Week 2 in Israel: Har Nof

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A kid touches bullet holes from the window of the Har Nof synagogue, Jerusalem, where five Israeli were brutally murdered  on Monday, November 17, 2014 by Palestinian hands.

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A religious man looks down at offers of tzedaka for the family who lost their loved ones.

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Girls await the main Rabbi, Rav Rubin to exit the Har Nof synagogue on Thursday afternoon.

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Women davening at the Har Nof synagogue during Mincha.

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Women praying outside of the Har Nof synagogue on Thursday afternoon.


Two kids playing on a balcony of a house right in front of the Har Nof synagogue. “Life must go on,” community members shared their feelings.

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The Admor of Vizhnitz, Rav Israel Hager, came to share his condolences to the community of Har Nof that lost four of their members and one policeman to a terror attack by Palestinians.

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Shadows of Rabbis and kid at sunset in Har Nof.

postcards from Israel: week 1


Man fishing on the Jaffa beach on a mid thursday morning.


Rabbi praying during an IDF soldier’s funeral in Jerusalem.


The mother of 20 years old Sergent Almog Shiloni lay on his coffin before he gets buried.


Staff Shafir Labor Party member speaking to Orthodox Rabbi of Bet Shemesh who promote dialogue between religious and secular Jews during Yitzhak Rabin’s memorial in Tel Aviv.


Protesters walk over a sing that reads “Bibi you are causing us a new war” in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.

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Abandon couch at a garage exit on Shenkin’s street, Tel Aviv, which reads “Available Parking.”


Sun bathing on the Tel Aviv board walk on a lunch break.

l’amore e` lento…

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“…Ascoltatemi, vuoi due: non bisogna mai sposarsi finche` si e` preda della passione, perche` dovete sapere che e` qualcosa di diverso dall’amore; la passione e` la vertigine della scoperta, l’ansia costante del possesso, l’ostinato desiderio di conoscere le forme e i segreti nascosti dell’essere verso il quale ci si sente inesorabilmente calamitati. L’amore invece richiede tempo, pacate conversazioni che consolidino l’amicizia. E’ qualcosa che sedimenta solo dopo che si e` superati determinati confini di intimità, quando si sono imparati per bene i difetti e i limiti dell’altro. Insomma quando sulla bilancia gli elementi positivi superano indiscutibilmente quelli negativi…” -Marcela Serrano- L’albergo delle donne tristi.

…and we are on the New York Times

Of all the things a cyclist could list as essentials for riding, the road is not likely to be the first to jump to mind; it is a given. But in the vineyards and rolling hills of the Chianti area of Tuscany, preserving the heritage of the white gravel roads inspired a vintage-bicycle race that has grown to more than 5,000 participants…

read the full story here

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F=ma is Newton’s second law of motion.

The force of an object is equal to the multiplication of its mass and its acceleration.

I was first taught this equation back in college in the 2004 Algebra-based Physics II class at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I used this formula a million of times and understood everything in this class just using this formula. Whenever I had a doubt solving a problem, I would scribble down F=ma and it worked as a charm, as if the whole world of Physics was enclosed inside this little, pretty formula so simple and so contained in its explanation.

F=ma became my modus operandi and my friendly companion during the in-class office hours where we were all asked to stay in the Physics lounge to work on CAPA, the challenging homework we were assigned weekly.



There I felt in love a bit less with F=ma and a lot more with my Physics Teacher Assistant. So this formula started equating love to me. And continued to do so for few years afterword as our teacher-student relationship progressed into a wonderful love story entirely based on the principles of such simple formula where everything was measured in equal weight and a very nice, but subtle acceleration. It worked like a scaled perfectly balanced. It was Physics 101 at its best! We were both different in mass, but our speed was similar and our force ended-up being slightly off, yet charmingly controlled.

Until one day an external energy came to disturb the whole equilibrium. And so, as Newton’s third law says-For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction- this force applied on our bodies equated to an opposite and equal force in response and the relationship and both of us felt apart in million pieces for lack of control over our own accelerations.

I guess the unpredictable move that came upon us was indeed uncontainable by the formula itself after all. Or was it and we failed at it? The point of the discussion here is not to find a solution for there could be many or none, but it is to say that although there are laws controlling our universe and although there are proof of using them just right, we must always be prepared for the unexpected and be ok with the idea that what was once perfect and moving smoothly in one and the same direction can backfire and abruptly change orientation.

No panic. No problem. Just acceptance and strength to move forward in a new direction with the same willingness of accelerating and living just as fully as we once did.

ps: the relationship ended 10 years ago and my TA and I are still the best of friends, but today I found myself thinking of F=ma while doing yoga trying to find an explanation on how to simplify the intricacies of today’s relationships. So much has changed since I was 21 years old, although it has only been 10 years. It is another world out there and fear of loving just as much as one is loved has made F=ma that much more difficult to solve. Too many excuses to feeling. Too little time dedicated to others instead than ourselves. Too little commitment to a common cause toward growth and respect for one another. Too much fuss about internet-depending relationships and too little attention given to the person next to us in the actual present time.

