Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tsfat’s Klezmer Festival 2012



Tsfat’s Klezmer Festival was Aug 20-21.  I knitting during the day on Monday and didn’t realize it was the first night of Klezmer. I stayed home Monday night and finished up Sahar’s scarf. Sahar asked me to make him a scarf when I was babysitting him.  He even asked me to make his blue.entering-into-the-festivities

Tuesday and Wednesday night I went to town with my best friend.  Had a really nice time. I loved the music last night – they did a bit of jazz and reggae. The group was made up of 3 yeshiva students and one of their teachers.  The singer wrote al the songs.

There was a wide variety of performances throughout the city. This year I didn’t hop around from place to place. This year was the 25th Annual Klezmer Festival. Every night there was a fireworks show.


This year I didn’t stay to the last bus.  I got back up to my neighborhood around midnight both nights, but Tuesday I visited with a friend at her place until 1am.  I’ve got to get back on schedule so I can get up early in the morning again.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stargazing Instead of Knitting

400px-MakhteshRamon_MoonscapeLast night wasn’t spent knitting like most of my evenings. Instead, I took off a bit after 1pm with a few others from Tsfat for the desert in the south of the country. We did make two stops along the way and arrived at the Ramon crater approximately 5 hours later. We took a mattress and chose our spots in for sleeping and then we had a light picnic dinner before our stargazing event began.
mars-saturn-spica-august2012I was one of about 40 lying under the skies in a crater near Mitzpe Rimon watching the Perseid meteor shower and checking out several constellations: the dippers, Sagittarius, the Milky Way and we were also shown the Andromeda Galaxy. Saturn, Mars and Spica formed a triangle with Saturn at the top, Mars was the left (east) point of the triangle and Spica (Virgo’s brightest star) was directly underneath Saturn.  I got to see Saturn through a telescope and once my eyes adjusted looking through the telescope, I no longer saw an oval, I actually saw Saturn with its ring around it. It was an amazing sight.    Andromeda-galaxy
For the first time I saw a yellow star and a red star, Antares (meaning "Rival of Mars") is the bright red star in the heart of the Scorpion. Spica is a blue star. The brightest stars of the dippers are blue-white. It was so peaceful and enjoyable there stargazing.
In the crater, there is a campground, where we stayed. I slept, with many others, in the Bedouin-style tent there. It was a bit hard to fall asleep since there were two heavy snorers. Finally, I did fall asleep. I got up about 5:30am and saw the sunrise, then went back to sleep for about an hour before getting up for the day.
Now to get ready for a scorching weekend!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Finish Line and Medals

RavthleteI finished my Ravellenic Lacey Shawl (my first lace weight project) about 11:15pm Wednesday night. I’ve crossed the 2012 Ravellenic Games finish line for the following events: Lace Long Jump, Shawl Sailing, Single Skein Sprint, and Synchronized Stash-Busting. For you non-knitters and non-crocheters, the Ravellenics is a knitting / crocheting challenge where participants challenge themselves to start and finish one or more projects during the Olympic Games. One can participate in one or more of the 32 Events, depending on what project they choose.

When I was at the podium to receive my medal for the Lace Long Jump, Bobicus (the Master of Ceremonies of the Ravellenic Games) said “to honor our revered medal winners upon completion of their herculean challenges in this the 2012 Ravellenic Games!
Fine yarn, thread, lots of chains or ssk’s, you persevered and conquered. The crowd ooh’s and ahhs the nupps, picots and gossamer weight of your projects and their general excellence.
Accept this lovely bouquet of summer flowers plucked from hillsides of Mount Olympus. And from the Bobicii Nereids, your Event Medal!
You’re now officially immortalized forever in the history books of the Ravellenic Games! Yeah You!
Now will Ravthletes and spectators alike bow your heads for the stately yet thrilling Ravellenic Games anthem” and the crowd roars with excitement at yet another successful bid for Ravellenic Glory is achieved!
one_skein_sprintWhen I received my medal for the Single Skein Sprint, the Master of Ceremonies was recorded saying “Many a competitor has succumbed to the siren call of the single skein. So tempting to think it’s just one little itty bitty skein… it won’t take up much room in the stash… and whoosh. In seconds, you’ve purchased yet more yarn. Hence the beauty of this event: turning those seductive skeins into objects of finished beauty (and making more room in your stash at the same time)!”
For the Shawl Sailing event: “Accept this lovely bouquet of summer flowers plucked from hillsides of Mount Olympus. And from the Bobicii Nereids, your Event Medal! You’re now officially immortalized forever in the history books of the Ravellenic Games! Yeah You! Now will Ravthletes and spectators alike bow your heads for the stately yet thrilling Ravellenic Games anthem … dum de dum dum … dummmmmm .. DA DUMMM!shawl_sailing
and the crowd roars with excitement at yet another successful bid for Ravellenic Glory is achieved!

