Tag Archives: sea

a dog’s life in Nachlaot

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A Dog’s Life in Nachlaot

This picture is an old one. It was one of my earliest in color. And one of the first that I scanned to a digital file. It had to be printed just right to get the effect that I wanted. I remember the first time I published it on the internet. I had scanned it on my desktop, and then looked at it on my laptop… and it was different. I was forced to reset the gamma on my screen in order to properly appreciate the picture. I was discovering the disadvantages of looking at art on a computer. Some images are easily appreciated… and others are tricky. A print is a little easier. You make the print, and pass it around, or it’s hanging on the wall, and everyone sees pretty much the same thing. But when looking at the same image on a digital device, every screen tells a slightly different story. Though really, even a print can cause problems. There are certain difficult pictures that have to be seen in just the right light to get their message across. A tungsten lamp brings out the warm shades of the picture. Fluorescent light will emphasize green. And now with the new ‘economic’ light bulbs, the color spectrum is completely different. A fine printer will shade his print in such a way that it looks best in sunlight, though preferably not in direct sunlight. I used to show my work to customers in my studio near a window, with a translucent curtain across the window.

For me, this image is a reminder of what Jerusalem was like when it was still a small town. Even as late as the sixties, most of us were poor, but we didn’t feel poor. A refrigerator was a rare luxury item then. People had ice boxes. Every morning, you’d hear the ice man making his rounds with horse and wagon, shouting, ice… ice… ice… And we would come out of our homes with a ceramic covered metal tray, and buy a chunk of ice. When I moved to another neighborhood, there was another ice man who had a three wheeled motorcycle with which he pulled the wagon. I remember buying a record player back in those days. Since I already had a radio, they sold me just the deck, which then connected to the amplifier and the loudspeakers of the radio. It cost less that way.

In the picture, you can see that the houses were nicely built, from stone. They had the beauty of simple structures, tastefully constructed. But then, as families grew bigger, folks added rooms, and used whatever materials were most readily available. They used sheet metal to make the walls, and wood to make the seams. There were quite a few balconies made of wood. Since then, this neighborhood has been ‘gentrified’. The houses have been enlarged and look quite elegant. The prices have gone sky high too.

But the strange thing about our rich lives, is that people are less satisfied now than they were then. These days, people have nice cars, and more toys than they have time to play with; huge flat screens, and the latest appliances from Japan, China, or the States. And of course, everyone has a refrigerator. It goes without saying. But a lot of people are dissatisfied. Some folks don’t even know their neighbor’s name. In those days of minimal possessions, we were happier. We made do with very little. There was no television, but people would congregate and sing together. In our neighborhood, in the summer, most of the neighbors would bring chairs and tables outside on Saturday nights, and we’d listen to the radio together. There were some specially talented individuals who’d amuse all of us with their stories or songs.

There was one neighbor, known for his noodle cake, and another, for her punch… and two brothers who used to make dry wine. We were very proud of their wine, though all we did was drink it. And it didn’t have a name… we just called it ‘dry’ to differentiate it from the sweet kiddush wine. There was this guy who had a truck, which he parked near his home at the end of the work day. Sometimes, on a holiday, he’d load up some of his neighbors on the truck, all of us sitting on pillows, and we’d go to the sea shore, and marvel at the power of nature… When someone got into trouble, everyone around who could, tried to help.

And there were dogs that you’d see here and there, back then. But much fewer than we see today. We knew they were man’s best friend… but they were a rarity. There were those who felt uncomfortable in their presence. Jerusalem was cat town then as it is now. With affluence, we’ve had an increase in the popularity of dogs.

