May/June 2011

Vol.  X - No 5

In This Issue

  • Interview

  • Manuscript

  • 7 Stations

  • Synagogue

  • Slides

  • Tour

  • Chosen

  • Letter

  • Shalom

  • Crown

  • Note

  • Publications

  • Articles

  • Biblios

The Samaritan Update, is a Bi-Monthly Internet Newsletter


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 The Samaritans call themselves

Bene-Yisrael “Children of Israel”, or Shamerim “Observant Ones”

Hebrew: שומרונים‎ Shomronim,

Arabic: السامريون‎


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Studies and Related Conferences:

The Eighth Congress, Erfurt

July 15, 2012 – July 20, 2012

The Eighth Congress of the Société d'Études Samaritaines will take place in Erfurt, Germany, July 15.-20., 2012.


2011 International Meeting

London, United Kingdom

Meeting Begins: 7/3/2011
Meeting Ends: 7/8/2011

Call For Papers closed

View the 2011 International Meeting Program Units >>
Requirements to Submit a Paper Proposal




2011 Annual Meeting

San Francisco, CA

Meeting Begins: 11/19/2011
Meeting Ends: 11/22/2011

Call For Papers closed


Call for papers: The 2011 Aramaic Studies section will have an open call for papers in any area relating to the various aspects of Aramaic language, literature, and context. Previous paper topics have included aspects of the Targumim, Qumran Aramaic, Peshitta, Samaritan papyri, and Elephantine Aramaic.



Book mark the

Samaritan Studies (EABS)



Important Links


Samaritan Museum on Mount Gerizim.


























Upcoming Festivals

Sinai Assembly - Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Shavuot Festival - Sunday, June 12
The Festival of The Seventh Month - Tuesday, September 27
Day of Atonement - Thursday, October 6
Succot [Booth] Festival, Thursday, October 11
Shemini 'Atzeret. the Eighth Day of Succot Festival - Thursday, October 18, 2011


An Interview with Sharon Sullivan

Sharon Sullivan moved from Brighton, Michigan to Israel in August of 2009, with her children Mathieu, Joshua, Aaron and Celeste. They are currently living in Holon with the Israelite Samaritans. They have learned to read and chant Samaritan Torah and participate in all Samaritan holidays and customs. Sharon is currently attending Hebrew University in Jerusalem working on her MA "Bible and Ancient Near East". She worked with Israelite Samaritan Elder, Benyamim Tsedaka, for seven years on the first English publication, The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (June 15, 2011)] translated by Benyamim Tsedaka. Sharon graduated from the Honor's College of Eastern Michigan University with a BA in History of the Middle East (Religious Studies Minor) in June of 2009. Thank you Sharon!

