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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘shavuot’

Highway Construction Uncovers Spectacular 1500-Year-old Mosaic

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Excavations on the route of a new superhighway north of Be’er Sheva have uncovered a spectacular 1,500-year-old mosaic in the field of a kibbutz, providing vacationers for those with an extended Shavuot holiday to view the latest discovery.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Cross-Israel Highway Company, which operates “Kvish 6,” or Highway 6,  is opening  the excavation free of Charge on Thursday morning until noon, when schools and man Yom Ha’atzmaut government offices are closed as an extra day off following Shavuot. The Jewish holiday, also known as Pentecost, is celebrated only one day in Israel but two days outside the country.

The colorful dating to the Byzantine period between the 4th and 6th centuries was exposed in recent weeks in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Kama, located approximately 15 miles north of Be’er Sheva and 50 miles south of Tel Aviv.

During the Byzantine period Jewish and Christian settlements in the region were located next to each other. A synagogue and ritual bath (mikveh) were exposed in two nearby ancient Jewish communities

Before road builders can start getting ready to pave the extension of the highway from north of Beit Kama to a junction only 10 miles north of Be’er Sheva, excavations are carried out to determine if there are historical treasures underground. The archaeological site covers 1.5 acres on kibbutz farmland.

Several astounding finds already have been declared by the IAA, but the mosaic is one of the most spectacular of its kind in the country.

The main building at the site was a large hall 12 meters long by 8.5 meters wide and its ceiling was apparently covered with roof tiles. The hall’s impressive opening and the breathtaking mosaic that adorns its floor suggest that the structure was a public building.

The well-preserved mosaic is decorated with geometric patterns and its corners are enhanced with amphorae – jars used to transport wine – a pair of peacocks, and a pair of doves pecking at grapes on a tendril. These are common designs that are known from this period; however, what makes this mosaic unique is the large number of motifs that were incorporated in one carpet.

Pools and a system of channels and pipes between them used to convey water were discovered in front of the building. Steps were exposed in one of the pools and its walls were treated with colored plaster, known as fresco.

Archaeologists in the Antiquities Authority are still trying to determine the purpose of the impressive public building and the pools whose construction required considerable economic resources.

The site seems to have consisted of a large estate that included a church, residential buildings and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland. Presumably one of the structures served as an inn for travelers who visited the place.

Graffiti at Yale Threatens Arson Attack on School’s Jewish Center

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Graffiti scrawled in a bathroom in a Yale University science building threatened an arson attack on the Slifka Center for Jewish Life on the campus.

The graffiti was discovered late last month but was first reported in the local media on Tuesday. A Slifka Center board member said the news of the graffiti was not released to the public sooner in order to allow the police to do some investigation quietly.

The exact wording of the graffiti has not been released, but it reportedly threatened an attack for May 16, the second day of the Shavuot holiday.

Police in New Haven, Conn., and the FBI are investigating, the New Haven Register reported.

“This is a very disturbing incident for a community such as ours, in which tolerance of all races, religions and points of view is a fundamental value,” Yale Vice President Linda Koch Lorimer said in a statement. “A threat to any community within our university is a threat to us all.”

SlifkaCenter programs have continued on schedule, and upcoming events including Shavuot programs have not been altered.

“Difficult times can serve to remind us of our many blessings,” a statement issued by the center said. “Slifka Center is fortunate to be a vibrant hub of Jewish and interfaith life within a welcoming community, in which incidents such as this one are very rare.”

Anglos Lead Tel Aviv’s Return to Tradition

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

For many Tel Avivians, this past Shavuot seemed different. More than just another day to hit the beaches, and maybe indulge in some cheesecake, Israel’s “White City” was dotted with groups celebrating the religious and spiritual aspect of the seminal holiday.

On the city’s newly rebuilt Kikar Habima, a group of Tel Avivians gathered to honor the Jewish tradition of studying into the night by discussing topics like the role of spirituality in Zionism. Organized by a group of young Anglo professionals called Jewish National Initiative, the intent of the Shavuot “Limud” was to offer tradition-minded residents of the city an opportunity to engage Shavuot in a fresh and spirited way.

“JNI is about rejuvenating Zionism by reconnecting it to the great tradition of Judaism,” says JNI Programs Director Daniel Fink. “We’re finding that Tel Avivians are really hungry for this — as are many Jews around the world, Israeli or not.”

The North Central Synagogue and Center for international and Israeli-Jewish life in the heart of Tel Aviv similarly celebrated Shavuot late into the night, with learning sessions in both English and Hebrew. The sessions drew more than 100 people.

