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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ancient’

Reinvented by Israel

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

How does a mild mannered CPA from Far Rockaway, Queens grow a set of vocal cords of such power and presence that a once meek and put-upon bean counter is now a vital part of the burgeoning Jerusalem acapella scene?  Our friend has long since traded in his faded Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap for flowing white sharwall pants and an effortlessly hip Brixton Hooligan Herringbone Ivy hat. The only remaining testament to a life once endured is a set of weezer glasses, worn not so much as a statement but as an enduring tribute to one of rock ‘n’ roll’s seismic creative forces, Lubbock’s own Buddy Holly.

And what causes an environmental lawyer from Marin County to discard all her eco-friendly (or at least carbon neutral) possessions to hop a fume-belching El Al Boeing 747 flight with the goal of thoroughly amending her life’s trajectory? The decision to trade in her green Prius for the unique charms of life over the Green Line most assuredly left vegan friends and hot tub lounging parents with mouths agape and tongues a-wagging. Afterall, isn’t life without easy access to Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Cantonese and Korean restaurants but a cruel joke?

Perhaps it’s the pale-pink light bouncing off the Old City’s ancient walls on a typical Jerusalem summer’s evening that somehow catalyzes a reaction, diffusing all reason and refracting all rational thought. Maybe it’s quite literally all in the head, with the hundreds of billions of neurons and synapses – that had once operated firmly within the safe confines provided by calculating and comparing benefits and costs – beginning to fire off signals in all directions once exposed to images of Israeli soldiers, Jewish children and M-16 toting babes in bikinis.

Who knows? But the phenomenon of people hitting the ‘reset’ button, often to the profound befuddlement of those closest to them, is at least as old as the dirt that King Solomon walked on. The roots of the Hebrew phrase Meshaneh makom meshaneh mazal (“change your place, change your luck”) are even more ancient, perhaps going back to the biblical Abraham.

Abraham may well have been humanity’s first drop out, having abandoned home, country, family and religion for an uncertain fate in a faraway land that was only to be revealed to him by an unseen God at some undefined future date. And let’s not forget that old Abe was a virtual pensioner at the time God came a-calling. To top it off, Abraham, a strong Babylonian man of good stock, was married yet childless.

Leave behind the familiar sights and sounds of bustling Ur for… Canaan?

Now that’s confidence. For what greeted Abraham, his wife Sari and rest of his household upon arriving in Canaan was little more than a few confused sheep. A once vibrant urban society, Canaan had long since disintegrated into an utterly insignificant hodgepodge of far flung villages. In short, concerned friends and relatives may well have concluded that Abraham (or Abram) was perhaps in the midst of a mid-life crisis and would benefit from a Thorazine drip and some time off.

Abraham, however, was driven by an insatiable impulse, ignited by a divine spark. Today, Israel remains a catalyst for profound change. What draws Jews from Calgary to Johannesburg – born, bred and educated in lands with virtually no historical, linguistic, religious or cultural connection to Israel – to take the plunge?

Many rationalizations come to mind. However, behind the colorful Nefesh B’Nefesh ad campaigns, Talmudic quotations, Biblical justifications and historic bonds of memory, perhaps the reason that Jewish people are attracted to Israel is the prospect of finally reaching a state of inner calm. For the silky smooth suits provided by living in certain progressive, free and affluent gentile lands ultimately prevent us from wholly living in our Jewish skin.

Israel may not shine in the light of unprecedented prosperity. Israel may not be blessed with the safety provided by surrounding oceans or accommodating neighbors. In fact, life in Israel can often leave one in dire need of a Thorazine drip – and some time off.

However, the nation that essentially began as the vision of a solitary Babylonian today exudes unsurpassed warmth and a powerful ability to reinvent.

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The recurring uproar over the facts surrounding the life of Jesus now surrounds the discovery of an ancient papyrus bearing the words “Jesus said to them, my wife”.

