Mordecai was the one Jew who refused to bow down to Haman. Everyone else was bowing down and telling him that he was endangering the Jewish people by not doing so. Yet he refused. We all have an inner Mordecai, a part of us which has this strength. We strengthen this part of ourselves when we refuse to bow give in to the negative urges and habits which we all possess. The trick is know when to bow and when to stand up. Love Yehuda Lave
An orthophoto created from a 3D model of an adult male (center) and adult female (bottom) during excavation of the 3,600-year-old burial cave at Megiddo. (Adam Prins and Robert S. Homsher)
Revelation at Armageddon
Untouched for 3,600 years, 'royal' tomb may change what we know about Canaanites
Located at the crossroads of civilization, a Tel Megiddo burial chamber includes a diadem-bedecked male skeleton, and hints that bones did not always rest in peace
Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.
Main image by Adam Prins and Robert S. Homsher
A 3,600-year-old undisturbed Canaanite burial chamber fit for a king has been unsealed at Tel Megiddo.
Revealing opulent burial goods, the chamber gives invaluable insight into the civilization's funeral customs — and just may shift scholars' conceptions of the era's religious rites.
The surprise find, labelled Tomb 50, was unearthed during the 2016 dig season at Megiddo. Once opened, the mouth of the burial chamber revealed three intact skeletons adorned with gold and silver jewelry. Surrounding the intact skeletons were luxurious grave goods from all corners of the Middle East, and a feast of food offerings for the afterlife. In the back of the masonry-constructed chamber tomb was a "bone heap" of disarticulated relics with six other co-mingled individuals, and some jewelry.
Excavation co-director Prof. Israel Finkelstein was filmed during the exciting exposition of the tomb. His initial reaction was that the impressive burial chamber was obviously used for royalty.
"When you're here," he said to his colleagues, gesturing to the ground, "and the [Bronze Age] palace is 15-20 meters from us, and you don't have 125 [tombs] like these around us, so this may be 'the' nobility. I mean, what else can it be?" asked Finkelstein in a short movie about the 2016 dig season.
Gold torque necklace worn by an adult male buried inside the Canaanite tomb discovered at Megiddo. (Adam Prins)
After unsealing the tomb, the team saw findings which appear to confirm this hypothesis: The archaeologists discovered the intact remains of a middle-aged male bedecked with a skillfully-made gold diadem, along with other well-crafted jewelry. The two other full skeletons on display were also adorned and were of a 8-10-year-old child and a woman in her mid-30s, according to a National Geographic article, which first publicized the new find.
Detail from a gold torque necklace worn by an adult male buried inside the Canaanite tomb discovered at Megiddo. (Adam Prins)
Finkelstein has since dated the untouched tomb to the summit of the Canaanite civilization, the later phase of the Middle Bronze Age (around 1700-1600 BCE). He told The Times of Israel in a recent email it was "easy" to date, based on the vessels discovered in it and those found in the layer above it, dating to ca. 1550-1500 BCE.
Also pointing to the possibility of a royal tomb is the fact that it is adjacent to a Bronze Age palace uncovered in the 1930s. Finkelstein said the chamber "must have been used for a while, perhaps several decades. With the data at hand for now, we cannot say more."
The team will resume excavation there in a few months, during the 2018 summer dig season. Currently, DNA testing is being done on the human remains. The results will be compared with DNA from other tombs at Megiddo, as well as other ancient Canaanite DNA, such as that used in British study released this summer which found that 93 percent of modern Lebanese ancestry comes from the Canaanites.
As to why the tomb was sealed and left untouched after the final three burials, Finkelstein said, "We have no idea. [There was] no clue from the dig, at least not for the time being."
But for the Megiddo Expedition's expert on Canaanite funerary rites, Melissa Cradic, there are many dots that can already be connected to paint a preconception-shattering picture of these "pagans" and their rituals.
