web analytics
October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Second Temple’

Archaeologists Restore Second Temple Courtyard Flooring with Help from Mathematician

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Archaeologists from the Jerusalem-based Temple Mount Sifting Project are confident that they have successfully restored a unique architectural element of the Second Temple: a series of regally decorated floor tiles that adorned the porticos atop the Temple Mount, which were likely featured prominently in the courtyards of the Second Temple during the rule of King Herod in Jerusalem (37 to 4 BCE).

Frankie Snyder, a member of the Temple Mount Sifting Project’s team of researchers and an expert on ancient Herodian style flooring, said he succeeded in restoring the ornate tile patterns “using geometric principles, and through similarities found in tile design used by Herod at other sites.” Snyder, who has an academic background in both mathematics and Judaic Studies, explained that “this type of flooring, called ‘opus sectile,’ Latin for ‘cut work,’ is very expensive and was considered to be far more prestigious than mosaic tiled floors.”

Assortment of Herodian floor tiles / Courtesy City of David

Assortment of Herodian floor tiles / Courtesy City of David

“So far, we have succeeded in restoring seven potential designs of the majestic flooring that decorated the buildings of the Temple Mount,” said Snyder, who noted that there were no opus sectile floors in Israel prior to the time of King Herod. “The tile segments were perfectly inlaid such that one could not even insert a sharp blade between them.”

“It enables us to get an idea of the Temple’s incredible splendor,” said Dr. Gabriel Barkay, co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. The restored tiles will be presented to the general public on September 8, at the 17th Annual City of David Archaeological Conference.

Zigzag Module, Herodian floor tiles / Courtesy City of David

Zigzag Module, Herodian floor tiles / Courtesy City of David

“This represents the first time archaeologists have been able to successfully restore an element from the Herodian Second Temple complex,” said co-founder and director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project Zachi Dvira.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project was established in response to the illegal removal of tons of antiquities-rich earth from the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf in 1999. It is located in the Tzurim Valley National Park, and is supported by the City of David Foundation and the Israel Archaeology Foundation. The initiative is run under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University and the Israel Parks & Nature Authority.

To date, approximately 600 colored stone floor tile segments have been uncovered, with more than 100 of them definitively dated to the Herodian Second Temple period. This style of flooring is consistent with those found in Herod’s palaces at Masada, Herodian, and Jericho, as well as in majestic palaces and villas in Italy, also attributed to the time of Herod. The tile segments, mostly imported from Rome, Asia Minor, Tunisia, and Egypt, were created from polished, multicolored stones cut in a variety of geometric shapes. A key characteristic of the Herodian tiles is their size, which corresponds to the Roman measurement of one foot, approximately 29.6 cm.

Herodian floor tiles Opus Collection / Courtesy City of David

Herodian floor tiles Opus Collection / Courtesy City of David

The possibility that large expanses of the Temple Mount during the Second Temple were covered with opus sectile flooring was first raised by archaeologist and director of the Jerusalem Walls National Park with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority Assaf Avraham in 2007.

Avraham’s theory was based on a description given by the Romano-Jewish historian Josephus (1st Century CE) who wrote, “… the uncovered [Temple Mount courtyard] was completely paved with stones of various types and colors…” (The Jewish War 5:2). Additionally, Talmudic literature records the magnificent construction of the Temple Mount, describing rows of marble in different colors — green, blue and white.

“Now, as a result of Frankie Snyder’s mathematical skills, we have succeeded in recreating the actual tile patterns,” said Dr. Barkay, stressing that “this represents the first time that we can see with our own eyes the splendor of the flooring that decorated the Second Temple and its annexes 2,000 years ago.”

Barkay related that in describing the Temple that Herod built, “the Talmud says that ‘Whoever has not seen Herod’s building has not seen a beautiful building in his life,'” so that although our generation has not yet merited to see the Temple in its glory, “with the discovery and restoration of these unique floor tiles we are now able to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Second Temple, even through this one distinctive characteristic.”

Since the Temple Mount Sifting Project’s inception in 2004, more than 200,000 volunteers from around the world have taken part in the sifting, representing an unprecedented phenomenon in the realm of archaeological research.


