Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Wrote the Content for a Binary Options Website

And I’m not proud of it.

I have to rephrase that title. I did not actually write the content for a binary options website. I just supervised the content, written by a freelance writer, for a new website. I supervised and I edited.

In hindsight, I am not proud of this particular task, one of many during my ongoing career (12 years and counting) in the online gaming industry, an industry with deep roots in Israel. In fact, I am very proud of what I have accomplished during these years. I have developed my professional career, successfully taking on managerial positions and more importantly, gaining invaluable skills as a writer and an editor which still propel my career today.

But, of everything I did, I have no plans to list the binary options project on my resume.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Short Trip to Malta

I never considered taking a vacation in Malta but when I was informed that I would join a four-day company trip to the Mediterranean island I was quite excited. I knew nothing at all about my destination.

Without going into too many details, because I really don't know that much, Malta is actually a number of small islands some 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Italy. The country is small in size and only 450,000 people live there (making it one of the world's most densely populated countries). The capital of Malta is Valleta.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Recent Reads - Summer Edition

Summer has come to an end. Due to a prolonged, unexpected vacation, I had the opportunity to read quite a bit over the past few months. Now as I get back to my regular work routine, I have a chance to reflect on the many books I read. Some were very good; others don't deserve mentioning. Listed below are short reviews of a few of my summertime reads. I hope I have guided you in some way. Enjoy!

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere, November 2014). There is a killer twist in this psychological thriller, one that you won’t expect at all. The book opens with tragedy: A child lets go of his mother’s hand to run into a Bristol street on a rainy evening and is struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident. Jenna Gray moves to a ramshackle cottage on the Welsh coast to escape her memories of the accident, to try to start her life anew. Meanwhile, Bristol Police continue to investigate, the hit-and-run still high on their priority list many months later even though there are no leads as to who caused the accident. The twist mentioned here comes half way through the book, but there is a strong, surprise ending that makes one conclude that nothing in this novel is as it seems. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My 100,000th Tweet. What’s It Worth?

One of the first pieces of advice I received when I was first aspiring to become a published author was to build a platform. The next thing I heard was the importance of building my platform on Twitter. So, I signed up for Twitter. And then, I tweeted for the first time, expressing myself in 140 characters or less.

Truthfully, I had already established a platform. I have been blogging a lot longer than I have been tweeting. I blog for The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, and for my personal blog. I blog about travel; I write book reviews; and I even share the occasional story about the writing career I am trying to build.

Using Twitter has been, for me, a way to promote my writing. When I post a blog article, I tweet about it to attract eyeballs, to get as many readers as possible. To make a name for myself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to Make Pita

Image credit: 196flavors.com, used with permission.

Reprinted with permission from 196flavors.com.

For my recipe today, I could have picked its origin from several countries including Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran or even North Africa, to name a few but I feel a deep attachment to the Promised Land. This is my haven.

There is not really an Israeli cuisine. Israel is a country of minorities founded by immigrants from a multitude of ethnicities from many countries.

The gastronomic heritage of Israel is extremely varied and in this country of immigrants, people praise as much shakshuka, hummus, falafel, or schnitzel (breaded chicken cutlets) as the national dish. But if there is one staple that is omnipresent on any authentic Israeli table, it would be pita bread aka pita (plural pitotes), and this is the recipe I chose to prepare today.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Northern Soul Music from Tel Aviv

Do Israelis appreciate soul music? Do they miss the mod-inspired “northern soul” scene of the 60s and 70s? Can a brass-powered beat and English language lyrics be considered Israeli music?

Ask Men of North Country, an Israeli soul band hailing from Tel Aviv also known as MONC. “The sound is not really Israeli,” admitted lead singer Yashiv Cohen in a 2012 interview with the Jewish Chronicle Online. “Israeli ears don’t understand it. We tried sending songs to the radio here. They don’t really get it. If we send music to the UK stations, they know exactly what it is.”

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Jerusalem, a City of Secrets

Pre-State Jerusalem is the setting for this short novel about the members of a Haganah cell staging evermore daring raids against British Mandate forces. Protagonist Brand is a Latvian Jew who survived the death camps in Europe but not the nightmares that followed. Having arrived on the shores of Palestine on a Maltese freighter, Brand now works in Jerusalem as a taxi driver with papers provided by the Jewish underground.

In City of Secrets by Stewart O'Nan (Viking, April 2016), Jerusalem is colorfully described as a “puzzle box built of symbols, a confusion of old and new, armored cars and donkeys in the streets, Bedouins and bankers.” In the rainy season, the city’s “walls were gray instead of golden, the souks teeming with rats.” The winter “rain fell on the domes and bell towers and minarets, filling the ancient cisterns beneath the Old City, fell on Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives and the desert beyond, thunder cracking over the Dead Sea.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Colors of Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market

Tel Aviv is truly a city that never stops. With 14 kilometers of Mediterranean beachfront, promenades, sandy beaches, numerous cafes and restaurants, fancy hotels, trendy nightclubs, and endless blue horizons, Tel Aviv is a must-see destination on any visitor’s Israel itinerary.

The city has been recognized by travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best food cities in the world as well as offering a cuisine suitable for the most discerning vegetarians. Tel Aviv has frequently been mentioned as one of the most gay-friendly travel destinations with its gay beach and huge annual Pride Parade. But the city’s best kept secret is its colorful open air market.