2 Pieces of New Information for my Followers

1. An index for Streets of Israel is now available. Just request it using the contact form below –  with your e-mail address – and I’ll send it to you. It was done by a generous visitor to this site who wishes to remain anonymous. Call him IndeXMan.

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2. I’m pleased to announce the publication date of my latest novel, EVEN YOU, on September 1, 2015.

It’s the story of Claire Bramany and her deceased lover of twenty-three years, Jessie Friedman. While cleaning out Jessie’s desk, Claire finds hidden journals revealing Jessie’s long-buried secret of childhood sexual abuse by an uncle. Shattered, yearning to reconnect with the Jessie she thought she knew, Claire goes to find the man—and wreak revenge.

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10 Things You Need to Know About… Yehudah HaMaccabi

Lion of the Desert

1. AKA Judah Maccabee, he was the third of five sons of Matathias of Modi’in, who initiated a revolt against the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, when that ruler sought to impose a Hellenistic way of life and worship on the Jews.

2. After his father’s death in 165 BCE, Yehudah, a Judean priest, assumed command of the resistance forces against the Greco-Syrian empire.

220px-Juda-Maccabaeus3. He led his troops to victory in stunning and tactically brilliant defeats over the Greek armies at Bet-Horon, Emmaus, and, ultimately, Mt. Zion.

4. He captured the Temple in Jerusalem and, in December of 164 BCE, purged it of all Hellenistic-cult paraphernalia, re-constructing it according to the specs in the Torah and reconsecrating it.

5. He made a treaty with the Roman Republic in 161 BCE – the first recorded treaty between the Jews and the Romans. After many additional victories in Gilead, Transjordan and Galilee, he was defeated in the field while fighting the Syrian forces.

6. He died in battle north of Jerusalem in 160 BCE and was buried in the family sepulcher in Modi’in. He was succeeded by his brother Jonathan; the descendants of his brother Simeon became the Hasmonean dynasty in Judea, where, as a result of their rebellion, the Jews were able to enjoy independence and the liberty to worship God according to their own lights. For a fuller and more elegant explanation of what happened, try Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews.

7. So, if he was Yehudah ben Mattityahu, how did he become Yehudah HaMaccabi?

8. Oy.

images9. Maccabee is a sobriquet, meaning “hammer” in Aramaic. That’s one explanation. Another is that it’s an acronym for the verse Mi Kamocha Ba’elim Adonai, “Who is like unto you, oh God.” Or it might be an acronym for his father’s name, Mattityahu Kohen ben Yochanan. Or a shortened form of the Hebrew for “the one designated by Adonai.” Take your pick.

10. Many works of art have been created, written, sung and played about him. Among the most notable are the following: Handel’s oratorio “Judas Maccabaeus “; Beethoven’s theme and variations for cello and piano on a theme from the Handel oratorio; Longfellow’s five-act verse tragedy and many other poems and plays by writers in Hebrew and Yiddish; Howard Fast’s My Glorious Brothers published in 1948 during Israel’s war of independence, and still a good read today.

Thanks to Ido Biran telavivi for this photo.

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Happy Hanukkah to all!

You’ll find Yehudah HaMaccabi (or Makkabbi) Street in Tel Aviv’s north end running east-west between Ibn Gevirol and Weizmann, just south of Shlomziyyon HaMalka.

7 Things You Need to Know About…Jacob de Haas

A founding father of political Zionism

1. Jacob de Haas was born in 1872 to a Dutch family living in London. He studied at English and German universities.

2. A journalist, he became editor of the London Jewish World. In addition, he wrote for London’s  Daily Chronicle, Daily News and Pall Mall Gazette, as well as for Die Welt of Vienna.

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Theodore Herzl

3. In 1896, after joining the Zionist movement, his writing introduced Theodore Herzl [see my blog post of 6/26/13] to the English public. It was to change his life: he became Herzl’s secretary and biographer, working closely with him until his death.

4. In 1902, at Herzl’s request, de Haas moved to the United States, where he became secretary of the Provisional Zionist Committee and of the American Federation of American Zionists. Later, he served as secretary to the Palestine Development League and the Palestine Endowment Fund.

5. He helped organize the American Jewish Congress and was one of its representatives in 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference.

