Art & Culture
- Written by Silvia
Over the years, archaeological excavations in the Old City and its surroundings have become an inspiring national endeavor and have generated enormous public interest in Israel and around the world. The Jewish Quarter Reconstruction and Development Company, headed by CEO Herzl Ben-Ari, is working to renovate the Jewish Quarter and make these incredible findings accessible to visitors from around the world.
- A Rooftop Breakfast at the new Ibis Styles Hotel
- Plugat HaKotel Museum (i.e. The Museum of the Western Wall Platoon)
- The Burnt House
- Tiferet Israel Synagogue: Under Restoration
- The Western Wall Elevator: Under Construction
- "Chavayat Hatanach" or The Bible Experience
- Lunch stopover at Hummus Haviv
- The Menachem Begin Heritage Center
A Rooftop Breakfast at the new Ibis Styles Hotel
The Ibis Styles Hotel is the second hotel after Ibis Red to have opened in Jerusalem belonging to the international IBIS hotel brand that is part of the Accor International Hotel chain. The new hotel has a spectacular location. It is located in the middle of the pedestrian mall on 4 Ben Yehuda St. near Zion Square, a few minutes' walks from the Old City, the light rail, Mahane Yehuda market and a variety of tourist attractions in Jerusalem.
The hotel design, led by Aryeh Dvilansky Architects was inspired by the nearby Mahaneh Yehuda Market and is full of cheerful, colorful illustrations. The new Ibis Styles is set in a historic building and has 104 different rooms including standard rooms and family rooms, mini-suites, and rooms with balconies. Children receive a gift kit at check-in and have a children's menu.
On the 8th floor of the hotel, guests can enjoy a restaurant and bar with scenic views, where a large breakfast buffet is served daily from 6:30 to 10:00. You can enjoy the breakfast buffet separately from the accommodation. Every day between 18:30 and 19:30 the hotel has a happy hour in the restaurant. The restaurant itself will be open for three meals after Passover. All meals at the hotel are kosher.
Plugat HaKotel Museum (i.e. The Museum of the Western Wall Platoon)
Around 80 years after it was closed by the British, the Museum of the Western Wall Platoon was opened last year to the public. The museum tells the heroic story of the young members of the Betar revisionist movement who decided to stay in the Old City.
The museum is located inside the original house that was used by the platoon for residential purposes. It tells the story of the young men and women who went to work in the mornings and trained at night in an effort to guard the safety of the Jews who used to pray at the Western Wall. The presentation is about 35 minutes long and tells about their life under the British rule and about one of the most famous heroic activities that they undertook on the Yom Kippur of 1928.
Registration is through the Begin Heritage Center's office.
The Burnt House
The burnt house is the familiar name of an archeological site that is one of the homes of a wealthy Jerusalemite dating back to the period of the Second Temple around the destruction in 70 CE.
The visit includes a view of the house and some of the archeological findings as well as a spectacular film that carries you back in time to the events preceding the fall of the Second Temple. The burnt house has already completed its renovation and the film has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, English, French, and Russian.
Tiferet Israel Synagogue - Under Restoration
One of the landmarks of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem until its destruction in 1948 was the Tiferet Israel Synagogue. Archaeological excavations began about four years and only recently the restoration work has begun. In the first stage, the construction work is focused on three underground floors that go down ten meters below street level. Once these three levels are complete, the Tiferet Israel synagogue will be restored and is expected to reach a height of 25 meters high.
The Western Wall Elevator - Under Construction
Between the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem are several staircases that limit access to people with disabilities. The Western Wall Elevator project is designed to create a convenient and accessible passage for the entire population. The project covers a total area of about 2,000 square meters and the cost is estimated at 57 million NIS.
"Chavayat Hatanach" or The Bible Experience
The Tourism Department of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter, in cooperation with the Bible Experience, is launching an interactive game in the Jewish Quarter. The game presents a series of challenges and riddles that lead you through hidden underground passages and excavations in the Jewish Quarter. It takes about an hour and a half and is conducted with tablets and laminated reality technology that generate a fun modern tourist experience.