For those of us receiving our medals for Synchronized Stash-Busting, Bobicus congratulated us:Bravo for fearless competitors who tackled the stash pile. Mounds and mounds of languishing stash magically transformed into beautiful and functional things of handmade wonder! The fiber world is a bit less crowded today thanks to your efforts to tackle the stash.”

I’ve won 4 medals! Yeah, what a Ravthlete!!

And let us remember the 11 souls killed 40 years ago in Munich.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Cast-On

Cast-On has come and gone.  Haifa (the northern contingent) of Team Falafel had their “Cast-On” party.  Really wish it didn’t fall on Shabbat would have loved to have been there!  Well, I was there in spirit. I toast you all now. The cake sure looks yummy! Since I slept most of the day (due to being a hot fast day and I really want to drink), I was up searching for something to watch while I did my cast-on and knitted my first lace-weight shawl.  Thanks to all the repeats on our cable here, I was actually able to see one of the many repeats of the Opening Ceremony.

I used two needles to cast-on to so make sure the stitches would be loose for stretching during blocking.  Thank goodness I used the short-tail cast-on since I needed to cast-on 249 stitches! The bottom tier was no problem.  I found my watching the Opening Ceremony took away from my correct counting, but only noticed it two rows later.  I ended up just including an extra pattern (each side of the middle) in the repeat of the middle tier. I sure hope these extra repeats won’t cause me to be short yarn!   
Only time will tell. Time for some sleep.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Event

Mercaz Klita, Tsfat
The long and hot heat wave has been miserable and still hasn’t ended! A taxi picked me up at 4:00 and it was already 95 degrees out. We (myself, the Ethiopian families and other worker at the Ethiopian Absorption Center) got on the buses about 4:15am. There were two buses for us and the Bar and Bat Mitzvah children, their “house mom” - my translator) and the art teacher (my neighbor and coordinator of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah project in Tsfat) plus some madrichim (young assistants), and a few others. At least the 3 hour bus ride to Jerusalem let us be in good air conditioning! When we were about halfway, the buses made a stop for us and it was like walking out into a sauna.

We arrived at the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem and as we got off the buses, the children started singing to welcome us. It was really nice. We arrived before the buses with the United Kingdom families from their hotels. We all went into the sanctuary and Rav Micha Peled welcomed everyone and then they proceeded to take family photos – the twin families together.

This year was the largest group of Bar/Bat Mitzvah participants (twin families with the Tsfat Ethiopian families – Thirty-four newly-arrived Ethiopian immigrant children (seventeen boys and seventeen girls) from the Jewish Agency "Tzahal" Absorption Center in Tsfat with sixteen British Bar and Bat Mitzvah "Twins") from the United Kingdom so far to date. First the boys and their fathers put on their tallises and tefillin with the brachas. Afterwards the Rabbi/Cantor from England sang Eishet Chayil while the “twin” girls walked into the sanctuary together hand-in-hand.

It was a very nice event. The Ethiopian girls were all given a white siddur. This joint Bar/Bat Mitzvah was the actual Bar Mitzvah date for one of the boys from the United Kingdom, so he was called up to lead them in one of the blessings. The joint Bar and Bat Mitzvah was conducted in Hebrew, Amharic and English. Before this wonderful joint Bar/Bat Mitzvah event ended at the Great Synagogue, Rabbi Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv came and addressed the congregation and blessed the Bar/Bat Mitzvah children.

Leading up to this final event, their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah program included four months of weekly classes at the Tzahal Absorption Centre in Tzfat, which focus on Jewish identity, the connection to the land of Israel and the transition from childhood to adulthood. The classes are supplemented by mentoring, a volunteering scheme, local trips and a structured Shabbat program. The children also studied at Livnot U'Lehibanot in Tsfat which prepared them for the practical aspects of Jewish life as well as a two month program for the girls and their mothers to learn embroidery and embroider a Bat Mitzvah project with me as their teacher and 4 week tefillin project for the boys with their fathers with Noah Greenberg.
Rav Kaplan, Rav Micha, Noah Greenberg, Rav Reich and the boys

After the actual Bar Mitzvah, we all received a bottle of water before getting on buses (6 in total) and went to the location for the rest of the festivities.  We did some dancing, okay, I did a lot of dancing. My body is a bit sore today, but it was a lot of fun. I was able to get a lot of the Ethiopian women to join in on our dancing.

