Israel, Syria and The Bible~Part 2 of 12

Part 2 of 12~6,000 Years of History
* Links to All 12 Parts: 

A Celebration in Jerusalem’s Old City

Jerusalem is a large city, boasting approximately 840,000 residents~and then there are the tourists! Although there are many sites to see, the most popular is of course the Old City and within that, the Kotel or Western Wall.
When Herod was made king in Jerusalem he began a huge renovation of the Temple Mount, that consisted of flattening the peak and building four supporting walls around it. The western support wall is what we now know as the Kotel, Western Wall or Wailing Wall. It’s uniqueness is due to the fact of its close proximity to the Holy of Holies in the former Temple. For Jews, this is their Holiest site.

Every day you will see men and women praying in the plaza that extends from the wall. There are also public prayers on the High Holy Days, and Jews from around the world come to the Wall to celebrate weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs (coming of age) and other Simchas (celebrations).

In the video below, our Vistas crew were in the Old City when they came across a parade of people. They were singing and dancing their way through the streets to the Western Wall. The celebration was for a Bar Mitzva. You can see the young boy walking under a Chupah (a cloth, usually a prayer shawl, tied to four poles carried by friends or family). Everyone, young and old, joins the celebration!

Life in Israel is Filled With Joy !

Praying At The Kotel

Our crew have been busy filming around the country for many weeks now. At the end of June, while in the Old City of Jerusalem they stopped by the Kotel (Wailing Wall or Western Wall) and spotted a Minyan at their Shakarit (morning) prayer service next to the Wall. The readings take place on Shabbats, Mondays, and Thursdays. On Jewish holidays, Rosh Chodesh, and fast days, special sections connected to the day are read. The beautiful, eleaborately decorated covers that “house” the Torah Scrolls are very typical of Sephardi communities~if you are able to see one at close quarters it will take your breath away .
In this brief clip, the men have on their Tefillin and Tallit and raise the Torah Scroll (Hagbahah) before the Haftorah (selections from the books of Nevi’im “Prophets” of the Hebrew Bible “Tanach”). Of course, customs vary around the world, from one community to another, but from the sages we learn the following:
“When the Torah scroll (is about to be read) he rolls out the scroll to show three columns, raises it and shows the people standing to his right and to his left, and then turns it forward and backwards, for it is a mitzvah for all the men and women to see the writing and say while bowing, V’zot HaTorah:

And this is the Torah which Moses placed before the Children of Israel’…Deuteronomy 4:44; and 
“The Torah of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul”…Psalm 19:8*
*The second verse is (generally) no longer said. The information provided is for “general knowledge”. The customs vary depending on many things, such as residing inside Israel or in other countries, and the traditions of the community, and strictness of observance.
If you come to Jerusalem, we encourage you to pay a visit to the Kotel and observe the various Minyans at prayer. Meanwhile as we enter into the weekend and the Holiest day of the week~Saturday (Shabbat) for Jews, and Sunday for Christian believers~here is a short clip to set the mood…Shabbat Shalom to All!


Raising the Torah Scroll~Hagbahah (Lifting)

The Legal Foundation & Borders of Israel…

This week Israel lost a dedicated advocate,  Attorney Howard Grief (19 April 1940~03June 2013)
For everyone who takes an interest in issues concerning Jewish rights in the Land of Israel, and Jewish sovereignty, this is a name you should be aware of. 
Howard Grief was born and educated in Canada. He then immigrated to Israel in 1989 and was admitted to the Israel Bar Association in 1991. In December of that same year he was formally appointed as legal adviser in International Law on matters pertaining to the Land of Israel by Yuval Ne’eman, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure in the Yitzhak Shamir Government. 
Author of the book “The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law”, Howard Grief worked tirelessly to prove the legal case for Israel under International Law. His work provides an enormous amount of historical and legal information and perspective. Below is an interview with Attorney Howard Grief and and Dag Juliussen of ICEJ Norway. Do take time to listen and learn~Israel, under International Law is not an “occupier” and is indeed entitled to her lands…
Howard Grief Interview~Israel Under International Law

Where is Your Brother…Genesis 4:9

A French priest, Father Patrick Desbois  has been crisscrossing the countryside of Eastern Europe to locate the hidden mass graves of Jews killed during the Holocaust. To date, he and his team have identified 800 of an estimated 2,000 unidentified sites.
Holocaust Remembrance Day usually calls attention to the infamous death camps~Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau~the main centers of killing. What is often forgotten is that approximately 1.5 million Jews in the Soviet Union were slaughtered by Nazi mobile killing units, or Einsatzgruppen. Almost all those killed were civilians and in fact included people from all walks of life ranging from the intelligentsia to political commissars to gypsies. Shot to death (and sometimes buried alive), their bodies were unceremoniously piled in mass graves that have remained unmentioned and untouched for decades.
These “unknown dead” would have remained so, if not for the efforts of Father Desbois and his organization Yahad-In Unum (YIU) (founded in Paris in 2004 by leaders in the French Catholic and Jewish communities). He says, that as a clergyman, his role is not to judge…

Do watch the two clips below. The first is a report on Father Desbois, and in the second Father Debois gives a tour of his amazing exhibition “Shoah by Bullets: Mass shootings of Jews in Ukraine 1941–1944”. Words cannot describe what has been uncovered…

Report on Father Desbois…May He Be Blessed
Shoah by Bullets: Mass shootings of Jews in Ukraine 1941–1944
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