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PostSubject: Samaritans keep the faith...   Samaritans keep the faith... I_icon_minitimeFri Apr 26, 2013 11:22 am

Samaritans keep the faith

Samaritans keep the faith... F130424ZEL003-965x543

A tiny community, now divided equally between Tel Aviv and Nablus, somehow survives from century to centuryBy ELHANAN MILLER April 26, 2013, 12:49 am 2

As dusk fell on Mount Gerizim, the biblical “mountain of the blessing” overlooking the West Bank town of Nablus, men wearing white from head to toe were rounding up sheep in an enclosed courtyard, preparing them for the mass slaughter that would unfold minutes later.

April 23 marked Passover eve for the Samaritans, a minuscule community of 760 people divided almost evenly between the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon and the small village of Kiryat Luza in the heart of Palestinian Authority-controlled territory in Samaria.

Torn between two embattled national entities, the Samaritans have managed — against all odds — to weather centuries of persecution, from the Jewish Hasmoneans in the second century BCE to the Muslim Ottomans in the 17th century CE. But the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is presenting challenges of a new kind.

When the first Intifada broke out in December 1987, Badawiya Samiri, a journalist with the official Palestinian WAFA news agency, was 7. The daughter of Samaritan priest Yeffet Cohen, she was living in Nablus with her four siblings.

“One night, we heard the sound of gunfire and people shouting and we were scared. We started shaking,” Samiri told The Times of Israel. “That very night, before the sun came up, Dad told us, ‘Wake up, we’re moving to the mountain. We have a home on the mountain, so why stay here and be afraid? I want to move up to the mountain, where there are no problems and no fear.’ And so we came and settled here.”

‘We are fine with the Arabs and fine with the Jews. We are a peaceful people who don’t want trouble.’
From that day on, Samaritan families began leaving Nablus, a rough and conservative city, and moving to the new neighborhood atop Mount Gerizim, the community’s holy place of worship. Until the late 90s, some families continued to spend half the year in the city below, where their jobs and schools were and where winters weren’t as harsh.

Few events attract such a colorful array of visitors as this ancient annual Passover ceremony — where the sheep are slaughtered by each family in a sacrificial ritual, roasted through the night, and eaten — and where earlocked ultra-Orthodox men garbed in black and white mix with veiled young Palestinian women and tourists from Europe and the Far East; and where Israeli soldiers stand guard next to Palestinian firefighters.

The Samaritans trace their lineage back to the biblical tribes of Menashe and Ephraim, the sons of Joseph. They defied imperial conquests and clung to the land while much of the population of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was exiled to Assyria — presently northern Iraq — by King Sargon II in 722 BCE.

But Jews have a significantly different version of events. According to the biblical narrative in the Second Book of Kings, the Assyrian king repopulated desolate Samaria with various indigenous peoples including the Cutheans, who, the Jews believed, the Samaritans descended from. When exiled Jews began returning to Jerusalem from Babylon in the 6th century BCE and building the Second Temple, they refused to recognize the Samaritans as coreligionists.

To this day, Badawiya Samiri explained, it is the stringent religious upbringing that keeps Samaritans from leaving the fold. A Samaritan child has a bar mitzvah at the tender age of 6 after having recited the entire Torah cycle. So when, at 13, the child begins high school in Nablus, “it is unlikely that other ideas will affect him.”

Samaritans keep the faith... 2013-04-23-16.47.361-635x357

Palestinian journalist Badawiya Samiri (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

Relations with Palestinian Muslims are generally good, Samiri argued. During her student years at An-Najjah University, when she was forced to miss classes on Saturday because of the Sabbath, a classmate would take notes on copy paper and share them with her later.

There were exceptions. A few zealous Muslim students once tried to incite her friends to stay away from her, claiming she was Jewish. But Samiri’s friends stood up for her, saying they refused to alienate her for her different religious beliefs.

“That was one incident. Many people understand, but some don’t,” Samiri said.

On the official level, the PA has embraced the Samaritans. Yasser Arafat used to give scholarships to Samaritan students to study abroad; and the legislative council, the Palestinian parliament, had a seat reserved for Samaritan priest Saloum Al-Kahin, who passed away a decade ago


Samaritans keep the faith... F130424ZEL002-635x357
A Samaritan priest explains ritual to Ultra-Orthodox Jews

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PostSubject: Re: Samaritans keep the faith...   Samaritans keep the faith... I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 27, 2013 8:54 am

It's hard to say if the Samaritans are indeed from one of the tribes of Israel because repeatedly it was written that He was sent to the lost sheep of the "House of Israel", and that his disciples should go not to the gentiles or the Samaritans.

If they are descendants of Manasseh and/or Ephraim then I don't know why Jesus said they should not go to the Samaritans, that they should only find the lost sheep of the "House of Israel" and the "Jews" (the House of Judah).

In fact, we know that Paul was the one given the task to preach the Gospel of Salvation to all non-Israeli/Jew.

However, it is only appropriate to note that Jesus specifically mentioned the Samaritans separately from the Gentiles. In other words, they are an important group - not a Jew/Israeli and not a Gentile. They were even used in parables as the "good guy" - not the Jews, not the Israelis, and not the Gentiles.

Even more, the Gentiles are usually made as an example as the "didn't the Gentiles do the same" when He was teaching the Jews/Israelis! Not a good example if you ask me. A difference worth noting between Samaritans and Gentiles.

Thanks for the share, this made me curious. I'll put this on my plate to study. For God to separate and identify the Samaritans - neither Jew/Israeli or Gentile, but a separate independent group, is something.

I admit, this did not 'click' to me before.

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PostSubject: Re: Samaritans keep the faith...   Samaritans keep the faith... I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 27, 2013 9:22 am

Just a tiny piece:

John 4 identifies them as of Joseph, son of Jacob. Jesus met the woman
at Jacob's well. They knew of a coming Messiah.
Jesus stayed and taught them for 2 days.

I'll be interested to see what you find, Laibcoms.
Thanks ColonialZ for the information.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish  John 10:27,28
Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.   1 John 4:4
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