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Synagogue in Tunisia Firebombed

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  • Synagogue in Tunisia Firebombed

    What interests me about this -- it's not such an unusual occurrence, after all -- is the reputed age of the synagogue
    It's the first time I've read about a synagogue outside of Babylonia being so old [and I doubt that it really is] Appears to be a very attractive one, btw.
    It has been assumed that the institution of the synagogue was first developed in Babylon, since there was no Temple; consequently it seems more likely that any synagogue in Tunisia would, at best, be dated to after the destruction of the Second Temple. But that's still extremely old.

    Also note the current Jewish population, and what it was before 1948. Nearly 800,000 Jews had to flee Islamic countries, leaving everything behind. This is ignored by those who like to wring their hands over the plight of the "Palestinian refugees" [who left because of threats of reprisals by other Arabs mostly, who said they'd regard those who stayed as collaborators "when" they destroyed the nascent Jewish state] Incidentally, here's an article about just how many "Palestinian refugees" there probably are. Personally, I think the number is probably impossible to pinpoint accurately, as in 1948 UNWRA accepted anyone who had lived in the Mandate for as short a period as two years as a "refugee".
    Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
    אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
    Proverbs 3:13

  • #2
    There's a synagogue in Aleppo, Syria that is reputed to date construction of the original synagogue on the site by King David's General, Joab. And another 2,000 year old synagogue in Damascus, Syria.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Joseph View Post
      There's a synagogue in Aleppo, Syria that is reputed to date construction of the original synagogue on the site by King David's General, Joab. And another 2,000 year old synagogue in Damascus, Syria.
      I think the dating of the Aleppo synagogue can be taken with a grain of salt, but 2000 years ago there were numerous synagogues. The one at Kfar Nahum [Capernaum] is at least that old.

      And, apparently, there were synagogues in some far-flung parts of the Diaspora even when the Temples were standing. One was on the border between Egypt and the Sudan at Elephantine, which was mentioned in various histories and I believe there are ruins. But the shift to worshipping mainly in synagogues seems to have begun during the Babylonian Exile, in the Sixth Century, BCE, as well as the beginnings of an organized liturgy in addition to the sacrificial cult. Sacrifices were never offered in synagogues. Even in such a small area as Biblical Israel, getting to Jerusalem more than a few times in one's lifetime would have been a major undertaking, involving weeks of travel while crops and herds were untended.
      Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
      אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
      Proverbs 3:13

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Metpatpetet View Post
        Even in such a small area as Biblical Israel, getting to Jerusalem more than a few times in one's lifetime would have been a major undertaking, involving weeks of travel while crops and herds were untended.
        Yet Jews were Oleh L'Regel to Jerusalem three times a year for the Festivals...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Joseph View Post
          Yet Jews were Oleh L'Regel to Jerusalem three times a year for the Festivals...
          That was the command. How much it was actually observed is open to question. There are a lot of logistical problems between leaving home on such a frequent and regular basis, in a mountainous country without decent roads, to arranging accomodation for a population far larger than Jerusalem 's capacity to house it anywhere nearby.
          Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
          אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
          Proverbs 3:13

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Metpatpetet View Post

            That was the command. How much it was actually observed is open to question. There are a lot of logistical problems between leaving home on such a frequent and regular basis, in a mountainous country without decent roads, to arranging accomodation for a population far larger than Jerusalem 's capacity to house it anywhere nearby.
            If assuming the absence of miracles that is indeed a wonder.

            One must also acknowledge miracles that all the Jews not only fit in the Beis HaMikdash but were all able to fully prostrate themselves simultaneously during the service.
            Last edited by Joseph; 01-12-2018, 09:36 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Joseph View Post

              If assuming the absence of miracles that is indeed a wonder.

              One must also acknowledge miracles that all the Jews not only fit in the Beis HaMikdash but were all able to fully prostrate themselves simultaneously during the service.
              That is certainly the Orthodox view.
              Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
              אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
              Proverbs 3:13

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Metpatpetet View Post
                It has been assumed that the institution of the synagogue was first developed in Babylon, since there was no Temple.
                I think that is a nineteenth century reformation assumption - a presumption that served in the parsing of what was 'culture' and what was 'superstition' by the early reform movement. The same presumptions assume that the liturgy also developed in response to the absence of the Temple and the sacrifices.
                History argues against that theory - within 50 years of the destruction of the second temple the core liturgy was set. Even though there are 8 or 9 nusach's for the exact content of the liturgy, they are sufficiently similar that there is no way they could have developed independently from scratch after the destruction of the second temple.
                The common belief I have read is that the temple and synagogues/houses of study coexisted for some time, and the synagogue became the only option after the destruction of the temple. Careful reading of the aggada also supports this position.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by parnoss View Post

