Monday, December 17, 2007

Buzz Words

I'm addicted to my blogs, I love to read, and to write, unfortuantely, I don't have time to maintain or write my four blogs anywhere near as often as I would like to - but I have noticed something interesting about the techcrunch posts I read daily.

Tech goes in waves. A few months ago it was all about the iphone. Buzz surrounding the release, then the costs, change in price, European release, etc etc. That faded and everyone was worried about Facebook, Project Beacon and invasion of privacy. Once again, the fad has faded, and Techcrunch seems to be most concerned with Google.

Our field changes daily, and keeping yourself in the loop can be a full time job...

Time to get back to the RSS!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Holiday Time!

I have never been too good at buying gifts, be it for the holiday season, or birthdays... It's just not something I am good at. If it was up to me, everyone would post wish lists and make it that bit easier. This year, I think I have found the next best thing.

Be it Christmas gifts, or gifts for her, there is plenty to look at on, and they have an awesome selection of Men's Nike Shoes too, the selection of products they have on offer really blew me away.

This year, kids, friends and the whole family can be happy with the choices of gift I can find, everything from ipods to barbie dolls and no one can complain come Christmas day!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The world of programming is complex, and there is no end to the list of possibilities when it comes to choosing a language to program in. Sometimes, you will need to meet the needs of a client and write a script in a language you're not familiar with.

When looking for some help in this area, I found a site that describes the differences between ASP and PHP in a simple, easy to understand format.

The site shows the two codes next to each other, and is a solution for all those headaches!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oh PageRank

Considering how much people talk about how little PageRank really means, a lot of fuss has been made over the last few weeks as Google updated their data centers and caused havoc reducing big names to minimal page ranks.

At the end of the day, we all care what Google think. They may not be the best search engine out there, but they are the industry standard. We don't "search" for things on the net anymore, we "Google" them.

A while back (late 2005), there was talking of getting rid of PageRank entirely, but this seems to have been shelved. Perhaps this re-shuffle is Google's way of hitting back at sites that behave in ways that piss them off, or perhaps we will start to see a more regular change in PR's.

Google has the power, it's not worth getting mad about it either. They say PR drops, it drops. They say it goes, it goes. There will be life after PageRank.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hide that IP...!

One problem I have found with popular IP-hiding sites, is they too can end up being blocked. Being out of the US is great for travel experiences, but sucks when trying to access sites like that limit access to US users.

This morning I stumbled across (literally) and it's awesome... works well, and I've got my Pandora back, for now!

Monday, October 15, 2007 - your key to Rome

Looking for a place to stay in the Eternal City? Trouble finding the best accommodations in Rome? Look no further: is your definitive guide for finding the right apartments, hotels and bed and breakfasts in Rome.

Choose the best solution for your stay in Rome by comparing prices, services and sightseeing for each apartment, hotel and bed and breakfast in the historical center of the city - and even get the exact distance of each resource from monuments like the Colosseum, the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountain.

The site is extremely clear and user-friendly: navigate the easy map of Rome, browse the constantly updated list of accommodations and choose the best place to stay while visiting Rome - then book securely online with your credit card or PayPal. So don't hesitate: is your definitive guide for your apartment in Rome, hotel or bed and breakfast.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Being Stupid makes you look... well, stupid

TechCrunch have an excellent post about a possible lawsuit right here, but if I were them, I wouldn't be worried...

"oh hi sir... calling on behalf of the asten crutchen photo leading to tech erm website"

Sounds like a pro!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ring Ring...!

The ability to download phone ringtones was the cellphone equivalent to being the dawn of web 2.0 for cellphones, then the networks took it one step further. Now we can listen to music as the phone rings, instead of that boring ring tone. Each network has a different name for this service, but whether it is cingular answer tones, or vzw ringback tones, we no longer have to be bored when waiting for the call to be picked up.

Many people worry about their mobile phone ringtones and want to make sure they stand out from the crowd. That Nokia tune or palm treo ringtones can all be different, infact, I change my 7100i blackberry ringtones so often that I sometimes forget it's my cell ringing!

It's music to our ears...!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Breckenridge Colorado real estate

Travel is one of those hobbies that I love and yet never get enough of. It's time consuming and sometimes costly, but worth every single cent. In Europe I have visited Amsterdam, London, Paris and Dublin, amongst many places, but a vacation in the US in my favorite of all.

Zoom it in a little bit more and my eyes land on Colorado, where the hills are snow topped and the resort of Breckenridge provides the perfect winter vacation, but when the snow dries and it's summer time, the watersports, town and mountains give the perfect city-country blend for a beautiful place to live. I can see myself being very happy in one of Breckenridge homes.

There are many options for Breckenridge real estate and Breckenridge condos and the search is much made easy with Breckenridge mls search and Breckenridge ski in ski out for sale options readily available.

The US has many beautiful spots, but Colorado's views and resorts are definitely somewhere I miss.

Bebo Everywhere!

Just the other day I was talking about social networking, and Facebook is always thought of as the pioneer of this technology, but it isn't true. There are many other sites out there that perform an excellent job at keeping people in touch with each other. Sometimes details on these lesser known sites can be hard to come by, but Bebo information doesn't need to be difficult to get. In some respects, Bebo offers features that other sites forget to offer, at that has lead to it's popularity in places such as Ireland.

As with any successful site, school and bosses want us to avoid being online all day and can sometimes limit access to sites. Unblocking Bebo doesn't have to be hard. Getting round the firewall or changing settings isn't just for internet geeks, and soon enough you can be back online communication with friends, and perhaps strangers too, but make sure to keep your social networking safe!

Shop Safe

We all have our favorite place to seek the best deals online. Some prefer the big name stores like amazon and, then there is the second hand option like ebay and, then there is the beauty that is often forgotten of Craigslist.

