New Study Shows Mid-East Neanderthals Were Not Only Cave Dwellers
Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor
Better Than Duct Tape
One person who frequently lost his temper, finally learned to control it with the following method:
Whenever he felt angry at someone, he would take a sip of water and hold it in his mouth for five minutes. Only after the five minutes passed would he criticize someone.
During this time his anger subsided and he was able to talk calmly.
Speaking of being kind, I have tried to indvidually write to each person who said they were coming to my weddding on June 23rd that it has been cancelled and not to come. In case I didn't get through to you, I am putting on my blog on the side of caution as I don't want somebody to show up to a wedding that isn't taking place.
However, let me assure that your Mazel Tov was not wasted. The Talmud teaches that all prayers have an effect like water indenting a rock. Maybe your Mazel Tov was the secret one that craked the heavens for G-d to send me a loving mate. If however, it didn't, don't be afraid to keep your eyes open to recommend someone that wants to walk in G-d's ways and to live with love in the Land of Israel. And I will keep your mazel tov on hold for the next time when it really works.
The Neanderthals, known in folklore as "cavemen," conducted much of their activities in the open landscape. According to the study published today in the journalScientific Reportsby an international team lead by Israeli researchers, Neanderthals in the Levant constituted a resilient population that survived successfully in caves and open landscapes 60,000 years ago, when dispersing modern humans reached the region.
The study was led by Dr. Ella Been from the Ono Academic College, Prof. Erella Hovers from the Institute of archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dr. Omry Barzilai from the Israel Antiquities Authority, with the assistance of Dr. Ravid Ekshtain (the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Dr. Ariel Malinsky-Buller (the Museum for Human Behavioral Evolution, Monrepos, Germany). The research was financed by the company Derekh Eretz Inc. as part of a major road construction.
An aerial view of Ein Qashsish. / Photo credit: Erella Hovers, courtesy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The study focused on the skeletal remains of two human individuals from the open-air site of 'Ein Qashish, on the banks of the Qishon stream in northern Israel. The analyses shown that these bones represent the first Neanderthal remains outside caves in the Levant, and are among the very few of such finds worldwide. The remains were dated to the late Middle Paleolithic period, between 70,000 and 60,000 years ago by Dr. Naomi Porat from the Geological Survey of Israel.
The first individual is represented by a single upper molar tooth, and was studied by Dr. Stefano Benazzi and colleagues from the University of Ravena in Italy and the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. This tooth is attributed to a Neanderthal using advanced imaging and statistical techniques. The other individual, studied by Dr. Ella Been in collaboration with researchers from Bar-Ilan and Tel-Aviv Universities, is represented by lower limbs of a young Neanderthal (15-22 years in age), who suffered from injuries that caused limping. This individual was found within a rich archaeological level containing flint tools, animal bones, and some unusual finds for this period, such as a marine shell, pigments and an antler of a deer.
A spear point made from flint. / Photo credit: Erella Hovers, courtesy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The fate of the Neanderthals and the nature of their interactions with modern humans are among the focal questions in the research of the Middle Paleolithic period, which lasted ca. 200,000 years. The Near East is the only region known today where the two populations existed during the Middle Paleolithic. The finds from 'Ein Qashish allow, for the first time in the history of research in this region, to tie material culture remains in an open-air site with the Neanderthals, known until now only from cave sites. The current study indicates that Neanderthals repeatedly visited the site of 'Ein Qashish and that the settlement system of Neanderthals groups included both caves and open-air sites.
Fieldwork at the site of 'Ein Qashish and following research on the finds were conducted by researchers and students from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Haifa.
״A number of researchers have recently claimed that Neanderthals were adapted to life in rugged mountainous terrains whereas modern humans adapted better to flat and open landscapes. The finds from 'Ein Qashish show that Neanderthals inhabited sites in diverse topographic and ecological contexts.
Another contentious topic concerns the causes for the disappearance of the Neanderthals. One of the prominent explanations offered was that it was difficult for Neanderthals groups in the Levant to cope with the environmental outcomes of a trend of increasing drying climate that was characteristic of the time period under study. The unique find from 'Ein Qashish indicates that Neanderthal groups repeatedly returned to the open-air sites during this time. Our study suggests that Neanderthals were a resilient population that successfully existed in the north of Israel at the time that modern humans arrived from Africa some 60,000 years ago."
