April 10th, 2003
In This Issue
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Mount Gerizim, All the Days of Our Lives
The Samaritan Passover Sacrifice this month
will occur on April, 15th, 2003
This will be the evening of the 14th day of the first month of the 3642 year
since the Israelites entered the land of Canaan.
The Samaritan Feast of Unleavened Bread
will be till sunset of April, 16th, 2003
We have some wonderful articles on the Passover at The-Samaritans.com
A. B. - Samaritan News Services
Edited by: Zevulan Altif
A first comprehensive census of the Samaritan community since 1908; The community numbered 155 people in 1908, dwindled to 146 in 1917, and now- January 1, 2003 -lists 654 persons.
(Picture: Zevulan Altif, a community leader, lists the census of the Isrelite Samaritans right to January 1, 2003.)
In 1975 Zevulan Altif, one of the leaders of the community in Kiryat Luza and of the Samaritans in general, started a detailed record of members of the Samaritan community and has since been updating his roll list with every birth, marriage, joining into the community, demise and dropping out of the community. According to the data in his diary, in correlation with updates made by the A. B. newspaper, the Samaritan community numbered 653 persons on January 1st, 2003. This is the first comprehensive census since 1908, when the community numbered only 155 people in a census conducted by the High Priest Yaacov ben Aharon [1840-1916], which was commissioned by the Scholar Dr. Moshe Gaster. Following the events of the First World War their number decreased even more to a 146 in 1917. As the political and economic pressures were eased with the onset of the British Mandate in Palestine in 1917, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the foundation of a Samaritan Center in Holon in 1955, an impressive recovery took place, raising the number of the Israelite Samaritans to 654 on January 1, 2003, of which 346 [ 179 males and 167 females] live in Holon, and 308 [165 males and 143 females] in Kiryat Luza on Mount Gerizim.
The Samaritans are divided into eight Patriarchal Houses, of which four are derived from one large Parent House, the Danafis, originally from Damascus, and two more Patriarchal houses belonging to the Marchiv House whose origins are in Gaza and Sarafend [Tzrifin] on the Tel-Aviv- Ramleh road. The largest among these is the Priestly House, numbering 186 people [137 in Kiryat Luza and the remainder 49 in Holon] = 28.44%. Next comes the Tsedaka Hatsafari House-139 people [11 in Kiryat Luza and 128 in Holon] = 21.25%. The Altif Hadanfi House is third, numbering 133 persons [ 118 in Kiryat Luza and 15 in Holon] = 20.34%. The Marchiv Marchivi House is fourth- 77 persons [23 in Kiryat Luza and 54 in Holon] = 11.77%. Sassoni-Sirrawi Danfi House is fifth- 77 persons [19 in Kiryat Luza, 58 in Holon] = 11.77%. Yehoshua Marchivi House is sixth, - 40 people [all in Holon] = 6.12%. Meshallema Danfi House- 1 person [Holon] - 0.15%. Shalabi Danfi House- 1 person [Holon]- 0.15%. The Danfi Houses joined together number 212 = 32.42%. Next the Priestly House, 186 = 28.44%. Tsedaka Hatsafari House -139 = 21.25%. The two Marchiv Houses - 117 = 17.89%.
Nowadays there are 144 married couples in the Samaritan Community. 79 couples married within the same Patriarchal House and gave birth to 184 children [an average of 2.3 children in each family]. 51 couples descend from two different Houses and gave birth to 111 children [2.2 average]. The remaining 14 couples united with wives from the Jewish community and have 26 children. It should be noted that most of them married in the last seven years.
Concerning future prospects of the community demographic increase the
census reveals that there are 254 members of the community aged 1-25,
comprising 5 married women, 112 single women and 136 bachelors = 38.84%.
Situated over this age group are 185 people aged 26-45 = 28.29%, composed,
however, of 39 bachelors and 10 single women. This places the number of
eligible men at 176 against 132 unmarried women, a ratio of 4 bachelors to
3 single women. This ratio is infinitely better than in the past. It is
also easier for Samaritan men than Samaritan women to find wives in the
To this should be added data of individuals who dropped out of the community since 1938. This group includes 7 males and 15 females. The dropout phenomenon is permanent and inevitable. At the same time it should be noted that it does not exceed 3.5% of the present number of community member. It is the lowest dropout rate in the world in any society.
The census also examined deaths in the past thirty years. In 2002-1973 103 persons passed away [59 males and 44 females]. There are 5 widowers and 32 widows at present in the community, a result of the wide marriage age gap between men and women. With respect of life expectancy, however, we were surprised to find that the average life span of men in the past thirty years was 71 years and 4 months whereas that of the women was only 70 years. The life expectancy calculation did not include death by accident.
