WASHINGTON, August 5, 2011 — It is seldom that one sees in history a tragedy repeated the same day … centuries later. And yet, this is what happened with the Ninth of Av in Jewish History.
The month of Av is the fifth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar and it usually falls in the month of August. Tisha B’Av is considered to be the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and is commemorated in Israel and abroad. On that day, the First Temple, which was built by King Solomon and had been the most important place in ancient Judaism, was destroyed by the Babylonians who sacked Jerusalem in 586 BCE.
The Second Temple, which was built on the site of the First Temple, was completed in 516 BCE. During the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, it was also destroyed.
Across an interval of 656 years, both Temples were destroyed on the same day, the Ninth of Av.
Those two tragedies were so meaningful that ancient rabbis chose that date, the Ninth of Av, to be a day of mourning for the Jewish people. This is the origin of Tisha B’Av (the Hebrew word ‘tisha’ means ‘nine’).
Continuing the mysticim of The Ninth of Av, this is also the day when the Jews were expelled from England in 1290. And on that same day, in 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain.
In contemporary History, on the Ninth of Av in 1940 (5700 in the Jewish calendar), Himmler presented his plan for the “Final Solution” to the Jewish ‘problem’ to the Nazi Party in Germany. Two years later, in 1942/5702, the Nazis began deporting Jews from the Warsaw ghetto.
While Tisha B’Av begins in the Hebrew month of Av, the spirit of remembrance actually begins three weeks earlier, on the 17th of the month of Tammuz. This date is important as it was then, in 70 CE, that the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem and spent the next three weeks pillaging the city until the Second Temple was burned on the Ninth of Av.
Financial rating giant gives Israel ‘solid’ rating forecast but downgrades rating for US-backed bonds to AA+
US-based financial rating giant Standard & Poor’s announced on Monday that it was leaving Israel’s credit rating at “A” along with a solid rating forecast.
S&P did, however, downgrade Israel’s US securities-backed credit rating to AA+, in accordance with its latest historic downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.
The bonds in question were issued in 2003 and amount to $6 billion. These bonds are currently ranked at AAA. The Israeli government can still issue $3.8 million-worth of US-backed bonds, but given the US’ recent credit tumble, should new bonds be issued, they would automatically be ranked AA+.
S&P first upgraded Israel’s credit rating to A in 2007. In January 2009, it reaffirmed its decision, further giving Israel’s market a “soild” forecast. In April, the Moody’s rating agency reaffirmed Israel’s credit rating as well, leaving it unchanged at the A1 level.
Tourism Ministry hoping to convince US lifestyle guru to shoot cooking show in Holy Land in September; legendary American television host may visit country in winter
America’s lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and legendary television host Oprah Winfrey may visit Israel in the coming months.The first guest, Martha Stewart, 70, is a media personality with a business empire marketing a variety of home-improvement products and the publisher of cook books and lifestyle magazines. Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that she is scheduled to visit Israel in early September.
The Tourism Ministry office in New York is now in talks with Oprah Winfrey, who hosted one the highest-rated talk show in history until recently, in a bid to have her visit Israel in the coming winter.
The Foreign and Tourism ministries have been trying for years to bring Winfrey and Stewart, who are each capable of influencing millions of Americans, to Israel. Almost every new book recommended on Winfrey’s show has turned into a best-seller. Products recommended by Stewart on her shows enjoy immediate success as well.
Israeli officials believe that if the two are impressed by Israel, they’ll be followed by masses of tourists.
“Is.Real 2011” is a project intiated by a select group of students from Tel Aviv University who participate in the StandWithUs Fellowship, a public diplomacy and leadership program that works on behalf of StandWithUs in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Israeli Student Union. The organization is non-partisan and a-political operating on the leading six university campuses in Israel.
The project is a unique docu-reality series whose aim is to show the real and authentic Israel. The project will shatter all the stereotypes typically associated with Israel and will feature four young Israelis with diverse interests from different segments of society. The videos will be featured and widely distributed to a global audience of viewers, opinion shapers and policy makers through the most powerful medium available today: the internet. This project documents real people and real life in Israel.
Shay is 26 years old and lives in Herzeliya. Shay is the most prominent and successful female basketball player in Israel. She has played for leading teams around the world, including in the WNBA in the United States. This year, Shay led her Israeli team ”Elitzur Ramla” to win the championship game in the Women’s European Basketball League.
Yair is 26 years old and lives in Jerusalem. Yair grew up in a religious family in the settlement of Beit Horon. He is currently participating in a professional tour guide course and offers excursions to tourists from Brazil in Portuguese. Yair also works as a Capoeira (a Brazilian form of martial arts) instructor for underprivileged children in Jerusalem.
Ayman dreams of someday pursuing a career in styling and fashion design. Ayman is 20 years old and enjoys living the Tel Aviv lifestyle. Ayman is a Christian Arab Israeli who was born and raised in the village of Yassif. He studied design in Haifa before moving to Tel Aviv where he now works as a salesman for the fashion chain “Castro” in Ramat Aviv and dreams of someday pursuing a career in styling and fashion design.
27-year old singer-songwriter, living in Tel Aviv, native of Sydney, Australia. Her first home in Israel was Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, where she fell in love with the country. Savannah dreams of musical success both in Israel and abroad, and has spent the last few years in Tel Aviv garnering a loyal fan base. Savannah is passionate about singing and playing the piano – her musical style combines raw emotional ballads, jazzier upbeat numbers and tension filled rock. Recently she performed with the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra. She is also working on a project of poetically translated contemporary Israeli songs which she delivers in English with her own jazz-oriented twist.
Is.Real website: http://www.isreal2011.com
YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/IsReal2011TLV
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/IS.REAL2011TLV