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boats in the harbor

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sometimes in a line, or side by side
we give the semblance of order, the hint of pride
in early summer when the weather is fine
and new paint is added, and rot cut away
lines are repaired and wood is well varnished
there are flashes of pride, and adventure before us
and the water needs only, to keep us afloat
as songs from the radio fill the air with romance
leisurely, after the work of sanding and cutting,
when relaxing on a deck chair in the long afternoon,
there might be a beer or two, or a tug at the bottle,
a wisp of smoke in the air for relaxation
as if there was nothing to do
rubbing shoulders all the while with reliance

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out here, don’t you know, we’re an adjunct of the city
we’re the homes of those who can get away
instead of green gardens and seasonal flowers
we’ve got the sea as our backyard, to bring joy to the day.
the power company provides our electric connection
the cell phone rings with cheery calls from friends
apparently well connected, all our needs supplied
dinners may be served in scenic surroundings
or eaten in privacy while we’re seated inside

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there’s some of us here, who’ll never go out to sea
they’ll find consolation in the sights and the smells,
the purr of the motors, the songs of the wind…
the groans of the swell, the roars of the waves
the wimpers of the wood, the salt in the air
and the security of being moored to the wharf
just a step from the land, tethered as always
out of harms way

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but those of us who’ll venture out…
setting sail with intention to return
but well aware that there’s no fair retreat
knowing in the depth of our souls
that life starts with the first centimeter
of release from the moorings
as we slip away from the fetters
and the garbage of idleness
putting our faith on the body of the water,
the solitude of the deep blue sea

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our trust in the stars above
even when they remain unperceived
behind clouds in the black of night.
they are there as they were
yesterday and a thousand years ago
the presence of the sea too, is constant and won’t be tamed
arm wrestling playfully, then she’ll shake, rattle and roll
till even the most practiced sailor will heave
and clench the rail with all his might
no flattery will subdue her, no love will overcome…
alone on the water, we’ll navigate our course
no promise, no assurance, no insurance will deliver us
as we rely on judgment and experience night and day

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metal will buckle and planks will decay
paint will bubble over unforgiving rust
a single mistake may never be forgiven
and a blink in the night, might never be forgotten.
there are fewer fish in the sea, and they remain unseen
and the moods that seemed casual at first
could be later acknowledged with a scream

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good times for sure, the highs intoxicate
but happiness, you know isn’t forever after
no maps or charts to guarantee the temper of mood
or the luck of a voyage between here and the horizon
the personality of the sea knows no surety
the crew relies on one another, the captain on god
and when the captain sails alone
his face etched with resolution…
is one of his eyes waiting for a nod?

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you land lovers above
have the choice, just as we do here
whether to stick with the crowd,
in an ever lasting hug
or live this life the best that you can
on your own, despite the fear

all photos from the Jaffa harbor

The Sea of Galilee

Last week, we got a glimpse of the Sea of Galilee after laughing about politics and politicians. It was a great release from the tension of the campaign here. But it was a rather hazy day, and I didn’t photograph much. Then, after getting some comments about the place, I thought it’d be nice to share some more pictures and subjective impressions of this beloved and essential site.

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In Hebrew, we call this sea, Kineret, which refers to the violin or the biblical harp. There are those who believe it got its name because of a similarity in shape to the body of a violin or a harp. But in fact, there is no recognizable similarity. On the other hand, the talmud tells us that the name was given because its fruits are as sweet as the sound of a violin. Around the beginning of the common era, it was called Tiberias Lake, after the city Tiberias, which sits on the western edge of the sea, and is one of our four holy cities. The city of Tiberias was a center of the Jewish population from the middle ages until the 19th century. Though the name of the town is usually attributed to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, another opinion is found in our literature, where it is referred to as the navel of the country. In Hebrew, ‘tabur’ means navel. It was also the site where the sanhedrin (our ancient parliament) was convened in its last stages.

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The sea and the town of Tiberias are a little more than 200 meters below sea level. So the weather is usually warm there, and the air is rich in oxygen. There are also a number of natural mineral-water pools in the area that were considered health resorts even in ancient times, and still attract tourists to this day. In another country, it probably wouldn’t be called a sea at all. I have seen bodies of water that were larger, which were called lakes in other lands. But we have a little country, and a tendency to call hills mountains, and to think of lakes as seas. In the past hundred years, as our people worked to rebuild our ancient homeland, this sweet water lake provided water for a large part of Israel. Today we have very efficient desalination plants which are contributing an ever growing supply of water.

