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May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Tiberias’

The Rich Jewish History of Tiberias

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Tiberias is one the four Holy cities in Israel and is known as the city of water; its Jewish history is rich and ancient, dating back to antiquity.

In biblical times, Tiberias was a Jewish burial city. For this reason, many Jews originally refused to live there, since to do so was considered ritually unclean. Then, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, decided to build the city of Tiberias in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberias right on top of the Jewish burial city. Most Jews, however, refused to inhabit the city, until political circumstances caused Jews to reconsider their decision.

After the conclusion of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (around 70 CE), Jewish life within Judea was virtually wiped out of existence, thus forcing the Jewish people to relocate to the Galilee region. As a result, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai purified Tiberias of its graves, so that Tiberias could serve as the main center of Jewish learning and culture within the Land of Israel. The Sanhedrin, whose rulings affected the entire Jewish Diaspora, met in Tiberias, and the Jerusalem Talmud was written there, despite the fact that the Jews of Tiberias faced intense Byzantine persecution.

Due to the intensity of Byzantine oppression, the Jews of Israel would support the Persians in their attempt to conquer Israel, in the hopes that the Jewish people would be able to re-establish their ancestral homeland under Persian dominion, like was done in the past. Yet unfortunately, the Byzantines managed to defeat the Persians. The Byzantines in turn were defeated by the Arabs. Under Arab rule, Tiberias would remain a center of Jewish learning, with the Nikud vowel notation in Hebrew being invented within Tiberias under Arab rule in the seventh century. Between 1391 and the fifteenth century, a significant number of Sephardic Jews made Aliyah to Israel, fleeing a wave of persecutions in Spain, thus reinforcing the Jewish connection to Israel. Many of these Sephardic Jews settled in Tiberias. In fact, when the Holy Land was under Ottoman rule, Dona Gracia Nasi, a Sephardic Jewish woman, arranged with Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to have a Jewish province in Tiberias, which would serve as a safe haven for Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. Some historians believe that this was an early effort to re-establish Jewish statehood. The community was somewhat successful for a period of time. Unfortunately, about one hundred years later, Tiberias was abandoned by the Jewish community due to fighting between the Jews of Tiberias and the local Bedouin population.

However, in 1740, Jews returned to Tiberias under the invitation of Bedouin prince Dahr el Omar. Rabbi Chaim Abulafia, a kabbalist from Turkey, soon after resettled in Tiberias. He collected money from the Diaspora to sustain the Jewish community in Tiberias, built yeshivas and synagogues, and renovated homes. Rabbi Menahem of Vitbesk and many other great Hassidic Jews settled within Tiberias not too long after that. During this period of time, Tiberias became known as one of the four holiest cities in the Jewish religion, due to its rich history of Jewish scholarship. In fact, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Tiberias had an influx of great rabbis into the city, re-establishing the city as a center of Jewish learning. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Tiberias had a population of 3,600, out of which 2,000 were Jewish.

PA TV recently broadcast a song titled ‘Oh Flying Bird‘ which claimed that the city of Tiberias was Palestinian. This is not the first time that PA TV has claimed that areas which are presently in Israel are in fact Palestinian.

Visit United with Israel.

March 31 and Dona Gracia

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

At first glance, March 31 is not a day that particularly stands out in Jewish memory, but it is actually a day of significance.

In 1492, the Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) was signed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, which led to the expulsion of all Jews from Spain 3 months later on Tisha B’Av 1492.

Some Jews at the time also went into hiding as Crypto-Jews (Conversos). Many went to Portugal, which welcomed Jews in.

Two such Converso families were the Nasi (de Luna) and Benveniste (Mendes) families who eventually joined together in marriage.

In the 1500’s Dona Gracia (Hanna Nasi) took over her husband’s (Francisco Mendes) spice business after his death, building it up, and ending up becoming one of the richest Jewish women in Renaissance Europe.

But what stands out most about Dona Gracia is that she bought the entire city of Tiberias from the Sultan.

She began to rebuild the city, and invited the Jews of Europe to go to Tiberias, where she would give them start-up funds and land, in the hope that the Jews of Europe could finally come back to their home in the Holy Land, and find refuge from unfriendly Europe. Unfortunately, it appears that very few people took her up on her pre-Nefesh B’Nefesh offer.

Dona Gracia herself never visited Israel.

Today there is a Dona Gracia museum in her honor, located in Tiberias.

The Kinneret Continues to Rise

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Just since Monday, the Kinneret rose another 2 centimeters to 210.445 meters below sea level, and is now standing at 255 centimeters above the lower red line.

In the past 6 days the Kinneret has risen 11 centimeters.

The Kinneret is Rising

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

In the past 24 hours, the Kinneret rose 22 centimeters. At it’s last measurement, it was at 211.50 meters below sea level. With the rainstorm currently hitting Israel, the Kinneret is expected to rise even higher.

The Kinneret Continues to Rise

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Over the past few days the Kinneret has been steadily rising, and on Saturday it rose by 12 centimeters reaching 212.07 meters below sea level, which is 93 centimeters above the lower red line.

The Kinneret is now 327 centimeters below its maximum capacity which is at 208.8 meters below sea level.

The Kinneret’s highest level in 2012 was 211.30 centimeters below sea level.

IDF Base Robbed

Friday, October 19th, 2012

An IDF base a few miles west of Tiberias was robbed Friday morning after masked men entered the base, tied up a soldier, and stole his rifle and several other weapons.

IDF, Hospitals Prepare for Unconventional Attacks

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

In an environment of regional instability and geopolitical threats to Israel, the IDF will hold a series of drills to prepare the country in the event of a biological, chemical or radioactive attack.

 

For the first time, the IDF will simulate a “dirty bomb” radioactive terror attack in Israel.  The exercise, titled “Dark Cloud”, will take place in January in Haifa.  It will include the IDF Home Front Command, hospitals, police, and emergency services.

 

On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry will hold its sixth annual “Orange Flame” exercise to practice a response to biological attacks.  Hospitals in Afula, Nazareth, and Tiberias in the north will practice dealing with 5,000 patients a day exhibiting  symptoms related to contact with biological weapons.  An inter-ministerial committee will concurrently practice containing a national crisis, utilizing polices such as regional quarantines and mass vaccine distributions.

 

Syria is known to have a large cache of VX, sarin, and mustar gases, and Libya was discovered to have a large chemical weapons arsenal following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/idf-hospitals-prepare-for-unconventional-attacks/2011/11/30/

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