Lunch at Hummus Haviv
Hummus Haviv is named after the owner Tzach Haviv, an entrepreneur who has managed two other businesses in the Jewish Quarter and the center of Jerusalem. It is the first hummus restaurant that opened in the Jewish quarter in Sept.2018. The kosher certificate is provided by Rabbi Rubin and with which the restaurant is able to serve tourists as well as some of the ultra-Orthodox residents alike.
The restaurant serves vegetarian/vegan food based on fresh raw materials daily with no preservatives. The hummus is served hot and ground thinly, based on a personal recipe together with gluten free green falafel, homemade fries and Chef Moshe's "Father's Shakshuka" that is unique in its intense flavor. The pita bread is freshly baked at the restaurant. The menu also includes soups, a rice and lentil dish called "Majadra", cooked vegetables and salads to complete the meal. The atmosphere is updated even though the building is preserved as an authentic building of the Quarter and seats up to 40 people.
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center (Tripadvisor)
The Menachem Begin Museum is a building dedicated to the 6th Prime Minister of Israel. The multi-sensory audiovisual experience includes rare films, interactive touch screens and a whole set of reconstructions and original items to take you through a journey into the life of one of the most prominent leaders in the country's history.
The museum is divided into four major periods of his life. The first period starts with Begin's childhood in Europe including his arrest for Zionist activity.
The second period is dedicated to his command of the Etzel and describes some of the main activities of the Irgun.
The third is dedicated to his political years in the opposition and the fourth focuses on his achievements as Prime Minister - the peace treaty with Egypt, the Nobel Peace Prize, the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, and more ...
The museum is an experience for the whole family and is done only by guided tour. The tour takes about 75 minutes with a waiting period of half an hour in-between tours. The museum conducts the guided tours in Hebrew and English, but you can also receive headphones for Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic.
In addition to the tour about Menachem Begin within the building, visitors are invited to enter the archeological park that lies within the museum's compound. The park is part of a necropolis of burial complexes that dates back to the First Temple period, the days of the Kings of Judah. Other findings include remains of a Byzantine church, rock-hewn shaft tombs from the Roman period and burial ground of the 10th Roman legion. The most fascinating find is a burial cave from the First Temple period in which an exciting discovery was made - a silver cylinder bearing the familiar verse from the Birkat Kohanim: "May the Lord bless you and preserve you." This finding is the oldest biblical text to date.
The park has recently been renovated with appropriate signs and walking paths that connect it to a sequence of parks between Bloomfield Garden and the Biblical Hill. Admission to the park is free between 10:00-18:00, Sunday - Thursday, even after museum hours, but requires advance notice.
For contact details to each of the sites, you are welcome to enter the full article on:
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Aviv Hanuka
The Embassy of Kazakhstan in Israel celebrated Naw-Ruz 2019 with its traditional annual celebration held in Rishon Lezion.
Diplomats, Kazakhstani citizens living in Israel, and Israelis with ties to Kazakhstan met at the Rishon Lezion park outside of Tel Aviv to mark the occasion.
Nawruz is Persian New Year, celebrated by many nations around the world. In Kazakhstan, it is a national holiday, and the celebration in Israel allows those living in Israel to get a glimpse of this rich cultural experience.
As they arrived, guests received maps, flags, and other gifts from Kazakhstan.
After the guests were welcomed to the event, Ambassador Doulat Kuanyshev addressed the audience and spoke about the holiday of Nawruz brings together different members of society. Individuals were then called up to the stage to receive certificates for their contributions to society and to the advancement of Kazakhstani culture.
Following the ceremony, a dancer came up to perform traditional dances. A young singer then sang more contemporary music.
Throughout the afternoon the guests enjoyed food, music, and the rich display of traditional handicrafts and tapestries.
Photos Aviv Hanuka
- Written by GPO
Purim, one of Judaism's more colorful and popular holidays, is celebrated this year between sunset on Wednesday, 20 March, and sunset on Thursday, 21 March, in most of Israel – excluding Jerusalem where Purim will be celebrated from sunset on Thursday, 21 March, until sunset on Friday, 22 March (see below). Purim is not a public holiday in Israel, but many offices, shops, and public institutions (including the GPO) will operate on a reduced basis. Schools will be closed, but public transportation will operate as usual, and newspapers will be published.
