6 April 2020 - 13 Nisan 5780 - י"ג ניסן ה' אלפים תש"פ
Pope Francis makes landmark visit to Israel E-mail

Pope Francis made an historic three day trip to the Middle-East between 24-26 May 2014. Pope Francis was the fourth pope to visit the Holy Land. Previous visits were; Pope Paul VI in January 1964, Pope John Paul II in March 2000, and more recently Pope Benedict XVI in May 2009.

The Pope Francis trip was to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic visit of Pope Paul VI. The Pope announced his pilgrimage to the Holy Land on 5 January to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, which took place on 5 January, exactly 50 years ago.

The Pope first landed in Amman, Jordan where he was met with the King and Queen of Jordan and held a Holy Mass at the International Stadium in Amman. He then departed by helicopter on 25 May for Bethlehem and met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holding a Holy Mass in Manger Square and then onto a private visit to the Grotto of the Nativity. He then arrived at Ben Gurion Internatonal Airport by helicopter from Bethlehem and was warmly greeted by Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a packed itinerary the Pope first went to Mount Scopus in Jerusalem having a private meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I at the Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem, to coincide with the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I.

The Pope visited the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein in the building of the Great Council on the Esplanade of the Mosques.

He then visited the Western Wall. The pontiff prayed at the Western Wall and placed his hand on the ancient stones and put a note in the cracks between the stones. The text read “Our Father” prayer written in his native Spanish. Pope Francis wrote in the Kotel guest book, “I came to learn from the older brothers the significance of the place. I came to pray for peace all over the world.”

He visited the grave of founder of modern day Israel, Theodor Herzl and laid a wreath at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

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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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