Author Archives: Elisa

Jaffa might be best known for the story of Jonah but this ancient seaside city possesses a striking backdrop for the modern story of how Jews and Arabs live together.

On this special two and a half hour walking tour participants weave through the ancient and modern city beginning with Jaffa’s connection to the mythical story of Andromeda as well as the story of Jonah.

Guided by both a Jewish and Muslim guide specialists participants enjoy two different perspectives on modern life in this very ancient of cities. Our Moslem guide, Ehab, led us on the first half of the tour, providing his personal insight on Jaffa’s large Moslem population which has had a presence in Jaffa for hundreds of years. We learned a bit about life under Ottoman rule as well as Ottoman architecture which remains quite prevalent today. The most fascinating aspect of the tour was the visit to one Jaffa’s most prominent mosques situated off a small alleyway near the ancient walls to the Old City. We entered through a huge door into an extraordinary landscaped compound surrounding a beautiful courtyard designed with archways and stone excavated from a quarry near Jerusalem.

Jaffa orange pit in the artist's colony

Jaffa orange pit in the artist’s colony

Doors in Jaffa

Doors in Jaffa

After removing our shoes we entered the large prayer room constructed with an ornate domed ceiling containing handpainted designs with beautiful detail. Each corner of the room portrays various colorful motifs symbolic of many of Islam’s  prophets, several of whom are Old Testament figures of importance to Judaism and Christianity.

Our guide educated us as to some of the traditions and beliefs related to prayer and the Koran. He also provided an insightful overview of Moslem culture in Jaffa and the different mosques in Jaffa (there are a total of eight – fiver of which are moderate, dialogue seeking and focused on co-existence while three are more extreme.) He explained how every Iman is free to preach as he wishes as opposed to in Saudi Arabia where the government tells the clergy what they must preach.

After a 20 minute question and answer session the tour continued with a Jewish guide who led us to the new deck overlooking the sea and Tel Aviv then back through the alleys with a quick stop at the famed family owned Abulafiya bakery (recently opened in England) to taste this famous family’s renowned ‘bagela’.

We later toured the artists colony and its unique hanging orange pit and tree and continued through the old city past the archaeological site over to the lookout point over the old City. Throughtout this part of the tour we learn about the evolution of the new city – both Tel Aviv and Jaffa and we also saw remains from the numerous civilizations that lived in Jaffa before. The program concluded with a visit to the Church of St. Peter, one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Christians.

Touring the artist's colony in Jaffa

Touring the artist’s colony in Jaffa

The tour is substantial in its content and depth and allows participants ample opportunity to learn about the different cultures and provides them a vision of Jaffa through a much wider lens. What’s very unique is the fact that you see and feel the diversity of people and the extraordinary beauty that this diversity brings to such a historical and densely populated area. People walk away awed by the beauty, and appreciation of the people and the city.

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Categories: Culture, Muslim

Masterchef Tom Franz hosts "Taste of Israel" with Breaking Bread Journeys

Breaking Bread Journey co-founders Elisa Moed and Christina Samara

Breaking Bread Journey co-founders Elisa Moed and Christina Samara

Israel’s ‘Masterchef’ winner, Tom Franz, recently hosted a  television series entitled “A Taste of Israel” which was shown on German and French public television. The series takes viewers on a culinary journey through parts of Israel and features a segment where Breaking Bread Journeys takes Tom into the Palestinian Territories.  The series can be viewed at this link.

 

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Categories: Culture, Food

An Afternoon in Wadi A'ra

For those interested in learning more about the Israeli Arab narrative and afternoon in Wadi Ar’a is a must. Our most recent delicious home hospitality visit at the home of Amna in Kfar Qara offered a very engaging opportunity to learn about the the life and role of tradition Arab Moslem women in society.

Amna was introduced to us through the Wadi Ara’sa “Marvad Yarok” initiative, a non-profit organization established in 2007. The project is a joint venture of Arabs and Jews, volunteers and local tours entrepreneurs that joined together to promote local tourism to build trust and dialogue between cultures.

