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18 December, 201318 December, 2013 0 comments travel travel

The Judean Hills will be alive with the sound of music next week when Elisabeth von Trapp performs at east Jerusalem s Yabous Cultural Center Monday (Dec. 23), and at Manger Square in Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity Tuesday in back-to-back concerts on Christmas Eve.

Von Trapp, 58, is the Stowe, Vermont-born granddaughter of the legendary Baron Georg Ritter von Trapp and Baroness Maria. The story of the musical family s flight from their native Austria following the 1938 Nazi Anschluss inspired the 1959 Broadway musical The Sound of Music. The lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and music by Richard Rogers were adapted in the 1965 film of the same name. Starring Julie Andrews as Elisabeth s grandmother and Christopher Plummer as her grandfather, the musical won five Academy Awards. Many of the Rogers and Hammerstein songs have become standards, such as "Edelweiss ", "My Favorite Things ", "Do-Re-Mi ", and the title song "The Sound of Music ".

Though the Trapp Family Singers disbanded in 1957, Elisabeth was inspired by her father Werner s guitar playing and singing, and her family s legacy, she said.

"As a child, my father played guitar and sang with us every night," said von Trapp, who has a sister and four brothers.

Werner von Trapp, who was portrayed in the musical as the stoic Kurt, died in 2007, at age 91.
Elisabeth began taking piano lessons when she was eight and by the age of 16 was playing guitar and trave

17 November, 201317 November, 2013 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Irish-born Bible scholar Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, a renowned authority on Paul and professor of New Testament studies at Jerusalem's École Biblique et Archéologique Française, passed away in his sleep November 11 while convalescing after a recent surgery. He was buried Wednesday in the crypt of the Dominican institution for archaeological and bible studies on Nablus Road. The priest was interred alongside Roland de Vaux and other Dead Sea Scrolls scholars. Murphy-O'Connor was 78.


Born in Cork, Ireland, Murphy-O'Connor gave up his baptismal name ‘James' in 1953 and took a new name in religion, ‘Jerome', symbolizing his commitment to his faith. Ordained as a priest in 19

17 September, 201317 September, 2013 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

A masterpiece by Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli (c.1445-1510) whose appearance in Israel had been cancelled September 5 over fears for its safety due to an imminent American attack on Syria made its debut here Tuesday as originally scheduled.

"The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala" had been slated to be loaned by Florence's Uffizi Gallery to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in honor of Israel's 65th year of independence. But Italy's ministry of culture put the loan on hold earlier this month after a US strike on Syria over its use of chemical weapons against rebels in Damascus on August 21 seemed likely.


Botticelli's fresco depicts a key moment in the New Testament (Luke 1:26-39 and Matthew 1:18-21) in which the Archangel Gabriel reveals to the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. The event is celebrated annually by many Christian se

28 August, 201328 August, 2013 0 comments Sites Sites

What do you call eight plastic tables arranged in the scenic courtyard of a medieval monastery, shaded by lemon and pomegranate trees and filled with geraniums, where one can enjoy a cold drink or Greek coffee while being serenaded by an aviary of tropical birds?


"It's not a cafe," insists Archimantritis (Monsignor or Father Superior) Claudios, the Athens-born head monk at the Monastery of the Holy Cross. "It's not a cafeteria. This is a holy place. People visit to pray, and then sit for 15 minutes to relax and listen to the birds."

monastery of the Cross

Cafe at the Monastery of the Cross; courtesty Gil Zohar for Travelujah


Be that as it may, the picturesque monastery in the Valley of the Cross below the Israel Museum offers an oasis of tranquility that attracts several hundred visitors a week, says the silver-haired monk - many neighbors from Rehavia and Katamon who drop by to wish him in Greek "Kali mera, pater," (Good day, father) - and share a coffee.


The ever-affable bachelor, 43, is one of three monks who today inhabit

10 June, 201310 June, 2013 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

One of the most exceptional and well-preserved mosaics ever to be discovered in the Holy Land is now on view in the world's most visited museum. On Thursday, May 22, the mosaic from Lod, Israel went on display at the Musée du Louvre. Located in a new exhibition area devoted to the Roman Eastern Mediterranean, the Lod Mosaic is presented side-by-side with the Four Seasons Mosaic from Antioch.

After its discovery in 1996, the Lod Mosaic was reburied for its preservation until a gift from Shelby White and the Leon Levy Foundation funded re-excavation, conservation and development at the site. During the construction of the new Lod Mosaic Archaeological Center, the mosaic has been on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, the Field Museum in Chicago, the Columbus Ohio Museum of Art and the University of Pennsylvania Museum before reaching the Louvre.

From the November/December 2009 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review's Exhibit Watch on the Lod Mosaic in New York:

The beautiful and elegantly crafted third-century A.D. mosaic, which is festooned with lively depictions of wild beasts, birds and marine life, was discovered nearly 15 years ago during roadwork near the town of Lod just south of Tel Aviv, but it had to be reburied until sufficient funding was found to properly care for the remarkable piece.

As recently reported in Biblical Archaeology Review, a

TagsTags: lod mosaic 
4 May, 20134 May, 2013 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Some 3,000 local Armenians, pilgrims, representatives of various Christian denominations, tourists and police packed St. James Cathedral in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City here today for the Maundy Thursday ritual of the washing of the feet rite in advance of Eastern Orthodox Easter. The ceremony, based on John 13:1-17, recalls Jesus washing the feet of His 12 Apostles just before they ate the Last Supper. The New Testament passage in turn echoes Hebrew Bible passages of foot washing such as Genesis 18:4.

