Gamla Mountain – Israel

From the Vulture Trail you will also get a sight of the spectacular Mount Gamla. You can cross to it from the bird watching site – following signs to the “ancient path”, a hiking trail which takes about 90 minutes to cross (it is only about 1 hour to 1 and a half hours return but is windy and steep.) For those who do venture across, ancient Mount Gamla is a site of historic importance with a similar tale to tell as Masada, aside the Dead Sea. A battle against the Romans and many people committed mass suicide to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy.

Gamla Waterfall – Israel

From the entrance of Gamla, a 90 minute trail (45 minutes each way) leads to the Gamla Waterfall, passing ancient dolmans – stone structures which are shaped like tables, but nobody is sure of why. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll be struck with what is the tallest flowing waterfall in Israel – at 170 feet.

Caesarea

Caesarea is a magnificent site, a national park where amazing amazing ancient harbor ruins, beautiful beaches, and impressive modern residences sit side by side. Caesarea is originally an ancient Herodian port city located on Israel’s Mediterranean Coast about half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The site recently been restored to create one of Israel’s most attractive and fascinating archaeological sites. The restored Caesarea amphitheater hosts modern-day concerts during the summer months, whilst the Old City has a range of boutiques and restaurants. The new town of Caesarea is a luxurious neighborhood of villas, whose beach, the Caesarea Aquaduct Beach is one of the best beaches in Israel.

Citadel at Caesarea by Adam Reeder, on FlickrCitadel at Caesarea by Adam Reeder, on Flickr

Caesarea National Park is one of, if not Israel’s, most impressive archaeological site. The beautifully restored harbor here was built by King Herod and is a work of engineering marvel. The site is a fascinating place to explore and the museum includes a great multimedia explanation of the history of the port.

Within the park is the Caesarea Amphitheater, also restored, which  during the summer regularly hosts concerts of both local, and international acts. The Harbor Beach is located within the Park although you can enter seperately, and is totally unique in its setting, with superb facilities.

The Park is also home to a unique museum, the world’s only underwater museum where you are able to dive through the underwater ruins of this ancient city. Wow! For more call the Caesarea Dive Club (04-6265898).

Caesarea Aqueduct by luzer, on FlickrCaesarea Aqueduct by luzer, on Flickr

Outside the national park, in the modern day neighborhood of Caesarea is the Aquaduct Beach one of the most breathtaking beaches imaginable. With an ancient aquaduct marking the edge of the beach the breathtaking approach is even more stunning up close. There is no life guard here so bathing is not strictly allowed although it does get busy on summer weekends, but the is worlds away from the beaches further south with a more rural surrounding and breathtaking archaeological feature

Caesarea Amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer by Flickr user heatkernel

Caesarea Amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer by Flickr user heatkernel

Caesarea also hosts the Ralli Museum, one of four museums around the world funded by philanthropist Harry Recanti. The two galleries at Caesarea focus on Latin American and Sephardic Jewish artwork. The museum is free to enter and has some fantastic pieces so if you’re in the area, and cant resist the urge to see some art, this is the place to go. Nearby is Caesarea Golf Club which is Israel’s only full size golf course. Recently reconstructed by renowned designer Pete Dye, this course plays host, every four years to the Maccabi Games, the Jewish Olympics.

All this is exploring is likely to get your appetite going, and there are some brilliant restaurants in Caesarea at the Harbor. They vary in price although most are pretty good and serve seafood with an awesome location overlooking the Mediterranean.

Visiting Caesarea

Caesarea National Park is a half-day attraction which is great all-year round. It is easily accesisble by road, although getting to Caesarea by public transport can be tricky. Many tourists therefore decide to visit the site on a tour of Caesarea, many of which incorporate other sites along the coast and can start from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

Caesarea is a great place to enjoy a sunset and meal so go late afternoon in the summer and enjoy the sunset in one of the many restaurants in Caeasarea harbor. The museum is open in summer months (April-September) from 8am to 6pm and winter months until 4pm, with the site itself and restaurants remaining open later into the evening.

