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20 August, 201420 August, 2014 0 comments History History

While a cornerstone laying ceremony was held recently for the rebuilding of the Old City of Jerusalem's Tiferet Israel Synagogue - dedicated in 1872 and dynamited by Jordan's Arab Legion in 1948, don't expect to see the 20-meter-high new / old Chassidic landmark reappear to its former glory anytime soon.


Speaking at the event in May, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "Today we lay the cornerstone of one of the important symbols of the Jewish community in Jerusalem. The Municipality attaches great importance to the preservation and restoration of heritage sites in Jerusalem, and we will continue to maintain the heritage of Israel in this city."

Citing Lamentations 5:21, Housing Minister Uri Ariel added, "We have triumphed in the laying of yet another building block in the development of Jerusalem, a symbolic point in the vision that continues to come true before our eyes: ‘Renew our days as of old.'"

While the two politicians symbolically placed a stone salvaged from the ruined building, construction will take three years, according to the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem Ltd. (JQDC) - a public company under the auspices of the Ministry of Construction and Housing. The project, budgeted at NIS 50-million, is being mainly funded by anonymous donors.


Fundraising to purchase the land for the Tiferet Israel, also known as the Nisan Bak shul, was initiated in

7 August, 20137 August, 2013 0 comments History History

Imagine a weekend surrounded by rugged mountain landscapes, rustic yet comfortable wooded chalets, ripe berry orchards, boutique wineries, waterfalls, history and star-filled night skies? Sounds like Italy, or North Carolina, right? Wrong. This is the Golan Heights, a basaltic plateau region in the northeast section of Israel . Despite the fighting going on in Syria to the east, the Golan Heights (and the rest of Israel) is quite safe, and depending on your interests, can make for a perfect long weekend almost anytime of the year.

 

Increasingly Christian tour groups are including the Golan Heights on their Holy Land tours and the reason is obvious. The region is rich with attractions that run the gamut from biblical sites to adventure sports, impressive culture, filled with ancient and modern historical sites. From history buffs to biblical buffs, there is much to see. The only problem is time. You've only got 48 hours, what are you going to do? Below are Travelujah's recommendations on how to plan your two days north.

 

Big Juba - Begin the day with a drive towards Odem and visit the Big Juba, a dead volcano, with a beautifully lush park inside. The big Juba is one of 23 Jubas discovered in the area. and has a diameter of 250 meters and depth of60 meters. The view is impressive and deep vegetation grows d

5 August, 20135 August, 2013 0 comments History History

An incredible discovery dating to the Crusader period (1099-1291 CE) was revealed today in Jerusalem in an excavation being done by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Grand BAzaar Company of East Jerusalem. An enormous part of a busy hospital was discovered in a building owned by the Islamic Waqfsituated in the heart of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. The area is known as "Muristan" (a corruption of the Persian word for hospital), and is located near David Street, the main road in the Old City.


For the last decade the building had been sitting empty but in light of Grand Bazaar Company's plans to renovate the market and redevelop it as a restaurant, the Israel Antiquities Authority began to excavate the site. A small part was exposed but apparently covers an area of almost fifteen dunams and consists of huge pillars, ribbed vaults and stands over six meters high.


Excavation directors Renee Forestany and Amit Re'em, "We've learned about the hospital from contemporary historical documents, most of which are written in Latin. These mention a sophisticated hospital that is as large and as organized as a modern hospital. The hospital was established and constructed by a Christian military order named the "Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem" and known by its Latin name the Hospitallers (from the word hospital). These righteous warriors took an oath to care for and watch over pilgrims, and when nece

28 November, 201228 November, 2012 0 comments History History

On Saturday November 29, 1947, Jews and non-Jewish supporters of Israel worldwide waited with baited breath listening to live radio broadcast from the UN in New York as the nations of the world voted to establish a Jewish state in the Biblical Land of Israel. People broke into spontaneous celebration, singing and dancing in the streets. It was as if 2000 years of exile had all bubbled to the top and those privileged to live to witness this moment celebrated for themselves, and for the many generations over two millennia who had only been able to dream and pray for this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGLgIeZVtno

The emotions of the moment were particularly striking given that the ashes of the Holocaust still smoldered in the recent memory of Jews worldwide, making this historic occasion bitter sweet. If the world had only cared to recognize and establish the Jewish people's legitimate and historic right to a country of their own several years earlier, millions of Jews could have been saved from the gas chambers and death camps of Nazi Europe. Many of those celebrating on November 29 bore the physical tattoo of having been interned in Nazi concentration camps. Many more shared the psychological scar of the Holocaust, the loss of their parents and grand parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, spouses and children, friends and neighbors, a full one third of the Jewish people!


Tears of joy for what was coming in the promise

17 July, 201217 July, 2012 0 comments History History

The 2,300-year-old harbor of Hellenistic Ptolemais - today known as Acre or Akko in Hebrew - was uncovered recently by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) marine archaeologists.

 

The IAA said in a press release Tuesday that in its excavations at the foot of Acre's southern seawall, installations were exposed that belong to a harbor that was already operating in the city in the Hellenistic period (third-second centuries BCE) and was the most important port in Israel at that time.

 

Among the finds at the harbor are large mooring stones (photos 2 and 3 below) that were incorporated in the quay, which were used to secure sailing vessels. This was probably a military harbor. The finds were discovered during excavations that are part of the seawall conservation project undertaken by the Old Akko Development Company and underwritten by the Israel Lands Administration.

