Friday, November 20, 2009

My daughter, Zohar, has been shooting flowers on the kibbutz.

…. We’ve had some rain this week – close to 2 mm (in some parts of the country, there’s been up to 90 mm rainfall, but we’re desert, after all).

 

There was a qassam fired just north of us and a ‘Red alert’ in our neighbouring kibbutz, but we’re alright.

We are living with tractors and dirt piles while protected shelters are being installed on our kibbutz.

Flu- I got hit but only with a short-term brand. Two members of the kibbutz suffered through H1N1 but are well recovered, now.

School – Life continues in Nofei Habsor Comprehensive School.  Friendships are being made. Teachers are being challenged. So, what’s new?

My classes are well, alive, breathing, learning.

The Leonid meteor showers came and went with some overcast skies. Unfortunately, 3 a.m. peak viewing hour on November 18th coincided with my peak flu symptoms and I didn’t venture out. I hope Arieh Schkolnik has some news.

Have a good weekend!

 

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Arieh Schkolnik, June 2009, Keeping the Dream Alive

An Interview with Arieh Schkolnik. Arieh is a fervent believer in enacting on one’s dreams. He strives in his own life and encourages all who dream to put in the effort to actualize those dreams. An idea may be a great thing, but is nothing compared to the inner joy gained by making it come alive. Many pupils at Nitzenei Eshkol Public School and in Ma’ale Habsor High School have referred to Arieh when they talk about getting inspired, so I decided it was time to speak to the man, himself, and hear what he had to say.

Judih: Hi Arieh. How are you?

Arieh: I’m geared up to talk with you.

Judih: Okay. Let’s begin. Where do you live?

Arieh: I live in Kibbutz Nir Itzhak, in the Western Negev, at the edge of the great desert.

Judih: How do you feel in this environment?
Arieh: I feel good. I always wanted to live on the border, that is to say, on this side of the border.

Judih: At what age did you start thinking about inventions and creations?

Arieh: Funny you should ask. This morning I thought about something I built when I was small – a raft- Kon-Tiki expedition style.

I built it from stretching tree trunks and attaching 20 empty paint cans as floats. I didn’t use quite enough, however, and, unfortunately, it sank. The sail was constructed from one of my mother’s plastic tablecloths.  I attracted the attention of everyone around.

Judih: How old were you?

Arieh: About 11 or 12. I had always dreamed. I always read adventure books and watched movies. Tom Cruise would have been jealous of me because while he played it in movies I did it for real, all the impossible missions, well  I lived them everyday.

I have stories to fill many blogs.

I even built a barge in the Argentinean army – I have the photos. I managed to get in and out fine, but my friend wasn’t so lucky. He somehow snagged on something and the barge tipped over, in frozen waters. I had to heat him up by fire. This was in Ushuaia, the Land of Fire.

I also built boats with empty glue tubes. In the swamplands, I built a swamp boat with a propeller, a car engine and two plastic gluetubes. I built a catamaran and travelled 3 kilometers to a small pond in a public park. Everyone there came to watch.

I’ve built many nonsensical vehicles in my life.

Judih: Did you work alone?

Arieh: Always. I made a skateboard when they first started to become popular. I cut off a piece of a board (I didn’t have a real place to build it ) small but large enough for me to travel down the hallway of the house.

Judih: Were there other kids in your family?

Arieh: I have one younger brother.

Judih: Did he play along?

Arieh: No, we were very different. He was grounded and I was in the air.

Judih: How was it for you when you decided to come to Israel?

Arieh – It was a revolution! My family (on my father’s side) was religious and very Zionistic in their beliefs that Israel was our homeland, but even so, got quite hysterical when they heard I wanted to come.

My mother’s side of the family also got crazy. But I always knew I wanted to come here.

Judih: How do people accept you in the kibbutz, a place known for its predisposition to conforming to the rules?

