Monday, March 26, 2012

Mixed Media

Winter Sunset in Netanya

I have started painting again. I'm not sure if this piece is done or if I will work on it some more. It is mostly acrylic paint with some oil pastel on it. I will leave it for a while and think about it. I am happy to be back to art, although I need to spend some time drawing on my next project before attempting to paint it. This piece is 11" X 14" on canvas.

The view was from our hotel room on the third floor looking down (King Solomon Hotel in Netanya, Israel).  The beach is quite far down as the hotels and road are up higher on a cliff. The promenade runs along the top of the cliff and you have to take stairs to get down to the beach.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jerusalem, Part 2

We finished our “Winter in Netanya” tour with a few days in Jerusalem. This was much more relaxed as we didn’t have so many things scheduled. We were able to take the time to really walk around the city.

On the way back to Jerusalem from Eilat we stopped at Kibbutz Ketura and learned more about mariculture as well as the research and development (Arava Institute) they are doing on farming in a desert environment.  They are doing better financially with growing algae than they did in the past with farming (which they are still doing, but they have converted some of the fields to other uses).  They still grow dates and have a dairy.  The stands of experimental trees were interesting.  I enjoyed learning about the environmental experiments.

One of the highlights of the Jerusalem week was seeing the Hadassah hospitals (both of them). We had great guides and I saw the Chagall windows again. The last time I saw them was in 1963. I took lots of pictures. Now that I have taken over 10 years of art classes, I could appreciate them even more.

The Ein Kerem tower will be open this week for patients. It was almost completely finished when we had our tour. Five of the floors, including the operating suites, are below ground. Hadassah has made a big financial commitment to the hospital for many years. We also saw the Mount Scopus facility which is being used as a rehab center. There is a memorial there for the people who were killed in the ambush of the convoy in 1948. It was sad learning about what happened. It was very impressive seeing both of these facilities and how all the different people work together to take care of each other (the politicians could learn a lot from the people there).

On another day Joe and I walked to the Israel Museum and back to the hotel.  Jerusalem has many hills and this was good exercise as well as fascinating to see how many buildings are built on hills, but how they have also maintained some green spaces. We spent four hours at the museum and did not see all of it. We toured many of the archeology sections, the sculpture garden, some art galleries, the model of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls). Everything is well organized and we had audio guides as well.

We celebrated Purim while we were there and enjoyed more walking around the city and seeing so many people in costumes (both children and adults).  We walked more again and went to the Mahane Yehuda shuk (market), Ben Yehuda Street (lots of Purim activities there and shops), and through the Mamilla Mall (another pedestrian walkway filled with beautiful sculptures as well as typical mall stores).

On Shabbat I attended an all women’s service (in honor of the “Year of the Woman”) at the Conservative Synagogue. The women did a great job and I found the service to be very comfortable and mostly traditional. In the afternoon Joe and I walked down to the Old City and enjoyed exploring on our own. We found places we had seen on our last trip (2006), prayed at the kotel (western wall) and walked around the outside walls as well. We saw more than the last time, including some Christian sites.  I visited with cousins in the evening.

On the last day, there was still an option for one more tour, so I went to the Herzl Museum on Mount Herzl with some of our group. We walked through parts of the cemetery after the tour, but not the same parts I had seen in 2006. Soldiers were practicing for a ceremony to take place next month.  We took the above-ground train back. The public transportation in Israel is excellent.

In the afternoon, Joe and I walked back again to Ben Yehuda Street (pedestrian mall) which was not so busy now that Purim was over and bought more souvenirs to bring back with us. After a very long flight, we are finally back to New Hampshire and enjoying the spring weather.  Although we have been back for one week now, we still find ourselves a bit fatigued, but gradually getting over jet lag.  I have started painting again and next postings will probably be about spring, art or local events. I even saw turtles out sunning themselves on a rock in the pond on my last walk. Thanks to the readers who continued to follow my “travelog” and you can always contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winter in Netanya, Israel, Part Two

As we write this portion for the Reporter it feels like an oxymoron to write, winter in Netanya, because of how winter is in New Hampshire.  The second portion of our trip’s weather was mostly sunny and warm in the sixties and seventies.  On our own we visited artist friends in Ein Hod and another friend in Tzfat on weekends. We had a tour of Tzfat, Rosh Pinah, a Druze village and the roads close to the border with Lebanon. We enjoyed seeing the ruins of two crusader forts. With the group we toured an army base and the city of Maale Adummim on the border during the week.

After spending six weeks in Netanya volunteering four mornings a week helping students with their English communication skills, and afternoons taking Ulpan classes, we moved off to visit Eilat in the very southern tip of Israel. Eilat is normally a four hour ride south of Netanya.  However, we spent time at a war memorial in Dimona making the trip longer.

We arrived in Eilat in the late afternoon and stayed in a relatively new hotel named “Central Park Rimonim.”  While the three hotels we stayed in were good, it is always interesting to note how each one handles guests and dining.

The day following our visit to Eilat, Linda and I walked around the city to locate what kinds of things we would enjoy doing and seeing.  Linda had spent time in Eilat in 1963 working on a summer program as a teenager.  She actually spent six weeks that summer in Israel and she notes that there was no air conditioning then.

We booked a trip to the Marine Underwater Observatory which is a wonderful park for adults and children.  The observatory had a circular building which you could walk out to.  It was located some distance off the beach and when you went downstairs you were actually six meters underneath the surface of the water.  As you walk around the interior you are actually viewing many types of beautiful fish in their natural environment in the coral reefs.

