Friday, January 13, 2012

One in a Million

If you've never seen one before, that's how a saint looks like.
Meet Prof. Leonard (Lenny) Bliden, the kind and energetic cardiologist. He really likes his job. That's why, at 73-years old he's still seeing his patients three times a week.

Somehow, he managed to keep his South-African elegant style and accent even after more than five decades in the aggressively raw Israel.
I was a few months old when my mother and grandmother brought me to his house in Ramat Hasharon on a Friday afternoon exactly 30 winters ago.
A few months later, my little blue face turned baby pink.

Throughout the years, I always liked coming to see Prof. Bliden. When I was six, I told him about my engagement with the art of ballet dancing. He asked that I demonstrate my first and second positions. There I was, 1.20 meters, dancing and spinning in his office. It was almost as if he cared to get to know ME, more than he was interested in learning about my health.
This month, at our 30 year - surprise reunion at Beilinson Hospital, I understood the rare brilliance of this man - with his patience and sensitivity - he gained the deepest understanding of my heart and knew exactly what to prescribe. More dancing!

Coming in for a check up, on a rainy day in a grey hospital turned out to be one of the highlights of my visit. We've both changed a lot since our first meeting but he remained exactly the same.

Before we left the hospital, my mom and I chatted with his secretary. "Tomorrow," she said, "is a very special day. He's very humble, you know, but Prof. Bliden is receiving a life achievement award at the Knesset."
Almost whispering, she continued, "some people here at the hospital recommended him. I guess management received a lot of letters over the years".
Before saying goodbye, we went back and congratulated him. He mumbled something uncomfortably and quickly changed the subject. He told us he's going to a yahrzeit for his best friend and tennis partner. He died last year, just hours after his second tennis match that week. But he didn't let us leave with a serious-sympathizer face.
"He was 94 years-old," the professor said and smiled.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Artichoke season

Each visit is different.
This time it's spring, it's a holiday and a birthday. One big fat festival.

Hertzeliya minus the daily - swim factor. Still, pretty damn good.

From the seamstress' house, you can see the beautiful turquoise-blue Mediterranean sea, with the Onagraceae and the mosque, of Sidney Ali.

I spent the last night of my 20s in my childhood bed, where I spent most of my teens. In a room where everything is almost the same as it was, in my memory. It's confusingly cozy and at times, romantic. I still have a room of my own.

Eggplant with tahini, zucchini salad with basil and goat cheese on rye. amazingly sweet cherry tomatoes, spinach shakshuka, everything salad and The Brownies.

At Noam's, last week.

crazy bats, had a party the other night, circling the neighbors' loquat tree. I watched from behind the windshield, how close they were flying to my flat-tired car.
Tired, and finally - a week later - just tired, not jet legged.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Please don't let the social network win the Oscars

Because The King's Speech is the movie of the year.

Luckily, I'm not the only one who thinks this way

Virtuoso acting and real drama

It's not about King Georg VI or a speech disorder. we all stammer in one form or another

we all feel like kings or queens when we dare and face the fear

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Power Of Vulnerability

To all the whole - hearted people out there. Courage, comes from the word Coeur, heart.
Happy New Year.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ethiopia. Israel. New York.

The Beta Dance Troupe performing in the Bronx last month. Tradition and contemporary met and created ecstasy. Eskesta.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Free Day

Hello Kitty

The third September in New York.

Fall 2010. The beginning of the end. In a good way.

כל סוף הוא התחלה חדשה


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long Live the King

In the Jon Stewart Vs Steven Colbert debate, I was always a leading, strong and confident Stewart supporter.
I didn't need too many arguments, it's a matter of taste. I would take Stewart any given day over Colbert, or over any of the real news guys for this matter.

I still would, I'm still on team John, but when I see brilliant entertainment, genius comedy, writing and execution, I have to be fair and admit defeat. This round, is all Steven's.

The Kevin (De)Kline face-off. Enjoy.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Kevin Kline
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Note and a Boat

The Holy Grail

There's a special kind of a murmur in the synagogue during the World Cup, an Israeli-Orthodox journalist said on the post-game TV studio, Saturday night. A soft whisper that finds its way to the interested believers' ears. Even without watching television on Shabbat, whoever needs to know the score - will find it.

Meanwhile landing in JFK, the EL-AL captain announced the final score in the USA- Ghana match, after announcing the local time and weather. USA lost.
Summer 2010 belongs to Germany, no matter what happens this week.

I arrived in Ben Gurion Airport with the news about the flotilla.
Since then, I've had a lot of questions and feelings, but not one clear line of thought.

Leaving Israel 21 days later, this poster on the long white brick wall leading to the gate, seemed like a good wishful thinking to leave the Middle-East with.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Levant part 1

I arrived with the flotilla, it was quite the welcome home you'd expect after six month in New York. I tried write about it, but it was very challenging. I wrote, but never posted it.
I'm out of service and off-line and I'm loving it.
It's easier dealing with frustration here then there. It helps being closer to the eye of the storm sometimes.

On the beach, business as usual.
Jellyfish and helicopters are the only threat to the Mediterranean's last pearl.

Friday, May 28, 2010

BB rehab

No flickering red light for 20 days. Starting soon.
It’s good for the brain waves. Like the ocean.

Summer is here. vacation wise. As far as the season, it’s been bipolar so far.
yesterday, however, smelled like summer all day.