On this particular tour, we traveled to the  home in of Amna in Kfar Ka’raa. Amna is the head of an AMUTA called “lmanech l’moda’ot” – which seeks to empower Arab women in the Wadi Ara area by teaching them how to enhance their economic livelihood by utilizing their domestic skills and hosting tourist groups.

Lunch at Amna's

Lunch at Amna’s

Our Two Eyes group having lunch at Amna's home

Our Two Eyes group having lunch at Amna’s home

An extraordinary story teller, Amna talked about her upbringing in a traditional Moslem household as the only daughter in a household of boys. She discussed in detail how she was expected to focus on the home and the associated duties and traditions that are typical of a traditional Moslem family including an appropriate home arranged marriage. Amna, however, is an extremely independent thinker and  ultimately found herself drawn outside her village where she would eventually engage with similarly independent Israeli Jewish women and ultimately become involved in coexistence work. She became active  in a non profit association focused on peacebuilding. The Knesset named her one of the top 10 most influential women in the country.

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Categories: Culture, Muslim

Southern Israel and Gaza border tour

Not typically on any tourist route, our new “Life on the Front Line” program focuses on the history of the southern Israel region and its changing borders in context to the reality of life on the ground since Israel’s independence in 1948. The day included a visit to a new museum documenting Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza strip in 2005, a visit to Sderot to see the concrete reinforced playground that doubles as a bomb shelter and to tour Israels southernmost agricultural community lying right on Gaza’s northern border to meet with residents, see where the tunnels were discovered and destroyed and to participate in a colorful peace project.

The  new museum situated in Nitzan tells the story of  the withdrawl of the 8,600 residents who settled in the aftermath of the 1967 war, in   21 different communities within the Gaza Strip. From 1967 to 2005, the Israel Defense Forces controlled the Gaza Strip, and the Jewish settlements there became known as Gush Katif. In the summer of 2005, Israel carried out a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip  removing all the Jewish settlements in the region. Through film footage we heard the personal stories stories of the many families that left their homes through difficult   film footage documenting how the army prepared the soldiers for the removal of these residents. The documentary also presented   footage of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s announcing his decision to disengage, the Knesset vote in favor, and the heartbreaking scenes of young soldiers removing Israeli mothers and their children from their homes . The army had handed out cardboard boxes   each family to pack up their belongings and we sat on these same boxes as we watched the footage.

In Sderot we met with Odelia, a local leader of an non profit organization Afikim B’Negev,  that moves families from outside the area to Sderot in order to strengthen the disadvantaged populations of single families, Holocaust survivors and victims of terror,that are so prevalent within this border community.   Odelia, discusses life in Sderot including the trauma of her own six year old son who will not go to the bathroom alone because living in Sderot you have only 15 seconds to find shelter.

Sderot’s protected playground features a  cylindrical caterpillar-looking creatures enabling kids to play within its protected walls.

Area where tunnel was discovered coming into Israel from Gaza

Area where tunnel was discovered coming into Israel from Gaza

 

Caterpillar bomb shelter at the Sderot playground

Caterpillar bomb shelter at the Sderot playground

We also saw the collection of missiles and shrapnel on display in the local police station, with each item dated.

Pieces of missiles and shrapnel collected on display in Sderot

Pieces of missiles and shrapnel collected on display in Sderot

Next we visited the agricultural community of Netiv Ha’asara which likes on the sand dunes the divide Israel from the Gaza Strip. Like everything else we visit on this day, Netiv Ha’asara is located within the internationally recognized boundaries of Israel. A nine-foot concrete wall separates Gaza from Israel 200 meters south of   of Netiv Ha’asara.

Standing at the southern edge of the moshav, we not only saw the many greenhouses where members grow tomatoes and flowers and other fruits and vegetables, the Erez Crossing, a pedestrian/cargo terminal on the border; but also the now destroyed entrance to an uncovered tunnel that was dug 75 meters underground, wide enough for a tank, and destroyed in last summer’s war.

