The Meaning of Rosh Hashanah

shana-tova-21782566The Meaning of Rosh Hashanah

 

 

Rosh Hashanah: Not the New Years You Thought It Was

If Rosh Hashanah could be summed up in one word, that word would be; love, potential, and life. (Okay, so that’s three words, what are you going to do?)

Let’s take a look at each of these words and reflect on their meaning in the context of Rosh Hashanah. Follow me:

Love

If you have heard anything about Rosh Hashanah, what you have probably heard is either that it is the “Jewish New Years” or that it is the Day of Judgment. Well, I’m here to tell you that while both are true, they are also very misunderstood. Let’s consider the notion of judgment. The truth is, the prospect of judgment is very uncomfortable and nobody likes to be judged. We don’t like to be judged by a boss, a teacher, and certainly not by our peers. At the same time, there is a very beautiful dimension to judgment. Think about parents and children. Parents are concerned about, and judge, a whole range of items related to their children. Parents are concerned about their children’s grades in school, what kind of lunch they have, what kinds of friends they associate with, what websites they frequent, and a lot more. From the child’s perspective, this can seem a bit intrusive, but the truth is, there is only one reason why parents are so interested in virtually every detail of their children’s lives: it’s because they deeply love their children. In fact, one of the most devastating things a parent can do to a child is not to judge. Why? Because a parent who isn’t interested in what their child is doing is sending a message that says clearly—“I don’t care about you.” A child who hears such a message will inevitably draw the conclusion that they are not worth their parents attention, and that, is about the most destructive message a child can absorb.

On Rosh Hashanah, when we say that God “sits in judgment” what we are saying is that God loves us: He cares about each and every one of us, He cares about who we are, how we live, and whether or not we are actualizing the potential He gave us. That the creator of the universe actually cares about “little ‘ol me” is a remarkably empowering and life-giving idea. The reality that we confront on Rosh Hashanah is one that highlights the intrinsic value and preciousness of every life in the eyes of God.

Potential

On Passover we celebrate the Exodus from Egypt, on Chanukah we celebrate the defeat of the Greeks and the miracle of the oil. Did you ever wonder what we are celebrating on Rosh Hashanah? Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the creation of the first human being. The Jewish year begins with focusing on the awesome nature and potential that exists within each of us. When you look at the world around you, it’s clear that God is not only quite powerful, but very, very creative. That being the case, God could have launched Mankind with a family, a village or a whole planet filled with people: why did He begin with just one person? Jewish tradition teaches that God began with one person to teach us about the fantastic potential inherent in each of us. Each of us has the ability to have an impact on the entire world and each of us is capable of making a world of difference. As we stand at the threshold of a new year we ask ourselves some simple questions: “What can I do in the coming year to actualize more of my potential?” “How can I contribute, even in a small way, to making the world a better place?” “What can I do to make a difference in someone else’s life?”

Every Rosh Hashanah represents a vote of confidence from God in our individual, personal potential. Every Rosh Hashanah also presents us with a fresh opportunity to unlock more and more of that great God-given gift.

Life

Throughout the Rosh Hashanah prayers, we ask God to “Remember us for life” and “Inscribe us in the Book of Life.” When we greet one another we say “May you have a good year, and may you be written and sealed for a year of good life and peace.”

Our prayers for life are meant to be understood at face value—we want to live—but they also have a deeper meaning. Consider this: I once met a Holocaust survivor who said, “I would choose to go through all those years in Auschwitz again rather than spend one day of my life as a Nazi.” That is an incredible statement, and what it means, I believe, is this: one can be alive, strong, and healthy yet be “dead” at the same time. A life lived in the boots of a Nazi, or under the flag of Al-Qaida or Hezbollah, is a life utterly drained of all meaning. You see, there are certain choices that we make, and certain courses of action that we pursue, that have the ability to infuse life with “life,” and there are others that drain life of everything God intended it for. On Rosh Hashanah, we not only ask for life, we strive to be people who embrace the kinds of values, ideals, and choices that will fill our days with life: With meaning, with goodness, with spirituality—with life!