 

acre harbor

Floor of the ancient quay discovered in Acre. Photo courtesy: Kobi Sharvit, Israel Antiquities Authority

 

The first evidence indicating the possible existence of this quay was in 2009 when a section of pavement was discovered comprised of large kurkar flagstones dressed in a technique reminiscent of the Phoenician style that is

30 April, 201230 April, 2012 0 comments History History

Living in the gentle hills of Hoshaya near to ancient Sepphoris in the Galilee, outside the hustle and bustle of central Israel, Segi Malamed remains quite atuned to the pulse of the country. His blog below provides an insightful perspective on the current state of the Israeli consciousness.

 

During Passover vacation I was invited to talk to Hamidrasha's Nifgashim B'Shvil Israel, a group that is hiking the Israel National Trail as a meaningful way to commemorate the 73 IDF victims of the fatal 1997 helicopter collision over moshav She'ar Yashuv.  As the group's website says, it is "a unique way to meet, to have direct dialog, and to discuss basic questions about Israeli society and Jewish heritage - while hiking."

 

We met in the pine forest on the outskirts of Kibbutz Ramot Menashe.  The 300-strong group was extremely varied: men, women and children, young adults and the elderly, religious and secular - a sampling of the entire range of ingredients in the "Israeli salad."  Despite the 15 kilometers the group had hiked that day, they were remarkably alert and attentive.  I shared with them some of my musings over the past few years about Israeli society, and asked for reactions from these people who were seeking common denominators for Israeli society. 

 

In the spirit of Passover, I framed the discussion as a series of questions

:

What

30 April, 201230 April, 2012 0 comments History History

Living in the gentle hills of Hoshaya near to ancient Sepphoris in the Galilee, outside the hustle and bustle of central Israel, Segi Malamed remains quite atuned to the pulse of the country. His blog below provides an insightful perspective on the current state of the Israeli consciousness.

During Passover vacation I was invited to talk to Hamidrasha's Nifgashim B'Shvil Israel, a group that is hiking the Israel National Trail as a meaningful way to commemorate the 73 IDF victims of the fatal 1997 helicopter collision over moshav She'ar Yashuv.  As the group's website says, it is "a unique way to meet, to have direct dialog, and to discuss basic questions about Israeli society and Jewish heritage - while hiking."

We met in the pine forest on the outskirts of Kibbutz Ramot Menashe.  The 300-strong group was extremely varied: men, women and children, young adults and the elderly, religious and secular - a sampling of the entire range of ingredients in the "Israeli salad."  Despite the 15 kilometers the group had hiked that day, they were remarkably alert and attentive.  I shared with them some of my musings over the past few years about Israeli society, and asked for reactions from these people who were seeking common denominators for Israeli society. 

In the spirit of Passover, I framed the discussion as a series of questions:

What are we really?  Does the group called "citizens of the St

23 April, 201223 April, 2012 0 comments History History

 

The Bank of Israel Visitor Center has been designated a heritage site and will be open to the public on Israel's 64th Independence Day, Iyar 4, 5772, April 26, 2012.

 

The Bank of Israel Visitors Center received the heritage site designation because of the following features:

  1. It preserves ancient Jewish coins, which constitute an historical asset, and exhibits them to the public.
  2. It educates about the preservation of Israel's heritage, and imparts values related to identity and identification.
  3. It exposes the public to heritage assets by means of seminars and tours, showing the history of coins in Israel and how the heritage of the nation and the state is reflected in its banknotes and coins, and stressing the affinity of Israel's coins with Jewish coins of earlier periods of Jewish autonomy in the Land of Israel.

 

The Visitors Center contains exhibits showing the history of coins and banknotes. Items displayed include those related to pre-coinage periods, the world's first coins, the first coins minted in Israel, ancient Jewish coins, and ancient coins in Israel from all periods, money substitutes, and all banknotes and coins from the time of the British Mandate till today. Exhibits also illustrate the process of issuing money, security features against counterfei

19 March, 201219 March, 2012 2 comments History History

All at once tragic, beautiful and a symbol of both pure evil and pure goodness, Naharyim is a tiny strip of land situated between the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers which is a must see on any visit to the northern part of the Land of Israel. The little strip of land is often referred to as the island of peace because it sits smack dab between Jordan and Israel.

 

NAHARAYIM

Naharayim by the Jordan river; Photo courtesy Travelujah

 

The area was under Israeli control until the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan was signed in 1994 and Israel ceded the area to Jordan. However, in a twist worthy of King Solomon, the Jordanians agreed to lease it back to the Israelis so that the Israeli residents there could continue to cultivate the land.

 

21 November, 201021 November, 2010 0 comments History History

On Tuesday, 17th or 18th October 1009, a group of workmen entered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and started demolishing what was then (and is now) the holiest site for Christians worldwide. Who ordered them to do so, and why?

The answer lied on the banks of the Nile, inside the head of the Caliph of the Fatimid Empire Abu 'Ali Mansur al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. This man, whose Arabic name literally meant "Ruler by God's Command", ruled from his palace in old Cairo over a vast strip of land stretching from modern Tunisia in the west to modern Syria in the east, including all of the Holy Land.


Al-Hakim's reign, which began at the age of eleven, was a relatively troubled one. The Caliphate under his rule faced opponents abroad, such as the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad (which saw his rule as illegitimate on the grounds that he was a missionary of Shi'ite Islam rather than Sunni Islam). In addition, the army under Al-Hakim's command was torn by rival factions.

Al-Hakim repeatedly exhibited eccentric and capricious behavior. Besides executing several viziers (chief ministers) in a short period of time, he was very much obsessed with his subjects' morality. This obsession found expression in strange rules regarding every aspect of their daily lives (down to their diet), and also in harsh measures taken against non-Muslims.

The most famous of these measures was the 1009 order for the destruction o

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