King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

One thing Jerusalem, Israel does not have is a good view of the sea.

An attempt for a beach in Liberty Bell Park was a poor substitute.

So a trip to the coast and the sea was a welcome treat.

Beach front sign in Hebrew Caesarea port

The sign “The Sea” between palm trees greets visitors to Caesarea coastal park.

Caesarea excavations

Here part of the remains of Herod’s Sebastos Harbor has been exposed.

Roman bath house excavation in Caesarea

But other portions are being worked on carefully by archaeologists.

Visitor Center in Caesarea

The trip was to attend the launch of the new Visitor Center.

Visitor center in Caesarea

Josephus wrote of Herod’s tribute to Caesar in the first century BCE.

Herod the Builder. Herod the Great. Ruler of Judea. Builder of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Builder of the fortress, Masada. Builder of Herodion.

Scene of old port of Herod in Caesarea

Herod built Sebastos to honor Caesar Augusta and the goddess Roma.

In this photograph from the video in the new Visitor Center video, we see his vision.

Image of port Herod built today Caesarea

One scene illustrated the hundreds of boats that came through.

Herod’s building project took ten years to complete. Tons open tons of cement went into rafts sunk, along the coast which had no natural harbor.

Herod or Hordus as he is called in Hebrew began globalization in the region.

From video in visitor center in Caesarea

Caesar Augustus attended the gala opening of the one mile long piers and temple.

Screen shot of video in visitor center of Caesarea of Herod's port

However, this massive building project lay in ruins for 2000 years.

Artifacts found in port of Caesarea

Now, located in one of the fourteen vaults Herod built to support the platform of the temple of Augustus and Roma, the new Caesarea Visitor Center is open to the public.

The once-thriving area was rebuilt and hosted many rulers over the centuries – pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Samaritan.

Roman remains from building of Caesarea by Herod

In the museum, artifacts from various periods are on display.

Caesarea Visitor Center menorah

An ancient menorah was placed next to a modern visual box, hard to catch in a photograph.

Layers of history in Caesarea Israel

Visuals of the past help the visitor to see how the 60-acre site would have looked.

King Herod’s gateway to the Mediterranean Sea was constructed in the 1st century BCE.

Pieces of pottery over the years found in harbor

On display are recovered pottery pieces that span the centuries.

Visitor Center in Caesarea at sunset

This was the outside of the vault of the Caesarea Visitor Center at sunset,

Roman baths in port of Caesarea at harbor

and next to it an area where Roman baths greeted weary seafarers.

Bottles of wine at event to launch Caesarea visitor center

The Caesarea project was funded by the Rothschild Foundation and featured family wine at its launch.

Sunset by the beach of Caesarea

As the sun set, this was as close to the beach as I could get.

Because of the tight security, I was afraid if I left I might not get back in.

Lights go on at launch of Visitor center at Caesarea Isale

The lights went on, the program began.

Woman and man dressed as statutes at nigh event in Caesrea to launch new visitor center

Musicians played and the statues turned. Oh my, they turned out to be live performers.

Israel president Rivlin speaking at launch of visitor center in Caesarea

President Reuven Rivlin arrived after a tour of the new museum and spoke.

President Rivlin and Arianna Rothschild cutting ribbon at new visitor center in Caesarea, Israel

Cutting the ribbon with Baroness Ariana de Rothschild before he headed back to Jerusalem.

Then the party and music really got going.

Perhaps that is why the neighbors were invited along with media and dignitaries?

Fancy ladies loo at launch of Caesarea visitor center.

Though I do not usually take selfies, this outdoor portable toilet fit for royalty needed a photo. Sorry, I cannot share the pleasant smell. This was not your usual portaloo.

The Caesarea harbor is to be once again a major stop for visitors.

I took a short clip from the video, which should be the first stop on a visit to the new Caesarea Visitor Center.

King Herod. King of Judea. Hard to describe in a few words in a blog.

Visitors can now experience parts of his story in Caesarea.

 

Jerusalem after Shavuot – Festival Season

Jerusalem after Shavuot – Festival Season

Oh, time seems to fly in Jerusalem, Israel.

One holiday and major event goes into another on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Day sign in Hebrew

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, with its multiple events, is over.

Only a few leftover signs and flying flags remain.

Rainbow colors for Pride Parade at Jerusalem Israel e First Station with Italian travel bloggers

Italians were here for an international travel bloggers summit and posed in First Station.

They did not realize the colorful shades were for the Jerusalem Pride Parade.

Pride Parade in Jerusalem Israel and religious men say mincha before start

Before the parade began, near the Liberty Bell Park starting point, I saw this group of security personnel gather for afternoon prayers.

Jerusalem American Center lit at night with colorful lights, Gay Pride month

The American Center is still lit with rainbow-colored lights at night.