Revelation at Armageddon
Known for its apocalyptic name Armageddon (a corruption of the Hebrew Har Megiddo, Mount Megiddo), the northern Israel site hosted a continuously inhabited settlement from 7,000 BCE to circa 500 BCE.
According to Tel Aviv University's Finkelstein, Megiddo appears in "all the great archives of the Middle East." In addition to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, it is mentioned in Assyrian, Egyptian, and Hittite documents. Even in more modern periods, the ancient military and trade routes were still in use until the end of the Ottoman Empire's rule there in 1918.
A screenshot from a 3D model that depicts the exterior of the Megiddo tomb chamber and corridor before opening. The chamber is visible in the bottom right corner where two large slabs are leaning against each other. (Adam Prins)
"When a site is mentioned in so many historical records, you can make a link between the site and historical processes," said Finkelstein in the 2016 season's video. As an archaeologist who "wished to resolve problems" concerning the historical and archaeological records of the Bronze and Iron Ages, for Finkelstein, "this is the place."
Ahead of his initial excavation season in 1994, Finkelstein wrote about his site choice in a Biblical Archaeology Review article: "Because Megiddo is a cornerstone in the archaeology of Israel, the unresolved issues at the site are in many ways critical for the archaeological and historical study of the entire Levant."
The current bi-annual dig is the fourth scientific excavation of the site. It began in 1994, headed by archaeologists Finkelstein and David Ussishkin. Currently, in addition to Finkelstein, Matthew J. Adams, director of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, is also a co-director of the Megiddo Expedition, as well as Tel Aviv University's Mario Martin.
The team works with experts in subsets of the field of archaeology, including Tel Aviv University's Dafna Langgut (archeobotany), Lidar Sapir-Hen (archeozoology), Meirav Meiri (ancient DNA), and Brown University's Rachel Kalisher (osteology).
Interior of Tomb 50, an undisturbed burial chamber from some 3,600 years ago at Megiddo, looking toward the south corridor. (Robert S. Homsher)
California-based Cradic is responsible for burial rites. Her currently embargoed doctoral dissertation focuses on Canaanite funerary rituals, using recently excavated material from Megiddo.
A gold diadem that adorned the adult male in a 3,600 year old Canaanite burial cave at Megiddo. (Adam Prins)
Back in 2016, she was onsite at the exposition of the intact tomb, which she called an "exhilarating and truly thrilling experience from start to finish… It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we all felt incredibly lucky and privileged to have unimpeded access to such an incredible context."
"The incredible state of preservation of Tomb 50 offers an important opportunity for comprehensive scientific study of the ancient population and their funerary practices. We are studying diet and health, mobility and migration, ancient DNA, organic residues, environment, and issues of identity using the osteological and material remains. We took great care to excavate extremely carefully and to collect samples for a wide range of studies in consultation with specialists at the top of their fields," said Cradic.
In a series of lengthy emails, Cradic enlightened The Times of Israel to the implications of the "royal" tomb's finds in her field of funerary rites.
An orthophoto created from a 3D model of an adult male (center) and adult female (bottom) during excavation of the 3,600-year-old burial cave at Megiddo. (Adam Prins and Robert S. Homsher)
Not just a heap of bones
Cradic, whose dissertation is under a publication embargo through 2019, recently published an article, which deals with funerary rituals from a similar "although less elite" tomb at Megiddo, in the Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research titled, "Embodiments of Death: The Funerary Sequence and Commemoration in the Bronze Age Levant."
The article, based on Megiddo's Tomb 100, is revelatory on a number of fronts, but especially in addressing the significance of "bone heaps" that are found in a number of tombs of the era. Based on several points, including what appears to be the practice of continually moving and displaying relics of the deceased, Cradic writes that these heaps are hardly refuse that was casually "swept away."
Area of excavation at Megiddo before the tomb was revealed. The first stones of the corridor are visible in the right corner behind archaeologist Melissa Cradic. (Adam Prins)
Cradic proposes that, in fact, these bones could represent a life cycle transition in which the deceased passes into the status of "ancestor." The relics of ancestors, as opposed to normative skeletal remains, were regularly used in religious rites.
