An Ancient Hammer and Nails Found in What Was Once a Major Jewish Village in the Galilee

Following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the high rabbinic council known as the Sanhedrin relocated from Jerusalem to the Galilee, where it migrated from one place to another, spending a number of years in the village of Usha during the 1st and 2nd centuries. At the site of this village, volunteers participating in an archaeological dig recently discovered a hammer and nails dating to the 6th century, not long before Jews abandoned it altogether. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

According to Yair Amitzur and Eyad Bisharat, co-directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “about twenty iron hammers are registered in the Israel Antiquities Authority records, only six of them from the Byzantine period,” [to which this one is dated]. Through their excavations, the archaeologists had previously discovered an extensive glass industry—from raw material to beautifully finished green-blue glass goblets—as well as wine and olive-oil production at the site.

Amitzur [added] that the iron-production center would have forged everything the community needed on a day-to-day basis, including nails and little rings. There would have been a smithy working in every village, he said, but the remains indicate that Usha’s was a very small operation.

A famous resident of Usha recorded in Jewish sources was Rabbi Yitzḥak Nafḥa. The word “Nafḥa” comes from the root “to blow,” and in rabbinic-period Hebrew can mean “blacksmith.” But Amitzur [believes] that the iron industry was not in operation during the period in which the famous rabbi lived there, and he associates the word with the extremely specialized glass industry at the site, due to the uniqueness in the quality and quantity [of glass items] found there.

The site and its ritual baths continued to be used by the local Jewish population until approximately 1,500 years ago, said Amitzur, at which time the Jews filled in the baths to invalidate them for use prior to leaving the village.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Byzantine Empire, Sanhedrin

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University