Hamshushalayim 2015 Bloomfield Museum
Sorry that I missed this one-but there is still one night.
As part of the Hamshushalayim open museum doors free four dates 3,10,17,24 Thursday nights in December from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00. All museum exhibits will be open for visits during those nights. Program:
A rich and varied program on topics of light and darkness. Including theatrical tour around the museum on the subject of spinning, building workshops and scientific demonstrations. 10,17,24 December.
A Carved Stone Block and Ancient Judaism
from ISABEL KERSHNER DEC. 8, 2015
The Magdala Stone
The Magdala Stone was unearthed in 2009 near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, where a resort and center for Christian pilgrims was going to be built.
BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — The carved stone block is about the size of an occasional table. It has held its secrets for two millenniums. Whoever engraved its enigmatic symbols was apparently depicting the ancient Jewish temples.
But what makes the stone such a rare find in biblical archaeology, according to scholars, is that when it was carved, the Second Temple still stood in Jerusalem for the carver to see. The stone is a kind of ancient snapshot.
Known as the Magdala Stone, the block was unearthed in 2009 near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, where a resort and center for Christian pilgrims was going to be built. Government archaeologists are routinely called in to check for anything old and important that might be destroyed by a project, and in this case they discovered the well-preserved ruins of a first-century synagogue and began excavating.
A detail of one side of the Magdala Stone. Credit Yael Yolovich/Israel Antiquities Authority
The dig also revealed an ancient marketplace and fishermen’s quarters along with the synagogue.
A local coin found in a side room was minted in A.D. 29, when Jesus is thought to have been alive.
But for some scholars, the Magdala Stone was the real eye-opener.
“I approached the stone, and I could not believe what I was seeing,” said Rina Talgam, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor specializing in ancient art of the Middle East. Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists had asked her to visit the site to view Magdala’s mosaics and frescoes, but when she first saw the stone, “they said I stood there for three hours.”
Ms. Talgam concluded that she was looking at a three-dimensional depiction of the Temple of Herod, including its most sacred inner sanctum, known as the Holy of Holies.
She has since spent years deciphering and interpreting the symbols that adorn the stone and researching the possible implications of the discovery.
Experts have long believed that in the period before Herod’s Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, synagogues were used as a general place of assembly and learning, something like a neighborhood community center. The more formal conception of a synagogue as a sacred space reserved for religious ritual was thought to have developed later, in the Jewish diaspora after the Temple had been destroyed.
But the Magdala Stone was found in the center of the old synagogue, and Ms. Talgam said it might have been intended to give the space an aura of holiness “like a lesser temple” even while Herod’s Temple still existed.
Other scholars have come to the same view. Elchanan Reiner, a retired professor of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, said that the stone was probably intended to represent the place where God, or the holy spirit of God, was believed to reside and that its placement in the middle of the synagogue “gives new meaning to that public building.”
For Jews living in Galilee in those days, Jerusalem was a substantial journey away. Mr. Reiner noted that, though there could be only one Temple, the stone would have brought a suggestion of it to the synagogue in Magdala. “It brings that community closer to, and further from, Jerusalem at the same time,” he said.
One side of the stone has what experts say is an unusual feature for the time: a carving of a seven-branch menorah. A candelabra of that kind is described in the Bible and is believed to have stood in the Temple, and it emerged as a Jewish symbol of hope for redemption centuries later, according to David Mevorah, senior curator for Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine archaeology at the Israel Museum.
During the annual eight-day festival of Hanukkah, Jews light a nine-branch menorah to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple after a successful revolt against the Syrian-Greek Seleucid empire in 165 B.C.
But there would have been no need for a symbol of redemption in first-century Magdala, Mr. Mevorah said. “The Temple exists,” he said. “Everything is functioning. So why would there be a symbol of the Temple here? It raises questions about the role of the synagogue at that time.”
The Magdala Stone is about the right size for laying down a Torah scroll, so it might have been used as liturgical furniture, Ms. Talgam said. After it was found, a similar stone was unearthed in a synagogue from the Byzantine period in nearby Horvat Kur, and that, too, was decorated with what appear to be schematic depictions of Temple iconography.
The land belongs to a Roman Catholic religious order, the Legionaries of Christ, and the archaeologists who are managing the dig and who found the stone are Dina Avshalom-Gorni, an Israeli Jew, and Arfan Najar, a Muslim.
Even so, there is some fear of zealotry. The stone on public display at Magdala now is a close replica; the original is locked up in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s storage warehouse in Beit Shemesh.
According to Ms. Talgam’s interpretation, there are more signs of the Temple to be seen on the stone. Sacred utensils are depicted in the order in which they would have appeared. A square shape below the menorah may represent the sacrificial altar, with large oil and water containers shown on either side. Engraved steps, arches and columns refer to the architecture of the Temple.
The professor suggested that the 12-leaf rosette on top of the stone might have echoed a motif on the veil that divided the Temple’s main sanctuary from the Holy of Holies.
On the side of the stone that Ms. Talgam believes represents the inner sanctum, the carvings suggest the lower portion of a chariot, with flashes of fire beneath its wheels — possibly illustrating the seat of God residing in the earthly Temple. The upper half, or God himself, she said, would have been in heaven.
Ms. Talgam said the first century was a period of debates within Judaism, a factor she said must be considered in interpreting the stone.
Archaeologists can be no less quarrelsome. “There will be disputes” of her interpretation of the stone, Ms. Talgam said. “But that is the way it should be.”
This is one of the recipes that I used…..Chanukah sameach..belated.
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup almond milk + 1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar (mixed together to curdle for 15 mins)
1 tablespoon oil2 tablespoons maple syrup
– mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
– add all of the wet ingredients together; add to dry ingredients and mix until a dough ball forms
– heat a pot of cold pressed sunflower oil; when bubbles start to form around a chopstick that is placed in the hot oil it’s ready to use
– drop in doughnut balls and cook until golden
– place on paper towels to drain
Other events this week:
Israeli researcher and the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch,which studies Palestinian society by monitoring and analyzing the
Palestinian Authority through its media and schoolbook, Give public talk.
Book Your Tickets Now
*Thursday, 24th December, 2015*
*7.00pm prompt (Doors open 6.15pm)*Agron Guest House: 6 Agron St. (150
yards from the Great Synagogue & HonestReporting), Jerusalem*Advance
registration required. Click here
<http://honestreporting.cmail20.com/t/j-l-hhlyutd-jdjihkhhl-t/> to book
your tickets. **Cost to offset expenses: 50 NIS per person (prepayment
For further information email: email@example.com
After successful shows in Zichron and Ra’anana, “Together, Against the Odds” is coming to Rehovot. Here is what audience members had to say:
“Fabulous Show filled with laughter and smiles – Anyone who missed it really missed out and I highly recommend grabbing the opportunity next time.” Andrea Dray (Zichron)
“Hilarious stories, hilarious accents and moving musical performance.” Lydia Hayman (Ra’anana)
“We can’t remember the last time we laughed until we cried, like we did tonight.” Sandy Leigh (Ra’anana)
“Together, Against the Odds” is a lighthearted musical comedy that will keep you laughing at two very different people who found love, converted and made Aliyah.
Watch our promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rznDkdpj8c
Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 8:00 p.m.
Rehovot Municipal Building (adjacent to the Rehovot Mall) Second Floor, Malia Hall – 8 PM.
Tickets: Advanced Purchase: 50 NIS (ESRA members 45 NIS, call us to get your discount)
At the Door: 60 NIS (ESRA members 55 NIS)