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I would like to wish all of you a Shana Tova, a good sweet year, health and happiness for the entire world. Happy Rosh Hashanah and Happy New Year to you and all of Israel with a sweet new year- a new beginning. May the Lord bless you and keep you Shalom

 

The Story of Passover

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Marketing/Media Writer, Strategist and Consultant

The Story of Passover

Passover is a holiday that celebrates the escape of the Israelites from Egypt in approximately 1225 B.C.E.  The narrative of this adventure is told in the Biblical book of Exodus.

The Israelites had moved down into Egypt as long as 400 years earlier, according to the Bible.  But some scholars suggest that the actual time span was probably closer to 200 years or less, based upon the Biblical genealogies from Joseph (who brought his own family into Egypt) to Aaron (who, with Moses, led the people out of Egypt).

Exodus

Moses leads the Children of Israel through the city gate in this medieval version of the Exodus scene
(from 14th Century Spain, the Kaufman Haggadah).

The Israelites came down to Egypt during a time when a famine was raging in the Biblical Near East.  Egypt had stockpiled food during the seven years of plenty that had preceded the famine.  Joseph, one of the younger sons of the patriarch Jacob (who was also known as Israel) had predicted the years of plenty and the years of famine.  As a result, he had a high position in the court of the Pharaoh.  The Pharaoh welcomed Joseph’s family and settled them in the delta region of Goshen, where they prospered.

For many generations, the Israelites enjoyed the protection of the Pharaohs, who valued their work as shepherds.  However, a Pharaoh eventually came to power who feared the Israelites.  According to the Book of Exodus, this Pharaoh tried to destroy the Israelite population by ordering all male Israelite infants to be killed at birth.  He also required the Israelites to work on large-scale building projects without pay and under terrible working conditions.  The Israelites saw themselves as slaves.

The book of Exodus tells us that God ordered Moses, a young Israelite man who had been raised in the palace of the Pharaoh as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt with the help of his brother Aaron. However, in order to do so, it was necessary for the Pharaoh to agree to the emigration of the Israelite population.  Moses said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.”  To which Pharaoh replied, “No.”

A battle of wills ensued between the will of the God of the Israelites and the will of the Pharaoh, who was worshipped as a deity by the Egyptians.  Ten plagues were visited upon the Egyptians, the last of which was the death of the first born of each family.  God told the Israelites to slaughter a lamb as a paschal sacrifice and put the blood of the sacrifice on the doorposts of their homes so that the Angel of Death would pass over them on the night of the tenth plague.

After this night of terror, Pharaoh said that the Israelites could leave Egypt.  Fearful that the Pharaoh would change his mind (which he subsequently did), the Israelites left as quickly as possible.  Because of this, their bread did not have time to rise.

They fled and found themselves standing at the shore of the Red Sea with the Pharaoh’s chariots close behind in pursuit.  God parted the sea for them, and they walked across on dry land.  When the chariots tried to follow, the iron wheels stuck in the soft sand, the waters closed over them, and they drowned.  Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron led the women in dancing and singing in praise to God, who had performed this miracle on their behalf.

God told the Israelites that they should celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt each year with a seven-day festival during which they should eat only unleavened bread.  Two days of this holiday were set aside as special days during which no work was to be done.  The first night of the holiday was to be special and was to include the eating of the Paschal sacrifice (of the lamb), bitter herbs, and unleavened bread, and the telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Since very ancient times, Jews all over the world have assembled with family and friends on the night of the 15th of Nisan to celebrate the redemption of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

 

Ten Important Passover Facts – Passover (Pesach in Hebrew)

 

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Marketing/Media Writer, Strategist and Consultant

 

Ten Important Passover Facts

 

Ten Important Passover Facts

  1. Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is the oldest continuously celebrated Jewish festival.
  2. The rabbis developed the ritual of the seder based on passages from the Torah.  The Torah is made up of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. For Jews, the Torah is the most holy of all the Biblical writings.
  3. The Hebrew word seder means order.  The seder is traditionally celebrated in the home, although community seders are also popular.
  4. The Haggadah is a book that contains the entire service used for the Passover seder.  The central message for Jews in the Haggadah is that God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In the Haggadah, the name of Moses is mentioned only once, in order to prevent Moses from becoming idolized.
  5. The Hebrew word for Egypt is “mitz-rah-yim.”  When Jews talk about being “enslaved in mitzrahyim,” they mean not only in Egypt but also in all the times and places where Jews were not free to practice their religion.

