January 2nd, 2003


In this Issue:


  • USA Will Join

  • Samaritan Oil Lamps

  • Jewish Heritage & Museum in Sicily

  • Earthquakes in the Holy Land

  • A Selection of Samaritan Manuscripts

  • Myths about the Samaritans

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Co-Editor: Osher    


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USA Will Join Great Britain And The European Community

 In Backing the Idea of Mount Gerizim as Zone of Peace in the Middle East

A. B. News Services

Picture:  Benyamim Tsedaka (right) with Lord E. Avebury, the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the British Parliament, who  years ago adopted the Samaritan Issue.

   After a two months journey over the USA, Canada [Vancouver and Burnaby/ British Colombia] and Europe [Geneva/ Switzerland, London/England and Amsterdam/The Netherlands], Benyamim Tsedaka, chancellor of the Samaritan High Priest Shalom and co-Director of the A. B. - Institute of Samaritan Studies has returned home on Dec. 24, 2002 with the results of this mission as follows.

   The political achievements in Washington D.C. developed into  a great success. The USA State Department will be happy to participate in the building of Mount Gerizim as a Zone of Peace in the Middle East. The general plan was confirmed nicely before settling  on the details of the projects. Principally, the USA will back the idea. Future steps will be taken in the coming months.

   The staff of the President of the USA, Mr. George W. Bush, accepted graciously the special gift from the Samaritan High Priest Shalom b. Amram to the leader of the free world,  a Samaritan Israelite Mezuzah containing the blessing of the High Priest [Numbers, Chapter 6:25]. Hopefully the glass framed written parchment will be hang in the office of the President, as a great mark of friendship between the President of USA and the Samaritan- Israelites. Along with the blessing was a picture of the High Priest Shalom with a special dedication to President Bush, who on the same day of the presentation met with  President Putin of Russia.

   There were great opportunities to present the issue before tens of the central lobbyists of both parties of the Republicans and Democrats in the American capital which were fully utilized.

   All contacts and meetings were successfully arranged by Mr. R. Benko, a new great friend of the Samaritan-Israelite people and a powerful personality in Washington D.C. politics. Osher Sassoni of the Samaritan community in Holon and Mr. L. Rynearson of the first Samaritan web site (The-Samaritans.com) made the first contact with Mr. Benko to the benefit of the Samaritan People. Mr. Benko will be the guest of honour at the next Passover Sacrifice on April 15, 2003.

   In San Francisco, politician Patrick Reinsborow has agreed to draft himself to the fulfilling of the Idea by making contacts with local personalities and organizations. He is a young thirty, very active and desires to get involved.

   In Vancouver, British Colombia was a meeting with Canadian MP, Mr S. Robinson, very prominent in power, who has drafted easily to the idea and will discuss it with the Government of Canada in the near future.

   A Geneva meeting with A. Karides and F. Knutsen, associates in charge of the  World Council of Churches in the Middle East, will, after it is clarified, that the only two sided peace centre that they will ever visit is the Mount Gerizim centre, because the whole other centres of peace are one sided, either Israeli or Palestinian. The Peace Centre of the Samaritans is the only option for cooperation and peace between parties in a neutral place. They have agreed to the suggestion and will soon send a delegation to the mountain to check  the needs and meet the young Samaritans. Future steps will be made in March 2003 in Geneva. The meetings in Geneva were conducted by the respectful personalities of P. Barkay, P. Bursik and B. Engelson.

   The first meeting in London took place with Ms.  H. Wintertorn, a representative of the government body that gives tens of millions of pounds to Palestinian projects. She was happy to receive the proposal and was very sympathetic to the idea. Further steps will be taken in the coming months.

   Then a two hour lunch with Lord E. Avebury, the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the British Parliament, who has adopted years ago the Samaritan Issue. He is now  writing  letters of support to get the interest of the new deputy Foreign Minister, M. Brant, who replaced Mr. Ben Bradshaw whose declaration supports highly the idea as it appears in the proposal. Lord Avebury will apply pressure on the aforementioned body to include the Samaritans in their targets of support.

