Shabbat Shalom – Unity

Shabbat Shalom – Unity

The fourth Jerusalem Unity Prizes were awarded in Jerusalem, Israel.

Initiated in memory of three the kidnapped and murdered teenagers,

Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel z”l

the prizes celebrate the unity the families felt in those difficult days.

Instead of one photo for Shabbat shalom greeting, three short video clips from Beit Hanasi,          the Israeli President’s residence, where the ceremony took place in the main hall.

“The Spark of Love” Hebrew lyrics Ehud Banal was sung by Shuli Rand and Guri Alfi.

Birthright participants entered to sing “One Day.”

Hatikvah, the Hope.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom

Out of the Blue, Out of the Box, and Out on the Streets in Jerusalem, Israel

Out of the Blue, Out of the Box, and Out on the Streets in Jerusalem, Israel

Blue. Blue is the color of the week.

Blue is the color for good luck, and many doors and windows in Jerusalem, Israel, are painted blue.

Crayola announced it is looking to name its new special blue crayon.

Bible Lands Museum Israel Out of Blue Exhibit

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem (BLMJ) opened a new exhibit called “Out of the Blue.”

The Hebrew word for blue is not mentioned in the Bible.  However, tekhelet, is mentioned in Biblical literature dozens of times.

Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem Israel

At a special press event before the exhibit officially opened at  BLMJ, there was a demonstration of dyeing tekhelet wool.

Blue takhelet dye turning blue in sun light at Bible Lands Museum demonstration by Ptil Takhelet

Exposure to sunlight and oxidation causes the wool which was dipped into the dye (which is made from the secretions of a gland in one particular snail, the murex trunculus)  to become tekhelet.

Demonstration of blue and purple dyes

This permanent blue dye and the royal purple, are the basics of a new exhibit in honor of Israeli 70th year. A variety of ancient pieces are on display.

Gold and lapis lazuli necklace from South Mesopotamia 2700-2600 BCE

Not bad looking, this blue necklace from South Mesopotamia, dated 2700- 2600 BCE, made of gold and lapis lazuli, a  semi-precious blue stone used by ancient royalty.

Blue and white Israeli flag at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Israel

Rounding out the exhibition is the Israeli flag, modeled on the blue stripes of the talit.

Yad Vashem also opened a new exhibit this week on theme of Israel 70 years. Not blue, but showing the longing for Zion and Jerusalem in letters and memorabilia from the 1930’s of Euroepean Jews yearning to go to Palestine.

Chris Canaan Australia Ambassador pointing to sign with International word wrong

“Thinking Out of the Box” was the theme of a special Science and Technology conference held in Jerusalem. Australian Ambassador Chris Cannan and I walked in at same time. For a photo to post on Twitter I told him not to pose so stiffly. Only later did we realize, that above the big, blue word BOX he was pointing to there was a typo which ran through the printed materials.

First International Minister level Science and Technology Conference in Jerusalem Israel opening reception

Inside the First Station hangar, once your eyes got used to the dark, was the entrance to a cocktail reception.

Demonstration of Jerusalem fusion food, at Science and Technology conference in Jerusalem Israel

At the sit down dinner for hundreds of international guests, the first course was demonstrated and explained by its celebrity chef. No printed menus, so no typos.

List of Nobel Prize winners from Israel

The Ministerial level conference featured Israeli Nobel Prize winners, many who attended the gala opening.

Head table at gala dinner opening of Thinking Out of the Box Science and Technology conference in Jerusalem Israel

This is table #1 as dinner was served.

It was fascinating speaking with science and technology officials from Belarus, Tokyo, and India.

Facebook uploaded videos Israel fourth in world

In one of the video segments, I learned that Israel is ranked number four in world in uploading of videos on to YouTube.

Ovadiah Hamama, sang Ana BeKoach, so of course, I uploaded a video to YouTube.

The “Out of the Box” conference was held at the Orient Hotel and was very exclusive.

The Wolf Prize ceremony at the Knesset, without Sir Paul McCartney, was hardly noticed, photos HERE.

But out on the Jerusalem streets the annual Israel Festival was well under way for all.

