Easter is an ancient festival celebrating life after death and Spring after Winter. Easter Season last for 50 days from Easter Day, ending on the Pentecost. Traditional Easter celebration colours are white, representing the angels, and gold for triumph. The Western Christian Church calculate the date of Easter which varies each year, which falls between March 23 – April 17th. Other branches of Christianity vary, the Orthodox church celebrate their Easter around May.
The best place to witness the faith and celebration of Easter is in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, one of the world’s oldest cities (some 4,000 years) and the most holy site in the world. On Easter Day, Christians of all ethnicity gather in Jerusalem’s Old City to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
The week is known as Holy Week and begins on Sunday with a gathering on the Mount of Olives to re-enact Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, where he predicted his own fate to his followers. Monday of Holy Week is the time to visit the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim sacred site and the Jews Wailing Wall. Wednesday is a day to visit the Coenaculum, the place of Christ’s Last Supper, where he administered the first holy communion to his disciples.
Good Friday is a day of epic celebration, with huge crowds gathering along the Ecce Homoarchway, once gateway to the Roman Fortress of Antonia, where Pontius Pilate turned over Jesus to the fickle mob who had turned against him and placed a crown of thorns on his head, mocking him as the “King of the Jews”. On the Via Dolorosa street, Jesus carried his own crucifix, and now followers carrying modern day crosses, who stop at 14 “Stations of the Cross” commemorating incidents along the way, the last 5 of which are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, reputedly the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
It is here on Saturday of Holy Week, in a traditional dating back some 800 years, that a Muslim family unlock the church, and on this day only, the Sepulcher, thought to be the Tomb of Jesus is accessible to the public. Holy fire lights the candles, here and across the Christian world, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ.
Source: Pilot Guides
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday wished Jews around the world a happy Passover in a special video message.
“The story of the Exodus is thousands of years old, but it remains as relevant as ever,” Obama said. “Throughout our history, there are those who have targeted the Jewish people for harm – a fact we were so painfully reminded of just a few weeks ago in Toulouse.”
“Throughout the years, the search for answers has deepened the Jewish people’s commitment to repairing the world, and inspired American Jews to help make our union more perfect,” he continued.
Obama said he is preparing for the fourth annual White House Seder on Friday night, a new tradition started by Obama after participating in an impromptu Seder during his presidential campaign in 2008. He is the first U.S. President to have hosted a Seder at the White House.
A new exhibit at the Design Museum Holon is taking a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly – or in this case – not so ugly – works of 42 Israeli designers. “Designers Plus 10,” (subtitled: 42 ways to be a designer ), which opens Sunday, features one older and one more recent work by 42 Israeli artists who completed their studies about a decade ago. The exhibit also focuses on the lives of the artists, and on what it means to them to be designers. The show, which will be held annually, is taking place within the framework of Holon’s Design Week.
In December 2010, museum chief curator Galit Gaon responded to criticism that the museum, which opened in March of that year, was ignoring the local scene. Gaon said that the design field is an international one, and must be recognized as such. “Israeli designers who live in the country should perhaps stop using the term ‘Israeli design’ and call themselves Israeli designers instead,” Gaon said. “They work in an international context and exhibit in international shows. Their field of operation is not only Israel … This isn’t a geography museum.”
Thus, while the new show, which features work in industrial, graphic, fashion, textile and jewelry design, is limited to Israeli designers, Gaon notes that nationality is not the only criterion. “We took into account that we would choose various sectors each year, perhaps 10 or 20 or 30 years [after graduation], with the goal of examining designers who are active in different fields here – not necessarily in any particular area. We are also focusing on the designers themselves, not on the objects on display. The debate about ‘Israeli design’ has been going on for a long time and I feel we still can’t define what it is. We have to study and learn the field the right way; we have to have perspective. What we can do is talk about Israeli designers. Who are they, what difficulties they face, what they consider success, what their point of view is – about themselves and the market, and so forth.”
Nonetheless, what can we learn from the exhibit about Israeli design?
“It’s too soon to learn about the characteristics of creativity in Israel from just one exhibit. It will take me five or six such exhibits, year after year, to produce a philosophy about the way in which Israeli designers deal with material or ideas. It is simply too early to come to conclusions about how Israeli designers work. One thing I can say is that on the one hand, something about the work method or the process is highly verbal, investigatory and hesitant. On the other hand, the processes are quite short and hurried. I believe that some of this stems from the fact that we don’t have a tradition of work with materials here; we have a larger tradition of texts.”
Why exactly did you choose a period of ten years?
“For a few reasons. First, we assume that if you’ve been actively working in design for a decade, not only studying or creating exhibits, but getting up every morning and going to work, it may be assumed that this is your profession and you’ll continue to work in it. Those who have worked for more than 10 years have made the profession their own.”
