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Who are the Samaritans and why is their future uncertain?
Like Jews, they trace their lineage to Abraham. But the enslavement of the Jews by the Babylonians complicated matters. The Samaritans claim that, after returning from Babylon, Jews forgot their early customs. For centuries a healthy number of Samaritans, who consider themselves distinct from Jews, fought to preserve them. Several hundred thousand Samaritans lived in the Holy Land at the time of Christ. But a war with the Byzantines, between 529 AD and 531 AD, decimated their population. The subsequent arrival of Islam depleted their numbers further; most ethnic Samaritans are now pious Muslims.Mount Gerizim, near the Palestinian town of Nablus, is held by Samaritans to be holier than Jerusalem. These unique religious practices have proven useful politically. Samaritans can claim Israeli citizenship. They serve in the Israeli army. But their disinterest in Jerusalem means they shun aspects of Zionism. “We want East Jerusalem for Palestine, and West Jerusalem for Israel,” says Hosni Cohen, a Samaritan priest. This has made coexistence with local Palestinians easier. In the Samaritan village of Kiryat Luza, on Mount Gerizim, shopkeepers happily sell beer and arak to both thirsty Palestinians and Jewish settlers. Language also helps: many Samaritans can shift gracefully between Arabic and Hebrew.
Economist  Israel-Palestine  Jewish  Jewry  Bible 
12 hours ago by thomas.kochi
Lashon hara: The Power of Praise (Tazria-Metzora 5778) - Rabbi Sacks
The sages spoke more dramatically about lashon hara than any other offence. They said that it was as bad as committing all three cardinal sins: idolatry, incest and murder. They said that it kills three people: the one who says it, the one he says it about and the one who listens to it.

So far, so clear. Don’t gossip (Lev. 19:16). Don’t slander. Don’t speak badly about people. Judaism has a rigorous and detailed ethics of speech because it believes that “Life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). Judaism is a religion of the ear more than the eye; of words rather than images. God created the natural world with words and we create or damage the social world with words. We do not say, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.” To the contrary, words can cause emotional injuries that are as painful as physical ones, perhaps more so.
jewish  sacks 
4 days ago by franfelstein
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