Editor: Sharon, What was your religion or belief before you adopted the Samaritan culture? And when did you first hear about the Samaritans and what made you believe in their Torah?
Sharon: I was raised Catholic, and attended Catholic schools for all 12 years of my childhood education, but was raised mostly secular.  When I was 19 I simply wanted to know what was true, and this was my first religious experience.  Alone, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I walked one day asking very simply "God if you are really there are and can take away the sadness in my heart I will believe in You for always no matter if I am alone for always, and no matter if all buildings no longer exist."  This was the beginning of great change in my life in which I felt certain of the existence of the Almighty at that very moment with a peace in my heart that was instantaneous.  At that time I was a young heartbroken girl disappointed from an unrequited crush.  I also felt very disappointed in the Catholic Church experience I had as a child, mainly because the ritual and coldness of the Mass was never something I could connect to.  After that experience I went on with life.  Curious about what happened to me I began to try and figure out what was next, who is God, and what to do.  I went to many churches through the years, read the Bible in full, searched history to the best of my ability, and with the knowledge I had tried to live a holy life.  For the most part I was naive in many ways.  It was very difficult to separate myself from the culture I had been born into.  However, when I was in my early 30s and lost a baby boy in pregnancy I searched harder than ever before to understand.  It was at that time that I realized that the majority of religions were not practicing what was written in their texts, but rather were religious bodies of people professing a faith that others had explained to them, and acting out that faith in the culture to which they were born into.  I decided at that time I would live my faith according to as close to an original form of religious faith as I could.  It was a gradual process of discovery, and eventually led to implementing Torah laws (as I understood them in my naivety) into my life and the lives of my children.  As I tried to understand how to keep the Torah festivals and began researching the Biblical calendar to do so I first came across the Israelite Samaritans calendar at
Benyamim Tsedaka's website.  I contacted him to ask questions I wanted to know related to who the Samaritans were.  He made me aware at that time of ancient Samaritan manuscripts housed at MSU (which was very near to where I lived).  I stayed in contact with Tsedaka asking many questions and receiving his gracious answers to all of my questions.  The hardest step was about six years ago when I felt certain Jerusalem was a later sacred place than Mount Gerizim.  It wasn't a hard step as far as evidence was concerned, because the evidence from the Biblical text is stronger in support of Mount Gerizim, but it was a big step to verbalize it at first knowing full well others would be shocked by that statement, and consider me heretical.  At that time it also was not so easy to wrap my brain around the idea that only 750 people in the world (more or less) believed that Gerizim was the sacred place of the Israelites before Jerusalem.  It just goes against the odds to agree with such a tiny minority on such a major theological point.  However, I knew for sure in my own mind it was correct, and I had already been willing to step away from culture and continue on the path of what was true and factual.  Through those years of living and Michigan and working on the translation of the Samaritan Torah into English I realized that this was as close as I could come to an original form of monotheism.  The life of the people in the practice of their faith was very close to the written text.  It was a lonely experience for a long time for the kids and I in Michigan.  We did not have the support of anyone but each other, and sometimes there was very harsh criticism and mocking of religious purity laws we practiced.  When I finished my BA I wanted to continue and work on the MA.  I did not know the Samaritans would be open to the kids and I joining the community, and actually never expected they would.  I knew it was a closed community entered only by birth for most, and marriage for a few others.  Eventually those doors were opened for us, to our happy surprise.  Many adjustments would follow in adapting to the community and culture, and a great relief to be with others and a pride to be among such an ancient religious people would result.  
Editor: Are you currently becoming an Israel citizen and how difficult is the process in regard to the Samaritan religion? 
Sharon:  I have been working on the process of immigration for over a year now.  It is very difficult.  Israeli law is partial to those who have Jewish mothers, and to converts under the strictest Orthodox Jewish conversion.  At this moment there are no laws in Israel that would give the Israelite Samaritans the power of conversion acceptable enough to the Ministry of the Interior.  Even many Jewish conversions are turned away by the Ministry of the Interior.  It is an ongoing process that I cannot afford to fight in the Israeli courts, but perhaps with time a solution will come.  
Editor: You are currently not married, nor engaged to a Samaritan, how was it possible for you and your children to become part of the Samaritan Community? 

Sharon:  The final decision came from the High Priest of the Israelite Samaritans last year just before Pesach.  When the High Priest makes a ruling in the Israelite Samaritan Community it is final.  His decision was based upon the laws of the Torah that welcome the Gerim (sojourners of like faith) as members of the Kehilah (congregation) if the males are all circumcised as the major demand of Torah.  All of my sons were circumcised, and we had already lived for seven months in the Samaritan neighborhood under the watch of the community in how we lived and practiced the Torah, succeeded to read the Ancient Hebrew Torah text, etc. and so the decision made by the High Priest was also based upon what others said of me and my children.  Prior to his decision there was a meeting with the High Priest in which even my parents, my children, and I attended.  The children read for him in Ancient Hebrew, we talked about our faith, and my parents confirmed their pride in our decision.  The High Priest Aaron has a wisdom in his eyes and a warmth that penetrates to the very soul of a person.  I knew from the first moment I met him that he would see the truth of what was in our hearts and he would support us.  He is a very holy, holy man.  
Editor: Has the entire community of the Samaritans supported your commitment and will you be fully accepted by the Samaritan community? Who are your strongest supporters? 
Sharon: There have been only a few Samaritans who are not so happy with our entering the community.  It is not only a big change for my kids and I, but also a big change for a community who has a long history of being closed, mainly due to a hard history of forced conversions and bad experiences with others of different religious backgrounds.  I understand that it isn't so easy for all to accept the change of our entrance into the community, and hope with time if they do choose to know who we are that perhaps trust and friendship will bloom.  
Editor: Sharon, Have you found any difficulties embracing the Samaritan religion? Are you learning to read and write the Samaritan literature and/or teaching English to the Samaritans?
Sharon:  There are no difficulties in embracing the Samaritan religion, but a few difficulties in acclimating to the cultural differences apart from the religion.  This is a process that is always improving with each new day.  It is only natural to have an adjustment to Israeli culture after a lifetime of American culture, and even more so when the culture begins from the start in a tiny ancient Israeli religious community.  All of the kids and I are able to read very comfortably in Ancient Hebrew.  The kids were much faster than me, and none of my children were held back each month by a time of impurity that prevented them from touching the text or verbalizing the text (as I was).  It was an amazing experience, and all of the credit goes to our beloved Torah teacher, Batya Tsedaka, who we miss so very much because she died just over one year ago.  She was not only a Torah teacher to us, but she "mothered" us in every way, easing our entrance into this community.  She was a brilliant and remarkable woman to have known and studied under.  She was the first of the Samaritans to earn a BA degree.  She was a light in our community that is still shining in the hearts of so many children and in us for what she lit inside of our souls.  