“The second reason is that two important things happened 10 years ago: one was the launch of Google Images. While it may seem that the possibility of searching for pictures has always existed, until 10 years ago design students had to go to libraries to leaf through books, and had to depend on lessons in design history. Today it is simple and easy, perhaps too easy, to write ‘chair’ in the search line and the whole world is at your fingertips. [Google] has made the world of design available immediately.”
“Another thing that happened 10 years ago was that Ikea opened its first branch in Israel. The result was that a consumer culture for small designer objects developed, and opened the door for designers to work in this genre of what used to be called ‘gift items.’ Today they are attractive to everyone. They are fun to buy and to have at home. A niche was created that did not exist beforehand, and it influenced the local scene.”
Ten is a nice round number as well.
“Exactly. And we must remember the series of exceptional art exhibits of the Ten Plus group [which consisted of Israeli artists in the 60s who came together to feature their works]. Some of the most important exhibits in the history of Israeli art came from this group. Young Israeli artists who wanted to gain entry to the establishment went to Ten Plus.”
How does one begin working on such an exhibit?
“We approached all the Israeli design schools (except for architecture and interior design ), asked for lists of their graduates and began to see what each had done. It was really a kind of detective work. We enlisted two assistant curators, Leora Rosen and Nitzan Davi, who did a lot of footwork and made telephone calls that included questions like ‘Do you remember who sat beside you in class; where is he today?’ and so on. I am sure we missed people and this is perhaps the place to say to designers: make it possible for us to find you.”
How many people were on the lists, in total?
We gathered [the names of] about 1,000 graduates, out of whom about a third still work in design, design management and teaching. I am sure there are more designers out there that we did not find. We discussed what it means to get up every day and work in their field. Most of the people who did stay in design work in visual communications and illustration; they don’t give up. They work and innovate all the time.”
What do you mean only a third work in the field? That’s not many.
“First of all it means that [design] is difficult. On the one hand, there is the daily struggle, and on the other, there is a lot of love. We filmed all the participants talking about their work and they all said they have no choice; they have to [design] and can’t do anything else. It can’t be taken for granted and it isn’t simple. You have to study your clients, argue with them and try to direct them toward the right place. All the designers shared the feeling that success is no simple matter. We asked about their failures, which of their projects was least successful. The nicest thing was to discover that everyone we spoke to gets up in the morning not because they have no choice, but because they really love what they do. This is who they are.”
The letter reveals “tricks,” mostly based on physics, on how to get more gas for the price you pay, and we have translated it into English, just in case you don’t know. So here they are:
1. It’s best to fill your gas tank in the morning, while it’s still cold. Most of the gas is buried underground and is getting colder during the night. It’s known that gas gets hotter as the day heats up, so when you fill your tank in the afternoon, “a gallon” is actually less than a gallon.
2. When you’re filling up, do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the high setting. The trigger also has a “low” setting, which means fewer vapors are created during filling. When you pump on the high setting, more vapors are created and are being sucked back into the underground tank and you get less gas for your money
3. Fill up when your gas tank is half-empty. The reason is because when you have more gas in the tank, the less air there is that can fill the tank.
4. If you come to fill up on gas and you see a truck that feeds the station underground – don’t fill up. It’s possible that the truck creates a whirlpool that can bring dirt and sludge into your tank.
A new report published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on Wednesday shows that life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world and ranks in fifth place for life expectancy among OECD countries – higher than Sweden and France, for example.
Life expectancy in Israel currently stands at an average of 81.6 years, which is two years longer than the OECD average of 79.5 years.
The report, published this week to coincide with World Health Day on April 7, finds that, between the years 1989-2009, average life expectancy for males in Israel stood at 79.7 years for men and 83.5 years for women.
In terms of life expectancy among OECD countries, Israel is tied with Australia in fifth place, and surpasses countries such as Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Canada.
Japan, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain rank in the 1st through 4th spots, respectively, and the U.S. falls below the OECD average for life expectancy, at 78.2 years.
An OECD global report published in November, which compared the 34 most developed countries in the world, revealed a marked increase in the average life expectancy of citizens of developed nations, which comes as a result of a steady decline in infant mortality rates.
According to the report, Israel can also boast one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates – 3.8 deaths per 1,000 births. The OECD average stands at 4.4 infant deaths per 1,000 births. To put that in perspective, Afghanistan had the world’s highest infant mortality rate for the same time period at 135.95, based on the United Nations Population Division.
Additional statistics point to a decrease in cancer-related deaths, although cancer remains the number one cause of death in Israel. Israel’s total health expenditure per capita is also reported to be among the lowest in the world.
Despite these encouraging statistics, the state of Israel’s health care system is far less optimistic, according to the OECD report. There are only two hospital beds per every 1,000 citizens in Israel, a rate significantly below the OECD average of 3.5 per 1,000. Israel is also lagging in its treatment of asthma and other pulmonary diseases, according to the report.
The report did note, however, an Israeli improvement in the treatment of chronic diseases.
Source: Israel Hayom