Three Musketeers blow the shofar on Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount on Erev Rosh Hashanah 5782 and thousands of elderly receive Rosh Hashanah care packages and Get into the trenches of Israeli history at the revamped Mt. Zion supply tunnel
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
The day before erev Rosh Hoshana 5782 (2022), Rabbi Yehuda Glick of the Shalom Foundation, Robert Wagner, of Shofer so Great, and Rabbi Yehuda Lave head to the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple mount for Yehuda and Robert to fulfill the Torah command to blow the shofar on the Temple Mount to ask G-d to remember his children and end this pandemic and ask for the Moshiach to come!
Here is the facebook video of Rabbi Yehuda Glick speaking and the sounds of the blowing of the Shofar. You have to copy and paste this link as it is not letting paste it in
Between Israel's independence in 1948 and the conclusion of the 1967 Six Day War, there were 19 years when part of Jerusalem was under Israeli control, and another part — including the Old City and the Western Wall — was occupied by Jordan.
Jerusalem was divided by a boundary rigged with mines, and demarcated by barbed wire and frightening signs that read: "Danger! Do not cross!" This area was known as No Man's Land.
Shortly after the entirety of Jerusalem came under Israeli control and the city was reunified in 1967, almost every vestige of the hated division was quickly cleared away. When the task was complete, only one remnant remained: an ugly hole on the slopes of Mount Zion, "decorated" here and there with large pieces of tin.
For over 50 years, Jerusalemites watched as this eyesore filled up with garbage and debris, seemingly destined to remain an indefinite blemish on Mount Zion. This was unfortunate, for not only is Mount Zion of major historical and religious importance to both Jews and Christians, but the hole was actually the entrance to a historic underground trench constructed by the Israel Defense Forces in 1948, and had been a key asset prior to the Six Day War.
Last year, there was a flourish of activity at the site, and, on Wednesday, the restored Mount Zion portion of the tunnel was officially opened to the public. A lovely little semicircular tiered seating area at the entrance provides a venue for tour guides to speak about the site's history before heading in — or simply for visitors to rest and enjoy the view of the city.
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Funded by the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, the project cost NIS 2.5 million ($780,000) and is a fitting tribute to the ingenuity of the Combat Engineering Corps, or CEC.
Descending the steps in the Mount Zion tunnel. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
The CEC, which consisted at first of Jewish veterans from the British Royal Engineers, was formed at the very beginning of Israel's 1948 War of Independence, and has participated in every Israeli conflict since then.
Last week we walked the ramparts from the Jaffa Gate to the Zion Gate — which were once filled with Jordanian soldiers — together with Gura Berger, spokesperson for the East Jerusalem Development Company (PAMI). Berger suggested that on this jaunt we pretend to be Jordanian snipers in the time prior to Jerusalem's unification, and pointed out where bored Jordanian soldiers had carved graffiti into the stone.
At the time, Jordan occupied the Old City within the walls, while Mount Zion — located only a few meters further south and completely isolated from the rest of Jewish Jerusalem — was held by Israel.
When he was a child in the early 1960s, Berger's husband studied at a school located directly across from the ramparts. From their classroom, located safely out of range of the guns, the pupils could easily see sacks of sand on the ramparts and the soldiers at the ready.
Illustrative: A platoon of Arab Legion soldiers on the ramparts of Jerusalem's Old City, 1948. (Public domain)
With Jordanians taking potshots at any type of military or medical convoy, it was impossible to transfer supplies and equipment from the rest of Israeli-held Jerusalem to Mount Zion, or to transport casualties from there into Israeli territory.
The answer was to construct a trench that descended from below an aqueduct in the 19th-century Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood, crossed the valley, and moved up inside the slopes of Mount Zion. Its walls were made of cement, and it was partially covered by a tin roof topped by a layer of dirt — steep, narrow, and full of twists and turns, the trench had to be hidden from sight.
As we trod the ramparts, climbing up and down a few of the 37 different towers built into the walls and examining fortifications, we could see how easy it would have been for Jordanian snipers to hit Israeli targets.
A photo of the view inside the ramparts of Jerusalem's Old City. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
The towers provided protection for the Jordanian troops and were perfect for getting organized before starting a shooting spree. But while we stopped several times to search for the tunnel on Mount Zion, no matter where we stood on the ramparts it was impossible to spot.
When we reached the southeast corner and turned towards Zion Gate, we got a glimpse of a box hanging incongruously out of a window on the other side of the Hinnom Valley. The tunnel, unfortunately, had not been capable of transporting large quantities of supplies quickly enough for the army's needs.
To solve this problem, CEC engineer Uriel Hefetz designed a cable car to supplement the tunnel. It ran from today's Mount Zion Hotel and ended up at the Israeli position inside the grounds of the Jerusalem University College, also known as the Institute of Holy Land Studies, on the mountain.
A view from the Old City ramparts. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
(Hefetz is well known for his bravery during the War of Independence, but his heroism didn't end there. Fifty-one years old when Israel was attacked on multiple fronts on Yom Kippur — the holiest day of the Jewish calendar — at the outset of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Hefetz immediately drove up to the Syrian front. There, he spent three weeks evacuating wounded soldiers from the battlefield and saved the life of at least one soldier, who was critically injured. Hefetz extracted the soldier from a damaged tank and brought him to safety.)
