Rosh HaShana 2018

The following video is from the Western Wall, sometimes identified as the Wailing Wall. The Western Wall is considered by many Jews to be the among the holiest places in the world because of it’s proximity to the last temple. The Western Wall itself was not part of the Temple, rather it is a retaining wall that supports the platform upon which the Temple stood.

It is tradition for Jews to gather at the Western Wall to celebrate Rosh HaShana, or the Jewish New Year.

What Happens to Those Papers?

These papers are prayers inserted into the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

These papers are prayers inserted into the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

After visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, many visitors wonder about those papers they see stuffed into the wall. Those papers are generally the written prayers that people hope God notices. If that’s the case what happens to them? Are they simply left there forever?

“Each year millions of notes are placed among the stones by Jewish and non-Jewish worshipers from Israel and abroad, including notes sent via the website of the Western Wall, fax and mail.”

Arutz-7 (Israel National News) published an article that answers that question. Read the full article and see the video at the link above.

Holy Sepulchre Closed for 2nd Day

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a regular tourist stop for most Christians visiting Jerusalem, has been closed for two days (from noon Sunday through Monday, so far) in protest of the Israeli government’s claim that the Church owes several million dollars in tax debt. The leaders of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer opted to close their church building to tourists on Monday in solidarity.

The government insists it is not taxing church activities, which have historically been exempt from taxes. What is in dispute is whether church properties that are commercial and not specifically for religious use should be taxed. The government says yes. The church says no. Jerusalem’s mayor claims the tax debt is 650 million shekels, which is over $186,000,000.

At the time of this writing, church officials remain uncertain how long the church will be closed to tourists.

See the Arutz-7 article here and the ABCNews article here.

Priests pray at the Thirteenth Station of the Cross: The Stone of Anointment in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: ©2006 Craig A. Dunning)

Priests pray at the Thirteenth Station of the Cross: The Stone of Anointment in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: ©2006 Craig A. Dunning)

Jerusalem Aquarium

Photo Credit: http://touchpointisrael.com

Photo Credit: http://touchpointisrael.com

According to a report by Abigail Klein Leichman, a national aquarium is set to open in Jerusalem this fall. The exhibit, designed by Raviv-Tal Environmental Architecture of Haifa, cost $25 million and is located on five acres next to the Jerusalem Zoo.

See Ms. Leichman’s article and photos here.

 

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017

From sundown April 23 until sundown April 24, 2017, Israel will observe Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). During this time, the nation turns their attention toward the six million Jews who were killed at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices. All forms of public entertainment close and a solemnity falls over the nation.

The photo collection of victims of the holocaust. Photo: ©2017 Craig Dunning

The Hall of Names at Yad VeShem in Jerusalem. Photo: ©2017 Craig Dunning

No cemeteries, no headstones, no traces were left to mark the loss of the six million Holocaust victims. The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each Jew murdered in the Holocaust – a place where they are commemorated for generations to come.

No tour of Israel is complete without a visit to Yad VeShem. Make sure that your group leader requests that Yad VeShem is included in your itinerary.