    Seder Cup

  6. On every seder table there is is a symbolic fifth cup of wine called the “Cup for Elijah.”  There is a teaching that the Prophet Elijah will answer Jewish legal questions that the ancient rabbis could not resolve. One of these questions was whether we drink four or five cups of wine or grape juice at the seder.  We hope that Elijah will visit us on the night of the seder.  If that happens, Elijah will tell us whether we should drink froui or five cups.  Elijah will also be able to drink the cup that is set aside for him.
  7. Three pieces of matzah are placed in the middle of the table.  They represent the three classes of Jewish people in ancient times: the Kohens — the priestly class responsible for the administration of the Temple sacrifices, the Levites — the priestly class responsible for the actual performance of the Temple sacrifices, and the Israelites — all other Jews.
  8. The Afikomen is the last piece of food eaten at the seder.  The word afikomen is the Hebrew form of the Greek word epikomion, which means dessert.  It is a tradition to hide the afikomen, and for the children to find and “negotiate” for its return.  The seder cannot be concluded until the afikomen is redeemed.
  9. One of the most important concepts of the seder is that each person gain a personal understanding of the original exodus experience.
  10. The exodus from Egypt is such an important event in Jewish history that it is mentioned in specific prayers each day.

‘We are third-class citizens,’ says Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

‘We are third-class citizens,’ says Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

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‘If Israel recognizes the Armenian genocide it won’t be the end of the world,’ says the new head of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem, which dates back to the 4th century.  It might even help making the community feel less cut off from the rest of the city and country.

On a recent afternoon in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Armenian Patriarchate’s new leader was treated as royalty. Black-robed priests and pilgrims young and old, visiting from Armenia, snapped photos and grinned excitedly, as they waited in line to kiss Archbishop Nourhan Manougian’s hand during a reception.

Elected the 97th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem in January, Manougian is now one of the top Armenian Christian leaders worldwide, in a community scattered over the globe. In Jerusalem, where the Armenian Christian presence dates back almost 1,700 years, he is also one of the most powerful Christian clerics. The Armenian patriarch shares oversight at the ancient Christian holy sites with the Greek Orthodox and Latin ‏(Roman Catholic‏) patriarchs.

But despite the historical presence, the tiny Old City Armenian community often feels sidelined, Manougian told media sources. As the number of community members relentlessly shrinks, and is now only a few hundred, he worries if there will be future generations. Day-to-day life, he says, is also a balancing act, finding a place between the powerful Jewish Israeli and Muslim Palestinian communities. Israeli scholars echo the same concerns.

At the core of Armenian insecurities are successive Israeli governments that have ruled over them since 1967 but never officially acknowledged the 1915 Armenian genocide or its estimated 1.5 million deaths by Ottoman Turkish forces.

Many of Jerusalem’s Armenians, including Manougian, are the children and grandchildren of the survivors of the genocide. His father fled Armenia through the desert that became known as the “death fields,” as he headed to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Born in Aleppo in 1948 and orphaned by age 5, Manougian grew up in that city, with poor relatives and the stories of the survivors around him. After seminary and ordination, serving Armenian Christians took him from Lebanon, across Europe and the United States, and to Haifa, Jaffa and finally in 1998, to Jerusalem.

Here, Armenians believe that Israel’s silence on the events of 1915 is based on maintaining favor with Turkey. “If you ask me, [recognizing the genocide] is what they have to do,” said Manougian of Israel. “What if they accept it? It won’t be the end of the world.”

Manougian also felt marginalized by Israel, while waiting five months for the state to officially recognize his title. Manougian was elected after the 2012 death of Patriarch Torkom Manoogian. Palestinian and Jordanian leaders recognized him days after the January election. Israel did not do so until June 23.