In her recent article, Cradic writes, "The commingling of skeletal remains represents the end result of a series of highly ritualized, symbolic depositional episodes in which mourners actively handled and removed deceased bodies from their original placements."
A testing ground frozen in time
The intact Tomb 50 gives Cradic an unprecedented chance to observe — Pompeii-like — a burial frozen in medias res.
Cradic said that at the mouth of the chamber, there is "abundant evidence of care and feeding of the dead through food deposits (animal bones, charred organic remains) found in situ in plates and bowls that were positioned carefully near the three intact bodies."
She also describes "relatively dense deposits of fragmented animal bones, charcoal, cooking installations, and imported Cypriot pottery directly above the tomb, which could indicate ongoing commemoration at the grave-site after it was sealed."
Perhaps, much like some Jews who gather together on a yearly anniversary of a loved one's death, these ancient Canaanites also memorialized their ancestors with a graveside meal or ritual.
Decorated bone plaques discovered inside the 3,600 Canaanite tomb at Megiddo that likely covered a box made out of wood or other perishable materials. (Adam Prins)
But it is her theory about the significance of the co-mingled relics that is most interesting. Cradic postulates that the bone heap at the back of the tomb are in the "'ancestor' category for two reasons: (1) the ritualized encounters with the original bodies after burial; (2) the special investment in the construction of the chamber and material assemblage," said Cradic.
In the "royal" tomb, we find what she calls a "ritualized deposition." "The bones became jumbled together due to being moved around within the chamber at least once," said Cradic.
In observing the jumbled relics, she said it is quite possible that they were moved before full decomposition of the flesh.
From observing the physical evidence, Cradic paints a grim, graphic picture of the environment and what took place in Tomb 50, the royal tomb, during its use.
"From the evidence of Megiddo's chamber tombs, it appears that it was an acceptable and perhaps important component of the funerary ritual to interact with corpses before full decomposition. This also allows insight into the conditions of the tomb from the perspective of the survivors, and what they may have experienced in terms of sights, smells, and tactile experiences with the corpses/skeletons."
$10 eBay Photo Turns Out to be Picture of Jesse James Worth $2,000,000+
How's this for a lucky photo find: a 19th-century tintype photo purchased from eBay for just $10 has been identified as an extremely rare portrait of the infamous outlaw Jesse James… worth an estimated $2 million+.
Fox News reports that Justin Whiting of Spalding, U.K., was browsing eBay in July 2017 when he came across a photo that looked remarkably like the photo of outlaw Jesse James that he had seen in a book.
The original eBay listing. Screenshot by Justin Whiting/SWNS.
Having been obsessed with American outlaws for years, Whiting purchased the tintype for its Buy It Now price of $10 in July 2017.
"I noticed the picture for sale — it was $10. It was a bit blurry on the site but when I got it, it was a lot clearer," Whiting tells SWNS. "I thought to myself: 'Gee wizz, this could be a real photo!' I've been obsessed with American outlaws for years and read lots of books and study their faces."
The 45-year-old then took the photo to forensic experts in the United States, including California-based 19th-century photo expert Will Dunniway, who concluded that the photo is a genuine photo of Jesse James at around age 14.
"It was an easy match since it was compared to a longtime known image of the young Jesse James at 14," Dunniway tells Fox News. "Justin's image, however, was the same pose taken the same day by the same photographer […] [It's a] one-of-a-kind original that most likely was handled by the teenaged Jesse James himself."
Whiting has been told that the photo could fetch at least $2 million.
One Reason Americans Often are Wrong About Jews and Israel
Weisman is rightly concerned. Jew-hatred is becoming increasingly popular and moving closer to the mainstream in the US. Extremists on both the Right and the Left are finding it easier to speak in ways that would have been taboo only a few years ago.Anti-Jewish hate crimes have increased sharplyin recent years as well. So you would think Weisman would have plenty of material.