Background to Purim
Purim commemorates the events described in the Book of Esther. In Esther 3:8, the anti-Semitic Haman, Grand Vizier of the Persian Empire, tells Persian King Ahasuerus that, “There are a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among all the peoples... in your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every people, neither do they keep the king's laws. Therefore, it does the king no profit to suffer them. If it pleases the king, let it be written that they are destroyed...” Thus, Haman coined one of the most infamous anti-Semitic canards: That the Jews are a clannish and alien people who do not obey the laws of the land. At Haman's contrivance, a decree is then issued for all Jews in the Persian Empire to be massacred. But, as the Book of Esther subsequently relates, Haman’s plot was foiled and, “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor...a feast and a good day.” (8:16-17)
Throughout the centuries, Purim – which celebrates the miraculous salvation of the Jews and the thwarting of Haman’s genocidal plot – has traditionally symbolized the victory of the Jewish people over antisemitic tyranny. As such, Purim is a happy, carnival-like holiday.
The Fast of Esther
The day before Purim (Wednesday, 20 March this year) is a fast day known as the Fast of Esther, commemorating (inter alia) the fact that Queen Esther – the heroine of the Book of Esther – and the entire Persian Jewish community fasted (4:16) in advance of Queen Esther’s appeal for King Ahasuerus not to implement Haman’s genocidal plot. The fast will extend from before sunrise in the morning until sunset. Special prayers and scriptural readings are inserted into the synagogue service.
When the day before Purim falls on Shabbat, the Fast of Esther is brought forward to the preceding Thursday.
After sunset on Wednesday evening, 20 March, festive prayers will take place in synagogues, where the Book of Esther will also be read aloud. It is customary for people, especially children, to come to synagogue dressed in costume. During the reading of the Book of Esther, whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, congregants traditionally make as much noise as possible in order to drown out his name – a reflection of God’s promise (Exodus 17:14) to, “blot out,” the Amalekite nation, of which Haman was a descendant; special Purim noisemakers may be used for this purpose. The Book of Esther will be read again during morning prayers on Thursday, 1 March. A special Purim prayer is inserted into the daily prayers and the blessing after meals.
On Purim, Jews are enjoined by the Book of Esther (9:22) to send gifts of food to each other, make special contributions to the poor, and have a festive holiday meal in the afternoon. To this end, the day is also marked by collections for various charities, and by people visiting neighbors and friends to deliver baskets of food, prominent among which are small, three-cornered, fruit-filled pastries known as Oznei Haman in Hebrew (Haman’s ears) or Hamantaschen in Yiddish (Haman’s pockets).
At the festive meal, some maintain the custom of becoming so inebriated that they cannot distinguish between, “Blessed is Mordechai,” (Esther’s uncle and the hero of the Book of Esther) and, “Cursed is Haman.”
In Jerusalem, Purim is ordinarily celebrated one day later than it is in the rest of the world; accordingly, all Purim-related observances are postponed by one day. This practice originates from the fact that an extra day was prescribed for the Jews of Shushan (the modern Susa, one of the Persian Empire's four capitals) to defend themselves against their enemies. This second day is known as Shushan Purim. As mentioned in the Book of Esther itself (9:16-19), Jews living in walled cities (later defined by rabbinical authorities to mean walled cities at the time that Joshua entered the Land of Israel) celebrate Purim one day later than Jews living in unwalled cities. There are several other such cities in Israel where Shushan Purim is celebrated. In some cities whose status is in doubt, the Book of Esther will actually be read on both days.
In many places in Israel, Purim is marked by special parades; the most famous of these takes place in Tel Aviv. Many kindergartens, schools, synagogues, and towns will also host special Purim parties and carnivals.
Purim in Film
Following are clips from six films (courtesy of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive) that depict the various ways in which Purim has been celebrated:
Adloyada 1960 – Color scenes of the colorful procession in Tel Aviv 55 years ago.
Faces of Freedom (1960) – New immigrants are absorbed into Israeli society at the beginning of the 1960s. The film begins with a Purim carnival.
Springtime in Palestine (1928) - Comprehensive survey of the developing country in the 1920s. Includes a Bukharian Purim feast and scenes of the 1928 carnival in which Baruch Agadati appears with Tzipporah Tzabari, the first Purim queen of Tel Aviv (from 11:33 min).
Eretz Yisrael: Building Up the Jewish National Home (1934) – The film begins with scenes of the Adloyada in Tel Aviv. It continues with agricultural scenes in Kibbutz Ein Harod, Deganya A and the women’s agricultural school in Nahalal.