On the day after, December 18, developed a meeting with the Foreign Office officer for Israel, Mr. D. McNaught, who was fully cooperating with the issue and expressed his willingness to do his job well to promote it.

   A meeting with Ms. C. Shelly, who interviewed Benyamim Tsedaka for the Church News - The weekly magazine of the Anglican Church, the patron of all Protestants in the world. It is a very respected and influential magazine. It was a good opportunity to open the issue before the high officials and respected personalities of the Anglican Church.

   All the London meetings were arranged by Mr. W. Wong of the Jubilee Campaign of London.

Samaritan Oil Lamps

Article by Shomron with comment by Professor Reinhard Pummer

   In few antiquities departments or specialty shops, one might locate an old clay oil lamp that is designated to be Samaritan. The reasoning is may be said was that the lamp was found in the territory of Samaria. But it may not belong to any of the real descendants of the Samaritan/ Israelites. I was curious how it was possible to determine whether an oil lamp was Samaritan or not. I read the article, Samaritan Material Remains and Archaeology, pages 157-62, written by Reinhard Pummer in The Samaritans, edited by Alan Crown. It is a wonderful  section on Samaritan clay oil lamps. Browsing on the net I located fifty-two oil lamps (links are shown below) and tried to identify which ones were really Samaritan. But after some time I came to the conclusion to ask an expert, Professor Pummer himself:.

  "In my opinion, the only criterion by which we can determine for sure whether a lamp is Samaritan in the strict sense of the term is when a lamp bears an inscription in Samaritan script. As you no doubt know, we have very few lamps with such inscriptions. The material cultures of Samaritans and Jews are otherwise indistinguishable from each other in antiquity."
http://www.archaeological-center.com/ 2 lamps

http://www.trocadero.com/venusgalleries/items/94252/item94252store.html 5 lamps

http://www.ancientimports.com/cgi-bin/search 6 lamps

http://www.coinart.net/Lamps4.htm 16 lamps

http://www.ancientlamp.com/items.jsp?catId=sam 23 lamps


   Reinhard Pummer is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada. (His latest work:)

Early Christian Authors on Samaritans and Samaritanism Texts, Translations and Commentary 2002. XIV, 518 pages ( Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 92) ISBN 3-16-147831-2 cloth   € 129.00    http://www.mohr.de/t/n3497_e.htm


Reinhard Pummer. The Samaritans, Leiden : E.J. Brill, 1987.

_____. "Samaritans." In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, 469-472. New York: Oxford University Press, (1997).

_____. "The Samaritans in Egypt." In Etudes sémitiques et samaritaines offertes à Jean Margain, ed. C. B. Amphoux, A. Frey and U. Schattner-Rieser. Histoire du texte biblique 4, 469-472. Lausanne: Zèbre, 1998.

_____. "The Greek Bible and the Samaritans." Revue des études juives 157 (1998) 269-358.

_____. "Samaritan Tabernacle Drawings." Numen 45 (1998) 30-68.

_____. "Samaritan Synagogues and Jewish Synagogues: Similarities and Differences." In Jews, Christians, and Polytheists in the Ancient Synagogue: Cultural Interaction During the Greco-Roman Period, ed. S. Fine, 118-160. London/New York: Routledge, 1999.

_____. "Die Samaritaner heute." Mitteilungen und Beiträge der Forschungsstelle Judentum-Theologische Fakultät Leipzig 15/16 (1999) 66-86.

_____. "Samaritanism in Caesarea Maritima." In Religious Rivalries and the Struggle for Success in Caesarea Maritima, ed. Terence Donaldson. ESCJ 8, 181-202. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2000.