But in 1052 words, all he is able to talk about is the so-called "alt-right," as exemplified by a couple of right-wing conspiracy theorists, Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec.
I am sure Weisman isn't making up stories about the hate mail he is getting, and that much of it has anti-Jewish themes. But can you write about anti-Semitism without mentioning theImams who have called for the murder of Jewsfrom their pulpits? Can you write responsibly about it without mentioning the harassment of Jewish students on college campuses by members of organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine, some of whomopenly express admiration for Hitler? Can you write about it without discussing the prevalence of Jew-hatred in the black community, and the "intersectional" embrace of Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan by the progressive movement?
Weisman and the Times couldn't, or didn't want to. Instead, he praises thediscredited Southern Poverty Law Center(which, like him, is blind to left-wing and Muslim Jew-hatred) and attacks Jewish organizations for being – get ready – "focused on Israel!"
If the vinyl banners proclaiming "Remember Darfur" that once graced the front of many American synagogues could give way in a wave to "We Stand With Israel," why can't they now give way en masse to "We Stand Against Hate"?
I don't see a lot of liberal synagogues standing with Israel these days, but that is another topic. Weisman closes with a suggestion for American Jews: they should "[embrace] Judaism as a vital part of America pluralism — and [find] the spiritual meaning in the religion," which seems to mean that they should replace Judaism with political progressivism, a trend that has been underway for some time among liberal American Jews.
Now let's turn to another Times staffer, the venerable Isabel Kershner, the Times' Jerusalem correspondent. In a "news" article in the Middle East section of the paper, she tries to explain why " In Israel's Poorer Periphery, Legal Woes Don't Dent Netanyahu's Appeal." Recent polls are showing PM Netanyahu's Likudsurging ahead, despite his unpopularity in the trendy parts of Tel Aviv. So Kershner goes to the not-so-trendy Kiryat Malachi (city of angels) where the mostlymizrachi[Jews who immigrated to Israel from the Middle East and North Africa] population supports him. How can it be that they simply don't care about the corruption investigations underway against "Bibi, as he is lovingly nicknamed?"
One explanation would be that people who remember, or whose parents remember, the treatment Jews received at the hands of the Muslims among whom they lived don't trust the Israeli Left, which keeps trying to give away parts of the country to the Arabs in the name of "peace," which the Arabs will never provide. In other words, it is a disagreement over policy, and Bibi (even those who do not love him call him "Bibi") has managed to stand firm against pressure from the US and Europe to commit suicide. It also doesn't hurt that he is taking a tough line against Iran, that on his watch the economy has boomed, that he has made some major diplomatic gains for the "isolated" Jewish state, and that he has kept us out of major wars.
The corruption investigations, the details of which have been leaked on a daily basis to the media, have a smell of contrivance about them. It may turn out that some of the accusations are at least in part true, but most supporters feel that these are small matters, no politician is perfect, and his overall performance on the most important issues has been excellent.
That would be the simple answer. It explains why Bibi is popular everywhere in Israel, except among the bitter left-wing politicians that used to run the state and their academic, cultural and media partners. The real mystery Kershner should explore is not why he has so much support in the periphery, but rather, why they hate him so much in North Tel Aviv.
But Kershner misses the obvious, and implies that the answer is to be found in identity politics, the historical grievance of themizrachimagainst the Ashkenazi establishment, and perhaps in quaint North African religious beliefs. After describing her visit to the tomb of the Baba Sali (a mystical rabbi revered by the Moroccan Jewish community) and talking about amulets, she might as well have echoedBarack Obama's 2008 remarkthat working-class voters "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them…"
But the words of her (very articulate, by the way) interviewees refute this implication:
Like Mr. Begin, Mr. Netanyahu is Ashkenazi, while the current leader of the center-left Labor Party, Avi Gabbay, is the child of Moroccan immigrants. But Netanyahu supporters deride Mr. Gabbay as a political novice and disregard his ethnic origins.
