The Samaritan Update

“Mount Gerizim,

All the Days of Our Lives”


September / October 2016                                                                                                     Vol. XVI - No 1

In This Issue

·         Heritage Auction

·         Kedem Auction

·         Minerva Auction

·         Sotheby Auction

·         Orhof Photos

·         Sukkot

·         In the News

·         6 Shehadeh articles

·         Invitation

·         Sinai Assembly

·         Mor Lecture

·         Sicily Lecture

·         From the Editor

·         Publications

·         Forth Coming books

·         Links

·         Old News

·         Biblio

Your link to the Samaritan Update Index

On January 1, 2015, the Samaritan Community numbered 777.

2016- The Samaritans number 810 souls


Future Events

It has been 3655 years since the entrance into the Holy Land

 (Samaritan’s typical calendar) 



Festival of the Seventh Month- Saturday Oct. 1, 2016

Day of Atonement- Monday, Oct. 10, 2016

Festival of Sukkot, Third Pilgrimage- Saturday Oct. 15, 2016

Festival of the Eight Day- Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016

The Eighth Month 3655 - Sunday Evening, October 30, 2016

The Ninth Month 3655 - Tuesday Evening, November 29, 2016

The Tenth Month 3655- Wednesday Evening, December 28, 2016


The Eleventh Month 3655 - Friday Evening, January 28, 2017

The Twelfth Month 3655 - Sunday Evening, February 27, 2017

The First Month 3655 - Monday Evening, March 28, 2017

Passover Sacrifice - Monday Evening between the sunsets [7:11 PM] - April 10, 2017


[Calculated by: Priest Yakkiir ['Aziz] b. High Priest Jacob b. 'Azzi – Kiriat Luza, Mount Gerizim]


The Yavneh Ten Commandments Stone at Heritage Auctions lot #52095

JUDAEA. Late Roman-Byzantine Era, circa 300-830 CE. Marble Decalogue Inscription. A roughly square slab of white marble, 25 by 22.5 inches (63.5 X 57 cm), and weighing 115 lbs (52 kg), inscribed with 20 lines of Paleo-Hebrew characters rendered in the Samaritan dialect, with distinctive letter forms and punctuation common to Samaritan inscriptions from the fourth through eighth centuries of the Common Era. Though the middle portion of the inscription is heavily worn (probably by foot traffic - see the account below), the first and last six lines of the inscription are clear and distinct, and the middle eight lines legible enough to be read under oblique lighting.

The 20 lines of writing each line contain between 11 and 15 characters, with side margins of about 10 centimeters. The letters vary between one and two centimeters; consistent with the Samaritan writing style, they are separated by a central dot or colon. Spacing is inconsistent and some of the letters (for example the letter ה or Hey) are rendered in different forms in different lines, giving the impression that the engraver was not a specialist in stone inscriptions. Some letters near the top of the dedication were erased and re-engraved: Apparently the writer changed his mind or received new instructions partway into the project.

The first two lines form a dedication, the second line of which is underlined to distinguish the opening from the 18 subsequent lines. These contain the Mosaic 10 Commandments in the form used by the Samaritans, with an additional admonition to build a temple on the holy mountain of Gerizim, now located near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Translated from the Samaritan dialect of Hebrew, the line-by-line inscription runs as follows:

1. Dedicated in the name of Korach
2. I will call you to remember for goodness forever
3. God spoke
4. all these words
5. saying I am the Lord
5. your God you shall not have
7. for yourself other Gods
8. besides me; you shall not make
9. for yourself a sculptured image or any likeness;
10. for I the Lord
11. your God am an impassioned God;
12. Remember the Sabbath day
13. keep it holy; honor
14. your father and your mother;
15. you shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery;
16. you shall not steal; you shall not bear [false witness] against your neighbor
17. you shall not covet; you shall erect
18. these stones that
19. I am commanding you today
20. on Mount Gerizim rise up to God

From The Living Torah Museum Collection; acquired from Archeological Center, Israel, 2003; discovered near Yavneh, now in Israel, then under Ottoman rule on the Palestinian coast, in 1913.

DISCOVERY AND PROVENANCE: The details of the Yavneh Stone's discovery are related in an article by Y. Kaplan and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi in the 1947 Journal of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society. According to Mr. Kaplan's account, this extraordinary artifact was rediscovered in 1913, during the excavation of a railroad line along the southern coastal plain of Palestine. The discovery was made near Yavneh, an historic city called Jabneel in the Hebrew Bible. The workmen who found it did not recognize its importance and either sold or gave it to a local Arab man of some means, who set the stone into the threshold of a room leading to his inner courtyard, with the inscription facing up. Due to foot traffic, several words on the center left side of the tablet were blurred over time.

In 1943, thirty years after his father acquired it, the man's son sold the stone to Mr. Kaplan, who immediately recognized its importance as an extremely rare "Samaritan Decalogue," one of five such extant stone inscriptions dating to before the Muslim invasion of the seventh century CE.

Upon Mr. Kaplan's request, tablet was examined by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, a noted scholar of Jewish history, who specialized in studying the Samaritans. He would later go on to become the second and longest-serving President of Israel (1952-1963).

The Yavneh Stone remained in Mr. Kaplan's collection until the 1990s, when it was acquired by the noted Israeli antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch. In 2005, it was obtained by Rabbi Saul Deutsch (no relation), founder and operator of the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, New York. Export of this "National Treasure" from Israel was approved under a special permit issued by the Israel Antiquities Authority, on condition that it be placed on public display "where all can view it and enjoy," a condition that still pertains (see special conditions pertaining to this lot on title page).

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: In his 1947 article, Mr. Ben-Zvi made the following observations about the stone: "You shall not take the name of God your Lord in vain is missing. This commandment was omitted for an unknown reason.... If you take "I am the lord" as the first commandment, it would seem there are indeed 10 commandments listed, including the final one to "raise up" (a temple) on Mount Gerizim-the holy mountain of the Samaritans.

