Four Decades after Its Discovery, a Talmudic-Era Jewish Amulet Comes to Light

Since talmudic times, Jews have used amulets to guard themselves from spiritual and physical harm, and even in the 18th century it was commonplace for rabbis to give lay people amulets with supposed kabbalistic powers. Forty years ago, a resident of the Galilean village of Arbel discovered an amulet from the 6th century CE, which her heirs recently turned over to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Rossella Tercatin writes:

Shaped like a triangle, the pendant on one side features the figure of a horse rider whose head is surrounded with a halo. The rider is depicted in the act of throwing a sphere at a female figure on the ground, surrounded by an inscription in Greek reading: “The One God Who Conquers Evil.”

Under the horse, the Greek letters I A W O appear, the equivalent of the Hebrew [four-letter] divine name. The opposite side of the object presents an eye pierced by arrows and surrounded by dangerous animals—two lions, a snake, a scorpion and a bird—as well as another Greek inscription reading “One God.”

In spite of the use of non-Jewish symbolism, the fact that the object was found in Arbel, which was a Jewish settlement in the Byzantine period, suggests that the object actually belonged to a Jew.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: ancient Judaism, Archaeology, Talmud

 

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism