Monday, August 28, 2006


All year, my two friends from Israel, Yochana and Matitiyahu and I, had planned a grand summer trip to Yochanans parents summer place in Minasota. At the last minute after several airplane ticket changes, I decided to stay longer in Israel and help out in the North. My sweet friends made a sock puppet of me in my stead and took me along for the trip. Theres more pics up on my picture page

Where Im Worken

this is where Ill be worken the next few months.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Rainbow gathering at JFK.
Dupes in every corner.
Jam session at the international arrival lobby.
Family road trip.
On the way to one week camping/hiking staff orientation trip on the Appalachian trail.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Im in Jerusalem now, almost done recording my second CD out here. It'll be available on the web soon. And I'll be back in the states soon. I'm going to be working at a place called Teva in Connecticut over the fall. Im excited to see how I fit back into the place I came from. I've watched TV about 4 times in the last 14 months. No strip malls, WallMarts or giant billboards. If I remember correctly, there was a lot of hyped up crap in America, big movies and new stuff to buy. I was never into that stuff (sometimes the moovies got me), but it was everywhere. The reality contrast will be stark, but I'm ready, and looking forward to it. Mostly I'm coming to get love from all my loved ones I haven't seen in so long. Soon I fly.

Letter to Farah

Heres is a piece of correspondence written to a dear friend of mine from Philadelphia who went to Lebanon to help the civilians there. We used to march together at peace gatherings.
Her letter to me is on the comment on the previous post.
Hey Love,
Two quick prefaces;
1) I hate Political squabbling, I'd rather play guitar.
2) I hate war and my yearning for peace has never been stronger in my life.

But in the name of Truth finding, I'll share my perspective.

I was sitting on a porch, playing guitar, and some people started throwing explosive missiles at me.The people who threw the missiles at me got the missiles and learned how to throw them at me from a place called Iran, who has a very popularly elected by the people for the people president, who openly proclaims;

"Israel must be wiped off the map,"

"There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world."

"Holocaust was a myth"

(I was surprised when I looked over your blog to see a speech of his. He doesn't seem like a peace-maker)

So I ask myself, what should Israel have done? Let these people, who dream of our destruction, destroy me and this country? Is that peace? At what point do we start defending ourselves? How many Jews have to die before we're allowed to defend our right to exist? In WWII no one stood up for us until 6 million of my ancestors were reduced to human ash.

Conversely, the Israelis aren't trying to kill civilians, that's why they pirated radio stations and dropped tens of thousands of flyers in southern Lebanon warning civilians to leave town. And that's why the Govt sent in ground troops instead of more bigger bombings, to distinguish civilian from war-maker (Guerilla). No one here dances in the streets and passes out candy when news of Lebanese civilian deaths come through the radio. Hizbolah aims at hospitals. On the Sabbath, they would aim at the old city where the Jews where gathered. I know this for a fact as I was there hiding in a shelter. The people shooting missiles at me were shooting them from civilian houses and even from mosques. That's why they were targeted.

You say this was a war over land, but Israel already gave Lebanon the land she wanted? Gaza was given and still missiles fall every day. The main agenda and platform of this current Israeli government was to hand over land... So why would an army attack a nation in the middle of handing over huge tracts of land? Whats the truth? I personally believe the publicly elected president of Iran (and check signer of the missiles that were thrown at me) who brazenly proclaims he wants the total destruction of Israel.

If Israel put down her weapons, she would instantly be destroyed. If Israel's enemies put down their weapons, there would be peace. No invasions, no annihilations.

These are the truths I have found. I hope there is something big that I missed, and that there was some other way to stop these people from trying to kill us/me here.

I love you and wish both of us peace and clarity and a day where we can sit on the stoop in West Philadelphia and play some music without a nag in the back of our minds of our fellow humans plight on the other side of the globe, because it won't exist.