"According to the information that Mr. Kaplan received, the tablet was buried east of the central Jama Mosque...The closeness of the location to the central mosque leads to the assumption that there is a connection between the tablet and the mosque... Various documents that were kept in the central mosque inform us that it was established between 1292 and 1373; that is to say, after the Christian Crusaders. Prior to that, a Latin Christian church built by the Crusaders stood in its place following their conquest of that location in 1142. They besieged Yavneh and called it Evlin. Later, on top of the ruins of the church, the central mosque was built. The local farmers preserved this memory and this mosque is known until today by the name K'nissah, which is a special name in Arabic for a Christian church. A Jewish synagogue is called K'niss in the masculine form.

"One has to wonder if there could have been an ancient Samaritan synagogue that once stood in the place of the mosque during the time of the Samaritans in Yavneh. Perhaps the Crusaders destroyed it and built a Christian church in its place? This would not be the only time in history
when a Christian church was built on the ruins of a Samaritan synagogue. For example, remnants of Samaritan inscriptions were found in Siaga on Mount Nebo amongst the ruins of a Byzantine Christian church. We can deduce from this that the inscriptions likely belonged to an ancient Samaritan synagogue that existed there.

"It is important to mention that the last verse in the inscription Kumah Adonai from the weekly Torah reading Vayehi Binsoa HaAron ("as the ark is traveling") is also found in the tablet in the Green Mosque in Shechem. The Green Mosque was built at the end of the Byzantine era and that verse was corrected in the Muslim era. This knowledge leads us to believe that the tablet in Yavneh also dates from the Byzantine era, circa A.D. 300 to 700."

Recent scholarship has confirmed most of Ben-Zvi's observations about the stone, while adding a few caveats. Joseph Naveh has questioned whether Samaritan Decalogue inscriptions were bound exclusively to synagogues, or may have belonged to private homes as well (Oxford, BAR, 1989). Samaritan scholar John Bowman dates the Yavneh stone to the early Islamic occupation period, circa 640-830 CE, before the anti-Samaritan pogroms of the Abbasids (see following article), while other scholars continue to argue for an earlier Byzantine dating.

Heritage Auction Web page

Bidding closes Wednesday Nov. 16, 2016


[From the Editor: I have been thinking about this inscription, but Benyamim Tsedaka says it best, ‘what about the second commandment about "You are not to make use of the name of Shehmaa in vain". But the biggest mistake is the name Korach: It is forbidden in Samaritan heritage.’ So who did the inscription? Is it fake or is it from a different sect of the land?]


Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

November 15, 2016, 5:00 PM GMT Jerusalem, Israel Live Auction telephone number

Lot 116: Samaritan Manuscript - Siddur and Piyyutim for Holidays, 18th-19th Century

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000

Description: Samaritan manuscript which includes Siddur and Piyyutim for holidays. [Nablus, 18th and 19th century]. On leaf [88] the manuscript is dated: 1707; copied by: Mashallamah ben Ab-Sakuwah Haddanafi, (late 17th - early 18th century). It is stated on leaf [220] that the manuscript was completed in 1872 by the High Priest Ya'akov ben Aharon (lived in the years 1840-1916). The manuscript includes prayers for Passover: Zevach Pesach, Shabbat Moed Pesach, Piyyutim for the seven days of Pesach, and more. Bound at the end of the manuscript are nine leaves written in Arabic, describing the pilgrimage to offer a sacrifice in Pesach, holiday of Matzot, and a story about storms and rains in 1872. [225] leaves, 21 cm. Fair-poor condition. Worming. Tears and stains. New leather binding.



Photograph Auction

by Minerva Auctions November 3, 2016, 4:00 PM CET Roma, Italy  Live Auction

Lot 167: Frank Horvat (1928)


Estimate: €500 - €700

Description: Frank Horvat (1928) Samaritans, ca. 1954 
Stampa vintage alla gelatina sali d'argento. Timbro del fotografo al verso|cm 25 x 30 Vintage gelatin silver print. Photographer's credit stamp on the verso. cm 25 x 30
Link to Auction








Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History by Sotheby’s

November 15, 2016 1:30PM GMT London, United Kingdom

Lot 156: Henry Allon, Notes of Travel in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine, Manuscript, 1865

Est. Estimate: £10,000 - £15,000

Description: MANUSCRIPT, folio (365 x 290mm.), c.200 pages, ILLUSTRATED with c.45 ALBUMEN PRINTS, including photographs by Francis Bedford, Francis Frith and John Cramb, and 6 CARTES-DE-VISITE of the author and his travel companions, and c.75 prints of views in Egypt, Palestine and Syria; the manuscript details a pilgrimage tour of Egypt and the Holy Land as part of a group of British Nonconformist ministers from 7 February to 22 May 1865, providing a detailed and learned account with extensive historical and theological references, describing Cairo, climbing the Great Pyramid, an expedition to Sinai (6 March, "...We resumed our pilgrim-march early in the morning, guided by the camel-tracks, meeting no human being, and seeing no indications of civilized life...") including a stay at St Catherine's Monastery, then on to Jerusalem, describing the principal religious sites including the Wailing Wall (31 March, "...There were perhaps 50 or 60 present. …………….the Dome of the Rock, and with a very critical account of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ("...Jerusalem, indeed, is full of these lying wonders of priests and monks..."), then visiting Bethlehem, the Jordan Valley (..."The whole appearance ... was of great sterility, except the green fields around Jericho, some ten miles northward, - the green strip which marked the course of the Jordan, near to Moab..."), Nablus ("...a long narrow town, fringed all round with olives, pomegranate, & other trees...") where the group attended a Samaritan Jewish service ("...the recitative often broke into a chant, and the harsh staccato jerking effects were most striking...") and saw the famous Abisha Scroll of the Samaritan Pentateuch, then on to Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, Damascus,

Link to Auction


Ori Orhof video and pics of the Day of Atonement

146 pics at





Samaritan Sukkot

There are approximately 150 sukkahs among the 810 Samaritans today.

(Image Left) Amit Marhiv posted on his Facebook page his sukkot. He says in Hebrew, here translated to English, ‘Like this...... starting my happy holiday at home.’


(Image Right) Meital Sasoni posted on her Facebook page their sukkah, saying, ‘Excitement of holiday!’






Amit Marhiv posted his sukkah on his Facebook page


Shoham Sassoni’s sukkah


In the News


The Samaritan Sukkot by Asaf Kemer

The ancient community also celebrates the traditional harvest holiday, but does so with many of their own unique practices, such as constructing their sukkot inside the home as opposed to out; 'Every family has their own design and it requires a lot of patience to build.'