Successful Meeting In Jerusalem
On March 26, 2003, A delegation
of the Samaritans in Holon met the Minister of Education, Culture and
Sports, Mrs. Limor Livnat in her office in Jerusalem. In the delegation
were representatives of the Committee, Chairman Naphtali Tsedaka and
member Matzliach Yehoshua, and representatives of the A.B. - The Samaritan
News institution, Chairman and Editor Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka, Editor
Benny Tsedaka and a member of the executive department, Miriam Sassoni.
The Samaritans came to Minister Livnat to ask her to reconsider the office
policy towards the Israelite Samaritans, and no longer treat them as
another issue among the many other issues that her office provides aid and
services to, but from now on to consider the Samaritans as the special
subject of a tiny people with great values of Ancient Hebrew language and
script as well as their own singularity over 3000 year of heritage. In
short, the Ministry of Education and Culture should judge the Israelite
Samaritans up to the quality of their education and culture, which they
wished to preserve. Minister Livnat expressed her enormous impression of
the comprehensive activity of the Israelite Samaritans in preserving their
own heritage. The Samaritans asked her to increase the number of teaching
hours allocated to their children's` informal education in the afternoons
when they return from the general school. Today the number of hours is
twenty-one weekly. The office had intended to take some hours off this
number but thanks to Minister Livnat the office kept the number as it was.
Now the Samaritans feel that it is not enough. Minister Livnat could not
make any promises but she announced that she would do her best to help
improve the Samaritan issues for the better in the near future. The office
will check the requests of the two institutions, the committee and A.B.
with a positive attitude.
Domestic Life in Palestine
By Mary Eliza Rogers
CINCINNATI: JENNINGS AND PYE.
NEW YORK: EATON AND MAINS.
(Page270)During the days of unleavened bread the Samaritans live in tents, on the mountain near to the ruins of their ancient temple. “On the fifteenth day of the first month,” the whole congregation, men women, and children, except such as are ceremonially unclean, being assembled, the priest stands forth on a mound, and reads, in a most solemn and impressive voice, the animated description of the Exodus.
In a trench, ten feet long by two feet wide, previously prepared by laborers, a fire is kindled, and two cauldrons of water are placed over it. A round pit is dug, in the form of a well; and it is heated to serve as an oven. The lambs are brought, in sufficiency for the whole community. Seven is now the usual number. At sunset, seven men, in white dresses, take each a lamb before him, and at the utterance of a particular word in the service appointed for the day, all seven lambs are slain at the same instant. Every member of the congregation then dips his hand in the blood of the dying victims, and besmears his forehead with it. Boiling water from the cauldrons is poured over the fleece, which causes the wool to leave the skin without much difficulty. It is plucked off with great nicety. The bodies of the lambs are examined, lest there be any blemish. The right shoulder and the hamstrings are cut off and thrown on the heap of offal to be burnt with the wool. The seven bodies are than spitted, and forced into the hot bake oven. A trelliswork is then placed over the top of the oven, which is covered with grass and mud, to keep in all the heat. A few hours after sunset they are withdrawn, and the Samaritans, each “with his lions girt and a staff in his hand,” eat hastily and greedily of the food thus prepared. The scraps of meat, (Page 271) wool, and bone are carefully sought for, and burnt on the heap, that not a morsel may remain. My brother has twice been present at the celebration of the Feast of the Passover, and from him I obtained the above description.
The Feast of Tabernacles is also kept “in this mountain.” It happens in the early part of the Autumn, when tent-life is very pleasant and refreshing. The people “take the branches of goodly trees,” such as the evergreen oak and the arbutus, and they “make booths,” roofing them with interlacing willows, pliant palm fronds, and boughs of the glossy-leaved citron and lemon trees, with the green fruit hanging from them in clusters. For seven days the people dwell there, rejoicing and giving thanks to God.
Sometimes the Samaritans, to their great distress, have been obliged to celebrate their festivals elsewhere, and in secret, owing to the fanaticism and persecuting spirit of the Moslems of Nablus. But Priest Amran said, “Now that the English word has been spoken for us, we shall no longer fear; and notwithstanding the civil war, the Pascal lamb will this year be slain on the mountain where our fathers worshipped. The time is near at hand, O lady! Tarry with us till the Passover, and we will make a pleasant tent for you on the mountain, that you, with the Consul, may witness the celebration of the festival and eat of our unleavened bread.”
Chapter XI, From Nablus to Jerusalem.
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