Thursday, February 26, 2015

Loopy for lupins

This spring we have made several visits to the wonderful Tel Sokho nature reserve, site of the biblical and Talmudic era town of Sokho. The reason to visit this site right NOW is to see the glorious amazing lupins, great swathes of them spread over the ridge and down some of the slopes, one of the greatest seasonal wonders of central Israel.

A flower trip with the our family has to involve a critter safari so here, along with some of the wonderful flowers are some of the more interesting reptiles and bugs we met (the butterflies were too elusive to capture on camera, but we saw some beauties my daughter declared to be courting couples)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Uri Orbach, may his memory be for a blessing

Today Israel lost one of her finest, children's author, journalist, politician and finally government minister Uri Orbach z"l.

Many leading rabbis, politicians, journalists and public figures have written tributes to this special man, people who knew him well and less well, who worked with him, appeared on tv and radio with him, served in government with him.

I am by no means one of those, I barely knew him personally, but what I did know of him was that every sterling testiment to his goodness you'll read in the press is 1000% true.

Uri Orbach prayed at our local synagogue. He sat a couple of rows behind my husband's seat. A leading public figure but he sat in a regular seat in a middle row pew just like any ordinary synagogue goer, not special honours, no place of privilege. He greeted everyone with the same genuine smile and shabbat shalom.

My oldest child has always loved his books; from kindergarten onwards they were some of the Jewish themed stories she liked to take to synagogue with her. One Friday night Uri Orbach noticed that she was reading a book he had written. Without revealing that he was the author he asked her about the book, whether she liked it, what she liked or didn't like and all with a gentle humour and smile that put the little girl at her ease.

This became a sort of ritual, he'd see her with a book, often one of his, ask her about it, she'd chat a little about the book, he'd wish her shabbat shalom and that was it. He never let on that he was the author of some her books.

Only later did another congregant let alone who the man who liked to talk about books was. And she was thrilled, a real live author of some of her favourite books who prayed in the same synagogue as her.