Continue reading at,7340,L-4867134,00.html 


Inside the Samaritan high priest’s fruity sukkah, literally by Dov Lieber and Iacopo Luzi

MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank — The Samaritan high priest’s small home was marked by a modest plaque outside the gate. “Home of the high priest, Abdullah Wassef Tawfiq,” the Arabic script read. Continue reading at  


Sukkot 2016: How Jews celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles; check out the photos

by Ankita Mehta

Sukkot, a Jewish festival, is one of the most important and holiest Jewish observances of the year. The Jewish festival is also called as Chag Ha-Asif, Festival of Ingathering or Feast of Tabernacles. The festival starts on the 15th day of Tishri, the first month of the year in the Jewish calendar.

Continue reading at


In the West Bank, Samaritans provide a sanctuary by Daniel Estrin and Mohammed Daraghmeh

In one of the tensest corners of the West Bank, Israeli settlers and Palestinians live in separate worlds. But there is a spot on the top of a mountain that connects them both: a village of Samaritans.


The Same Article is also in the Washington Post


ואין זו סתם סוכה: פירות וסוכות בעדה השומרונית

הם נחשבים לצאצאי ממלכת ישראל ומקיימים אורח חיים בן אלפי שנים שדומה ליהדות - הכירו את השומרונים שבונים סוכות יפות מעשרות פירות, באחד החגים הכי צבעוניים שיש

זיו ריינשטייןפורסם:  19.10.11 , 07:35

>>> ים המלח - פלא עולמי: בואו להצביע ולהשפיע


העדה השומרונית רואה את עצמה כשארית של ממלכת ישראל העתיקה, מנהלת אורח חיים שדומה להלכה היהודית וייתכן ששפתה וחלק ממנהגיה הם עדות לחיי אבותינו לפני אלפי שנים - הכירו את השומרונים - אחת העדות הקטנות והמיוחדות בישראל ששומרת, לטענתה, על מסורת עם ישראל בדיוק כפי שכתוב בתורה.,7340,L-4136590,00.html


Самаритяне празднуют Суккот на горе Гризим. Фоторепортаж

Фото: Мария Кашевник.

В этом году совпали даты еврейского и самаритянского праздника Суккот. Корреспондент Мария Кашевник приняла участие в поездке в общину самаритян, организованной компанией TravelLab под руководством Эйнат Кляйн.



Samaritan Sukkot: Friday Around Nablus- SOLD OUT

Finjan is taking a special Friday trip to Mount Gerizim and the Samaritan community perched high above the Palestinian metropolis of Nablus. The Samaritans are the smallest ethnic group in the world and we will have the special opportunity to learn more about the community, its customs (including ‘Samaritan Sukkot’) and its fascinating history.

Continue reading at


In West Bank Hamlet, Ukrainian Brides Help Samaritan Faith Stay Afloat

By Daniella Cheslow


KIRYAT LUZA, West Bank -- At 33, Rafi Danfi was ready to marry. He had a house, a car, and a good job at an Israeli telecoms giant -- but he couldn’t find a bride.

It’s a common problem for men in the Samaritan sect, a religious community of several hundred people who follow a strict interpretation of the Bible and do not marry outside the faith.

Continue reading at RadioFreeEurope



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An Invitation every Year to visit and learn at the Tsedaka Residence

Festival of Sukkot - seven days – started the evening of 15 October to 21 October 2016

The days [of the year have four days to prepare] between Yom Kippur to Sukkot.

Building the sukkah with four species: Beautiful fruit - all beautiful fruit stem shows his strong binding to the ceiling of the sukkah; Palm Leaves - palms open palm tree used to cover the ceiling of the sukkah. Tree thick branches - thick leaves. In Mount Gerizim users use branches of Daphne and in Holon - branches of the eucalyptus tree, Willows of the brook - a plant that grows on the water brooks, streams or rivers.

Every sukkah on Sukkot many located in Holon and Mount Gerizim [150 Sukkot] hanging about 400 kg of fruit per different species. Usually sitting in the sukkah for seven days but not staying there to sleep under it for fear of harmfulness of fruit drop.

The Succah constructed in a central room in the house. In the past, before over 1,500 years, the Succah built in the outside. But persecution, burning and dumping carcasses Sukkot, made the decision to be given by a High priest to enter the sukkah to maintain the beauty and dignity in the eyes of many guests who visit it annually.

After the completion of the sukkah, will be a pilgrimage on the first day [Saturday] to the summit of Mount Gerizim.

After the pilgrimage down to visit dozens of Succots in Mount Gerizim Kiriat Luza Neighbourhood. Pilgrims from Holon will arrive by bus on Monday, October 17.

If there is a holiday on Saturday and a person cannot reach the pilgrimage it will be held in private, every day of the intermediate days of Succoth.
During the seven days of Succot will be recited prayers on morning and evening. Visitors will visit with each other and bring the blessing of the holiday.

A symbolic tithe second time of the year will be given by all Israelite males from a 20 years and on. The validity of the Succah and its holiness are up till October 21 till the evening of Shemini Atzeret [Eighth day of Succot.

Benyamim Tsedaka.




The first meeting of the great prophet Moses with the One who anointed him with the mission to release the Sons of Israel from Egypt was at the Mountain of Chorev, also called Mount Sinai or the Mountain of the Almighty, that is located just as it is described in the Torah in the heart of the Sinai Desert. Moses is the "Angel" that is brought by the Almighty; he is the messenger that received the first signal of many signals that escorted his mission and the Exodus.

In order to reinforce the hesitant Moses to accept the mission the Almighty said: "For I will be with you, and this is the sign that I have brought you, when you will bring the people out of Egypt, all of you will worship the Almighty on this Mountain". 
Not the making of Moses staff as a snake and the water in the ground as blood are the first signs, but this is the first sign that leads to the complement of chapter one of the mission, releasing the people to liberty after 215 years of slavery in Egypt. From the day the brothers of Joseph told Pharaoh: "Your slaves are shepherds" till the day their successors went from slavery to freedom lead by Moses, the Pillar of Fire and the Pillar of Cloud, towards the Mountain of the Almighty, Mount of Sinai.

