Almost a winner in Jerusalem and Ramallah

Harbingers of spring, these blossoms are proof that it pays to look up from your computer screen once in a while.

Today I noticed a tree blooming in our garden, its pink petals holding firm in a fierce sandstorm. Almond trees have already bloomed elsewhere. Their blossoms usually appear in time for Tu Bishvat, the New Year of the Trees (which fell on January 15 this year).

That’s just one of four new years on the Jewish calendar. The others are the new year for kings and feasts (1 Nisan), the new year for the tithe of cattle (1 Elul), and “the new year for years, of the years of release and jubilee years, for the planting and for vegetables” (1 Tishrei). I don’t know how the new years of kings and cattle are celebrated, but the last of these is when many Jews remember that they belong to a synagogue.

A 1943 Picasso painting, “Buste de Femme,” is to be exhibited at the International Academy of Art in Ramallah this April, according to the daily Ha’aretz. It is said to be the first time a Picasso masterpiece has been displayed in the Palestinian territories.

The painting will be on loan from the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Holland, and Gaza-born filmmaker Rashid Masharawi plans to document the transport of the Picasso to Ramallah in a film titled Picasso Visits Palestine.

The exhibition is to include paintings by 20th century artists. Ha’aretz reports that the aim of the show’s organizers is to present the reality of the territories, “the political and geographical space that is dictated by strategies of occupation.” The connection between that and the Picasso was not made clear.

The academy, which opened with a three-year grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and began courses in September 2007, offers a four-year BA program in contemporary visual art.

More than 500 runners from 30 countries are expected for Jerusalem’s first marathon, on March 25. Mayor Nir Barkat, a marathon runner, will be among the participants.
The race has been dubbed the “Breathtaking Marathon,” both because of the hilly terrain and the spectacular sights. There will also be a 10k race and a 4.2k race to benefit charitable causes, including the Israel Cancer Association and Shalva, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel.
The Tel Aviv Marathon is just two weeks later, on April 8.

After today’s mail arrived with a notice from the Israeli postal service, I was about to write a crowing post about how I’d beaten the system, for once. Then I looked at the notice closely and realized I wasn’t victorious yet.
The very simple story concerns a piece of registered letter containing a check that I mailed months ago. The postal service (privatized, of course, and now calling itself the Israel Postal Company), conceded that it had failed to deliver the mail and it agreed to compensate me.
Today’s notice stated that the compensation had been transferred to my bank account on February 15. But it did not show up in that account. When I looked at the notice again, I saw that the compensation had been transferred to the wrong bank. Small wonder that they can’t get the mail delivered.
After five phone calls and a fax this morning I still hope to see that compensation, but they’ve already told me that won’t be before February 28.

Text and photo copyright 2011 by Esther Hecht. No part of the text or photos may be used without written permission of the author.

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4 Responses to “Almost a winner in Jerusalem and Ramallah”

  1. David Says:

    As an Israeli, are you permitted to travel into Ramallah and visit the exhibition?

  2. estherhecht Says:

    No. But as an American, I am. Sometimes it’s nice to have a split personality/nationality.

  3. Lee Kurtz Says:

    Dear Esther, What a beautiful description of the beginning of Spring and of the seasons. Lee

  4. Nancy Barth Says:

    Just want to tell you that I’m really enjoying your postings, learning big and little things about Israel – like the fabulous upcoming opera season that I’d never know about, or the fact that Israel privatized the postal service – when did that happen? Did the postage cost go up?

    Anyway, thanks — Nancy

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