Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Colors of Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market

Tel Aviv is truly a city that never stops. With 14 kilometers of Mediterranean beachfront, promenades, sandy beaches, numerous cafes and restaurants, fancy hotels, trendy nightclubs, and endless blue horizons, Tel Aviv is a must-see destination on any visitor’s Israel itinerary.

The city has been recognized by travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best food cities in the world as well as offering a cuisine suitable for the most discerning vegetarians. Tel Aviv has frequently been mentioned as one of the most gay-friendly travel destinations with its gay beach and huge annual Pride Parade. But the city’s best kept secret is its colorful open air market.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Let the Writer Speak

Earlier this year I was interviewed by Atina Dimtrova, a young Bulgarian author who is currently studying Journalism at City University in London. Here is part of the article that appeared on her website:

Ellis bears no resemblance to any other author. Coming from America, spending his life in Israel, he popularizes Bulgarians’ values. He longed to promote foreign culture, thanks to writing a new book, which speaks volumes about his magnanimity as a human being. The love for writing was revived one more time – with Shuman’s second novel – “The Burgas Affair”. This book was based on Ellis’ research about the link between Israel and Bulgaria. 

“Unfortunately, one of the things that connected us was the terrible terrorist attack in Burgas airport in 2012,” he said. “There was no resolution who actually committed this tremendous crime and I decided to put this question into fiction.”

Read the rest of my interview with Atina Dimitrova on her website.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bulgaria's Secret to Long Life

The Rhodope Mountains in southern Bulgaria are said to be home to the highest percentage of centenarians not only in Bulgaria, but worldwide. According to unofficial estimations, the rate is higher than in Japan and all Western countries. Many Rhodopi residents live to a ripe old age – what is the secret to their longevity?

It starts with yogurt. The ties between Bulgaria and yogurt date back to the days of the Thracians, a group of militant tribes that ruled the Balkans during Roman times. Legend says that these ancient warriors carried sheep’s milk in lambskin bags around their waist. As they rode into battle, their body heat helped ferment the milk into yogurt.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: The Jerusalem Creed

I must admit – anytime that Jerusalem appears in the name of a book it is bound to attract my attention. This was the case when I saw an ad for a thriller set in the Holy City and as the book was being offered for free on Kindle, I quickly downloaded it.

The Jerusalem Creed (Enclave, July, 2015) by Ernest Dempsey is the seventh book in the Sean Wyatt adventure thriller series. Wyatt, a trained killer in his former life, now works for a friend's artifact recovery agency. When Wyatt and his buddy Tommy are attacked in their homes, they realize that they have been targeted by an unknown madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But first, they must figure out exactly what that madman wants.

The book opens in Biblical Jerusalem, where some very important religious relics are to be spirited out of the ancient city ahead of the Babylonian invasion. Two disciples of the high priest are instructed to take these items to the far reaches of the empire, and even beyond, to save them from falling into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Scenes from a Book Launch

It is every author's dream to see his/her book published and promoted at an official book launch. My dream came true, but in a different language!

On June 16th, my novel БYPГАСКАТА АФЕРА (THE BURGAS AFFAIR) was presented at the main Ciela book store in Sofia. The book made its world premiere in the Bulgarian language, as it has not yet been published in English.

THE BURGAS AFFAIR is a fictional account of the aftermath of the terrorist attack at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria, in July 2012. In the book, a Bulgarian policeman is teamed up with an Israeli woman from the Mossad as they work a case involving international terrorists and local criminals in both Bulgaria and Israel, while confronting the traumas of their pasts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bound for Bulgaria to Promote My Novel

Official invitation to the book's launch in Sofia on June 15, 2016.

My wife and I are flying to Bulgaria this afternoon to promote my novel, БYPГАСКАТА АФЕРА (THE BURGAS AFFAIR), at tomorrow evening's book launch in Sofia.

During my stay in Bulgaria I will appear on two television programs and be interviewed by a few major newspapers and websites.

In addition, Jodie and I will have a bit of free time, and despite the high temperatures forecast for the weekend, we will explore the northern Bulgarian city of Ruse on the Danube River.

For those of you who don't read Bulgarian, I hope to launch my novel in English one day soon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I Celebrate Ramadan! On My Own. In My Backyard.

Let me start out by stating that I am not a Muslim. I was born and circumcised after eight days on the planet; I read the Haftarah at my Bar Mitzvah; I was married under a chuppah in Israel - my home and homeland; and I completed the circle by seeing my own son become a Jewish man.

That said, I have always shown an openness to other religions. I have eagerly explored the Catholic cathedrals of Spain; I have visited the Vatican; and here in Israel, I am fascinated, but do not understand the Bahá'ís. Last December, my wife and I spent a weekend in the Druze town Daliat al-Carmel, where the best part of the visit was eating the local hummus, the tasty tehina.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Searching for the Original Dead Sea Scroll

When we first meet Moses Wilhelm Shapira, he has been found dead in a seedy Rotterdam hotel. The year is 1884 and Shapira’s suitcase is stuffed with old manuscripts. Shapira’s business card reads: “M.W. Shapira, Book Seller and Antiquarian, Agent of the British Museum, Jerusalem.”

Shapira, once a purveyor of valuable Biblical artifacts, some of them authentic and others allegedly forged, has put an end to his life as well as to the constant charges that he is the world’s greatest con man. His latest crime, his critics claim, is an attempt to sell a recently discovered scroll of the fifth and final book of the Five Books of Moses.

In The Lost Book of Moses (Ecco, April 2016) by Chanan Tigay we fall under the spell of this original Dead Sea scroll. “It was nothing less than a contemporary copy of the book of Deuteronomy written on parchment ... handwritten more than three thousand years earlier.” Yet this copy of the ancient book was quite different from that known for generations. The “narrow strip of leather tattooed in ancient script” was “rife with passages that were different – sometimes very different – from the traditional version.” The biggest deviation of all was the fact that this manuscript contained an eleventh commandment.