Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Secret Garden: Tel Aviv's Most Magical Spots and Map of the world's railway network.

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Set Meaningful Goals

Lack of meaningful goals in life can lead to sadness. If you do not find meaning in what you are doing, you are likely to feel unhappy. To solve this, ask yourself what goals you can set that to you would be meaningful. The goals need not be major ones. Even a temporary minor goal is better than none at all. Make a list of goals to strive for. Be as specific as possible. Vague goals are not very motivating. Write down the major areas of your life and set goals in each of these areas: spiritual goals, interpersonal goals, self-improvement goals, etc.

Love Yehuda Lave


The Secret Garden: Tel Aviv's Most Magical Spots

Think the air up north is fresher? Save yourself a trip and take a stroll on the streets of Tel Aviv: There are true gems of nature to discover

By City Mouse Online and Dana Kimchi

A summer walk around Tel Aviv is a great way to take a break from the everyday routine. Amid its hectic streets, Tel Aviv offers hideaways that present a different take on the big city. In addition to cafes and restaurants for hanging out, Tel Aviv contains a range of pastoral possibilities that prove anyone can find beauty and fresh air for free.

The urban landscape includes a tranquilizing natural setting of shade trees, gorgeous flowers, hidden ponds, archaeological remains and breathtaking views. We've compiled a list of delightful spots in Tel Aviv, genuine natural gems, from cultivated gardens to the city's last orchard.

Dubnov Garden. A pastoral feeling. Tomer Applebaum

Green in the center: Dubnov Garden

Dubnov Garden is in a super-central location, abutting the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Performing Arts Center, Beit Ariela Library and the Tel Aviv District Court. Though visitors won't be alone on the lawns and paths, the garden has a pastoral feel. The comfortable walking route is festooned with vine terraces, herbal and strawberry trees that provide the necessary shade for relaxing on a bench. There's also a garden of natural flint rocks interwoven with the artificial backdrop of a shallow pond. On fine days you can watch a group doing Chi Gung exercises.

Location: Dubnov Street, corner of Manne Street

Parking: Golda Parking Lot (7 Berkovitch Street) or Dubnov Parking (4 Dubnov)

Tel-O-Fun (bike rental): 21 Shaul Hamelekh Boulevard

Romantic: Yes. Bring a sheet and sit on the well-kept lawns

Child-friendly: Yes. Worth taking advantage of the proximity to Beit Ariela Library

On the way: Visit the ecological pool in Rabin Square, then sit at the bar of the Brasserie

Hahaskala Boulevard Garden. Nature in an urban center. Daniel Tchetchik

Urban symbiosis: Hahaskala Boulevard Garden

Located in the Bitzaron neighborhood, this site creates a natural environment in urban conditions. The long, narrow paths are flanked on one side by detached homes and on the other by high-rise office buildings. Trees provide a natural setting that attracts a range of small creatures, while pergolas for nesting provide birds with a refuge against predators. Hahaskala Boulevard has broad lawns, inviting benches, exercise devices, playground equipment and a petanque field.

Location: Bitzaron neighborhood

Parking: Cinerama Lot (45 Yitzhak Sadeh) or Palmah Lot (68 Yigal Alon);

Tel-O-Fun: 11 Hahaskala Boulevard

Romantic: Yes. A basket of rolls from the adjacent Lachmanina Bakery will enhance a picnic

Child-friendly: Yes. If the little ones get tired of the playground, challenge them to search for hedgehogs

On the way: Chef Haim Cohen's Yaffo Tel Aviv restaurant

King Albert Square. Flavor of Paris. David Bachar

Paris around the corner: King Albert Square

Tel Aviv abounds with city squares, but the full scope of urban charm can be found in the one named after King Albert I of Belgium. You won't find an artificial waterfall or an ecological pool here, only two benches that enjoy the royal shade of large ficus (weeping fig) trees. What's the big deal? you may ask. The answer is: simply a pleasant Parisian atmosphere. The little square was built in 1934 to commemorate the friendship between Meir Dizengoff, Tel Aviv's first mayor, and Belgium's King Albert I. The adjacent Pagoda House, characteristic of early Tel Aviv architecture, provides the site with a 1920s-style ambience.

