Goodbye 2018!

~~ My computer is back! ~~

It’s good to take a minute and look back over the year.

My goals for this blog were to write about life in Israel and make a practice of showing up to the page. I can count this year as a success for both those goals. I wrote fewer words overall than in years past and fewer blog posts, but I hope that means my writing is becoming sharper and more concise (probably not always…).

People visited my page from 54 countries!

2018 map

Leaving aside the United States (#1) and Israel (#2), the top 10 countries were:

United Kingdom

Surprises further down the list:

Six people from United Arab Emirates visited.

Four people from Pakistan stopped by.

One person each came from Bangladesh, Gibraltar, and Fiji.

Overall, I had more visitors this year than in years past and I had the most visitors in September.

I’m hesitant to write resolutions for 2019 for this blog, but my hopes are to write about different things (life in Israel will still be the main topic), try some experimental posts (I’m not sure about this yet), and write more reviews of things I’m listening to, reading, and watching (I’ve had a lot of fun with those posts this year).

I know. Hopes won’t get you anywhere unless you have a plan. I’m working on it.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all good things for 2019!

May it be the best year yet!

The Year That Was

Like everyone else, I took a few moments to reflect on 2017 in relation to the blog.  I have to admit, it was hard to keep up with it this year because I had a lot of other projects going on, but I’m glad to see that I wrote consistently.

site stats

The purpose of the blog was originally to share insights about Israel and life in Jerusalem, but I see that my recent posts about travel got a lot more attention than other posts. Maybe I should travel more in 2018! I’ve often considered expanding my subject area and I may explore that this year.

But for now, here is 2017 in review.


I had readers from 42 countries on 6 continents. Does anyone have readers in Antarctica?  Israel and the US are not a big surprise.  Most of my readers are in the US followed closely by Israel. Rounding out the top 5 are the UK, Canada, and China.  The biggest surprise on the list was Pakistan. One person from Pakistan must have accidentally stumbled upon my blog.

top 5

In analyzing the posts, 2017’s most popular post was The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Vegetables, which I did not expect.  The next most popular for 2017 were How to Travel Well and You Should Travel Solo (At Least Once).  Also in the top 5 for 2017 were two posts from 2016: Tai Chi in Israel and Observation: The Streets of Jerusalem.  Those two are also the most popular for all time,  followed by Holocaust Remembrance Day (5 May 2016) – Yom HaShoah.

I guess if I want to increase my readership I’ll have to be more observational, or very serious, or silly, or focus on travel.  To be honest, the Tai Chi post is most popular because it was featured on the website of the Tai Chi school, so it got readers from all around the world.  But since my blog doesn’t focus on Tai Chi, those readers didn’t stay.  All the other posts were popular on their own.  Well, I guess we’ll see what 2018 has in store.

Happy New Year!

May you have good luck, good health, good friends, and excellent adventures!


New Year’s Special

Happy New Year!  Here in Israel people celebrate it, but not like they do elsewhere in the world.  Israelis like any opportunity to throw a party and have a good time, so December 31 – called Sylvester in Hebrew (after a pope, if you can believe it) – is a convenient time for that to happen.  Israel also has the influence of immigrants from the former Soviet Republics.  New Year in the Soviet Union looks like secular Christmas – decorated trees, Grandfather Frost who brings presents, and spending time with friends and family.  But Noviy God is Noviy God and if you ask a person from the former Soviet Union they will absolutely insist that it has nothing to do with Christmas.  Apparently this year, they went all out for Noviy God.


Not Christmas, Noviy God.

January 1 is not a day off.  If being at the office on Christmas and dating documents 25 December is weird, being at the office and writing 1 January seems almost criminal.  But there it is.  New Year in Israel was in September.  The first of January is just new page on the calendar.

Last night the weather was not cooperating.  Torrential rain would be an understatement.  The trees outside my house were nearly blowing sideways.  There are rumors that there might be snow in the next few days too.  And yet, I was able to hear all the revelers throughout the night.  Why they would want to be out in this weather is beyond me.  I quietly rang in the New Year with a toast for good health, much happiness, and great success in 2016!

Question of the week

What is the flaw in our society that ensures only outrageous campaigns get attention?

On Christmas Eve last week I went to a lecture about the influences Palestinian youth are subjected to that are likely inspiring them to attack Jews with knives.  The short answer is that Palestinian society under the direction of the Palestinian Authority honors “martyrs,” creates children’s programming broadcast on state television giving praise to 5-year-olds with aspirations to use knives to kill Jews, and hammers home the message that Jews are the descendants of pigs and apes.  There are literally thousands of other examples of this kind of messaging in Palestinian society.

Any person in their right mind would see these things and be horrified and call it what it is: emotional and psychological child abuse.  And yet it goes on and no one talks about it.  The speaker is well-informed, intellectual, and has sound, extensive documentation of every claim and the organization has the ear of members of the Israeli government and the US government, among others, and there is hardly a whisper of condemnation.

At the same time, a debate was raging in Israeli society about a “provocative” (their word) campaign done by a Zionist organization calling attention to the fact that certain NGOs in Israel are funded by foreign governments.  The video is disturbing, no doubt, and they name names calling certain members of these NGOs “moles” or “foreign agents.”

The debate spread like wildfire over every media outlet.  Every news program discussed the “provocative” campaign and then began to question the facts.  Everyone had to have an opinion about the proposed law (to require NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments to make it known and for their representatives who come to the Knesset to visibly identify themselves as members of these organizations).  There were even those who agreed that one targeted organization was in fact harming Israel’s image abroad and was disingenuous about its stated goals, but still were upset by the “provocative” campaign.

The targeted organization, by the way, was not suddenly the victim of a provocative campaign.  Another organization wrote a well-documented report showing that a large portion of the money this organization receives is from foreign governments, including a consortium managed in Ramallah of funds from foreign governments.  That report has been out for months and I believe there was even a press release.  But no one discussed it.  No one thought about it.  No one asked any questions.

I’m deliberately not naming organizations because the issues they raise are far bigger than a simple blog post could cover.  The point of this is to ask the question:  If the facts are out there, why do we need to have over-the-top, shock-and-awe campaigns to get any response from anyone?  Have we really slipped into a sex-sells, if-it-bleeds-it-leads global society?

On the other hand, if we want to get anything done and “go viral” do we have to bend with the fickle winds of the internet and make every issue bigger, stronger, faster, more outrageous, more outlandish, wilder, crazier, more shocking, and push the limits beyond their stretching point?  Is this what debate looks like today?

Here’s my (political) wish for 2016:  At least once in 2016, let’s move toward reasoned debate using facts and speaking with our inside voices while turning our backs on the circus that media has become.  Let’s lead by example. Each one of us can reward, at least once next year, calm, rational debate.

Happy New Year!  The best is yet to come!