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August 3, 2009August 3, 2009  0 comments  Events

Traveling with kids? Looking for an educational and fun way to entertain them? Head over to the Israel Museum on either a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday this month. The museum has constructed an archaeological tell where your kids can learn and participate in a minature archaeological dig. Let them learn about sifting and antiquities in this hands on activity. The cost is $50 per child and is recommedned for kids 7 years and up. By the way, the museum is offering free admission to kids for the entire month of August. While you're at it, you can enjoy breakfast in a prehistoric cave on Mon, Tues, and Wednesday at 11:30. No need to know hebrew to experience this museum.


March 1, 2014March 1, 2014  0 comments  Events

The Israel Museum is hosting a new exhibit, Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe at the Israel Museum from March 11 thourhg October 25, 2014. The exhibition brings together over one hundresd pieces of traditional apparel from four continents from the 18th through the 20th centuries. The visually rich display  showcases the colors, textures, history, and symbolism of clothing and presents clothing as representative of such universal human themes as identity and memory. Dress Codes offers a cross-cultural celebration of the history of Jewish dress and the ways in which traditional clothing has stimulated fashion design throughout history and continues to inspire the styles of today.


"Our treasury of Jewish dress - the richest of its kind in the world - was assembled over many years and holds a special place of pride among the Museum's collections - most especially as a testament to the trappings of Jewish life and their universal context," said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. "We are delighted to be able to present so comprehensive a display reflecting the incredible depth and diversity of our costume holdings as a vivid illustration of the myriad ways in which the history of Jewish dress informs and is informed by the broader history of world fashion."


Five themes are present in the collection including through the veil, exposing the unseen, fusion in dress, little women and little men,  and clothing that remembers. Each theme presents traditional articles that represent that particular subject.


The exhibit is curated by Efrat Assaf-Shapira, Associate Curator in the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life and is made possible by the Aaron Beare Foundation, Durban, South Africa, and the donors to the Museum's 2014 Exhibition Fund: Claudia Davidoff, Cambridge, MA, in memory of Ruth and Leon Davidoff; Hanno D. Mott, New York; the Nash Family Foundation, New York; and Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild Foundation in Israel.




March 14, 2011March 14, 2011  0 comments  Jewish Holidays

If you are in Israel during the holiday of Purim, you might think Israelis had confused the spring holiday with Halloween.

Purim is supposed to be a joyful holiday and, as such, costumes and parties are the order of the day. From babies in daycare to school children to adults attending parties, nearly everyone in the country gets in on the action. Though Purim lasts only one day, or two if you are outside a walled city, costumes can be worn for a week before and after the actual date, which this year is March 19 to 20.


The Book of Esther and her miraculous positioning as Queen of Persia is the source of the holiday. The jubilation and merriment of the holiday is based on Esther 8:17: "In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them." Interestingly, God does not appear at all in the Scroll of Esther.


The word Purim originate from the Persian word pur, which means "lot." The holiday was named for the lots cast by Haman, who sought the annihilation of the Jewish people exiled in Persia and refers to Haman's plt to kill all the Jews. Esther, the beautiful Jewish wife of King Ahashverus risked her life to save the Jewish people from Haman's plot by revealing her true identity and the scheme of drawing "lots" to kill Jews to her husband The earliest known celebration dates back to the 2nd Century CE.


The most famous food associated with Purim is a cookie called Oznay Haman or the Yiddish word, hamantaschen, meaning "Haman's ears." The cookies are filled with chocolate, dates, poppy seeds or jellies. A special hallah bread is made during Purim, braided extensively to symbolize the rope upon which Haman was hung.



The traditional Purim treat - Hamentashen


Other interesting Purim tidbits include the fact that it is mandated that people make a lot of noise during this holiday. Special groggers or noisemakers are readily available for sale in all the toy stores and during the reading of the Scroll of Esther, these noisemakers which make a gratting sound are to be shaken at every mention of Haman's name, in order to drown it out.


Many activities are available in which to participate. And if you can't make it to any of the special events, you can always visit a synagogue as the Megillah is read aloud. Attendees boo and hiss at every mention of Haman's name.


Things to Do in Israel for Purim

Appolonia Park, near Herziliya

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority encourages citizens and visitors to Israel to mingle with nature and is sponsoring a Purim festival will be held at the ancient Crusader fortress on the Mediterranean. Things to do include: Walking tours and workshops, including making origami masks and baskets for Purim gift packages; and bird watching sessions on the cormorants, which are getting ready to migrate to colder climates on March 22 and 23. For details about these and other Purim events in the national parks, call *3693 in Israel.


Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Esther the Disaster - a musical circus with the Israel Stage Orchestra

A play based on the biblical Esther featuring a bossy circus manager that controls a traveling musical circus, her husband 'Evil Oman' and their sons 'Primary Mordechai' and 'Achash Barosh.'