Location: At the junction of Nachmani, Montefiore, Melchett and Bezalel Yaffe Streets Parking: Montefiore Parking Lot (5 Montefiore)

Tel-O-Fun: Rothschild and Allenby

Romantic: Yes. Bring a baguette or a croissant and imagine you're in Paris

Child-friendly: No

On the way: A sweet carb from Ben-Ami or a sortie to Café Noir

Magic secret: HaGat Garden

Along a lonely side path lies the magical, almost hidden HaGat (wine press) Garden. It's actually an archaeological site that was discovered during excavations carried out in 1965. Turns out that a wine press operated here in the Hellenistic period. Without getting grape juice on your feet, you can visit an urban slice of history. You will discover a wine press with a treading floor, a filtering pit and a collection area, alongside additional archaeological remains placed at the site. Behind the wine press is a singular path bounded by limestone walls, in the center of which a single bench preserves the area's ancient character and offers visitors welcome tranquility. Add to this the greenery of decorative trees, sculptures and playground equipment for children, and you have a genuine urban delight.

Location: Between Helsinki and Hevra Hadasha Streets

Parking: Hevra Hadasha Parking (9 Hevra Hadasha)

Tel-O-Fun: 3 Helsinki or 2 Heh B'Iyar – Kikar Hamedina

Romantic: Definitely. Especially when you take a bottle of wine along

Child-friendly: Yes. You can combine history with amusement

On the way: A quiet, pleasant breakfast at Café Henrietta

After the flood: Winter Pond

The Israeli winter isn't exactly monsoon season, but this year's rains were enough to fill the Winter Pond (Breikhat Horef), a natural jewel that was rehabilitated by the Tel Aviv Municipality along with students from Tichonet High School. It's in an area where a winter pond existed in the past, providing a habitat for animal and plant species that are now on their way to disappearing. The seasonal pool retains its water until the summer and draws many species of animals like crabs, amphibians, birds and mammals. Alongside the biodiversity you'll find remnants of flowering Mediterranean lupine, squills and asphodels, together with explanatory signs and hiking trails.

Location: Next to the parking lot behind Tichonet High School, adjacent to Shoshana Persits Street

Parking: College of Management and Levinsky College (9 Shoshana Persits)

Tel-O-Fun: Derekh Namir – Kibbutzim College of Education

Child-friendly: Definitely. Holy trinity of water, flowers and animals

Romantic: Yes. Don't forget to take a double selfie next to the pond

On the way: Continue along the waterline at Tel Baruch beach

Nahal Pardesim. Restored to its natural beauty. Moti Milrod

Nostalgic reverie: Nahal Pardesim

Behind the high-tech and business center of Kiryat Atidim lies Nahal Pardesim (Orchards Stream), a delightful natural area covering two square kilometers. In the past this was used to dump construction waste, but a cooperative rehabilitative effort by the municipality and local residents transformed it into a thing of beauty. The stream is a tributary of the Yarkon River that channels rainwater from the farmland north of the Neve Sharett neighborhood. Along this strip of natural greenery you'll find riverbank vegetation, animals and nesting birds. As part of recent efforts to revive the stream, more than 70 species of flora have been planted, including Mediterranean lupines, crown daisies and hairy vetches, which hide all signs of urbanism. Not far from the stream, through an avenue of towering pine trees, is the last orchard in Tel Aviv, which is also destined to become a residential neighborhood at some point. Until the concrete monstrosities arise, you can still find evidence of the "Hebrew city" that once existed here.

