Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Late Night Encounter with My New Neighbors


I stared into the thick bushes and I could hear them. Shifting their weight, pawing the earth. Grunting. I couldn’t see them in the dark, or smell them, but I could sense their presence. There were two of them and they were large, and hairy, and very wild. And they knew I was nearby.

I had heard that a family of wild boars had made its home in the wilderness near my home on Moshav Neve Ilan. A shadow-filled photo depicted a late-night gathering of adults and piglets stomping around a traffic circle, sniffing at the earth. There were traces of them in my own garden – clumps of upturned dirt and hoofprints. But, for some strange reason, I never believed that they were real.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Jerusalem Is Much Harder to Run than Tel Aviv


My thigh muscles ache as I run up the cobblestoned ramp-like street leading to Jaffa Gate. I pass through the historic walls, breached for the visit of German Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898. I speed past the Citadel and down the narrow alleyways of the Armenian Quarter on my way to Zion Gate. I am running in the Old City of Jerusalem! I am running the Jerusalem Marathon’s 10-kilometer race and it isn’t easy!

I had challenged myself just three weeks before to run ten kilometers in the Tel Aviv Marathon. That was the first time I had ever run the distance in a real race. I have run 10 kilometers on a treadmill and on occasion I have made early morning 10-kilometer runs from my home in Moshav Neve Ilan to the entrance of the Arab village of Abu Gosh and back, but Tel Aviv was the first time I had ever competed with others.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Review of 'The Art of Leaving' by Ayelet Tsabari

In the opening pages of her memoir, Ayelet Tsabari’s father promises that he will one day publish her book. Ayelet, ten-years-old at the time, “had been writing ever since [she] learned the alphabet.” Even at that young age, the author’s love for writing was developing into a passion that would nourish and sustain her on peripatetic travels around the world. It is during these travels that the author seeks to answer the question that never fails to accompany her - where is home?

In The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari (Random House, February 2019) we witness the transformation of the author’s childhood growing up in a large Yemeni family in a Tel Aviv suburb into a collection of prize-winning short stories. Also serving as background are her unruly service in the Israeli Defense Forces; her extended sojourns on the beaches of India and Thailand; her first marriage; and the awakening, later, of maternal instincts in Canada.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tel Aviv Marathon Man: I Run the 10 Kilometer Race


When I started exercising in earnest four years ago, I never imagined that one day I would be running the 10 Kilometer race in the Tel Aviv Marathon. In fact, back then I could barely walk 5 kilometers on a treadmill. A ten-kilometer race? It was unimaginable at the time and I can’t believe it now.

Last week I shocked my family and friends, and more importantly myself, when I finished the race’s course in a very respectable 62 minutes. I placed 99th in my age category (out of 252 runners) and in 6,346th place out of 14,227 runners of all ages in total. I have run faster 10-kilometers on a treadmill but this was the first time I had ever participated in a race of any kind.

Monday, February 18, 2019

My Modern World: Podcasts

Reflections on the 21st century, and how it took me so long to get here.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Podcasts have been around since 2003 but I only discovered them last year. Podcasts, if you’re not familiar with them, are primarily an episodic series of audio shows that can be downloaded for listening. Until last year I didn’t realize that I had a lot of spare time for listening. Now I listen to podcasts every morning as I drive to the train station and every evening as I drive home.

Yesterday, for example, I listened to podcasts about coral reefs, noise pollution, and how diseases could be detected at a very early stage with breath analysis. In recent weeks I have listened to podcasts explaining gravity, suggesting theories where the moon came from, and exposing the dangers of artificial intelligence. In other words, I have expanded my scientific knowledge.

But I also listen to podcasts purely for amusement. Like this morning’s podcast questioning whether the Loch Ness Monster is real. Or a podcast on the history of Ping Pong. And one asking the very important question - who invented lemonade?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Ten Years After Bulgaria Began


It was on a surprisingly warm January day in 2009 when my flight landed at Sofia International Airport. It was on a freezing, snowy day just three weeks later that Jodie joined me in the Bulgarian capital. We were at the start of my job’s two-year relocation from Tel Aviv to Sofia. Our Bulgarian adventure had begun.

During those two years we traveled extensively around the country. We learned about Bulgaria's history and culture, we visited its villages, enjoyed its cuisine, and climbed its mountains. We studied the Bulgarian language (although we never learned to speak it), and made many friends.

Living in Bulgaria was for us a life-changing experience. As a couple, we had never previously lived outside Israel. We had never lived, for that matter, in a city. It wasn’t all that easy, living away from our family. But, those two years did open our eyes to so many things. We look back fondly at that period knowing that we took full advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we had to live in such a fascinating place.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

My Modern World: The Coffee Machine

Reflections on the 21st century, and how it took me so long to get here.


The last thing I wanted for my birthday was a coffee machine. Sure, the ads with George Clooney promoting Nespresso on television, on the Internet, in print newspapers, and even on billboards were enticing. But coffee machines are expensive and the fancy little coffee pods make drinking coffee almost an unaffordable extravagance. I could do without.

Or could I?

I am a three-cups-of-coffee-a-day person. I enjoy drinking coffee, but there is never enough time to fully appreciate the drink.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

"The Burgas Affair" is absolutely gripping


"The Burgas Affair is absolutely gripping. There is tension from the very first page and it sucked me right in. However, there are many other elements beyond the terrorist attack story that I enjoyed. One was the parallel story of a crime boss’s vendetta against Boyko. I liked how one story affected the other, however, sometimes the stories were mixed up a bit too much. Nevertheless, it is through the vendetta story that the reader learns more about Boyko. At first, he comes across as the typical cop we often see in these types of books. He is also pretty pig-headed and sex driven. As the pages turn he softens and his hidden personality comes to light and he becomes much more likable."

Read the rest of the review on Joyful Antidotes.