The Neanderthal tooth. / Photo credit: Erella Hovers, courtesy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
According to this study, despite possible genetic flow between Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens populations and climatic fluctuations, the Neanderthals in the Levant were a resilient population that survived successfully in the region when modern humans reached it again some 60,000 years ago.
All over the world anti-Semites are becoming mainstreamed. It is no longer disqualifying to be outed as a Jew hater. This is especially so if the anti-Semite uses the cover of rabid hatred for the nation-state of the Jewish people. These bigots succeed in becoming accepted — even praised — not because of their anti-Semitism, but despite it. Increasingly, they are given a pass on their Jew-hatred because those who support them admire or share other aspects of what they represent. This implicit tolerance of anti-Semitism — as long as it comes from someone whose other views are acceptable — represents a dangerous new trend from both the right and left.
In the United States, although there has been hard-right anti-Semitism for decades, the bigotry of the hard-left is far more prevalent and influential on many university campuses. Those on the left who support left-wing anti-Semites try to downplay, ignore or deny that those they support are really anti-Semites. "They are anti-Zionist" is the excuse du jour. Those on the right do essentially the same: "they are nationalists." Neither side would accept such transparent and hollow justifications if the shoe were on the other foot. I believe that when analyzing and exposing these dangerous trends, a single standard of criticism must be directed at each.
Generally speaking, extreme right-wing anti-Semitism continues to be a problem in many parts of Europe and among a relatively small group of "alt-right" Americans. But it also exists among those who self-identify as run-of-the-mill conservatives. Consider, for example, former presidential candidate and Reagan staffer, Pat Buchanan.
The list of Buchanan's anti-Jewish bigotry is exhaustive. Over the years, he has consistently blamed Jews for wide-ranging societal and political problems. In his criticism of the Iraq War, for example, Buchanan infamously quipped: "There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East-the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States." He then singled out for rebukeonlyJewish political figures and commentators such as Henry Kissinger, Charles Krauthammer and A.M. Rosenthal. Buchanan did not mention any of the vocal non-Jewish supporters of the war. Furthermore, Buchanan also said that "the Israeli lobby" would be responsible if President Obama decided to strike Iran, threatening that if it were to happen, "Netanyahu and his amen corner in Congress" would face "backlash worldwide." Buchanan's sordid flirtation with Nazi revisionism is also well documented.
Meanwhile, on university campuses, the absurd concept of " intersectionality" — which has become a code word for anti-Semitism — is dominating discussions and actions by the hard-left. The warm embrace of Palestinian-American activist, Linda Sarsour — who recently delivered the commencement address at a City University of New York graduation — is a case in point. A co-organizer of the Women's March on Washington in January, she has said that feminism and Zionism are incompatible, stating: "You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There's just no way around it." And when speaking about two leading female anti-Islamists, Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (who is a victim of female genital mutilation) the feminist du jour, Linda Sarsour, said: "I wish I could take away their vaginas."
The irony is breathtaking. Under her own all-or-nothing criteria, Sarsour — who is also a staunchsupporterof trying to destroy Israel economically — cannot be pro-Palestinian and a feminist because the Palestinian Authority and Hamas subjugate women and treat gays far worse than Israel does.
SarsoursupportsIslamic religious law, Sharia. If taken literally, this would presumably mean that she also supports punishing homosexuality bydeath; amputation for theft; death by stoning for "adultery" (which can include beingraped); women being valued athalf the worthof a man, beingfloggedfor drinking alcohol, and above all, slavery (seehere,hereandhere).
Yet, Sarsour has emerged as a champion of the hard-left. Both New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Bernie Sanders have sought her endorsement. Moreover, Deputy DNC Chair, Keith Ellison — who himself has asordid historywith anti-Semitism, stemming from his association with Louis Farrakhan (who publicly boasted about his own Jew hatred) — has come out in support of the bigoted Sarsour. When it comes to Ellison, an old idiom comes to mind: a man is known by the company he keeps.
The same trend is detectable among the hard-left in Europe, particularly in Britain, which is days away from an election. The British Labour Party has now been hijacked by radical extremists on the left, and is known for being soft on anti-Semitism.