The discovery of a 4th century Egyptian Coptic papyrus fragment was publicized at the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies in Rome on Tuesday by a professor of the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at the school, released a statement noting that Christian tradition “Has long held that Jesus was not married,” and stated that the new find – being called “The Gospel of Jesus’s wife” – suggests that his being dubbed unmarried was likely due to “vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage.”

An analysis by King of the fragment will be published in the Harvard Theological Review in January 2013.

Plans Underway, Experts Convened, to Revolutionize Jerusalem by the Year 5800 (2039)

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

The sale of a 185-room hotel at the entrance of Jerusalem on August 16 was not just a 17.5 million dollar real estate acquisition by Australian multi-millionaire Kevin Bermeister, but one investment in a broader and more calculated strategy to make Jerusalem a global tourism capital.

In an interview with the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher, Bermeister, founding investor in Skype, founder of file-sharing network Kazaa, and builder of Australia’s largest video game distributor, discussed Jerusalem5800, his $30 billion dollar, 28 year project to revolutionize the city and quintuple its number of annual visitors.

Bermeister With Israel Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz discussing Jerusalem 5800

Bermeister With Israel Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz discussing Jerusalem 5800

“I’ve been coming to this city for 7 or 8 times 5 or 6 times a year… I’ve been walking the streets learning about the city and I’m fascinated by it, I love learning the I love the history, I love the archaeology, I love the Jewish culture, I’ve become more religious, there’s many, many aspects to my fascination with this city,” Bermeister told Fleisher.  Yet the fact that history and culture-rich Jerusalem has not advanced into a world class city the likes of New York City or Paris bothered Bermeister.  And he decided to do something about it.

Together with a team of activists, engineers, architects and environmental and demographics experts, Bermeister began work on a grandiose vision for the modern-ancient city, and entitled it Jerusalem 5800, after the beloved city and the turn of the Jewish century which will occur in less than 28 years on the Jewish calendar.

Much of the plan, made public at Jerusalem5800.com, revolves around taking the visitor on a historic progression through the city, starting in the west and working toward the south – which means redefining the entrance to the capital.

“I am a personal fan of the city reorienting its entrance from the west towards the south.  I think the south is the traditional entrance to the city from the time of Abraham, and in fact, it’s the right approach for tourists who are coming here to learn about the city,” Bermeister said.  “If you approach the Old City from the south, you begin your journey three and a half thousand years ago, and as you progress up towards the north, towards the Western Wall, the Kotel, you arrive at a period two thousand years ago, and then you can progress to the modern city which is of course in our present day.”

When they come, tourists of Jerusalem in the year 5800 (2039 on the Gregorian calendar), will enjoy an advanced public transportation system and will benefit from significantly more travel accommodations.

“I realized that industry here has not really fully developed, it’s not catered to the extent that it is in other cities, and I started to look at tourism specifically… in the last 10 years, only 300 hotel rooms have been built.  Once I discovered that fact, the light bulb went off…”

That burst of inspiration was partly the realization that investors stand to gain tremendous amounts by buying stakes in everything to do with Jerusalem tourism – particularly hotels which Bermeister hopes will house 10-12 million visitors a year by 5800, up from the current 2-3 million.

Bermeister is the first to admit that many of the projects Jerusalem 5800 are focused on making a profit for investors.

“The Leonardo hotel, for example, was one of those properties that we identified early. At the entrance to the city, adjacent to large zoning changes in Binyanei HaUma – which has recently been announced by the city – that would increase the density of building and perhaps provide us the opportunity to increase the density of zoning on our property and therefore improve the return on investment to our investors,” Bermeister said.

“[Jerusalem 5800] is a private/public partnership plan, and we’re trying to… develop the city into the future based on the prioritized return on investment to investors.  So [we’re focusing on] those projects that will be most interesting to investors the soonest.”

The hope is that more money will mean more progress for Jerusalem.  Jerusalem 5800 aims to “continue to encourage the development of a fund that would be supported by many more investors around the world who could put their funding and finance concentration into Jerusalem and into Jerusalem building,” said Bermeister.