Craigslist has often been somewhere I loved to look for offers, and to communicate with others, from the missed connections "you had to sit down in Subway on 3rd" to the apartment listings and and last minute sales.

The concern when buying from a stranger is always there too, but with some sense, we can always make sure to have our own form of buyer's protection. Avoiding scams at Craigslist doesn't need to be difficult. Be logical, follow wise practices, and most of the time your interaction will be with another honest internet user eager to go about their day. If all else fails, there is an Internet Fraud Complaint Center that will look after you.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Digital Picture Frames for All!

I am all about photography. I don't leave my house without a camera, but one drawback that digital age has, is the need to be proactive about printing the pictures. The days of waiting for holiday pictures to come back from the lab is well over, and we're all about the digital.

This is why I want to take the next step and get myself a digital picture frame, but at the same time, a good quality cheap digital picture frame but there are so many out there. I want to preserve those kodak moments, and enjoy the best of my photos too.

Now I know exactly where to start with digital picture frame reviews telling me exactly where I can get value for my money. They have products from Phillips, Kodak and many other suppliers and getting a cheap digital photo frame just got easier, now my best shots are on display and not just taking up space on my hard drive.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Money... that's what I want...

Money makes the world go round, right? We all use it, need it, want more... and then we don't actually use the paper - we opt for plastic. Personally, if I can't pay with credit card, I take my business elsewhere. There are cash back credit cards which offer an incentive. The more you spend, the more you get back. It kinda makes us feel less guilty when we drop that extra $50 on a night out. Other cards offer us different incentives.

Bankaholic has some great deals, they have the credit card suited to you, with options for a gas station credit card giving cashback on fuel purchases or even an air miles credit card for the frequent flier who wants to rack up those points for upgrades or free points.

However you want to get rewarded, there is an option out there for you. I love knowing that every $5 I spend on my card I get 'points' and one day, my dream vacation will be one step closer!

Idol Me

Idol Me is a site I came across while trawling the web the other day. Yes, you could look at it as another forum or networking site, but I see it as having a special bonus. It's foucus is Entertainment and Music and that is right up my street.

The music section covers a number of awesome artists and and now I can have access to to biography and information about my favorite genre's of music all in one place.

Each Idol Me member a space to write the own blog too. The site understands how it can be hard to get those creative juices flowing and offers tool to help write the blog and promotes them on their list of recent entries.

I like this site, and I hope they do well, it gathers all the info you need from a music and entertainment point of view and puts it nicely in one place. This site deserves to be successful.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

J'mapelle Dictionary

If there's one thing the net is lacking, or at least my is yet to get my attention, it's an efficient multi lingual dictionary. Google has it's page translator, and there are many localized dictionaries to translate from A to B, but more often than not, I find myself Googling or Wikipedia-ing the terms I want translated.

Perhaps living a bilingual life gives me more of a need for this tool than many living in the US, but TechCrunch's mention of Lingoz this evening got my attention.

I played around with some French, Spanish and Hebrew words, and it even has a cool tool to differentiate between US and UK English. Words can be broken down into categories so searching for the term "Orange" gives you options from Psychology, Computer Graphics, or even Basic Colors. Best of all, this site is powered by Babylon, a company with ten years of success behind them.

If you ask me, they're on to something good here, after all, if you need a hotel in Germany or Places to Stay in the UK, you need to know how to ask for it!

Joost... for real!

Joost excited me from day one... I was a beta tester from an early stage, and have eagerly awaited news of it's official launch. The guys behind skype clearly have the head for making the things we soon will never be able to live without!

I don't own a TV - cable isn't worth spending the money on, and so much is available online, but Joost is the logical combination we've been waiting for for so long. The home computer isn't the luxury it used to be, and it's logical that it should take the place of the television. If it's not online... it's just not!

Let's be honest now, how many of us really wait in to watch our TV shows instead of looking for those torrents?!

Dave Gorman's Genius

For many years now, I have had a favorite comedian. Dave Gorman is simply a comic legend, his early work like "Reasons to be Happy" that was made for stage and performed round the UK, and at the Edinborogh festival.

Later on, his career took off with shows on the BBC, most famously, "The Dave Gorman Collection", then Dave Gorman's Googlewhack adventure. To be honest, I was not a fan of his Astrological Experiment series, but I am the proud owner of signed copies of his books, and have seen him live twice. This series delves into the minds of possible inventors, and who knows, they may even win themselves a UK Holiday House for their efforts! Accommodation in the UK can be hard to come by!

Until Dave gets back on the screen, he's on the BBC again. His show Genius is back on Radio 4 and radio on demand makes the work day that bit easier!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Why Network?

I just came across this social networking post, and it was almost as though someone was speaking my mind. I don't get Twitter, nor Pownce. Facebook, mySpace, they kinda make sense. They condense many facets of the net into one familiar, tidy (not mySpace) and centralized home for us to benefit.

Twitter just lets me tell people something. Friends, ok, but strangers?

I don't get it.

The web is going social. If you're launching a start up, there has to be a social aspect. I have read about social cooking sites, and social diet sites... I don't get it, what happened to socializing with real people?

That said, where would I be without my facebook?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Facebook breaks it down

Ok, so most of us use Facebook. It overtook mySpace for teenagers, and professionally some would say it left LinkedIn waiting in the shadows, but perhaps that was the problem. Do young professionals want to share pictures of last nights drunken antics with a world of potential San Fransisco Bay employers?

Zuckerberg to the rescue. Yesterday, Tech Crunch reported that Facebook will allow you to group your friends, so different groups will get different info. Now those old high school buddies that you added so not to offend, won't have the same access as your co-workers you wish to share every second of your life with.

The Facebook phenomena took over. It wasn't sudden, but as soon as they opened the gates of their site to the non-college world, every week has seen a change. Almost every time I log in, something has changed, and to be honest, I don't like it. I am not sure why we're compelled to put our lives online, but this small change could make the world of difference.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Right to the Point

It's been a while since I have seen some true honesty in film. Directors shoot for the stars, trying to make an epic movie that will outlive the test of time. Sometimes Hollywood tries too hard, nut Michael Davis got this one just right.