In a recent interview with a BBC reporter, Emma Barnett — who happens to be Jewish — Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn fumbled when answering a question about how much his proposed childcare policy would cost. Rather than critique Corbyn, Labour supporters viciously trolled the Jewish BBC reporter. Tweets such as these abounded: "Allegations have surfaced that @Emmabarnett is a Zionist" and "Zionist Emma Barnett (family lived off brothels) attacks Jeremy Corbyn." Corbyn has also been accused of anti-Jewish bigotry himself. He has said in the past that the genocidal Hamas terrorist group should be removed from the UK's designated terror list, and has called Hezbollah and Hamas (which are both vowed to the destruction of the nation-state of the Jewish people) "my friends." (I recentlywroteextensively on Corbyn's association with some of Britain's most notorious Holocaust-deniers and anti-Semites.)
Increasingly, anti-Semitic discourse is also seeping into the arts and academia. Consider the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bigotry of former Pink Floyd front man, Roger Waters. A staunch supporter of the so-called BDS movement, Waters has said about the Palestinians that "parallels with what went on in the 30's in Germany are so crushingly obvious." He also had a pig-shaped balloon with a Star of David on it at one of his concerts. And when asked about his aggressive effort to recruit people to join the BDS, Waters blamed "the Jewish lobby," which he explained is "extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry." In 2013, the ADL declared that "anti-Semitic conspiracy theories" had "seeped into the totality" of Waters' views.
Likewise, the marketplace of ideas on university campuses and within academic institutions has seen an embrace of anti-Semitism often disguised as anti-Zionism. Several years ago, I identified the dangerous trend of academics crossing a red line between acceptable criticism of Israel and legitimizing Jew-hatred. This was in light of the disgraceful endorsement by a number of prominent academics of an anti-Semitic book written by Gilad Atzmon — a notorious Jew-hater who denies the Holocaust and attributed widespread economic troubles to a "Zio-punch."
Whenasked recentlyabout the hullabaloo surrounding her CUNY address, Linda Sarsour disingenuously played the victim card:
"…since the Women's March on Washington, once the right-wing saw a very prominent Muslim-American woman in a hijab who was a Palestinian who was resonating with a community in a very large way, they made it their mission to do everything they can to take my platform away."
No, Ms. Sarsour. You are wrong. This is not a smear campaign by the "right-wing," but rather, a show that people of goodwill reject your manifestations of bigotry.
Those who tolerate anti-Semitism from those they otherwise admire would never accept other forms of bigotry, such as racism, sexism or homophobia. It's difficult to imagine Bernie Sanders campaigning for a socialist who didn't like black people or who was against gay marriage. But he is comfortable campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn, who has made a career out of condemning Zionists — by which he means Jews.
The growing tolerance for anti-Semitism by both the extreme left and right is quickly becoming mainstream. That is why it is so dangerous and must be exposed for what it is: complicity in, and encouragement of, the oldest form of bigotry. Shame on those who tolerate anti-Semitism when it comes from their side of the political spectrum.
People on both sides of the aisle must have the same zero tolerance for anti-Semitism as they do for sexism, racism and homophobia. Decent people everywhere — Jews and non-Jews — must condemn with equal vigor all manifestations of bigotry whether they emanate from the hard alt-right or hard alt-left. I will continue to judge individuals on the basis of their own statements and actions, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from.
The flower shop I go to sells all kinds of cards: congratulations, sympathy, bereavement, etc. My favorite is the "Just Because" card. You can say it with flowers for all kinds of reasons: Because your wife did or said something special. Because your wife gave birth. Because your wife turned 40. Or "just because."
Just because is special because it transcends virtue. I knowWhen you love someone just because, you can overcome many obstacles that my wife is beautiful; I know she is smart; I know she is kind; I know she is devoted; I know she is a fabulous mother; I know she is a great teacher. But these qualities are not why I love her. I love her for who she is. Just because. 1
When you love someone just because, you can overcome many obstacles. Consider the relationship between G‑d and our ancestors. The Jewish nation was traveling in the desert in high style: daily fine dining, a climate-controlled atmosphere, clothing with built-in laundry and stretching ability. Every need and luxury was provided for, yet the people complained, again and again.