"I'm honored to be here today. This is beyond history. I've never had the experience of awe like this. I cannot compare it with anywhere in Europe or America or the Middle East," Salpi Garavaryan, 43, told Travelujah. Born in Beirut, Garavaryan fled Lebanon's Civil War in 1989 and settled in the United States.

"When I go back to Los Angeles, I'll tell all my Christian friends to come to the Holy Land."

The 50-minute sublime and solemn service began with a baritone male choir chanting that for this reporter at times resembled Ashkenazi cantorial music, Gregorian chants and the muezzin's call to prayer. With a chorus of hallelujahs, Patriarch Nourhan Manoogian washed the feet 12 bishops and priests, some of whom had come on pilgrimage from Armenia, Canada and the United States.


Ceremony of the washing of
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31 December, 201231 December, 2012 0 comments Sites Sites

"Shenorhavor Dzenount" - that's the Merry Christmas greeting of the 2,100 members of Jerusalem's tight-knit Armenian community who will celebrate the birth of Jesus January 18.

No. That's not a typo. Christmas is among the many factors which makes the Holy City unique; In Jerusalem and nearby Bethlehem, unlike anywhere else on Earth, the birthday of the Christian messiah is celebrated three times.

In cities such as New York, London or Sydney one can find Christmas celebrations on January 6 being marked by Russians, Greeks, Serbs and other followers of the Eastern Orthodox churches, in addition to the December 25 holiday marked by Catholics and Protestants who belong to the Western church. But in Jerusalem the Armenian community continues to adhere to the Julian calendar, celebrating Christmas on January 18. (In Armenia and its Diaspora, Christmas is celebrated January 6.)

Why all the confusion? Firstly, the New Testament is mute about the date of Jesus' birth. It may have occurred in the spring rather than in winter since Luke records that shepherds were "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night." Traditionally shepherds in Palestine guard their flocks around the clock at the spring lambing time; during the winter months, the animals are placed in corrals, unwatched.

The celebration on January 6 was formalized in 325, when Constantine - the Roman empire's first Christian emperor - summoned the Co

24 December, 201224 December, 2012 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Where to feast on Christmas? Have no fears - the Holy Land is hopping with special Christmas meals - you'll find two of our favorite venues to celebrate your special holiday meals:

Festivities at Notre Dame Center

Celebrate mass on Dec. 24, 2012 at 23.30 at Notre Dame Center and enjoy Carols & Christmas Midnight Mass at the Auditorium
After the Mass come by for Hot Chocolate, Coffee and Tea / Cookies and English cake

On December 25, 2012 at 10.00 there is a Solemn High Mass and at 18.30 a Holy Mass

Dec. 31, 2012 at 23.00 New Years Thanksgiving Mass
After the Mass come by for Hot Chocolate, Coffee and Tea / Cookies and English cake/ Champagne

Jan. 1, 2013 Holy Mass at 18.30

Christmas Eve Dinner
Enjoy a holiday dinner on December 24, 2012 at 20.00
Location: The Wine & Cheese Restaurant (limited seats)
Menu US$ 80.00 per person with live music & DJ

Christmas Day Lunch
December 25, 2012 at 12.30 - 15.00
Location: Main Dining Room at Notre Dame
Enjoy a special chef's special Christmas day open buffet lunch US$ 45.00 per person

New Years Eve Dinner
December 31, 2012 @ 20.00
Location: The Wine & Cheese Restaurant (limited seats)
Chef's Special Menu US$ 120.00 per person with Live music & DJ


23 December, 201223 December, 2012 0 comments Sites Sites

At least 500 million birds - including pelicans, cranes, storks, falcons, eagles and warblers - wing their way across Israel's skies twice a year during the transcontinental migration seasons. In the fall, they make their way south to Central Africa and in the spring they return to Europe and Asia to mate and reproduce.

Israel owes its remarkable avian biodiversity to geography: the country - situated between the equally impassable desert and the Mediterranean Sea - lies astride the birds' major migratory corridor along the Syro-African Rift Valley. As well, 525 species of birds live in Israel year-round, which is quite high for such a small country. And to the fascination of professional and amateur ornithologists, the best bird-watching site of all is the Agamon Hula Preserve in the Galilee Panhandle (www.agamon-hula.co.il). (Agamon is the Hebrew diminutive of agam, meaning a little lake.)

Travelujah - Hula Valley
Hula Valley Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy: Travelujah - Holy Land tours


The wetland preserve was ground zero for the week-long 2nd International Hula Valley Bird Festival, which wrapped up Nov. 18. (See www.hulabirdfestival.org.)


15 November, 201215 November, 2012 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Patriarch Kirill I, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow and All Russia, arrived in Israel Sunday on an official visit together with a delegation of senior Church officials from Moscow. The primate visited Israel's holy sites, and placed a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Since becoming head of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2009, Kirill - whose secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev - has promoted ecumenism.


The visit is part of Kirill's worldwide book tour promoting his tome, Freedom and Responsibility which includes a collection of his thoughts on ethics and religion in the post-modern, secular world. "Through your book, many people will be exposed to your words of wisdom," said Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, who invited Kirill to Israel. "You have made great efforts to [advance] universal values and I hope that they will be realized in our life time."


A reception Monday at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, Kirill presented Patriarch Theophilos III with a certificate for seven bells that will be installed at the belfry of the Church of St. John the Baptist in Jaffa. The bells were cast by the Vera plant in the city of Voronezh at the order of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations. The St. Gregory the Theological Charity Foundation helped with financing.


Pilgrimage an

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