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

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 Western Wall's Significance

One of the most remarkable landmarks in Jerusalem is the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, and in Hebrew, Ha Kotel.  This structure is one of the remaining outer walls from the First and Second Temples.  This wall is significant compared to the other walls because it is closest to the room where the 10 Commandments were kept.  This room is often referred to as “Holy of Holies.”  Regardless of your religious background, this spiritual experience of the Western Wall, is one you will remember.

Visitors and locals alike approach the wall in prayer where they can stuff notes into the cracks of the walls in hopes that their prayers will be answered. Once you are near the Wall you will notice that there are dividers to separate males and females.

1024px-Women_praying_in_the_Western_Wall_tunnels_by_David_ShankboneNot only can the wall’s beauty be seen above ground, but also below ground where there is a tunnel you can explore the ancient remains.  The infamous Western wall actually continues underground where you will be able to see even more of the grandiose wall.  In this tunnel, you will get a picture of how long and tall the Western Wall originally was.  For example, the portion of the Western Wall above ground is about 200 ft long.  When you go through the tunnel, you are able to see the additional 1,591 ft of the wall.

It is politically significant to mention the location of this tunnel because it is built underneath the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.  This caused discomfort to the residents during the construction and after its completion, not only because of the noise, but also because of the religious affiliations.  In addition, the residents residing over the tunnel allegedly did not have a choice in the matter, as this project politically trumped their voices.

To expand on the tensions relating to the Western Wall and its tunnel, there are more political disputes amongst Jews.  A popular dispute is a collective called “Women of the Wall” who strive to achieve the right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud.  The Western Wall is currently controlled by an orthodox sect of Judaism that believes it is forbidden for women to partake in the above actions.

While you are on a Holy Land tour, you will experience something unique.  The Western Wall is an example of one of the countless sites where you can feel full of spiritual energy, and be shocked to learn that the same site provokes tension between people of the same and different faith.

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Categories: Culture

With a new school year around the corner…pop quiz! Which one of these statements about King Herod is FALSE?

A) King Herod was known for being extremely friendly.
B) King Herod was King of Judea from 37-4 BCE.
C) King Herod attempted to kill Jesus as a baby.
D) King Herod had astonishing architectural achievements in the Holy Land.
E) King Herod died in Jericho.

If you thought A) was false, then you are correct!

King Herod was not known for his friendliness.  He suffered from immense paranoia which led him to killing many he felt threatened by, including a wife and two sons.  In the New Testament, it mentions King Herod killing the male babies in Jerusalem so there would not be anyone to heir the throne after him.  Although his personal life and kingship were ugly, his architectural achievements were the complete opposite.  Here are a few of his major accomplishments you will see on a Holy Land tour.

The Second Temple (Jerusalem): The Second Temple construction began in 20 BCE, and was destroyed in 70 CE.  The remainings of this Temple are the outter walls, which includes the Western Wall–the holiest site for Jews today.  It is holy because it is the closest remaining wall to where the Temple used to stand. The Dome of the Rock is situated where the Temple itself was located.

Fun fact: This is a place for prayer, and often people write their prayers on pieces of paper and stick them into the cracks of the wall. Everyone is welcome to participate!

Masada Fortress (Judaean Desert): Masada was built between 37 and 31 BCE and was the first fortress King Herod built while in power.  Besides the magnificant view overlooking the Dead Sea, Masada is most known for the Siege of Masada from 73- 74 CE.  Years after the death of King Herod and soon after the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews hid in the abandoned Masada Fortress.  They fought and prevented the Romans from entering the Fortress for some time.  Eventually, the Romans got up to fhe Fortress, however, everyone there was dead–the Jews committed mass suicide to prevent becoming prisoners of the Romans.

Fun fact: The Siege of Masada symbolizes Jewish heroism and is used for Nationalistic purposes.  Therefore, this site is used for tourism as well as ceremonies for the Israeli army.

8955b2f543914708e1c650354bbd5c05 Caesarea Maritima (Caesarea):  This port city was built between 25-13 BCE and its ruins include the city walls, castle, theatre, and aqueduct.  The city was continuously used, and after King Herod, was ruled by Arabs and Crusaders.  This city is a must-see sight for Christian tours to Israel.  It is located where the Pilate Stone was found.  This stone mentions the name “Pontius Pilatus,” who, according to the New Testament, was the one who ordered Jesus to be crucified. Historians think that Pilatus lived in this city.  Additionally, this was where Peter baptized the first gentile convert.

Fun fact: This is a fun place for all groups, including for children.  Since the theatre is still in tact, it is a fun opportunity to show off your acting skills 😉

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Categories: Tours

No Holy land travel experience is complete without tasting your way through the myriad of cultures present all over this land. And while ice cream and sorbet may not be traditionally Israeli or Palestinian dishes, they are still quite popular in the Holy Land, particularly during the hot  summer months.  The sorbet and ice cream here are fresh and rich in taste and are worth eating…often.

So, to all the ice cream and sorbet lovers wondering what the Holy Land offers in this all important food category, this post is for you.

I recently happened upon an unusual ice cream store where I was introduced  to a world of new frozen flavors, many of which were inspired by the many cultures present in this region.