Location: East of Neve Sharett neighborhood

Parking: End of Korazim Street

Tel-O-Fun: 2 Hatzanhanim or Kikar Habarzel corner of Ha'arad

Child-friendly: Yes. The kids will get to see the last orchard in the city

Romantic: Yes. Bring a basket of fruit and have a picnic in the orchard

On the way: Ramat Hahayal area, with its selection of restaurants, cafes and attractions

Hamada (Science) Boardwalk. Courtesy Tel Aviv Municipality

Relaxation: Hamada Boardwalk

On the eastern boundary of Tel Aviv University, at the end of the limestone slope that overlooks Ganei Yehoshua Park, is the 800-meter-long Hamada (Science) Boardwalk. It was designed to integrate into the existing landscape, with the use of recycled materials and water-saving vegetation. Built just two years ago, the site has separate paths for hikers and cyclists – between the two are shade trees and light poles. Several observation points offer views of the north and east of Metropolitan Tel Aviv and are great places to rest after a day of work or studies. Installations based on scientific, technological and ecological themes are changed from time to time.

Location: Along Dr. George Wise Street

Parking: Social Work Lot (83 George Wise) or Mitchell Lot (70 Haim Levanon)

Tel-O-Fun: George Wise Square

Child-friendly: Less

Romantic: Yes. Joint pedaling followed by a spectacular view of the region

On the way: See some exhibits at the Eretz Israel Museum

 Full story with pictures at:




Bananas: 5 Surprising Jewish Facts

In celebration of World Banana Day, discover the Jewish connection to this delicious fruit.

April is a busy month for Jews, as we prepare for the Jewish holiday of Passover. It's easy to overlook another holiday on the calendar this season: World Banana Day held the third Wednesday of every April. This year, it's April 17, 2019.

It's worth taking a break from our Passover cooking and cleaning to contemplate what it takes to grow and market these delicious fruits. The modern banana industry has some surprising Jewish connections. Here are five Jewish facts about this delicious fruit.

A native plant to India, bananas started becoming popular in the Middle East and Europe during the Middle Ages as Arab traders brought this novel fruit to new markets further west. A tenth-century Arab traveler and geographer known as al-Muqadasi recorded eating bananas in Jerusalem, along with other fruits such as raisins, oranges and apples. Other accounts record Jews eating bananas elsewhere in the land of Israel during the Middle Ages. From about the 17th century on, there are records of farmers growing the crop in the region.

Medieval Jews embraced the exotic fruit, but had a key question – are bananas a fruit at all? This matters because Jews traditionally make one blessing thanking God for creating borei pri ha'etz, the fruits of the tree, and a different blessing thanking God for making borei pri ha'adamah, or the fruits of the grounds, over vegetables and herbs. Bananas grow in a palm-like plant and are actually a herb, producing up to hundreds of bananas from a single plant. Unlike fruit trees, banana trees don't last long: about eight years.

In the 1500s in the Israeli city of Safed, Rabbi Joseph Karo explained that since bananas are not a fruit, the adamah blessing, not the blessing for fruit, should be said over bananas. Reflecting the fact that Arab traders were largely responsible for spreading bananas' popularity, Rabbi Karo called them by their Arabic name, muzish.

"Sam the Banana Man"

Samuel Zmuri was a Jewish teenager from Kishinev in Russia when he bought a steerage ticket to New York City. Arriving in the US, he stowed away on a freight train to Selma, Alabama, where he worked various odd jobs – including unloading bananas from ships arriving from Central America, where banana production was fast becoming a major industry.

Samuel Zemurray

Samuel, who by then had changed his name to Zemurray, started buying up the overly-ripe bananas that would ordinarily be thrown away and selling them to grocers. Soon Zemurray was being called "Sam the Banana Man". In 1903 he started his own company and two years later started running his own shipping line, bringing bananas to the US from Honduras. In 1906, he leased 5,000 acres of banana crops and became a major importer of bananas to the United States. He eventually became a controlling shareholder in United Fruit Company, then the world's largest fruit company. Under his leadership, bananas' popularity soared, becoming a staple in many American households.

