Tag Archives: love

yesterday

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almond blossoms at the top of the little hill where I live in Jerusalem

When I came into this world, it was hell on earth. My earliest memories are of nightmare qualities. My parents, who were orthodox Jews, were married by ‘arrangement’. and complemented each other in a strange and unexpected manner. My father didn’t really want to bring any children into this world, but my mother wouldn’t hear of such a plan. It was either marriage with children or no marriage and he agreed. In an attempt to offer me some consolation, he suggested that I read history, and this I did. It gave me a wider perspective of human affairs. My mother, on the other hand, told me of the good in the world. She tried to share with me what she loved about life. She was an incurable optimist.

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Nechama my cat does not believe in religion or any ideology. she looks at life from the ground up. she has an exaggerated faith in me. but when we’re taking a walk together and she sees a dog in the area, she hides behind a bush or up in the tree. she doesn’t rely on me to save her.

As a young man I started my learning with the study of religion, and from there I continued to mechanics, science and engineering. This was simply because Jewish people could not feel safe in any country. They had been driven out of one country after another and been forced to adjust to endless changes in language and cultures. The study of engineering or mechanics would allow me to feed myself and my family regardless of where I might have to go to find shelter. But after securing a professional base, I found myself drawn to philosophy. As I would read the thoughts of different philosophers, I was convinced almost every time, identifying with the thinker, and adopting his point of view until I came across the next which I would adopt too. I was naive and trusting when reading these volumes by intelligent rational people… well, some of them were rational. Eventually, I came to existentialism, and this was more or less where that search ended. I tried to live the present. Not to reach out in hope and prayer for the future… not to entertain fantasies about what could happen, and what I wanted to happen. And not to look back… because in my case, I couldn’t even take a peek without inadvertently seeing images of a blood drenched inferno, being beaten up, and tortured by fear.

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she’s an old one eyed cat, but she hasn’t run to fat. she watches the birds on the hill without disclosing her opinions

For most of my life, I continued on this path. And as I’ve mentioned many times in this journal, my life became better and better. To the point where after sixty some years, dying quietly on the floor of my college office after a heart attack, I argued with an ambulance paramedic who wanted to take me to the hospital, saying that I had a good life, and just wanted to be taken home, which was a good place in which to say good bye to the world. Circumstances outwitted me, and I was eventually taken to the hospital where I was saved, but that is a story for another time.

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this is wild mustard that grows freely in the fields at this season, and can be included in a sandwich without industrial additives

What I wanted to say, though, was that for most of my life I preferred to focus on the present. But as I grew old, I realized that in many cases that which was most precious to me, was not the contemporary favorite. It was not just that I’d grown old and was no longer able to keep up, and so waxed nostalgic about what had been popular when I was younger. In my youth I had enjoyed Vivaldi and Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert. I had read philosophical speculations that were sometimes two and three thousand years old, and back again up till the present day. In the pursuit of happiness I had the advantage of checking out anything and everything that had been studied before me. And then… sometime after my retirement, I became entranced by the desire to keep ‘up to date’… and was disappointed.

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more almond blossoms at the same place

technology is a straight line; the arts, philosophy, and music are part of a timeless blossoming of the human spirit. there is no before and after in art.

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As we all know, there is nobility in ‘art for art’s sake, or studying for the sake of knowledge. One discerns music by taste. The reason to play is for the sake of enjoyment…of the player or the listener; either or both. But in the case of technology, there is constant forward motion and progress is judged by practicality. Technology started before recorded history, before the invention of the wheel, before the invention of scissors and pliers or the discover of the uses of fire. And we moved a step forward every time we encountered a practical way to get results that were even better than what we were getting before. There was a long period of time when man was learning how to harness the power of water moving in a river to perform jobs that people had previously been doing by hand. And then there was the steam engine, and then the internal combustion engine. And while these major industrial miracles were being celebrated, there were hundreds and thousands ‘little’ miracles that added to man’s ability to impose his will on nature.

