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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘David’

2700 Year-Old Inscription in City of David Excavations

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Archaeological excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the area of the Gihon Spring in the City of David, in the Walls around Jerusalem National Park, have unearthed a layer of rich finds including thousands of broken pottery shards, clay lamps and figurines. Most intriguing is the recent discovery of a ceramic bowl with a partially preserved inscription in ancient Hebrew. While not complete, the inscription presents us with the name of a seventh century BCE figure, which resembles other names known to us from both the Biblical and archaeological record (see examples below) and providing us with a connection to the people living in Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period.

This fascinating find will be presented at Megalim’s Annual Archaeological Conference which will take place on Thursday, August 29th in the City of David.

The most similar name to our inscription is Zechariah the son of Benaiah, the father of the Prophet Jahaziel. The name Zechariah the son of Benaiah appears in 2 Chronicles 20:14 where it states that Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, prophesized before the Biblical King Jehoshaphat before the nation went off to war against the ancient kingdoms of Ammon and Moab.

 

Pottery Sherd of a Bowl from the end of the First Temple Period, bearing the inscription "ryhu bn bnh". Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

Pottery Sherd of a Bowl from the end of the First Temple Period, bearing the inscription “ryhu bn bnh”. Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

 

Israel Antiquity Authority archaeologists Dr. Joe Uziel and Nahshon Zanton, who discovered the bowl while excavating remains associated with the First Temple period destruction, explained that the letters inscribed on the shard likely date to the 8-7th centuries BCE, placing the production of the bowl sometime between the reign of Hezekiah and the destruction of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah. The archaeologists also explained that the inscription was engraved on the bowl prior to firing, indicating that the inscription originally adorned the rim of the bowl in its entirety, and was not written on a shard after the vessel was broken.

While the purpose of the inscription on the bowl is unclear, archaeologists have posited that the bowl may have contained an offering, likely given by the individual whose name was inscribed on the bowl, or alternatively given to him. Inscription Analysis

The first letter of the ceramic bowl’s partially preserved inscription in ancient Hebrew script is broken and is therefore difficult to read, but appears to be the letter ר. The next three letters יהו constitute the theophoric suffix (the component in which the name of the deity appears as part of the first name, such as Yirme-yahu and Eli-yahu, etc). These letters are followed by בנ (the son of) after which appears the patronymic name composed of the three letters בנה. According to archaeologists Uziel and Zanton, “If we consider the possibility that we are dealing with an unvowelized or ‘defective’ spelling of the name בניה (Benaiah), then what we have before us is the name “…ריהו בן בניה”

Many of the first names mentioned in the Bible contained the theophoric component יהו, as is the case of this inscription from the City of David. Besides the biblical references, other examples of this have also been found in archaeological excavations, written on a variety of objects such as seals, bullae, pottery vessels or even carved on rock. Noteworthy among the many names that end with the theophoric suffix יהו are several prominent examples that were previously discovered in City of David by Professor Yigal Shiloh, such as Gemar-yahu the son of Shaphan, Bena-yahu the son of Hoshayahu, etc. which were also found in the destruction layer and the ruins of the Babylonian conquest.

 

Jewish Press Staff

R. Lau to Submit Conversion Rulings to Haredi Review in Backroom Deal

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Three weeks after the stunning knockout a coalition of Haredi and Hardali (National religious Haredim) politicians delivered to Jewish Home and its hapless leader, Minister of Religious Services Naftalli Bennett, Ma’ariv reveals the price that had to be paid before the approval of Rabbi David Lau by the extremist Haredi camp: control over non-Haredi conversions.

Over the past three weeks, we’ve heard nothing but praise for the new Ashkenazi chief rabbi, who, as rabbi of Modi’in, a typical mixed religious and secular Israeli town, has shown the kind of moderation and acceptance one expects of a rabbinical shepherd. Some, like National Religious pundit Menachem Rahat, have gone so far as to suggest that under normal circumstances—meaning before the overwhelming sweep of Jewish Home and the ousting of the Haredim from government—someone as sweet and accepting as Rabbi David Lau would not have stood a chance to be selected, and that he was picked only as a desperate response to the popular Rabbi David Stav, a National Religious scholar and leader who was going to revamp the chief rabbinate.

And it worked. Like Menachem Rahat, the prevailing tone of the National Religious commentators following Lau’s election (and Stav’s defeat) has been that at least Rabbi Lau is a nice guy, a moderate, a uniter, not a divider.