F=ma will always have a special meaning for me. It will always equate love.

Let see who will think the same. One day.

somewhere in tropea

i photograph to photograph light.
everything else is a frame for it.

everything else is corollary.

light is the subject matter.
light is the main character of every image.
i see nothing, but light itself.

– me 

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Charlie Chaplin aveva una marcia in piu`…

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“Com’è imbarazzante aver voluto imporre a qualcuno i miei desideri, pur sapendo che i tempi non erano maturi e la persona non era pronta, anche se quella persona ero io. Oggi so che questo si chiama “rispetto”. Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, ho smesso di desiderare un’altra vita e mi sono accorto che tutto ciò che mi circonda è un invito a crescere. Oggi so che questo si chiama “maturità”… Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, ho capito di trovarmi sempre ed in ogni occasione al posto giusto nel momento giusto e che tutto quello che succede va bene. Da allora ho potuto stare tranquillo. Oggi so che questo si chiama “stare in pace con se stessi”. Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, ho smesso di privarmi del mio tempo libero e di concepire progetti grandiosi per il futuro. Oggi faccio solo ciò che mi procura gioia e divertimento, ciò che amo e che mi fa ridere, a modo mio e con i miei ritmi. Oggi so che questo si chiama “sincerità”. Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, mi sono liberato di tutto ciò che non mi faceva del bene: persone, cose, situazioni e tutto ciò che mi tirava verso il basso allontanandomi da me stesso… all’inizio lo chiamavo “sano egoismo”… ma oggi so che questo è “amore di sé”. Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, ho smesso di voler avere sempre ragione. E così ho commesso meno errori. Oggi mi sono reso conto che questo si chiama “semplicità”. Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, mi sono rifiutato di vivere nel passato e di preoccuparmi del mio futuro. Ora vivo di più nel momento presente, in cui tutto ha un luogo. È la mia condizione di vita quotidiana e la chiamo “perfezione”. Quando ho cominciato ad amarmi davvero, mi sono reso conto che il mio pensiero può rendermi miserabile e malato. Ma quando ho chiamato a raccolta le energie del mio cuore, l’intelletto è diventato un compagno importante. Oggi a questa unione do il nome di “saggezza interiore”. Non dobbiamo continuare a temere i contrasti, i conflitti e i problemi con noi stessi e con gli altri perché perfino le stelle, a volte, si scontrano fra loro dando origine a nuovi mondi. Oggi so che tutto questo è “la vita”.

Rosh Hashana` con un nuovo intento…


Il mio più grande desiderio quest’anno e` di poter imparare a vedere tutto in una luce più ottimista e speranzosa. E qual miglior giorno dell’anno, se non il capodanno per riflettere sul come ottenere questo scopo?
Sono troppe ormai le persone che ho conosciuto sul mio cammino che mi hanno parlato del Buddismo e del significato ‘della felicita`’ racchiuso nel mantra del Fiore del Loto.
Allora, ho deciso di iniziare a studiarlo e a recitarlo e a capirlo…anche perche` per come stanno andando le cose nel mondo in questo momento, un po` più di serenità ed energia positiva non guasterebbero.

Nam-myho-renge-kyo e’ l’ineffabile essenza della realtà.

Il nostro pronunciare questo mantra del fiore del loro ci mette in comunicazione e sintonia con tutto il resto dell`universo che e` racchiuso dentro di noi e che ci contiene tutti nella sua enormità. Il punto di partenza di tutto e` la comprensione del mutamento continuo di tutte le cose, della loro impermanenza costante e perenne. Il ciclo dove niente si distrugge e tutto si trasforma…

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Lipa, the Orthodox Rapper on Dmagazine

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Elaza Lipa Schmeltzer, aka Lipa, is pretty much the top pop artist among the Chassidic/Haredi communities from Monsey to New Square, to Williamsburg, to Borough Park to Crown Heights. He is the Matisyahu of the ultra-orthodox world even if he is indeed less musically trained, and more of a stylish entertainer/song writer. He was born and raised in New Square, Rockland County, NY one of the most religious communities in the Western world. A place where female and male walk on separate side of the street. He was brought-up speaking Yiddish only and not being allowed to study anything, but the sacred Jewish scriptures. He found confort and freedom of expression in singing.

Lipa is quite the show-man for an Haredi Jew who still wears peiots and a kippa. He does not care he was banned from his New Square community and had to change city, build a new synagogue to pray in and follow the “non-Jewish way” to get into college without any community help and short cuts. He is proud of what he does and how he lives. His music speaks to a lot of boys who have been yearning for more modern views and alternatives within the closed-off Chassidic communities.

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