Area where tunnel was discovered coming into Israel from Gaza

Area where tunnel was discovered coming into Israel from Gaza

We learned about the challenges of raising children in a community seeking to live life normally but yet one that unfortunately claims the title for more deadly mortar fire and missile activity than any other community in Israel. Each home in the community sustained some sort of damage during last summers war. Our local guide, Hila, explains that its not really about Hamas wanting to take over Israel, but rather, “they just want to break our spirit”.  She explained how a couple years ago a missile landed inside the moshav on the first day of school in September. On the missile it was written “Shalom Kita Aleph” or “welcome to first grade”.

Nevertheless, residents are hopeful as exemplified by the young families joining the community and 68 new units under construction.   A local artist created an inspirational mural along the interior separation wall (constructed in order to protect the homes on the southern side of the community from mortars and missiles fired from the Gaza Strip). Dubbed the “peace wall” the art project has   attracted moshav members, Israelis and tourists alike who come to write a message of peace on the back of colorful mosaic tile and affix it to the wall. Another  area of the wall which faces Gaza will soon be adorned with another mural that says “Salaam”, which in Arabic means “peace”. Why? According to the artist “we want them to see that we want peace”.

There were so many themes running thru this day –   Israel’s demonstrated  willingness to give up settlements for peace, the unfortunate reality of day to day life in the south where occasional missiles and mortars are launched by Hamas from Gaza. But what really stood out the most – was the strength of the people and the importance of commitment to their community and the still strong hope and belief in peace.

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One day - Three Cultures: Nablus, Mt. Gerazim and Har Bracha

One of our favorite groups, Ecclesia Church has returned to the country for another two Breaking Bread Journeys bringing with them over 40 people to experience the many fascinating cultures present in the Holy Land. Day 1 of their tour took them into Nablus to visit Jacobs Well, a tasting tour led by local women, a scrumptous lunch with the local Iman,  knafe, henna and more. Then they visited the Samaritans on top of Mt. Gerazim and enjoyed wine tasting at a boutique Jewish winery in the neighboring settlement.

Read about it all and see the phenomenal photos in this blog by famed photographer, Kirby Trapoliino.  (more…)

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Categories: Tours

Summer to sizzle at the Jerusalem Season of Culture

For five years, the Jerusalem Season of culture has been ushering in an assortment of creative events emanating straight from Jerusalem.

This summers program is expected to build on the very complex, and uniquely artistic and cultural backdrop of Jerusalem in all its complexity ad color. A number of fantastic events are schedule throughout the summer and Breaking Bread Journeys highly recommends that if you want to truly taste Jerusalem in all its glory, make sure to participate in one of these upcoming events.

In-House Festival: July 27-31

The In-House Festival will explore the meaning of “home” in public spaces. In the project HaKol Galui, for example, we will invite participants (in collaboration with the architectural department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design) to a fascinating sound work among the abandoned homes of the Lifta village where Palestinians lived before being replaced by immigrants from Yemen and Kurdistan. Today the area is mainly frequented by ultra-orthodox men who come to swim in the natural springs, homeless people who are looking for a broken roof over their heads, and property sharks. Renana Raz will re-examine the hearing concerning a complaint against the teacher Adam Verete that was posted on Facebook by one of his students. This pivotal event, which raised questions about the limits of democracy, the status of the educator and whether or not freedom of speech really exists, is treated to some fascinating and extraordinary artistic therapy which will take place in The Israeli Democracy Institute.

Contact Point: August 6  (We love this!)

A magical night of art and people at the Israel Museum will bring dozens of artists together to present a number of contact points produced especially for the 50th jubilee year, including the “The Exhibition of Exhibitions that Never Were” in which we will reveal the exhibitions that were not staged for a variety of different reasons, and “Catalogues,” in which the catalogues that have been issued by the museum over the last 50 years will be used to make new works.

Knock Knock: August 9-13

Night. A standard hotel room in the center of Jerusalem. You approach the reception desk, check in and receive your key. This is the first step in a unique theatrical experience that will bring the audience together with actors, musicians, chefs, chambermaids, dancers, broadcasters and directors who will create intimate, surprising and very special experiences. Feel free to let go, lose yourself, go wild, hide away, or immerse yourself in thought.

