This is an advertisement for El Al airlines and their non-stop service from Boston to Israel that was inaugurated in June 1982. According to the advert, the non-stop flights left Boston once a week, on Wednesdays, and were three hours shorter than any other way to getting to Israel from Boston. The airline offered to pay for a traveller’s flight to New York if they couldn’t manage the Wednesday flight; From New York, there were daily non-stop flights to Israel, except on Shabbat. As the advert indicates, El Al, Israel’s national airline, does not fly on the Sabbath.
The advert features the ruins of the Hurva Synagogue, located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Hurva Synagogue, built in the eighteenth century and destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948, was a common symbol of the Jewish quarter of the Old City. In recent years the synagogue has been rebuilt. The advert also refers to El Al’s “Milk and Honey” tours. In the Bible, Israel is often referred to as the land of milk and honey. For example, in Numbers Chapter 13 the spies enter Canaan to report back about the condition of the land. They return with a cluster of grapes so large that it must be carried by two people on a pole and describe the land as flowing with milk and honey. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism uses the image of the men carrying the grapes as their logo, and El Al calls their tours “Milk and Honey Tours.”
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El Al - Founded in November 1948, El Al is Israel’s national airline. The name comes from Hosea (11:7) and means “upward.” Non-military flights using military planes were labelled “El Al” even before the creation of the airline. The most famous of these flights took place in September 1948 when an “El Al” plane was used to bring Chaim Weizmann from Geneva to Israel to become Israel’s first president. Once the airline was officially formed, it began services to Rome, Paris, London, and Zurich. It currently flies to 36 destinations around the world. El Al has participated in missions rescuing Jews around the world such as Operation Magic Carpet which brought Jews from Yemen to Israel in 1949–1950, Operation Exodus which brought hundreds of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, and Operation Solomon which rescued thousands of Ethiopian Jews in 1991. El Al, formerly owned by the government of Israel, was privatized in 2005.
Hurva Synagogue - The history of the Hurva Synagogue before the fourteenth century as an the synagogue of the Ashkenazi community (some historians state that a synagogue was on the site from the second century). In 1692 the old synagogue collapsed, and the Jewish community took loans in order to rebuild it. The Ashkenazi community was unable to pay back their large debts, and as a result the incomplete building was destroyed and the community expelled from Jerusalem. The courtyard remained ruined and was known as the “Hurva” meaning the ruins. During the nineteenth century Ashkenazi Jews began to return to Jerusalem and plans were made for a new synagogue. A permit was received from the Ottoman rulers, and money was raised largely with financial backing of the Rothschilds and Sir Moses Montefiore. In 1864 the synagogue was inaugurated and was called Beit Ya’akov in honour of Baron James Jacob de Rothschild. The synagogue was a very prominent building and became a symbol of the Jewish Quarter with many important historical events taking place under its roof. In 1948, after the declaration of the State of Israel, Jordanian soldiers blew up the synagogue in a symbolic gesture to show the end of Jewish presence in the Old City. Following the Six Day War of 1967, the Jews returned and rebuilt the Jewish Quarter. For many years, only one of the original arches was rebuilt, until 2010, when the synagogue was finally reopened with its original nineteenth-century design.
Jewish Community of the United States – At the time of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, between 1,500 and 2,500 Jews were living in the United States, most of them Sephardi. In the middle of the nineteenth century, a wave of German Jews, largely secular and educated, arrived in the United States. Another wave of immigration arrived from Eastern Europe, a result of pogroms and the difficult economic situation in these countries . Most of these new immigrants were Ashkenazi and spoke mainly Yiddish. They arrived, believing that the United States was a “goldene medina,” a country of gold, but the reality was hard. Many of the newcomers worked as manual labourers in difficult conditions, such as in the sweatshops in New York’s Lower East Side. By the beginning of the twentieth century, more than a million Jews lived in the United States, most of them in New York City. Despite immigration quotas, by 1940 the American Jewish population numbered more the 4.5 million. While the first generation of immigrants lived in close-knit Yiddish-speaking communities, the next generation integrated quickly and, in many cases, assimilated into American society and became prominent in many areas of American life. Today American Jews are extremely influential in American politics, business, academia, and culture. Over the last few decades Jews from many countries, such as Russia, Iran, and Israel, have arrived in the United States. The American Jewish community is the second largest Jewish community in the world, numbering between 5.5 and 7 million people. More than 2 million Jews live in New York, making it the city with the largest Jewish population in the world. Half of American Jews consider themselves religious, and there are many Jewish organisations and institutions in the country.