The Origins of the Hanukkah Menorah
Posted on December 22, 2016, by shiraelazary
Every year, in the early darkness of winter, Jews around the world light a Hanukkah Menorah to celebrate the Holiday of Light. The word "Menorah" is Hebrew for "lamp", and "Hanukkah" is Hebrew for "consecration". The holiday was named after the re-dedication of the sacred alter at the Jewish Temple, by the Hasmonean Maccabees, who took it back in 164 BC, during their successful rebellion against the Greeks. (...)
What is the Land of Milk and Honey?
Posted on December 12, 2016, by shiraelazary
The phrase "A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey" appears in the bible more than 20 times, always in a very favorable context, a land rich and nurturing beyond imagination.
"and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." - Exodus 3:8 (...)
Jerusalem Light Festival 2015
Posted on June 11, 2015, by shiraelazary
The Jerusalem light festival (a.k.a "Light in Jerusalem") is celebrated every June since 2009.
Every night for a whole week, parts of the Old city are turned into a glowing garden, with installations by local and international artists, street performers, music, all free of charge, and of course, stalls selling snacks and all manner of glowy things. (...)
A Field Guide to Clerical Christian Clothing
Posted on May 13, 2015, by shiraelazary
Since my tour-guide school days I have been deeply baffled by all the different colors, textures, styles and symbols of the Christian clergy's garments, knowing full well that there were codes and meaning to every little detail, but never quite figuring them out. I could tell Catholic from Orthodox just fine, but the subtle differences between the headpieces of say, Russians and Greeks, were just lost on me. (...)
Palm Sunday Procession in Jerusalem, 2015
Posted on April 20, 2015, by shiraelazary
On the last Sunday before Easter, the Christian world celebrates Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, starting the final week of His life prior to the Resurrection. This year I was lucky enough to experience this celebration at the very place it all happened - the Catholic Palm Sunday procession on Mount of Olives. (...)
The Carmel Disaster - Post Wildfire Photos
Posted on February 10, 2015, by shiraelazary
In December of 2010 I was living in a tiny kibbutz called Beit Oren ("House of Pines"), nestled deep in the Carmel ridge by Haifa. I was studying to be a tour guide and my single room flat was small, quiet and offered no distractions other than forest pathways and wild flowers hidden in the undergrowth. (...)