UFO Religion Celebrates ‘Swastika Rehabilitation Day’

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

The Raelian movement on Shabbat, June 25, held a worldwide “Swastika Rehabilitation Day,” including flying banners over US cities, to inform people about the ancient, peaceful meaning of the swastika, and to protest attempts to link it with the Nazi atrocities.

“New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) introduced a bill to ban public displays of swastikas,” said Raelian official Thomas Kaenzig, who heads the ProSwastika Alliance. “That would infringe upon the freedoms of speech and religion guaranteed by the US Constitution.”

As you probably already know, for many Americans who are not Nazis the swastika is a sacred symbol, despite its unfortunate association with Hitler. Raelians deplore the Nazi crimes, and say Hitler unfairly besmirched a revered symbol that had existed for thousands of years.

The Raelian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrial beings, whom they call the Elohim (where did they get that one no one knows). Members of this species appeared human when having personal contacts with the descendants of the humans that they made. They previously misinformed early humanity that they were angels, cherubim, or gods.

Raelians believe that Buddha and Jesus, among others, were messengers of the Elohim. The founder of Raelism, Claude Vorilhon, now known as Rael, received the final message of the Elohim and his movement’s purpose is to inform the world about Elohim and that if humans become aware and peaceful enough, they wish to be welcomed by them.

Raelian ethics include striving for world peace, sharing, democracy, nonviolence and ample intimate relations, which is why the Raelian Church has attracted some of its priests and bishops from other religions.

The Raelians use the swastika as a symbol of peace, which has kept them from being allowed into Israel, where they wished to establish an embassy for extraterrestrials. The movement also uses the swastika embedded on a Star of David. Starting around 1991, this symbol was often replaced by a variant star and swirl symbol as a public relations move, particularly to avoid provoking Jews and Israelis.

“It’s a cherished symbol not only by Raelians, for whom it represents infinity in time, but by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains,” Kaenzig explained. “Banning a religious symbol is like banning a religion. It affronts both the members of that religion and a supposedly free society in general.”

“Previously, the swastika had only positive connotations of good luck and well-being,” Kaenzig said. “Continuing to associate it with Nazis gives them credit for it, probably the last thing their victims would have wanted. Would Senator Kaminsky also ban the Christian cross? Remember, tens of millions were murdered under that symbol in the Americas, Africa and Europe, and the Klu Klux Klan also used it.”

Kaenzig said the swastika was a Jewish symbol too, for a very long time. “It’s on old synagogues, like that in Verona, Italy, and in many Israeli sites, including the Second Temple, one of the holiest places for Jews,” he pointed out. “Nobody has asked that those symbols be removed, so why is displaying swastikas more of an issue in New York? Education is the solution, not banning. That’s what Swastika Rehabilitation Day is all about.”

The presence of swastikas in synagogue relief works in Israel is rare, and dates back to the end of the second temple era, when it was used as part of geometrical, rather than religiously inspired designs. The ancient synagogue at Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) bears one such symbol. There are many more swastikas spray-painted on synagogues by anti-Semites than inside synagogues as decoration.

According to Kaenzig, “Shapeways, a 3D printing company, is refusing to print any design incorporating a swastika… We’re asking all Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Raelians to boycott Shapeways services for banning this symbol so dear to us all.”

Shapeways is a Dutch-founded, New York-based 3D printing marketplace and service, startup company. Their users design and upload 3D printable files, and Shapeways prints the objects for them. Now they’ll be boycotted for refusing to make swastikas… It don’t sound like this dog is going to run far…


5 Jews Arrested by 9 am at Temple Mount, Passover Day 2

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

It’s “that time of year” again at the Temple Mount, when thousands of Jews flock to the holiest site on earth in Judaism – and Israel Police are especially vigilant in making arrests.

By 9:00 am Sunday morning, the second day of the Passover holiday, three adult Jews and two minors had already been removed from the site where the two Holy Temples of Jerusalem once stood.

No information was released to media on why the little group was pulled out of the compound, over which the Jordanian Islamic Waqf exerts control. The Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque are both built on the site.

