Tag Archives | Judaism

Nine new Dead Sea Scrolls found

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Teh...

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Tehilim) from Qumran Cave 11. The Tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew can be clearly seen six times in this portion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What else is gathering dust in storage?

via The Times of Israel

An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has been tasked with unraveling and preserving the new discoveries — an acutely sensitive process and one which the IAA says it will conduct painstakingly, and only after conducting considerable preparatory research.

Phylacteries, known in Judaism by the Hebrew term tefillin, are pairs of leather cases containing biblical passages from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

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Does Ariel Sharon’s Death Bode the Second Coming?

Picture: USDOD (PD)

Picture: USDOD (PD)

Does a note left by a venerated Orthodox Rabbi shortly before his death indicate that the Apocalypse and the ’1000 years of peace’ are just around the corner?

Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri died in Israel in 2006 at the age of 108. At his funeral 24 hours later it is estimated that 2 or 3 hundred-thousand people flooded the streets of Jerusalem to pay tribute to the “mystic sage.”

On Sept 24th 2001, he prophesied that “On Hashanah Rabba the actual war of Gog and Magog will commence and last for some 7 years.” Auspiciously, on the eve of Hashanah Rabba on Oct 7th 2001, the United States began strikes against Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. A year later during Rosh Hashanah in October 2005, he raised his head after a a period of deep concentration and declared, “The soul of the Messiah has attached itself to a person in Israel” and he would honor his promise to guide his people through a “time of trouble.” In his last prophesy before death, he declared that he had met the Messiah, and he will come shortly after the death of Ariel Sharon.… Read the rest

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‘This Chicken is Gonna Die’: Kaparos Ritual Filmed in NYC

Leghorn_SaundersOur more sensitive readers may want to sit this one out.

Here’s footage of Kaparos, a controversial ritual performed by some Hasidic Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. Kaparos is performed by swinging a chicken over the head of a participant three times and then ritually slaughtering the bird. The meat is then supposed to be donated to the poor to eat in a pre-fast meal. By doing so, the sins of the person under the chicken is supposedly transferred to the unfortunate hen.

What do you think, Disinfo readers? Can you really call this any more barbaric or cruel than industrial farming? If not, then is the rite any “weirder” than any other religious practice?

Via Animal New York. Read the rest

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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.

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‘Lost Tribe’ Returns to Israel

Picture: Rachel-Esther (CC)

Dozens of the Bnei Menasche, a group of Indian Jews who claim to be the descendents of a lost Biblical tribe, arrived in Israel this week – and not everyone is happy:

Via Huffington Post:

The Bnei Menashe say they are descended from Jews banished from ancient Israel to India in the eighth century B.C. An Israeli chief rabbi recognized them as a lost tribe in 2005, and about 1,700 moved to Israel over the next two years before the government stopped giving them visas.

Israel recently reversed that policy, agreeing to let the remaining 7,200 Bnei Menashe immigrate.

Fifty-three arrived on a flight Monday. Michael Freund, an Israel-based activist on their behalf, said nearly 300 others will arrive in the coming weeks.

“After waiting for thousands of years, our dream came true,” said Lhing Lenchonz, 26, who arrived with her husband and 8-month-old daughter. “We are now in our land.”

Not all Israelis think Bnei Menashe qualify as Jews, and some suspect they are simply fleeing poverty in India.

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Einstein: ‘God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses’

Source: Gazin Auctions

Einstein’s “God Letter” is up for sale at auction. Any bidders? Jessica Ravitz reports for CNN:

Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a “delusion,” one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. “No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

Dubbed Einstein’s “God Letter” by the Los Angeles-based auction agency that’s posting it online, the original document will be up for grabs starting Monday. The opening bid: $3 million.

The letter provides a window into the famed genius’s religious beliefs. Einstein wrote it to Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, one year before Einstein died, in reaction to Gutkind’s book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.”…

[continues at CNN]… Read the rest

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Blurred Eyeglasses Unveiled To Help Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Avoid Impure Sights

Fascinating — wearing blurry goggles to obscure one’s surroundings as a means of keeping the mind and spirit clear. In a world in which are constantly bombarded with undesired information, perhaps we could all use a pair. The Times of Israel writes:

An ultra-Orthodox organization has developed a range of products to act as a first line of defense against the threat of seeing immodest women, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

In a change of tactics from previous ultra-Orthodox strategies that in the past have targeted women as the culprits of lasciviousness, the Committee for Purity in the Camp offers a variety of gadgets to limit the field of view and so prevent men from exposure to over-exposed women. The devices have recently gone on sale in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem and elsewhere.

Two semi-transparent stickers applied to the lenses of the user’s spectacles blur vision of anything beyond the range of a few meters and so diffuse immodestly dressed women to a harmless blot.

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The Codex Aleppo Mystery

This New York Times Magazine story by Ronen Bergman reads like a real-life Dan Brown novel (the background parts where our hero laboriously explains the significance of an historical artifact, anyway):

One day this spring, on the condition that I not reveal any details of its location nor the stringent security measures in place to protect its contents, I entered a hidden vault at the Israel Museum and gazed upon the Aleppo Codex — the oldest, most complete, most accurate text of the Hebrew Bible. The story of how it arrived here, in Jerusalem, is a tale of ancient fears and modern prejudices, one that touches on one of the rawest nerves in Israeli society: the clash of cultures between Jews from Arab countries and the European Jews, or Ashkenazim, who controlled the country during its formative years. And the story of how some 200 pages of the codex went missing — and to this day remain the object of searches carried out around the globe by biblical scholars, private investigators, shadowy businessmen and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency — is one of the great mysteries in Jewish history.

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Thank You God for Killing My Enemies’ Children

Death Firstborn[Site editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the recent Disinformation title 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]

Often, the stories at the origin of many religious holidays sound like sweet fairy tales.

Think of Christmas, for example, with the shooting star, the three wise men bringing gifts, and baby Jesus being born in the midst of all the happy barn animals. It has a “God meets Old-MacDonald-Had-a-Farm” feel to it.

The story at the roots of the Jewish holiday of Passover, on the other hand, doesn’t sound quite like a fairy tale—unless perhaps one created by Stephen King. What exactly is celebrated during Passover? Our tale begins in Egypt over 3,000 years ago—or at least so we are told, since there is less historical evidence for the authenticity of this story than for the existence of the Yeti and the Loch Ness monster.… Read the rest

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The Passover Plot

passover plotThis year Passover begins in the evening of Friday, April 6, 2012, with Easter Sunday falling on April 8, 2012. While many people celebrating the religious holidays this weekend think they know what happened in Golgotha, Israel a couple of thousand years ago, there is in fact tremendous controversy, spurred not least by a best-selling 1965 book by British Biblical scholar Hugh J. Schonfield, The Passover Plot.

Based on scholarly research into the social and religious culture in which Jesus was born, lived and died, into the source documents of the Gospels, and into other literature, Schonfield reached the following conclusions:

  • That Jesus was a deeply religious Jewish man, probably well-versed in the teachings of the local northern sects such as the Nazarenes and Essenes.
  • That growing up in Biblical Galilee he had a skeptical and somewhat rebellious relationship to the hierarchy and teachings mandated by the authorities (the Pharisees) of the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Read the rest

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