Editor: The educational advantages of living with the Samaritan communities are great. After editing the English translation of the Samaritan Torah, are you currently working on other projects?
Sharon: I am working on my MA, hoping to finish it in one year from now.  I am juggling being a single parent to four wonderful children, while commuting over an hour every day to Jerusalem with the two youngest kids.  It is my hope to begin the PhD and begin a new project.  I have several ideas in mind, but will not pin myself down to what I will work on until I make the next step of meeting with a Professor from Hebrew University to advise me.  
Editor: What are your future long term plans?
Sharon:  My long term plans are to finish my studies, continue in the peace activities I am involved in as a Director on the Samaritan Medal of Peace Committee, to continue assisting
Benyamim Tsedaka with research and editing.  Tsedaka gave so many years to the kids and I to teach us, and help us to succeed.  I have a dream to build an institute of study here inside the community that would house visiting scholars for short- term stays from other universities, and hold all the major works on Samaritanism.  At this point it is only a dream, with the hope that someday an enthusiastic donor will realize the treasure the Samaritans hold in being a key to ancient Biblical history.    

Editor: You can follow Sharon on her living journal at Little House In The Big World.


The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with the Masoretic Version [Hardcover]

Benyamim Tsedaka

Sharon Sullivan (Editor), Benyamim Tsedaka (Translator), James H. Charlesworth (Introduction), Emanuel Tov (Foreword) Pre-order now for $61.75 List Price: $100.00 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (June 15, 2011)

According to Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company:

Book not yet in print Expected ship date: 9/29/2011



On a Manuscript of 'Kitab al-Hulf' by Hadr (Finhas) b. Ishaq al-Hiftawi

by Haseeb Shehadeh


In this study an attempt is made to sehd light on a new and unknown Smaritan Arabic manuscript whose subject concerns the differences between Jews and Samaritans. I will refer to this manuscript by the name of its owner, Larry Rynearson, (hereafter, LR) of Florida. Mr. Rynearson purchased the manuscript on 23 August 2006 from Ulrich Hobbeling, Antiquariat Th. Stenderhoff, Bergstrasse 70-48143 Muenster +49-251-414990 . Mr Rynearson was kind enough to send an electronic version of the manuscript to me August 2010, and I extend my sincere thanks to him. The number of Samaritan manuscripts housed in public libraries as well as in individual collections worldwide is more than 3,500. The lion's share, some 1,350 in number, is found at the National Russian Library in St. Petersburg.

LR consists of 175 pages marked with contemporary Arabic numerals. Every page contains 22 lines. Pentateuchal quotations are given, as usual, in Samaritan script......

Con't reading in PDF  Kitab al-Hulf   

On a Manuscript of 'Kitab al-Hulf' by Hadr (Finhas) b. Ishaq al-Hiftawi, line 8.



A.B.-The Samaritan News Editorial - Issue no. 1088-1089 - June 10, 2011

The Israelite Samaritan tradition has a counting of seven stations for the People of Israel in the Sinai Desert, and its sub-deserts, on their way from the Reed Sea to Mount Sinai.  However, these seven stations were seven events that happened within and between these stations and the next station:  The Reed Sea, Marrah, in the Desert of Shor, Elim, the Desert of Sin, Rephidim, in front of the war hill with Amalak, and in front of Mount Sinai. 

Pharaoh and the elite of his army [that were called the chosen of his generals] were defeated and destroyed in the Reed Sea, with their army and their chariots which drowned in the sea.  The Almighty split the sea and made the water to form two walls on each side, and between them the people of Israel passed through on dry land, when the army of Egypt was chasing after them.  However they were fast enough to cross the sea before the army of Pharaoh captured them.  There is a known disagreement between Torah seekers and its scholars as to whether Pharaoh also drowned with his army in the Reed Sea.  The greatest sage of the Samaritans, Marqeh, of the 4th century did not leave any doubt that Pharaoh was also drowned.  Yes, the written text in the Torah is a little bit unclear when the text describes in the Song of the Sea and the previous chapter about the chariot of Pharaoh that drowned in the water, but not precisely about him.  The ancient tradition that Marqeh mentioned contained Pharaoh between the casualties, not only the chariot of Pharaoh and his army but also he himself drowned in the sea.  "Pharaoh and his men, you have drowned in the Reed Sea," said the poet Marqeh.  Nothing was left from the 600 chariots that Pharaoh brought with him, not even one.  And the people of Israel went out of Egypt proud, in front of the Egyptians, and this vision of the people of Israel arriving at the west shore of the sea without any casualties was also the last vision that the army of Egypt saw before the water of the sea covered them and their chariots and drowned them. 

