Sunday, October 13, 2019

And Then My Sukkah Collapsed

I was full of enthusiasm and good intentions as I unpacked the pieces of the pre-fab sukkah I had purchased especially for the holiday. It should be a simple matter of fitting together the metallic poles and the do-it-yourself sukkah would be standing.

A sukkah is a temporary dwelling in which Jews "dwell" - or at least eat their meals - during the week-long festival of Sukkot. The temporary status is reminiscent of the years of wandering that the Children of Israel endured on their way to the Promised Land.

Two hours after beginning to build our sukkah, the sukkah collapsed. Poles, and connecting pieces, plastic and metal, all lying on my patio at my feet.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

14 Reasons Why Poker Is Better Than Sex

Back in the day, my job was to promote the game of poker. I wrote content for poker websites, banners, press releases, blogs, newsletters, and emails, all of them encouraging players - veterans and newcomers - to play poker online. In hindsight this is kind of strange, as I don't play poker myself. In any case, I spent nearly 13 years writing about the game as part of my job in the marketing division of an Israel-based, international online gaming company ( a company that is no longer in business).

In order to spice things up a bit, I occasionally resorted to humor, to show the fun side of the game (as compared to the strategic side of trying to win, no matter what cards you are dealt). Shown here is the result of one of my favorite humorous projects - an infographic listing the "Top 14 Reasons Why Poker Is Better Than Sex". I came up with the concept and wrote the content. I apologize that I don't remember the name of the freelance graphic designer who brought my vision to a comical reality.

Even if you don't know the game of poker, I hope you will enjoy my humor!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Seven Rila Lakes from Above

I hiked to Bulgaria's Seven Rila Lakes this summer, and they were amazing! Even more stunning is seeing them from above. This footage of drone clips was taken by Sam Ozanne during his recent trek in the Rila Mountains, posted on YouTube by Aerial Adventures.

Originally posted on YouTube.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

We Go to the Polls, Again

I usually refrain from writing about Israeli politics. I avoid discussing the subject but as Israelis go to the polls again*, for the second time this year, I can’t put my head in the sand to escape what’s going on. Every Israeli has a vote; every Israeli is responsible for the situation we’re in. Here is my viewpoint.

If you don’t know which party I’m voting for, you can see the ballot in the image (the photo was taken by a friend). Meretz is Israel’s left-wing, social-democratic and green political party. I’ve cast my vote for Meretz in every Israeli election that I’ve participated in.

I am comforted by the fact that as messed up as Israeli politics are, things are much worse in the US and the UK.

We will probably end up getting the extremist right-wing government we feared getting in April.

Bibi is not only fighting for his political survival. He is fighting to stay out of jail.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Stupidest Carwash I Ever Did

Cape Kamenjak – a coastline of coves and beaches at the southernmost tip of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. I park our rental car and we stroll down to the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea. After an afternoon on the beach, we return to the car. It is blanketed in dust and sand.

I am embarrassed at how dirty the car is. How can I drive it like this? I don't want to be seen as a snobbish tourist with no regard for a vehicle’s appearance. I can’t return it to the agency in this condition!

We drive north, bound for the hilltop village of Motuvan. A small sign at the side of the road catches my eye. It’s a carwash! I slow down and pull in. The cost is only a few Croatian kuna so, why not? A few minutes later, we are back on the road in a sparkling clean car. Little did I know what awaited us.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Seven Rila Lakes and Many More

I first visited Bulgaria’s Seven Rila Lakes in June 2010, hiking through meadows lush with purple crocuses and across plains blanketed in six inches of snow. One moment the summer sun was on my back and the next I felt like an Arctic explorer. It was a surreal experience, certainly one of my best hikes ever.

My dream of going back to the lakes came true this year. I returned to Bulgaria eager to see more spectacular vistas, to climb more mountains, and to experience new adventures. I would not be disappointed.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Climbing Mt. Vihren

I had never heard the word ‘scrambling’ before. In the dictionary, ‘scrambling’ is defined as “to move or climb quickly but with difficulty, often using your hands to help you.” This was certainly the case when I struggled up the rough, steep slopes of Mt. Vihren, in Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains.

It was the second day of an eight-day "Hiking trek in the Pirin and Rila mountains”. The trip was organized by Traventuria, a Bulgarian company with a well-earned excellent reputation for its hikes and tours. The planned route for the first day had been changed due to heavy cloud cover on the higher peaks. Instead, we took an easier hike through pristine pine forests, at one point reaching Hut Yavorov at an elevation of 1,740 meters above sea level.

That first day’s hike was for me, anything but easy. Making my way up the forest paths, my leg muscles ached, the pain increasing the higher we climbed. “I think I bit off more than I can chew,” I said to myself. Was I really fit enough to do this? Was I capable of climbing Bulgaria’s highest mountains?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review of "The Burgas Affair" on Turning Another Page

Shuman brings two characters with differing backgrounds into a crime investigation for a common goal, to solve the case and keep the civility among their people. His characters are exceptional, with many faults and likable qualities as well.

The pace is steady and the story is action-packed, making it easy to get wrapped up in. While there are a few grammatical errors here and there, this should not hinder enjoyment of the novel at all. The author does inform the reader that the characters are purely fiction; however, the story is based on a true event.

Terrorism is an ever evolving threat to many countries and the information conveyed in this story is quite credible. Readers will achieve a clear understanding of the strength that many have in the face of fear and we will say that it is a story worth reading. For any who tend to lean toward thrillers and crime, this one may be of interest to you.

Read the full review on Turning Another Page.