All those well wishers may have to reexamine their praises now. According to Ma’ariv, in closed conversations Rabbi David Lau conducted with some Haredi decision makers before the vote, he gave them his commitment that all of his ruling regarding conversions would be submitted to a review by Rabbi Avraham Sherman, the man who gained his reputation as the killer of Rabbi Chaim Druckman’s thousands of kosher giurim-conversions.

Back in May of 2008, the Supreme Rabbinical Court judges Rabbis Hagai Izirer, Avraham Sherman and Avrohom Sheinfeld annulled thousands of conversions done by two National Religious rabbis, determining that:

“First, all conversions performed since 1999 by Rabbi Chaim Avior and Rabbi Chaim Drukman must be disqualified; second, conversions can be retroactively annulled for those who are not observant.”

Attorney Susan Weiss, founding director of the Center for Women’s Justice (JOFA), told Ynet in 2008 that the verdict had far-reaching implications on thousands of people who underwent conversion in the last few years—and on their children.

Much has been written and said about the case, which had territorial war written all over it. It was the first case of such massive, retroactive annulments of giurim-conversions, and the fact that the injured rabbis were renowned National Religious figures, while the court that destroyed their decades of work—as part of the chief rabbinate!—was comprised only of Haredim, was a sign that the Haredim were determined to annul not just the conversions, but also the foothold of the religious Zionists in the Chief Rabbinate.

In the spring of 2012, Israel’s Supreme Court re-affirmed the validity of the thousands of conversions disqualified retroactively by the Rabbinical Court in 2008, but stopped short of saying the rabbinical courts did not have the authority to annul conversions.

Still, the justices did not spare the rabbinical court their criticism. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote in the verdict:

“The Rabbinical Court of Appeals rode roughshod over basic procedural rules and the principles of natural justice. It demonstrated contempt for the special conversion courts, and above all, it hurt and did a shocking injustice to the petitioners and their children.”

Maariv spoke to Rabbi Sherman who confirmed the story about the condition for Rabbi Lau’s election. According to rabbi Sherman, Rabbi Lau met with Rabbi Yosef Efrati, a confidant of the late Rabbi Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian Haredim.

“Rabbi Lau told Rabbi Efrati that on all matters regarding conversions he would come to talk to me and consult in me before reaching a decision, because I have been involved in these issues as a confidant of Rabbi Elyashiv, and I am familiar with his rulings on these matters.”

And so the circle is complete: the most fundamental driving force behind the candidacy of Rabbi David Stav, the celebrated chairman of the Tzohar organization, dedicated to making life under halacha more palatable for secular Israelis, was the brutal treatment of thousands of converts by Rabbi Sherman and his co-justices. Now it is clear that not only did the Haredi politicians manage to subvert the attempts to ease their hold on religious life in the country, but that Religious Zionism has lost the most crucial battle of that campaign. The forces that gave us the disqualification of thousands of Jewish lives are back at the helm, stronger and smarter.

Yori Yanover

Events In The West

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Prayers for Israel: All over the West Coast, from San Diego to San Francisco to Los Angeles inland to Arizona, and from Las Vegas to Texas to Utah, prayer sessions are taking place daily in shuls and yeshivas for the state of Israel and its IDF. Those who can’t attend the public sessions are saying those same prayers at home. We all hope that by the time you read this, peace will prevail in Israel.

Events In The West: On December 14, YICC will hold a freilich Kabbalat Shabbat davening, led by Yehuda Solomon… From December 24-28, Merkaz HaTorah Community Kollel in the Pico-Robertson area of L.A. will host a yarchei kallah.