Shoot 'Em Up has no realy plot or premise, but it doesn't waste much time pretending to either. It's a movie of gunshots, violence with a damn good soundtrack, and once you have seen this film, you'll never look at a carrot in the same way again!

"Do we really suck, or is this guy really this good?"

In enjoy the movies, but all too often I leave the theater wishing I could get those two hours back. This time I left wishing I could go back right in there. This film is honest, from the title down. It's about shooting.

If you want an intellectual challenge or food for thought, forget it, this movie won't satisfy you, but if you want to feed the testosterone with blood, violence and heavy metal... book a ticket right now!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wheels of Love

This is my last, and possibly most worthwhile post on this page. My blog has moved to - please update bookmarks, and read below.

I've been in Israel close to three years now. Time has flown by. I've watched people come and go, and focused on getting myself settled. Three years is a long time to focus on myself, and now, I want to put as much energy as I can into focusing on something much more important.

The Alyn Children's Hospital in Jerusalem gives. It gives children, and gives to families. Health Care in Israel can be a struggle for many, and Alyn aim to alleviate that by being the only hospital to provide only comprehensive pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation centres, and being one of the world’s leading specialists in active and intensive rehabilitation for children. Children with congenital and/or acquired conditions, victims of car, domestic accidents and terror attacks, head trauma, elective surgery and cancer, are treated at the hospital.

At the end of October, I will cycle from Tiveria in the North, to Jerusalem, as part of the Wheels of Love annual bike ride, and every penny I raise will go to helping children like Antonella, who suffers from spina bifda, or Shabtai from Arad who lives with Cerebal Palsy.

This is a cause we all connect to. We all know children, and would hate to see them hurt. Please spread the word by linking to and making a donation.

Please help me to give back to a country that has given me such great opportunities in the recent years.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cultural Divide

When asked by a friend if I was looking forward to my trip to London at the end of the month, I replied that I was scared. Not of crime, or terror, but scared that the cultural difference between me and the UK will have become so great, that I would get arrested for doing something I didn't know was wrong.

It's close to two years since I was last in London, and the vast majority of my life here occurs in an American-Israeli bubble. Last week I went to Sheva Berachot for friends, and I just got invited to a similar event in London

The British Invitation - by email.

My wife and I are organising a Sheva Berachot dinner on Date in August for Chatan & Kalla. We would be deligthed for you to join us, but would appreciate having a postal address to send you an invitation. Please be kind enough to let me know how best to do this. When will you be in London?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kol tuv,
Name & Number

The Israeli Invitation - by phone.
Me: Yo, how's it going?
Chatan: All good... you?
Me: Just wondering how life-after-wedding is going? All good?
Chatan: Yeah man, we're gonna order pizza and make Sheva Berachot our apartment. See you at 8?
Me: Sweet... I'll bring a bottle.
Sure... these incidents are both extremes, but most Sheva Berachot I have been to over here haven't been organized much before two days in advance, then the SMS's get sent, or calls get made, and we meet up in an apartment, restaurant or forest. I am pretty certain this is first single instance that I will receive a postal invitation to a sheva berachot.

Culture is rich, and every country thrives on their own methods. The pre 2003 version of myself was always forward planning, but now, I won't talk about Shabbat before Wednesday.

If I never blog again after mid-august, there's a good chance that Her Majesty will have locked me up for some form of treason I have forgotten existed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blog Stuff - probably quite boring!

It's definitely one of those days. Yes, I do have work to do, but the likes of Flickr, wikipedia,, Meebo and an argument with a friend about the color of grapefruit have been much more interesting that actually working. Surprisingly, Facebook didn't make it onto that list. I work in hi-tech, I can spend time on the net, right?

In the spirit of High Tech, or rather inspired by a conversation with a co-worker about how people found his blog, I had a look at some of my referral stats, and it's amazing what some people try to find on Google. There are some logical search results that lead people here, such as 'nargila', 'bezeq', 'Adi Ashkanazi' - all of which are things I have commented on... that makes sense.

The oddest search result to reach me was probably 'apple slicer and stitches' - kind wishes go out to whoever it was I share that experience in common with... and as for Mr. 'Ulpan Etzion Sex', I wish you an easy klita!

Well... now that I have publicized my geeky tendencies online, I got to run home, my lift is waiting. Perhaps Route 443 will have hold inspiring to write about tomorrow.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Saved by the Bell

I'm going back to school.

That's it... it's happening. No long introduction needed, no waffle about summer time, change, aliya, journeys, responsibility or any of that stuff. Come September, I will be a student. Not a full time student, not a degree student, but I have found a course in the field I love, with hours that suit me, and I am going back to school.

For the last five or six years, university talk was always around. I applied to university four times, and each time, I turned down the offers I received, knowing that studying a degree out of my field of interest would be a waste of my time, and money, and the chances are, I wouldn't follow through. This time, I am going to be studying at a design school, and working at the same time.

In addition to the skills and qualification I will receive, there is one other aspect that I am looking forward to. My course, in Tel Aviv, is in Hebrew. It will give me an insight into the real Israel, I will get an opportunity to see life outside the Anglo-bubble I live in. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and the life I have built here, but a little more Hebrew language and Israeli integration is defiantly overdue.

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" [Mark Twain] and now the time has come for me to take my education to the next step.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"That is that, The End."

Yesterday my mind was forced back in time to 1997. Princess Diana was still alive, Accommodation in UK was cheaper, Harry Potter was barely known, the second intifada was yet to be, Titanic was playing in Movie Theaters and Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister of the UK.

When I heard of Tony Blair's pending resignation, I joked that he should run as our next Prime Minister, here in Israel, not realizing how close to the truth that was to become. It has now been announced that he is to be Middle East Envoy to "The Quartet".