Due to the distance of time of all seven stations being between Pesach to Shavuot [the Festival of Weeks], all together 50 days, it means that in every station on average the People of Israel camped for seven days.  This was exactly the same period of time that was dedicated to each of the ten plagues previous to the stations and the plague of the firstborn that marks the meeting point between the end of the plagues and the start of camping in each station.  Between plague to plague was a separation of seven days, including the plague itself and the length of its strike "and seven days were fulfilled after the Almighty struck the Nile."  Thus seven days separated each station from the other station adding to that the days that the People of Israel stayed on their way to the first station to the Reed Sea when they camped in Succot in order to get back to Egypt and get the bones of Joseph.  When they departed from Succot in order to bring the bones of Joseph, as he made their forefathers swear, according to the tradition they arrived at the Reed Sea on Friday and camped at the sea.  They ate the Pesach in haste when they left Egypt in the evening, three days they went until they arrived at the Reed Sea.  In this short period they found the bones of Joseph, and brought them on the shoulders of the heads of the tribe of Ephraim.  However Pharaoh was advised by his ministers and regretted on the permission he gave the People of Israel to exit Egypt, and decided to chase after them with the elite of his army.  On Motzeh Shabbat, according to our tradition the people of Israel raised their eyes and saw the Egyptians traveling after them.  The story of the big miracle that happened to them at the Reed Sea is known to all of us. 

In the morning of the day after, Sunday after the first Shabbat, their first Shabbat outside of Egypt, the day that was appointed by the Almighty afterwards as the first day of the counting of the Omer they saw the corpses of the Egyptian army heroes floating on top of the water, and among them the great Pharaoh who was considered as the god of the Egyptians.  They were thrilled from the miracle and believed in the Almighty and his slave, Moses.  Yes, they were armed when they went out of Egypt with weapons that they borrowed from the Egyptians, but despite their numerical advantage over the little army that Pharaoh brought they had a lack of military experience in comparison to Pharoah's army.  They had no other choice but to wait for the salvation of the Almighty, a salvation that was provided to them by a strong hand and outstretched arm of the Almighty. 

From the Reed Sea, after they recovered from the great visions, they followed Moses the great prophet that knew the desert from his long sixty year stay within it.  As a result of that, he became the first travel guide in the history that we know from the history itself.  They walked for three days in the desert and arrived to the next station, Marrah in the Desert of Shor, one of the deserts of Sinai.  The place is called Marrah because of its bitter water that was not drinkable.  The thirst made them forget all about the miracle of the Reed Sea and the people were shouting at Moses "what are we going to drink!"  And it was as though the miracle was ordered at that moment, less important in comparison to the miracle at the Reed Sea, but in the eyes of the thirsty who feel they are dying from thirst the sweetening of the water was for them a huge miracle.  The people drank until satisfied.  The poor bread, the fruits and the vegetables that they brought from Egypt were hardly enough for them now before they would be spoiled and be inedible.

From Marrah they moved to the third station, Elim.  In Elim there were twelve wells and seventy palm trees.  Our tradition sees those numbers hinting about the twelve tribes and the seventy sages, two institutions that were established in the second year of leaving Egypt.  This station was marked by a double miracle.  The people were great in number, around 2 million individuals, including 600,000 individual men at the age to be in the army.  Notice how all these peoples broke their hunger and thirst only from 70 palm trees and 12 wells of water.  No rivers, no brooks, and not even streams - but the minimal expression as a source of water, wells.  The miracle was doubled by the fact that they have dates to eat in a season that has no dates because this juicy fruit is ready only at the beginning of autumn, at the seventh month of the year, and they were only at the end of the first month after leaving Egypt.  This was the miracle, dates to eat in the beginning of spring. 

The People of Israel continued on their journey and arrived, following Moses to the Desert of Sin, one of the deserts of Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month from the leaving of Egypt.  The long journey from Elim to the Desert of Sin made them tired and hungry.  The dates that they picked and put in their bags were gone.  They could not stand the gnawing hunger.  Again the last miracle was forgotten.  They shouted at Moses and Aaron to give them bread to eat and meat to be sated.  The Almighty never ceased from His responsibility to them.  He sent down from the sky quails to be sated and the manna, bread from the sky, to eat.  This is the opportunity to learn from Moses the value of Shabbat, the need to take rest, and to collect food that will be enough for two days, Friday and Shabbat. 