Shul News: The latest strategy to get teens to come to minyan on their days off from school and on Sundays is the offer of raffles, featuring sports clothes from hometown teams with snacks following the davening.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Raphy and Michal Shapiro, a daughter… Adam and Joy Kushnir, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Eitan Feifel, son of David and Meira Feifel.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Yosef and Sima Bondi, a daughter (Grandparents Howard and Gity Gluck; Great-grandmother Shirley Gluck)… Noah and Marissa Streit, a son (Grandparents Aric and Mary Streit)… Rabbi David and Dr. Ayala Levine, a son (Grandfather Dr. Robert Levine)… Richard and Charlotte Glaser, a son (Grandparents Joseph and Laurene Agi)… Seth and Jenna Rubin, a son… Avi and Aliza Gruen, a daughter (Grandparents Jeff and Judy Gruen; Manny and Sharon Saltiel)… Katriel and Sonia Green, a son… Yosi and Menucha Burston, a daughter… Yoel and Vani Hess, a daughter… Alon and Orlie Zak, a son… Yoni and Chaya Udkoff, a son (Grandparents Drs. Ranon and Rivkah Udkoff of Westlake Village, CA)… Joe and Rochel Socher, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvahs: Jonah Kaye, son of Barry and Nancy Kaye… Yuval Harary, son of Avishay and Ravit Harary… Avi Klein, son of Kolev and Shoshi Klein… Yochanan Gabaie, son of Albert and Fardeih Gabaie… Benjamin Goldstein, son of Joey and Tracy Goldstein… Jacob Weiss, son of David and Michele Weiss.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Bracha Stolz, daughter of Joseph and Judith Stolz, to Moshe Hildesheim of Lakewood, NJ… Toby Weiner, daughter of Rabbi Avraham and Frumie Weiner, to Yosef Perkal… Daniela Mordecai, daughter of Dr. David Mordecai, to Dov Kracoff… Chaim Abramson, son of Naftoli and Susan Abramson, to Devorah Elefant… Ayla Simons, daughter of Dr. Steve and Doni Simons, to Betzalel Levin, son of Daniel and Nancy Levin.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Harry Etra, son of Don and Paula Etra, to Daniella Schwartz… Tzivya Isaacs, daughter of Yaakov and Rayme Isaacs, to Yehuda Newman.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Jacob Rubenstein, son of Zev and Janet Rubenstein.

VALLEY VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Yechiel and Chavi Leifer of Lakewood, NJ, a son (Grandparents Rabbi Shelaim and Esther Furst)… Avi and Yael Pinsky of Teaneck, NJ, a daughter (Grandparents Barry Pinsky and Linda Scharlin).

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Simcha Rauch, son of Rabbi Zev and Rochel Rauch.

DENVER, COLORADO

Mazel Tov – Birth: Rabbi Marc and Sara Gitler, a daughter.

Jeanne Litvin

The Hays Family Of Westchester County

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

(Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from The Hebrews in America: A Series of Historical and Biographical Sketches by Isaac Markens, published by the author, New York, 1888.)

Early American Jewish history is unfortunately replete with examples of observant families who came to America and, within a relatively short period of time, not only abandoned much of their commitment to religious observance but even had the sad experience of having some of their children intermarrying and assimilating. One family that did not follow this trend was the Hays family.

Michael Jechiel Hays (originally de Haas), who died in August 1740, emigrated with his wife, six sons and daughter from Holland during the first quarter of the 18th century.

An extract from the obituary of Benjamin Etting Hays [a great grandson of Michael Jechiel], written in 1858 by Jacob da Silva Solis-Cohen, said that “his forefathers immigrated from Holland with the first settlers. They came in their own vessel with their own cattle and agricultural implements to till the soil as had been their occupation at home.” The extract continued, “Settling near New Rochelle, they remained plain, unassuming farmers adhering rigorously to the Jewish laws, highly esteemed for their wealth, industry and integrity, as well as for the assistance given their adopted country even before called upon.”

Michael Jechiel Hays, who is believed by some family members to have married twice, had six sons: Jacob, Solomon, Isaac, Judah, Abraham and David. Jacob Hays is the first member of the family of whom there is any record, the family papers say, and in 1721, with Titus Beekman of New York, he leased 40 acres in Rye “to work mines thereon” – referring to iron deposits.[i]

Jacob Hays, who was naturalized in about 1723 and died in 1760, was among those active in the erection in 1730 of the first building of New York City’s Congregation Shearith Israel.

Jacob’s children were Michael, David, Benjamin, Moses, Charity and Abigail. Michael was a farmer in North Castle, Benjamin ran a tavern in Bedford, and David ran a general store across the common from the tavern. David’s wife, Esther [Etting], is recalled by family members in heroic terms.[ii]

Patriotic Fervor

Jacob’s children were strong supporters of the colonists during the American Revolution, despite the fact that there was considerable Tory support in Westchester County where they resided.

While David was serving with the American forces on Long Island in the Revolutionary War, the British burned the Hays home in Bedford, and then burned the entire village. In bed with a newborn infant, Esther Hays had refused to disclose the whereabouts of a party of patriots attempting to drive a herd of cattle through the British lines to the American camp at White Plains.

