June 17th, 2004  

Vol.  III - No.22

In This Issue

  • A Damascus Curtain

  • Samaritan Ladies Honored

  • New Book

  • Conference:

  • Samaritans in Damascus

  • For the Readers Circle

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Editor: Shomron

Co-Editor: Osher    


Staff Writer:

Staff Photographer:    

               Eyal Cohen

Staff Translator:

            Guy Tsabary

Special Contributors:

A. B. - Samaritan News


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Sunset Times for Central Israel calculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon


begins Friday June 18th, 6:49pm to Saturday 19th, 6:50 p.m. Weekly Parshiyot-



with Genesis



June 25th 6:51pm- 26th 6:51pm

Weekly Parshiyot-



with Genesis


Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Memorial  of the Sinai Day June 23rd

Pentecost & Pilgrimage- June 27th Festival of the seventh month- Oct. 14th, 2004

Day of Atonement Oct 23rd, 2004

Succoth- Oct. 28th

Rejoicing of the Torah- Nov. 4, 2004



Studies and Related Conferences:

In Planning Stage


SES: In Haifa, July 5-8, 2004 organised by Menahem Mor,


A session at the EABS in Grooningen, July 25-28, 2004 organized by Ingrid Hjelm

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Memorial  of the Sinai Day June 23rd

Pentecost & Pilgrimage- June 27th


A Damascus Curtain


(The Samaritan photos were given to us by Benyamim Tsedaka. from issue 855 of the A.B. Samaritan News, June 11th, 2004) This is the oldest curtain in the Israel Jewish holy artifacts- Damascus 1519 A.D. sent to be preserved.


Samaritan Ladies Honored

From the A.B Samaritan News Service


There is much news. We, the Samaritan-Israelites are preparing ourselves to move to our houses on the Mountain for Pentecost [June 27]. Last Saturday night we had a city party where my mother Batia Tsedaka received the title "Most worthy citizen" with her sister Pnina, with seven other citizens, all successful and gave vast contribution to the life quality and gave good service to the citizens of Holon. Both sisters were school headmasters for tens of years till retiring from work and both still contribute as volunteers to the local society in many fields. It was a glorious and fantastic evening for both of them and the other seven with a attending presence of one thousand guests. The Samaritan Ensemble had a tremendous performance at the ceremony.
(The upper photos of Batia Tsedaka [78] at right Batia receives her award, [left photo of Batia was photographed in 2000]. Pnina Tsedaka [64] received here award in the lower left photo. The lower right photo of Pnina was photographed in 1965].

New Book
There is a new book of Yitzhak Magen on the 500 written inscriptions on stone from the 6th century B.C.E till the 4th century A.D. that discovered on the peak of Mount Gerizim by him during the last two decades. The inscriptions are in four scripts, Neo Hebrew, Aramaic, Samaritan Israelite Hebrew and Greek. The 105 Greek in inscription will be discussed in the 4th of five planned volumes. The First looks spectacular and so impressive contains pictures and reconstruction's of 395 inscriptions and high level decoding of all of them.
Next month, July 5-8, 2004, will be the 6th Congress of Samaritan Studies, organized this time by the University of Haifa [Last time it was in the year 2000, in Helsinki]. There will be 40 lectures by Samaritanologists from 5 continents. Your beloved (Benyamim Tsedaka) will lecture on 150 Samaritan Households and Families that disappeared during 1500 years up to the 19th century. You are most welcomed to attend the Congress.

Note from the Editor: We still do not know who the publisher is!!!!!!!


A Biblical and Archaeological Perspective in Relation to the Israelite Location in the Land of Egypt Part 3 By Shomron will appear in the next issue of the update.


Samaritans in Damascus

By Shomron

The above curtain photo on the first page is a remembrance of the Samaritan-Israelites that once lived in Damascus. The traveler Benjamin of Tuldela (12th century) recounts that there were four hundred Samaritans living in Damascus. In 1137 C.E., Bazwadj with his Muslim army entered Nablus slaughtered many and taking captives back to Damascus. Again in 1184, Saladin's army assaulted Nablus taking detainees of the Samaritan-Israelites to Damascus. This was the period of the Franks. Also in 1260, Samaritans were also taken to Damascus by the Mongol invaders. High Priest son Uzzi b. Amram b. Itamar was taken to Damascus in 1260. It had to be a difficult life in Damascus as well as Nablus in those days. Priest Ithamar b. Aaron of the priestly family (1343-1362 was also in Damaricus with other families by the names of Pigma, Ikkara, Segiuma. The last two names have also been recorded in Egypt around or after this time period.

In Damascus the Samaritan-Israelites adapted to their surroundings building their own synagogue known as 'Knesset Haaben.' Some of the priests began to write manuscripts, producing a very large number by the first half of the 14th century. The High Priest Pinhas of Nablus was exiled (1523-1538) for fifteen years in Damascus.

Henry de Beauveau recorded five families were in Damascus in 1604. The surviving records of the ottoman Tahrir tax records of the 16th century in Damascus may include Samaritans (not yet published). In 1625/26 five families moved to Nablus which included the Danfi family that still resides on mount Gerizim today.

