Shabbat

Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from sundown Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact time, therefore, differs from week to week and from place to place, depending on the time of sunset at each location.

Shabbat recalls the Biblical Creation account in Genesis, describing God creating the Heavens and the Earth in six days, and resting on and sanctifying the seventh (Genesis 1:1-2:3).

Shabbat is considered a festive day, when a person is freed from the regular labors of everyday life, can contemplate the spiritual aspects of life, and can spend time with family. Traditionally, on that day three festive meals are eaten — on Shabbat-eve, at lunch, and as an end-of-Shabbat evening-meal. The day is also noted for those activities which are prohibited on Shabbat prescribed by Rabbinic Judaism, but not all Jews follow these categories, and Karaite Judaism has its own traditions.

July 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm Leave a comment

Judaism in Israel

Most citizens in the State of Israel are Jewish, and most Israeli Jews practice Judaism in some form. In the last two centuries the largest Jewish community in the world, in the United States, has divided into a number of Jewish denominations. The largest and most influential of these denominations are Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Conservative Judaism. All of the above denominations exist, to varying degrees, in the State of Israel. Nevertheless, Israelis tend to classify Jewish identity in ways that are strikingly different from American Jewry.

June 8, 2009 at 7:46 am Leave a comment

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea (Hebrew: יָם הַ‏‏מֶ‏ּ‏לַ‏ח‎, Yām Ha-Melaḥ, “Sea of Salt”; Arabic: البَحْر المَيّت‎, al-Baḥr l-Mayyit, “Dead Sea”) is a salt lake between Israel and the West Bank to the west, and Jordan to the east. It is 420 metres (1,378 ft) below sea level,[2] and its shores are the lowest point on the surface of the Earth on dry land. The Dead Sea is 380 m (1,247 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7 percent salinity. Only Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica such as Don Juan Pond and perhaps Lake Vanda have a higher salinity. It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.[3] Experts say that it is almost ten times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea (34% salt versus 3.5% for the Mediterranean). This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

January 21, 2009 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Contemporary culture of Israel

The Israeli culture is heterogeneous, dynamic, and very difficult to define. A significant part of the lay cultural associations is located in the area of Tel Aviv, despite the fact that most of the official state cultural institutions are located in Jerusalem.

Cultural diversity stems from the fact that the people of Israel come from five continents and more than 100 different countries. That’s why we are here wymieszały culture around the world and all the subcultures (eg Arabs, Druze, the Russians, Falaszowie and others) can freely develop their own culture. Israeli culture is unique in its richness and diversity.

In recent years the government of Israel has become a lesser extent, the culture of finance. The volume of state funding of culture is lower than the average in western countries. Despite this, the country continues to support the activities of Israel Philharmonic, which withdraws from concerts around the world, also giving performances to Israeli radio and television. Local government support the existence of many small orchestras, the musicians are mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Israel is well known in the world of modern dance.

December 10, 2008 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

Geography

Israel is on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea and bordered on the north by Lebanon and Syria, in the east to Jordan and to Egypt in the southwest. The Palestinian territories are located mostly in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the southwest. The country extends south through the Negev desert after Eilat, a resort on the Red Sea. The fertile Sharon level lies on the Mediterranean coast. Inland, parallel to the coast, lies the mountainous region with fertile valleys in the west and desert to the east. The big Senkgraben starts behind the source of the Jordan River and extends south through the Dead Sea (lowest point on earth) and further south through the Red Sea to East Africa.

October 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Name

Over the past three thousand years, the name “Israel” has meant in common and religious usage both the Land of Israel and the entire Jewish nation.According to the Bible the origin of the name is where Jacob is renamed Israel after successfully wrestling with an angel of God.

The first historical mention of the word “Israel” is in the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt (dated the late 13th century BCE), which appears to refer to a people.The modern country was named Medinat Yisrael, or the State of Israel, after other proposed names, including Eretz Israel (“the Land of Israel”), Zion, and Judea, were rejected. In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term “Israeli” to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett.

August 24, 2008 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

Etymology

Over the past three thousand years, the name “Israel” has meant in common and religious usage both the Land of Israel and the entire Jewish nation. The name originated from a verse in the Bible (Genesis, 32:28) where Jacob is renamed Israel after successfully wrestling with an angel of God. Commentators differ on the meaning of the name. Some say the name comes from the verb śarar (“to rule, be strong, have authority over”), thereby making the name mean “God rules” or “God judges”. Other possible meanings include “the prince of God” (from the King James Version) or “El fights/struggles”. Regardless of the precise meaning of the name, the biblical nation fathered by Jacob thus became the “Children of Israel” or the “Israelites”.

The first historical mention of the word “Israel” is in the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt (dated the late 13th century BCE), which appears to refer to a people. The modern country was named Medinat Yisrael, or the State of Israel, after other proposed names, including Eretz Israel (“the Land of Israel”), Zion, and Judea, were rejected. In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term “Israeli” to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett.

June 20, 2008 at 10:22 am Leave a comment

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