July 18, 2002


*Samaritan Baby

*The Samaritan Museum

*The Israeli Government made the First Step

*Samaritan Articles on the Net.

*Judith's Journey

*A Common Beverage of the Samaritans


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Did you know

that the booklets that were written by Amram the priest were really written by Americans.

The Samaritans ordered books like this through Americans who came to the Mount.

The Samaritans generally would informed them what to write in the booklets and then have them published by Greek Covenant Press in Jerusalem. The booklets were also written in other languages as well. The booklets were sold to tourists for one dollar.

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We Are Happy to Announce a Newborn Samaritan Baby

  We are happy to announce the new arrival of a new born Samaritan baby boy on Monday, July 8th to the parents of Yitzhaq and Efrat Tsedaka. The healthy baby boy weighed 7.5 lbs =3.25- Kg. The baby's name is Efik meaning river channel. Efrat returned home the following Thursday to prepare Efik to his circumcision ceremony on Monday, July 15. The couple recently married last year and this baby boy is their first child, we hope of many. Efrat is Benyamim Tsedaka's daughter. Benyamim is the co-Editor of the A.B. Samaritan News. Congratulations to the family!

The Samaritan Museum

   Next to the location of the Samaritan Passover on Mount Gerizim is the Samaritan Museum. When Yefet Kohen had retired he decided that it was time for the Samaritan to have their own Museum and where better then mount Gerizim. The tourists guide welcomed the idea as well as the rest of the Samaritans. With contribution from other Samaritans, Yefet began his project with enthusiasm to the extent of learning other languages that he had not spoke before. The museum hosts a number of ancient artifacts, a Samaritan Torah scroll, a display of the lineage of the Samaritan High Priests, and so much more to describe. The tour buses with people from all over the world would stop on the mount and enter his building on the main street. Yefet always greets his guests with a big smile and is always happy to answer any of their questions. But now since all the trouble in the West Bank the tour buses stopped and very rarely come if at all for the last two years. Yet Yefet Kohen does not give up to the absence of his patrons. Anyone that has visited the museum can recognize the value of what Yefet has accomplished. He is spending his time making improvements, despite the low income at the museum. When the Israeli Army moves into the region as they do, it develops into a bad situation for the Samaritans that live on mount Gerizim. For the last two weeks they have been unable to return to their work below mount Gerizim in the town of Nablus.   (Yefet Kohen at the museum placing post cards of the Samaritans in their rack.)     Shomron (photo by Shomron, 2000)

The Israeli Government made the First Step Towards the Equalization of the Status of the Samaritan Priests to that of Jewish Rabbis

     A significant progress was made in meetings of government representatives and officials from the Ministry of Religions as a result of petition  #3686/99 to the High Court of Justice [see below HCJ], served by Professor Michael Korinaldi, Jur. D., on behalf of the High Priest of the Israeli Samaritans, together with his brethren priests from Mt. Gerizim and from Holon.

The petition requires the State of Israel and the Minister of Religions to make equal the status of the Samaritan High Priest and of his Samaritan brethren to that of the Jewish Orthodox Rabbis as regards wages and privileges; and to transfer the treatment of Samaritan affairs in the Ministry of Religions from the department of non-Jewish denominations, or denominations whose Judaism is doubted by the Rabbinate, into a separate frame of treatment within their status as Jews in the State, or directly under the Ministry of Religions.  In these proceedings the petition is pending and will be litigated before a panel of three judges of the High Court of Justice so long as the parties do not reach a satisfactory conclusion. The HCJ responded to the parties request to postpone the deliberation in the appeal in order to enable them to reach a summary, which will become valid as a ruling of the HCJ, thus binding the State of Israel and constituting an enactment in all respects.

    The firm foundation of the petition and the high chances it will be approved by the HCJ, similarly to previous petitions filed by other factors, induced the Israeli government to reverse its demand to reject the petition on the spot and show willingness to reach a summary in advance, as is customary in HCJ petitions against the government on other subjects. Consequently the Samaritans’ attorney and the government representatives at the Ministry of Justice filed another request to postpone deliberations in the petition until a summary conclusion is reached. If a summary that satisfies the Samaritan priests is not reached the petition will be brought forward to deliberations and final adjudication by the HCJ panel itself.

    The participants in the discussions are representatives of the Ministry of Religions and the Ministry of Justice on the government part on the one hand, and Professor Korinaldi on the part of the Samaritan petitioners on the other hand.

    The petition demands that Samaritan priests receive equal wages and privileges as Jewish Rabbis do. Five full-time positions should be allocated; one position being equal to a "City Rabbi" position and should be given to the High Priest, and two more, each being equal to a "Neighbourhood Rabbi" position, should be allocated to each of the two Samaritan communities, one in Holon and one on Mt. Gerizim. Government representatives claim that this demand is exaggerated considering the fact that a "Neighbourhood Rabbi" provides religious services in an area comprising at least 20,000 residents whereas the Samaritans at present number about 650 people, almost equally divided between both communities.   
    However, due to their small number, although their legal right to cultivate and pass on their heritage is grounded in the law, the need to cut down the number of positions from five to three is understood. One will be filled by the High Priest [as a "city Rabbi"] and one each will be allocated to the Samaritan centers in Holon and on Mt. Gerizim. For the time being the first stage of this summary has been reached, whereby one full-time position or two "half" positions of  "Neighbourhood Rabbis" will be allocated to one or two Samaritan priests, since there are two Samaritan synagogues in Holon. At this stage the director of the Ministry of Religions was asked to check the budget for funding this preliminary summary. Samaritan priests in Holon will need to arrive at an understanding who among them receives the job or the two "half" jobs. It should be stressed that whoever gets or get it must put aside any other occupation and devote themselves completely to the role of Neighbourhood Rabbis, of teaching Samaritan heritage and managing religious affairs in Holon.  Discussions are continuing as regards the position of the High Priest and an additional position [or two halves] for the priests on Mt. Gerizim. Government representatives are holding off their consent until the legal situation of the priests who reside under the administrative authority of the Palestinian Authority is thoroughly clarified. The Samaritan representatives insist that since under the application of the Law of Return all Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim have an Israeli citizenship, their priests too are entitled to the same rights and privileges of the Jewish Rabbis who are Israeli citizens.

