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Friday, May 13, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XXV) [Yom Ha'Atzmaut edition]

Today's edition of Photo Friday will be short on the verbiage and long on the images.  It's not that I have nothing to say, but rather that the pictures speak volumes. 

Just like last year, we spent our Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence day) volunteering at the local Pina Chama. 

'Pina Chama' literally translates as 'warm corner', but is actually a small canteen where any soldier can stop in year 'round and have a cold/hot drink, homemade cake & cookies, popcorn, etc.  The building, and everything in it, were donated by people who care deeply about the welfare of soldiers... and all of the food and drink is prepared and donated by local families (or sponsors living abroad).  The Pina Chama is staffed full time by local volunteer 'dodim v'dodot' (aunts & uncles) who make sure there is always a friendly face waiting to greet the tired, dirty soldiers who come in from the field to relax for a few minutes.

Every Independence day, there is a big all-day mangel (BBQ) for the soldiers, and hundreds of them stop in for a little 'home hospitality'.  Many of them take packaged meals back to soldiers in the field who are not able to get to the Pina Chama.

Gilad carried the fresh meat out to the grill and brought the cooked burgers, hot dogs, sausages, kabobs, chicken wings and chicken schnitzels in to the serving tables for the soldiers to eat.

Ariella worked in the kitchen making sure the cakes, cookies and pastries were cut up and arranged nicely on trays for the soldiers to eat... and offering cold drinks to everyone who came in.

Zahava spent the day running after Yonah!  (OK, so maybe not everyone had fun!)

My job was to work the grill throughout the day.

Here are a couple of officers relaxing:
These guys arrived before the food was fully prepared so they waited patiently... just like good soldiers! :

Inside the Pina Chama one of the more popular attractions is the cold drink machine.  It was a full-time job keeping these dispensers (there are three of them) filled with lemonade and fruit punch.  Note the unit flags behind and above the soldier.  The ceiling and walls of the Pina chama are covered with flags (with inscriptions of thanks) from the soldiers who come in:


Here is another view inside the Pina Hama (flags, flags everywhere!).  For some reason most of the soldiers who came in for the mangel were paratroopers (they are the only ones who wear the red boots).  I suppose that different units rotate through various areas:

Here is a happy group waiting to be served:
Another bunch enjoying their meals (note: the soldier with the long hair on the right is a girl):

Which is not to say that long hair was confined to the women soldiers.  It wasn't hard to spot the reservists who were spending the holiday away from friends and family:
Another view (just in case the hair wasn't clear in the last picture):

Although we had a nice selection of food, I was shocked to see soldiers coming back for seconds and thirds of the hot dogs.  Israel has a space program, a world class scientific community, and is a leader in a wide range of technical fields.  But for some reason they can't produce a decent hot dog!  Oh well, there's no accounting for taste:

Even the tablecloths were made festive for the occasion:

Every few minutes another jeep, ambulance or transport truck would pull up with hungry soldiers:

They just kept coming...:

And coming...:

And coming:

When they had finished... many soldiers took meals back to their friends in the field:

We were there from about 10:30 in the morning until after 4:00 in the afternoon.  During most of that time I was so enveloped by smoke that I should have been earning Marlboro Miles' (no, I don't smoke!):

When we got home we were all bone tired, dirty and suffering from mild sunstroke... but I can't think of a better (or more meaningful) way to have spent the holiday.

If any of you would like to support the Pina Chama (either as individuals or through an organization) your checks will go a long way towards making sure there is always a comfortable, welcoming place for Israel's soldiers to come for a few minutes and enjoy some home hospitality.

Here is the info:

The Pina Chama
8/2 Rechov Haziporen
Efrat, 90435

The soldiers who come to the Pina Chama throughout the year come from every segment of Israeli society; Religious, non-religious, right wing, left wing, big city and tiny settlements, etc.  They are kids away from home who are doing their national service and deserve our respect and thanks for the hardships they endure on behalf of their country.