"We are not racists," Mr. Ayyash [Yehuda Ayyash, 58, a greengrocer in the blue-collar town of Kiryat Malachi in southern Israel] said. "We are rightists."
And the police investigations of Netanyahu?
"We are all Bibi," said Erez Madar, 33, a hairdresser in Kiryat Malachi. "Let him have a cigar. He deserves an airplane."
Indeed, most of us agree, which is why we keep voting for him.
Sometimes people ask me why liberal Americans are often so wrong about anything connected to Jews or Israel, despite the fact that they are seemingly obsessed with these subjects.
Maybe the answer is that so many of them read the NY Times.
Report: European Union-Funded Arab School Built in Heart of Hebron Hills Archaeological Site
Illegal Arab school built with European Union funding at archaeological site in southern Hebron Hills, March 19 2018
The Regavim NGO watchdog organization says it plans to petition the High Court of Justice for a second time, regarding a school that was built by the European Union in the heart of an archaeological site in the Southern Hebron Hills region – in defiance of an earlier decision by Israel's High Court of Justice.
Over the past few weeks, Arabs living in the "Hirbet Z'nutah" outpost situated in the center of an archaeological site adjacent to the local municipality's offices, have built an illegal structure with support from European Union funding.
Six months ago, the High Court of Justice dismissed a legal action that existed in the system for more than a decade regarding Hirbet Z'nutah, (High Court of Justice case #9715/07), stipulating that the demolition orders issued for the outpost's structures would not be implemented at the present time on condition that no additional construction was carried out at the site.
Arabs living at the site violated the agreement, with the support and encouragement of the European Union.
This week, Regavim announced that an additional petition would be submitted to the High Court of Justice in the coming days.
"Construction of a school on a protected archaeological site, with EU funding, is a gross and blatant violation of the High Court's decision, as well as a violation of the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, signed in Valetta on 16.I.1992," said Yishai Hemo, Regavim Field Coordinator for Judea and Samaria.
"The offenders have sharpened their tactical skills, and have managed to pull the wool over the Court's eyes. They never intended to uphold their commitments in this matter. We will also be petitioning the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand that decisive action is taken in light of the European Union's illegal conduct."
DC Councilman Takes It Back: Rothschilds Aren't Controlling the Climate After All
Trayon White Sr., a D.C. Council member, has caught enough flack to convince him to change his claim from last Friday, when he accused the Rothschild Jewish banking family of controlling the climate.
You'll admit it's harder to control than Hollywood.
White uploaded a video to his official Facebook page on Friday morning, shot through the windshield of a car driving in downtown DC, where he declared: "Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y'all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation. And DC keep talking about, 'We a resilient city.' And that's a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful."
You'll also have to admit that even the late AH (German Chancellor 1933-45) sounded more rational regarding the influence of Jewish bankers. He never blamed them for the snow.
After the Washington Post had reported the bizarre attack on Sunday, White said he had been approached by Jews United for Justice, who helped him "understand the history of comments made against Jews."
He deleted the Facebook video and issued a message on Instagram, saying, "In response to the social media post made on Friday, as a leader I work hard everyday to combat racism and prejudices of all kinds. I want to apologize to the Jewish Community and anyone I have offended. The Jewish community have been allies with me in my journey to help people. I did not intend to be Anti-Semitic, and I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues. I have spoke (sic) to leaders and my friends at Jews United for Justice and they are helping me to understand the history of comments made against Jews and I am committed to figuring out ways continue to be allies with them and others. With my deepest love.. Councilmember Trayon White."
Water under the bridge, fella. Except, with this rate of success – complete conversion of an uneducated anti-Semite into uneducated philo-Semite, we should consider recruitingJews United for Justiceto boost our hasbara efforts around the globe.
We actually visited their website and plugged in their search engine the words "Israel" and "Palestinian" and didn't receive any anti-Israel messages, so we're saying, hire them!
See you Tomorrow, Pesach is coming on Friday Love Yehuda Lave