    The Ministry of Religions has been providing religious services to the Samaritans from the first years of the establishment of Israel. At the beginning this was dealt with through the Muslim department, but after strong protestations by the Samaritans a special section was formed, to deal with Samaritans and Karaites. It was first ran by Yisrael Lippel, then by David Glass, Avraham Almaliach, Yaacov Kopellevitz and then David Stern who ran that section for many years in coordination with Dr. Nissim Dana, manager of the division of religious denominations at the Ministry. In 1997 it was decided in the Ministry of Religions to terminate the division and transfer treatment of Karaites and Samaritans to Dr. Dana, in the frame of his numerous dealings with other denominations. The Editors of the A.B. requested that the Ministry return the situation to its previous state, by appointing Mr. Stern as a special Counselor to the Minister of Religions on this subject. They also demanded not to deal in Samaritan issues within the department of non-Jewish denominations, or denominations whose Judaism is doubted by the Rabbinate. When the Ministry did not consent to the request a petition was served to the HCJ. As mentioned above, in the discussions preliminary to the petition the Ministry of Religions acceded to the request and reinstated the separate section for Karaite and Samaritan affairs. Dr. Dana informs us that it is now run by Mrs. Ilana Yitzhaq. Recently, Dr. Dana has resigned of office and Advocate Yossi Hershler has replaced him in office.                                                     A.B. NEWS SERVICES  

Samaritan Articles on the Net

   The internet is a beautiful place when one finds information that may have otherwise been lost forever. Articles written concerning the Samaritans before 1910 are continually being found every day. Making of America (MOA) hosts some of these hidden articles or books in English.

   Making of America (MOA) began with a grant from Andrew W. Mellon in 1995. The University of Michigan and Cornell University have created a digital library of 50,000  journals from 1830 to 1902. Page scans with an optional text file are found from a key word search of the web site, in our case it is the Samaritans. But be careful sometimes the typist was a little fast on the fingers (spelling).

  Two searches must be done to collect the information, MOA and the multiple search. Many references will appear from cyclopedias and Christian authors but some of their references could be of great value. References from books such as the Catalogue of the Library of the Boston athnenaeum displays authors such as; A. Zur. Geiger, S.L. Rapoport, E. Castell, M. Grubaum, Nacktrage Zuden, De Sacy, G. Grove. All their works were written prior to 1870. Other Authors are Lyman Coleman, David Davidson, Theodore Parker, John W. Haley, John Kitto, William, C. Prime, William Strickland, Bayard Taylor. Edward Robinson and Samuel M.(Mosheim) Smucker. All display valuable research materials for Samaritan studies.

   One article stand out over the material; The Samaritan, Ancient and Modern, by Horace Bushnell from the Princeton Review, vol. 38, issue 2, 1866. This is an excellent early article on the Samaritans. A book by James Townley, 1856, gives reference to an edition of the Hebreo Samaritan Penteuch, with various readings, published in Hebrew characters in 1790 by Dr. Blaney, professor of Oxford. Townley's book gives reference to plate I concerning the Samaritans, but at this time I have not had the time to search his 605 pages in his book to locate it.

   Hours of enjoyable reading can be yours if you can make the time. Enjoy!     Shomron



Judith's Journey

   Few people venture in search of the Samaritan community on mount Gerizim. Most adventurers are intrigued by the fascination of the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan. Judith Fein was one of those inspired persons that made the emotional encounter with the small remnant, modestly called the Samaritan-Israelites. She had no concept of the resulting consequences of how the quest would impact her. Judith and her husband Paul Ross can be heard in the US on national public radio's "the Savvy Traveler." Today she consumes her spare time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, researching everything she can on the Samaritans. As a writer, contributing to more than twenty magazines and newspapers, she has been composing articles for the isolated public that they should also discover the Samaritan-Israelites. You can find her article, "Who will help the Good Samaritans" on the front cover of the our web site The-Samaritans.com . Enjoy reading her fascinating article regarding the adventure. Thank you Judith, for sharing with us your story. We enjoyed it very much!        Shomron

A Common Beverage of the Samaritans

   A common beverage of the Samaritans as well as the Jews and Muslims is Turkish coffee. It is served in the 'Good Samaritan' restaurant positioned on the main street of the Samaritan community in Kiryat  Luza on mount Gerizim. The coffee is usually offered to guests in the majority of Middle East homes. It is a black heavy coffee with a sweet flavor different than American coffee. Turkish coffee appears in a ground powder and can be purchased at a specialty store or through the internet.  The coffee is usually made in a small pot called Finjan, but can be made in a sauce pan (but be careful when you pour it into a cup). To make the coffee is simple.

   Add six tablespoons of  sugar, two cardamon cloves (optional but recommended) and six tablespoons of pulverized Turkish coffee to three cups of water. Bring to a boil, watching for a foam to begin to form, then remove the pot.

   Turkish coffee is served hot in special tiny cups or demitasse, so if you are using a regular tea cup, just pour a small amount (about as much that would fill an hard boiled egg holder). If the coffee gets cold you can return it to the stove for reheating a second time. Hope you enjoy it!      (Shomron)

Thank you!
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