Love Jer (Fellow human planet walker)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

War no More

The war is over and life she's rollen on. Everyone is glad the boys are coming back home, most of them safe and sound. Most feel like there was a bit more work to do up there, and that this was just a chapter to a big mess we're gonna have to deal with later. The people behind this mess, the Iranians, have brazenly announced to the world that they want to end our existence. It's a shame. It'd be so much cooler if they'd just hang out and do their thing, and we'd hang out and do our thing, nobody dreaming of annihilating anyone.
On a happier note, no more people are dying (unnaturally, for the most part) around here. No more Sirens. In fact tonight we had an "End of War" Party with soldiers, fresh off the line, and volunteers, and beer. We sat on the porch and played Bob Marley songs of freedom. The Hills besides us stopped burning. No more background offbeat drumbeats from nearby mortat shelling. No more fireworks on the horizon. Just a quiet night with friends, and gratitude for making it to a new day.
Tomorrow we clean up the mess. Pick up the pieces, literally and figuratively. Refugees are coming home tonight by the thousands. Some with giant holes in their homes, some with giant holes in their lives. This nation is strong and quite alive. There was an incredible sense of unity and brother/sisterhood around here the last few weeks, which was probably the best side effect of the war. I hope is trickles on. It did tonight.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Some recent picture/Paintings by me



Walk Away


This is only a small depiction of some of the damage done by the katushas. This is the courtyard of a girls school about a hundred yards from where I sleep. You can see tiny shrapnel holes in everything. One of best friends Yifat studied here.

Radio interview

Heres another radio interview from Tsfat.
scroll down to Yishai & Malkah Fleisher, Thursday Aug 10 "Unthinkable Failure". My interview is in the middle and the segment closes with a sample of a song of mine.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Letter from a Soldier

Letter from a soldier (who gave me his uniform)

This war has taught, and will continue to teach me, many things.
Stories of heroism and bravery, side by side with grief and loss,
Pain of the wounded, and soldier camaraderie!
Yet, above all amazing things, it has shown me you!
Jews of the Diaspora, Jews of the world, our brothers!!!
Coming from four corners of the world for one reason –
Your heart knew no rest in foreign lands, your heart was here in Israel.
Putting your own life in danger, an act which many of our own brothers here in our own land have forgotten.
And this, only to bring us a bit of comfort, an encouraging word and a warm hug to us all.
To the soldiers fighting in the front lines against the enemy – terrorists – whose ways darken the human race.
And to the all the citizens declaring – here we will always stay!
This experience of yours has been an enlightening one, may you pass it on to all.
Tell them about your experiences here in Israel, in the shadow of this war and make them understand …
We have no other land! And we are all one people – a people of a repeating past and present.
Thank you from the depths of my heart for your actions and help and for all your amazing work.
Hold our hands and send us hugs from wherever you are.
We need these hugs, and the proof of the strength and unity of our people as a nation.
In conclusion, please remember that our hearts are forever bound together….
Come...visit us, and we would be delighted if you stay here forever - in our amazing Land of Israel – and make it your home.

Gad Even-Zur Officer
Ziev Hospital, Tzfat

Gift from a soldier

The Soldier who wrote the letter above, gave me his uniform. This is me on the Livnot Balcony. You can kinda see Lebanon behind my left shoulder. The mountains to the right are often on fire. Katushas have landed on Several places a minute or two away from where Im standing.

Soldier of Love

Every days missiles would fly out from the horizon. Id sit on this porch and aim my instruments up North and play prayers of peace and healing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Letter to Russ

Ten Fingers Ten Toes
Thanks and praise
and so it goes
on and on
I feel my weight
I listen to my breath
and I know I'm alive
In this mangled reality
This reality antithetical to my norm
I never get attacked
I don't run unless chasing a Frisbee
Im a Babar and Babars move slowly
The only cover I normally have to take is in my bed
I don't hurry scurry or scamper
I don't wear shoes, but I do
My comfort zone resolved, desolved, redefined daily
I had designed my life nonconflictual
I guess Im still nonconflictual
My actions aren't so much anti
and I still don't like wearing shoes