There is no place here to talk about the manna, we wrote about this subject enough in past issues.  It seems as though the people of Israel got used to miracles, but still every discomfort caused them to doubt the existence of the Almighty and to describe in unreal ways their living in Egypt.  This stress was the best opportunity to encourage the existence of a group of inciters, among them that doubted the leadership of Moses, and like it is the way of inciters that they preferred the lie over the reality, they described their days of stay in Egypt as truly a paradise.  These inciters always found and will find an open ear by those in which their spirit is short and their belief is very little.  These inciters will always trust the short memory of the people.  In reality those who were seated in Egypt next to the pots of meat and ate bread to be sated were the Egyptian employers and not them. 

This is why they again found themselves very thirsty when they arrived in Refidim.  But again the miracle was waiting for them.  Moses struck the rock and brought out water for them, enough to gain power to be prepared for the next experience.  In the next station, also in Refidim, before the big hill in which Aaron, Moses and Hur climbed to the top to watch from there the war of Joshua and the people of Israel in Amalak. This was a war between wanderers.  The will of the survival of the people of Israel caused them to better use the weapons that they brought from Egypt and the Reed Sea.  Although many of them were killed in the war, because of their lack of experience in comparison to the organized tribe of wanderers that the Amalakites were, this fact does not reduce from the potency of the miracle.  Its beginning was watching Moses, the great leader, sitting on the big stone upon the hill and his hands raised up and supported by the hands of Aaron and Hur.  These arms of victory was the miracle that encouraged the win over Amalak and its people and to destroy them by the sword in the fight that continued from sunrise to sunset.  The fight and the victory established them to be stronger and more united people who for the first time fought for themselves, led by Joshua ben Nun, in which this fight marked him as the next leader after Moses.  Until the present day Samaritan women wear red as a memory to the blood shed by Israelite fighters of Amalak. 

Sated of miracles and war, the people became deserving of the best miracle of all, the miracle of giving them the Torah on Mount Sinai, the seventh station.  They deserved at that point in time to receive the commandments that came to distinguish them in contrast to other nations by the belief in one God, the keeping of Shabbat, and honoring the parents.  All of those that they were not killing, not coveting, not stealing property and souls, deserve to receive the words of God, in which at the end the word of God will be heard and his offering will be received from over his altar in the chosen place, Mount Gerizim, that commandment of which the lack of it is very prominently noticed in the Jewish Masoretic text.    

So what is the common point to all of these stations that the people of Israel travelled to in the fifty days until they received the commandment at Mount Sinai?  In each place they are begging and receiving by great miracles, of what they ask for.  The asking and the receiving are the common point that make together the giant miracles of splitting the Reed Sea before them with the recognition of them as a chosen people that deserve to receive the Torah. 


A.B. - The Samaritan News Editorial
- Issue no. 1086-1087, 20.5.2011

Let's start at the end:  We support having six synagogues in Holon, and another five synagogues on Mount Gerizim.  

Did we exaggerate? -Maybe.

However, only in this way can we sharpen the discussion around the question of "need" or "no need" in having a second synagogue on Mount Gerizim.

Synagogues are one of the brilliant signs to existence and activities of a community around them.  In our many travels abroad we as guests visit several Jewish communities.  The chief rabbi of the community is very proud when he describes to us the greater number of synagogues in his town.  One of our best friends, the Rabbi Jeffrey Stipman from St. Louis Missouri, welcomes 4000 worshippers in his synagogue, which is only one of four Jewish Reform synagogues in St. Louis, although the largest one.  

Added to this number are another two synagogues of the Jewish orthodox comment, another two synagogues of the Jewish conservative community, and one synagogue of the reconstructionist community.  Hence, you will grasp the concept of growth within the Jewish community in St. Louis, now in the tens of thousands.  

Let's come back to us.  The growing Samaritan community is growing at an almost satisfactory pace, although it was at one time less than 150 individuals in the second decade of the 20th century but then increased to over 750 individuals in the second decade of the 21st century.  Initially all Samaritans were in Nablus, and there were a few who gathered in the small hall of the 1000 year old synagogue, in the old Jasmine neighborhood in Nablus.  The big earthquake of 1927 hit Nablus and destroyed the old synagogue and many houses in the neighborhood.  Most of the Samaritans were forced to move to the Western edge of Nablus in 1933, and they continued to pray in the old synagogue that was barely renovated in 1947 with the help of the City of Nablus and the General British Governor, Herbert Samuel.  

A new Samaritan synagogue was built in the neighborhood, and there the Samaritans worshipped until 1998 when the last remaining Samaritans moved to have a constant existence in Kiriat Luza on Mount Gerizim.  In the middle of the 1960s the big synagogue on Mount Gerizim was established and intended for festivals and pilgrimages so as to contain all the worshippers of Nablus and Holon.  Those were happy days for the Samaritans when the whole community gathered in one place and and had a process of consolidation from the best among them.  