Initially, the patriarchate postponed Manougian’s inauguration, waiting for Israel to reorganize the government following its January 22 elections. But as months passed and the recognition application continued to be ignored, the patriarchate on June 4 held the inauguration anyway.

There is no law requiring it, but sending a formal letter of recognition is a Holy Land tradition dating to the Ottoman era, Manougian said. “The first [Israeli] letter was signed by Ben-Gurion.”

Old City Armenians live more closely with the Palestinians and say their relations with them are better than with official Israel or some of their Jewish neighbors. Bishop Aris Shirvanian says that “they don’t spit on us,” referring to a phenomenon sometimes encountered by Christian clergy in the Old City.

“We have no legal problems with them,” said Bishop Aris Shirvanian. But the Palestinians have also not recognized the Armenian genocide. “The whole of the Islamic countries do not recognize the genocide because Turks are Muslims,” he said.

Being Christian in Jerusalem is complicated, he added. “When you are dealing with two sides [Israelis and Palestinians], you have to not take one side against the other.”

First to adopt Christianity

Armenians have a long, continuous presence in the city, from at least the fourth century, after Armenia was the first nation in 301 C.E. to adopt Christianity as its official faith, said Yoav Loeff, a Hebrew University teacher of Armenian language and history.

Until World War I, most of the Armenians here were monks or other church people. After the war, the numbers in Jerusalem grew, as Armenians fled the genocide and developed a vibrant lay community here. There were also artisans who came to the city in 1919 under the patronage of the British Mandate to renovate the vividly decorated ceramic tiles on the Dome of the Rock. Their craft of hand-painting tiles and ceramics deeply influenced Jerusalem’s artistic heritage. This can be seen still today on signs and architectural facades, and in the pottery in Israeli and Palestinian homes. ‏The patriarchate also opened a photography studio here in the 1850s, and the period portraits done by some of its photographers are still renowned.‏

Until the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, local Armenians lived mostly in Jerusalem, with some in Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle and Ramallah too, numbering about 25,000 in total, Manougian says. While the majority fled the war to surrounding areas − Ramallah, Jordan, Lebanon − a few thousand ended up in the Old City’s Armenian Quarter. But with growing economic and political tensions and lack of opportunities, most left over the years.

There are no official statistics, but historians estimate that there are some 3,000 people of Armenian descent in Israel, but most do not identify with the community, coming from the former Soviet Union and having married Jews.

The community’s center of life today is in the Armenian Quarter, which has an elementary school, middle school, high school, a seminary, the 12th-century St. James Cathedral, the Church of the Holy Archangels, and the Armenian manuscript library. But barely 400 Armenians live there now, down from around 1,500 in 1967, said Manougian.

“I’m afraid that if things go on like this, there won’t be any Christians left in this country,” he said, alluding to the wider phenomenon of an ongoing exodus of Christians of all denominations from the Holy Land. The city and state are not helping Armenians to flourish, he added. “Nobody knows anything about Armenia or Armenians … It’s not even on the list of their [concerns]. We don’t belong to the community − they don’t [accept] us as members. We are third-class citizens.”

Fueling this feeling are occasional spitting incidents. Last Year, for example, an Orthodox Jewish man spat at the feet of patriarch Manougian, during a procession of senior church clergy as they walked toward the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Bishop Shirvanian, who was present, said that such spitting incidents have declined during the past year, but “you never know when it will happen while walking down the street …. Most Jews are respectful, but some of the ultra-Orthodox are obstinately spitting.”

Freedom of movement in and out of the Old City is also unpredictable. Nestled inside Jerusalem’s Old City walls, the Armenian Quarter relies on the Jaffa Gate for access to the rest of the city.

” ‘We are third-class citizens,’ says Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

‘If Israel recognizes the Armenian genocide it won’t be the end of the world,’ says the new head of the Armenian Church in Jerusalem, which dates back to the 4th century.  It might even help making the community feel less cut off from the rest of the city and country.”

