When God made the world and distributed resources like water, Beersheva must have been playing hookey. Rainfall in this city averages about 11 days a year. When rain does fall, it comes down in buckets, and the dry stream beds, known as wadis, turn within hours into raging rivers. These rivers are short-lived. They vanish almost as abruptly as they appear.
But luckily, Beersheva had an alternative source of water - groundwater – which could be tapped by digging wells. In this patch of desert where Avraham Avinu - Abraham the Patriarch – pitched his tent thousands of years ago, the key to survival was digging wells and making pacts with the enemy in which water rights played a major role. These two survival tactics are reflected in the name “Beersheva.”
A “be’er” is a well, and “sheva” could be either the number “seven” or “oath” (shvu’a). Thus, Beersheva is either the “city of seven wells,” or the “well of the oath.”
In the Bible, Abraham makes a pact with Abimelech, chieftain of the Philistines, after Abimelech’s servants seized a well dug by Abraham. Abraham gives him seven ewes on condition that he recognize Abraham’s ownership rights over the well. Then Abraham plants an “eshel” – a tamarisk tree - there.
In later years, one way of drawing water from these wells was a “noria,” or waterwheel. Two of these huge wooden contraptions fitted with buckets can be seen in Beersheva today – in the courtyard of the Abraham’s Well visitors center and at the pedestrian mall in the Old City.
Bet you didn't know this, but amid the timeless sands of the desert, in the heart of Beersheva, the grandmasters of the world are huddled over their chess boards. Beersheva, Israel's chess capital, was chosen to host the 2005 World Team Chess Championships.
Starting today, November 1, 2005, teams from Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, the United States, Cuba, the Georgian Republic, China and Israel are competing for the title of World Champion (Egypt canceled at the last minute). The Israeli team recently won second place in the European championship for the second year in a row, and is currently ranked fifth in the world.
Eliahu Levant, the manager of Beersheva's chess club, moved to Israel in 1972 from - well, where else? - Russia. In Leningrad, he was the secretary of the city's largest chess club. In Beersheva there are now 38 active teams, and a special program has been introduced to teach chess in kindergartens.
Levant says he has to order a new trophy cabinet every year to accommodate all the cups Beersheva has won.
Finally had the golden chance to meet my VT friend Karin from Canada. We went to Beer-Sheva to meet her since she did not have a car.
You can see us here, that is Karin on the right, with me, then Zohara, David and Estar.
Zohara as you know is my wife, David is our adopted son from WUJS here in Arad and Estar is a friend from Arad (actually the daughter of friends, but today she is a grown up girl and a friend also ^o^) who just decided to come along to meet Karin.
If you have the chance to meet this woman, take it, she is the sweetest person, I would wish her as a friend to anyone. Thanks Karin for visiting us and giving us the opportunity to meet you IN PERSON, come back to us soon.
Favorite thing: Spotted this old Peugeot on the streets of Beer Sheva, it must be a collectors edition by now. If anyone can identify the model and year it would be appreciated. I am not knowledgeable about cars, but even I can appreciate a car that has a sense of self.