full moon


We sat around the table in my patio last night… a few friends sampling the different cheeses that Mariana and Paul brought back from Bucharest. I had prepared the old fashioned rye bread, and my friends put together the cheeses, salads and vegetarian enchiladas to make a satisfying dinner to be eaten outdoors. There was a full moon in the sky. We drank a spritz, white wine and soda. It brought back memories of our more sophisticated friends who would have been revolted by mixing good wine with soda… there are all kinds of blasphemy in this world.

Paul is about to get a gift from heaven; a cube of melon

And talking about the past (when spritz was more accepted), it didn’t take long till we got to the future. Paul was telling me about Harari’s latest book which he saw selling like watermelons at the open market when he visited the book fair there. ‘Ah, they have the book fair there too’, I asked. ‘All over the world’, he said. Harari’s book is about the future. He sees the start of the new epoch too. He sees it as the end of the organic age. Everything, including biology will be designed by computer.


I suppose it’ll give us a lot of free time… not only because the computer is well known as a time saving device, but also because we won’t have to waste good time arguing whether computers exist or not. Everyone’s in agreement about that.

under a full moon, Mariana

He had spent the spring meditating on Gnosticism, and gave us a short run down on the essence of such studies. Materialism is evil, but the gnostics didn’t bother with pitting good against evil; they were dedicated to releasing the real god from the spark found in every human being (maybe in every living thing?) Instead of denouncing sin, they denounced ignorance, which explains why there are so many agnostics running around these days. Basically, it’s mysticism, so if we have the patience we can wait, and soon Hollywood stars will be explaining it to us. And since it persevered all the way to China in the last millennium, it might be just the religion appropriate to the global village.


What did I learn? That if you have a beautiful river running in front of your living room window, it is likely to be accompanied by a super highway which will emanate the roar of fast moving up to date motor vehicles. At night you might hear motorcyclists racing one another which is more like a soul shattering whine. If you have a beautiful park behind your house, it’s very likely that it’ll be chosen as a perfect venue for a rock concert if you’re lucky, or a convention of the young enlightened with trance music in the background if your luck has turned. On the other hand, the leaves are greener in Europe, whereas the bureaucracy is further entrenched.

enchiladas, bread, Noga & Nechama

For dessert we had cherry muffins that Mariana had made herself, and one of our number (I’m not naming names), applied an edible plastic whip cream to the top of the muffin which no doubt gave a taste of the future to come. Oh, it’s wonderful to sit outdoors while still enjoying all the comforts of home, and welcome the summer.


59 responses to “full moon

  1. Wonderful post that made me laugh out loud at times. You have a wonderful way of putting things…..:) The cheeses look beautiful as does the muffin even with plastic whipped cream….a taste of the future that has already come.
    I had supper with friends last night In London and we sat in their small garden patio drinking pimms and eating all sorts of goodies. I thoroughly enjoyed observing the beautiful full moon in our very clear skies. We are having a heatwave, ( for us that is…about 30 c.)…with clear skies by day and night. Quite unusual in these parts.
    By the way I like spritz…you have reminded me about this lovely tall summer drink. It’s rarely hot enough here to warrant it….but maybe now. All photographs excellent especially of course the last one with Noga and Nechama.. Janet xxx

    • It’s always such a pleasure for me, Janet, when we get to share a laugh. 30° is quite warm, and just the right weather for a spritz. But it is so nice to be outdoors, and look at the moon from time to time. My best to you always, and here’s to a summer filled with many more such evenings. xxx

  2. What a beautiful evening you had. Yes, I will have a cherry muffin with that plastic stuff on top! 🙂

    • Hi there Loisa. Yes, those muffins were excellent, and there were a few left over, that I put in the refrigerator to enjoy later. Of course, the best way to eat them would have been to take one out and just leave it till it reached room temperature. But remembering how tasty they were, I got a little impatient and warmed one in the oven. I learned this was a mistake, because that muffin came out too dry (I ate it anyway). So I experimented with another one, heating it just a bit in the microwave, and it turned out just fine. Always nice to see you.