Learning for Shavuot night in Jerusalem

There were tens of thousands of visitors in Jerusalem for Shavuot. Synagogues and streets were filled day and night. In this photo, you can see a few of the hundreds of lectures and classes offered.

Israel Festival

Though it’s called the Israel Festival, the decades-old festival is held in Jerusalem, in various venues. This year it runs from May 30 to June 15, with enough programs to fill a newspaper supplement.

I want to share one production by the Elad Theatre held at the Museum of Natural History.

Jerusalem Museum of Natural History entracne

This was the main entrance, back in days of the protests to save the Nature Museum. 

Museum of Natural History in Jerusalem in evening

Coming up the stairs from the parking lot near Emek Refaim as the sun was setting, lights were on at the Jerusalem Museum of Natural History.

Jerusalem Museum of Natural History grounds and pond

Was there always a pond on the grounds? For sure there wasn’t special catering.

The Nature Museum was best known for its large live snakes and tortoises.

Israel Festival Elad Theater setting for Romeo and Juliet

But on the grounds this night there was a table set for a banquet dinner. Dining, dancing with live music, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was on the menu for this Israel Festival event.

Israel Festival production of Romeo and Juliet

Here was Juliet on the balcony of the Nature Museum for the Masquerade Ball.

Romeo and Juliet outdoor in garden of Jerusalem Natural History Museum

At the opening scene, the audience donned masks and mingled with the actors. After drinks, the party was getting going with enthused production extras.

Stage for Romeo and Juliet in the garden of Natural History Museum

Romeo and Juliet met at the ball, but the main scenes were held as the audience dined on the catered food and more wine.

Romeo and Juliet in Jerusalem Israel Hebrew adaptation

The actors used the entire area, including on the tables. There were no bad or back row seats. There was interaction with the audience throughout this Hebrew language adaptation of the Bard.

Romeo and Juliet stage in grounds of Jerusalem Natural History Museum

Shakespeare is not routinely taught in Israeli schools. So in case, you do not know the conclusion of this famous story, I will end with one photo of the fight scene.

The location and weather were fabulous.  It was a great production, even if I did not try the food or drink. I hope this is not the last production of this type.

Sign for Tzamid Festival in Jerusalem Israel

But as soon as the Israel Festival is over, Tzamid Festival, Arts without Boundaries, begins.

Design Week at Hansen House at night

Design Week at Hansen House looks to be bigger than ever.

And the annual Shavuah Hasefer, Hebrew Book Week starts tonight at First Station.

Hebrew Book Week at First Station Shavuah Hasefer

I tried to get a photo of the new signs on the other side near the entrance from the parking lot. But an overly conscientious security guard would not let me get close enough after I walked all the way around.

Graduations and end of year performances, an International Freedom of Press Conference at the Jerusalem Press Club and a Camera event on antisemitism in the mainstream media were all happening last night, along with a concert at the Tower of David for the Israel Festival.

"picture Damascus Gate", "pinball photo", "image of Damascus Gate"

And the annual Jerusalem Light Festival is coming soon.

Amazing and diverse things happening on these Jerusalem streets!

More Romeo & Juliet – The Last Supper – photos HERE

 

Nechama Rivlin – Remembered

Nechama Rivlin – Remembered

On Monday, March 11, Nechama Rivlin, z”l,  נחמה בת דרורה – Nechama bat Derora, wife of Israel President Reuven Rivlin, had a single lung transplant at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

On June 5, on what would have been her 74th birthday she was buried in Har Herzl Cemetery.

President Rivlin and his family received condolence calls from all over the country and from world leaders on the passing of his wife.

Beit Hanasi flags at half mast after death of Nechama Rivlin

At the entrance to Beit HaNasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, flags were lowered to half mast.

Jerusalem Theater lobby before funeral of Nechama Rivlin pall bearers bring casket and stand before leaving

Eight pallbearers carried her casket into the Jerusalem Theater.

She loved the theater and the public was invited to come and pay respects.

Jerusalem Theater for funeral of Nechama Rivlin with President REuven Rivlin and family

The President came to the theater at 4:00 pm, surrounded by family and especially supported by a young grandson, before the cortege left for the cemetery.

More than four thousand people from all over the country, of all ages, tribes, and sectors, came to offer their condolences to the President and his family, including government ministers, Knesset members, military and police personnel, heads of various religious and ethnic communities in Israel, ambassadors and cultural and spiritual figures.

 

Nechama Rivlin shiva at Beit Hanasi

Because of the Shavuot holiday, the shiva mourning days were shortened from seven to only two days. Beit Hanasi was open to all those who wished to pay their respects.

Over the holiday weekend, I had time to think back over the past years and the hundreds of photos taken at Beit Hanasi. 

Beit Hanasi Nechama Rivlin at New Year Host

At every event, I had to decide whether or not to post a photo with the oxygen line, as here standing next to the President at a New Year’s Reception for Diplomats at the 2017 Rosh Hashana “raise a glass.