Zemurray was a committed philanthropist. He sponsored 22,000 Latin American farmers to be independent producers selling to United Fruit, and endowed many universities and hospitals, including an agricultural college in Honduras and New Orlean's first hospital for Black women.

Saving Holocaust Survivors

Samuel Zemurray was a passionate Zionist and a personal friend of Chaim Weizmann, the first President of the State of Israel. In the years after World War II, tens of thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors longed to sail to the land of Israel and start new lives in the Jewish homeland. Britain, which ruled the area, enforced a strict policy of not allowing Jewish refugees to enter. Many Jews tried to enter the land of Israel illegally, only to be captured and imprisoned once more by the British in prison camps on the island of Cyprus, in Greece.

In 1947, the secret Jewish defense force the Haganah (the forerunner of today's Israel Defense Force) approached Zemurray with a top secret plan: would he finance the purchase of a ship on which Jewish partisans could smuggle Holocaust survivors to the land of Israel? Zemurray agreed, using a front firm called the Weston Trading Company to disguise the deal.

The ship Zemurray bought was a 20-year-old steamer called the USS President Warfield. Attacked by a German submarine in 1942, it had been decommissioned; when Zemurray bought it, it was on its way to a junkyard. Instead, the Haganah brought the ship to the French port of Marseilles and loaded it with 4,553 passengers: Holocaust survivors desperate to enter the land of Israel. As the ship slowly made its way to the port of Haifa during the summer of 1947, the crew renamed the ship the Exodus and unfurled a large blue and white flag, declaring that the land of Israel was their final destination.

The Exodus

A host of British ships including destroyers accompanied the Exodus, and when they neared the coast of Israel, the British shot at the ship and sent a convoy of armed soldiers to board the ship and subdue its passengers and crew. In the fighting that broke out, three Holocaust survivors died and many were wounded. British ships towed the Exodus into the harbor, with plans to send the broken, desperate passengers back to France.

Instead, the passengers and crew of the Exodus staged a hunger strike. For 24 days, in the brutal Mediterranean sun, the world watched as thousands of Holocaust survivors – men, women and children – and members of the Haganah weakened from lack of food. Eventually, British soldiers forced the Exodus' passengers back to Europe, where they were forced by soldiers wielding tear gas and clubs into new prisons: displaced person camps in Germany. A few months later, in August 1947, in part due to the stirring example of the single-minded determination of the Exodus' passengers to reach the land of Israel, the United Nations voted to create a Jewish state in a portion of the Biblical land of Israel. Few were aware of Samuel Zemurray's role in this historic event. A modest, self-effacing man, he shunned the limelight. When he passed away in 1961, some friends were shocked to discover that Zemurray the banana magnate had been behind the historic Exodus journey years before.

Saving banana crops around the world

Jewish farmers began to grow bananas in Israel in the 1930s, first in the north near the Kinneret, (Sea of Galilee), and later throughout the country. Though they are a warm-weather crop, Israel's burning hot summers can be too much for banana plants. Israeli farmers realized they could compensate by erecting canvas roofs to block bananas from the sun during the hottest summer months. They also conducted pioneering research in banana plant irrigation, fertilization and cross-breeding. Today, Israel produces about 45,000 tonnes of bananas each year, supplying about 20% of all bananas consumed in the West.

Growing bananas in Israel

Israeli banana growers saved banana crops world-wide a few years ago. The greatest threat to banana crops is a pathogen called nematodes, commonly known s roundworms. After years of losing banana harvests to this pest, Israeli scientists developed a banana plant that's resistant to nematodes in the early 2000s. Now, Israeli-developed strains of hardier banana plants are grown around the world, producing hardy bananas and dramatically boosting yields.