Jerusalem Israel Festival Bodies in Urban Spaces

Multiple dance, music and drama performances were held in Jerusalem venues for this cultural festival which is in its 57th year.

But one dance performance by Willi Domer, “Bodies in Urban Spaces” was not only out of the box, but out on the Jerusalem streets, and in phone booths,

Jerusalem Israel Festival Willi Dorner performance

and multiple unusual spaces for photo op stops along the way from the Ticho House to the YMCA.

Israel Festival performance on street

Not all appreciated the creativity and uniqueness of the young Israeli dance troupe from Tel Aviv.

Dancers on King David Street in Bodies in Urban Spaces

The choreographer has done performances in 100 other locations, but this was the first time in Jerusalem, Israel, on King David Street, for this pose.

More unbelievable poses and photos from “Bodies in Urban Spaces” HERE 

Jerusalem Theater

The Jerusalem Theater, with a large blue poster for the Israel Festival, held multiple music and dance events as usual, which ran from May 23 to June 9.

Jerusalem Israel Festival Ping Pong at Jerusalem Theater

Out of the box? Ping Pong was in the plaza in front of the theater.


Islamic Museum Hamsa exhibit Jerusalem Israel

Across the street, at the Islamic Museum a new exhibit opened. A big blue Khamsa or Hamsa, was outside on the wall, while hundreds are on display inside.

For the Muslim holiday month of Ramadan at the National Library, on display were rare copies of the Qu’ran and rare Islamic treasures.


Sign for stamp show in Jerusalem International Conference Center

Phew. Not enough yet? There was the international stamp exhibition last week too, and admission was free.

Jerusalem street signs for child care in summer

In Jerusalem, as soon as June comes around, it is time to worry about summer programs for children who will be out of school soon.

End of school year celebration in Gan Sacher Jerusalem Israel

For older students, there is an all night end-of-school year Summer Rave party in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, with a huge stage, several bands and lots of beer.  It means less sleep for many tonight.

Wedding in Jerusalem, Israel evening at Mount Zion Hotel

However, after a busy day there is nothing more pleasant than to attend a beautiful June wedding in Jerusalem as the sun sets.

Takhelet wine at Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem Israel

Unless it is with a bottle of special blue label wine.





Shomron Tour: 7 Stops Over Green Line

Shomron Tour: 7 Stops Over Green Line

Once in while it is good to leave Jerusalem, Israel, and see what is happening in other parts of the country.

An opportunity for a trip to the Shomron was hard to pass up. Three times previously, I joined various groups going over the green line to Judea and Samaria, to the Shomron. I was interested to see how things have changed. Often those who travel a regular route do not notice change as much as one who only goes by occasionally.

Arab houses being built along road outside of Jerusalem Israel

Leaving Jerusalem, one sees how much construction is happening, how built up some areas are today. Above are a few of new Arab houses along the road.

King of Jordan Palace on top of hill near Jerusalem Israel

Neighborhoods stretch out with new dwellings. In the distance, however, is one undeveloped area.

View outside of Jerusalem, Israel unfinished palace King of Jordan

There it is up on the hill, still the same as it was decades ago. The shell of the King of Jordan’s planned summer palace. No one seems to want to touch those dunams of land.

Shomron trip new construction of Leshem

But new Jewish neighborhoods are also under construction, Leshem is a planned and growing community.

Outside of Jerusalem, Israel cattle grazing along side of road

One thing has not changed, along the road one still see piles of junked cars in Arab neighborhoods.

By the Oslo Accords, Judea and Samaria was divided into three areas: Area A, B and C.

To make something extremely complicated  simplified:

Area A is under PA control. B is under PA governance with Israeli security. C is under Israeli control.

Israel Lookout from high elevation can see in all directions

First stop was Pedu’el. From המרפסת של המדינה, HaMirpeset Shel HaMedina, loosely translated as Israel’s Lookout, on a clear day one can see, well almost forever, to the sea. It is one of those spots where one realizes just how small Israel really is.

Fabrics to be recycled in Ofertex factory in Shomron Barkan Industrial park

Ever wonder where those old stained clothes and seconds of wipes end up?