                  I think that is a nineteenth century reformation assumption - a presumption that served in the parsing of what was 'culture' and what was 'superstition' by the early reform movement. The same presumptions assume that the liturgy also developed in response to the absence of the Temple and the sacrifices.
                  History argues against that theory - within 50 years of the destruction of the second temple the core liturgy was set. Even though there are 8 or 9 nusach's for the exact content of the liturgy, they are sufficiently similar that there is no way they could have developed independently from scratch after the destruction of the second temple.
                  The common belief I have read is that the temple and synagogues/houses of study coexisted for some time, and the synagogue became the only option after the destruction of the temple. Careful reading of the aggada also supports this position.
                  I think you are probably right on this point. The "bet knesset" [literal translation: house of assembly, but the Hebrew for synagogue] and "bet midrash" [literally "house of exposition" or study] are virtual synonyms -- often either in the same space or adjoining one another, and were probably an adjunct to the Temple cult for a very long time. Makes sense, in the same way that St. Peter's in the Vatican in Rome and every other Catholic church form a complete organization.
                  Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
                  אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
                  Proverbs 3:13

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Metpatpetet View Post

                    That is certainly the Orthodox view.
                    This was the only official Jewish view until the advent of the non-Orthodox movements.

                    Moreover, this view was recorded in the Mishna by the very people who personally witnessed these and other everyday miracles that occurred in the Temple prior to its destruction.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Joseph View Post
                      d
                      This was the only official Jewish view until the advent of the non-Orthodox movements.
                      You don't cater to the belief that the religion of the early Jews was different from the religion of the present day Jews and that there were many competing sects of Judaism in the years following the destruction the second temple?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mel View Post

                        You don't cater to the belief that the religion of the early Jews was different from the religion of the present day Jews and that there were many competing sects of Judaism in the years following the destruction the second temple?
                        What is today called Orthodox Judaism is a continuation of the Rabbinic Judaism that existed both before and after the destruction of the Temple.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Joseph View Post

                          What is today called Orthodox Judaism is a continuation of the Rabbinic Judaism that existed both before and after the destruction of the Temple.
                          That's a no, I take it?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mel View Post

                            That's a no, I take it?
                            It's a continuation as I explained. As far as the other parts of your questions, sure there were different sects. They mostly disappeared in the wake of the destruction of the Temple. And the post-destruction Rabbinic Judaism obviously had to account for the fact that the Temple no longer stood, necessitating the cessation of sacrifices and other forms of Temple worship.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Joseph View Post

                              This was the only official Jewish view until the advent of the non-Orthodox movements.

                              Moreover, this view was recorded in the Mishna by the very people who personally witnessed these and other everyday miracles that occurred in the Temple prior to its destruction.
                              I agree with your first statement. As to the second, by the time of the redaction of the Mishnah, no one was alive who had ever seen the Temple. Stories grow with the telling. Just look at the section of the Passover Haggadah where the Sages at Bnai Brak deliberately inflate the numbers as a means of impressing the importance of the events of the Exodus.

                              It's all of a piece with the requirement to drink an amount of wine, in each of the 4 Passover cups, that equals the volume of an olive. And then we are instructed that ancient olives were miraculously 4 times the size of current ones. Well, maybe. But not likely, given the limitations of ancient agriculture and the state of current agriculture. It's much more likely that today's olives are considerably larger than 3000 years ago, but it's an unproveable thesis.

                              I don't really have a problem with the Orthodox believing a number of things I cannot. Usually, I can see why they find it necessary to do so, and more power to them. I'm less concerned, personally, with belief than with the historical evidence of what the "plan" generated by belief has accomplished. We are here today because of halacha -- and that is the inherent validation of halacha, not that an External Force decreed it.

                              I have never claimed to be an Orthodox Jew.
                              Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
                              אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
                              Proverbs 3:13

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Metpatpetet View Post

                                It's all of a piece with the requirement to drink an amount of wine, in each of the 4 Passover cups, that equals the volume of an olive.
                                Is that why we put them in martinis?

                                MK

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Mark Kirkpatrick View Post

                                  Is that why we put them in martinis?

                                  MK
                                  Personally, I think that in a martini, I would want the smallest possible olive <g>
                                  Metpatpetet מתפתפתת
                                  אשרי אדם, מצא חכמה ואדם יפיק תבונה
                                  Proverbs 3:13

                                  Comment

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