This endeavor of bringing the people towards the goal – Mount Sinai, where they would worship the Almighty, gave Moses the power to stand all tortures of the long negotiation with Pharaoh the objector, and also seeing the plagues on the heads of Pharaoh and his slaves and all the Egyptians. This goal was expressed repeatedly by the sayings: Let my People go and he will worship me" or "We will offer to our Almighty." The entire chapter one of the mission was to fulfill the aim that was like oil in the bones of the mission – To get to Mount Sinai, in the transition from physical slavery of building barn cities to pharaoh in oppressed conditions to spiritual slavery brought upon their heads from the top of Mount Sinai.

It is very likely that the seven weeks that passed before them from the time of the Exodus until they received the Torah in Mount Sinai was the only period they had of full freedom. Since they received the Torah and the Commandments in the Sinai Covenant and said to Moses: "You get close and hear all that our Almighty will say, and you will tell it to us, all that our Almighty will say to you and we will hear and do," it was as if they said: we receive upon ourselves the entire weight of a new slavery, but no more physical slavery but rather now and forever a spiritual slavery, that it also includes fulfilling all the commandments of the Almighty with no resistance.

During the seven weeks of the journey from the Sea of Reeds to Mount Sinai the people were exposed to events that were meant to strengthen them towards the great day of the Sinai Covenant, receiving the Commandments and the weight of new spiritual slavery. All the people saw the turning of the Sea to become earth in the place where they moved from the shore of physical slavery to the safe shore of liberty. They saw the drowning of the Egyptians in the sea. They were thirsty and they drank till saturation. They were hungry and they ate until sated. They had been given the Shabbat for rest. They fought 'Amalek and won, the first test of their power, where they  didn't watch it from the side as in the Reed Sea with the war of the Almighty against the idols of Egypt, but they suffered casualties caused by physical touch with the 'Amalekite enemy. They even won an organized legal system based on justice on the eve of the established event of their history – the Assembly of receiving the Torah in Mount Sinai. They heard the Ten Commandments from the mouth of the Almighty, and heard the voices as they all fell down on their faces to hear in full concentration the words of the Almighty.

The Ten Commandments – From any angle you see them you will find they contain everything. They contain the unity of the Almighty and define relation to Him. They contain the elimination of worship to idols and the like. They contain the observance of the Shabbat to keep it and consecrate it. They contain the deed of the Creation. They contain the principles of justice between a man and his neighbor: Not to murder him, not to commit adultery with his wife, not to steal his property, and not to covet anything that belongs to him, not his house, not his wife, not his field, not his male or female slaves, not his bull, not his donkey, nor anything that belongs to him.

If the people will stand these basic commandments of setting up respect of his fellow man to his Creator, and between him and his neighbor, then he will get to the desired aim of worship of the Almighty.  Exchanging one temporary place of worship, Mount Sinai, for a constant chosen place of worship of the eternal Almighty – Erecting an altar to the Almighty in Mount Gerizim. This is the commandment that completes the counting from the first commandments to the tenth.

Surprisingly, in the description of the journeys of the Sons of Israel in the Desert of Sinai, the central event of the Sinai Assembly and all the other events that escorted it: The visions and the voices, giving the words of the Sinai Covenant, the Ten Commandments, the making of the golden calf and its destruction, and giving the Two Tablets of the Covenant again to replace the Tablets that Moses broke – this entire long event spanning over 120 days is barely mentioned, only by these short words: "And they camped in the Sinai Desert, and they journeyed from the Sinai Desert."

But the event of the Sinai Assembly, the ambition to get to it that reinforced the People of Israel in their slavery from Egypt, is many times more important and greater than the Exodus, their journey through the desert, their thirstiness for water, or their lust to eat meat, the death of Aaron, and the fact the Canaanite king of 'Arad heard about the coming of the Sons of Israel.

How did it happen that the central event that made the Sons of Israel the chosen people, was never mentioned among the journeys of the Sons of Israel in the Sinai Desert till they approached the Land of Canaan?

The only acceptable answer is that the list of the journeys in the end of the Book of Numbers with all its many details of the stations and places is not a complete list, if the main and greatest established event is not mentioned.

Benyamim Tsedaka


Join us Tuesday, October 18 for a lecture by visiting Professor Menachem Mor!

Judaic Studies, The Harold Schnitzer Family Program at the University of Oregon





di Redazione (pubblicato il 20/10/2016 alle  23:46:44, nella sezione EVENTI,  238 letture)

ben sedakaIn occasione della visita in Sicilia del prof. Ben Sedaka (nella foto), portavoce delle Comunità Samaritane nel mondo, l'Associazione INFORUM Europa, presieduta da Giacinto Avola, in collaborazione con l'Ordine dei Cavalieri di Pitia, organizza una Conferenza dal titolo: "Storia dei samaritani e rapporto con le altre religioni". L'incontro avverrà mercoledì 26 ottobre dalle ore 17:00 alle ore 20:00 in via Brenta 41 a Siracusa. Sedaka ha fondato l'israelita Samaritano Information Institute, che promuove il patrimonio, la storia e la cultura Samaritana. E' autore di 112 libri e pubblicazioni, tra cui "The israelita" versione della Torah, un testo parallelo tra il Pentateuco Samaritano e i testi classici della Torah, che rileva anche importanti differenze tra i due testi. Ben Sedaka è anche un ricercato speaker internazionale per la sua conoscenza approfondita circa i Samaritani, il loro patrimonio, la loro storia e la loro cultura. La conferenza è quindi una buona occasione per sentire Benyamim Sedaka parlare degli antichi samaritani dei tempi biblici e dei Samaritani di oggi, della loro missione e del loro patrimonio storico e culturale.



YouTube video

The Priest Hosni Wassef Samaritan in a TV interview
"know astronomical calculation and figures at Samaritan" Cult.




From the Editor


I responded to an email last month, someone had purchased a small Samaritan scroll at an auction. He never said where the auction was but he does live in Israel where I suspect it was held.

 The small tin cased scroll (shown right and below) was sold to tourists in the early 1910s. This one contained a small section from Exodus 21 as Haseeb Shehadah informed me of his opinion. But the writing of the small scroll is not Samaritan as Benyamim Tsedaka informs me. Benyamim had not given a reason but I suspect it is that the paper and the ink does not appear to be as the same as the Tourist scroll that I have had for years.