Frontline: August 16-20

Back for the third time Frontline presents Jerusalem’s independent music scene. Among other things, there will be an abstract concert by brilliant electronic artist, Gilbert, playing a vintage keyboard or Marki Funk’s psychedelic groove project 

Under the Mountain: August 23-28

The Under the Mountain Festival of New Public Art will focus on history’s biggest and most important stage—the Temple Mount. No doubt this artistic expression with some 20 artists will be newsworthy.

The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival August 30-September 4

In its 4 th year, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival will brings together musicians from all religions from around the world for collaborative and engaging performances

The extended, week-long festival will unfold in five locations and include 25 performances by a long and exciting list of musicians and artists from 16 countries: Jonny Greenwood (UK) and Shye Ben Tzur in an international debut that combines East and West in Rajasthan, Shuli Rand will perform songs recorded by the guru of secularity, Meir Ariel, Mark and Piris Eliyahu will lead the Maqam Ensemble, pianist Omri Mor will play with legendary Algerian drummer, Karim Ziad, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi (Iran) and Zohar Fresco (Israel) will drum together on the same stage, Itamar Doari will appear in an exclusive performance with the best of Spain’s Flamenco, and Max Romeo, one of the founding fathers of reggae, will light up Zion.

For additional information:

Tamar Gur: 052-3024949 tamar@jsoc.org.il

Kim Weiss: 054-5377130 kim@jsoc.org.il

To purchase tickets:

http://www.jerusalemseason.com/

02-6535854

box@jsoc.org.il

 

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Categories: Art, Culture, events, Jerusalem

Ramadan, is the name of the ninth month of the Muslim calendar year and in that month Muslims around the world practice the fourth pillar of Islam which is the “Sawm” of the Fast of Ramadan.

As Muslims keep the lunar calendar, the Ramadan month travels through the secular calendar, coming ten or eleven days earlier each year. This means that when Ramadan falls during the winter months the fast is fairly easy, however, in the summer months the fast is quite strenuous due to the long hot days.

Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims as it was during Ramadan that Allah chose to call Mohamad (pbuh) to be a Prophet and sent the first revelations of the Qur’an. That’s why Ramadan is considered a time of spiritual and physical discipline and for making extra effort to spread love, peace and reconciliation.

The Ramadan Fast involves giving up all food, liquid, smoke and sexual intercourse during the hours of daylight for the entire month along with the peaceful and prayerful attitude of mind, however all these things are allowed after sunset, until the first light of the next day’s dawn.

Although fasting makes people feel very tired and weak, food is prepared very carefully during Ramadan, a difficult task for those preparing the food as they have to resist the temptation of eating or tasting the food, if this is done it will not be counted as breaking the fast as long as it wasn’t deliberate. As the time of breaking the fast called “Iftar” (also known as breakfast) draws near, people feel excited, hungry and proud of their achievement. They wait for the call to end the fast that comes from the minaret which is broadcast on TV and radio. As soon as the sun sets, the fast is broken with a sweet drink such as apricot juice and some fruit, often dates because this was the habit of the Prophet. The main meal will be served after the evening Maghrib prayer is said. This can be an elaborate feast as friends and relatives are often invited.

Buying Ramadan decorations in Jerusalem's Old City

Buying Ramadan decorations in Jerusalem’s Old City

Special pastries called Qatayef, made during Ramadan

Special pastries called Qatayef, made during Ramadan

Old City of Jerusalem is decorated for Ramadan

Old City of Jerusalem is decorated for Ramadan

Most Muslims read the entire Qur’an during this month, and many men go to the mosque each night for prayers known as “Tarawih” during which the whole text is read through often by special “huffaz” (people who know the Qur’an by heart) to lead these special prayers.

People who would undergo real suffering by a fast are excused from the fast, this applies to people who need to be nourished, such as small children and old people, and expectant and nursing mothers. People whose condition would be made worse by fasting are also excused, such as menstruating women, soldiers in battles, people travelling on long trips, and the mentally ill. All these people should however make up for the fasts they have missed any possible other time throughout the year or if not possible then they should donate the cost of two meals to the poor for each missed fast-day.