Embraced by Jewish Chefs

Bananas have long been embraced by some Jewish communities. Jewish chefs in Persia and Afghanistan pass down traditional recipes for charoset, the sweet paste eaten at the Passover Seder, that incorporate bananas as key ingredients. In Yemen, Jews used to mash bananas with honey as a folk recipe for some illnesses.

Ashkenazi Jewish cooks began embracing bananas in the 20th century in North America and Europe, along with their non-Jewish counterparts, as bananas became more commercially available and popular. One 19th century Jewish cookbook aimed at recent Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe explained that the soft creamy inside, not the tough outer peel of a banana, was meant to be eaten.

Today, Israel is the world's top market of fresh bananas per capita, eating a whopping 30 kilos each year per person. Though some South American and East Asian nations consume more bananas in the form of banana flours and drinks, "As far as eating a plain banana goes, Israel is definitely a world leader in consumption, particularly among children," explains Yuval Levy, a banana expert at the Zemach agricultural research station in Israel.

Map of the world's railway network. 

Hevenu Shalom Alehem /Jerusalem Academy flashmob for Taglit at Ben Gurion Airport

On May 24th 2018, 2,000 young Jews from around the world arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport, as part of Birthright Israel's 18th year. Marking 85 years of activity, the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance decided to celebrate Israel's 70th anniversary and surprise them with a very warm welcome …

10 Tips To Survive The Boiling Israeli Summer Like A Local

JERUSALEM LIFE10 Tips To Survive The Boiling Israeli Summer Like A Local    


Locals in Israel like to say that we have two summers — the hot one and the less hot, rainy one. An exaggeration it may be, but it captures a sentiment that no one can deny: Israel is a hot country!

Summer-like weather can stretch anywhere from April to late October or even early November, making survival here dependent on learning how to deal with the relentless sunshine.

Luckily, we have no shortage of tips for how you can manage to get along swimmingly in the Israeli summer heat like the real sabras do. Check out these 10 must-dos for not only surviving but thriving in the Israeli summer heat.

1.        Get Yourself a Sun Shelter

Made to shade you from the harsh Mediterranean sun while you brave the boiling hot beach sand and jellyfish-infested bathwater-like waves, a sun shelter will at the very least make the summer beach in Israel bearable for those of you who are die-hard beach bums.

Since discovering portable tarps like these, Israelis have taken to them like fish to water, many even storing them permanently in their vehicles so they will always be ready for an impromptu beach outing or outdoor getaway.  And with staggering summer temperatures you can't really blame them for seeking a bit of shade.

2.        Know Where to Find Public Water Sources

It's always a good idea to stay hydrated in Israel, especially when neglecting this important facet of the Israeli lifestyle could land you in the ER during what was supposed to be a fun summer vacay.

Most Israelis wouldn't be caught dead leaving the house without a bottle of water, but did you know that most municipalities have public drinking fountains for humans and for dogs where you can refresh your supply? Israeli water is totally safe to drink straight for the tap (except if you are next to the Dead Sea) so bring a water bottle with you to refill whenever and wherever you can.

Not a fan of plain water? Shove a fruit or herb-based Israeli teabag in the bottom of your bottle, and BAM, you've got instant iced tea to go.

3.        Forget Your Hat? All You Need is a Long-Sleeved Shirt (preferably white)

Wear a baseball cap in Israel, and you're sure to stick out as an Anglo in a crowd of Israelis. The alternative? Nothing is more Israeli than hiking with a long-sleeved shirt-tied over your head at the sleeves as a makeshift sun cover (hiking in broken Teva sandals, while risky, takes a close second).

Alternatively, you could whip out your favorite bucket hat — an Israeli national symbol made popular by Israeli's first pioneers, and often worn by soldiers and tour guides. However, know that it is called a kova tembel("moron hat") for a reason.

Then again, not caring about what others think of your fashion choices will also make you fit right in with the locals.