In 1955 in Holon the Samaritans gathered from various places in the Dan district to one single neighborhood.  

After a tearful negotiation that lasted ten years the first Samaritan synagogue in the State of Israel had its benediction.  

In the two centers of Holon and Kiriat Luza the Samaritan Community began to increase in number.  For many years the Nablus community "supplied" many of the Samaritans who moved from Nablus first to Tel Aviv and Jaffa and then to Holon, after the establishment of the neighborhood.  

Only in the last two decades the two communities and the natural increase of the community became stable, and demonstrated signs of growth.  The community in Holon had increased from 90 individuals in 1955 to over 400 in 2011.  The Samaritan community on Mount Gerizim that was in the last 40 years at a constant number of 250 began to increase in the last two decades to an additional 100 individuals.  

The blessed increase emphasized two facts: One, the only Synagogue in Holon became to small for all the worshippers, and when they could not make the building wider from its current size then the need arose for a second synagogue.  Two, in the big and only synagogue on Mount Gerizim also became too small to contain the two communities during festivals and Sabbaths.  

In Holon the problem was temporarily solved by the initiative of several of the worshippers who found an area on the north side of the neighborhood, in which they put two comfortable caravans joined together - and hence became the second synagogue.  With the move of those worshippers to the second synagogue, the overcrowded pressure within the big synagogue was relieved.  We can only say "temporarily" because now the space once again has become too small in the big synagogue, and especially when the worshippers of the second synagogue join the big synagogue during the prayers of the first month and the seventh month of the year.  The tight fit became too much for many worshippers during the Day of Atonement when all the beloved women of the community crowd in at the backside of the synagogue.  To other worshippers this uniting of the small synagogue to the bigger synagogue is a blessing and sign of unification within the community for a short period.  In a decade or two the community of Holon must build a third synagogue, or perhaps if some young men from the community will make an initiative and decide to build an additional community in one of the other cities within the State of Israel with their own synagogue.  Amen and Amen.  

All of this leads us to the title of our article.  The difficult pressure of having only one single synagogue on Mount Gerizim during the Passover and Unleavened Bread Festival, and the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost), as a result of the two communities of worshippers of Holon and Gerizim neighborhoods joining together as one body at those times, has triggered some self-starters in Holon to collect donations in order to build a second synagogue on Mount Gerizim.  Already 150,000 NIS was collected for this purpose.  There are Samaritans from Holon who are ready to donate considerable sums to this aim.  There are those who already located the area on Mount Gerizim for the second synagogue near the pilgrimage route.  

However, here the self-starters are blocked by a resistance of the senior priests on Mount Gerizim, the High Priest Aaron and his Vice Priest, Nathaniel, the two honorable priests are not principally denying the idea, on the contrary they think that many synagogues are a good sign for the community, but they say that the condition for this is not yet ripe for the making.  The community on Mount Gerizim is still too small to fill the single synagogue on Mount Gerizim when the Holon community is not present, and there are still big spaces at the back of the synagogue when it was made wider in 1981 in order to contain the worshippers from Holon.  The place was expanded even more thanks to the initiative of the Mount Gerizim committee, with a huge porch near the gate of the synagogue, and there many worshippers can gather on hot days of the year.  Anyway on cold days on Mount Gerizim the synagogue is wide enough for all worshippers of Kiriat Luza.  The Vice High Priest, Priest Nathaniel, asked: "I understand the ambition of some priests that want to be cantors in a second synagogue, but why didn't they comply with my direct announcement from the pages of A.B. the Samaritan News to come forward and be a cantor in the big synagogue?  The second question: is it rational that because two or three days of pressure in the single synagogue on Mount Gerizim during the whole year justifies the establishment of a second synagogue that will be empty for most days of the year, when the single existing synagogue is too big for the size of the Mount Gerizim community?"

In conclusion, the High Priest claims as do most of the members of the Mount Gerizim community that regardless in the not so near future there will be a need to establish another synagogue on the Mountain because the Mount Gerizim community is increasing every year, but at the present there is no need for a second synagogue.

So what should they do with the 150,000 NIS that has already been collected?  First,it is not for sure that everybody who donated money to the big synagogue in Holon knew that they would use his donation to establish a second synagogue on Mount Gerizim.  

Secondly, the priests of the community in Holon should consider the example of the priests and worshippers from the small synagogue in Holon with the activity of their donations in which they are renovating and decorating.  Only recently they added stone walls around the two caravans.  

We must now ask the question, are all works of renovation and maintenance in the big synagogue in Holon completed, so that it is impossible to utilize the 150,000 NIS that was collected for establishing a new synagogue on Mount Gerizim?  

