Pretty with pink

It’s a bit early for Spring but these pretty flowers are starting to bloom.

Definitely a wintry day here in Israel

Today was very much a wintry day here in Israel. It was freezing cold, and rained for most of the day. Thankfully I work from home!

I still prefer this weather to the Israeli Summer!

Thunderstorms and why I’m so glad I work from home

Rain drops on a window

There are many reasons why I’m glad I can work from home. Rainy, Winter days are definitely one of those reasons. Today is pretty cold (for Israel at any rate), and we have rain forecast for the whole day. We’ve had a small downpour already this morning:

A hailstorm arrived as our kids were about to walk to school. We waited a few minutes, and I took them out when the rain seemed to ease, somewhat. I returned home with pretty soaked jeans, so thank goodness for tumble dryers!

unsplash-logoFeatured image by Joy Stamp

Chanukah 2018 memories

Chanukah (aka Hanukkah) is my favourite festival on the Jewish calendar.

Hanukkah (/ˈhɑːnəkə/HAH-nə-kə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‬ ḥanuká, Tiberian: ḥanuká, usually spelled חֲנוּכָּה‎, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, [ˈχanukə] or [ˈχanikə] in Yiddish; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah or Ḥanukah) is a Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights (Hebrew: חַג הַאוּרִים‬, ḥag ha’urim).

Wikipedia
A neighbouring building has this wonderful box at their entrance.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that I just love the candles, and seeing my neighbours add candles each night, and these growing pools of light in Israeli winter evenings. I also love that stores and businesses also light candles, and display them in their windows. It’s like a thread of candlelight that links us all.

Another reason is that Chanukah usually takes place in December, which is around my birthday, which is always my favourite time of the year.

Yet another reason why I enjoy Chanukah is that we live in the city of the Maccabees who we remember in this festival, Modi’in. We also arrived in Israel on the first night of this festival, so that makes it even more special to us.

Each year, I take photos of our candles, and show our progression from the first candle, to the 8th. This year, I decided not to go with my standard view of our menorah with each day’s addition.

Our son also helped us light the candles this year.

Our son was really into capturing each night’s candles with his phone. I noticed he was experimenting with ISO, and shutter speed on manual settings. Definitely some photographer Dad pride there! 📸

Of course it’s not just about the candles. This time of year is also a time for amazing donuts called sufganiot, and fried foods such as latkes. I especially enjoy my wife’s potato and sweet potato latkes!

Israeli national anthem played in Abu Dhabi for the first time ever

The Israeli national anthem was played in Abu Dhabi for the first time ever, at the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam. Israel’s Sagi Muki won the gold medal.

https://twitter.com/AviMayer/status/1056562140914556930

In previous tournaments, Israeli athletes couldn’t compete under our flag, let alone hear our anthem play when they won medals.

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

An alternative to Israel’s expensive Microsoft licensing dilemma

Interesting article on OnMSFT: Israel, scared off by Microsoft subscription deals, won’t renew Office licensing agreements:

Under the current deal with Microsoft, Israel pays about $27 million a year for Office on the desktop, Windows, and server software being used across the government. The ministry issued a bold statement, saying “This will also encourage government ministries to re-examine their needs of using Microsoft technology or switch to other technology alternatives.”

Open source solutions are worth exploring. I’d love to see Israel adopt something like
LibreOffice, especially for schools where PowerPoint slides have become the default choice for notices.

I think Linux also makes a lot of sense for most people who just default to Windows because their computers come with it (albeit at a cost).

Schools, in particular, shouldn’t be sitting with PCs running Windows 2000. They can probably revitalise their old PCs with a lightweight Linux distro, and give kids an opportunity to use them for more than just gaming.

Certainly a switch like this is only possible with an investment, but the longer term benefits must outweigh the initial costs.

Somehow the clouds make the heat less oppressive

It’s mid-Summer in this part of the world. It’s generally pretty hot, as you can imagine.

Somehow, having some cloud cover makes the heat a little less oppressive.

Fallen pods

It looks like the remnants of Spring are going away, as Summer digs in here in Israel. These pods have been falling from their trees for a couple weeks now. We had especially hot weather yesterday, and it seems to have accelerated the process. This morning, ground near these trees was covered in these dried up seed pods. I wanted to capture the scene before they’re swept away.