Tony Blair has been a friend to Israel, not a lassez faire friend like Bush, but an active advocate for Israel's right to exist and defend herself. Sure, he isn't "that guy" and doesn't back every move we make, but he's a pleasant change from the full on critic that so many other of friends are. Rather than being a Bush copycat in passive positivity, Blair seems to share the passion that he may have learned from the former US President that occupied the Oval Office when Tony secured his landslide victory. Whether you agree with the policies or not, both Bill Clinton and Tony Blair have been proactive players in trying to fix this mess.

Personally, I know that Blair was the best Prime Minister the British public had in my lifetime, and he's left very large shoes to fill. If his impact in the Middle East is anything close to the success he nourished in UK and international politics, then maybe, just maybe, we might reach a point where we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite my optimistic hope, the likely outcome will be the occasional high profile meeting, perhaps a front page headline every quarter, and business as usual for Israeli-Arab relations, but if the public and government can learn one thing from England's last decade, it is the lesson of change.

Thatcher and Major destroyed elements of the United Kingdom with their policies, and the public demanded change. We mustn't let Olmert and his party of opportunists let us sink lower than we are now, and when elections do come around, it will be time to rid ourselves of the apathy that is holding us back and bring about a change in direction.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Pride refers to a strong sense of self-respect, a refusal to be humiliated as well as joy in the accomplishments of oneself or a person, group, or object that one identifies with. [Wikipedia]

I am full of pride. I am proud to be a Zionist. I am proud to be a Jew. I am proud to live in Israel and be supporting myself fairly successfully. Pride is a good thing, but pissing off an entire city in the name of pride does no one any favors.

The Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade has become an annual event, but it's not just the parade that gets the attention. Political arguments, court sessions and a feeling of animosity falls over Jerusalem every year as the Gay community demands their right to march, and the Ultra Orthodox demand their right to sanctity in the holy city.

I am neither Gay nor Ultra Orthodox, yet I disagree with the behavior of both camps.

The Ultra Orthodox need to realize that we live in a diverse world. We don't live under messianic rule, and Israel is a modern, western state, who citizens are not obligated to follow Jewish law. Stabbings of Gay Pride participants is wrong - no matter how you look at it, and isn't in the spirit of "love your neighbor like yourself". People must accept that the country is broader than the limited, blinkered, horizon that many confine themselves too and let it be.

Sometimes an autopsy will need to be carried out, or a parade will take place; bin-burning and hostility is not the way to show your displeasure. Grow up. There is no genuine halachic authority that permits homosexuality, but you have to remember that not everyone follows Torah Law, and that is ok too.

The Gay community need to respect their surroundings. San Fransico in the US or Brighton in the UK are known for their vibrant homosexual cultures. Jerusalem is primarily known for being the holy city of several faiths. If you feel the need to parade your sexuality, respect the majority rule of democracy and don't go out of your way to antagonize the population of a city.

It's all about a little bit of tolerance.

Aside from the "not in Jerusalem" argument, I have one fundamental problem with Gay Pride Parades. I don't need to know about anyone else's sexuality. Sex should be a private act between two (or more) people, and should stay that way. Tonight, homophobia is fueled by angry people who can't drive their cars through the city to get home. Most people don't care if you're gay or straight, and that's the way it should be. Keep your sexuality to yourself.

Jerusalem has enough problems without different sects of our own people fighting each other and the international attention that Jerusalem gets when Gay Pride is mentioned makes it embarrassing to live in this city.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Contrasting View

When thinking of the shuk, most think of the crazy Friday vibe. Residents decend on the traders to get the best deals for the weekend and tourists head down to the market to see what all the fuss is about. The closer it gets to Shabbat, the crazier it gets as traders cut prices in order to sell their wares before sundown.

My new camera and I went for a test drive the other evening and I experiences that side of the shuk that I love more than the pre-shabbat vibe. Around 8pm, many stalls have closed for the night, and haunting peace dusts the air.

Baked Goods

Closing Time

Jerusalem is a city of balance, but this mundane contrast gives hope that at the end of the day, everything is going to be just right.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

12 to 12

Israel is in the press a lot at the moment, then again, that's nothing new, but this time, the world is not just wagging their accusatory finger and picking holes in this weeks big news story, they are casting their eyes back.

Just a few weeks ago, we marked Yom Yerushalaim. Forty years since the 2000 year exile from Jerusalem came one step closer to being truly over, and the Jewish nation gained access once again to our holy city. For some, this landmark is a true celebration, a time to thank whichever power, be it G-d or Man that they feel is responsible for this dream becoming a reality. Others will be marking forty years of the 'evil occupation'.

This morning I was tagged by in a meme/forward, started by Nefesh B'Nefesh is asking olim to list 12 things they love about Israel, 12 reasons they made aliya, and send them on to friends, family, and Jew's all around the world who have not yet made aliya... I'm going to have a go at mine.

1. Israel gives me an overwhelming sense of belonging. For as long as I can remember, I expressed my Judaism through my Zionism, and my lifestyle would be hypocritical on the streets of New York on London. From a pre-bar mitzvah age, I knew I would live in Israel one day - how could I deny myself my dream when it is so easy to accomplish.

2. I can wear a kippa with pride. I have a sense of security on the street. Sure, there are different threats, but I don't worry about getting mugged. I can walk the streets of Jerusalem at night. The police and security forces are my brothers, not foreigners.

3. G-d said so. We were given back the land, and the torah commands Jews to live in the land. Abraham "lech lecha"ed to an unknown land, and if I can't have even a little bit of faith, there would be a void in my life. I am far from being the best Jew in the world, the term modern othordox probably fits loosely, but my heart is in the right place.

4. Ancient and modern history is documented with almost single step I take. Be they plaques on street corners, or living remains of a time that once was. I can live history.

