On Monday evening, September 26, Jews and anyone else who follows the tradition set up in the Torah, are going to celebrate the birthday of the first man – Adam. He turns 5,783 and this day in the Jewish Calendar is called Rosh Hashanah, which translates to “head of the year”.
This holiday is the start of the cycle, which ten days later is followed by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. And five days after that on the eve of October 9th, is the start of Sukkot. The holiday cycle ends with Simchat Torah, on October 18th. On that day, the last chapter of the reading from the Torah scroll is followed by the new one – Bereshit. “At the beginning of God’s creation of the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1)” the old cycle is followed by the new one. From the moment of the Creation of our world (some claim that this actually happened much earlier than 5,783, and the day in the Torah represents an epoch), Jews follow well established traditions.
There’s Gold In Them There Hills
No, the title is not a misspelling. In the Appalachian dialect, Them there means those. The phrase is attributed to an Italian immigrant, Felix Pedro, who after several years of searching, found gold in the Tanaha Hills, not far from Fairbanks in 1902.
There were eight gold rushes in Alaska. One of the largest was in 1882, when two prospectors, Richard Harris and Joe Juneau found in a creek now called Gold Creek, that had rocks covered with gold deposits. The discovery led to the formation of the Alaska Treadwell Gold Mining Company, which employed as many as two thousand people. In twenty years, the boom was so great that US Congress moved Alaska’s capital from Sitka to a new place named after the first discoverer, Joe Juneau.
Nowadays, out of the six modern large-scale hard rock mining operations in Alaska, four produce gold. Juneau is still the capital of Alaska. It is the second largest city in the United States by the area. Our ship arrived there at night; however, we were not allowed to go ashore. Here are three images that I took from the ship at night.
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Where to Celebrate a 50th Anniversary
As life marches on, from time to time we discover that some people whom we’ve known for years are no longer around, or the couple we met years ago are not together anymore. Therefore, to our great delight, we received an invitation to celebrate our friends’, whom we have known for over forty years, fiftieth wedding anniversary. Our children studied in the same school, and I vividly remember the little girl who was hiding behind her mom’s skirt. Now this girl is a successful attorney, who has three daughters of her own. Her family, as well as her entrepreneurial brother, now live in Southern California.
A few years ago, our friends decided to relocate to Del Mar, closer to their children and to take care of their four grandchildren. It was their children’s decision to throw a party, and we were invited. For three days, we stayed at the L’Auberge Del Mar Hotel. In the morning, I walked on the beach, and saw many surfers in the water, and in the evening we partied. On one of the mornings, the party was on the beach.
There I found a young man and a woman, who I learned were surfing instructors. They were invited as part of the entertainment and brought with them a variety of sizes of wet suits and surf boards. Some of the guests, including an eight years young girl, who plays tennis and soccer, got surfing lessons on the beach. The process how to surf seemed simple. You just need to lie down on the board, and first paddle across the waves and then stand up on the board and maintain balance, as the waves carry you to the shore. It turned out this is not so simple as you can see in these short videos. I also included three images of the experienced surfers, who take some time on the beach before jumping into the water.
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Where Is Haines?
The visit to a small place called Haines, was a detour from our ship sailing South. Since we didn’t get on the list for the excursion to see bald eagles, we decided to visit what used to be a Fort William H. Seward. After stepping out on the shore, we were greeted with blooming poppy flowers and we were attracted by a gift store called “The Wild Iris”.
The garden in front of the store that was in a house, had many flowers including irises. The owner of the store shared with us that after studying chemical engineering, he left Chicago, travelled throughout the United States and Canada, came to San Francisco in 1977, but instead of staying there, he flew to Alaska and ended up in Haines, where he has resided for forty-one years. There he rebuilt a house, became a jeweler, and has a rock band. His son, who was born in Alaska, lives nearby, and his wife plants flowers in their garden. When I inquired how he makes a living from selling jewelry, he showed me an impressive calendar of visiting cruise ships.
The feeling about this special place, located between the snow covered mountains and the bay is impossible to describe. When my wife Elfa asked me if I would consider returning and to stay for a month or two to explore the surrounding area, I agreed. The question was what about our dog Max? Of course we could take a car and to drive here through Canada, but I’m not planning to stop working any time soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy these three images.
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How To Meet A Bear
After waking up, I stepped out on the balcony at 6.30 am, and I saw that our ship was still moving to our destination – William Henry Bay. We were passing small islands, which were steep forest covered hills. Suddenly, I heard distinctive roaring, coming across the bay, which sounded like a bear.
Today we are going ashore, and at the preparatory lecture last night, we were instructed what to do if we encounter a bear. We were told how to distinguish between three types. If you run away and decide to climb a tree, and the bear climbs up behind you – it is a black bear. If the bear is scared by you and makes scary sounds and gestures, walk away. This is a brown bear, and it will not follow you, since it it prefers fish and berries (unless it is a mama bear and there are bear cubs to protect in the vicinity). If you meet a huge white bear, you will not be able to tell a story about the encounter, since you are going to be eaten.
To get ashore, we were taken in Zodiac boats. On the ship, we were given red jackets, floating vests, as well as special water protective boots. The group had to stay together, and even if a bear would see us, I doubt that he or she was interested in being photographed. Enjoy these three encounters.
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