Servants removed Esther and her infant and hid them in the woods until they could be rescued. Among the young boys engaged in moving the cattle through enemy lines was a son, Jacob, then 7 years old. Jacob later became New York City’s High Constable, or chief of police, for nearly a half-century.[iii]

* * * * *

High Constable Jacob Hays was one of the unique characters of New York many years ago. Born at Bedford, Westchester County, N. Y., in 1772, he came to the metropolis [New York City] in 1798, and was appointed by Mayor Varick as one of the marshals of the city. Four years afterwards he was appointed by Mayor Livingston High Constable of the city, corresponding to the present office of Chief of Police. So faithfully were his duties performed that he occupied the position up to the time of his death in 1850, discharging for some years also the duties of Sergeant-at-Arms of the Board of Aldermen and Crier of the Court of Sessions.

New York never had a more vigilant, industrious or efficient head of police. During his long public career of forty-eight years he slept, on an average, not more than six hours out of twenty-four. The cry of “Set old Hays on them!” always sufficed to quickly disperse the unruly element. In hunting down and bringing criminals to justice he had no equal. The first on hand at all signs of disturbance, the “Terror of Evil Doers” promptly restored order out of chaos by the magic of his presence. His fame as a detective was known all over the world.

Dr. Yitzchok Levine

In Defense of Hilltop Youth and the Left Alike

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

In honor of Chanan Porat, the great dreamer, one year after his passing.

We call them sheep: heavy-sidelocked, scraggly-bearded young men and woolen-cloaked, long-sleeved young women better known as the hilltop youth. Some herd members come in couples, some even with babies, a few of whose mothers are not yet eighteen. Many impress me with the vocabulary and analytical skill that characterize their discussions.

Once I asked their group leader, former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss, why they bother building temporary structures on hilltops in Judea and Samaria: “They just take you down every time! Everyone thinks you’re not for real, that it’s not possible to build anything permanent this way.”

Weiss saw things differently and her view comes with the credibility of the woman whose political acumen brought Kedumim to its present, huge size. She explained the enterprise in terms of a logic unfamiliar to those accustomed to permanent, conventional communities.

First, she said, the temporary housing constructed by the hilltop youth (most are really young adults by now) prevents the Palestinians from taking over the land. The proof is in the pudding: the youth often suffer rocks and blows from Arabs who are fighting to take the land.

Second, “if we weren’t there, then they would move on to destroying the major outposts and sites in the communities on the Talya Sasson list [of communities to be destroyed]. This way, when the authorities go before the High Court, they say their first priority is to deal with us.”

Weiss is right. What she said has been intimated by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the man responsible for recent destruction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

When I met Barak recently at a memorial service for a shared acquaintance, I asked him the following question:

“Ehud, now that you’ve split off from Labor and you don’t need to appease its members who are hostile to us, give us a break.”

He replied, “you don’t understand,” and hinted at his reason.

After that exchanged I was approached by a veteran activist whose views are considered to be on the far right of the spectrum. He asked me what I had discussed with Barak, and I told him.

“Okay, I can understand that he feels he needs to show he’s doing something,” said the activist, “but why with such brutality? Why with blows?”

Now that we have mounted a defense of the hilltop youth’s activity, here is something to consider in defense of Barak and his associates: the harder the hilltop youth are beaten and the louder their screams are, the less difficulty the government has deflecting pressure from the judicial system and the media. Barak can point at his “accomplishments” and his demolition of illegal building and in the meantime, the building continues.

The hilltop youth are the decoy targets of the Jews living in Judea and Samaria, whether the latter like it or not. The hilltop youth pay the price for it, too, sometimes including justified or unjustified condemnations by the local establishment. On the occasion of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, let this much be said in their defense.

NOW WE WILL attempt to find something to say in defense of the Israeli Left, in the tradition of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, who would strive to find any possible source of merit for the Jewish people before Rosh Hashanah.

This particular argument is based on that of Yigal Kutai, an actor and former musician in the band of the IDF Home Front Command who became religious, moved to Kiryat Arba, and for many years served as manager of the cultural center there and has a unique view of his former colleagues on the Left.

Since the redemption of Israel is a gradual and natural process, and natural processes take time, it is important for outside enemies to give us a break sometimes.

Who’s to convince them to do that? The Israeli Left. Every single part of the people of Israel has a function, and the historical role that God gave the Israeli Left is that of misleading the enemy. When enemies see the collaborators among us, they assume that these are an accurate reflection of the country and it’s only a matter of time until Israel gives in and surrenders. With that, they calm down and temporarily leave us alone.