Picture of Emily and I by the river on Grand
(taken with the bb

and also, La Superior.

guacamole chips, fish tacos and Corona. It's good to be free.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paging Congresswoman Velazquez

Two things happened this week. They weren't really aware of each other's existence, but they had a mutual impact. Something like spring and allergies.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus under Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez announced its priorities for the Health and Environment Task Force in the 111th Congress.

And a mildly ill - non-Hispanic resident of the 12th District, paid a visit to the Williamsburg Health Center in Brooklyn.

Being sick sucks. No matter what your ethnicity is.

On a warm spring Tuesday, she schlepped her sweatpants-influenza-ish- self all the way to the closest clinic. “It’s better to be on the safe side,” her mother always said. Even if that side is on the South Side of the neighborhood, 16 blocks away.

The CHC’s announcement came just in time, the recent visit to the doctor shows.

In the heart of the Hassidic neighborhood, signs in both Yiddish and Spanish advise on hygiene and health rules. The Orthodox woman at the reception desk, tried to be efficient and sympathetic. It wasn’t easy as she was alternating signing in patients and answering a constant stream of phone calls.

The waiting area that only minutes earlier was filled with nothing but Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s voice, talking about beets and cholesterol on the health channel, soon became crowded with real people and coughs.

One floor higher and 40 minutes later it was already a zoo.

A nurse - THE nurse - was hidden under a pile of files, medical records, manually filling out the paper work.
When the door opened the nurse mumbled, “They’re trying to make us quit our job,” an answer to one’s question – why are you here by yourself?

Then, she put an ad-hock sign on the door: Please knock once and take a sit.

There were no sits available.

About a dozen chairs were occupied (plus few kids running around). Young parents, babies, an elderly women – all Spanish speaking. Hispanics were on the other side as well, along with Afro-American, Asian, Jewish, and Indian doctors and nurses. A real hospital melting bed pan.

By the end of your visit you wished you had gone to work.

The lack of IT or manpower at health facilities is what the CHC Task Force will try to cure this year.
Here are selected examples of what The Health and the Environment Task Force priorities include:

  • Community Health Centers: Latinos comprise 34.8% of health center users. We support the development and expansion of community and migrant health centers and increasing funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • Health IT. We support access to appropriate incentives to enable health care providers in low-income and medically underserved communities to move forward in adopting HIT.
  • Expansion of the Primary Health Care Workforce. We support short term programs and policies to address immediate primary care and nursing workforce needs.

Congresswoman Velazquez should care. Not only as the chair of the CHC but also because the health industry is keeping her in good shape.

“Health Professionals” is the leading industry in donating to her 2010 campaign with $33,500, according to (Dentists $7,5000, Orthodontist with $5,000 and optometrists $5,000).

Although a very energetic supporter of Health Care, Nydia Velazquez’s legislative charts show that health issues were ill treated in the last decade.

With no major legislation record, some efforts can be traced, but not many. A million dollar program here, $500,000 health initiative there, Velazquez targeted AIDS, asthma and Obesity in Brooklyn’s Hispanic community. But no significant breakthrough on file.

Velazquez should follow the wise maternal advice and not neglect her health initiatives - because even just a minor inconvenience can lead to a more serious ailment – if not treated with care.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

what's a real, big heavy piano doing in the subway?

There are very few sights and sounds in the city that will make New Yorkers pause. Very little things that will make us forget about our next destination.

Colin Huggins playing a consul piano underground is one of them.
“I was trying to make people stop. In a big city like New York, in order to do that you need to create some kind of a spectacle,” said Huggins, 32, who started playing two years ago.

“Having a real piano in the subway is one way to do that.”

I stopped even though I was rushing (on a deadline), bundled with tons of equipment, tired and hungry. I have no idea how long I lingered in Union Square that evening, but I know I wasn’t the only one.

Shortly after he started bringing his piano underground, he brought 4-5 tap dancers and a drummer. Now, he gets a lot of attention playing in many different subway stations.

Before he was the "Crazy Piano Guy" playing in the subway, he was accompanying the American Ballet Theater, playing in Avery Fisher Hall and at the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center. Despite the challenges, pushing a 250-pound piano up and down the streets, down the elevator of the subway stations, he much rather perform in the subway over playing in the pit of the huge, monumental venues.
“I don't like it, people are generally falling asleep. One of the best ways to look at a performance is look at the audience,” he said.

“[In Avery Fisher Hall] I don’t feel the same connection with the audience the way I feel when I’m playing in the subway or in the park. I feel like I have more direct control on how I move people, I look at the people in front of me, I look at the cloths they’re wearing and try to think of what music they want to hear.”

Classically trained, currently the music director of the Joffrey Ballet School, Huggins carries a piano across the streets, parks and subway terminals of New York City. He pushes one of the six pianos he owns and stores in three different storage units across the city in the snow, rain or shine. Actually, when it shines, you are more likely to see pushing his piano to the park.
“When you have that moment when you say, no, I can’t do this, this is too crazy,” he said as he was checking one of the piano's wheels that recently broke.

“If you’re trying to create something that would really get peoples attention, your first reaction has to be: there’s no way I’m gonna do that.”

A slideshow of a few classical moments in Huggins' day

And a video of the Union Square craziness

The Union Square Spectacle - Colin Huggins and the dancers from Dana Rapoport on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

local patriotism II

There's good Karma in the air.
Lost and found
my red purse in Grand Central on a day
I really couldn't fit losing it
in my schedule

New York -- not what you thought