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What do we know about the culture of our forefathers?

The Galilee - one of the most beautiful pieces of the Land of Israel.
The people of Israel underwent tremendous transformation in every area of ​​its culture after the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt and the destruction of Judea in 135 CE. Many Jews have moved to the Galilee, but the physical change is only the smallest of them: It seems that the culture of the exiles from Judea underwent a fundamental change, and in fact this is the beginning of Judaism as we know it today - communities, synagogues and competing streams of interpretation. But what do we really know about the culture of our forefathers during this period? In their time the Mishnah was written - were they aware of it? In every archaeological tour you can see what is above the surface - but interpretation requires a broadening of the world of the Jews of the time. And then surprising news emerges - what makes a wheel of zodiac in the center of a synagogue? How could God Apollo always be there? Could Maimonides, who lived hundreds of years later, provide us with complementary insights into these phenomena?

On a significant Galilean tour, we will be able to delve into ancient Jewish writings and offer questions, answers and other questions that will make us think outside the box and reconnect with the rich Jewish culture of our forefathers.



The Temple Menorah -  pluralism of the Temple period?

What did the Menorah of the Temple look like? Since the destruction of the Temple of Judah in 70 CE there are no people left who saw the Temple Menorah with their own eyes. When the State of Israel was established, an important artist proposed to build the State emblem - the Menorah - in front of the Israeli parliament. But then there was disagreement as to the precise shape of the Menorah. Various Hassidic streams claimed that the shape of the Menorah on the Arc de Triomphe in Rome does not represent the actual Menorah. In recent years, more and more finds have been discovered in the Galilee, including stone reliefs from the Menorah from the time of the Temple.

 But then other questions arise: How did the Jews of the Galilee relate to the Menorah of the Temple? What did the lamp symbolize when it stood in the Temple? Can the descriptions of the prophets of Israel in the Bible shed light on this, is the pagan pluralism described in the Bible explaining the role of the menorah?

On a tour of a few hours in the Galilee, you can discover a huge cultural treasure that lies before our eyes in the ancient remains of dozens of rich Jewish communities from the time of the Second Temple.



The secrets of the kingdom of Israel in the Jezreel Valley

The Jezreel Valley is an amazing valley located in the heart of the ancient Land of Israel, and today is only an hour north of Tel Aviv. The famous sea road (Via Maris) that connected the kingdoms of Egypt to the Kingdom of Babylon passes through the valley, and this is only one of the reasons that led all the ancient empires to fight over the region. In the Jezreel Valley, Elijah the prophet said to the king of Ahab: "Hast thou killed, and also taken possessions?" ( Kings 21, Verse 19)  And the person who was murdered was a man named Navot from the city of Jezreel whose remains we can visit today in the heart of the valley. The western entrance of Jezreel Valley (on the road to those who come from Tel Aviv) is Megiddo. The findings in the city stand at the center of a great controversy among the researchers: Was there any King Solomon in Megiddo? Who was the Kingdom of Israel? Why did the Kingdom of Judah receive the name Israel in the end? How does King Josiah of the seventh century BCE who died in Megiddo, connect with the Christian myths - of today -  Armageddon?  Thanks to the ancient cities of the Jezreel Valley we get important clues about our ancestors - the Bible writers.

In an intellectual journey mounted for several hours between the sites of the Jezreel Valley, one can experience a profound and thought-provoking lesson on the ancient past of the Jewish people, the Bible and Western thought of our time.



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