Some Muslims go into retreat for the last ten days of Ramadan, this is called “I’tikaf”. They withdraw altogether from ordinary life and devote their entire time to prayer and reading the Qu’ran.

Traditionally, the night of the Descent of the Qu’ran is celebrated on the 27th day of the month of Ramadan, this is called “Laylat al-Qadr”. Many Muslims spend this entire night in the mosque, reading the Qur’an and praying together with the belief that if they spend the whole night in prayer and meditation, they will be granted the blessings as if the had prayed for a thousand nights.

Ramadan is a time of joy and Muslims look forward to it as a time of great joy, family celebrations, entertaining of guests and reconciliation. It is normal during this month to stay up very late at night and get up early for the “Suhur” or the pre-dawn meal in preparation for another long day of fasting. Traditionally, a drummer called the “Musaharati” still roams the streets drumming and waking people up for prayer and this early morning snack, in some cities this call is still made by a cannon being fired.

One can feel this beautiful and celebratory atmosphere as the street, shops and homes are all decorated with colorful lights that come into effect at sunset when the fast is broken. Special meals and sweets can only be seen and bought during this month. A time of joy that will peak with the “Eid el-Fitr” or the feast celebrating the end of Ramadan and end of the Ramadan fast.

Wishing our Muslim friends and colleagues a blessed fast and Ramadan Kareem!!

If you go:

Should you be in Jerusalem during Ramadan you can get a sense of the holiday by visiting East Jerusalem.  A few favorite spots include:

1.Jerusalem’s Nablus Road, which is filled with vendors sellling all types of gifts, household, crafts, specialty foods and other items,

2. The Damascus Gate in Jerusaelm is bustling with people of all ages and there are many vendors selling grilled food items, teas and other food and drink items

3. The Muslim quarter within the Old City of Jerusalem is decorated with festive lights that have been strung along the walls and across the alleyways.

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Categories: Culture, Holidays, Muslim, Ramadan

So, the holidays are coming up and you’re thinking about how to plan your Holy Land tour. With so many choices of things to do and places to see – organizing your Holy Land tour might seem overwhelming – particularly if you are visiting over the Passover and Easter holidays. No worries. Breaking Bread Journeys has put together our Top 10 list of Must See experiences!

Breaking Bread Journeys recommends the following Top 10 Must Do experiences over the upcoming holidays below. Read thru and start planning your visit today. (not in any particular order)

1. Join the Palm Sunday and/or Good Friday Processions
Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected the Palm Sunday and Good Friday processionals.

The Palm Sunday procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering through the St. Stephen’s Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne. The procession is on Sunday March 29, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

The Good Friday procession (Via Crucis) is at 11:30 a.m on April 5, 2015.

Good Friday 2

Led by the Franciscan Friars and the procession begins at the First Station of the Cross in the Old City and follows the path that Jesus took on the day of his death, known as the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. According to Father Juan Solana, the local representative of the Holy See,”Being a part of this very special procession and a unique experience for any Christian.”

2. Participate in a Passover Seder

Over the last several years more Christians are seeking to understand the roots of Christianity and one of the best ways to delve deeper is to study the Torah and celebrate a Passover seder. Unlike Easter which is celebrated by attending mass, the Passover Seder is a true family celebration. If you have an opportunity to attend a seder grab it. It is a wonderfully meaningful experience.

3. Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday or on Easter Sunday

Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday. This shrine is where the last five Stations of the Cross are located. No Easter in the Holy Land is complete without exploring this historic shrine. The Good Fridan services: 8.00 a.m. – Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Calvary. The doors will remain opened.4.00 p.m. – The Liturgy of the Hours. 8.10 p.m. – “Funeral” Procession.

On Easter Sunday the services are as follows
7:30 a.m. – Entry into the Basilica by the Latin Patriarch
8:00 a.m. – Solemn Mass of Resurrection and Procession around the Rotunda
5:00 p.m. – Daily Procession

4. Tour Mt. Zion

If authenticity is what you are seeking than make sure to visit the Upper Room located at Mount Zion and read about the resurrection in the Gospels while you are there. Jesus’s appearance to the Apostles occurred in the Upper Room.