Enquiries: 04-626-7080

Fees: Adult: NIS 38; child: NIS 23Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount. Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 34: child NIS 21

Caesarea is located just off of Road 2, the main coastal highway about mid-way between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It is about a 1 hour drive from downtown Tel Aviv.

Public transport to Caesarea is slightly difficult. There is a train link between Tel Aviv and Haifa, and Kesarya, however from the station you will need to take a taxi to the site about a five minute ride away (it is too far to walk). There are no inter-city buses to the town although local buses do come from Hadera irregularly during the day.

Boulders on the beach by Hagai Nativ – Israel

“Behold I am laying a stone for a foundation in Zion; a sturdy stone, a precious cornerstone, a secure foundation.”

ISAIAH (28:16)

הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיּוֹן אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ

ישעיהו כ’’ח:ט’ז

Hebrew Lesson

hee-ne-NEE yee-SAD be-tzee-OHN eh-VEN eh-VEN boh-KHAN pee-NOT yeek-RAT moo-SOHD moo-SOHD ha-ma-ah-MEEN loh ya-KHEESH

From United with Hebrew, “The word for ‘stone’ in HEBREW is אבן/EH-VEN. It is a very interesting word, as it is made up of the word אב/av, meaning ‘father’ and בן/ben, meaning ‘son.’ Perhaps this is because the bond between a father and son is as solid as a boulder and as precious as a fine stone.” Are you United with Hebrew?

About Today’s Photograph

Photograph of boulders on the beach by Hagai Nativ. On the peak of Mount Moriah in the Old City of Jerusalem lies the foundation stone, אבן שתיה / eh-VEN she-tee-AH. According to “Legends of Jerusalem” by Zev Vilnay, “The sages of Israel commented: ‘And it was called the Foundation Stone, because the world was founded on it. For Isaiah the prophet said: ‘Thus said the Lord, Behold I am laying a stone for a foundation in Zion.’”

Old Jaffa

English: Simon Tanner House, Jaffa, Religion i...
Image via Wikipedia
port of jaffa, Israel
Image via Wikipedia
English: House of Simon the Tanner, Jaffa, Israel.
Image via Wikipedia
Jaffa
Jaffa (Photo credit: Seetheholyland.net)

 

The Old City of Jaffa, located on the southern edge of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast, was known in ancient times as the gateway to the Land of Israel. With its 3,000 years of history, Old Jaffa is the world’s most ancient port. It is said that the city, called Yafo in Hebrew and Joppa in the New Testament, derives its name from either Japheth, one of Noah’s three sons, or from the Hebrew word “yaffa” meaning beautiful.

At the Visitors Center, located on the main square, visitors can obtain brochures, maps and general tourist information. The recently reopened Center has numerous artifacts from the Hellenistic and Roman eras on display, and screens two informative movies on the history of the city.

Jaffa is famous as the place from which Jonah sailed as he tried to flee the Lord’s calling to go preach repentance to the inhabitants of Niniveh (Jonah 1:3).  As the story tells us, Jonah’s ship was caught in a storm, and he was thrown overboard. He was swallowed by a giant fish and remainedin its belly for three days.

Jaffa is where St. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-43). He then stayed at the home of Simon the Tanner, just a short walk from the Visitors Center. It was on the rooftop of this house that Peter was praying one day when he had a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven, full of unclean animals, and he heard a voice commanding him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat” (Act 10:13). The command to eat unclean animals was a sign for Peter to baptize Cornelius, a Roman centurion and Gentile considered unclean by pious Jews. This meant that Gentiles, for the first time, could receive the Holy Spirit and join the Church.