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the same corner where we looked at post modern sculptures on that rainy day

The industrial revolution was perhaps the first time that major customs and conventions were replaced and changed in order to placate the demands of technological progress. After that came the electrical era, and we are now at the very start of the digital age. It is hard to guess just exactly where we’ll go. But I keep in mind that the god of technology is efficiency, whereas the god of art, music and philosophy is reflected in the infinite variations of human sensitivity, empathy, emotions, and the questioning of our own existence.

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corner Jaffa & King George

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love

Jerusalem of Gold

Golden Jerusalem

revisited

December Love

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There are still a lot of sweet moments and sights on the streets of Jerusalem, like this couple, waiting for a bus…

Georgia on my mind

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Came across Georgia while visiting Janne. She was sprawled across the sofa, deep in thought… but looked up into my eyes when I looked at her, and there was that click. Who’re you, I asked her… not having seen her before… and she really looked like she belonged. ‘I’m Ilana’s friend’, she said.
Well, you look like you’ve got it made, I said. ‘Shows how much you know’, she said, and looked down at the couch. I waited, sure she was gonna tell me her story… but she was in no hurry. After some long minutes had passed, she added, ‘don’t you see the cut on my lip’.

You know, you meet someone, and there are so many ways to connect. Some folks are most attracted by looks, and others look for a similar background or taste. Some like brains, and others like heart. Sometimes you just feel some connection and don’t know where it’s coming from… Personally, I’ve always been attracted by a thinking individual. But in this case, it was purely physical. She had a beautiful white fur, and a look that went straight through you and bounced off of whatever was behind you. She edged over to me, and layed her head on my knee. It was physical. I rubbed the back of her neck with a thumb and forefinger, and then scratched her head a bit.

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We didn’t get around to talking till I was taking my nap in the late afternoon. She lay across my chest, and we were breathing together in harmony. We’d gotten to know one another a bit, before. She’d rubbed my legs, to let me know she liked me, and I’d petted her a bit.

So what’s your story?, I asked her, as we lay on the sofa, listening to some country and western songs I’d chosen from my MP3, coming out of speakers that sat on the closed sewing machine in the corner. There was that relaxed togetherness that sometimes takes years… and when luck is with you, can be there instantly. She told me she’d been living in a small apartment with a six cats and a couple of monkeys, and a lot of ego… and was beginning to feel so crowded, she didn’t know how long the situation could last. It got to the point where she’d mark her territory for the other cats, and the monkeys would get insulted thinking she was drawing the line for them too. ‘Day after day of bad news’, she said. And the food was nothing to get excited about… And the music took some getting used to, if you know what I mean. And there was the smell of horse…’ she said, leaving letting the comment just sort of ride out there, not going anywhere… You mean, I asked, that there were six cats and a horse in that little apartment? ‘No horse’, she answered, as if she was already thinking of something else… it was very comfortable on the couch… I was petting her back very slowly… and she was whispering into my beard… ‘just the smell’.

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Well, it turned out that Ilana was a very compassionate person, to hear it from Georgia. She took her away from the previous pad and installed her in another, where she hangs out. But then it turned out that at this new pad, the dude in charge was a cat called Charlie, who didn’t care much for Georgia from the moment he layed eyes on her. ‘He was uptight even before I arrived’, she told me, ‘because the monkeys living there had adopted this bitch named Bonnie, and she’s one of those super positive types who’re thankful for just being alive… telling you these up-beat messages, and waving her tail, drooling and licking like it was some kind of special present just for you’.

Turns out that this Charlie had been making her life miserable for the past couple of weeks… hassling her every time she left her room… It got so bad, that Georgia took a dive off the fourth floor balcony, and it took a couple of days till some monkey found her and she was ‘brought back home’. Well, I always like a happy end, I said. I was getting a little hungry by then’, she said. ‘But I’d had enough. I wasn’t going to let Charlie push me around anymore’. It could have hurt, going down from the fourth floor, I said. ‘There were some trees there… and a couple of branches on the way down’. They were happy though, to get you back, I said, half telling her, and half asking. ‘The bitch was all over me… barking with glee that I’d come back all right. I figure I still have to teach her to cool it around me. But first things first. And at this stage, my efforts are directed at Charlie. When he comes near, I just open my mouth and show him my teeth. I don’t say much, but he knows I mean it. Enough is enough’.

