Days of Ticho: Empire, Mandate, Medicine and Art in the Holy Land

At the Judaica House on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, NJ, passing time while Miriam was indulging in Cousin Leah’s special birthday celebration, I came across a most remarkable book published earlier this year.  Here is a beautifully done video celebrating the book’s launch in Jerusalem.

Apparently aficionados of Jerusalem are quite familiar with Anna Ticho by virtue of the Ticho House Museum on HaRav Kuk Street.  I have never been there, but note that the House has been closed since September 2014 for extensive renovations and due to re-open on September 10, 2015.


It is perhaps fitting, because Anna was a posthumous recipient of the Israel Prize for Painting (four months after her death in 1980), that Dr. David Reifler as an ophthalmologic historian chronicles how Anna’s husband played an integral role in helping to establish the field in modern Jersualem.  In this podcast, Dr. Reifler and museum curator Timna Seligman discuss the Ticho House as a tribute to the influence of the Ticho couple in and around downtown Jerusalem in their day.  They are memorialized by a street that bears their name (Ticho Street indicated by the green arrow on the Google map below), in addition to the Ticho House.

Ticho Street

Dr. Reifler’s book is a delight both for historians of eye care as well as historians of the transformation of Palestine/old Jerusalem into the new State of Israel.  Dr. Alfred Ticho was the first ophthalmologist to settle permanently in Jerusalem, and in doing so overcame many obstacles.  A special pearl appears on pp. 329-30, with excerpts from a speech delivered by Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon – a neighbor and close friend of the Tichos, in honor of Dr. Alfred Ticho’s 60th birthday in 1943.

As an optometry student in the 1970s, I was introduced to conditions attached to famous names – many of whom Dr. Ticho studied under or crossed paths with in Vienna such as  Fuchs, Elschnig, and most notably his principal mentor, Otto Bergmeister.  Fuchs is known for his namesake corneal dystrophy; Elschnig for his lenticular pearls, and Bergmeister for his papilla.  Bergmeister’s papilla, consisting of a small tuft of fibrous tissue arising from the center of the optic disc, represents a remnant of the hyaloid artery that provides nutrition to the crystalline lens during its embryologic development.

Bergmesiter's Papilla

A remnant is often considered a fragment, something left over that bears witness to a material or structure of great complexity, significance or value.  Although there is no ocular remnant of Ticho’s name as there is with Bergmeister’s papilla, he could have justifiably attached his name to trachoma, a condition which occupied much of his professional time and for which he was internationally renowned.

Ticho means “quiet” or “silent” in Czech, but as noted in this superlative Jerusalem Post review, his life is no longer a well-kept secret.

Days of Ticho

Dr. Reifler’s work speaks volumes about a pivotal person, at a pivotal time, in a pivotal place.

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Channeling Her Inner Escher

Take a look at this beautiful reproduction by our 13 year-old granddaughter, the multi-talented Kayla Goldstein.


Kayla appears to be channeling her inner M.C.Escher, of whom I’ve long been a huge fan.  (Yes, I’m an immensely proud grandpa!)

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Happy July 4 Fireworks!

Oceanside on Point Pleasant Beach …









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Iron Pigs Sport A Camel

One of my favorite commercials of all-time:

Leave it to the Lehigh Valley Irons Pigs, the Triple A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, to lead the minor leagues in the wacky world of minor league baseball uniform entertainment.  Naturally Geico sponsored the camel uniforms worn on Hump Day – Wednesday, July 1.

Hump Day Uni


As reported by The Inquirer, it is becoming commonplace for the team to have players wear the novelty uniforms once, and then auction them off – with the proceeds going to charity.   With a season’s record of 34-48 thus far, you have to give the club credit for doing everything it can to generate novelty for fans, and goodwill in the community.

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When You’re Smiling The Whole World Smiles With You

Now there is scientific proof.

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The Best Known DJs On The Jersey Shore

DJ — as in Dennis & Judi from 101.5 FM in New Jersey.  Working live from Jenkinson’s on Pt. Pleasant Beach today.





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The Phillies have awakened this week against the Yankees with a bang, letting the young guys finally play consistently, giving the old tired look of Utley, Howard, and Ruiz a rest.  Utley, the consummate tight-lipped player who never admits anything is wrong, finally went to the DL after it became painfully obvious that his .179 batting average and .532 OPS was not just a slump.

Ironically Utley adopted Cody Asche last year, insisting when he came up that Asche have the locker next to him, and Cody has displayed the same tight-lipped demeanor as Chase with offensive production almost as limited.  Whether or not Asche can swing a bat in the major leagues as well as Chase did for many years remains to be seen, but I like that the Phils are giving him an opportunity to sink or swim.

Asche was displaced to left-field because the Phillies hoped Maikel Franco would emerge to be the superstar at 3B they’ve lacked since Mike Schmidt handled the hot corner as a kid out of Dayton, Ohio with two very bad knees.  Franco is certainly on fire this month, but you won’t see Phillies fans rushing to fill the seats at Citizens Bank Park just yet.  After all, it was only two years ago that Domonic Brown excited the fan base with six torrid weeks of long ball that landed him on the All-Star Team, only to disappear after pitchers made adjustments, as they inevitably do, that DB couldn’t counter.

So we’ll enjoy being Francophiles while it lasts, loyal to a Phault ….

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