Arieh: I live my own life fully without hurting others or, in any way, infracting on the rules of the community.  I believe that I have a right and an obligation to express myself, within the bounds of the society in which I live.

This is for me, of course, but I also believe that living life this way can inspire others to express themselves in their own way. Individual creativity thrives in an environment of creativity.

Judih: This brings me to the next question. How did you start to work with kids?

Arieh: I always wanted to but was hesitant to begin to teach.One day via the internet, I started to study the things I’d always wanted to learn. I was accumulating information and wanted to pass it on. I wanted to contribute. I began giving a workshop – the first was on studying the constellations. I would distribute a circular map of the night skies and for one evening a week, I would tell them legends and myths and how to recognize the constellations of the summer sky. I bought a special laser flashlight to help illustrate my talks.  What was most interesting was that every year as I taught the kids, I learned from them. I learned how to clarify my explanations and I think I received more during those lectures than they did. In fact, I am indebted to them for my own progress at this fairly late stage in life.

I reached huge conclusions, also in my private life.

Judih: Tell me about some of your interests. I know about Astrology,…

Arieh: – no! no! no – not Astrology! How so-called experts take advantage of unsuspecting people, taking their money, telling them stories, no, no – never.

Judih: Excuse me, I meant Astronomy. What else?

Arieh:Physics, I read books – the galaxy, the Elegant Galaxy, Popular Science, History, all kinds of things, t’ai chi, archaeology, – I love to learn from experts.

Judih: Let’s get specific. Tell me about what you’ve invented in these photos.

Land Yacht

Land Yacht

Arieh: I call it a land yacht

Judih: How did you make it?

 

Arieh travelling

Arieh travelling

Arieh: The first one I ever made was constructed from aluminum irrigation pipes and some discarded wheels from a cart. I built the steering wheel from a machine that had been junked. When they tore down the metal shutters from a house, I collected them. I used everything that people tossed aside.

Judih: Where did you work?

 

 

 

 

an older version

an older version

Arieh: I built it in the machine shop after work hours. People laughed at me, but I continued. Now that kibbutz kids are interested I see how it was all worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Judih: What about Amir and Lotan’s wind-bike?

Arieh: The wind-bike works well. I’m envious of it. Those two kids are truly desert flowers with brains.

Judih: Are there girls interested in this?

Arieh: No, none so far, though, girls come to the Astronomy workshops. They also come when I teach how to create paper airplanes.

The only girl is my daughter. (Arieh relates stories of his daughter’s determination, energy and inner drive).

Judih: Maybe I’ll interview her. Now back to another question for you.

How, do you think, we can renew the original spirit of the kibbutz?

Arieh: We need to listen to the individual. There is a fundamental requirement to accept the other according to his world, not from our world. The basic principle needs to be one of acceptance – whether or not we agree with him. This is very difficult to do, unfortunately.

Judih: And how to start?

Arieh: It takes individual effort. We must forget the idea of trying to fix our neighbor. Fixing the neighbor is the biggest mistake – the biggest problem of the kibbutz.

The moment each person worries about himself, not the neighbor, then we can stop the tragedy. To change our environment, we need to leave our neighbour alone and work on ourselves.

We have to re-focus on common things, we have so many. Let’s take another look at the proverbial glass. Truly, it’s 90% full and 10% empty.  Why have we always concentrated on the empty 10%?

If we were able to truly listen to others, we would hear ourselves. Our situations may be different, but we are all basically the same.

Judih: What do you think about the kibbutz?

Arieh: The kibbutz is wonderful, but people don’t open their eyes to see how wonderful. Thoughts are petty, as it says in the Little Prince, the most important thing is hidden from the eyes.

People on kibbutz are pre-occupied with what others have: “Why does he have and I don’t?” There isn’t enough mutual problem solving. There isn’t enough rational consideration that maybe someone has something that someone else doesn’t require.

In other words, the concept of equality has been rendered absurd.

We made a mistake in how we lived, but no one opened their eyes. There was a lack of imagination to solve the problems.

