Once again, thank goodness it’s Friday and time for another Good News Friday installment.
Let’s start with an item which has a a personal angle to it. The Toronto branch of Ezer Mizion, the Israeli charity which runs a world-wide Jewish bone marrow registry, has organized a very unusual bone-marrow donation drive – by holding a Shuk Machane Yehuda (Jerusalem’s famed Machane Yehuda market) in Toronto. And the whoel thing has been organized by Ezer Mizion Canada’s director Dena Bensalmon, who happens to be the very talented daughter of my cousin Lynda & Manny Greenberg:
The Canadian branch of the global Jewish bone marrow registry, Ezer Mizion, is bringing a piece of Jerusalem to Toronto to raise awareness of its cause.
On Sunday, a replica of Israel’s landmark Mahaneh Yehuda market, or shuk – including Israeli vendors brought over especially for the event – will pop up in the Canadian city.
Join us as Ezer Mizion’s market takes you back to the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem.
Vendors from Israel and Toronto will supply you with specialty market foods, spices and aromas reminiscent of a day in the Jerusalem market,” the organization announced.
“Vendors in our space will replicate the exact look and feel of the market, taking you away to Israel for the day. Personalities come to life as vendors yell to the crowds, inviting you to taste their olives, dried fruit, bourekas, candy and spices.”
The idea behind the event is to attract and educate members of the public about Ezer Mizion’s work.
“In Israel, Ezer Mizion is enormous and everybody knows it. But because we are the world’s largest Jewish bone marrow registry, and we don’t only save lives in Israel but also in Canada and across the world, our goal was to create awareness in Canada specifically so that people understand why it is important,” Ezer Mizion Canada’s director Dena Bensalmon told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
“So we thought, let’s do something crazy.” The organization then came up with the idea of replicating Mahaneh Yehuda as a site which many people feel a connection to.
Bensalmon said tickets were “flying off the hook” and they would have to close sales by the end of the day so the venue at Artscape Wychwood Barns would not exceed maximum capacity.
What had begun as a Jewish- targeted event has, according to Bensalmon, become a multicultural one, attracting the interest of Christian and Muslims.
Watch this promotional video – but, due warning – they are already sold out!
This has been a huge enterprise, with an enormous amount of effort and coordination and it has turned out to be a huge hit! And it all has the added bonus of being a great PR project for Jerusalem.
Kol hakavod to Dena and all her team for this fantastic initiative. We are all proud of you! May it bring in many bone-marrow donations as well as raise awareness and much needed funds for Ezer Mizion.
My next item also deals with someone who did a great mitzva. The Israeli facebook page המלאכים – “The Angels” – brings us stories of people who do good works, and the following one is very special:
A Holocaust survivor had to choose between buying medicines or getting his airconditioner fixed. He decided he’d rather go without his medicines and called in a technician. When Tomer, the technician, heard about his customer’s sad state, he decided to fix his airconditioner, and those of any other survivors anywhere in Israel, for free!
What a mensch! Truly an angel in disguise. Kol hakavod to you Tomer! May we be blessed with many more angels like you in Israel! שירבו כמותך בישראל!
Changing the subject now, Israel is a place where the old meets the new on a daily basis. In the town of Eli in Samaria, they were blessed with the first fruits from a new vineyard, the first in 2,000 years!
Kol hakavod to the vintners of Eli! May their blessing continue a hundred-fold as they revive Samaria’s ancient wine-making region.
And one last item of ancient history: this week some seals from the First Temple period, with Hebrew inscriptions and names on them, were discovered in the City of David archaeological dig in Jerusalem.
A rare collection of ancient seals inscribed with the names of officials dating to the Judean Kingdom prior to the Babylonian destruction has been unearthed near the Old City’s walls during excavations conducted by the Antiquities Authority.
Dozens of seals, made of small pieces of clay used to officially close letters, were well preserved in the City of David and serve as evidence of their owners.
According to Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, directors of the excavation funded by the Ir David Foundation (Elad), the seals illustrate the advanced administrative underpinnings of Jerusalem during the First Temple period.
“The earliest seals bear mostly a series of pictures,” the archeologists said on Monday.
“It appears that instead of writing the names of the clerks, symbols were used to show who the signatory was, or what he was sealing.”
During later stages of the period – from the time of King Hezekiah (approximately 700 BCE) and up to the destruction of Jerusalem, in 586 BCE – the seals bear the names of clerks in early Hebrew script.
“Through these findings, we learn not only about the developed administrative systems in the city, but also about the residents and those who served in the civil service,” they noted.
Some of the seals are inscribed with biblical names, several of which are still used today, such as Pinhas.
“One particularly interesting seal mentions a man by the name of Ahiav Ben Menahem,” they said.
“These two names are known in the context of the Kingdom of Israel: Menahem was a king of Israel, while Ahiav does not appear in the Bible, but his name resembles that of Ahav [Ahab] – the infamous king of Israel from the tales of the prophet Elijah.”
Although the spelling of the name, “Ahiav,” differs somewhat from “Ahav,” they said it appears to be the same name.
“The version of the name that appears on the seal discovered, Ahiav, appears as well in the Book of Jeremiah in the Septuagint, as well as in Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews 15:7-8),” they said.
Chalaf and Uziel added that the appearance of the name “Ahiav” is interesting for two main reasons.
“First, because it serves as further testimony to the names that are familiar to us from the Kingdom of Israel in the Bible, and which appear in Judah during the period following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel,” they said.
“These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration.”
The stamps, along with other archeological findings discovered during recent excavations, will be exhibited to the public for the first time at the 18th City of David research conference, the annual archeological conference held by the Megalim Institute, on September 7 at the City of David National Park.
Elder of Ziyon pertinently notes:
I often see Arabs claim in Arabic media that there is no evidence of Jewish history in Jerusalem.
The charge is absurd because there have been hundreds of archaeological finds that prove otherwise, but mere facts aren’t important to these people.
The Elder also provides a great video clip of these latest finds:
Once again, kol hakavod to those excellent archaeologists and researchers at the city of David who are unearthing these priceless relics which attest not only to Jerusalem’s rich heritage, but to the Jewish People’s unbroken millenia-old link to Jerusalem and Israel.
And now with all these good news items, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!