I hope everyone who celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut had as much fun as we did!

Shabbat Shalom!


Posted by David Bogner on May 13, 2005 | Permalink


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What? no pics of Ari & Gilad?!!! Hrumph!

Posted by: val | May 13, 2005 3:06:45 PM

Looks like a lot of fun, and what a nice way to spend the holiday! Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Essie | May 13, 2005 3:56:28 PM

You are just *amazing*! I went through these photos several times, your best photo Friday ever (and I've never missed a single since I started reading). Truly enjoyed it, shabbat shalom :)

Posted by: Maria | May 13, 2005 4:11:12 PM

You know that you are getting older when you look at members of the IDF and think that they cannot be old enough to drive or carry a gun. ;)

Posted by: Jack | May 13, 2005 4:40:07 PM

Fantastic! What a wonderful day.
Shabbat Shalom! :)

Posted by: Mirty | May 13, 2005 4:53:12 PM

"Israel has a space program, a world class scientific community, and is a leader in a wide range of technical fields. But for some reason they can't produce a decent hot dog"

Hey! No knocking naknikiyot! (dang! Try saying that five times fast) As someone who likes loof, you have no business critiquing anyone else's preserved meat preferences:)

Posted by: efrex | May 13, 2005 5:17:11 PM


Sorry. Somebody had to say it.

Posted by: Tanya | May 13, 2005 5:46:33 PM


Kol HaKavod! What a wonderful way to spend the day...helping to enrich someone else's life, and enriching yours at the same time!

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Pearl | May 13, 2005 5:47:07 PM

I get goosebumps looking at those beautiful Jewish soldiers. So proud. And so sad that we have to have them. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

Posted by: psychotoddler | May 13, 2005 5:59:15 PM

Kol Ha Kavod! I agree, there is no more meaningful way to spend the holiday. I didn't even know such a volunteer opportunity was possible. Thanks for sharing your day.

Posted by: AmyS | May 13, 2005 6:22:48 PM

Mr B, amazing amazing pictures. and i agree with you val, "What? no pics of Ari & Gilad?!!! Hrumph!" i miss them!
have a great amazing stupendous shabbos, y'all (no im not from the south...but its sooo much easier than saying, you all, or, everyone, or something like that).

Posted by: Tonny | May 13, 2005 6:29:13 PM

Val... I actually had very little time to go wandering around with the camera. Every time I took a quick break to get out of the smoke and sun, the kids were in a place that made them difficult to photograph. Patience.

Essie... You have no idea how much fun it was!

Maria... IT was humbling to have these brave young and women saying thank you to us when the whole point of the day was to try in some small way to say thank you to them for giving up such a big chunk of their youth.

Jack... That went through my head too. You would have had tears of pride in your eyes (as I did) to see how casually these 'kids' go about their dangerous duty.

Mirty... Thanks. Shabbat Shalom.

Efrex... I'll make a deal. I won't tell you what to think about musical theater and you leave the meat stuff to me...OK? :-) Having been spoiled by some of the truly gifted hot-dog and sausage makers in the New York area... this lack of good Israeli hot-dogs is a difficult change for me.

Tanya... Somehow I thought you might find today's post, um, compelling. ;-)

Pearl... It was a wonderful day for all involved.

Psychotoddler... They are just as awe inspiring in person. As I said earlier... it was humbling to have them softly thanking us on their way back to the field.

AmyS... If you or anyone you know would like to be involved (on any level) in supporting of volunteering at the Pina Chama, I will be happy to put you in touch with the people coordinating things.

Tonny... As I told Val: Patience. Not every photo is worthy of being published.