Meir Indor

Int’l Festival Brings Morocco’s Sacred Music to Jerusalem

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival recently brought a new tradition to the holy city. For 24 consecutive hours, artists and musicians from Israel and abroad, shared a variety of musical traditions last Thursday, September 6, through the wee hours of the next morning.

Centered at Jerusalem’s Tower of David, the festival venues were chosen to reflect a message of inter-faith unity and sanctity at historical venues reflective of Jerusalem’s diverse faiths.

Musical events and shows were held at Zedekiah’s Cave in the Old City and Notre Dame across the road from the New Gate. In addition to taking part in a Slichot workshop, festival participants also had the opportunity to tour the Ethiopian, Franciscan and Armenian morning prayers at the Church of Holy Sepulcher.

The music festival featured esoteric, meditative and ceremonial music from Azerbaijan, Iran, Africa, Morocco, Iraq, Brazil, and India as well as a Sufi dance workshop. The festival opened with Persian music and chants performed by two Iranian musicians based in Canada, the brothers Kiya and Zia Tabassian who played and sang together with Israeli percussionist Zohar Fresco.

Other international artists included Morocco’s Hassan Hakmoun and his New York-based ensemble, who performed ancient African Islamic folk music of the Islamic Gnawa sect, descendants of West African slaves brought to North Africa several hundred years ago.

Speaking with Tazpit News Agency, Hakmoun described his childhood growing up in Marrakesh, Morocco. “I grew up in a musical family in Morocco. My mother is mystic music healer and I learned the Gnawan musical traditions from a young age.”

“This is my second time in Israel,” added Hakmoun, who performed in Tel Aviv in 1994. Hakmoun, who is Muslim, believes that people can live as one. “When you come to Jerusalem, you see churches, mosques and synagogues, next to each other. There is a peacefulness here that you never see on TV.”

“The most amazing part of this city, is seeing how the footsteps of all the world’s major religions have passed through here—the prophets actually walked through these neighborhoods,” said Hakmoun.

Hakmoun moved to the United States in his early twenties with his family and made his first U.S. musical debut at the Lincoln Center in 1987. He has since then performed widely across the U.S. and internationally, and produced several albums, fusing traditional Gnawan music with American sounds, and making the Gnawan musical and dance tradition a popular element in the American music scene.

“In Morocco, Gnawa music wasn’t so popular when I was growing up, but thanks to the major Gnawa World Music Festival that was spear-headed by the senior adviser to Morocco’s King Mohammed, André Azoulay, who is also Jewish, our traditional music has become much more appreciated in my home country” explained Hakmoun.

Playing the sintir, a three-stringed lute with a body made of camel skin stretched over nutwood, Hakmoun sang soulful and spiritual Gnawan rhythms with his ensemble, to a mostly Israeli audience at the Tower of David on Thursday night. Of the many chants, and songs that were played, Hakmoun also included a prayer for peace for the region.

Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency

Postcard from Tel Azekah

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

In the Judean lowlands, rising above the Elah Valley, lies Tel Azeka (also Azekah) – mentioned numerous times in Biblical texts. Perhaps most famously, it is associated with the story of David and Goliath, which is etched into blocks of stone set by the path up to the top of the Tel, its dramatic ending overlooking the Elah Valley below on one side and views as far as the Mediterranean coast on the other.

“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and they were gathered together at Socoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched in the vale of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.” (I Samuel 17, 1-2)

Azeka also gets a mention in the Book of Joshua, both as the site of a hailstorm which destroyed the army of the Amorite kings and later as part of the area designated to the tribe of Judah.

“And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died; they were more who died with the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.”

As described in Jeremiah, Azeka and Lachish were the last two cities to fall to the Babylonians before Jerusalem. The town is mentioned in the Lachish Letters (currently to be found in the British Museum) and also in Nehemiah as one of the places to which the exiled Jews returned.

“Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and the fields thereof, Azekah and the towns thereof. So they encamped from Beer-sheba unto the valley of Hinnom.”

Tel Azeka was first excavated by British archaeologists between the years 1898 – 1900 and a system of interconnecting hideout caves used by Jews during the time of the Bar Kochva revolt against the Romans was discovered. This summer, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University and others began excavating the site using modern technology and some of their findings can be seen on the dig’s blog.

Hadar Sela

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/postcard-from-tel-azekah/2012/09/09/

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