Edge of the West (1961) – A color film surveying Jewish life in Morocco in the early 1960s, including Purim celebrations (from 28:35 min.)
Hassidic Music (1994) – From the series “A People and Its Music” which depicts various Jewish music traditions. Includes scenes of Lubavitch Hassidim celebrating Purim (from 23:22 min.)
Purim Events in Jerusalem
Purim Events in Tel Aviv
March 21-23, 2019
The Festive spirit of Tel Aviv truly comes alive during Purim. This year, the Purim carnival will be celebrated all over the city with countless parties, parades and festivals for the whole family!
* Thursday, March 21st- Purim Parade (Adloyada) in Florentin - 10:00-14:00
Follow the giant puppets inspired by the work of the famous Israeli painter, sculptor, and author Nahum Gutman into an Urban Purim Parade through the streets of the vibrant Florentine neighborhood.
The Parade will kick off at Washington Boulevard corner of Salame Street at 10 am and will end with an event and live music at Reviat Florentine (Hamaon Street 5).
* Friday, March 22nd- Purim Party at Meir Park
The ultimate Tel Aviv Purim happening will be taking place in a green oasis in the middle of the City. Meir park will be filled with art exhibits, acrobats, food and drink stalls, drag shows, and more!
10:00 - activities for families and children
12:00 - Nonstop party with top Israeli DJs
* Saturday, March 23rd- The Annual Zombie Walk
A strange phenomenon takes place every year during Purim…the city is invaded by zombies. The zombies meet at the corner of King George and Ben Zion on Saturday at 21:30 and start walking down Rothschild Boulevard at 22:00.
Photos by Silvia Golan
1- The children and all the family, dress up. This is my grandson ( Silvia Golan)
2- Traditional Purim Cookies
- Written by Hebrew University Spokesperson
An international expedition has successfully mapped the Malham salt cave in the Dead Sea’s Mount Sedom which, at 10 kilometers long, now bears the title of world’s longest salt cave.
“Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire
upon Sedom and Gomorrah…but [Lot’s] Wife looked
back and she became a pillar of salt.” –Genesis 19.
Following the biblical recounting of Lot’s Wife who was turned into a pillar of salt, Israel’s Dead Sea region is now famous for a second salt phenomenon: Malham Cave, the world’s longest salt cave.
For thirteen years, this title was held by Iran's Cave of the Three Nudes (3N) on Qeshm Island. Now, an international expedition led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Cave Research Center (CRC) , Israel Cave Explorers Club, and Bulgaria’s Sofia Speleo Club, along with 80 cavers from nine countries, has successfully mapped the Malham salt cave in the Dead Sea’s Mount Sedom which, at 10 kilometers long, now bears the title of world’s longest salt cave.
Salt caves are living things, geologically speaking. They form mostly in desert regions with salt outcrops, such as Chile’s Atacama Desert, Iran’s Qeshm Island and Israel’s Dead Sea. What helps them form is water—even arid climates see the occasional rainstorm. When it does rain, water rushes down cracks in the surface, dissolving salt and creating semi-horizontal channels along the way. After all the rainwater drains out, these dried out “river beds” remain and salt caves are formed.
Fitting this description is Israel’s Mount Sedom, an 11km long mountain that sits 170 meters below sea level at the southwestern tip of the Dead Sea. Underneath a thin layer of cap rock, this mountain is made entirely of salt (just like the kind we season our food with). Two factors protect this mountain from dissolving away: the sturdy cap rock that covers its salt, and the arid climate of the Negev Desert. Mount Sedom gets roughly 50mm of rain a year, mostly in short but dramatic rain bursts. As Professor Amos Frumkin, director of the CRC at HU’s Institute of Earth Sciences , explained, “The Malham Salt Cave is a river cave. Water from a surface stream flowed underground and dissolved the salt, creating caves – a process that is still going on when there is strong rain over Mount Sedom about once a year.” In this way, the Malham Salt Cave is “alive” and continues to grow.