The Upper Room is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm. On Holy Thursday, April 2 – at 3:30 p.m. there is a Pilgrimage to the Cenacle and to the Church of St. James.

5. Attend “Resurrection Sunday” at the Garden Tomb

Easter Sunday also referred to as “Resurrection Sunday”, is a special day at the Garden Tomb and services are held at April 5 at 6:30 am and 9:30 in English, Scandanavian at 11 and Korean at 12. Moreover the Garden Tomb also holds its annual Arabic Easter event which coincides with Orthodox Easter and which brings together 500 to 600 Arab and Israeli believers. Seeing both Israelis and Palestinians together in prayer makes this an even more spiritually significant event. This event is scheduled for April 11 in the afternoon. Call 02-539-8100 for details.

Garden Tomb

Garden Tomb

6. Wake up early and attend Holy Fire Ceremony

The highlight of Orthodox Easter is the the Holy Fire Ceremony that only happens in Jerusalem, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the Sunday after Passover.

Holy Fire Ceremony

Holy Fire Ceremony

On April 11 Orthodox Christians gather very early in the morning and will squeeze into the Church of the Sepulchre for the annual Holy Fire Ceremony.

7. Attend the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall

The very special priestly blessing that is said during the Passover holiday take place on the third day of Passover, April 6, 2015. Known as the Bircat Cohanim, the blessing is recited twice at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, first at 9 am during the morning service and again at 10 am during the Musaf service.

western wall small

You will hear the leader of the service reciting the blessing over the loudspeaker in order that everyone can follow and recite the blessing in unison.

8. Enjoy Free entrance to the Israel Museum on April 10, 2015

Israel Museum celebrates the Passover holiday with free entrance on Friday April 10 only, from 10 am to 2 pm. Moreover, in celebration of its 50th year, a fantastic new new exhibit just opened, “6 Artists / 6 Projects.” Special note: Bank Hapoalim often sponsors free entrances to a number of museums all over the country during the intermediate days of Passover, April 5 – 9, 2015. Make sure to check Bank Hapoalim’s website as the holiday approaches to see what entrances they will be hosting.

9. Dead Sea Music Festival – April 5 – 9, 2015
If you love music, the Dead Sea Music Festival is the festival for you. For the 19th year, Israelis and tourists from abroad will descend to the Dead Sea for this highly anticipated rock music festival where they will enjoy performances by top Israeli artists. Tip: Make sure to catch one of the famous Masada sunrise performances. (usually David Broza performs and if so, don’t miss it).

10. 8th Annual Stone in the Galilee Sculpting Symposium – Maalot-Tarshiha, April 5 – 8, 2015

This international stone sculpting festival is now in its 20th year and brings together many international artists as well as Israel’s most prominent sculptors creating art for public spaces. The festival includes dialogues as well as an indoor exhibition. Call 04-9578888

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Categories: easter, events, passover

Jerusalem, like other cities, was built surrounded by high walls created in order to ensure the safety of the inhabitants from outsiders. The city has always been the center of faith and spirituality beginning from the early days of King Solomon stretching even through modern times, and during the many centuries it has attracted traders and pilgrims who have ventured to the city for many a miracle. No doubt that the walls of the city helped to protect against enemies, but this practice also exacerbated the spread of disease. A small but quite interesting exhibit on the history of medicine and the connection between faith and health in Jerusalem is now on display thru April 2015 at the Tower of David museum.

The bible makes many references to herbs and other natural products as key treatments for a variety of ailments in ancient times and even today many of these natural products are still used for medicinal purposes. Cardamon for instance was used for the treatment of bad breath and as protection for the teeth. During the Middle ages, lead was used for the treatment of hemorrhoids and skin ailments. On display one will find a variety of unique items, from seedlings of herbs, to early measuring tools and other instruments as well as fascinating photos of early 20th century Jerusalem’s residents and the city’s early hospitals, a couple which still stand today.