It seems that the final word in this regard has not been said yet.

A.B. Services


Yearly Tour

Lectures and conferences on Samaritan studies are going on:

June 20-28 - London, August 8-14 - Thessaloniki, Greece, October 23 - November 12 - Berlin, Poznan, Helsinki, Zurich and London, November 13 - December 24, 2011 - USA: Cincinnati, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Las Vegas, Dallas and San Francisco
   If any of you would like to be in touched with for lecturing of October - December 2011, please let
Benyamim Tsedaka know.



In the Place that the Almighty has Chosen

Recently an email was received by the Editor of the Samaritan Update asking which verses in the Samaritan Torah in 'the Place that the Almighty has Chosen.' The following verses  were verified by Benyamim Tsedaka

All the verses are in Deuteronomy: 12:5; 12:11; 12:14; 12:18; 12:21; 12:26; 14:23; 14:24; 14:25; 15:20; 16:2; 16:6; 16:7; 16:11; 16:15; 16:16; 17:8; 17:10;  18:6; 26:2; 31:11.


Update on the Letter by the Editor

In the Nov/Dec. issue, vol. X, Issue 2 of the Samaritan Update, concerning the section on a Letter of the Samaritans of India to those of Nablous found in the book, Journal of a Tour in the Holy Land in May and June, 1840 by Lady Francis Egerton. Since, we have found first that the Samaritans still have this letter. And secondly, in the book, The Lands of the Bible, by John Wilson, on Page 48 the following:

Our host was much disappointed to find that we had strong doubts about the propriety of ranking the Bene-Israel of Bombay among the Samaritans. …………….. When we said that the Bene-Israel do not view Gerizim as a Kiblah, he said, "Then, most assuredly they are not Samaritans."

So we can conclude that all communications ceased and therefore the Bene-Israel was most likely someone or some-ones that wanted a Samaritan Torah, since they had asked for one. The book The Lands of the Bible, by John Wilson, should be in our Samaritan Resources Section soon!



Shalom ben Amram ben Yitzhaq, 1922-2004 : Samaritan High Priest E1b1b1-a3

Shalom ben Amram ben Isaac (Shalom ben Amram ben Yitzhaq, 1922-2004) Saloum Cohen - Samaritan high priest in 2001-2004
Modern Samaritan priests, including Shalom ben Amram, are descended from Tsedaka ben Tabia Ha'abta'ai (1624-1650), who was a descendant of Ithamar (Line of Ithamar), the fourth son of Aaron.
 Shalom ben Amram haplotype ben Yitzhak presented in this paper «Maternal and Paternal Lineages of the Samaritan Isolate: Mutation Rates and Time to Most Recent Common Male Ancestor» (B. Bonn 'e-Tamir et al., 2003)
belongs to Y-haplogroup E1b1b1a3

Shalom ben Amram ben Yitzhaq, 1922-2004 : Samaritan High Priest E1b1b1-a3



On The Highest Jewish Priest Admit Prophet Muhammad & Tolerance of Islam | Al Jazeera


Ancient Samaritan community pray


November 1-2, 2011
Department of Hebrew, Biblical, and Jewish Studies
Dead Sea Scrolls Conference in Memory of Emeritus Professor Alan Crown

In memory of the late Emeritus Professor Alan Crown, the University of Sydney is convening a conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls to be held November 1-2, 2011. The occasion will also mark the purchase of the facsimile edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Fisher Library, an acquisition that came about at the initiative of Emeritus Professor Crown.


Note From the Editor

Recently I came across an article; Art. VII.—Observations on the Grammatical Structure of the Vernacular Languages of India. By the Rev. Dr. Stevenson in Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. III in Two Parts, Part II, December 1848 to November 1840, Bombay American Mission Press 1851. (p. 75.)

"The annexed comparison of some of the cave letters with others in the old Samaritan, and Phoenician, will exhibit coincidences, which could hardly have been the result of accident. Indeed, it would seem that all the Alphabets in existence may be traced either to this source, to the Egyptian Enchorial, derived from their hieroglylphic system, or to the Arrow beaded character. As far as yet ascertained, these seem to have had an independent existence, and all the rest to have been derived from them. Writing in the most ancient times, seems every where to have been hieroglyphical; that is, a mere rude painting of the object intended, or a symbol pointing it out by some obvious analogy. The thought seems then to have been suggested that these symbols should be made the signs of sounds, and not of objects and ideas."

This is the first time I have ever heard of any cave letters in India!