Malham was initially discovered by the CRC back in the 1980’s. Later, tens of CRC expeditions surveyed Mount Sedom and found more than 100 salt different caves inside, the longest of which measured 5,685 meters. Subsequent carbon-14 tests dated the cave as 7,000 years old, give or take, and successive rainstorms created new passages for the cavers to explore. When the international expeditions returned to Malham in 2018 and 2019, their surveys discovered the cave’s record-breaking, double-digit length. “Thirty years ago, when we surveyed Malham, we used tape measures and compasses. Now we have laser technology that beams measurements right to our iPhones,” Frumkin recalled.
Notably, Malham is the world’s first salt cave to reach a length in the double-digits. By comparison, Iran’s Qeshm Island salt cave, now the world’s second largest salt cave, measures only 6,580 meters. In addition to its length, the Malham Cave contains a stunning array of salt stalactites and salt crystals within its chambers. These salt icicles hang from the cave’s ceiling and grow longer and fatter as each drop of water rolls down before evaporating into the salty air.
Currently, the survey team is processing final data from the new Malham Cave surveys to create an electronic map of the cave and to publish its findings.
The international cave expeditions that worked together to map Malham Cave include Israel’s Cave Explorers Club, HU’s Cave Research Center, and Bulgaria’s Sofia Caving Club & Speleo School. The survey team included cavers from Israel, Bulgaria, France, United Kingdom, Croatia, Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Boaz Langford, Member of HU’s Cave Research Center and head of the 2019 Malham Cave Mapping Expedition: "Israel’s salt caves are a global phenomenon. My colleagues around the world are always amazed at what we find here. Returning to survey Malham Cave allowed us to reveal its full dimensions and rank Israel as first among the world’s longest salt caves."
Yoav Negev, Chairman, Israel Cave Explorers Club and project leader of the Malham Cave Mapping Expedition: "This entire project began with a call to Antoniya Vlaykova at Bulgaria’s Sofia Caving Club & Speleo School. From the very beginning they showed real interest in collaborating with us and in taking on a central role in the project. Soon we had a 50-member delegation—half international, half Israeli. The Malham Cave is a one of kind expedition that demonstrated the power of international caving delegations coming together to achieve something remarkable. The fact that we came away with a new world record is icing on the cake.”
Efraim Cohen, Member of HU’s Cave Research Center: “Mapping Malham Cave took hard work. We cavers worked 10-hour days underground, crawling through icy salt channels, narrowly avoiding salt stalactites and draw-dropping salt crystals. Down there it felt like another planet. Our next and final step is to map the tightest spots and the most difficult ones to reach. When we’re all done, it’s likely we’ll add a few hundred meters to Malham’s impressive 10 kilometer length.”
The 2018 and 2019 Malham Cave expeditions were supported by the Bulgarian Federation of Speleology, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Bulgaria, the European Federation of Speleology (FSE) and its sponsors Aventure Verticale, Korda's, Scurion, and Bulgaria Air.
- Written by Pamela Hickman
“The Sound of Goosesteps, Echoes of the Nazi Threat in The Sound of Music, Cabaret and The Producers” will be the focus of a lecture-concert presented by Eyal Sherf, with Alla Danzig (piano) on March 28th 2019 at the Khan Theatre, Jerusalem.
Much has been said about the representation of the Holocaust in a variety of genres. Musicals have often been overlooked, perhaps due to their general perception as escapist entertainment. Yet, as an American art form, the musical is a fascinating source through which to examine ever-changing attitudes to Nazism and the Shoah.
What artistic differences have arisen regarding the visual representation of Nazis in The Sound of Music? Why were the Jewish creators of Cabaret accused of anti-Semitism and what is behind The Producers’ “rise below vulgarity”?
The lecture-concert will present the topic through discussion, clips from stage versions and screen adaptations of the shows, as well as live performance of songs from the three musicals.
Singer, actor, cantor and lecturer on musical theatre, Eyal Sherf received his Master of Arts in Musical Arts from New York University and is a graduate of the Acting Program of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, England. He has performed in several productions in New York City. and is currently appearing in Gebirtig in Israel’s Yiddishpiel Theater. He has appeared in a number of Israeli television series. Eyal Sherf served as cantor of Temple Beth-El, Cedarhurst, New York, continuing his cantorial work at various other synagogues.
Performances: Thursday March 28th - English: 19:00
The Khan Theater, 2 Remez St., Jerusalem
Photo: Ziv Hadash