Posted by: David | May 13, 2005 6:34:58 PM

Very very strong work. Kol hakavod [all the praise/honor]! May G-d bless and protect these young men and women.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | May 13, 2005 7:44:19 PM

Wonderful pictures.... ive been reading your journal for a while, I am going to be studying at Ben Gurion U in the fall, and your journal has been an amazing way to get prepared.

thought i should come out of hiding with this amazing pictures and say thanks for sharing them! theyre amazing, and its such a great cause.

and as someone around their ages, i must say... yum also

Posted by: Wildroze | May 13, 2005 11:10:28 PM

This hotdog issue is kind of interesting. In NC I rarely eat random hotdogs served at BBQs or baseball games because this is the land of pork and you have no idea what kind of weird animal parts are in them- and you will taste them for a good 48 hours afterwards. Yuck.

You wouldn't think Sweden would have good hotdogs, but alas, they are super good, as are the fries- but strangly enough one must request the bun.

In Germany the sausages are great (duh) but if you get hotdogs they are loaded with paprika, which is GROSS.

Why the hell aren't hotdogs in Israel good? Kosher, all-beef dogs are usually so yummy. I need more details.

Posted by: alice | May 14, 2005 12:12:57 AM

Doctor Bean... Thank you... and Amen.

Wildroze... I'm glad you stop by, and even more pleased that you liked the pictures. Now that I know you're coming to study, consider this your formal invitation to chez treppenwitz for shabbat whenever you'd like. We get a pretty steady flow of students here, and usually on very little notice. So please be in touch when you arrive.

Alice... I wish I could explain it. They make wonderful suasages, kabobs, salami, etc... but hot dogs? Not so much.

Posted by: David | May 14, 2005 8:43:48 PM

Well you went and did it. I didn't think you could but your (previously) best photo friday has now been topped! And kol ha'kavod! Thank you too for posting the info on how the rest of us can support Pina Chama --my relatives are all getting emails with this info and a link to your site to push them, and their pocketbooks, along.

Posted by: katie-yael | May 15, 2005 8:04:31 AM

Oh what a lovely post! If not for Israel, how could one become homesick over kids wearing uniforms and guns. I was never brave enough to try a hotdog, I don't think I ever will now.

Posted by: Lioness | May 15, 2005 10:57:30 AM

Katie-Yael... Thanks for forwarding the information along. You have no idea how far even $10 goes towards keeping a worthwhile cause like this going. Oh, and thanks for putting the pressure on me for next week! :-)

Lioness... The next time I hear of someone coming from the states, I'm going to ask them to pick up a case of 'Abeles & Hyman' hot dogs for me.

Posted by: David | May 15, 2005 3:11:06 PM

I was amused to see that the officers got to wear sandals instead of boots (at least one of them).

There were a few Israelis in my halls of residence in student days (it was a very international college) including a man and a woman who had both been in the tank corps. She had outranked him, and never let him forget it!

Posted by: udge | May 15, 2005 3:37:10 PM

Udge... I'm not really sure what the deal is with female footwear in the army. I have seen women wearing combat boots, black flats, and yes... sandals. I'm sure there is some regulation as to when to wear each, and I'm equally sure that many female soldiers ignore these regulations in favor of what is most comfortable. :-)

Posted by: David | May 15, 2005 3:58:05 PM

Yay for Photo Fridays! :o)

Posted by: V. Ko | May 15, 2005 6:09:47 PM

Came here via Lioness. This was a lovely photo essay. Thank you.

And I echo the rowr! Some very attractive men here.

Posted by: CarpeDM | May 15, 2005 8:18:49 PM

V.Ko... Aw shucks [blush]

CarpeDM... See that... Something for everyone! What a country! :-) I'm glad you stopped by.

Posted by: David | May 15, 2005 11:56:13 PM

Awesome Pics.

Posted by: PK | May 17, 2005 4:26:39 PM

I think the long-haired reservist is my friend Ohad Siluk. If you happen to run into him at some time, tell him shalom for me.

Posted by: Fran | Dec 9, 2005 9:17:06 PM

this is very nice and unique way to spend the holiday! thanks for sharing your day!

Posted by: shanti | Nov 21, 2006 8:36:46 PM

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