Second stop was at Ofertex manufacturing plant in Barkan Industrial Park.

Spinning threads into recycled fabrics in Barkan Industrial Park factory

I wrote about a visit to Barkan Industrial Park  two years ago. While SodaStream got the media attention, dozens of companies are based in the region. This one recycles fabrics to make cleaning cloths, repackaged under private labels for Walmart, Dollar Stores and European clients too. Oftertex was started by Polish survivors who came to Israel in 1950. Fourth generation owners of this private company employ 120 people. Of the 100 Arab workers, some are third generation employees. Israeli companies pay over three times average PA salaries, plus have better working conditions and benefits.

Industrial park in Shomron, Israel over green line

Thousands of Arab workers are hurt if BDS boycott’s are effective, if production slows or a business is forced to close or relocate.

Security barriers to protect those waiting for bus in Shomron

Back on the road, we passed a memorial to one of too many Israelis who were murdered by terrorists at this bus stop.

Itamar view of part of town

Third Stop was in Itamar, which I had passed on previous trips, but never entered. I had not realized how large and spread out it was.

Shomron, Itamar houses from afar.

A few of Itamar homes in the distance, as seen from Zimerman Farm where we heard the story of Zimerman Family’s pioneering in organic farming.

Itamar view from Zimerman Farms.

Looking out, one sees how getting into Itamar is not so easy, and requires planning. I could not help thinking of the Fogel family as I stood and stared out.

Two Israeli soldiers on watch in cement security in Shomron road

We passed Israeli soldiers standing guard on the road in a cement shelter for protection.

Red signs at road to Arab villages in Shomron forbidding Israelis to enter

And those red warning signs, telling Israelis not to enter PA territory, were posted at the Arab villages of Area A.

Har Bracha, Blessed Mountain, view below

The view on the way to Stop Four on Har Bracha, Blessed Mountain, is worth sharing, even if it was hazy that day.

Har Bracha wine bottles on display for tasting.

Wine tasting with lunch at Har Bracha, demonstrated the quality wines coming from vineyards planted in the once barren land, now producing 50,000 bottles a year.

View of Nablus from lookout above Shechem

My first visit to Shehem, Nablus, inspired an Israellycool post.  Finding Yosef’s Tomb from the safety of the lookout on Mount Gerizim was harder this time.

View of Nablus from lookout above, closest Israeli access to Josef's Tomb

Stop Five showed “the refugee camp” which is still the same cramped, pathetic photo op, as the areas around have grown and sprawled outward in all directions.

Factory owned by Samaritan family having problems selling to EU

A Tahini Factory near the overlook was Stop Six. The owner Yosef HaCohen shared his story of being a Samaritan businessman. Not Jewish. not Muslim. His children are in the school system under PA, and Har Bracha Tahini is trying to do business in Europe, not so easy for a company located in the “West Bank.”

Oven on street preparing food for iftr Ramadan meal

A trip through the Shomron on Ramadan, when Muslims fast all day, and eat after dark, means food places are shut in the morning, but fires get going in late afternoon.

Internet project shows Arab names of towns which were Jewish, used same names

On our last stop before returning to Jerusalem, Michal Eshel shared her Eretz IL research. She has found sources for hundreds of locations with Arab names that were built on top of Jewish sites, where the Hebrew source names were used and translated to Arabic.

Memorial wall in Shomron for fallen

Near the Shomron Community Council building where Eshel shared her power point presentation, is this memorial plaza.

Police checking cars near Ramallah after IDF soldier was mortally wounded

Our bus was stopped by police not far from Ramallah on our return to Jerusalem. Traffic was backed up the other way. We had heard a soldier had been critically wounded.  The police were checking cars, looking for someone. Sadly the young soldier died from his head wound.

The Shomron’s “checkerboard of governance” is complicated. Seven stops on a day trip are like a drop in the bucket. One blog post only provides a small piece of the picture..

Land in Shomron seen from Itamar

I thought to close with a bit of the view overlooking Itamar in the Shomron.

More photos from day can be seen HERE

Interested ro see for yourself? Let me know and I will introduce you to those who want to share the beauty of Eretz Yisrael.