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How well I remember my first visit to the Kineret many years ago, as a young man. I stayed in a hotel in Tiberias, on the west bank of the sea. I loved the people there. They were warm and open hearted, and seemed to have a simple approach to life. I was enchanted by the beauty of the locale, the many colored boats and the fish… the smells of those fish, and the sight of them linger in my mind to this day. Exotic music was heard from the open shops, some of them displaying their wares on the sidewalks in front. There were fishermen repairing their nets as they carried on conversations that could be overheard by the passers by. The city is home to the devoutly religious too, and attracts pilgrims of both the Jewish and Christian faiths, who come from afar to visit sacred places. And tourists as well, come to appreciate the sights and sounds, oblivious to the long history of the place.

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I remember once, hearing a strange singsong chanting, that was coming from behind the hotel where I was staying. Following the sound, I discovered a group of people who seemed from another world. They walked along slowly, as a group, singing as they went. For they had come on a group pilgrimage to visit the grave of Maimonides, the great Jewish philosopher of the middle ages, who is considered one of the greatest torah scholars of all time. His grave was not far from the hotel. And this group of people had a presence, enveloped in innocence and holiness. Curious as to what they were doing, I approached them. Their dress and their manner… even their accent in speaking Hebrew were completely different from my own. But they embraced me without a second of hesitation, and begged me to walk along with them as they told me of the wonders of the great teacher’s mind.

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The pictures posted here are part of a series of photos that I took on the east bank of the Kineret. Together with some favorite students, and a few artist friends, we were on a nature trip to the Galilee. I got up early one morning, and watched the sun rise. And then, walking along the shore, I studied the meeting of water and earth.

highlights aren’t always where you expect them

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Photographers are always watching out for the highlights and the shadows. Back in the old days, when we worked with film, overexposure could block the negative, and shadows could leave a black stain. I had friends who were very sensitive to the extremes, and did the best they could to keep all the shades within the ranges of grey… ranging from the very light, to the darkest dark… but still retaining an image. My attitude was a little different. I considered the white… even if it was just white paper unprinted… and the blacks… to be part of the shades I worked with. Often, I chose to express myself using slightly stronger contrasts than what is seen with the naked eye.

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I was thinking of this as we approached the last holy day of this month of holidays, which was yesterday. It is the holiday of Simchath Torah; a celebration of the conclusion of our reading of the five books of Moses. And no sooner do we conclude the reading, than we begin a new reading, starting from the first volume once again. The reading takes a year, and we go through all the stories again and again, each year. But of course, they are different each year, just as the autumn of this year will be different from that of last year. Today, we have a bridge. A day when we refrain from working, bridging from yesterday’s holiday to the Sabbath which will start this evening. And on Sunday, we will start the period of ‘after the holidays’.

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While thinking of the highlights of the last month, I was reminded of how sometimes, when we’d look at an image that had been photographed, we would notice highlights where we hadn’t expected them, where a bottle or a silver platter had reflected such intense light that the details in that area of the photograph were wiped out. And on the other end of the scale, sometimes, something rather significant had been swallowed up by the shadow in that part of the image. Well… all I can say about that, is that there is usually much more in a picture than meets the eye. If it’s really important to us… we can search it out. But still, the whole picture is what’s most important.

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There have been some highs and lows even in this last month, filled with holidays and celebration. To tell you the truth, there’s even been heartbreak and agony. But on the whole, it’s been a good time. And having completed all the celebration, we’re ready to go back to living our normal lives. All during this month, as is our custom, we’ve been starting a meal with a slice of bread dipped in honey. From today, we go back to starting our meals with bread dipped in salt. We go back to our work, to our computers, to our appointments, to facing the traffic in the morning, as everyone in the neighborhood starts their day at about the same time, some taking their children to school, and others rushing off to work.