Short Glimpses

Besides the typical things we are doing today, we're planning a party for the elderly of Tsfat tonight. Cheese cake, Bingo, board games, Relaxation techniques, Dancing and Music. I'm the band. I hope they like the Grateful Dead and bad eighties music.
We're planning it at a community center while there's talk of doing it in a bomb shelter. Usually the nights are quiet. Missiles and Sirens get replaced with Music and Laughter. Last night we had a barbecue and the night before we had a Yoga/Shiatsu/Meditation session with a Guru. It's important in times like these to do some normal things, to forget about the heaviness of war, at least for short glimpses.


2 Great places to get online News from Isreal

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I've posted some pictures up on my picture page
or click the link "JersPics" on the left.
Feel free to add questions or comments to either page.

Bag of Songs

I have a bag of songs. Each hospital room calls for a uniquely crafted, hand-made, hand-delivered, personalized, cocktail-concoction, song medley of healing. Some need happy. Some need to be eased into happy. Some need to release sad. Some need sleep.
A friend and I walked into a room where a lone soldier lay stretched out on the bed. Pain, suffering and exhaustion laced his battered eyes. We barely spoke to him. My friend began to strum, I began to flaut....gently. He began to drift... gently....and after 20 minutes his eyes gave up and he fell asleep. We tip-toed into the hallway, like parents who just put their baby to bed, to find his Mother, Father and four sisters with tears dripping down their faces.
"You don't know what you just did" the mother said through her tears.
"Our son watched three of his friends die in Lebanon two days ago. He then killed those who killed his friends and in the battle he got shrapnel in his leg. This is the first time he's slept in over two days."
I accepted her thanks and reminded her that if it weren't for brave soldiers like her son, protecting us/me day in and out, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night either.



I shot this Video on Friday while delivering food packages. Just a glimps of what it's like each time a siren goes off, and they go off everyday, many times a day, in fact one just went off while I was writing this, the rocket landed in the valley. The old woman in this video couldn't get off the couch and was sitting by the window, the worst place to be when a missile falls. She was crying and her hands were shaking. What do you do? Run for cover or stay with the lady?

Boris and I

He had Shrapnel in his left hand, so I played the chords while he strummed the strings (thats my left hand in the pic)

Monday, August 07, 2006

No snooze button

I always hated waking up to an alarm. For the second day in a row I've woken up to sirens and missile attacks. Big explosions. One sounded like it came from Lebanon. big one. And one was down the street at the Etheopian absorption center I often volunteer at. I heard someone was hurt there. Someone from the south is coming in tonight to lead us in a meditation to settle our nerves. No one has been freaking out here, but the constant background sounds of war and explosions can grate on ones psyche after a while.

Hospital Visit

Interesting dude. This injured Israeli soldier comes from a Druze family. The druze are and offshoot of Islam, and they are always very loyal to whatever country they are living in. It's in their doctorine to do so. On the other side of the fence his cousins were fighting for Hizbalah.

Hospital Visit

Last night there were 23 soldiers, mostly newly injured, in the Tsfat hospital. We played happy songs and lullabies till midnight. Each soldier had a different crazy story. This one in the picture got hit by debris and shrapnel and part of an RPG. He had little holes all over his back. He said he couldn't wait to get back to his unit to stand with his brothers. Another guy, big tough stocky soldier man with bandages all over his bed ridden body, started sobbing while we sang him to sleep.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

free time

In my free time I've been sitting on the porch, aiming flute music up north. I often get interrupted by the sirens, so I've made up a tune to go along with its drone (that I play once in the shelter).
I also started a city wide aroma therapy campaign here in Tsfat. When people ask what to bring up besides the basics I tell them incense....Nagchampa specifically. I have seven boxes. I light em and leave em all over town. I believe It's pleasing to the spirit in these times of displeasure.


