Fire in the north and in my neighbourhood

After the tragedy that happened in the north of Israel, around Carmel it seems everyone is quite nervous of fire.

I often see people burning garbage around Arab districts, the smoke is visible on the horizon.  Ultra Orthodox Jews sometimes burn green plastic rubbish bins when making a protest about something every now and then, sometimes you can see bits of melted plastic around.

Usual ignorance and hate mean that some of the Arab media enjoy seeing tragedies like this even though the people who died were prison staff going to evacuate prisoners (ie: mostly Arab terrorists) from a jail in the path of fire.

Today coming back home after going to an engagement party of a friend, I heard a fire truck with sirens going (they have red lights in this country)  behind me whilst cycling home.

Then to my horror, they were following me into my street.   It seems the three blocks away from my apartment there was a fire.

There was two normal ‘appliances’ (what the British fire service call them, most other countries just call them fire trucks) and two police cars, and a large crane type fire vehicle as well, only it couldn’t get into the car park due to some bad parking on part of our neighbours.

I was a tiny bit nosey and went to take a look, but it seems there was only a small fire and a basket of some burnt material was taken out of someone’s flat.  I think someone probably just knocked over some Hannukah candles.   It seems probably not much damage was done, however you can imagine how nervous this country is with the events of this week.

I really hope the government can take steps to expand the fire service and improve general health & safety practices around this country.  In my house and almost every other place I have visited I never see smoke alarms, in the UK all new houses have to have them, and with rented property, Landlords have a legal obligation to have the installed.  As candles play a part in Jewish culture it should be extra important to have them here.   Many of the news here in Israel is saying there was not enough fire staff to cope with any kind of big incident.

Please do pray for the fire to stop in the north and that the damage can be repaired soon.   I imagine the charity I work for here will need to help more people who may have lost their homes or businesses due the fire.

Here is a panoramic picture of my dad and his friends when visited the beautiful forest up on the biblical location of Carmel last year.  The rocks are similar to the ones described by Elijah.

Israeli fire service web site is at (seems to be Internet Explorer only, doesnt work with Firefox, unless you have IE tab 2 extension)

Hannukah 2010

December is upon us, and often two holidays run almost parallel with each other. Christmas and Hannukah.

Orthodox Jews light the lamps for Hannukah, at the Shuk (the Mahane Yehuda market)

Apparently some traditions insist doing this left to right, and some right to left.   Kind of like writing varies from left to right (English & European languages) or right to left (Hebrew and Arabic)

Something new appeared to the right of the men’s side of the Kotel (Western Wall) today (friday) when I went after work…

Firstly, it seemed quite quiet.  A stand has been erected with a large bronze Menorah.  This has 9 candles on it.

These two doves appeared before a Rabbi came and did the prayer and lit the candles.  After which there were a lot of people grouped around to sing and dance in which I joined in.

Of course, there are candlabras all over Jerusalem, including on top of the Kotel Plaza roof here.

Left: Last week I saw this Jerusalem municipality truck with workman putting up decorations on the streetlights.  Right: Lastly with the huge amounts of Sufganiyot (doughtnuts) being sold in the too-numerous bakeries I see here, I spotted this clever machine, the doughnuts were being made and this man was doing the finishing touches to them, by impaling them on this spike and pushing on a lever to inject the jam into them.