March 21. For reservations call: 02.677.1302


Workshops: Illustrating the Book of Esther- in pen and colored ink on parchment; and Crown and Scepter - creating glittering royal accessories


March 20 and 21, 10 a.m. Admission: 20 shekels


Old City Jerusalem

Beit Shmuel invites you to take a tour back in time to the story of the Book of Esther along the mysterious alleys of the old city's Jewish Quarter. On the tour, participants will meet some cheerful, amusing Purim characters played by actors from the Poyke Theater.


March 20 and 21. For details call: 02.620.3461


Time Elevator in Jerusalem

During Purim, anyone who dresses up as a doctor will receive free entrance to the ''Journey into the Human Body'' exhibit, anyone dressed up as an astronaut will receive free entrance to the ''Voyage to the Universe'' and anyone dressed up as an Indian will receive free entrance to a screening of ''India in Motion."


March 20 and 21, between 10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.


Tower of David, Jerusalem

Mayumana - rhythm workshop for children


In Purim, the Tower of David Museum invites parents and children for a celebration of rhythm, movement, creativity and humor with the Mayumana ensemble. Surrounded by the special atmosphere of the old citadel walls, participants will use sticks, buckets, tins and their own bodies as surprising musical instruments. The workshop will begin with getting to know the instructors and their amazing talents with a taste from the show, followed by a group warm-up to prepare the body for some energetic work and then an assortment of fun filled work stations. The workshop will be held on March 21 at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.


Admission (including entrance to the museum): 50 shekels


Register prior: 02.626.5333. More information at: www.towerofdavid.org.il


Yambakerah (Sea on Ice) - an Ice Skating rink in Jerusalem

While this has nothing to do with Purim per se, the temporary ice skating rink will stay open until April 14. The 500-squaremeter rink will be open for children and adults weekdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays until 2 p.m. and Saturday after Shabbat until midnight at Kikar Safra. Admission: 30 to 40 shekels.


February 13, 2013February 13, 2013  0 comments  Museum

For the first time ever, Herod the Great has become the subject of an extraordinary exhibition at the Israel Museum entitled "The Kings Final Journey".  The exhibit, which opened to great fanfare yesterday, includes over 250 artifacts collected from the archaeological remains of several buildings and palaces constructed by Herod the Great including pieces from the  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The display features reconstructions and artifacts from Herod’s edifices at Herodium and Jericho. Starting with his funeral procession of Herod, which began at this third palace in Jericho, the visitor first arrives in Herod's reconstructed throne room completed with restored frescos. As the visitor walks from room to room within the exhibit he is taken through many of Herod's major building feats including Caesarea and Masada and artifacts from these sites and others along with digital restorations are on display. However, it is the newly excavated (as believed) Herod’s tomb, which takes center stage. The reddish sarcophagus of Herod, discovered outside the palace at Herodium in 2007, was found shattered in hundreds of pieces and was meticulously restored for the exhibit. It is pm display in the last room of the exhibit, adjacent to the magnificent royal room.


Why did Herold build his tomb on the northeastern slope of Herodium? While no one really knows the answer it is believed that he wanted the tomb to be seen from Jerusalem. As to why it was not within the palace grounds, speculation is that Herod, with his vast knowledge and respect of Jewish culture and its rules regarding impurity, understood that should his tomb be within the palace complex priests would not be able to visit. He therefore constructed the mausoleum on the highest possible spot ouside the palace.


The exhibition is dedicated to Prof. Ehud Netzer, a prolific archaeologist who devoted much of his professional career to searching for Herod's tomb. In fact in 1972, Netzer came within one meter of the tomb's location during a dig at Herodium. However, it took him another 40 years until he finally discoveredthe tomb in 2007. Knowing that this find would require a professional restoration team in order to protect and restore the significant artifacts discovered, he conceived the initial idea of Herod's exhibit and brought in the Israel Museum to assist. Unfortunately, during the initial site tour at Herodium accompanied by members of the Israel Museum's restoration team, Netzer fell from  the theatre site and died from his injuries three days later. The Israel Museum team, led by co-curators David Mevorah and Silvia Rozenberg, and designed by Iddo Burn, spent the last three years planning the exhibit, which contains over 30 tons of material from Herodium and 250 artifacts from the site and other related sites throughout the region, as well as related artifacts on loan from other museums worldwide.


The exhibit plays tribute to Herod the man and his achievement as a regional imperial ruler with an obligation to be loyal to his imperial mandate het with an understanding that he was presiding over a magnificent golden age of Jewish life. According to museum director James Snyder, the exhibit "explodes this moment" of  Jerusalem's golden age by showcasing the grandeur of buildings constructed by Herod during this period. The exhibit "brings into context remote imperial rule during a pivotal time", says Snyder. Which is, he explains, why this exhibit is of great interest, not only to Jews but to Christians as well. While Herod the Great may have died four years prior to the birth of Jesus, he ruled during a pivotal period in history, and his death and the subsequent rise of his son and the turmoil which began during his reign, paved the way to early Christianity.


Herod the Great

Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah

Miniature Model of Herodium and the Tomb below; photo courtesy Elisa Moed, Travelujah.com

Herod the Great (73/74 BC – 4 BC) in 39/40 BC was appointed the client king Roman province of Judaea, consisting of geographical regions of Judea, Samaria and Idumea.


Herod was the second son of Antipater the Idumean, a high-ranked official of Hyrcanus II, and his mother was Cypros who was a Nabatean.


After the conquest of Idumea by John Hyrcanus, all its residents were obliged to convert into Judaism or leave the area. Thus Herod as well followed the Jewish faith, however due to his Idumean blood, religious Jews of Judea did not considered him Jewish.


When Herod was 25, his father appointed him a governor of Galilee, but it was his brother Phasel who governed in Jerusalem. In the middle of the 1st century BC, Hyrcanus’ nephew Antigonus took his uncle’s throne by force. At that time, Herod escaped to Rome to ask for help in bringing him back into power.


Herod with the support of the Romans managed to win the kingdom from Antigonus – the Hasmonean dynasty came to the end giving the way to the Herodian one.


In the Bible, Herod is mentioned as the ruler at the time of Jesus’ birth. “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod” (Matt 2:1) The ruler was so obsessed with the wish of power and domination that when he heard from the Wise Men from the East that they are looking for the newborn King of the Jews, he decided to kill all the babies of Bethlehem and its surroundings.


Herod the Architect


In the early years of his reign, still before he became a mad man, Herod conducted multiple construction projects, which impressing results can be seen until today.


One of his great architectural achievements was expansion of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, which was however tremendously destroyed, as predicted by Jesus, by the Romans in 70 AD.  “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2)

Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah     Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah

Ruins of Herodium & Reconstruction of Herod's Tomb memorial 

Other projects of the king include the advancement of water supplies for Jerusalem, imposing fortresses such as Masada or Herodium, founding new cities like Caesarea Martima or expanding the existing ones, e.g. Sebastiya. Herod built also the enclosure over Cave of the Patriarchs (Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi) in Hebron etc.




Modern scholars commonly agree that Herod had a mental disease which resulted in paranoia and constant depression. As well, after basing their theories on the writings of the ancient historian Josephus, they suppose that in the last days of his life the king suffered from serious gangrene, which he tried to cure in the waters of the Dead Sea.


Herod died in his winter palace in Jericho. While on his deathbed, he became afraid that no one would mourn after his death, so he ordered to execute a large group of important personas, so the feeling of grief and loss would hit the country. However, finally this wish was not carried out.


After his death, Herod’s kingdom was divided between tree of his sons. Cesar Augustus apointed Herod Archelaus to rule over Judea, Samaria and Idumea, Herod Philip I to rule the northern part of the kingdom and Herod Antipas to take care of Galilee and Perea districts.




The location of Herod’s tomb is also described in the writings of Josephus Flavius as being at Herodium. Those documents gave a hint to the archaeologist Ehud Netzer, who focused his search in the area atop the tunnels and water pools.

Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah     Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah 

Herod's Sarcophagus & Restored urn in a block from the conical roof on Herod's tomb; photo courtesy Elisa Moed, Travelujah.com

Finally, after decades of search, on 7th of May 2007 the archaeology team of Prof. Netzer  announced the discovery of the sarcophagus with no body inside. Scholars assume that it was destroyed during the first Jewish revolt against Rome (66 – 72 AD) in an act of hatred or revenge towards the tyrannical king. (Likely part of the reason why he had tomb hidden.) The reddish limestone sarcophagus was found shattered into hundreds of pieces on the floor of the tomb, unlike two other whitish limestone sarcophagi found at the site, which were found broken into many larger size pieces, indicating that they had been dropped.


Israel Museum


The mysterious tomb of King Herod and many more interesting findings can be now seen on  display within the temporary exhibition entitled “Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey Exhibition” in the Israel Museum.

Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah     Herod the Great Exhibition Travelujah

Carved Window Screen & Ossuary with an inscription "Simon builder of the Temple" in Aramaic; photo courtesy Elisa Moed, Travelujah.com

The museum contains an impressive  permanent exhibition of archaeological findings in the Near East, Jewish Life and Art, and an international Fine Arts collection.


The exhibition and its publications was made possible by a grant from the William Davidson Foundation of Detroit. other generous support was provided by Bank Hapoalim, Tel Aviv, Ingelborg and Ira Leon Rennert, New York, the Leon Levy Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, Sara and Avie Arenson and Dr. David and Jemima Jeselsohn.


If you go:

The temporary exhibition on Herod the Great will remain at the museum through October 5, 2013. The Israel Museum is located in Jerusalem on Ruppin Bldv. and is open:

Mon, Wed, Thur, Sat, Sun and on holidays: 10 am – 5 pm;
Tue: 4 pm – 9 pm; 
Fri and on holiday eves: 10 am – 2 pm.

For more information visit their website.



By Beata Andonia and Elisa Moed for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

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