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Jerusalem of Gold: the Unofficial Anthem of Israel
Jerusalem of Gold is the unofficial anthem of Israel and probably the most famous Jerusalem song.
"A rare and important find was exposed in an enforcement operation initiated by the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery: a document written on papyrus and dating to the time of the First Temple (seventh century BCE) in which the name of the city of Jerusalem is clearly indicated. This is the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing.
"This is a rare and original shipping document from the time of the First Temple, indicating the payment of taxes or transfer of goods to storehouses in Jerusalem, the capital city of the kingdom at this time. The document specifies the status of the sender of the shipment (the king’s maidservant), the name of the settlement from which the shipment was dispatched (Na?arat), the contents of the vessels (wine), their number or amount (jars) and their destination (Jerusalem). Na?artah, which is mentioned in the text, is the same Na?arat that is referred to in the description of the border between Ephraim and Benjamin in Joshua 16:7: 'And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Na?arat, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.'
"According to Dr. Eitan Klein ... “The document represents extremely rare evidence of the existence of an organized administration in the Kingdom of Judah. It underscores the centrality of Jerusalem as the economic capital of the kingdom in the second half of the seventh century BCE. According to the Bible, the kings Menashe, Amon, or Josiah ruled in Jerusalem at this time; however, it is not possible to know for certain which of the kings of Jerusalem was the recipient of the shipment of wine."
"Biblical scholar Prof. (Emeritus) Shmuel Ahituv attests ... “Also outstanding in the document is the unusual status of a woman in the administration of the Kingdom of Judah in the seventh century BCE."
"According to the Minister of Culture and Sport, MK Miri Regev, "The discovery of the papyrus on which the name of our capital Jerusalem is written is further tangible evidence that Jerusalem was and will remain the eternal capital of the Jewish people. It is our duty to take care of the plundering of antiquities that occurs in the Judean Desert, and no less important than this is exposing the deceit of false propaganda as is once again happening today in UNESCO. The Temple Mount, the very heart of Jerusalem and Israel, will remain the holiest place for the Jewish people, even if UNESCO ratifies the false and unfortunate decision another ten times.”
Read more about >a href="http://www.jerusalem-insiders-guide.com/ancient-jerusalem.html">ancient Jerusalem or the Temple of Jerusalem.
Happy 68th Birthday, Israel!
Happy Yom Haatzmaut!
Memorial Day - Yom Hazikaron 2016
On this day, we pause to remember the Israeli soldiers who have fallen to protect our country, and to thank the IDF soldiers who each and every day put their lives on the line to protect ours.
Holocaust Rememberance Day in Jerusalem
May 5, 2016, is Holocaust Remembrance Day - Yom Hashoah - in Israel. It begins at nightfall on May 4.
The following is a virtual tour of Yad Vashem, Jerusalem's Holocaust memorial and museum.
This hamantaschen recipe makes a delicious hamentash - and enough of them to share hamentaschen with your friends.
The 9th of Av falls on Saturday, July 24, this year, which is a Sabbath day. As there is no mourning allowed on Sabbath, the fast day and mourning are pushed off until Sunday.
It is not an official holiday, so transportation will run as usual and some stores may be open. Many people, however, will be fasting from Saturday night until nightfall Sunday and thousands of people will flock to pray the Western Wall, the only remnant of the Temple.
As we contemplate Jerusalem's downfall, her brutal destruction and miraculous rebirth, may we all have a meaningful Tisha B'Av.
Happy Yom Ha'atzma'ut, Israel!
Memorial Day - Yom Hazikaron 2015
On this day, we pause to remember the 23,320 Israeli soldiers who have fallen to protect our country, and to thank the IDF soldiers who each and every day put their lives on the line to protect ours.
Gazelle Valley Opens in Jerusalem
Gazelle Valley is finally open to the public. So if you want to escape Passover cleaning for a stroll in nature - and a chance to spot a gazelle - come on over.
The park's site was the subject of a long, desperate struggle between Jerusalem residents, who wanted to save this endangered open space (and its native, wild gazelles) and developers. The residents won and the city renovated the area into a public part, for the enjoyment of residents and the protection of the gazelles.
The park is free. Go early in the morning and bring binoculars if you want to spot some wildlife.
Jerusalem Events: The Best Things to Do in April
Jerusalem events in April are usually highlighted by religious holidays that usually occur in this month, and the fact it's spring - expect pomp, ceremony, and lots of outdoor fun.
