It’s been a hell of a week and the unbearable heat (much much higher than normal temperatures even for this sweaty part of the world) has not added to our good feelings. So it’s with a sigh of relief that I present you with this week’s Good News Friday post.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, media star Oprah Winfrey surely knows that. And she also knows that Israeli businessman Lev Leviev’s diamonds are conflict-free and comply with the Kimberley Process. That’s why Oprah Winfrey rejected a BDS demand to boycott Lev Leviev and Israeli diamonds. The trigger for the BDS attempt was Oprah’s appearance on the cover of O, her own-brand magazine, wearing Lev Leviev diamonds.
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful women in the American media landscape, chose to wear Lev Leviev diamonds on the cover of the May 2015, 15-year anniversary issue of O (The Oprah Magazine), Diamond World reports.
Good for Ms. Winfrey, kol hakavod to her for going against the radical-chic trend of boycotting Israel. I hope she influences many more celebrities to go along with her.
Going back in time now to less controversial times, a 2,000 year old Mikve (ritual bath) has been discovered underneath a kindergarten building site in Jerusalem:
Excavation work for a new kindergarten in Jerusalem unearthed an almost-intact, 2,000-year-old Jewish ritual bath bearing extraordinary inscriptions, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.
The ritual bath, or mikveh, was discovered two months ago by IAA officials during a routine archaeological inspection of the construction site in the capital’s southern neighborhood of Arnona. Jerusalem IAA manager Amit Reem said his workers discovered the underground cave leading to the mikveh at the very end of the final day of inspections.
“There is no doubt that this is a very significant discovery. Such a concentration of inscriptions and symbols from the Second Temple period at one archaeological site, and in such a state of preservation, is rare and unique and most intriguing,” excavation directors Royee Greenwald and Alexander Wiegmann said in a joint statement.
But what is perhaps the mikveh’s most interesting feature is its unusual inscriptions. The bath’s walls, covered in ancient plaster, are adorned with a number of drawings and inscriptions, etched or written in mud and soot.
As was customary for Jews in Second Temple-period Judea, the inscriptions are in Aramaic and written in cursive Hebrew script.
Among the discernible symbols is a boat, palm trees, plants and possibly a menorah.
What a fascinating find! More proof, if proof were ever needed for those that deny our history, that the Jews’ connection to the Land of Israel goes all the way back 2,000 years and more.
In another recent archeological find, archeologists discover the gates to Goliath’s home town!
Monumental Iron Age remains from the ancient Philistine city of Gath, once the home of the legendary biblical giant Goliath, surfaced this summer during excavations by a Bar-Ilan University-led team of archaeologists.
Gath, one of the five cities of the ancient foes of the Israelites, was one of the largest cities in the region in the 10th and 9th centuries BCE. The Old Testament describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the enormous warrior killed with a slingshot by the young Israelite David who would go on to found a dynasty of kings.
“We knew that Philistine Gath in the tenth to ninth century (BCE) was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time,” excavation leader Professor Aren Maeir told Live Science. “These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was.”
Near the gate, Maeir’s team also unearthed the remains of the city’s extensive fortification wall, a Philistine temple, ironwork and pottery.
While the pottery bears hallmarks of the distinctive Philistine style, elements of Israelite techniques can be seen on the fragments as well, indicating there was more interaction between the two cultures than previously thought.
“This mirrors the intense and multifaceted connections that existed between the Philistines and their neighbors,” Maeir said.
The archaeologists also found evidence of widespread destruction resulting from a massive earthquake in the 8th century BCE, in what the team says could be the disaster mentioned in the Old Testament Book of Amos.
Among other notable discoveries made over 20 years of excavations at the site was the earliest decipherable Philistine inscription, containing two names similar to that of the Biblical character Goliath.
Besides the amazing character of these finds, such archeological discoveries help show that the stories in the Bible were no mere myths or fairy tales, but true events.
Kol hakavod to all the archeologists, researchers, restorers and historians involved in both these fascinating discoveries.
One last item to finish this week’s post. Here is some excellent news from Ayala Shapira, the 11 year old girl who was so badly burned in a firebombing attack in December:
Baruch Rofeh Cholim and we wish Ayala a continued refuah shlema, a complete and speedy recovery.
We couldn’t ask for better news for Shabbat!
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom!