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Friday, November 25, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XLVI) ['tamar' edition]

Back in January I wrote a post about the countless orange trees lining the streets of Rehovot, and wondered out loud if anyone actually ate the fruit.

This week Photo Friday takes us to another city to look at another kind of fruit tree that has me asking the same question; Be'er Sheva and her date palms.  I've also been thinking about them because in Hebrew dates are called 'Tamar'... which is also my daughter's middle name.  I can't help smiling when I notice that, like the tree, she too is growing up tall, straight and graceful (tfu tfu tfu).

A recent news story about a 2000 year old date seed that was found on Masada being germinated and having  sprouted into a healthy sapling (hat tip Gail at Crossing the Rubicon) got me to look around and notice that the city where I work has thousands of these tall graceful fruit trees lining its streets. 

Because of its desert climate, the Beer Sheva city planners assumed (correctly) that these trees would thrive here, and that the splash of color added by the developing dates would lend an oasis-feel to an otherwise drab cityscape.

As with Rehovot, I wonder what becomes of the countless dates that grow on Beer Sheva's trees?  Clearly someone must harvest them because at some point they are simply no longer there.

Do the town residents harvest them?  Do the Bedouin take them back to their camps?  Perhaps the municipality sells them?

Here's a picture I snapped while waiting at a traffic light (I was waiting to turn left).  This is what dates look like before they land in the supermarket or the shuk:

I had wanted to take some pictures of the trees nearer the center of town, but I didn't get over to that part of the city this week.  This is over near Ben Gurion university (in the background is a vacant area that is about to undergo some kind of construction):

Here's a closer look at the dates themselves:

By the way... I got your emails about my, less-than-optimistic thanksgiving post. 

Yes, I know it was a bit of a buzz-kill.  Yes, I'm aware that I should be thankful for having too many friendships.  Yes, I know I sound like I'm ungrateful. 

An hour after I wrote that post I was out of my funk and had moved on with my business.  Unfortunately, you got to see the results of my morning mood for the remainder of the day.  I hope I didn't put anyone off their turkey.

As my way of offering compensation for the depressing thanksgiving post, here are a couple of pictures I took from my back mirpeset (balcony) one morning this week during a sun shower.  I think you'll agree that they are a bit more up-beat:

And a closer look:

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by David Bogner on November 25, 2005 | Permalink


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Amazing, the rainbows here! Didn't you just want to go looking for the pot of gold?!
Shabbat shalom to all,

Posted by: sarahb | Nov 25, 2005 9:03:44 AM

Nice pix. Have a good Shabbos.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 25, 2005 9:45:14 AM

I spent a summer cutting dates down once - felt very halutzik doing it - they cut your arms up but are delicious.

Shabbat Shalom


Posted by: gilbenmori | Nov 25, 2005 10:37:32 AM

Beautiful pictures.

Posted by: Shevy | Nov 25, 2005 4:57:32 PM

Ah...a rainbow. That's worth a bracha or two!

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Pearl | Nov 25, 2005 5:22:26 PM

great pictures.

may make readers want to go here:

or here:

or maybe people will kindly list other rainbow references in songs.

shabbat shalom!

Posted by: rabbi neil fleischmann | Nov 25, 2005 6:47:46 PM

I've always been curious about dates as well. Can you eat them when ripe right off the tree or do they require some sort of processing ... like olives? What about the birds? I would think birds would do a good job of harvesting dates for you if not deterred. Many birds in Be'er Sheva?

Posted by: Scott | Nov 25, 2005 7:51:23 PM

Sarahb... Funny, I was thinking about Noah, not leprechauns. :-)

Jack... Thanks.

Gilbenmori... I never liked them until we moved here. I don't know if there are different or I just got adventurous with my tastes.

Shevy... Thanks. I have good scenery to work with.

Pearl... That was the first thing we did with the kids.

Rabbi Neil Fleischmann... The Rainbow Connection (as sung by kermit) is still my favorite rainbow song.

Scott... I assume they need to be dried (because that is the only way I've had them)... but I could be wrong.

Posted by: David | Nov 26, 2005 8:26:57 PM

Dates can (and have been -- even by you David -- remember Rosh HaShannah 2 years ago?!) be eaten fresh. They are often included in a Rosh HaShanah Seder. They are very good fresh, though have a more delicate and nuttier flavor than the dried version, and have a consistency akin to a cross between a firm, fresh apricot and softer asian pear.

Posted by: zahava | Nov 26, 2005 8:54:12 PM

I did not find your previous post a downer - except for the comments section where I read that you were an English major (who ended up in a very non-English major field - how did that happen?)

Beautiful pictures - not sure I have ever seen the dates growing on trees. Most of the palms I recall seeing were dateless...

Other rainbow songs for Neil:

Songs with Rainbow in their Title:
I'm Always Chasin' Rainbows - Tony Bennett
Look To The Rainbow - Dinah Washington
Rainbow - Russ Hamilton
Swingin' On A Rainbow - Frankie Avalon
Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland
Wishin' On A Rainbow - Phil Wilson
Pocketful Of Rainbows - Deane Hawley
Rainbow At Midnight - Jimmie Rodgers
Rainbow - Gene Chandler
Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows - Lesley Gore
Roses and Rainbows - Danny Hutton
Wish Me A Rainbow - Gunter Kallman Chorus
Neon Rainbow - The Box Tops
She's A Rainbow - Rolling Stones
Rainbow Ride - Andy Kim
I Can Sing A Rainbow - The Dells
Sittin' On A Rainbow - Mountain
Ridin' The Rainbow - Elvis Presley
Rainbow - Marmalade
Rainbow In Your Eyes - Leon & Mary Russell
The Rainbow Connection - Kermit The Frog
Wrong End Of The Rainbow - Anne Murray
Rainbow In The Dark - Dio
Rainbow's End - Sergio Mendes
Rainbow In The Rose - Winger
Rainbow's Cadillac - Bruce Hornsby
When The Rainbow Comes - Shawn Colvin
Chase The Rainbow - Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Rainbow Wings - Eagle Eye Cherry

Too many songs with rainbow in the lyrics (but not the title) to list, but a few of the (subjectively) good ones include Fleetwood Mac's "Seven Wonders", Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors", "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong, Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" ...

And yes, I agree that it appears I have way more time than I should (and than I actually do)...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Nov 27, 2005 8:04:44 AM

Hey David.
Did you see my pictures of the same rainbow?

First, I saw it from Rechov Hagefen, where it looked like the pot of gold was in Merchavim animal farm over in Elazar. then I ran up to Rimon where I climbed up to get a wider view and saw the entire span of the rainbow touching the ground at both ends!

Here's the perma-link for future reference:

Posted by: Andy | Nov 27, 2005 11:04:27 AM

Zahava... Thank you honey, I'd forgotten.

Mcaryeh... OK, now you're starting to scare me. :-)

Andy... I'm sorry, there were so many people on the chat list who were linking to their pictures that I missed yours. Nice work!

Posted by: David | Nov 27, 2005 1:44:07 PM

Beautiful! (I love fresh dates and have only had them in Israel so I associate them with the Holy Land.)

Posted by: Essie | Nov 28, 2005 3:40:43 AM

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