During Hannukah, you'll see people in Jerusalem lighting chanukiyot - menorahs - almost everywhere. If you are out and about in the early evening, there are also public candle lighting ceremonies at Mamilla Mall and at the Western Wall, at about 16:30.)
Here's a preview of what you'll see, courtesy of Israel21c, our favorite Israeli technology blog. Happy Hanukah, everyone!
Tomorrow night, something incredible will be happening. More people than ever before will be keeping Shabbos, together.
What is the Shabbos Project?
In 2013, over 70,000 people in South Africa committed to keeping one Shabbos. The incredible project took on a life of its own.
This year, the Shabbos Project is going global. This coming Shabbos, October 24/25, communities around the world will be disengaging from the everyday world to focus on their families, their children, their spouses, their friends, on their traditions, their community, their spirituality - together.
The project has gone viral.
Tonight, in Jerusalem, women gathered at the First Train Station with celebrity chef Jaime Geller for the Great Challah Bake. Similar community challah bakes will be taking place all over the world today.
And Friday night, more Jews than ever before will be lighting Shabbos candles - together - to usher in this incredible day.
Last Chance on eTeacher's Hebrew Course Holiday Discount
Join eTeacher's on-line classes now, and start a New Year learning a new language at a great discount. Learn modern Hebrew with the best teachers in Israel, from the comfort of your home or office, and adjusted to your schedule.
(Read what we think of these amazing classes here.)
We wish you a Happy New Year, a new start, happiness and fulfillment.
A Good Year - Happy Rosh Hashanah
Who knew last Rosh Hashanah that by the time the year was up, we would have gone through the lows and the highs that we have witnessed over the past twelve months?
We've faced bitter tragedies and at the same time been stunned at the glowing displays of unity and the outpouring of love and support from around the world that illuminated the darkness.
Rather than focus on the difficult, in my last post before the holidays I want to focus on the positive.
Here are some morsels of hopeful facts about Jerusalem that did not make the news in the last year:
Israel's population reached 8,904,373 in 2014. Jerusalem remains the country's largest city by population, with approximately 805,000 residents, almost twice as many as the next largest city, Tel Aviv. It is also the largest city by area.
Israel has one of the highest birth rates in the Western world - and Jerusalem the highest birthrate in the country - 4.24 children per woman compared to 2.98 in the rest of the country.
Jerusalemites live up to being People of the Book. We are not only proud of the Shrine of the Book - the iconic building at the Israel Museum that houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. We live our love of books daily. Israel is the world's second highest publisher of new books per capita and the country where people buy the most books per capita. And in Israel, Jerusalemites buy more books by far than anyone else.
I don't know if all those new babies or all the book reading are what's doing it, but 63% of Jerusalemites consider themselves optimists and a whopping 92% of us are happy with our lives.
That's pretty awesome. But then again, we get to live in one of the greatest cities on earth - and it seems we know it!
As we prepare for what we hope will be a year of peace, I want to thank all you dear readers for standing by us and wish you a peaceful shana tova. Not just a happy year, a good year.
Photography Tours in Israel: Jerusalem
Photography tours in Israel let you focus on the country through a different lens. You’ll go home with photos of Jerusalem you’ll treasure forever.
We've had our share of celebrities coming to Israel to show their support this summer but the most exciting one yet, at least for Israel's hi-tech sector, is undoubtedly Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple. He was here this week and spoke with Hillel Fuld about his first trip to Israel.
Take note of what the Woz says: he visited Jerusalem, and especially the City of David. (Ergo - so should you!)
Speaking at the annual EduAction conference on education, Wozniak called his visit to Israel "one of my best experiences ever." He visited several Israeli start-ups and spoke on the importance of integrating technology into creative education. Not only did he come to the conference, unlike several other celebrities who bailed out, Mr. Wozniak even made a visit to the front-line communities on the Gaza border to see for himself what is really going. (Best quote of the day: "Hamas rockets are bad technology.") Well done, sir!
People flocked to Chutzot Hayotzer, Jerusalem's International Arts and Crafts Fair, this week. If it wasn't as crowded as usual, at least it was easier to get to all the booths we wanted to visit.
The international pavilion is always fun, highlighting the many different ways human beings around the planet express their creativity.
Trying hats in Madagascar.
Our favorite part, though, is the section where local craftspeople and artists exhibit their wares.
This maker of original signs has the right idea about the correlation between cupcakes and happiness, though. (I say it applies to muffins, too.)
Love owls. This one is hand painted on the back of a chair, hence the hole beneath its beak.
