Post 205: MOFO Challenge Day 25 September 25th 2015 Erev Shabat – Tel Hazor National Park: Qadmoniot, Journal for the Antiquities of Eretz-Israel and Bible Lands (1968–) [current volume: 45 (2012)] No. 143 (Hebrew).- the entire publication devoted to Hazor, (that much Hebrew I could decipher). Share your favorite cuisine. Pomegranate Molasses – Use it in Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Spread)

September 25, 2015. My sources for events, the throwaway newspapers distributed on the Jerusalem street corners, have closed up shop for the holidays.

Tel Hazor National Park

Hazor, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was one of the most important cities in the ancient Near East due to its location on one of the region’s main trade routes. Its biblical history is rich: it was first conquered by Joshua and later became a main city of King Solomon. Archaeological excavations have produced fascinating finds, including a restored Canaanite palace bearing signs of a huge fire attributed to Joshua’s conquest, a gate and walls from King Solomon’s time and the Israelite water system that was one of the engineering marvels of its day.Will update with more information as I translate from: Qadmoniot, Journal for the Antiquities of Eretz-Israel and Bible Lands (1968–) [current volume: 45 (2012)] No. 143 (Hebrew).- the entire publication devoted to Hazor, (that much Hebrew I could decipher).

It is also amazing that today Tel Hazor is in the Headlines:

‘Hammurabi-like’ Cuneiform Discovered at Tel Hazor
Archaeologists excavating Tel Hazor have uncovered a clay tablet dating from the 18th or 17th centuries BCE, describing laws in the style of the ancient 18th century BCE Babylonian lawgiver Hammurabi.

Asaf Shtull-Trauring Jul 27, 2010 3:29 AM

Archaeologists excavating Tel Hazor have uncovered a clay tablet dating from the 18th or 17th centuries BCE, describing laws in the style of the ancient 18th century BCE Babylonian lawgiver Hammurabi.
It is the first time a document resembling Hammurabi’s laws has been uncovered in Israel. The Code of Hammurabi constituted the most ancient and extensive legal codex in the ancient Near East. Some of the laws are similar to biblical laws, which are believed to have been inspired by the Code of Hammurabi.
“The document we have uncovered includes laws pertaining to body parts and damages. These laws are similar to laws in the Hammurabi Codex, as well as to laws along the lines of ‘an eye for an eye,’ mentioned in Exodus,” said Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor of the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology. Ben-Tor and Dr. Sharon Zuckerman are heading the team of archaeologists at Tel Hazor who made the find.
The document is written in Akkadian cuneiform, which was the diplomatic language of the period. The clay tablet discovered at Tel Hazor, which dates back to the 18th century BCE. Yoav Bachar Prof. Wayne Horowitz, an Assyriologist from the Institute of Archaeology, has so far deciphered only a few words of the 20-word document, including “lord,” “slave” and “tooth.” Horowitz told Haaretz the first word he deciphered was the Akkadian word meaning “if and when,” which attests to a traditional legalistic structure that led to the understanding that the latest find has to do with law.
Bronze Age Hazor was linked to the great ancient kingdoms of the region such as Mari and Babylonia. “The document found confirms what we know about Hazor from Mesopotamia and Syria. We know that there were scribes in Hazor that came out of the scribal tradition of their period, which was accepted in Babylonia and Syria,” Horowitz said. “We are just at the beginning of deciphering the document, and it will take time until we reach an optimal decipherment.”
Since excavations at Hazor, in northern Israel, began in the 1950s by the late Yigael Yadin, 19 cuneiform documents have been found – the largest collection of such documents unearthed in Israel in one site.
Among the documents so far discovered are a bilingual text, a multiplication table, and legal and economic documents.
Ben-Tor says that the wide variety of texts indicates that Hazor was an important learning and administrative center at the time, where high-quality scribes worked.

Asaf Shtull-Trauring
Haaretz Contributor
read more:

My teenage grandson joked when he saw a photo “What a big parking lot!”