By the end of non-Muslim visiting hours, 13 tourists had been removed from the site.

“The police are working and will continue to work with determination against any attempt to disturb the public peace and security, with favoritism,” Israel Police spokesperson Luba Samri said in a statement Sunday. “We will not allow disturbances of public order or security and we will act decisively against anyone who tries to do so.”

But according to Yehuda Glick, head of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, Jews are not coming to the site to create “disturbances.” They are coming out of instinct, to connect with the sanctity of their ancient birthright. “People want to come to connect to the Temple Mount” said Glick. “No one has the desire to create any disturbance. People want to come to connect … I would like everyone to come and that the Temple Mount will be as it should – a center of world peace.”

Passover is one of three mandatory festivals requiring Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of Jews do indeed stream into the ancient holy city, including many who feel compelled to ascend the Temple Mount.

Muslim Arabs who pray in the mosque on the site are especially incensed by this.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced prior to the holiday that extra security forces would be deployed in the area to prevent “all sorts of extremists [from spreading] lies about our policy concerning the Temple Mount.”

In Biblical times, special animal sacrifices were made in the Holy Temples at this time. The sacrifices ceased with the destruction of the Second Temple by the occupying Romans and the Diaspora.

There are small groups of Jews who now are determined to renew the practice in preparation for the coming of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Third Holy Temple. Police usually arrest a handful of men and sometimes boys who are being taught the sacrificial ways of the ancients.

On Friday, at first three and then eventually 10 men were detained for bringing goats to a location in the Old City for the purpose of carrying out a Pascal sacrifice. It is forbidden by Torah law to carry out an actual bona fide Pascal sacrifice without the existence of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.

Hana Levi Julian

An Ancient Mikveh in Gush Etzion

Friday, November 6th, 2015

My son in elementary school tells me that this is a photo of the steps leading down to an ancient Mikveh from the Second Temple period.

It’s located on Derech Avot (the path of the Patriarchs) in Gush Etzion.

Photo of the Day

Only 0.3% of Yearly Visitors to Temple Mount Are Jews

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Only 12.000 entries by Jews to the Temple Mount were recorded last year, compared with nearly 4,000,000 for Muslims, according to statistic provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

That comes out to 0.3 percent.

There also were approximately 200,000 entries by Christians.

So what is this business about the Jews taking over the Temple Mount?

Even if police were to allow more Jews to ascend the holy site, the numbers would not increase significantly. The Chief Rabbinate forbids entry to the holy site for reasons of Jewish law concerning impurity since the destruction of the Second Temple.

An increasing number of rabbis permit entry to certain areas, but the number of Jews who have an interest in visiting the Temple Mount, where there is no visible sign of the Temples, remains tiny.

The most noise from Jews on the Temple Mount has been created by those who have to remain silent because they are forbidden to pray out loud.

Police enforce the restriction placed by the Muslim authority on the site, even though it contradicts the principle of freedom of worship.

Thoughts are allowed, at least for now.

The Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty specifically cites the freedom of access to all people to holy sites and even implies that prayer is allowed. However, the “status quo” accepted by Israel shortly after the Six-Day War honors the Muslim limitations.

The Foreign Ministry stated:

The status quo protects the right of Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount, as well as the freedom of all people, whether Muslims, Christians, Jews or others, to visit the Mount. Visits

The recent series of attacks against Israelis is the direct result of incitement by radical Islamist and terrorist elements … [and] includes the spread of false claims against Israel, in particular regarding the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority, including its chairman Mahmoud Abbas, are using inflammatory Islamic rhetoric to spread false and malicious claims against Israel, and treat those who engage in the murder of Israelis as heroes…..

Radical Islamists are bringing explosive devices, Molotov cocktails and other weaponry onto the Temple Mount, thus deliberately desecrating, damaging and endangering the holy site and turning it into a battle field.

The militarization of a site revered by all should be universally condemned. The aim of these elements is to change the status quo and to prevent visits by non-Muslims on the Mount.

Israel has guaranteed freedom to Christians and Muslims to visit all of their holly sites in Judea and Samaria and areas of Jerusalem that were under Jordanian occupation until the Six-Day War in 1967.