The highlight of the show for my however was my first real-life encounter with a 3-D printer.
This one belongs to Emzip, which creates custom-designed Judaica from 3-D printed ceramic that is then plated with silver. They can also 3-D scan your face and those of your family, turn you all into chess pieces. A friendly family game, anyone?
As of this afternoon, the fair's organizers say the fair is still on tonight and operating as per instructions of the Home Front Command.
It runs until August 23, from 18:00-23:00, Saturday 21:00-midnight.
Get your tickets ahead of time by calling *6226 or at the entrance.
Our best falafel recipe: how to make a fantastic falafel sandwich from scratch.
Today marks the 1944th year since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
This morning, a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza was aimed at Jerusalem. They missed, but that's not the point.
1944 years later, our enemies still are trying to destroy Jerusalem. In the year 70 CE, they might have thought that they had suceeded: The Romans had killed most of the population, expelled the rest or sold them as slaves, burnt the city to the ground and on its ruins built a new city, no Jews allowed.
Our enemeies may still surround us, but Jerusalem is still here.
Eternity means Jerusalem, says the Talmud in Tractate Brachot. We intend to stay, long after those who wish us ill have, they too, disappeared in the far distant annals of history.
"Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will be meritorious and will see its rejoicing," promises the Talmud.
May we soon all rejoice in Yerushalayim Habenuya -- the rebuilt Jerusalem.
10 Things You Can Do to Help Israel
Not all of us can be on the front lines, defending our country, but we can all help in our own way. Here's a list of 10 things you can do to help Israel right now, in her hour of need:
Adopt a soldier to protect through your acts of kindness and prayer. The Shmira Project matches participants up with an IDF soldier's name. Participants dedicate their acts of kindness and prayers to the safety of "their" soldier. It's free to sign and the sense of personal connection generated is priceless.
Pray for our troops. The traditional prayer for the defenders of our country can be found here.
Send donations or care packages to our soldiers. There's been such a deluge of homemade meals and clean underwear being delivered to the front lines by civilians that the IDF has asked that future donations be made only through the official Libi Fund.
Support our lone soldiers. Young men and women who leave their families behind to come volunteer for the IDF, ready to risk their lives to defend the Holy Land, especially need our support. They have no family here and need a home away from home. The Lone Soldier Center provides that and a little extra nurturing for them.
Help save lives by supporting United Hatzalah, Israel's volunteer emergency and paramedic services.
Jerusalem Mayor and Mike Bloomberg: Safe in Jerusalem
Good news: The US FAA is once more allowing flights to Israel, after lifting its temporary ban a few hours ago.
But in case anyone still has some concerns about coming, here's what Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg had to say to CNN about feeling safe in Jerusalem:
Look Who's Coming to Dinner: Bloomberg Disses FAA Ban on Flights to Israel
Michael Bloomberg, former NYC mayor, is flying to Israel today in protest over the FAA notice prohibiting US airlines from flying to Israel.
In his statement, Bloomberg said he was "flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel." He added, "Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel."
His comments were confirmed by the Israel Ministry of Transportation, whose statement assures us that "Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize."
Despite the US flight ban, which the FAA said it would review in 24-hours, El Al says there is "no way" it will cease its flights. Instead, it is picking up as many passengers stranded by the FAA as it can. It is, of course, giving preference to its own customers first. (One more reason to fly Israel's national carrier.)
So we really appreciate Mr. Bloomberg's visit of solidarity. We welcome him with open arms, as you can see from this invitation extended by Miriam Lottner, COO of Gangly Sister. Help spread the word and invite Mr. Bloomberg to dinner!
And then call El Al and book your flight! You know you'll be welcome.
Jerusalem Respite - Indoors (or Out)
War or no war, it's still summer and there are kids to be entertained - not to mention adults. We all need a little distraction and joy these days.
Jerusalem has been gifted with quiet days, compared with the rest of Israel, so we've become a refuge of sorts.
Keren Hayesod recently brought a whole group of kids from the South to Jerusalem for a few hours of fun, without any sirens. As you see, they didn't shy away from a good day trip, taking the children to Kef Suba, just outside Jerusalem, then the Jerusalem Zoo.
Even so, many people are opting for indoor activities, rather than open-air ones.So what do you do with kids these days? A few suggestions:
The Bloomfield Science Museum has a slew of exciting, interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. Children get to play with their own shadows, learn the physics that make an amusement park so much fun, check out biomechanics (like, can they pump blood all the way to a giraffe's head?), play with water, and test the limits of computers. It's fun, it's different, it's educational -- best of all, it's inside and air conditioned.