Among other notable new nodes of Jewish life in Tel Aviv is a Shabbat initiative targeted to young olim (new immigrants). Called White City Shabbat, its organizers seek to create a social scene that extends beyond Tel Aviv’s famed clubs and discos, and into the synagogue. It’s not uncommon for a White City Shabbat event to gather more than two hundred people, who celebrate together over a traditional kosher meal.

Jay Shultz, the founder of White City Shabbat, attributes the success of the weekly gathering to a groundswell in renewed interest, driven in part by a growing trend of aliyah among young committed Jews.

“Sabras [native-born Israelis] see what’s going on here and they see something different,” says Shultz. “They see an opportunity to be social, to meet people, to get involved in a Jewish way. They love it, we love it, and that’s why it’s growing.”

 

Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: From Shavuot to Asifa

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

With Shavuot over, the Managing Editor of Jewish Press Online, Yishai Fleisher and his wife and co-host Malkah discuss their experiences in Jerusalem during the holiday and the importance of both Shavuot and Ruth to the Jewish People. Yishai moves on to talk about and elaborate on Asifa, which was a recent meeting of Ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York City to examine the challenges of the Internet and in what context it fits into the Jewish world. The segment wraps up with Yishai and Malkah further mulling over solutions that can allow the Internet to be useful and Kosher at the same time.

To download, right-click, and “Save Target As” HERE.

Yoram Ettinger: Shavuot Guide for the Perplexed

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Shavuot is the holiday of the Torah, which impacted the US Constitution in particular and the state of Western morality, liberty, and democracy in general. Shavuot is celebrated by decorating homes and houses of worship with Land of Israel-related fruit, vegetables, herb and flowers, demonstrating the indigenous connection between the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel, and the Land of Israel.

Shavuot – a spiritual holiday – follows Passover – a national liberation holiday: from physical liberation (the Exodus) to spiritual liberation/enhancement.

The two portions of the Torah, which are recited/studied around Shavuot, are נשא and בהעלותך, which mean – in Hebrew – spiritual enhancement and elevation. נשא is the longest portion of the Torah (176 verses), highlighting the inauguration of the ancient tabernacle and altar. בהעלותך highlights the Menorah (Candelabrum) of the ancient tabernacle, which had seven branches, similar to the seven day week and the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot.

Shavuot is celebrated 50 days following Passover. The Jubilee – the cornerstone of liberty and the source of the inscription on the Liberty Bell (Leviticus 25:10) – is celebrated every 50 years. Judaism highlights the constant challenge facing human beings: the choice between the 50 gates of wisdom and the corresponding 50 gates of impurity. Egypt represented the gates of impurity and the receipt of the Torah represented the gates of wisdom. The 50th gate of wisdom is the gate of deliverance. The USA is composed of 50 states.

Shavuot highlights the eternity of the Jewish People. Thus, the first and the last Hebrew letters of Shavuot (שבועות) constitute the Hebrew name of the third son of Adam & Eve, Seth (שת), the righteous ancestor of Noah, hence of all mankind. The Hebrew meaning of Seth – שת – is “to institute” and “to bestow upon”, מתן in Hebrew – the Hebrew word for the bestowing of the Torah at Mt. Sinai (מתן תורה).

Shavuot (שבועות) is a derivative of the Hebrew word “Shvoua’” (שבועה) – vow, referring to the exchange of vows between God and the Jewish People. The origin of Shavuot occured 26 generations following Adam and Eve. The Hebrew word for Jehovah equals 26 in Gimatriya (assignment of numerical values to Hebrew letters). There are 26 Hebrew letters in the names of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs: Abraham (אברהם), Yitzhak (יצחק), Yaakov (יעקב) Sarah (שרה), Rivka (רבקה), Rachel (רחל) and Leah (לאה).