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Louis D. Brandeis

6. De Haas is credited with introducing Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis to the ideas and ideals of Zionism. Brandeis became an active Zionist. [see my blog post of 6/11/14] With Brandeis, he visited Palestine twice, in 1919 and 1924. He later wrote a biography of Brandeis, published in 1928.

7. He was the author, as well, of a two-volume biography of Theodore Herzl, a history of Palestine and other works. He died in New York in 1937. Some of his books are still available today; his papers are archived at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.

De-HaasIn Tel Aviv, you’ll find De Haas Street running eastward off Ibn Gevirol.

 

Many thanks to Ido Biran Telavivi for this photo.

4 Things You Need to Know About… Shlomtzion Hamalka

Queen of Judea

200px-Salome_Alexandra1. Salome Alexandra – or Alexandra of Jerusalem – was one of only two women to rule of ancient Judea (76-67 BCE) and the last ruler of the independent kingdom to die.

2. She became queen when her husband, Alexander Janneus, died. While he was king, she seems not to have wielded great political power. There was strife during his reign, and he actively sought to suppress the Pharisees (traditionalists) in favor of the Sadducees (Hellenists). According to Talmudic sources, she sought to protect the Pharisees from his persecution. The Talmud says she was the sister of the sage Shimon ben Shetach, a Pharisee – though Josephus doesn’t mention any such connection. In any case, upon his death Alexander Janneus left the government to the care of his wife, rather than to any of his sons.

3. As queen, she immediately set out to settle differences. She made peace with the Pharisees, thus securing the Hasmonean dynasty. The Sanhedrin – initially established by her husband –  was reorganized in favor of the Pharisees, and her eldest son, Hyrcanus II, was made high priest. Also, she reinforced protection of Judea’s borders by fortifying towns.

4. Her reign brought peace and prosperity – Shlomtzion means “peace of Zion.” Indeed, rabbinical sources relate that while she ruled the rain fell only on Shabbat, enabling working people to earn money every working day. Grains of wheat were said to have grown as large as kidney beans, and all things fared well. Who am I to say differently?

shlom zionIn Tel Aviv, you’ll find Shlomtzion Hamalca Street north of Yehudah HaMaccabi and south of Bene Dan, near the Yarkon River and the youth hostel.

In Jerusalem, look for Shelomziyyon Hamalka near the City Hall and the Mamilla Mall.

My thanks to Ido Biran, Telavivi, for his photo of the street sign in Tel Aviv.

 

 

5 Things You Need to Know About…Nahum Gutman

Israeli artist

1. Nahum Gutman was born in Bessarabia in 1898. In 1905, his family moved to Palestine, where he attended Herzliya Gymnasium and later served, during World War I, in the Jewish Legion. He studied art at the Bezalel School before going to Europe in 1920 to study in Vienna, Berlin and Paris. He returned home in 1926.

GUTMAN m_12. Together with Reuven Rubin and Ziona Tagger [see my blogpost of 11/5/14] he pioneered a distinctively Israeli artistic style that portrayed the landscape, the light and the people of Eretz Yisrael.

3. Gutman’s vibrant use of color is a keynote of his work. He often portrayed the Arab community, depicting both the sensuousness and the grittiness of life in the Middle East. He painted in a variety of media, including oil, gouache, watercolor and pen and ink; and he produced many large sculptures and mosaics. Critics have found notes of Renoir, Picasso, Rousseau and Dufy in his work.

Gutman, Nachum4. He is notable, as well, for writing and illustrating children’s books. In 1931, he co-founded a children’s journal, Davar LaYeladim, and remained on its staff for 32 years. Among the many awards he received for his work in children’s literature was the Israel Prize, conferred in 1978.

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5. He died in 1980. His work can be seen all over Tel Aviv –  in a mosaic mural at the Shalom Tower; in a mosaic wall at Herzliya High School; in a mosaic fountain on Bialik Street; and at the Nahum Gutman Museum at 21 Rokach St., Neve Tzedek.

 

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Many thanks to Ido Biran,Telavivi, for this photo of Nahum Gutman Street, located northwest of Tel Aviv University.

 

 

 

5 Things You Need to Know About…Ziona Tagger

Pioneering Israeli artist

1. Ziona Tagger was born in Jaffa in 1900. Her family had made aliyah from Bulgaria in 1880 and were among the founders of Tel Aviv.