Judih: You’re saying we need to use imagination…Not to be closed to conceptions.

Arieh: I want to be in a society where people can develop themselves.

It’s like the graffiti painted in the bathroom of the youth workers – “Why doesn’t a person have what he wants? Because he doesn’t want what he has. If he had wanted what he had, he would have had what he wants.”

Judih: With that, I think we’ll conclude this portion of our interview. I’m sure there are all kinds of additional questions that need to be asked.

Arieh: No problem. We can continue this some other time.

Judih: Thank you, Arieh. 

coming soon! Interviewing Arieh Schkolnik – keeping the dream alive

Arieh Schkolnik has long held visions of inventions and creations in his head. Circumstance often determined when and how he could set out executing his ideas, but his dreams have never faded.

Talking Now will be speaking with Arieh and maybe shed some light on how one person’s inner creativity can inspire others to follow their own.

Amir and Lotan build a wind-bike, Interview: June 2/09

Amir Florentyn & Lotan Toiw & wind-bike

Amir Florentyn & Lotan Toiw & wind-bike

Wind-bike!

I got an e-mail from Arieh Schkolnik, from Kibbutz Nir-Itzhak, concerning two Grade 10 students, from Ma’ale Habsor Comprehensive School and from Nir-Itzhak, who put together a wind-bike. He sent me the photos you see below. I knew I had to speak to them, so today I interviewed Amir Florentyn and Lotan Toiw about the project.

Lotan on the wind-bike

Lotan on the wind-bikeanother view of the bikeLotan Toiw

Interview:

 

Judih: What do you call your vehicle?

Amir: We call it a wind-bike.

J: When did you start working on it?

Amir, Lotan: During the Purim break – it took us 3 days.

J: What gave you the idea?

Amir: Arieh! (Arieh Schkolnik, who we’ve met before demonstrating how rockets can be powered by water)

Amir: But,there’s a story.

J: Tell me

Amir: You see, Arieh already had a wind-bike and we asked him if we could borrow it. But, the kibbutz safety manager had seen Arieh try it out on the road with kids, and he was concerned that it wasn’t safe enough.

So Arieh, of course, didn’t agree to let us use it. So, we decided, right then and there to build a new one, one of our own.

J: How did you start?

A: We went to the kibbutz bicycle storage area and started to look for parts. We needed wheels and a good seat. We put them together, attaching them to the front part of a bike and built a kind of triangular frame.

After that, we needed more bike parts and pipes and other pieces of iron and steel. We built the steering wheel and the housing for the mast (which we already had). We made the steering wheel from two handlebars (one was already attached and we mounted the other one a little further back.

Finally, we started to build the chair and finished the assembly, and we were ready to experiment.

A: We had to figure out how to attach the sail. At the beginning, we were doing all this on the kibbutz, but we didn’t succeed much. When we went to a more open space outside of the kibbutz, we managed to travel. We were able to catch the wind and it worked.

 

J: How’d you feel?

Amir: We felt great.

Let me tell you how it works.

To steer the sail, we use our feet on the handlebar. There’s a string on the sail that catches the wind. We usually try for 45 degrees into the wind.

J:How fast can you go?

A: We managed to go about 20km/hour

J: Is that fast?

A: It’s fun. We even managed to crash. At least I did. But the vehicle was fine.

Lotan: There are no brakes.

J: Is that a problem?

A: Yes. The only way to slow down is to free the sail, and then the wind can’t catch it or push us.

J: Do you have plans to make more of these bikes?

A: First we need to work on some form of brakes!

Lotan: We also need to lower it, to make it more stable on the road.

J: Who is Arieh Schkolnik?

A: He works with my father in electronics on the kibbutz. And he has always invented things, including this wind-bike.  A few years ago, Lotan and I found a wind bike that some other kids from school had made. We just needed a sail for it. We went to show Arieh and he got very excited and he built a new sail for it.

