By: Ashley Baylen
‘Two and a Half Men’ star and his former ‘That 70’s show’ co-star (and current girlfriend), Mila Kunis, are reportedly visiting Israel next week.
Kutcher is a devoted Kabbalah follower, and has made several trips to Israel over the past several years as part of his practice. He and ex-wife, Demi Moore, have been attending services at the Los Angeles Kabbalah Center for years, and Kutcher studies privately with Kabbalah Center founder, Rabbi Yehuda Berg, in his Hollywood residence.
In previous years, Kutcher spent time at the Kabbalah Center in Tel Aviv and the International Center for Tzefat Kabbalah.
Although Rabbi Eyal Reiss, the director of the Tzefat Center, has not confirmed Kutcher and Kunis’ arrival, he did share that the celebrities’ reps only notified him 24 hours in advance during previous visits.
“He is discreet for reasons we can all understand,” Reiss said, according to Haaretz.
Kunis is of Ukrainian Jewish heritage, but does not adhere to Kabbalah practices. Since her relationship with Kutcher has begun, she has been spotted with him at a few Kabbalah ceremonies, but her conversion does not seem imminent.
President Shimon Peres invited Pope Francis on Tuesday to visit Israel, at his first meeting with the new pontiff who has appealed for peace in the Middle East.
The pope accepted the invitation “with willingness and joy,” a Vatican spokesman said, but there was no indication when a trip would be made.
“I am expecting you in Jerusalem, not just me but the whole country of Israel,” Peres told the pope in the presence of reporters after 30 minutes of private talks in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, made an appeal for peace between Israelis and Palestinians in his Easter address last month.
A Vatican statement said they discussed prospects for a resumption of negotiations for a solution that would respect “the legitimate aspirations of the two Peoples, thus decisively contributing to the peace and stability of the region”.
They also agreed on the need for a political solution to the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Both of Francis’s two immediate predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, visited the Israel and the West Bank, in 2000 and 2009 respectively.
Peres asked Francis “to pray for all of us” and told the pope that he would pray for him during a trip on Wednesday to the central Italian city of Assisi, where he will visit the tomb of St. Francis, whose name Bergoglio adopted when elected pope.
Francis will travel to Rio de Janeiro in July to preside at the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Youth, a gathering of young people from around the world.
He is expected to visit his native Argentina in early 2014.
The president’s spokesperson said Peres will be one of the first political leaders to convene with Pope Francis since his election to the august post in March. (Noam ‘Dabul’ Dvir)
Six months ago, 39-year-old Jorgen Nilsson left his home in Sweden and embarked on a 4,500-kilometer (2,800-mile) pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Jorgen, a knight in the Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus, left the city of Lund on November 18 and was expected to arrive in the Israeli capital just in time for the first International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage, which begins Sunday.
On his way to Jerusalem, Nilsson passed through Denmark, Germany, France, Italy and Greece. Last weekend he arrived in the northern city of Haifa, and moved on to Zichron Yaakov, Hadera, Netanya, Raanana, Tel Aviv, Ramla, Ramat Raziel and Abu Gosh before heading to Jerusalem.
His journey comprised of a total of seven million steps.
Nilsson explained last week why he chose to walk to Jerusalem: “First of all, the ancient and holy city was always a critical point both for peace and for conflict. The city serves as a symbol for the effort required to reach world peace.
“I am a member of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. Last year, the Order returned to Jerusalem after hundreds of years of absence and exile in France. In light of that, as part of my desire to perpetuate our return to the holy city, I decided to do this historical walk to Jerusalem.”
After a short rest from his long journey, Nilsson was expected to receive the key to the city from Mayor Nir Barkat.
During his trip, Nilsson updated his blog and posted pictures of the different landscapes he saw on his way on Facebook.
The Order of St. Lazarus, which invited Nilsson to Israel, is known for its philanthropic activity for a green environment and is cooperating with the Jerusalem Municipality in the International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage, which will be held this week as part of the Earth Day events.
Meanwhile, Australian adventure runner Richard Bowles launched the longest run ever along the Israel Trail last Wednesday, hoping to complete the entire 1,009-kilometer (627-mile) path within just 12 days.
Bowles, an ultra-marathon runner, arrived in Israel under the sponsorship of the Shoresh company to run on a track initiated by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, which only recently was included on National Geographic magazine’s Epic Trails list.
Amir Ben-David and Lior El-Hai contributed to this report
Hollywood actor Gerard Butler, who arrived in Israel this week to promote his new film, “Olympus Has Fallen,” found the time to participate in a traditional Mimouna celebration at the home of producer Leon Edri in Caesarea.
The post-Passover North African Jewish celebration was also attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their son Yair, who all posed for a picture with the British star.
Butler left Israel for London on Tuesday morning.
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