 

Spitting on Christians in Jerusalem raises eyebrows

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Spitting on Christians in Jerusalem raises eyebrows

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JERUSALEM From his ceramics gallery along Armenian Patriarchate Road, Garo Sandrouni has a sweeping view of one of the Old City of Jerusalem’s longest thoroughfares, stretching from Jaffa Gate deep into the Jewish Quarter.

Jewish worshipers heading to and from the Western Wall jostle for space along the narrow passage with Armenian priests and seminarians, and Sandrouni says about once a week he finds himself breaking up fights between them.

Typically the skirmishes begin when a young yeshiva student spits on or near a group of teenage seminarians, who occasionally respond by beating up their attacker. Several years ago, a young religious man pulled a gun when Sandrouni moved to intervene in a fight.

“Most of the incidents that happen, unfortunately, they happen in front of my store,” said Sandrouni, who more than once has come to the aid of a yeshiva student bloodied after a run-in with a group of seminarians.

“Almost everybody, after the fight, they apologized,” Sandrouni said. “They say, ‘We are sorry. We didn’t know that their reaction would be so strong.’”

Attacks on Christian clergyman in Jerusalem are not a new phenomenon, and may result from an extreme interpretation of the Bible’s injunction to “abhor” idol worshipers. Five years ago, in what many say is the worst incident on record, a crucifix hanging from the neck of the Armenian archbishop, Nourhan Manougian, was broken in the course of an altercation with a yeshiva student who had spit on him.

Christian leaders stress that the problem is not one of Christian-Jewish relations in Israel. Most Israelis, they say, are peaceful and welcoming. In an interview with several Armenian Jerusalemites, they emphasized repeatedly that their relations with the largely religious community in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter are normal.

The assaults, according to George Hintlian, a spokesman for the Armenian community in Jerusalem, are carried out by people from the outside — visitors to Jerusalem from other towns, and even from abroad.

Several people familiar with the issue say the attacks recently have reached epidemic proportions — or at least enough that government officials and Orthodox rabbinic figures have begun to take notice.

A recent meeting between Foreign Ministry officials, the Jerusalem municipality and fervently Orthodox, or haredi, leaders resulted in a statement by Beth Din Tzedek, a haredi rabbinic tribunal, denouncing the phenomenon. In a sign of the ministry’s concern over the issue, both the meeting and the statement were publicized on the Web site of Israel’s diplomatic mission to the Vatican.

“Besides desecrating the Holy Name, which in itself represents a very grave sin, provoking gentiles is, according to our sages — blessed be their holy and righteous memory — forbidden and is liable to bring tragic consequences upon our own community, may God have mercy,” said the statement.

The incident that appears to have gotten the ministry’s attention occurred last September, when a pair of teenage Armenian seminarians reportedly fought with a young yeshiva student who spit on them. Police intervened, arrested the seminarians and referred the matter to the Interior Ministry.

According to Hintlian, the seminarians are now facing deportation — a decision the Armenians have officially protested. Carrying out the order would require the police to seize the boys from their seminary in the Old City, Hintlian said, which likely would result in a public relations disaster.

“It won’t happen easily,” Hintlian said. “They’ll think twice.”

Though they may bear the brunt of the phenomenon, given the proximity of the Armenian and Jewish quarters, cases of spitting are confined neither to Armenian clergy nor the Old City.

Athanasius Macora, a Texas-born Franciscan friar who lives in western Jerusalem, frequently has been the target of spitting during his nearly two decades residing in the Israeli capital.

Macora, whose brown habit easily identifies him as a Christian clergyman, says that while he has not endured any spitting incidents recently, recollections of past incidents started flowing over the course of 30-minute interview.

In a sitting room at Terra Sancta College, where he is the superior, Macora recalled the blond-haired man who spit at him on Agron Street, not far from the U.S. Consulate. Another time, walking with an Armenian priest in the same area, a man in a car opened his window to let the spittle fly. Once it was a group of yeshiva students in the Old City, another time a young girl.

Sometimes the assailants are clad in distinctive haredi garb; other times the attackers are wearing the knitted yarmulkes of the national religious camp. In almost all cases, though, they are young religious men.

