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Rule 5: Aliss Bonython

Remembering Safed

I remember Safed, the historic Upper Galilean town of Jewish mystics, chiefly for its wide stone staircases. We traversed them, my Israeli friend Yan and I, in the gathering twilight of a warmish day in March, 2011 spent driving from one attraction to another. Yan preferred getting it all in; I wished for more time in one place.

And I got that time in Safed. I can still picture the staircases and the people who surrounded us going up and down the steps, until we found what we were looking for, through a darkening alley, a very old Sephardic synagogue whose name I don’t remember. With its baby-blue bima in the center of the room with the canopy effect of the wooden ceiling painted with sky scenes.

Built after the many Jews who came in 1492 when they were expelled from Spain, not before, though some had lived there all along—which is to say despite the Roman expulsion hundreds of years before.

The holy city of Safed, it’s called, the home of the sparks of Kabbalah mysticism. Perched on a mountaintop about three thousand feet above sea level and on its slopes, it is also the highest city in Israel. You could lose yourself in its narrow, one-way cobblestone streets and narrower cobblestone alleys and we almost did several times.

The ancient city lingers in memory almost nine years later and it always will.

Jewish Birthday of Trees

“Tu Bishvat could easily have faded away after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, since there was no longer a system of fruit offerings or Temple priests to receive them. However, the kabbalists (mystics) of Tzfat (the city of Safed) in the Land of Israel in the 16th century created a new ritual to celebrate Tu Bishvat called the Feast of Fruits.”

So, technically, the birthday, or new year, which begins in the evening of Sunday, Feb 9, and ends in the nightfall of Monday, Feb 10, is only about fruit trees. But the rabbis have extended it to all trees wherever they may be. Including the big grandfather tree off the porch at the mini-rancho.

Via Yahoo

Crazy Nancy outdoes herself

Childishly ripping up her copy of the president’s State of the Union speech as he concluded it was crazy in the extreme. It was meant to upstage him and it did. The move will be immortalized in Trump campaign ads. It will add to calls within her Dim party that she step down as Speaker.

It’s a pity that the first woman Speaker of the House is such a loony tune.

Via CSPAN on Twitter

UPDATE: Newt Gingrich called her action “viciously partisan” and one Republican rep said he fears for the country. As well he might, since her fellow Dimocrats gave her a standing O.

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Rule 5: Maria Gimena

Second of the third II

Here’s a mystery that could use solving.

My OCS friend Russ Wheat was wounded in both legs in Viet Nam and sent to Japan for treatment. Where OCS classmate Rick Wilson, who was posted with an Armor unit in South Korea, ran into him on a leave:

“We met in a bar in Japan where he was holding court with about 20 mesmerized by his continual line of jokes. It was a great time with him. As an aside he had to sit on a pile of pillows due to the wounds he had which he referred to as his magic carpet.”

Russ should have ridden his magic carpet home. Most wounded sent to Japan were. Two from my advisory team went home that way. Indeed, Rick was surprised when Russ got sent back to Vietnam to complete his tour as a platoon leader in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. “I was surprised he returned to VN. I too thought he had his ticket home.”

When I asked Russ why he was sent back he raised his eyebrows and shoulder in a half shrug as if to say “Why, indeed?”

Could the major general who felt insulted by Russ at the briefing have been so vindictive as to send him back for more infantry despite his leg wounds?

Just the kitchen to go

Repairing the sagging bottom shelves in the existing cabinets and the sagging doors and painting them white inside and out. Then painting the ceiling white and the walls pale blue, applying crown molding and window molding and replacing the pantry door with a six-panel pine painted the white of the cabinets. And finally a new blue laminate countertop and a new white porcelain sink. Whew.