions and faith, and produce positive things for their own good and the good of their fellow man.


66 responses to “Independence

  1. Best wishes to you Shimon 🙂

  2. Beautiful pictures, a joyful post and a universal hope, thanks, Shimon. My hope also is that many who have fled to other lands for whatever reason will one day find it is both possible and worthwhile to return to their own countries and play their part in building a positive society. May Independence blessings be yours.

  3. A blessed independence day … and thanks for the wonderful wish of independence and goodness for all.

  4. May you have much joy today, Shimon, as you celebrate this wonderful privilege of being independent! I fear that many in my nation take independence too much for granted and have lost the sense of responsibility that makes it work well.
    I look forward to seeing more pictures of your beautiful country!

    • Yes, Ruth, we all tend to take the good for granted. But how wonderful it is, when we do realize how blessed we are. Thank you, and it’ll be a joy to share more pictures.

  5. Have a wonderful day Shimon. We too are celebrating Israel’s 65th in Toronto with many celebrations.

  6. Congratulations to you and your people, Shimon…and yes, that all of us across the globe could be free…that would be a treasure. Thank you for the pictures of your Nature…they look similar to my old homeland in Arizona…and similar to some of my new home here in Utah…umbellifers, wildflowers, wild grasses, and cactus…what a pleasant mix. I will look forward to this new series.

    • Thank you very much, Scott. How nice to think of other places that look the same, where you can find similar wild flowers and plants. I did have a beautiful walk with friends in honor of the holiday, but the weather was a little harsher than usual at this time of the year, with rain and strong winds. It looks like it will rain for the rest of the week.

  7. Happy Independence Day, Shimon! I love the idea of intentionally walking on new ground as a way of celebrating…what a beautiful idea.

    • Yes, It is a great way of appreciating one’s country. You know, we have a very little country, and sometimes it seems as if we know it like the palms of our hands. But when you go out to nature, you always find some new place that you never knew. And each little bit of it, can be a whole new world. Thank you for your comment, Kari Ann.

  8. Thank you, Shimon, for sharing this with the world!

  9. Happy Independence Day Shimon, and how wonderful it would be if all people were free.

    I loved the picture of the cactus and what a lovely little butterfly. What is it called? Is the first picture a type of ground elder?xxxxx

    • I’m sorry to say that I have no idea what sort of butterfly that was. He just investigated a plant near where I was standing, and I took the picture. The first picture is that of cyclamen which grow wild here in our country, and are one of my favorites. The second one, though is a sort of ground elder, and I like them very much. I always look for them in spring. Thanks for your comment, Dina xxx.

  10. Such lovely closing thoughts Shimon. Enjoy your day of celebration.

  11. Please take 4 additional steps for me… Long live Israel!

  12. Beautiful, beautiful images. I especially like the photograph of the cactus. Enjoy this wonderful day of celebration, Shimon.

    • The cactus grows wild in our country. When I was visiting America, I remember that I only saw it in very arid areas, but here it grows right along with very lush greenery. And it has a very tasty fruit too. In fact, our native children are called by the name of the fruit. Thanks for the comment, Lemony.

  13. Best wishes to you too, and happy Independence day!! beautiful images!!

  14. Beautiful idea of taking four steps. Happy Independence Day, Shimon

  15. I hope you had a good time. Love the butterfly.

  16. Freedom is an unspeakable joy that we too often take for granted.Definitely like the idea of stepping into new territory quite often. Those of us who are free are truly blessed.

    • I have very few regrets in this life, Bev. But if there is one thing that I truly regret, it is taking good things for granted… which I have done more than once… many times, actually. Thanks for your comment.

  17. Happy Independence Day!

  18. Happy Independence Day!

  19. Thank you for your kind wishes Shimon and the very best to you as well!

  20. Inspirational words again Shimon, I like the idea of finding new territory in which to leaves one’s footprints.

    • It was a great pleasure, Jacki, walking through nature, and seeing all those very temporary wild flowers… and some sheep grazing on the high grasses. Truly a beautiful day.