Like the tunnel, the cable car was never discovered by the Jordanians. It operated at night and was lowered into the valley during the day. Along with the car, the cable itself is still visible from the corner of the ramparts, housed in a wonderful museum inside the Mount Zion Hotel, which is now temporarily closed for repairs.
Our plan was to walk through the tunnel from the top to the bottom, which opens up onto Hativat Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Brigade) street — a road that runs below and along the Old City walls. This is the only portion that remains from the original trench. The rest disappeared long ago.
Just outside the Zion Gate is a wall most likely dating back to the Hasmonean era 2,000 years ago. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
After descending at the Zion Gate and walking through it, we headed for the college. We still could spot no sign of the trench — but we did get to see an exciting historical Jewish sight. Part of the wall to the left of the entrance almost certainly dates back to the period of the Hasmoneans — Jewish kings and priests who ruled the Land of Israel 2,000 years ago.
Finally, after climbing down several dozen steps right below the institute, we spied the opening to the tunnel.
Moshe Shapiro, an expert in the preservation of historic sites, is the architect responsible for restoring the Mount Zion tunnel. While he made only minimal alterations to the original, there is one significant change.
Originally, Shapiro says, the dirt that covered the tin roofing and hid the tunnel prevented any light from filtering through, and all activity inside the tunnel took place in darkness.
The restores Mount Zion tunnel just below the ground of the Jerusalem University College, also known as the Institute of Holy Land Studies. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
Over the years, the dirt was washed away and light peeped through the cracks that had appeared in the tin. During the restoration, Shapiro decided to enhance this lighting effect by using corroded steel for the roof. Not only does this deliver the impression of rusty tin, he notes, but it actually prevents corrosion.
Into the steel rooftop Shapiro carved the words Levanon, Carmel, City of Peace and dozens of the 70 other terms the Bible uses to describe the Holy City of Jerusalem. When the sun sets, the words appear to have been written in gold.
Biblical terms for the city of Jerusalem are etched into the new roof of the Mount Zion tunnel, allowing sunlight to stream through and illuminate them in gold. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
The restored tunnel is a wonderful tribute to the Israel Defense Forces' ingenuity and the city's modern history. It is open to the public daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., free of charge. To walk the tunnel visitors can start at the top, below the college, or begin at the bottom on Hativat Yerushalayim Street and work their way up.
Either way, the return trip would involve taking the adjacent flight of stairs named for Benny Marshak, an officer in the covert Palmach fighting force set up by the Jews of British Mandate Palestine. Marshak participated in the Israeli conquest of Mount Zion on May 18, 1948, and the subsequent entry of Jewish forces into the Old City. (The unit was forced to retreat soon afterward when reinforcements failed to arrive.)
Thousands of elderly Israelis to receive care packages for Rosh Hashanah
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Worth some 120 NIS ($37), they include wine, honey, honey cake, jam and other goods like pasta, rice, tuna, couscous and oil.
As vulnerable populations continue to take precautions due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the Jewish Agency for Israel's affordable-housing subsidiary, Amigour, will provide comprehensive food packages to the elderly, with a focus on Holocaust survivors, to prevent them from the risk of exposure when buying essential supplies for Rosh Hashanah.
The Jewish Agency's public housing subsidiary Amigour, which provides a roof over the head of thousands of elderly Israelis, began the distribution campaign this week and will deliver the packages to its dozens of complexes nationwide.
The campaign began distributing 6,250 packages worth a total of 750,000 NIS ($233,000) to 56 Amigour housing complexes across the country this week and will conclude its campaign at the start of the holiday. These packages are being offered to Amigour residents thanks to donations raised by the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Hayesod, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Each food package, worth some 120 NIS ($37), includes wine, honey, honey cake, jam and other goods like pasta, rice, tuna, couscous and oil.
Moreover, the food baskets will enable Amigour tenants to celebrate Rosh Hashanah together without having to venture to the store and risk exposure to COVID-19, particularly given their risk factors for the virus.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Amigour has distributed thousands of care packages to elderly residents in nursing homes to coincide with Jewish holidays. Care packages were sent during Passover and Shavuot, and those who needed to be in isolation received challahs for Shabbat.
"We had a year full of challenges—from the ongoing struggle with COVID-19 to a military operation in the south to rocket fire across many cities in Israel," said Amigour chairman Arieh Abir. "Despite this, we continued to hold concerts and many cultural events to make it easier for elderly citizens to spend time in our nursing homes. I thank the donors who made these care packages possible and the dedicated staff who work day and night to make life for our tenants comfortable. I hope that the next year will be one of health and peace."
In the south, packages will be sent to Beersheva, Ashkelon, Sderot, Ofakim, Kiryat Gat, Arad and Rehovot. In the north, packages will be sent to Haifa, Naharyia, Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Yam, Nesher, Carmiel and Migdal HaEmek. In central Israel, packages will be sent to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bat Yam, Kiryat Ono, Lod and Holon. Finally, in the Sharon area, packages will be sent to Kfar Saba, Netanya and Herzliya.
Caption: Displaying Rosh Hashanah care packages are (from left) Deputy Mayor of Kfar Saba Oren Cohen; Jewish Agency chairman of the executive and chairman of the executive of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel; and, senior vice president of Amigour Erez Shani, September 2021. Credit: Amigour.
See you tomorrow bli neder
Today I am going on a tour with Shalom Pollock
I hope you had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper is on Thursday this week.
For Succout my wife and I are going to visit her parents in the Czech Republic, but the blog will go on.