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And what will remain of all those heights? The memory of a walk in the woods? A meeting with friends and loved ones? A song we heard at a get together? There were many great moments along the way… and people very dear to me, who brought me light and joy… not to speak of the many wonderful delicacies that we relished and consumed, wonderful wines and fine whisky. In the last few days, I encountered Wild Turkey which I hadn’t seen for years. And just the day before yesterday, I chose to approach the conclusion of this great time with a visit to the sea. It was a beautiful day in Caesarea… and I watched as two friends disrobed till they were dressed only in their underwear, and jumped into the cold sea for a swim… thinking I might have done that once, but I no longer have the guts or the strength.

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Still, what is important is what we can do, and not the fleeting longings for what is gone. How good it was. And here’s hoping that the coming days, the coming weeks, and the coming months will bring continued growth and learning, great new adventures, health and happiness, a good living, and peace and love. And you know… what I wish for myself, I wish for my friends.

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photo by Rivka

coming home

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a bird on foot

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, when I should have been mourning my mother, my thoughts were distracted by air raid sirens, and rockets being shot at my country… and I didn’t really feel that I had the time or the inner space to deal with what was happening. And so, when all of that quieted down, I turned off the radio, and all the usual distractions… and just tried to collect myself. As many of my friends have mentioned, rituals help a person to deal with life-changing events. But I see rituals, like prayers, as similar to ‘training wheels’ on a bicycle. They can help you to avoid falling on your face. But ultimately, what is most important is to find your own balance. And once a person learns how to really ride a bike, those training wheels are more of a hindrance than an aid.

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looking out at the sea

The same, I believe, is true of prayer. We have prayers written down in the prayer books, and they can teach us to give form to our prayer. They can also unify us with our friends, when we pray as a congregation. I have nothing against them. On the contrary, I think they’re good. But ultimately, when a person calls out to his creator, he really wants to do more than send a form letter. The same is true for rituals. They teach us how to behave in concert with our community… manners and respect for our fellow man; how to sanctify our relationship to a day, or to another human being… but they can’t take the place of true personal commitment, and an awareness of our own feelings on the deepest level.

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the electric plant

When last Friday came along, and I realized that I hadn’t written anything that week, and sat down to write a post on this blog, I soon understood that I just wasn’t ready. The things that were on my mind, just weren’t the sort of things I wanted to share with my readers. So I decided to go off fishing. It was an analogy. In actual fact, I have never fished in my life. But I have accompanied friends on fishing trips many times. I just preferred not to kill a living creature if I didn’t have to. But I did eat the fish that they caught. And when I think about photography or painting, I liken it in my mind to fishing. Unlike the hunter, I don’t go after my prey. I just throw my line or net into the waters, and gratefully accept what came along… or threw it back into the water.

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the inside market

I like to write when there is nothing else I’d rather do… when the words are begging to come out… when they’re threatening me, if you don’t write this soon you’ll forget what you meant to say… That is when I like to write. Or take a picture… it’s the same thing. I don’t like doing anything creative out of a sense of obligation… and on the whole, I’m a very lucky guy. Most of my life, I’ve enjoyed whatever I did. So I decided to forget about writing for the time being, and just take my camera, and go to the places I most enjoy, and see what would happen.

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a well behaved dog

What happened, was an endless chain of memories that went through my head, including things that I didn’t even know I’d remembered. I’m not sure if all these memories were connected really, with the death of my mother… but they were certainly connected with my relationship to myself, and were part of moving on from one chapter to another. As the week went by, I found more and more that brought me happiness and reminded me of my place in this world, despite the fact that most of the memories were somewhat disturbing. Yesterday, I went off with my dear friend Noga, to visit the sea. That is a place that always offers me comfort, and helps me find a good perspective on life. I don’t go to get a suntan, or to take a swim. I go to visit; to smell the salt water, and hear the roar of the waves, and gaze out at the infinite. So it really didn’t matter that there was a light rain. But even when there wasn’t rain, there was a heavy mist that left droplets on my eye glasses, making it difficult for me to see… and after a while, I realized that there was the same problem with the camera lens. It was limiting. But still it was a great pleasure.