One of the volunteers here was born in Russia. Her name there was Catherine. The nickname for Catherine in Russia is Katushia. First thing in the morning, Every morning, she runs up to me and gives me a hug. "You can only get hit by a Katushia once" she says. "And you've already been hit".

130 rockets in one hour.
Smoke in the air.

Grandma got to eat

Friday morning we had intelligence that there was going to be heavy fire in the afternoon, while all morning it was quiet. Around 2 o'clock there still hadn't been any strikes, a little odd as they normally start around 8 AM. Two last meals needed to be delivered before shabbat and we needed to pick up some supplies. So I put on my shoes and hit the road in the midday sun. Unfortunately there was a typo on the address sheet and my friend and I were wandering around for over an hour. Still no rockets. The whole time I'm walking I'm looking for good places to take cover in case the sirens sound. We meet a crazy cab driver who claims he knows where the house is (though the address doesn't actually exist). So we hop in the cab and head on our way.
When the siren sounds and your out on the streets, an immediate jolt of adrenaline surges in your heart and an animalistic scamper mode kicks in. You drop whatever your doing and scurry. The siren sounded and I was stuck in a cab. I told Cabi I wanted out. He said he knew a good place to go around the corner and I should believe in god. Around the corner was a giant wide open parking lot, one of the worst places to be. Shrapnel pierces car metal, I've seen it. His plan was to just park the car and wait. 5 seconds had past since the siren sounded. 10 seconds till landing. Car still rolling. I yelled at Cabi, tossed him ten Shekkel and told him I wanted out and opened the door to moving car. He stopped. I ran with friend. Sirens. Open naked lot. Found a trash dumpster vestibule made of concrete. Pushed out dumpster and curled into a ball. Head between legs, hands on head. Nothing to do but pray and wish for time to fast forward or somehow rewind. This was the first time I actually heard the Katusha cutting through the air. FFFWWWWWOOOOOOOSHHHHHHH! (as it flew overhead)
But not just an exploding boom, a boom with broken glass and shattering concrete.
I didn't go to see where it landed. Still had meal to deliver. When we finally made it to the old woman's house the sirens sounded again. She was extremely old and couldn't move. She began to shake and cry. She looked like my grandma Rose. She was sitting on the couch by the window, shaking. Crying. We sat with her as the rockets landed. There's a nice Jewish Idea that bad things wont happen to you while your doing a good deed, and besides, Grandma had to eat.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Light in the Dark

Ten miles from flying metal shard ball bearing harpoon metal sling shots.
Ten miles south from red rivers where the children are fighting and the whole world is watching.
Ten Miles south of the nightmans watch while he waits and watches with adrenalined eyes and senses honed with radical acuteness.
Ten miles south in the city of blue where theres silver rain that chases you,
so we live in the ground because thats all you can do, while the August sun penetrates every sweaty crevice of your soul, drips and rolls down my cheek chasing eye drops.
Ten Miles south a father blessing child before he has to turn off his cell phone and head towards the line.
Ten miles south the hidden need food, sick the drugs, light and hugs, touch and music.
Ten miles south I build and I'm built and sometimes I feel like I'm walking on stilts.
Ten miles south on a mystical hill, I flout and I strum and I work and I chill.
Ten miles south in the city of air, I play a game of truth and dare, while buildings wail and sirens blare, so that the hair on your back stands tall, because when your walking on stilts you must take care not to fall.
Ten miles south, just a click past the line, A light in the dark, a flicker a spark, reality contrasted both subtle and stark. No conclusions found here just a place to start, we cast aside fear and live from the heart.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A point of View