The complainers were often punished, but there were many moans and groans that went unpunished. Despite the constant grumbling, G‑d continued to care for them, continued to love them. Why? What did they do to deserve His love? The answer can be summed up in two words: "just because."
A Tale of Two Brides
The Talmud records a famous debate between the schools of Hillel and Shammai:
What does one sing when dancing before the bride? Beit Shammai said, "The bride as she is." Beit Hillel said, "The bride is beautiful and graceful." Said the school of Shammai, "What if the bride is lame or blind, can we call her beautiful and graceful? Did the Torah not prohibit lying?" To which Beit Hillel replied, "When someone makes a purchase, shall we praise it or criticize it? 2
Most students assume that Shamai was scrupulously honest and Hillel was gracefully generous. Hillel was willing to tell a white lie for the sake of peace. Shamai was not. But here is a different approach.
The Torah tells us to love our fellow, irrespective of who they are and how they behave. It is easy to love and respect our friends. People with grace and charm are not hard to like. But what about those who are rude and uncouth, grumpy and mean? What about those who are cruel and hound us, or those who put on airs and ignore us? It is difficult to love them. And yet we must. How?
This was the crux of the debate between Hillel and Shammai. The lame bride is a metaphor for friends who are never there for you, who never come to your aid. The blind bride is a metaphor for people who won't even acknowledge your existence. How can you find something nice to say about these people? It's easy to compliment and love your close friends, but what about those who don't treat you well?
Beit Hillel says: Everyone has a saving grace, and if we haven't found it, it means we haven't looked hard enough. Someone who made a purchase did so because he saw something worthwhile in his find. The groom who married this bride saw something beautiful in her. If you haven't found value, it is because you haven't looked in the right places or in the right way.
When we encounter the socially blind and lame and can't find a kind thing to say about them, Hillel advises us to look again. Don't assume they have no heart. Don't assume they are made of stone. If someone out there loves them, and if they love in return, they must have some good qualities. Don't give up on them just because they ignore you. One day, you will see their heart.
Shammai says: There is no need to search for their heart. You can love them even without seeing their heart. You can love them "just because," just as they are. " The bride as she is." When you see someone's strengths and beautiful traits, you love them for their traits. But when you see someone with no redeeming traits, no discernible value, there is an amazing opportunity, a chance to love them as they are, just because.
Who says love must be reciprocated? For the most part, we want those we love to love us in return. But we can also love without rhyme or reason. Most people don't give us the chance, but when you encounter a social misfit, who gives you every reason to hate him, you have a chance to love just because.
This person may not be likable or kind or considerate, but he is your fellow. This kind of love is not so different from a parent's love for their child. Surely a parent finds reasons to be proud of their child. They boast of the child's knowledge, talents and achievements, but these qualities are not why they love their child. In love, they transcend all the child's character traits and features. They love just because.
With friends you hardly get that chance. Says Shammai: When you run into the fellow you can't stand, don't treat him as an inconvenience to flee from. This person presents an opportunity for you to embrace. 3 And when you do open yourself to this love, you might even enjoy his company. You never could have imagined it, but once you arouse in yourself a sense of fellowship, you might trigger a real bond with this person.
Now you can love him for real. Not because he changed his stripes, but because you touched his truth—buried under layers of fears and insecurities. This is why the Talmud concludes that at weddings in Israel, the common refrain was, "No powder, no paint, no hair-waving, and yet graceful." I might not be able to find a single redeeming feature, but when I insist on loving despite it all, I discover the grace within the other person.
Love Is Blind
This is the kind of love that G‑d displayed toward our ancestors. At times they behaved as children should, and gave G‑d pleasure. AtWhen you open yourself to it, you might even enjoy his company such times, their relationship was robust. Then there were times when they pestered G‑d with petty and wicked complaints. And then the relationship would deepen even further. Just because.
When the Babylonians broke into the Holy of Holies when the first Temple was destroyed, they found the Cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant facing each other, a sign of G‑d's love for His children. 4 G‑d was punishing them by destroying the Temple, and yet He was loving. Because intrinsic love depends little on good behavior. On the contrary, it is strongest when our behavior is atrocious. When necessary, G‑d does punish, but always with love. The transcendent and unlimited love of just because. 5