Thursday, November 18, 2010
Cheap electrical kettles and rabbis.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Shani's first birthday
Today is Shani's first birthday.
She now knows five words, all of them in Hebrew. Kova (hat) which she uses not just for hats but also for items of clothing (most of them will go on your head if you try) and bottle tops. Kadoor (ball)which she uses for anything round, including fruit and vegetables. Or (light) she uses for lights, light switches, ceiling fans, the sun and the moon. Hav Hav (Hebrew for woof woof) means dog and any animal. This morning she pointed at a pigeon and said "hav hav". She can also identify images of hav havs and kadoors and says kadoor when when seeing basketball or football on the TV.
Abba (father) she uses for me and (not sure how this happened) for mobile phones.
We spent the last ten days in Italy where she produced a new word, her first verb: Havi (bring / give). She doesn't conjugate it properly but there is no doubt about the meaning. She'll finish hr bottle and then point at it and say "Havi!" sending me scuttling to the kitchen, with her in one arm to make her a new bottle.
Being an Israeli child she also knows a few gesticulations: she can point at things and pat her head when saying "Kova!".
She may be confusing Abba with mobile phones because I recently bought a new one and have been playing with it. For a while I had David Bowies' song "Ground control to Maj
or Tom" as my ringtone but someone at work started joking about my being an astronaut so I changed it to the more combative "Joshua fit [fought] the battle of Jericho" sung by Mahalia Jackson.
During our visit to Italy we went to see the Jewish Museum in the Rome synagogue, which is one of the most magnificent synagogues I have seen. They have an excellent exhibition on the Jews of Rome, which is incidentally far better than that shown in the London Jewish museum, although using less fancy displays. Perhaps the London Jewish museum should be in the Bevis Marks synagogue.
It was hard being in the museum as Shani wanted to touch the displays and drum on the chairs, but I managed to contain her until we were taken on a guided tour of the synagogue. Here everyone was asked to wear a Yarmulke and Shani started shouting "Kova!" Kova!" much to my embarrassment. To further compound the situation as I held Shani, my cellphone went off and stated going "Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho...".
At that point I gave up and walked out. I then realized Shani needed a nappy change so I went into the garden and started preparing to change her when a whole crowd of people came out. Realizing I might be causing offence I totally left the synagogue area and changed her on the street outside.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Call the post office and order four gas masks.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Noam playing the congas at an end-of-school party
Saturday, June 12, 2010
How I won and lost a global scoop
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Tel-Aviv Post: Breaking news editor at the Jerusalem Post
P.S. If you want to read more about my time at the Post see How I won and lost a global scoop
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Religion and Socialism in the Middle East conflict
It used to be, that when Arabs and Jews went to war, socialist Jews would fight socialist Arabs. Kibbutzniks were disproportionately represented among the commanders of the Israel Defence Forces, PLO factions were all called the Popular Front and the parties which ruled the Arab world described themselves as socialist. Israel was totally under the thumb of the Labour party and in the Six Day War it was socialist Nasser against the Kibbutznik Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Am I using the right site?
There is a small visitor counter on this blog which you can see lower down the page on the right hand side. At the moment its been viewed about 320 times in a couple of months which is hardly a very impressive statistic. So I've started thinking about trying to promote it and am wondering if I should change the blog's location. In the mean time vox.com is pretty easy to use and I don't want to start moving around without a good reason.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Shani at seven months
Monday, April 26, 2010
The Journey of a Lifetime: my grandmother's escape on the Trans-Siberian railway
|US Visa, issued May 10 1940|
|Japanese visa, issued July 4 1940|
|Manifest of the ship she arrived on., look for Betty Lowenstein on the list|
This page from the US Holocaust Museum tells how 2,200 Polish Jews escaped over the Trans-Siberian: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005588
A personal account by someone else who followed this route: http://www.rijo.homepage.t-online.de/pdf_2/EN_DE_JU_eastern_route.pdf
Friday, April 16, 2010
Traffic Jams and Motorbikes
A few days ago I took my motorbike down to south Tel-Aviv today to get my seat repaired after someone slashed it. There is a motorcycle upholsterer down there. It would never have ocurred to me that such a person existed if I hadn't passed him by at some point. His name is Sasson and he is one of the old school Russian immigrants. The new school came in the nineties, wear designer clothing and are ultra-cool but Sasson belongs to the generation that arrived in the seventies and grew up revering Stalin, wearing design-free clothes and thought gold teeth were the ultimate in cool.
Friday, April 2, 2010
A fine democracy: Why Israel shouldn't change its voting system
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Spring cleaning for Passover: Ancient Bnei-Brak
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Life on two wheels: Motorcycle tyres and Rabbis in Tel-Aviv
Monday morning I had to go to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. At 8:40 AM I got on my bicycle and cycled 15-20 minutes to the dentists. They injected one half of my jaw with anaesthetic and then cleaned it with what felt like a wire brush.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
My other passport is with Mossad
My daughter just got her first passport and now I am faced with the decision of whether I should try and get her a British passport too. My son has three passports: British, US and Israeli (his mother is American). It's fine as long as they don't all start requiring compulsory military service or taxes. At this stage he's too young for the Mossad to send his doubles (or in his case trebles) to Dubai. I somehow avoided this fate, probably because my surname "Lowenstein" is too obviously Jewish (it isn't Jewish).
Saturday, March 6, 2010
The Olympics: The World'r foremost nationalist pagent
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Facebook and statistics - On the internet not everything is what it seems
According to official Facebook statistics there are over 400 million users of Facebook. And it continues to grow. Google are sufficiently freaked to have launched the rival Buzz service without properly figuring out the implications.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Babatunde Olatunji (here playing the west-African Djembe) is one of the most important drummers of the 20th century.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Mufti - My part in his downfall
An ex-girl friend of mine spends her life sending e-mails to millions of people providing details of the latest Israeli academic who is voicing excessive support for the Palestinians or recommending that the institution that pays his wages etc. be boycotted. I get about two of these mails every day. So it was with a certain sense of irony that I went to a symposium at Tel-Aviv University about the psychological impact of the "Nakba" (catastrophe) on the Palestinians, organized by "Psychoactive - Mental health professionals for Human Rights". I'm curious to see if it makes her mail.
Recreating ancient kingdoms: Arab Nationalism vs Zionism.
Although Zionism and Arab Nationalism are at loggerheads over Palestine (or perhaps Southern Syria), the two have a certain amount in common...
My grandmother, Betty Löwenstein (maiden name Ehrlich), escaped Germany by fleeing east and caught one of the last Trans-Siberian trains bef...
A few days before Israel's last election, I was sent a link by an NGO dedicated to maintaining “pure elections”. The NGO, Mishmar Habhir...
Israeli roads generally run the length of the country, which is a neat North to South (or vice versa) or cross it West to East (or the rever...