5. Pre-aliya, I would make toast, perhaps fry an egg if I wanted an easy meal - but that changed in Israel. No quick meal is complete without a Pitta. Everything and anything goes well, be it peanut butter, baked beans or shwarma. No meal is complete without!

6. In comparison to the level of care I know from before, I can not complete this list without mentioning medical care in Israel. It's something I haven't needed a great deal of, but from my limited experience, have definitely come to appreciate.

7. The care for one another. If you drop your wallet in town, you really might get it back. On a larger scale, during last summer's war, the entire country rallied round and opened their home, gave their clothes and volunteered to support the victims of the war. We see the same now in Sderot.

8. Jewish life is all around. I can easily to identify as a Jew, and when chagim come around, the entire country knows it. No need to explain to a boss why you need a day off mid-week just before a crucial deadline, because the deadline probably wont exist!

9. Speaking Hebrew.... it's not just a language, it's a language resurrected by pioneers of the land. Just as we have developed the state, we have developed our native tongue, and the efforts of those like Eliezer Ben Yehuda are alive today.

10. My social life is comprised of scores of people from around the globe. Together, we have our own community and support network. Sharing our previous experiences and upbringing is an education in it's own. After time, our friendships grow stronger, and now we can share our own "remember when..." stories from the early steps of our klita [absorption].

11. Our land may be small, but that's a great advantage. I can wake up camping on the coast, and by lunchtime be jeeping in the dessert or hiking through woodland. A vacation doesn't need to be two weeks in a foreign land (although that's nice sometimes too), there is so much beauty to discover and experience here, and all you need is an overnight bag.

12. Family isn't just blood - it's a phenomena that runs much deeper, and even throughout the passage of time. Personally, my Mum living in the same city is a blessing I would never change, but for everyone making aliya "on their own", there is an extended family waiting to take you in.

Sure, it might be harder to save up for that second home or dream vacation, but why do I need a lavish vacation or luxury car when every single second, every moment of my day, I am living the ultimate dream.

"If you will it, it is no dream."

Now it's time to hear your's - I tag Valley of Ghosts, Lizrael, Gila, Dot co Dot il and Calev.

The original message text is here:
Today I received an email from Dudy Stark of Nefesh B'Nefesh:

This coming Shabbat, the Torah portion , Shelach, that recalls the sin of the spies, is read. These were the 12 men that Moshe sent to scout out the Land of Israel before entering. When they returned, their reports were distorted and negative and caused a 40 year delay before the Children of Israel could enter.

Today despite the challenges that come with living in Israel, we are witness to all that is good and special about living here and it is in our ability to tell our family, friends and neighbors abroad what those things are.

Nefesh B'Nefesh is initiating a simple project this week called "12 to 12". We are asking every Oleh to compose a list of 12 great things you appreciate and love about living in Israel and email your message to 12 (or more) friends abroad.

If you send this out to your friends, please CC when you send it out

Friday, June 1, 2007


The general feeling in "the circle" this week, is exhaustion. When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was shattered, dreaming of Shabbat before I had even reached the office. In less than four hours, I'll be there, and I am ready to embrace 25 hours in the spiritual realm.

Perhaps Shavuot threw the body clock off, a mini Shabbat, just before the real thing, and now we're in the home stretch to Ellul and repentance. It was also a week of celebration, and partying. Two close friends married each other on Sunday night. On the other side of the emotional spectrum, there were "leaving parties" for other friends.

Dancing at a wedding makes me happy, the joy set the tone for a great week, but there is something wrong the words "leaving" and "party" in the same sentence. There should never be a celebration when someone is leaving Israel - and unfortunately, I know three people packing up and going back to the US in the coming weeks.

This weeks parsha will continue to relay the travels of the Jewish people through the desert. The levi'im start to serve in the miskan as G-d protective clouds sheild the nation from the risks of the wilderness. At the end of the sedra, we see this protection isn't enough, we wanted the meat to eat - so G-d sent it.

G-d kept us alive, back in the days of the t'nach [bible] when our leadership was strong, and later in history when things weren't so great. For generations people prayed for the return to Zion, the ability to live in Jerusalem, lhiyot chofshi b'artzenu, and just like G-d did in the wilderness, he answered our prayers and gave us the state of Israel.

Everyone's journey is different, no one can tell you what is best, or how you need to reach it. I can't say "don't go" - but I can say "don't forget".

I want to wish my friends that are leaving a successful journey in America. I hope the hiatus from Israel is short, and you accomplish your goals quickly, but at the same time, I want to remind you not to get too comfortable there. Don't get swept up in the lifestyle in the US, and keep the ultimate goal in mind.

You will be missed here, by your friends, and by the land. Be blessed with happiness, success, and may all your dreams come true, but don't lose site of the destination. Destination Israel.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ctrl + Alt + Delete

Time has passed, the public has become passive. I guess it was inevitable, perhaps that is just why Olmert didn't step down in the face of national outcry. He knew it wouldn't last.

Are we really that fickle? Can we put aside all our difference and flock to Tel Aviv to stand up for what is right, but back down as soon as we don't get our own way. Perhaps, deep down, the disposable society we have become has thrown out the desire for a new government.

When signing a petition on a Jerusalem street, a passer-by refused to add his name as "it wouldn't make a difference". I told him what I thought of his view... He was right - if everyone chose to do nothing, there would be no change.

We, the people that care about the state of Israel, need to shake the voter apathy and stand up for our beliefs.

We have no control, there is little alternative. What else is left? It's not like me to re-post someone else's work, but Lizrael's post is genius, and makes light of the situation we are growing to tolerate.

If only it was that easy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Belief

Tonight we mark Forty year since Jerusalem was reunified. Forty years since out capital became one. Forty years is a while and many wonder if we have found stability in our eternal capital.

