Western Wall

January 31, 2020

I’m not much of a traveller. Outside of Canada and 45 U.S. States, I’ve visited Taiwan, The Philippines, and Israel. In 1990, the regional tensions were at an uneasy rest and we were able to go all through areas like The West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights.

It is geographically and culturally stunning. Some places are visited for their beaches, their ability to bring an almost somnambulant quality, where rest and relaxation are a given. Israel offers endless contrasts, confrontation, challenge and comparison. I doubt anyone can go and have their presuppositions confirmed. I am quite sure everyone who leaves, leaves changed.

I have never been so moved by a place and a people as I was in Israel.

“Morning Prayer”
watercolour on Arches Cold Press 140# Paper
by Lance Weisser
12″ x 16″
SOLD

A Plaid Christmas

December 26, 2019

My partner and spouse Raul loves Christmas the way all Filipinos love Christmas:  he LOVES Christmas.  In The Philippines, the decorations start coming out at the beginning of September.  With no Halloween and Thanksgiving interrupting things, Christmas prep can start as soon as summer is deemed to be finished.  In our house there’s a rule where no Christmas trappings can come out from storage until Remembrance Day.  This year, at 5 am on November 11th I awoke to hearing the Christmas trees being freed from their storage confines.  My weak attempts to postpone all this until after the Remembrance Day observances at 11 am, went unheeded.

This year it was a plaid Christmas upstairs, and a gold and white Christmas in the front alcove/entry downstairs, with a purple and silver tree in the rec room.  Next year?  Apparently we’re having a pink Christmas–but, pastel pink and dove grey.  He can’t wait–but has to, life being what it is, lol.  And now you know what all our storage space is crammed with.

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BTW, all those gorgeously wrapped gifts under the trees?  Empty.  Every. Single. One.

In January of 1990 I had the privilege of going on a tour of Israel conducted by an outstanding Orthodox guide named Joe, who was so completely well-versed in history and biblical understanding that archaeological sites acquired lively, humanized detail under his well-studied knowledge of what we believe took place there.

Though he was conducting about a dozen clergy, he was able to draw comparison between traditions which were tied to ha aretz (הארץ), to the land, helping us see the visceral, physical connections we’d only tried to understand through having read the ancient texts and stories.

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 ‘Western Wall Shacharit’

watercolour on Arches Hot Press 140# Paper, 10″ x 15″, sold

The Western Wall is almost certainly the most revered of all sites in Israel, as it physically connects worshipers to those before them who also had to struggle to build a homeland–who also had to appeal to that higher power to protect and defend them.

I felt privileged to have been able to see Israel at a time when the intifada was at a standstill and veritably every location in the country was accessible and security was more relaxed.  We could travel the Golan Heights as well as the West Bank, stand at the Lebanese border and visit the historic cities and towns throughout the land.

…this is a repost from an entry several years ago

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