A Franciscan church just outside the Old City walls was vandalized recently with anti-Christian graffiti, Macora said.

“I think it’s just a small group of people who are hostile, and a very small group of people,” Macora said. “If I go to offices or other places, a lot of people are very friendly.”

Meanwhile, the Beth Din Tzedek statement, and an earlier one from Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, have impressed the Christians and raised hopes that the spitting may soon end.

“We hope that this problem will be solved one day,” Sandrouni said, “for the sake of mutual coexistence.”

DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

DOME OF THE ROCK IN JERUSALEM

The Dome of the Rock is a 7th-century edifice located in Jerusalem.

It enshrines the rock from which Muḥammad is said to have ascended to heaven.

Sometimes erroneously called the Mosque of Umar, from a tradition that it was built by Caliph Umar I, the Dome of the Rock was actually built by Caliph Abd al-Malik between 687 and 691.

The first domed shrine to be built, the Dome of the Rock is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

The octagonal plan and the rotunda dome of wood are of Byzantine design. The Persian tiles on the exterior and the marble slabs that decorate the interior were added by Suleiman I in 1561.

The Dome of the Rock is located on a rocky outcrop known as Mount Moriah, where, according to Jewish belief, Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The inscriptions inside the building glorify Islam as the final true revelation and culmination of the faiths of Judaism and Christianity. The building is actually not a mosque but a ciborium, erected over a sacred site.

According to later Islamic tradition, the Rock (al-Sakhra) in the midst of the building was the spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven after his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem on the winged steed al-Buraq.

A tradition states that by building the dome, Abd al-Malik was attempting to transfer the Islamic hajj to Jerusalem from Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The 60-foot-diameter, timber-framed double dome, covered internally with colored and gilded stucco and originally roofed with lead covered in gold, rises 35 meters over the holy rock.

It is carried on a tall drum, originally faced with glass mosaics, which rests on a circular arcade of 12 marble columns, set in threes between four large rectangular piers. At the top of the drum, 16 colored glass windows light the central space. Inside and outside, the Dome of the Rock was enriched with marble columns and facings and floral mosaic patterns.

During the Crusades, the Dome of the Rock was commandeered as a Christian shrine before returning to Islamic hands. Many medieval people believed it to be the famous Temple of King Solomon.

Today, it is at the very core of a bitter dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. Although sometimes referred to as the Mosque of Omar, the Dome of the Rock is in fact not a mosque. Nevertheless, as the oldest extant Islamic monument, it served as a model for architecture and other artistic endeavors across three continents for a millennium.

Western Wall in Jerusalem

Western Wall in Jerusalem

The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel (Hebrew: About this sound הַכֹּתֶל הַמַּעֲרָבִי (help·info), translit.: HaKotel HaMa’aravi; Ashkenazic pronunciation: Kosel; Arabic: حائط البراق‎, translit.: Ḥā’iṭ Al-Burāq, translat.: The Buraq Wall) is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is arguably the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, commonly believed to have been constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great, but recent excavations indicate that the works were not finished during Herod’s lifetime. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount, such as the Little Western Wall–a 25 ft (8 m) section in the Muslim Quarter.

It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries; the earliest source mentioning Jewish attachment to the site dates back to the 4th century. From the mid-19th century onwards, attempts to purchase rights to the wall and its immediate area were made by various Jews, but none was successful. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace and an international commission was convened in 1930 to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the wall. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the wall came under Jordanian control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967 and three days later bulldozed the adjacent 770 year old Moroccan Quarter.[1]

The Mount of Olives – Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives - Jerusalem

“Mount Olivet” redirects here. For other uses, see Mount Olivet (disambiguation).

The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet (Hebrew: הַר הַזֵּיתִים, Har HaZeitim; Arabic: جبل الزيتون, الطور‎, Jabal az-Zaytūn, Aț-Țūr) is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to the Jerusalem’s Old City.[1] It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the necropolis of the ancient Judean kingdom.[2] The Mount is central to Jewish tradition since it has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves.[3] Several key events in the life of Jesus as related in the Gospels took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Book of Acts it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the Mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of Christian pilgrimage for Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians.