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VIDEO: Hundreds flock to ‘weeping’ Mary statue in Israel

Posted on:
February 12, 2014
Religion, Video
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An Israeli couple say they found the statue covered with oil recently and that it spoke.

Hundreds of people have flocked to a small town in northern Israel to view a statue of the Virgin Mary that residents say “weeps” oil.

Members of a Christian family from Tarshiha, near the Lebanon border, say they have witnessed a miracle in their living room.

Osama Khoury said Tuesday that his wife Amira found the statue “covered with oil” recently. Amira said the statue “spoke to her” and told her not to be afraid. After a neighbor witnessed the oil, word soon spread.

Parts of the statue appear to be slick with moisture, even after it is wiped off.

The family says it is most striking when a “tear” seems to roll down the statue’s cheek. It says some 2,000 people have come to see the statue over the last week.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Natalie Portman’s husband converting to Judaism

Posted on:
January 29, 2014
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French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, married to the Jerusalem-born Oscar-winning actress, will become a member of the tribe.

Benjamin Millepied, French dancer and choreographer married to Oscar-winning Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman, announced he will convert to Judaism.

The couple is currently in Israel with their two and a half year old son Aleph, as Portman does casting for her first movie as director, an adaption of Israeli author Amos Oz’s “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”

In an interview with Yedioth Aharonoth Wednesday, the couple said they will be here till the end of March, and Millepied, who said he already “fell in love with the country,” is looking forward to getting to know Portman’s family and the country better. This is only his second time in the country.

He told the paper he is in the middle of the conversion process and looks forward to becoming Jewish.

The two married in a small Jewish ceremony last year in California. They met on the set of the movie Black Swan, where Portman played a self-mutilating ballerina and Millepied was a choreographer and actor.

Source: Haaretz.com

‘Judaism-obsessed’ One Direction star studying Hebrew

Posted on:
January 6, 2014
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One Direction

Harry Styles isn’t Jewish, but he’s fascinated by Jewish culture and loves kosher food, the Daily Star reports.

One Direction lead singer Harry Styles is apparently “obsessed” with Judaism and has made it his mission to learn to speak and read Hebrew in 2014, the Daily Star reported.

The 19-year-old superstar has already learned to write his name and One Direction in Hebrew, and has a tattoo on his left upper-arm of his sister Gemma’s name in Hebrew letters. Apparently learning the language isn’t enough for Styles; the heartthrob is also fascinated by Jewish culture.

Harry Style’s director and close friend, Ben Winston, has reportedly been giving the young star Jewish cultural tips. Winston often invites Styles to spend Shabbat with his family and even bought him a velvet, embroidered kippa from Jerusalem.

Winston was quoted by The Algemeiner saying that Styles, “loves the Jewish community and wearing a Magen David,” adding that all the One Direction members “love Judaism. They are fascinated by it and they enjoy the family atmosphere.” Another source told Daily Star, “Harry also loves kosher food. He regularly visits kosher restaurants in New York.”

In September Styles tweeted, “Eating as much as I can now. Gonna be a tough 25 hours. My problem is I am always hungry straight after kol nidre. Fast well everyone!” as reported by The Algemeiner.

Harry Styles will be able to show off all of his newfound Jewish knowledge during an upcoming performance in Israel later this year.

In response to Styles’ obsession, fans have speculated as to whether the teenage heartthrob is Jewish. The young star’s dad took to Twitter last month writing, “No idea where the rumors came from but, categorically, Harry is 0% Jewish. Not at all.”

Source: Ynetnews.com

Israeli Christians in Nazareth launch new website to encourage tourism

Posted on:
January 2, 2014
Religion, Tourism
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The Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel. Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, is home to Israel's largest Christian community. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel. Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, is home to Israel’s largest Christian community. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A group of Israeli Christians from Nazareth have launched a new website called “Diglei Habrith” (United Flags) in an effort to promote tourism to Nazareth and strengthen Jewish-Christian ties.

The website, which is still under construction, is being organized by Israeli Christian and former IDF Captain Bishara Shlayan, a merchant seaman from Nazareth who has become outspoken new leader of the Israeli Christian community seeking to build Jewish-Christian ties. Shlayan is also leading efforts to form a new Israeli-Arab Christian political party called B’nei Habrit and to build a 100-foot statue of Jesus in Nazareth.

“The site will symbolize the attraction of the global Christian community to the city of Nazareth and the support of the world community to the Christian communities in Israel,” the website says.

Source: JNS.org

Israel’s Christian Population Continued to Rise in 2013

Posted on:
December 27, 2013
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Israel’s Christian population continued to grow in 2013, increasing by 3,000 people over the last year.

According to recent figures released by Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, there are roughly 161,000 Christians living in Israel, equaling about 2 percent of the population and an up from 158,000 in 2012.

Nearly 80 percent of these Christians are Arab, while the majority of the remaining 20 percent are largely from the former Soviet Union.

The cities with the largest Christian populations were Nazareth with 22,400 Christians, Haifa with 14,600 and Jerusalem with 11,900.

However, Israeli Christian women also had fewer children than Jews or Muslims, with only 2.2 children per Christian woman compared to 3.5 for Muslim women and 3.0 for Jewish women.

Israel has one of the few Christian communities left in the Middle East that is still growing.  According to the Pew Research Center, just 0.6 percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians now live in the Middle East and North Africa. Christians make up only 4 percent of the region’s total inhabitants, drastically down from 20 percent a century ago, making Middle East Christians the smallest regional Christian minority in the world.

Source: Algemeiner.com

Pink wool to ponchos: What people in ancient Israel really wore

Posted on:
December 26, 2013
History, Religion
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A mural of ancient farming folk at Ein Yael, showing what they wore. Photo by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh

A mural of ancient farming folk at Ein Yael, showing what they wore. Photo by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh

The man in the dusty street wore a tunic and sandals. The rich could dress so splendidly that they risked being struck down by divine anger

Joseph’s coat of many colors. Sara Netanyahu’s controversial black dress. All the way back to Adam and Eve’s arboreal apparel, clothing has revealed family and social structure, religion, commercial and cultural ties.

The ancient texts, including the Bible, the Talmud and New Testament abound in fashion tidbits, often confirmed by archaeological findings.

Many scriptural references to clothing are symbolic. Clothing came to symbolize the human being in a literal way, in the custom of tearing a garment to indicate grief – Jacob tore his garment when he saw Joseph’s coat of many colors drenched in blood; David rent his clothes when he heard of the death of King Saul. Scholars say this act was meant to replace cutting one’s flesh in mourning, as other cultures apparently did (Deut. 14:1–2).

Continue reading via Haaretz