Both handles are missing on the bottom and the third Finials on top is missing. On the top of a typical Samaritan scroll, the three Finials are three pomegranates also called "RIMONIM” represents the three Forefathers, or the Torah and the two tablets of covenant, according to Benyamim Tsedaka. The body of the case is a little out of round but it could be restored. For your information the writing is placed upside down shown in the photo.

The image to the right is a small Samaritan tourist scroll owned by Sue Ruzek of Indiana, USA. It demonstrates the correct representation of the Samaritan writing. See Nov. 2005 Issue of the Update for more information: 


The following image (Left) of a Samaritan Tourist scroll is the one this Editor owns also showing a smaller writing. See


So now we see three small Samaritan tourist Torah tin cases in private hands.



Recently, I located a copy of ‘A Critical Edition of the Baba Rabbah Section of the Samaritan Chronicle No. II: With Translation and Commentary, a dissertation by Jeffrey M. Cohen. University of Glasgow, Nov. 1977. You will find additional articles that were not written in his published work. Enjoy this PDF!


Benyamim Tsedaka posted a photo of a group from the 2 year old congregation in Jakarta, Java Island to his Facebook page on Oct. 10, 2016.


They call themselves ‘World Union of Isaric Samaritans (WUIS). The word ‘Isaric’ they have determined to mean, ‘from the Aramaic word איסרא isara, meaning a bond or tie.’


To be clear, one of the group’s main tenants is; ‘Yeshu of Nazareth is the Taa’eb (Restorer) and the Maashi (Anointed) of Yishrael, the promised prophet like Mooshe.’ This is far from Israelite-Samaritan principles and appears to be another form similar to Messianic Jews.


You can visit their website, if you wish at



Current publications



MILLER, Julia, editor.

Ann Arbor: Legacy Press, 2016.
First Edition.
 cloth in dust jacket. 517 pp. Legacy Press, ISBN 9781965024 $85.00

In this volume: "Historical Bindings of the Chamberlain-Warren Samaritan Collection" by Ruth Bardenstein


Le mont Garizim, nouvelle « Genève de la paix » : une capitale sans territoire ?

par Fanny UrienLefranc

Institut interdisciplinaire d’anthropologie du contemporain

IIAC, UMR 8177

Equipe lahic (ehess, cnrs)

105 Boulevard Raspail

75006 Paris 75006 Paris



Forth Coming Book


Traductor Scriptor: The Old Greek Translation of Exodus 1-14 as Scribal Activity

John Screnock, University of Oxford

In Traductor Scriptor, John Screnock situates the Old Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible within the broader scribal culture of the ancient world. Building on current methods in Septuagint studies and textual criticism, Screnock engages the evidence from Qumran, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Old Greek to argue that the phenomena of translation and transmission are fundamentally similar. Traductor Scriptor presents a unique approach to the use of the Old Greek for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, based on new theoretical considerations and an in-depth analysis of text-critical data in the Old Greek translation and Hebrew manuscripts of Exodus 1–14.

ISBN13: 9789004336209

Expected Date: January 2017

Copyright Year: 2017

Format: Hardback

Publication Type: Book

Pages, Illustr.: Approx. 225 pp.

Imprint: BRILL

Language: English



‘The Destruction of the Samaritan Temple by John Hyrcanus: A Reconsideration’

By Jonathan Bourgel

Journal of Biblical Literature

Vol. 135, No. 3 (Fall 2016), pp. 505-523


Coin on Ebay

Neapolis Mint; 244-249 CE 

Obverse: IMP C M IVL PHILIPPO PF AVG. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Philip I facing right. 

Reverse: NEAPOLI NEOCORO Eagle standing facing, head left, with wings spread, support Mt. Gerizim temple complex. COL S above eagle's wings. 

In very good to fine condition. 

Weight: 14.29; Diameter: 25.5mm

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Who are the Samaritans and why is their future uncertain?

By A.V.


An Altar on Mt Ebal or Mt Gerizim: The Torah in the Sectarian Debate

By Dr. Jonathan Ben-Dov


Afflicting the Soul: A Day When Even Children Must Fast

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Sukkot: The Sukkah and the Israelite Samaritan Tradition of Sukkot


A Fruity Sukkah Made from the Four Species

By Benyamim Tsedaka


Mount Gerizim and the Polemic against the Samaritans

By Dr. Eyal Baruch



Old News



We have recently been informed that a Hebrew school for the children of the Samaritans is now being maintained by the Educational Department of the Zionist Organisation. It is valuable news, and profoundly interesting in view of the chequered history of that famous sect, which some years ago was threatened with utter extinction.

It is gratifying to know that the school will be maintained, by Zionist assistance, and thus a romantic link with the ancient past will be preserved. For the story of the Samaritans carries us back to Bible times, when a King of Assyria invaded Samaria, carried off: its inhabitants into nameless exile, and replaced them by his own subjects drawn from the countries of the further East. Ever since, the Samaritans have remained rooted to their original spot, the oldest living inhabitants of the Holy Land, over which they have kept watch and ward these thousands of years, as if planted there to assert Israel's inalienable claim to its soil.

When the Judeans returned from captivity and set about the re-building of the Temple at Jerusalem, the Samaritans (or Cutheans, as they were sometimes called, from a district in Assyria from in which they hailed) put forward a claim to be allowed to participate in this great national undertaking. Their claim was refused. Embittered by this hostile reception, they became open enemies of the Jews, and since they could not share in the building of the Temple, they determined to obstruct it. So they became known as 'the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin,” and they built for themselves a rival Temple at Mount Gerizim, at the same time falsifying their copies of the Pentateuch to make it appear that Gerizim and not Zion was the sacred spot which Moses had ordained.

The Samaritan Pentateuch, which is the only portion of the Hebrew Scriptures they have adopted, is a document of much interest. Its antiquity is attested by the fact that it is written in the rude character used by the Hebrews before the exile. But that it is not a genuine version must be evident to anyone who will take the trouble to study its variations from the received-text. It is full of spurious emendations, some having the deliberate object of conforming certain Scriptural passages to the Samaritan mode of worship, others being intended- to remove obscurities from the text, and yet others being due to an imperfect, knowledge of Hebrew. The ordinance of a seven-day Passover is altered to one of six days. “You have falsified your Pentateuch,” exclaimed a Talmudical Rabbi, ''and have- profited naught thereby.”

