February 12th, 2004  

Vol.  III - Nu.13

In This Issue

  • High Priest  Passed Away

  • The Samaritans


  • Call for Papers

  • Thoughts of A Karaite

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begins Friday Feb.13th, 5:24 pm to Sat 14th, 5:25 p.m.


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SES:In Haifa, July 5-8, 2004 organised by Menahem Mor, and a session at the EABS in Grooningen, July 25-28, 2004 organized by Ingrid Hjelm

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The High Priest, Shalom, son of Amram, son of Issac has passed away.

By Osher Sassoni

In the early hours of Monday morning, the second day of the creation, on the nineteenth day of the eleven month, Shalom (83), son of Amram, son of Issac, son of Amram, the High Priest of the Israelite-Samaritan people in Israel, passed a way.

Shalom Ben Amram was the eighteenth High Priest since the High Priesthood moved from the lineage of Pinhas to the lineage of Itamar.

The High Priesthood was given to Shalom two and half years ago, upon the death of the last high priest Levi son of Avishua, according to the principle of - “ The older one among his brother.” He was part of a lengthy dynasty of high priests since the high priesthood never passed on his family. His father Amram was high priest for 19 years, his grandfather was high priest for 17 years and so backward till the first one. The next high priest will be his cousin Abed-el, son of Sedaka, son of Issac. His vice will be the next priest, in his age, Aaron son of Ab-Hisda.

Including being the High Priest, Shalom served as one of the main cantors of the synagogue on mount Gerizim, he also was the main slaughterer of the community for the last twenty years, and on 1996 he was elected to be a member of the Palestinian parliament, an office which was reserved by chairman Arafat to a representative of the Samaritan Community in Israel. For the last days of his life, Shalom was in good physical fitness which helped him while he used to bear the Scroll of the Torah in front of the proud crowd, and to stand in his all duties as a High Priest, while most of the high priests before him were too old and tired for doing so, and passed their missions to their vice. His voice was clear and stronger than many other younger priests .

But Shalom’s life wasn’t easy. His firstborn Amram died in front of his eyes, after years of suffering, from a hard cancer that attacked him. He had taken his granddaughter , the only offspring of his son under his sponsorship and raised her till his last day. Two years ago he lost his woman Zahide, that died from a hard cancer that attacked her.

Three month ago, the cancer has struck again, but this time, it was him. After tough struggle the disease has broken him.

May he rest in piece .


The Samaritans: Strategies for Survival of an Ethnoreligious Minority in the Twenty First Century’

 A new article will soon appear at our website the-Samaritans.com entitled, The Samaritans: Strategies for Survival of an Ethnoreligious Minority in the Twenty First Century by Sean Ireton.  His 2003 MA dissertation


The research focuses on the two Samaritan communities of Neve Marqeh in Holon (a satellite town south of Tel Aviv) and Kiryat Luza on the Samaritan holy mountain Gerizim (adjacent to the Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus). The Samaritan population currently stands at 654 persons almost exclusively resident in the two communities. Samaritans themselves believe that their Mosaic religious tradition has an uninterrupted history of 3,600 years. They are very proud and protective of their faith and are steeped in religious learning from an early age - as is evidenced in several of the illustrations children are involved in as much of the ritual as possible. The sacred mountain is the location for several sites of archaeological and historic interest and the Samaritans have had a presence in the vicinity throughout their history.

The paper considers how the Samaritans maintain their distinctive ethnoreligious identity as a minority population straddling a Jewish Israeli and a Palestinian Arab Muslim dichotomy. Samaritan use of regulated change to historic practice in order to surmount such problems as male female ratio imbalance and political problems is considered. There is examination of how the society functions and the roles that its members play in the strategies for survival in the twenty first century.



Edited by T.H. Gaster

These prayer are recited over the grave, morning and evening, throughout the week of mourning. They are led by one of the priests who, at the conclusion of them, intones the song the text of which I shall give presently. The song is recited in tones of a monotonous mourning dirge current among the Samaritans from remoter antiquity. According to tradition, it was composed by the holy angels themselves. The story goes that when Aaron died, Moses and Eleazar took him out for burial. When they returned from this duty, the people noticed that Aaron was not with them, and began to susect Moses and Eleazar of having murdered him. God, however, took note of their suspicion, and sent angels to carry the body of Aaron through the midst of the camp, the while they chanted this song. That is why it is expressly said in the Law: “And all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead” (Numbers xx. 29). Seeing his body, they were convinced of his death, and the entire House of Israel wept for him for thirty days. Here, then, is the song which the angels chanted:-

   There is none abides for ever, Save only God in His greatness.

All that be of human kind pass away in human wise;

God alone abideth, God of the past and of the future.

There is none etc. All life is vaniry and all who dwell on earth are borne away;

God alone abideth, the greatest of the great, there is non etc.

