Israel 2015:- The Tel Aviv Museum of Art…

From the 'She & he' series...

From the ‘She & he’ series…

One of the places Eileen and I must visit each year is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art which is one of Israel’s leading artistic and cultural institutions. The museum was founded in 1932 by the first Mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, in his private home on Rothschild Boulevard. Since then, it has changed locations and developed significantly. The museum’s collection, which originally comprised only a few dozen items, has grown steadily – in great part through generous donations by collectors and artists, and thanks to the dedication and support of the museum’s local and international committees and friends.

Tel Aviv as seen thru the shades on one of the museum's windows..

Tel Aviv as seen thru the shades on one of the museum’s windows..

The museum is currently situated in three main buildings: The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, built in the heart of the city in 1959, was the museum’s home for twelve years and today features mainly temporary exhibitions; the Main Building opened in 1971; and adjacent to it is the new Herta and Paul Amir Building which opened in the Fall of 2011,  This building, my personal favorite, was Designed by American architect Preston Scott Cohen.This building is an international landmark at the center of Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural capital.

Images from our visit follow in the slideshow below. I hope you enjoy.

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One of the personal projects I have been working on is the She & he… series’ that I have been posting on Facebook. Some of the images to be included were taken at the museum…

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Eileen and I would love to share this experience, and many others, on your next visit to Israel…C’mon down!

Israel 2015:- ‘Jewish Boys Gone Wild’…

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Purim is the one Jewish holiday where folks are allowed to have a good time, dress up in costumes if you like, and go have a drink or ten. Boys in their teens take full advantage of this day. In Bene Baraq, they got ‘happy‘ rowdy and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I’m sure they might regret it the following morning.

Enjoy the images of ‘Jewish Boys Gone Wild!‘.

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Israel 2015:- Bnei Brak (Bene Beraq) Celebrates Purim…

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Bnei Brak

Bnei Brak (or Bene Beraq) is a city located on Israel’s central Mediterranean coastal plain, just east of Tel Aviv. Bnei Brak is a center of Ultra Orthodox Judaism. Bnei Brak is the 10th largest city in Israel. It is one of the poorest and most densely populated cities in Israel. According to figures by the municipality of Bnei Brak, the city has a population of over 181,000 residents, the majority of whom are Haredi Jews.

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Haredi Judaism is a stream of Orthodox Judaism characterized by rejection of modern secular culture. Its members are often referred to as strictly Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox in English. Haredim regard themselves as the most religiously authentic group of Jews although this is contested by other ultra-Orthodox groups. In contrast to Modern Orthodox Judaism, which turned to modernity, the approach of the Haredim was to maintain a steadfast adherence to Jewish religious law by segregating itself from modern society.

Their communities are primarily found in Israel, North America and Western Europe. During the Holocaust, their numbers were devastated, with whole communities wiped out. Their estimated global population currently numbers 1.3–1.5 million and due to a virtual absence of interfaith marriage and a high birth rate, their numbers are growing rapidly.

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Haredi life, like Orthodox Jewish life in general, is very family-centered. Boys and girls attend separate schools and proceed to higher Torah study, in a yeshiva or seminary respectively, starting anywhere between the ages of 13 and 18. A significant proportion of young men remain in yeshiva until their marriage. After marriage, many Haredi men continue their Torah studies in a kollel. Studying in secular institutions is discouraged.  In the United States and Europe, the majority of Haredi males are active in the workforce. For various reasons, in Israel, around half of their members do not work, and most of those who do are not officially a part of the workforce. Families are usually large, reflecting adherence to the biblical commandment “Be fruitful and multiply”.

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Haredi Jews are typically opposed to the viewing of television and films, and the reading of secular newspapers and books. There has been a strong campaign against the Internet and internet-enabled mobile phones without filters have also been banned by many leading rabbis. In May 2012, 40,000 Haredim gathered at Citi Field, to discuss the dangers of unfiltered Internet. Internet has been allowed for business purposes so long as filters are installed.

