Preparing for a US presidential visit is a huge job. Preparing for a US presidential visit the week before Passover is an almost insurmountable task.
In the eyes of many, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly was a masterful statement of the moral state of the world, not to mention the existential threat Iran poses to Israel.
My first encounter with Jewish genealogy came when I was invited to give a talk at the annual meeting of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies on the question of whether any living Jew can plausibly claim to have descended from King David.
Some scholars argue that David's Jerusalem was merely a backwater village glorified into a mythical place by those they say penned the Bible centuries later. Others suggest that true to its biblical description, it was a genuine power overseeing a strong and united kingdom. The discovery of what is being called the Elah Fortress has quickly been used to reinforce the latter argument.
A 2,100-year-old section of the wall surrounding Jerusalem, dating from Hasmonean times, has been unearthed on Mount Zion, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday. The excavations have revealed part of the expanded southern city wall, from the Second Temple period, when ancient Jerusalem was at its largest.
A 2,600-year-old clay seal impression was uncovered in Jerusalem's ancient City of David. Bearing the name Gedaliah ben Pashur, the seal impression was uncovered intact recently during archaeological excavations just below the walls of the Old City near the Dung Gate.
I chose not to attend Tarbut's trial of King David. Billed as "the people against King David," it promised to be a trial that was "3,000 years in the making."
Arab spokesmen regularly complain about what they call "the Israeli occupation" of the Judea-Samaria-Gaza territories. But the truth is that there is no such "Israeli occupation." To begin with, nearly all Palestinian Arabs currently live under Yasser Arafat's rule, not Israel's. Following the signing of the Oslo accords, the Israelis withdrew from nearly half of the territories, including the cities where 98.5 percent of Palestinian Arabs reside. The notion that the Palestinian Arabs are living under Israeli occupation is false. The areas from which Israel has not withdrawn are virtually uninhabited, except for the two percent where Israelis reside.
"King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel" by Jonathan Kirsch (Ballantine Books, $28)
In his "Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text," Rabbi Burton Visotzky writes, "To the extent that the Bible reveals the words of God to a community, it is essential that students get those words down right, so that they may become part of the community. In certain communities, students of the Bible are free to question, grapple, doubt and deny -- so long as they first hear their community's reading of God's word."