When I first started blogging, I knew very little about the culture I was entering into. Up until that time, I had read blogs that concerned themselves with professional problems and methods that were connected to my work. And I thought that this would be a good method to remain in touch with people I had met abroad, or visitors that I had gotten to know when they came to Israel. As I continued to write, I met many people by way of the internet, and even discovered the pleasure of group discussions with people that I had never met, except by way of blog comments and correspondence. Little by little, I found myself part of a new social community, with its own etiquette and conventions. I made friends, and had contacts, and learned something new all the time. In a way, it was like visiting a new country that I knew nothing about. I made some mistakes. There were things I didn’t understand. And there were thrills too.

D1900_026
my cat, Nechama

Though I’m a fairly conservative person, I moved around from one platform to another in the last seven years. I set up a personal web site to share some of my photography, and then enjoyed the advantages of a commercial platform to continue in that vein, and have also published my personal blog on more than one platform. There were times when I was ‘tagged’ with a request to answer a number of questions, or tell things about myself. I didn’t think there was much point in that, because I already tell what I want to share about myself in the writing of my blog. And when tagged you had to continue the game, asking others to tell about themselves. Well, I certainly didn’t want to do that. Because I feared that I might embarrass someone or inconvenience them. Over the years, this practice has evolved to the giving of awards. And recently I’ve been offered an award…

D274_048
I like listening to all sorts of music

Though I didn’t feel it was right for me to accept any reward, getting such a request, to tell something about myself that others might not know from reading my writing, was a challenge I was willing to consider. Perhaps it would be a good idea to share my personal taste this once. I have a great love for literature and music. It is difficult for me to share my favorite writer with my English readers, because his writing is in Hebrew, and though he’s been translated to many languages, I have read some of the translations, and just don’t think he comes across in other languages. But I have decided to share one of my favorite story tellers in English. Music is easier to share. It is a language unto itself, and can be universally appreciated.

D1419_028
in a local night club, Tamar

I first studied classical music. I learned to read and write, and learned to play the violin. As a young man, I found many forms of music that I liked very much. But eventually I found the music that most spoke to me, and that is jazz. But of course, like other genres, jazz is a whole world, and there are many subcategories that are included when one speaks of jazz, so you may not be able to guess what sort of music actually excites me, and gives me moments of ecstasy. And I don’t think I could cover it all, even if I were to devote a whole post to just this subject. I have certain favorites that I listen to when I am happy, and others when I’m sad. And some when I want to think… actually there is quite a bit of music that I really love, But I will mention two recordings here, both of which are jazz, and both of which, I think, characterize what I look for in music. The first is ‘Artworks’ by Art Pepper. And the second is ‘A celebration of Hoagy Carmichael’ by Dave McKenna. These are not new recordings. I don’t know whether one can find them in a library these days, or buy them in a store. Maybe you can hear some of their work on youtube. I don’t know. Ah, I found something:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWihboDSrdg

D1474_072
the magic of the sax

I would also like to tell you of a story teller that I love listening to. He is a writer and a lecturer, and has been in a movie film. He is also a podcaster, and you can listen to one of his talks every week. I listen to his podcasts, and they bring me smiles and sadness, and a lot of inspiration. He always reminds me of what I love about human beings… and about the connection that each of us has with all other human beings. His name is Garrison Keillor, and you can find him here: http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/ You can also get his podcast here:
http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/about/podcast/

D1916_043
a sunny winter day; Nechama looks back

And I think I’ll add one more thing about me. I don’t have to tell you that I have a cat named Nechama, and that we are very close. I’ve written about her many times, and shown you pictures of her. But I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that she really doesn’t like smoking. And when I have a cigarette, she will not hop onto my lap. And if she’s already sitting on my lap, she will hop right off, and sit in another chair. Well, sometimes, I like to be by myself. I get tired of constant attention. And then, I light a cigarette, and look at her with a great innocent expression, as she shakes her head, and gets off my lap, and finds somewhere else to sit.

A few of my friends have asked about the peyot, and I just remembered a graffiti I saw a few years ago, on the subject… I thought it would be worthwhile including that in this post, even though it was photographed in monochrome.

D1177_080