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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.
For today's tour around the special edition Jerusalem Monopoly board, released in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, we are visiting lions, of stone and of flesh, and beginning at one the city's oldest gates, to end at its newest.
One of the seven gates in the ramparts that surround the Old City of Jerusalem, Lion's Gate features prominently in the story of Jerusalem's liberation 50 years ago. It was through this gate that Israeli forces first entered the Old City, which had been closed to Jews and Christians for 19 years. From there, the Jerusalem Brigade made it to the Western Wall.
The gate, built in the 1500s by Suleiman the Magnificient is named after the reliefs of lions carved on either side of the entry way. Apparently, the animals depicted are really leopards, but everyone thinks they're lions.
And we conclude the day at the entrance to Jerusalem:
The Calatrava Bridge of Strings
Jerusalem’s newest and tallest landmark is its Calatrava bridge – officially Gesher Hameitarim, the Bridge of Strings. The bold structure was designed by award-winning architect Santiago Calatrava, known for his many visually striking bridges and buildings around the world. Meant to recall King David's harp, the bridge is certainly a striking landmark at the main city entrance...
Yehudit Garinkol, cc-by-2.5
Trump in Jerusalem
Guess who's in town today?
US President Trump made history today as the first US president to visit the Western Wall in Israel during his time in office.
US Embassy, Israeli
Our Jerusalem Monopoly tour is late. Since all major roads in, out and around Jerusalem have been closed for Trump's visit since yesterday, it's only to be expected our travels got a bit waylaid, too. ;)
Jerusalem 50th Anniversary Monopoly: Day 5
For today's tour around the special edition Jerusalem Monopoly board, released in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, we are hitting three sites that span several thousand years.
The Old City Ramparts
The Old City of Jerusalem is encircled by protective ramparts. The present walls of Jerusalem were built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century when he restored the ancient walls of the city, and they have served as military fortifications ever since.
Visitors can walk the top of the ramparts for much of the distance around the Old City, getting an intimate peek at private courtyards within and a stunning view of the new city beyond. Find out more...
Next, we take a stroll through Meah Shearim, one of Jerusalem's religious neighborhoods. It is one of the earliest neighborhoods built outside the Old City walls. In the 19th century, plans were made to build an enclave of 100 apartments surrounded by a protective wall. Thus the name of the neighborhood: Meah Shearim means "a hundred gates." But 140 people signed up and not too long after its inauguration, there were 300 homes squeezed together in an area meant for 100. You'll get a sense of that walking through the alleys of this neighborhood where it often seems to onlookers that the inhabitants are also from a different century.
This is a neighborhood of large families, charitable organizations, soup kitchens, yeshivas (places of Talmudic learning) and Chassidic courts — a community that lives on a different plane entirely.
From here, we head up to Mount Scopus, home of Hebrew University, Jerusalem’s most famous institution of secular higher learning.
In the University's botanical gardens, you can also visit the grave of Nicanor of Alexandria. In the days of King Herod, Nicanor brought two huge bronze gates from Alexandria to donate to the Second Temple.
Enjoy stunning views that overlook both the city of Jerusalem, on the other side, the stark Judean desert, and the Dead Sea. Take a moment from the heights of Mt. Scopus to overlook the Temple Mount and bask in the beauty that is Jerusalem!
Two more days to Jerusalem Day, the 50th anniversary of our reunification!
Today, our three next locations around the Monopoly board make for a great day of sightseeing. They are:
The Israel Museum
More like seven museums in one, the Israel Museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a fabulous model of Jerusalem as it was at the time of the second Temple. It also boasts an enchanting sculpture garden and art collections that can keep you coming back again and again. The roof of the Shrine of the Book alone is worth a visit! Find out more here.
After a tour of the museum, a stroll through Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem's open-air market, is just the ticket. Enjoy one of the many restaurants or browse among the stalls of fresh produce and Middle Eastern delicacies.
If your group wants to turn the experience into a crazy fun scavenger hunt, sign up for Israel Scaventure's Shuk Dash. In this competitive race against time and each other, group participants are challenged to complete a list of missions in Mahane Yehuda while learning more about this colorful neighborhood. Find someone from Libya? Take a selfie with a fish? Come on, you can do it! Find out more and book now.
Following the hustle and bustle of the shuk, it is time for a peaceful chance to breathe in the charms of Jerusalem.
The Montefiore Windmill is a cherished Jerusalem landmark, replete with history, charm, legends of curses and modern-day rebirths. It's a gorgeous place with gorgeous views overlooking the old city.
