Two celebrations in one

This is part of an article taken from BBC News ~ I had to share:

The coincidence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah is very unusual – it last happened in 1888. But in a way it’s fitting, as American Jews have been embracing Thanksgiving for more than two centuries.

By the time the first of eight candles in Jewish menorah were lit on Wednesday evening for the start of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, the country was largely closed down for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.

According to the most commonly cited calculation, not only has this not happened for 125 years, but it won’t happen again for more than 70,000 years.

That is because the Jewish calendar is shifting in relation to the Gregorian calendar very, very slowly… at a rate of four days every 1,000 years.

It’s thanks to a quirk of both calendars that 2013 has this curious new amalgam: Thanksgivukkah.

The term was coined, and trademarked, by a marketing specialist called Dana Gitell, who teamed up with an online Jewish gift shop to sell T-shirts and other memorabilia.

Among the items on sale are a “menurkey” – a menorah shaped like a turkey – designed by a nine-year-old New Yorker, whose family say they have sold thousands at $50 a piece.

…”American Jews love Thanksgiving and celebrate it every year with the rest of America,” says Gitell.

Happy Thanksgiving and Chanukah to all who observe!





Happy Birthday, Japanese Emperor

Among the many fabulous things I’ve learned and experienced here, last night was pretty close to the top. We were invited by our wonderful friends, the Ambassador of Japan and his most wonderful and fun wife to celebrate the Emperor of Japan’s 80th birthday. *real invitation below.

Upon arrival, the ballroom was filled with other Ambassadors, Sheikhs, dignitaries and friends. The National Anthems of the UAE and Japan played and we all respectfully enjoyed the music. Then the prestigious sushi chefs from two top restaurants in Dubai began crafting sushi rolls and placing them on our plates. The fish had been flown in from Japan that morning! There were two buffet tables laden with other Japanese delicacies as well as a table with an enormous cake with the Japanese flag on it and other festive desserts.

The conversations were lively, the guests were stunning and the food was outstanding. What a fun Tuesday evening in Abu Dhabi.




Japanese flag



Royal British Red Arrows flew over our apt!

Stopping by after their recent air show in Dubai and preparing for the UAE National Day celebration, the British Red Arrows danced in the air for our enjoyment. Take a look!

British Red Arrows flying team
British Red Arrows flying team


British Red Arrows in formation (there are nine of them)
British Red Arrows in formation (there are nine of them)


Here’s a video I took from our balcony; (click on underlined link) it’s short, but beautiful!

British Red Arrows

This is an example of the wonderful things I get to experience living in the UAE. I love my life! This was definitely a NDB (never done before.)




Israel trip, part 2

We headed out with Jeremy Aron, our private tour educator, from Da’at Tours. I highly recommend them both.  Driving, we saw Jerusalem, Old City: Church of the Holy Sephulcher , the Al-Aqsa Mosque (only from the outside), the Western wall, and Yad Vashem, holocaust remembrance.
Meal: GF falafel: Jewish quarter Cafe Arova. Amazing day!

Day 2 w/ Jeremy

Jaffa, old City, Cesario and the Ayalon Institute, a clandestine munitions factory.
Meal: Muscat cafe in Udim village ( soup & sleepy salad)

Day 3 w/ Jeremy
Drove to border of Israel and Lebanon. To the most northern point.
Then to Tsfat to meet David Friedman, artist, Kabbalist.
Then we visited a cemetery of important people with important stories.

Meal: gf/vegan in defender square in Tsfat. Corn tortilla quesadilla

Tour w Da’at travel services

My view: the place is  wonderful and important. It’s necessary to learn the history, see the sites and eat local foods. I highly recommend a trip to Israel. They are warm, inviting and interesting people living in a lovely land.




Views of my recent trip ~ part 1

Tel Aviv, Isreal
Day 1
6.60 sheckles for the #10 bus, I ride along the coast line and into city.
Bus diver made change for me, from the kind of change maker a nice cream man has, No uniform; women and men sit together.
Through the narrow streets he drives, white lines mean nothing, and he speeds up to slow down for the next rider.  He even makes change, shouts at the elderly riders and reads while he drives.
A man ask me, Ruski? I think he was asking me if I am Russian.
Everyone on the bus was friendly w each other. We passed gas stations, shops, construction sites, markets and manicured round-a-bouts.
Day 2
Bus tour w a headset.. Old town Jaffa, past museums, high rises,  Ben-Guirion house, Rabin Square, Azrieli center and to the famous diamond exchange and museum. I met two wonderful ladies this day, Aisha and ….. We spent the day walking thru an open air market perusing fresh fruit, spices and cafés to clothes, jewelry and books to crafts and projects. As the sun set, we headed our separate ways. Chance brought us together, and social networking will keep us in touch.
Day 3
Early morning walk with my new friends, Mohammed and Aisha, thru old Jaffa (Yafo) seeing the history of three religions: Christian, Jewish and Muslim.
As we walked down the narrow streets, slipping into the church and mosque, I prayed for peace in our world, tolerance and acceptance of all peoples and joy to all mankind. The shop, gallery, antiques and jewelry owners greeted us with smiles.
From poolside, I enjoy the wind in my hair and the sun in my face.
Cheers to another day in this lovely place.
Aloha, Denise

Many people, one face

As I prepare to share my experiences of this trip I’m on, I am reminded of one common thing: there are many people on this world and we all have one face with one smile and two soulful eyes. If we all embrace our similarities and dissolve our differences, the world may be a more peaceful, tolerant, joyful place.

I have stood in a sacred place, overcome by emotion, grateful beyond words and loving each second.

To share history is a gift.

Remember what we’re here for: spread joy, love and peace.



Holy Land

In a holy land

History surrounds me here.

Overwhelming day.

More later….when I have reliable internet.





My favorite mode of transport….

The Abu Dhabi bus is my favorite way to get around.

Abu Dhabi’s modern air-conditioned buses operate round-the-clock. The service is easy to use, with passengers hopping in and out of any bus by placing two Dirham coins in the collection box next to the driver. That is approx. .50US. They don’t make change, FYI.

Most bus drivers are friendly and will let you know if their bus goes to your desired locale and when to hop off.



2_Abu_Dhabi_Bus bus