Mousseline Store

photo courtesy Jessica Curhan for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

Unlike other ice cream stores, you won’t find typical chocolate, vanilla, or coffee at Mousseline.  Rather,   flavors like wasabi, berry cheesecake, basil, and olive oil and interesting Middle eastern inspired sorbet flavors such as grapefruit-basil, sour cherry, lemon-mint, and almond are a few of the unique tastes offered.

Mousseline is located in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda (also known as the Jewish shuk) situated in the west side of Jerusalem.  The store prepares its ice cream using  the freshest ingredients from within Machane Yehuda market, producing a regular supply of incredibly fresh and tasty frozen flavors.

During my first visit to Mousseline, I was intimidated by all the unusual flavors. I did not even know which one to try first! Luckily, the friendly staff allowed me to sample as many as I wanted and even suggested which ones to try.

Mousseline's grapefruit basil sorbet

Mousseline’s grapefruit-basil sorbet, photo courtesy Jessica Curhan for Breakingbreadjourneys.com

The phrase I repeatedly used was,“ef-shar li-tome? meaning “may I taste?” No need to worry, though,  the staff speaks fluent English (and perhaps even other languages).

With pressure mounting after several samples, I ultimately decided on the grapefruit-basil sorbet. Two thumbs up!

An Israel cultural tour will most likely include a visit to the Machene Yehuda shuk. Make sure you take the time to walk around and not only see the different stands selling colorful fruit, vegetables, nuts, candy, pastries and more but taste your way through as well. To know a people is to know their food.

Which flavors would you like to taste?

For more information about the store and its location, click HERE.

For the store’s website (in Hebrew), click HERE.

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Categories: Culture, Food

Come July, August and September the weather isn’t the only thing hot about Jerusalem. There are plenty of festivals and special events that are sizzling throughout the summer months. Breaking Bread Journeys has compiled a list of some of the most exciting activities that are coming up over the next two months. Mark your calendars now and start planning your long weekend in Jerusalem.

1. Israel Museum – Exhibition Big Bambu
When: June 6 – October 1, 2014
What: An incredible 16 meter high installation by two American artists and twin brothers, Doug and Mike Starn, featuring over 10,000 bamboo poles, 80 kilometers of rope. A specially selected team of rock climbers created this exiting exhibit which allows visitors to explore by climbing through a ‘bamboo forest’. Additional fee of 10NIS per adult and 5 NIS per child (in addition to museum entrance ticket).

Doug and Mike Starns bamboo installation at the Israel Museum

Doug adn Mike Starns bamboo installation at the Israel Museum

2. Israel Museum – Contact Point
When – July 10, 2014
What – Artists from different disciplines gather at the museum to create a special contact point between themselves and an artwork.

3. In House Festival
When: July 7 – 11, 2014
What: Several of Jerusalem’s intriguing artist homes will open their doors to the public and provides visitors with an opportunity to learn from the artists about the many stories behind these homes. Several unique productions will take place during the festival

4. Israel Camerata Jerusalem – The Tempest
When: July 8, 2014
What: Israel Camerata orchestra performance of The Tempest with Avner Biron conductor and Itamar Zorman violinist. Jerusalem Theater, Henry Crown Hall. 02-560-5755

5. 31st Annual Jerusalem Film Festival
When: July 10- 20
What: This 10 day Jerusalem festival some of the best Israeli and world cinema as well as panels, workshops and more.

6. Jerusalem Beer Festival
When: August 7 – 8, 2014
What: – If you like beer than this is the festival for you. In its 9th year, this two day festival takes place at Independence Park, in the center of Jerusalem, and showcases over 120 types of local beers.

7. Jerusalem Wine Festival – Israel Museum
When: August 11 – 14, 2014
What: A wine lovers dream – this exceptional festival features wines from over 60 large and small boutique wineries throughout the region and is complimented by live evening entertainment in the museum’s beautiful Rose Garden.

8. Jerusalem International Puppet Theatre
When: August 10 – 14, 2014
What: An exciting week of visual entertainment from exceptional artists. Geared for children and adults alike.

9. Jerusalem Arts & Crafts Festival (Hutzot Hayotzer)
When: August 11 – 23, 2014
What: This 12 day cultural festival (now in its 39th year) features over 200 artisans as well as open air concerts from some of Israel’s most celebrated entertainers. Fun for the entire family!

10. Between Fork and Knife Culinary Festival
When: August 20 – September 7, 2014
What: First time ever – two renowned local Jerusalem chefs, Kamel Hashlamon and Assaf Granit one Jewish, one Arab, both born in Jerusalem come together in a unique culinary dialogue experience every evening in a stunning, quirky building on Mount Zion, adjacent to the site of the last supper, King David’s tomb, the village of Silwan, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

11. Formula 1 Race
When: August 28 – 29, 2014
What: An exciting two days watching race cars speed through the Holy City

12. Sacred Music Festival
When: September 9 – 12, 2014
What: An unprecedented program filled with dozens of artists and musicians from all over the world with rich performances that echo Jerusalem’s profound diversity. A unique experience to be found only in Jerusalem.

13. The Book of Books – at the Bible Lands Museum
When: Ongoing through October 25, 2014
What: A historic exhibition that traces over 2000 years of the Bible by displaying examples of the most extraordinary and important biblical texts ever seen, including texts from the Septuagint, the Cairo Geniza and the Gutenberg Bible.

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Categories: Culture, events

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

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