Ancient Tombstones Shed Light on Rabbinic Life in the Galilee

In the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, the Galilean city of Sepphoris (Tsippori) was one of the most important centers of Jewish religious and intellectual life. Archaeologists have recently discovered three 1,700-year-old tombstones there, as the Israel Antiquities Authority reports:

The two Aramaic inscriptions mention individuals referred to as “rabbis” who were buried in the western cemetery of Sepphoris; their names have not yet been deciphered.

According to Motti Aviam of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology, the importance of the epitaphs lies in the fact that they reflect the everyday life of the Jews of Sepphoris and their cultural world. Researchers are uncertain as to the meaning of the term “rabbi” at the time. . . Both inscriptions end with the Hebrew blessing shalom.

The Greek inscription mentions the name Yose, which was very common among Jews living in Israel and abroad.

Read more at Israel Antiquities Authority

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Galilee, History & Ideas, Mishnah, Rabbis

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security