Jerusalem (Dec. 18)
Pictures of ancient Jewish history, through the periods of Assyrian, Persian, Roman, medieval and modern times came back to life vividly when Sir Herbert Samuel, British High Commissioner of Palestine, today received in audience Isaac Ben Amram, the High Priest of the Samaritans.
The Samaritans, an Israelitish sect which came into existence in the eighth century, B. C., following the separation of Israel from Judah, were comprised partly of Palestinian natives and partly of Assyrians colonized in Samaria by Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, in 722 B. C. Because the vicinity in which they settled was frequently attacked by lions, they accepted the religion of the country. Since then they were known in Jewish religious history as the “lion proselytes.”
While retaining the principles of the Jewish religion, the “lion proselytes” recognized only the five books of Moses and refused to accept the teachings of the prophets and severed connections with further Jewish religious development.
Although living in the center of Palestine, considering Mount Gerizim in the vicinity of Nablus as their holy place, where they erected their Temples, they were in constant political and religious strife with the Palestine Jews. The sect, in the course of its history, gradually diminished and is now reduced to 150 souls living in and near Nablus.
Characteristic of the Samaritans is that they still believe in the offering of sacrifices, which they perform on Passover on Mount Gerizim on the site of their former Temple.
With long white beard, crimson headdress and flowing black robe, looking like and Old Testament patriarch, Isaac Ben Amram, High Priest of the Samaritans, petitioned the High Commissioner for permission to proceed to London, where he intends to conduct research work in the British Museum for the purpose of writing the history of the Samaritan sect.
Plans for a new Synagogue to be constructed for the Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Scranton, Pa., have been completed.