The Israel Museum also offers things to interest the whole family. Its main summer exhibit is Big Bambu. Over 10,000 bamboo poles lashed together in one huge creation for people to climb all over. It's outside in the Art Garden, but there are other interesting exhibits as well: Jewish costumes through the ages is one, and then there are the Dead Sea Scrolls and the model of Jerusalem in the days of the Second Temple.
A day at the pool says summer like nothing else. Don't give up on this for want an indoor pool. The Home Front Command is allowing public outdoor pools in Jerusalem to operate as usual -- and as I type this my daughter just returned from a day at the Zippori Pool in the Jerusalem Forest. But if you'd rather be safe indoors, here are four Jerusalem indoor pools: Beit HaIvrim in Kiryat Moshe; Beit Hachayal near Sacher Park (02-6297922); the pool at the YMCA fitness center and -- a bit out of the way, but with an indoor pool and kiddie pool with a lovely view and a little garden with lounge chairs just outside of it -- the pool at the community center in one of Jerusalem's northernmost neighborhood, Neve Yaakov.
May our prayers be answered and they all come home safely soon.
The Week in Jerusalem
We've been blessed with a quiet week in Jerusalem and balmy weather, too.
While other parts of the country have been heating up, Jerusalem has been hosting families from the South who need a bit of quiet. (If you're in Jerusalem and would like to host a family seeking respite from the war down South, contact the Jerusalem Municipality here. The form is in Hebrew.)
That means that even though some events have been postponed, either due to the security situation or because too many participants have been called up for duty (i.e. the Basketball League games), tourism in Jerusalem is up.
In a first for us, we checked out the Segway tours and had a great time learning how to drive those things and then following our tour guide through downtown Jerusalem, all the way to the Christian Quarter of the Old City, through Teddy Park and up overlooking Gei Hinnom.
It was a wonderful experience and the guides at Smart Tours, the operating company located at the First Train Station, were super. It was a really pleasant way to cover a lot of ground and see the sights. Highly recommended!
On our tour were also nine Yiddish-speaking yeshiva boys from New York. They had no qualms about touring Jerusalem at this time either.
The beach at the First Station was filled with moms and toddlers playing in the sand, while the arts and crafts area next to it was in full swing, with kids painting, working in clay, blowing giant bubbles and jumping in the ball pits.
If you're looking for an interactive, fun and educational activity, now's the perfect time to book a Scavenger Hunt. Book your own, or join an open hunt. Click here for details.
And don't forget Jerusalem's many museums. Most of them are running various exhibits and activities for kids during the summer vacation, notably the Israel Museum, the Bloomfield Science Museum and the Bible Lands Museum.
Have a wonderful, quiet and safe, week in Jerusalem - and may we have soon have peace.
P.S. If you'd like to do something for an Israeli soldier, consider joining the Shmira Project, which pairs up Israeli combat soldiers with people willing to do acts of kindness or pray on their behalf to help ensure their safety.
They are risking their lives to protect ours and the freedom of Eretz Yisrael, the Holy Land. This is guard duty for the rest of us.
**Update 23/7/14: EU officials deems it safe to continue flights to Israel, despite the temporary US FAA flight ban now in its second day.
In defiance of the FAA ban, former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg landed in Israel today in support of our country. Thanks, Mike! **
While we in Jerusalem are continuing our daily lives as normally as possible, we understand that many of you have some concerns about the safety of traveling to Israel at this time.
In response to many inquiries like yours, the Israel Ministry of Tourism issued a letter making the following points:
1) All tourism facilities are open and operating as normal.
2) At the moment, there are over 100,000 tourists on holiday in the country, continuing with their planned itineraries.
3) And government ministries are experienced in and prepared to deal with whatever scenarios may arise.
Our best recommendation is that if you are planning a trip to Israel in the next few days, we recommend you consult any travel advisories issued by your home government and make the decision which you are most comfortable with in your own heart.
We hope that calm and peace will be restored soon.
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: those who love you will be serene. May there be peace within your walls, serenity within your palaces. For the sake of my brethren and my comrades, I shall speak of peace in your midst. For the sake of the house of Hashem, our G-d, I will request good for you." -- Psalm 122:6-9
Jerusalem Events: The Best Things to do in July
The top Jerusalem events in July: The Israeli summer hits its peak in July and here are the best things to do to take advantage of it!