Clearly religion has always played a factor in the rules of cleanliness as well as the treatment of illness. Within the Jewish religion, the Talmud actually presents 10 items that are required to be built in any public facility including a lavatory and sink for washing. The Franciscans, who settled in the city in the 17th century, were the ones who opened the city’s first pharmacy which still can be seen today. By narrating the wars of faith and missionary activity in the 19th century and early 20th century the exhibition leads the visitor through the establishment of hospitals and clinics many of which are well showcased in the exhibits many vintage photographs: a sanatorium established by the London Society for promoting Christianity Among the Jews, Marienstift Children’s Hospital, Meyer Rothschild Hospital – first Jewish hospital outside the Old City and new known as Shaare Tzedek Hospital, Bikur Holim, English Mission Hospital and the Italian Hospital. The positive outcome was the establishment of hospitals that made Jerusalem a center of advanced medicine. Interestingly, Jerusalem’s first pharmacy was established by the Franciscans in the 19th century and the shop can still be seen today.

Many of the photos are from the Rothchild Archives. One of the more telling photos, entitled “Black Canopy Wedding” depicts an a late 19th century wedding that took place outside the old city in the Mt. of Olives. In the background there is a black chuppah which was used in the event that both the bride and the groom are orphans, which was often the case in the late 1800’s when a horrible cholera epidemic ripped through the Old City. In fact, it was because of this epidemic that Jerusalem expanded for the first time outside the city walls and new neighborhoods were constructed.

Wedding with black chuppah on the Mt. of Olives

Wedding with black chuppah on the Mt. of Olives

The design of the exhibit is in the shape of a serpent; reminiscent of the bronze serpent that Moses held on his staff , (Numbers 21) which is also how the serpent came to be the universal sign of medicine.

Other areas worth visiting at the Tower of David include the newly opened moat from the Herodian period, which housed the huge pools that Herod used to store water. In the courtyard there is a special exhibit of traditional remedies and spices brought from the Old City markets. An array of traditional herbs can be found in the Herb Garden.

Of course, the ‘high’ point, so to speak, is the breathtaking lookout point on the top of Phasael Tower, where the old city meets the new, and provides a wonderful panoramic view of both East and West Jerusalem.

If you go:

Tower of David Museum opening hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 09:00 – 16:00 Friday and Saturday: 09:00 – 14:00

For more information and reservations: / 02-6265333 / *2884

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Categories: Culture, Jerusalem, Museums

The annual Olive Harvest Festival was a perfect time to visit Canaan Fair Trade and learn about the origins of this very unique cooperative that while only beginning its operation in 2005, has now become the world’s largest fair trade olive oil supplier, according to company founder Nasser Abufarha.

With over 2,149 Palestinian farmers under its umbrella, Canaan Fair Trade, located in Burqin, within the heart of the northern Samarian region of the Palestinian Territories, generated revenues of $4.1 million and over 300 tons of olive oil in 2013. The company’s founder, a Palestinian-American businessman Nasser Abufarha, conceived of the idea of creating an organic fair trade cooperative after returning from the US, where he received his Ph.D at the University of Wisconsin. Having been exposed to fair trade in the US, he thought about bringing the concept to the regions many Palestinian olive farmers, who lacked real organization and certainly certification as organic producers. He returned to his home in Palestine and establish Canaan, basing it on certain guidelines including both social and financial profitability, as well as being environmentally sustainable.

canaan fair trade factory

canaan fair trade factory

Canaan Fair Trade produces a number of products under their own brand name as well as others that are white labeled under such famous and renowned brands as William Sonoma, Dr. Bronners and others and their products are sold in many natural markets around the world including Whole Foods and others.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Recent Posts

Dual Narrative Jaffa Tour

Jaffa might be best known for the story of Jonah but this ancient seaside city possesses a striking

Masterchef Tom Franz hosts “Taste of Israel” with Breaking Bread Journeys

[caption id="attachment_7301" align="alignright" width="300"] Breaking Bread Journey co-founders Eli

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Breaking Bread Journeys
P.O.Box 14058
E. Jerusalem 91140
Phone: +1 (561) 910-0640
info@breakingbreadjourneys.com

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