Post 25: Share your favorite cuisine: Israeli – Middle East

  • Tory Avry

    Today it’s all about pomegranate molasses, one of my favorite condiments! I hesitate to even call this a recipe, because it’s so simple… all you need are three ingredients and 60-80 minutes to make this gorgeous and flavorful sauce. Once you’ve whipped up a batch of pomegranate molasses, the possibilities are endless!

    Pomegranate molasses (also known as pomegranate syrup) is made throughout the Middle East in countries like Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Traditionally the molasses is made by simply reducing pomegranate juice into a thickened syrup, relying on natural fruit sugars to thicken the sauce. In some areas, sugar is added as a preservative and to counteract the natural tartness of the pomegranate fruit; sugar also helps the syrup to reduce and thicken more quickly. Lemon juice is often added as an acidic preservative to increase shelf life. The amount of sugar varies by region; for example, Iranian (Persian) pomegranate syrup tends to be sweeter than the Lebanese variety.

    I add both sugar and lemon to my pomegranate molasses. This is because it is a concentrated, powerful syrup that I only use sparingly, so when I do make it I count on having a bottle in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 weeks. Adding the sugar and lemon juice keeps the molasses fresh longer and gives it a nice sweet/tart balance. I like my molasses on the sweeter side.

    For a tarter pomegranate molasses with a shorter shelf life, you can simply reduce pomegranate juice on its own with no added ingredients. It will take longer to reduce, and you’ll need to watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t start to burn. There’s a thin line between thickened and burned… and if you thicken it too much, you’ll end up with a solid piece of syrup when it cools. Which is not cool. Know what I mean?

    You can use pomegranate molasses in a variety of ways. I like to use it as a topping for desserts like ice cream, as a meat marinade, in sauces, and in salad dressings. You can get creative with it, the flavor is really rich and unique. Bonus– it’s vegan, gluten free, dairy free and pareve!

    Later this month I’ll be sharing a Rosh Hashanah recipe with pomegranate molasses. Stay tuned!


    Pomegranate Molasses


    • 4 cups pure 100% pomegranate juice (bottled or fresh)
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    Prep Time: 5 Minutes
    Cook Time: 60 Minutes

    Servings: About 1 cup of pomegranate molasses

    Kosher Key: Pareve
    • Pour pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
    • Heat up over medium until the sauce begins to simmer lightly. Stir to dissolve sugar. Allow the liquid to simmer very lightly for 60-80 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, till the liquid reduces by 75% to about 1 cup of molasses.
    • The liquid is ready when it has a light syrupy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Don’t let it thicken too much, or it will harden when it cools.
    • Remove from heat. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools. If you’re unsure about the consistency, measure the reduce liquid– it should be between 1 and 1 1/4 cups of syrup. If it’s a lot more liquid than that, continue reducing.
    • After the syrup cools completely, store it in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

    Muhammara (Red Pepper and Walnut Spread)

    • YieldAbout 1 1/2 cups

    Erik Jacobs for The New York Times


    • 1 large fresh red bell pepper, roasted (see note), or 1 chopped frozen red bell pepper, thawed
    • ½ cup chopped scallions (3 to 4 scallions)
    • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
    • 3 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes(preferably Marash or Aleppo), more to taste
    • 5 tablespoons olive oil
    • ¾ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
    • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs


    1. Combine pepper, scallions, lemon juice, cumin, salt, 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 4 tablespoons olive oil and all but 2 of the walnuts in a food processor and purée until mostly smooth.
    2. Add 4 tablespoons bread crumbs and pulse to combine. If mixture is still too loose to hold its shape, add remaining bread crumbs and pulse again. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes.
    3. Scrape spread into a bowl and make a well in the center with the back of a spoon. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes in the well. Crush the reserved walnuts between your fingers and sprinkle over the top.


    • If using a fresh red pepper, char on all sides directly on the burner of a gas stove, or roast at 400 degrees until blistered all over. Transfer to a bowl until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skin and remove seeds and stem. Roughly chop pepper. Continue with the recipe as directed.


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