President and Nechama Rivlin at arrival of German President

In June 2015, the Rivlins stood outside of Beit Hanasi during the anthems as the German President made an official visit.

Nechama Rivlin and wife of German president walking into Beit Hanasi holding hands

Both presidents’ wives walked hand and hand down the red carpet. This is one of the few public appearances without portable oxygen in hand.

Dedication of Jerusalem Gazelle Park with Nechama Rivlin

In spite of her medical condition, Nechama Rivlin attended the opening of Gazelle Park.

Jerusalem Gazelle Park Opening Nechama Rivlin speaking

President Rivlin was out of the country and she was the featured speaker.

President Trump at Beit Hanasi Neshcam Rivlin in front row

For diplomatic functions, the main hall gets crowded, none more so than for the visit of US President Trump to Jerusalem, Israel.

Rivlins in Garden at Beith Hanasi during Trump visit to Jerusalem

For the brief trip out to the back garden, Nechama had her oxygen in hand.

Jerusalem Foundation 50 celebration at Beit Hanasi

Here she is seated outside for the Jerusalem Foundation 50th year celebration.

Nechama Rivlin at Beit Hanasi for Jerusalem Foundation

The Rivlins posed on stage for a photo with dignitaries.

Young Musicians with President and Nechama Rivlin at Beit Hanasi

And they also posed with the young musicians who performed.

Nechama Rivlin and grandson at Beit Hanasi ceremony

There were many first-row center seats in the garden for celebrations and performances. This one was memorable as their grandson had a special seat of honor.

The Rivlins hosted Bible study sessions and literary and other awards.

Tu Bishvat seder at Beit Hanasi Nechama Rivlin

They initiated new events for Jewish holidays and sat the head of this seder for Tu Bishvat

Reading to children invited to Beit Hanasi Nechama Rivlin

Nechama Rivlin was the one who hosted groups of children in the garden for Tu Bishvat. 

Nechama Rivlin at Beit Hanasi

Various groups of young students were invited to the back garden.

Children in Beit Hanasi garden for Tu Bishvat and Nechama Rivlin reading

With the Presidential cat supervising, she read to the children.

Beit Hanasi community garden established by Nechama Rivlin

But the main activity was planting for Tu Bishvat in the children’s community garden she initiated.

Tu BeShvat in Beit Hanasi garden Nechama Rivlin planting

In the neglected back corner past the synagogue, an area was cleared and flowers were planted.

The portable oxygen is seen not far away off to the right in this photo.

Child garden in Beit Hanasi with Nechama Rivlin

In 2016, Nechama Rivlin got down with her shovel to plant in the garden  

With the President, she also acted as hostess to lone soldiers, on Sukkot to greet the public or at special events.

After dozens of times at Beit Hanasi, one event still stands out.

Beit Hanasi sign welcoming children to party

This sign in Hebrew across the Beit Hanasi entrance gate read  “With love, Nechama and Ruvi Rivlin,” to welcome the children of police and security personnel

Snack and games for children at Beit Hanasi

There was a special kids menu, with a carnival set up on the grounds.

Nechama Rivlin with her oxygen in garden at Beit Hanasi

As the Rivlins came out of the house and entered the grounds, Nechama Rivlin began by explaining to the children about her portable oxygen.

Performer with children of security personnel at Beit Hanasi

There was entertainment for young children, as age was limited that day for under 8 years old.

Starting in September 2015, a “wave of terror” had their parents on duty 24/7, and families under great stress.

Beit Hanasi party with Nechama Rivlin reading to children

The young guests sat that afternoon in October, as Nechama Rivlin read them a story.

As everyone was entering the main hall there was a loud noise.

For a second you could have heard a feather drop.

But as soon as it was realized a balloon had popped, the noisy chatter began again.

I think this was the first and last time I saw bunches of balloons in Beit Hanasi. 

Nehchama Rivlin entering hall for a ceremony

Nechama Rivlin z’l in spite of her lung disease, supported by loyal young staffers, worked beside her husband from the time his term as President began in July 2014, even traveling overseas.

She shared her love of gardening and literature and theater with young Israelis.

The president and his family were overwhelmed by the great love shown to them throughout Nechama’s illness, and the enormous warmth shown by so many people since her death. The President and his family thanked Beit Yisrael, the Jewish people, with all their hearts. The President and family expressed deep appreciation before the holiday began.

Necjama Rivlin funeral mourning wreathes and candle

Outside the entrance of Beit Hanasi, flowers surrounded the black-draped photo.

I thought it fitting to share these few photographs and conclude with the traditional words to mourners.

המקום ינחם אותם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

May you be comforted by the gates of mourners of Zion and Jerusalem

Link for President’s Eulogy HERE