Purim in Bnei Braq

On Purim, Eileen and I along with our friends Ariiet and Ilana visited Bnei Braq. The streets were crowded with revelers, and, for one day only, the Haredim were able to ‘let go’ and celebrate the holiday. Images from the day follow below:-

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To be continued…

 

Israel 2015:- Purim in Bene Baraq…

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What Is Purim?

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire (Iran today) where a plot had been formed to destroy them. The story is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.

According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier ( a high official in certain Muslim countries), planned to kill all the Jews in the empire, but his plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther, who had risen to become Queen of Persia. The day of deliverance became a day of feasting and rejoicing.

Based on the conclusions of the Scroll of Esther: “that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” Purim is therefore celebrated among Jews by:

-Exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink known as mishloach manot
-Donating charity to the poor known as mattanot la-evyonim
-Eating a celebratory meal known as a se’udat Purim
-Public recitation (“reading of the megillah”) of the Scroll of Esther, usually in synagogue

Other customs include drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverage, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration.

Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day following the victory of the Jews over their enemies. In this post I will share some images of the children celebrating Purim in Bene Baraq, an ultra-orthodox community near Tel Aviv.

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To be continued…

Israel 2015:- Herodian National Park (Herodium)…

Aerial view of Herodium...

Aerial view of Herodium…

Herodium is a cone-shaped hill, located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Jerusalem and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast of Bethlehem, in the Judean desert (the West Bank). Herod the Great built a fortress, a palace, and a small town in Herodium, between 23 and 15 BCE, and is believed to have been buried there.

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Herodium is located just inside the border with Israel and Palestine…

Herodium is the only site that is named after King Herod the Great. It was known by the Crusaders as the “Mountain of Franks”. Arab locals call it Jabal al-Fourdis (“Mountain of Paradise”).

View from Herodium...

View from Herodium…

Below is a slideshow showing what remains of Herod’s castle and the village surrounding it.

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Israel 2015:- Palestine…

Relaxing in Hedrodian National Park...

Relaxing in Hedrodian National Park…

Eileen and I recently visited Herodian National Park which contains the relics of one of King Herod’s castles in Israel. Little did we know that the park was located in Palestine (the Occupied Territories). I think if Eileen realized where it was located we never would have visited.

We first realized that we were entering Palestine was at the border checkpoint we had to go through both in entering and leaving the area. (Was that a tremor I see Eileen?)

Border crossing into and out of Palestine...

Border crossing into and out of Palestine…

The road we traveled on to reach the park was several miles long and was in excellent condition. All of the crossing roads had these ‘warning signs’ at the intersections.

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From our car we could view many Arab villages, but were not allowed to enter.

Arab village in Palestine...

Arab village in Palestine…

Once in the park we felt very safe  with the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) guarding us (he says tongue in cheek)…

IDF in Herodian National Park...

IDF in Herodian National Park…

After taking the above image I turned around and found this plaque. Another dose of reality here.

In Memory of David Ross Rosenfeld...

In Memory of David Ross Rosenfeld…

Such is life, but I love it here! When you visit you’ll understand.

The next blog will take you through ancient history and the Palace of King Herod…

Israel 2015:- Tel Afek (Antipatris)…

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Eileen and I recently visited Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park. The park is about a half hour drive from where we live in Herzliya and is located east of Tel Aviv.

The Ottoman Fortress, Binar Bashi, was built in 1571 on the top of the ancient mound of Tel Afek. A “Tel” is actually a specific archaeological feature which is very common in Israel, a place that has been inhabited by people for thousands and thousands of years. Basically a “Tel” is a mound underneath which lay the ruins of previous settlements that once stood on the same spot.

On the eastern slope of the Tel is the British Mandate pumping station, from which water from the Yarkon spring was once channeled to Jerusalem.

Inside the pumping station in Tel Afek...

Inside the pumping station in Tel Afek…

On our way out of the park we drove past a parking lot outside the Rosh H’Yam railroad station and found this interesting scene…

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Israel continues to surprise me in oh so many ways!