There was one Bar Mitzvah boy and one Bat Mitzvah girl from both the UK and the Tsfat new immigrants who gave a speech. The Ethiopian girl gave her speech in Hebrew and the Ethiopian boy gave his in Amharic. They were all received very well. Sefton (UJIA Galil Programme Supervisor at UJIA and projectΚΌs head) was the master of ceremonies. He has been involved in arranging the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twin program for the last 16 years. Sefton has been an invaluable asset in this wonderful project.

The Ethiopian Bar and Bat Mitzvahs sang a few songs for everyone. Then some of the girls did traditional Ethiopian dancing while some of the boys and girls played the drums. First some of the Ethiopian women joined in, then some UK Bat Mitzvah girls joined it. Some Ethiopian men and then some of the UK guests, as well as myself also joined in.
Girls doing their traditional dancing

Rav Micha spoke, addressing the Bar/Bat Mitzvah children and their families and Sefton was the master of ceremonies. The lunch was actually very tasty. There was a downside to this event, we unfortunately couldn’t really feel the air conditioning in the banquet hall or the synagogue. 

The "Event" was wonderful - Efat did a wonderful job planning it all - kol hakavod!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ravellenic Games

I’ve entered the Ravellenic Games 2012 (same time as the Summer Olympics). I entered four events: Shawl Sailing, Lace Long Jump, Single Skein Sprint, and Syncronized Stash Busting. I will be making my first shawl with lace weight yarn. The yarn has been sitting in my stash since last year’s Ravelry’s Yarn and Falafel group’s annual picnic for a special project.

I hope I’ll be able to finish up the shawl before the end of the Summer Olympics and the Ravellenic Games 2012! I’m a bit nervous since the lace yarn is so fine and I don’t know how long it will take me to get used to knitting with that weight of yarn. The yarn is 100% natural sheep wool from Estonia in a gray and black variegated.

I will loose a night and a full day since cast-on is on a Friday night. I’ll have to get started on Motzei Shabbat. I guess I’ll just have to try and make up for some of that time lost on Saturday night and try to allocated a good chunk of Sunday for getting a good start on the shawl.
Lace Yarn

It hasn’t been easy waiting to cast-on and get started on my first lace weight project. I’ve been keeping myself busy with a few other projects.  I whipped up a cute kitty (or tiny dog) dress and have started on my first entrelac project.

Counting down the days to cast-on!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Siyyum Party

After I received all the Bat Mitzvah embroidery projects, we had a party.  Everyone brought something to the party – cold drinks, popcorn, Ethiopian coffee, traditional Ethiopian dishes and I brought chocolate-peanut butter-oatmeal balls and peanut butter rice crispy squares. The manager of the absorption center, the gal who organized all the bat/bar mitzvah projects and the actual event (July 19th in Jerusalem), an Ethiopian male worker and two American visitors joined my translator, the bat mitzvah girls and their mothers and myself. The manager gave a bracha (blessing) to all the bat mitzvah girls to succeed, followed by another blessing from the Ethiopian male worker. He then said hamotzei and cut the Dabo (Ethiopian Shabbat Bread), which was served to everyone there.
Bruria, Manager of Absorption Center
Uvnish, my translator

Dabo is a dense bread that is lightly spiced with nigella seeds and turmeric. It is typically made in a round frying pan and cooked on the stove covered for about 25 minutes. A couple of women made Injera, an unique Ethiopian staple bread. It has a distinct taste, which comes from its tangy flavor and the use of Teff flour and is a thin flat bread, like crepes. Injera was served with Amhari Mesir Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Lentil Bowl).

We had traditional Ethiopian music playing throughout the party.  Some of the girls and women did traditional dancing, which is mostly upper body movement.  My translator came over dancing and got me up to dance with her – I did my best to copy her movements.  We all had a really nice time.  Some of the girls and women thanked me and talked about their experiences learning embroidery and making their Bat Mitzvah projects. Teaching them has been very rewarding, and then to hear that so many enjoyed it, it really made me feel so good.
girls dancing