Ancient Lead Wand Found in Israel’s Northern Negav Desert

The following teaser is from the a posting December 7, 2015 at the website.


A lead and wood artifact discovered in a roughly 6,000-year-old grave in a desert cave is the oldest evidence of smelted lead on record in the Levant, a new study finds.

The artifact, which looks like something between an ancient wand and a tiny sword, suggests that people in Israel’s northern Negev desert learned how to smelt lead during the Late Chalcolithic, a period known for copper work but not lead work, said Naama Yahalom-Mack, the study’s lead researcher and a postdoctoral student of archaeology with a specialty in metallurgy at the Institute of Earth Sciences and the Institute of Archaeology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Read the full article.

Vertical Cemeteries Built for Land-Starved Populations


As we all know, Israel does not have a lot of land. Existing cemeteries are crowded and traditional burial space is nearly unavailable. Yarkon Cemetery (Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv) is near capacity with 110,000 graves on 150 acres. About 35,000 Israelis die each year, with that number expected to grow as worldwide immigration continues. The Yarkon Cemetery has sought to alleviate the burial-space problem by building 30 vertical cemetery structures.This will provide 250,000 additional graves, allowing about 25 more years of burial.

Israel may be at the forefront of the building of vertical cemeteries. However, from Brazil to Japan, elevated cemeteries are now where folks are to be buried.

You’ll find a very interesting AP article on the subject of vertical cemeteries posted at the October 17, 2014 Yahoo website. It includes a photo gallery of eleven fascinating pictures.

History is Made as Israeli Child is Registered as an Aramean

The following excerpt is from the October 21, 2014 edition of

Yaakov Khalloul, a two-year-old Christian child from the Galilee, made history on Monday when he became the first person in Israel’s modern history to be officially registered as an Aramean.

To date, all Christians in Israel have been registered with population authorities as Arabs, given that for most, their mother tongue is Arabic. But last month, outgoing Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar issued a directive permitting local Christians to now be voluntarily registered according to a more ancient ancestry.

“We are not Arabs. We are simply Christians who speak Arabic,” noted Father Gabriel Naddaf in an interview with Israeli media last year. The Nazareth-based priest who has been actively encouraging young Christians to join the Israeli army, noted that Aramean Christians were living in this region long before the Arab Muslim conquest.

Read the full article.

MyHeritage Team Captures over 50,000 Gravestone Images in 3 Hours in Isreal’s Segula Cemetery

I got a note from Daniel Horowitz at this morning telling me that the MyHeritage Israel team just kick-started their global initiative that we recently announced together with BillionGraves, the project in which they wish to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries. Following is the majority of the note he sent me.

“We decided that it was important to go out as a team and experience the process of photographing and documenting gravestones using the BillionGraves app, and so 80 members of the MyHeritage team went on a grey and cloudy Sunday morning to the local cemetery – Segula – located in Petah Tikva, Israel. In just 3 hours we captured over 50,000 gravestone images and completed nearly 70% of the entire cemetery.

“It was the largest event of its kind ever held in Israel. In fact, BillionGraves told us that this was the largest single-day cemetery project held so far using the BillionGraves app. With the fast pace growth of the app, it is sure to be surpassed soon with other similar cemetery projects.

“As we know, most of the world’s cemeteries have never been systematically documented nor has their information made available online. In addition, age and exposure to the elements are rendering gravestones illegible, making this project even more urgent. This initiative is really important for genealogists and for everyone in order to make family history available to all.

“We are calling on people around the world to join us in this project, and we are happy to help and guide people in the process with advice and resources. We invite everyone to visit to register and download the application. This will help millions of people to discover the final resting place of their ancestors and relatives and the information it includes.”

Please more about their activity in their official blog post:

New Search Engine Released for All Isreal Databases (AID)

The following was received from the President of IGRA:

The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) has released a new search engine for their AID (All Israel
Databases) section . In July, at the IAJGS International Conference in Paris, IGRA was awarded the Stern Grant with the intent that these monies to be used to develop a bi-lingual search engine to improve our website. We contracted with Brooke Schreier Ganz and worked closely with her to build what we hope will be a much improved search experience. Rose Feldman, Carol Hoffman, Daniel Horowitz, Garri Regev and Philip Trauring have each given from their special fields to make this possible.

We believe we bring you now a balanced assortment of databases – from the Ottoman, British and Israeli Administrations, relating to communities from the north to the south, and in many different fields.

Some of the databases are in English but most are in Hebrew, with a few additional languages as well. Each database is presented in the language of the material found. The search engine, however, is able to understand both English and Hebrew and will bring you matches in both languages even if you only entered the name in one language. There is a virtual keyboard if you do not have a Hebrew keyboard and want to use one.

You will notice that in addition to entering the names you are searching there are possible filters on the right side of the page to help you fine tune your search. Try them out!! Adding more or taking them away is quite simple.

Our databases and search engine page is available to all registered users of our website (free). Please be sure to log in. You will be alerted if you do not have permission to access information. Due to restrictions from the various archives we have had to layer the accessibility of our databases. There are databases available to everyone. Some of our databases allow you to search but not to see all of the details. Other databases are only for paid IGRA members. The same is true for the images of the databases. Almost all of the images have been added and more will be added in the coming days.

REGISTER NOW – Webinar, January 13, 2013 (8pm Israel, 1pm EST, 10am PST) – Navigating the All Israel Database Search Engine (English):