Thursday, April 14, 2016

Come with me to see the Samaritans do their LIVE Passover Sacrifice on April 20th (their Passover)

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Don't Be Swayed From Your Goals

 Be crystal clear on your main goals in life. Then, when a situation arises that might disturb your peace of mind, ask yourself, "How does this impact those goals?"

When you realize this present situation does not have a major effect on what is really important, the problem will shrink in significance and your peace of mind will be restored.

Try it today. And try to go with me to see the Samairtan's Sacrafice on Mount Gerizem next Wendesday, April 20th (see below)

Love Yehuda Lave

Get in the Pesach spirit with this special full day group tour including Ancient Shiloh, wine tasting at the Gvaot winery and attending the Samaritan Passover Sacrifice on Mt. Gerizim!
Wednesday April 20th.
(Security precautions will be taken including armored bus and guard.)


Samaritans Make Annual Sacrifice - and Preserve a Way of Life

The  story below is from the newspaper in 2013.

Come along with me next Wendesday, April 20th 2016, as we watch how we should be doing the sacrifice on the Temple Mount. This is only two days before our real Passover and we can have a virtual experience of doing the Passover Sacrifice. Join me please. Write to me to find out!!

Although there are now less than 800 Samaritans, their Passover sacrifice - set according to calendar different from the mainstream Jewish one - draws an even bigger crowd.

Andrew Esensten Apr 24, 2013 5:55 PM
Samaritans celebrate Passover at Mt. Gerizim much like Jews did in ancient times

Ancient Samaritan sect marks Passover sacrifice near Nablus
The Samaritan community conducted its annual Passover sacrifice Tuesday evening under the leadership of a new high priest, as 50 sheep were slaughtered on Mount Gerizim in an ancient ceremony that attracted more than 1,000 spectators from around the world.
High Priest Aabed-El Ben Asher was elevated to his position, which is reserved for the eldest member of the priestly family, following the death last week of High Priest Aaron Ben Ab-Hisda at age 84. Ben Asher, 78, is the 133rd high priest in a line that the Samaritans claim stretches back to Aaron, brother of Moses.
"My task is to preserve our religion, lead prayers and ensure that my people love one another," Ben Asher said in an interview at his home in the Samaritan town of Kiryat Luza in the northern West Bank. He noted that while the Samaritans have clashed in the past with their Muslim neighbors in nearby Nablus and were forced out of the city during the first intifada, the two peoples have reconciled in recent years.
"There is no problem between us," he said. "We live next to each other and work together as well."
The Samaritans, or Shomronim (in Hebrew "guardians," ie. of the law), trace their roots to the tribes of Ephraim and Menashe and practice a Torah-based religion similar to Judaism. They number about 760 today—half live in Kiryat Luza and the other half in Holon—and are celebrating Passover this week because they calculate their calendar differently from Jews.
As the sun set on Tuesday, Ben Asher led his community in a prayer service on their holy Mount Gerizim, which is where they believe God instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Members wore white clothing and chanted passages from the 12th chapter of Exodus, which describes how the Israelites fled Egypt, in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic. (The Samaritans learn to read the ancient Hebrew script as children and some of their liturgy is in Aramaic; They converse in Arabic and modern Hebrew.)
Then a cheer was raised and the community's butchers simultaneously slit the throats of the sheep. The men then dabbed the spilled blood on their foreheads. As the uninitiated in the international audience watched with horrified expressions, the men gutted and skewered the animals on long spits and placed them in sunken fire pits. The cooked meat was served with matzah and bitter herbs at midnight.

"I love this part of the holiday," said Cochava Yehoshua, a Samaritan woman from Holon who, like all community members based there, spends the entire week of Passover in Kiryat Luza so as so as to avoid leavened bread. When asked if the bloody scene made her squeamish, she said: "When you grow up in this community, you get used to it."
The origins of the community are shrouded in mystery, according to Abraham Tal, a retired professor of Hebrew language at Tel Aviv University who is an expert in Samaritan Aramaic. "Many scholars believe they are a sect that diverged from Judaism around the time of the Second Temple," he said. "What is sure is that they are mentioned by the historian Flavius Josephus," who wrote during the first century CE.
Samaritans celebrate Passover at Mt. Gerizim