Alike the old, alike the young, do lay them in the dust;

God alone abideth, unfading and unique, there is non etc.

Alike the great, alike the small, are borne away in death like this;

God alone abideth, great above all the great, there is none etc.

Alike the rich, alike the poor, depart in death like this;

God alone abideth, King above all kings, there is none etc.

Man and woman all alike are buried in the earth;

God alone abideth, Sovran o’er all sovranty, there is non etc.

Nor man is there nor woman, but needs must suffer death;

God alone abideth, O’er future and o’er past. There is none etc.

Lo, all that is created must yet return to dust;

God alone abideth, giving pardon, giving hope, there is none etc.

All that lives must die throughout the vast creation.

God alone abideth, Lord of spirits. There is none etc.

The living all must die, the high must be brought low;

God alone abideth, full of lovingkindness and of truth. There is none etc.


   (If the deceased belonged to the Priestly House):

No prophet e’en nor priest can turn his back on death;

God alone abideth, the faithful God. There is none etc.


   (If he was himself a priest or scribe):

All His works are wisdom, and all His ways are justice;

Yea, God alone abideth, Who judgeth righteously,

Who hath given judgment concerning this death, and hath done so in wisdom.

God alone abideth. There is none abides fro ever, Save only God in His greatness,

Who maketh all generations to pass away, Himself living for ever.


   Then they of the congregation, or of the bystanders answer.


   “Blessed be our God for ever, and blessed be His name for ever! May God who hath mercy upon you, and who turneth your lives to righteousness, and who exerciseth grace toward you, and forgiveth all who trespass, grant pardon unto this one, and unto all our teachers and priests and to all the faithful dead of the congregation of Israel, men and women, old and young. May He suffer no more vexation to vex them neither grief to grieve them, and may He watch over them in His mercy and with His spirit” etc., as above, [in the answers to question VI].

   Then all who are present at the graveside recite the Fith over the dead. This consists of the words “For I call on the name”, “Hear O Israel”,  “And the Lord hath commanded us to do”, etc.

   Then the priest says the prayer “O Lord, I beseech thee, in Thy mercy”, the text of which has been given above in the answer to Question VI. And at the conclusion of the whole ceremony, members of the congregation say to the mourners: “may the Lord remove from you all affliction and all reproach”. And they answer: “Amen, and likewise from you”. http://the-samaritans.com/html_articles/SamaritanDeath.htm

Call for Papers

18th Congress of IOSOT, the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament. Aarmly invite you to participate in the Congress, which will be held from 1st – 6th August 2004, in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Proposals should consist of a short title followed by an abstract of no more than 300 words. The following personal information is requested:

  • Name and academic title

  • Organization, Department

  • Mail Address

  • E-mail address

All proposals should for preference be sent as an attachment to an e-mail message, either in *.RTF format or as a Word-document, to: e-mail: iosot2004@let.leidenuniv.nl

Alternatively they may be sent on floppy disk together with a print copy to

Dr. Konrad D. Jenner, Secretary of the Congress
Faculty of Theology, Leiden University
P.O. Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Please send in your proposal for a short paper as soon as possible, at least before
31st March 2004
. Proposals received after 31st March 2004 will not be accepted.

The organizing committee hopes to be able to make a decision about whether to accept a proposal within two months after submission.

Please note that the presentation of short papers should last no more than 20 minutes, allowing 10 minutes for discussion. http://www.leidenuniv.nl/gg/iosot2004/index.html

Thoughts of A Karaite: Yohanan Shalom Jacobson

  Originally the Samaritans or Shamerim (keepers, as they call themselves)were divided into two groups, Dosithean and Sabbuai. The Sabbuai later became known as the Kushaniyya, the modern day Samaritans are from this group. The Kushaniyya refused to pronounce the divine name and supplanted it with the term Shema (Aramaic for "The Name"). The Dositheans on the other hand used the divine name, but as they no longer exist it cannot be known how they pronounced the divine name. Many scholars claim that the pronunciation of the Divine Name as "Yahweh" is accurate due to Samaritan inscriptions written in Greek which write the Divine Name as "Yabe."  The Samaritans in most instances pronounce beth, veth, waw, pe and fe as a "b".  But what these scholars fell to realize is that the Samaritans like the Rabbinates subsituted a the Name with another word when they came accross the Name written in the Torah.  The Samaritans unlike the Rabbinates did not read Adhonai when they came accross the Divine Name, but "yabe" or innon-Samaritan pronunciation "yafe" (Beautiful). Therefore the pronunciation of the divine name as Yahweh is inaccurate based upon the Samaritan/Kushaniyya desire 'not' to pronounce the divine name. Thus, not even the Samaritans to our knowledge remained as one group, who were in complete agreement with one another.

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