April 8th, 2004  

Vol.  III - No.17

In This Issue

  • Photos of Kaprov Eduard

  • Homemade Matzah

  • MANUSCRIPT for sale

  • 1913 Newspaper: Samaritan Passover Article

  • Comments from the Editor

  • Die Samaritaner

  • WAC Accusation

  • Byzantine Castra in Modern Israel

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Editor: Shomron

Co-Editor: Osher    


Staff Writer:

Staff Photographer:    

               Eyal Cohen

Staff Translator:

            Guy Tsabary

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A. B. - Samaritan News


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Sunset Times for Central Israel calculated by Abraham Cohen from Holon


begins Friday April 9th, 6:05pm to Saturday 10th, 6:06 p.m.

Fri. 16th 6:10pm- Sat. 17th 6:11pm

Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals

Samaritan Calendar

of Festivals


Passover Sacrifice: May 3rd, 2004

Passover: May 4th

Days of Unleavened Bread: May 4-10th

Pilgrimage: May 10th


Studies and Related Conferences:


In Planning Stage

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 Passover Sacrifice will be on the evening of May 3rd, 2004.


Photos of Kaprov Eduard

By Shomron

Every year the BBC and photographers come to the Samaritan-Israelite Passover Sacrifice on Mount Gerizim in the West Bank near Nablus. Last year, 2003, one photographer was there to profile the event through his camera. His name is Kaprov Eduard, a Russian born Israeli of ten years. He is a free-lance photographer that works with the Israeli Geographic Magazine 'Masa Aher' and numerous newspapers like Maariv and Kol Bo. Kaprov had changed his career from music to photography which has influenced his style in his colorful snapshots. "I choose Photography as the way of life because it's worth thousands of words," says Kaprov Eduard. Recently, he had sent his web page to the Editors of www.the-Samaritans.com . His work is amazing! Be sure to visit his website to see his work. He has recently expressed interest in also photographing this coming Passover Sacrifice. Anyone interested in using Eduard's photos in there publications can contact him through his website. Very nice work Kaprov Eduard! (Thank you for giving us permission to use one of your photos Mr. Eduard.) In addition Mr. Eduard just sent us an email of further photo that he took at the Samaritan synagogue in Holon. This link is link is also shown below.

 http://www.geocities.com/kaprovboroda/samaritansContact.html http://www.geocities.com/kaprovboroda/samaritansInHolonContact.html


MANUSCRIPT for sale, Arabic & Samaritan. Mas'il al-Khilf by Munajj ibn Sadaqa (part II). An old copy of Mas'il al-Khilf, a treatise on the differences between Jews and Samaritans by Ab l-Faraj Munajj ibn Sadaqa ibn Gharb, a twelfth-century physician of Damascus. As usual, our copy comprises only the second part of the text: there is no manuscript extant containing both parts. This work is a major source for the history and customs of the Samaritans and their relations with the Jews, both Rabbanites and Karaites. The provenance of the manuscript, which may date from the early 15th century, lies in Nablus itself, as appears from a long ownership note on p. 2, partly written in Samaritan. The note states that Ysuf ibn Hiba Mu`n hak-Khn, the "Custodian of the Sacred (Abisha) Scroll" in Nablus, has studied the contents of the manuscript. Subsequently it was studied by Ibrahm ibn Ya`qb al-Mafraj (note on p. 24) and Ibrahm ibn Ya`qb ibn Marjan Ibrhm ibn Ism`l (note on p. 25). `Imrn ibn Salma ibn Ghazel hak-Khn in his long note dated 1838 on p. 226, describes the state of the manuscript when he collected, repaired and completed it ("jama'ahu wa-rammahu...tafwd m d'a minhu..."). The previous owner of this manuscript was David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942), ms. 717. It is much the most important and certainly the oldest of four manuscripts of this work once in the Sassoon library. (Description based on Sotheby's catalogue LN4369 "Sassoon". See also D.S. Sassoon, Ohel Dawid, descriptive catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan manuscripts in the Sassoon library. London 1932, II p. 594. Additional information, with thanks, from Dr. I. R. M. Bid.)
EUR 4090 http://www.oriental.demon.nl/index2.htm

Also see for Samaritan related books: Samaritana


Homemade Matzah
On the eve of May 4th is the beginning  of the feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast is described in the book of Exodus as a memorial service in memory of the Israelite Exodus. Each year the Samaritan-Israelites do just as this commemorative writings instruct them. They bake and eat unleavened bread, matzah, for seven days. Samaritans use a turned over rounded pad over heat to bake their matzah. But you may not have an oven like their should you decide to bake your own unleavened bread. A Jewish website has a baking style that can work for you on your own oven in your kitchen.

4 cups flour (can be half white and half whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoon. olive oil (optional)-- this will make it softer, more like a tortilla; w /o oil, you'll have a cracker.

Combine ingredients and knead for ten minutes. Roll into a ball, cut in half, then cut each half into 8 pieces. Roll out as thinly as possible into ovals, pierce with a fork several times, to eliminate air holes, and place on baking sheet covered with Parchment Paper. Bake at 450 to 500 degrees for about 5 minutes, or until slightly browned. Fresh homemade matzah is SO good, and this is a great Home-school project!

1913 Newspaper: Samaritan Passover Article

The following is the second section of the article called "Passover with the Samaritans, 'A Medieval and Picturesque Easter Ceremony' that was in The Garden Grove Express, Garden Grove, Iowa, USA, March 20th, 1913. The first section is in the March 25th 2004 issue of the Samaritan Update.

