JTA NEWS
17 September 2014 - 22 Elul 5774 - כ"ב אלול ה' אלפים תשע"ד
JTA NEWS :
Excavations from the Hasmonean period discovered E-mail

For the first time a building dating to the Hasmonean period was discovered in archaeological excavations in the City of David, in the walls around Jerusalem National Park.

A few months ago remains of an impressive building from the Hasmonean period (second century BCE) are being unearthed in excavations by Israel Antiquities Authority. The excavations are sponsored by the “Friends of City of David”. Although Josephus wrote about Hasmonean Jerusalem, it is only now that remains of a building are being exposed from this period in the city’s history.

The building stands 4 metres high and covers an area of 64 square metres. The building’s broad walls (more than one metre thick) are made of roughly hewn limestone blocks that were arranged as headers and stretchers, a construction method characteristic of the Hasmonean period.

Although numerous pottery vessels were discovered inside the building, it was mainly the coins that surprised the researchers. These indicated the structure was erected in the early second century BCE and continued into the Hasmonean period, during which time significant changes were made inside it.

According to Dr Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, Excavation Directors explained that the importance of this discovery is primarily because of the conspicuous paucity of buildings from the Hasmonean city of Jerusalem in archaeological research, despite the many excavations that have been conducted to date.

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Art Basel in Hong Kong: What to know before you go E-mail

Art Basel in Hong Kong has made it to its second year. 2013 marked the first year of Art Basel in Hong Kong, with 60,000 visitors and 245 participating galleries.

The approximate 50:50 split between Asian and Western exhibitors at the fair highlights the global interest in the Chinese art market, which comes as no surprise given China’s ranking in 2013 as the world’s second largest art market by value. Approximately 70% of that value has been produced by art sales in the auction sector, with the remaining 30% coming from the gallery and private sector.1

This year’s Art Basel in Hong Kong is taking place from 15-18 May. There will be six show sectors offering a diverse collection of artworks, including pieces by established artists, newly emerging artists and curated projects. Galleries from Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa will make up the impressive list of participants. For art collectors visiting Art Basel there are terms of sale, tax, shipping, storage and insurance issues to consider before purchasing art at the fair.

Purchase Documentation

As with all art purchases, art collectors purchasing at Art Basel should insist on more than an invoice from the galleries from whom they are purchasing art. The gallery selling the work should represent and warrant in writing to the purchaser that the work is authentic and that good and marketable title to the work is being transferred to the purchaser free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances.

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Yad Vashem receives rare Purim manuscript E-mail

This years Purim Megillah reading from the Book of Esther held at Yad Vashem Synagogue in Jerusalem on 16 March featured a scroll that survived Krakow Ghetto.

The Megillah scroll written in elegant calligraphy and estimated to be 300-450 years old, was discovered by Professor Kazimierz Kowalski during the Holocaust among a pile of rubbish in the courtyard of a Jewish school in the Kazimierz district in Krakow.

Beryl Shore, a survivor from Krakow and a member of the Association of Cracowians in Israel, brought the handwritten scroll to Israel a few years ago, and delivered it to Yad Vashem for safekeeping. The Megillah was displayed during the Purim event in which the Director General of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Professor Jonathan HaLevy read from the scroll.

Also in attendance were survivors from various organisations and students at the Midreshet Moriah seminary.

Purim evening at the Ilia camp in Transylvania in 1943 was a very difficult one. Conditions were unbearable and spirits were very low.

Zvi Hershel Weiss, a prisoner at the camp, decided to write a text for the holiday to uplift the mood of his fellow Jews imprisoned Zlongside him. Recently, Zvi’s son, Shmuel Yitzhak Weiss donated the manuscript, written in Yiddish, to Yad Vashem as part of the ‘Gathering the Fragments’ campaign.

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