Jewish Heritage & Museum in Sicily

   Jews settled in Sicily almost certainly before the common era and were expelled in 1492. They left behind a wide range of artifacts and archival documents that testify to a long established, skilled and, from time to time, mighty and thriving community. Unlike Jews of many other European countries, the Sicilian Jews enjoyed a great deal of autonomy and provided the backbone of the economy and the craft industry until their expulsion. Archaeological discoveries of Jewish artifacts began in the middle of the 18th century and have never stopped since. They have disclosed so far an unparalleled Jewish heritage which ranges without any interruption from late antiquity till the Middle ages. These discoveries consist mainly of oil lamps, rings, seals, gravestones, magical and ritual items, books, ketubbot, sifrei Torah as well as some very important records such as the first portrait of a Jew (now in Paris), Europe's most ancient aron, the oldest rimmonim in the world (now in Palma de Majorca), the earliest manuscript of Abulafia's Qabalah, the first dated acclamation Shalom al Israel along with many funerary inscriptions in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Judaeo-Arabic alike, inclusive of two Samaritan inscriptions, which represent the westernmost attestation of this community. http://www.isjm.org/jhr/IInos3-4/italy.htm



Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America  Volume 18 - June, 1928 - No. 2

On invitation of the British representative at Nablus, I accompanied him on a tour of inspection of the ruined portion of that city a few days after the recent shock. In the heart of the stone beehive was the quarter occupied by many generations of Samaritans, a small tribe isolated in the very city of their birth by the intense religious prejudice that has always pursued them. When they increased in numbers they neither would nor could expand among their neighbors. They could only build higher, could only pile another stone cubicle on the roof. The passage and the stair must come off the narrow, crowded room below. The planning was haphazard occasional, suited to the immediate need, but it endured for centuries. And so did the dirt in the dark, foul-smelling corners. I sympathized with the health officer, who was of our party. "Tear it down, let in light and air." "But it is their property, it is all they have, we can't pay for the whole place," was the answer. And so only that which was absolutely dangerous because it might fall and crush them could be torn down.

Matthew d'Alessio  http://zadok.org/research/1927/willis.html

A Selection of Samaritan Manuscripts in Leiden University Library

  In course of time a few Samaritan manuscripts have come into the possession of Leiden University Library. J.J. Scaliger (1540-1609) was so lucky as to receive a copy of the Samaritan Chronicle, the Sifr Yūsha` b. Nūn, the ‘Book of Josuah’. It was the first book in Samaritan script (although the language is Arabic!) to enter the Library, where it is now registered as Or. 249. This was in 1609, when Scaliger’s manuscripts were bequeathed to Leiden University. Scaliger had received the Chronicle in 1584 from Egypt. He used the book for later editions of his comparative study on calendar systems, De emendatione temporum, which saw several editions in Europe, all with slightly different titles, after its first publication in Paris in 1583. The first edition of the Samaritan chronicle, now printed in Arabic script, was published by T.G.J. Juynboll in 1848, together with a lengthy introduction and a translation into Latin (Leiden: 847 B 10). Juynboll had already shown his interest in the Samaritans by his study on the history of the Samaritan people, Commentarii in historiam gentis Samaritanae (Leiden 1846). Read the entire article with some great enlargeable photos of Samaritan works. http://bc.leidenuniv.nl/olg/selec/samaritan/object1.htm#1

Myths about the Samaritans

   The idea that the Samaritans worship a dove is totally preposterous. The Samaritan-Israelite uses the word ‘Shema” in place of the Jewish word ‘Adonai.’ The word Shema means ‘the name’ and is the Samaritan-Israelite substitution of the name of God. “And he (Ezra) invented the statement that they worshiped the dove, an idol ‘Ashina’, because the aforesaid nation (Jews) pronounced the name of the Almighty, according to their custom, “YHWH” which the Jews read “Adonai,” but the Samaritans indicate by the name “Shimeh.” He (Ezra) therefore invented against them the story that they read it “Ashimeh,” and that is nothing but untruth.” Despite the fact that there are differences between the spelling of the two words, Shema and Shimeh, make the same sound when verbalized. (A reprint from the UP 9.6.2001)

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