When I’m 64

When I’m 64

As the transition from the somber mood of Remembrance Day makes way for the celebration of Independence Day, there’s a plethora of inspiring video clips to help us mark Israel’s 64th birthday.

We’ve already focused on ISRAEL21c’s great ‘What does Israel mean to you’ clip, (now augmented by the top 64 innvoations from Israel) and here’s a few others.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kaMd3SvcvY[/youtube]

Here’s a photographic appreciation of the natural beauty of the country by Efrat-based photographer Yehoshua Halevi, featuring the song “Desert Call” by Eden Mi Qedem.

No Independence Day would be complete without a tribute to our fighting forces that protect us day in and out. Here’s a well-done one created and filmed by Aviv Vana Post Production in collaboration with shooteast.com

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU6HlpjK0co[/youtube]

Here’s a unique take on the country’s birthday – done in animation. According to the creators, it attempts to portray the complex reality that Israelis live in on a daily basis.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drUIWuMWw70[/youtube]

And how could we not include a message from Mr. Israel, our venerable president Shimon Peres, who gives his independence greeting in his inimitable English.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfLBRqsj41A[/youtube]

Go enjoy the next 24 hours, with the ubiquitous barbecue, outdoor singing and dancing, and fireworks. Happy birthday, Israel.

Made in Israel

Made in Israel

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-C3UYq-UxA[/youtube]

It’s getting to be that time of year again – where the national holidays come fast and furious. Holocaust Remembrance Day just passed and this week we have Memorial Day and Independence Day right on top of each other as Israel prepares to celebrate its 64th birthday.

While there’s no shortage of subjects to be worried, fearful, skeptical or angry about, I would say that overall, the country’s in pretty good shape. But if the Iranian threat, the political situation, the social welfare crisis and the glut of TV reality shows are getting you down, take a couple minutes and check out this clip that ISRAEL21c’s Nicky Blackburn and Viva Sara Press have put together.

In addition to providing some surprising information about just what Israel has achieved in the past 63 years, it will undoubtedly raise your morale and have you whistling a happy tune going into the coming eventful week. Happy Independence Day Israel! We’re proud of you.

Where to Find Good Levant Food Recipes

food blog recipes
I spend a lot of my time thinking about the environment and the things we can do to tread lighter on this planet. Home cooking is a big favorite of mine, because any items you can buy in bulk or without packaging like fruits and vegetables for instance, the lighter you tread on this earth. The health benefits are enormous. Processed and packaged foods are full of preservatives and chemicals to extend shelf life, and manufactured flavors to enhance taste. Keeping it real, by that I mean home cooking, the environment and your body will thank you.

If you know something about Israelis, one of the first things that will come to mind is their food. Israelis, unlike Jews you might meet in America, do not necessarily eat potato kugal or gefilte fish. In fact the first time I tried these things were not in the kitchens of native Israelis, but Americans who’d immigrated to Israel. The palate of the average Israeli is diverse. The question is if you love to cook where do you find good blog food recipes? With so many blogs out there, the choices are enormous.

My personal website Green Prophet provides a Middle Eastern inspired food recipes every week thanks to Miriam, and if you like fusion and the Israeli style of cooking another favorite cooking and food blog that I personally love is Food Bridge. It focuses on Israel as part of the Levant, and not separate from it.

On Food Bridge Sarah Melamed pens an incredibly local and current food blog on food from the land of Israel and beyond. She goes way beyond any type of Jewish stereotype you might find, embracing local cultures and traditions from nearby Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority. She writes about what foods are in season, where to get them, and pictures them so wonderfully that you might even be inspired to start a food blog yourself. The blog is great for Americans, because as an American Sarah is one of the few I know who lets her past go and really celebrates the food diversity in the Levant region, without politics, without religion. Give her blog a taste.

Israeli Pebble Carpet Designed for Heart Health?

Neora Zigler pebbles carpet
An Israeli designer creates a rug that incorporates real pebbles. Walking on them is like a foot massage!

It’s pretty common these days to see pottery and household objects from Israel that are designed to resemble nature.
While you may see pathways made of pebbles at resorts and spas, it’s not likely you’ll find them inside your carpets. Inspired by the east, Israeli designer Neora Zigler chose to sew pebbles inside layers of synthetic fabric and the result is her Pebbles Carpet. Zigler says it forces one to walk slowly, with concentration, but I bet walking on it is good for your health, and heart. (more…)

Israeliness,War

Taking care of our children

Hila Betzaleli poses at the Mount Herzl parade grounds, two hours before the tragedy in which she lost her life. (photo credit: Channel 2 News)

Two soldiers died tragically yesterday in what would seem to have been preventable accidents. The incident that grabbed the top headlines was at Mount Herzl where a lighting rig fell during practice for the next week’s Independence Day ceremony, crushing to death 20-year-old Hila Betzaleli from Mevesseret Zion.

The other death was 19-year-old Yehoshua Hefetz who collapsed during an exercise at the Combat Engineering Corps. in the Negev desert where he was training for the group’s elite Sayeret Yahalom special operations unit. First reports were that he was severely dehydrated on an unusually hot day with high winds and lots of dust. The army says it was cardiac arrest, although a post-mortem electrocardiogram performed at Eilat’s Yoseftal Medical Center showed no evidence of any congenital heart defect.

The second death hit closer to home: our daughter knew the young man, a Jerusalemite, through a mutual friend and went to high school with Hefetz’s sister. She texted me yesterday quite upset, understandably.

The two incidents – the second one in particular – always raise the question of “how could they have let this happen?” We send our children off to the army and entrust that the IDF will take care of them. War is one thing, but training accidents are particularly tragic.

And there have been others: earlier this year, Private Dvir Moor died after contracting an infection during basic training. And two years ago, another training incident claimed the life of Omri Shoshan was accidentally shot in the back.

I know that sh*t happens. As a parent, I have sometimes imagined locking my children in the house so that they’d be free from any harm out in the big scary world. I can’t imagine our children would agree.

Our daughter said that Hefetz’s father had died just two months ago. He is survived by his mother and two sisters. Our hearts go out to him and Hila Betzaleli. May their families know no more sorrow.