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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

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

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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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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


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

29 April, 201229 April, 2012 1 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Unperturbed by the uncertainties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the world's smallest ethnic community will gather here Friday, May 4 on Mount Gerizim for the biblical observance of Passover.


Samaritans at Mt. Gerazim

Samaritans gathering at Mt. Gerazim for the annual Samaritan sacrifice; photo courtesy Travelujah


The 760 Samaritans in the world are the last remnant of the once flourishing biblical kingdom of Israel. They trace their descent back to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.


After the death of King Solomon in ca.920 BCE, his northern subjects gathered at Shechem (modern Nablus) to secede, rejecting his arrogant heir Rehoboam (I Kings 12:1-20). The breakaway kingdom bolstered its political independence from Judah by theologically challenging the beliefs of the older kingdom. The Samaritans maintained that God's chosen site for His sanctuary is Mount Gerizim, an 881-metre peak looming over Shechem from the south, rather than Mount Moriah in Jerusalem 63 km to the south. The Samaritan religion became fossilized i

17 April, 201217 April, 2012 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized


On May 4, 2012, the Samaritan's of the Holy Land will celebrate the annual Passover sacrifice. But who are the Samaritans? And how is it that this community continues to survive in the Holy Land?  Part 1 in our series of the Holy Land Samaritans


In 722 BCE, 200 years after the split between Solomon's sons Jeroboam and Rehoboam, the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians. Much of the vanquished population were deported as slaves to Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). Vassal peoples living in what is now Syria and the border between Iran and Iraq were brought in their stead to settle the barren land.


Jewish tradition maintains that the Samaritans are the descendants of these colonizers who adopted some Israelite rituals (II Kings 17:24-29), a charge adamantly denied by Elazar and his fellow Samaritans.

27 February, 201227 February, 2012 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

The Ella Valley is one of those delightful places --not uncommon in Israel--where biblical texts come alive, confirming the maxim that once you've visited the Holy Land, you'll never read the Old and New Testaments the same way again. It was here that David the shepherd felled the Philistine giant Goliath with a single stone flung from his sling.


To reach the site where many believe that David slew Goliath, situated 42 km southwest of Jerusalem, head west along Route 1, and turn south onto Route 38. Drive past the modern city of Beit Shemesh and turn west at Azeka Junction onto Route 383. Up to the right above the pine-wood slopes is a distinctively bald flattop hill, called Tel Azeka - the ancient Israelite fortified town commanding the Ella Valley. The hills are especially delightful in March and April when the blood-red anemones and other wildflowers are in bloom.


16 December, 201116 December, 2011 0 comments Uncategorized Uncategorized

Jerusalem, a city of 1,001 mysteries, can thank Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for one of its contemporary secrets - chef Rodrigo Gonzales-Elias, the dynamo behind the ovens and grills at La Rôtisserie. The charmingly intimate 80-seat gourmet restaurant is located in the basement level of Notre Dame, the Christian guest house complex that is owned by the Vatican and operated by the Legionairies of Christ on Paratroopers Road. The site is officially known as the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center. It's a key location in the Holy City, demarcating the line where from 1948 to 1967 Jordanian and Israeli troops faced off behind barbed wire and minefields in the divided metropolis, where today east and west, and Old City and New City meet.


Notre Dame for Christmas

The facade of Notre Dame Guest House  Photo credit: Gil Zohar for Travelujah



Born in Levittown, Pennsylvania in 1964 to a family of Cuban exiles, Gonzales-Elias's family ended up immigrating to Spain. There he trained as a mechanical engineer working in Spanish nuclear p

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