Thursday, 20 January 2022

Shalva's Album

Shalva recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah. Her parents asked me to make her an album that could be displayed at her party for all her friends to sign. They told me that she likes Harry Potter, baking, anime and maths. They requested an album that opens the Hebrew way (Hebrew books open from right-to-left).
I decided to show brown-haired Shalva wearing a black Harry Potter cloak and holding a wand. In her other hand she has a plate of cupcakes to represent her interest in baking. Behind her are some maths symbols and the number 12 to mark her age. There is also an anime picture behind her and in front of her is a mixing bowl and another cupcake. The background box is blue since that is her favourite colour.
Shalva's name appears at the top and the Hebrew date of her Bat Mitzvah celebration is at the bottom of the album's cover. Hebrew dates are written right-to-left with the day of the month, followed by the month name, then the Hebrew year. The Gregorian calendar date is below the Hebrew one.
I decorated five pages inside Shalva's album. The first page has a Harry Potter theme. I cut out a tiny broomstick, similar to the one Harry was given when he joined the Gryffindor Quidditch team. I added the black Sorting Hat and a cauldron for brewing and holding potions, below.
The next page has a baking theme, above. I added some tiny cupcakes, a mixing bowl, wooden spoon and a spatula. Shalva's mum mentioned that Shalva goes horse riding too, so I cut out a brown horse for the following page, below.
The last two illustrated pages in Shalva's album show various maths symbols, representing her interest in the subject, and some anime characters too. The word anime - pronounced "ah-knee-may" - is an abbreviation of the word animation. In Japan, the word is used to refer to all animation. However, outside of Japan, it has become the catch-all term for animation from Japan.
Shalva's mum was very pleased with the album and decided that she would like to use my cover illustration for other things at the Bat Mitzvah celebration. (I offer this as a package. Please discuss it with me if you are interested in doing something similar). I scanned the cover for her and she made these cute laminated labels which were placed on top of the napkin of each place setting at the party. The labels were also stuck on each party bag that Shalva's friends took home, above.

Monday, 17 January 2022

Bartending and Beer Drinking

Ro'i's 21st birthday was coming up and his mum wanted to order a card. He recently finished his army service and is now doing a bartending course, where he is learning how to mix and serve drinks. She sent me a photo of Ro'i on the course. He is also going to a course in theatre, she told me, so she wanted something on the card to illustrate that as well. I suggested adding a stage and curtains in the background.
I showed Ro'i carefully pouring a cocktail. He is no longer dressed in his olive green Israel Defence Forces uniform, as I have shown him on previous cards, but is now in civvies. Behind him is a stage with red curtains. Apparently the red theatre curtain is typically used because red does not absorb light as much as other colours, such as blue or green. This means that when the lights go down, the red colour is the first to disappear from our sight, enabling the audience to concentrate on the performance.
Mum told me that Ro'i "loved loved loved his card!"
Adam currently lives in Tel Aviv, whilst his parents are in the UK. He was turning 23, so his mum asked me to make him a card too. His interests include travelling, Tel Aviv, pubs and clubbing, Greek and Roman history, Arsenal and money, she said.
I have shown Adam with a bottle of beer in one hand and a fan of cash in the other! Behind him is an aeroplane, representing his passion for travel, the Arsenal F.C. crest and a picture of the Tel Aviv skyline. In front of him I added a small illustration of the remains of the ancient Roman Forum in Rome and the words "Ancient Greece". To his left are piles of coins.
"He loved it! Thank you so much!" Adam's mum wrote to me.
* This post has been shared on The Good. The Random. The Fun.
Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Ness Ziona

Mister Handmade in Israel and I recently went on a guided tour of Beit Rishonim (Founders' House) in Ness Ziona, a town in central Israel. The little museum, which originally served as the schoolhouse, the synagogue, the city council building and the community centre, now documents the history of the town since its founding. Built in 1907 by Reuven Lehrer and his family, the museum houses pictures of the first settlers, artifacts and historical documents.
Ness Ziona's first communal building, 1907.

Ness Ziona was first known as Wadi Hunayn, after the local Arab village. In 1878 the German Templer Gustav Reisler purchased land there and changed its name to Wadi Chanin. He planted an orchard there but after his family died from malaria, Reisler returned to Europe. In 1882 he travelled to Odessa and met Reuven Lehrer, a religiously observant Russian Jew with Zionist ideals. Lehrer owned farmland in Russia and Reisler traded his Palestine land for Lehrer's land, Lehrer believing that the land he had received was "near" Jerusalem. In 1883 Lehrer emigrated to Palestine with his eldest son Moshe. His wife and four of his children arrived the following year. They settled on the land which became known as Nahalat Reuven (Reuven's Estate). 
Photo credit: Netto Design House

In 1887, after the family had begun to cultivate grapes, almonds and raise bees, Lehrer posted signs at the arrival gate in the Jaffa port imploring fellow Jews to help him settle the land. These new arrivals established a separate neighbourhood named Tel Aviv (the city of Tel Aviv did not yet exist). In 1891 Michael Halperin, a member of the First Aliyah, bought more land in the wadi. He arrived at a village ceremony riding his horse and waving a blue and white flag inscribed with the words "Ness Ziona" emblazoned in gold. "Ness Ziona" means "Banner to Zion". This motto is based on a verse in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:6). In 1897 Halperin offered this flag, minus the words Ness Ziona, to the first Jewish Congress in Basel, which was presided over by Theodor Herzl. It was later adopted by the State of Israel as the national flag. Halperin's actions led the settlers to change the settlement's name to Ness Ziona.
In due course, the colonies of Nahalat Reuben and Ness Ziona, the neighbourhood of Tel Aviv in Ness Ziona and the Arab village Wadi Hunayn merged into a single, larger village. Its main export was citrus, grown in orchards that were irrigated by numerous wells dug around the village. The residents worked in the orchards and sold their yield in the cities. Lining the walls of Beit Rishonim are old photos of camels carrying boxes of oranges to the market in Jaffa and the first Jewish pioneers toiling in the fields. By the 1920s, despite difficult struggles against neighbouring Arabs, malaria and challenging agricultural conditions, Ness Ziona was thriving and prosperous.
Photo credit: The Ness Ziona Workers, 1883-1948, by Yoav Regev
The Great Synagogue of Ness Ziona, located next door to Beit Rishonim, bottom photo, was built in the 1920s, during the period of the Third Aliyah. In 1924 the British Army contracted with the Israel Electric Company to supply wired electric power to Ness Ziona. Until the 1948 War of Independence this amalgamated village was the only mixed Arab-Jewish village in Mandatory Palestine. The co-existence of Arabs and Jews was, on the whole, peaceful, though the village was attacked by Arab forces in the 1936–39 Arab Revolt, and again during the 1948 war.
After the establishment of the State of Israel, Ness Ziona's population almost tripled. Families from Iran, Morocco, Yemen and Iraq moved in in the 1950s and 60s, living in ma'abarot (immigrant and refugee absorption camps ) at the edge of town until they could afford to buy something of their own. Today the city's population is still relatively small - around 50,000 - with an annual growth rate of two percent.
Ness Ziona's story is a story of hardship and poverty, famine and disease, but also of great love for the Land of Israel, a story of the establishment and development of the beekeeping industry in the town, the first of its kind in Palestine, and the story of how the national flag was raised for the first time in the town.