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Yizhar and Noga on the promenade

I went with my dear friend Noga, and we met with Yizhar… and there was some pleasant conversation and a visit to the ‘inside’ marketplace at the Tel Aviv harbor, which was full of people… even a couple of rather attractive and well behaved dogs, and by the time we were back in the car and on our way home, I was more relaxed than I had been in a long time, and had a sense of well being. So much so, that I turned on the car radio to hear the news. What a shock. Among a long list of items that were reported, including the visit of our prime minister to Germany, there was mention of the fact that Amir Perez had formally handed in his resignation from Parliament.

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the promenade by the sea

Now he isn’t that important to me as a member of parliament. But he was just recently voted in to the number three spot in the labor party, and it seemed completely unreasonable that he would resign now, just before the national elections, which are supposed to take place in another month and a half. I went looking for another station, but no one else was mentioning it. It gathered that this was already old news. Yet it really awoke my curiosity. Back at home, with the help of the internet, I was able to read the whole story. It turned out that this man, who had only a few years ago, had been the head of the party, was offended by the fact that he had less influence than he used to have. And that the present party chief hadn’t given him the sort of respect he thought he deserved, and had switched parties on the last day on which the political parties present their roster of candidates for parliament before the next election.

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the Tel Aviv harbor

I have been proud in the past of our representative democracy here in Israel. Though I didn’t think it was perfect, I did think it worked very well most of the time, and that it was the best system when compared to all the other alternatives. But as we approach this coming election, it’s seems as if politics has become more like a ‘reality’ show on TV than a true representation of the will of the people. Not that I know much about reality programs. I have only watched one episode, of something called ‘survival’, and it seemed infantile to me, at the time. But I had that impression, and I’ve heard a lot about them, because they’re quite popular here. And now, thinking about what has happened as we’ve been approaching our coming election, I have the strong feeling that something has really broken down in the political arena. My first thought, was to write a humorous piece about politics here, but then I realized that most of my readers aren’t familiar enough with our political system to appreciate something like that… still, it was a sign that I was moving from personal ruminations to thoughts about the world.

looking at the sea

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When I was young, and used to suffer from periods of great sadness, I would often go to the sea. I’d find a good seat, and look out at the water for a while, watching the waves come in… and getting the feel of the mood. I’d look out across the water, all the way to the horizon, and get a little perspective regarding the world; what was big, and what was little… and what was too big to take it all in… because I knew that the sea kept on going, even past the horizon. And as I was contemplating the meeting of land and sea, I would become aware of more and more around me. I would listen to the sounds; first of the waves hitting the shore, and then, of the more subtle sounds, the moans of the wooden structures near the sea, boats bumping or rubbing against their berths… and then the sounds of birds and other living things in the vicinity. After that, I’d become aware of the salty smell of the place, and begin to discern the subtleties of the colors in the water. Sometimes I’d see living things in the water, and get the feeling I could smell the fish. I’d take a long walk along the shore, and commune with leaves and grasses along the way. I’d keep up soaking more and more of what was there, while the pulse of the surf calmed my nerves till eventually, the sensory experience would overwhelm the sadness in my heart and soul, and humbled by the majesty of nature, I would forget about myself, and my own personal problems.