There are numerous other exhibits you can visit as well as a movie theatre showing a film about whale sharks which has seats that move around giving you the rocking motion of a boat.

Our group was able to share in the sixty-third anniversary celebration of the freeing of the city of Eilat at Um Rash Rash from Arab hands.  It was a wonderful celebration with dancing, music and its own style of fireworks.

As a group we were able to have a private guided tour of the Eilat museum.  The curator personally gave us this tour and he was very passionate about the city and its development.  Next door to the museum is an art gallery which was displaying art with the theme for the year of the woman.

On March 6th, we boarded our bus for the trip to Jerusalem with one more kibbutz to visit along the way. The visit to Kibbutz Ketura taught us about mariculture and the importance of research and development in a desert environment.

We arrived in Jerusalem at the Prima Kings hotel just in time for dinner.  Linda and I were getting a little weary of those long drives even though we had comfortable buses to travel in. The Prima Kings is located in the center of Jerusalem and diagonally across from the Conservative Temple.  There is also a Chabad Center adjacent to the hotel and when we spoke with the Chabad rabbi he gave us his card to pass on to Rabbi Krinsky.  They know each other.

Wednesday March 7th, we toured both of Hadassah’s hospitals.  It was impressive to see firsthand what Hadassah has accomplished in its first one-hundred years of existence.  We saw the new tower which has fourteen floors above ground and five floors below ground.  We saw how the trauma centers and the below ground floors are constructed as bomb shelters due to the second intifada.   There is also a new mother and child care center.

During our tour of Hadassah’s first hospital in Jerusalem on Mt. Scopus, our tour guide, who is the executive deputy director, gave us a tour of the facility plus all of the historical facts about the hospital.  She explained why it was evacuated in the war of independence and how it reopened after the six day war. That hospital is now used as a rehabilitation center.

We celebrated Purim at the Conservative Temple across from the hotel.  The next day Linda and I toured the city on foot and found numerous celebrations along main streets for Purim.  Jerusalem seems to go all out for the holiday with musical events and its residents wearing costumes at all ages.

On Saturday morning the Conservative temple held a Shabbat service run completely by women.  Those who attended found it to be a warm and energizing service.

Linda and I walked to the Old City one more time before we departed.  The weather was fantastic all the while we were in Jerusalem and a great time to move around the city on foot.

Saturday evening Linda and I met with one of her cousins who resides here in the city.    It was good to see her cousin once more as it was six years since we saw her last.

It was Sunday and time to do some last minute touring, packing, shopping and a final farewell to our group over dinner before the flight home.  Linda went with a group to the Herzl Museum and cemetery in the morning and had the experience of riding on the new train.

This trip brought us closer to the land of Israel and its people.  Israel is definitely worth more than a 10 day tour and we are both happy to be retired now so we had the time to do the 8 weeks with this group.

(This article was written by Joe for the May issue of The Reporter, the monthly newspaper for the Jewish community in New Hampshire. I still  have more to post about Jerusalem and will do that soon. Part 1 is also on this blog, posted February 8th.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

walking the streets of Jerusalem (poem)

walking the streets of Jerusalem
happy feet
tired feet
walking the old city
and the new 

city of peace
city of conflict
ancient stones and
tall buildings 

ordinary people
dressed in modern clothing
Hasidic clothing
Arabic clothing
and Purim costumes
all going about their
everyday lives 

tourists admiring
every stone
ancient or not
and praying
at the wall
at the churches
at the mosques 

this year we celebrate
the holiday of Purim
reading the Book of Esther
which mysteriously
does not mention God 

I pray that our hidden God
will answer our prayers
and keep our people safe
for another year

©2012 Linda H. Feinberg

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We are finally back home in New Hampshire. I wasn’t able to post about the trip for the last two weeks since the hotels we were in did not have free wi-fi. 

The trip down to Eilat from Netanya was long, but we left the big storm behind. We stopped in Dimona to see a war memorial and learn about the area. It seems that Israel has many memorials like this. I noticed (again) how young the soldiers were who gave their lives for the state.

In Eilat we walked along the promenade. The area is very commercial now, lots of hotels, restaurants and shops. The last time I was there was in 1963 as a teenager and it was quite undeveloped at that time.  On the way there and while we were there, I was intrigued by the play of light on the mountains (that are in Jordan). I tried to take some pictures (from the bus) of the mountains and date groves, but they didn’t come out well.

We went to the underwater park and enjoyed looking at the fish and other sea animals. I took lots of pictures and will put the link at the bottom of this post. We decided not to do the glass bottomed boat and I think we saw more this way. Beautiful fish and corals.  The movie in the park was enjoyable too.

On another day we had a tour of a bird sanctuary, some fish ponds and learned about “mariculture”.  We saw both border crossings while we were in Eilat (Taba, Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan). The borders are close by.

In the evening we went to the city celebration of their 63rd anniversary (of the freeing of Eilat) at the Um Rash Rash site. There were students marching, speeches (in Hebrew), a slide show, singing, dancing, musicians and fireworks – good party.

We visited a history museum that is mostly for the children of the community, but we learned a lot there too. I enjoyed looking at all the fish statues (photo below).  We also visited the art gallery next to it which is celebrating the year of the woman with a gallery show about women.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I do not have a good internet connection here in Eilat so just one photo of the port. The mountains in the background are Jordan. We are heading out to Jerusalem shortly. I hope to have a better connection at the hotel there and will post more information about this part of the trip then.