23 July 2018 - 11 Av 5778 - י"א אב ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Arts & Culture
Hidden script uncovered in fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls E-mail

Using advanced imaging equipment at the Dead Sea Scrolls’ conservation labs, an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) researcher has discovered letters that are invisible to the naked eye.

The advanced imaging technology, which was especially developed for the Dead Sea Scrolls, revealed script that, until now, could not be seen.

During the 1950s, archaeologists and Bedouin peoples discovered, in the caves near Qumran, tens of thousands parchment and papyrus fragments written 2,000 years ago and belonging to approximately 1,000 different manuscripts.

Due to their small size and precarious physical state, some of these fragments were placed in boxes without being sorted or deciphered. Recently, as part of a project to digitise the Scrolls, sample examinations were conducted on items from these boxes. The examinations revealed that although no script can be seen with the naked eye, the new imaging technology (originally developed for NASA) used in the digitisation project can identify script on some fragments. The identification of new letters and words provides new data for the study of the scrolls. One of the fragments may even indicate the existence of a hitherto unknown manuscript.

The fragments were presented last month as part of an international conference, The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: Clear a Path in the Wilderness, and provide new information on one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.

The new script was discovered by Oren Ableman, a scroll researcher at the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit of the IAA and a PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. When he examined a few dozen fragments that were discovered in “Cave 11” near Qumran, he was excited to discover traces of ink on many fragments that appeared blank to the naked eye.

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Synagogue exhibition from Eastern Europe on display in Hong Kong E-mail

Hong Kong’s Ohel Leah synagogue and the Consulate General of Hungary are presenting an exhibition at the Jewish Community Centre showcasing historical synagogues of Eastern and Central Europe. Titled Rudolf Klein Synagogues of East-Central Europe 1782-1944 Exhibition, it runs until 10 June.

An official opening ceremony was held in the courtyard of Ohel Leah Synagogue on 15 May. In special attendance at the ceremony was Dr Pal Kertesz, Consul General of Hungary. A mix of community members and visitors attended. Rabbi Asher Oser and Dr Pal Kertesz gave a welcoming address.

The exhibition presents the rich architectural heritage of Central-Eastern European synagogues from the 18th to the 20th centuries, across many cities past and present. It was compiled by Professor Rudolf Klein, a Hungarian Jewish architect. The panels provide interesting references to religious and ethnological traditions. The various architecture formats of synagogues take many distinct shapes and styles, including Solomon’s Temple, a factory hall, a church, a barn, a cottage, a palace. The countries whose synagogues are featured in the exhibition include Hungary, Austria, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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Award-winning puppet play showcased in the Philippines E-mail

When All Was Green, an award-winning a non-verbal puppet show, was performed in Manila in May by Israeli artists Dikla Katz and Avi Zlicha of Key Theatre in Israel. It told the heart-warming tale of a boy and a tree, and depicts both the generosity of nature and the greed in a man’s heart.

Inspired by Shel Silverstein’s book The Giving Tree, it highlights the importance of maintaining balance and living in harmony with nature. The show was presented in the Philippines in celebration of the 60th Friendship Anniversary between the two countries. It was staged in various locations across the city, including the University of the Philippines, and tickets were free.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Yulia Rachinsky-Spivakov, deputy chief of mission of the embassy, said they brought When All Was Green to Manila to reach the Filipino youth and instill the importance of sustainability in their young minds.

“We support the idea of sustainability and sustainable development, which is part of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations,” she said. “We believe that we need to take care of our environment, and this specific performance is touching this topic in a very good manner, so all ages can relate.”

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