Putting the politics aside, we should remember that we all have one focus, so for one day, let's try get along. Put aside the lunchtime discussion about the charedim, students or left wing. Forget about the secular guy that cut you off as you drove in or the kibbutznik that ripped you off. Just remember that we're all Israeli's, we're all Jews, and down the line, we all want one thing.

One Belief

Jerusalem is viewed by many as the soul of our country, and out country the soul of our religion, so until we're at peace within the city, can't accomplish much as a nation.

Chag Sameach. Let's work on being one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Music to my Ears

Israel could be compared to many other Western countries, we have advanced technology, cell phone operation, a strong currency and many are able to live at a fairly good standard of living. On the other side of the coin, many live in poverty, services (and students) strike at will, and the banks have a mind of their own.

Although I wasn't a regular concert goer in my pre-aliya days, it was nice to know I could go to a gig as and when I wanted to. On the whole, I am content with my CD collection (hmm... some would consider CD vs MP3 arguably third world!) or the radio, but the occasional live music event would be great.

Last month, media outlets picked up on the fact that both the Rolling Stones and Britney Spears are planning to perform in Israel. This was seen as a huge milestone as big names had been canceling gigs, or avoiding scheduling dates in Israel since the intifada. There is an optimistic feeling that bands will start to include Tel Aviv on Jerusalem for their tour venues.

A new website, bo'ya'manyak seeks to change this attitude.
The concept of the site is simple: Choose an international performer you would like to see in Israel, and name the highest price you are willing to pay per ticket. That's all – now you're part of the revolution. The website's homepage features a list of favorites at any given moment. YNET
The request-a-gig concept sounds like a great idea, and in the long run, perhaps these guys could become the of ticketmaster, and they certainly have an Israeli spin. I don't imagine an Amercian or British website called "Come here you jerk" getting much positive coverage, but the chutzpah that we love sure does help to get things done our way.

Who knows if this will change... but if I get a chance to see Green Day live in Israel, I will never ever have to leave this beautiful country ever again.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

14.05.07 All of the State of Israel in Black

Translation to follow. Please publicize.

On the 14th May 2007, all of Israel's citzens will wear back shirts to mark the many months since the Israeli soldiers were captured.

In July 2006, ten months ago, Ehud Regev, Gilad Shilat and Ehud Goldwasser were captured. Almost a year later, no one has heard anything from them. We don't know where they are, if they are alive, what their conditions are, or what happened to them during this period. Almost a year and their families don't function, and do everything to return them to their homes. Almost a full year and no one does anything to bring them home.

Almost a year has passed, and no one knows when this nightmare will be over. We can not let this subject go unnoticed from the daily agenda!!

We, the citizens of Israel unite together, and do everything, in order that the soldiers will be returned to their homes quickly.

These three soliders went out to defend our country!! To defend us!!

On 14 May 2007, Monday, we will all be in black shirts, and we call to you, Ehud Olmert, return these soldiers to their homes, and the normal lives their had before.

Please publicize this to all who you know, however you can.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

New Kid on the Blog

If anyone is best qualified to comment on new and exciting things happening in the world of blogs, I certainly am not the one. I just updated my links and deleted blogs that had been left untouched for as long as two years, but inspired by one of my mates, I feel an upsurge in blogging is around the corner. After all, the country is at a crossroad, so my opinion is obviously of interest to the world - right?

So while I toy with the idea of writing more often and dividing my hobby hours between my D-SLR and my dot com desires, it is a great honor to welcome my friend to the world of blogging.

In the Shadow of the Valley of Ghosts is a well written, funny and enjoyable blog, and I wish my mate much success on this new found venture into geekiness... but one piece of advice, quit writing blog posts in the margin of the newspaper on the way into the office!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Morning After

During my lifetime, the British government has switched hands once. I was born under a Conservative government, and one beautiful day in 1997, Tony Blair's New Labour party was handed the keys to Parliament and has successfully run the country to this day. Sure, there is the odd hiccup or disagreement, but nothing worth writing home about.

Israeli politics doesn't have that stability, and although everyone hates the annual, bi-annual election fever, it is time we head down that road. Our situation reminds me of "a new king arose and he did not know Yoseph" Shemot 1:8. Olmert assumed power on Sharon's popularity, but is clueless. The Winograd report tells us he acted with haste, and did not turn to those in the know for advice. A war was launched without considering the consequences, and Olmert is too stubborn to admit he messed up and it's time for him to go.

The course of history has been changed in Kikar Rabin before, and last night, Israel tried to change the course of today's history. I was one of the hundreds of thousands who went to Tel Aviv for one purpose. To be counted and the sight before me when I arrived was one I had never seen before. Chilonim and dati'im embraced a common goal. The left and the right stood side by side. Kikar Rabin was filled to capacity with Jews, Israelis, from all over the country, and olim from all over the world, united to tell the government, Ad Kan (Untill Here)!!!

No one expected this mornings front pages to feature Olmert's departure from office, but now he knows how I feel, along with a good proportion of the country, and the decent thing for him to do would be to step down.

It's got to hurt a guys ego when that many people think you're utterly enept!

Olmert Go Home


Elections NOW

Headline News

Headline News


Elections Now

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Olmert Go Home

100,000 is a large number.... so when they gather, from all over the country, and unite, despite political, religious and geographical divides, you know they are serious.

I just came back from the hafgana in Tel Aviv aimed at telling Ehud Olmert what the people thing of his leadership.

Check out my photos at while I formulate my thoughts on the events of the last few days.

Olmert, if you are reading this - go home.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

National Draft Order

"Coming to Rabin Square on Thursday is a national draft order," said Dayan. "The Winograd Committee has said its piece; now the public must say its. We, members of a public coalition, will not allow the conclusions to dissolve. The prime minister and defense minister who failed in making fateful decisions, in using the military and in abandoning the home front, must resign immediately."
Yesterday was an important day for Israel. The sugar coating was blown off the truth and the Winograd Committee released their initial, partial report, focusing on the first five days of the Second Lebanese War, and Olmert is still holding on to office with a smug sense of satisfaction.