2. A sabra, she was to pave the way for later female artists. She attended the Bezalel School of Art and Design in 1921 and two years later continued her studies in Paris, where she participated in the exhibition of the Salons des Independents. When she returned home, she continued working and exhibiting with other young artists, including Reuven Ruben. In 1934, she was one of the founders of the Israeli Artists and Sculptors Association.3804912_1_l

3. When World War II broke out, she volunteered with the British and later joined the Haganah.

ziona_purim4. She was a figurative painter best known for her portraits and local landscapes. Her work partakes of modern art principles –  cubism, for example – but stays close to her tradition. For example, she used Plexiglass sheets, painting on the wrong side as one might paint on glass, employing the bright colors of folk art and depicting Jewish themes. Her work won her accolades and awards.

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    “I paint instead of praying.”

 

 

5. She is considered the most important female Israeli artist from the early part of the twentieth century. To see more of her work, click here. (Do it – it’s worth the trip.) She died in 1988.

You’ll find Ziona Tagger St. in Jaffa, off Yefet St.

ziona taggerThanks to Ido Biran, Telavivi, for this photograph.

10 Things You Need to Know About… Lea Goldberg

Prolific Hebrew-language poet

1. Lea Goldberg was born in 1911 to a Jewish Lithuanian family from Kovno (now Kaunas). At school she became fluent in Hebrew, even using it to write in her diaries. Ultimately she gained expertise in a number of European languages as well.

PikiWiki_Israel_3468_People_of_Israel_-_Lea_Goldberg_-_cropped2. She began writing poetry at about age twelve; by age fifteen she was determined to be a writer – in Hebrew, despite the limitations of audience. She was still a schoolgirl when her first Hebrew verse was published.

3. She studied at a Hebrew gymnasium and at the University of Kovno; then at the universities in Bonn and Berlin, earning a Ph.D. in Semitic languages and German, with a dissertation examining the sources of Samaritan translation in the Torah. In the early 1930s her poems appeared in literary collections in Lithuania. She made aliyah in 1935, settling in Tel Aviv, where she joined a group of writers of eastern-European origin. At the same time, her first poetry collection came out – to be followed by collections published in 1939, 1942, 1944, 1948, 1955, 1964 and a final volume published posthumously.

250px-Leagoldberg4. Initially she worked as a high-school teacher and wrote rhyming advertisements until being hired as an editor of the Hebrew newspapers Davar and Ha’aretz as well as the journal Al HaMishmar. She wrote literary columns and theater reviews, worked as a children’s book editor and was literary consultant to the Habima theater – all the while turning out poetry, children’s stories, novels and plays. Her books for children have become classics of Hebrew children’s literature.

5. By the early 1950s she was a lecturer in Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1963 she was made a full professor and chaired the Department of Comparative Literature.

6. She translated into modern Hebrew great works from Russian, Lithuanian, German, French, Italian and English writers. The best-known of these is War and Peace; others included works by Rilke, Mann, Chekhov, Akhmatova, Shakespeare and Petrarch.

200px-Leah_Goldberg_1946_edited7. Her poetry has been described as “a system of echoes and mild reverberations, voices and whispers.” It focuses on small things – a stone, a thorn, a butterfly, a bird – to express the immense or ineffable, often involving themes of childhood, love, aging, death and nature. The language is personal and introspective with frequent references to the culture, traditions and land of her childhood. The later poems utilize classic lyric genres, including the sonnet.

8. Her work influenced Amichai, among others. Many of her poems have been set to music. For two renditions of “Will there ever come days,” follow these links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2mlV0BBrdI#t=37

and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQmMMeAddNw#t=22.

3170_Lea_Goldberg_220x5009. She received the Rupin Prize for her poetry in 1949 and in 1970 was awarded the Israel Prize for Literature (posthumously). In 2011, she was chosen as on of four great Israeli poets to appear on Israel’s currency. Here are two links to her poems in translation: http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.com/2010/03/leah-goldberg-pine-from-hebrew.html and http://jhom.com/topics/rivers/lea_goldberg.htm

10. Lea Goldberg died in Jerusalem in 1970 of lung cancer.

Lea GoldbergIn Tel Aviv, you’ll find Lea Goldberg Street north of HaYarkon Park on the edge of Weits Garden.

Thanks to Ido Biran (telavivi) for his photograph of the street sign.