P.S. This post is being issued after the Sabbath ends in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Monopoly: Day 3
We're counting down to the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem with our magical Jerusalem Monopoly tour.
We've reached the second side of the board and today we start with:
The best site on the board to commemorate Jerusalem Day with.Ammunition Hill, scene of a vital Six-Day War battle, is one of Jerusalem's most moving sites.
Avichai Teichter, cc-by-2.5
This place, now a museum, has become a modern Israeli symbol of heroism under fire. It is where the main induction ceremony for Israeli paratroopers takes place. Read more about it here.
Our second stop of the day is not too far, especially if we hop on the Light Rail:
Jerusalem's heart and the holiest site in Judaism, this is the last remnant of the Temple of Jerusalem. The Western Wall, a house of prayer for all nations, is a must on any visit to the Holy City.
And after all that, it's time for some fine dining and relaxation at:
The First Station
The First Station is the place for some food, funky stores, fun activities like bike and Segway tours, and if you're lucky some live music.
Enjoy - and tune in after Shabbat for our next three locations...
Jerusalem 50 Year Jubilee Monopoly Tour
For today's tour around the special edition Jerusalem Monopoly board, released in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, we've got an interesting trio of locations from different eras.
Here we go:
The President's Residence
In Hebrew, it's known as Beit Hanassi. Located at 3 HaNasi Street, Beit Hanassi is smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. That was totally intentional.
Our first president, Chaim Weizman, lived in his own home in Jerusalem. Our second, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, did too — a small apartment in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. He used a wooden shack as an official reception room.
Following in this simple, humble tradition, when the government decided it was time to build an official residence, Israel's third president, Zalman Shazar, insisted the edifice be built in a residential neighborhood of Jerusalem — not apart from the people. It is built of Eilat granite and Jerusalem stone. The residence houses a vast collection of artwork by Israeli artists, including a sculpture garden.
The residence is open to the public several times a year.
Now for some shopping. Mamilla Mall is next. History, artwork, restaurants and shopping — it's the perfect package.
After stocking up on Ahava Dead Sea products and enjoying a refreshing limonana - crushed mint, lemonade and ice - it's time to head into the Old City.
The Tower of David
The Tower of David is a fascinating window into the many, many layers of history in this city.
The tower itself is part of a what is now a museum complex where you can cover 3,000 years of history in a space smaller than a city block. This is also the setting for Jerusalem's famed light and sound show. (The special sound and light show for the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification, however, will take place outside the Old City walls, on May 23, 2017, at 20.55, and will be best view from the far end of Mamilla Mall or Teddy Park).
Tune in tomorrow for our next three locations!
Jerusalem Jubilee: 50 Years Since the Reunification of Jerusalem
Next week marks the 50th anniversary since the reunification of Jerusalem. Fifty years since people of all faiths — Jews, Christians and Muslims — are once again allowed to worship freely in the Holy City.
This is going to be an especially significant Jerusalem Day and the city is celebrating with an array of events of all types, from a once-in-a-life-time sound and light show on the ramparts of the Old City, to all night street parties. They're all listed on the Municipality's website.
Isn't this the coolest thing? Buy the Western Wall instead of Boardwalk. Stop by Machane Yehuda or build a hotel by Teddy Stadium. While we've got some quibbles over valuation (who really believes the Calatrava Bridge is worth so much more than the Western Wall? I mean, the bridge is nice, but it's the Western Wall, folks — built by Solomon, King David, King Herod; the holiest site to Jews all over the world, a house of prayer for all nations!) it is really fun to play Monopoly through the Holy City.
So in honor of Jerusalem Day, we decided to have a go around the board:
We've got 21 locations from the board, 7 days to visit them...
Starting at Go, our first stop is Mt. Herzl. The mountain is the site of Theodore Herzl's grave, a museum dedicated to his life's work and a lovely garden.
Let's hop on the Light Rail at Yad Vashem, just up the street, because next up, all the way on the other side town, is another grave on another mountain, but this time, it is the Tomb of King David on Mt. Zion.
Hasbro decided to give us lots of exercise, because the third stop is Teddy Stadium, back all the way on the other side of town. This modern stadium opened in 1992. It is named after Teddy Kollek, a long-time mayor of Jerusalem. The stadium is home to several football (soccer) teams, including Beitar Yerushalayim.
That's it for today. Tune in tomorrow for our next three locations!
Happy Independence Day, Israel!
Today, Israel celebrates its 69th birthday!
Jerusalem song – the city praised in music. Find the best Jerusalem songs and lyrics here.
"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="https://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.