This School Has to Make a Prophet

In the year 1999, in the seventh month,
from the sky will come the great King of Terror,
bringing back to life the great King of the Mongols.
Before and after, Mars will reign by good fortune.

– Nostradamus

The passing of the 21st of December 2012 means the whiff of predicting the future is still in our collective nostrils. It’s perhaps ironic that a new school has opened in Tel Aviv which claims to teach the ancient art of Judaic prophecy. According to AP:

For just 200 shekels, about $53, and in only 40 short classes, the Cain and Abel School for Prophets says it will certify anyone as a modern-day Jewish soothsayer.

The school, which launched classes this month, has baffled critics, many of whom have dismissed it as a blasphemy or a fraud.

On a religious level, Jewish tradition recognizes a few dozen prophets from the biblical era — from the monumental figures of Abraham, Moses and Elijah to lesser known foretellers of doom and tormented questioners like Micah the Morashtite and Habakkuk. Tradition says no one can be a prophet ever since the Romans destroyed the second temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 and the era of prophecy can only be revived with the arrival of the Messiah and the temple’s rebuilding. As one Talmudic phrase puts it, the only prophets now are children and fools.


Anyone looking in the curriculum for “Parting the Sea 101” or “How to Predict the Future” or even “Principles of Proclaiming A Jeremiad” will be disappointed. Instead, students learn about the meaning of dreams, the classification of angels, the mysteries of the holy spirit. They learn how to discern a person’s inner feelings from his or her external behavior and appearance.

Hapartzy can’t guarantee his course will give his students a direct line to God. But, he says, the syllabus provides the essential tools to bring out the prophet in anyone.

“In the past there were prophets but even now, in our time, divinity is being revealed to everyone. We just need to open our eyes to it,” said Hapartzy at his introductory course, which is held at a religious center in grungy south Tel Aviv, known more for its licentious street parties than piety.

And graduates do get a diploma.

There’s little “profit” motive to the venture. Hapartzy said the token fee is to prove students’ dedication and is donated to the religious center hosting the school. There’s no application process — anyone who wants to become a prophet can do so by just showing up for the course.


Nick Margerrison

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here:

3 Comments on "This School Has to Make a Prophet"

  1. Religion-based soothsaying, like learning how to use a slide rule is an obsolete skill.

    To become a public cheerleader for ideas intended to make the wealthy and powerful even more wealthy and powerful, get a doctorate in anything at all and an academic or wingnut welfare machine “institute” affiliation so the MSM can broadcast the top-down talking points you are being paid to repeat without asking awkward questions like “are you kidding?” or “do you have any clue as to what you are talking about?”

    The wingnut welfare machine is the network of people and “academic” “think-tanks” (propaganda mills) paid to tell us that we can’t afford to stop global warming or pay for decent public education or to fund science or to fund anything else that helps the non-wealthy like Social Security or veterans’ pensions, you can find its funders at the SourceWatch article on the Koch oil interests-dominated Reason Foundation (as in Reason Magazine) –

    The wingnut welfare machine is the home of the centrist (the only legitimate goal of government is to facilitate upward transfer of wealth) aka neo-liberal political ideology and exists to give people the impression that smart people should support it because “the experts” say “trickle-down” benefits everyone. It’s the same money that funds the right-wing extremist side of the GOP, the same funders paid for the bigotry and xenophobiic fantasies aimed at the NASCAR dad / Religious Right demographics that was the 2012 GOP political campaign.

    Or get in with the branch of the wingnut welfare machine that calls itself the Futurist / Transhumanism / Singularity movement (i.e. Singularity PR machine) and you need no qualifications at all, just a willingness to spout a capitalist-friendly Party Line about how we’re all going to get Really Expensive Things For Practically Free (like neural-implant based biotech and life extension) via the natural evolution of technocapitalism.with no public input into the kind of expensive (as in new taxes) social priority changes required to make these Real Things ordinary people can afford. What kind of future do Koch oil billionaires REALLY have in mind for the rest of us? Or techno-capitalist billionaires like Theil? Look at their campaign donations and lobbying, not the public Futurist propaganda fantasies aimed at hipster creatives (the only people who benefit from trickle-down – they have the media skills the wealthy need) they are paying for.

    Either way, one can not only get taken seriously in the media, but one can also get a cash flow being a “Yes Man” for the wealthy telling them what they want to hear, “Things Are Different Now – you can use your wealth and access to government to turn it into a revenue extraction mechanism for your personal short-term gain without destroying the environment that made accumulating the wealth you have possible and only the ‘little people’ will pay the price”. A wealthy class internalizing this message is generally the prelude to society-wide political / economic / ecological disaster big enough to take them into the crapper along with everyone else.

    Historically, public prophecy which “the system” gives traction to is generally for the benefit of the people who run the system.

    • Calypso_1 | Dec 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

      Have you seen the price of vintage slide rules?

      • Haven’t looked lately… since I’ve got one around here somewhere, I should look. But it’s a collectible market for display pieces, not for things people actually use.

        People with scientific calculation needs pull up a scientific calculator app on computer or smartphone or open Excel (or Libreoffice Calc).

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