  21. Happy Independence Day. I hope it was wonderful. Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos of nature in your area.

  22. appreciate you sharing the photos, Shimon, and best wishes to you and yours as well … from my part of the world, to yours, may there exist peace and harmony amongst people of differing cultures and beliefs, and may we know freedom from oppression and harm

  23. A happy, springtime post, Shimon. Only sixty-five years. What a joy your independence day must be for everyone. I used to plant cyclamen in front of my house every year. They are very expensive here and do not grow wild. I always loved the way the blossoms hold their heads on the stems. Your photographs are wonderful, as always. I look forward to more. And, I remain hopeful of peace too. The cactus is symbolic on many levels. A lovely post, Shimon!

    • We have the cultured cyclamen here too. They are quite different… hardier plants. My mother used to have one on her balcony. I always liked the wild ones more. They’re so delicate and beautiful, but they don’t last for very long. I too like the way the blossoms are held on the stems. Thank you for your comment. It was a very beautiful day.

  24. Happy spring and happy wildflowers to you.

    Heraclitus wrote that you can’t step into the same river twice, because by the second time the river has flowed on and changed. We might say the same about nature. Even a much-visited place reveals new things.

    • You’re quite right, Steve, and so was Heraclitus. But though I enjoy revisiting places where I’ve been, and seeing them again and again, always something new, I am grateful for the advice of the great rabbi. Because it reminds me that there is an infinity of new things to discover in a relatively small land. Thank you for your comment.

  25. Love the photographs, Shimon. And the sentiment!

  26. I’m glad you were able to celebrate with friends. I look forward to the other posts.

  27. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Hi Shimon

    I’m curious why your comments are closed on the ‘confrontation’ photo. Do you mind me asking? Only answer if you like! I still reckoned they were cute!! 🙂

    • Actually, I’m glad you asked. People are so nice and gracious in the blogging world, that sometimes it seems as if they seem to feel an obligation to respond to a new post. And so, when I just post an image for the enjoyment of my friends and readers, I don’t wish to trouble them. I will be posting quite a few pictures now, in celebration of spring… and wanted to save people the trouble of response. Thank you Noeleen.

  28. I agree, thank-you for sharing a part of your life and culture. You are a wonderful photographer.

    • Thank you, Linda. Sometimes I have the feeling that people really don’t know anything about our people and our country, even though we’re in the news a lot… so I thought it would be a good idea to share a little of a normal life here.

  29. These pictures are beautiful! I hope you had a lovely time celebrating. 🙂

    • Yes, it was a very beautiful day, even though it rained on and off. I’ve been sharing some pictures of this time on the blog since then. Thanks for the comment, SighYuki

  30. I wish you the best on the Independence Day and afterwards.I like all wildflowers but cyclamen seem to show color well with their slightly waxy flowers.The color touches my heart.
    We did have an hour program on the BBC the day after Independence Day about the possible future for Israel.
    That showed some beautiful hills on the West Bank and also Israel is only 12 miles wide at that point in the South.I was sorry the program was too short to show more.Some people say the Palestinians are genetically the same as the Israelis.That they may have converted to Islam hundreds of years ago when in danger.I hope eventually peace will come to your land as I know from the bombings here from the IRA for about 30 years how tough it can be to have constant possible shelling etc.We are dangerous beings… .. but also wonderful too,Yet your people have suffered for 2,000 years.I am really impressed by how you live.

    • Thank you very much for your good wishes, MsR. Yes, human beings can certainly make life difficult for one another… sometimes without even trying to. So we can imagine how much more damage is done when people actually seek that. But let’s hope for better times, and look for what’s beautiful in this life.

  31. Yes,there is a line of poetry ,Hope springs eternal in the human breast.And with spring coming after a long winter such a transformation is a good image for peace coming even when we can’t see it as yet

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