The Temple Mount Sifting Project allows non-specialists of all ages to aid archaeologists sorting through large piles of soil displaced from the area of Judaism’s holiest site. After suspending operations for some time due to the coronavirus, it recently resumed, which led a Jerusalem schoolboy named Binyamin Milt to discover a gold bead that the experts at first dismissed as a modern object. Later it was shown to Gabriel Barkay, one of the project’s directors.
When Barkay held the bead, his first response was, “I recognize this type of bead,” and he recalled that he had found several similar items when excavating burial systems from the First Temple period in Katef Hinom in Jerusalem. There the beads were made of silver, but were identical in shape and in their manufacturing method, called granulation.
Beads of this type were found also in several other sites over the country, and the layers in which they were found were dated to various periods, from the 13th century BCE [believed to be the era of the Exodus] up to the 4th century BCE [the early Second Temple period], with the overwhelming majority dating to the Iron Age [12th to 6th centuries BCE.] Several similar beads made of gold were also found at other Iron Age sites in Israel.
The bead is roughly cylindrical, with a hole at its center. Its diameter measures 6mm and its height 4mm, and it is built of four layers, each made of tiny gold balls adhered one to the other in a flower shape. Gold being a precious metal that does not tarnish or rust, the bead’s state of preservation is excellent.
Archaeologists believe the bead likely was used as a decoration on a priestly vestment.
Archaeologists have unearthed an oil lamp from the Hasmonean Period in the City of David in Jerusalem. The 2,000-year-old lantern, which has been preserved in its entirety, was discovered during excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, led by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Ir David Foundation.
Archaeologists were excavating the road that was used for pilgrimages in the days of the Second Temple. The road is nearly 600 meters (2,000 feet) long and eight meters (26 feet) wide. It connects the Siloam Pool in the south of the City of David and the foot of the Temple Mount.
The oil lamp is made of clay and has plant decorations on its tip, probably a branch with leaves. It is typical of the first century BCE, at the end of the Hasmonean rule during the Second Temple period.
IAA director of excavations Ari Levy said that these oil lamps and candles were used for different purposes, from simple everyday uses, such as lighting rooms and streets, to religious ceremonial uses like Shabbat. “We are used to finding only parts of them. It’s not every day that we get to find one preserved in its entirety,” Levy said.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases concerning whether American courts have a role in deciding whether Hungary and Germany must pay for property said to have been stolen from Jews before and during WWII, the New York Times said.
The Hungarian case, Republic of Hungary v. Simon, was brought by 14 Holocaust survivors, four of them United States citizens, who said their property was stolen by Hungary and its state-owned railway, which deported hundreds of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps in the summer of 1944.
The German case, Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, concerns the Guelph Treasure, a trove of medieval religious art that was once owned by a consortium of Jewish art dealers in Frankfurt and that is now estimated to be worth $250 million.
While the basic facts of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising are relatively well known, few are aware of the numerous other instances of Jewish resistance against the Third Reich, according to Mosaic, an online Jewish news site. A new exhibit at the Wiener Holocaust Library in London aims to set the record straight. The exhibit makes clear that in every European country which fell under Nazi rule, Jews resisted the Germans, their allies and their collaborators.
Warsaw and Bialystok, where several hundred Jewish fighters launched a short-lived uprising in August 1933, were just two of the seven major and 45 smaller ghettos in occupied Poland and the Soviet Union, where Jewish underground groups operated. In Krakow, Vilna, Kovno, Bedzin, and Czestochowa, Jews took up arms against their persecutors
The Minsk ghetto also saw an audacious effort to smuggle out Jews and sabotage German factories. The exhibition highlights the story of Mikhail Gebelev, who organized mass escapes, and helped 10,000 of the 100,000 imprisoned there successfully get away.
In time for Christmas, the Jewish Foundation For the Righteous (JFR), headquartered in West Orange, NJ, sent more than $300,000 to Polish gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. The financial assistance included $2,500 for each of the 110 righteous Poles who had been identified by Yad Vashem. The awards will go towards the purchase of food and other needed items, like medications and home heating fuel. This is the largest award that JFR has made in its 30-year history of charitable giving.
Also sent this year was a $10,000 grant to the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. A separate grant of $5,000 was made to the kosher food pantry in Warsaw for the distribution of food parcels to righteous gentiles living there.
The increased gifts demonstrate the JFR’s commitment to helping righteous gentiles, particularly during the COVID pandemic that has created shortages of food and medications and funds to purchase these items, said Stanlee Stahl, the organization’s executive vice president. “This financial assistance is just one of the ways we can offer our boundless gratitude for all that they did to save Jews during the Holocaust.”
Jerusalem’s International Convention Center (Binyenei Hauma) at the entrance to the city will be redeveloped and renamed in memory of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, who died in 2016 at the age of 93. His last political position was as the 9th president of the Jewish state, serving from 2007 to 2014. Peres also served as a Knesset member and prime minister.
The center, which was inaugurated in 1956 near the government building complex in Givat Ram, is expected to become the largest and most advanced conference center in the Middle East, covering an area of 55,000 square meters.
The redeveloped site will include a business center with nine skyscrapers and another 15 10-story buildings. Construction of the entire project is expected to take place over the next decade at an estimated cost of $530 million.
A small pottery jar containing four pure gold coins dating back to the early Islamic period, more than 1,000 years ago, was unearthed during archaeological excavations in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said. The work was performed as part of the Jewish quarter development corporation’s plan to build an elevator to make the Western Wall Plaza more accessible to visitors.
The juglet was found by IAA inspector Yevgenia Kapil during preliminary digging at the site last month. Some weeks later, as excavation director David Gellman was examining the finds, he emptied the contents of the juglet. “To my great surprise, along with the soil, four shiny gold coins fell into my hand,” Gellman said.
According to IAA coin expert Dr. Robert Kool, the coins were beautifully preserved and immediately identifiable. The coins date from the late 940s to the 990s C.E., and include two gold dinars minted during the rule of Caliph Al-Muti (946-974 C.E.), and two minted in Cairo by the Fatimid rulers Al-Mu’izz (953-975 C.E.) and his successor, Al-‘Aziz (975-996 C.E.)