Jordan did not allow Jews and Christians to visit their holy sites, except in rare circumstances when a foreign Christian leader traveled to Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Second Temple-Era Podium May Be Discovery in City of David

Monday, August 31st, 2015

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has made an exciting announcement: A 2,000-year-old podium may have been found in the City of David section of the Old City of Jerusalem.

A unique stepped structure exposed on the street ascending from the ‘Siloam Pool’ to the Temple Mount is raising questions among the researchers at IAA.

The intriguing, impressive pyramid-shaped staircase is constructed of large ashlar stones. It was uncovered during a current IAA archaeological excavation in the Jerusalem Walls National Park in the City of David.

The area of the excavation is the site of ancient Jerusalem, and the dig is being carried out in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation.

This structure is situated alongside the 2,000 year old Second Temple stepped street, which carried pilgrims on their way from the Shiloah (Siloam) Pool to the Temple, which stood atop the Temple Mount.

The street, a section of which was excavated in the past, is remarkably well-preserved and is built of enormous stone slabs. IAA archaeologists believe the street most likely runs above the 2,000 year old drainage channel, discovered a number of years ago, which carried rain water out of the city.

The street was constructed sometime in the fourth decade of the first century CE, and was one of the largest construction projects undertaken in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period.  Dozens of whole pottery vessels, stone vessels and glassware were found at the foot of the pyramid-shaped staircase.

Coin from the period of the Great Revolt against the Romans, discovered in the destruction layer atop the street from the Second Temple period.

Coin from the period of the Great Revolt against the Romans, discovered in the destruction layer atop the street from the Second Temple period.

“The structure exposed is unique. To date such a structure has yet to be found along the stepped street in the numerous excavations that have taken place in Jerusalem and to the best of our knowledge outside of it. For this reason, its exact use remains enigmatic,” said archaeologists Nahshon Szanton and Dr. Joe Uziel, who are heading the excavation on behalf of the IAA.

“The structure is built along the street in a place that is clearly visible from afar by passers-by making their way to the Temple. We believe the structure was a kind of monumental podium that attracted the public’s attention when walking on the city’s main street.

“It would be very interesting to know what was said there 2,000 years ago. Were messages announced here on behalf of the government? Perhaps news or gossip, or admonitions and street preaching – unfortunately we do not know.

“Bliss and Dickie, two British archaeologists who discovered a small portion of this structure about 100 years ago, mistakenly thought these were steps that led into a house that was destroyed. They would certainly be excited if they could come back today and see it completely revealed,” the archaeologists added.

It is known from rabbinic sources there were “stones” that were used for public purposes during the Second Temple period. For example, one source cites the “auction block” in connection with the street: “[a master] will not set up a market stand and put them (slaves) on the auction block” (Sifra, BeHar 6).

In the Mishnah and Talmud the “Stone of Claims” is mentioned as a place that existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period: “Our Rabbis taught: There was a Stone of Claims in Jerusalem: whoever lost an article repaired thither, and whoever found an article did likewise. The latter stood and proclaimed, and the former submitted his identification marks and received it back. And in reference to this we learnt: Go forth and see whether the Stone of Claims is covered” (Bava Metzia 28:B),” an IAA spokesperson added.

Hana Levi Julian

Old Meets New

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Back in July, while building two nursery schools in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona, the construction team found a cave.

The Israel Antiquities Authority just announced that inside the cave archaeologists found a wine press, benches and a 2000 year-old mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) from the Second Temple period.

But what was more interesting, was that on the walls of the Mikvah they found writing in Hebrew and Aramaic as well as paintings and inscriptions on the walls. All unusual for Mikvahs of that period, but even more unusual was the amount of writing and painting that were found there in one location.

Painting and inscriptions found on the wall of a 2000-year-old mikveh in Jerusalem.

Painting and inscriptions found on the wall of a 2000-year-old mikveh in Jerusalem.

Ancient Cave Mikveh found in Jerusalem

THe IAA plans to make the painting and inscriptions available for viewing in the future.

Photo of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/old-meets-new/2015/08/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: