I can’t remember the last time we had a spring like this. It’s fabulous having this kind of weather, day after day: cool breezes, plenty of sunshine, with just the occasional shower.
It’ll be really hot soon enough, though, so get out there and enjoy. Plus, it’s Earth Day on Monday, April 22 — the right time to think about weather, climate and all that it can provide when treated properly. So, this weekend, here are the top five ways to enjoy spring breezes and the wonders of planet Earth.
1) Head to a photography exhibit of trees as a reflection of human experience, as photographed by Dov Herzenberg, a professor of philosophy, with his accompanying philosophical writings about trees in relation to the human form. “Notice the composition, textures, rhythm and flow of the trees,” said Sigal Colton, the curator of the exhibit. “In almost every photo you can see a ‘disorder’ of some sort, an element that belongs to the tree, but is separate from it.”
April 18 – May 3, Derech Tzilum, 45 Kibbutz Galuyot, Tel Aviv, 4th floor, Studio 215, Sunday & Thursday, 1 pm – 7 pm; Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, 2 pm – 5 pm; Friday & holiday eve, 1 pm – 3 pm.
2) Next week brings the First International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage, offering the opportunity to share best practices on sustainable urban and economic development, ecotourism, faith-inspired travel and equitable sharing of the public domain — all just in time for, and in honor of, Earth Day. Consider these two events in honor of the week-long conference: Cool Globes Jerusalem, an art exhibit at the Mamilla Esplanade, showcasing different solutions to climate change, from solar power to rooftop gardens, green buildings to fuel efficiency. The exhibition will run through the summer; and Launch of the Green Passport, also at the Mamilla Esplanade, introducing travelers to ways of making tourism sustainable, April 22, 7:30 pm. Then head over to the Old City walls for Lights Out, when the lights that illuminate the walls will be turned off by five different faith leaders visiting Israel for the symposium. April 22, 8 pm. Five minutes later, you can watch Eco-Cinema, a public movie screening on the Old City walls, powered by solar energy panels on the Mamilla Esplanade. The movie is “Land of Genesis,” showing Israel’s landscapes, fauna and flora and animals as the seasons change.
3) Welcome the swifts on their annual stop at the Western Wall, returning from their winter in South Africa to nest in the popular cracks of the ancient limestone blocks. They’ve reportedly been visiting for more than 2,000 years, usually on the same day each year, according to the Israel Ornithological Center for the Study of Bird Migration. Swifts need to nest on high walls or cliffs, when out in nature, making the Western Wall the perfect location for them when in an urban setting like Jerusalem. According to the birding center, the ancient Church of Nativity in Bethlehem is also a nesting site for swifts during their spring sojourn. Head to the Wall on April 24, and look up. For an online look, check out Birding Israel’s online swift nesting camera.
4) It feels like an in-between season in terms of the fruits and vegetables available right now, as the winter crops phase out and until the summer produce ripens. I know I’m tired of Swiss chard, my go-to winter vegetable (although you could use it in a spring-like salad), but I’m still thinking about soup, probably because it’s not all that warm out yet. After perusing a favorite cookbook, “Cooking under Pressure” by Lorna Sass, I decided on a cauliflower soup. The white florets are still in season, but offer a lighter option that’s also tasty when served cold, if so desired. For those of you who don’t have a pressure cooker, try this recipe from the Food Network, which doesn’t require any pre-roasting of the cauliflower, and you can skip the Parmesan as well; I promise it isn’t necessary.
5) It’s always tough to figure out what to wear during this kind of weather, but on the other hand, it’s the perfect time to wear that spring sweater that doesn’t get all that much wear throughout much of the year. Take a look at some current options from local designers and stores: Tamar Primak, the Bezalel Academy-trained designer who showed at Tel Aviv Fashion Week in November, made a series of short-sleeved sweaters in citrus and cream that are perfect for this time of year. You can head to her Tel Aviv studio on Fridays, or call for an appointment, 052-263-0564. There are also several sweater options from Ronen Chen (who’s also offering a free polka-dotted scarf for orders made from the online catalog in the next 10 days); I like the hand-dyed Timbuktu top.