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a place

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one of my favorite places in this world

my Jerusalem

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there’s that special bread that I especially love here

When you love a woman, and you wish to tell a friend about her, it’s no simple thing. The first thing you might say… there’s this woman and I love her… but that’s just about yourself. So you try to describe her. She’s not the most beautiful woman in the world… but for you, the moment you see her, you smile… you’re happy. She’s intelligent… but you really don’t care just how much… She wears dresses down to her ankles… she has these little ear rings on her ears… She has black curly hair… but a lot of other women do too. You try to describe her and realize, that it could be any other woman. How do you explain how very special she is for you… how do you explain the way your heart dances when she’s close, looking through the window with you… and you’re not even touching…

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reptile in the rose garden

Well, it’s something like that, when I talk about Jerusalem to those who don’t know her… She’s not the most beautiful city in the world, and she’s not the easiest town in which to live. She’s got problems, and she’s got hang ups… she’s got too much traffic, and it’s not that well mannered considerate traffic. And when foreign dignitaries come to visit, the police close down streets just so the VIPs can go around without waiting at intersections the way we have to.

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turtle sculpture in the park

They say that Tel Aviv never sleeps… well Jerusalem never sleeps either, but no one talks about it. It’s not thought of as some special quality around here. When people think of Jerusalem… visitors, who come from out of town… they think of the wailing wall, or the biblical zoo… they think of the orthodox Jews dressed in black suits… or the colorful Arabs who are willing to negotiate a price in the market place… they think of churches or mosques… or synagogues… or the parliament of Israel, which is called the Knesset. And of course the museum, where you can get lost for days, learning all the time… though they don’t like people to photograph there. None of these things come to mind when I’m out of the city and longing to be home again.

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local folks at the wailing wall

I don’t care much for the pomp and ceremony. And though I love the stores and the market places, and the different malls that can be found in the city, I don’t spend much time there. And many of the libraries that were my second home in years past, are no longer as popular as they once were… after all, the computer has changed our life style to a large degree. I’ve never been at the sports Stadium, named after our legendary mayor, Teddy Kollek, who was elected five times to the job, and served almost 40 years.

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live music at a wine store

What I love about Jerusalem, are the people, with whom I share a common culture, and a common tongue, and the spirit that lingers and floats through the city, through the day and night. The many book stores, and the study halls, and the ‘hole in the wall’ prayer rooms, and the coffee shops, and the bars, and the night clubs and music halls, and the streets with laundry hanging out the windows, and poster boards where everyone can pour his heart out about what matters to him or what’s bothering him, and the parks, and the trees… and even the dead end streets that no one sees except the locals… and yes, the Jerusalem Forest which is sort of attached to the city right at the western edge of it. And the cats who are as much citizens as we are.

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a pleasant neighborhood corner

I like riding in the buses, or on the tram, and listening as other people carry on intricate and emotional conversations with their friends and relatives in front of everyone else while others read the newspaper, a good book, or even pray… not at all self conscious about the fact that they’re exposed and everyone can see them in their private moments. I love the many ice cream stands, and the vendor who cooks hot corn on the sidewalk and sells it hot to passers by in season, and the musicians who play for small change on the promenades… and the tourists who are so impressed by things we take for granted, and take pictures of everything. And now that we have cell phones, everyone seems to take pictures of everything…

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Jacobs ladder; park at the foot of Givat Mordechai

It’s Jerusalem day today. People from all over the country have come to the city, and there are all kinds of activities connected with the day. Some folks have even come from abroad… and so I thought I’d write something about Jerusalem. Though those of you who read me regularly, know I mention my beloved city quite a bit anyway. Trying to write about it as the subject of a post, though, was a bit harder than I expected.