Noah and the award-winning director Darren Aronofsky

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2011

Darren Aronofsky is set to take on a biblical task.

The award-winning Black Swan director is in talks to film a live-action adaptation of the Genesis story Noah and the Ark.

According to Hollywood industry website Deadline, Mr Aronofsky has already written the script for a film and is expecting to make it with a budget of £80 million.


A plague on both your iPhones for Passover

By Jennifer Lipman, April 14, 2011

An American iPhone application developer has found a way to bring the ten plagues into the 21st century.

Jeff Eagle's "Plague Audio" app features the passage read about the plagues during the Seder, along with sound effects to bring each one to life – from the croak of a frog to the sound of a hailstone crashing to the ground.


Blackout at Rambam's tomb after rabbis ignore electricty bill

By Jennifer Lipman, April 7, 2011

Visitors to the Rambam's tomb in Tiberias may find it difficult to see things clearly.

The holy burial site of the renowned 12th century Jewish scholar and philosopher Moses Maimonides was left without electricity after the rabbis who managed the site failed to pay mounting utility bills.


Jordan fights Israeli Bedouin over ancient texts

By Jennifer Lipman, March 29, 2011

An Israeli Bedouin man is battling the Jordanian authorities over allegations that he smuggled a collection of rare religious texts out of Jordan.

The 70 lead plates date back two millennia and have been described by experts as “as significant as the Dead Sea Scrolls”. They are inscribed with symbols of what could be among the earliest example of Christian writing.


Orkney student killed in Jerusalem bomb named

By Jennifer Lipman, March 24, 2011

The British woman who died following Wednesday’s bomb attack in Jerusalem had been in Israel just a few months.

Mary Jean Gardner, a 59-year old woman from Orkney in Scotland, was studying at Hebrew University when she boarded the 74 bus.

An evangelical Christian, she was in Israel for a six month period to improve her language skills for her work translating the Bible for a Togo tribe.


On this day: The Dead Sea Scrolls

By Jennifer Lipman, February 15, 2011

It was the search for a stray goat that prompted one of the most remarkable findings in Jewish history.

Discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1947, in caves in the Judean desert where they had been buried for 2,000 years, the Dead Sea Scrolls are believed to be the earliest example of biblical Jewish writings.

Dated back to the time of the Second Temple - during the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties - the around 900 scrolls included apocryphal writings on fragments of parchment and leather. They were written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.


Dead Sea scrolls to go on Google archive

By Jennifer Lipman, October 19, 2010

The Dead Sea scrolls will soon be available to anyone with an internet connection.

Search engine Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority have revealed plans for an online archive of the scrolls, which number around 900.


Israel's biblical vultures under threat

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

Scientists believe that a bird species mentioned in the bible is under threat of dying out because of farming methods in northern Israel.

The number of griffon vultures in the Golan Heights is thought to have dropped to under ten, due to the illegal use of pesticides to prevent wolves and jackals from attacking farm animals.

Oll Spiegel, a scientist whose Phd thesis is on the species, has blamed the decline on the use of poison to deter wolf attacks on cattle.


Bedouin man's Bible bid

By Jennifer Lipman, June 29, 2010

A Bedouin teacher and a group of IDF soldiers are in the running to become Israel’s first Bible champion in nearly 30 years.

Shadi Abu Ara, who teaches Hebrew literature to Arab schoolchildren, has his entire class behind him as he attempts to win first place in the Israeli contest.

If he emerges as the winner at the competition in December, he would go on to compete in the international championship in 2011.