   Those who are privileged to be the guests of the little Samaritan community on the memorable occasion of their Passover, make their way from the little town of Nablous in the late afternoon up the fruit slopes of Gerizim. Passing above its well-watered base, from which gush forth scores of springs, one is forcibly reminded that this was the mount of blessing on that memorable occasion in the history of the children of Israel just alluded to, while if the eye is cast across the valley on Ebal, the mount of cursing, no springs or fruitfulness are seen, but only barrenness and rocky desolation.

   Reaching the top, we find the tents already pitched. Round this camp has already gathered a considerable company of Moslems from Nablous who have, like ourselves, come to witness the ceremony. They form a curious and not very respectful assembly. We also detect a little group of Americans, both ladies and gentlemen, a titled Englishman and his wife, three other English tourists, including the writer, and a few from France and Germany. As if by instinct, the  Europeans gradually form themselves into a little company apart from the other spectators. We are quickly observed, however, and two of the Samaritan officials make their way to us. They invite us into the tent of the high-priest to see the Samaritan treasures, an invitation that is eagerly accepted.

   Chief among these, of course, is the famous Scroll referred to. The high priest informs us that it is locked up in his cupboard pointing to a somewhat plain receptacle over which two men stand guard. It appears he is apprehensive of its being stolen by his cousin. This young man has served a term of imprisonment for stealing ancient manuscripts and would not hesitate to steal the precious scroll if he had a chance. The tent doors are carefully closed and made fast. The high priest then unlocks the cupboard and produces the sacred manuscript. It is very old and wrinkled and tattered. The parchment is brown and brittle. The lines are irregular and the ink has faded so nearly as to be illegible, though in places it has been re-inked by newer parchment. The whole is backed with other parchment and enclosed in a silver case, on which are engraved pictures of the ark of the Covenant, the golden candlestick, the altar of sacrifice, the knife for killing the sacrifice, and certain other engravings and emblematic designs. The whole is covered with a green silk cloth and veiled from ordinary sight. Of course no one must touch it, it is not quite orthodox that any one else should see it save on certain great festivals, but this is one of the occasions when it may be seen though guardedly.

   In the little interval that remained before the service began the high priest's son showed us over the mountain top, pointing out the famous ruins there. Half an hour before the sun goes down the service begins. Near by the rocks where the Samaritans say that Abraham offered Isaac the company gathers. Their meeting place is a depression walled in. Around the wall gathers the curious crowd, but just within, by invitation stand some officials from the city and the European visitors.

   The men and boys of the community are dressed in white and join in a loudly shouted prayer. (To be continued in the next issue of the Samaritan Update)


Comments from the Editor

A hundred years ago all the Samaritans lived mostly in Nablus. Today, the Samaritan-Israelites from Holon, Israel, drive to Mount Gerizim to join the existing community of Kiryat Luza that live on the mount year round for feasts like Passover and special occasions such as weddings. The Samaritan-Israelites no longer live in the small neighbor of Nablus. Still today Moslems and officials of Nablus and other areas still come to witness the Passover Sacrifice, many by invitations and are very respectful of the Samaritan-Israelites and their religious life.

The cupboard where the Abisha Scroll referred to above must have been carried up the side of the mount much like the ark of the covenant was carried by the Levites of old. With respect, it can be assumed that the cupboard was not left on the summit year round. Today the Abisha scroll is shown to few outside of the community. A rare glimpse would be a special treat!

Concerning the High Priest's cousin selling the scroll, I asked Benyamim Tsadaka. "In 1913 the High Priest was Yacob b. Aaron[1840-1916]. His cousin was Yesak b. Amram. I know nothing about imprisoning him for stealing manuscripts. He is responsible for selling many manuscripts from his own private collection, so many that the British Library has made a special stamp on the manuscripts they have purchased from him: "Bought from Issaq the Priest". Still there was left over 400 ancient manuscripts in the library of his four direct grandsons [Sons of  his two sons] which the eldest one was the High Priest Shalom [1922-2004] that died on February 9, 2004. This fact made his cousin and him "yellows" to one another. Eventually Yesak b. Amram became the High Priest on 16.4.1916 and was in office till his death on 31.12.1932. He was very wise, smart and had many friends among he Arab nobles of Nablus and Jerusalem. He traveled a lot and sold hundreds of manuscripts to the famous scholars Cowley, Gaster and others. It is not clear if the stamp of the British Library was stamped on the manuscripts before or after the Gaster Collections removed to their jurisdiction."
There has been reports of stolen manuscripts in preceding this period of the writing of the article shown above. And still today the security of the Samaritan manuscripts is tight.


Die Samaritaner:
Unter sich am Berg Garizim

Der Nahost-Konflikt betrifft auch die kleinste religise Minderheit der Region: die Samaritaner

Von Thomas Schmidinger
Erschienen im Aufbau, 18. Mrz 2004



The WAC Accusation of Israeli Destruction of Archaeological Sites

 January 13, 2004  http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Clair_Smith_letter.htm


The Secrets of Byzantine Castra in Modern Israel

By Norman A. Rubin, Journalist, Ind. Scholar
In the Christian sources of the sixth century AD, the title `Castra of the Samaritans' appears in the text of his travels by the pilgrim Antonius Placentinus (Piacenza), who describes the route from Acre to Haifa.

From Ptolemais (Acre): The road runs in view of the Jewish city of Sycamina (Shikmona) for a half a mile, and then along the shore for six miles.... Castra of the Summerians lies one mile from Sycamina, at the foot of Mt. Carmel.

Its proximity to Haifa, and the assumption that the Arabic name, Kfar Samir, derived from the name 'Samaritan', led researchers to identify the site with Castra referred to in the record of the pilgrim and other sources**. But evidence of idol worship of the Romans in the pre-Byzantine era, which dominated the city, eliminates the possibility of it being of Samaritan origin, so there is reason to reconsider whether one can identify this Castra with the Castra of Christian sources. http://www.anistor.co.hol.gr/english/enback/p022.htm

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