Somewhere shortly after 1616, the Samaritan-Israelite presence ceased to exist in Damascus. Pietro Della Valle purchased two manuscripts from a Samaritan Chacham (a priest) and a woman. They are known today and were the earliest manuscripts to hit Europe at that time. The Samaritan synagogue was converted into a Jewish house of worship after the Samaritan vacated Damascus.

The social contacts with other religious sects inspired a cultural center for scriptural publications of manuscripts. During the periods Jews, Kariates and Samaritans may have compared the studies and doctrines. Concerning this were the 613 Precepts (laws) in which both Samaritan-Israelites and Jews agree on the number. During the thirteenth century, Samaritan Aaron b. Manir composed a liturgical hymn for the Day of Atonement, "the song of the Precepts' which is still used to this day.

During the 16th century, Damascus became an intellectual center for scholars. Spanish Jews immigrated, who were most likely students of the Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides (Rambam) accredited with the 613 Precepts. Many poems and considerable writings of Samaritans was written in Damascus by various Samaritan-Israelites during their stay.

One piece of information that appears odd shortly during or after 1365, the authorities required Jewish ladies to were one black and one red shoe. Interesting since we would have expected them to be wereing sandals at that time and since many in the area still were sandals. In the mid fourteenth century, red was the designated color of Samaritans while the Jews were required to wear yellow turbans. But it appears that this was a Moslem requirement begun by Caliph Omar II (717-20) who ordered the vestimentary distinctions of non-Moslems.

Some of the recognized Moslem families of Damascus of Samaritan origin is the Dar Gofari, Dar nahas, Dar Rumah and dar Mneid.

Further evidence of the Samaritan community in Damascus may some day come to light. There is one note that must be made concerning the 1897 discovery of the 'Damascus Document,' a book that was written in Biblical Hebrew. A complete assessment in relation to the document and the Samaritan-Israelites should be of great interest. As the Encyclopaedia Judacia (v5, 1248) 'Several of these regulations correspond to the accepted law, but others are in opposition to it and correspond rather to the laws of the Samaritans and Karaites, and all of them are inclined to be severe.'


For the Readers Circle   

Hebrew Illuminated Bibles of the IXth and Xth Centuries (Codices Or. Gaster, Nos. 150 & 151); and Samaritan Scroll of the Law of the XIth Century (Codex Or. Gaster, No.350)... Gaster, Moses 1856-1939 London1901: Printed By Harrison and Sons. 52p. Together with eight plates of facsimiles of these manuscripts and of fragments from the Geniza in Egypt. Published for the first time. Reprinted from the "Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology", June 1900. The colored plates added here are only published in a separate edition.

Bet Eked Sepharim
Ch. B. Friedberg, Israel: Baruch Friedberg, 1950. This is a four volume set. Bet Eked Sepharim - bibliographical, Lexicon of the whole Hebrew and Jewish-German Literature, inclusive of the Arab, Greek, French-Provencal, Italian, Latin, Persian, Samaritan, Spanish-Portuguese and Tartrarian works printed in the years 1474-1950 with Hebrew Letters, together with a register of the authors and a table of content. The books are written in Hebrew.

British Library Journal (volume 21 Number 1, Spring 1995) Miscellanea Hebraica Bibliographica
Hill, Brad Sabin  London: British Library, 1995. quarto. Contains several articles related to Jewish books, such as Notes on Samaritan Typography; Charles II's Hebrew Books; A Catalogue of hebrew printers; a supplumental list of judeo-persian manuscripts; yiddish manuscripts at the british library; and a few other articles.

Aro, Jussi Book Description: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Kirjapaino Oy Helsinki 1964.

Davy, Charles London T. Wright for T. Cadell 1772. First edition, printed in Caslon type. (See DNB p.512). Educated at Caius College, Cambridge, and author of this book on writing, a book on literature and various musical studies. The three foldout plates are present. The first plate compares the letters of the Greek, Hebrew, Samaritan, and Syriac languages. The second plate compares these letters to those of Persia, Arabia and Egypt. Split along front hinge. Shelfmark on titlepage, sparodic foxing, and occasional marginal chips. Binding is 8vo., modern cloth backed boards. (vi), x, 126, (2) pages.

Exercitationes de Lingua Primaeva. Ejusque Appendicibus. In quibus multa S. Scripturae loca, diversae in linguis mutationes, multiplices mummorum Israelitarum, & Samaritanorum species, atque variae Veterum confuetudines exponuntur.
Morino, Stephano [Morin, Etienne a.k.a. Stephanus Morinus, 1624 -1700]. Ultrajecti [Utrecht] : Broedellet, 1694. First edition. A scholarly effort to identify Hebrew as the first language, presented in three parts : three sections: Exerritatio prima de linguis (p. 1-171); Exercitatio secunda de literis (p.172 - 338); Exercitatio tertia de vocalibus Ebrĉorum (p. 339 - 448). Morin the first professor of Oriental Languages at the Athenaeum Illustre of Amsterdam. Pp. [12], 448, [8]. Five engraved plates : a depiction of the Tower of Babel as the frontispiece, ancient Hebrew and Samaritan coins illustrated on later plates. Indexed

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