Our wind-bike includes parts from my father’s wind-surfboard – the sail and mast.

J: Ah, so you were lucky. Do you have any other projects?

A: Not at the moment.

J: Okay, thanks a lot Lotan and Amir. Good luck!

 

Look up tonight! Venus Jupiter Moon trine in south-western sky

Venus - Moon - Jupiter, shot by Arieh Schkolnick

Venus - Moon - Jupiter, shot by Arieh Schkolnik

Look into the sky. The view is spectacular.  This shot was taken by Arieh Schkolnik, Kibbutz Nir-Itzhak. Arieh, our source of what’s going on in the astronomical skyscape, was kind enough to inform us of the beauty of last night’s sky.

The following info was taken from the NASA site

Dec. 1st  is the best night of all. The now-15% crescent Moon moves in closer to form an isosceles triangle with Venus and Jupiter as opposing vertices. The three brightest objects in the night sky will be gathered so tightly together, you can hide them all behind your thumb held at arm’s length.

The celestial triangle will be visible from all parts of the world, even from light-polluted cities. People in New York and Hong Kong will see it just as clearly as astronomers watching from remote mountaintops. Only cloudy weather or a midnight sun (sorry Antarctica!) can spoil the show.

Don’t miss it. The next time we’ll be able to see this is in the year 2032.

Truce!

We’ve had a truce since 6 a.m. June 19th. It’s been quiet here! Voices from Hamas echo this optimism

The photo is a shot of the plastic bottle rocket launched by Arieh Schkolnik about a month ago. It signifies the joy of quiet skies. May this feeling continue.

Happy Shabbat weekend to all.

Judih

June 21/08

Fanning Creativity in Children’s Minds – Arieh Schkolnik

yay!Parachute inspectionReadierGetting ReadyNitzenei Eshkol Public School kids watching Arieh\'s launchParachuting back to earth

Arieh Schkolnik is an effervescent enthusiast of many subjects. He delights in astronomy. He loves creativity. Lately, he is enjoying perfecting small rockets using water, plastic bottles and plastic bags and converting them into a watchable display of physics.

On May 29th, 2008, he brought a tank of compressed air and his latest manifestation of small launchable rocket to demonstrate to pupils of Nitzenei Eshkol Public School how it’s possible to convert a dream into a live take-off.

“Children, I had an idea and I tried many times. I had many failures, but I kept trying. About 3 times a month, on Saturdays, I take my ideas to the field in Kibbutz Nir Itzhak and I see if I’ve succeeded.

Finally, I came up with an idea. I found that a simple change in the shape of a bottle, one with a slanted top, could allow the exchange of gas and water that I’ve been hoping for. Now we will see a rocket blast off and have its parachute open  at the maximum height to take it back down to earth.”

I want you to watch. Last demonstration took me 4 times to succeed. Let’s see how it goes this time.”

Arieh filled his plastic bottle with water, folded the plastic parachute into place and inverted the bottle over the compressed air.

’10, 9, 8…’

The grade 6 kids were counting down, while I was aiming my camera at the launching pad.

Of course, I was out of sync with the blast-off, but I caught the faces of Arieh and the kids and the parachute gliding bottle as it floated back down.

Arieh also showed the kids how to measure the height by using trigonometry. (‘What’s that?” asked a kid. ‘Using triangles to calculate distances”, I answered, hoping that I correctly remembered. I used to love math, oops, what happened, I thought? Did life really get in the way of using the simple tools taught so many years ago?)

After 4 separate launches, two of which were totally successful, Arieh again encouraged the kids:

“Remember, school teaches you many things, but you can learn so much more by taking the tools and going out to learn things for yourself! And never give up. Persevere. It might not work the first time, but keep on going! You will be successful!”

Thank you, Arieh! Always a source of contagious enthusiasm. May our young children be filled with scientific curiousity to question what they’re taught and see if they can take it a step further. Creativity will open the minds of this generation, for the good of us all.

 -judih, May 30/08