The most distinctive building in Old Jaffa is St. Peter’s Church, which towers over the main square and is visible all the way up the beach of Tel Aviv. The church belongs today to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Fr. Peter, the Franciscan friar on duty, tells us that it was originally built as a guest house to welcome pilgrims sailing from around the world to Jerusalem. The principal painting in front of the church depicts St. Peter’s vision on the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house. Other panels show the major episodes in Peter’s life: the miraculous catch of fishes, the giving of the keys, the Transfiguration of Christ and the washing of the feet at the Last Supper. The pulpit, carved in the shape of a tree, is also unique. St. Peter’s Church continues to welcome pilgrims today, offering Mass in several languages for both local Christian communities and visitors from around the world.

Almond Trees in Israel

 

I will cause a sprout of righteousness to sprout forth for David, and he will administer justice and righteousness in the Land.  
JEREMIAH (33:15)

אַצְמִיחַ לְדָוִד צֶמַח צְדָקָה וְעָשָׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה בָּאָרֶץ
ירמיהו ל’’ג:ט’’ו

ahts-mee-OKH le-da-VEED tze-MOKH tze-da-KAH ve-ah-SAH meesh-POT oo-tze-da-KAH ba-ah-RETS

A Taste of Torah for Shabbat
This Shabbat, Jews around the world read Parshat Yitro/Jethro, the Biblical portion (Exodus 18-20) describing the greatest event of human history, when God revealed Himself to man through His giving of the Ten Commandments. Rabbinic commentators point out that Jethro is singled out and rewarded by having this special reading eternally connected with his name because he was a righteous gentile who recognized the great miracles the One True God performed for the Jewish people. Jews have always shown admiration and appreciation for the righteous gentiles throughout our history who have stood by the People of Israel.

About Today’s Photograph
Almond trees, known in Hebrew as שקדיה/she-kay-dee-YA are amongst the first to blossom throughout Israel and are a welcome reminder that spring is just around the corner. The pink and white flowers turn into leaves and finally give way to almonds in just a few months. Almond trees have grown in Israel since Biblical times and were amongst the gifts sent by Jacob to Joseph in Egypt according to Genesis (43:11). Today’s photograph is by Galit Trager.  Happy Birthday Galit  –  יום הולדת שמח גלית

Judah will exist forever

Judah will exist forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
JOEL (4:20)
וִיהוּדָה לְעוֹלָם תֵּשֵׁב וִירוּשָׁלִַם לְדוֹר וָדוֹר
יואל ד:כ

ve-ye-hoo-DAH le-oh-LOHM tay-SHEV vee-roo-sha-la-YEEM le-DOR va-DOR

Today’s Bible Lesson: Guest Post
by Sondra Baras, Director of CFOIC

Judah was Jacob’s fourth son and when the land was divided amongst the Tribes of Israel, Judah received the vast area of land south of Jerusalem extending from the Dead Sea in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. For centuries, this area was known as the Region of Judah, or Judea. Today, many people seek to sever the Jewish people from Judea, the Biblical Heartland of the Jewish People.  But God promised through His prophet Joel, that Judah would exist forever.  “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).

About Today’s Photograph
Photograph of a father and son walking through the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City by Vladi Alon. Today’s verse and much of Jewish literature connect Jerusalem with eternity.  “While pondering the creation of the world, the sages asked: ‘From where did He create it? And the answer is ‘From Zion.’ And when the Holy One, blessed is He, shall renew the world, He shall renew it out of Zion.” From “Legends of Jerusalem” by Zev Vilnay.

Titus Arch – Arc de Triumph

 

When the Romans defeated the Jews in 70 C.E., they built this “Titus Arch” in Rome to commemorate their victory.

The sculpture depicts the booty the Romans took when they ransacked and destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

The Roman victors named the conquered Jewish region “Palestine.”

 

Info from Israel 101

 

Vineyards – Israel

“You will yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria;

the planters will plant and redeem.”
JEREMIAH (31:5)

Enjoy this photo of stunning vineyards!

Today marks the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat,

and throughout Israel, children and adults alike will plant trees and vines throughout Samaria

and will celebrate Jeremiah’s prophecy coming to life!