Having set up a separate form of worship, they took every opportunity of harassing the' Jewish community from which they had been so jealously excluded. They waylaid pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, so that many had to take the longer route by the East of Jordan. On one occasion they effected an entrance into the Temple, which they defiled. The Jews of Palestine, were in the habit of notifying the new moon to their brethern in Babylon by means of beacon fires. The Samaritans kindled rival signals to confuse the watchers on the banks of the Euphrates. The Jewish Rabbins retaliated by a number of hostile ordinances, designed to perpetuate their exclusion from the community. Anything that a Samaritan had touched was accounted as swine's flesh. A Samaritan could not be admitted as a witness in a court of law. He was debarred from the privilege of proselytism. Any one offering him hospitality deserved that his children should go into exile. But not

all the Rabbins were equally intolerant. Some maintained that the Samaritans were to be treated in every way as Israelites. It was admitted that they kept the Mosiac Law and many of the traditional practices founded thereon with even greater rigour than Jews themselves. But after a time there grew up a re-action against the Samaritans, and they were unconditionally excluded from the community of Israel.

Since then their history has been a chequered one; prosperity following on adversity, triumph and elation being succeeded by defeat and depression. The Maccabean High Priest, John Hyrcanus, marched against Shechem, their capital, and destroyed their Temple on Mount Gerizim. The Samaritans built themselves another in its place. 'When the old capital fell into ruins Vespasian built a new city in the neighbourhood, which he called Neaopolis, and which acquired amongst the Arabs of later times the name of Nablus.

The Romans also found them turbulent people.- Thousands were slaughtered by Vespasian's soldiers. In a revolt against Septimus Severus they fought on the Jewish side. In the fourth century they were described as the chief and most dangerous adversaries of Christianity. Sometimes the Church Fathers confounded them with the Jews. 'An outrage which they committed in the fifth century against the Christians of Neaopolis was so severely punished that from that: time they sank into obscurity and ceased to take any part in politics. From having been a numerous and influential people they have gradually dwindled, until to-day their settlement comprises no more than 260 persons, 
for the most part extremely poor and unfettered. Followers of the Law of Moses, they continue to practise the ancient religion of Israel. Although their temple has long been laid in ruins, they are unwilling to abandon the sacrificial ritual, and are still to be seen- on' the eve of Passover offering a' Paschal lamb on the heights of Nablus, more than 1800 years after this ceremonial has been abandoned by their Jewish neighbours. It is a pathetic spectacle they present in the tenacity with which they cling to their ancient traditions. 
The old feeling of hostility towards them has long since died out among their Jewish co-religionists. We can have nothing but admiration for the constancy with which, for thousands of years, they 
have worshipped the one God whose unity it is our mission to proclaim. 

From The Hebrew Standard of Australazia (Sydney, NSW) Fri 13 Jan 1922 page 4, 5.


An Australian in Palestine: Striking Travel Pictures

Rev. Father Cornelius Boberts, who, after his ordination at Borne recently, went with some other young priests on a trip through Palestine, writes us the following impressions of his tour. Father Boberts is from Brisbane. He made some of his studies at St. Patrick's College, Manly, and finished at Borne:………………

Top of Form

The 'True Sons of the Patriarchs.'

Before concluding these random observations on Jews in Palestine to-day, it would not be out of place to mention a community that professes to be the 'true sons of the Patriarchs,' and the only body that has kept up an exact observance of the Law of Moses. These are the Samaritans who live in Nablous, the ancient Sichem. They have what they call a priesthood, under the presidency of a High Priest. We saw their little synagogue, which could be opened for us only when three priests, each having a different key, came to unlock the door.

Their proudest possession is a manuscript containing the Pentateuch, and one of the priests in all seriousness told us that it was 3?29 years old! Another drew aside a green curtain and took up some object covered with a rich green veil. When uncovered it proved to be a large cylinder, and inside this again was a laree parchment manuscript rolled on rods. Asked if there was any truth in the amazing statement that this very document was written by Moses, these ingenious people replied that this manuscript was not exactly that written by Moses, but one made 13 years after his death.

They also told us that on the preceding evening they had offered a sacrifice of a lamb on the neighbouring mountain, Djebel el Tour, which at the time of Our Lord was known as Mount Garizim, and was pointed out to Him by the Samaritan woman at the well as that on which her ancestors had offered sacrifice.

The Tombs of the Patriarchs at Hebron, the 'Vale' of Mambre, the excavations at Bethsau, and the important discovery of the Jebusite wall at Ophel— all these objects of topical interest could be described, but these lines must be restricted to the subject with which they began, although they mention but a trilling part of a long series of experiences of absorbing interest in the native country of Our Divine Lord.

In The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW,) Thu 15, 1925 page 10 [scanned pages show a very dark photo of the Samaritan High Priest with the Torah]



 Its Last Survivors.


In the attractive pages of Overseas,'' a popular publication run in connection with the Overseas Club in London, Sir John Robert O'Connell, LL.D., formerly a leading solicitor in Dublin, and one prominent in Catholic circles in the Irish metro polis, gives the following interesting account of an almost disappearing people:

The Samaritan people, who to-day number in all only some 135, living huddled together around a small synagogue in Nablus, about forty miles north of Jerusalem, on the main road between the Holy City and Nazareth, are the last survivors of one of the most ancient races and live in one of the most venerable places in the world. For their town of Nablus — the new city, 'Neapolis'— is no other than Shechem, to which Abraham departing out of Haran 'came unto the land of Canaan unto the place of

Shechem in the plain of Moreh.' Here Jacob spread his tents in the fields, and set up his altar; and here the bones of Joseph, brought from distant Egypt, were buried in a tomb which is venerated to this day. And here when King Solomon died the people of Israel assembled to offer to his son Rehoboam that kingship of Israel which the folly and insolence of that young monarch was so soon to cast away. Thus Shechem 'of the tribe of Ephraim' goes back in its story to the very beginning of history; but it continues down through the ages, and St. Peter and St. John made converts and 'announced the good tidings in several Samaritan villages;' and a century or more later on of the greatest apologists of early Christianity, St. Justin, was born within its walls. But the Samaritans, as they survive to-day, are the descendants of that strange idolatrous tribe who settled down here when the Ephraimites were held in captivity in Babylon, and who - then, as now, steadfastly refused to look to Jerusalem as the Holy City, claiming that Most Gerizim was 'the Mountain of Blessing,' and that it and not Mount Moriah was the true site of the Holy Temple.

An Almost Extinct Bace.

Thus arose that quarrel between the Samaritans and the Jews, which has grown only more bitter with the passing of the centuries, and which, as Mr. Robert Hichens notes, made 'this strange race, now almost extinct, famous for malice, for pertinacity, for fanaticism, and for a certain dogged indifference to the opinions of those whose power has been greater than its own.'

The existence of the Samaritans, now restricted to Nablus, is devoted to the assertion of the claim of Mount Gerizim to be the true site of the Holy Temple, and to the preservation of their ancient and rapidly diminishing numbers — an object rendered all the more difficult by the fact that the Samaritans consistently refused to impair the purity of their caste by marriage outside their own people.

The Feast Itself.

The most important event in the Samaritan calendar is the Feast of the Passover, celebrated on Mount Gerizim, in the month of April, when the entire people, young and old, sick or strong, ascend or are carried up the mountain, encamping on the top in their reserved enclosure. The priests, arrayed in vestments which have obviously come down in form from very remote times, present a type of countenance of a peculiarly Semitic character, bearing a strong likeness to those found in Assyrian remains. The priests having offered, aloud and fervently, prayer in attitudes and with prostrations much resembling the Mahommedan ritual as seen to-day, the high priest, facing the West at the moment of sunset, pronounces the words, 'and the whole congregation of Israel shall kill it.' At the word 'kill' seven unblemished lambs, which have been hitherto grazing unconcernedly in the little compound, are seized by the priests, and their throats are cut by the ritual slaughterers amidst cries of joy and triumph from the excited Samaritans. A young priest hastens to collect in a pan the blood of the victims, which is subsequently used to sprinkle the doors of the tents. The lambs are sprinkled with boiling water to enable their wool to be more easily removed, and they are then fleeced, dressed, cleansed with salt, and their viscera removed, to be burned as an offering on the alter by the high priest. The lambs are tied by their feet to a pole, which is lowered into a great stone oven sunk some six feet in the ground, and brought to a red heat by logs of wood and brambles being heaped into it. Here the lambs are roasted whole, the flesh, when cooked, being distributed amongst the Samaritans, by whom it is eaten 'with unleavened bread, and with bitter herbs as they stand with their loins girt.'

The Passover of the Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim is undoubtedly the most ancient blood sacrifice now celebrated in the world. It goes back to the very beginnings of recorded history; it has been celebrated practice ally without a break year after year- at any rate, since the Samaritans settled in the land of Canaan. Its interest for us to day is not the question of the age-long dispute as to which should be the true place of the Holy Temple, Mount Moraih or Mount Gerizim, but the fact that this ancient sacrifice must, at no very distant date, cease to be celebrated, as the Samaritan sect is gradually but inevitably dying out.

Bottom of Form

In The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW) Thu 18, Nov. 1926, Page 5

Also in The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW) Sat 1 Jan. 1927 page 10


Ancient Samaritan Symbols Found

 (By Ted R. Lurie)

JERASULEM – (Associated Press) - Religious Symbols of the ancient Samaritan sect were discovered: for the first time here in the remains of a fourth-century synagogue just excavated by the Hebrew University.

The digging was carried out at the village of Saalbit, near the Arab front lines. The archaeologists had a special machine-gun squad, of Israeli soldiers to protect them against any possible sniping from Arab Legion positions. No shooting took place, however, but Arabs who infiltrated across the lines into Israel one night stole some of the diggers' tools.

The workmen were recruited from among new immigrants from Czechoslovakia settled in a neighbouring village which they have renamed Lidice—in commemoration of the Czech village exterminated by the Nazis.

The first indication of the remains of this Samaritan synagogue was discovered about a year ago by a party of Israeli soldiers who found a section of mosaic floor. The excavations have now revealed the basic structure of the synagogue 17 metres long and 8 metres wide, with part of the floor paved with mosaic designs. There was a biblical in scriptum from chapter xv, verse 18 of the Book of Exodus: "The Lord shall reign for ever and ever."


This is the first time that a Samaritan place of worship has been found in Situ, and for the first time the Samaritan symbol, hitherto unknown, of two seven-branched candelabra flanking the design of a mountain.

The mountain represents Mount Gerizim where the Samaritans built their temple sometime around the fifth century, B.C., after being excluded from the Renascent community of Israel which was then rebuilding its temple in Jerusalem. Unlike Jewish synagogues which are built to face Jerusalem. Samaritan synagogues all point to Mount Gerizim, situated just south of Nablus.

There is still a very small community of Samaritans living at Nablus, which is in the “triangle area" of Palestine, now held by King Abdullah‘s Arab Legion.

The village of Saalbit, where the synagogue was found, is identified by scholars with the biblical city of Shaalabbin mentioned in Joshua 19/42 as one of the principal cities of the Tribe of Dan. The work there was carried out under the direction of Professor E. L. Sukenik, with funds from a 50,000 dollar (£A22,300 -£NZ17,800) gift which he received during his recent visit to the United States from Louis M Rabinovitz of New York. This fund is to be used for a special project of exploration of ancient synagogue sites in the Near East.


The first task to be under taken by the Hebrew University archaeologists under this project will be a complete survey of the sites of about forty synagogues dating from the first centuries of the Christian era. The final study of these ¡remains will be summed up in a five-volume work which may take six or seven years to complete. Some of the sites to be explored are located in Trans-jordan, Syria and Greece, and excavation will have to wait for the conclusion of peace treaties between Israel and her neighbours.

One of the first which Professor Sukenik wishes to excavate is the well-known Capernaum Synagogue or the Set of Galilee. Capernaum was the scene of Christ's ministry mentioned in St Matthew chapter IV and in St John chapter V.

