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The recent discovery of a previously invisible inscription on the back of an ancient pottery shard, that was on display at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum for over 50 years, has prompted Tel Aviv University researchers to consider what other hidden inscriptions may have been discarded during archaeological digs, before the availability of high-tech imaging, writes JNS.org's Adam Abrams.
During the 20th Maccabiah Games next month, about 7,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries will descend upon the Holy Land to join 2,500 Israeli athletes in the Olympic-style competition. Held every four years, the Jewish multi-sport competition is the world’s third-largest sporting event. From July 4-18, the Maccabiah Games will have the added significance of coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of this year’s host city, Jerusalem. “The Maccabiah is the one place that Jews from all over the world can come together and bond, and there’s no better place to do so than Jerusalem,” Maccabiah Chairman Amir Peled told JNS.org.
Following the recent 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, the city is going through a renewal of multiculturalism underscoring the richness of its diversity. The Israel Festival, which celebrates this transformation through music and art, runs through June 18 at the Jerusalem Theatre and other local venues. Through its avant-garde fusion of music, theater and dance, the festival offers an innovative and interdisciplinary platform to widen the conversation about global cultural landscapes.
Rapid population and economic growth has prompted the Israeli government to revolutionize the country’s infrastructure and transportation systems to accommodate a flourishing citizenry. The average annual growth rate of Israel’s population from 1990-2017 has been 2.25 percent, “among the highest rate of population growth in the Western world,” said Prof. Yoram Shiftan, head of transportation research at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. During the same period, Israel’s GDP averaged a 4.9-percent annual increase. These figures are directly reflected by parallel growth in transport activity, including in the number of vehicles on roads, cargo passing through seaports, air travelers and railway commuters.
Amid the city of Be’er Sheva’s rise as the so-called “opportunity capital of Israel,” the Lauder Center for Employment has sought to boost the Negev desert region’s job market, countering the trend of young professionals abandoning southern Israel for better employment prospects. In late May, the center hosted a conference matching employers with social organizations representing job-seekers from overlooked population sectors. “If we don’t take care of the people in the Negev, our Bedouin neighbors or those from the religious communities, for example, the employment model of the Negev won’t work,” said Bella Alexandrov, CEO of Tor HaMidbar, which works to develop Israel’s geo-social periphery.
As debates about “fake news” continue to rage worldwide, a Mideast-focused watchdog group is taking its quest to hold the media accountable to a new language. CAMERA has hired Syrian-born researcher Ahed al-Hendi to spearhead the organization’s new Arabic-language media department. Hendi spent 40 days in a Syrian prison in 2006 for co-founding a pro-democracy group known as Syrian Youth for Justice. “By encouraging news organizations to engage in objective, unbiased reporting about Israel, it could help the free people of the Middle East to debunk all the theories that their ruling regimes use to oppress them,” Hendi said.
When shooting the movie Exodus, Paul Newman was a frequent visitor in Achzivland, and Rina Avivi seems to be proud of it. Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Bar Refaeli also apparently got their summer tans in this remote and idyllic bay situated only a stone’s throw away from the Lebanese border and Nahariya, Israel’s northernmost city. “I met Sophia when I just moved to Achzivland. She taught me how to make real good spaghetti,” recalls the 70-year-old Avivi, who starts laughing. It comes as no surprise that the rich and famous gathered on this little stretch of beach to get a glimpse of this controversial place and its inhabitants. Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the green hills of the Galilee, about 9 miles north of Acre, lies the empire called Achzivland. It has been more than 60 years since fisherman Eli Avivi founded this micro-state spanning 3.5 acres, limited by the country road on the right and the ocean waves on the left.
“It’s a long road that I’ve walked and it starts before me,” says U.S. Navy veteran Jeff Kuhnreich, the new vice president of military affairs at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, reflecting on the events leading up to the latest chapter in his career. In an interview slated between the Memorial Days for fallen soldiers in Israel and America, Kuhnreich discusses his past and current work, U.S.-Israel ties and what Memorial Day means to him.
About 20 veterans commit suicide across the U.S. each day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. An organization providing spiritual healing, suicide prevention and peer support programming for veterans believes Israel is part of the solution. For Memorial Day, JNS.org spotlights the stories of American veterans who traveled to Israel with the Heroes to Heroes Foundation, which works with veterans suffering from mental and emotional stress.
About 20 veterans commit suicide across the U.S. each day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. An organization providing spiritual healing, suicide prevention and peer support programming for veterans believes Israel is part of the solution. Leading up to Memorial Day, JNS.org is spotlighting the stories of six American veterans who traveled to Israel with the Heroes to Heroes Foundation, which works with veterans suffering from mental and emotional stress. This is the first installment of a two-part series.