Aside from its annual sacrifice, the community is best known for manufacturing rich tahini. In addition, Kiryat Luza is a popular destination for Christian tourists, owing to Jesus' "Parable of the "Good Samaritan," which has given the entire community a positive if unearned reputation, joked Benyamim Tsedaka.
A community spokesperson and historian who lives most of the year in Holon, Tsedaka, 68, said the Samaritans are not a curiosity but rather "an integral part" of the State of Israel. They hold Israeli citizenship – in some cases they also have Palestinian and Jordanian passports – and the Holon residents serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Many have had success in fields like high tech and music, he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Tsedaka received a constant stream of guests at his "summer home," which was decorated with paintings of Samaritan rituals by his Jewish wife, Miriam. After the size of the community dipped below 150 in 1919, the men began intermarrying with Jewish women who agreed to adopt the Samaritan lifestyle. He also showed off his recently published English translation of the Samaritan version of the Torah, which is distinct from the more traditional Masoretic text.

As for what the future holds for the Samaritans, Israel's smallest religious minority, Tsedaka said that the rate of assimilation into mainstream Israeli society remains relatively low.
"Despite the seductions that we have around, people prefer to stay in the community," he said. "They prefer to keep their heritage, which is the language, which is the script, which is thousands of years of tradition."

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9 April 2016

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Hadassah-Developed Blood Test Detects Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer & Brain Damage


MONDAY, APR 4 2016 | News & Stories

A new blood test that uses the DNA strands of dying cells to detect diabetes, cancer, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative disease has been developed by researchers at Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and The Hebrew University.

In a study involving 320 patients, the researchers were able to infer cell death in specific tissues by looking at the unique chemical modifications (called methylation patterns) of circulating DNA that these dying cells release. Previously, it had not been possible to measure cell death in specific human tissues non-invasively.

The findings are reported in the March 14, 2016 online edition of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA, in an article entitled "Identification of tissue specific cell death using methylation patterns of circulating DNA."  Prof. Benjamin Glaser, head of Endocrinology at Hadassah, and Dr. Ruth Shemer and Prof. Yuval Dor from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem led an international team in performing the groundbreaking research.

Cell death is a central feature in health and disease. It can signify the early stages of pathology (e.g. a developing tumor or the beginning of an autoimmune or neurodegenerative disease); it can illuminate whether a disease has progressed and whether a particular treatment, such as chemotherapy, is working; and it can alert physicians to unintended toxic effects of treatment or the early rejection of a transplant.

As the researchers relate: "The approach can be adapted to identify cfDNA (cell-free circulating DNA) derived from any cell type in the body, offering a minimally invasive window for diagnosing and monitoring a broad spectrum of human pathologies as well as providing a better understanding of normal tissue dynamics."

"In the long run," notes Prof. Glaser, "we envision a new type of blood test aimed at the sensitive detection of tissue damage, even without a-priori suspicion of disease in a specific organ. We believe that such a tool will have broad utility in diagnostic medicine and in the study of human biology."

The research was performed by Hebrew University students Roni Lehmann-Werman, Daniel Neiman, Hai Zemmour, Joshua Moss and Judith Magenheim, aided by clinicians and scientists from Hadassah Medical Center, Sheba Medical Center, and from institutions in Germany, Sweden, the USA and Canada, who provided precious blood samples from patients.

Scientists have known for decades that dying cells release fragmented DNA into the blood; however, since the DNA sequence of all cells in the body is identical, it had not been possible to determine the tissue of origin of the circulating DNA.  Knowing that the DNA of each cell type carries a unique methylation and that methylation patterns of DNA account for the identity of cells, the researchers were able to use patterns of methylated DNA sequences as biomarkers to detect the origin of the DNA and to identify a specific pathology. For example, they were able to detect evidence of pancreatic beta-cell death in the blood of patients with new-onset type 1 diabetes, oligodendrocyte cell death in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis, brain cell death in patients after traumatic or ischemic brain damage, and exocrine pancreatic tissue cell death in patients with pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis.

Support for the research came from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Human Islet Research Network of the National Institutes of Health, the Sir Zalman Cowen Universities Fund, the DFG (a Trilateral German-Israel-Palestine program), and the Soyka pancreatic cancer fund.