Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Book that Led Me to Bosnia

Well, actually two books. The first - an illuminated Hebrew manuscript from the 15th century. The other - a novel by prize-winning Australian-born author Geraldine Brooks. The two books converged in Sarajevo and I was compelled to visit.

The manuscript is the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, the most prized treasure in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Haggadah is a narrative of the Exodus read at the Passover Seder service. Sarajevo's 109-page text is unique because it is handwritten on bleached calfskin, and illuminated in copper and gold, with colorful depictions of Biblical scenes.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Promoting My Novel on Bulgarian Television

My novel THE BURGAS AFFAIR made its world premiere in the Bulgarian language in May, when it was published by Ciela, the leading Bulgarian publishing house. The novel has yet to be published in its original English edition.

I traveled to Bulgaria in June to promote the novel - Бургаската афера. I was interviewed by a number of local newspapers and appeared on two television programs. And I attended the official launch of the novel at the main Ciela bookstore in Sofia.

Monday, October 10, 2016

In Search of Utopia in Israel

In 1988 at the age of 20, David Leach dropped out of university and went to Israel to volunteer on a kibbutz. Leach wasn’t Jewish; he didn’t know the first thing about farming. All he had heard was that a kibbutz was “a cooperative farming village where backpackers could swap manual labor in fields or factories for room and board.” The idea of living in a Biblical, exotic land filled with history and adventure appealed to him, as did the thought of living, at least for a short time, like a true utopian.

Fast forward twenty-five years. Leach, by then an acclaimed journalist and author of literary nonfiction, returned to Israel in search of the freewheeling days of his youth. The kibbutz movement, based on the principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” was celebrating its centennial. Leach wondered if the kibbutz and its “bold utopian spirit had taken flight and if that original willingness to experiment with new ways of living still existed.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Wrote the Content for a Binary Options Website

And I’m not proud of it.

I have to rephrase that title. I did not actually write the content for a binary options website. I just supervised the content, written by a freelance writer, for a new website. I supervised and I edited.

In hindsight, I am not proud of this particular task, one of many during my ongoing career (12 years and counting) in the online gaming industry, an industry with deep roots in Israel. In fact, I am very proud of what I have accomplished during these years. I have developed my professional career, successfully taking on managerial positions and more importantly, gaining invaluable skills as a writer and an editor which still propel my career today.

But, of everything I did, I have no plans to list the binary options project on my resume.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Short Trip to Malta

I never considered taking a vacation in Malta but when I was informed that I would join a four-day company trip to the Mediterranean island I was quite excited. I knew nothing at all about my destination.

Without going into too many details, because I really don't know that much, Malta is actually a number of small islands some 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Italy. The country is small in size and only 450,000 people live there (making it one of the world's most densely populated countries). The capital of Malta is Valleta.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Recent Reads - Summer Edition

Summer has come to an end. Due to a prolonged, unexpected vacation, I had the opportunity to read quite a bit over the past few months. Now as I get back to my regular work routine, I have a chance to reflect on the many books I read. Some were very good; others don't deserve mentioning. Listed below are short reviews of a few of my summertime reads. I hope I have guided you in some way. Enjoy!

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere, November 2014). There is a killer twist in this psychological thriller, one that you won’t expect at all. The book opens with tragedy: A child lets go of his mother’s hand to run into a Bristol street on a rainy evening and is struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident. Jenna Gray moves to a ramshackle cottage on the Welsh coast to escape her memories of the accident, to try to start her life anew. Meanwhile, Bristol Police continue to investigate, the hit-and-run still high on their priority list many months later even though there are no leads as to who caused the accident. The twist mentioned here comes half way through the book, but there is a strong, surprise ending that makes one conclude that nothing in this novel is as it seems. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My 100,000th Tweet. What’s It Worth?

One of the first pieces of advice I received when I was first aspiring to become a published author was to build a platform. The next thing I heard was the importance of building my platform on Twitter. So, I signed up for Twitter. And then, I tweeted for the first time, expressing myself in 140 characters or less.

Truthfully, I had already established a platform. I have been blogging a lot longer than I have been tweeting. I blog for The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, and for my personal blog. I blog about travel; I write book reviews; and I even share the occasional story about the writing career I am trying to build.

Using Twitter has been, for me, a way to promote my writing. When I post a blog article, I tweet about it to attract eyeballs, to get as many readers as possible. To make a name for myself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to Make Pita

Image credit:, used with permission.

Reprinted with permission from

For my recipe today, I could have picked its origin from several countries including Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran or even North Africa, to name a few but I feel a deep attachment to the Promised Land. This is my haven.

There is not really an Israeli cuisine. Israel is a country of minorities founded by immigrants from a multitude of ethnicities from many countries.

The gastronomic heritage of Israel is extremely varied and in this country of immigrants, people praise as much shakshuka, hummus, falafel, or schnitzel (breaded chicken cutlets) as the national dish. But if there is one staple that is omnipresent on any authentic Israeli table, it would be pita bread aka pita (plural pitotes), and this is the recipe I chose to prepare today.