New Publications

The samaritan rebels perjured, by a covenant... March 30th, 1682 / John Knight (Author)(1682) [Paperback]

Samaritan Aramaic Language [Paperback] Lambert M. Surhone (Editor), Mariam T. Tennoe (Editor), Susan F. Henssonow (Editor) Betascript Publishing (March 16, 2011)



New Articles in our Samaritan Resources Section

Many new articles, here are a few!

A Complete History of the Canon L.E. Dupin 1699

Journey From Aleppo to Jerusalem By Hen. Maundrell 1732

The Evangelical Magazine 1803

The History of the Jews, By Hannah Adams,1818

Christian Researches in Syria and the Holy Land by William Jowett, Joseph Greaves 1826

The Modern Traveller by James Duncan 1824

Narrative of a Journey Round the Dead Sea and in the Bible Lands in 1850 and 1851 by F. De Saulcy. 1853

Syria, and the Syrians; By Gregory M. Wortabet, 1856

The Inner Life of Syria, Palestine, and the Holyland, by Isabel Burton 1875

Underground Jerusalem....a Visit to the Samaritans by Charles Warren 1876

Many more! Check them all out!

Samaritan Resources


New Biblios

Reinhard Pummer, “The Mosaic Tabernacle as the Only Legitimate Sanctuary: The Biblical Tabernacle in Samaritansim.” In The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah: Studies in Honor of Professor Louis H. Feldman, edited by Steven Fine (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2010), pp. 125–50.

Fehrullah Terkan, "The Samaritans (el-Samiryyun) and some Theological Issues Between Samaritanism and Islam", AUIFD XLV (2004). sayi II. s

Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel by Judith Fein. (2010) Paperback: 128 pages Publisher: Spirituality & Health Books ISBN-10: 0981870880 ISBN-13: 978-0981870885


Christian Thought, Lectures and Papers on Philosophy, Christian Evidence, Biblical Elucidation, Edited by CHARLES F. DEEMS, NEW YORK: WILBUR B. KETCHAM, 13 Cooper Union. 1886.

The Dublin Review Vol. L Published in May and August, 1861LondonThomas Richardson and Son 26, paternoster: 9, Capel Street; Dublin: and Derby August 1861 The Communion of Saints. An attempt to illustrate the true Principles of Christian Union. By H. B. Wilson, B.D. Oxford. 1851

The Nation A Weekly Journal Devoted ToPolitics, Literature, Science, and Art Volume XXI New York 1875 (p. 406) Fragments of a Samaritan Targum.


The Journal of Sacred Literature, Edited by John Kitto, Vol. III.  London: Robert B. Blackader Edinburgh 1853.

The Popular Biblical Educator Devoted to the Literature, Interpretation, and Right Use of the Holy Scriptures With Numerous Illustrations Volume the Second, London: Cassell, La Belle Sauvage Yard, Ludgate Hill 1855 Scriptual Topography, or Modern Descriptions of Ancient Localities in the Holyland.

The Religious World; Or, A View of the Four Grand Systems of Religion, Namely Christianity, Judaism, Paganism and Mohammedism; and of the Various Existing Denominations, Sects, and Paries in the Christian World To Which is Subjoined, a View of materialism, Deism and Atheism by Rev. Robert Adam Vol. II. London: L. B. Seeley and Son. 1823

The History of the Jews, From the Destruction of Jerusalem Present Time, by Hannah Adams, London, A. MacIntosh , 1818.

Syria, and the Syrians; Or, Turkey in the Dependencies, By Gregory M. Wortabet, of Bayroot, Syria Vol. II London: James Madden, 8, Leadenhall Street. 1856 Printed by Wertheimer and Co. Circus Place, Finsbury Circus

The Modern Traveller, A Popular Description, Geographical, Historical, and Topographical of the Various Countries of the Globe, Palestine; or The Holy Land London: Printed for James Duncan; Oliver and Boyd, 1824.

Memoir of the Rev. Pliny Fisk, A. M. Late Missionary to Palestine. by Alvan Bond, Crocker and Brewster. 1828

Notes of a Tour in the East, by D.Y. The United Presbyterian Magazine, New Series- Vol. XV, Edinburgh: William Oliphant and Co 1871

Stones Crying Out and Rock-Witness to the Narratives of the Bible Concerning the Times of the Jews. Evidence of the Last Ten Years,  Collected by  L. N. R. (Ellen Henrietta Ranyard) 1865

Scripture Natural History, Containing a DescriptiveAccount of the Quadrupeds, Birds, Fishes, Insects, Reptiles, Serpents, Plants, Trees, Minerals, Gems, and Precious Stones, Mentioned in the Bible, by W.M. Carpenter 1833 Boston, Lincoln, Edmands & Co.

I may have missed a couple new entries, please check out our

Samaritan Resources

more coming soon


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