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How wonderful it was, then, yesterday, to visit the sea, after all the years that have gone by… not to find consolation, but to visit with an old friend… without any requests or expectations, but the memory of having loved the place. I had started out my vacation, enjoying the gentle hills of the Galilee, and found myself climbing the high ridges as they approach our northern border, getting close to Lebanon. I’d looked back from the heights, at the agricultural valleys below… seeing the fields through a pretty thick haze, that made it seem like something of a dream… and walked through forests, and rocky stretches in which more modest vegetation found its place between rocks and boulders. I’d toured around familiar places, enjoying good memories as I recognized areas that I’d known more intimately once, looking out the window of my car, stopping here and there to walk and visit with trees and bushes and brushes, in between visits with old friends… getting older like myself. And now, here I was at the sea shore, having come full to overflowing, and grateful for the way things had worked out. And here, once again, had found myself carried by the wonder of the sea, to a more expansive perspective, and an appreciation greater than what I could have asked for, of this world of nature, and the infinity of stories of life… and the gracious environment that supports us.

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And one of the advantages of our little country, is that within a little time, one can move from the plains to the hills, from the mountains to the sea… It is all so close, and yet, one can step out and then find endless worlds, one within the other, going deeper and deeper, or higher and higher according to one’s inclination. And as familiar as it is, at times… it is a different trip every time… and it has gotten better… and keeps on getting better with the passage of years, and with the harmony of many experiences. A few steps can turn into a lifetime of experiences. A moment can go on for ever. I have some pictures to share with you, that will eventually find their way to the blog, some of them, at least… and I have some stories to tell… But the essence is this: the more we open up, the more we can receive… and there is more out there than we can ever know… but it is the greatest joy, knowing that it goes on… way past the horizon.

My best wishes to my readers and friends… may you have a beautiful weekend, or a beautiful Sabbath… or a beautiful hour, whatever you choose… we shall meet again.

two memories

About a week ago, Bob Dylan was here and gave a concert. I didn’t go. I really felt no need. I have seen him in concert quite a few times. In large halls, and in cozy small rooms, and always enjoyed listening to him. I’ve already written about how much I love him. But I don’t need to see him. I enjoy him just as much when I’m listening to one of his records, and without all the people around, and all the difficulties going to public places with crowds, though I did hear that things were pretty loose at his concert, and there was smoking and dancing, and so on. I also read his poetry, occasionally… his songs which have appeared in a number of books for the length of his career. Those of you who have read some of the things I’ve written about him, know that I really love him as an artist.

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his picture in the paper, Dylan

So I didn’t go to the concert, but some of my children did. And the morning after the concert, I couldn’t help but check out the reviews in two of the papers. One was very positive, and in the paper I usually read, there was a rather negative review. Ah, this aroused my curiosity. I learned that the concert was given in a football stadium, and so it wasn’t so easy to see him. And the cameras weren’t allowed to get close, so even on the screens, one couldn’t see him very well. And that he didn’t talk to the audience. We’re used to flattery around here. These world famous artists come to Israel, and tell us how much they love us, and what a wonderful audience we are, and how great it is to play for us. We almost take that for granted. And he didn’t say anything. And then, to make matters still worse, most of what he sang was unfamiliar.

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Rishon Letzion at the shore

The next evening, Eran Sabag spoke of his experience at the concert, and invited a fairly well known local music critic to join him in a discussion of two subjects; the concert of Bob Dylan, and the life and work of John Lee Hooker, who died ten years ago to the day. Eran Sabag has a rather interesting program on the army radio station, in which he discusses interesting people in history, and plays music, very often blues, between bits of conversations he has with guests in the studio… or bits of information he tells us about throughout the program. His program is on almost every night, starting at 10:00 o’clock, and I listen to it mostly because of the blues he plays… I’m usually familiar with the stories of history he tells us. I don’t listen every night. He is a great fan of Dylan, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that he went to the concert, nor that he described the concert on the radio the next day. He thought the performance was terrific. And his guest, the music critic, agreed with him. By coincidence, both of them had taken their girlfriends with them to the concert, to introduce them to Dylan. I feel a certain congeniality with Eran. We like many of the same things.

