Israelite Samaritan History, Religion, Music, Art, Food, Festivals, Calendar and more …
As Israelite Samaritans we trace our roots back for 127 consecutive generations in the Holy Land.
We adhere to the four symbols of identification:
1. Live forever in the Holy Land.
2. Participate in the Sacrifice on Mount Gerizim at Pessach (Passover).
3. Celebrate the Sabbath, as written in the Torah.
4. Adhere to the laws of purity and impurity, as prescribed in the Torah.
Our roots and traditions in Ancient Israel are the common denominator of the major monotheistic religions which later developed. Our High Priest, is our leading religious representative.The Israelite Samaritan Torah remains our holy scripture. Down the ages we have succeeded in preserving our unique ancient Hebrew language, our costume, cuisine, culture, music and poetry, and our religious identity.
Today we are ‘living history’, as we respect and observe our way of life and heritage. Through our sometimes difficult past we have learned to coexist harmoniously with our neighbours Elements of our tradition are familiar to other cultures, and we are a bridge for peace (gesher leshalom) between all peoples (see the article Women For Peace). We are the root of the Abrahamic religions in the region, including Samaritanism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Druze and Bahai faiths.Though rooted deeply in the past, we are a vibrant modern community with contemporary enterprises and interests. See Israelite Samaritan Enterprises
By May 2013, the Israelite Samaritan Community numbered 760 souls (see Population Statistics), divided into four households, all in the Holy Land. (See Israelite Samaritan Households Today). In March 1919 there had been only 141 individuals, in Nablus and Jaffa. Today we live in two centres: approximately 360 live on Mount Gerizim, Samaria, above the Arab city of Nablus. Mount Gerizim is our Holy of Holies, our traditional place of worship; Jerusalem was never sacred to us. Approximately 400 Israelite Samaritans live in Holon, a large town on the southern outskirts of the bustling modern city of Tel Aviv.
Click here to find out how to experience Samaritan life at first-hand.
The communities are totally integrated with the lifestyles of their neighbours, and the two Israelite Samaritan groups are closely linked. The Holon community all have homes on Mount Gerizim too, and major festivals are celebrated together, the most famous being Pessach (Passover), when we sacrifice the Paschal Lamb and follow the traditions passed down from generation to generation.
Benyamim (Benny) Tsedaka heads The Israelite Samaritan Information Institute in Holon. It is the authority for information about the Israelite Samaritan Community in ancient and modern times, and is a source of reference material, continuing the well-known tradition of the Good Samaritan. Click here for a Samaritan perspective on the story.
Benny is a historian, and the publisher of many books on Israelite Samaritan themes. He tours the world lecturing on Israelite Samaritan culture and traditions. Further details are given on the Lecture Tour page.
Since December 1969, twice a month Benny and his brother Yefet Tsedaka publish a newspaper and magazine called ‘A.B. The Samaritan News’. Since 1981 they have both also been directing the ‘A.B. Institute of Samaritan Studies’ which helps students, scholars and Samaritan Studies researchers with their work. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our regular updates.
Benny is also Chairman of the Samaritan Medal Foundation for Peace and The Humanitarian Achievement Committee, and is active in selecting potential recipients for these awards.
The Ancient Israelite Samaritan Music Choir is also run by Benny. The Choir’s worldwide performances introduce traditional Israelite Samaritan music to listeners from other cultures.
For more information about the Israelite Samaritans please telephone or write to us at the address below:
Israelite Samaritan Information Institute, 15A Ben Amram Street, Holon, Israel
© Copyright Israelite Samaritan Information Institute 2012-2015.
Photos: Ori Orhof
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