But Jerusalem 5800 is not without its challenges.  Progress can be halting because of Jerusalem’s atypical status under the jurisdiction of both the city’s mayor and the prime minister of Israel.  The interests of various ministries and planning authorities must also be taken into consideration.

Not to mention the will of God.  “Everything we do anticipates a possible future – please God, there will be a Temple and people will come three times a year to Jerusalem,” Bermeister said.

“But the 28 year plan really focuses on the what we know and what we can do something about in physical terms in the city today.  Preparation of the city, taking advantage of the existing growth in global tourism, for which Israel is not obtaining its market share, and really to focus on making sure that we do obtain our market share of inbound tourism by addressing the issues of the Jerusalem city center and access to the Holy Basin.”

“So like Jews around the world who pray three times a day and sometimes a lot more, that the Temple will in our lifetimes become a reality, [the Temple] would become an amplification, a significant amplification of the present planning,” Bermeister said.  “But in any event, 5800 would enable that thinking and enable us to cope with that amplification….it also looks to the future and hopefully will enable the city to be ready for an event such as the Temple.”

“I’m looking forward to a very bright future and I think Israel and Jerusalem are key to the examples that …  Jewish people can set in the world, the way of thinking, the way of acting, and I think we have a responsibility to project in the world the way to make the world a better place.”

The hi-tech innovator’s plans, already 2 years in progress, include a Jerusalem regional airport in the Judean desert near Jericho, and underground traffic systems with service to the Old City.

1500-Year-Old Jewish Town Discovered

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

After more than 100 years of archeological research in Israel, I’m always surprised there’s still so much more to discover.  Sadly, today most such discoveries are driven by construction work.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced today that a 6th century Jewish town was discovered north of Beersheba, during work on the southern extension of Route 6.

The archeologists discovered two ritual baths (mikveh) and two large public buildings.  Both buildings had a large platform facing Jerusalem, and archeologists think they served either as synagogues or as a beit midrash, a place for Torah study.

The town was evacuated at the end of the 6th century or the beginning of the 7th century.  A century later a new town was built over the ancient remains.

A Real People with a Real Prophecy

Monday, August 20th, 2012


Yishai and Malkah kick off by talking about Malkah’s attendance at the arrival of a Nefesh B’ Nefesh flight of new immigrants to Israel and her connection with celebrity kosher chef Jamie Geller, who made Aliyah to Israel along with her family on this flight.  They move on to talk about a Brit Milah that the Flieshers attended and also by talking how recent discoveries of a bathroom from an ancient synagogue in Germany and how it’s compared to a picture of a young Israeli draped with a flag.  Yishai ends by talking about how this is the last show before the month of Elul and how everyone needs to prepare for Elul by being closer to G-d.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook


Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

A drought in Israel in 1985 caused the water level in the Sea of Galilee to fall lower than usual. On January 24, 1986, the remains of an ancient boat were discovered. Archaeologists carefully extracted the remains and preserved them in a museum at Nof Ginosar, near Tiberias. A cooking pot and a lamp were also found with the boat.

The boat is just over 27 feet long by 8 feet wide. Radio carbon dating has put its age at 2000 years, which means that it was sailing on the Sea of Galilee at about the time of the Julius Caesar assassination.

This model from the museum at Nof Ginosar shows what the boat would have looked like in its heyday.

Quinoa Salad

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012


1 cup red quinoa, 1 cup white quinoa (Ancient Harvest pre washed)
A handful craisins
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red pepper
*nuts (pecans or macadamia nuts (optional- *omit if allergic)


Cook quinoa using 1 1/4 cup water to each 1 cup quinoa (instead of 2:1)
Cook on low heat for 30-35 minutes
Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes – covered
Once cool, add rest of ingredients

Toss with the dressing below:

Quinoa Salad Dressing:


1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. granulated garlic or powder
1/4 cup oil

This is a very versatile recipe. It can be an appetizer, a side, or a main.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/recipes/quinoa-salad/2012/07/22/

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