Although this synagogue was excavated at the beginning this century by German archaeologists, and later by the 'Franciscans, who are the proprietors of the site, Professor Sukenik stated that there are still many important problems in connexion with synagogue architecture and decoration which remain to be cleared up. One of the questions is the location of the Torah Shrine in the synagogue.

The entire project may yield valuable information on architectural design of synagogues and demonstrate the relationship between early Christian art and Judaism. "The origins of Christianity can only be studied with a knowledge of the early synagogues as early Christian art was based on Jewish biblical pictures. The mutual influence of Judaism and Christianity on one another can be studied clearly in this way," Professor Sukenik said.

In Morning Bulletin (Rockhanpton, Qld) Thu 29 Dec. 1949 Page 6



The Jerusalem correspondent of the London 'Graphic' writes:— 'The accompanying illustrations will receive additional interest from the fact that by the time they reach you, Isaac, the next in succession to the High Priesthood of the Samaritans will have arrived in London, bearing with him some rare, ancient scrolls, which he proposes to offer for sale to the British Museum. He comes from his distant home in Nablous, the Shechem of Bible story, where, under the shadow of Gerizim, their sacred mountain, the rapidly diminishing remnant of the once numerous Samaritan nation still lives and worships, as they did in the time of Christ. This once powerful people had, about a century ago, dwindled away until they numbered but a few thou sand, living in scattered communities in Syria and Egypt. Now their sole representatives are the hundred souls which compose the Nablous community. Their numbers still are decreasing, and they are likely to become extinct at no distant day as they do not marry outside their own circle, and the number of possible wives and mothers is exceedingly small. It is peculiar to that region of Palestine that, in every nationality, the males outnumber the females. The Samaritans are very poor, their most valuable possessions being some ancient scrolls, one of which is the celebrated Samaritan Pentateuch, which, they claim, was written by the grandson of Aaron, and bears his name. They guard it with jealous care and seldom permit it to be seen. If travellers are persistent in their requests to look upon this monument of antiquity they are generally shown another scroll.’

One of the scrolls to be offered to the British Museum— a page from which is here shown— is of 18 leaves of parchment, each 12 by 8 in., written on both sides, containing, in Samaritan characters, the

genealogical annals of the Samaritan High Priests. When a High Priest dies his successor records in this document the term of the Pontificate of his predecessor, and notes briefly any event of great importance. It shows the lineal descent of Jacob, the present High Priest, from Aaron, the brother of Moses. We reproduce (from the London 'Graphic') one of the most interesting pages of this relic of antiquity. Its interest lies in the fact that it is there in recorded by the High. Priest of that time that he had made this copy of the annals from the original, which had been begun by Phinehas, the son of Aaron. The copy was made in the 544th year of the Hejira (A.D. 1166), as the note one may see

in the margin, of the scroll records. An item of overwhelming interest, which of prior page of this scroll chronicles, is the birth of Jesus, spoken of as the son of Joseph the carpenter, and his crucifixion in the Pontificate of the High Priest Jonathan.


[Images in paper:] 






In Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) Sat 26 Jan 1907 page 30


New Articles


The Destruction of the Samaritan Temple by John Hyrcanus: A Reconsideration

Jonathan Bourgel

Journal of Biblical Literature

Vol. 135, No. 3 (Fall 2016), pp. 505-523

Abstract: The destruction of the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim by John Hyrcanus (ca. 112/111 BCE) is often regarded as the decisive cause of the final breach between Jews and Samaritans. This action is usually interpreted as one of hatred and contempt directed against the Samaritan community as a whole; it has even been maintained that Hyrcanus's real intention was to exclude the Samaritans from Judaism. Yet comparative analysis of John Hyrcanus's treatment of the people he subdued may lead to the opposite conclusion. I propose that John Hyrcanus's policy toward the Samaritans was aimed at forcing their integration into the Hasmonean state, which would lead to their exclusive dedication to the Jerusalem temple and its high priest.


Estonian Biocentre Human Genome Diversity Panel (EGDP)

Published along with Pagani et al. 2016, the EGDP dataset is freely available at the Estonian Biocentre website as VCF and PLINK binary files here. It overlaps at ~550K SNPs with Broad MITs/Harvard's Human Origins, and at an impressive ~1.1 million SNPs with the ~1.2 million SNP ancient DNA chip used by the Reich Lab and others.

Continue reading at




Cohen, Jeffrey M.

A Critical Edition of the Baba Rabbah Section of the Samaritan Chronicle No. II: With Translation and Commentary. PHD Thesis, University of Glasgow, November 1977

 'A Samaritan authentication of the rabbinic interpretation of Kephi tahra,' 
Vetus Testamentum, xxiv, July 1974, no. 3, pp 361-366

'Where did the Samaritans really come from?' Bookmark (May, 1978), pp. 305


Eybers, I.H.

Relations Between Jews and Samaritans in the Persian Period, OTWSA 9 (1966) 72-89. S. 79-80 zu einschlägigen Josephusberichten in Ant.


Preschel, Tovia (text); Michael Tal (photogr.)

Filmstrip Guide: The Samaritans. Their Traditions and Customs, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, New York, 1969

Description: Octavo. 20pp. Original photo-illustrated wraps with black lettering on cover. Narration for the color filmstrip of the customs of the Samaritans, especially of their celebrations of the Passover and Sukot festivals including introduction, technical data for projection, suggestions for teachers, and short bibliography. Illustrating in detail the exotic traditions of the Samaritan sect. By its very nature, this filmstrip is not suited to young pupils but for students in junior high school, high school, at college level, and adult study circles. No. 56 of a series of documentaries of Jewish life and customs in various countries. Acknowledgment of the producer Samuel Grand at rear. List of all filmstrips on back cover.


Schorch, Stefan

Learning Torah in the Contemporary Samaritan Community – ‘Das Lernen der Tora bei den Samaritanern heute und drei samaritanische Erzählungen über das Lernen’ WuD 26 (2001), 107-126.


Shehedah, Hasseb

The first report on the manuscript collection Samaritans St. Petersburg

גליון 495-195, 3991.8.02  עמ' 91- 13. דין וחשבון ראשוני על אוסף כתבי היד השומרוניים בסנט-פטרבורג


Samaritan Manuscripts in St. Petersburg [download article in Hebrew]



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