  3. What a lovely evening with good friends and good food…. and a beautiful cat

  4. Such a happy gathering under the moon. Good company and good food, what more could one want.

    • Since you asked Tish, and even though it was rhetorical, I’m going to answer. I really have just about everything I could ask for in this life. But there is one thing I’ve been missing ever since I moved, almost five years ago. As I mentioned when I first moved in here, one of the advantages of this new apartment was the patio. I try to enjoy it whenever I can. But I was unable to write there in the morning, because the sun was too bright. I could read my kindle, but I was blind to the screen of my laptop. No big deal. I could write in my study. But it bothered me. Just recently I’ve read about screens that use the same technology of the kindle, it’s called e-ink, and I’ve already ordered such a screen. When it comes, I will once again feel that I have everything. Thanks for your comment.

  5. A wonderful, warm and witty post, my lovely. Sitting outside, sharing food and conversation with beloved company is one of life’s greatest pleasures. ❤ hugs for you, Shimon. xXx

  6. You beat me to it; from a position of experience, I was going to ask about the whipped creamy concoction. What one believes s/he sees, is not necessarily what one will receive, even in a future to come. Yet another lesson learned. The cheeses complemented the table scene.

    The Gnostics pitted against agnostics. Opposite sparks pitted…could they be an exemplar for neutralisation.

    Shalom Shimon, enjoy your summer evenings on the patio.

    • I’m enjoying your contribution to the discussion I reported. I had been thinking of the agnostics as deniers of deity, and hadn’t thought of that spark till you mentioned it. But truly, the spark in the eyes of agnostics can be seen from afar. And now that you’ve directed my attention, I see the confrontation of the Gnostics and Agnostics just like the symbol of the Tao. with the yin and the yang making the complete circle. As you probably know, the eye of the yin is the color of the yang and vice versa. As for the future, it seems we are constantly nibbling on the tastes of things to come, and they usually have something positive to offer, but as you say, the similarity can remind us of the dissimilarity. Thanks menhir, and may we all have an enjoyable summer in peace.

  7. Lovely post. We’ve been having that plastic whipped cream on blueberries. That’s half-healthy.

    • Thanks Myra, and how nice to picture you eating those blueberries with whipped cream. I’m not quick to judge, but from my experience, the whipped cream coming out of those cans have not shown any liability yet. It may have less body than the cream we knew in our youth, but it’s quite tasty, and always ready to serve.

  8. The simpler foods are often far more satisfying than the elaborate dishes, and they go down well outside as the sun lowers in the sky. Nothing wrong with Soda in white wine. Satisfies a thirst without the aberration of the world spinning dizzily! And some interesting conversations. Agnostics are ignorant – I must remember that. I will class myself as Gnostic and then have a think about what it is that I truly know. Maybe a glass of wine will help me on my way – it’s early evening over here after another hot UK day.

    • I agree with you, Andy, about the simple foods, and I think most of my life, I’ve tried to reach simplicity in all areas (though my close friends deny this, and consider the claim a pretension). Now I didn’t say that the Agnostics are ignorant. They just disdain the Gnostics, who in turn fight ignorance. So one could see the agnostic as being more sophisticated than the Gnostics, maybe saying, ‘what’s the point of fighting ignorance; better to just live alongside of it in peace’. Of course the Gnostics believed in a lot of other things as well, such as their own peculiar creation story, and the Agnostics are not required to tell us exactly what it is that they reject regarding the former. As to what we know… I believe it’s relative. There’s so much we don’t know, that I for one, don’t mind hanging on for dear life to the little I think I know… let’s drink to that.

      • I’m reminded of Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld’s famous statement that: ‘There are known knowns. These are things that we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.’

  9. We live in Scotland,which is not known for brilliantly-warm weather. However, we are currently basking in temperatures of 25c to 31c, and it is wonderful to sit out in the afternoon or evening in the garden with friends, without having to watch out for rain. Plastic whipped cream makes a delightful noise as it spreads out it’s calorific pleasure. We call it ‘skooshy-cream but is undoubtedly the same naughty product And then the pleasure of watering the garden, and encouraging the vegetation growth…..a marvellously- simple set of pleasures…..

    • Nice to see you again Harry, and I hope you’re thoroughly enjoying temperatures in the high 20s, up there in Scotland. 31° is a bit warm, but it depends on a number of other factors… such as humidity. We’re lucky here in Jerusalem, to enjoy relatively mild weather most of the year. Because we’re on a mountain, we do get snow and a couple of cold months in winter, but the summer is not very hot, and spring, summer and fall provide many pleasurable days outdoors. Thanks for coming by.