Described as one of the most significant archaeological finds in modern Israel, the Magdala Stone, unearthed in 2009, has been unveiled to the public for first time as part of a joint exhibition on the history of the menorah May 15-July 23 between the Vatican Museums and the Jewish Museum of Rome. “This is a dream that finally comes to fulfillment,” said Father Juan Solana, general director of the Magdala Center, whose work focuses on the stone dubbed a “crossroads of Jewish and Christian history.” Scholars contend the Magdala Stone’s menorah depiction is the oldest carved image of the Second Temple’s menorah ever found.
Self-driving cars. Drip irrigation. Missile defense. Milk? Amid all the buzz around Israel’s “start-up nation,” including Intel’s recent $15 billion acquisition of Mobileye, a lesser-known phenomenon is the high-tech and hyper-efficient Israeli dairy industry. Surprised? Don’t be. The combination of Israelis’ high demand for dairy products and the Jewish state’s well-documented ingenuity makes the cutting-edge dairy industry a natural development in the “land flowing with milk and honey.” The demand for dairy in Israel is particularly high for Shavuot, when eating dairy is a holiday tradition.
Lag B’Omer isn’t one of the best-known Jewish holidays—though some may notice that the men whose faces have grown fairly fuzzy following Passover are suddenly clean-shaven again. On his deathbed, famed sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai instructed his students to mark the date of Lag B’Omer as “the day of my joy.” Through the centuries, Lag B’Omer has remained a celebratory day. JNS.org presents the top 10 ways to fete the 33rd day of the Omer period.
By day, Liora Brosbe is the family engagement officer for the Jewish Federation of the East Bay in California. When she’s not at work, Brosbe’s main job is raising three kids. Their home? A laboratory for Jewish learning strategies. “Yes, they’re little petri dishes,” their mom says. “Like most families, screen time is a huge issue at our house, both for time and content. But I tell families it’s also an amazing opportunity for low-barrier Jewish engagement.” With an avalanche of new technologies, educators, funders and parents are often befuddled about where to invest their money and their kids’ or students’ time. A newly released study on educational technology and digital engagement aims to guide the Jewish community through this complex space.
Throughout the seven decades since it declared independence, Israel has waged a struggle for legitimacy, navigating the global arena to find its place among the nations. While many factors went into Israeli independence, the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 and subsequent Resolution 181 laid the foundation. For Israel’s 69th Independence Day, JNS.org looks at how four countries actively involved in the historic 1947 vote not only shaped Israeli history, but have robust current relationships with the Jewish state and might play key roles in the country’s future.
With its forces vastly outnumbered by Arab armies, Israel’s victory in the 1948 War of Independence was widely considered a modern-day miracle. The Jewish state shocked the world again in 1967 by significantly expanding its borders and reunifying Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. In 2017, the perceived miracles keep coming. Ahead of the 69th Israeli Independence Day, JNS.org recounts five of Israel’s latest crowning achievements.
For Holocaust survivors’ grandchildren like Beckah Restivo, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum works to anchor family stories in a historical context. Much of the museum’s resources come from the International Tracing Service, an archive of Holocaust records established by the Allies after the war. The archive boasts millions of pages of documentation. “Everything I know about my family history, besides my grandfather’s and great-uncle’s actual firsthand accounts, has been driven by the resources at the museum, and I’m so grateful,” says Restivo.
It isn’t the super-sized Jewish experience of New York City or some of its suburbs. But for observant Jews, New York State’s Mid-Hudson Valley still has plenty to offer. You could play more than your fill of Bingo, attend a weekly Torah class, immerse in a beautifully maintained mikvah or even attend a Jewish War Veterans meeting. Yet in the nearly 130-year history of Poughkeepsie’s organized Jewish community, carrying any possession in public on Shabbat—without violating the laws of the day of rest—was out of the question. Now that Poughkeepsie finally has an eruv to enable carrying on Shabbat, the community can assume its place “on the Jewish map,” says the synagogue vice president who spent six years advocating for the eruv.
At an antiques flea market in Berlin, one of several stands proudly displays two Hanukkah menorahs for sale. The husky, white-haired seller explains how one of them probably came from Königsberg, a former German city in modern Russia. The other is easy to identify: a plaque indicates it was gifted by an Israeli organization to a German-Jewish benefactor in 1992. While Jewish victims and their organizational representatives have, over the years, processed claims for real estate, businesses and works of art seized by the Nazis, Jews’ more mundane Holocaust-era property may still be circulating in antique shops and households, unbeknownst to the current buyers or owners. “How do you establish what ordinary household goods belonged to a family that was murdered?” asks Dr. Christoph Kreutzmüller, a curator at Berlin’s Jewish Museum.