4.        Wear Sunscreen and Sunglasses

Take it from someone who didn't take to sunglasses and now has the eye wrinkles to prove it. You'll need a good pair of shades if you're going to make it through the Israeli summer.

Try to go without and all that squinting is going to cause you some pretty gnarly facial contours that weren't there before (if you catch my drift).

Also, wear sunscreen! The Israeli sun is intense, and since Israelis love spending time outside, you'll need to protect your skin from the elements as best you can during the long summer days.

5.        Dress Light

The material in Israeli clothing might seem thinner than what you're used to abroad, but it's for a good reason. We've already established that Israel is freaking hot in the summertime, so you're more likely to find secular locals wearing unlined jersey summer dresses and flip-flops than anything formal or stuffy.

Generally obsessed with the boho-casual look, you'll find Israeli clothing shops like Profil, and Dreadlocks fit the bill in the clothing department. Those who like to cover up for personal or religious reasons can also usually find more modest fashions in lightweight fabrics in fashion boutiques like these.

For curvy ladies, it also doesn't hurt to come equipped with thigh-saving shorts like these. A true lifesaver that keeps your thighs from sticking and chaffing under those sundresses!

6.        Find the Nearest (Free) Water Park

Children play in a fountain in Teddy Park opposite the Old City walls in Jerusalem. Photo by Zuzana Janku/Flash90

Water parks are fun, but who wants to fork over money for an entrance fee, and then deal with massive lines? Luckily Israel is a family-friendly place, a fact evident in the sheer number of well-kept children's playgrounds you can find across the country. Come summer, some of these parks transform into free public water fountain parks! Visit Teddy Park in Jerusalem or Gan B'Ivrit in Rishon LeTzion to see what we mean.

7.        Make Your Own Fruit Shakes/Ice Pops

Israeli kids may live off shlukim (push pops) and barad (slushies) in the summertime but buying these items plus other favorites like fresh fruit shakes and the beach-side favorite — watermelon and feta-like Bulgarian cheese — can get expensive, fast.

Making shakes and natural ice pops like these at home is a snap if you have some basic equipment. Try this recipe using some of the glorious Israeli fruits available during this time of year such as giant sweet-as-candy mangoes and sublimely refreshing fresh figs.

8.        Mind Your Time

Consider the sun's peak hours and try to avoid them if possible. That means either heading out early or going out once the sun has already set (although the heat doesn't necessarily subside in the evenings during the summertime).

If you're on vacation, either strategy lends itself well to the afternoon siesta, so you may want to plan accordingly and work an afternoon resting period in a cool place into your travelling schedule. If you do go out at night, heading to a breezy spot such as a public coastal beach promenade or a rooftop bar like any of these trendy spots is probably your best bet, while heading to national parks with water elements like the Jordan River in the Galilee or Shvil Hamaayanot (Springs Trail) just outside Jerusalem will help you keep cool in the morning hours.

9.        Keep Your Oven Off

Stovetop cooking and cold dishes are more popular in Israel than oven-based cooking and baking, especially in the hot summer months. You might have noticed that Israelis typically have comically small stoves even in larger houses. This is because no one wants to make their home environment even warmer than it already is.

Consider eating light mini meals comprised of cold dishes throughout the day, or even outsourcing your meal by picking up lunch at a homestyle food place, such as Israel's famous Azura Restaurant behind the Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. After all, Israelis do generally fancy a more substantial lunch followed by a light and less filling evening meal.

10.      Conserve Water

Last but not least, remember that despite Israel's advanced water technology, which includes the desalination of seawater and the use of brackish water and treated wastewater for agricultural use, we are still a country with a water problem.

Israelis are taught from an early age that water is a precious commodity not to be wasted. Keeping this in mind in your own personal water usage while in Israel is not only appreciated, but the socially acceptable and right thing to do.

Check out some water-saving tips specific to Israel here and enjoy your time in Israel!



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See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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