  10. My smile for the day. Actually, several of them. Thank you. (Your patio looks lovely and serene. Blessings.)

  11. Good one, Shimonz. Funny and true. Would love to have been at that table.

  12. I know you insisted that I not harass you about a certain fondness, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel it here. On the other hand, I wish I had listened to that discussion. (It would have been WAY over my head. 😉
    Be well Shimon!

    • You’re too modest Bob. Had you been with us, I’m sure you would have asked the most piercing questions, and we all would have learned more on the subject. But as you can imagine, it was lighthearted conversation which went well with the atmosphere. As for my sins, DrBob, I have the greatest respect for your professional opinion, but as you know, life is a lucky break from an eternity of non existence. And aside from that, would you have recommended to Krauthammer not to go deep sea diving? My very best wishes to you, my friend.

  13. Sitting outside with friends and good food is certainly the perfect way to spend an evening. I’d really like to read Harari’s book about the future, which interests me immensely, no matter my age.

    • I mentioned Harari because it was part of the conversation, Bev. And we are always tickled, when an Israeli attracts international attention. But truth be told, I’ve read just one of his books, which was Sapiens, and I didn’t like it much. Having studied history, I thought that his version of man’s development was highly influenced by post modern fantasy; and colored by his agenda. What emerged in our conversation though, were some serious considerations about the possibility of man changing the environment and eventually his own entity. Thanks for your comment.

  14. I felt like I was dining at your table with your relaxed and humorous narration. The food looks very tasty to me. That with the conversation and the moon would make for a marvelous evening. Welcome summer in Jerusalem!

    • Thanks very much, Cheri. It was a very delightful evening. There are so many interesting activities here in the summer, including art fairs and workshops, outdoor music, jazz performances, and more. When I was younger, I used to enjoy going to town and taking part in a lot of the festivities. Now, maybe we’ll join once or twice… but it seems easier to just enjoy my own little paradise with friends.

  15. WOW! I felt the same thing, As if I was there too dear Shimon, Thank you, as always this is amazing writing and photographs. Have a nice day and weekend, Love, nia

    • It’s very sweet to think of you with us, Nia. And between the singing birds and the gentle laps of human conversation, you would certainly have noticed the catcalls and feline arguments coming from the street and park. I would notice Nechama’s ear picking up every bit of cat activity, even when we couldn’t see them. Thanks so much for the comment.

  16. Great post Shimon about a most interesting conversation and delightful food.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Peter. How is it on your side of the world these days? I imagine that it’ll be snowing soon. Wishing you an easy winter.

  17. I had not heard of Harari but I checked him out on Google. He sruck a note with me. So, what would you recommend as a first book to read>

    • Hi there Paol. Glad to meet you. As I mentioned to Gypsy Bev above, I’m not really a fan of Harari. He came up in conversation and so found a place in this post, but I would find it hard to recommend him. One of our pastimes when we get together, is friendly disagreement, which allows for imaginative argument, and can be amusing at times. But not being familiar with your taste, you might enjoy Harari’s writing.

      • Well Shimon, I did go out yesterday and I bought a copy of ‘Sapiens’. I will let you know how it feels.
        I have a few posts coming up soon that have come out of much coffee drinking with Jewish neighbours. I hope that I make few mistakes and that I give no offence but I am happy to be corrected. I have looked into visiting Israel but unfortunately finances do not allow it.

        • Look forward to hearing what you think of his book. I can’t imagine what sort of mistakes you might make, but I’m sure that discussions with Jewish neighbors are sure to give rise to many different opinions. But I doubt that you’ll offend anyone. I like your icon, Paol.

  18. It sounds like a wonderful evening. Friends, food, drink, talk, and wonder. Excellent evening. I’m happy you had that opportunity and that you shared it with us.

    • It was a fine evening, Corina, and I’m glad you enjoyed the tale. How good it is to see you here. Sending you my wishes for good health, and pleasant sights.