A lot of you have been asking me about what I think about the war.
I don't like to talk politics, or to take sides, but I will say this. And Myabe I'll preface this Email by stating that this is all coming from a bonified, card carrying, tie-dyed, long haired, peace marching Hippie.
Israel is fighting this war out of self preservation. Its own peace preservation. Israel isn't fighting this war for the destruction of the arab people. Very important. The converse is not true. Israel does not want to be fighting this war, or be dealing with Lebenon at all, that's why we gave them the land they said they wanted 6 years ago.
We were just chillen, hangen out, worken on the tan, strummen the six string, and we got snuck attack by a people whom we had already conceded to. We already gave them all we could. I know we aren't politicians or diplomats but we must be wise thinkers. Think. What else could/should Israel do given the cards she was dealt? Stop the war today and they'll attack us again tomorrow. Surely. And that's not peace. Allowing yourself to get abused and destroyed is not peace. We gave them back their land, and this is what they've done with it. Did they build farms? comunity centers? resorts? nope, they built bunkers and drew maps for war.
Last summer we tore our brothers and sisters form their houses and synagogues from Gaza to appease. We thought that might bring peace. No "thank you", no getting on with life, just a closer firing point for their Kassams. Everyone thought that the big thing in the news this July was going to be the infighting amongst the Israelis because huge parts of the west bank were scheduled by parliament to be forcibly vacated and handed over. Every time we show a gesture of peace we are spat upon. I hate war. I can see it right now outside my window and I hate it. Our enemies, who are living their lives with the purpose of your and my destruction, don't want peace with us. They want us dead. It sucks right? And I believe that the only way to stop these people who want me dead is by force. I can't think of another way. And believe me I've thunk. I don't think a small gestural show of force would do anything other then encourage them and make them believe they can get away with it again. And its the saddest hardest thing to have to do. But if god forbid someone ever wanted to destroy any of you, I would do whatever needed to be done to ensure your peace.
These are just the conclusions I've come up with. I'm totally open and hopeful that there's something big that I missed and that there's a better solution.Until then Ill pray for peace, true peace.
We all come in Pieces.

Tisha Be'Av

I finally got good sleep last night.
Last night started a commemoration day where we remember the destruction of Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago.
It was eerie reading about it last night, out on the Livnot balcony....reading about the emptiness on the streets and all the destruction with the sound track of explosions in the background and mt. Meron besides me on fire.
But I got sleep.
Today we're all fasting, no food no water for 25 hours, so it should be a little more trying.
Im heading to the hospital soon to hang out with some of the soldiers who were injured in the same battle that Mike was killed in.
Lots of Love

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mike Levine from Philadelphia

I just found out that a friend of mine, a soldier, a kid, died up north yesterday. He's the smiley one on the right. Sweet guy. I used to eat Friday night Shabbat meals with him at my friend Ezras house in the old city. Before he left he said he knew he was going to die. He was 21. A blessed memory

Tsfat diaries 2

The whole time I've been here I've constantly been on guard. My senses acute to subtle sounds and vibrations. This morning, over coffee with a reporter from National Geographic (September edition), the missiles attacks began again in Tsfat and the Sirens have been moaning all morning, a few times an hour. We stand silently for a few minutes and listen to where they land. We don't thank god when we don't hear one land because it probably land somewhere.
---As I was just writing this E-mail I had to stop and run to the shelter...One sounded like it landed very close. Lots of the other volunteers are out delivering food and fixing things.
---Another 5 just landed and for the second time I had to stop writing to take shelter.
I'm being safe, and staying near shelter. Some people are getting lazy and are not taking cover every time the sirens go off. I promised you all I'd do all I can to stay safe, and I am.
War sucks.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day 2

Im writing to you from the hospital in Tsfat. Im blowing bubbles, playing guitar and flute for Doctors kids, wounded soldiers and patients.
Thankfully its been quietish. The Hospital got hit a few days ago, shattering four stories of glass, so their doing repairs today.
I went to my friends back yard last night and sat by a Katusha crater. It was hit in the first wave and my friends five year old was playing in the yard 15 seconds before it landed.
I sat last night on the porch with my co-worker as he gave his blessing of protection to his son who called to tell him he was turning off his cell phone as he was on his way over the line with the Golani Bregade.
Im being safe and preparing myself for when this quasi cease-fire ceases. Today Im in a fortified building all day and my bed room at Livnot is attached to the shelter.
Love you all