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Standing in a lovely one story Ottoman period home, overlooking the picturesque valley of the Yemenites, in one of the most enviable locations in Israel, it is hard to imagine that when the original residents of this community came to their homes nearly 70 years ago, the area was an abandoned village without electricity or water, situated in an undesirable area isolated from population centers, grocery stores and other services.
But today the area breathes tremendous life, culture and art. Twelve of the twenty four local families living here are participating in a project, Women and Tales of Jerusalem, that seeks to bring tourists to discover their village and along with it, the special foods, hospitality, culture and unique handicrafts that have brought much prominence to Ein Karem and the surrounding villages connected to it.
The Woman and Tales of Jerusalem is a special social tourism initiative spearheaded by Orly Ben Aharon, Jerusalem Mayors advisor for the advancement of women. According to Orly, the project
Bethlehem, just 10km south of Jerusalem is recognized as the birthplace of Jesus and, as such, is considered an important pilgrimage site. However, the community is much more than that - in fact it is a complex village containing a number of historical quarters and officially became a city in the 19th century.
On Tuesday October 27, a unique two-hour Bethlehem walking tour , guided by an English speaking tour guide will be given of the seven historical quarters. Details include:
- Starting point: Visit Palestine Center (just off Star Street)
- Starting time: 3.00 pm., Tuesday 27.10.2015
- Tour language: English. Guided by licensed Palestinian Tour Guides.
- Cost per person: $15 (fifteen dollars)
- Telephone: 970 2 277 1992
Tour Highlights include:
- Introduction to Bethlehem and the tour at the starting point.
- Hrezat Quarter: Follow Star Street, which was declared World Heritage Site as a pilgrimage route in 2012 together with Nativity Church.
- The Manger Square: Inspect urbanisation processes and changes which have occurred over the last several years in Bethlehem
- Discover the seven historical quarters: See the charm of the oldest cores of the different quarters away from main streets, like Kawawseh and Najajreh qu
Israeli life was built because of the many pioneers who came to the country built the first kibbutzing, planted the crops, made the desert bloom and much more.
This pioneering spirit continues today as Israel has become one of the leading centers for high tech start ups, incredible medical research, and so much more.
The Bio tour at Sde Eliyahu is one site that is worth visiting in the Beit Shean region. Situated on one of the very remaining real community-owned kibbutzim, Sde Eliyahu, you will have an opportunity to explore Israel's eco-friendly agriculture for which it has also become so renowned.
The Bio -tour inlcudes a visit to one of the largest producers of beneficial insects, Bio Bee. It night sounds awful buts its actually a lot of fun not to mention fascinating You will see a huge box of bees with the queen in the middle all working very hard. But these bees don't sting. You can put your hand in the box and absolutely nothing will happen. They are used to keep all the annoying and destructive insects away from the produce grown in the fields. The bees will polinate the produce making it totally unattractive to the insects that would ordinarily thrive on these fresh fruits. It also raises bumblebees for natural pollination in greenhouses and open-field crops, and sterile Mediterranean fruit fly males to control this major pest in fruit trees.
Consequently, there is no need
When people are thinking about planning their Holy Land tour, particularly first timers, 99% of the time they will ask for a tour with all the highlights. But what are these highlights?
Jerusalem, Old City, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee?
Try Hava, an Ethiopian immigrant who lives in her very Ethiopian style home in Beit Shean. Anyone who has ever spent time in her home situated near one of the most ancient cities in Israel will tell you - she's the highlight!
Not to take out away from the Western Wall, Temple Mount, Via Dolorosa, and all the incredible amazing sites - Masada, Jewish Quarter, Western Wall - all on the list - but meeting real Israelis and hearing their stories is what creates a truly authentic, personal and powerful experience which for many is the biggest highlight of all.
Hava preparing to host in her garden; Photo courtesy: Travelujah
Hava runs an Ethiopian cultural heritage center in her Beit Shean home where she tells her personal story about the lifestyle, culture, and foods of Ethiopia. Sitting around her colorful courtyard area, sipping her specialty coffee and tasting the unique, freshly mad
For the last 45 years a highly fragile mystery resembling a small piece of charcoal or two-day old dog poop has been ensconced in the bowels of the Israel Antiquities Authority here. Carbon 14 dated to c. 600 CE, the 7 cm long charred cylindrical shaped parchment was locked away in the IAA's offices in the sprawling campus of the Israel Museum. Protected by guards and doors with numeric locks, the tiny manuscript lay unread and illegible, defying scientists to discover a way to decipher it.
Excavating the 1,400-year-old Ein Gedi synagogue, archaeologist Dr. Dan Barag found the scroll and dozens more even smaller fragments among the ruins of the Jewish village's Torah ark. It was the first time texts had ever been found in the remains of a Torah ark. But the content of those texts remain tantalizingly out of reach.