  19. You have me chuckling away here, how I enjoy your sense of humour! I can not think of anything nicer than being able to join you, your friends and Nechama on your veranda, enjoying good food, drinks, amusing conversation all topped off with a full moon. Sure sounds like a slice of heaven to me! Looking at all that cheese had me utterly craving it, how I miss eating it! Sighs….thanks for a simply wonderful summer post, so enjoyable reading this an a warm day in the garden with the dogs and birds everywhere.xxx

    • As a student, and again as a photographer, I learned about the spectrum. Now in recent years I’ve learned it’s a concept. First, as applied to the degree of autism, and then to sexual behavior, and even religious beliefs and ritual. It occurs to me that friendship has a spectrum too. And virtual friendship is somewhere on that spectrum, though I’m not sure where. It is certainly closer to the Greek ideal than well mannered interchange with a colleague in real life. And though I enjoy it, and sense the heart throbs of emotion at times, there is that hint of frustration too that comes with the desire to share sensual pleasures with a dear friend; a glass of wine, the tweet of a bird, and the breeze blowing through the trees. I wonder if the coming generations will find the virtual reality as fulfilling as what we call truly real? Maybe my grandkids will whisper the answer to me over my grave… or maybe to my memory in their consciousness if they are reminded of me by their own growing old in the far future. Always a pleasure to exchange thoughts with you, Dina… they’re real thoughts, even if we’re strolling through virtual reality.

  20. Campari and soda’s my summer drink of choice — I’ll bring the Campari next full moon, you can supply the soda, and we’ll share it all around.

    There’s nothing more lovely than a relaxed summer evening with friends. The only thing that could match the gathering on your patio would be — for me — the pleasures of being at sea on the night watch, or secured in an anchorage with the darkness and stars for companions. It’s always intrigued me how conversation trails off under a full moon on the water. A little gossip, a funny story or two, and then another glass of wine — it’s enough, and more than enough.

    I was so surprised to see your photo of Mariana. I thought immediately of this wonderful woman. She would have been quite comfortable at your table too, I think.

    • It’ll be very good of you to bring the Campari to our next get together. I always liked bitters, and I’m sure it would be just the thing for that type of get together. The most common cocktail we drink in the summer is ‘bloody Mary’, which got improved some 30 years ago after an airplane ride to some foreign country. I recall how amazed I was to find that the ‘bloody Mary’ on the plane tasted better than mine at home. As you can imagine, I had to taste a few before I could identify the missing ingredient, but eventually it became clear to me that my own lacked the vitality of celery. Since then I have always added fresh celery to the mixture… and since I don’t think I’ll take another plane ride in this life, it’s now the best I know.
      As for sitting by the sea… or on the sea… yes I loved that too. I have memories of meditations in such circumstances which are etched on my heart. Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence now, and when I have the longing, I do visit… In fact, the mayor of Tel Aviv felt such compassion for us in that regard, that he named one of their beaches, ‘Jerusalem beach’ so we’d feel at home when we visit. Thanks, Linda.

      • Oh, and I almost forgot to thank you for the reminder of Edith Piaf. We loved her when we were young… and I regret to say, I almost forgot her. But since you offered a link, we’ll probably hear her a few more times now. many thanks. I’ll tell Mariana who she resemble in some eyes…

  21. Lovely lovely post, friend Shimon and sweet Nechama. Wish I was there. Love, cat.

    • thanks cat; we are groping around this virtual world, trying to get the feel of it… maybe someday we’ll reach a state where there’ll be more advantages to a virtual meeting, than there are in a live one… still it’s hard to believe… love

  22. You have me laughing! And that’s a good thing, isn’t it my friend?

  23. So, did Paul catch that gift from heaven directly into his mouth? That photo set the mood for me of how your evening must have been. And after a couple of spritzers (what we call them in California), I would have waxed eloquently on the topics of the evening.
    I love these kinds of get togethers. Thanks for sharing the gift of friendship.

    • Yes, it doesn’t look possible in that picture, just a sliver of a moment before contact, but that cube of watermelon found it’s way into Paul’s mouth… and would never be remembered were it not for the miracle of photography. Just this morning, Angeline, I was invited to join in a vacation trip. I thought about it, and it occurred to me that I have all that I want right here… maybe once I needed it, but life has been good to me. Thanks so much for your comment.

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