Good News Friday – Chanukah Edition

Shabbat Chanukah has a wonderful festive atmosphere around it, so I couldn’t let this week pass by without a Good News Friday installment.

One of the clay pots reconstructed from sherds found at the site near En Zippori at the Lower Galilee. (Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

Just in time for Chanukah, with its focus on olive oil as the source of the miracle that occurred in the time of the Maccabees, archeologists announced the discovery of ancient pottery sherds containing traces of olive oil in northern Israel, dating back 8,000 years:

Olive oil was used in the Land of Israel as early as 8,000 years ago, archaeologists working at an antiquities site in the Lower Galilee said Wednesday, heralding the earliest evidence for use of the staple in the country and possibly the entire Middle East.

Tests of potsherds, some dating back to 5,800 BCE, found in 2011-2013 during a salvage excavation ahead of the widening of Road 79, showed traces of olive oil remarkably similar to modern versions, researchers said.

Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov of the Israel Antiquities Authority methodically sampled pottery vessels found in the excavation at Ein Zippori in the Lower Galilee in order to ascertain what was stored in them and how they were used by the site’s ancient inhabitants.

“Although it is impossible to say for sure, this might be an olive species that was domesticated and joined grain and legumes – the other kinds of field crops that we know were grown then. Those crops are known from at least 2,000 years prior to the settlement at Ein Zippori. With the adoption of olive oil the basic Mediterranean diet was complete. From ancient times to the present, the Mediterranean economy has been based on high quality olive oil, grain and must, the three crops frequently mentioned in the Bible,” they said in a statement.

A comparison of the results of the extraction from the archaeological sherds with those of modern, one-year-old oil, showed a strong resemblance between the two, indicating a particularly high level of preservation of the ancient material, which had survived close to its original composition for almost 8,000 years.

The society using this oil was probably not Jewish. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating story about the history of our country, just in time for Chanukah.

Of more relevance to us today, and certainly connected to the festival of Chanuakh, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem announced that they have managed to prepare some olive oil pure enough to be used in the Third Temple which we all hope will be built and dedicated speedily in our days.  They will be using this pure olive oil at a Menorah-lighting ceremony on Monday night in the Old City. Click the “see more” link at the end of the embedded post below for details.

Here is their facebook post:

Kol hakavod to all the dedicated people at the Temple Institute who work so hard to bring about the 2,000 year old dream of the Jewish People to fruition.

Coming back to the technological innovations of the 21st century, students at the Technion have once again come up with an ingenious Chanukah contraption. This time they shoot for the moon!

I love to see their intelligence and technological prowess applied for such a “useful’ purpose. 🙂  May these students go from strength to strength.

And how better to conclude this special edition with the soldiers of the IDF singing a rousing (if not terribly tuneful!) )Maoz Tzur.

I’m glad to know that they fight better than they can sing! 😀

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and Chag Urim Same’ach!

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4 Responses to Good News Friday – Chanukah Edition

  1. Reality says:

    Happy Chanuka.What a great post.I presume the next thing in the news will be the Palestinians claiming the olive oil jar as theirs! I also read about a discovery of a stele with inscriptions about the house of (King)David that was destroyed .This is connected to the revolt of the Maccabees.The stele was put on display recently in time for Chanuka.Yet more proof that Palestinians never existed before 1948!

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    The Technion show was fun, but I think I prefer last(?) year’s effort – it might have been 2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua8Fs9iN0b8.

    Do they really lecture in English at the Technion, or was that just for the cameras? That said, who cares? it’s a great little video.

    • anneinpt says:

      Yes, candle-lighting video was really cute and fun. I’m not sure about what language they use in the Technion. Probably a mixture, but as you say, this was for the cameras.

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