The Hebrew root of Shavuot is the word Seven – “Sheva” (שבע). Shavuot is celebrated 7 weeks following Passover; God employed 7 earthly attributes to create the universe (in addition to the 3 divine attributes); There are 7 basic human traits, which individuals are supposed to resurrect/adopt in preparation for Shavuot; 7 key Jewish/universal leaders – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aharon, Joseph and David – represent the seven qualities of the Torah and the wholesomeness of Judaism and the Land of Israel; 7 days of Creation and a 7 days in a week; The Sabbath is the 7th day; The first Hebrew verse in Genesis consists of 7 words; There are 7 species of the Land of Israel (barley, wheat, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive and date/honey); 7 represents multiplication – שבעתיים – “Sivatayim”; There are 7 directions (north, south, west, east, up, down, one’s own position); 7 gates to The Temple in Jerusalem; 7 Noahide Commandments; Moses’ birth/death was on the 7th day of Adar; Jethro had 7 names and 7 daughters; Passover and Sukkot (Tabernacles) last for 7 days each; each Plague lasted for 7 days; the Menorah has 7 branches; Jubilee follows seven 7-year cycles; according to Judaism, slaves are liberated, and the soil is not-cultivated, in the 7th year; there are 7 continents in the globe and 7 notes in a musical scale; there are 7 days of mourning over the deceased, 7 blessings in a Jewish wedding, 7 congregants read the Torah on each Sabbath and 7 Jewish Prophetesses (Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Chana, Abigail, Choulda and Esther). Pentecost is celebrated, by Christians, on the 7th Sunday after Easter.

Shavuot is the second of the 3 Jewish Pilgrimages (Sukkot-Tabernacles, Passover and Shavuot), celebrated on the 6th day of the 3rd Jewish month, Sivan. It highlights Jewish Unity, compared by King Solomon to “a three folds cord, which is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Torah – the first of the 3 parts of the Jewish Bible – was granted to the Jewish People (which consists of 3 components: Priests, Levites and Israel), by Moses (the youngest of 3 children, brother of Aharon and Miriam), a successor to the 3 Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and to Seth, the 3rd son of Adam and Eve. The Torah was forged in 3 manners: Fire (commitment to principles), Water (lucidity and purity) and Desert (humility and principle-driven tenacity). The Torah is one of the 3 global pillars, along with labor and gratitude/charity. The Torah is one of the 3 pillars of Judaism, along with the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.

Chabad Sends Camouflaged Torahs, Cheesecakes, to Soldiers Overseas

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The Aleph Institute, a Chabad-Lubavitch organization catering to the needs of Jewish soldiers and their families, is helping servicemen celebrate the upcoming holiday of Shavuot with 1,000 special military edition Torah books, according to a report on Chabad.org.  The pocket-sized, soft cover, camouflaged  Gutnick Edition Lifestyle Books Torahs include Hebrew text with a contemporary translation and commentary by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The movement shipped 1,000 editions around the world, along with individually-wrapped single-serving cheesecakes, in keeping with the Shavuot tradition to eat dairy foods, as well as holiday candle-lighting kits.

The organization also announced that it will offer correspondence classes on Jewish topics such as prayer, holidays, and kosher laws.

Artifact Found in Time for Shavuot Proves Bethlehem Existed During First Temple

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Ir David Foundation announced that a clay seal was discovered bearing the name of the city of Bethlehem, evidence that the city existed during the period of the First Temple in Jerusalem.  The find fortuitously coincides with the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, during which time Jews from around the world focus on the story of the biblical figure Ruth, set in the city of Bethlehem.

The 1.5cm seal – called a bulla – was discovered during sifting of soil removed from the archeological excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out in the City of David, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.  The sifting is underwritten by the Ir David Foundation, which treated The Jewish Press to a private tour.

The clay bulla was meant to seal a document or object, used as a way of showing that the private item had not been tampered with.

The new bulla bears the words:   בשבעת   Bishv’at    בת לים    Bat Lechem [למל[ך   [Lemel]ekh

Eli Shukron, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said “it seems that in the seventh year of the reign of a king (either Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah), a shipment was dispatched from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem.”

“The bulla we found belongs to the group of “fiscal” bullae – administrative bullae used to seal tax shipments remitted to the taxation system of the Kingdom of Judah in the late eighth and seventh centuries BCE,” Shukron said.  “The tax could have been paid in the form of silver or agricultural produce such as wine or wheat”.

According to Shukron, this is the first time the name Bethlehem has appeared in an inscription from the First Temple period, proving that Bethlehem was a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly in earlier periods.”

The first mention of Bethlehem in the Bible occurs in regard to the matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob, sister of Leah, and mother of Joseph, who died while giving birth to Benjamin “in Ephrat, which is Bethlehem, and was buried there (Genesis 35:19; 48:7).

In later generations, when the region was settled by the descendants of Jacob and Leah’s son Judah, a man named Boaz made Ruth, a Moabite convert and daughter-in-law of Naomi, his wife (Book of Ruth).  The couple’s great-grandson, David, became the most celebrated king in Jewish history, and made his capital in Jerusalem, on the site of the modern day “Ir David” – City of David.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/artifact-found-in-time-for-shavuot-proves-bethlehem-existed-during-first-temple/2012/05/23/

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