Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Channukkah


And for those of you that like to sing, but only know the first stanza of Moaz Tzur (Rock of Ages) here is the singable translation of all six stanzas.

Rock of strength! Great Aid of yore! ‘Tis sweet due praise to sing thee;
Rear our House of Prayer once more! Thank-off’rings there we’ll bring thee;
When dread immolation,Checks the foe’s elation,
I’ll complete with paeans meet, the altar’s consecration.

Evils sore my soul oppressed, Grief consumed my vigor;
Bitter bondage life distressed, Thro’ proud Egypt’s rigor;
But, whilst Heaven’s devotion, Led us forth from Goshen,
Pharaoh’s race, Sank apace, Like pebbles in the ocean.

Scarce led unto Hashem’s holy fane, From duty’s path I swerved there,
By harsh oppressor captive ta’en, Because strange gods I served there.
The madd’ning cup I tasted, Till, seventy sad years wasted
In Babylon spent, Zerubabbel, sent, To my deliv’rance, hasted.

To check our growth when Haman sought, Our pine-like stature felling,
In self-laid snare himself was caught, Soon ceased his proud heart’s swelling:
Whilst Israel’s power extended, The foeman’s race was ended,
When kith and kin, Were, for his sin, On gallows-tree suspended,

When Maccabees with Syrian foe,The mastery disputed,
My forts were crushed, my walls laid low,My Temple-oil polluted;
One cruse, to Heaven’s pure nation,Sufficed for dedication;
Whence sages mine Eight days assign, To song and jubilation.

Bare Your holy arm once more, and hasten the End for salvation.
Avenge the vengeance of Your servants, from the wicked nation.
Our salvation’s too long delayed, and there is no end to the evil days
Repel Edom in the shadow deep, and bring seven shepherds without delays.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

the riot police are here

When we arrived back in the Yishuv, we wre greeted with the sight of about 30 riot police taking a break in the community park. They were tasked with guarding the Arab farmers that were inside of the community's security fence in order to pick olives from the olive trees.

Although the trees are on Jewish land, the Arabs have permission to enter the community and harvest the olives.

The riot police are there to ensure the safety of the Arabs.

The wise men of Chlem have got to laughing at us for this one.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

G'Vaot Olam - The Hills of the World

After leaving Sebastia, we needed to do something positive. To go where Jews are establishing new settlements, building the Land and thriving. We drove 20 minutes east, past the settlements of Yitzhar and Bracha and arrived at Itamar. We drove through Itamar and continued on a tiny one lane paved road to the most magnificent hilltop settlement in the world.

G’vaot Olam, which means “The Hills of the World” was founded by Avri Ran.

G’vaot Olam is home to animal pens, fields of organic vegetables, olive and apricot groves, a dairy, flour mill and synagogue.
The houses are well-groomed and the paths are lined with flowers. There are no locks on the doors. Instead of a fence, there is a large watch tower. They even raise their own guard dogs.

This settlement is the epitome of what the Jewish people need.

To reclaim our Land, to build and grow and thrive.

When we arrived there was a tour bus full of settlers from other communities leaving. We had the place mostly to ourselves.

Watch tower –

Immaculate Barns –

Guard dogs -


Incredible views -

Not much needs to be said about G’vaot Olam.

Privately owned, exclusively Jewish labor, Profitable organic farming, in the holy Land of Israel.

As we left the area we stopped to remember Matan Zagron, of Itamar who made the ultimate sacrifice for the Land of Israel when he threw himself at a suicide bomber, saving many lives, but losing his own.

For more information on G’vaot Olam:


Originally uploaded by b0ne_cru5her.

on the way to the most amazing hilltop in Israel, we stopped by Michael's outdoor gym.

Sebastia Trip

Not far from the community we call home is the ancient capitol of Israel.

When the Ancient People of Israel divided into 2 kingdoms after the death of King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was established in the northern section of the Promised Land, in accordance with the lands allotted to the 10 tribes in that area. Shechem was the original capital, until Jeroboam moved it to Tirzah. Later, in approximately 880 B.C., Omri, the sixth king of Israel, established the capital at Samaria, a new town built on a hilltop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northwest of Shechem. "Samaria" came to be used interchangeably for both the city, and the region.

Currently just a 1/2 mile from the nearest Jewish Settlement of Shavei Shomron, Sebastia is closed to Jews except on special occasions. Special IDF permission, a military escort, and an armored bus are needed to visit an area that can be reached in under a half hour's hike. We hike and ride offroad motorcycles, dune buggies, and jeeps all over the Shomron fairly regularly.

A view of Shavei Shomron from Sebastia:

View of Shavei Shomron from Sebastia

This time we decided to try the officially sanctioned tour.

On the third intermediate day of the festival of Sukkot we went for a visit.

A map of the site :

We took the armored bus. Not as cool as a motorcycle.

We got off the Bus at the main plaza- the Roman Forum.

If only they did!

The plaza was huge, and almost completely empty. Just the tour group, made up of settlers from all over the country and our military escort, about 50 people in all.

Roman columns:


No archeological site would be complete without the requisite Arab faction graffiti-

Our Escorts in the Roman Forum -

Following us up the mountain -

On the rooftops -

As we hiked to the top, we were once again awed by the beauty of the Land of Israel and at the same time saddened by knowledge that the idiots in the Knesset are planning to give it away.

At the top of the mountain we saw the remains of the palace, the Ivory house and the pagan temple.

More graffiti -


Always well protected-

As we began our decent the view changed. We were now on the Northern side of the mountain.

The horizon was dominated by the destroyed settlement of Chomesh.

Sitting abandoned, clearly visible from every vantage point, crying out to us to travel just another 10 minutes north , to reclaim our Holy Land.

I stood for a while.

I asked myself the same question I ask everyday.

What else could I have done?

Our escort blending in with the scenery –

When we reached the bottom we saw the Roman stadium –

My son decided to start singing the theme from Rocky and ran up the stairs:

He was joined by his friend-

Amazing stone engravings-

As we boarded the bus, I whispered a prayer that we would return soon, not just to the capitol city of Shomron, but to the entire Shomron region, and to the entire Land of Israel

A brief history:

"In the thirty and first year of Asa, king the Judah, began Omri to reign over Israel... and he bought the hill Samaria... and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill Samaria".
(I Kings XVI; 23,24)..

Four ancient cities were destined to rise successively on this hill. The first was for 160 years (880-721 B.C.E.) the royal citadel and city of the kings of Israel. In this city reigned Ahab and Jezebel. Archaeology has brought to light the splendour of their court. In the lower city, as yet unexcavated, lived the people and traders.

In 721 B.C.E. "...the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria..." (II Kings XVII,6). Thereafter Samaria became the residence of the Assyrian, Persian and Hellenistic governors, who twice rebuilt the city.

With the destruction of Samaria in the Maccabean wars, Herod the Great, in about 25 B.C.E., built a new, magnificient city and called it Sebastia (Sebastos is the the Greak equivalent of Augustus) in honour of Augustus Caesar.

Other sites with pictures and information on Sebastia: