Israeli cities have been celebrating the world-wide completion of Daf Yomi (a page a day) study of the Talmud. The program takes 7.5 years. Thousands attended the Siyum HaShas (end of Talmud) ceremony at Jerusalem’s International Conference Center.
The birthday of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, father of modern spoken Hebrew, is also Hebrew Language Day in Israel. This year, on 16th Jan, the Academy of the Hebrew Language, together with Tnuva, have printed groups of Hebrew words on the side of milk cartons.
The charity Lone Soldier Center caters for the physical and social needs of around 7,000 IDF soldiers who came to Israel without their parents. It had been operating a Jerusalem club in the basement in Yafo Street. It now moves to much larger premises, able to host many more for Shabbat meals.
Israel’s Northern city of Safed (Tzfat) and its cobbled alleyways have been the center of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah since the 16th century. Modern technology, however, has finally caught up with it, as its popularity with tourists has resulted in an upgrade to its roads and its first traffic light.
A 19-year-old US tourist discovered that Israeli bus drivers are sometimes too keen to keep to the timetable. He was trapped inside the luggage compartment whilst extracting his suitcase. As the bus drove off, he phoned the police who tracked him by GPS and rescued him unharmed after 20 minutes.
During the festival of Chanukah, many Jewish children receive chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Israeli archaeologists discovered a 1,200-year-old hoard of real gold coins during excavations in Yavneh, plus twenty 2,000-year-old coins at the site of the Biblical tabernacle in Shiloh.
A rare 2000-year-old stone measuring table was recently discovered on the Pilgrims’ Path in Jerusalem’s City of David. Archaeologists have dated it from the Second Temple period, located in Jerusalem’s ancient square, inside the city’s central market.
Another “best of” 2019 article this time focusing on the most important archaeological discoveries in Israel over the past year. They include the ‘Ikkar Ben Matanyahu’ and Adoniyahu seals. Goliath’s city, the Pilgrim’s Path, 5th century synagogue mosaics, a 7000-year-old sea wall and Biblical beer.
Between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, 20,000 plants are cultivated on the 2-acre Balm of Gilead Farm. They include species mentioned in the Bible, such as frankincense trees and myrrh bushes. Many of these plants were lost to the Holy Land for centuries and are now beginning to flourish again.
Fascinating history of Mordechai Ben-Porat, whose leadership of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah resulted in the rescue of 130,000 Iraqi Jews and their journey to Israel. He later became a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament; and he founded the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center.