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: 196flavors.com, used with permission.

Reprinted with permission from 196flavors.com.

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.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Northern Soul Music from Tel Aviv

Do Israelis appreciate soul music? Do they miss the mod-inspired “northern soul” scene of the 60s and 70s? Can a brass-powered beat and English language lyrics be considered Israeli music?

Ask Men of North Country, an Israeli soul band hailing from Tel Aviv also known as MONC. “The sound is not really Israeli,” admitted lead singer Yashiv Cohen in a 2012 interview with the Jewish Chronicle Online. “Israeli ears don’t understand it. We tried sending songs to the radio here. They don’t really get it. If we send music to the UK stations, they know exactly what it is.”

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Jerusalem, a City of Secrets

Pre-State Jerusalem is the setting for this short novel about the members of a Haganah cell staging evermore daring raids against British Mandate forces. Protagonist Brand is a Latvian Jew who survived the death camps in Europe but not the nightmares that followed. Having arrived on the shores of Palestine on a Maltese freighter, Brand now works in Jerusalem as a taxi driver with papers provided by the Jewish underground.

In City of Secrets by Stewart O'Nan (Viking, April 2016), Jerusalem is colorfully described as a “puzzle box built of symbols, a confusion of old and new, armored cars and donkeys in the streets, Bedouins and bankers.” In the rainy season, the city’s “walls were gray instead of golden, the souks teeming with rats.” The winter “rain fell on the domes and bell towers and minarets, filling the ancient cisterns beneath the Old City, fell on Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives and the desert beyond, thunder cracking over the Dead Sea.”