This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for October, 2013

Maisel Synagogue, Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2013


The photo above shows the interior of the Maisel Synagogue. I was certain I’d also photographed the exterior of the synagogue but I can’t find the photo at the moment. It might turn up later! We booked a tour of Prague’s Jewish Quarter through Precious Legacy Tours and found it very worthwhile. The guide was knowledgeable and our group was small–just us and a German family with two grown daughters. The Jewish Museum of Prague is housed in several synagogues and a ceremonial hall for the burial society.

The Maisel Synagogue was originally constructed in 1590. Around 1900 it was rebuilt in a pseudo-Gothic style.

The heavily illuminated document below is a legal document granting rights to the Jews.


The silver objects in the bottom of the next photo are silver “breastplates” that adorn a Torah scroll.


The white letters at the top of this 16th century Torah ark curtain are actually embroidered with hundreds of tiny pearls. The other threads are tarnished gold thread. Sorry about the reflections. Photography isn’t permitted in the Jewish Museum, so all these photos were taken surreptitiously.


This Torah ark curtain, also 16th century, was done in an “Italian technique,” according to the guide, although she wasn’t sure what that meant. The parokhet appears to be elaborate appliqued velvet and smooth silk. The edges of the appliqued motifs are covered with a heavy couched cord.


This elaborate linen robe (ca 1530) belonged to Solomon Molcho, a messianic figure and kabbalist who was burned at the stake in 1532. The Jewish Museum site has a detailed description of the construction of this robe. The body comprises 28 pieces of fabric, flaring outwards, which accounts for the extravagant dimensions of this robe. I can’t even imagine how heavy it must have been to wear.


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First Impressions of Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 11, 2013


Prague is a fairy tale at night. We arrived last Wednesday, on October 2, 2013. After dropping off our suitcases in the apartment on Karlovy street, we wandered out around 11 p.m. to take a few photos. The photo of Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral (above) was taken from the Charles Bridge.

We were across the street from the Klementinum, currently the home of the National Library. This photo shows one of the entrances into the complex, which is the second largest in Prague (the largest building complex is the castle and its grounds). The wrought iron lamps add a romantic touch.


The 14th century Old Town bridge tower is a splendid gothic structure, usually swarming with tourists.


The National Theater, with its distinctive gold crown can be seen from all over the city. It’s difficult to photograph up close because there are high buildings around it and the side facing the river is undergoing restoration.


The Charles Bridge is well-known for its religious statues. These are replicas. The originals are in the Lapidarium museum in Holešovice.



The Rudolfinum, below, is a concert hall and home to the Czech Philharmonic.


On the far side of the Charles Bridge are the distinctive Malá Strana bridge towers.


Posted in photography, Prague, travel | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

More Train World Photos

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 1, 2013

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

The amusement park was wonderful. Over a dozen rides actually lit up, spun around. This photo was shot with a relatively long exposure so that the ferris wheel lights are blurred (I say “relatively long” because I hadn’t brought a tripod; all the shots were hand-held). I managed to shoot a video of a small “mousetrap” roller coaster. I took a lot of photos of this part of the Jerusalem Train World but haven’t posted them all.

Scenes from a castle on top of a mountain. In the first photo, people in 19th century costumes wander around tables while a band plays in the background.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

In front of the castle, I focused on the horses and carriage and used a small aperture so that the background would be out of focus.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Family picnic by the side of the road:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

This was really cool. Two mountains with spiral tracks and a bridge joining them enabled trains to run over the emergency exit. There were so many people watching that I couldn’t get a good photo of the train inside the mountain, but in this photo the train is on the bridge.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

A woman sitting at a table in a cafe is surprised by a waiter with en elaborate cake.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

A hands-on model train was set up for children. A guide explains how electric trains work.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

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Train World, Jerusalem

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 1, 2013

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s first model train exhibit opened in July, 2013, at First Station, the converted train station near the Khan. It features over one kilometer of tracks and 40 trains. Although this exhibit is not as large as many in other countries, keep in mind that this is a private collection and a temporary exhibit, so the scale is not as impressive as some. Still, I was impressed! The main attraction for me was not so much the trains as the beautifully detailed miniature worlds. For example, the modelers used static electricity to make the blades of grass stand upright. The little bits of green plastic were dusted onto the painted hills. Then a charged device was passed over the grass to make the bits stand upright. Very clever!

The exhibit is housed in the hanger in the middle of the train station complex. Overhead lights change intensity to mimic day and night. It’s more suitable for older children to adults, because one is not allowed to touch the models.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

I found the night scenes most convincing, probably because the bright colours were toned down. In addition to the trains running on tracks, buses and cars traveled along the roads and the buses stopped at bus stops.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Close-up of a train station, with passengers on the platform:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Train crossing a bridge near a factory at night:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Industrial area with trains running behind the factories:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Several trains stopped at a station:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Scene of a burning house. The orange lights were flashing and sirens were sounding.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Control room, with lots of monitors. A couple times I saw people coming out to fix a problem on the tracks.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

The buildings seem to have been made in Germany, judging by the signs, so most of the scenes were European.

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Tiny pipe and drum band in a village square:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

Playing with a long exposure to get a motion blur:

Model Train Exhibit, Jerusalem

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