Barag died in 2009 with the mystery still unresolved. But Dr. Sefi Porath, his co-excavator at the dig at the oasis on the western shores of the Dead Sea, never gave up hope that scientific advances would one day allow the leather scroll to be read.
Speaking at a press conference Monday at the IAA where the newly-deciphered biblical treasure - now revealing the text of Leviticus 1:1-8 in easy to read Hebrew albeit it with several lacunae - Porath grinned like a giddy teenager. "There was no such thing as a personal computer in 1970 when this scroll was discovered."
Even getting a telephone installed in Israel was no
Dr. Brad H. Young, a professor of Judaic Christian Studies in the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be leading the upcoming Israel Sukkot Experience Tour, September 28 through October 4, 2015 in partnership with the Rabbi Riskin's Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Cooperation and Travelujah. The details of the tour can be found at this link.
Dr. Young is not only a renowned speaker and professor but he is also a popular author of Jesus the Jewish Theologian, Meet the Rabbis and the Jewish Background to the Lord's Prayer among other works.&n
Beit Shearim was one of 19 sites worldwide that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list early this week. The site, located in the lower Galilee, about 20 miles southeast of Haifa (one hour north of Tel Aviv), was the ancient burial ground for the Sanhedrin. The site contains a necropolis filled with a series 2nd century CE period catacombs. Archaeologists believe that the site was the primary burial place outside of Jerusalem and rose to prominence after the destruction of the second Temple and the Jewish revolt against the Romans. Within the catacombs there are numerous artworks and insriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. Its quite striking to notice the strong Roman influence that presided during the period following the revolt.
Menorah inscription inside cave. Photo courtesy: Israel Antiquities Authority
Israel now has nine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. Other sites include Masada; the Old City of Acre; the White City of Tel Aviv; the biblical tels of Megiddo, Hatzor, and Beersheba; the Spice Route in the Negev ,; Baha'i holy places in Haifa and the Western Galilee; the Nahal Me
In a initiative targeting Christian visitors to Israel theCenter for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) and Voice of Israel, global radio broadcasting at VoiceofIsrael.com, have launched the Israel Encounter program in order to enjoy programming with local Israelis and to grow in their undertanding of Israeli culture and life.
"The only time Christians interact with an Israeli is when they are ordering falafel or shawarma and that is a sad state of affairs," remarked David Nekrutman, CJCUC's Executive Director. While a trip to Israel should enhance one's faith, Nekrutman added that there is a "huge opportunity for people to relate to modern day Israel as the miracle in our lifetime."
Rabbis Ari Abramowitz and Jeremy Gimpel areco-hosts of Israel Inspired radio program on Voice of Israel, and they believe that this by working together they will be able to communicate how Judaism expresses itself. The idea is that Christian leaders and pastors can now lend their voice to radio here in Israel and go on air with their testimonials and will be able to discuss their relationships with the Jewish people.
The Israel Encounter program primary focus is how Israelis are building their future in a region that is always changing and in tension with democracy and re
True religious pilgrimage has historically been a spiritual journey brought people from near and far to visit what are considered by many to be authentic holy sites connected to the life and times of Jesus.
"Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" Matthew 3:13
For most, the religious pilgrimage has now become synonymous with motorized boats sailing across Israel's primary water sources, big hotels with puffy towels, restaurant chains preparing imported foods from all over the world to meet the needs of savvy travelers, fleets of gas guzzling jeeps to serve tourists seeking to explore the beautifully rugged Galilean landscape, Golan heights, desert and more.
But there are ways to travel and enjoy the landscape that need not be so negatively impactful on the environment. Friends of the Earth Middle East, also known as EcoPeace, is extremely focused on improving the environmental issues impacting the Jordan River and are urging tourists to be more environmentally sensitive in their travels. (The organization brings together Jordanians, Israelis and Palestinians over their shared interest to rehabilitate the Jordan River and preserve its water supply which has sustained residents in all three areas for thousands of years.)
One of the holiest Catholic shrines in Israel, Tabgha, situated on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, was the unfortunate site of a destructive fire, which broke out last week in several places inside the church, causing the roof to collapse. Firefighters doused the fire and treated two people for minor smoke inhalation. The fire is being considered a nationalist crime that was set deliberately. Hebrew graffiti from a Jewish prayer the mentions the elimination of idol worship was painted in rep paint on a wall just outside the church.
The mosaic inside the floor at the Church
Christians believe that Tabgha is the site where Jesus performed the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. The site is an extremely popular pilgrimage site to many of the 2.3 million Christians who travel to the Holy Land annually. According to Father Gregory Collins who iis the head of the Benedictine Order that runs the church, approximately 5,000 Christians visit the site daily.
Seaside at Tabgha photo courtesy Travelujah-Holy