Tag Archives: judaism
In what seems to be an intensifying wave of ultra-religious intolerance sweeping the country two cars belonging to members of the Valley of the Cross Monastery were vandalized overnight. Tires were slashed and cars were littered with graffiti reading “Jesus die”, “Greeks out”, “The Maccabees of Migron” (referring to the right-wing unauthorized Israeli outpost in the northern West Bank), “Price Tag” and the Jewish Star of David.
The Monastery of the Cross is believed to have been built in the 5th century by Queen St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. Administered by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem the monastery was traditionally erected on the burial spot of Adam’s head from which grew the tree that gave its wood to the cross on which Christ was crucified.
Lag BaOmer, celebrated in Judaism on the 33rd day after Passover, is signified by the lighting of bonfires. 01/05/2010. Jerusalem, Israel.
Yes, size does matter in regard to Lag BaOmer bonfires. In the religious neighborhood of Bait VaGan in Jerusalem participants claim their bonfire is the biggest in Jerusalem. Rising some six or seven meters in height, neighborhood children began collecting wood weeks ago and construction with assistance of the elders took a few days.
The origins of Lag BaOmer are disputed. Traditionally it was on this day in the 1st Century AD that a plague came to end, but not before wiping out 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva. Another interpretation is that the students were killed as part of the Roman attempt to wipe out Judaism after the Bar Kohba revolt (132-136 AD).
On the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, Tisha Be’Av (Hebrew), Jews all over the world mourn the destruction of the two Holy Temples; the First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE and the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Jews were dispersed and exiled all over the world for almost the next 2,000 years. Other tragic events are also tied to this date; God told the Children of Israel that the oldest generation would not enter the Land, the city of Betar was captured and thousands of Jews were killed in 135 CE, the Roman emperor built a pagan temple on the site of the Holy Temple and rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city in 136 CE, Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492 began on Tisha Be’Av, World War I began and the beginning of the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka death camp.
Tisha Be’Av is a day of fast, of prayer, of reflection, and of reading the Book of Lamentations. Thousands of Jews from all over Israel visit the last remnant of the Temple – The Western Wall (also called The Wailing Wall), exhibiting symbols of mourning; sitting on the ground or on low stools, not wearing leather shoes, not washing or bathing and refraining from any display of physical affection.
27-June-2009, Jerusalem – Less than 24 hours and riots against the Shabbath opening of the Karta parking lot erupted once again, disrupting the serenity of Jerusalem on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of ultra-orthodox Haredim clashed with police in the Mea She’arim neighborhood, at the corner of Hanevi’im and Shivtei Israel streets. Police prevented the rioters from making their way toward Municipal Safra Square, where hundreds of secular residents of the city held a colorful counter demonstration in support of freedom of choice in Jerusalem and against religious coercion.
26-June-2009, Jerusalem – Just two weeks after a violent demonstration in the Safra Municipal Square in Jerusalem (6-June-2009), thousands of ultra-orthodox Jews have taken to the streets of Jerusalem once again. Bar-Ilan Street is depicted in mass public prayer on Friday afternoon, just as sunset declared the beginning of the Sabbath.
The issue of opening a parking lot on the Sabbath continues to be a source of conflict between secular Mayor Nir Barkat and the religious Haredi community in the city. During the past two weeks negotiations took place in an attempt to find a compromise that would satisfy all parties and provide a solution for Jerusalem’s extreme Sabbath parking problems. When the desired compromise was not achieved, Barkat announced the Karta parking lot would open this Saturday. Ultra-orthodox leader, Rabbi Itzchak Tuvia Weiss called on the Haredi community, using written pamphlets scattered in the streets, to assemble Friday afternoon in mass public prayers and to welcome the Sabbath in a show of force and opposition of municipal resolutions.
Episode III this Saturday afternoon …?
And God said: ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
8-April-2009, Jerusalem – Thousands gathered at the Wailing Wall before dawn awaiting sunrise to recite: “Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation.”
The Blessing of the Sun, Birkat Hachamah in Hebrew, is recited in Judaism once in twenty-eight years, signifying the sun’s location at exactly that of the moment of its creation on a Wednesday morning, the fourth day of creation. The 28-year cycle was calculated in the Babylonian Talmud and it was renewed today. Adding to the excitement is the fact that today is the Eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover celebrating the exodus of the ancient Hebrews, led by Moses, from bondage in Egypt – a sun cycle began on the exact morning of exodus from Egypt somewhere between the years 1200-1500 BCE (exact date is disputed).
Much anticipation was evident among the worshippers, men, women and children assembled hours before the big moment. Then, just as the sun became visible to the east, climbing over the Wailing Wall which is the last remaining remnant of the Holy Temple, it triggered great excitement, prayer, dance and song among the crowd.