Pirkei Avot states habayshan lo lomed [the embarrassed person doesn't learn], but we can not let this happen to Olmert once again. A Channel Two poll released this morning showed that zero percent - no one - would vote for Olmert if elections were held tomorrow, and yet, Kadima sit tightly in their seats, knowing that their party of opportunists and lime-light seekers is doomed should the Israeli public be allowed to head to the polls again.

Zero percent. That is not a result I have seen published before. We're not talking about a drop in the polls or a loss of respect. We're talking about utter disgust, and yet the voting public are too apathetic to pressure for a change of leadership.

On Thursday, many will gather in Kikar Rabin (Tel Aviv) to show their feeling. The protest has been organized to bring our feeling to the attention of the men with the blood on their hands. Olmert acted in haste, and without experience, but even worse, he didn't seek advice from those more experienced, and in order to preserve any shred of respect he may have left, it is time for him to step down.

Make your voice heard and be counted.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Festive Coke

My Yom Ha'atzmut photos are online, and the more I look at this shot, the more I love it. Follow the link to check it out on a black background too.

Israel is 59 years old, and the longer I am here, the less I can imagine my life anywhere else. Sure, we have our fair share of problems, but they are *our* problems, and we are fulling that 2000 year old dream of living as a free nation in our land.

Even the corporate giants re-label their soda for the chagim...! You have to love it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yom Hazikaron

We're coming to the close of a day to remember those who have died to keep our country alive.
The country without which, being a Jew would be a million times more difficult.
The country that protects us all.
The country that speaks the language of our people.
The country that G-d gave to us.
The country in which will all, with no exception, belong.

Although the day is late and chag is almost upon us, please take the time to watch this short movie, made by my good friend, Yosef Adest.

If you're not yet living in Israel and didn't have the chance to spend the day remembering our fallen, take 90 seconds right now, and please forward this movie.

May the coming year be one of peace, one of kibbutz galuyot, and a year of redemption.

Chag Sameach.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Post Pesach Run Down

I'm not too big a fan of being out of Israel for the chagim, Israel is the focus of my beliefs, so where better to spend the festivals? Even more so when we're spending a week marking our redemption from slavery and the start of our nation. Add the accommodating nature of Israel to the argument (one day of chag, eating kitnyiot, no bullshit) and ideology + convenience = a great time.

My Mum and I travelled to Tzfat for Lel HaSeder [Seder Night], and chag was in motion. Discussion was lively and the Pesach story came to life in passionate Hebrew discussion, but a day later, we were on the road once again.

Over the course of the week I drove 1000km. I visited Tzfat, went camping, enjoyed a beautiful Shabbat at the Dead Sea, and spent Chag Sheni in Netanya with friends visiting from the UK. Pesach week was spent with family, friends from home, and friends visiting, and the photos will be online just as soon as I have done my laundry and settled back into day to day life.

Living in Israel is a blessing, but it is rare that I get the opportunity to visit much of the country. I leave Jerusalem every day for work, and occasionally visit Tel Aviv or Efrat, but other than that, I don't get much time to see the land. This week gave me the opportunity to sleep under the stars, and gaze upon all three of our seas.

Bring on the summer... there's plenty of camping that needs to be done!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Springtime Photography

Bus journeys, weddings, all good reasons to carry a camera (click on the images for a larger view). Chag HaAviv is around the corner, enjoy and have a chag sameach!

IMG_6072 IMG_6074 IMG_6088 IMG_5829 IMG_6016 IMG_6129 IMG_5758 Chupah, Ramat Rachel. IMG_5727 IMG_5826

Lshana Habah B'Yerushlaim Habenuya!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Roll with it...

When water starts dripping through the ceiling, its ususally a sign of bad things to come. When it starts to seep from the outlets [plug sockets], you really know you have problems.

You can either get pissed off, or you count your blessings.

I am fortunate to have an excellent landlord and very kind neighbours who have all rallied round while water poured took over my apartment, fused the electricity and provided a welcome distraction to unexpectedly getting dumped on Saturday night.

The past thirty hours have been an eye opener. A good friend and I were emailing last week about how we have all become grown ups, and this ordeal has certainly been an experience that will linger in my mind much longer than the mouldy smell in my apartment.

I am blessed with awesome friends who will get me drunk - and take care of me - when I need it most. Knowing there are always family and friends that will drop everything for you when you need it is the best cure, and nothing can put you in a better mood when everthing is flooding.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Purim Fever

Purim is over for another year and has faded into a drunken haze. Good thing for cameras really!!

Katamon does Purim

... and After


Friday, February 23, 2007

Shuk Shopping

When a mate tried to convince me to venture to the Shuk [market] with him this afternoon, I thought he was crazy, but that guy has a way of getting his ways, so of to that side of the city I ventured... camera in hand. Much to his annoyance, I was by his side, SLR in hand, trying to work the camera and get something worth sharing.

The results aren't anything to wow about, but for one of the first times since I started using the "big camera" I got shots in focus that express something of Friday life in Jerusalem. Between the camera and my ever-ringing cellphone, I am not sure what drove my mate crazier, but the pics are now online at

I have scores of photos on my computer waiting for upload, I will get round to it... I promise.

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

New Toy... Call Me!!!

I have reached another milestone and made one of those long talked about purchases that will probably revolutionise my life.

My new skype-phone means I can use a cordless handset for my skype calls, which in plain English, means my UK line, and my US line, are fully functional using the same handset as my regular land line.

No excuses, give me a call (and if you need the number, drop me an email)!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Both Sides of the Story

It's always good to shop around when reading the news so you can get try and get a balanced idea of what is going on in the world. I generally check a few sources if I am in the news-sort-of-mood, and the Sunday afternoon headlines obviously have very different sources.