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a waste basket that looks like a dolphin

As he started describing the concert, it felt as if I was having the experience myself. He described the songs that were played, and quoted some lines from the songs, which he felt were in fact, Dylan talking to the audience. He had heard some of the criticisms… just like I had. He quoted the line, “God said to Abraham, kill me a son. And Abe said, God, you must be putting me on…” You see, said Eran, he was talking straight to us. He spoke of all he heard, and how the people around him behaved, and conversations overheard, including sentences passed between people, as they were going out when it was over… and I tell you, it was just like being there. When Eran’s program was through, I felt as if I had gone to the concert with him. I could understand the complaints too. It’s not so easy for Israelis, most of whom don’t know English all that well. And even if they do, I remember, when I first listened to Dylan, I didn’t always understand all the words.

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There were people who compared his performance to another we had here, not so long ago, when Leonard Cohen came to visit. Not only did the cameras get real close, so you could see every expression on his face, but there was also simultaneous translations of his songs, written on the screen, so everyone could understand the meaning of the songs. And Cohen had sung his songs in a very recognizable way… not too different from the way they were on his records. Dylan is a different sort of artist. He has written a lot of songs… more than he has sung, and some were written for others or sold as songs. He doesn’t want to find himself turning into a juke box or a parrot; hearing himself sing the same song the same way. Each time he performs, it’s a new experience… for him too, and he does different versions of the same songs. That is one of the reasons that I liked the Budokan album so much.

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At the start of this week, I was off to celebrate the summer. These are the long days of summer, and so there’s quite a bit of time left when the day’s work is done. Not to speak of the fact that school is over, and all the kids are free, even though they too have alternative plans, trips, summer school, clubs, special courses, soaking up the sun, and surfing. You ask a ten year old child these days if he feels like going to the beach, and he has to check his calendar before he can give you an answer. But that’s okay. His calendar is connected to his phone… and he’s never without his phone.

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So, I filled the car up with gas, and then, with Noga by my side, we steered down the mountain going north-west… heading for a beautiful beach in Rishon Letzion, where we’ve been before. Gamliel and Hagit were going to join us there, with their six kids, and Yael was going to join us with her four. And Jonah was going to come straight from work… though as we got there, we heard that he’d been delayed at work, and would come later. The beach was clean and beautiful, with paved sidewalks for the more sensitive. There were coffee shops, and restaurants, and toilet facilities, and music in the air… there were cute trash bins in the shape of a dolphin standing up… and because of the well designed sidewalks there were a number of handicapped people on wheel chairs that had come out to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather. The sun was beginning to descend towards that large body of water that is the Mediterranean sea, and it was reflected in the sea. I found myself completely sun blinded, as I tried to watch the great expanse of water before me, and I sipped my strawberry milk shake through a straw.

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The heat of the sun brought thoughts of sun storms, fires on the sun, and how they can affect our weather down here on earth. With most of the educated and politically aware people of this world worrying about the dangers of global warming, the signs are out there that we may have to spend a rather colder 50 years ahead, because of sun spot activities. It has happened in the past and it will happen again. The earth has known ice ages, and green jungles covering the globe, at different periods… long before anyone was worried that human activities might increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

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For someone used to thinking, one thought leads to another, and a train of very interesting and deep thoughts can occupy one’s mind simultaneously with continued sensual pleasure, and visual stimulation, just as one can listen to music while washing the floors. The one doesn’t have to affect the other… it doesn’t… but it did for me… on that day. For months I’d been longing for a visit to the sea; wanting to hear the thunder of the waves against the shore, and see the deep blue waters; wanting to smell the sea, the salt, and the sea creatures beneath the water… and likewise, I had looked forward to the family get together, and the wondrous freedom of a carefree summer day. But I had become lost in thought on the minuscule importance of man within the system of nature. How fleeting and transitory was life… and it happened… I lost my connection to the place, to the moment. The physical reality escaped me. I wasn’t there. Now I’ll have to go back, and do it right.

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Noga was there; I wasn’t

Two memories; one in which I wasn’t there, but came to life by the grace of another’s enthusiasm… and another, in which my body was there… but my mind was lost… and it became as if I wasn’t there.