Not a single bird was seen . . . 

The current time period on the Jewish calendar is known as The Three Weeks, preceeding Tisha B’Av, the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av. The 9th of Av commemorates multiple tragedies throughout Jewish history, including the story of the terrible destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple, resulting in the subsequent Babylonian Exile in 586 BCE.Expanding on a verse from […]

Starting in Jerusalem

We started in Jerusalem, and travelled south through the Judean Desert, the Negev, and on to the Arava. More to come soon about the southern views. While in Jerusalem I made a quick stop at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, with its new Visitor Center. Its wonderful schedule of events, exhibits, bird banding, and tours included […]

Discovering the Bird’s Head Haggadah

Jews around the world recently concluded the yearly celebration of Pesach (Passover), the commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt. I’ve previously posted about stories of birds in the Torah, and even how birds accompanied the Jewish people as they crossed the Red Sea in the Exodus from bondage in Egypt. But it was such a busy […]

“Melody is the quill of the soul…”

The late Chabad Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson is quoted as saying, “Melody is the quill of the soul.  Words may be an expression of your heart, but a melody expresses the contents of your soul. . . . “ (Source:  Prisms, Uplifting Views on Daily Life, 2014).  We made a visit to the renowned world […]

The Turtledove and the Columbarium

On a walk through the ruins of Ashkelon National Park this past spring, I was fortunate to spot this beautiful Turtledove below, foraging through the rocky landscape. It was very early May, and surely around the time of year about which King Solomon wrote in the Song of Songs: “12.The blossoms have appeared in the land, […]

“Don’t forget to sing!”

Tucked away in a little courtyard off HaRav Kook Street in Jerusalem, is the Museum of Psalms. This tiny building houses a collection of massive paintings by Rav Moshe Tzvi HaLevi Berger – the Museum was established under the patronage of the former Rabbi of The Kotel, R. Yehuda Meir Getz. Inspired and encouraged by […]

The Sparrow

The Sparrows’ boisterous song reverberates through the narrow winding stone streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, and seems to grow louder as you approach the Kotel. Its lively sound is nearly as ever-present along the shores of the Yarkon River, near where the River flows into the Sea, part of a loud, mixed chorus […]

From Perek Shira

Perek Shira (פרק שירה) is a little gem of a book, an ancient source believed to be at least 1800 years old; some say it is perhaps even older, written by King David or King Solomon.  Known as The Song of the Universe, or The Song of Creation, Perek Shira is a collection of 85 […]

Welcome to the Birds of the Kotel

Every spring, the Swifts return to nest in The Kotel. It is an incredible story, as the Common Swift is an uncommonly remarkable bird! They are superb aerialists – they eat, sleep and even mate on the wing. This spring I just missed the Welcoming Ceremony (see video below from 2012), but was fortunate to […]

Niggun of the Birds – R. Shlomo Katz

My first encounter with Rabbi Shlomo Katz was in a class at Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo in the charming Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem. He began and ended the shiur with a niggun, and his voice and guitar were beautiful to hear. Not long after, I saw Katz perform before a huge crowd at the 15th Annual […]