Clear as crystal...

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Olmert, bow your head.

Sabra at Heart has voiced the sentiments of many this morning. The time has come. Olmert needs to go. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you must agree that the Prime Minister needs to command the respect of the country. When that is not the case, change is due.

In my opinion, Olmert's resignation is overdue for a number of reasons but for for now I'll keep them to myself, (I am writing from work and by 6pm tonight I must get the weeks tasks finished or it'll be a work-from-home-Friday) but have a think. Are you really happy with the corruption of the leadership, and the deceit the country's figurehead stands for?

Click here to sign the petition calling for Olmert's resignation.

Our baby state has had to fight for it's life from the moment of it's conception. We have stayed alive and reached adolescence, and we must continue to focus on the aim of a stable, safe, and secure country for those of us who live here now, and every single Zionist round the world whose eyes focus on our land and hearts call it home.

Before we could recover from the disengagement, we were hit by war, but rather than having a determined leadership, familiar with the dangers of Middle East captaining our ship, our Government is made of opportunists and pacifists.

Put the politics aside for a minute, and foucs on the root of the problem. Very few card-carrying Israeli's respect Olmert. The least we deserve is the chance to make our voice heard.

Read Sabra at Heart's Post: The Call for Ehud Olmert to Resign NOW here.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Break from Routine

Every so often, it is good to take a break from the norm. Do something differently or take some time away. Knowing I had a doctors appointment I had to make at 4pm, and other errands and tasks that needed to be completed beforehand, I took a day away from the 6.30am alarm clock and didn't go into work. My 10am wake up came at the same time as news from Eilat filtered through to the news channels.

Three murdered by a suicide bomber.

This evening, I had an email waiting from a friend in the US. A friend in touch with her feelings and knows where she should be living, but has things she wants to finish up before making aliya. The email touched me, there was an expression of love for the land that is ours, there was an expression of desire to be here, and an expression of confusion at the mindless murder that takes place.

We don't always know the reasons why, the when or the how, but one thing I know for sure. We need to look to the day when this sort of thing stops happening. The day when kassam's aren't flying into our boarders from a territory given to a hostile neighbour with no historic claim. The day when the country isn't at risk from aeriel attack and summer vacations can be a relaxing break and not a war.

That day will come, but until then, we must hold our breath and remember where we should be.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's a Sad day for Israel

Prime Minister Olmert was partly right in his speech delivered in Herzliya. It is a sad day for Israel. We should all be worried about the country we're living in and the way man is interacting with his neighbour. It's a sad day when Olmert, the Government and the citizens of Israel have forgotten the basic human right of "innocent until proven guilty".
HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called in a speech on Wednesday for President Moshe Katsav to resign over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Citing the attorney-general's threat to indict Katsav, Olmert said: "I have no doubt in my heart the president cannot continue to carry out his duties and that he must leave the presidential residence. This is a sad day for the State of Israel."

I don't know the full story, none of us do, but Katsav has been hung, drawn and quartered before given a chance to clear his name. Perhaps these charges are nothing more than a conspiracy, or exaggerated claims, or he could indeed be guilty, but the lack of respect the country is showing the President of the State of Israel is embarrassing.

When in the public eye, maybe one should step away from the limelight in order to focus on the scandal, clear their name or face the penalty, but Olmert should be offering support and courage to the defendant, until proven guilty, rather than pushing him out of office six months before his term is due to finish.

If Katsav is found guilty, the current barrage of condemnation will surely reach the international media once again, but until that moment, can people try and remember that as of this moment, these accusations have not been proved, and the man standing before us has the right to be considered innocent until the evidence is presented to a court of law who decides otherwise.

Monday, January 22, 2007

1.5 Million Buttons

I just recieved a forwarded email, and I am always pleased to help out when I feel the cause is worthy. A school in Efrat is trying to collect 1.5 million buttons, one to represent every child killed in the Holocaust. To read more, click on the image below.

If you feel this is worthy, please do help them achieve their goal.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Shavua Tov

In an effort to make my blog more useful, I have started to add tags to old posts. This will take time, and is far from a priority, but hang on in there, and maybe I will start writing more often too...

Shavua Tov!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Time for Change? Perhaps Overdue.

On a personal level, one of the results of last summer's Disengagement, and this summer's war was a feeling of apathy towards the news and current events. Pre-aliya Yosef was all about the News. I would check teletext during every commercial break to see if anything had happened in the world and would follow news stories like a hawk. Now, I check the news on a daily basis, and reserve comment for the issues I really do care about.

This morning I got up and as per usual, put on Channel 10's morning show to catch the pre-7am view of the world, and the news tickers were rolling. Dan Halutz, Chief of Staff of the IDF during the Second Lebanon War, has resigned.

I don't know all the ins and outs, perhaps no one ever will, but Olmert had been advocating for Haltuz to remain in his role.

Living in a society that changes their government more often than most cars require an MOT, it is with reserved optimism that I feel change could be round the corner. Let's give it a week until Halutz is out of his position and has the chance to tell his side of the story. I am not calling for another round of finger pointing and blame shifting, but the chance to vote for a Prime Minister who isn't under criminal investigation and has support of the citizens of Israel is an opportunity I wouldn't pass up.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Best of the Best

To make viewing easier, I have split my Amsterdam photos into three groups. There are the 500+ that are on a DVD in my house, and two online albums. I linked the "Best Of" album yesterday, but I decided to single out my thirty-odd favourite photos.

You can check out both of these albums by following the links below... and do, there are some very good pictures!

The albums are accessible on flicker via the link - and please feel free to leave comments on flickr.

Amsterdam - Jan 07

Five days in Amsterdam and I averaged over 100 photographs a day, I filtered out the best and put them on my flickr account, but here are some of my favourites.






Drug Stores

See it?






Simply Amsterdam

Enjoy, and check out the rest of the album here.